Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers form a WORD CHAIN. Each answer comprises two words, with the second word “linking” to the first word of the next answer, forming a new two-word phrase:
- 17A. *TV screen film format : LETTERBOX (linking via “box seat”)
- 24A. *At-your-desk assignment : SEATWORK (linking via “workday”)
- 37A. *Summertime destination for kids : DAY CAMP (linking via “camp fire”)
- 50A. *Building inspector’s concern : FIRE CODE (linking via “code word”)
- 61A. *As sequenced in this grid, what the answers to starred clues form : WORD CHAIN (linking via “chain letter”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Host who says, “Solve or spin” : SAJAK
Pat Sajak took over the hosting of “Wheel of Fortune” from Chuck Woolery back in 1983 and has been doing the job ever since. Sajak had a short run as a talk show host in 1989/1990 and used to sub quite often for Larry King and Regis Philbin.
14. The Quakers of the Ivy League, briefly : UPENN
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) was founded in 1740 by by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, or sometimes “the Red & Blue”.
19. Biology dish eponym : PETRI
Julius Richard Petri was a German bacteriologist and was the man after whom the Petri dish is named. The petri dish can have an agar gel on the bottom which acts a nutrient source for the specimen being grown and studied, in which case the dish plus agar is referred to as an “agar plate”.
20. __ Enterprise : USS
The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starship with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.
23. Sit-up targets : ABS
The abdominal muscles (“abs”) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …
29. Any’tizers Boneless Chicken Wyngz maker : TYSON
Tyson Foods is the largest producer of meat in the world. Even though we tend to associate Tyson with chicken here in North America, the company is also the largest exporter of beef out of the US.
30. Ben who plays an economics teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” : STEIN
Many of us know Ben Stein as a very smart and entertaining TV personality. Before focusing on his screen career, Stein was a speechwriter for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is one of my favorite movies of all time. It was written and directed by John Hughes and released in 1986. There are so many classic scenes in the film, including two wonderful musical interludes. The more sedate of these is a vignette shot in the Art Institute of Chicago that is beautifully filmed. The more upbeat musical scene is a rendition of “Twist and Shout” during a Von Steuben Day parade.
31. Mata __ : HARI
Mata Hari was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zella, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.
33. Put on the cloud, say : SAVE
“On the cloud” or “in the cloud”, that is the question. While working for years within the cloud computing industry, I was only exposed to the phrase “in the cloud”. However, I’ve just read that the phrase “on the cloud” is out there too.
In the world of computing, when one operates “in the cloud”, one’s files and key applications are not stored on one’s own computer, but rather are residing “in the cloud”, on a computer somewhere out on the Internet. I do 90% of my computing in the cloud. That way I don’t have to worry about backing up files, and I can operate from any computer if I have to …
41. Redheaded sitcom kid : OPIE
Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.
46. Shaped like a kiwi : OVATE
What we call kiwifruit today used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, and then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.
48. Sun Bowl city : EL PASO
The Sun Bowl is an annual college football game played in El Paso. The Rose Bowl is the oldest of the bowl games, but the Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl come in second. The first Sun Bowl was played on New Year’s Day 1935. To be fair to the sponsors, the full name today is the Hyundai Sun Bowl …
53. Braz. neighbor : ARG
Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and geographically is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” of course comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.
55. One-named Irish singer : BONO
Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner, born Paul David Hewson. As a youth, Hewson was given the nickname “Bono Vox” by a friend, a Latin expression meaning “good voice”, and so the singer has been known as Bono since the late seventies. His band’s first name was “Feedback”, later changed to “The Hype”. The band members searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least …
57. Canonized Fr. female : STE
“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a female.
63. Japanese dog : AKITA
The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, the Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.
65. Hard-to-understand “South Park” character : KENNY
“South Park” is an adult-oriented cartoon series on Comedy Central. I don’t do “South Park” …
1. “Star Trek” role for Cho : SULU
John Cho is an actor and musician who was born in Seoul, South Korea but who has lived in the US since he was a young boy. Cho’s break in movies came in playing Harold Lee in the ”Harold & Kumar” films. He is now making a name for himself playing Mr. Sulu in the latest “Star Trek” movies.
