Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with a word that is often preceded by SKIN:
- 66A. Medical adhesive strip … and a hint to what can precede the first word of 17-, 25-, 40- and 52-Across : SKIN PATCH
- 17A. Filled light pastry : CREAM PUFF (giving “skin cream”)
- 25A. Gronk’s position on football’s Patriots : TIGHT END (giving “skintight”)
- 40A. Magician’s hand movement : FLICK OF THE WRIST (giving “skin flick”)
- 52A. Like some pizzas and apple pies : DEEP DISH (giving “skin deep”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14. Small chess piece : PAWN
In the game of chess, the pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. A pawn that can make it to the opposite of the board can be “promoted” to a piece of choice, usually a queen. Using promotion of pawns, it is possible for a player to have two or more queens on the board at one time. However, standard chess sets come with only one queen per side, so a captured rook is often used as the second queen by placing it on the board upside down.
15. Baseball’s Moises : ALOU
Moises Alou played Major League Baseball, as did his father Felipe and his uncles Matty and Jesús.
21. San __, California : MATEO
San Mateo is a city located south of San Francisco, just across the other side of the Bay from where I live. San Mateo is Spanish for Saint Matthew.
23. Comic Margaret : CHO
Margaret Cho is a very successful stand-up comedian, but she is also a fashion designer with her own line of clothing. Cho also acts, and you might have seen her in the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie “Face/Off” in which she played John Travolta’s FBI colleague.
25. Gronk’s position on football’s Patriots : TIGHT END (giving “skintight”)
Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is a NFL tight end who was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010. Gronk is one of five brothers, all of whom have played professional sports.
30. Spiro ran with him : RICHARD
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 …
Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.
35. Comm. system with hand motions : ASL
It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.
40. Magician’s hand movement : FLICK OF THE WRIST (giving “skin flick”)
“Skin flick” is American slang for “pornographic film”.
The word “pornography” comes from the Greek “pornographos” meaning “writing of prostitutes”.
44. RPM gauge : TACH
The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).
55. Purported UFO fliers : ETS
One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).
56. Bond portrayer Daniel : CRAIG
English actor Daniel Craig rocketed to fame in 2005 when he was chosen to replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in the series of films based on Ian Fleming’s character. One of Craig’s most famous appearances as Bond was alongside Queen Elizabeth II in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. Craig married actress Rachel Weisz in 2011.
62. Magna __ : CARTA
The Magna Carta is a landmark document issued in England in 1215. It represents the first time that an English king had to submit to the will of his subjects, a group of barons who sought to limit the powers of the monarchy. In particular the Magna Carta calls out that no freeman could be punished except through the law of the land. And famously, the Magna Carta was an inspiration for the United States Constitution.
68. Graceland idol : ELVIS
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and moved to Memphis, Tennessee with his family when he was 13-years-old. Once he had achieved fame, Elvis purchased Graceland, the famous Memphis home that he used for himself and his family. I visited Graceland some years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
70. Ivy League school : YALE
The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.
71. Hosiery thread : LISLE
Lisle is a cotton fabric that has been through an extra process at the end of its manufacture that burns off lint and the ends of fibers leaving the fabric very smooth and with a clean edge.
72. Hullabaloos : ADOS
Our word “hullabaloo” meaning a “commotion” is a derivative of an older term “hollo-ballo”. “Hollo-ballo” was a word used for an uproar in the north of England and Scotland.
1. Pet lovers’ org. : SPCA
Unlike in most developed countries, there is no “umbrella” organization in the US with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.
6. University supporter, briefly : ALUM
An “alumnus” (plural … alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural … alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.
8. Civilian attire : MUFTI
“Mufti” is civilian dress that is worn by someone who routinely wears a uniform. The term is probably related somehow to the Arabic “mufti”, the word for a Muslim scholar who interprets Islamic law.
9. Virgin Islands isl. : ST JOHN
The US Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean, and are part of the Virgin Islands archipelago. The three largest islands of the US territory are Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas. The island chain was named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 in honor of Saint Ursula and her virgin followers. The United States bought the islands from Denmark during WWI in a move designed to thwart plans by Germany to use them as a submarine base.
10. Lucy of “Elementary” : LIU
Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.
