Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s three themed answers each end with a word that often precedes WELL:
- 47A…Echoic remark before “What do we have here?” whose words can follow the ends of 20-, 28- and 42-Across..WELL, WELL, WELL
- 20A…Position of football lineman J.J. Watt..DEFENSIVE END (giving “end well”)
- 28A…Average, in math..ARITHMETIC MEAN (giving “mean well”)
- 42A…Fountain treat with Bosco, maybe..CHOCOLATE SHAKE (giving “shake well”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…24 minutes, in the NBA..HALF
The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America. The NBA name was adopted in 1949. Of the four major sports leagues in North America, the NBA has the highest average annual salary per player.
5…Giant among wholesale clubs..SAM’S
Sam’s Club is owned and operated by Walmart and is named after the company’s founder, Sam Walton.
A therm is a unit of heat energy. One therm is equivalent to 100,000 British thermal units (BTUs).
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Personally, I love the service, and have only had good experiences …
Acey-deucy is a fast-played variant of backgammon. Apparently the game has been a favorite with members of the armed forces since the days of WWI.
16…Great Lakes mnemonic..HOMES
A well-known mnemonic for remembering the names of the Great Lakes is HOMES: standing for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.
Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He passed away in July 2016, aged 87.
The phrase “to spin a yarn”, meaning “to tell a tall tale”, originated in the early 1800s with seamen. The idea was that sailors would tell stories to each other while engaged in mindless work such as twisting yarn.
19…Candy heart message..I LUV U
The forerunner to Sweethearts candy was introduced in 1866, with the famous sayings written on the candy tailored for use at weddings. One of the original expressions was, “Married in pink, he will take a drink”. The original candy was a lot bigger, to fit all those words! The smaller, heart-shaped candy hit the shelves in 1901. We’ve been able to buy Sweethearts with the words “Text me” since 2010.
20…Position of football lineman J.J. Watt..DEFENSIVE END (giving “end well”)
J.J. Watt is an American football defensive end who was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011. Watt was the first player in the NFL to record two 20+ sack seasons in a career. J.J.’s younger brother is Derek Watt, a fullback for the San Diego Chargers.
28…Average, in math..ARITHMETIC MEAN (giving “mean well”)
In a set of numbers, the mean is the average value of those numbers. The median is the numeric value at which half the numbers have a lower value, and half the numbers a higher value.
34…Country rocker Steve..EARLE
Steve Earle is an American songwriter and performer, with a reputation as a man who has lived a hard life. Earle’s brushes with the law and drug addiction problems have earned him the nickname “the hardcore troubadour”.
35…”__ & the Women”: 2000 Gere film..DR T
The 2000 movie “Dr. T & the Women” is a pretty good film, starring Richard Gere in the title role. There can’t be many romantic comedies about gynecologists …
Katie Holmes is an actress who first came to prominence in the television drama “Dawson’s Creek”. Off screen, Holmes is famous as the ex-wife of Tom Cruise.
A carat is a unit of mass used to measure gemstones and pearls. There are one hundred points in a carat, each equal to 2 milligrams. So a carat is equal to 200 milligrams.
41…Word before Master or case..STAIR
The StairMaster is perhaps the most famous stair-climbing fitness machine. The StairMaster company was founded in 1983.
42…Fountain treat with Bosco, maybe..CHOCOLATE SHAKE (giving “shake well”)
Bosco Chocolate Syrup is produced in New Jersey, and first hit store shelves in 1928.
In the New Testament, Salome was a dancer and a seductress. She was the stepdaughter of Herod and when she danced for him on his birthday, her mother demanded as a reward the execution of John the Baptist. Salome is not actually named in the account in the gospels, and historians rely on other sources to determine that she was indeed “Salome”. Famously, the seductive dance that she performed is said to be the Dance of the Seven Veils. The dance isn’t named in the Biblical account, and is an elaboration that developed in later Christian mythology.
57…Verdi opera set in Egypt..AIDA
“Aida” is a famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi, actually based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first performed in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then of course complications arise!
58…Color similar to turquoise..AQUA
“Turquoise” is the Old French word for “Turkish”. The name was given to the blue mineral because much of it was brought into Europe from Turkey, although most of the turquoise mines were located in the Khorasan Province of Iran.
