Edited by: Rich Norris
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The FIRST word in each of today’s themed answers is one that is often seen following the word SAFETY:
- 60A…Motto for the cautious … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 28-, 37- and 45-Across..SAFETY FIRST
- 17A…Adjusted sales figure on which some royalties are based..NET RECEIPTS (giving “safety net”)
- 28A…Wood-finishing tool..BELT SANDER (giving “safety belt”)
- 37A…Brass instrument played like a trumpet..VALVE TROMBONE (giving “safety valve”)
- 45A…Long, narrow mollusks..RAZOR CLAMS (giving “safety razor”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
Aspirin was a brand name for the drug acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin was introduced by the German drug company Bayer AG in the late 1800s. As part of the war reparations paid by Germany after WWI, Bayer AG lost the use of the trademark “Aspirin” (as well as the trademark Heroin!) and it became a generic term.
26…Concerning, in memos..IN RE
The term “in re” is Latin, derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to”, or “in the matter of”.
Influenza (flu) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.
33…Tennessee senator __ Alexander..LAMAR
Lamar Alexander is one of the US Senators representing Tennessee. Alexander is a great classical and country piano player, and you can actually hear him playing on a re-recording that Patti Page made of her 1950 hit “Tennessee Waltz”.
36…Zoo critter with striped legs..OKAPI
The okapi is closely related to the giraffe, although it does have markings on its legs and haunches that resemble those of a zebra. The okapi’s tongue is long enough to reach back and wash its eyeballs, and can go back even further to clean its ears inside and out.
37…Brass instrument played like a trumpet..VALVE TROMBONE (giving “safety valve”)
A valve trombone looks like a trombone, but is played like a trumpet. Part of the instrument looks like it should “slide”, as in a slide trombone, but that part is actually fixed.
45…Long, narrow mollusks..RAZOR CLAMS (giving “safety razor”)
Razor clams have long, narrow shells that resemble straight razors in shape, hence their name.
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”. Here are some famous lines from that collection:
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.
52…Place for meditation..YOGA MAT
In the West we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.
55…Intense personality..TYPE A
The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.
Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.
The Washington Nationals (“The Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.
66…Mount in Exodus..SINAI
According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”.
A “fluke” is a “stroke of luck”, and is a term that is thought to have originated as a lucky stroke in the game of billiards back in the mid-1800s.
68…Genetic info letters..DNA
DNA was first isolated in 1869 by Swiss physician and biologist. The molecular structure of DNA was identified in 1953, by the American and British team of James Watson and Francis Crick.
69…Seagoing mil. training group..NROTC
Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC)
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.
The Home Shopping Network (HSN) was the first national shopping network, and was launched locally as the Home Shopping Club in Florida in 1982.
The QVC shopping channel was founded in 1986 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The company now has operations not only in the US but also in the UK, Germany, Japan and Italy. That means QVC is reaching 200 million households. The QVC acronym stands for Quality, Value and Convenience.
4…Gracias, across the Pyrenees..MERCI
Once can say “thank you” with “merci” in French, with “gracias” in Spanish, and with “danke” in German.
6…”The Heart of the Matter” novelist Graham..GREENE
“The Heart of the Matter” is a 1948 novel by English author Graham Greene that is based on the writer’s own experiences as a British intelligence officer stationed in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The novel was adapted as a 1953 film of the same name starring Trevor Howard, and as a TV film in 1963 starring Jack Hedley.
7…Hawaiian floral rings..LEIS
“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a “lei” is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.
11…Send back, as to a lower court..REMAND
“To remand” is to send back. In the law, the term can mean to send back into custody, or to send back a case to a lower court.
13…”Marvelous” Marvin of boxing..HAGLER
Marvin Hagler is a retired boxer from Newark, New Jersey. Hagler was the World Middleweight Boxing Champion from 1980 to 1987, successfully defending his title twelve times. “Marvelous Marvin” lost his title to Sugar Ray Leonard who came out of retirement for the fight with Hagler. Although the result was much-disputed, Hagler never fought again and turned to a career as an actor, and now lives in Italy.
