Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are common phrases in which the letter sequence UN has been changed to AN:
- 17A. Thief at a sleepaway camp? : BUNK ROBBER (from “bank robber”)
- 24A. People who wear “I’m with stupid” T-shirts? : DUNCE PARTNERS (from “dance partners”)
- 37A. Fail a jewelry class lesson? : BUNGLE BRACELETS (from “bangle bracelets”)
- 48A. What drives a fashionista? : CLOTHES HUNGER (from “clothes hanger”)
- 59A. Run out of amusing things to do? : EXHAUST FUN (from “exhaust fan”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Caroler’s accoutrement : SCARF
The word “carol” came into English via the Old French word “carole”, which was a “dance in a ring”. When “carol” made it into English, about 1300 AD, the term was used to describe a dance as well as a joyful song. Around 1500 AD, carols that were sung came to be associated with Christmas.
10. Farthest from the hole : AWAY
That would be golf.
15. Izu Islands city : TOKYO
The Izu Islands are a chain of volcanic islands stretching south into the Pacific Ocean from the Izu Peninsula on the Japanese island of Honshu. Downtown Tokyo lies just to the north of the Izu Islands, and the towns and villages on the island chain form part of Tokyo Prefecture.
16. Soda opener? : COCA-
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.
19. Red cap? : CORK
That would be a cork in a bottle of red wine.
20. Vivid dye : AZO
Azo compounds have very vivid colors and so are used to make dyes, especially dyes with the colors red, orange and yellow. The term “azo” comes from the French word “azote” meaning “nitrogen”. French chemist Lavoisier coined the term “azote” from the Greek word “azotos” meaning “lifeless”. He used this name as in pure nitrogen/azote animals die and flames are snuffed out (due to a lack of oxygen).
21. Kibbutz entertainment : HORA
The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel. Kibbutzim were traditionally agriculture-based, but now are often centered around high-tech and other industrial enterprises. The first kibbutz was established in 1909 in Palestine under Ottoman rule. This kibbutz is called Degania, which now is in northern Israel.
22. End sections of some Greek poems : EPODES
An epode is a lyric poem made up of couplets in which the first line is long, and the second line much shorter. The form was invented by the Greek poet Archilochus, and was most famously used by the Roman poet Horace.
24. People who wear “I’m with stupid” T-shirts? : DUNCE PARTNERS (from “dance partners”)
John Duns Scotus was a theologian and scholar in the Middle Ages, responsible for many writings that were used as textbooks in British universities of the day. New ideas developed during the English Renaissance, but Duns Scotus and his followers resisted the changes. The word “dunse” came into use as a way of ridiculing those refusing to learn anything new, a precursor to our modern usage of “dunce”.
27. __ Cruces : LAS
Las Cruces (Spanish for “the crosses”) is the second largest city in the state of New Mexico, and is the home of New Mexico State University.
31. Lhasa __ : APSO
The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.
34. Range : AMBIT
An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.
36. LP maker : RCA
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.
41. Bali or Hanes product : BRA
The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.
Bali is an American lingerie company headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that has been around since 1927.
The Hanes brand of apparel was founded in 1901. A related brand was introduced in 1986 called Hanes Her Way.
42. Bridge call : I PASS
The version of the card game bridge that is played mostly today is contract bridge. Auction bridge is a similar game, and is a precursor to contract bridge.
44. Deity with bow and arrows : ARTEMIS
Artemis was an ancient Greek goddess, the equivalent of the Roman goddess Diana. Artemis was a daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. Among other things, she was the goddess of the hunt, and so often is depicted carrying a bow and arrows.
46. Bot., e.g. : SCI
Botany (bot.) is a science (sci.)
48. What drives a fashionista? : CLOTHES HUNGER (from “clothes hanger”)
The Spanish suffix “-ista” indicates a supporter or follower. Examples would be fashionista (a follower of fashion) and Sandinista (members of a Nicaraguan political party named after revolutionary Augusto César Sandino).
56. Superhero with a hammer : THOR
Thor is a superhero who was introduced to us by Marvel Comics in 1962. The character is of course based on the Norse god Thor, and comes complete with a magical hammer. Like so many comic book heroes it seems, Thor has made it to the big screen. Actor Chris Hemsworth played the role in the 2011 film “Thor” directed by the great Kenneth Branagh. Branagh must have needed the cash. Thor’s father Odin is played by Anthony Hopkins. He must have needed the cash too …
63. Three-time 20-game winner for the ’70s Red Sox : TIANT
Luis Tiant is a former Major League Baseball pitcher from Cuba. During his career, Tiant was noted for his cigar smoking. After retiring from the game, he launched a line of his own cigars called “El Tiant”.
