Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers start with the letter sequence OO-
- 17A…Butterfingers’ comment..OOPSY DAISY
- 23A…Comet-filled region of space..OORT CLOUD
- 48A…Chinese beverage literally meaning “black dragon”..OOLONG TEA
- 54A…Plays it like Cary Grant..OOZES CHARM
- 11D…Wonka worker..OOMPA LOOMPA
- 23D…Expressions of delight..OOHS AND AAHS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
“Around the World in 80 Days” is just a wonderful adventure story, written by French author Jules Verne and first published in 1873. There have been some great screen adaptations of the story, including the 1956 movie starring David Niven as Phileas Fogg. In almost all adaptations, a balloon is used for part of the journey, perhaps the most memorable means of transportation on Fogg’s trip around the world. However, if you read the book, Fogg never used a balloon at all.
14…”It Happened One Night” director..CAPRA
I can’t tell you how many of Frank Capra’s movies are on my list of all-time favorites. He directed such classics as “It Happened One Night”, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”, “Lost Horizon”, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “Meet John Doe”, “Arsenic and Old Lace” and the holiday favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Capra was the first person to win three directorial Oscars: for “It Happened One Night”, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” and “You Can’t Take It With You”. Capra also did his bit during WWII, enlisting just a few days after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Given his great talent, and the fact that he enlisted at the relatively advanced age of 44, the US Army put him to work directing 11 documentary war films in the “Why We Fight” series, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
21…”Win one for the __”: Reagan..GIPPER
George Gipp was Notre Dame’s first All-American football player. Just two weeks after getting the award, Gipp (aka “The Gipper”) developed pneumonia and died. Famously, on his deathbed he told the Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne to “win just one for the Gipper”. Ronald Reagan used the almost identical line a lot in his political campaigns (“win one for the Gipper”), as the actor-turned-politician played the Gipper in the movie “Knute Rockne, All American”.
23…Comet-filled region of space..OORT CLOUD
The Oort Cloud is a hypothetical spherical cloud of comets that lies about a light-year from the sun. It is postulated that periodic comets that enter our solar systems (like Halley’s Comet) originate in this cloud.
A diode is component in a circuit, the most notable characteristic of which is that it will conduct electric current in only one direction. Some of those vacuum tubes we used to see in old radios and television were diodes, but nowadays almost all diodes are semiconductor devices.
30…”Ah, Wilderness!” playwright..O’NEILL
“Ah, Wilderness!” is a comedy play by Eugene O’Neill that was first stage in 1933, on Broadway. “Ah, Wilderness!” was adapted into the musical film “Summer Holiday” that was released in 1948.
32…Needed Advil, say..ACHED
Advil is Wyeth’s brand of ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as iota is the smallest of all Greek letters.
The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years. The original alcoholic version is said to have contained a small concentration of cocaine.
39…1980s surgeon general..KOOP
C. Everett Koop was Surgeon General from 1982-89, appointed by President Reagan. Koop was a somewhat controversial character and one who brought the position of Surgeon General into the spotlight more than was historically the case. Partly this was due to his pro-life position, his anti-tobacco stance and the fact that AIDS became a prominent issue while he was in office.
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
42…”Philadelphia” director Jonathan..DEMME
Jonathan Demme is best known for directing “The Silence of the Lambs” for which he won an Oscar. Demme’s next movie was “Philadelphia”, which won an Oscar for the lead actor, Tom Hanks.
45…”Always,” in a military slogan..SEMPER
“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “semper fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.
46…Imogene’s comedy partner..SID
Sid Caesar achieved fame in the fifties on TV’s “Your Show of Shows”. To be honest, I know Sid Caesar mainly from the very entertaining film version of the musical “Grease”, in which he played Coach Calhoun.
Imogene Coca was a comic actress from Philadelphia who is perhaps best-known for her appearances on television starting in the forties. Famously, Coca performed opposite Sid Caesar on NBC’s “Your Show of Shows” in the fifties.
48…Chinese beverage literally meaning “black dragon”..OOLONG TEA
The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon”.
A “saw” is an adage, an old saying.
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in France, and “juillet” is French for July (note that the name of months aren’t capitalized in French).
54…Plays it like Cary Grant..OOZES CHARM
The wonderful, wonderful actor Cary Grant was born in Bristol in England, and was given the name Archibald Leach. In the 1949 Howard Hawks film “His Girl Friday”, there’s a line where Grant describes the fate suffered by someone who crossed him. He names that person “Archie Leach”, an ad-lib using his real name.
61…Pearl Harbor site..OAHU
The US Navy’s presence in Pearl Harbor dates back to 1899. The original name for the bay was “Wai Momi”, which translates from Hawaiian as “Waters of Pearl”.
