Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers sounds like a common phrase with an M-sound added to the END of one word:
- 23A. Result of failing to catch a wascally wabbit? : ELMER’S GLOOM (from “Elmer’s Glue”)
- 25A. Viral video about Dre’s headphones? : BEATS MEME (from “beats me”)
- 56A. “I’m the best on the runway,” e.g.? : MODELING CLAIM (from “modeling clay”)
- 78A. Herb served only on trains? : RAILROAD THYME (from “railroad tie”)
- 113A. Floral stench? : BLOOM FUNK (from “blue funk”)
- 115A. Poor prompt to a friend who’s been asked what the capital of Alaska is? : JUST SAY NOME (from “Just Say No”)
- 38D. British cop’s heartthrob? : BOBBY FLAME (from “Bobby Flay”)
- 43D. Some “Ghostbusters” jokes? : SLIME HUMOR (from “sly humor”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Follower of Zeno : STOIC
Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). And yes, we get our adjective “stoic” from the same root.
20. Conveyor connected to a pump : AORTA
The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.
21. Norse trickster : LOKI
Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.
22. Mayberry redhead : OPIE
Mayberry is the fictional North Carolina town in which the “The Andy Griffith Show” is set. Mayberry is said to based on Griffith’s own hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
23. Result of failing to catch a wascally wabbit? : ELMER’S GLOOM (from “Elmer’s Glue”)
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor fo Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.
25. Viral video about Dre’s headphones? : BEATS MEME (from “beats me”)
Beats Electronics is a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, which is the largest acquisition by far in Apple’s history.
A meme (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.
28. 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.
30. Victim of Casca : CAESAR
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?”
32. Pasta wheat : DURUM
Durum wheat, also called “macaroni wheat”, is a species with a high protein content that is commonly used as an ingredient in bread and pasta.
34. Ad hoc gp. : COMM
The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.
35. ISP alternative : DSL
The abbreviation “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.
37. Landlocked African land : ZIMBABWE
The country now known as Zimbabwe started out as a British colony called Southern Rhodesia, and later just “Rhodesia”. The original colony was named for Cecil Rhodes, the British empire builder.
44. Holiday seasons : YULES
Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.
54. StubHub parent company : EBAY
StubHub is an online ticket exchange business that is owned by eBay. StubHub! acts as the middleman between buyers and seller of event tickets, whether those buyers and sellers are individuals or large organizations.
55. Young Darth’s nickname : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:
- Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
- Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
- Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
- Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
- Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …
69. “Sexy” Beatles woman : SADIE
“Sexy Sadie” is a song written by John Lennon and released by the Beatles in 1968. Lennon wrote the song in India, and its original title was “Maharishi”.
74. Biceps exercise : CHIN
The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.
76. Soccer phenom Freddy : ADU
Freddy Adu is an American soccer player who grew up in Ghana. Adu signed for D.C. United in 2004 when he was only 14 years old. That made him the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional contract in the US.
78. Herb served only on trains? : RAILROAD THYME (from “railroad tie”)
The rectangular supports under rails in railroad tracks are known as railroad ties or crossties here in North America. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, we call them railway sleepers.
83. NASA vehicles : LEMS
In the Apollo program, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was the vehicle that actually landed on the moon and returned the astronauts to the command module that was orbiting overhead. The third LEM built was named “Spider”, and it participated in the Apollo 9 mission which tested the functionality of the LEM design in space. The fourth LEM was called “Snoopy” and it flew around the moon in the Apollo 10 mission, the dress rehearsal for the upcoming moon landing. Apollo 11’s LEM was called “Eagle” and it brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to and from the moon’s surface. Another famous LEM was Apollo 13’s Aquarius. Although Aquarius never landed on the moon, it did serve as a “lifeboat” for the three astronauts after the explosive rupture of an oxygen canister in the Service Module.
