Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are written in the DOWN-direction, and each ends with a word that often follows DIRTY:
- 9D…Unvarnished … or like the ends of the answers to starred clues?..DOWN AND DIRTY
- 4D…*Dramatic gridiron pass..LONG BOMB (giving “dirty bomb”)
- 20D…*Put in long hours..WORK LIKE A DOG (giving “dirty dog”)
- 24D…*Shopping area loiterer..MALL RAT (giving “dirty rat”)
- 39D…*”The Vampire Chronicles” novelist..ANNE RICE (giving “dirty rice”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Sound check item..AMP
An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.
The person who serves coffee in a coffee shop is often called a “barista”. “Barista” is the Italian for “bartender”.
13…Alicia Keys record label..RCA
Alicia Keys is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.
The term “anemia” (or “anaemia” as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition.
A “bigwig” is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore big wigs.
24…Gibbs of “The Jeffersons”..MARLA
Marla Gibbs is an actress from Chicago who is best known for playing Florence Johnston, the maid on the sitcom “The Jeffersons” in the seventies and eighties. Gibbs was also a singer who released several albums. She also owned a jazz club for almost 20 years in South Central L.A. called “Maria’s Memory Lane Jazz and Supper Club”.
The very popular sitcom called “The Jeffersons” ran from 1975 until it came to an abrupt end in 1985. CBS cancelled the show without even allowing a series finale that “wrapped things up”. In fact the lead actor, Sherman Hemsley, first learned of the show’s cancellation in the newspaper.
Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”, Roo was inspired by on a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.
27…They catch a lot of waves..ANTENNAS
An antenna’s job is to convert electrical power into radio waves, and radio waves into an electrical signal. The first antennas were built by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1888.
The card game called canasta originated in Uruguay apparently, with “canasta” being the Spanish word for “basket”. In the rummy-like game, a meld of seven cards or more is called a canasta.
Balsa is a very fast growing tree that is native to parts of South America. Even though balsa wood is very soft, it is actually classified as a hardwood, the softest of all the hardwoods (go figure!). Balsa is light and strong, so is commonly used in making model airplanes. Amazingly, in WWII a full-size British plane, the de Havilland Mosquito, was built largely from balsa and plywood. No wonder they called it “The Wooden Wonder” and “The Timber Terror”.
Match.com is an online dating service. The company was started in 1993 and claims to have over 20 million members worldwide, in the ratio of male to female of 49:51.
43…”__: Legacy”: sci-fi sequel..TRON
Released in 1982, Disney’s “Tron” was one of the first mainstream films to make extensive use of computer graphics. The main role in the movie is played by Jeff Bridges. The original spawned a 2010 sequel called “Tron: Legacy”, as well as a 2012 TV show called “Tron: Uprising”.
44…Blue-roofed restaurant chain..IHOP
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests …
45…Cosmic payback..BAD KARMA
Karma is religious concept with its basis in Indian faiths. Karma embraces the notion of cause and effect. Good deeds have good consequences at some later point in one’s life, future life, or afterlife and vice versa.
47…”Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” airer..NPR
Chicago Public Radio produces one of my favorite radio shows, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” It is indeed a fun game show, hosted by Peter Sagal. The “Morning Edition” newsreader Carl Kasell used to act as judge and scorekeeper, until he retired in 2014. There should be more game shows of that ilk on the radio, in my humble opinion …
The Snowy Egret is a small white heron, native to the Americas. At one time the egret species was in danger of extinction due to hunting driven by the demand for plumes for women’s hats.
Picasa was a photo-sharing website owned by Google that included an image organizer and image viewer. Google has withdrawn support for Picasa, replacing it with a new service called Google Photos.
Photobucket is an image and video hosting website now based in Seattle, Washington. The company was founded in 2003.
57…Ice cream brand introduced in 1866..BREYERS
Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.
58…Slugger with the most career grand slam HRs..A-ROD
Professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez earned more nicknames than just A-Rod. He has been called “the Cooler” by some players as there is a perception that teams go cold when he joins them and hot when he leaves. He has also been called “A-Fraud” by teammates because of another perception, that he is over-demanding. Rodriguez was in a world of hurt not so long ago, for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
62…Big D pro..MAV
The Mavericks are the NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was prompted by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and Garner of course played the title role in the “Maverick” television series.
