Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each finish with a synonym of “divide, cleave”.
- 20A…Martial arts wood-breaking move..KARATE CHOP
- 53A…Shady advantage for a craps shooter..LOADED DICE
- 10D…Fail to advance to a subsequent round..MISS THE CUT
- 29D…Six-faced puzzle..RUBIK’S CUBE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Like a three-dollar bill..BOGUS
Our word “bogus”, meaning “not genuine” was coined (pun!) in the 1830s, when it applied to counterfeit money.
14…Take over forcibly..USURP
“To usurp” is to seize and hold by force, say the power or authority of a ruler. The term “usurp” comes to us from Latin via French, from “usus” (a use) and “rapere” (to seize).
17…__ apso: dog..LHASA
The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.
A touchpad (also “trackpad”) is a pointing device found mainly on laptop computers. It serves as a fairly decent alternative to a mouse.
19…California’s __ Valley..SIMI
Nowadays Simi Valley, California is perhaps best known as being home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. If you ever get the chance to do so, the library is a great place to visit. There you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.
23…All-purpose vehicle, for short..UTE
A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sports utes and crossover utes.
24…Like some angles..OBTUSE
In geometry, there are several classes of angles:
- acute (< 90 degrees)
- right (= 90 degrees)
- obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees)
- straight (180 degrees)
- reflex (> 180 degrees)
32…__ New Guinea..PAPUA
Papua New Guinea is a country occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western side of the island is part of Indonesia).
In 1952 George Stephen was working for the Weber Brothers Metal works in Chicago. One of the company’s products was a line of half-spheres that were welded together to make buoys used in Lake Michigan. Stephens took two of these metal hemispheres and converted them into the original kettle grill. The Weber company set up a barbecue division that Stephens ran, and Stephen became so successful that he bought out the Weber Brothers factory and converted all production to the manufacture of grills.
38…Gulf States native..ARAB
The Persian Gulf is in effect an inland sea although it technically is an offshoot of the Indian Ocean. The outlet from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean is one of the most famous maritime “choke points” in the world, known as the Strait of Hormuz. About 20% of the world’s supply of petroleum passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
The term “coma” comes from the Greek word “koma” meaning “deep sleep”.
44…Language of ancient Carthage..PUNIC
We use the adjective “Punic” to mean “pertaining to Carthage”. A Carthaginian used to be known as a Phoenician, as the city was a Phoenician colony. The ancient kingdom of Phoenicia lay on the Mediterranean in the region making up much of modern-day Syria, Lebanon and Israel. The Latin for “Phoenicia” is “Poenus”, giving us the term “Punic”.
The Carthaginian Republic was centered on the city of Carthage, the ruins of which are located on the coast of modern-day Tunisia. The Latin name for the people of Carthage was “Afri”. When the Romans took over Carthage, they created a province they called “Africa”. That name extended over time to the whole continent.
45…Word before Kat or Glue..KRAZY
“Krazy Kat” is a successful comic strip that ran from 1913-1944 and was drawn by George Herriman.
Super Glue and Krazy Glue are trademarks for the fast-acting cyanoacrylate adhesive, which are also known generically as “super glues”.
47…Place to chow down..EATERY
“Chow” is an American slang for “food” and is a term that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.
Our word “gossip” comes from the Old English “godsibb” meaning “godparent”. The term was then used for women friends who attended a birth, and then for anyone engaging in idle talk.
“Awn” is the name given to hair or bristle-like structures found in numerous species of plants. In some species, like barley, the awns can contain photosynthetic tissue.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrench control of oil prices from the oil companies and to put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.
53…Shady advantage for a craps shooter..LOADED DICE
If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.
The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …
The Prego brand of pasta sauce is owned by the Campbell Soup Company. It is actually based on the family recipe of one of the company’s chefs. “Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it translates in English best as “you’re welcome” when it is used after a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).
Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.
66…To be, in Versailles..ETRE
Versailles is a city located just 10 miles from the center of Paris. It is famous of course as home to the magnificent Palace of Versailles. The palace started out as a hunting lodge built in the village of Versailles in 1624, built for Louis XIII. Louis XIII extended the lodge into a full-blown château, but it was Louis XIV who expanded it into one of the largest palaces on the planet. Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris to Versailles starting in 1678.
The word “bye”, as used in sport, originated in cricket. A bye is a run scored due to an error by the wicketkeeper (similar to a catcher in baseball) when he fails to stop a ball bowled by the bowler (like a pitcher in baseball). Later the word “bye” in sport came to mean the position of a player in a tournament who is left without a competitor when the rest have drawn pairs. In these commercial times, those byes tend to be awarded to the best (seeded) players, so that the most popular players always advance past the first round of competition.
