Edited by: Rich Norris
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There’s the name of an ON-SCREEN DOCTOR hidden in each of today’s themed answers:
- 49A. Words on Lucy’s “Psychiatric Help – 5¢” sign … and a hint to 20-, 33- and 39-Across : THE DOCTOR IS IN
- 20A. Challenging response to provocation : YOU AND WHO ELSE? (giving “Doctor Who”)
- 33A. Ruthless strategy : TAKE NO PRISONERS (giving “Dr. No”)
- 39A. Nestlé chocolate chip treat : TOLL HOUSE COOKIE (giving “House”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Aesop’s lazy grasshopper, for one : IDLER
In Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, the grasshopper spends the warm months singing and having a good time while the ant toils away storing food. When winter arrives, the grasshopper starts to die from hunger and begs the ant for food. The ant tells the grasshopper that he should have been more sensible instead of singing away all summer, and maybe he should dance through the winter!
14. “Stars and Stripes Forever” composer : SOUSA
John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.
“The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa has since 1987 been the official National March of the US. It is common for a band to play “The Stars and Stripes Forever” after the US president gives a speech in a public forum, with “Hail to the Chief” being played as the president is introduced.
15. __ Hashanah: Jewish New Year : ROSH
Rosh Hashanah is loosely referred to as “Jewish New Year”. The literal translation from Hebrew is “head of the year”.
16. Beatles meter maid : RITA
“Lovely Rita” is a Beatles song on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. When the album was released in 1967, the term “meter maid” wasn’t used in the UK, although it was a slang term used in the US. The song helped spread the usage of “meter maid” all around the English-speaking world. Apparently the inspiration for the song was McCartney getting a parking ticket one day outside the Abbey Road Studios. He accepted the ticket with good grace, from a warden named Meta Davis. McCartney felt that Meta “looked like a Rita”, so that was the name she was given in the song.
17. Classic violin : AMATI
The first of the Amati family to make violins was Andrea Amati, who lived in the 14th century. He was succeeded by his sons, Antonio and Girolamo. In turn, they were succeeded by Girolamo’s son, Nicolo. Nicolo had a few students who achieved fame making musical instruments as well. One was his own son, Girolamo, and another was the famed Antonio Stradivari.
18. Eight-armed mollusks : OCTOPUSES
The name “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …
20. Challenging response to provocation : YOU AND WHO ELSE? (giving “Doctor Who”)
The iconic science-fiction television show “Doctor Who” first aired in 1963, and relaunched in 2005 by the BBC. The relaunched series is produced in-house by the BBC in Cardiff in Wales, the location that is the setting of the successful “Doctor Who” spin-off called “Torchwood”. The new show is about the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood Institute which investigates incidents involving extraterrestrials.
24. Strut on a runway : SASHAY
To “sashay” is to strut along in a showy manner. “Sashay” is an Anglicized form of the French word “chassé”, a sliding step used in square dancing.
28. Newsman Huntley : CHET
Chet Huntley was a newscaster who co-anchored “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC with David Brinkley from 1956 to 1970.
33. Ruthless strategy : TAKE NO PRISONERS (giving “Dr. No”)
“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. No and Fu Manchu.
37. America’s National Tree : OAK
The oak was named the official National Tree of the US in 2004. The oak is the national tree of many countries around the world, including England, France, Germany, Jordan, Poland, Serbia and Wales.
38. Fish-catching bird : ERNE
The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also called the white-tailed eagle, or the sea-eagle.
39. Nestlé chocolate chip treat : TOLL HOUSE COOKIE (giving “House”)
The Toll House Cookie was first commercially produced chocolate chip cookie, and was the creation of chef Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. The name of the cookie comes from where Wakefield and her husband lived, the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.
44. George Carlin hosted the first one, briefly : SNL
NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.
George Carlin was a stand-up comic famous for pushing the envelope of comedy in the broadcast media. Despite all the controversies surrounding his act, his passing in 2008 occasioned major tributes by networks and fellow entertainers alike.
48. Actor Mineo : SAL
The actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.
49. Words on Lucy’s “Psychiatric Help – 5¢” sign … and a hint to 20-, 33- and 39-Across : THE DOCTOR IS IN
In Charles Schulz’s fabulous comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown is friends with at least three members of the van Pelt family. Most famously there is Lucy van Pelt, who bosses everyone around, particularly Charlie. Then there is Linus, Lucy’s younger brother, the character who always has his security blanket at hand. Lastly there is an even younger brother, Rerun van Pelt. Rerun is constantly hiding under his bed, trying to avoid going to school.
59. Cheese in a red wax coating : EDAM
Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.
