Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each contain a string of circled letters. Those letters are D-A-S-H, but rearranged, in a “MAD” order:
- 37A. Frantic rush, and what’s literally found in each set of puzzle circles : MAD DASH
- 16A. “Baywatch” star : DAVID HASSELHOFF
- 22A. Pull-out money holder : CASH DRAWER
- 49A. Poker table experts : CARD SHARKS
- 59A. Like football linemen : BROAD-SHOULDERED
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Arizona site of Sun Devil Stadium : TEMPE
Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.
Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.
10. College sr.’s test : GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.
16. “Baywatch” star : DAVID HASSELHOFF
Actor and singer David Hasselhoff has appeared on many hit TV shows, including “The Young and the Restless”, “Knight Rider”, “Baywatch”, “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Got Talent”. According to “The Guinness Book of Records”, Hasselhoff is the most-watched man on TV, ever. Albeit, not by me …
21. Coastal raptor : ERNE
“Raptor” is a generic term for a bird of prey, one that has talons to grip its victims.
26. Entry in a ledger’s plus column : ASSET
A “ledger” is an account book. The name comes from the Middle English “leggen” meaning “to lay”. The original ledger was a large book “laid” in one particular place permanently, an example being a breviary in a church.
29. Horse opera setting : OLD WEST
“Horse opera” is a slang term for a western movie or show.
33. “La La Land” Best Actress Stone : EMMA
The actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2016 movie “La La Land”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …
“La La Land” is a 2016 romantic musical film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and actress who fall in love in “La La Land” (Los Angeles, i.e. “LA”). The film was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who had found success two years earlier with the musical drama “Whiplash”. “La La Land” won a record-breaking seven Golden Globes and tied for the record number of Oscar nominations at fourteen, winning six.
35. Flat-bottomed boat : SCOW
A scow is a flat-bottomed boat with squared-off ends that’s often used for transportation, usually pushed or pulled by a barge. Often a scow can be seen carrying junk or garbage.
40. Lowest sudoku number : ONE
Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …
44. How pastrami is often ordered : ON RYE
In the US, pastrami was originally called “pastrama”, and was a dish brought to America by Jewish immigrants from Romania in the second half of the the nineteenth century. The original name may have evolved from the Turkish word “pastirma” meaning “pressed”. “Pastrama” likely morphed into “pastrami” influenced by the name of the Italian sausage called salami.
49. Poker table experts : CARD SHARKS
A “card sharp” is someone who is skilled and deceptive with playing cards, particularly when playing gambling games like poker. It seems that the term “card sharp” predates the related “card shark”, both of which have the same meaning.
53. Bit of fish tank growth : ALGA
Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.
59. Like football linemen : BROAD-SHOULDERED
In American football, linemen specialize in playing in the line of scrimmage. That’s about all I know, and even that I am unsure about …
64. Website with filmographies : IMDB
The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering question one has about movies and actors.
67. Civil rights activist Parks : ROSA
Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.
2. Wax-coated Dutch cheese : 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.
3. Relocate : MOVE
4. Charles, William and Harry : PRINCES
The British laws of royal succession changed in 2013. The centuries old law dictated that males in a family were ranked higher than all females, regardless of age. The current line of succession is:
- Prince Charles (Elizabeth’s eldest son)
- Prince William (Charles’ eldest son)
- Prince George (William’s eldest child)
- Princess Charlotte (William’s second-oldest child)
- Prince Harry (Charles’ second-oldest son)
Under the old system, should Prince William have another son, then that male would have bumped Princess Charlotte down one rung of the ladder. Under the new system, Princess Charlotte gets to “hold her ground”.
15. Mole-like mammals : SHREWS
Shrews are mammals that look like small moles or long-nosed mice. They are the only terrestrial mammals that are known to echolocate, using a series of ultrasonic squeaks to examine their nearby surroundings.
18. More than risqué : LEWD
“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”.
24. Oblong tomatoes : ROMAS
The Roma tomato isn’t considered an heirloom variety, but it is very popular with home gardeners, especially those gardeners that don’t have a lot of space. It is a bush type (as opposed to vine type) and needs very little room to provide a lot of tomatoes.
26. Smart __: wiseguys : ALECS
Apparently the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.
28. Big name in music streaming : SOUNDCLOUD
Soundcloud is a German company that allows users to upload and share audio files online, with most of the distributed content being music. Based in Berlin, the website was launched in 2008 by two Swedish entrepreneurs.
30. “Mortal Kombat” agent __ Blade : SONYA
Mortal Kombat is a series of video games launched in 1992 by Midway Games. It’s pretty violent stuff, apparently …
31. Short cyber post : TWEET
I have never tweeted in my life, and have no plans to do so (but one should never say “never”). Twitter is a microblogging service that limits any post sent to just 140 characters. In a sense, it is similar to this blog. Here I send out a post once a day containing information that I think might be useful to folks (thank you for reading!). I don’t think I could send out much of interest using just 140 characters.
34. Summer hrs. in Billings : MDT
Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)
Billings is the only city in Montana with a population greater than 100,000 people. It was founded as a railroad town in 1882 and experienced such rapid growth that it was nicknamed the Magic City. The town’s name was chosen in honor of a former president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Frederick H. Billings.
42. Steven of “The Patriot” (1998) : SEAGAL
Steven Seagal is known in the US as a martial artist turned actor. Seagal started his career as an Aikido instructor in Japan and was the first foreigner to operate an Aikido dojo in that country.
“The Patriot” is a 1998 action film starring Steven Seagal. The movie is based on a 1974 sci-fi novel by William C. Heine. Haven’t seen it …
47. Actor Pitt : BRAD
Brad Pitt’s first major role was the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma and Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston and then to Angelina Jolie.
50. Parka parts : HOODS
A parka is a hooded jacket, often lined with fur, that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment , absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.
51. Vacation spot near Curaçao : ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
52. Seminary subj. : REL
Originally, a “seminary” was where plants were raised from seeds, as “semen” is the Latin for “seed”. The first schools labelled as seminaries were established in the late 1500s. Those first schools were more likely to be academies for young ladies back then, rather than for trainee priests.
53. Former Yankee who was the youngest MLB player to hit 600 home runs : A-ROD
Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.
59. Youth org. with merit badges : BSA
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910. And, the Boy Scouts motto is “Be Prepared”.
61. Med. care provider : HMO
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
62. __ Moines : DES
The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others do contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.