Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Today’s themed answers are each include a hidden word, shown with circled letters in the grid. Each of those hidden words is a synonym of GARBAGE:
- 36A. “I don’t believe a word!” … or, the truth about this puzzle’s circles : IT’S ALL GARBAGE
- 17A. “Epic fail!” : THAT WAS TERRIBLE!
- 25A. Like some cheddar : EXTRA SHARP
- 52A. Electrical backup supplies : SPARE FUSES
- 60A. Two of the three founders of the Distilleria Nazionale di Spirito di Vino : MARTINI AND ROSSI
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
11. Wagner’s “__ Rheingold” : DAS
“Das Rheingold” is an 1869 opera by Richard Wagner, the first of four works that comprise his famous “Ring Cycle”.
Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” is more properly called “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring of Nibelung), and comprises four very, very long operas. The individual operas are:
- “Das Rheingold”
- “Die Walkure”
14. Uses Blue Apron, say : EATS IN
Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that has been providing customers across the US with a weekly supply of meals since 2012. The “kit” for a meal comes pre-proportioned with ingredients for a home-cooked repast.
15. Baseball family name : ALOU
Moises Alou played major league baseball, as did his father Felipe and his uncles Matty and Jesús.
16. Space bar neighbor : ALT
The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.
20. Lady Gaga’s “__ It Happens to You” : TIL
“Til It Happens to You” is a song written and performed by Lady Gaga. It was composed for the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground” that deals with rape on US campuses. The song is used twice in the film, on both occasions underscoring the pain experienced after a sexual assault.
21. Presidential nickname : IKE
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.
25. Like some cheddar : EXTRA SHARP
Cheddar cheese takes its name from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Over 50% of the cheese sold in the UK is cheddar. Here in the US cheddar is the second most popular cheese sold, behind Mozzarella.
28. “Ghostbusters” actor : RAMIS
Harold Ramis was a real all-rounder, working as an actor, director and writer. Indeed, in both “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes” he was a co-writer as well as playing a lead character. Ramis worked as writer-director on “Caddyshack”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This”.
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.
30. Shanghai-born ex-NBA center : YAO
Yao Ming is a retired professional basketball player from Shanghai who played for the Houston Rockets. At 7’6″, Yao was the tallest man playing in the NBA.
31. German : Kopf :: French : __ : TETE
The English word “head” translates into French as “tête”, and into German as “Kopf”.
34. U.S. intelligence org. : NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) seal was introduced in 1965 and features an eagle perched upon a key. The eagle represents the agency’s national mission, and the key represents security.
42. Deborah’s “The King and I” co-star : YUL
Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor. Brynner was well known for his great performances, but also for his shaved head and his deep rich voice. He first adopted the “hairstyle” while playing the King of Siam in the stage version of “The King and I”, and he stuck with it.
The lovely Deborah Kerr was a Scottish actress who made a real name for herself on the American stage and in Hollywood movies. Despite all her success, and six nominations for a Best Actress Oscar, Kerr never actually won an Academy Award. In 1967 she appeared in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” at the age of 46, making her oldest Bond Girl of all time.
“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.
43. Clearly presented : COGENT
Something “cogent” makes sense, it is convincing and reasonable.
49. Nation SE of Cyprus : LEB
Lebanon lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The nation has a rich cultural history, and was home to the ancient civilization of Phoenicia. The name “Lebanon” derives from the Semitic word “lbn” meaning “white”, and is probably a reference to the snow that caps the mountain range known as Mount Lebanon, which parallels the Mediterranean coast.
Cyprus is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a divided island, with the Republic of Cyprus controlling about 60% of its area. The remaining 40% calls itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and is occupied by Turkish forces.
56. Afghanistan’s national airline : ARIANA
Ariana Afghan Airlines is the national carrier of Afghanistan. Ariana was founded back in 1955 and is owned 100% by the Afghan government.
57. Northwest Passage explorer : RAE
John Rae was a Scottish explorer, who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae stirred up much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.