3. New York team that plays home games in New Jersey : JETS
Just like the New York Giants, the New York Jets are based in New Jersey, headquartered in Florham Park. The Jets and the Giants have a unique arrangement in the NFL in that the two teams share Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets were an AFL charter team, formed in 1959 as the Titans of New York. The Titans changed their name to the Jets in 1963.
4. Carpenter __ : ANT
Carpenter ants can wreak havoc in a wooden structure. They burrow into damp wood creating galleries and pathways that form a complex network of nests. Unlike termites though, carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood.
5. Plié, for one : KNEE BEND
The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent.
6. Card catalog ID : ISBN
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who is now a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a barcode) for each publication.
7. Oral-B Glide, e.g. : FLOSS
The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first “model” was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
8. Name on a Chicago cap : SOX
The Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball team was established in Chicago in 1900 and originally was called the White Stockings. The name was changed because the abbreviation “Sox” for “Stockings” was regularly used in newspaper headlines.
9. Big bills, slangily : C-SPOTS
Those would be 100-dollar bills.
18. Wine choice : ROSE
Rosé wines get their color from the skins of the grapes, although the intensity of the color is not sufficient to make them red wines. Of the varying type of rosé wines available, we are most familiar with sweet White Zinfandels. Personally I am fond of the really dry Provençal rosé wines.
22. Actress __ Bialik of “The Big Bang Theory” : MAYIM
The wonderful Mayim Bialik is an actress best known for playing Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”. Bialik also played the title role in the NBC sitcom “Blossom”. There’s a line in one of “The Big Bang Theory” episodes in which Sheldon talks about “the girl who played TV’s ‘Blossom’”. He notes that the “Blossom” actress has “a PhD in neuroscience or something”. And that is true, actress Mayim Bialik has indeed got a doctorate in neuroscience.
23. “Aladdin” hero : ALI
In Disney’s version of the “Aladdin” story, released in 1992, the street urchin Aladdin uses one of three wishes to become a prince, so that he can get near to the Princess Jasmine, with whom he has become besotted. With the genie’s help, Aladdin takes on the persona of “Prince Ali of Ababwa”.
25. Online investment service : E*TRADE
E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade used to produce those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.
27. Ailment similar to spring fever : SENIORITIS
“Senioritis” is the colloquial name given to the tendency of some senior students to lose motivation to study as they head towards the end of high school and college careers.
30. “Shameless” airer, briefly : SHO
“Shameless” is a comedy drama TV series about a dysfunctional Chicago family consisting of a six children and single father who spends his days drunk. The US show is a remake of the original British “Shameless” that is based on a similar family who live in Manchester in the North of England.
32. Versatile blackjack card : ACE
In the card game called Blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.
34. Presidential no : VETO
“Veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The word was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.
38. VW and BMW : AUTOS
VW stands for Volkswagen, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.
The abbreviation BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.
39. Fizzy candy : POP ROCKS
The fizzy candy marketed as Pop Rocks was introduced in 1975. The candy is made by exposing a melted sugar syrup to carbon dioxide at high pressure. As the syrup cools, it traps high-pressure bubbles of the gas inside the candy. When the candy dissolves in the mouth, the carbon dioxide is released with a popping sound.
42. ’50s-’60s Illinois senator Dirksen : EVERETT
Everett Dirksen was a politician from Illinois who represented his state in the House of Representatives from 1933 to 1949, and in the Senate from 1951 to 1969. In the latter decade of his political career, Republican Dirksen served as Senate Minority Leader, and was instrumental in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was eventually signed by President Johnson. Dirksen was also considered a “hawk” on the issue of the Vietnam War, calling for increased American involvement long before President Johnson made the decision to escalate. Dirksen was also noted for using flamboyant language in his speeches, earning him the nickname “The Wizard of Ooze”.
59. One-named Irish singer : ENYA
Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!