Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers includes a string of letters that are circled in the grid. These strings of letters are the names of GAMES in which the order of the letters has been CHANGED:
- 60A. Ump’s controversial call, perhaps … and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : GAME CHANGER
- 17A. Literally, “Ireland forever” : ERIN GO BRAGH (includes “BINGO” changed)
- 24A. Accident investigation site : CRASH SCENE (includes “CHESS” changed)
- 37A. Gently towels off : PATS DRY (includes “DARTS” changed)
- 51A. Eavesdrop : LISTEN IN ON (includes “TENNIS” changed)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Hubby’s “better half” : THE MRS
Mr. is an abbreviation for “master”, and Mrs. is an abbreviation for “mistress”.
7. Metaphorical china shop culprit : BULL
The idiom “like a bull in a china shop” has been around since the early 1800s.
17. Literally, “Ireland forever” : ERIN GO BRAGH (includes “BINGO” changed)
“Erin go bragh!” is an anglicization of an Irish phrase “Éirinn go Brách!”, which translates as “Ireland Forever!”
Our modern bingo is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.
20. Pie __ mode : A LA
In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.
24. Accident investigation site : CRASH SCENE (includes “CHESS” changed)
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now “pawns”)
- Cavalry (now “knights”)
- Elephants (now “bishops”)
- Chariots (now “rooks”)
28. Vacuums, say : CLEANS
The first practical portable vacuum cleaner was invented by James Spangler in 1907. Spangler sold the patent for the design to his cousin’s husband, William Henry Hoover. Hoover then made his fortune from manufacturing and selling vacuum cleaners. Hoover was so successful in my part of the world that back in Ireland we don’t use the verb “to vacuum” and instead say “to hoover”, and a hoover is what we call a vacuum cleaner, regardless of who makes it.
30. Meteorological light shows : AURORAS
The spectacular aurora phenomenon is seen lighting up the night sky at both poles of the earth (the Aurora Borealis in the north, and the Aurora Australis in the south). The eerie effect is caused by charged particles colliding with atoms at high latitudes.
34. You might get a bad one in the rough : LIE
That would be golf.
35. Cosmetic surg. option : LIPO
Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.
36. Leia’s love : 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.
The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.
37. Gently towels off : PATS DRY (includes “DARTS” changed)
Darts is a wonderful game that’s often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 in sequence.
41. Safari beast : GNU
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. Wildebeest is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.
49. Crazy Horse, for one : LAKOTA
Crazy Horse’s Lakota name translates literally into English as “His Horse is Crazy or Spirited”. Crazy Horse was one of the tribal war party leaders at the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Crazy Horse surrendered to the US Army in 1877. He was fatally stabbed while in custody, apparently trying to escape after having surrendered. The circumstances surrounding his death are still shrouded in controversy.
53. Speed skater Ohno : APOLO
Speed-skater Apolo Ohno has won more Winter Olympics medals than any other American. Ohno also did a great job winning the 2007 season of television’s “Dancing with the Stars”.
66. Commentary piece : OP-ED
“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.
67. Eight-time Best Actor Oscar nominee who never won : O’TOOLE
Irish actor Peter O’Toole got his big break in movies when he played the title role in the 1962 epic film “Lawrence of Arabia”. But my favorite of O’Toole’s movies is much lighter fare, namely “How to Steal a Million” in which he stars opposite Audrey Hepburn. O’Toole never won an Oscar, but holds the record for the greatest number of Best Actor nominations without a win.
69. Sundae crunch providers : NUTS
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.
1. Uno e due : TRE
In Italian, “uno e due” (one and two) is “tre” (three).
2. Wife of Zeus : HERA
In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.
3. “See no __ … ” : EVIL
The old adage “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” originated in the 17th century. The phrase comes as an interpretation of a wood carving over a door in a shrine in Nikko, Japan. The carving depicts the “Three Wise Monkeys”:
- Mizaru, covering his eyes
- Kikazaru, covering his ears
- Iwazaru, covering his mouth
6. “America Runs on Dunkin’,” e.g. : SLOGAN
Dunkin’ Donuts started using the slogan “America Runs on Dunkin’” in 2006, and it is still around to this day.
Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in 1950 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Now the chain has over 15,000 restaurants in almost 40 different countries. The company’s biggest competitor is actually Starbucks, as over half of Dunkin’ Donuts’ revenue comes from coffee, and not donuts.
8. “Born in the __” : USA
“Born in the USA” is a 1984 song (and album) written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen. The song was written three years earlier as the title song for a movie, but was never used. That film ultimately was released as “Light of Day” starring Michael j. Fox. The original intention was for Springsteen to star in the film himself.
10. MacNeil’s longtime co-host : LEHRER
Jim Lehrer is a former news anchor with PBS for the “PBS Newshour” show. Lehrer is also associated with presidential debates and has moderated 12 such events.
Robert MacNeil is a retired Canadian journalist who co-anchored “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report” on PBS for twenty years.
13. Skater’s maneuver : AXEL
An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.
18. Head honcho : BOSS
“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a “hancho” is a squad (han) leader (cho).
23. Carbon compound : ENOL
An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, sort of part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol” therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.
29. Sign of an impending merger? : LANE CLOSED
The “zipper merge” or “late merge” is encouraged by most traffic authorities when two lanes of traffic are merging into one. The alternative “early merge”, where cars move out of the lane that is closing before reaching the merge point, tends to be discouraged. The favored technique is to use both lanes until the merge point, and then alternate (zipper) from each lane through the merge itself. That said, one should always obey whatever instructions are given by the traffic authorities at the scene. And I know, a lot of people think it rude not to merge early …
31. Sleep problem from the Greek for “absence of breathing” : APNEA
Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.
33. Chaz Bono’s mom : CHER
Chaz Bono is the only child of the singers Sonny and Cher (although they both have children from other marriages). Chaz was named Chastity Sun Bono at birth and told her parents at the age of 18 that she was a lesbian. More recently Bono underwent gender reassignment surgery, and Chastity has legally changed his name to Chaz.
34. “Dropped” ’60s drug : LSD
LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …
40. Musician Ono : YOKO
The artist Yoko Ono operates the website ImaginePeace.com. I checked it out once and found these lovely two quotes:
- Imagine all the people living life in peace … John Lennon
- A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality … Yoko Ono
43. Diamond of song : NEIL
I saw Neil Diamond in concert back in the mid-nineties, and I must say he does put on a great show. His voice is cracking a bit, but that didn’t seem to spoil anyone’s enjoyment. I’ve also seen Diamond interviewed a few times on television, and I wouldn’t say he has the most scintillating of personalities.
46. Broadway performer’s recognition : TONY NOD
The Tony Awards are more completely referred to as the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre. The awards are named for Mary Antoinette “Tony” Perry, who was a co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.
48. Equiangular geometric figure : ISOGON
An isogon is a polygon with equal angles in the corners. Examples are squares and equilateral triangles.
49. “The Mod Squad” member : LINC
The 1999 movie “The Mod Squad” was an adaptation of the seventies television show of the same name. The part of Lincoln “Linc” Hayes was played by Omar Epps, Claire Danes played Julie Barnes and Giovanni Ribisi played Peter Cochran.
53. Pequod captain : AHAB
The most famous whale-hunting ship in fiction has to be Herman Melville’s Pequod, which was featured in his novel “Moby Dick”. The Pequod is a skippered by the maniacal Captain Ahab, and the young chief mate is the thoughtful and intellectual Starbuck. Starbuck’s name was lifted and used by a Seattle-based coffee company.
54. Rollin’ stone, in a Motown classic : PAPA
“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” is a 1971 song that was originally released by a Motown act called the Undisputed Truth. The song was re-released the following year by the Temptations, and became a number-one hit. The Temptations version is an impressive twelve minutes in length, with an instrumental introduction that lasts almost four minutes.
58. Brazilian soccer hero : PELE
“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads, and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).
61. “The Simpsons” storekeeper : APU
The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …