Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answer each start with a word meaning “male parent”.
- 16A…Madonna hit with the lyrics “I’m keeping my baby”..PAPA DON’T PREACH
- 26A…Like some family-owned businesses..FATHER-AND-SON
- 41A…2003 Eddie Murphy movie about an entrepreneurial stay-at-home parent..DADDY DAY CARE
- 52A…Propose marriage..POP THE QUESTION
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9…Prefix with chute..PARA-
The term “parachute” was coined by Frenchman François Blanchard, from “para-” meaning “defence against” and “chute” meaning “a fall”.
14…__ buco: veal dish..OSSO
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone as in the name of the dish Osso Buco: braised veal shanks.
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!
The prefix “hiero-” comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyphics”, meaning “sacred carving”, the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.
16…Madonna hit with the lyrics “I’m keeping my baby”..PAPA DON’T PREACH
“Papa Don’t Preach” is a 1986 song recorded by Madonna. The song’s lyrics are based on teenage gossip heard outside the studio, chatter between schoolgirls from LA’s North Hollywood High School. Subjects mentioned in the words include teenage pregnancy and abortion.
Papa don’t preach
I’m in trouble deep
Papa don’t preach
I’ve been losing sleep
But I made up my mind
I’m keeping my baby
I’m gonna keep my baby mmm
“Sans” is the French word for “without”, and is a word that we’ve absorbed into English with the same meaning.
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.
24…Live-in nannies..AU PAIRS
An “au pair” is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working and living as part of a host family. The term “au pair” is French, and means “on a par”, indicating that an au pair is treated as an equal in the host family.
Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD not that long ago. I’ve started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device. I love it …
An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an “oast house”.
31…Woolf’s “__ Dalloway”..MRS
“Mrs Dalloway” is a novel by Virginia Woolf, first published in 1925. The story tells of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a day in which she is preparing for a party that she is hosting. The novel has been compared to “Ulysses” by James Joyce, a story about a day in the life of Leopold Bloom.
35…Bake, as eggs..SHIRR
Shirred eggs are eggs that have been baked without their shells in a flat-bottomed dish. The term “shirred” comes from the name of the dish that was traditionally used for the baking.
38…Title time traveler with Bill..TED
“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted. It’s about two lazy students traveling through time in preparation for a history assignment, with a lot of “Dude!” and “Excellent!” scattered throughout the dialog. Reading the plot, this isn’t a movie that I’d normally go for, but somehow, I enjoyed it …
41…2003 Eddie Murphy movie about an entrepreneurial stay-at-home parent..DADDY DAY CARE
“Daddy Day Care” is a 2003 Eddie Murphy comedy film. It’s about an out-of-work father (Murphy) who opens up a daycare center for his young son and others. “Daddy Day Care” was that well received by the critics, and the 2007 sequel “Daddy Day Camp” (starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.) won that year’s Razzie for the Worst Prequel or Sequel.
44…Cast maligning remarks at..ASPERSE
To asperse is to spread false charges or make insinuations. The more common expression is “to cast aspersions”. “To asperse” comes from the Latin “aspergere” meaning “to sprinkle”. So, “to asperse” is also the term used when sprinkling holy water.
48…Sleuths, for short..PIS
Private investigator (P.I.)
The word “sleuth” came into English from Old Norse as far back as 1200 when it meant the “track or trail of a person”. In the mid-1800s, a sleuthhound described a keen investigator, a hound close on the trail of the suspect. Sleuthhound was shortened to “sleuth” and is now used for a detective in general.
52…Propose marriage..POP THE QUESTION
‘Twas the most important question I ever “popped”. In fact, I popped that question exactly 30 years ago, tomorrow …
There are three fencing events in the modern Olympics, distinguished by the weapon used:
57…Baseball tactic to advance a runner..BUNT
“To bunt” in baseball is to barely hit the ball, just enough to have it roll slowly in front of the infielders.
60…Make less intense, as one’s breath..BATE
“To bate” is to restrain, as in “with bated breath”, with restrained breath. The term can also mean “to lessen”, and is a shortening of “abate”.
61…Iowa State city..AMES
The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.
Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable events, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.
2…Smallish celestial body..PLANETOID
The vast majority of asteroids in the Solar System are found in the main asteroid belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Four large asteroids (Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Hygiea) make up about half the mass of the asteroid belt and are 400-950 km in diameter. The total mass of the belt is just 4% of the mass of our Moon. The larger asteroids are also known as “planetoids”.
The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.
The word “hoopla” means “boisterous excitement”. The term probably comes from “houp-là”, something the French say instead of “upsy-daisy”. Then again, “upsy-daisy” probably isn’t something said very often here in the US …
7…D.C. winter clock setting..EST
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
9…Merchant whom Simple Simon met..PIEMAN
The first verse of the English nursery rhyme is:
Simple Simon met a pieman,
Going to the fair;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Let me taste your ware.
The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.
In the Christian tradition, the first day in the season of Lent is called Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, Palm Crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday are burned. The resulting ashes are mixed with sacred oil and then used to anoint worshipers on the forehead with the shape of a cross.
17…Couch potato’s opposite..DOER
Apparently, the phrase “couch potato” was coined in 1976 by one Tom Iacino of Pasadena. Iacino had a friend named Bob Armstrong who eschewed the active life and liked to lie back on the couch watching TV, the “boob tube”. This lazy guy did have the energy to send out a newsletter called “The Tuber’s Voice”, with Armstrong being the “tuber”, the one watching the “tube”. Iacino then referred to Armstrong as the “couch potato”, the tuber lying on the couch.
24…Hebrew winter month..ADAR
Nisan is the first month in the Hebrew ecclesiastical calendar, the month in which Passover falls. Adar is the last month in the same calendar.
25…Cold War country: Abbr…USSR
The term “Cold War” was first used by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch.
Something “clangorous” is clanging, making a lot of noise, especially loud and resonant sounds.
36…Jekyll’s murderous other self..HYDE
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was first published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.
Société Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.
The ballpoint pen was invented by László Bíró in the late thirties, a Hungarian newspaper editor. Over in Ireland we use the term “biro” as a generic word for “ballpoint pen”.
39…Brooks of country music..GARTH
Country singer Garth Brooks retired from recording and performing in 2001. He came back out of retirement in 2009, signing a five-year concert deal with the Encore Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
40…Pastrami sandwich bread..RYE
In the US, pastrami was originally called “pastrama”, a dish brought to America by Jewish immigrants from Romania in the second half of the the nineteenth century. The original name may have evolved from the Turkish word “pastirma” meaning “pressed”. “Pastrama” likely morphed into “pastrami” influenced by the name of the Italian sausage called salami.
44…Colorado ski resort..ASPEN
Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.
50…Em, to Dorothy..AUNT
In L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.
51…Former name of Thailand..SIAM
Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and and again from 1945 to 1949).
54…Sine __ non: essential..QUA
“Sine qua non” is a Latin phrase that we use to mean “the essential element or condition”. The literal translation is “without which not”. One might say, for example, “a challenging crossword is the sine qua non of a good newspaper”. Well, crossword fans might say that …
55…Pan Am rival..TWA
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan-Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the acronym TWA) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.
Pan Am started out as a mail and passenger service between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba in 1927. From very early in the company’s life it was the de facto representative air carrier of the United States. For many years Pan Am’s fleet was built around the Boeing 314 Clipper, a long-range flying boat that was one of the largest aircraft around at the time. Pan Am adopted the Clipper as part of its image, even using “clipper” as the call sign for its flights.