Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start and end with a HALF MOON, beginning with MO- and finishing with -ON:
- 61A. First or last quarter … and, literally, what can be found on either end of 18-, 22-, 38-/40- and 49-Across : HALF MOON
- 18A. “Next subject” : MOVING ON
- 22A. Historic Potomac estate : MOUNT VERNON
- 38A. With 40-Across, NPR broadcast since 1979 : MORNING …
- 40A. See 38-Across : … EDITION
- 49A. “Life of Brian” comedy group : MONTY PYTHON
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
7. Find fault : CARP
The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “carp” so that it came to mean “find fault with”.
11. Bygone Ford : LTD
There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation LTD stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for Luxury Trim Decor, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.
17. Hunt’s TV co-star : REISER
“Mad About You” is a sitcom from the nineties that stars Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a couple living in New York City. Reiser and Hunt did well out of the success of the show, each earning one million dollars per episode for the last series.
21. CIA predecessor : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
22. Historic Potomac estate : MOUNT VERNON
Mount Vernon was the plantation home of President George Washington and his family, located along the banks of the Potomac River near Alexandria, Virginia. The estate was purchased by Washington’s ancestors when it was known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation. It was George Washington’s older half-brother who changed the name to Mount Vernon, in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, an English naval officer.
35. Quick snack : NOSH
Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means snack, or as a verb meaning to eat between meals.
37. Simple home : TEPEE
A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.
38. With 40-Across, NPR broadcast since 1979 : MORNING …
40. See 38-Across : … EDITION
NPR’s flagship news program is “Morning Edition”, a 2-hour show broadcast from Monday through Friday. The sister show “Weekend Edition” is broadcast on Saturday and Sunday.
42. Word with box or light : IDIOT
“Idiot box” and “boob tube” are nicknames for television.
The warning and status lights that we see on the dashboard of a car are commonly referred to as “idiot lights”. In general, these lights have replaced gauges that measured things like engine temperature and oil pressure. The first idiot lights were introduced in the 1930s by the Hudson automobile company.
46. Mussel habitat : SEABED
“Mussel” is a common name for several types of clam and other bivalve molluscs, both saltwater and freshwater.
48. Uno plus due : TRE
In Italian, “uno” (one) plus “due” (two) makes “tre” (three).
49. “Life of Brian” comedy group : MONTY PYTHON
“Monty Python’s Life of Brian” is a religious comedy satire film released by the Python team in 1979. It tells the story of Brian, a young man born on the same day as Jesus Christ but in the house next door. The film was controversial because of its subject matter and was actually banned in my home country of Ireland, and indeed in Norway. The marketing team promoting the film used the controversy to advantage by adding the tagline “So funny it was banned in Norway!” on the movie posters. “Life of Brian” was the most successful British film in the US in 1979.
56. Plant studied by Mendel : PEA
Gregor Mendel was an Austrian monk, and a scientist who achieved fame after his passing when his work in the field of genetics was rediscovered. The conclusions he drew from his studies of garden peas led to him earning the moniker “father of modern genetics”.
61. First or last quarter … and, literally, what can be found on either end of 18-, 22-, 38-/40- and 49-Across : HALF MOON
The phases of the moon have been given the following names, in order:
- New moon
- Waxing crescent moon
- First quarter moon
- Waxing gibbous moon
- Full moon
- Waning gibbous moon
- Third quarter moon
- Waning crescent moon
- Dark moon
65. Museum guide : DOCENT
Docent is a term used for a university lecturer. There are also museum docents, people who serve as guides for visitors to their institutions, usually providing their services for free. The term comes from the Latin “docere” meaning “to teach”.
3. Parting mot : ADIEU
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.
“Mot” is the French for “word”.
5. Former Senator Lott : TRENT
Trent Lott is a political figure who first went to Washington to work as an administrative assistant to Representative William M. Colmer, from Mississippi. After four years working for Colmer, Lott ran for the House seat that Colmer was to leave vacant on his retirement. Colmer endorsed Lott in that election, even though Colmer was a Democrat and Lott ran as a Republican. Lott won the race very handily, launching a 35-year career representing his home state of Mississippi in both the House and the Senate. Lott eventually ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.
6. Lat. or Lith., once : SSR
Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.
The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and 16 miles north of Vilnius is a point that is officially recognized as the Geographic Center of Europe.
9. Love Is On makeup maker : REVLON
Revlon was founded in the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, by Charles and Joseph Revson. The “S” in the Revson name was replaced by the “L” from Charles “Lachman”, a chemist who partnered with the two brothers.
10. Upsilon follower : PHI
Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.
12. Menu possessive linked to the Qing dynasty : TSO’S
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.
16. Tokyo-born artist : ONO
Yoko Ono was born into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Her father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.
23. World Cup skiing champ Lindsey : VONN
Lindsey Vonn is a World Champion alpine ski racer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is one of the few women to have won World Cup races in all five alpine racing disciplines: downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined. In fact, Vonn is the most successful US ski racer in history.
27. Citi Field squad : METS
Citi Field is the relatively new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets that sits right next door to the site of Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the new facility’s name comes from corporate sponsor Citigroup.
28. Polynesian capital : APIA
Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.
29. Bright sign : NEON
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.
31. “Time’s Arrow” author : AMIS
I suppose the successful English novelist Martin Amis must have writing in his blood. He is the son of the respected author Kingsley Amis, a Booker Prize winner.
32. 66-Across source : LODE
(66A. 32-Down contents : ORE)
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.
33. Covent Garden solo : ARIA
Covent Garden in London’s West End is associated with the Royal Opera House that is located in the area, and with the former fruit and vegetable market that used to sit right at the center of the district. The name “Covent Garden” comes from the fact that there once was a walled garden in the area owned by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of St. Peter in Westminster. The abbey rented out the walled garden calling it “Convent Garden”, and this morphed into the area’s current name.
34. Pretentious sort : SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.
36. Eight British kings : HENRYS
Henry I of England was a son of William the Conqueror. According to legend, Henry died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys”, or more likely food poisoning. Lampreys look like a cross between a fish and an eel.
Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife, Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.
39. Agenda listing : ITEM
“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.
50. Peter of Herman’s Hermits : NOONE
Peter Noone is a great personality in the entertainment world, most famous as the “Herman” in the sixties group Herman’s Hermits. Noone was only 15-years-old when he started as lead singer with the band.
51. Webmail option : YAHOO!
Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company “Yahoo!” for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. Secondly, Yahoo stands for “Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.
Webmail is an email service in which the emails are stored remotely on a server, rather than on a user’s own computer.
53. Old Testament prophet : HOSEA
Hosea was one of the Twelve Prophets of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.
56. Carson forerunner : PAAR
“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:
- Steve Allen (1954-57)
- Jack Paar (1957-62)
- Johnny Carson (1962–92)
- Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
- Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
- Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)
57. Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
58. Duck mascot company, on the NYSE : AFL
In 1999, Aflac (American Family Life Assurance Company) was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn’t a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency’s art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with “Aflac”, and that duck has been “Aflacking” ever since …
61. Starz rival : HBO
Home Box Office (HBO) is the second largest network of premium channels in the US, after Encore. HBO is a favorite of mine as I really like many of the HBO made-for-television movies and especially the HBO original series. Among the list of original series from HBO are “Mildred Pierce”, “The Pacific”, “John Adams”, “Big Love”, “Extras”, “The Wire”, “Sex and the City”, “From the Earth to the Moon”, “The Sopranos” and “Band of Brothers”. What great television …
62. Kellogg School deg. : MBA
The business school at Northwestern University is called the John L. Kellogg School of Management. John L. Kellogg was the son of Will Keith Kellogg of breakfast cereal fame, and John’s foundation made a generous donation in 1979, hence the current name for the business school.
63. Some retirement acct. holdings : CDS
A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.