Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with something a SHOPPER might find DELIGHTFUL at a big sale event:
- 38. Big sale, where you can find the starts of 18-, 23-, 49- and 60-Across : SHOPPER’S DELIGHT
- 18. “Just handle the problem!” : DEAL WITH IT!
- 23. Upstage one’s co-stars : STEAL A SCENE
- 49. Employ stalling tactics : BUY SOME TIME
- 60. Take into account : BARGAIN FOR
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Rides for hire : CABS
A hansom cab is a very specific design of horse and buggy that was patented by Joseph Hansom in 1834 in England. The “cab” in the name is short for “cabriolet”, an earlier design of carriage on which the hansom was based. It’s from “hansom cab” that we get our modern term “cab”.
10. Toothed tonsorial tool : COMB
Something described as “tonsorial” pertains to a barber or to haircutting. The Latin term “tonsor” translates as “barber, shaver, shearer”.
15. Open courtyards : ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.
17. Shakespearean king : LEAR
Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.
20. Jam session jammer : MUSICIAN
The use of “jam”, to mean an improvised passage performed by a whole jazz band, dates back to the late twenties. This gave rise to “jam session”, a term used a few years later. The use of “jam” in this context probably stems from the meaning of “jam” as something sweet, something excellent.
27. Some motorcycles and pianos : YAMAHAS
The Japanese company Yamaha started out way back in 1888 as a manufacturer of pianos and reed organs. Even though the company has diversified since then, Yamaha’s logo still reflects it musical roots. Even on Yamaha motorcycles you can see a logo made up of three intersecting tuning forks.
32. Lawn-wrecking pests : MOLES
One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country. A less known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …
42. Mongolian desert : GOBI
The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.
45. ’70s-’80s band with a steering wheel on their debut album cover : THE CARS
The Cars are a rock band from Boston, Massachusetts who were at the height of their success in the late seventies and early eighties.
59. Like some rays outside the visible spectrum : INFRARED
At either end of the visible light spectrum are the invisible forms of radiation known as infrared (IR) light and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR light lies just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and UV light lie just below the violet end.
63. Fill fully : SATE
“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.
64. Qatari ruler : EMIR
Qatar is a sovereign state in the Middle East occupying the Qatar Peninsula, itself located in the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies on the Persian Gulf and shares one land border, with Saudi Arabia to the south. Qatar has more oil and gas reserves per capita of population than any other country in the world. In 2010, Qatar had the fastest growing economy in the world, driven by the petrochemical industry. Qatar is scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, although the nation’s eligibility to do so is under question after a far-reaching bribery scandal was uncovered at the sport’s governing body.
65. British unit of length : METRE
On the other side of the Atlantic we use the French spelling for measurements that originated in French, so “metre” for “meter” and “litre” for “liter”.
66. Hall of Famer Musial : STAN
Stan Musial was a retired baseball player who went by the nickname “Stan the Man”, a moniker he was awarded by the Brooklyn Dodgers fans in 1946. Apparently, off the field Stan was quite the harmonica player.
68. Old West search party : POSSE
Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”.
2. Native Alaskan : ALEUT
The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.
3. Having a been-there-done-that attitude : BLASE
“Blasé”, meaning “nonchalant, bored from overindulgence” comes from French, in which language it can mean “satiated”.
4. War-torn country since 2011 : SYRIA
Since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, a refugee crisis has developed involving almost 7 million internally displaced persons and almost 5 million displaced persons outside of Syria (as of February 2016). Those are staggering numbers, especially when one compares them to the estimated Syrian population of 17 million in 2014.
5. Goodyear offering : RADIAL
The Goodyear tire company was founded in 1898. The company was named for Charles Goodyear, the man who invented vulcanized rubber in 1839. Despite the Goodyear name, Charles Goodyear himself had no connection with the company.
7. Pre-euro Metz money : FRANC
The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944. The cathedral in Metz is home to the largest expanse of stained glass in the world, almost 70,000 square feet in all.
11. Workplace standards org. : OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.
12. Israel’s Golda : MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.
28. “We Try Harder” car rental chain : AVIS
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.
32. Senior NCO : MSGT
A master sergeant (MSgt) is a non-commissioned officer (NCO).
36. Pres. between FDR and DDE : HST
The letter “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman (HST) doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.
39. Sandy shade : ECRU
The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.
46. Magician’s syllables : ABRA-
The incantation “abracadabra” has a long history. It was used as far back as the 2nd century AD in Ancient Rome when the word was prescribed by a physician to be worn on an amulet to help his emperor recover from disease. “Abracadabra” is Aramaic, and roughly translates as “I will create as I speak”.
51. Cup for café or thé : TASSE
In French, a “tasse” (cup) might contain “café” (coffee) or perhaps “thé” (tea).
53. Lead or zinc : METAL
Plumbum is the Latin for lead, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of them was leaking.
Zinc is the chemical element with the atomic number 30 and the element symbol “Zn”. Zinc is a metal that can form pointed crystals after smelting. It is probably these crystals that gave the element its name, which comes from the Old High German “zint” meaning “point”.
55. Cain’s victim : ABEL
In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
56. Commando garb : CAMO
Our term “camouflage” evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern applied to the hulls of ships.
A commando unit is a body of troops specially trained for hit-and-run raids into enemy territory. We imported the term into English from Afrikaans in the early 1800s. We owe the modern usage of “commando” to Winston Churchill, who used it starting in 1940 to describe shock troops whose job it was to disrupt of the planned German invasion of Britain. Churchill was probably familiar with the word from his time as a war correspondent and military officer during the Second Boer War.