Edited by: Rich Norris
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A part of THE SHOW MUST GO ON to form the ends of today’s themed answers. Each themed answer finishes with something associated with a stage SHOW:
- 58A…Broadway do-or-die philosophy, and a hint to the ends of 17-, 30-, 37- and 44-Across..THE SHOW MUST GO ON
- 17A…End that “I face,” in Sinatra’s “My Way”..THE FINAL CURTAIN
- 30A…It has 32 pieces and a 64-square board..CHESS SET
- 37A…Prepare to fly..SPREAD ONE’S WINGS
- 44A…Vital phase..KEY STAGE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…First assassin to attack Caesar..CASCA
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous: “Et tu, Brute?”
6…Marvel Comics mutants..X-MEN
X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains that X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellan.
10…Folk singer Joan..BAEZ
Joan Baez is an American folk singer and a prominent activist in the fields of non-violence, civil rights, human rights and environmental protection. Baez has dated some high-profile figures in her life including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs (of Apple) and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.
14…Arctic or Indian..OCEAN
The Arctic Ocean is in the north polar region, and is almost completely covered by sea ice in the winter. I think it’s common knowledge that the amount of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean during the summer has been dropping in recent times as a consequence of climate change.
The Indian is the third largest of the planet’s oceans, after the Pacific and the Atlantic. It takes its name from the nation of India, the coast of which forms much of the northern boundaries of the ocean.
16…In the style of, in ristorantes..ALLA
The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.
17…End that “I face,” in Sinatra’s “My Way”..THE FINAL CURTAIN
The song “My Way” has lyrics that were written by Paul Anka in 1969, but the tune itself was composed two years earlier by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. The song had been released with completely different lyrics in France as “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”). When Anka heard the song on television in Paris he sought out and obtained the rights to use it himself, for free. Supposedly, “Comme d’habitude” has been recorded in more languages, by more artists, than any other song in the contemporary repertoire.
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.
“Thimble Theater” was the precursor comic strip to the famous “Popeye” drawn by E. C. Segar. Before Popeye came into the story, the brother and sister characters Castor Oyl and Olive Oyl were the protagonists. And then along comes a sailor …
23…Grounded Aussie birds..EMUS
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …
30…It has 32 pieces and a 64-square board..CHESS SET
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now “pawns”)
- Cavalry (now “knights”)
- Elephants (now “bishops”)
- Chariots (now “rooks”)
“Fait accompli” is a French term, literally translating as “accomplished fact”. It is used in English to mean “a done deal”.
36…Often rolled-over investment..IRA
A rollover IRA is a subtype of a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The funds for a rollover IRA come from another qualified plan such as a 401(k) or a 403(b) account.
Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The super-ego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.
47…Decadent, as the snobs in a historic Agnew speech..EFFETE
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.
Vice President Spiro Agnew railed against those protesting the Vietnam War in 1969, making particular reference to the youth of the country. In one speech he stated, “A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” He later said, “(Student war protesters) have never done a productive thing in their lives … and … They take their tactics from Fidel Castro and their money from daddy.”
50…Drinks with floating ice cream..SODAS
The world’s first ice cream soda was made in 1874, in Philadelphia. Apparently (according to one story anyway) a gentleman named Robert Green was selling flavored sodas and ran out of ice. He got hold of some ice cream and added that to his sodas to keep them cold, and the new treat was an immediate hit.
53…Windy City summer hrs…CDT
Central Daylight Time (CDT)
It seems that the derivation of Chicago’s nickname as the “Windy City” isn’t as obvious as I would have thought. There are two viable theories. First that the weather can be breezy, with wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. The effect of the wind is exaggerated by the grid-layout adopted by city planners after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The second theory is that “windy” means “being full of bluster”. Sportswriters from the rival city of Cincinnati were fond of calling Chicago supporters “windy” in the 1860s and 1870s, meaning that they were full of hot air in their claims that the Chicago White Stockings were superior to the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
54…Jersey or Guernsey..ISLE
Jersey and Guernsey are two of the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy in France. They are “Crown dependencies”, self-governing possessions of the Crown for which the UK is responsible even though they are not part of the UK. The American state of New Jersey is named for the island in the English Channel.
Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.
66…Words meaning the same thing: Abbr…SYNS
The fur of the sea otter is exceptionally thick. It is in fact the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom.
4…The jolt in joe?..CAFFEINE
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.
It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.
5…”Give me __!”: start of a Hoosier cheer..AN I
The exact origin of the word “hoosier” is unknown, but has been around since at least 1830. The term had no direct linkage with Indiana until John Finley of Richmond, Indiana wrote a poem called “The Hoosier’s Nest” in 1833. A few years later, by 1840, “hoosier” was generally accepted as a term for Indiana residents.
X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901 Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded, recognition for his work on X-rays.
8…Top-left PC key..ESC
The escape key (esc) was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.
9…Modern, in Munich..NEU
“Neu” is the German word for “new”.
Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria, and is the third largest city in the country (after Berlin and Hamburg). The city is called “München” in German, a term that derives from the Old German word for “by the monks’ place”, which is a reference to the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city in 1158.
Eli is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.
Something described as “zany” is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.
18…We, to Henri..NOUS
In French, “nous” (we) are “toi et moi” (you and me).
19…Grand slam homer quartet, briefly..RBIS
Runs batted in (RBIs)
27…Eye surgery acronym..LASIK
LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.
29…Foolish, in slang..DORKY
I consider “dork” to be pretty offensive slang. It emanated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.
30…Easily tipped boat..CANOE
The boat called a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.
32…Rye grass disease..ERGOT
Ergot is a fungus, or actually a group of fungi, that cause disease in rye and related plants. If human eat ergot-contaminated grain, a condition called ergotism can result. Ergotism is the result of consumption of alkaloids produced by the fungi, alkaloids that can cause seizures and manic behavior. It has even been suggested that the hysteria exhibited by the Salem “witches” was perhaps caused by the ingestion of ergot-contaminated rye.
“Wi-Fi” is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with “Wi-Fi” has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other. The name “Wi-Fi” suggests “Wireless Fidelity”, although apparently the term was never intended to mean anything at all.
Only two volcanoes in the Cascade Range in the northwest have erupted in the 20th century: Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Lassen in 1915. The last significant eruption of Mount Shasta, a third volcano in the Cascades, was about 200 years ago
“Tosh” is British slang for “foolish nonsense”, and is likely a combination of “trash” and “bosh”.
“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids, like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!
49…Buffalo Wild Wings nickname based on its initials..B-DUBS
Buffalo Wild Wings is a chain of sports bar/restaurants that was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1982. The initialism “BWW” gives the company nickname “B-Dubs”.
A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.
Cincinnati, Ohio was the first major city to be founded after the American Revolution, and indeed was the first major inland city to be founded in the whole country. Cincinnati was a boomtown in the 1800s, but it’s growth slowed as the the railroads displaced the steamboats as the major form of transportation. The city was founded in 1788, and was named “Cincinnati” two years later. It was named for the Society of Cincinnati, an organization with the mission to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the officers of Revolutionary War. The society was in turn named for Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. cincinnatus was farmer in ancient Rome who left his land to serve as Consul and then lawful dictator of Rome during a war emergency, before happily handing back power to the Senate after the war was won.
The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “between two acts” (“entre deux actes”) of a theatrical performance. It often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.
61…Chinese menu general..TSO
General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.