60. Two of the three founders of the Distilleria Nazionale di Spirito di Vino : MARTINI AND ROSSI
The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams. And yes, the famous cocktail is probably named for Mr. Martini.
65. Brown family shade : ECRU
The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.
67. Década division : ANO
In Spanish, “años” (years) are grouped into “décadas” (decades).
69. Scary flier : TSETSE
The tsetse fly is responsible for the transmission of sleeping sickness, and is also responsible for transmission of trypanosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic protozoan.
1. English hunters : SETTERS
The breeds of dog known as setters are all gundogs and are used in hunting game.
2. Polynesian catch : MAHI-MAHI
Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for the dolphin-fish, also called a dorado. The mahi-mahi is an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one …
4. Mo. hours : CST
Central Standard Time (CST)
5. Christchurch native : KIWI
Unlike many nicknames for people of a particular country, the name “Kiwi” for a New Zealander isn’t offensive at all. The term comes from the flightless bird called the kiwi, which is endemic to New Zealand and is the country’s national symbol. “Kiwi” is a Maori word, and the plural (when referring to the bird) is simply “kiwi”. However, when you have two or more New Zealanders with you, they are Kiwis (note the “s”, and indeed the capital “K”!).
Christchurch is the third most-populous city in New Zealand (after Auckland and Wellington, the capital). Christchurch is also the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island. The city is named for Christ Church, the Oxford college attended by Irishman John Robert Godley who founded the Canterbury region of New Zealand.
7. Bowler, e.g. : HAT
I think a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).
8. Cakes go-with : ALE
The phrase “cakes and ale” makes a number of appearances in literature. Aesop uses the phrase in his fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”, to symbolize the good life. Shakespeare included the line “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” in his play “Twelfth Night”. W. Somerset Maugham used the Shakespearean line as inspiration for the title of his 1930 play “Cakes and Ale, or, The Skeleton in the Cupboard”.
24. Pantry stack : TINS
The word “pantry” dates back to 1300 when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.
27. Civil rights icon Parks : ROSA
Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.
29. Red __ : SEA
The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.
35. Chip shot path : ARC
That would be in golf.
37. Ripsnorter : LULU
We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder, who was a stage magician active in the 1880s.
“Ripsnorter” is a slang term for a person or thing noted for strength or excellence, a “lulu”.
38. Bit of Christmas morning detritus : BOW
“Detritus” is the loose material that results from the process of erosion. The usage of the term has evolved to man any accumulated material or debris. “Detritus” is Latin for “a wearing away”.
39. Thickening agent : AGAR
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.
44. SEC powerhouse, familiarly : THE TIDE
The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.
46. Shag, e.g. : HAIRDO
A shag cut is a layered hairstyle. Actress Meg Ryan famously sported a shag cut for many years.
47. Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT
QED is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. The QED initialism stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.
50. “Feel the __”: 2016 campaign slogan : BERN
“Feel the Bern” is perhaps the best-known of several slogans used by the Bernie Sanders campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
52. Iconic Rio carnival activity : SAMBA
The Samba is a Brazilian dance, 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 …
54. Nasser’s successor : SADAT
Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.
Gamal Abdel Nasser was the second president of Egypt, from 1956 until he died in 1970. He stood alongside Muhammad Naguib, Egypt’s first president, during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 that overthrew the ruling monarchy of Egypt and Sudan. Nasser was an advocate of Pan-Arabism, an ideology promoting unification of Arab peoples and countries. President Nasser went so far as forming the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union between Egypt and Syria that started in 1958 but fell apart in 1961 when Syria withdrew.
58. Physics units : ERGS
An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, as there are 10 million ergs in one joule. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.
62. Mozart’s birthplace, now: Abbr. : AUS
The name “Austria” is a Latin variant of the German name for the country, “Österreich”. “Österreich” itself means “Eastern borderlands”, a reference to the country’s history as a prefecture of neighboring Bavaria to the west.
Salzburg is a city in Austria with a great musical tradition. Salzburg was the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was also the setting for much of “The Sound of Music”.