Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a famous person with the initials LC (which sounds like “Elsie”):
- 36A. Borden cow … and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers : ELSIE (sounds like “LC“)
- 17A. ’70s Wonder Woman portrayer : LYNDA CARTER
- 23A. Wonderland creator : LEWIS CARROLL
- 44A. Her fashion company made the Fortune 500 in 1986 : LIZ CLAIBORNE
- 55A. “Who’s on First?” funny guy : LOU COSTELLO
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Gumbo pod : OKRA
The plant known as okra is mainly grown for it edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.
11. Sculler’s need : OAR
A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …
14. Indian bread : NAAN
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.
16. Sport-__: versatile vehicle : UTE
A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sports utes and crossover utes.
17. ’70s Wonder Woman portrayer : LYNDA CARTER
Lynda Carter is perhaps best known for playing the title role in the TV show “Wonder Woman” that originally aired in the 1970s. Prior to landing the part, Carter had won the Miss World USA beauty pageant in 1972, representing her home state of Arizona.
19. Dreidel, essentially : TOP
A dreidel is a spinning top with four sides, often associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each of the four sides on a dreidel bears a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (nun, gimel, hei and shin). The four letters are the initials of the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” meaning “a great miracle happened there”. According to tradition, children would be taught Torah while hiding in caves away from the Greeks. When Greek soldiers approached, the children would hide their torah scrolls and play with their dreidels instead.
23. Wonderland creator : LEWIS CARROLL
The title character in Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is based on a child named Alice Liddell. Lewis Carroll (real name “Charles Lutwidge Dodgson”) met the Liddell family while he was photographing Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, after which he befriended the Liddells. Carroll told the three Liddell sisters (including Alice) a story about a little girl named Alice and her adventures, in order to entertain the children while on a boating trip on the River Isis in Oxford. He elaborated on the story for the girls on a subsequent boat trip, and agreed to write down the tale as the children loved it so much. Carroll’s writings became a full-fledged manuscript, including the author’s own illustrations. It was first published in 1865, three years after that boat trip.
29. Rime : HOAR
The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoar-frost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard.
Rime is that beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.
36. Borden cow … and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers : ELSIE
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor fo Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.
38. Joint malady : GOUT
Gout is caused by an elevation of the levels of uric acid in the blood. As a result of the high concentrations, the uric acid can crystallize out in tissue causing extreme discomfort. What we tend to call gout occurs when the crystals are deposited in the big toe.
41. Longtime P&G soap “for women” : CAMAY
Camay is a brand of soap produced by Procter & Gamble since 1926. Camay was introduced as a “white, pure soap for women”.
44. Her fashion company made the Fortune 500 in 1986 : LIZ CLAIBORNE
Liz Claiborne was a Belgian American fashion designer and founder of the Liz Claiborne fashion company. Claiborne was the first woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Indeed, Liz Claiborne Inc. was also the first company founded by a woman to make the Fortune 500 list, doing so in 1986.
49. Gabor and Perón : EVAS
Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.
Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” was also the follow-up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and was based on the life of Eva Perón.
54. Luau serving : POI
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
55. “Who’s on First?” funny guy : LOU COSTELLO
Lou Costello was half of the Abbott & Costello double act. One tragic and terrible event in Lou Costello’s life was the death of his baby son, Lou Costello, Jr. Lou was at NBC studios one night for his regular broadcast when he received word that the 11-month-old baby had somehow drowned in the family swimming pool. With the words, “Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me”, he made the scheduled broadcast in front of a live and unsuspecting audience.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players
First Base: Who
Second Base: What
Third Base: I Don’t Know
Left field: Why
Center field: Because
Shortstop: I Don’t Care/I Don’t Give a Darn
60. Accumulate on a surface : ADSORB
Adsorption is the accumulation of chemicals on the surface of a solid or liquid. Absorption is the accumulation through pores or interstices. The derivative verb “sorb” can be applied to either process.
64. Henna and others : DYES
Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, not just for leather and wool, but also for the hair and skin. In modern days, henna is also used for temporary tattoos.
