Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers includes a COLOR COMBO, specifically a combination of primary colors. The first color comes from a common phrase, and the second from an adjective in the clue. The answer is the original phrase with the resulting COLOR COMBO replacing the original color:
- 61A. Primary mixes that affect 17-, 27- and 46-Across : COLOR COMBOS
- 17A. Cowardly Snoopy nemesis? : ORANGE BARON (yellow-Red Baron)
- 27A. Gloomy route to Oz? : GREEN BRICK ROAD (blue-Yellow Brick Road)
- 46A. Embarrassed three-person Vegas act? : PURPLE MAN GROUP (red-Blue Man Group)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
11. One of Beethoven’s nine: Abbr. : SYM
If I had to name which of Beethoven’s symphonies I listen to most often, at the top of the list comes the 7th followed closely by the 9th, and then the 5th a little further down. But that four-note opening of the 5th; that is superb …
14. Party with tiki torches : LUAU
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of poi, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
A tiki torch is a bamboo torch that’s very commonly used in Tiki culture. Tiki culture is a relatively modern invention dating from the 20th century, and is the experience created in Polynesian-style restaurants. The word “Tiki” is borrowed from Polynesia.
15. Flashy Chevy : CAMARO
The Chevrolet Camaro is a car produced by General Motors from 1966 to 2002, and reintroduced in 2009. The Camaro shared much of its design with the Pontiac Firebird, and was introduced as a potential competitor to the Ford Mustang.
16. With 36-Down, Dr. Seuss classic with the subtitle “The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use” : HOP …
36. See 16-Across : … ON POP
“Hop on Pop” is a Dr. Seuss book that was first published in 1963 with the subtitle “The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use”. “Hop on Pop” was listed by former First Lady Laura Bush as her favorite title, citing the memories evoked of family life with her young daughters.
17. Cowardly Snoopy nemesis? : ORANGE BARON (yellow-Red Baron)
Snoopy, the famous beagle in the “Peanuts” comic strip, has a number of alter-egos and is sometimes depicted as a World War I flying ace. Snoopy’s arch-enemy in the air is Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, and Snoopy can often be seen shaking his fist and crying out, “Curse you, Red Baron!”
20. French film icon Brigitte : BARDOT
Brigitte Bardot is a former model and actress, as well as a noted animal rights activist. Perhaps her best-known screen performance is in the 1956 French film “And God Created Woman” that was directed by her then husband, Roger Vadim.
21. “The Racer’s Edge” : STP
STP is a brand name for automotive lubricants and additives. The name STP comes from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.
22. Urban air concern : SMOG
“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.
25. Curriculum __ : VITAE
A curriculum vitae (CV) is a listing of someone’s work experience and qualifications, and is used mainly in making a job application. The term “curriculum vitae” can be translated from Latin as “course of life”.
27. Gloomy route to Oz? : GREEN BRICK ROAD (blue-Yellow Brick Road)
According to L. Frank Baum’s series of “Oz” novels, there are two Yellow Brick Roads that lead to the Emerald City from Munchkin Country, and it turns out that Dorothy chose the harder of the two. In addition to the yellow roads, there is also a Red Brick Road, which leads from Munchkin County to the Country of the Quadlings.
32. Actress Vardalos : NIA
Not only is the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, she also wrote the screenplay. The film never made it to number one at the box office, but it still pulled in more money than any other movie in history that didn’t make it to number one. That record I think reflects the fact that the film wasn’t a blockbuster but rather a so-called “sleeper hit”, a movie that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came when a spin-off TV show was launched, “My Big Fat Greek Life”. It ran for only 7 episodes. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” will hit movie theaters in 2016.
33. Butte relative : MESA
“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.
34. RadioShack predecessor : TANDY
The store we know today as RadioShack was founded as “Radio Shack” in 1921 and focused on serving the amateur radio market. The name was chosen as a “radio shack” was the wooden structure that housed the radio equipment on a ship, and a ham radio station was also known as a “radio shack”. Radio Shack was losing money in the sixties and was bought for a song by Charles Tandy who merged it with his leather goods stores under the name Tandy Radio Shack & Leather (can you believe it?). Tandy eventually dropped all lines bar the electronic items and changed the name “back” to the trendy “RadioShack” in 2000.
35. Automaker Ferrari : ENZO
Enzo Ferrari was an Italian race car driver, and founder of the Ferrari car manufacturing company. Ferrari died in 1988, and in 2003 the company named the Enzo model after its founder.
