Edited by: Rich Norris
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We have a GANG of themed answers today that each end with an OUR-sound:
- 36A. Old group of movie kids that, in a way, the answers to starred clues could be a member of : OUR GANG
- 17A. *Time for discount drinks : HAPPY HOUR
- 23A. *”Homicide: Life on the Street” Emmy winner : ANDRE BRAUGHER
- 48A. *Dictator’s authority : ABSOLUTE POWER
- 59A. *Kiefer Sutherland’s “24” role : JACK BAUER
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
15. Rebel Guevara : CHE
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.
16. Atlantic __ : OCEAN
The earliest known mention of the name “Atlantic” for the world’s second-largest ocean was in Ancient Greece. The Greeks called the ocean “the Sea of Atlas” or “Atlantis thalassa”.
19. Durable suit fabric : SERGE
Serge is a type of twill fabric with diagonal ridges on both sides. The name “serge” comes from the Greek word for “silken”.
20. Song from Verdi : ARIA
Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer, mainly of operas, who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”.
21. Funny bone’s place : ARM
The ulnar nerve runs alongside the ulna (one of the bones in the lower arm). The ulnar nerve is the largest unprotected (not surrounded by muscle or bone) nerve in the human body. The nerve can be touched under the skin at the outside of the elbow. Striking the nerve at this point causes and an electric-type shock, known as hitting one’s “funny bone” or “crazy bone”.
22. John or Paul (but not Luke) : BEATLE
John Lennon and Paul McCartney made an agreement before they became famous that they would always give joint credit for their songs. In the early days, the duo wrote their songs together, working alongside each other. Soon they would write songs individually, with one giving the other limited input. Regardless, the Lennon-McCartney attribution was used for all the songs they wrote either individually or together right up to 1974. The partnership was officially dissolved in December 1974, in the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World, Florida. There, John Lennon put his signature to official documents couriered to him by Apple’s lawyers (Apple being the Beatles record label).
23. *”Homicide: Life on the Street” Emmy winner : ANDRE BRAUGHER
Andre Braugher is the actor who plays Captain Ray Holt on the sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”. Braugher played a more serious cop on the TV show “Homicide: Life on the Street”, namely Detective Frank Pembleton.
28. Read the riot act to : SCOLD
The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act to” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.
29. King’s scary St. Bernard : CUJO
“Cujo” is a Stephen King horror novel, which means that I haven’t read it (I don’t do horror). The character Cujo is a rabid St. Bernard dog which besieges a young couple for three days in their stalled car. King tells us that he lifted the dog’s name from real life, as Cujo was the nickname of Willie Wolfe, one of the men responsible for the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
35. Chewie’s shipmate : HAN
Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.
Wookiees are a biped race featured in “Star Wars”. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca (aka “Chewie”), the loyal friend and associate of Han Solo who serves as co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.
36. Old group of movie kids that, in a way, the answers to starred clues could be a member of : OUR GANG
The marvelous series of “Our Gang” comedy short films was also known as “The Little Rascals”. The series was produced by Hal Roach starting in 1922, and running up until 1944. There were 220 “Our Gang” film shorts made in all, and one feature film title “General Spanky” released in 1936.
39. Mex. neighbor : USA
The border between the US and Mexico is just under 2,000 miles in length, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the most frequently crossed border in the world, with about one million legal crossings taking place each day.
43. “Death of a Salesman” family name : LOMAN
“Death of a Salesman” is a famous play by Arthur Miller, first produced in 1949. “Death of a Salesman” won a Pulitzer and several Tony Awards over the years. The “salesman” in the play is the famous character Willy Loman. The play originally opened up on Broadway and ran for 724 performances. The lead role was played by the veteran actor Lee J. Cobb.
53. Hot Wheels toymaker : MATTEL
The Hot Wheels brand of toy car was introduced by Mattel in 1968. Hot Wheels models are all diecast, with many designs coming from blueprints provided by manufacturers of the full-size car.
54. Wrestling’s __ Flair : RIC
The wrestler Ric Flair’s real name is Richard Fliehr. Perhaps following the lead of his compatriot Jesse Ventura, Flair explored the possibility of running for governor of the state of North Carolina. Dearie, dearie me …
58. City in upstate New York : UTICA
Utica, New York is known as “Second Chance City” these days, due to the recent influx of refugees from war-torn parts of the world and from Bosnia in particular. These immigrants have helped revitalize the area and reverse a trend of population loss.
59. *Kiefer Sutherland’s “24” role : JACK BAUER
“24” is an action-packed TV show with Kiefer Sutherland starring as counter terrorism agent Jack Bauer in the show’s original incarnation. The title refers to the structure of the series. Each season has 24 episodes, with each episode representing an hour of real-time action in the story. The collection of 24 episodes builds up to a plot that lasts a full 24 hours.