If you’ve seen the American television show “Elementary”, you will know that it is an adaptation of the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that are set in the present day. “Elementary” is similar in look and feel to the excellent BBC series “Sherlock”, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day Holmes. We can pick up “Sherlock” in some parts of the country as part of “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS.
11. 70-Across collegian : ELI
(70A. Ivy League school : YALE)
Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.
12. Ab neighbor : PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.
The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …
18. Mostly shaved-head style : MOHAWK
Here is another example of a difference in terminology on either side of the Atlantic. What we call the Mohawk hairstyle in the US is known as a Mohican in the British Isles. The Mohawk hairstyle is named after the Mohawk nation, who wore their hair in the same fashion. The Mohawk style has been around for a long time elsewhere in the world. There was a well-preserved male body found in a bog near Dublin in Ireland in 2003. The body is about 2,000 years old, and has the Mohawk haircut.
24. Double Delight cookie : OREO
Double Delight Oreo cookies were introduced in 1987. They differ from regular Oreos in that they have two fillings, such peanut butter and chocolate, or coffee and cream.
26. Hazmat suit problem : TEAR
Dangerous goods are commonly referred to as hazardous materials, or Hazmat. People working with dangerous goods might wear a Hazmat suit.
29. “__ Rides Again”: 1939 Western : DESTRY
“Destry” is a western film released in 1954 starring Audie Murphy in the title role. “Destry” is an adaptation of a Max Brand novel “Destry Rides Again”. The same novel was also used as the inspiration for a 1939 film “Destry Rides Again” starring James Stewart opposite Marlene Dietrich.
32. Overused expression : CLICHE
“Cliché” is a word that comes from the world of printing. In the days when type was added as individual letters into a printing plate, for efficiency some oft-used phrases and words were created as one single slug of metal. The word “cliché” was used for such a grouping of letters. It’s easy to see how the same word would become a term to describe any overused phrase. Supposedly, “cliché” comes from French, from the verb “clicher” meaning “to click”. The idea is that when a matrix of letters was dropped in molten metal to make a cliché, it made a clicking sound.
33. Bonkers : DAFT
The word “bonkers” meaning “crazy” originated in the fifties. The term might come from navy slang meaning “slightly drunk”, behaving as though one received a “bonk” on the head.
38. Mets’ old stadium : SHEA
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.
42. Plus-size supermodel : EMME
Emme is the highest paid plus-size model in the world. Emme’s real name is Melissa Aronson, and she was born in New York City and raised in Saudi Arabia.
48. Jewel box : CD CASE
A CD case is also known as a jewel box, and I am not sure why …
49. Title for Connery : SIR
Sean Connery is most famous for playing the original James Bond in the successful series of movies. Back in his native Scotland, Connery is very active in politics and is a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. He actively campaigns for Scottish independence from Britain and has stated that he believes Scotland will achieve that goal within his own lifetime. Whether that happens or not, is the subject of much speculation …
51. Emerson works : ESSAYS
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist and poet who was active in the mid-1800s. Most of the essays that Emerson wrote were composed originally as lectures and then revised for print. He is often referred to as “The Sage of Concord”, as Emerson spent much of his life in Concord, Massachusetts.
53. Recent White House daughter : SASHA
Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, born in 2001. She is the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha’s Secret Service codename is “Rosebud”, and her older sister Malia has the codename “Radiance”.
57. Early whirlybird, for short : GIRO
“Giro” is a reference to the autogyro, an aircraft that uses an unpowered rotor to create lift, and a powered propeller to provide thrust. The first autogyro was flown in 1923 in Spain, where it was invented.
59. Coup d’__ : ETAT
A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.
60. Bill of Rights-defending org. : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.
The Constitution of the United States was adopted on September 17, 1787. There have been 27 amendments to the constitution, the first ten of which are collectively called the Bill of Rights. In essence the Bill of Rights limits the power of the Federal Government and protects the rights of individuals. For example, the First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
62. Animation still : 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.
63. “Aladdin” prince : ALI
In Disney’s version of the “Aladdin” story, released in 1992, the street urchin Aladdin uses one of three wishes to become a prince, so that he can get near to the Princess Jasmine, with whom he has become besotted. With the genie’s help, Aladdin takes on the persona of “Prince Ali of Ababwa”.
64. Homes on wheels: Abbr. : RVS
One using a “recreational vehicle” (RV) might be called an “RVer”.