Edited by: Rich Norris
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The first word in each of today’s themed answers includes just one vowel appearing three times, a TRIPLE PLAY of sorts. And, we progress through the vowels alphabetically going through the grid from top to bottom:
- 55A. Baseball rarity, and a hint to the vowels in the first words of 16-, 22-, 29-, 37- and 44-Across : TRIPLE PLAY
- 16A. Monkey cage discard : BANANA PEEL
- 22A. Reason for totaling, as an insured car : SEVERE DAMAGE
- 29A. Cause of some tan lines : BIKINI TOP
- 37A. Ornate 18th-century genre : ROCOCO ART
- 44A. Fluffy sun blocker : CUMULUS CLOUD
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. Addams family nickname : TISH
Gomez and Morticia (“Tish”) Addams were the parents in “The Addams Family”, a creation of the cartoonist Charles Addams. In the sixties television show, Gomez was played by John Astin and Morticia was played by Carolyn Jones.
10. Festoons with Charmin, for short : TP’S
TP’ing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota, that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.
Charmin is a brand of toilet paper made by Procter & Gamble.
13. Chicago airport : O’HARE
O’Hare International is the fourth busiest airport in the world. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.
14. Barak of Israel : EHUD
Ehud Barak served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001, taking over from Benjamin Netanyahu. Barak left office after he called a special election for Prime Minister and lost the vote to Ariel Sharon. Barak resigned from the Knesset and took an advisory job with the US company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and did some security-related work with a private equity company. In 2007, Barak took over leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.
15. __ butter : SHEA
“Shea butter” is a common moisturizer or lotion used as a cosmetic. It is a fat that is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There is evidence that shea butter was used back in Cleopatra’s Egypt.
19. Govt. agency that supports startups : SBA
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency with the mission of assisting small businesses. The SBA doesn’t give loans itself, but it does act as a guarantor under the right circumstances. The SBA was set up in 1953, and isn’t a favorite with fiscal conservatives.
21. Ride in the desert : CAMEL
The dromedary, also known as the Arabian Camel or Indian Camel, is the camel that has only one hump. The other species of camel is the Bactrian, which has two humps. The hump of a dromedary contains up to 80 pounds of fat, which can be broken down into water and energy if no food or water is available.
28. Coral component : POLYP
Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef is provided by calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.
29. Cause of some tan lines : BIKINI TOP
The origin of the word “bikini”, a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name “bikini” was chosen for the swim-wear because of the “explosive” effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!
34. “All Things Considered” co-host Shapiro : ARI
Ari Shapiro was the very able White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) for several years. He became a co-host of network’s drive-time program “All Things Considered” in 2015.
“All Things Considered” is the flagship news broadcast by NPR, aired for two hours every evening.
35. Day of song : DORIS
The actress and singer Doris Day was born Doris Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio. Day made more than 650 recordings as a singer with Columbia Records, and also appeared in 39 movies. Outside the world of entertainment, she has been an ardent supporter of animal rights. She now lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California, along with her many pets and stray animals that she has adopted over the years.
37. Ornate 18th-century genre : ROCOCO ART
The Rococo style is also known as “Late Baroque”. Rococo is a very floral and playful style, very ornate.
40. Thyme piece : SPRIG
In Ancient Greece, thyme was burned as incense and used in baths as it was believed to be a source of courage.
44. Fluffy sun blocker : CUMULUS CLOUD
Cumulus clouds are low-level clouds that look very “puffy”, with clearly defined edges and flat bases. “Cumulus” is Latin for “heap, pile”.
51. Unit of resistance : OHM
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every schoolkid knows as Ohm’s Law.
54. Poker at the table? : TINE
At a poker table, a croupier might use a rake to pull in the chips, and that rake has tines, projecting points.
59. Meditation teachers : YOGIS
A yogi is a practitioner of yoga.
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.
60. “The Affair” network, briefly : SHO
“The Affair” is a drama series on Showtime about a novelist and a waitress having an extramarital affair in a Long Island resort town. Stars of the show are the marvelous Dominic West and Ruth Wilson. I haven’t seen this one, but hear good things …
2. Starbuck’s boss : AHAB
The most famous whale-hunting ship in fiction has to be Herman Melville’s Pequod, featured in his novel “Moby Dick”. The Pequod is a skippered by the maniacal Captain Ahab, and the young chief mate is the thoughtful and intellectual Starbuck. Starbuck’s name was lifted and used by a Seattle-based coffee company.
