Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers features the letter string HAIR that have been SPLIT between the beginning and end of the answer:
- 59A. Make petty distinctions … and what 17-, 23- and 49-Across literally do? : SPLIT HAIRS
- 17A. Handyman’s maintenance field : HOME REPAIR
- 23A. Ensemble of ringers : HANDBELL CHOIR
- 49A. Unofficial Caribbean currency equal to 5 gourdes : HAITIAN DOLLAR
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Bygone Apple laptop : IBOOK
From 1996 to 2006, Apple sold a relatively cost-effective line of laptops called iBooks. Basically, an iBook was a stripped-down version of the high-end PowerBook, in a different form factor and targeted at the consumer and education markets. The iBook was replaced by the MacBook in 2006.
10. Actress Fey : TINA
Comic actress Tina Fey has a scar on her face a few inches long on her left cheek, which I was shocked to learn was caused by a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old and playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How despicable!
16. “(I’ve Got __ in) Kalamazoo” : A GAL
“(I’ve Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo” is a song made famous by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H
I got a gal in Kalamazoo
Don’t want to boast but I know she’s the toast of Kalamazoo
(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)
20. 17th-century English poet John : DRYDEN
John Dryden was a highly influential poet and playwright in the late 1600s. He came from good literary stock, and was a cousin once-removed of Jonathan Swift.
21. Flexible : LISSOME
“Lissome” is such a lovely word, I think. It applies to something that is easily bent and supple. The term is a variation of “lithesome”.
23. Ensemble of ringers : HANDBELL CHOIR
The first set of tuned handbells was manufactured at the around 1700 in England. Sets of handbells were first used by church bell ringers so that they could practice as a group outside of the bell tower.
28. “The Night Manager” actor Hiddleston : TOM
Tom Hiddleston is an English actor who garnered international attention when he was given the role of Loki in the superhero film “Thor” (2011). More recently, I enjoyed Hiddleston’s performance in the excellent thriller miniseries “The Night Manager” that’s based on a John le Carré novel.
29. MAX rival : SHO
Showtime (SHO) and Cinemax (MAX).
37. Botanist’s study : FLORA
The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.
39. Stat for Clayton Kershaw : ERA
Earned run average (ERA)
Clayton Kershaw is a pitcher for the LA Dodgers. Outside of baseball, Kershaw is noted for his charitable work, especially his efforts to raise money for an orphanage in Zambia.
44. Sardine container : TIN
Sardines are oily fish related to herrings. Sardines are also known as pilchards, although in the UK “sardine” is a noun reserved for a young pilchard. Very confusing …
45. Disconnect between generations : GAP
That would be a “generation gap”.
47. Unclogging agent : LYE
What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …
48. Fountain of jazz : PETE
Pete Fountain is a New Orleans clarinetist. For four years Fountain played with the Lawrence Welk orchestra, but left when he and Welk had artistic differences.
49. Unofficial Caribbean currency equal to 5 gourdes : HAITIAN DOLLAR
The gourde is the currency of Haiti, and is divided into 100 centimes. The gourde has been pegged to the US dollar since 1912, at a value of 5 gourdes to the dollar. As a result, five gourdes are sometimes referred to as a Haitian dollar, and 5 contimes as a Haitian penny.
54. Bailiff’s bellow : ALL RISE!
Here in the US, the term “bailiff” is sometimes applied to a peace officer who provides security in a court.
55. Engineer who reinvented the wheel? : FERRIS
The first Ferris Wheel was built for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. That wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. who lent his name to wheels built from then on.
58. Boxer Oscar __ Hoya : DE LA
Oscar De La Hoya is a boxer from East Los Angeles who won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. As a professional, De La Hoya won ten world titles in varying weight classes from super-featherweight to middleweight.
66. See 50-Down : OLDS
(50D. Last car made by 66-Across : ALERO)
Oldsmobile was an automobile brand founded by Ransom E. Olds (REO) in 1897. The brand was finally phased out by General Motors in 2004.
67. Orchestra section : REEDS
Woodwind instruments are a subcategory of wind instruments that were traditionally made of wood, although some are now made from metal. There are two main classes of woodwind: flutes and reed instruments. Flutes produce sound by blowing air across the edge of a hole in a cylindrical tube. Reed instruments produce sounds by blowing into a mouthpiece, which then directs the air over a reed or reeds, causing them to vibrate.
3. Start of the Boy Scout Oath and the Girl Scout Promise : ON MY HONOR
According to the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the Scout Promise is:
On my honour I promise that I will do my best—
To do my duty to God and my Country
To help other people at all times and
To obey the Scout Law.
5. Actress Gillan of “Guardians of the Galaxy” : KAREN
The Scottish actress Karen Gillan is most famous for playing Amy Pond in the “Doctor Who” sci-fi show made by the BBC. Amy Pond was the companion to the eleventh doctor, played by Matt Smith. More recently, Gillan has been playing Nebula in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series of films.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a 2014 film based on a team of superheroes from the Marvel Comics universe. The movie’s cast is very impressive, including Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro. I don’t normally “do” superhero films, but I quite enjoyed this one. That said, I think my appreciation was swayed by the soundtrack that features a great list of songs from the sixties and seventies.