86. Barrel contents : OIL
The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to “bbl”. Barrels aren’t really used for transporting crude oil anymore. Instead, oil moves in bulk through pipelines and in tankers. “Barrel” is just used as a unit of volume these days.
87. Any of three Ottoman sultans : AHMED
There were three sultans of the Ottoman Empire named Ahmed:
- Ahmed I (1603-1617)
- Ahmed II (1691-1695)
- Ahmed III (1695-1703)
89. Beef recall cause : E COLI
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.
91. Poetic foot : IAMB
An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” consists of lines made up of four sequential iambs e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With a sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.
93. Mideast capital at 7,380 feet : SANA’A
Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet in the Yemeni Mountains, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.
95. Hefty refs. : OEDS
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
96. Toyota compacts : COROLLAS
Toyota management likes the idea of naming their cars after the word “crown”, as they did with the Toyota Crown, followed by the Toyota Corona (Latin for crown), the Toyota Corolla (Latin for small crown), and the Toyota Camry (Japanese for crown).
98. Somewhat high : TIPSY
The term “tipsy” comes from the verb “to tip” meaning “to overturn, knock over”, and has been meaning “drunk” since the late 1500s.
104. It precedes some hockey games : O CANADA
Canada’s national anthem “O Canada” was commissioned in 1880 by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, so the original words are in French. The first English translation was made in 1906. The current English lyrics have been revised a few times, but the French version remains the same as it did back in 1880.
O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land, glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee;
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
111. Hall of Fame catcher Carlton : FISK
Carlton “Pudge” Fisk is a retired professional baseball player. Fisk played for both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox.
112. Sweater type : CARDIGAN
The article of clothing known as a cardigan is named after the British Army Major General James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan. Apparently, the cardigan’s design is similar to the a knitted wool waistcoat that was worn by officers during the Crimean War in which the Earl of Cardigan played a major role.
115. Poor prompt to a friend who’s been asked what the capital of Alaska is? : JUST SAY NOME (from “Just Say No”)
Nome, Alaska has over 3,500 residents, the majority of whom are Native American. The next largest ethnic group in Nome is the white population. The origin of the name “Nome” isn’t well understood, it seems. One theory is that was a misunderstanding of the local Inupiaq word meaning “Where at?”
The slogan “Just Say No” was introduced by First Lady Nancy Reagan for the War on Drugs in the 1980s. The slogan was developed by advertising executives, but the First Lady first used the phrase in response to a schoolgirl asking in 1982 what to do if she was offered drugs.
119. Rickey flavoring : LIME
Rickeys are a class of cocktails made with gin or bourbon to which is added a squeezed lime and carbonated water. Supposedly, the original rickey was made using bourbon by a bartender at Shoomaker’s bar in Washington, D.C. in the 1880s. The barman made the drink for lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey, hence the name.
120. __ nous : ENTRE
In French, something might perhaps be discussed “entre deux” (between two) or “entre nous” (between us).
121. Half a ’60s-’70s pop duo : SONNY
Sonny Bono was a recording artist who later moved into the world of politics. As a musical entertainer, Bono was most famous for his recordings as a duo with Cher, who later became his second wife. The couple divorced, but continued to work together. Bono went into politics, first as the mayor of Palm Springs, California and later as a representative for a California district in the US House of Representatives. Sadly, Bono was killed in a skiing accident in 1998. Coincidently, Michael Kennedy (son of Robert F. Kennedy) had died in a similar skiing accident just one week earlier. The epitaph on Bono’s gravestone reads “And the Beat Goes On”, a reference to the 1967 Sonny & Cher hit “The Beat Goes On”, which was written by Sonny.
