Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers start with the letters CRxM, with “x” progressing through the vowels from the top of the grid to the bottom:
- 17A. Student’s all-nighter : CRAM SESSION
- 25A. Dessert with a caramelized top : CREME BRULEE
- 39A. Course of study that may include forensics : CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- 48A. Like a mid-17th century English government : CROMWELLIAN
- 61A. Car’s impact-absorbing structural feature : CRUMPLE ZONE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Brigantine’s pair : MASTS
A brig, short for brigantine, is a two-masted sailing vessel. It was the use of brigantines as prison ships that led to use of “brig” as the word for a jail or prison cell on a seagoing vessel.
19. Links figure : PAR
The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.
22. Martini garnish : OLIVE
The term “martini” probably takes it name from the “Martini & Rossi” brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis and the term “dry” has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noel Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. The German-American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken referred to the martini as “the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”.
24. Keats’ “__ on Indolence” : ODE
“Ode on Indolence” was one of the so-called “1819 Odes” written by the poet John Keats, a collection that included famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.
25. Dessert with a caramelized top : CREME BRULEE
Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert consisting of a rich custard topped with a crusty layer of caramelized sugar. The name “crème brûlée” translates from French as “burnt cream”.
29. Former “Inside the NFL” host Dawson : LEN
Len Dawson is a retired AFL-NFL quarterback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs (originally the Dallas Texans).
32. Issuer of bulls : POPE
A “bulla” (also “bull”) is a type of seal impression. A Papal Bull is a formal document from the Vatican that has such a seal attached, hence the name of the document.
39. Course of study that may include forensics : CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.
48. Like a mid-17th century English government : CROMWELLIAN
Oliver Cromwell played a unique role in British history, ruling the nation as Lord Protector from 1653 to 1658. Cromwell basically had the same powers as a monarch, but he had no crown. Known by many as “Old Ironsides”, Cromwell fought in the English Civil War on the side of the Roundheads (the Parliamentarians) against the Cavaliers (the Royalists). The Parliamentarians emerged victorious, King Charles I was executed, and a few years later, Cromwell came to power. The monarchy was restored in 1658 after the Cromwell died, and Charles II was installed on the throne.
54. Letter after upsilon : PHI
Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.
57. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” actress Marisa : TOMEI
Marisa Tomei’s first screen role was in the daytime soap “As the World Turns”, but her break came with a recurring role in “The Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World”. Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a 2017 superhero film. It is a “reboot” of the “Spider-Man” series, introducing a new storyline, and new actors to play the main characters. English actor Tom Holland has the title role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, with Marisa Tomei playing Peter’s Aunt May Parker.
60. Bygone U.K. record label : EMI
EMI was a British music company, with the initialism standing for Electric and Musical Industries.
65. Comic/writer/activist Izzard : EDDIE
Eddie Izzard is a remarkable British stand-up comedian and actor. Famously, Izzard is a transvestite and used to perform stand-up in women’s clothing and makeup, although he tends to perform in “boy-mode” these days. In 2009, Izzard decided to run back-to-back marathons to raise money for charity, despite having no real history of running. He trained for five weeks, and then ran the equivalent of an incredible 43 marathons in 51 days, covering more than 1,100 miles all over the UK and raising over $300,000.
67. Ed.’s acquisitions : MSS
Editors (eds.) might read or edit a manuscript (MS)
68. Italian wine region : ASTI
Asti is a city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.
69. Latin clarifier : ID EST
“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.
1. Virile : MACHO
A man described as “macho” shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.
“Vir” is the Latin word for “man” and is the root of our word “virile”, for example, meaning “manly”.
4. Heavy reading? : TOME
“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”.
5. Signal of distress : SOS
The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.
7. __ salts : EPSOM
The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across Epsom salt from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.
8. Dress named for a letter : A-LINE
An A-line skirt is one that fits snugly at the hips and flares toward the hem.
9. Electronic music’s Daft Punk, e.g. : DUO
Daft Punk is an electronic music duo from Paris, France.
10. Dilation target : PUPIL
The pupil of the eye is the “hole” located in the center of the iris through which light enters the retina. The term “pupil” came into English via French from the latin “pupilla”, which is the diminutive form of “pupa” meaning “girl, doll”. The term came about due to the tiny doll-like image that one can see of oneself when looking into the center of another’s eyes.
11. Tequila source : AGAVE
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave. The drink takes its name from the city of Tequila, located about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara.
12. Red billiard ball : THREE
The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.
18. Rank between marquis and viscount : EARL
In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquis. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquis and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.
23. __ fringe: fanatical extremists : LUNATIC
“Lunatic” is an adjective that is now considered offensive. The term arose in the late 1400s when it meant “affected with periodic insanity”, insanity attacks brought on by the cycles of the moon. “Lunatic” comes from the Latin “luna” meaning “moon”.
25. Colombian city : CALI
In terms of population, Cali is the third largest city in Colombia (after Bogotá and Medellin). Santiago de Cali (the full name for the city) lies in western Colombia. Apparently, Cali is a destination for “medical tourists”. The city’s surgeons have a reputation for being expert in cosmetic surgery and so folks head there looking for a “cheap” nose job. Cali has also been historically associated with the illegal drug trade and money laundering.
26. __ cheese : BLEU
Being a bit of a French speaker (admittedly a very poor one), the term “bleu” cheese has always kind of irritated me. I would prefer that we use either “blue cheese” or “fromage bleu” and not mix the languages, but then I can be annoyingly picky! It’s said that blue cheese was probably discovered accidentally, as molds tend to develop in the same conditions that are best for storing cheese. The blue mold in the cheese is introduced by adding Penicillium spores before the cheese is allowed to set. And yes, it’s the same mold that is used to produce penicillin, the antibiotic.
30. Angel dust, for short : PCP
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as “PCP” or “angel dust”.
33. __ Navy: discount retailer : OLD
Old Navy is a store brand founded and owned by The Gap. The name Old Navy was taken from the Old Navy Cafe in Paris.
34. Comfy lounging wear : PJS
Our word “pajamas” (“PJs” for short) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.
37. IV units : CCS
Fluids in an IV (intravenous drip) might be measured in ccs (cubic centimeters).
47. Film critic Pauline : KAEL
Pauline Kael was a film critic who wrote for “The New Yorker” magazine from 1968 to 1991.
48. Third-stringers : C-TEAM
We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first bowstring broke.
53. Macao Science Center designer : IM PEI
I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) is an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, especially the Glass Pyramid in the courtyard.
The Macau Science Center is a landmark building in Macau, China that was completed in 2009. The building was designed in association with I. M. Pei, and has a distinctive asymmetric conical shape with a wraparound spiral walkway.
56. Like noble gases : INERT
The rare gases are better known as the noble gases, but neither term is really very accurate. Noble gas might be a better choice though, as they are all relatively nonreactive. But rare they are not. Argon, for example, is a major constituent (1%) of the air that we breathe.
59. Polo maker that’s a Polo rival : IZOD
Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the Royal Family. As Izod was about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.
René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. And then the “golf shirt” is basically the same thing.
62. Nutritional abbr. : RDA
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.
63. Philanthropist Broad : ELI
Eli Broad made his fortune in real estate and was one of the founders of Kaufman and Broad, that we know these days as KB Homes. Broad’s net worth was recently reported at just over $5 billion.