Edited by: Rich Norris
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We’ve PUMPED UP THE VOLUME of three things to give us today’s themed answers:
- 59A. What a deejay might do to create energy … or a request that may lead to 17-, 25- and 46-Across : PUMP UP THE VOLUME
- 17A. 7-Eleven’s Big Gulp, for one : SUPERSIZED DRINK
- 25A. It makes for easier reading : LARGE-PRINT BOOK
- 46A. Teased style : BOUFFANT HAIRDO
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Munro pen name : SAKI
Hector Hugh Munro was a British writer, who actually was born in Burma. He was most famous for his short stories, which he published using the pen name “Saki”. “The Square Egg and Other Sketches” was a collection of short stories published in 1924, nine years after his death.
5. Fix, as faulty code : DEBUG
Back in 1947, the famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term.
14. Scoundrel of “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” : ALEC
The full name of Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel is “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented”. When it was originally published, “Tess …” received very mixed reviews, largely because it addressed some difficult sexual themes including rape, and sexual double standards (attitudes towards men vs women). I suppose the most celebrated screen adaptation is Roman Polanski’s “Tess” released in 1979. Polanski apparently made “Tess” because his wife, Sharon Tate, gave him Hardy’s novel as her last act before she was murdered by the Manson family. There is a dedication at the beginning of the movie that just says “To Sharon”.
15. One of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” : IRINA
Olga, Masha and Irina were the “Three Sisters” in the play by Anton Chekhov. The three title characters were inspired by the three Brontë sisters, the English authors.
Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer of short stories and a playwright, as well as a physician. He wrote four classic plays that are often performed all around the world, namely “The Seagull”, “Uncle Vanya”, “Three Sisters” and “The Cherry Orchard”. All the time Chekhov was writing, he continued to practice medicine. He is quoted as saying “Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress.”
16. Sharpen : HONE
“To hone” is to sharpen, a verb derived from the noun “hone” A “hone” is a whetstone used in sharpening.
17. 7-Eleven’s Big Gulp, for one : SUPERSIZED DRINK
The Big Gulp is a 32-ounce oversized soft drink available from 7-Eleven. You can also get a 64-ounce Double Gulp, and a 128-ounce Team Gulp.
21. “__ Pointe Blank”: 1997 film : GROSSE
“Grosse Pointe Blank” is an excellent 1997 comedy-crime movie starring John Cusack and Minnie Driver. The film has a fresh storyline and great acting, with a 1980s-themed soundtrack as an added bonus. The title refers to Grosse Pointe, a suburb of Detroit where the movie is set.
22. Shipping nickname : 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.
31. McKinley’s first lady : IDA
Ida Saxton met Bill McKinley at a picnic in 1867, just before she headed off to Europe on a “grand tour”. So, the two had to wait until 1869 before they started courting. The couple married in 1871 in Canton, Ohio, Ida’s hometown. Ida McKinley developed epilepsy before her husband was elected to President of the US and became very dependent on him to provide physical and moral support. She always sat by his side at public functions, breaking with the tradition of the President hosting some of the guests, and the First Lady others. After her husband was assassinated, Mrs. McKinley could not bring herself to attend her husband’s funeral, and then withdrew from public view to her home in Canton. She passed away six years after her husband, in 1907.
35. PC’s spacebar neighbor : ALT
The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.
36. Mayor pro __ : TEM
Pro tempore can be abbreviated to “pro tem” or “p.t.” “Pro tempore” is a Latin phrase that best translates as “for the time being”. It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior. The President pro tempore of the US Senate is the person who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President of the US. It has been tradition since 1890 that the president pro tem is the most senior senator in the majority party. The president pro tem ranks highly in the line of succession to the presidency, falling third in line after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.
40. Replayed service : LET
That would be tennis.
43. “The Haywain Triptych” painter : BOSCH
Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch painter who worked late 15th and early 16th centuries. Perhaps his most recognized work is his triptych titled “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.
46. Teased style : BOUFFANT HAIRDO
“Bouffant” is a French word meaning “puffed out” that we’ve imported into English. Apparently, the first use of “bouffant” with reference to a hairstyle dates back to 1955.
50. Many a “Call the Midwife” character : NURSE
“Call the Midwife” is a BBC drama about midwives working in the East End of London in the late fifties and early sixties. I must admit, one of the reasons I am intrigued by this show is that I can well remember the midwife coming to our house in the East End of London in 1959 for the delivery of my younger brother. I am sure the attending nurse was a wonderful person, but I remember being scared every time she pulled up outside our flat on her bicycle!
51. Part of FWIW : IT’S
For what it’s worth (FWIW)
52. Yak-like : SHAGGY
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.
55. Honeymoon spots : RESORTS
The concept of a honeymoon vacation only started in the early 1800s. In Britain, wealthy couples would take a “bridal tour” together after wedding, visiting those friends and relatives who could not attend the ceremony. The etymology of “honeymoon” isn’t very clear, and may even have a negative derivation as it might suggest that the sweetness (honey) of love is doomed to wane like a passing phase of the moon. The equivalent terms in some other languages are “moon of honey” (French), “honey month” (Welsh) and “tinsel week” (German).
62. Digital imaging brand : AGFA
Agfa was founded in Germany in 1867, a company focused on the manufacture of dyes. The full name of the enterprise was Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation, shortened to Agfa, and translating as “Corporation for Aniline (a dye) Production”. Agfa merged with the Belgian company Gevaert in 1894, getting them into the photographic business. Agfa 35mm film hasn’t been produced for a few years now, but there is still inventory out there and purists are buying it when they can.