64…1805 Beethoven premiere..EROICA
Beethoven originally dedicated his Symphony No. 3 to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven admired the principles of the French Revolution and as such respected Bonaparte who was “born” out of the uprising. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Beethoven (and much of Europe) saw this as a betrayal to the ideals of the revolution so he changed the name of his new symphony from “Bonaparte” to “Eroica”, meaning “heroic” or “valiant”.
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.
“Glitch” comes into English from German via Yiddish. The original German word is “glitschen” meaning “to slip”. It is a relatively new term, generally applied to computer software bugs.
68…Early video game letters..NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.
1…Caribbean vacation spot..ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands. The ABC Islands is the nickname given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
2…Fast-food pork sandwich..MCRIB
The McDonald’s McRib sandwich is based on a pork patty. There isn’t any pork rib in the patty though. It is primarily made up of pork shoulder meat reconstituted with tripe, heart and stomach tissue. Enjoy …
4…*Dramatic gridiron pass..LONG BOMB (giving “dirty bomb”)
A “Hail Mary pass” (also called “the long bomb”) is a desperation move in American football in which a long pass is thrown with very little chance of a success, right at the the end of a game or at the end of a half. The term dates back to thirties, and was probably first used at Notre Dame. The “Hail Mary” is a prayer in the Christian tradition that is of particular significance Roman Catholicism.
The red triangle on the label of a bottle of Bass Ale was registered in 1875 and is UK Registered Trade Mark (TM) No: 00001, the first trademark issued in the world.
6…Hiddleston who plays Loki in “Thor”..TOM
Tom Hiddleston is an English actor who garnered international attention when he was given the role of Loki in the superhero film “Thor” (2011). More recently, I enjoyed Hiddleston’s performance in the excellent thriller miniseries “The Night Manager” that’s based on a John le Carré novel.
10…Largest Mississippi River feeder by volume..OHIO
The state of Ohio takes its name from the Ohio River, and in turn river takes its name from the Iroquois “ohi-yo”, which translates as “large creek”.
Mississippi is named for the Mississippi River, which forms most of the state’s western border. In turn, the river’s name comes from the Chippewa “misi-ziibi” meaning “great river”.
The word “tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. Tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another but that action falls outside of the scope of criminal law.
The Skye terrier is a breed of dog that is actually under threat of extinction. A few years ago there were only 30 Skye terriers born in the breed’s native land of the UK.
Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile, about 20 km southwest of Cairo. The nearby Giza Plateau is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments on the planet, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx.
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.
29…Pilot, or a prefix with pilot..AUTO
The Honda Pilot is mid-size crossover SUV that was introduced in 2002. The luxury version of the vehicle is sold as the Acura MDX.
Escalators have an advantage over elevators in that they can move larger numbers of people in the same time frame. They can also be placed in just about the same physical space that would be needed for a regular staircase. Patents for escalator-type devices were first filed in 1859, but the first working model wasn’t built until 1892 by one Jesse Reno. It was erected alongside a pier in Coney Island, New York, with the second escalator being placed at an entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Soon after, the Otis elevator company purchased the necessary patents and went into the business.
32…New Rochelle college..IONA
Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name Killian.
35…Words on Alice’s cake..EAT ME
In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labelled “DRINK ME”. When she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. She also sees a cake adorned with the words “EAT ME”, and when she eats the cake she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she utters the famous words, “Curiouser and curiouser”.
39…*”The Vampire Chronicles” novelist..ANNE RICE (giving “dirty rice”)
Anne Rice is an American author of erotic and Gothic novels. Rice was born Howard Allen O’Brien (no wonder she changed her name!). Her famous series of novels “The Vampire Chronicles” centers on her character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century. One of the stories, “Interview with the Vampire”, was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and features Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others in a star-studded cast. Not my kind of movie though, as I don’t do vampires …
Scott Joplin was a great American composer and pianist, the “King of Ragtime”. Joplin was born poor, into a laboring family in Texas. He learned his music from local teachers and started out his career as an itinerant musician, traveling around the American South. He found fame with the release of his 1899 composition “Maple Leaf Rag”, regarded as the foundation stone on which ragtime music was built. Joplin’s music, and ragtime in general, was rediscovered by the populous in the early seventies when it was used in the very successful movie “The Sting”.
The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous “Pietà” is probably the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo which is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In some depictions, Mary and her son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, and these depictions are known as “Lamentations”.
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “please, answer”.
The human liver has many functions, one of which is to store vital substances. The list of substances stored in the liver includes glucose (as glycogen), vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin K, iron and copper.
The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.
Mauna Loa on the “big island” of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.