Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers all have the letters BUM AROUND, i.e. shared between the start and end, and wrapped AROUND the central letters:
- 65A. Wander aimlessly … and a hint to a divided word in the answers to starred clues : BUM AROUND
- 17A. *Half a percussion pair : BONGO DRUM
- 24A. *Fill-in-the-blanks agreement, e.g. : BUSINESS FORM
- 34A. *Cake soaked in alcoholic syrup : BABA AU RHUM</li>
- 44A. *Brand for bubble blowers : BAZOOKA GUM
- 52A. *Security device that may be silent : BURGLAR ALARM
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Rifle range rounds : AMMO
The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.
9. Transitional state : LIMBO
In the Roman Catholic tradition, “Limbo” is a place where souls can remain who cannot enter heaven. For example, infants who have not been baptized are said to reside in Limbo. Limbo is said to be located on the border of Hell. The name was chosen during the Middle Ages from the Latin “limbo” meaning “ornamental border to a fringe”. We use the phrase “in limbo” in contemporary English to mean “in a state of uncertainty”.
15. NYC area above Houston Street : NOHO
NoHo is short for North of Houston (street), and is the equivalent area to SoHo, South of Houston, both of which are in New York City.
16. Hunter constellation : ORION
The very recognizable constellation of Orion is named for the Greek God Orion, the Hunter. If you take a look at the star in Orion’s “right shoulder”, the second brightest star in the constellation, you might notice that it is quite red in color. This is the famous star called Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, a huge star that is on its way out. Betelgeuse is expected to explode into a supernova within the next thousand years or so. You don’t want to miss that …
17. *Half a percussion pair : BONGO DRUM
Bongo drums are Cuban percussion instruments consisting of a pair of drums, one larger than the other, The smaller drum is called the “hembra” (female) and the larger the “macho” (male).
19. “__ bleu!” : SACRE
French speakers don’t really use the profanity “sacré bleu”, at least not anymore, but we see it a lot in English literature featuring native French speakers. Most famously it is uttered by Agatha Christie’s delightful Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. There is some dispute about the origins of “sacré bleu” (sacred blue), but French dictionaries explain that it is a “softening” of the alternative “sacré Dieu” (Holy God).
20. From India, say : ASIAN
The vast Asian country called India takes its name from the Indus River. The name “Indus” in turn comes from the Sanskrit “Sindhu” that can be translated as “a body of trembling water”. India is the second-most populous country in the world (after China), and the most populous democracy.
28. Post-WWII feminine flier : WAF
The program called Women in the Air Force (WAF) started in 1948 with signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948 by President Truman. The WAF program gave women only a limited role in the service, and so ended in 1976 when women were given equal status with men in the USAF.
34. *Cake soaked in alcoholic syrup : BABA AU RHUM
Rum baba (also “baba au rhum” in French) is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Rum baba is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The Polish words “baba” and “babka” mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!
39. Cake pan trademark : BUNDT
Here in the US, what we know as “Bundt cake” takes its name from the ring-shaped pan in which it is usually baked. This pan was introduced in 1950 by the company NordicWare, at which time the “Bundt” name was trademarked.
42. Zilch : NIL
We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.
43. Africa’s Sierra __ : LEONE
The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, lying on the Atlantic Coast. The capital city of Freetown was originally set up as a colony to house the “Black Poor” of London, England. These people were mainly freed British slaves of Caribbean descent who were living a miserable life in the run-down parts of London. Perhaps to help the impoverished souls, perhaps to rid the streets of “a problem”, three ships were chartered in 1787 to transport a group of blacks, with some whites, to a piece of land purchased in Sierra Leone. Those who made the voyage were granted British citizenship and protection. The descendants of these immigrants, and others who made the journey over the next 60 years, make up the ethnic group that’s today called the Sierra Leone Creole.
44. *Brand for bubble blowers : BAZOOKA GUM
The Bazooka brand of bubble gum was introduced by the Topps Company soon after the end of WWII. Bazooka have included comic strips in the wrappers for their gum since the early to mid-fifties. The hero of the strip if Bazooka Joe, a young man who wears an eyepatch.
51. Purported UFO fliers : ETS
One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).
63. Golf analyst Nick : FALDO
Nick Faldo is an English golfer, a winner of six major tournaments and a former World No. 1. For some years now Faldo has been the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports. In 2009 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, so if you’re chatting with him, don’t forget to address him as Sir Nick …
69. Parting words? : OBIT
“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.
70. Actress Hayworth : RITA
Rita Hayworth was born in Brooklyn as Margarita Carmen Cansino. Her father was a flamenco dancer from Spain and so his daughter fell naturally into dancing. The family moved to Hollywood where Hayworth’s father set up a dance studio, and there worked with the likes of James Cagney and Jean Harlow. The young Hayworth had a slow start in movies, finding herself typecast because of her Mediterranean features. When she underwent extensive electrolysis to change her forehead and dyed her hair red, she started to get more work (how sad is that?). In 1941 she posed for that famous pin-up picture which accompanied GIs all over the world.