1. “For Your Eyes __”: Bond film : ONLY
In addition to the James Bond series of novels, Ian Fleming wrote a collection of “Bond” short stories called “For Your Eyes Only”. The name of the collection was used as for one of the Bond films. “Quantum of Solace” was one of those stories, and this title was also used for a Bond film, even though the plot bears no resemblance to the storyline.
2. Multi-talented Danny : KAYE
The actor Danny Kaye was a big hit in his native US, but also in France. Kaye was the first ambassador-at-large for UNICEF and the French awarded him the Legion of Honor in 1986 for his work.
5. Colorful parrots : MACAWS
Macaws are beautifully colored birds of native to Central and South America, and are actually a type of parrot. Most species of macaw are now endangered, with several having become extinct in recent decades. The main threats are deforestation and illegal trapping and trafficking of exotic birds.
6. Old calculators : ABACI
The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.
7. Nerds : DORKS
I consider “dork” to be pretty offensive slang. It originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.
10. New Deal pres. : FDR
The New Deal was the series of economic programs championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The New Deal was focused on three objectives, the “3 Rs”:
- Relief for the unemployed and poor
- Recovery of the economy to normal levels
- Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression
12. Wake Island or Bikini : ATOLL
Wake Island is a coral atoll in the Pacific located almost 2,000 miles southeast of Tokyo. The island was claimed by the US as a territory in 1899, and today that ownership is disputed by the Marshall Islands. Wake Island is primarily used for its airfield, and is administered by the US Air Force.
The name of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands comes from the Marshallese name “Pikinni”, meaning “coconut place”. Famously, Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 nuclear detonations by the US from 1946 to 1958.
18. ’50s nuclear experiment : A-TEST
There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. Uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. These devices are called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy.
23. Maniacs : LUNATICS
Something described as “loony” is insane, crazy. “Loony” is short for “lunatic”, an adjective “lunatic” is now considered offensive. The term arose in the late 1400s, when it meant “affected with periodic insanity”, i.e. insanity attacks brought on by the cycles of the moon. “Lunatic” comes from the Latin “luna” meaning “moon”.
24. Indian spiced tea : CHAI
Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.
31. ’60s hallucinogen : LSD
LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …
32. Alaskan city on the Seward Peninsula : NOME
Nome, Alaska has over 3,500 residents, the majority of whom are Native American. The next largest ethnic group in Nome is the white population. The origin of the name “Nome” isn’t well understood, it seems. One theory is that was a misunderstanding of the local Inupiaq word for the phrase “Where at?”
The Seward Peninsula in Alaska is a remnant of the land bridge that once connected Alaska with Siberia during the last Ice Age. The peninsula is named for Secretary of State William Seward who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russian.
33. __ gum: thickening agent : GUAR
Guar gum is a powder that is extracted from guar beans. About 80% of the world’s supply of guar gum comes from India. It is used mainly in the food industry, often as a substitute for gluten in gluten-free recipes and products.
36. Soulful James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
37. First of 13 popes : LEO I
The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.
40. Comm. system with hand motions : ASL
It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.
43. Singer with Stills, Nash and Young : CROSBY
Singer David Crosby has a great solo career, but also was a founding member of three bands: the Byrds; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and CPR.
The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.
44. Sufferer healed by Jesus : LEPER
The horrible disease known as leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease, named after the Norwegian physician famous for isolating the bacterium that causes the disease. We can use the term “leper” to mean someone in general who is shunned by society.
45. Old piano key material : IVORY
The traditional materials used for the manufacture of piano keys were ebony (black) and ivory (white). Ebony is still used, but this is now covered with plastic instead of ivory to make the white keys.
46. Former name of the Congo : ZAIRE
The African nation once called Zaire is a neighbor of Rwanda. The genocide and war in Rwanda spilled over into Zaire in 1996, with the conflict escalating into what is now called the First Congo War. As part of the war’s fallout there was a regime change, and in 1997 Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo.
47. Breakfast strips : BACON
“Bacon” is an Old French word that we imported into English. The term ultimately comes from the Proto-Germanic “bakkon” meaning “back meat”.
55. Back muscle, for short : LAT
The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.
56. Keats creation : ODE
The poet John Keats is famous for writing a whole series of beautiful odes. The most renowned are the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.
58. Tackle’s neighbor on the line : END
That would be football.