Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a well-known phrase, but each is clued with reference to a phobia:
- 17A. Not a fearful place for acrophobia sufferers : BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
- 36A. Not a fearful fund for agoraphobia sufferers : MONEY MARKET
- 45A. Not a fearful Camus work for xenophobia sufferers : THE STRANGER
- 65A. Not a fearful roadster for arachnophobia sufferers : ALFA ROMEO SPIDER
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Early sitcom co-star Arnaz : DESI
Desi Arnaz was famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.
5. It’s over a foot : SHIN
The tibia is the shin bone, the larger of the two bones right below the knee. The tibia is the strongest weight-bearing bone in the human body. “Tibia” is the Roman name for a Greek flute and it is thought that the shin bone was given the same name because flutes were often fashioned out of the shin bones of animals.
9. Zagreb native : CROAT
Zagreb is the capital city of the European Republic of Croatia. Zagreb has been around a long, long time, and dates back to the diocese of Zagreb that was founded at the end of 11th century.
15. Madre’s boy : NINO
In Spanish, a “madre” (mother) might have a “niño” (boy).
16. Toy in many “Peanuts” panels : PIANO
Schroeder is a favorite character of mine in the comic strip “Peanuts”. He is young boy who constantly plays on a toy piano, especially pieces by Beethoven. Schroeder is also the subject of an extreme infatuation by young Lucy van Pelt, who often leans on his piano and looks at him adoringly as he plays.
17. Not a fearful place for acrophobia sufferers : BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
The part of the borough of Brooklyn known as Brooklyn Heights was the first commuter town for New York, blossoming when the a steam ferry service started to run between the Heights and Wall Street in the early 19th-century.
Our prefix “acro-” comes from the Greek “akros” meaning “at the top”. Examples are “acrophobia” (fear of heights) and “Acropolis” (“city at the top”).
20. Casino lineup : SLOTS
The “casino” originated in the 1700s, first describing a public room for music or dancing. The name “casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.
29. 401(k) alternative, briefly : IRA
A 401(k) account is similar to an IRA in that contributions can be made from a paycheck prior to the deduction of income taxes. Additionally, contributions can be fully or partially matched by an employer.
36. Not a fearful fund for agoraphobia sufferers : MONEY MARKET
A money market fund is a mutual fund, one that invests in relatively safe vehicles such a US Treasury bills. The first US money market fund was established in 1971. Money markets usually aim to provide a stable value of $1 per share, with a very modest payout of dividends to investors.
In early Greece the “agora” was a place of assembly. Often the assemblies held there were quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a market place. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.
39. Folk rocker DiFranco : ANI
Ani DiFranco is a folk-rock singer and songwriter. DiFranco has also been labeled a “feminist icon”, and in 2006 won the “Woman of Courage Award” from National Organization of Women.
41. Showy Japanese school : 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.
45. Not a fearful Camus work for xenophobia sufferers : THE STRANGER
“The Stranger” was Albert Camus’ first novel, and it is probably his most famous. The original title in French is “L’Étranger”, which can indeed be translated as “The Stranger”. However, the book is usually called “The Outsider” when translated into English, as this alternative meaning of “L’Étranger” better reflects the novel’s theme.
48. Name on the 1967 album “I Was Made to Love Her” : STEVIE
The great musician Stevie Wonder signed up with Motown Records when he was just 11-years-old. He has been remarkably loyal to the label and is still recording with Motown some 50 years later. The level of Stevie Wonder’s success is illustrated by his 22 Grammy Awards, the most Grammys awarded to a male solo artist. Wonder was born 6 weeks prematurely, and incomplete development of blood vessels in his eyes caused the retinas to detach leaving him blind soon after birth. His mother, Lula Mae Hardaway, co-wrote many of Stevie’s songs when he was a teenager, including “I Was Made to Love Her”, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “I Don’t Know Why I Love You”.
50. Pilot’s stat : ETA
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
51. Ward of “Sisters” : SELA
The actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. Ward played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast …
52. City with ferry service to Copenhagen : OSLO
Oslo is the capital of Norway. The city of Oslo burns trash to fuel half of its buildings, including all of its schools. The problem faced by the city is that it doesn’t generate enough trash. So, Oslo imports trash from Sweden, England and Ireland, and is now looking to import some American trash too.
Copenhagen is the largest city and the capital of Denmark. I have never visited Copenhagen, but I hear it is a wonderful metropolis with a marvelous quality of life. The city is also very environmentally friendly, with over a third of its population commuting to work by bicycle.
54. Damon of “Interstellar” : MATT
“Interstellar” is a sci-fi film released in 2014 with a “stellar” cast including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon and Michael Caine. I found “Interstellar” to be a really engaging movie, one that grabbed my attention the whole way through. That said, the ending was a little bit disappointing. I’m not one for walking out of theaters with unanswered questions …
56. Fix, as a pet : SPAY
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.
62. Ragu rival : PREGO
The Prego brand of pasta sauce is owned by the Campbell Soup Company. It is actually based on the family recipe of one of the company’s chefs. “Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it translates in English best as “you’re welcome” when it is used after a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).