59…’90s candidate Ross..PEROT
Ross Perot graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1953, as president of his class. Perot served his 4-year commitment but then resigned his commission, apparently having become somewhat disillusioned with the navy. He was ranked number 101 on the Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans in 2012, and at that time was worth about $3.5 billion. Back in 1992, Perot ran as an independent candidate for US president. He founded the Reform Party in 1995, and ran as the Reform Party candidate for president in 1996.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.
The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area on the planet. 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies are headquartered in Tokyo. And the residents of Tokyo eat very well. Michelin has awarded more Michelin stars to Tokyo than any other city in the world.
63…Literary sister of Amy, Meg and Jo..BETH
“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.
Leif Garrett is an actor and singer who was big in the seventies. It sounds like Garrett’s life has slid downhill since then, with a bankruptcy and several arrests for drug possession.
Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.
7…Griffin of game show fame..MERV
Merv Griffin was quite the entertainer, truly a mogul in the business. He started his career as a singer on the radio during the big band era. In the sixties he hosted his own talk show, and then famously developed such great game shows as “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune”.
8…”Auld Lang __”..SYNE
The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve, the words of which were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.
10…Texas __: poker game..HOLD ‘EM
The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas Hold ‘Em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas Hold ‘Em in the television lineup that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.
11…Big Australian bird..EMU
Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs.
13…The Spartans of the NCAA..MSU
Michigan State University (MSU) is located in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU has the largest study-abroad program of any single-campus university in the US. Programs are offered on all continents of the world, including Antarctica. The MSU athletic teams are known as the Spartans.
21…Part of NFL: Abbr…NATL
National Football League (NFL)
E-file: that’s what I do with my tax returns each year.
25…Hardwood tree that drops acorns..RED OAK
The northern red oak is a tree that is native to North America. The northern red oak is also known as the champion oak, and is the state tree of New Jersey. There is also a southern red oak, which is sometimes called the Spanish oak. If you see the unqualified “red oak” term, then it’s probably a northern red oak.
26…Fisher who plays Princess Leia..CARRIE
Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s sister in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …
28…”Queen of Soul” Franklin..ARETHA
I think Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Franklin as number one in their list of the greatest singers of all time.
30…Ben Stiller’s mom..MEARA
Anne Meara has been married to fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller since 1954. Anne and Jerry are the parents of actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spinoff from “All in the Family”.
“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.
ASICS is a Japanese company that produces athletic gear, including running shoes. The name comes from the Latin phrase “”anima sana in corpore sano” which translates to “a healthy soul in a healthy body”.
37…Superman’s birth name..KAL-EL
Jor-El was a scientist on the planet Krypton who was married to Lara. Jor-El and Lara had an infant son named Kal-El who they were able to launch into space towards Earth just before Krypton was destroyed. Kal-El became Superman. In the 1978 movie “Superman”, Jor-El was played by Marlon Brando, Lara was played by Susannah York, and Kal-El/Superman was played by Christopher Reeve.
Author Shel Silverstein had a varied career and did a lot more than write books. Silverstein was a poet, composer, cartoonist and screenwriter among other things. One of his successful children’s books is “The Giving Tree”, which was first published in 1964. “The Giving Tree” tells of a young boy who has a special relationship with a tree in a forest. The message of the book seems to be that the tree provides the little boy with everything he needs.
43…Frequent John Wayne persona..COWBOY
John Wayne was called Marion Mitchell Morrison at birth, named after his grandfather who was a Civil War veteran. When young Marion was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him “Little Duke” because he was always seen walking with his large dog called “Duke”. Marion liked the name “Duke” and so he called himself Duke Morrison for the rest of his life. That said, Duke Morrison also used John Wayne as a stage name.
In figure skating, a Lutz is a toe-pick-assisted jump that one starts skating backwards and ends skating backwards (there’s more to it that I don’t really understand!). The maneuver is named after Alois Lutz, an Austrian skater who first performed it in competition way back in 1913. Lutz wowed the crowd with a single jump, and today both men and women are landing triple Lutz jumps. No one has landed a clean quadruple Lutz in competition.
53…Cut with light..LASE
The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER …
55…Rock’s __ Speedwagon..REO
REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that formed in 1967, and is still going strong. The band’s biggest hits are “Keep On Loving You” (1980) and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1985). The founding members chose the name for the REO Speed Wagon flatbed truck. Note that the band’s name is one word “Speedwagon”, whereas the vehicle’s name uses two words “Speed Wagon”.
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.