Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers starts with a position ON THE offensive LINE in football:
- 63A. In jeopardy … and where the first words of the answers to starred clues can be found : ON THE LINE
- 17A. *Fishing gear holder : TACKLE BOX
- 38A. *Final part of a chess match : END GAME
- 11D. *Site of many face-offs : CENTER ICE
- 34D. *Sentry’s job : GUARD DUTY
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Hungarian sheepdog : PULI
The puli is a small herding dog that is noted for its coat with tight curls that resemble dreadlocks. Pulik (the plural) originated in Hungary.
5. Glasgow native : SCOT
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and sits on the River Clyde. Back in the Victorian Era, Glasgow earned a reputation for excellence in shipbuilding and was known as “Second City of the British Empire”. Glasgow shipyards were the birthplaces of such famous vessels as the Lusitania, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth.
9. 1983 taxi comedy starring Mr. T : DC CAB
“D.C. Cab” is a comedy movie released in 1983 starring Mr. T. I don’t hear many good things about the film, although there is a special appearance by Irene Cara of “Fame” fame …
14. Mideast chieftain : EMIR
An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
15. Boob __: TV : TUBE
“Idiot box” and “boob tube” are nicknames for television.
16. Last Olds model : ALERO
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.
19. Old Ford subcompact named for a horse : PINTO
The Pinto is a small car that was made by the Ford company from 1971 to 1980. The Pinto was of course named for the type of horse. Allegations were made in 1997 that the neck of the car’s fuel tank could easily break off in a collision leading to a deadly fire. However, the allegations were never really shown to be valid.
A pinto is a horse with patchy markings of white mixed with another color. “Pinto” means “painted” in American Spanish.
22. Pickled-pepper picker : PETER
The earliest written version of the “Peter Piper” nursery rhyme and tongue twister dates back to 1813 London:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
A peck is a unit of dry volume, equivalent to two gallons. Four pecks then make up a bushel.
23. Like Disneyland at night : LIT UP
Walt Disney came up with the idea of building Disneyland after visiting other theme parks with his daughters in the thirties and forties. He started building the park at Anaheim, California in 1954, and the facility opened just one year and one day later. The total cost of construction was $17 million. Opening day did not go smoothly, largely because over 28,000 people visited the park compared to the 11,000 people expected at the invitation-only event. The opening day went so badly that for years Disney executives referred to it as “Black Sunday”.
29. ’60s sci-fi series created by Gene Roddenberry : STAR TREK
When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …
Gene Roddenberry is best-remembered for creating the original “Star Trek” TV show. Such was the success of the series that Roddenberry became the first TV writer to with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (in 1985). For a while, Roddenberry was in a relationship with actress Nichelle Nichols who was later to play Uhura on “Star Trek”. After he passed away in 1991, Roddenberry’s body was cremated. Some of his ashes went into space the following year, carried aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. In 1997, some more of his cremated remains were sent into space aboard a Celestis spacecraft, along with remains from twenty-three other people including the psychologist and writer Timothy Leary.
32. Vamoose, to Shakespeare : BEGONE
To vamoose is to to leave, coming from the Spanish “vamos” meaning “let’s go”.
37. Sch. in Columbus : OSU
Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.
41. Chili __ carne : CON
The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.
42. RR depot : STA
A railroad (RR) has many a station (“sta.” or “stn.”).
Our term “depot”, meaning a station or warehouse, comes from the word “dépôt”, French for “deposit” or “place of deposit”.
43. Common soccer result : TIE
Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.
46. Plush teddy with a heart for a nose : CARE BEAR
The Care Bears franchise includes a line of toys as well as TV shows and movies. The original Care Bears were characters created for greeting cards marketed by American Greetings starting in 1981.
49. Red Seal record label company : RCA
RCA Red Seal Records is a classical musical label that was founded in 1902 in the UK. Famously, Enrico Caruso recorded with Red Label, raising its profile and greatly contributing to its success.
51. That is, in Latin : ID EST
“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.
57. Senate positions : SEATS
The six-year terms enjoyed by US senators are staggered, so that every two years about one third of the 100 US Senate seats come up for reelection.
61. “Avatar” actress Saldana : ZOE
American actress Zoë Saldana played the Na’vi princess in “Avatar”, and Uhura in the 2009 movie “Star Trek” (and sequels). Saldana seems to pick the right movies, as she is the only actress to have three different films in the top twenty at the box office for three consecutive weeks (“Avatar”, “The Losers” and “Death at a Funeral”).
66. Farmland measure : ACRE
At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. This was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one furlong wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. A area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.
70. Jacob’s first wife : LEAH
According to the Bible, Leah was one of the two wives of Jacob, the other being Leah’s sister Rachel. Jacob’s intention had been to marry Rachel, but the Leah and Rachel’s father “switched” his daughters and provided Leah as the veiled bride. Jacob married Rachel a week later, and lived with the two wives concurrently.
1. Petunia part : PETAL
The flowering plants known as petunias are in a genus that related to the tobacco plant. The name “petunia” comes from the obsolete French word “petun” meaning “tobacco plant”.
2. Taste that’s not sweet, sour, bitter or salty : UMAMI
Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.
5. Copy editor’s “Leave it in” : STET
“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.
6. Wrigley Field team : CUBS
The famous ballpark that is home to the Chicago Cubs was built in 1914. Back then it was known as Weeghman Park, before becoming Cubs Park when the Cubs arrived in 1920. It was given the name Wrigley Field in 1926, after the owner William Wrigley, Jr. of chewing gum fame. Wrigley Field is noted as the only professional ballpark that has ivy covering the outfield walls. The ivy is a combination of Boston Ivy and Japanese Bittersweet, both of which can survive the harsh winters in Chicago.
8. Petroleum nickname : TEXAS TEA
“Texas tea” is a familiar term for oil drilled from the earth.
11. *Site of many face-offs : CENTER ICE
A “face-off” is a technique used to start or restart play in a number of sports. The idea is that one player from each team faces the other and the ball or puck is dropped between them so that they can contest for possession.
12. Paintings in the Prado, por ejemplo : ARTE
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.
24. Sci-fi radar blip : UFO
Unidentified flying object (UFO)
28. Marker marketer : PENTEL
Pentel is Japanese company that is known for manufacture of pens and markers.
29. “Night Moves” singer Bob : SEGER
Bob Seger struggled as a performing artist right through the sixties and early seventies before becoming a commercial success in 1976 with the release of his album “Night Moves”. Since then, Seger has recorded songs that have become classics like “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Old Time Rock & Roll”.
30. Historic British prep school : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who took power in the last UK general election. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming (as well as 007 himself as described in the Fleming novels).
31. Superman, as a reporter : KENT
Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.
32. Greenish-yellow pear : BOSC
Bosc is a cultivar of the European Pear grown in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?
33. “¿Cómo __ usted?” : ESTA
“¿Cómo está usted?” is the more formal way of asking, “How are you?” in Spanish.
39. Shower bar brand : DIAL SOAP
Dial was the first antibacterial soap introduced in the US. It was given the name “Dial” as it was touted as offering “round-the-clock” protection against any odors caused by perspiration.
40. Type of tax : EXCISE
Excise taxes differ from customs duties. Excise taxes are imposed on goods within a nation’s borders, whereas customs duties are imposed at the border on importation.
45. Tiny bit : 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”.
48. Ravel classic used in the film “10” : BOLERO
Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. Ravel’s most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he thought it to be a trivial work. Personally though, I love the minimalism and simplicity …
“10” is a fun romantic comedy released in 1979 starring Dudley Moore, Bo Derek and Julie Andrews. Famously, the movie made stars of Moore and Derek, as well as popularizing Ravel’s marvelous piece of music called “Boléro”.
53. Justice Sotomayor : SONIA
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.
54. Molars and incisors : TEETH
Molars are grinding teeth. The term “molar” comes from the Latin “mola” meaning “millstone”.
The incisors are the front teeth, of which humans have eight. The term “incisor” comes from the Latin “incidere” meaning “to cut”.
56. Tiny 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. SASE, say : ENCL
An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.
59. Razor brand : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.
64. “__ Abner” : LI’L
“Li’l Abner” was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he went so far as to apologize to his long-standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt that the quality of his work had gone down in those latter years. The comic strip character’s full name is “Li’l Abner Yokum”.