Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers comprising two words starting with the letters A and T:
- 56A. Best place to be, slangily … and, when divided in four parts, what the answers to starred clues are? : WHERE IT’S AT or WHERE IT’S A T
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Part of AAA: Abbr. : ASSN
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.
5. Utopian sites : EDENS
The word “Utopia” was coined by Sir Thomas More for his book “Utopia” published in 1516 describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More’s use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek “ou” meaning “not” and “topos” meaning “place”. By calling his perfect island “Not Place”, More was apparently making the point that he didn’t think that the ideal could actually exist.
14. Round caramel candy : ROLO
Rolo was a hugely popular chocolate candy in Ireland when I was growing up. Rolo was introduced in the thirties in the UK, and is produced under license in the US by Hershey. I was a little disappointed when I had my first taste of the American version as the center is very hard and chewy. The recipe used on the other side of the Atlantic calls for a soft gooey center.
15. Get Mad again? : RENEW
“Mad” magazine has been around since 1952, although back then it was more of a comic book than a magazine. The original founder and editor was Harvey Kurtzman and in order to convince him to stay, the publisher changed the format to a magazine in 1955. That’s when the publication really took off in terms of popularity.
16. Like some Chardonnay : OAKY
The Chardonnay grape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France. Now it’s grown “everywhere”. Drinkers of California “Chards” seem to be particularly fond of “oak” flavor, so most Chardonnay wines are aged in oak barrels.
17. Kingdom given to Esau : EDOM
Edom is an ancient Iron Age kingdom located in the south of modern-day Jordan. The area is known for its red-colored sandstone, which gave the kingdom its name. According to the Bible, the Edomites were the descendants of Esau. “Edom” translates from Hebrew as “red”, and was the name given to Esau when he ate the “red pottage”.
18. *Lighthouse landmark in Honolulu : ALOHA TOWER
Aloha Tower is a lighthouse that sits at Pier 9 in Honolulu Harbor. Aloha Tower was the tallest structure in Hawaii for many years, standing at 10 stories with a 40 foot flag mast on top.
20. “E,” on dashboards : NO GAS
Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …
29. Madame, in Tijuana : SENORA
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.
35. One-named body-image advocate : EMME
Emme is the highest paid plus-size model in the world. Emme’s real name is Melissa Aronson. She was born in New York City, and raised in Saudi Arabia.
36. *Capital that’s home to Lady Bird Lake : AUSTIN, TEXAS
Austin is the capital of the state of Texas. When the area was chosen to be the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was known as Waterloo. The name was changed in honor of Stephen F. Austin, a native of Virginia who was raised in Missouri and led the first successful colonization of Texas.
Lady Bird Lake is reservoir located in Austin, Texas. Although named a lake, this particular reservoir is lengthy and resembles a river. It was formed in 1960 when Longhorn Dam was constructed across the Colorado River, and at that time was named Town Lake. It was renamed in honor of Lady Bird Johnson in 2007, a few weeks after the former First Lady passed away.
41. Pic next to a screen name : AVATAR
The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of “online presences” one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.
42. Bombardment : BARRAGE
In its original sense, the word “barrage” described the act of barring, of creating a barrier. In WWI, the French coined the phrase “tir de barrage” meaning “barrier fire”, artillery and mortar fire that was intended to isolate and objective. It was from the this sense that we now use the term “barrage” to describe a massive delivery of gunfire, or figuratively, a concentrated outpouring of speech or writing.
49. What Bo Peep lost : SHEEP
The lines that are most commonly quoted for the rhyme about “Little Bo Peep” are:
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.
But, there are actually four more verses, including this one:
It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.
52. St. Francis’ birthplace : ASSISI
The Italian town of Assisi is in Umbria. Assisi is famous as the birthplace of St. Francis and as the home to the Franciscan religious order. It was also the home to Saint Clare and her order of the Poor Sisters (later known as the Poor Clares).
St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228. Construction of the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi started immediately after the canonization, and finished 25 years later. The Basilica is now a United Nations World Heritage Site.
55. Burst of gunshots : SALVO
A salvo is a simultaneous discharge of guns. Ironically, “salvo” comes from the Latin “salve” meaning “be in good health”. Salvo was originally the name given to the firing of guns in the air as a sign of respect or greeting for an important visitor. Good health!
