Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each comprise two words, both of which often LEAD into DOG:
- 37D. Iditarod front-runners … or what both parts of the answers to starred clues can do? : LEAD DOGS
- 18A. *Suffering harsh criticism : UNDER ATTACK (“underdog” & “attack dog”)
- 55A. *Highway patrol group : STATE POLICE (“state dog” & “police dog”)
- 3D. *Deep trouble : HOT WATER (“hot dog” & “water dog”)
- 6D. *Member of a 1960s Chinese paramilitary group : RED GUARD (“red dog” & “guard dog”)
- 36D. *Hard-to-control blaze : WILDFIRE (“wild dog” & “firedog”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. __ Wednesday : ASH
In the Christian tradition, the first day in the season of Lent is called Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, Palm Crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday are burned. The resulting ashes are mixed with sacred oil and then used to anoint worshipers on the forehead with the shape of a cross.
4. Rock of comedy : CHRIS
Chris Rock is a great stand-up comedian. Interestingly, Rock cites his paternal grandfather as an influence on his performing style. Grandfather Allen Rock was a preacher.
9. Miata automaker : MAZDA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.
14. 6-Down leader : MAO
(6d. *Member of a 1960s Chinese paramilitary group : RED GUARD)
Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.
16. Cannes concepts : IDEES
“Idée” is French for “idea”.
Cannes is a city on the French Riviera that is noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The decision to host an annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.
17. CPR pro : EMT
An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
25. Fleecy boot brand : UGGS
Uggs are sheepskin boots that were first produced in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. Ugg is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.
27. Sneaky guy? : PETE
“Sneaky Pete” is a slang term for cheap fortified wine, often associated with down and outs sleeping rough on skid row.
28. Charlotte of “The Facts of Life” : 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”.
29. Lawman Earp : WYATT
Wyatt Earp is famous as one of the participants in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Earp was a city policeman in Wichita, Kansas and also in Dodge City, Kansas. Earp was also deputy sheriff in Tombstone, Arizona where the O.K. Corral gunfight took place. Years later, Earp joined the Alaska Gold Rush and with a partner built and operated the Dexter Saloon in Nome.
35. Exchange rate abbr. : USD
The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.
37. NYC airport code : LGA
The three big airports serving New York City (NYC) are John F. Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).
41. Clam : SIMOLEON
Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, scratch, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.
43. “Sailing to Byzantium” poet : YEATS
“Sailing to Byzantium” is a poem by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and one that almost every Irish teenager has to study in school.
45. Where LeBron plays home games, on scoreboards : CLE
Basketball player LeBron James (nicknamed “King James”) seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.
46. Yin partner : YANG
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.
50. Antique shoppe adjective : OLDE
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.
51. Wilder’s “__ Town” : OUR
“Our Town” is a play by Thornton Wilder, first performed in 1938. Wilder won a Pulitzer for the work. “Our Town” was actually banned by the Soviet authorities in East Berlin in 1946. Their reasoning was that “the drama was too depressing and could inspire a German suicide wave”.
52. “Mrs. Dalloway” novelist : WOOLF
“Mrs. Dalloway” is a novel by Virginia Woolf, first published in 1925. The story tells of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a day in which she is preparing for a party that she is hosting. The novel has been compared to “Ulysses” by James Joyce, a story about a day in the life of Leopold Bloom.
55. *Highway patrol group : STATE POLICE (“state dog” & “police dog”)
The first US state to designate an official state dog breed was Maryland, when it chose the Chesapeake Bay Retriever in 1964.
59. Ancient Aegean region : IONIA
The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of Ancient Greece although it wasn’t a unified state, but rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.
The Aegean Sea is that part of the Mediterranean that lies between Greece and Turkey. Within the Aegean Sea are found the Aegean Islands, a group that includes Crete and Rhodes.
60. Bugs of crime : MORAN
Bugs Moran was a Chicago gangster, the main rival to the slightly more famous Al Capone. Moran tried twice to kill Capone. In the first attempt Moran and his gang shot at Capone from their car as their target was getting out of his own automobile. They missed Capone, and he took to driving in an armored vehicle after that. The second, more famous attempt (in 1926), involved Moran and a fleet of cars driving by Capone’s hotel and spraying the lobby in which he was standing. Again, Capone escaped unharmed. Three years later, in February 1929, six members of Moran’s gang were lined up against a wall and shot by order of Capone, an incident we now remember as the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
1. Iowa college town : AMES
The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.
3. *Deep trouble : HOT WATER (“hot dog” & “water dog”)
A hot dog is a sausage served in a split roll. The term “hot dog” dates back to the 19th-century and is thought to reflect a commonly-held opinion that the sausages contained dog meat.
Water dogs are dogs that are specially bred to retrieve game from water. Examples of breeds referred to as water dogs are the golden retriever, the Newfoundland and the standard poodle.
6. *Member of a 1960s Chinese paramilitary group : RED GUARD (“red dog” & “guard dog”)
Red Guards were young paramilitaries who were mobilized by Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-sixties.
In football, a blitz (also called “red dog”) is a maneuver by players in the line of scrimmage designed to quickly overwhelm the opposing quarterback.
7. Glacial periods : ICE AGES
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.
10. Electronic security corp. : ADT
ADT is a home and small-business security company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company was founded back in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Calahan had invented the stock ticker several years earlier, and ran the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company. Calahan was awoken one morning by the sound of a burglar in his house, and so he decided to develop a telegraph-based security alarm system. The success of the system led to the founding of American District Telegraph, later known as ADT.
21. Top draft status : ONE-A
The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).
36. *Hard-to-control blaze : WILDFIRE (“wild dog” & “firedog”)
Andirons (also “firedogs”) are those horizontal bars on which you rest logs to burn in an open fireplace. They usually come in pairs and can be quite decorative, and are often made out of wrought iron.
37. Iditarod front-runners … or what both parts of the answers to starred clues can do? : LEAD DOGS
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers an incredible 1,161 miles, from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. The fastest finishing time was set in 2002 at just under 9 days. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!
38. Left base illegally : GONE AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).
39. With 23-Across, “Life of Pi” Oscar winner : ANG …
(23A. See 39-Down : … LEE)
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.
40. Kitchen spray : PAM
PAM cooking oil was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin and Arthur Meyerhoff. The name “PAM” is an acronym … standing for “Product of Arthur Meyerhoff”. Who’d a thunk it …?
41. Edible mollusk : SCALLOP
A scallop is a marine mollusk that is served as seafood. Scallops are often served baked in milk and this method of preparation has become known as “scalloping”. So, scalloped potatoes are potatoes baked in milk.
42. Country singer Lovett : LYLE
As well as being famous in his own right as a successful country singer, Lyle Lovett is known for his marriage to the actress Julia Roberts in 1993. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.
49. Destinations in Clue : ROOMS
Clue is board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as Cluedo. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …
54. Jared of “Suicide Squad” : LETO
Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world, one of his most critically acclaimed role was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for portraying a transgender woman in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club”.
“Suicide Squad” is superhero film released in 2016, although the title characters are a team of DC Comics “antiheroes”. I haven’t seen the film (I don’t really do superhero movies) but the plot reminds my of 1967’s “The Dirty Dozen”. A government agency puts together a team of supervillains to carry out a dangerous mission in exchange for reduced prison sentences.
57. Bit of cornfield cacophony : CAW
“Cacophony” is such a lovely word, one used to describe a harsh or jarring sound. The term arises from the Greek “kakos” (bad) and “phone” (voice).