4. Tax-deferred plan, briefly : IRA
Individual retirement account (IRA)
6. Prairie home : TEPEE
A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.
7. The Supremes’ “__ a Symphony” : I HEAR
“I Hear a Symphony” is a 1965 hit song recorded by the Supremes, the trio’s sixth number-one in the US.
The Supremes were the most successful vocal group in US history, based on number-one hits. The group started out in 1959 as a four-member lineup called the Primettes. The name was changed to the Supremes in 1961. One member dropped out in 1962, leaving the Supremes as a trio. Lead singer Diana Ross began to garner much of the attention, which eventually led to a further name change, to Diana Ross & the Supremes.
9. Cholesterol letters : HDL
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is a compound that is used to transport fats around the body. When HDL is combined with (i.e. is transporting) cholesterol, it is often called “good cholesterol”. This is because HDL seems to remove cholesterol from where it should not be, say on the walls of arteries, and transports it to the liver for reuse or disposal. Important stuff …
10. Annual Augusta National event : THE MASTERS
Golf’s Masters Tournament is the first of the four major championships in the annual calendar, taking place in the first week of April each year. It is played at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, and has a number of traditions. One is that the winner is awarded the famous “green jacket”, but he only gets to keep it for a year and must return it to the club after twelve months.
The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia was founded in 1933 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Famously, Augusta hosts the Masters Tournament each year. Augusta is very much a private club, and some of its policies have drawn criticism over the years. Prior to 1959, the club had a bylaw requiring that all caddies be African American. There were no African-American club members admitted until 1990, and no women until 2012.
11. “Pequod” co-owner : PELEG
The Pequod is the ship that figures in Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby Dick”. The ship is owned by a consortium of the citizens of Nantucket Island, including Captains Ahab, Bildad and Peleg.
12. Room in a maison : SALLE
In French, there are several “salles” (rooms) in a “maison” (house).
15. Shrimp dish : SCAMPI
The Italian dish known as “scampi” is a serving of shrimp in garlic butter and dry white wine.
17. Off-roaders, for short : ATVS
All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
23. Place of honor : DAIS
Ultimately our word “dais”, meaning “raised platform for a speaker”, comes from the Latin “discus” meaning a “disk-shaped object”. I guess that the original daises had such a shape.
25. Big name in riding mowers : TORO
Toro is a manufacturer of mainly lawn mowers and snow removal equipment based in Bloomington, Minnesota. The company was started in 1914 to build tractor engines.
26. Canadian short story writer awarded a Nobel Prize in 2013 : ALICE MUNRO
Alice Munro is a writer from southwestern Ontario in Canada. Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.
30. Discount rack abbr. : IRR
Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)
33. Cribbage markers : PEGS
Cribbage is a great card game that originated in 17th-century England, a creation of the poet Sir John Suckling. One of the unique features of the game is that a cribbage board with pegs is used to keep score. Here in the US, cribbage is very much associated with the submarine service, as it is a favorite game of submariners of all ranks.
39. NASCAR’s Yarborough : CALE
Cale Yarborough is a former NASCAR driver and owner. Yarborough was the first NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”.
45. Hater of David, in Dickens : URIAH
Uriah Heep is a sniveling insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.
46. Rx : SCRIP
“Scrip” is an informal term for a prescription.
There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.
48. Aggressive cat lover of cartoons : LE PEW
Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe accidently painted down her back.
51. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA
Olga Korbut is from modern-day Belarus, but was born during the days of the Soviet Union. Korbut competed for the USSR team in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. She was 17 when she appeared in the 1972 Munich Games, and had been training in a sports school since she was 8-years-old. The world fell in love with her as she was a very emotional young lady, readily expressing joy and disappointment, something that we weren’t used to seeing in athletes from behind the Iron Curtain. Korbut immigrated to the US in 1991 and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
53. Classic PC adventure game : MYST
In the days when I played the occasional video game, the best of the bunch was undoubtedly “Myst”. It is a game full of puzzles with the player wandering through a beautifully-designed (for its day) interactive world.
55. Some univ. proctors : TAS
Teaching Assistants (TAs)
A “proctor” is a supervisor, especially of an examination in a school, or perhaps of a dormitory. The word “proctor” originated in the late 1500s, a contraction of the word “procurator”, the name given to an official agent of a church.
56. Curse : POX
A “pock” is an eruptive mark on the skin, usually caused by an infectious disease. The Middle English plural form “pokkes” gave rise to our term “pox”.