Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Today’s themed answers all have the same clue, namely “Bridge”.
- 17A. Bridge : CARD GAME FOR FOUR
- 23A. Bridge : HELMSMAN’S POST
- 52A. Bridge : RIVER CROSSING
- 62A. Bridge : DENTAL APPLIANCE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Carnival Cruise Line headquarters : MIAMI
The city of Miami in Florida takes its name from the nearby Miami River, which is itself named for the Mayaimi Native American people who lived around nearby Lake Okeechobee.
The Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972, and now has over 20 vessels in operation. Three of those Carnival ships were chartered by the US government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina so that they could provided temporary housing for families displaced by the storm.
14. How many crosswords are solved : IN PEN
Not here …
17. Bridge : CARD GAME FOR FOUR
The version of the card game bridge that is mostly played today is “contract bridge”. “Auction bridge” is a similar game, and is a precursor to contract bridge.
20. Young Skywalker’s nickname : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:
- Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
- Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
- Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
- Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
- Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …
21. “At Wit’s End” columnist Bombeck : ERMA
Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.
22. Like Cheerios : OATEN
Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, “Cheerios” were known as CheeriOats.
28. Taqueria order : TOSTADA
In Mexican cuisine, a tostada is a flat or bowl-shaped tortilla
31. A3 or Q7 : AUDI
The predecessor to today’s Audi company was called Auto Union. Auto Union was formed with the merger of four individual entities: Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. The Audi logo comprises four intersecting rings, each representing one of the four companies that merged.
40. Luau band : LEI
“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.
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
44. Inn crowd option : RAMADA
The Ramada Inn hotel chain takes its name from the Spanish word for a shady resting place. A ramada is a shelter with a roof and no walls, mainly found in the American southwest. Nowadays a ramada can be temporary or permanent, but originally ramadas were makeshift shelters constructed by aboriginal Indians from branches or bushes.
48. HBO drama set in Baltimore : THE WIRE
I didn’t watch the HBO series called “The Wire” when it first aired. We ending up buying all five series on DVD and we watched the whole thing a few years ago. It’s is a great drama series, and I thoroughly recommend it. Personally, I think that HBO produces some of the best dramas on American television.
50. __ Friday’s : TGI
T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain, founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.
58. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque prayer : OMANI
The main mosque in the Sultanate of Oman is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque located in the capital Muscat. The mosque is relatively new in the grand scheme of things, completed in 2001. It is named for the Qaboos bin Said al Said, the current Sultan of Oman. The prayer carpet on the floor of the mosque’s prayer hall took four years to complete, and is the second-largest hand-woven carpet in the world (the largest is in the Abu Dhabi mosque).
60. Sci-fi navigator : SULU
Mr Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …
61. Gen __ : XER
The term Generation X originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.
66. Number of times a horse can enter the Kentucky Derby : ONCE
The first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875, and is a race modelled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, The Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses. And, the race is limited to 3-year-old horses.
67. “Dies __” : IRAE
“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.
69. Essen’s region : RUHR
Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany.
The Ruhr is a large urban area in western Germany. The area is heavily populated, and is the fifth largest urban area in the whole of Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow, London and Paris. The Ruhr became heavily industrialized due to its large deposits of coal. By 1850, the area contained nearly 300 operating coal mines. Any coal deposits remaining in the area today are too expensive to exploit.
1. Hebrew prophet : MICAH
The Book of Micah is one of twelve books in the Bible written by the so-called minor prophets. The name “Micah” translates into English from Hebrew as “Who is like God?”
3. __ fool : APRIL
April Fool’s Day is celebrated on April 1st in the western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants. But in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.
4. Club __ : MED
Club Méditerranée is usually referred to as “Club Med”. It is a French company that started in 1950 with a resort on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. It was originally a “club” with annual membership dues. Now it is an operator of numerous all-inclusive resorts located all over the world.
6. Harmful ray type : GAMMA
Gamma radiation was first discovered by the French chemist Paul Villard, as he studied radiation coming from the chemical element radium. This radiation was called “gamma”, the third letter in the Greek alphabet, as alpha and beta particles had already been identified.
7. More than 70% of Earth’s surface : OCEAN
Our “blue planet” has such a color because the oceans that cover 71% of the area of the Earth reflect blue light.
8. Lab greeting : ARF!
The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.