125. Where Nike has no “i,” briefly : NYSE
Nike is traded on the New York Stock Exchange using the symbol NKE.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) can give some quite descriptive ticker symbols to companies, for example:
- Anheuser-Busch (BUD, for “Budweiser”)
- Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP, as in “beer tap”)
- Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB, for “Ludwig van Beethoven”)
- Sotheby’s (BID, for the auction house)
1. Suit material : TWEED
Tweed is a rough woolen fabric very much associated with Scotland in the UK, and County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth was originally called “tweel”, the Scots word for “twill”. Apparently a London merchant misinterpreted some handwriting in the early 1800s and assumed the fabric was called “tweed”, a reference to the Scottish River Tweed, and the name stuck …
3. Corporate heavies : AX MEN
“Axman” is a slang term describing a corporate bigwig tasked with slashing a budget and/or a workforce.
6. Turnpike fee : TOLL
Back in the 15th century, a turnpike was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.
7. Medalla de victor : ORO
In Spanish, a “medalla de victor” (victory medal) is often made of “oro” (gold).
8. Skater Midori : ITO
Midori Ito is a Japanese figure skater. Ito was the first woman to land a triple/triple jump and a triple axel in competition. In fact, she landed her first triple jump in training when she was only 8 years old.
10. “Dark Sky Island,” e.g. : ALBUM
“Dark Sky Island” is a 2015 studio album released by Irish new-age singer Enya. The record’s title is a reference to the island of Sark in Britain’s Channel Islands. Sark is remarkably free of light pollution and so was officially designated a Dark Sky Community in 2011, making tit the world’s first Dark Sky Island.
12. Alias preceder : AKA
Also known as (aka)
13. Without ads, it’s usually about 21 or 22 minutes : SITCOM
Eight or nine minutes of ads in each thirty minutes. Dearie, dearie me …
14. Like much jam : HOMEMADE
Jelly is made from the strained juice from crushed fruit. Jam is similar, but the whole crushed fruit is used, often including seeds.
16. __ bean : LIMA
The lima bean is also known as the butter bean. The lima bean was introduced to Europe from the area around Lima, Peru, hence the name.
19. Sp. lasses : SRTAS
“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French for “Miss”.
24. 2016 film subtitled “Miracle on the Hudson” : SULLY
“Sully” is a 2016 film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. The movie is based on the autobiography “Highest Duty” by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the captain of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson River in 2009. Although the film covers the crash and miraculous escape of all aboard, it is more about the investigation that seemed intent on proving that the accident was caused by pilot error. Sully managed to clear his name. He was listed second on “Time” magazine’s list of the “Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009”, right after Michelle Obama.
26. Latin dance : SAMBA
The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival known as Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …
29. Eye-opener at the gym : HUNK
Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.
34. Eyelashes : CILIA
“Cilium” is the Latin for “eyelash”.
38. British cop’s heartthrob? : BOBBY FLAME (from “Bobby Flay”)
Police officers in the UK are sometimes called “bobbies” (and used to be called “peelers”). The name refers back to Sir Robert Peel who, when Home Secretary, created the modern police force.
Bobby Flay is a celebrity chef who has hosted several shows on the Food Network. Flay is also an Iron Chef on the show “Iron Chef America”, which also airs on the Food Network.
39. “King Kong” (1933) actress : WRAY
Fay Wray was a Canadian-American actress who was best known for her starring role in the classic 1933 film “King Kong”. When Wray passed away at the age of 96 in 2004, the lights of the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes. That fine gesture was a nod to the celebrated Empire State Building scene in “King Kong”.
43. Some “Ghostbusters” jokes? : SLIME HUMOR (from “sly humor”)
1984’s “Ghostbusters” really is an entertaining movie. It stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, and was directed by Ivan Reitman (a trio that also worked together on 1981’s “Stripes”). The first draft of the screenplay was written by another star of the movie, Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd originally envisioned “Ghostbusters” as a vehicle for himself and John Belushi, but sadly Belushi passed away before the project could be realized.
53. Sister of Moses : MIRIAM
According to the Bible, Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. It was Miriam who hid baby Moses in a basket at the side of the river to avoid being killed as a newborn Hebrew boy.