2…Workplace watchdog: Abbr…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.
3…__ gum: thickening agent..GUAR
Guar gum is a powder that is extracted from guar beans. About 80% of the world’s supply of guar gum comes from India. It is used mainly in the food industry, often as a substitute for gluten in gluten-free recipes and products.
4…Bear in two constellations..URSA
The constellation called Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, the “plough”.
Ursa Minor (Latin for “Smaller Bear”) sits right beside the constellation Draco (Latin for “dragon”). Ursa Minor used to be considered the wing of Draco, and so was once called “Dragon’s Wing”.
9…Silvery game fish..TARPON
There are only two species of the fish known as the tarpon: the Atlantic tarpon and Indo-Pacific tarpon. Many fish have swim bladders, organs that are related evolutionarily to the lungs, and are used to control buoyancy. What is unique about the tarpon is that it uses its swim bladder not only for buoyancy, but also as an accessory respiratory organ. In fact, unless the tarpon gets access to air at the water’s surface, it will die.
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.
“Cheri” is a form of familiar address in French, meaning “dear, darling, precious”. “Cheri” is the form used when talking to/of a male, and “cherie” to/of a female.
12…Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and the like..TOMES
“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century “tome” had come to mean “a large book”.
21…X-files subjects, briefly..ETS
“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.
By the way (BTW)
Apparently the term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …
28…Tablet with a Smart Keyboard attachment..IPAD
The iPad’s Smart Keyboard is a removable keyboard that can be attached to an iPad. The keyboard also doubles as a kickstand, on which one can rest the iPad while typing.
29…Six-faced puzzle..RUBIK’S CUBE
What was originally called the “Magic Cube” became better known as Rubik’s Cube, named for its inventor Ernő Rubik. Rubik’s Cube is the world’s biggest-selling puzzle game, with over 350 million sold in just over 30 years.
30…Monopoly game need..MONEY
The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of “The Landlord’s Game” created in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Lizzie Phillips. Phillips used her game as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord’s Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, who became a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.
31…Japanese decorative belts..OBIS
The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot.
33…Hip-hopper who married Beyoncé..JAY Z
Jay Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyoncé. Jay Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York. As Carter was growing up, he was nicknamed “Jazzy”, a reference to his interest in music. “Jazzy” evolved into the stage name “Jay-Z”, and then “Jay Z”. Jay Z and Beyoncé have a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter.
36…Gulf States leader..EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.
42…Jackie O’s second..ARI
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis was born into a privileged family, the daughter of a Wall Street stock broker, John Vernou Bouvier III. Ms. Bouvier moved in the same social circles as the Kennedy clan, and first met the then-US Representative John Kennedy at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends. After she saw her husband assassinated, and then her brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy, she declared that she feared for the life of her children as they bore the Kennedy name. She left the country, eventually meeting and marrying Aristotle Onassis. Reportedly she was very satisfied that the Greek shipping magnate was able to provide privacy and security for her children.
44…Box opener of myth..PANDORA
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Pandora was created by the gods, with each god bestowing on her a gift. Her name can be translated from Greek as “all-gifted”. Pandora is famous for the story of “Pandora’s Box”. In actual fact, the story should be about Pandora’s “Jar” as a 16th-century error in translation created a “box” out of the “jar”. In the story of Pandora’s Box, curiosity got the better of her and she opened up a box she was meant to leave alone. As a result she released all the evils of mankind, just closing it in time to trap hope inside.
“Aplomb” is such a lovely word, meaning confidence and assurance. It is a French word that literally means “perpendicularity”, or “on the plumb line”. The idea is that someone with aplomb is poised, upright, balanced.
Back in the early 1400s, “poise” meant “quality of being heavy”. We’ve been using the term to mean “steadiness, composure” since the mid-1600s, in the sense of being equally weighted on either side.
49…Eye-fooling paintings..OP ART
Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.
Elzie Segar was a cartoonist who went by the name E. C. Segar. Segar was the man who created the strip “Thimble Theater”, home of the character Popeye.
51…First one-term president..ADAMS
John Adams was the second President of the United States. I must admit that I learned much of what I know about President Adams in the excellent, excellent HBO series “John Adams”. Having said that, I also visited his home in Quincy, Massachusetts not too long ago. He was clearly a great man with a great intellect …
55…R&B vocalist India.__..ARIE
India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.
56…Beat but good..DRUB
A drubbing is a beating, given either literally or figuratively. The term “drub” dates back in English to the 17th century when it was imported from the Arabic word for a beating: “darb”.