Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answer starts with the title of a novel by Stephen King:
- 62A. Author born 9/21/1947 who penned the starts of 17-, 24-, 38- and 52-Across : STEPHEN KING
- 17A. Measurement based on inflation and unemployment rates : MISERY INDEX (giving “Misery”)
- 24A. “Postcards From the Edge” author : CARRIE FISHER (giving “Carrie”)
- 38A. Smart comment? : IT HURTS! (giving “It”)
- 52A. Semipermeable biological barrier : CELL MEMBRANE (giving “Cell”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Medicine __, Alberta : HAT
Medicine Hat is a city in Alberta. Canada. Medicine Hat is known for its extensive natural gas fields. In fact, English writer Rudyard Kipling described the city as having “all hell for a basement”.
13. OPEC, for one : CARTEL
A cartel is a group of independent businesses who cooperate to regulate production, pricing and marketing of their common product(s).
The OPEC cartel (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was formally established in 1960 and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965. The US is actually the third largest oil producer in the world (after Russia and Saudi Arabia). One reason America isn’t in OPEC, even though we are a big producer, is that we import a lot more than we export. But we all probably knew that already …
15. Radius neighbor : ULNA
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.
17. Measurement based on inflation and unemployment rates : MISERY INDEX (giving “Misery”)
In the world of economics, the misery index is the sum of the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the annual inflation rate. As such, higher rates of unemployment and inflation make us all miserable. Since WWII, the largest improvement in the misery index for the US occurred during the administration of President Harry Truman. The largest deterioration in the misery index took place during the administration of President Richard Nixon.
The 1990 film “Misery” is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. I think it’s the only movie of a King book that I’ve watched and enjoyed. I can’t stomach his books, not because of the writing, but because of the gruesome scenes that are part of the plots. The screen version of “Misery” is toned down a little from the original storyline. In the novel, the Kathy Bates character amputates the James Caan character’s foot to incapacitate him. In the movie she just smashes his ankles. Big difference …
19. X, at times : TEN
“X” is the Roman numeral for “10”.
20. Tesla Motors co-founder Musk : ELON
Elon Musk is successful businessman who has founded or led some very high-profile companies, namely PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX.
21. “Inside Politics” channel : CNN
“Inside Politics” is a CNN news program that had an original run of over 20 years. It was hosted by Judy Woodruff from 1993 to 2005, and was resurrected in 2014 with John King as host.
22. Poet laureate, e.g. : TITLE
A poet laureate is a poet who is officially pointed by some institution to compose works for special occasions. The US Poet Laureate is more correctly known as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
24. “Postcards From the Edge” author : CARRIE FISHER (giving “Carrie”)
The actress Carrie Fisher was best known for playing Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” series of films. Fisher was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Carrie Fisher fell seriously ill on a transatlantic flight at the end of 2016, and then died of cardiac arrest four days later. Famously, her mother and next-door neighbor in Beverly Hills, passed away following a stroke, just one day after her daughter died.
“Postcards from the Edge” is a semi-autobiographical 1987 novel by actress Carrie Fisher that was adapted into a 1990 movie of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
“Carrie” was Stephen King’s first published novel. The title character is humiliated in a cruel prank during her high school prom in which she ends up covered in the blood of an animal. This trauma leads to a fit rage, with Carrie slaughtering her classmates and the rest of her hometown’s inhabitants.
28. Where Moses received the Ten Commandments, for short : MT SINAI
According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”.
33. Instagram upload, briefly : PIC
Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …
34. Three-time A.L. MVP : A-ROD
Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.
38. Smart comment? : IT HURTS! (giving “It”)
“It” is a 1986 horror novel penned by Stephen King. The novel was adapted into a 1990 miniseries of the same name.
42. Baja she-bear : OSA
Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.
45. Solar wind particle : ION
The Sun’s upper atmosphere continually ejects a stream of the charged particles that have such high energy that they can escape the Sun’s gravity. This supersonic plasma consisting of mainly electrons, protons and alpha particles is referred to as the solar wind. The solar wind extends as far as the outer limits of our solar system, and is responsible for phenomena such as the Earth’s northern and southern lights, the geomagnetic storms that affect radio reception, and the plasma tails of comets.
46. Song of worship : PSALM
The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.
52. Semipermeable biological barrier : CELL MEMBRANE (giving “Cell”)
“Cell” is a 2006 novel by the master of horror Stephen King about people being turned into zombie-like killers when they hear a mysterious signal over their cell phones.
55. Big glitch : SNAFU
SNAFU is an acronym standing for Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (well, that’s the “polite” version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.
57. 2000s Chevy : AVEO
The Chevrolet Aveo is a subcompact automobile that has been around since 2002. The Aveo is manufactured by GM Daewoo, the GM subsidiary in South Korea. Although the Aveo name is still used in some markets, here in North America the Aveo has been sold as the Chevrolet Sonic since 2012. By the way, GM Daewoo is the third largest manufacturer of automobiles in South Korea, after Hyundai and Kia.