63. “How __ Your Mother” : I MET
“How I Met Your Mother” is a sitcom that CBS has been airing since 2005. The main character is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor. Mosby is also the narrator for the show looking back from the year 2030 (the live action is set in the present). As narrator, the older Mosby character is voiced by Bob Saget.
3. “I’m Lovin’ It” or “Just Do It,” e.g. : SLOGAN
“I’m lovin’ it” is a slogan used by McDonald’s.
The Nike slogan “Just Do It” was created in an advertising meeting in 1988. Apparently the phrase was inspired by the last words of famed criminal Gary Gilmore. Gilmore faced execution by the state of Utah in 1977 and when asked if he had any last words he simply replied, “Let’s do it”. A few minutes later, Gilmore was executed by a firing squad.
4. Dieter’s sandwich spec : NO MAYO
Mayonnaise originated in the town of Mahon in Menorca, a Mediterranean island belonging to Spain. The Spanish called the sauce “salsa mahonesa” after the town, and this morphed into the French word “mayonnaise” that we use in English today.
6. Triangular river formation : DELTA
A river delta is a triangular landform at the mouth of a river created by the deposition of sediment. The most famous “delta” in the United States isn’t actually a delta at all. The Mississippi Delta is an alluvial plain that lies 300 miles north of the river’s actual delta, which is known as the Mississippi River Delta. Very confusing …
8. Grape soda brand : NEHI
Nehi Corporation was the nickname for the Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works that introduced the Nehi drink in 1924. Years later the company developed a new brand, Royal Crown Cola (also known as RC Cola). By 1955, RC Cola was the company’s flagship product, so the “Nehi Corporation” became the “Royal Crown Company”. In 1954, RC Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in cans.
12. Eisenhower’s nickname : IKE
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.
13. Norse god of war : TYR
Týr is the Norse god of single combat, victory and heroic glory. According to legend, Týr showed great courage when he and his fellow gods were attempting to shackle the wolf monster called Fenrir. The wolf was tricked into accepting bindings that were actually magical ribbons of great strength. Fenrir submitted to the bonds because Týr agreed to place his hand in the wolf’s mouth, as a gesture of assurance that the ribbon was harmless. When Fenrir recognized the deceit, he bit off Týr’s hand. As a result, the god Týr is almost always depicted with only one hand.
21. Houston baseballers, briefly : ‘STROS
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.
26. Beaver creations : DAMS
Beavers build dams so that they can live in and around the slower and deeper water that builds up above the dam. This deeper water provides more protection for the beavers from predators such as bears. Beavers are nocturnal animals and do all their construction work at night.
27. Workout spot : GYM
Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed.
31. Feature of Vegas “bandits” : ONE ARM
Slot machines earned the nickname “one-armed bandits” simply because they had “one arm”, the handle pulled to operate the machine. Well, they also rob your money!
34. Santa __, California : ANA
Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.
36. Suffix with billion : -AIRE
Numbers were another thing that caused me problems when I moved to the US. Where I come from, a thousand million is just that, a thousand million, whereas in the US that’s a billion. All the names for numbers bigger than a US billion are different than in Europe. What’s called a quintillion here (a million x a trillion US) we just call a trillion.
38. Dental exam pictures : X-RAYS
X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901 Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded, recognition for his work on X-rays.
39. Atlanta-based cable channel : TBS
The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with TBS standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.
45. Roma is its capital : ITALIA
In Italian, “Roma” (Rome) is the “capitale” (capital) of “Italia” (Italy).
46. Hanging deli meat : SALAMI
“Salame” (note the letter E at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for as long as ten years. The name “salame” comes from “sale”, the Italian word for salt, and “-ame”, a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word “salami” is actually the Italian plural for “salame”.
48. Hybrid garments : SKORTS
The garment called a “skort” is a hybrid between shorts and a skirt.
51. Gaucho’s rope : RIATA
A riata is a lariat or a lasso. “Riata” comes from “reata”, the Spanish word for lasso.
A gaucho is someone who lives in the South American pampas, the fertile lowlands in the southeast of South America. The term “gaucho” is also used as the equivalent of our “cowboy”.
56. 1914-’18 conflict, briefly : WWI
World War I (WWI) began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. Over 9 million military personnel died in WWI, and over 7 million civilians. World War II started in 1 September 1939 and ended on 2 September 1945. Over 24 million military personnel died in WWII, and over 49 million civilians.
57. Ad __ committee : 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.
58. Mother of Cain and Abel : EVE
According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.