22…Yellow “Despicable Me” character..MINION
“Despicable Me” is a 2010 animated comedy film. The main voice actor in the movie is the very funny Steve Carell. “Despicable Me” is a Universal Pictures production, although all of the animation was done in France. The 2010 film was followed by a sequel “Despicable Me 2” released in 2013, with a prequel/spinoff film called “Minions” released in 2015.
A minion is a servile follower, a yes-man. The term “minion” comes from the French word “mignon” meaning “favorite, darling”.
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886, making it one of the first federations of unions in the country. Over time the AFL became dominated by craft unions, unions representing skilled workers of particular disciplines. In the early thirties, John L. Lewis led a movement within the AFL to organize workers by industry, believing this would be more effective for the members. But the craft unions refused to budge, so Lewis set up a rival federation of unions in 1932, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The two federations became bitter rivals for over two decades until finally merging in 1955 to form the AFL-CIO.
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:
- the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
- the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
- the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)
The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.
25…Shoe company with a cat in its logo..PUMA
Puma is a German company that sells athletic shoes worldwide. Puma is most famous for its line of soccer boots.
29…Doone of Exmoor..LORNA
The novel “Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.
In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).
31…Retired newsman Donaldson..SAM
The broadcast journalist Sam Donaldson is best known as the White House correspondent for ABC for many years, as well as co-anchor of ABC’s Sunday show “This Week”. Donaldson had a famous exchange with President George W. Bush during a White House press conference in 2006. Donaldson shouted out a question about anti-semitic remarks made by actor Mel Gibson, to which President Bush joked, “Is that Sam Donaldson? Forget it … you’re a ‘has-been’! We don’t have to answer has-beens’ questions.” Donaldson gave a biting rejoinder, “Better to have been a has-been than a never-was.”
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.
34…1990s veep..AL GORE
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.
35…Camper driver, for short..RVER
One using a “recreational vehicle” (RV) might be called an “RVer”.
Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.
46…”The Joy Luck Club” novelist..AMY TAN
Amy Tan lives not too far from here, in Sausalito just north of San Francisco. Tan is an American writer of Chinese descent whose most successful work is “The Joy Luck Club”. “The Joy Luck Club” was made into a movie produced by Oliver Stone in 1993. The novel and movie tell of four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco who start the Joy Luck Club, a group playing Mahjong for money and eating delicious food.
47…Mexican revolutionary played by Brando..ZAPATA
“Viva Zapata!” is a 1952 film directed by Elia Kazan, with Marlon Brando playing the title role. The film is based on the life the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, and has a screenplay written by John Steinbeck.
Emiliano Zapata was a leader in the Mexican Revolution that took place from 1910 to 1920. Zapata was the leader of the Liberation Army of the South, a force more commonly referred to as the Zapatistas.
48…Word before “Pizza” or “River,” in film..MYSTIC
Mystic Pizza is a coming-of-age film released in 1988. Included in the cast are Annabeth Gish and Julia Roberts. If you watch closely, you’ll also see Matt Damon speaking his first line in a movie. The title refers to the name of a pizza restaurant located in Mystic, Connecticut.
“Mystic River” is a 2003 drama film based on a novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon. The film has quite a dark storyline and deals with the difficult subject of pedophilia.
Sony introduced the PlayStation line of video game consoles in 1994.
53…Social faux pas..GAFFE
Our word “gaffe” , meaning a social blunder, comes from the French word “gaffe” meaning “clumsy remark”, although it originally was the word for “boat hook”. The exact connection between a boat hook and a blunder seems to be unclear.
The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).
56…Part of AAA: Abbr…ASSN
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.
The term “heat”, meaning a qualifying race, dates back to the 1660s. Originally a heat was a run given to a horse to prepare it for a race, to “heat” it up.
62…Capek’s robot play..RUR
Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.