Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers comprise two words, the first starting with the letters AB- and the second ending with the letters -ON:
- 37A. Leave high and dry … or, when divided into three parts, what the answers to starred clues are encompassed by : ABANDON or AB AND ON
- 16A. *Bath towel material : ABSORBENT COTTON
- 22A. *Bart and Lisa’s grandpa : ABE SIMPSON
- 49A. *”Falcon Crest” actress : ABBY DALTON
- 59A. *Book that’s been shortened : ABRIDGED VERSION
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Accessory for Supergirl : CAPE
Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers.
5. Volkswagen Routan, for one : VAN
The Volkswagen Routan is a seven-seat minivan that is a variant of the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. All three brands have been manufactured alongside each other at Chrysler Canada’s Windsor assembly plant.
12. Andes animal : LLAMA
The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.
14. Belgrade native : SERB
Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia. The name “Belgrade” translates into “White City”.
19. Pilates class need : MAT
Pilates is a physical exercise system developed by, and named for, Joseph Pilates. Pilates introduced his system of exercises in 1883 in Germany.
22. *Bart and Lisa’s grandpa : ABE SIMPSON
In the animated TV show called “The Simpsons”, Grampa Abe Simpson is voiced by Dan Castellaneta, the same actor who provides the voice for Homer.
32. Saudi’s neighbor : OMANI
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.
33. Neeson of the “Taken” films : LIAM
Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic, “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news a few years ago when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.
“Taken” is a fabulous thriller movie released in 2008. It stars Liam Neeson as kind of an older James Bond-ish character, and he is great in the role. “Taken 2” followed in 2012 and it wasn’t a bad sequel, I must say. 2014’s “Taken 3” was just “okay” …
35. Rare Hawaiian goose : NENE
The bird called a nene is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful.
36. Huff Post owner : AOL
“The Huffington Post” is a news website founded in 2005 by Arianna Huffington. It is a very active site, with 3,000 people contributing blog posts (including many celebrities and politicians), and readers leaving over one million comments every month. “The Huffington Post” was sold to AOL in 2011 for $315 million, with Arianna Huffington staying on as editor-in-chief.
41. Mex. ladies : SRAS
The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).
46. Online live-stream lecture : TED TALK
The acronym TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.
48. __ Rico : PUERTO
Puerto Rico is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.
49. *”Falcon Crest” actress : ABBY DALTON
Actress Abby Dalton played nurse Martha Hale on “Hennesey” and Joey Bishop’s wife on “The Joey Bishop Show”, two sitcoms from the fifties and sixties. More recently, she played Julia Cumson on the primetime soap “Falcon Crest” in the eighties.
56. Cookie fruit : FIG
The Fig Newton cookie is based on what is actually a very old recipe that dates back to Ancient Egypt. Whereas we grew up with “Fig Rolls” in Ireland, here in America the brand name “Fig Newton” was used, named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts where they were first produced.
66. Bluesy James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
1. Chowder ingredient : CLAM
The type of soup known as “chowder” may be named for the pot in which it used to be cooked called a “chaudière”, a French term.
2. Jessica of “Good Luck Chuck” : ALBA
Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that she acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. It seems that she has really turned her life around …
“Good Luck Chuck” is a 2007 romantic comedy film that wasn’t received well by the critics at all. Stars of the movie are Dane Cook (Chuck) and Jessica Alba. Chuck is a man who has a curse placed on him, so that every woman he sleeps with breaks up with him and marries the next man who asks her out.
5. Scorpion’s poison : VENOM
There are about 1750 different species of scorpion in the world, but only 25 or so have venom sufficiently toxic to kill a human.
7. “The Voice” network : NBC
“The Voice” is yet another reality television show. “The Voice” is a singing competition in which the judges hear the contestants without seeing them in the first round. The judges then take on chosen contestants as coaches for the remaining rounds. “The Voice” is a highly successful worldwide franchise that originated in the Netherlands as “The Voice of Holland”.
13. Country south of Georgia : ARMENIA
Armenia is a landlocked country found east of Turkey, and a former Soviet Republic. Back in the year 301 CE, the ancient Kingdom of Armenia became the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its national religion.
The former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) of Georgia is now an independent country. Supposedly, the Georgian people were given their name because they especially revered St. George. The flag of Georgia does indeed feature five St. George’s crosses.
14. 18-wheeler : SEMI
A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.
17. “Porgy and __” : BESS
“Porgy and Bess” is an opera with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and libretto by DuBose Heyward. The storyline of the opera is based on the novel “Porgy” written by DuBose Heyward and and wife Dorothy. “Porgy and Bess” was first performed in 1935, in New York City, but really wasn’t accepted as legitimate opera until 1976 after a landmark production by the Houston Grand Opera. The most famous song from the piece is probably the wonderful aria “Summertime”.
18. Former NBA forward Lamar : ODOM
Lamar Odom is a basketball forward in NBA. Apparently Odom loves candy, and that’s how he earned his nickname, “The Candy Man”. Odom was married to Khloé Kardashian, and the couple’s wedding featured on an episode of the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Not a show that I have ever seen …
24. Museum with a Goya Gate : PRADO
The Museo del Prado is in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and has one of the finest art collections in the world. The gallery’s most famous work is “Las Meninas” By Velazquez.
25. Sport with silk-clad referees called gyoji : SUMO
Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.
27. Love, to Casanova : AMORE
Giacomo Casanova was an 18th-century adventurer from Venice. We know so much about him, and his reputation as a womanizer, because he left us his autobiography “Histoire de ma vie” (Story of My Life). A guy recounting stories of his love life and conquests. All true, I am sure …
33. Tall and lean : LANKY
The term “lank” can describe something that is straight and flat, particularly hair. The usage was extended in the early 1800s (especially in the form “lanky”) to mean “awkwardly tall and thin”.
34. Gary’s st. : IND
The city of Gary, Indiana is located just 25 miles from downtown Chicago and falls within the Chicago metropolitan area (also known as “Chicagoland”). Gary was founded by US Steel in 1906, as the company selected it as the site for a new steel plant. The name “Gary” was chosen in honor of Elbert H. Gary, who was the key player in setting up US Steel in 1901.
39. Fixes, as Fido : NEUTERS
“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.
45. Rock’s __ Speedwagon : REO
REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that formed in 1967, and is still going strong. The band’s biggest hits are “Keep On Loving You” (1980) and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1985). The founding members chose the name for the REO Speed Wagon flatbed truck. Note that the band’s name is one word “Speedwagon”, whereas the vehicle’s name uses two words “Speed Wagon”.
48. Ballet knee bend : PLIE
The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.
51. Off-road rides: Abbr. : ATVS
All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
52. Wind warning indicated by two red flags : GALE
A gale is a very strong wind that is defined by Beaufort Wind Scale as a wind with speeds from 50 to just over 100 kilometers per hour.
The Beaufort wind scale is named after Irishman Sir Francis Beaufort, a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy. Beaufort was a hydrographer as well as a career navy man.
53. “In memoriam” piece : OBIT
“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.
57. Bitty bit : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.
58. Bitty biter : GNAT
Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and to vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.