Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s THREE themed answers all have the same clue, namely “RING”, although that “RING” is represented by the letter O in the puzzle:
- 56A…Site of confused activity, and a hint to 20-, 32- and 43-Across..THREE-RING CIRCUS
- 20A…O..CRIMINAL NETWORK
- 32A…O..BOXING VENUE
- 43A…O..WEDDING BAND
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…”I Love Lucy” airer..CBS
Lucille Ball was at the height of her success while she was married to Desi Arnaz. The couple met in 1940 and not long afterwards eloped. Lucy had several miscarriages before she gave birth to her first child in 1951, just one month before her fortieth birthday. A year and a half later, while “I Love Lucy” was garnering large audiences, she became pregnant with her second child, a pregnancy that was written into the television show’s script. In fact, the day that Lucy gave birth on the show, was the same day that she gave birth in real life.
9…”I Love Lucy” role..ETHEL
In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz played Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends were also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertz’s were played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.
The Huns were a nomadic people who originated in Eastern Europe in the 4th century. Under the command of Attila the Hun they developed a unified empire that stretched from modern-day Germany across to the steppes of Central Asia. The whole of the Hunnic Empire collapsed within a year of Attila’s death in 453 AD.
The Caucasus is a geographic region lying between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea on the European-Asian border. The region is home to the Mount Elbrus in the Caucasian Mountains, which is the highest peak in the whole of Europe.
Arena Football is played indoors, on a smaller field than American (and Canadian) football. The sport was invented in 1981, and the Arena Football League (AFL) was around from 1987 till 2008. There’s a new AFL in business now, which started playing games in 2010.
17…Detergent in a red container..ERA
Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.
18…Kind of curl..BICEP
The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.
“To miff” is “to put out, to tee off”, a word that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That would get him a slap, I’d say …
23…Inca __: Peruvian soft drink..KOLA
Inca Kola is a soft drink from Peru that was introduced in 1935. The soda’s main flavoring ingredient is lemon verbena, and it is said to taste like bubblegum.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.
25…Meet at the poker table..SEE
I’ll see your bet and raise you …
26…Twitter follower, usually..FAN
I have never tweeted in my life, and have no plans to do so (but one should never say “never”). Twitter is a microblogging service that limits any post sent to just 140 characters. In a sense, it is similar to this blog. Here I send out a post once a day containing information that I think might be useful to folks (thank you for reading!). I don’t think I could send out much of interest using just 140 characters.
28…Horseshoe-shaped boat part..OARLOCK
Oarlock are swivelling braces on the sides of a rowing boat that hold the oars as the boat is being propelled. Back in Ireland, we call them “rowlocks” (pronounced “rollox”).
37…Garden pond fish..KOI
Koi are also called Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.
A shooting star is what we call the visible path of a meteoroid as is it enters the earth’s atmosphere. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground, we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.
40…Ancient Greek physician..GALEN
Galen of Pergamum was a physician of Ancient Rome (of Greek ethnicity). He mainly worked on monkeys, dissecting their bodies to learn about physiology as it was not permitted to dissect human bodies in his day.
I used to walk my dog right past author Len Deighton’s house years ago, as we lived in the same village in Ireland (probably my only claim to fame!). Deighton wrote the excellent espionage thriller “The IPCRESS File”, made into a 1965 movie starring Michael Caine.
46…Angles for iron users..DOGLEGS
That would be in golf.
48…Course for newcomers: Abbr…ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
49…”… __ the set of sun”: “Macbeth”..ERE
“That will be ere the set of sun” is a line from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, a line that is spoken by one of the three witches.
The “Saw” franchise of movies is gruesome in the extreme. I’ve only seen a few minutes of “Saw” footage (accidentally). The stories are about imprisoned victims who are faced with having to mutilate themselves to escape. Ugh …
63…”Rumour __ It”: 2011 Adele hit..HAS
Adele is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. More recently, her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.
Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is the name given to any work done by an astronaut outside of his or her spacecraft. The term would encompass walking on the moon, as well as making a space walk i.e. floating around in space tethered to spacecraft.
The Abyssinian is a popular short-haired breed of domestic cat. The name “Abyssinian” would seem to indicate that the breed originated in Ethiopia (formerly “Abyssinia”), but most stories suggest that the Abyssinian comes from Egypt.
