Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each include the hidden word OVER, which is SHARED between the first and second words of the answer:
- 57A. Unseemly disclosure of personal details … as seen in 17-, 27- and 43-Across? : OVERSHARING
- 17A. Began without hesitation : DOVE RIGHT IN
- 27A. Was heedless behind the wheel : DROVE RECKLESSLY
- 43A. Mentioned earlier : ABOVE REFERENCED
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
11. Freon or neon : GAS
Freon is a DuPont trade name for a group of compounds used as a refrigerant and also as a propellant in aerosols. Freon is used in the compressors of air conditioners as a vital component in the air-cooling mechanism. Freon used to contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which had a devastating effect on the Earth’s ozone layer. Use of CFCs is now banned, or at least severely restricted.
Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers who chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid. They warmed the liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.
14. Capital of Bangladesh : DHAKA
Dhaka (once “Dacca”) is the capital city of Bangladesh. Dhaka is known for many things, including production of the finest muslin in the world. It’s also the rickshaw capital of the world, with about 400,000 rickshaws running each day.
15. Maureen known as Hollywood’s “Queen of Technicolor” : O’HARA
The beautiful and talented Maureen O’Hara is an Irish actress, famous for her films made with fellow actor John Wayne and the director John Ford. Soon after color films hit the theaters, O’Hara earned the nickname “Queen of Technicolor”. This was because the combination of her vivid red hair and bright green eyes showed off the new technology to full advantage. O’Hara was born in a suburb of Dublin called Ranelagh, indeed where many of my own ancestors were born …
16. LP’s 33 1/3 : RPM
The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first Long Play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.
20. Place for a massage : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.
21. Texas A&M athlete : AGGIE
Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public higher education institute in the state when it accepted its first students in 1876. The full name of the school was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas and its primary mission used to be the education of males in the techniques of farming and military warfare. That’s quite a combination! Because of the agricultural connection, the college’s sports teams use the moniker “Aggies”. Texas A&M is also home to the George Bush Presidential Library.
22. Disney’s Little Mermaid : ARIEL
“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton.
32. Seal-hunting swimmers : ORCAS
The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.
33. Actor Ving of “Pulp Fiction” : RHAMES
Ving Rhames is a Hollywood actor from New York City. I first noted him in the 1994 film “Pulp Fiction”, in which he played gangster Marsellus Wallace. Rhames also appears alongside Tom Cruise in the “Mission Impossible” series of films. In fact, only Cruise and Rhames appear in all of the “Mission Impossible” movies.
I”m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly received performances.
39. Irish playwright Sean : O’CASEY
Seán O’Casey was an Irish playwright noted for his works exploring the plight of the working class in Dublin. O’Casey’s most famous works are “Juno and the Paycock” and “The Plough and the Stars”.
41. Low card : DEUCE
A “two” playing card might be called a “deuce”, from the Middle French “deus” (or Modern French “deux”) meaning “two”.
48. Run __: go wild : AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …
56. Previous to, to Dickinson : ERE
Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1800 poems in her lifetime, with less than a dozen published before she died in 1886. Emily’s younger sister discovered the enormous collection, and it was published in batches over the coming decades.
62. Nick of “Cape Fear” : NOLTE
The actor Nick Nolte got his big break playing opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in “The Deep”, released in 1976. Prior to that he had worked as a model, and in fact appeared in a magazine advertisement for Clairol in 1972 alongside fellow model Sigourney Weaver.
The 1991 film called “Cape Fear” is a Martin Scorsese remake of a 1962 movie of the same name. The 1991 version stars Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte, and there are also cameo appearances by Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck who starred in the 1962 original.
63. Explosive letters : TNT
“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.
2. “Eat up every moment” breakfast chain : IHOP
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!
3. Geological Hawaiian souvenir : LAVA ROCK
There’s a fairly contemporary legend that’s well reported in Hawaii concerning lava rock. Known as Pele’s curse, the myth is that any visitor taking rock or sand from any of the islands will have bad luck, until the rock or sand is returned.
4. Musical Hawaiian souvenir : UKE
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
5. Mardi Gras events : PARADES
“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.
6. “Around the World … ” hero Phileas : FOGG
“Around the World in 80 Days” is 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.
8. Mortgage figure : RATE
Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.
9. Sch. with a Providence campus : URI
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was first chartered as an agricultural school, back in 1888. URI’s main campus today is located in the village of Kingston.
Providence is the capital of the state of Rhode Island. The city was founded way back in 1636 by a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony called Roger Williams. Williams believed that it was “God’s merciful providence” that revealed the location of today’s city as a haven for him and his followers, and so gave the new settlement the name “Providence”.
10. Sea cow : MANATEE
Manatees, also known as sea cows, are very large marine mammals that can grow to 12 feet in length. The manatee is believed to have evolved from four-legged land mammals and probably shares a common ancestor with the elephant.
13. Like Limburger cheese : SMELLY
Limburger is a delicious, strong-smelling cheese from Germany. It originated in the Duchy of Limburg which was located partly in the modern-day Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
18. Composer Stravinsky : IGOR
The composer Igor Stravinsky’s most famous works were completed relatively early in his career, when he was quite young. His three ballets “The Firebird”, “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring” were published in 1910-1913, when Stravinsky was in his early thirties.
23. Flag maker Betsy : ROSS
Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first stars and stripes.
25. A Gabor sister : EVA
Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.
28. Cos. with Xings : RRS
Railroads (RRs) are companies (cos.) that operate a lot of railroad crossings (Xings).
31. Rapper West : KANYE
Kanye West is a rap singer who was born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. He also spent some time in Nanjing, China as a child, where his mother was teaching as part of an exchange program. West is married to reality star Kim Kardashian.
36. Platypus feature : DUCKBILL
The platypus is one of only five mammalian species that we know of that lay eggs rather than give birth to live young. The platypus is a native of Eastern Australia, and it is a weird creature to say the least. It’s appearance is bizarre enough, with it’s bill that resembles that of a duck, but it is also poisonous. The platypus has a spur on it hind foot that can inject venom and cause severe pain in humans.
37. Card that may be high or low : ACE
In the card game called Blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.
40. Keeps from being blue? : CENSORS
The original “censor” was an officer in ancient Rome who had responsibility for taking the “census”, as well as supervising public morality.
42. Brian of ambient music : ENO
Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the “ambient” genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks somewhat inventively: 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.
52. KGB country : USSR
The Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.
59. Outback hopper, for short : ROO
The name “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.
In Australia, the land outside of urban area is referred to as “the outback” or “the bush”. That said, I think that the term “outback” can also be used for the more remote parts of the bush.