Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answer are all common phrases, but with an M-sound added:
- 20A…Seminal discovery by sports historians?..THE FIRST TEAM (from “the first tee”)
- 27A…Comprehensive text on mints?..TIC TAC TOME (from “tic-tac-toe”)
- 37A…Reaction to Bugs’ continued evasiveness?..ELMER’S GLOOM (from “Elmer’s Glue”)
- 48A…How a snail moves?..ON THE SLIME (from “on the sly”)
- 56A…”I plotted against Caesar completely on my own!”?..CASSIUS CLAIM (from “Cassius Clay”)
Bill’s errors: 2
- ADS (eds)
- ATS (ETS)
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Lapis lazuli is a blue, semi-precious stone mined mainly in Afghanistan. Lapis Lazuli is Latin for “stone of Lazhward”, referring to the Persian name for the location where the stone was mined. Our word “azure”, a shade of blue, has the same root.
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.
16…Part of un giorno..ORA
In Italian, an “ora” (hour) is 1/24 of “un giorno” (a day).
A bayou is a marshy inlet or outlet of a lake or river, usually with stagnant or slow-moving water. The exact origins of the term “bayou” is uncertain, but it is thought perhaps to come from the Choctaw (a Native American people from the southeast) word “bayuk”, meaning “small stream”.
Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans related to lobsters, and indeed look like small versions of their saltwater cousins. Crayfish are often referred to as “crawfish” and “crawdads”, especially in the south of the US.
20…Seminal discovery by sports historians?..THE FIRST TEAM (from “the first tee”)
Something that is seminal is creative and has the power to originate, it is formative. The term comes from the Latin “semen” meaning “seed”.
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently the “X” has no significant meaning.
27…Comprehensive text on mints?..TIC TAC TOME (from “tic-tac-toe”)
Tic Tacs aren’t American candy (as I always mistakenly believed). Tic Tacs are made by the Italian company Ferrero, and were introduced in 1969.
“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century “tome” had come to mean “a large book”.
Gin rummy is a variant of the slower game of standard rummy and was introduced in 1909 by one Elwood Baker and his son.
The magnificent birds known as cranes have long legs and long necks. The species called the Sarus Crane is the world’s tallest flying bird.
36…”One Mic” rapper..NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …
37…Reaction to Bugs’ continued evasiveness?..ELMER’S GLOOM (from “Elmer’s Glue”)
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an “identity number” to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.
43…Soaps actress Rylan..EMME
Emme Rylan is an actress from Providence, North Carolina who is perhaps best-known for her roles in soap operas, notably “Guiding Light” and “The Young and the Restless”.
Lox is a brine-cured salmon fillet, finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.
56…”I plotted against Caesar completely on my own!”?..CASSIUS CLAIM (from “Cassius Clay”)
In discussing Roman history, when we refer to “Cassius”, we are usually talking about Gaius Cassius Longinus. Cassius was a senator, and one of the leaders in the successful plot to kill Julius Caesar. After the assassination, Cassius was defeated in the Battle of Philippi by Marc Antony. The vanquished senator then killed himself, using the very same dagger that he used against Julius Caesar.
The boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta?
66…Relative of -ista..-ERO
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).
The Spanish suffix “-ero” can be added to a noun to describe someone who works with that noun. Examples would be a “vaquero” (a cowboy working with a “vaca”, a cow) and a “torero” (a bullfighter fighting a “toro”, a bull).
67…View from the Eiffel Tower..SEINE
The Seine is the river that flows through Paris. The Seine empties into the English Channel to the north, at the port city of Le Havre.
The Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900 was held in Paris, France. The 1900 fair is remembered for the magnificent entrance arch that was constructed for visitors. That entrance arch was to remain standing for only nine years, but the city decided to keep it and you can visit it today. Today we call that entrance arch the Eiffel Tower.
Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol.
2…A, in Acapulco..UNA
The Mexican city of Acapulco is on the southwest coast of the country, in the state of Guerrero. The name “Acapulco” translates from the local language into “at the big reeds”.
7…Milwaukee : mine :: Marseilles : __..A MOI
“À moi” (literally “to me”) is French for “mine”.
Milwaukee sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee has a long tradition of brewing, a tradition that dates back to the 1850s and that is associated with the large number of German immigrants that started to arrive in the area during the 1840s. Even though the city was once home to four of the world’s largest breweries, namely Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller, only the latter is a major employer in Milwaukee today.
8…Last of three Catherines..PARR
Famously, King Henry VIII had six queens consort. There is a rhyme that is commonly used to help remember the fates of each of his wives, which goes:
King Henry the Eighth, to six wives he was wedded. One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded.
The use of the term “divorce” isn’t quite accurate though, as in fact Henry had two of his marriages annulled. His wives (and their fates) were:
- Catherine of Aragon (Annulled),
- Anne Boleyn (Beheaded),
- Jane Seymour (Died)
- Anne of Cleves (Annulled),
- Catherine Howard (Beheaded),
- Catherine Parr (Survived).
Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife, Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.
Calligraphy is the art of fine handwriting, and a term derived from the Greek “kallos” meaning “beauty” and “graphein” meaning “to write”.
11…Philatelist’s source..FOREIGN MAIL
“Philately” is the more formal name given to the practice of collecting postage stamps. The term “philately” was coined (in French, as “philatélie) in 1864 by French collector Georges Herpin. He came up with it from the Greek “phil-” meaning “loving” and “ateleia” meaning “exemption from tax”. Apparently “exemption from tax” was the closest thing Herpin could find to “postage stamp”.
Arcadia is a mountainous region of Ancient Greece, noted in times past for the innocence and contentment of its people who lived a simple, pastoral life. “Arcadia” has been used ever since as the name of a place offering peace and simplicity.
13…Nature spirits of Greek myth..DAEMONS
The daemons of Greek mythology were benevolent spirits, forces of nature. We use the derivative term “demon” today in a malignant sense, but back then the opposite was true.
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.
The Cadillac model known as the ATS is so called because it is an “A-Series Touring Sedan”.
23…Hägar creator Browne..DIK
“Hagar the Horrible” is a comic strip that was created by the late Dik Browne and is now drawn by his son, Chris Browne. “Hagar the Terrible” (not “Horrible”) was the nickname given to Dik by his sons.
24…TV’s “Through the Wormhole,” e.g…SCIENCE SHOW
“Through the Wormhole” is a science documentary TV show that is hosted by the actor Morgan Freeman. Airing on the Science channel, the show often features the so-called “rock stars” of the science world, like theoretical physicist Michio Kaku and particle physicist Brian Cox.
30…Ryan of “Sleepless in Seattle”..MEG
Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan’s big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally”, from which she went on to star in some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.
“Sleepless in Seattle” is a lovely romantic comedy directed and co-written by Nora Ephron, released in 1993. The film’s storyline is based on the excellent 1957 movie “An Affair to Remember”, and there are numerous direct references to the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr classic throughout the “remake”. The lead roles in “Sleepless …” are played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
31…Night sch. staple..ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
35…Bit of adverbial wordplay..TOM SWIFTY
A “Tom Swifty” is a phrase consisting of a made-up quotation followed by a punning adverb. Such devices were common in the “Tom Swift” series of adventure novels for juveniles, hence the name. Examples would be:
- “I’ll have a martini,” said Tom, dryly.
- “Hurry up and get to the back of the ship!” Tom said sternly.
- “Careful with that chainsaw,” Tom said offhandedly.
- “I have no flowers,” Tom said lackadaisically.
- “I dropped my toothpaste,” Tom said, crestfallen.
38…Confessional music genre..EMO
The musical genre of “emo” originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …
President Richard Milhous Nixon (RMN) used “Milhous” in his name in honor of his mother Hannah Milhous. Richard was born in a house in Yorba Linda, California. You can visit that house today as it is on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. It’s a really interesting way to spend a few hours if you ever get to Yorba Linda …
Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was born in Stonewall, Texas to Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines.
41…Deeper into la-la land..SPACIER
La-la land is a euphemism for a state of unconsciousness.
42…”From Here to Eternity” Oscar winner..SINATRA
Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Like so many of our heroes, Sinatra had a rough upbringing. His mother was arrested several times and convicted of running an illegal abortion business in the family home. Sinatra never finished high school, as he was expelled for rowdy conduct. He was later arrested as a youth on a morals charge for carrying on with a married woman, which was an offence back then. But Sinatra straightened himself out by the time he was twenty and started singing professionally.
“From Here to Eternity” is a 1953 film adaptation of a James Jones novel of the same name. The main characters in the story are three soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the days prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The soldiers are played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed play the love interests. The film (and novel) title is a quotation from the 1892 poem “Gentlemen-Rankers” by Rudyard Kipling:
We’re poor little lambs who’ve lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We’re little black sheep who’ve gone astray,
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha’ mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
49…Bit of equestrian gear..HALTER
A “halter” is a piece of headgear used to aid in the control of animals such as horses, bulls and dogs. The halter usually has a lead rope or leash attached.
50…__ Beach, Hawaii, home of the 2005 Little League World Series champs..’EWA
‘Ewa Beach is on the coast of Oahu in Hawai’i. One of “Ewa Beach’s claim to fame is that it hosted and won the Little League World Series in 2005, beating a team from the island nation of Curaçao in extra innings.
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.
63…Org. assisting museums..NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …
Amtrak is the name used commercially by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. “Amtrak” comes from a melding of the words “America” and “track”.
In football, a goal of the quarterback (QB) is to gain yards (yds.).