66…The Washington Monument’s 897..STEPS
Completed in 1885, the Washington Monument was the world’s tallest structure, but only for a few years. The Washington Monument lost its “world title” in 1889, on the completion of the Eiffel Tower. It retains the title of world’s tallest stone structure, standing as almost 555 feet in height.
2…Red Guard leader..MAO
Red Guards were young paramilitaries who were mobilized by Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-sixties.
3…Waze or Uber..APP
Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze was developed in Israel, and was acquired by Google in 2013.
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Personally, I love the service, and only have had good experiences …
4…Agcy. with collectors..IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.
5…Like a parfait..LAYERED
A parfait is a frozen dessert made from sugar, syrup, egg and cream. The American version of this popular French dessert is a layered creation, featuring parfait cream, ice cream and flavored gelatins topped with whipped cream and possibly a liqueur. The term “parfait” is French for “perfect”.
7…Tourist gift on 61-Across..LEI
(61A…Pearl Harbor site..OAHU)
“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a “lei” is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.
In German, cubes of “eis” (ice) might be found in “ein Mixgetränk” (a mixed drink, cocktail).
Stuttgart is the sixth-largest city in Germany, and is located in southern Germany. The city is sometimes called “the cradle of the automobile” as Karl Benz made his first cars and motorcycles there, as were the first VW Beetle prototypes. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche cars are still manufactured in Stuttgart and the surrounding area.
“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.
11…Wonka worker..OOMPA LOOMPA
The Oompa-Loompas are characters in the Roald Dahl book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and indeed in the sequel story “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”. Willy Wonka came across the Oompa-Loompas on an isolated island in the Atlantic and invited them to work in his factory in order to escape those hunting them on the island. Right before Dahl’s book was first published, he was intending to call the Oompa-Loompas the “Whipple-Scrumpets”.
12…”Peer Gynt Suite” composer..GRIEG
Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt” is based on a Scandinavian fairy tale “Per Gynt”. The incidental music to the play, written by Edvard Grieg and referred to as the “Peer Gynt Suite”, is some of the most approachable classical music ever written, at least in my humble opinion …
18…Fiji has three..DOTS
There are three dots in the word “Fiji”, two over the letters I and one over the letter J.
22…With 19-Across, Oscar-winning Forest Whitaker role..IDI
“The Last King of Scotland” is a 2006 film adaptation of a 1998 novel of the same name by Giles Foden. The story tells of a Scottish doctor (played by James McAvoy) who was employed by Idi Amin (played by Forest Whitaker). The title of the piece comes from the fact that Idi Amin offered his services as King of Scotland, should he ever be needed.
The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.
29…”O.G. Original Gangster” rapper..ICE-T
Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles. Maybe he should have stuck to his real name, Tracy Marrow? Then again, maybe not … Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about break-dancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.
“Trompe l’oeil” is a technique in art that creates the optical illusion that a drawn object exists in three dimensions. “Trompe-l’oeil” is French for “deceive the eye”.
“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century “tome” had come to mean “a large book”.
38…Chimney cleaner’s target..CREOSOTE
“Creosote” is the name given to chemicals obtained by the distillation of tar. Creosote has two main uses, as an antiseptic and as a wood preservative. The term “creosote” comes from the Greek for “flesh preserver”. There is a material that builds up in chimneys that is also referred to as creosote. This black, oily residue is similar to commercially prepared products, but contains more carbon black.
44…”The Simpsons” beer server..MOE
The regulars on “The Simpsons” hang out at Moe’s Tavern, which is named for and run by Moe Szyslak. The most popular beer at Moe’s is Duff Beer. The name “Duff” is a reference to the real-life Duffy’s Tavern that used to be East 13th Street in Eugene, Oregon. “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening used to frequent Duffy’s regularly, and Moe’s looks very much like Duffy’s in terms of decor and floorplan.
Sergeant (Sgt.) is a rank in a police department (P.D.)
The official name for the South Pacific country formerly known as Western Samoa is the Independent State of Samoa. “Samoa” is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of the native Samoans.
56…Zoo opening in London?..ZED
The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of “zee” used in America today first popped up in the 1670s, with “zed” persisting in the British Isles to this day.
The opening letter in the word “zoo” is the letter Z (zee, or “zed” in British English).
57…What a red “H” often indicates..HOT
The faucet delivering hot water is often labeled with a red letter H. The cold water tap might be labeled with a blue letter C.
Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth, a skilled lumberjack. Bunyan had a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.
59…__ Van Winkle..RIP
“Rip Van Winkle” is a short story written by Washington Irving. The story was an instant hit, and was adapted for the stage just a few years after its first publication in 1819. Since then “Rip” has featured on the small screen, big screen and even in an operetta.
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.