Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Each of today’s themed answers starts with a BLOOD TYPE:
- 62A. Classification suggested by the beginning of 17-, 25-, 37- and 53-Across : BLOOD TYPE
- 17A. Dean’s list honorees : A-STUDENTS
- 25A. Thiamine and riboflavin : B-VITAMINS
- 37A. Two-variable marketing experiment : A/B TESTING
- 53A. First novel in Willa Cather’s Great Plains trilogy : O PIONEERS!
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. They broke their 108-year World Series drought in 2016 : CUBS
The Chicago Cubs is one of only two charter members of the baseball’s National League who are still playing, the other being the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 for the first time since 1908, which is a long time ago. In fact, the Cubs had the longest championship drought of any professional sports team in North America.
5. Medical picture : X-RAY
X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901 Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded, recognition for his work on X-rays.
14. Lustrous gem : OPAL
An opal is often described as having a milky iridescence, known as “opalescence”.
15. “Bloom County” reporter : MILO
“Bloom County” is a comic strip that originally ran from 1980 to 1989, and which was drawn by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. Breathed resurrected the strip in 2015, distributing it via Facebook. The main protagonist in the storyline is Milo Bloom, a 10-year-old newspaper reporter.
21. Electronic sci-fi antagonist : HAL
In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. Even though, Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.
23. “¡Dios __!” : MIO
“Dios mio!” translates from Spanish as “My God!”
24. Cannes cup : TASSE
Cannes is a city on the French Riviera that is noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The decision to host an annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.
25. Thiamine and riboflavin : B-VITAMINS
The B-vitamins were originally thought to be just one vitamin, which was labeled vitamin B. It was then discovered vitamin B was in fact made up of eight distinct vitamins, which today are given distinct numbers (B1, B6, B12 etc). Supplements often contain a mixture of all eight, a combination known as vitamin B complex.
Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1. A deficiency of thiamine causes the disease known as beriberi, which is a disorder of the nervous system.
Riboflavin is vitamin B2. At one time, riboflavin was known as vitamin G.
29. Number before vier : DREI
“Eins, zwei, drei, vier” is German for “one, two, three, four”.
31. Spring bloomer : AZALEA
Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms. Azaleas are usually grown as shrubs, but are also seen as small trees, and often indoors.
34. Son of Zeus and Hera : ARES
The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.
40. Diving bird : GREBE
A grebe is a small to medium-sized freshwater diving bird. Although they appear to be very different, recent molecular studies have shown that grebes and flamingos are closely related.
48. After morays, say : EELING
Morays are a large group of about 200 species of eels found across the world’s oceans. They are carnivorous and look pretty scary but they’re quite shy when confronted and present no threat to humans. One interesting thing about morays is that they will sometimes work in cooperation with the grouper fish found in reefs, the two helping each other hunt for food.
53. First novel in Willa Cather’s Great Plains trilogy : O PIONEERS!
American novelist Willa Cather wrote what’s referred to as the “prairie trilogy”, books that tell the story of Swedish immigrants living in Nebraska. The titles in the trilogy are “O Pioneers!”, “The Song of the Lark” and “My Antonia”. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for another novel, “One of Ours”, that is set in Nebraska and the French battlefields of WWI.
59. Javier __, first Spanish actor to win an Oscar : BARDEM
Spanish actor Javier Bardem is probably best known for playing the crazed assassin in 2007’s “No Country for Old Men”, and Bond villain Raoul Silva in 2012’ “Skyfall”. Bardem won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “No Country for Old Men”, making him the first Spaniard to win an Academy Award. Bardem wasn’t actually born on the Spanish mainland, but rather in Las Palmas in the Canary Island off the Moroccan coast. He is married fellow-actor Penélope Cruz in 2010.
