Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
The first words of today’s themed answers are TO FOUR WON SAIL, which sounds like “two-for-one-sale”. You can get “good buys” (sounds like “GOOD-BYES”) at a two-for-one sale:
- 54A. Farewells … or, homophonically and read top to bottom, what the first words of the answers to starred clues represent? : GOOD-BYES (sounds like “good buys”)
- 20A. *More than is wise : TO A FAULT
- 26A. *Luxury resort chain : FOUR SEASONS
- 36A. *Dominated the election : WON BY A LANDSLIDE
- 44A. *Complete with ease : SAIL THROUGH
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Minimally : A TAD
Back in the 1800s, “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this extended into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.
14. He sang about Alice : ARLO
Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.
16. Bond’s first movie foe : DR NO
“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. No and Fu Manchu.
18. Lavin of “Alice” : LINDA
Linda Lavin is a singer and actress who is probably best-known for her stage performances on Broadway, and for playing the title role in the seventies and eighties sitcom “Alice”.
The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.
19. Water retainer : DIKE
A dike is an embankment usually made of earth and rock that is used to prevent floods.
22. River racers : SCULLS
A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …
24. Rose of Guns N’ Roses : AXL
Guns N’ Roses is a hard rock band founded in 1985 that is still going strong. The group was pulled together by Axl Rose, the lead vocalist. The lead-guitar player back then was Tracii Guns, and it was the combination of Axl and Tracii’s “family” names that led to the band being called Guns N’ Roses.
26. *Luxury resort chain : FOUR SEASONS
The Four Seasons hotel chain is based in Toronto, and was founded in 1960 by Isadore Sharp. Today, Sharp only owns 5% of the company, having sold the balance in equal shares to Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia in 2007.
31. “__ to leap tall buildings … ” : ABLE
Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…It’s Superman!
32. “David Copperfield” villain : HEEP
Uriah Heep is a sniveling insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.
“David Copperfield” is the eighth novel penned by English author Charles Dickens, first published in serial form from 1848 to 1849. The novel is seen as a somewhat autobiographical work, with many characters and events mirrored in Dickens’ own life.
33. Cain, to Abel, informally : SIB
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.
41. Teachers’ org. : NEA
The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the country, and mainly represents public school teachers.
42. Sufficient, to Shakespeare : ENOW
“Enow” is an archaic form of the word “enough”.
48. Descends, as a rock wall : RAPPELS
What we call “rappelling” in this country is known as “abseiling” in the rest of the world (from the German “abseilen” meaning “to rope down”).
52. Fluke-to-be : ROE
A fluke is a type of flatfish, one often referred to as a “summer flounder”.
54. Farewells … or, homophonically and read top to bottom, what the first words of the answers to starred clues represent? : GOOD-BYES (sounds like “good buys”)
Our salutation “good-bye” started out as a contraction of “God be with ye”, which was a more common phrase in the 14th century. The structure of the contraction was influenced by the existing phrases good day, good evening, etc.
59. Fly in the ointment : SNAG
Our expression “a fly in the ointment” is used when we come across some relatively minor snag that is a hindrance to completing something. We started using the expression in the 1700’s, and it refers to some lines in the Bible; Ecclesiastes 10:1:
Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour
62. Tennis score : LOVE
In tennis the score of zero is designated as “love”. Some people believe that this usage originates from the French “l’oeuf” (meaning “the egg”). The idea is that the written character “0” looks like an egg.
65. Big name in furniture : IKEA
The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.
66. Clairvoyant : SEER
We’ve been using the term “clairvoyant” to describe a psychic since the nineteenth century. Prior to that, a clairvoyant was a clear-sighted person. The term comes from French, with “clair” meaning “clear” and “voyant” meaning “seeing”.
1. With 1-Across, Whoppers and McRibs, e.g. : FAST …
If you were in Japan at the end of 2009 and went to Burger King, you might have ordered a Windows 7 Whopper, a promotion for the Windows 7 Operating System. The sandwich was 5 inches in height, and contained seven beef patties!
The McDonald’s McRib sandwich is based on a pork patty. There isn’t any pork rib in the patty though. It is primarily made up of pork shoulder meat reconstituted with tripe, heart and stomach tissue. Enjoy …
2. Embossed cookie : OREO
If you take a close look at the embossed design on the front and back of an Oreo cookie, you’ll spot the main elements of the Nabisco logo. Those elements are an oval with a cross on top, a cross with two bars. Usually the company name “Nabisco” is inside the oval, but for the cookie it’s the brand name “Oreo”. The current embossed design was introduced 1952.
3. Southwestern clay pot : OLLA
An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in Ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.
4. Remove respectfully : DOFF
One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”. The opposite of “doff” is “don” meaning “to put on”.
6. Armpit : AXILLA
“Axilla” is the anatomical name for armpit, not to be confused with “maxilla”, the upper jawbone.
7. Squirt : RUNT
Back around 1500, a runt was an old or decayed tree stump, and by the early 1600s “runt” was being used to describe animals that were similarly old and decayed. Ultimately “runt” came to mean the smallest and often sickest in a litter.
8. Teacher’s deg. : EDD
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
11. Composer’s embellishment : TRILL
In music a “trill” is the rapid alternation of two tones that are very close to each other to make a vibrato sound.
21. Toy inserts usually not included : AAS
Those would be AA batteries.
23. Crescent points : CUSPS
A “cusp” is a point, a pointed end of some structure. For example, the top of a cone is a cusp, as are the two pointed ends of a crescent.
25. Either “The Man Who Wasn’t There” director : COEN
“The Man Who Wasn’t There” is a 2001 film produced and directed by the Coen brothers that stars Billy Bob Thornton. This is a movie that was shot in color, but was released in black and white. That black and white enhances the neo-noir feel of the film.
26. Doe’s dear : FAWN
A fawn is a young deer, usually less than a year old.
27. Wind in a pit : OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.
28. Arm bone : ULNA
The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. The bones in the forearm are the radius and ulna. “Ulna” is the Latin word for “elbow”, and “radius” is Latin for “ray”.
29. Bull Run soldier : REB
Manassas, Virginia was the site of two major battles during the Civil War: the First and Second Battles of Bull Run (also known as the Battles of Manassas). In the first battle, one of the southern brigades was led by Brigadier General Thomas Jackson. His brigade was well-trained and disciplined, so much so that as the Union troops made advances, a fellow-general encouraged his retreating men to hold their positions yelling “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer”. There are reports that the actual quote was less complimentary, but regardless, from that day on Jackson was known as “Stonewall”.
33. In __: as placed : SITU
“In situ” is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place”, and we use the term to mean “in the original position”.
35. “Little Women” sister : BETH
“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.
38. Kind of geometry : ANALYTIC
Analytic geometry is the study of geometry using a coordinate system. When I was at school, we called it coordinate geometry. I used to like coordinate geometry …
39. “The Giver” novelist Lowry : LOIS
Lois Lowry is a writer of children’s fiction. Lowry doesn’t stick to “safe” material in her books, and has dealt with difficult subjects such as racism, murder and the Holocaust. Two of her books won the Newbery Medal: “Number the Stars” (1990) and “The Giver” (1993).
40. Thai language : LAO
Lao is the official language of Laos. Lao is also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, but there the language is known as Isan.
45. Entertainers on the road : TROUPE
“Troupe” is the French word for “company”.
49. Singer Lennox : ANNIE
Annie Lennox is a Scottish singer who rose to fame as half of the duo Eurythmics with David A. Stewart in the 1980s. Lennox went solo in 1992, and has been riding high ever since.
50. “Positive thinking” advocate : PEALE
Norman Vincent Peale was the author of the bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Peale was a Protestant preacher, and for decades was pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan in New York City. Peale also founded the nonprofit group that publishes “Guideposts” magazine.
55. Radar dot : BLIP
Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.
56. Team connection : YOKE
A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of oxen so that they are forced to work together.
58. With 68-Across, “Milk” Oscar winner : SEAN …
(68A. See 58-Down : … PENN)
Actor Sean Penn is a two-time Oscar winner, for his roles in “Mystic River” released in 2003 and “Milk” released in 2008. Penn’s celebrity on screen is only matched with his fame off the screen. Apart from his “big name” marriages to singer Madonna and actress Robin Wright, Penn is also well known for political and social activism. He perhaps inherited some of his political views from his father, actor and director Leo Penn. As an actor, Leo refused to “name names” in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and so was blacklisted in Hollywood and had to move into directing to put bread on the table. In later years as a director he gave his son Sean his first acting role, in a 1974 episode of “Little House on the Prairie”.
“Milk” is a 2008 biopic based on the life of activist and politician Harvey Milk, with Sean Penn playing the title role. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White.
61. Letter after pi : RHO
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.