Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers start with the letters BxTT- with “x” standing for a vowel. Those x-vowels progress from A through U from the top of the grid to the bottom:
- 17A. Cellphone revitalizers : BATTERY CHARGERS
- 23A. Cake mix giant : BETTY CROCKER
- 36A. Confection not as sweet as the “milk” variety : BITTER CHOCOLATE
- 48A. Lowest dresser compartment : BOTTOM DRAWER
- 57A. Affectionate touches with one’s lashes : BUTTERFLY KISSES
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. Vagabond : TRAMP
A “vagabond” is a person without a home who moves from place to place. The term derives from the Latin “vagabundus” meaning “wandering, strolling about”.
11. Clock setting for MI and MO : CST
The US states of Michigan (MI) and Missouri (MO) are on Central Standard Time (CST).
15. Riveter painted by Rockwell : ROSIE
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon that represented women working in factories across the country during WWII as part of the war effort. The term “Rosie the Riveter” first appeared as the title of a 1942 song that was a national hit. The image that we bring to mind today that supposedly depicts “Rosie” is a wartime poster with the words “We Can Do It!”, which shows a woman in blue overalls and a red and white polka-dot headscarf. However, this image was used by Westinghouse as an internal motivation tool only for a two-week period in 1943, and was never associated with the Rosie the Riveter persona. The “Rosie” association to that image came decades later, in the 1980s. The best-known WWII representation of Rosie the Riveter was a “Saturday Evening Post” cover drawn by Norman Rockwell in 1943. This image shows a female worker with a rivet gun, and a lunch box bearing the name “Rosie”.
21. “Ring around the collar” detergent : WISK
Wisk is a laundry detergent made by Sun Products. It was introduced in 1956 as the first liquid detergent. The Wisk “ring around the collar” campaign was introduced in 1968.
23. Cake mix giant : BETTY CROCKER
Betty Crocker was introduced by the Washburn Crosby Company (now part of General Mills) in 1921. “Crocker” was chosen in honor of William Crocker who was one of the company’s directors. “Betty” was selected simply because it was considered a bright, all-American name. Betty’s original job was to sign her name on correspondence arising out of consumer product questions, but soon she evolved into a very successful brand name.
31. Japanese soup noodle : UDON
Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisine like tempura.
32. Electrical unit : WATT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.
42. Fashion’s Chanel : COCO
Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer. Perhaps because I am a man, clothes design is not my forte, however, if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that looked so elegant on a woman.
44. Moccasin or loafer : SHOE
The moccasin is a traditional form of footwear worn by members of many Native American tribes.
The type of slip-on shoe called a “loafer” dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by the Fortnum and Mason’s store in London.
52. New Balance competitor : AVIA
The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.
New Balance is a footwear manufacturer based in Boston, Massachusetts.
53. USAF truant : AWOL
AWOL (absent without leave)
“Truant” is such a lovely word. We have been using it to describe someone who wanders from an appointed place since the mid-1400s. Prior to that, a truant was a beggar or a vagabond.
54. Alien crew in sci-fi films : ETS
One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).
63. Writer Zora __ Hurston : NEALE
Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Like the author, the main character in the novel is an African American woman, a part played by Halle Berry in a television movie adaptation that first aired in 2005.
64. Singing sensation Boyle : SUSAN
Susan Boyle hit the big time when she first appeared on the television show “Britain’s Got Talent”. She came on the stage with a very unassuming manner, not looking at all glamorous and then belted out a song with her powerful and mature voice. She blew away the audience and judges. Within nine days of her debut performance, a clip of her audition had been watched 100 million times on the Internet!
66. Lustful deity : SATYR
The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.
67. Perot of politics : H ROSS
Ross Perot graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1953, as president of his class. Perot served his 4-year commitment but then resigned his commission, apparently having become somewhat disillusioned with the navy. He was ranked number 101 on the Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans in 2012, and at that time was worth about $3.5 billion. Back in 1992, Perot ran as an independent candidate for US president. He founded the Reform Party in 1995, and ran as the Reform Party candidate for president in 1996.
2. Dr. Watson outburst : I SAY!
In the marvelous Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes’ sidekick Dr. Watson is referred to only by his family name, except for two occasions when it is revealed that his first name is John. However, in a third and final mention, Dr. Watson is called “James” by his wife, apparently a lapse in memory on the part of the author.
6. On-the-sly romantic meetings : TRYSTS
In its most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting. Further, a tryst taking place at lunchtime is sometimes referred to as a nooner.
9. Actress Farrow : MIA
Mia Farrow is an energetic, award-winning actress who really hasn’t looked back in her career since her first leading role, in “Rosemary’s Baby” back in 1968. Her on-screen celebrity is matched by the interest created by her personal life. Her first husband was Frank Sinatra, a wedding in 1966 that received a lot of attention partly due to the couple’s age difference (she was 21, he was 50). Her second husband was almost as famous, the magnificent musician André Previn. Farrow then moved in with Woody Allen, a relationship that famously fell apart when Farrow discovered that Allen was having a sexual relationship with Soon-Yi, one of her adopted daughters from the marriage with André Previn.
12. Twilled fabric : SERGE
Serge is a type of twill fabric with diagonal ridges on both sides. The name “serge” comes from the Greek word for “silken”.
The verb “to twill” means to weave a cloth (called a twill) that has a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs.
13. Law enforcement shocker : TASER
Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.
24. Bush Labor secretary Elaine : CHAO
When President George W. Bush appointed Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor, he made a bit of history as Chao became the first Chinese American in history to hold a cabinet post. It turned out that Chao became the only cabinet member to hold her post for President Bush’s full eight years in office. In 1993, Chao married Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader of the US Senate.
25. Campus mil. group : ROTC
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.
29. Cosmetics giant : COTY
Coty is a producer of beauty products that was founded in 1904 in Paris.
32. Reporter’s question : WHO?
The Five Ws (or “Five Ws and one H”) is a journalistic concept used for gathering information. For a story to be complete, six questions need to be answered:
- Who is it about?
- What happened?
- Where did it take place?
- When did it take place?
- Why did it happen?
- How did it happen?
34. Oklahoma tribe : OTOE
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.
39. Sent a dupe letter to : CCED
I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle?
44. PDQ, in the ICU : STAT
The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.
Pretty darn quick (PDQ)
Intensive care unit (ICU)
45. Finn’s friend : SAWYER
Tom Sawyer is a favorite character created by Mark Twain. He turns up in four of Twain’s books:
- “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
- “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
- “Tom Sawyer Abroad”
- “Tom Sawyer, Detective”
But that’s not all, as he appears in at least three works that Twain left unfinished:
- “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians” (a sequel to “Huckleberry Finn”)
- “Schoolhouse Hill”
- “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy” (a sequel to “Tom Sawyer, Detective”)
46. Furry “Star Wars” creature : EWOK
The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. They’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.
49. Seed-to-be : OVULE
An “ovule” is a small structure in many plants that develops into the seed after fertilization.
51. Good news on Wall Street : RALLY
New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch as “de Waal Straat”.
54. Canadian gas sign : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.
55. Tetley products : TEAS
Tetley was founded by Joseph Tetley in Yorkshire in 1837. Joseph and his brother used to sell salt door-to-door from a pack horse and started to distribute tea the same way. They became so successful selling tea that they relocated to London. Notably, Tetley’s was the first company to introduce tea bags in the UK, back in 1953.
56. Bank acct. IDs : SSNS
Social Security number (SSN)
58. Chekov’s “Star Trek” rank: Abbr. : ENS
Walter Koenig played Pavel Chekov in the original “Star Trek” series. Mr Chekov was a Russian character although Koenig himself was born in Chicago, the son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania.
59. Actor Stephen : REA
Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.
61. California’s Big __ : SUR
Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast, south of Monterey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.