Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Today’s themed answers start with words that might be used to describe the PERFECT HOST:
- 64A…Ideal party thrower described by the first words of 17-, 27- and 49-Across..PERFECT HOST
- 17A…What snowbirds seek in winter..WARM WEATHER
- 27A…Ready-to-send correspondence..OUTGOING MAIL
- 49A…Liqueur holder..CORDIAL GLASS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
11…Ex-Florida governor Bush..JEB
Jeb Bush is the son of President George H. W. Bush, and the brother of President George W. Bush. I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara’s son John Ellis Bush is called “Jeb”. A kind blog reader has suggested the the name “Jeb” may have been chosen as JEB are the initials of John Ellis Bush.
14…”__ Ben Adhem”..ABOU
Abou Ben Adhem, also known as Ibrahim Bin Adham, was an Arab Muslim saint. He was made famous in the western world with the publication in 1838 of the poem “Abou Ben Adhem” that was composed by the English poet James Henry Leigh Hunt.
17…What snowbirds seek in winter..WARM WEATHER
Snowbirds are people from Canada and the northern US who head south for the winter, to places like Florida and California.
The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.
Mecca is in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia. It was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the holiest city in Islam. Every year several million Muslims perform the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage to Mecca.
23…”Do __ others … “..UNTO
The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
31…Network with regular pledge drives..NPR
National Public Radio (now just called “NPR”) was launched in 1970 after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …
32…D-Day French city..ST LO
Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.
The T-bone and porterhouse are related cuts of meat, with the latter being a larger version of the former, and both being cut from the short loin.
39…Since Jan. 1, in accounting..YTD
In the television sitcom “Bewitched”, Endora was Samantha’s mother, with mother, daughter and indeed granddaughter having the magical powers accorded to witches. Endora was played flamboyantly by Agnes Moorehead.
45…Buster Brown’s dog..TIGE
“Buster Brown” is a comic strip created in 1902 by Felton Outcault. Outcault took his name Buster from the very popular film star at the time, Buster Keaton. Buster’s dog Tige, was an American Pit Bull Terrier. Apparently when Tige started to “talk” in the strip, he became the first talking pet in the history of American comics.
48…Jamaican music genre..SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.
49…Liqueur holder..CORDIAL GLASS
Back in the 14th century, we used the word “cordial” to mean “from the heart”. The most common meaning today is “courteous and gracious”. The original usage also evolved into the name for a drink that “stimulated the heart”. Today’s cordial beverages are strong, sweetened liqueurs.
55…”Doctor Zhivago” heroine..LARA
The heroine of Boris Pasternak’s epic novel “Doctor Zhivago” is Lara. The Lara character was inspired by Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya.
Doctor Zhivago is an epic novel by Boris Pasternak, first published in 1957. I haven’t tried to read it the book, but the 1965 film version is a must-see, directed by David Lean and starring Omar Sharif in the title role. The story centers on Yuri Zhivago, a doctor and poet, and how he is affected by the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War.
Nestlé Quik was introduced in 1948, and is a flavored powdered milk drink. It was sold in Europe as “Nesquik”, and that brand name replaced “Quik” here in the US in 1999. The Nesquik mascot is the Quik Bunny. The Quik Bunny had a large “Q” on a collar around his neck, and with the brand name change this “Q” became an “N”, and he is now known as the Nesquik Bunny.
67…C to C, in music..OCTAVE
I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way … don’t shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”). These are all white keys. Most of these “white notes” are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a “semitone” in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term “octave” because we often add an eighth note on the end “to bring us back to do” as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do … or … C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.
68…Richard of “A Summer Place”..EGAN
Richard Egan was an actor from San Francisco. One of Egan’s more famous roles was playing Elvis Presley’s older brother in “Love Me Tender”. Rod Serling eventually chose to narrate his epic “The Twilight Zone” series himself, but his first choice for narrator had been Richard Egan. It was perhaps lucky that Egan couldn’t do the “The Twilight Zone” gig due to other contractual obligations, as Serling’s commentary added so much to the show.
“A Summer Place” is a 1959 movie based on a novel of the same name by Sloan Wilson. The film is a romantic drama starring Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire. “Theme from A Summer Place” became a number one hit for Percy Faith in 1960.
69…Org. with a PreCheck Program..TSA
The TSA is the Transportation Security Administration, the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.
71…Facts and figures..DATA
Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.
1…Electric guitar effect..WA-WA
A wah-wah pedal connected to an electric guitar alters the tone of the signal created so that it mimics the human voice.
3…__ Bora: Afghan region..TORA
The famous cave that almost certainly housed Osama Bin Laden for a while was in Tora Bora in eastern Pakistan. Tora Bora is not far (~ 30 mi) from what used to be an even more famous spot, the Khyber Pass. “Tora Bora” is a Pashto name which translates to “black dust”.
The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
7…Animated bug film..ANTZ
“Antz” was the first feature movie released by Dreamworks SKG, the studio founded by Steven Spielberg and two partners in 1994. “Antz” came out in 1998, and has a stellar cast that includes Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and many, many other big names. The cartoon is quite unique in that the facial features of the voice actors are reflected in the animated characters.
8…Bar mitzvah toast..L’CHAIM
“L’Chaim” is a Hebrew toast meaning “to life”, with “chai” being the Hebrew word for “life”.
A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.
9…What fries are fried in..DEEP FAT
“French fries” are called “chips” back in the British Isles where I grew up. In France, they’re called “pommes frites” (meaning “fried potatoes”).
10…Ukr. or Lith., once..SSR
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the” Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say “Ukraine”.
The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and 16 miles north of Vilnius is a point that is officially recognized as the Geographic Center of Europe.
Jamie Foxx is the professional name used by Eric Marlon Bishop, an actor from Terrell, Texas. Foxx is a very versatile entertainer. He is an Oscar-winning actor (for playing the title role in “Ray”), and a Grammy Award winning musician. He is also a stand-up comedian and a talk-radio host.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original “cockpit” was a pit used for fighting cocks. The term was then applied nautically, as the name for the compartment below decks used as living quarters by midshipmen. The cockpit of a boat today, usually on a smaller vessel, is a sunken area towards the stern in which sits the helmsman and others (who can fit!). The usage extended to aircraft in the 1910s and to cars in the 1930s.
To “fib” is to “to tell a lie”. The term likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, itself derived from “fable”.
27…First fairy tale word..ONCE
28…Second fairy tale word..UPON
The stock phrase “Once upon a time” has been used in various forms as the start of a narrative at least since 1380. The stock phrase at the end of stories such as folktales is often “and they all lived happily ever after”. The earlier version of this ending was “happily until their deaths”.
30…’80s-’90s crime boss John..GOTTI
John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family from 1985. Gotti was known as the “Teflon Don” and took over leadership of the family from Paul Castellano when he was gunned down, allegedly on Gotti’s orders. Gotti remained head of the New York family until he was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Gotti died of throat cancer after ten years behind bars.
34…Mission Control org…NASA
NASA’s famous “Mission Control” is located in the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. NASA’s Launch Control Center is located at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Responsibility for controlling the spacecraft resides with the Launch Control Center until the vehicle clears the launch tower, at which time control is passed over to Mission Control.
35…Benevolent fraternal group..ELKS
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.
38…Center of power..LOCUS
“Locus” is Latin for “place”, and is used in English with the same meaning. The term can also be used to describe a center of power or activities.
43…Pal of Piglet..ROO
Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”, the kangaroo named Roo was inspired by on a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.
44…Radio City Music Hall design style..ART DECO
New York City’s Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center opened for business in 1932. Originally to be named International Music Hall, the current name was chosen in honor of the Radio Corporation of America, which was one of Rockefeller Center’s first tenants.
Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.
54…Press conference format, briefly..Q AND A
Question and answer (Q&A)
58…Degs. for choreographers..MFAS
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
60…Old Roman robe..TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.
61…Future D.A.’s exam..LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been around since 1948.
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Mt Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-guage railway, and two ski resorts.
In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the the ball being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.
64…D.C. big shot..POL
A “pol” is a politician, especially one known for making deals.