Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers includes five circled letters SCATTERED throughout. Those letters spell out the word BRAIN:
- 53A. Forgetful person literally indicated by this puzzle’s circles : SCATTERBRAIN
- 19A. Bulb that’s more sweet than pungent : BERMUDA ONION
- 31A. Basic two-element computation : BINARY OPERATION
- 39A. Concern for a marketing department : PUBLIC RELATIONS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. “London Fields” writer Martin : AMIS
I suppose the successful English novelist Martin Amis must have writing in his blood. He is the son of the respected author Kingsley Amis, a Booker Prize winner. Martin Amis’s best-known novels comprise his so-called “London Trilogy” consisting of “Money” (1984), “London Fields” (1989) and “The Information” (1995).
10. Serengeti grazer : GNU
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. Wildebeest is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.
The Serengeti is a region in Africa that is located in northern Tanzania and southwest Kenya. The name “Serengeti” comes from the Maasai language and means “Endless Plains”.
17. Mexican pyramid builder : AZTEC
The Aztec people of Central America dominated the region in the 14th – 16th centuries. Two traits of the Aztec people are oft cited today. They built some magnificent pyramids, and they also engaged in human sacrifice. The two traits were linked in a way … for the consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, 84,400 prisoners were sacrificed over a period of four days.
19. Bulb that’s more sweet than pungent : BERMUDA ONION
Bermuda has been a major producer of onions since the 1880s when seed was brought to the island from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway was a fan of Bermuda onions. While buying some at a market he met a man called Gregorio Fuentes, who Hemingway ended up hiring as the first mate of his boat. Some say that Fuentes was the inspiration for Santiago, the protagonist in “The Old Man and the Sea”. Well, that’s how the story goes …
22. Quarterback Dawson : LEN
Len Dawson is a retired AFL-NFL quarterback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs (originally known as the Dallas Texans).
23. Renewable fuel made from organic matter : BIOGAS
Biogas is mixture of methane and carbon dioxide resulting from the breakdown of organic matter by anaerobic bacteria. Biogas is used as a renewable energy source, as it is produced from recycled waste.
30. Tokyo, long ago : EDO
Edo is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.
31. Basic two-element computation : BINARY OPERATION
We use a base-ten numbering system, with ten digits (0 – 9). The binary system, or base two, uses just two digits (0 & 1). The binary system is used at a fundamental level in computing, because the number 0 and 1 can be represented by microcircuits being switched “on” or “off”.
44. One of the Galápagos, e.g.: Abbr. : ISL
The Galápagos Islands lie over 500 miles west of Ecuador. The Galápagos owe their celebrity to the voyage of HMS Beagle which landed there in 1835, with Charles Darwin on board. It was Darwin’s study of various species on the islands that inspired him to postulate his Theory of Evolution.
46. Cartoon frame : CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.
49. Justice Dept. division : DEA
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was set up in 1973 while President Nixon was in office.
50. Car stat with city and hwy. components : MPG
Miles per gallon (mpg)
57. Fundraising portmanteau : WALKATHON
A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “travelling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from from “slimy” and “lithe”.
60. “You Don’t Join Us, We Join You” insurance company : AETNA
When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the European volcano.
61. “Monday Night Football” airer before ESPN : ABC SPORTS
“Monday Night Football” aired on ABC from 1970 until 2005, before moving to ESPN in 2006.
2. Chisel’s cutting edge : BEZEL
A bezel is a groove which is designed to hold a beveled edge. An example would be the groove around the face of a watch, which accepts the beveled edge of a watch crystal.
8. “__ See for Miles”: The Who : I CAN
“I Can See for Miles” is the biggest selling single for the Who in the United States, and it’s a song that’s got added exposure when it was adopted as the theme tune for the TV show “CSI: Cyber”.
10. “Today” rival, familiarly : GMA
“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spinoff show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.
NBC’s “Today” was launched in 1952, becoming the first of the morning news/talk shows on US television. The show’s first host was Dave Garroway, who was at the helm until 1961. Back in those days, “Today” had a mascot who often appeared on air with Garroway: a chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs.
11. Fish-fowl link : NOR
Something that is “neither fish nor fowl” is not recognizable, is not familiar at all.
15. Beethoven’s Third : EROICA
Beethoven originally dedicated his “Symphony No. 3” to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven admired the principles of the French Revolution and as such respected Bonaparte who was “born” out of the uprising. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Beethoven (and much of Europe) saw this as a betrayal to the ideals of the revolution so he changed the name of his new symphony from “Bonaparte” to “Eroica”, meaning “heroic, valiant”.
16. Nevada city near Tahoe : RENO
Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.
24. Company with “save you 15%” ads : GEICO
GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families, hence the name Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO). GEICO is a private company, despite the word “government” in its name. The founders’ idea was to focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays any qualifying person can take out a policy with GEICO.
26. Loudness units : SONES
In the world of acoustics, the sone was introduced as a unit of perceived loudness in 1936.
27. Astronomer Sagan : CARL
Carl Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist and a great communicator. Sagan was famous for presenting obscure concepts about the cosmos in such a way that we mere mortals could appreciate. He also wrote the novel “Contact” which was adapted into a fascinating 1997 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.
31. Hasbro game requiring quick reflexes : BOP IT
Bop It is a line of toys with a speaker that issues commands to activate input devices on the toy, devices such as handles, cranks, wheels and switches. The commands come in a series of increasing length, and at increasing speed. So, I guess Bop It is a test of memory and dexterity.
35. Elongated comet part : TAIL
Comets and asteroids are similar, both being relatively small celestial bodies orbiting the sun. Comets differ from asteroids in that they have a coma or tail, especially when they are close enough to the sun. The coma and tail are temporary fuzzy atmospheres that develop due to the presence of solar radiation. Comets are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs”, a reference to their composition: rock, dust, water ice and frozen gases.
40. Arctic covering : ICE CAP
The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the land mass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.
41. Museum manager : CURATOR
The term “curator” is Latin and applies to a manager, guardian or overseer. In English, the original curators were the guardians and overseers of minors and those with mental disease.
42. Big name in PCs : ACER
Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …
43. Lipton pouches : TEA BAGS
Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.
50. Passover cracker : MATZO
Matzo is an unleavened bread that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.
58. Prez in a stovepipe hat : ABE
A stovepipe hat is also known as a top hat.
59. Type of TV display : LCD
Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.