62. Classification suggested by the beginning of 17-, 25-, 37- and 53-Across : BLOOD TYPE
Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:
- O-positive: 38 percent
- O-negative: 7 percent
- A-positive: 34 percent
- A-negative: 6 percent
- B-positive: 9 percent
- B-negative: 2 percent
- AB-positive: 3 percent
- AB-negative: 1 percent
68. Early fur trader : ASTOR
John Jacob Astor was the patriarch of the famous American Astor dynasty. He was the country’s first multi-millionaire, making his fortune in the trade of fur, real estate and opium. In today’s terms, it has been calculated that by the time of his death he has accumulated a fortune big enough to make him the fourth wealthiest man in American history (in the company of the likes of Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bill Gates, Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller).
3. Cuban dictator overthrown by Castro : BATISTA
Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and has led a life of increasing retirement ever since.
5. Marvel Comics mutants : X-MEN
X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains that X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellan.
6. __ Tin Tin : RIN
The original Rin Tin Tin was a real-life dog, a puppy discovered by a GI in a bombed-out kennel in France during WWI. The soldier named the pup Rin Tin Tin, the same name as a puppet given to American soldiers for luck. On returning to the US, “Rinty” was trained by his owner and was spotted doing tricks by a film producer. Rinty featured in some films, eventually getting his first starring role in 1923 in the silent movie “Where the North Begins”. Legend has it that this first Rin Tin Tin died in the arms of actress Jean Harlow. Not a bad way to go …
8. Super Mario World dinosaur : YOSHI
Yoshi is a dinosaur-like character in some Nintendo video games. Yoshi first appeared as a sidekick for Mario and Luigi in the 1991 game called “Super Mario World”.
9. Decorate elaborately : EMBLAZON
Our terms “blazon” and “emblazon” both mean to decorate in a showy way. “To blazon” can also mean to adorn with a coat of arms. In the world of heraldry, a “blazon” is in fact a coat of arms, probably coming from the old French word “blason” meaning “shield”.
10. End of a general’s URL : MIL
The .mil domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:
- .com (commercial enterprise)
- .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
- .mil (US military)
- .org (not-for-profit organization)
- .gov (US federal government entity)
- .edu (college-level educational institution)
25. First interracial coed college in the South : BEREA
Berea College is located in Berea, Kentucky, just south of Lexington. It is a remarkable university that is focused on providing a low-cost education to students from low-income families. There are no tuition fees and instead students must work at least ten hours a week on campus and in service jobs. Berea was also the first college in the Southern US to become coeducational and the first to become racially integrated.
27. Canine ailment : MANGE
Mange is a skin disorder in animals caused by parasitic mites that embed themselves in the skin, perhaps living in hair follicles. The same disorder in humans is called scabies.
30. Chinese zodiac animal : RAT
The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:
33. One-named Italian male model : FABIO
Fabio Lanzoni (usually called just “Fabio”) is an Italian fashion model and all-round celebrity. Fabio’s real claim to fame was his appearance on the cover of many, many romance novels in the eighties and nineties.
35. “The Fault in Our __”: 2014 film : STARS
“The Fault in Our Stars” is a 2014 film based on a novel of the same by John Green. Both film and novel are about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love with each other. The leads are played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.
38. Nickname for a 2000s tabloid item : BENNIFER
“Bennifer” is a portmanteau used for the super-couple pairing of actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Other supercouples are/were:
- Tomkat – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
- Grant ‘n’ Hurley – Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley
- Posh and Becks – Victoria and David Beckham
- Brangelina – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
40. Black Sea republic : GEORGIA
The former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) of Georgia is now an independent country. Supposedly, the Georgian people were given their name because they especially revered St. George. The flag of Georgia does indeed feature five St. George’s crosses.
The Black Sea is in southeastern Europe just south of Ukraine. In the north of the Black Sea is the Crimean Peninsula.
56. Weed B Gon maker : ORTHO
Ortho is a brand of weed killer owned by Scotts Miracle-Gro.
61. Confessional rock genre : EMO
The musical genre of “emo” originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …