Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each comprise two words starting with the letters BD, which sounds like “BEADY”.
- 29D. Like little, glittering eyes … and a phonetic hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers : BEADY (sounds like “BD”)
- 17A. Zero or one : BINARY DIGIT
- 52A. July 14, in France : BASTILLE DAY
- 11D. Thirteen : BAKER’S DOZEN
- 25D. Performer who shimmies and uses finger cymbals : BELLY DANCER
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Gownlike Roman garment : TUNIC
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”.
14. Sky blue : AZURE
The term “azure” came into English from Persian via Old French. The French word “l’azur” was taken from the Persian name for a place in northeastern Afghanistan called “Lazhward” which was the main source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. The stone has a vivid blue color, and “azure” has been describing this color since the 14th century.
15. Asteroids game company : ATARI
I remember being quite addicted to the Atari video arcade game called “Asteroids” back in the early eighties. Apparently I wasn’t the only one, as “Asteroids” was Atari’s best selling game of all time.
16. Actor Vigoda : ABE
Abe Vigoda played Detective Sergeant Phil Fish in television’s “Barney Miller” in the seventies, and even got his own spinoff show called “Fish”. On the big screen, Vigoda played Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and Grandpa Ubriacco in “Look Who’s Talking”.
17. Zero or one : BINARY DIGIT
We use a base-ten numbering system, with ten digits (0 – 9). The binary system, or base two, uses just two digits (0 & 1). The binary system is used at a fundamental level in computing, because the number 0 and 1 can be represented by microcircuits being switched “on” or “off”.
19. Japanese carp : KOI
Koi are also called Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.
20. Trunk of the body : TORSO
“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.
23. Internet destination : WEB PAGE
In essence, the World Wide Web is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is the collection of documents, and the Internet is global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I for one am very grateful …
27. Good Housekeeping publisher since 1911 : HEARST
William Randolph Hearst got into publishing when he took over “The San Francisco Examiner” from his father George Hearst. Beyond his work in the newspaper business, William Randolph Hearst was also a politician and represented a district of New York in the US House. His life was the inspiration for the lead role in the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles playing the Hearst-like character. If you’re ever driving along the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’d recommend a stop at Hearst Castle, William Randolph’s magnificent estate located near San Simeon.
“Good Housekeeping” is a women’s magazine founded back in 1885. In the early 1900s the magazine started the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, a laboratory tasked with the testing of household devices. Any item proven to have sufficient quality and reliability is given the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
28. Pilot Earhart : AMELIA
Amelia Earhart is as famous today as she was during her lifetime. When she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress, and the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government. She made two attempts to circumnavigate the globe by air (not solo). Her first attempt in March 1937 had to be abandoned when her aircraft was damaged during takeoff. The second attempt in June/July of the same year ended when Earhart and her navigator disappeared flying from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the Central Pacific.
33. NYG rival in the NFC East : DAL
The New York Giants (NYG) football team play their home games in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a stadium shared with the New York Jets (NYJ). The Jets are the only team remaining from a group of five that joined the league in 1925. For many years, the Giants shared team names with the New York Giants MLB team, before the baseball franchise moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season.
The Dallas Cowboys play in the National Football Conference of the NFL. The Cowboys are famous for a lengthy streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons, from 1966 to 1985. They are the highest-valued sports franchise in the country. The only team in the world that’s worth more money is the UK’s Manchester United soccer team.
36. Pinball excess : TILT
In a game of pinball, some players get an irresistible urge to “nudge” the machine . Such a nudge, a movement of the machine designed to influence the path taken by the ball, is called a “tilt”. Most pinball machines have sensors designed to detect a tilt, and when activated a “tilt” warning light comes on and the player’s controls are temporarily disabled.
38. Ball-and-mallet game : POLO
The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.
41. Clods : BOZOS
A “bozo” is a man with a low IQ, and one who is usually quite muscular. We’ve been using the word since the early 1900s and it possibly comes from the Spanish “bozal” that was used to describe someone who speaks Spanish poorly.
42. __ Wilson, who played Sam in “Casablanca” : DOOLEY
The movie “Casablanca” was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn’t a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song “As Time Goes By” was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called “Everybody’s Welcome”, and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson (who played “Sam” in the film). Poor Dooley didn’t get to record it as a single, due to a musician’s strike in 1943. The 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.
45. Sports venues : STADIA
The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning became our contemporary word “stadium” (plural “stadia”).
47. Original star of “Star Trek” : SHATNER
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, famous for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series. Shatner was trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, and appeared on stage in many of the Bard’s works early in his career. While playing the Kirk character, he developed a reputation for over-acting, really emphasizing some words in a speech and using an excessive number of pauses. He gave his name to a word “shatneresque”, which describes such a style.
51. __ de Triomphe : ARC
L’Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile in Paris was built to honor those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. It is the second largest triumphal arch in the world, after the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea. If you are visiting Paris, don’t just take a picture of the arch, be sure to go inside and see the marvelous chambers and carvings, and wander around on top of the arch so that you can enjoy the magnificent view.
52. July 14, in France : BASTILLE DAY
The Bastille is a former fortress in Paris that was used as a prison by the kings of France. On 14 July 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille during the French Revolution. The mob was actually after the stores of gunpowder in the fortress, but while inside the building freed seven prisoners and killed the Bastille’s governor. The storming of the Bastille became a symbol of the French Revolution and has been celebrated in France on every July 14th since 1790. That celebration is referred to as “la Fête nationale” in France, but in English-speaking countries it is usually known as “Bastille Day”.
59. Hodgepodges : OLIOS
“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.
“Hochepot” is an Old French word for stew or soup, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodgepodge” in the early 1400s.
61. Lith. or Est., once : SSR
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.
Estonia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) and is located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea, due south of Finland. Estonia has been overrun and ruled by various empires over the centuries. The country did enjoy a few years of freedom at the beginning of the 20th century after a war of independence against the Russian Empire. However, Estonia was occupied again during WWII, first by the Russians and then by the Germans, and then reoccupied by the Soviets in 1944. Estonia has flourished as an independent country again since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
63. “Billions & Billions” author Carl : SAGAN
“Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium” is a collection of essays written by Carl Sagan that was published in 1997. It was Sagan’s last book, as the renowned astronomer passed away in 1996, the year before publication.
1. Indent key : TAB
Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.
2. Submachine gun named for its designer : UZI
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.
3. Religious school teacher, perhaps : NUN
A nun is a female member of a religious community in several traditions, including Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Sometimes the term “nun” applies to a religious woman living a contemplative and cloistered life, with the term “religious sister” applying to a woman living a life of prayer and service to the needy.
4. Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, working with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.
6. Madrid mother : MADRE
In Spanish, a “madre” (mother) is a member of “la familia” (the family).
7. Bluesman Redding : OTIS
Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.
8. “Othello” schemer : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.
9. __ Lanka : SRI
The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.
11. Thirteen : BAKER’S DOZEN
A “baker’s dozen” is thirteen, and is a phrase that dates back to the sixteenth century. Apparently, the expression comes from the practice of bakers back then adding one loaf to every twelve, primarily for fear of being fined for supplying fewer loaves than had been purchased.
13. Jefferson, religiously : DEIST
Deism (from the Latin “deus” meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention and rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to it own devices.
President Thomas Jefferson’s views on religion evolved over time, but he was inclined towards deism for much of his adult life while following moral principles espoused in Christianity. He attended the Episcopal Church and raised his daughters in that tradition. Famously, Jefferson espoused the concept of “Separation of Church and State”.
18. Lotus position discipline : YOGA
Asana is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.
22. “The Facts of Life” actress Charlotte : RAE
Charlotte Rae is an American actress, best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties: “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life”. Towards the end of the series, the Edna Garrett character operated her own gourmet food shop called “Edna’s Edibles”.
The sitcom “The Facts of Life” originally aired from 1979 until 1988. It was a spin-off of the equally successful show “Diff’rent Strokes”. Charlotte Rae was the main actress common to both shows. Rae played Edna Garrett, who was a housekeeper on “Diff’rent Strokes” and a dormitory housemother on “The Facts of Life”.
23. Light bulb units : WATTS
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.
27. Brinker on skates : HANS
“Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates” is a children’s novel written by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865. The novel is famous for introducing a story, told with within the novel’s own storyline, the tale of the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the leaking dike. I always thought the tale of the boy and the dike was a Dutch legend but no, it was the literary invention of Mary Mapes Dodge …
41. Subordinate church officials : BEADLES
At one time, a “beadle” was a parish constable in the Anglican Church in England. One of the most famous beadles, albeit a fictional character, is Mr. Bumble from the novel “Oliver Twist” by charles Dickens. Mr. Bumble oversees the parish workhouse in which Oliver resides.
44. “Where the Sidewalk Ends” poet Silverstein : SHEL
“Where the Sidewalk Ends” is a collection of children’s poetry written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. The book is named for the 1974 poem of the same name that is included in the collection.
46. Goodyear products : TIRES
The Goodyear tire company was founded in 1898. The company was named for Charles Goodyear, the man who invented vulcanized rubber in 1839. Despite the Goodyear name, Charles Goodyear himself had no connection with the company.
47. Ham go-with : SWISS
“Swiss cheese” is a relatively generic term for a type of cheese produced in various countries and not necessarily in Switzerland. What they all have in common though, is a resemblance to the original Swiss Emmental cheese.
56. Oral health org. : ADA
American Dental Association (ADA)
57. Japanese currency : YEN
The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.