63. Hard-hit baseball : LINER
In baseball, a line drive (“liner”) is a ball that is hit low, hard and straight.
1. Ottoman honorific : AGHA
“Aga” (also “agha”) is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.
Osman I was the man who established the Ottoman Dynasty, with “Ottoman” coming from the name “Osman”. This is despite the fact that the “Ottoman Empire” came about with the conquest of Constantinople, and that didn’t happen until almost 130 years after Osman I died.
3. Antique photo feature : SEPIA TONE
Sepia is that lovely rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish.The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.
4. Language in Sevilla : ESPANOL
“Español” is Spanish for “Spanish”.
The city of Seville is the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Seville is a favored setting for many operas including “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Fidelio” by Beethoven and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro”.
5. Mystery writer Josephine : TEY
Josephine Tey is the pen name of Scottish mystery writer Elizabeth Mackintosh. One of Tey’s novels is “Miss Pym Disposes”, first published in 1946.
10. Very cold periods : ICE AGES
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.
11. Western Australian port : PERTH
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. Perth earned itself the nickname of “City of Light” in 1962 as the virtually all the town’s lights were turned on at full power when astronaut John Glenn passed overhead in earth orbit in Friendship 7, so that he could see the city below. The city gave a repeat performance for Glenn in 1998 when he passed overhead in the Space Shuttle in 1998.
22. Part of 60-Down : BACON
(60D. Layered sandwich, briefly : BLT)
“Bacon” is an Old French word that we imported into English. The term ultimately comes from the Proto-Germanic “bakkon” meaning “back meat”.
24. Extinct flightless bird : DODO
The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.
25. Mumbai bigwigs : RAJAS
“Raja” (also “rajah”) is word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.
Mumbai is the most populous city in India, and the second most populous city in the world (after Shanghai). The name of the city was changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995.
26. Whole bunch : SCAD
The origin of the word “scads”, meaning “lots and lots”, is unclear, although back in the mid-1800s “scads” was used to mean “dollars”.
28. 2017 “Twin Peaks” airer, for short : SHO
“Twin Peaks” is an ABC TV drama about an FBI murder investigation in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington. The show originally ran for just two seasons, from 1990 to 1991. There followed a 1992 feature film called “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”, and Showtime came up “Twin Peaks: The Return” airing in 2017. I haven’t seen any incarnations of the show, but I hear good things …
32. Big cheese : NUMERO UNO
The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, used way back in late 1800s (long before Coke picked it up). “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” would morph into “the real cheese”. Then in early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”. And I think that is about the only use of the word “cheese” that is in anyway complimentary!
37. Trailer rental company : U-HAUL
The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.
41. Toy racer on a track : SLOT CAR
Slot cars are those motorized toy cars that run around on tracks picking up power from a slot in the racing surface. The first slot cars were made in 1912 by the Lionel company, the manufacturer of toy train sets.
46. Chicago Fire Mrs. : O’LEARY
The Great Chicago Fire blazed for almost three full days in October of 1871. By the time it was extinguished, hundreds of people had died and four square miles of the city had been destroyed. It is known that the fire started in or near a small barn owned by an Irish immigrant, a Mrs. Catherine O’Leary. A reporter called Michael Ahern wrote in the “Chicago Tribune” that the fire was ignited when a cow in the barn kicked over a lantern. Years later, Ahern admitted that he made up the story about the cow and the lantern, as he felt it made colorful copy. Supposedly Mrs. O’Leary died a heartbroken woman as she spent the rest of her life with the public blaming her on the tragic loss of life and property.
47. __ turtle soup : MOCK
Mock turtle soup is a dish that was introduced in the mid-18th century in England. Instead of calling for turtle as an ingredient, the soup is made from organ meats such as calf’s brains, or calf’s head or foot. Not my cup of tea, or soup …
56. Amanda of “Something’s Gotta Give” : PEET
The actress Amanda Peet studied acting with the celebrated Uta Hagen at Columbia University. Peet has appeared in a number of successful films including “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Syriana”. I remember her best from what I thought was a great TV show (but no one seemed to agree!) called “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”.
“Something’s Gotta Give” is an excellent 2003 romantic comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Nicholson plays a cocky playboy and socialite in his 60s, and Keaton a divorced Broadway playwright in her 50s. An unlikely couple, the lead characters are forced together by circumstances, and hilarity and romance ensues. Great stuff …
59. Noisy bird : JAY
The bird known as a “jay” is sometimes called a “magpie”, although the terms are not completely interchangeable.
60. Layered sandwich, briefly : BLT
The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.