66. Trig functions : SINES
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”
2. Brand once hawked by an eponymous “Joe” : ISUZU
Joe Isuzu is a fictional spokesman for Isuzu who was all over television in the late eighties. He was a tongue-in-cheek character famous for making exaggerated claims and downright lying.
Isuzu is a Japanese auto manufacturer that is very successful in the medium and heavy truck market in particular. You’ll be seeing fewer and fewer Isuzu passenger cars on American roads though, as the company exited the US passenger car market in 2008. The Isuzu Trooper was one of their most successful SUVs, and it was produced between 1981 and 2005.
3. Joinery element : TENON
One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon. It is basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. In the related dovetail joint, the projecting tenon is not rectangular but is cut at a bias, so that when the dovetails are joined they resist being pulled apart. You’ll see dovetail joints in drawers around the house.
6. Hooded snake : COBRA
“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different animal families. The term is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.
7. Mogul emperor, 1556-1605 : AKBAR
Akbar the Great was Mughal Emperor from 1556 until his death in 1605. Akbar’s reign was a successful one for empire, as he consolidated the Mughal influence in the whole of the Indian subcontinent. Akbar made significant social reforms that improved the lives of women, legalizing the remarriage of widows and raising the legal age of marriage. He also banned “sati”, the practice whereby a widow immolated herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.
9. Like “CSI” work : FORENSIC
Something described as “forensic” is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The the term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.
11. Item in many an IKEA kit : WOOD SCREW
The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.
18. Carla portrayer on “Cheers” : RHEA
Rhea Perlman’s most famous role has to be “Carla Tortelli”, the irascible waitress in the long-running sitcom “Cheers”. Perlman is also a successful children’s author, and has published a series of six books called “Otto Undercover”. She is married to Hollywood actor Danny DeVito, and has been so since 1982.
23. Actress/author Holly Robinson __ : PEETE
The actress Holly Robinson Peete has achieved a lot of success off the screen. She was one of the original co-hosts on the daytime show “The Talk”, and in 2011 won a NAACP Image Award for her children’s book “My Brother Charlie”. She now appears on a reality TV show called “For Peete’s Sake” that follows her life.
26. Marching band section : TUBAS
The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …
29. When “Kansas City” is sung in “Oklahoma!” : ACT I
“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by the great duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The storyline comes from a 1931 stage play called “Green Grow the Lilacs”.
30. Knock down, in Nottingham : RASE
To “raze” (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means to build up.
Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands of England. To us on this side of the Atlantic, perhaps Nottingham is most famous for its links to the legend of Robin Hood.
31. “SOS” group : ABBA
The ABBA song “SOS” was originally titled “Turn Me On”. In the movie “Mama Mia!”, “S.O.S.” is performed by Meryl Streep (brilliantly) and by Pierce Brosnan (terribly).
35. Union address? : MRS
Mr. is an abbreviation for “master”, and Mrs. is an abbreviation for “mistress”.
39. Peter the Great et al. : EPITHETS
An “epithet” is a word or phrase, often used in a name, to describe a quality of the person or thing bearing that name. For example, King Richard I was also known as Richard the Lionheart.
Peter the Great was perhaps the most successful of the Romanov tsars, and was famous for modernizing Russia and expanding the country’s sphere of influence, creating the Russian Empire. He ruled from 1682 until his death in 1725.
47. Ornery sorts : CURS
Back in the early 1800s, the word “ornery” was an informal contraction for the word “ordinary”, and meant commonplace, but with a sense of “poor quality, coarse, ugly” as opposed to “special”. Towards the end of the century, the usage “ornery” had evolved into describing someone who was mean or cantankerous.
49. Vermont patriot Allen : ETHAN
Ethan Allen was one of the founders of the state of Vermont. Allen was also a hero in the American Revolutionary War, famous for leading (along with Benedict Arnold) the small band of men known as the Green Mountain Boys that captured Fort Ticonderoga. And yes, the Ethan Allen store and furniture line is named for Ethan Allen the patriot, even though he had nothing to do with the furniture business.
50. Oscar-nominated western : SHANE
The classic 1953 western movie called “Shane” is based on the novel of the same name by Jack Schaefer published in 1949. Heading the cast is Alan Ladd in the title role, alongside Jean Arthur and Van Heflin.
53. Flat fees : RENTS
“Flat” is a word more commonly used in the British Isles than here, in the sense of an apartment or condominium. The word “flat” is Scottish in origin, in which language it meant a “floor in a house”.
54. “I’ll be there” message, e.g. : RSVP
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “please, answer”.
55. Author Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
61. BOAC competitor : TWA
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was one of the two airlines that were merged in 1974 to form British Airways (the other was British European Airways, usually referred to as BEA).