60. “Cheerio” : TATA
An Englishman might say “tata” or “cheerio” instead of “goodbye”. Well, supposedly so!
61. Father-son senators from Tennessee : GORES
Al Gore was born in Washington DC, the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.
62. Jupiter and Neptune, e.g. : GODS
Jupiter, also known as Jove, was the king of the gods in the Roman tradition, as well as the god of sky and thunder. Jupiter was the Roman equivalent to the Greek god Zeus.
Neptune was the Roman god of the sea and of freshwater. He was sometimes known as “Neptunus Equester” as he was also the god of horses and patron of horse-racing.
63. Like Mr. Hyde, e.g. : EVIL
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was first published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.
64. Phishing nets? : SCAMS
Phishing is the name given to the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PIN numbers etc.”
1. Words to an old chap : I SAY
“Chap” is an informal term for “lad, fellow”, especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.
2. “__ arigato”: Japanese “thanks a lot” : DOMO
“Domo arigato” is Japanese for “thank you very much”.
3. Bash with tiki bars : LUAU
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
The world’s first tiki bar was called “Don the Beachcomber”, and was opened in L.A. in 1933 by Ernest Gantt (also known as “Donn Beach”). The bar became famous for its exotic rum cocktails. Gantt was called to serve in WWII, and the business expanded dramatically under his ex-wife’s management so that there was a 160-restaurant chain waiting for Gantt when he returned stateside.
5. 1988 Hoffman title role : RAIN MAN
“Rain Man” is an entertaining and thought-provoking film released in 1988 starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It’s all about a self-possessed yuppie (Cruise, appropriate casting!) who discovers he has a brother who is an autistic savant (Hoffman). Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and “Rain Man” won the Best Picture award.
7. With 55-Down, monster’s lake : LOCH …
(55D. See 7-Down : … NESS)
The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.
9. Ditzy “Friends” friend and singer Snow : PHOEBES
The character Phoebe Buffay (and her identical twin sister Ursula) is played on the sitcom “Friends” by the actress Lisa Kudrow. Kudrow plays the ditzy member of the troupe of friends, but I’ve always viewed her as the “smartest” of the group of actors in real life, as best I could tell. Kudrow is behind the US version of the British genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?” a very entertaining bit of television.
Phoebe Snow was a singer-songwriter from New York City whose best known work is her 1975 hit “Poetry Man”.
12. Chowed down : ATE
“Chow” is a slang term for food that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.
13. Kent and Kettle : PAS
Superman was sent to Earth in a rocket as a child by his parents who were living on the doomed planet of Krypton. On Earth he was discovered by the Kents, farmers who lived near the fictional town of Smallville. “Pa” and “Ma” Kent raised the infant as their own, giving him the name Clark, which was Ma Lent’s maiden name.
19. Aristotle’s teacher : PLATO
Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle.
21. “The Banana Boat Song” word : DAY-O
“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is a traditional folk song from Jamaica. It is sung from the standpoint of dock workers unloading boats on the night shift, so daylight has come, and they want to go home. The most famous version of “Day-O” was recorded by Harry Belafonte, in 1956.
24. 755 HRs and 2297 RBIs for 25-Down, e.g. : STATS
25. Slugger Hank : AARON
The great Hank Aaron (“Hammerin’ Hank” or “the Hammer”) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.
31. Bert’s buddy : ERNIE
For many years, I believed that the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In the movie, the policeman’s name is Bert and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the “Sesame Street” folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence. Aww, I don’t wanna believe that’s a coincidence …
42. Transportation secretary Elaine : CHAO
When President George W. Bush appointed Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor, he made a bit of history as Chao then became the first Chinese American in history to hold a cabinet post. It turned out that Chao became the only cabinet member to hold her post for President Bush’s full eight years in office. In 1993, Chao married Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader of the US Senate.
50. Norse king : OLAV
Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or Olaf the Fat) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.
51. __ Field: Mets’ stadium : CITI
Citi Field is the relatively new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets that sits right next door to the site of Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the new facility’s name comes from corporate sponsor Citigroup.
52. Camaro __-Z : IROC
The IROC-Z is a model of Camaro that was introduced by Chevrolet in 1978. The IROC-Z takes its name from a famous stock car race, the International Race of Champions.
53. Poet Teasdale : SARA
Sara Teasdale was a poet from St. Louis, Missouri although she spent much of her adult life in New York City. Examples of Teasdale’s most famous poems are “There Will Come Soft Rains” and “I Shall Not Care”. Teasdale committed suicide in 1933 by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
54. Tabloid couple : ITEM
An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.
Tabloid is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.