Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers has circled letters at either end. Those circled letters spell out a type of CEREAL GRAIN:
- 110A. Deep-rooted … and what the uncircled letters of the answers to starred clues are? : INGRAINED
- 25A. *Lids for a fancy box? : OPERA HATS (giving “OATS”)
- 27A. *Easy order for a mixologist : WHISKEY NEAT (giving “WHEAT”)
- 39A. *Ceremonious choreography : RITUAL DANCE (giving “RICE”)
- 42A. *Lothario’s organ : ROVING EYE (giving “RYE”)
- 65A. *Ring leaders : BARNUM AND BAILEY (giving “BARLEY”)
- 88A. *Joe may come from one : COFFEE URN (giving “CORN”)
- 91A. *Moved like a crowd : MILLED ABOUT (giving “MILLET”)
- 106A. *Significant other : MAIN SQUEEZE (giving “MAIZE”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Tortilla-wrapped serving : FAJITA
“Fajita” is a Tex-Mex term that refers to grilled meat served on a tortilla. The original Mexican-Spanish term “fajita” is used to describe a small strip of chicken or beef. Nowadays, fajitas are often served on a sizzling platter with the tortillas and condiments on the side.
11. Hardly a haymaker : JAB
A haymaker is a wide, swinging punch. It is so called because the action involves using one’s weight and shoulder power to deliver the blow, with a motion much like using a scythe to cut hay.
17. Whom Samwise accompanied to Rivendell : FRODO
Frodo Baggins is a principal character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo is a Hobbit, and is charged with the quest of destroying Sauron’s Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.
Samwise Gamgee is the sidekick to Frodo Baggins in Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”.
Rivendell is a location occupied by Elves in Middle-earth, the fictional realm created by novelist J. R. R. Tolkien.
19. One who might err on the safe side? : UMP
That would be baseball.
20. __ dixit: assertion without proof : IPSE
“Ipse dixit” is Latin, a phrase meaning “he himself said it”. The term is used in contemporary English to describe an unsupported assertion, usually by someone in authority.
25. *Lids for a fancy box? : OPERA HATS (giving “OATS”)
An opera hat is a spring-loaded, collapsible top hat. Doesn’t that sound cool …?
27. *Easy order for a mixologist : WHISKEY NEAT (giving “WHEAT”)
A mixologist is someone who is well versed in the mixing of cocktails, said he reaching for the shaker …
30. Donizetti aria “Regnava __ silenzio” : NEL
“Regnava nel Silenzio” is a celebrated aria from “Lucia di Lammermoor”.
“Lucia di Lammermoor” is an 1835 opera by Gaetano Donizetti, which is loosely based on the historical novel “The Bride of Lammermoor” written by Sir Walter Scott.
33. Watergate figure with a radio talk show : LIDDY
G. Gordon Liddy serving in various positions in the Nixon administration. In 1971, Liddy was moved into a unit tasked with managing leaks of information from the White House. As the group was working on “leaks”, it was known as the White House “Plumbers” unit. Over time, the Plumbers moved from plugging leaks to actively plotting to embarrass the Democratic opposition during President Nixon’s re-election campaign. Ultimately, Liddy led the group of five men who famously broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Campaign in the Watergate Complex. Liddy was sentenced to a 20-year prison term, although he only served four and half years following a commutation to his sentence by President Jimmy Carter. Years later, Liddy became quite successful as a nationally syndicated talk show host.
37. Giant __, world’s largest antelope : ELAND
An eland is a large African antelope, in fact the largest on the continent. Both male and female elands have horns, and those horns have a steady spiral ridge along their length.
42. *Lothario’s organ : ROVING EYE (giving “RYE”)
There is a character named Lothario in Don Quixote, and in the “Fair Penitent”, a 1703 play by Nicholas Rowe. In both cases the Lothario in question exhibits less than wholesome behavior towards a woman, giving rise to the term “lothario” meaning “roue”.
46. Bearded blossom : IRIS
Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.
47. G, in the key of C : SOL
In the solfa scale, the note sol is equivalent to G when the scale starts at C.
49. Tat misreadable as WOW : MOM
The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are also sometimes referred to as “ink”.
58. New England cape : ANN
Cape Ann is 30 miles north of Boston and is on the northernmost edge of Massachusetts Bay. The Cape was first mapped by the explorer John Smith. Early in his adventurous life Smith had been captured and enslaved by the Ottoman Empire. His “owner” in his days of slavery was a woman called Tragabigzanda, and apparently the slave and owner fell in love. Smith originally called Cape Tragabigzanda in her memory, but King Charles I changed the name to Cape Ann in honor of his own mother, Anne of Denmark.
59. __ chi : TAI
More correctly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.
65. *Ring leaders : BARNUM AND BAILEY (giving “BARLEY”)
James Anthony Bailey collaborated with P. T. Barnum to establish Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. It was Bailey who negotiated the deal to buy a famous elephant from London Zoo in 1882, the one called “Jumbo”. It was the exposure that Jumbo got in the circus that brought into common usage our term “jumbo” meaning “huge”.
68. Worldwide anticrime gp. : INTERPOL
The International Criminal Police Organization is better known as Interpol. The group was formed in 1923 to facilitate international police cooperation. Today the police forces of 190 countries around the world are members of Interpol. The first headquarters of Interpol were in Vienna, and were moved to Berlin during WWII by the Nazi regime. After the war the headquarters were moved again, to just outside Paris, and finally to Lyon in 1989.
72. Author Deighton : LEN
I used to walk my dog right past author Len Deighton’s house years ago, as we lived in the same village in Ireland (probably my only claim to fame!). Deighton wrote the excellent espionage thriller “The IPCRESS File”, made into a 1965 movie starring Michael Caine.
73. Bench press muscle : 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”.
76. Ethel on “I Love Lucy” : MERTZ
In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertz’s are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.
82. Bon __: Comet rival : AMI
Bon Ami cleanser was introduced just a few years after Bon Ami soap went to market in 1886. The cleanser was marketed by emphasising its “non-scratch” properties. The label showed a chick coming out of an egg, the idea being that a newly hatched chick hasn’t yet scratched the ground looking for worms and insects.
83. “__ the loneliest number” : ONE IS
The rock band Three Dog Night had its first and biggest success back in 1969 with the Harry Nilsson song “One”. The song is perhaps best known for it’s opening words, “One is the loneliest number …” Three Dog Night took their name from an Australian expression. Apparently indigenous Australians would sleep in a hole in the ground alongside their tame dingos. On a cold night, they would huddle up to two dingos, and if it was really, really cold, it was a “three dog night”.
85. “Argo” org. : CIA
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …
88. *Joe may come from one : COFFEE URN (giving “CORN”)
It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.
95. Crease-resistant fabric : ORLON
Orlon is the brand name used by the DuPont Corporation for the acrylic fibers the company developed in 1941.
96. Estefan with Grammys : GLORIA
Gloria Estefan is a Cuban American singer, born in Havana. Estefan fled Cuba along with her family after the Cuban Revolution, and ended up in Miami. Her father fought for the US military in Vietnam, and also took part in the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion. Years later, Estefan herself was approached by the CIA to work for the agency due to her skill with languages. She ended up doing quite well singing instead …
99. Steel, e.g. : ALLOY
Steel is an alloy that is composed mainly of iron, with a small percentage of carbon.
102. Key preposition : O’ER
The words “o’er the ramparts we watched” come from “The Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.
103. Boxer with feats of Clay? : ALI
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?
106. *Significant other : MAIN SQUEEZE (giving “MAIZE”)
Back in the late 1800s, a “main squeeze” was the “most important person”. It wasn’t until almost a century later the one’s main squeeze became one’s sweetheart.
113. Rank people? : AMATEURS
Those would be rank amateurs.
114. Swab’s assent : AYE, SIR
Swabbie (also “swabby, swab, swabber”) is a slang term for a sailor, which we’ve been using since the late 1700s. A “swab” was originally a member of the crew assigned to the swabbing (mopping) of the ship’s decks.
117. D.C. pros : NATS
The Washington Nationals (“The Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.
118. Cleo’s undoing : ASP
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.
119. Fix, as a pump : RESOLE
A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.
120. Former Midwest territorial capital : OMAHA
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.
122. Steely __ : DAN
Steely Dan’s heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993 and they are still going strong today. Steely Dan’s best-selling album is “Aja” (pronounced “Asia”), which was released in 1977.
3. Smelly-sounding German river? : ODER
The Oder river rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland. Downstream, the Oder breaks into three branches that empty into the Gulf of Pomerania in the Baltic Sea.
4. Windfall : BONANZA
A ”bonanza” is a mine with a rich pocket of ore that can be exploited. “Bonanza” is the Spanish word for a rich lode, and we imported the term into English. “Bonanza” originally meant “fair weather at sea”, and from that came to mean “prosperity, good fortune”. Ultimately, “bonanza” comes from the Latin “bonus” meaning “good”.
7. Fugitive portrayer before Ford : JANSSEN
Actor David Janssen’s most famous role, by far, was playing Dr, Richard Kimble on the 1960s TV crime drama “The Fugitive”. I also remember him appearing in movies such as “The Green Berets” and “Marooned”. I must say, it seemed to me that Janssen was always playing the same character …
10. Prefix with -pod : ARTHRO-
Arthropods are invertebrates with external skeletons, segmented bodies and jointed appendages. The list of arthropods includes animals such as insects, spiders, centipedes and crabs. Over 80% of the animal species on the planet are arthropod species.
12. Every which way : AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …
13. Fraternal initials : BPOE
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.
15. Syrian president : ASSAD
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.
24. Musician with a Nobel Prize : DYLAN
The real name of singer Bob Dylan is Robert Zimmerman. Zimmerman chose that particular stage name because he was greatly influenced by the poetry of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
28. The Who classic : I’M FREE
The 1969 song “I’m Free” comes from the Who’s rock opera “Tommy”.
32. Female in WWII : WAC
The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.
39. Dexter’s wife in “Dexter” : RITA
“Dexter” is a crime show that airs on Showtime. The title character works for the Miami Police Department as an expert in blood spatter patterns by day, but is a serial killer by night. The original series was based on the “Dexter” novels written by Jeff Lindsay. I haven’t seen this show myself, but my eldest son really enjoys it …
43. Alternate version, in scores : OSSIA
“Ossia” is an Italian word meaning “alternatively”. It is used on a musical score to indicate an alternative passage that may be played instead of the original. Usually passages marked “ossia” are easier to perform.
44. Farm connection : YOKE
A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of oxen so that they are forced to work together.
45. ER part: Abbr. : EMER
Emergency room (ER)
51. HBO rival : STARZ
The Starz premium cable channel is owned by the same company that owns the Encore cable channel. Starz was launched in 1994 and mainly shows movies.
53. Beaver’s work : DAM
Beavers build dams so that they can live in and around the slower and deeper water that builds up above the dam. This deeper water provides more protection for the beavers from predators such as bears. Beavers are nocturnal animals and do all their construction work at night.
54. Victim of hot wings? : ICARUS
Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.
56. Bond or bonding follower : AGENT
The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …
60. Dada daddy? : ARP
Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …
Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement began in Zurich, Switzerland started by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire, frequently expressing disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.
63. “Uncle” of old TV : MILTIE
Comedian Milton Berle was known as “Uncle Miltie” and “Mr. Television”, and was arguably the first real star of American television. Berle was hosting “Texaco Star Theater” back in 1948.
64. Flagon filler : ALE
A flagon is a large jug with a lid that is traditionally used for holding beer or wine.
66. Peptic problem : ULCER
Until fairly recently, a peptic ulcer was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in fact associated with a particular bacterium.
67. Rain-__ gum : BLO
Rain-Blo bubble gum balls were introduced in 1940 by Leaf Confectionary, a company that was then based in the Netherlands.
69. Nautilus captain : NEMO
The Jules Verne sci-fi novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” was first published in 1869-1870 as a serial in a French magazine. Star of the novel (to me) is Captain Nemo’s magnificent submarine called the Nautilus. The distance travelled by the Nautilus is the “20,000 leagues” in the title, not a depth. 20,000 leagues is about three times the circumference of the Earth.
70. Like poison ivy : TRIFOLIATE
A trifoliate leaf has three leaflets. My favorite trifoliate plant would have to be … shamrock.