69…”L.A. Law” actress..DEY
The actress Susan Dey first appeared on “The Partridge Family” when she was 17-years-old when she had no acting experience. Years later, Dey won a Golden Globe for playing the leading role of Grace Van Owen in “L. A. Law”.
2…Grand Canyon animal..BURRO
Our word “burro” meaning donkey comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, namely “burrico”.
The wild donkey that we know as a burro was introduced into the Grand Canyon in the late 1800s, where they used the animal to help pack out mined copper, asbestos and lead. When the miners moved on, they left the burros to roam free. Feral burros essentially overran the Grand Canyon in subsequent years, leading to the forced removal of 500 of them in the early eighties by the National Park Service. Burros wreak havoc on the canyon’s ecosystem, and in particular compete with native bighorn sheep. The bighorn sheep population has rebounded since the number of wild donkeys has dropped.
4…View from the Qilian Mountains..GOBI
The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”.
The Qilian Mountains are located in China, with the name “Qilian” translating as “Southern”. The mountains used to be called the Richtofen Range by European, named for explorer and geologist Ferdinand von Richthofen. Ferdinand was an uncle of WWI flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, aka the Red Baron.
6…Muppet in a can..OSCAR
Oscar the Grouch is the Muppet that lives in a garbage can. Oscar’s persona comes from various sources. He is named after Oscar Brand who was one of the board members of the Children’s Television Workshop, the backers for “Sesame Street” as the Muppets were being developed in the sixties. Oscar’s personality was inspired by an angry waiter that once served Jim Henson (father of the Muppets). The voice was modeled on a grumpy New York cab driver encountered one day by Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brings Oscar to life.
8…”Outside the Lines” airer..ESPN
“Outside the Lines” (OTL) is an ESPN show that has aired since 1990.
9…Hidden DVD features..EASTER EGGS
In a film, book, computer program (or even a crossword!), an “Easter egg” is a hidden message or inside joke that is left intentionally during production. The term “Easter egg” is used for such a device as it evokes the idea of an Easter egg hunt. You can check out thousands of such Easter eggs at www.eeggs.com.
“Hero” is another name for a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.
12…U.S. dept. with a windmill on its seal..ENER
The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.
Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).
28…R.E.M.’s “The __ Love”..ONE I
“The One I Love” is a song released in 1987 by the rock band R.E.M. The lyrics are somewhat cynical. The song starts out with “This one goes out to the one I love”, but then the second line is less wholesome, “A simple prop to occupy my time” …
29…St. with a panhandle..OKLA
The state of Oklahoma takes its name from the Choctaw words “okla humma” meaning “red people”.
“Fargo” is one of my favorite films of all time, and stars perhaps my favorite actress, Frances McDormand. “Fargo” was directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Frances McDormand is Joel’s wife.
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. A French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine in 1869, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”. The name “oleomargarine” also gives us our generic term “oleo”.
34…Word seen under a deer silhouette..XING
Deer Crossing (Xing)
35…YouTube clips, for short..VIDS
YouTube is a video-sharing website, launched in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Yep, $1.65 billion, less than two years after it was founded …
36…RR schedule listing..ETD
Estimated time of departure (ETD)
44…Hungarian wine region..EGER
Eger is a city in the northeast of Hungary that is noted for its thermal baths and for its wine production. Back in Ireland, I would quite often drink “Bull’s Blood”, Hungary’s most famous red wine, which comes from the Eger wine region.
45…Widely criticized 1985 product introduction..NEW COKE
When “new Coke” was introduced in 1985, the market reacted very, very badly. The public reaction was so negative that the Coca-Cola company quickly reintroduced its “Coca Cola Classic” line. Ironically, the whole debacle resulted in Coke actually gaining market share when the “old coke” returned to supermarket shelves.
55…SAT part that’s judged..ESSAY
Today the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the acronym SAT.
56…Wielder of Mjölnir..THOR
Mjölnir is the name of the hammer associated with the Norse god Thor. The name “Mjölnir” translates as “crusher”.
There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970, with the resulting treaty signed by President Richard Nixon and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972.
An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with the range necessary to cross between continents. Being ballistic (unlike a cruise missile), an ICBM is guided during the initial launch phase, but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity to arrive at its target. It is defined as intercontinental as it has a range greater than 3,500 miles. ICBMs are really only used for delivering nuclear warheads. Scary stuff …