Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers includes the letters W-I-D-E, in that order, and SPREAD out among the other letters in that answer:
- 60A. Extensive … and what’s literally seen in this puzzle’s circles : WIDESPREAD
- 17A. Caribbean island group : WEST INDIES
- 23A. Independence Day colors : RED, WHITE AND BLUE
- 37A. Auto visibility aid with intermittent settings : WINDSHIELD WIPER
- 48A. “How about that!” : WELL, I‘LL BE DARNED!
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Fancy tie : ASCOT
An Ascot tie is a horrible-looking (I think!), wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.
6. Facts and figures : DATA
Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.
10. Herring family fish : SHAD
The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the female shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.
14. Pageant topper : TIARA
“The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.
17. Caribbean island group : WEST INDIES
The region of the Caribbean known as the West Indies was given the name after the first expedition taken by Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Really a misnomer, the West Indies were the territories claimed by Columbus for Spain in the Americas, with the name distinguishing the region from “the Indies” (today’s South Asia and Southeast Asia). When other nations started to claim territories in the area, the name proliferated, as in the British West Indies, the Danish West Indies and the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch West Indies).
21. “Give all thou __”: Wordsworth : CANST
Here are some lines from the William Wordsworth poem “Inside of King’s College Chapel”
Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely-calculated less or more;
23. Independence Day colors : RED, WHITE AND BLUE
On 11 June 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five people to draft a declaration of independence. Included in the five were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams persuaded the other committee members to give Jefferson the task of writing the first draft. A resolution of independence was passed by the Congress on 2 Jul 1776. The final draft of the declaration was approved by the Congress two days later, on July 4th. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that included an assertion that July 2nd (the date of the resolution of independence) would become a great American holiday. Of course Adams was wrong, and it was actually the date the Declaration of Independence was finalized that came to be celebrated annually.
27. Vicinity : AREA
A “vicinity” is an area surrounding a place, ultimately deriving from the Latin “vicus” meaning “group of houses, village”.
31. __ apso: dog : LHASA
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.
37. Auto visibility aid with intermittent settings : WINDSHIELD WIPER
You may have seen the 2008 movie “Flash of Genius”, which outlined the troubles Robert Kearns (played by Greg Kinnear) had in making money from his invention of the intermittent windshield wiper. Well, Mary Anderson developed the original wiper and received a patent in 1903. She didn’t make any money either …
42. Ballplayer with “SD” on his cap : PADRE
The San Diego Padres were founded in 1969. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.
43. Quartet that covered “Woodstock,” initially : CSNY
The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.
“Woodstock” is a song that was written and recorded by Joni Mitchell about the the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Joni Mitchell opted not to attend the festival, and instead wrote the song in a New York City hotel room while watching coverage of the event on television. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded a cover version of “Woodstock” in 1970 that has proved to be even more successful that Mitchell’s original.
44. Jamaican fruit : UGLI
The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine, first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.
46. Royal flush card : ACE
The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, jack, queen, king and ace, with all in the same suit.
56. Cereal grass disease : ERGOT
Ergot is a fungus, or actually a group of fungi, that cause disease in rye and related plants. If human eat ergot-contaminated grain, a condition called ergotism can result. Ergotism is the result of consumption of alkaloids produced by the fungi, alkaloids that can cause seizures and manic behavior. It has even been suggested that the hysteria exhibited by the Salem “witches” was perhaps caused by the ingestion of ergot-contaminated rye.
58. “Don’t Bring Me Down” rock gp. : ELO
“Don’t Bring Me Down” is the biggest hit the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) had in the US. The song was dedicated to NASA’s Skylab, which reentered the earth’s orbit in 1979, the same year the song was released.
62. “The __ of the Ancient Mariner” : RIME
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge first published in 1798. The publication of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is said to mark the beginning of the Romantic period of British literature. Perhaps the lines most often quoted from the poem are:
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where
Nor any drop to drink
63. Actor Guinness : ALEC
Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”.
66. Playbill listing : CAST
I get quite a kick out of reading the bios in “Playbill” as some of them can be really goofy and entertaining. “Playbill” started off in 1884 in New York as an in-house publication for just one theater on 21st St. You can’t see any decent-sized production these days anywhere in the United States without being handed a copy of “Playbill”.
2. Prolonged battle : SIEGE
Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.
4. Table scrap : ORT
Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.
5. Meditative Chinese exercise : TAI CHI
More correctly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.
7. Ouzo flavoring : ANISE
Ouzo is an aperitif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to pastis from France and also has a flavor like sambuca from Italy.
8. Consonant before iota : THETA
The Greek letter theta is the one that looks like a number zero with a horizontal line across the middle.
12. Farewell : ADIEU
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.
25. Former OTC watchdog : NASD
The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) no longer exists per se. Since 2007, it’s functions are carried out by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). These functions include regulation of trading in equities, bonds, futures and options. In 1971, the NASD set up a new computerized trading system called the NASD Automated Quotations stock market, a system we know better by the acronym NASDAQ.
Over-the-counter (OTC) trading of stocks is a way of trading directly between two parties, as opposed to exchange trading in which trading occurs in an exchange.
33. Malt brew : ALE
Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried. The cereal is germinated by soaking it in water, and then germination is halted by drying the grains with hot air.
36. “These are the times that __ men’s souls”: Paine : TRY
Thomas Paine’s series of pamphlets called “The American Crisis” starts with the famous words:
These are the times that try men’s souls.
38. Bowler’s challenge : SPLIT
In ten pin bowling, a split takes place when the number-one pin (headpin) is a knocked down with the first ball and two or more non-adjacent pins are left standing. The most difficult split to deal with is the infamous 7-10 split, where just the rear pins at the extreme right and left remain standing.
47. __ tunnel syndrome : CARPAL
The carpal tunnel is a passageway connecting the palm of the hand to the forearm through the wrist. The passageway contains bones, tendons and nerves. It is a narrow canal and so any swelling of the tendons can place pressure on the main nerve in the passageway. This compression of the medial nerve is known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
49. Orange Muppet : ERNIE
For many years, I believed that the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In the movie, the policeman’s name is Bert and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the “Sesame Street” folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence. Aww, I don’t wanna believe that’s a coincidence …
50. Muhammad’s boxing daughter : LAILA
Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.
55. Extinct birds : DODOS
The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.
60. WWII GI Jane : WAC
The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.
61. Dietary guideline letters : RDA
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.