73. One who remembers old flames with fondness? : PYROMANIAC
“Pyro” is the combining form of the Greek word for “fire”. “Pyrotechnics” is the art of making and using fireworks. “Pyromania” is a strong desire to light fires.
74. Shocked accusation : ET TU?!
It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?), in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life just before he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.
78. Actor Pat of Batman films : HINGLE
Actor Pat Hingle might be a described as a character actor, one who has appeared in numerous TV show and movies. Fans of the “Batman” series of films might remember Hingel for his portrayal of Commissioner Gordon in the 1989 movie and the three “Batman” sequels. Apparently Hingle was a close friend of Clint Eastwood, and appeared alongside Eastwood in the movies “Hang ’em High”, “The Gauntlet” and “Sudden Impact”.
79. NCAA’s Bruins : UCLA
The UCLA Bruins mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.
81. Broccoli __ : RABE
Broccoli rabe is perhaps better known as rapini, and is a vegetable often used in Mediterranean cuisines. It is quite delicious sauteed with garlic …
83. LBJ’s antipoverty agcy. : OEO
The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was created during the Lyndon Johnson administration. The agency was responsible for administering the War on Poverty programs that were part of the President Johnson’s Great Society agenda. The OEO was shut down by President Nixon, although some of the office’s programs were transferred to other agencies. A few of the OEO’s programs are still around today, like Head Start for example.
84. “The Sound of Music” extra : NUN
“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war, and one family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives here in the same town in which I live in California.
90. “Family Ties” mom : ELYSE
The actress Meredith Baxter is best known for playing Elyse, the mother in the eighties sitcom “Family Ties”. Baxter’s big break on television came with a title role on a short-lived sitcom called “Bridget Loves Bernie”. She ended up marrying David Birney, her co-star on “Bridget Loves Bernie”, and so was known for many years as Meredith Baxter-Birney. She changed her name back to Meredith Baxter when the pair divorced in 1989.
“Family Ties” was one of the first TV shows that I enjoyed when I arrived in the US back in 1983. I found the situation very appealing, with two ex-hippie parents facing off against an ultra-conservative son. The main characters in the show were Michael J. Fox as Alex, Meredith Baxter-Birney as Alex’s mom, Elyse, and Michael Gross as Alex’s Dad, Steven. But some future stars had recurring roles as well, including Courteney Cox as one of Alex’s girlfriends and Tom Hanks as Elyse’s young brother.
91. Ancient Roman currency minter : MONEYER
A moneyer is an individual, as opposed to a government agency, who has official permission to mint money. Moneyers date back to ancient Greece and were particularly prevalent during the Roman Republic. A person granted authorization to coin money was usually an artisan skilled in the process of creating blanks and striking coins.
97. Gecko, for one : LIZARD
The word “gecko” comes from an Indonesian/Javanese word “tokek”, which is imitative of the reptile’s chirping sound. In making such a sound, geckos are unique in the world of lizards. More interesting to me than a gecko’s chirping is its ability to cling to walls and to other vertical surfaces. Their feet are specially adapted with “toes” that make extremely intimate, close contact to a surface. The toes have millions of hairs called setae that enable the clinging. It isn’t suction that supports them, but rather van der Waals forces (weak “gravitational” attractions). Fascinating stuff …
99. Dryer brand : AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.
100. Texas university in Beaumont : LAMAR
Lamar University is located in Beaumont, Texas and is a member of the Texas State University System. Lamar was founded in 1923 as South Park Junior College, and operated on an unused floor of a high school.
104. Café con __ : LECHE
In Spanish, one might have “café con leche” (coffee with milk).
107. Campus area : QUAD
A university often features a central quadrangle (quad).
108. Heavenly bear : URSA
The constellation named Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, the “plough”.
Ursa Minor (Latin for “Smaller Bear”) sits right beside the constellation Draco (Latin for “dragon”). Ursa Minor used to be considered the wing of Draco, and so was once called “Dragon’s Wing”.
112. Hogwarts librarian __ Pince : IRMA
In the “Harry Potter” universe, Irma Pince is the librarian at Hogwarts. Ms. Pince is a severe woman, said to look like an “underfed vulture”. Pince is played on the big screen by English actress Sally Mortemore.
115. That thing in Tijuana : ESO
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.