62. Author born 9/21/1947 who penned the starts of 17-, 24-, 38- and 52-Across : STEPHEN KING
Stephen King is a remarkably successful author having sold over 350 million copies of his books, many of which have been made into hit movies. I’ve tried reading two or three, and didn’t get too far. I really don’t do horror …
66. Biblical craft : ARK
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.
68. “Mad About You” co-star : REISER
The comedian and actor Paul Reiser is best known for co-starring alongside Helen Hunt in the nineties sitcom “Mad About You”. Reiser also co-wrote the show’s theme song, “The Final Frontier”.
“Mad About You” is a sitcom from the nineties that stars Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a couple living in New York City. Reiser and Hunt did well out of the success of the show, each earning one million dollars per episode for the last season.
71. Drumroll drum : SNARE
Snare drums are so called because they have a set of wire strands (snares) stretching across the bottom surface of the drum. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the bottom drumhead producing a unique sound.
5. Always, in sonnets : E’ER
A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific structure and rhyming scheme. A popular rhyming scheme for what is known as the Italian sonnet is ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE. Compare this with the Shakespearean sonnet which rhymes as ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG.
6. Denomination of most Iraqi Kurds : SUNNI
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.
Most of the Kurdish people live in a region known as Kurdistan, which stretches into parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey as well as northern Iraq.
11. One-named “All I Ask” singer : ADELE
“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. More recently, her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.
14. Sports bra fabric : LYCRA
What we call spandex in the US is known as lycra in the British Isles. “Spandex” was chosen as the name for the elastic fiber as it is an anagram of “expands”.
18. Cross characters : INRI
The letters written on the cross on which Jesus died were “INRI”. INRI is an initialism standing for the Latin “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum”, which translates into English as “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”.
23. Land surrounded by agua : ISLA
In Spanish, there is water (agua) flowing in a river (río) or surrounding an “isla” (island).
26. Bahrain bigwig : EMIR
Bahrain is an island nation located off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a series of causeways and bridges constructed in the eighties.
27. One of John Adams’ “stubborn things” : FACT
According to John Adams:
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
Adams uttered those words when he was still a lawyer, and while representing the British soldiers who killed five civilians in what came to be known as the Boston Massacre.
28. Corp. execs’ degrees : MBAS
The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.
35. Nobel Prize city : OSLO
The Peace Prize is the most famous of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel. The others are for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. There is also a Nobel Prize in Economics that is awarded along with the original five, but it is funded separately and is awarded “in memory of Alfred Nobel”. Four of the prizes are awarded by Swedish organizations (Alfred Nobel was a Swede) and so the award ceremonies take place in Stockholm. The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and that award is presented in Oslo.
36. Butler’s last word : DAMN
In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, when Rhett Butler finally walks out on Scarlett O’Hara he utters the words “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most of us are more familiar with the slightly different words spoken by Clark Gable in the film adaption of the story: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
39. Flag : TIRE
Our verb “to flag” meaning “to tire” was originally used in the sense of something flapping about lazily in the wind. From this it came to mean “to go limp, droop”, and then “to tire”.
40. “Chariots of Fire” Oscar nominee Ian : HOLM
English actor Sir Ian Holm is very respected on the stage in the UK, but is better known for his film roles here in the US. Holm played the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in two of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and he also played the character who turns out be an android in the film “Alien”.
“Chariots of Fire” is British film released in 1981. The movie is based on the true story of two athletes training for and participating in the shorter running events in the 1924 Paris Olympics.
51. Tylenol rival : BAYER
Bayer AG is a German pharmaceutical company that was founded in 1863. The company’s most famous product is its original brand of aspirin. The company logo, the Bayer cross, was introduced in 1904. That same logo can be seen on an illuminated sign in Leverkusen, where the company is headquartered. It is the largest illuminated sign in the world.
52. Political channel : C-SPAN
C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.
53. Calendario month : ENERO
In Spanish, we start the “año” (year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).
58. Authorization to enter a country : VISA
A visa is a usually a stamp in one’s passport, an indication that one is authorized to enter (and less often, to exit) a particular country. The word “visa” comes into English, via French, from the Latin expression “charta visa” meaning “paper that has been seen”, or “verified paper”.
59. Fed. power dept. : ENER
The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.
60. Barbarian : OGRE
We use the word “barbarian” to describe a person lacking refinement and culture. The term comes from the Greek “barbaros”, which originally meant “non-citizen”. Over time, the Greek word came to be used pejoratively, applying to enemies of Athenians in particular.
65. Nintendo’s Super __ console : NES
The name Super NES (or SNES) stands for Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Our kids probably have one somewhere …