58. Panhandle state : IDAHO
The US state of Idaho has a panhandle that extends northwards between Washington and Montana, right up to the border with Canada. Across that border is the Canadian province of British Columbia. Most of Idaho is in the Mountain Time Zone, but Northern Idaho (the Panhandle) is in the Pacific Time Zone.
59. Gymnast Comaneci : NADIA
Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of a ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.
61. Kathy of country : MATTEA
Kathy Mattea is a country singer who grew up just outside Charleston, West Virginia. Many of Mattea’s songs were written by her husband Jon Vezner.
67. Co. in Cannes : CIE
“Cie.” is an abbreviation used in French. “Cie.” is short for “compagnie”, the French word for “company”, and is used as we would use “Co.”
70. Kingdom subdivisions : PHYLA
Biological classification is a method used to group organisms by biological type. The method uses a hierarchy of nested classes, with an organism being classified with reference to evolutionary traits. The major taxonomic ranks used are:
- Phylum (plural “phyla”)
- Genus (plural “genera”)
71. “¿Cómo está __?” : USTED
“¿Cómo está usted?” is the more formal way of asking, “How are you?” in Spanish.
72. __ United: English soccer team : LEEDS
Historically, Leeds United is one of the most successful clubs playing professional soccer in England, and is a team with a passionate fan base. The club is based in the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire, and the club badge feature the White Rose of York.
76. Smart guy? : ALEC
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.
79. Homeric epic : ILIAD
“The Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the ten-year siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “The Iliad”.
80. Beethoven strolled in them for inspiration : LEAS
Ludwig van Beethoven is my favorite composer from the Classical period. There are two excellent films that showcase his music and give fictionalized yet entertaining accounts of different aspects of his life: “Immortal Beloved” (1994) that speculates on the identity of one of Beethoven’s lovers, and “Copying Beethoven” (2006) that explores the events leading up to the triumphant premiere of his 9th Symphony.
84. Highway hazard : SLOWPOKE
Back in the early 1800s, a “poke” was a device attached to domestic animals such as pigs or sheep to keep them from escaping their enclosures. The poke was like a yoke with a pole, and slowed the animal down, hence the term “slowpoke”.
90. Intestinal section : ILEUM
The human ileum (plural “ilea”) is the lowest part of the small intestine, and is found below the jejunum and above the cecum of the large intestine.
92. A/C measure : BTUS
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.
94. West African capital : ACCRA
Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.
99. Laser alternative : INKJET
“Inkjet” is a very accurate and descriptive name for the type of printer. Printing is accomplished by shooting extremely fine jets of ink onto the page.
103. “Star Trek: TNG” first officer : RIKER
William T. Riker is a leading character on the TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. I’m not a huge “Star Trek” fan, but really enjoy watching “The Next Generation”. I love the performances on the show, except for Jonathan Frakes’ portrayal of First Officer William T. Riker …
108. Beatles nonsense syllables : OB-LA
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is one of many songs credited to Lennon/McCartney that was actually written by just one of the pair. Paul McCartney wrote this one, a song that John Lennon really did not like at all. Apparently Lennon was quite obstructionist during the recording of the song and even walked out at one point.
109. __ Bator : ULAN
The name of Mongolia’s capital city Ulan Bator translates as “the Red Hero”. The “Red Hero” name was chosen in honor of the country’s national hero, Damdin Sükhbaatar. Sükhbaatar fought alongside the Soviet Red Army in the fight for liberation from Chinese occupation.
110. Battery, e.g. : TORT
The word “tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Battery” is intentional contact with another person that is deemed to be either harmful or offensive. The related “assault” is the act of creating apprehension that such harmful or offensive contact is imminent.
111. Low-cost home loan org. : FNMA
The Federal National Mortgage Association is commonly called Fannie Mae, a play on the initialism FNMA. Fannie Mae was founded in during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal.
117. Home of the NHL’s Blues : STL
The St. Louis Blues hockey team takes its name from the song “St. Louis Blues”, a jazz and popular music classic.