Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers start with words that rhyme, namely TOWED, TOED and TOAD:
- 20A…Brought in for repair, as a disabled car..TOWED TO THE SHOP
- 35A…Obeyed strictly..TOED THE LINE
- 52A…Milne play about an amphibian..TOAD OF TOAD HALL
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9…Hood’s bank job..HEIST
“Hood” is a slang term for “gangster”, a shortening of “hoodlum”.
14…Author __ Stanley Gardner..ERLE
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.
17…Roman love god..AMOR
Cupid, the Greek god of desire, was also known as Amor. “Cupido” is Latin for “desire” and “amor” is Latin for “love”.
18…Bird sacred to Tut..IBIS
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!
King Tut is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamen’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.
23…Dublin’s land: Abbr…IRE
The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as Baile Átha Cliath in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city “Dubh Linn”, meaning “black pool”.
25…Either “T” in “AT&T,” when abbreviated..TEL
The original AT&T Corporation was first known as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
26…Jul. and Aug…MOS
Our month of July used to be called “Quintilis” in Ancient Rome. “Quintilis” is Latin for “fifth”, and it was the fifth month of the year back then. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman Senate renamed Quintilis to Julius, in his honor, which evolved into our “July”. The month of August, originally called “Sextilis” in Latin, was renamed in honor of Augustus.
Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, and is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.
35…Obeyed strictly..TOED THE LINE
The idiomatic expression “to toe the line” means “to obey”. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, although it is likely to come from the Royal Navy. Barefooted sailors were required to stand to attention for inspection lined up along the seams for the wooden deck, hence “”toeing the line”.
42…Bugs for payment..DUNS
“To dun” is to insist on payment of a debt. The etymology of the term is unclear, with one suggestion that it dates back to a famous debt collector in London named Joe Dun.
Back in the day, when reciting the alphabet it was common to emphasize that some letters could be used as a word in itself. One would say “A per se A, B, C, D … I per se I, J, K, L … denoting that the letters A and I are also their own words. It was common to add the & symbol at the end of the recitation, as if it were a 27th letter. So the alphabet ended with “X, Y, Z, & (and) per se and”. This “and per se and” statement was slurred to “ampersand”, giving the name that we use today for the & symbol.
50…Hindu term of respect..SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.
52…Milne play about an amphibian..TOAD OF TOAD HALL
Mr. Toad is one of the main characters in the children’s novel “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. A. A. Milne (of “Winnie the Pooh” fame) wrote several plays based on “The Wind in the Willows”, the first of which is “Toad of Toad Hall”. And, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride was (it’s gone now!) one of the original rides at Disneyland when the park opened in 1955.
56…Beat at chess..MATED
In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.
57…”If __ $1000000″: Barenaked Ladies song..I HAD
Barenaked Ladies is a Canadian alternative rock band. The somewhat quirky name chosen by the band tends to reflect the group’s concert style. The band is noted for kidding around on stage with lots of banter between songs. They’re also noted for composing and performing the catchy theme song for the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”.
58…List-ending abbr…ET AL
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).
59…Doctor on the starship Enterprise..MCCOY
The actor DeForest Kelley is best known for playing Bones McCoy in the original “Star Trek” cast. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, originally offered Kelley the role of Spock, but Kelly refused it and so was given the part of the ship’s medical officer.
60…San __, Italy..REMO
The Italian city of San Remo sits on the Mediterranean, right on the border with France. In Italian the city is named Sanremo, just one word, although the spelling of “San Remo” dates back to ancient times.
61…Shortest Great Lake name..ERIE
Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.
63…Golda of Israel..MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.
64…Title for Byron..LORD
George Gordon Byron, known simply as “Lord Byron”, was an English poet active in the early 1800s. Byron was equally as famous for his poetry as he was for the wild excesses in his personal life. Byron lived much of that life outside of England, and fought for revolutionaries in both Italy and Greece. He died from a fever contracted while fighting for the Greeks against the Ottomans.
3…Adagio, as compared to allegro..SLOWER
The tempo of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.
Sebastian Cabot was an explorer from the Venetian Republic in Italy. Sebastian was the son of the more famous explorer John Cabot.
9…Red tape, e.g…HASSLE
Back in the days of yore in England, official documents were bound in bundles with red ribbon. So, getting through all the paperwork required “cutting through the red tape”.
10…O.T. book named for a woman..ESTH
Esther was a Jewish queen, wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus, and the heroine of the Book of Esther in the Bible. By the way, Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn’t mention the word “God”.
22…”Lo, How a Rose __ Blooming”: carol..E’ER
“Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” is a German Christmas carol, the title of which translates as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”.
The baht is the currency of Thailand, and is subdivided into 100 satang.
36…Dog believed to have originated in Newfoundland..LABRADOR
The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.
38…__ Beta Kappa..PHI
Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.
39…It’s “read” during a reprimand..RIOT ACT
The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.
The term “beatnik” was coined by journalist Herb Caen in 1958 when he used it to describe the stereotypical young person of the “beat generation” that was oft associated with the writer Jack Kerouac. That stereotypical beatnik would be playing the bongos and rolling his or her own cigarettes. Male beatniks also tended to sport goatees and wear berets.
43…Game with Draw Two cards..UNO
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game, by a German acquaintance of mine, called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.
The name for the pastry known as an “éclair” is clearly French in origin. The French word for lightning is “éclair”, but no one seems to be too sure how it came to be used for the rather delicious bakery item.
50…”Ditto”..SO AM I
“Ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is just another wonderful import from that lovely land …
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.
56…Sra., in France..MME
The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).