The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …
65. Not a fearful roadster for arachnophobia sufferers : ALFA ROMEO SPIDER
The Spider is a roadster that was manufactured by the Italian auto company, Alfa Romeo. It was in production from 1966 to 1993, and is considered a design classic.
The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.
“Arachnophobia” is the fear of spiders, scorpions and other arachnids. The term comes from the Greek “arachne” meaning “spider” and “phobos” meaning “fear”.
68. Prolonged assault : SIEGE
Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.
73. Actor Byrnes and announcer Hall : EDDS
I well remember actor Edd Byrnes playing “Kookie” in the detective show “77 Sunset Strip” in the early sixties. Byrne’s role in the pilot episode was a contract killer, but audience response to his persona was so positive that the producers wrote in the character “Kookie” as a lead. Byrnes’ other famous role was on the big screen, playing dance-show host Vince Fontaine in 1978’s “Grease”.
1. Cotillion attendees : DEBS
“Cotillion” is an American term that we’ve been using since about 1900 for a formal ball. In France a cotillion was a type of dance, with the term deriving from an Old French word for a petticoat. I guess the cotillion dance was one in which the lady would flash her petticoats as she did a twirl!
2. Banjoist Scruggs : EARL
Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt are the musicians who founded the bluegrass band called the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948.
4. Elemental forms used in carbon dating : ISOTOPES
An isotope is a variant of an element. All isotopes of an element have the same number of protons and electrons, but not the same number of neutrons. This means that isotopes of an element have differing atomic weights.
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon that is found in nature in small amounts Carbon-14 is used in the technique known as radiocarbon dating, a relatively accurate way of determining the age of something up to about 60,000 years old. When an organism is alive, the amount of radioactive carbon-14 it has compared to the amount of regular carbon-12, is a fixed ratio. After the organism dies, it is no longer exchanging carbon with the atmosphere through metabolism. So, the stable carbon-12 stays in the body as it rots but the radioactive carbon-14 gradually decays, causing the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 to fall. Scientists can determine the age of remains by measuring this carbon-14/carbon-12 ratio.
5. NBC weekend skit show : SNL
“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)
9. Key econ. indicator : CPI
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures changes in the price of services and goods purchased by households. The United States CPI fell in 2009, for the first time since 1955. That’s how bad the 2009 recession was …
10. Subjects of the first 10 Amendments : RIGHTS
The Constitution of the United States was adopted on September 17, 1787. There have been 27 amendments to the constitution, the first ten of which are collectively called the Bill of Rights. In essence the Bill of Rights limits the power of the Federal Government and protects the rights of individuals. For example, the First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
11. Iolani Palace island : OAHU
The ‘Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is unique within this country. It is the only royal palace in the US that was used as an official residence by a reigning monarch. The Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in 1893 so the palace was used by successive governments even after Hawaii was awarded statehood in 1959. The palace has been a public museum since 1978.
12. Kitty starter : ANTE
The “pot” in a card game has been referred to as the kitty since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it came from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.
18. Sch. near Topeka : KSU
Kansas State University (KSU) was founded as the Kansas State Agricultural College in 1863 during the Civil War. The main KSU campus is located in the city of Manhattan, fifty-six miles northwest of Topeka, Kansas.
19. TurboTax option : E-FILE
TurboTax is a software- and online-based income tax preparation service. It’s what I’ve used since I retired, and I have no complaints …
27. Future MBAs’ exams : GMATS
If you want to get into a business school’s graduate program then you might have to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), which will cost you about $250, I believe …
28. High-tech worker : ROBOT
Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.
30. Golf bunker tool : RAKE
Sand traps on a golf course are referred to as “bunkers” on the other side of the Atlantic.
35. Pageant headpiece : TIARA
The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.
37. Elusive Himalayans : YETIS
The yeti is a beast of legend, also called the abominable snowman. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.
38. “Batman” actress Eartha : KITT
Eartha Kitt really did have a unique voice and singing style. Her rendition of “Santa Baby” has to be one of the most distinctive and memorable recordings in the popular repertoire. Some of you will no doubt remember Eartha playing Catwoman on the final series of the 1960s TV show “Batman”.
46. Word of greeting : HELLO
Before the 1880s, the most popular greet in English was “hallo” or “hullo”. The use of “hello” became popular along with proliferation of telephones. When the telephone was invented, Alexander Graham Bell suggested that the greeting “Ahoy” be used when answering. Thomas Edison preferred “Hello”, which won out. By the end of the 1880s, telephone operators were being referred to as “hello-girls”.
47. Aries symbol : RAM
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.
55. Droid download : APP
The Droid is a smartphone from Motorola that runs on Google’s Android operating system.
57. Ballet class bend : PLIE
The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.
60. Main squeeze : BEAU
Back in the late 1800s, a “main squeeze” was the “most important person”. It wasn’t until almost a century later the one’s main squeeze was one’s sweetheart.
63. Fix, as a horse : GELD
“To geld” is to castrate a male animal. “Geld” comes from the Old Norse word “gelda” meaning “castrate”.
66. Chinese lantern color : RED
Although Chinese paper lanterns can come in various colors, red is most common. Red represents fire, and symbolizes good fortune and joy.