66. iPods since 2005 : NANOS
The iPod Nano is the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There have been seven versions of the Nano to date and the current Nano as well as playing tunes is an FM player, records voice memos, has a pedometer and can connect with external devices (like a heart monitor, maybe) using Bluetooth technology.
67. “The Facts of Life” mentor Garrett : EDNA
Charlotte Rae is an American actress, best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties: “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life”. Towards the end of the series, the Edna Garrett character operated her own gourmet food shop called “Edna’s Edibles”.
The sitcom “The Facts of Life” originally aired from 1979 until 1988. It was a spin-off of the equally successful show “Diff’rent Strokes”. Charlotte Rae was the main actress common to both shows. Rae played Edna Garrett, who was a housekeeper on “Diff’rent Strokes” and a dormitory housemother on “The Facts of Life”.
2. His, in Le Havre : A LUI
The French for “his, belonging to him” is “à lui”, and for “hers, belonging to her” is “à elle”
Le Havre is a city on the mouth of the river Seine on the northwest coast of France. The city’s name translates as “the haven”.
6. He played Frank on “CHiPs” : ERIK
Actor Erik Estrada’s big break came with the movie “Airport 1975”, in which he played the doomed flight engineer of a Boeing 747. A couple of years later, Estrada began a six-year gig, co-starring on the television show “CHiPs” as motorcycle police officer Poncherello.
The TV cop show “CHiPs” ran from 1977 until 1983. Stars of the show were Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada, who played two California HIghway Patrol (CHP) motorcycle officers. I find it interesting that the storylines never once called for the officers to draw their firearms over the six seasons (how shows have changed!). Erik Estrada had to learn how to ride a motorcycle for the show, but wasn’t licensed to drive one during the whole of production. He eventually qualified, but only after three attempts to pass the test.
10. Greek personification of time : CHRONOS
“Chronos” is the Greek word for time, with the name applying in Ancient Greece to a personification of time. He was not a Greek god, although Chronos has often been confused with the Titan Cronus of Greek mythology. The Titan Cronus was often depicted with a scythe, as this was the tool he used to castrate his father Uranus. The confusion of Chronos and Cronus led to the traditional depiction of “Old Father Time” with a scythe.
11. Lane often in distress : LOIS
Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. But never mind all that … one has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …
13. Long-haired lap dog, familiarly : PEKE
The pekingese breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier dogs.
19. Minute amount : DRIB
A “drib” is a negligible amount, as in “dribs and drabs”.
23. Element in pewter : TIN
Pewter is a relatively soft alloy that is made up mostly of tin, with some copper, antimony, bismuth and lead.
26. Impulsive line : AD LIB
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar.
27. “I’m walkin’ here!” speaker of 1969 : RATSO
Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo is one of the characters in the groundbreaking 1969 movie “Midnight Cowboy”. Rizzo is a down-and-out con man, played by Dustin Hoffman.
The 1969 movie “Midnight Cowboy” is a Hollywood adaptation of a novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It’s a pretty depressing story about a young Texan named Joe Buck (played by Jon Voight) who heads to New York City to make money as a hustler, hiring himself out to women for sex. Pretty soon the young man ends up selling his body for sex with males as well. Prior to release the MPAA gave the movie an R-rating, but the United Artists studio took advice and decided to release it with an X-rating. When “Midnight Cowboy” won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1969, it became the only X-rated film to be so honored.
28. “Dancing With the Stars” dances : RUMBAS
The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.
When I was growing up in the British Isles, there was a surprisingly popular BBC television show featuring professional ballroom dancing called “Come Dancing”. It ran almost every year from 1949 to 1998, and in 2004 the BBC resurrected it with a new twist, adding celebrities to dance with the professionals. The new show, called “Strictly Come Dancing”, is a huge success and has become a worldwide franchise. Over here we watch the American version called “Dancing with the Stars”. It really is fun television …
29. Persian Gulf sight : OILER
An “oiler” is an oil tanker, an ocean-going vessel used to transport crude oil.
34. Texas ALer : ‘STRO
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.
42. Spicy Chinese dish : KUNG PAO
Kung Pao chicken is a Sichuan stir-fry dish that includes chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. The name “Kung Pao” is thought to come from a governor of the Sichuan province whose title was “Gongbao”, meaning “Palace Guardian”.
47. Fish whose preparation is strictly regulated in Japan : FUGU
Fugu is the Japanese name for pufferfish. Fugu is a notorious dish on a Japanese menu as it can be extremely poisonous. The liver, ovaries and eyes of the pufferfish contain lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin, which paralyses muscles causing death by asphyxiation.
49. Lover of Tristan : ISOLDE
According to Arthurian legend, Iseult (also “Isolde”) was the adulterous lover of Sir Tristan, one of the Knights of the Round Table. Iseult was an Irish Princess who fell in love with Tristan who had been sent to win Iseult’s hand in marriage for King Mark of Cornwall. The tale was used as the basis for Richard Wagner’s celebrated opera “Tristan und Isolde”.
52. Virtually bombard : SPAM
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 …
57. IRS agent : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury (T is for Treasury).
58. Vaccines : SERA
A vaccine is a modified virus that causes a particular disease, which is administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity. British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.
60. Placeholder abbr. : TBA
Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised (TBA).