Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s grid contains four sets of circled letters at each CORNER. Each spells out a synonym of CUTS, namely:
- 33A…With 43-Across, acting like an unscrupulous contractor … and a hint to this puzzle’s circles..CUTTING …
- 43A…See 33-Across.. … CORNERS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Sepia is that lovely rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish.The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.
The eardrum lies at the intersection of the outer ear and middle ear. Also called the tympanic membrane, the eardrum picks up vibrations in air caused by sound waves, and transmits these vibrations to the three tiny bones called the ossicles. These ossicles (hammer, anvil and stirrup) are in the middle ear, and transmit the vibration to the oval window. The oval window is the membrane-covered opening lying at the intersection of the middle ear and the inner ear. The vibrations are transmitted into fluid in the inner ear, and converted into nerve impulses in the cochlea that are transmitted to the brain.
15…Half a notable San Francisco intersection..-ASHBURY
Haight-Ashbury is a neighborhood in San Francisco that is centered on the intersection of Haight Street and Ashbury Street. The district was one of the epicenters of hippie life in the sixties, and was home to psychedelic rock performers of the day including Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin.
A playing marble made from agate is called just that, an agate. Steelies on the other hand, are made from solid steel.
Brandy is a spirit distilled from wine. The term “brandy” ultimately comes from the Dutch “gebrande wijn” meaning “burnt wine”. The length of this aging of the spirit defines the various grades of brandy:
- VS: Very Special … at least 2 years storage
- VSOP: Very Special (or Superior) Old Pale … at least 4 years storage
- XO: Extra Old … at least 6 years
- VSO: Very Superior Old … 12-17 years
19…Some grad students..TAS
Teaching Assistants (TAs)
22…One of a divided trio?..DEE
There is a trio of letters D (dees) in the word “divided”.
24…Like some room fresheners..PINEY
“Piney” is a variant spelling of “piny”, meaning “suggestive of pines”.
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written first as a poem by Francis Scott Key, inspired by the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry that he witnessed during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called “The Anacreontic Song”, with the Anacreontic Society being a men’s club in London.
30…Tony winner Martin in the 2013 “Pippin” Broadway revival..ANDREA
Andrea Martin is an actress and comedian who appeared regularly in the television sketch show “SCTV”.
“Cargo” is freight that is carried by some vehicle. The term comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.
35…Prom dress material..TAFFETA
Taffeta is a plain woven fabric with a crisp feel that is made from silk or one of several manmade materials. The name “taffeta” ultimately comes from the Persian “taftah” meaning “silk or linen cloth”.
37…They may be crunched..ABS
The abdominal muscles (“abs”) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …
38…Bollywood star Aishwarya __..RAI
Not only is Aishwarya Rai one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses, she is a a former Miss World, having won the pageant in 1994.
Bollywood is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay”, the old name for Mumbai, and of course “Hollywood”.
39…Curaçao cocktails..MAI TAIS
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum.
The liqueur known as Curaçao comes from the island of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. The liqueur is usually given artificial coloring to make it suitable for use in exotic cocktails. The common colors used are blue and orange.
47…RR schedule listing..STN
A station (stn.) is a railroad (R.R.) stop.
48…Land on a lake?..REEL IN
When landing a fish caught on a lake with a fishing rod, one reels it in.
In the myth of Cupid (aka Eros) and Psyche, the two title characters must overcome many obstacles to fulfill their love for each other. Overcome them they do, and the pair marry and enjoy immortal love.
51…Letters on old TV dials..UHF
The radio spectrum is divided into bands based on frequency. “High band” is composed of relatively high frequency values, and “low band” is composed of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency, or VHF. Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF). AM radio uses lower frequencies that fall into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF).
54…”Girls” creator Dunham..LENA
Lena Dunham is a co-star in the HBO series “Girls”, and is also the show’s creator. Dunham garnered a lot of attention for herself during the 2012 US Presidential election cycle as she starred in ad focused on getting out the youth vote. In the spot she compared voting for the first time with having sex for the first time.
57…”There’s __ in … “..NO I
There’s no I in “team”.
In Roman numerals, XL (40) squared is MDC (1600).
The Buick Special was a car produced by General Motors in various forms from 1936, making a final brief appearance in 1975. The Buick Special was given the name “LeSabre” in 1959, and a “Skylark” option was introduced in 1961. The engine was changed from a V8 in 1962, making the Buick Special the first American production car to use a V6.
62…Indian spiced drink..CHAI TEA
Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.
67…Lots of shots..SALVOES
A salvo is a simultaneous discharge of guns. Ironically, “salvo” comes from the Latin “salve” meaning “be in good health”. Salvo was originally the name given to the firing of guns in the air as a sign of respect or greeting for an important visitor. Good health!
Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The current base price of a roadster is about $100,000, should you be interested …
“Sternum” (plural “sterna”) is the Latin name for the breastbone. “Sternon” is a Greek for “chest, breastbone”.
“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”, when referring to a group of items.
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”
5…Patron of Alice’s..ARLO
Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.
“Sui generis” is a Latin expression meaning “of its own kind”. The term can be used in a number of fields, and in philosophy it refers to an idea which cannot be included in a wider concept, and idea of its own kind.
“Fare-thee-well” is a condition of supreme perfection. The term comes from the salutation one gives on leaving someone: “fare thee well, may it go well with thee”.
9…Scottish resort town known for its whisky..OBAN
Oban is a seaport on the west coast of Scotland. It is home to the Oban distillery, a relatively small but famous distillery that was founded in 1794. It is actually older than the town, which grew up around the distillery.
12…Barrett of Pink Floyd..SYD
Syd Barrett was the lead singer and a founding member of the English rock band Pink Floyd. Barrett was only active as a musician for just over ten years. He retired from the music scene in 1975 and spent the next 30 years living off Pink Floyd royalties until he passed away in 2006.
22…Mil. bravery medal..DSC
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest honor awarded to members of the US Army. The DSC is equivalent to the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.
23…Evian, par exemple..EAU
Évian-les-Bains (or simply Évian) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As you might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. I can’t stand the taste of Évian water …
The garden flower called the pansy takes its name from the French word “pensée” meaning “thought”. This name was chosen as the flower was often used as a symbol of remembrance.
25…The very beginning, figuratively..YEAR ONE
The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.
27…Pretoria’s land: Abbr…RSA
Republic of South Africa (RSA)
Pretoria is the executive capital of South Africa, one of three capital cities in the country. Cape Town is the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.
29…Virginie, to Eugénie..ETAT
In French, “Virginie, par exemple” (Virginia, for example) is an “état” (state).
39…The Bulldogs of the SEC..MSU
The athletic teams of Mississippi State University have been known as the Bulldogs since 1961, having previously been referred to as the Aggies and the Maroons. The school’s mascot has been an English bulldog named Bully since 1935.
42…Fished with a net..SEINED
A seine is a type of fishing net. It is long and thin, with floats along one long edge (the top) and weights along the bottom edge so that it hangs down in the water. A seine is usually paid out into the water from a boat called a seiner, as the vessel moves slowly in a circle driving fish into the center of the net.
44…Meccano construction set..ERECTOR
Oh how I loved my Erector Set as a kid. The version we used growing up was referred to as a Meccano set, as “Meccano” was the brand name used for for the toy sold as “Mechanics Made Easy”. The original Erector Set was developed by inventor Alfred Carlton Gilbert, and first produced in 1913. Back then it was sold as “The Erector/Structural Steel and Electro-Mechanical Builder”.
45…1973 Court decision alias..ROE
Roe v. Wade was decided in a US District Court in Texas in 1970, and reached the Supreme Court on appeal. The basic decision by the Supreme Court was that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy applied to an abortion, but that this right had to be balanced with a state’s interest in protecting an unborn child and a mother’s health. The Court further defined that the state’s interest became stronger with each trimester of a pregnancy. So, in the first trimester the woman’s right to privacy outweighed any state interest. In the second trimester the state’s interest in maternal health was deemed to be strong enough to allow state regulation of abortion for the sake of the mother. In the third trimester the viability of the fetus dictated that the state’s interest in the unborn child came into play, so states could regulate or prohibit abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. I’m no lawyer, but that’s my understanding of the initial Supreme Court decision …
46…Old map abbr…SSR
Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR)
49…One of the fire signs..LEO
Each of the twelve astrological signs is associated with one of the classical elements:
- Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
- Earth signs: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo
- Air signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
- Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
The incantation “abracadabra” has a long history. It was used as far back as the 2nd century AD in Ancient Rome when the word was prescribed by a physician to be worn on an amulet to help his emperor recover from disease. “Abracadabra” is Aramaic, and roughly translates as “I will create as I speak”.
Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried. The cereal is germinated by soaking it in water, and then germination is halted by drying the grains with hot air.
59…Act like a loon?..DIVE
The bird known as a loon here in North America is called a diver in the British Isles. The name “diver” comes from the bird’s habit of swimming calmly and then suddenly diving below the surface to catch a fish. The name “loon” comes from an Old English word meaning “clumsy” and reflects the awkward gait of the bird when walking on land.
60…Map coordinate: Abbr…LAT
Lines of latitude are the imaginary horizontal lines surrounding the planet. The most “important” lines of latitude are, from north to south:
- Arctic Circle
- Tropic of Cancer
- Tropic of Capricorn
- Antarctic Circle
“Res” is the Latin for “thing”. “Res” is used in a lot of phrases in the law.
65…Simile center..AS A
A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.