Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are terms from the world of MATH. The twist is that we have some FUZZY, pun-like clues pointing to each term:
- 61A. It doesn’t add up … except as a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 49-Across : FUZZY MATH
- 17A. Bizarre entr’acte? : ODD NUMBER
- 25A. Cue from the wings? : LINE SEGMENT
- 37A. L.A. or N.Y. publishing equipment? : TIMES TABLES
- 49A. Upbringing involving unhip oldies? : SQUARE ROOTS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Ike, in the ’50s : PREZ
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.
5. Suffix for “leader” : -ARCH
In our Irish clan, that would be the matriarch …
14. First female attorney general : RENO
Janet Reno was Attorney General of the US from 1993 to 2001. Reno was the person to hold the office second longest, and was our first female Attorney General. In 2002, Reno ran for Governor of Florida but failed to win the Democratic nomination. Thereafter she retired from public life, passing away at the end of 2016.
15. Animal in una arena : TORO
Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.
16. Fester, e.g. : UNCLE
In the original television version of “The Addams Family”, the character called Uncle Fester was played by Jackie Coogan. In the first two adaptations for the big screen, Uncle Fester was portrayed by the talented Christopher Lloyd.
17. Bizarre entr’acte? : ODD NUMBER
The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “between two acts” (“entre deux actes”) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.
19. Historic name in India : MAHAL
“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.
20. “Millennium” trilogy author Larsson : STIEG
Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist and writer, and indeed one of his main characters in his “Millennium” series of novels is a journalist as well. The first two titles in the series are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire”. The last of the three titles in the Millennium series is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, which was the most-sold book in the US in 2010. All of the books in the series were published after Larsson’s death. He passed away from a heart attack while climbing several flights of stairs, when he was just 50 years old.
40. Apt : GERMANE
Something that is “germane” is relevant. “Germane” originally meant “having the same parents”, but it was used more figuratively as “on topic” by William Shakespeare in “Hamlet”. And that’s the way we’ve been using it ever since “Hamlet” was first performed in the 1600s.
54. Land of Freud: Abbr. : AUS
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, and founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry. One of Freud’s tenets was that our dreams are a necessary part of sleep as they prevent the dreamer from awakening due to desire for unfulfilled wishes. The dream’s content represents those unfulfilled wishes and satisfies the desire.
55. Flush, in Tijuana : RICO
“Rico” is Spanish for “rich”.
61. It doesn’t add up … except as a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 49-Across : FUZZY MATH
The derogatory phrase “fuzzy math” was first used in the debates leading up the 2000 presidential election. Future president George W. Bush used the term to describe figures presented by his opponent Al Gore.
63. Muse of memory : MNEME
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:
- Calliope (epic poetry)
- Clio (history)
- Erato (lyric poetry)
- Euterpe (music)
- Melpomene (tragedy)
- Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
- Terpsichore (dance)
- Thalia (comedy)
- Urania (astronomy)
Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:
- Mneme (memory)
- Melete (meditation)
- Aoede (song)
65. Limo destination : PROM
A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.
The word “limousine” derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes anyway …
66. Accord, for one : SEDAN
The American “sedan” car is the equivalent of the British “saloon” car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.
Honda started manufacturing its Accord model in Marysville, Ohio in 1982, making the Accord the first Japanese car to be produced in the US. The Accord was the best-selling Japanese car in America from 1982 to 1997, and 1989 was the first import to become the best-selling car in the US.
68. Figs. that are never intentionally reused : SSNS
A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot, as since 2011 SSN’s are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.
2. Destructive algal bloom : RED TIDE
An algal bloom that takes on a red or brown color is commonly referred to as “red tide”. The algae causing the bloom are phytoplankton containing photosynthetic pigments that give the red/brown color. Some red tides are extremely harmful to marine life as there can be a depletion of oxygen dissolved in the seawater. The algae can also contain natural toxins that can kill those creatures that eat it.
3. Writing a “Dear John” letter, say : ENDING IT
The expression “Dear John letter” originated in WWII among American troops who were serving abroad. The servicemen highly valued letters from girlfriends and wives back home, and almost invariably those missives started out with “Dearest”, or “My Darling” or some other expression of affection. A curt, “Dear John” set the tone for a letter which was likely to contain news of a new love interest in the life of the girlfriend or wife. The contemporary equivalent missive from a male to a female is a “Dear Jane letter”.
6. Hood of folklore : ROBIN
Robin Hood is a figure from English folklore, celebrated in story and song. Some stories suggest that Robin Hood the outlaw was actually a real nobleman, the Earl of Huntington. Robin Hood’s famous companion was Maid Marian. Interestingly, the legend of Maid Marian (full name Lady Marian of Leaford) had been around for centuries before she became associated with Robin Hood starting in the 1700s.
7. Eclair filling : CREME
The name for the pastry known as an “éclair” is clearly French in origin. The French word for lightning is “éclair”, but no one seems to be too sure how it came to be used for the rather delicious bakery item.
8. Egyptian sky god : HORUS
Horus was one of the oldest gods in Ancient Egyptian religion. Most often, Horus was depicted as a falcon or a man with a falcon head. The Eye of Horus was a common symbol used in Ancient Egypt, a symbol of protection and royal power.
9. Quiet : MUM
The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.
11. Haul : SCHLEP
Our word “schlep” means “to carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.
12. Sitcom character who dated baseball’s Keith Hernandez : ELAINE
Keith Hernandez is a former professional first baseman who played Major League Baseball mainly with the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. After retiring in 1990, Hernandez became a television broadcaster for Mets games. He also appeared in three episodes of the sitcom “Seinfeld”, including the last episode, playing himself. In the show, Hernandez dated Elaine, and became the object of Jerry’s “male crush”.
18. Wrinkly hybrid : UGLI
The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine, first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.
22. Beatle for two years : PETE BEST
Musician Pete Best is most famous as the first drummer with the Beatles. Famously, Best was sacked from the band by manager Brian Epstein. However, Epstein took this step reluctantly, and at the request of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. Several stories have emerged about why the decision was made, but it seems that record producers at Parlophone were insisting that a session drummer be used in the band’s first recordings, and things snowballed from there. Best was soon replaced by Ringo Starr.
26. DC-to-AC electronic device : INVERTER
A power inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).
30. Baffler : ENIGMA
Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.
35. Fundraising sch. group : PTA
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
38. Milwaukee schoolteacher who went on to lead Israel : MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.
39. Typically five-armed marine invertebrates : SEA STARS
Starfish (sometimes “sea stars”) come in many shapes and sizes, but commonly have “pentaradial symmetry”, meaning they have symmetric body-shapes with five points. Most starfish are predators, mainly living on a diet of mollusks such as clams and oysters.
42. Go whole hog on Thanksgiving : EAT A TON
Thanksgiving Day was observed on different dates in different states for many years, until Abraham Lincoln fixed the date for the whole country in 1863. Lincoln’s presidential proclamation set that date as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, arguing that the earlier date would give the economy a much-needed boost.
44. Biblical collection : PSALMS
The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.
50. Jazz improvisations : RIFFS
A riff is a short rhythmic phrase in music, especially one improvised on a guitar.
51. Eyelike openings : OCULI
Oculus (plural “oculi”) is the Latin word for “eye”.
59. She played Mia in “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s “moll” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dog’s”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from 1998 until 2002, doing very little work in favor of motherhood. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.
62. Part of a dazzling duo? : ZEE
There is a duo of letters Z (zee) in the word “dazzling”.