40. Fictional London alter ego : HYDE
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was first published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.
46. Embarrassed three-person Vegas act? : PURPLE MAN GROUP (red-Blue Man Group)
I had the pleasure of seeing the Blue Man Group perform live in Las Vegas a few years ago, and I thoroughly recommend the show. The group was formed by three men in 1987 in New York City, focusing on playing PVC instruments while wearing fabulous blue makeup. The show is much more elaborate these days, but the PVC percussion instruments still feature prominently.
50. Kentucky pioneer : BOONE
Daniel Boone was a pioneer and folk hero. For frontiersman Boone, the frontier was what we now call the state of Kentucky. He led the building of the Wilderness Road through the famous Cumberland Gap in the Appalachians, a route subsequently taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants into Kentucky. Boone fought in the Revolutionary War with distinction, and after the war returned to Kentucky and got himself into land speculation. He became mired in debt, forcing him to emigrate to Missouri to settle down on land that was at that time owned by the French. It was there that he spent the last decades of his life.
51. Divided sea : ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …
54. Old PC monitor : CRT
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
56. “Altogether ooky” family name : ADDAMS
Chas Addams was a cartoonist. Addams didn’t draw a cartoon strip but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. His most famous characters were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.
They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.
60. Rocker Ocasek : RIC
Ric Ocasek is an American musician of Czech heritage, and was the lead vocalist of the rock band known as the Cars.
65. Attract pigeons for, say : ABET
The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.
In the confidence trick known as a “pigeon drop”, the victim (the pigeon) is fooled into putting his or her money into say an envelope along with a sum provided by the trickster. The envelope is switched for an envelope stuffed with perhaps newspaper. The victim usually takes the opportunity to sneak off with the supposed money, but is actually sneaking off with nothing and leaving the trickster a handsome profit.
67. Colorful fish : TETRAS
The neon tetra is a freshwater fish, native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.
68. 2016 N.L. East champs : NATS
The Washington Nationals (Nats) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.
2. Certain something : AURA
An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.
3. Early late-night host : PAAR
Jack Paar was most famous as the host of “The Tonight Show”, from 1957 to 1962. When he died in 2004, “Time” magazine wrote that Paar was “the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: “Before Paar and Below Paar”. Very complimentary …
4. Ice cream treat : SUNDAE
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.
5. Polish removers : ACETONES
Acetone is the active ingredient in nail polish remover and in paint thinner.
7. Latin I verb : AMAS
Amo, amas, amat … I love, you love, he/she/it loves, in Latin.
8. “Friday the 13th: Jason Lives,” sequentially : PART VI
“Friday the 13th: Jason Lives” is the sixth in twelve (so far!) of a very successful slasher film series. How many have I sat through? Well, that would be none …
9. Torrid Zone parallel : TROPIC
The Earth has five geographical zones defined by the major circles of latitude:
- The North Frigid Zone lies north of the Arctic Circle
- The North Temperate Zone lies between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer
- The Torrid Zone lies between the two Tropical Circles
- The South Temperate Zone lies between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle
- The South Frigid Zone lies south of the Antarctic Circle
12. Up-and-down toy : YO-YO
The first yo-yos date back to at least 500 BC. There is even an ancient Greek vase painting that shows a young man playing with a yo-yo. Centuries later Filipinos were using yo-yos as hunting tools in the 1500s. “Yo-yo” is a Tagalog (Filipino) word meaning “come-come” or simply “return”.
13. Downloaded video format : MPEG
The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) was established in 1988 to set standards for audio and video compression. The standards they’ve come up with use the acronym “MPEG”.
18. Jewish folklore figure : GOLEM
“Golem” is Yiddish slang for “dimwit”. In Jewish folklore a golem is an anthropomorphic being made out of inanimate matter, somewhat like an unintelligent robot.
22. Mother of Isaac : SARAH
According to the Bible, Isaac was the only son of Abraham. Isaac was born to Abraham’s wife Sarah when she was beyond her childbearing years and when Abraham was 100 years old. Isaac himself lived until he was 180 years old. When Isaac was just a youth, Abraham was tested by Yahweh (God) and told to build an altar on which he was to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute an angel appeared and stopped Abraham, telling him to sacrifice a ram instead.
24. Recipe amt. : TBSP
26. B’way buy : TKT
One usually needs a ticket (tkt.) to see a Broadway (B’way) show.
27. Many of its knives have a limited lifetime warranty : GINSU
Ginsu knives are more famous for their hard-sell television ads than they are for their efficacy in the kitchen. The Ginsu phenomenon took off in the seventies when two brothers found a set of knives called “Eversharp” that were being manufactured in Ohio. The brothers changed the brand name to something more exotic, and Japanese in particular (Ginsu), and then produced ads that made references to Japanese martial arts. I think they made a fortune …
28. Arkansas team : RAZORBACKS
The athletic teams of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville are known as the Razorbacks, and sometimes as the Diamond Hogs. The Razorback is a type of pig, a wild hog.
29. Mrs. Gorbachev : RAISA
Raisa Gorbachova was the wife of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There’s no doubt that Raisa’s charm and personality helped her husband as he worked to change the image of the Soviet Union.
32. Twice-monthly tide : NEAP
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.
38. Sicilian high point : ETNA
Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts.
39. Track events with mechanical lures : DOG RACES
Greyhound dogs were originally bred for coursing game, and today are bred for greyhound racing. Coursing is the pursuit of game by sight, rather than scent. As such, coursing dogs like greyhounds are often referred to as “sighthounds”.
42. “Strange Magic” gp. : ELO
“ELO” stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. ELO’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy). The band released a compilation album with the rather nifty palindromic name “Olé ELO” in 1976.
44. Museum with Goyas and El Grecos : 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.
Francisco Goya was a Spanish painter, who was often called the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Two of Goya’s most famous works are “The Nude Maja” and “The Clothed Maja”.
El Greco (“the Greek”, in Spanish) was the nickname of the artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, and moved to Venice to study art when he was in his early twenties. A few years later he moved to the city of Toledo in central Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.
47. Recital bonus : ENCORE
“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request another song, say. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”
48. Red wine option : MERLOT
Merlot is one of the main grapes used to make Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There is a suggestion that the name of the grape comes from “merle”, the French name for the blackbird, and so “Merlot” is a reference to the grape’s dark color.
49. Gary who played Beethoven in “Immortal Beloved” : OLDMAN
Gary Oldman is an English stage and screen actor. Like many English actors it seems, Oldman has played a lot of villains in Hollywood movies e.g. in “Air Force One” and “The Fifth Element”. My favorite Oldman performance is as Ludwig van Beethoven in “Immortal Beloved”.
“Immortal Beloved” is one of my favorite movies of all time, although that is partly because I have a penchant for biographical films about the lives of classical composers. This 1994 film is an exploration of who might be the “immortal beloved” who Beethoven referred to in three letters that he wrote that were found among his private papers after he died. It’s a great tale and as one might expect, the musical score is just wonderful …
53. Songwriter Loeb : LISA
The singer Lisa Loeb was discovered by actor Ethan Hawke, who lived just across the street from her in New York City. Hawke took a demo of her song “Stay (I Missed You)” and gave it to director Ben Stiller, who in turn used it over the ending credits of his 1994 movie “Reality Bites”. The movie was a hit, the song went to number one, and Loeb became the first artist ever to hit that number one spot without having signed up with a record label. Good for her!
57. “Dancing Queen” quartet : ABBA
“Dancing Queen” is a great, great song from 1976 that was released by the Swedish group ABBA. ABBA’s music has never been as popular in the US as it is in other countries, but “Dancing Queen” did make it to the number-one spot in the charts here. It was in fact, ABBA’s only #1 hit in the US.
58. Bubbly maker : MOET
Moët & Chandon is a French winery, one of the world’s largest producers of champagne. The company was founded by wine trader Claude Moët in 1743. The name was changed to Moët & Chandon in the 1830s when Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, an in-law to the Moët family, was given co-ownership. Moët & Chandon owns the famous Dom Pérignon brand name, honoring the Benedictine monk who did so much to improve the quality of champagne.
59. Old fast fliers : SSTS
Supersonic transports (SSTs) like the Concorde broke Mach 1, the speed of sound. As a plane flies through air, it creates pressure waves in front (and behind) rather like the bow and stern waves of a boat. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, so as an aircraft itself accelerates towards the speed of sound it catches up with the pressure waves until they cannot “get out of the way”. When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the compressed waves merge into one single shock wave, creating a sonic boom.
62. Soweto’s country: Abbr. : RSA
The Republic of South Africa (RSA)
Soweto is an urban area in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. The name comes from SOuth WEstern TOwnship, a black township that was set up the days of apartheid. The famous Soweto Uprising took place in 1976, triggered by government policy forcing education to be given in Afrikaans rather than in English.