Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers include the letters of the word “STORY” BROKEN, with part at the start of the answer and part at the end:
- 56A. Reporter’s delivery … and what 20-, 34- and 41-Across are literally doing? : BREAKING STORY
- 20A. Come out on top : SCORE A VICTORY
- 34A. Retail showcase : STORE DISPLAY
- 41A. Particle physics concept : STRING THEORY
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Sporty British cars, for short : JAGS
Auto manufacturer Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).
8. Reef material : CORAL
Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.
14. Shaped like an avocado : OVAL
The wonderful avocado comes from a tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. The avocado fruit is sometime called an avocado pear, because of its shape, even though it is not related to the pear at all. The fruit might also be referred to as an alligator pear, due to the roughness of the green skin of some avocado cultivars.
17. Fey with many Emmys : TINA
Comic actress Tina Fey has a scar on her face a few inches long on her left cheek, which I was shocked to learn was caused by a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old and playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How despicable!
18. Baltic port : RIGA
Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
19. “Unbroken” director Angelina : JOLIE
Angelina Jolie is a remarkably successful Hollywood actress from Los Angeles, California. Jolie has acting in her blood as her father is actor Jon Voight. Her godparents are actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. Jolie’s first marriage was to British actor Jonny Lee Miller, who plays Sherlock Holmes on the TV show “Elementary”. Her second marriage was to actor Billy Bob Thornton, and the third to actor Brad Pitt.
“Unbroken” is a 2010 biography of WWII hero and US olympic athlete Louis Zamperini. The book was written by Laura Hillenbrand, who also topped the bestseller lists with her 2001 title “Seabiscuit”. “Unbroken” was adapted into a 2014 film of the same name that was directed by Angelina Jolie.
25. “NewsHour” channel : PBS
“NewsHour” is the evening news program broadcast daily by PBS. The show started out as “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report” in 1975, and transitioned into the hour-long program “The NewsHour” in 1983. That transition made “NewsHour” the nation’s first hour=long nightly news broadcast.
28. Novelist Rita __ Brown : MAE
Rita Mae Brown is an American author who is best known for her 1973 novel “Rubyfruit Jungle”.
39. Area for critical patients, briefly : ICU
Many a hospital (hosp.) includes an intensive care unit (ICU).
40. Diamond great Sandberg : RYNE
Ryne “Ryno” Sandberg is a former second baseman who played most of his career for the Chicago Cubs. Sandberg holds the major league fielding percentage record at second base.
41. Particle physics concept : STRING THEORY
There has always been a conflict between the theory of relativity and quantum theory. Basically, the theory of relativity works for “big stuff” but breaks down when applied to minute things like subatomic particles. On the other hand, quantum theory was developed to explain behavior at the subatomic level, and just doesn’t work on the larger scale. One of the reasons physicists are so excited about string theory is that it works at both the macro and micro levels. According to string theory, all particles in the universe are really little “strings”, as opposed to the points or ball-shaped entities assumed by the other theories.
46. Pub quiz fodder : TRIVIA
Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …
47. Red Muppet who refers to himself in the third person : ELMO
The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.
48. Bit of toy “ammo” : CAP
Cap guns are toy guns that use as ammunition a small quantity of explosive that is shock-sensitive. The small disks of ammunition come as individual pellets or perhaps in plastic rings. The cap guns that I used as a child came with about 50 pellets of ammunition on a roll of paper. As a kid, I used to think that cap guns were so cool. Now, not so much …
60. Humdinger : BEAUT
A humdinger or a pip is someone or something outstanding. “Humdinger” is American slang dating back to the early 1900s, and was originally used to describe a particularly attractive woman.
62. Kitchenware brand : EKCO
The EKCO name dates back to 1888 when Edward Katzinger founded his company in Chicago, to make baking pans. The acronym EKCO stands for “Edward Katzinger Co”.
63. Blueprint detail : SPEC
Blueprints are reproductions of technical or architectural drawings that are contact prints made on light-sensitive sheets. Blueprints were introduced in the 1800s and the technology available dictated that the drawings were reproduced with white lines on a blue background, hence the name “blue-print”.
69. Art Deco luminary : ERTE
“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.
1. Goods thrown overboard : JETSAM
“Flotsam” and “jetsam” are both terms used to describe garbage in the ocean. Flotsam is floating wreckage from a ship or its cargo. Jetsam is similar to flotsam, except that it is part of a ship or cargo that is deliberately cast overboard, perhaps to lighten a vessel.