72. London gallery : TATE
The museum known as “the Tate” is actually made up of four separate galleries in England. The original Tate gallery was founded by Sir Henry Tate as the National Gallery of British Art. It is located on Millbank in London, on the site of the old Millbank Prison, and is now called Tate Britain. There is also the Tate Liverpool in the north of England located in an old warehouse, and the Tate St. Ives in the west country located in an old gas works. My favorite of the Tate galleries is the Tate Modern which lies on the banks of the Thames in London. It’s a beautiful building, a converted power station that you have to see to believe.
1. Actress Jessica : ALBA
Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that she acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. It seems that she has really turned her life around …
3. Salon service with a pedi : MANI
Manicure & pedicure (mani-pedi)
4. Gift __: chattiness : OF GAB
Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by oh so many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been labelled as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.
5. Hoosier St. : IND
The exact origin of the word “hoosier” is unknown, but has been around since at least 1830. The term had no direct linkage with Indiana until John Finley of Richmond, Indiana wrote a poem called “The Hoosier’s Nest” in 1833. A few years later, by 1840, “hoosier” was generally accepted as a term for Indiana residents.
7. Butter-making device : CHURN
Butter churns are devices that convert cream into butter. The churn agitates the cream mechanically, disrupting milk fat. Clumps of disrupted milk fat form larger and larger fat globules. Eventually, the mixture separates into solid butter and liquid buttermilk.
8. Bro : HOMIE
“Homie” is short for “homeboy”, someone from one’s home neighborhood.
10. Gershwin brother : IRA
Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, working with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.
11. Emcee’s need : MICROPHONE
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.
12. Destructive insect : BORER
“Borer” is a name given to various species of insect that bore into the woody parts of plants.
13. Hr. after noon : ONE PM
Our word “noon”, meaning “midday”, comes from the Latin “nona hora” that translates as “ninth hour”. Back in Ancient Rome, the “ninth hour” was three in the afternoon. Over the centuries, traditions such as church prayers and “midday” meals shifted from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m., and so “noon” became understood as 12 noon.
22. Mount of Greek myth : OSSA
Mount Ossa in Greece is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.
26. “Brusha, brusha, brusha” toothpaste : IPANA
Ipana toothpaste was introduced in 1915 and was at the height of its popularity in the forties and fifties. Sales declined in the sixties and the product was withdrawn from the US market in the seventies. Bucky the Beaver was the “spokesman” for Ipana. Bucky the Beaver’s slogan was “Brusha… Brusha… Brusha. Get the New Ipana – it’s dandy for your teeth!” Bucky’s nemesis in commercials was Mr. Decay Germ.
28. Jack of “Dragnet” : WEBB
Jack Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday on “Dragnet” on both TV and radio … and what a voice he had! Off the screen, Webb was a lover of jazz, and he played the cornet. It was within the world of jazz that he met and fell in love with Julie London, the famous singer with “the smoky voice”. The couple married and had two kids together.
30. Full last name of a “Happy Days” cool dude : FONZARELLI
Fonzie is a character in the sitcom “Happy Days” that was originally aired from 1974 to 1984. The Fonz (aka Arthur Fonzarelli) was written as a secondary character, but eventually took over the show. Fonzie is played by Henry Winkler.
35. Gargantuan : BIG
Our term “gargantuan” meaning “enormous” comes from a series of five novels titled “The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel” written in the 1500s by François Rabelais. Gargantua and Pantagruel are two giants in the tale, a father and a son.
38. Citi Field team : 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.
41. Figure skating jumps : TOE LOOPS
A toe loop is a relatively simple jump in figure skating (not that I could do one!). In a toe loop, the skater uses the toe pick on the skate to lift off on a backward outside edge, landing on the same backward outside edge.
45. Nine-time U.S. skating champ Michelle : KWAN
Michelle Kwan is perhaps the most successful American figure skater in history. As well as being an Olympic medalist twice, World champion five times, Kwan was US champion a record nine times.
46. Extinct emu-like bird : MOA
Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand that are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which had the knock-on effect of killing off the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man. Moas were huge creatures, measuring up to 12 feet tall with their necks stretched upwards.
50. Uncle Remus rabbit’s title : BR’ER
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.
53. TWA competitor : USAIR
From 1953, what we recently referred to as US Airways was called Allegheny Airlines. In the seventies, customers became very dissatisfied with the company’s service levels as it struggled to manage a rapid expansion in its number of flights. These problems earned the airline the nickname “Agony Air”. Allegheny tried to leave the “agony” behind in 1979 and changed its name to USAir. In 1997 the name was changed again, to US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the “US Airways” brand name was gradually replaced with “American Airlines”.
54. Many a modern assembly-line 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”.
55. Caribbean resort isle : ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
56. New Zealand settler : MAORI
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities. The Māori refer to New Zealand as “Aotearoa”.
61. Sinus docs : ENTS
Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)
In anatomical terms a sinus is a cavity in tissue. Sinuses are found all over the body, in the kidney and heart for example, but we most commonly think of the paranasal sinuses that surround the nose.
62. WWII turning point : D-DAY
The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term “D-Day” is used by the military to designate the day on which a combat operations are to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that D just stands for “Day”. In fact, the French have a similar term, “Jour J” (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.
66. Cambridge univ. : MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.