10. Astaire footwear : TAP SHOES
Fred Astaire’s real name was Frederick Austerlitz. Fred was from Omaha, Nebraska and before he made it big in movies, he was one half of a celebrated music hall act with his sister Adele. The pair were particularly successful in the UK, and Adele ended up marrying into nobility in England, taking the name Lady Charles Cavendish.
11. Snow structure : IGLOO
The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.
12. Watts of “Mulholland Dr.” : NAOMI
The actress Naomi Watts was born in the UK and moved to Australia when she was 14 years of age. It was in Australia that Watts got her break in television and movies. Probably her most acclaimed role was in the 2003 film “21 Grams” with Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. Watts is best friends with fellow Australian actress Nicole Kidman.
“Mulholland Drive” is a thriller released in 2002 that was well received by the critics (although I didn’t like it!). The original idea was for “Mulholland Drive” to be a pilot for a television series, but when ABC saw the filmed pilot they didn’t like it and so passed on it for their schedule. The script was rewritten, some new scenes shot, and after re-editing the movie was released.
22. Pair in “America” : SCHWAS
I guess it depends on how you pronounce the word, but the two schwas in the word “America” would be the letters A.
A “schwa” is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.
25. May birthstone : EMERALD
Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:
- January: Garnet
- February: Amethyst
- March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
- April: Diamond
- May: Emerald
- June: Pearl or Moonstone
- July: Ruby
- August: Sardonyx or Peridot
- September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
- October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
- November: Topaz or Citrine
- December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)
26. Sharable digital docs : PDFS
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.
31. Only state which shares a time zone with Alaska : HAWAII
The Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone covers the state of Hawaii, and the most westerly of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST) is observed in both states, but only the Aleutian portion observes Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight Time (HADT).
32. Panasonic acquisition of 2009 : SANYO
Sanyo is a Japanese electronics manufacturer based near Osaka and founded in 1947. The company name means “three oceans” reflecting the company’s original aim to sell its products all around the world (across three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian).
Not so long ago, Panasonic was called Matsushita Electronics, the name it took from its founder when the company started in 1918. The products manufactured back then were lamp sockets, and in 1927 the company introduced a bicycle lamp. Even after the company became famous for producing electrical and electronic goods, Matsushita had a very successful line of Panasonic bicycles, as the founder was raised in a family with a bicycle shop and he was passionate about cycling.
34. Disneyland’s Splash Mountain, e.g. : WATER RIDE
The Disneyland ride called Splash Mountain is inspired by the 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South”, which in turn is based on the “Uncle Remus” stories featuring Br’er Rabbit and friends. The most famous song heard while on the ride is “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”, which comes from the film’s soundtrack. Splash Mountain made its debut in 1989 in Disneyland in Anaheim. The same ride opened in Disneyworld in florida and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992. The “splashy” ride was deemed unsuitable for Disneyland Paris due to the frequent cold weather in that part of Europe.
36. Back-row bowling pin : NINE
Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.
43. Dutch pottery city : DELFT
Delft is a city in the Netherlands located between Rotterdam and the Hague. Delft is noted for its pottery and was also home to one of my favorite painters: Johannes Vermeer.
46. Complete a Monopoly circuit : PASS GO
The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of “The Landlord’s Game” created in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Lizzie Phillips. Phillips used her game as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord’s Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, who became a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.
48. Veterans Day event : PARADE
Veterans Day used to be known as Armistice Day, and is observed on November 11th each year. This particular date was chosen as the Armistice that ended WWI was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
50. Last car made by 66-Across : ALERO
(66A. See 50-Down : OLDS)
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.
51. Run-D.M.C.’s “You Be __” : ILLIN’
Run-DMC was a hip hop group from Queens, New York. The trio took its name from two of the group’s members: Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.
52. Himalayan country : NEPAL
Nepal lies to the northeast of India in the Himalayan mountain range. Today, the state is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country’s general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.
53. Operettist Franz : LEHAR
Franz Lehar was a Hungarian composer who had a difficult relationship with the Nazi regime after it took control of his country. His wife was born Jewish, but converted to Catholicism. Fortunately for the Lehars, Hitler enjoyed the composer’s music and as a result Goebbels intervened and made Sophie Lehar “an honorary Aryan by marriage”.
57. Union members until 1991: Abbr. : SSRS
When the former Soviet Union (USSR) dissolved in 1991, it was largely replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The formation of the CIS underscored the new reality, that the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) were now independent states. Most of the 15 former SSRs joined the CIS. Notably, the three Baltic SSRs (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) opted not to join the new commonwealth, and in 2004 joined NATO and the EU.