2. “Girl on Fire” singer Keys : ALICIA
Alicia Keys is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.
3. Biological mapping subject : GENOME
The genome is all the hereditary information needed to reproduce an organism, in other words, all of its chromosomes. When scientists unravel the human genome it takes up an awful lot of computer storage space, and yet all of this information is in almost every cell in our bodies. Each and every cell “knows” how to make a whole human being.
5. Fictional captain Hornblower : HORATIO
The “Horatio Hornblower” series of novels were written by English author C. S. Forester. Hornblower is an officer in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.
6. Tel __, Israel : AVIV
The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.
7. Christmas trio : MAGI
“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, magi is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born.
9. Air Wick target : ODOR
The first Air Wick air freshener was introduced in the United States, in 1943.
11. D-backs, on scoreboards : ARI
The Arizona Diamondbacks joined Major League Baseball’s National League in 1998. By winning the World Series in 2001, the Diamondbacks became the fastest expansion team to do so in Major League history.
12. Jack Reacher creator __ Child : LEE
Lee Child is the pen name of British thriller writer Jim Grant. The hero of Child’s stories is an American ex-military policeman called Jack Reacher. The novel “One Shot” was adapted for the big screen as “Jack Reacher”, which was released in 2012 with Tom Cruise in the title role.
15. Doily fabric : LACE
There was a draper in London in the seventeenth century called Doiley, and he gave his name to the lace fabric that he sold, which in turn gave its name to the ornamental mat that we call a “doily”. I can’t stand doilies …
21. __ Los Angeles : EAST
East Los Angeles (usually “East LA”) is the most populous “census-designated place” in California, and is home to over 125,000 people.
22. Actress Polo : TERI
Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.
27. Eye problem : STYE
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
31. Anne of “Wag the Dog” : HECHE
My favorite movie starring the actress Anne Heche is “Six Days Seven Nights”, a romantic comedy in which she plays opposite Harrison Ford. Heche is noted for her difficult private life. She wrote that her father had molested her as a child and gave her a sexually transmitted disease (he later revealed that he was homosexual, and died of AIDS). Heche dated comedian Steve Martin for two years, and then lived with comedian Ellen DeGeneres for three. Soon after breaking up with DeGeneres, she started exhibiting eccentric behavior for a while, claiming that she was the daughter of God, and that she would take everyone back to heaven in her spaceship. Happily, I think things have calmed down for her in recent years.
The 1997 movie “Wag the Dog” is a black comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. It tells the story of a fake war that is manufactured by a Washington spin doctor in order to distract the American electorate. It is based on the novel “American Hero” by Larry Beinhart. In the movie the war is fictitious and the president goes unnamed. In the novel, Beinhart uses Desert Storm as the war in his storyline, and George H. W. Bush as the President.
34. Improvised blade : SHIV
“Shiv” is a slang term for a weapon crudely fashioned to resemble a knife. Mostly we hear of shivs that have been fashioned by prison inmates to do harm to others.
37. Gillette brand : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.
38. Pegboard game : CRIBBAGE
Cribbage is a great card game that originated in 17th-century England, a creation of the poet Sir John Suckling. One of the unique features of the game is that a cribbage board with pegs is used to keep score. Here in the US, cribbage is very much associated with the submarine service, as it is a favorite game of submariners of all ranks.
43. Mother Earth, in Greek mythology : GAEA
The Greek goddess personifying the earth was Gaea (meaning “land” or “earth” in Greek). The Roman equivalent goddess was Terra Mater, “Mother Earth”.
48. Writer for whose father the National Baseball Hall of Fame city was named : COOPER
Cooperstown is a village in New York that is famous as the home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The village was named for Judge William Cooper, Cooperstown’s founder, and the father of the noted writer James Fenimore Cooper.
50. Freudian analyst’s concern : PSYCHE
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, and founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry. One of Freud’s tenets was that our dreams are a necessary part of sleep as they prevent the dreamer from awakening due to desire for unfulfilled wishes. The dream’s content represents those unfulfilled wishes and satisfies the desire.
58. Furniture chain popular in dorms : IKEA
The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.
59. Sweet Sixteen org. : NCAA
In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:
- The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
- The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
- The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)
61. Suffix with ethyl : -ENE
Ethylene (also called “ethene”) has a gazillion uses, including as an anesthetic and an aid to hastening the ripening of fruit. Ethylene’s most common use is as a major raw material in the manufacture of plastics (like polyethylene).