Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answer each start with an item that usually has STRINGS ATTACHED:
- 61A. Proposal conditions … and what the first parts of the answers to starred clues all can have : STRINGS ATTACHED
- 17A. *Reasons for refinancing : BALLOON PAYMENTS
- 23A. *Inconsistent nutrition plan : YO-YO DIETING
- 38A. *With 41-Across, “How to Get Away With Murder” Emmy winner : VIOLA …
- 41A. *See 38-Across : … DAVIS
- 51A. *Marshall Islands nuclear test site : BIKINI ATOLL
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Specially formed : AD HOC
The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.
15. Western wine region : NAPA
The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.
21. Iris layer : UVEA
The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The iris is the colored part of the eye with an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.
22. Syst. with a Buffalo campus : SUNY
The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest system of third-level colleges and universities in the world, with almost 500,00 students attending over 60 campuses across the state.
Buffalo is the second most-populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.
29. “Top Gun” org. : USN
“Top Gun” is an entertaining action movie released in 1986 starring Tom Cruise and the lovely Kelly McGillis. The movie is all about pilots training at the US Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. A lot of footage was shot on board the Navy’s carrier the USS Enterprise during flight operations. At one point in a day’s shooting, the commander of the Enterprise changed course as needed for normal operations, but this altered the light for the cameras that were filming at the time. Director Tony Scott asked for the course to be changed back, but was informed that a course change would cost the Navy $25,000. Scott wrote out a check there and then, and he got another five minutes of filming with the light he needed.
30. Iditarod racer : DOGSLED
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers a massive 1,161 miles, from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. The fastest finishing time was set in 2002 at just under 9 days. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!
32. Colo. setting : MST
Mountain Standard Time (MST)
34. Scat legend, familiarly : ELLA
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.
Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.
37. Crème de la crème : ELITE
The “crème de la crème” is the elite, the best of the best. The term is French and translates as “cream of the cream”.
38. *With 41-Across, “How to Get Away With Murder” Emmy winner : VIOLA …
41. *See 38-Across : … DAVIS
Actress Viola Davis is probably best known on the small screen for playing the lead in the drama “How to Get Away with Murder”. On the big screen, I’d say that her most famous role is the starring role in the 2011 film “The Help”.
43. Support during exercise : SPOT
People at the gym who are doing weight training will often “spot” for each other. This means that the person who is spotting assists in the lift, allowing the “lifter” to work with more weight than usual.
46. Asian noodle dish : PAD THAI
The delicious dish called Pad Thai is a meld of stir-fried rice noodles with tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a mix of vegetables and possibly tofu, meat or fish. It is usually topped with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime. The name “Pad Thai” translates as “fried Thai-style”.
50. Govt. aid for the disabled : SSI
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is federal program that provides financial relief to persons with low incomes who are 65 or older, or who are blind or disabled. The SSI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) even though the the Social Security trust fund is not used for SSI payments. SSI payments come out of general tax revenue.
51. *Marshall Islands nuclear test site : BIKINI ATOLL
The testing of US nuclear weapons by the US at Bikini Atoll in the middle of 1946 went by the codename “Operation Crossroads”. The tests used A-bombs and were designed to measure the effect of blasts on navy vessels. There were three tests planned, but the third had to be cancelled as the Navy couldn’t decontaminate the ships used in the second test.
57. Arab bigwig : EMIR
An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
60. GM’s Mary Barra, for one : CEO
Mary Barra is the chief executive officer of General Motors (GM). Barra is the first woman to hold the top position in a global automotive manufacturing company.
65. It comes before one : NOON
Our word “noon”, meaning “midday”, comes from the Latin “nona hora” that translates as “ninth hour”. Back in Ancient Rome, the “ninth hour” was three in the afternoon. Over the centuries, traditions such as church prayers and “midday” meals shifted from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m., and so “noon” became understood as 12 noon.
66. Big name in beauty products : ULTA
Ulta Beauty is an American chain of beauty stores that was founded in 1990 and headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois. I am not part of the company’s target demographic …
67. Demi of “A Few Good Men” : MOORE
Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. Moore’s second husband was Bruce Willis. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her third husband, Ashton Kutcher. But, Kutcher and Moore split in 2013.
The marvelous 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” was adapted for the big screen by Aaron Sorkin, from his own play of the same name. Sorkin is also the man behind “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” on television, two great shows. Stars of the movie version “A Few Good Men” are Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.
69. December number : NOEL
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.
2. Harsh Athenian lawmaker : DRACO
Constitutional law was brought to Athens and Ancient Greece by a legislator called Draco. The legal code that Draco developed was relatively harsh, which is why we use the term “draconian” to describe unforgiving rules.
3. “Roots” writer : HALEY
Not only did Alex Haley author the magnificent novel “Roots”, but he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and he claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who was kidnapped in the Gambia in 1767. If you remember the original television adaptation of “Roots”, you might recall that Kunta Kinte was played by LeVar Burton, who later went on to play another famous role, Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: the Next Generation”.
6. A year in Provence : ANNEE
Provence is a geographical region in France, in the south of the country. The region was once a Roman province called Provincia Romana, and was the first Roman province beyond the Alps. It is this Roman name “Provincia Romana” that gives Provence its name.
8. Busy pro in tax season : CPA
Certified public accountant (CPA)
11. Twins legend who was the first DH to hit a home run : TONY OLIVA
Tony Oliva is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins. Oliva suffered from severe knee problems due to multiple injuries, forcing him to play the last four years of his career as a designated hitter (DH). On the bright side, he went into the history books in 1973 when became the first DH to hit a MLB home run.
13. Appt. book slots : HRS
18. Like a lamb : OVINE
The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine”, meaning “like a sheep”.
19. Made faces : MUGGED
The verb “to mug” means to make an exaggerated facial expression. The term comes from mugs used to drink beer (called Toby mugs) that are the made in the shape of heads with grotesque expressions. “Mug” can also be a noun meaning “face”.
24. Juice provider : OUTLET
That would be juice (electricity) provided by a power outlet.
25. Home of most of Sawtooth National Forest : IDAHO
Sawtooth National Forest is located almost completely in Idaho, with a $% of its area spilling over into Utah. Named for the Sawtooth Mountains that cross it, the area was set aside for the nation in a proclamation signed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1905.
31. Try to hit, as a mosquito : SLAP AT
Mosquito is the Spanish for “little fly”. The female mosquito actually has to have a “blood meal” before she is able to lay her eggs.
32. King who turned his daughter into gold : MIDAS
King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. Of course the power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink and even his children.
35. Vision-correcting surgery : 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”.
47. BB shooter : AIRGUN
A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.
49. Teahouse mat : TATAMI
A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.
53. Birth-related : NATAL
Our word “natal” comes from the Latin “natalis” meaning “pertaining to birth”.
54. Former #1 LPGA golfer Lorena : OCHOA
Lorena Ochoa is a retired professional golfer from Mexico who was ranked as the number one female golfer in the world from 2007 to 2010.
56. Veinlike deposits : LODES
A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.
61. Show with “Weekend Update” skits, initially : SNL
“Weekend Update” is the longest-running of any recurring sketch on “Saturday Night Live”. In fact, the segment made its debut on the very first show, back in 1975. The first “anchor” at the “Weekend Update” was Chevy Chase.
62. Tip of a wingtip : TOE
A brogue is more commonly called a wingtip here in the US, I think. The shoe design originated in Ireland and Scotland, and “brog” the Irish word (and similar Scottish word) for shoe gives rise to the name. The brogue/wingtip design includes decorative perforations in the leather uppers. The toe cap of a brogue curves back in a shape that suggest the tip of a bird’s wing, hence the alternative name.
63. Pavement warning : SLO
Back in Ireland, the “pavement” is what we call the “footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”, often with “paving” stones!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught from a young age to “walk on the pavement” …
64. Booking agent? : COP
“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.