9. “Ars gratia artis” is written in an arc around his head : LEO
There has been a lion in the logo of the MGM studio since 1924. The original was an Irishman (!), a lion named Slats who was born in Dublin Zoo in 1919. However, it wasn’t until Jackie took over from Slats in 1928 that the roar was heard, as the era of silent movies was coming to an end. The current lion is called Leo, and he has been around since 1957.
It seems that the phrase “art for art’s sake” has its origins in France in the nineteenth century, where the slogan is expressed as “l’art pour l’art”. The Latin version “Ars gratia artis” came much later, in 1924, when MGM’s publicist chose it for the studio’s logo, sitting under Leo the lion. Who’d a thunk it?
12. Smoke passage : FLUE
The flue in a chimney is a duct that conveys exhaust gases from a fire to the outdoors. An important feature of a flue is that its opening is adjustable. When starting a fire, the flue should be wide open, maximizing airflow to get help ignition.
13. Gull relative : TERN
Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …
24. Common street name : MAIN
The most common street name in the US is “Second Street”. “First Street” comes in only at number three, and this is because many cities and towns forego the use of “First” and instead go with “Main” or something more historical in nature. “Elm Street” appears on the list at number fifteen.
25. Strait-laced : STAID
Something described as “staid” is unwavering, fixed. This usage expanded to mean “sober, sedate”. The term dates back to the 16th century, and comes from verb “to stay”. “Staid” is a rewriting of the past participle “stayed”.
Our term “strait-laced” is used to describe someone who is “excessively inflexible in matters of conduct”. Note the spelling “strait” (and not “straight”), which in this case means “tight”, and is a reference to the laces of a woman’s corset. A woman with a strait-laced (tightly laced) corset would have a rigid posture. This usage was extended to the figurative meaning of “rigid in conduct”.
26. __ ejemplo : POR
In Spanish, “por ejemplo” means “for example”.
29. Geometric art style : DECO
Art deco is the name given to a style of design and architecture of the 1920s that actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe before arriving in North America. Celebrated examples of art deco architecture are the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City completed in 1930, and the GE Building that sits in the middle of Rockefeller Center also in New York City, with the address of “30 Rock”.
33. Vacation spot with horseback riding : DUDE RANCH
Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, Easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.
35. Toon often seen in a hunting hat : ELMER
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …
39. “Jeopardy!” staple : TRIVIA
Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …
The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.
46. Bikini in the Pacific, e.g. : ATOLL
The name of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands comes from the Marshallese name “Pikinni”, meaning “coconut place”. Famously, Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 nuclear detonations by the US from 1946 to 1958.
51. Astronauts’ gear : G-SUITS
A G-suit is needed when astronauts and aviators are subject to high accelerations. Such acceleration can cause blood to pool in the lower part of the body, reducing the supply to the brain and possibly leading to a blackout. A G-suit is basically a special pair of tight-fitting pants that are fitted with inflatable bladders. The bladders inflate during high accelerations, tightening around the legs and abdomen, reducing the amount of blood pooling. So, a “G-suit” is more correctly referred to as an “anti-G suit”.
53. Channel with a “Congressional Chronicle” online archive : C-SPAN
C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings. C-SPAN Video Library is an amazing online archive provided by C-SPAN that offers a complete audio and video archive of Congressional proceedings going back to 1987. Users can search the archive for free, by topic, speaker date and more. When the site was launched in 2010, the archive already contained 160,000 hours of programming. There is a is a section of the archive called “Congressional Chronicle” that is particularly easy to navigate.
54. Kolkata cash : RUPEE
The rupee is a unit of currency, used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. The term “rupee” comes from the Sanskrit word “rupya”, which once meant “stamped, impressed” and then “coin”.
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of West Bengal, India. Kolkata grew up around a fort that the British built in the area in 1712. Prior to the arrival of the British, there were three villages at the site, one named Kalikata. Kalikata gave its name to the city that eventually developed. This was anglicized to “Calcutta” which became the official name for centuries, until it was changed back to Kolkata in 2001.
55. Slangy refusal : IXNAY
Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ix-n-ay” … ixnay, and for “scram” is “am-scr-ay”
56. Wafer brand : NECCO
Necco Wafers are the best-known product line of the candy manufacturer called the New England Confectionery Company. The firm’s name is abbreviated to NECCO, an acronym that became synonymous with the wafers.
57. Place to find a flag : GREEN
That would be golf.
58. Le Pew’s defense : ODOR
Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe painted down her back accidently.
64. Jackie O’s second : ARI
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.
65. “Shirt Front and Fork” artist : ARP
Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …