Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answer is a well-known phrase, but with a letter R at the beginning that has been swapped with a letter V:
- 61A. Camper upgrade, literally seen in four puzzle answers : RV TRADE-IN
- 16A. Vermicelli for the greedy or lustful? : VICE-A-RONI (from “Rice-A-Roni”)
- 38A. Energy drink? : VIMSHOT (from “rimshot”)
- 10D. Practical approach to preparing saltimbocca? : VEALPOLITIK (from “realpolitik”)
- 24D. Pamplona preeners, with “the”? : VAIN IN SPAIN (from “rain in Spain”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. Wall Street Journal co-founder Charles : DOW
Charles Dow was a journalist who moved to New York City (from Providence, Rhode Island) in 1880 as he was developing an interest in reporting financial and business news. He teamed up with statistician Edward David Jones, and in 1882, the pair formed the Dow, Jones & Company news agency. The following year, the fledgling company started to publish the “Customers’ Afternoon Letter”, a two-page summary of the day’s financial news. Included in the newsletter was the now celebrated Dow Jones stock average. The two-page “Customers’ Afternoon Letter” evolved into the newspaper that we now call “The Wall Street Journal”, which first appeared in 1889.
9. 2013 Zipcar acquirer : AVIS
Zipcar is a carsharing company. Carsharing differs from car rental in that cars are available only to members, but 24 hours a day as opposed to office hours. There are other differences, including the fact that members are usually responsible for leaving cars gassed up and clean for the next user. Zipcar was founded in 2000, and was acquired by Avis in 2013.
13. Word on mail from Madrid : AEREO
The words “Correo Aereo” can be found on some stamps. The phrase translates from Spanish as “Air Mail”.
16. Vermicelli for the greedy or lustful? : VICE-A-RONI (from “Rice-A-Roni”)
Rice-A-Roni was introduced in 1958 by the Golden Grain Macaroni Company of San Francisco. The company was run by an Italian immigrant and his four sons. The wife of one of the sons created a pilaf dish for the family diner they owned. It was a big hit, so her brother-in-law created a commercial version by blending dry chicken soup mix with rice and macaroni. Sounds like “a San Francisco treat” to me …
Vermicelli is a pasta that is similar to spaghetti, except that it is thicker. “Vermicelli” translates from Italian as “little worms”.
20. Threat in old Westerns : RATTLER
The scales covering the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail are made of keratin, the same structural protein that makes up the outer layer of human skin, as well as our hair and nails. The rattlesnake shakes its tail vigorously to warn off potential predators, causing the hollow scales to vibrate against one another and resulting in that scary “rattle” sound. The rattler’s tail muscles “fire” an incredible fifty times a second to achieve that effect, demonstrating one of the fastest muscular movements in the whole animal kingdom.
22. Knuckle under : GIVE
The verb “to knuckle” was coined in the 18th century to describe the motion of kneeling down with a knuckle on the ground to play the game of marbles. The derivative phrasal verb “to knuckle down” came to mean “to apply oneself earnestly”, as in the game. The related verbal phrase “to knuckle under”, meaning “to submit, give in”, seems also to refer back to game, and refers to the action of kneeling.
30. Slam __ : DUNK
In basketball, a player makes “slam dunk” by jumping up and powering the ball downward into the basket with his or her hands over the rim. The term “slam dunk” was coined by Chick Hearn, an announcer for the L.A. Lakers. The NBA even holds an annual Slam Dunk Contest.
32. Clever comment : MOT
“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean a quip, a witticism.
35. Sandra’s Supreme Court successor : SAMUEL
Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.
Sandra Day O’Connor is a former Associate justice on the US Supreme Court. O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the court, and was in office from 1981 after being appointed by President Reagan. As the court became more conservative she was viewed as the swing vote in many decisions. As a result, O’Connor was known as one of the most powerful women in the world. She retired in 2006 (replaced by Samuel Alito), and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.
37. What’s big in London? : BEN
Big Ben is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster (aka the Houses of Parliament). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who oversaw the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day Benjamin Caunt.
38. Energy drink? : VIMSHOT (from “rimshot”)
A rimshot is a sound made when a drummer hits the head of a drum and the rim at the same time. It’s a sound often used by comics to help punctuate a gag.
40. Texting qualifier : IMO
In my opinion (IMO)
43. Glacial mass : ICECAP
The polar icecap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar icecap is an ice sheet that covers the land mass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar icecap.
45. __ milk : MALTED
Walgreens claims to have introduced the malted milkshake, back in 1922.
47. Dedicatee of Lennon’s “Woman” : ONO
“Woman” is a lovely song written by John Lennon that was recorded in 1980. The song was released in 1981, just a month or so after Lennon was murdered outside his New York apartment building. Lennon wrote the song as an ode to his wife Yoko Ono, and to women in general. He also stated that “Woman” was a grown-up version of “Girl”, a song that he wrote for the Beatles in 1965.
50. 1937 Shirley Temple title role : HEIDI
“Heidi” is a Swiss children’s book written by Johanna Spyri and published in two parts. The first is “Heidi’s years of learning and travel”, and the second “Heidi makes use of what she has learned”. The books tell the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The most famous film adaptation of the story is the 1937 movie of the same name starring Shirley Temple in the title role.
The child star Shirley Temple made her first movie in 1932 at the age of three, then became a star 1934 in the film “Bright Eyes”. Temple retired from show business at the age of 22, but made a brief attempt to resume her career in the late fifties and early sixties. She served as a board member for several organizations, including the Walt Disney Company. She also ran unsuccessfully for the US Congress in 1874, but was appointed as US Ambassador to Ghana in 1974, and then to Czechoslovakia in 1989.
60. With 12-Down, Carnegie Hall icon : ISAAC …
(12D. See 60-Across : … STERN)
Isaac Stern was Ukrainian-born, but moved with his family to San Francisco at a very young age. He was a wonderful violin virtuoso who passed away in 2001.
The prestigious Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan opened for business in 1891. The magnificent edifice was named after the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who provided the funds for construction.
61. Camper upgrade, literally seen in four puzzle answers : RV TRADE-IN
Recreational vehicle (RV)
66. Skeptical sound at Belmont? : NEIGH
“Neigh” sounds like “nay”.
The Belmont Stakes is a horse race held in June each year, at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, New York. The Belmont Stakes is the last of the US Triple Crown races, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
68. Dry Italian white : SOAVE
Soave is a dry white wine produced in the area around the city of Verona in northeast Italy. “Soave” is a small town located near Verona.
69. Sebaceous gland issue : ACNE
Tiny sebaceous glands are found on most of the skin. Their function is to produce an oily substance called sebum, which lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair.
71. Graceful wader : EGRET
Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.
1. James, for one, briefly : CAV
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.
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.
2. Hilo hello accompaniment : LEI
Hilo is the largest settlement on the big island of Hawai’i, with a population of over 43,000 (that’s not very many!). I love the Big Island …
3. Hobbit hunter : ORC
Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.
“The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” is a children’s fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was popular from the time of its first publication in 1937. Included in the early awards for “The Hobbit” was a prize for best juvenile fiction from “The New York Herald Tribune”. Tolkien adapted his succeeding novel “The Lord of the Rings” to incorporate elements in “The Hobbit”, so that the two tales are very much related.
10. Practical approach to preparing saltimbocca? : VEALPOLITIK (from “realpolitik”)
The term “realpolitik” translates from German as “practical politics” and is used to describe diplomacy that is rooted in practical factors and consideration rather ideological premises.
Saltimbocca is a dish from southern Europe made of veal topped with prosciutto and sage, and then marinated in perhaps wine. The name “saltimbocca” is Italian for “jump in the mouth”.
15. Kiss classic : BETH
KISS is a hard rock band from New York City. KISS is the group whose band members use all that scary face paint and wear wacky outfits on stage.
17. Milne marsupial : ROO
Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”, the kangaroo named Roo was inspired by on a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.
22. The “Gee” in Bee Gees : GIBB
The Brothers Gibb (hence, the name “The Bee Gees”) were born in England but grew up and started their musical careers in Australia. They moved back to Manchester in the north of England as youths, and there hit the big time.
23. About : IN RE
The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.
24. Pamplona preeners, with “the”? : VAIN IN SPAIN (from “rain in Spain”)
Pamplona, Spain is famous for its San Fermin festival held in July every year, the highlight of which is the Running of the Bulls. Every year, 200-300 people are injured in the bull run, and 15 people have been killed since 1910. If you get to Pamplona two days before the Running of the Bulls, you can see the animal-rights protest event known as the Running of the Nudes. The protesters are as naked as the bulls …
“The Rain in Spain” is a song from the 1956 Lerner & Loewe musical “My Fair Lady”. The famous lyric “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” appears in the 1938 film “Pygmalion” and not in the original 1913 George Bernard Shaw play “Pygmalion”, on which all the derivative works are based.
29. Igloo’s lack : EAVE
The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.
34. Fungus/alga symbiosis : LICHEN
Lichens are interesting organisms, as they are made up of a partnership of a fungus and either an alga or a bacterium existing in a symbiotic relationship. The algae or bacteria are capable of photosynthesis, and so manufacture simple sugars using light and carbon dioxide from the air. The fungus uses the manufactured sugars, and in return provides a stable environment for the algae or bacteria to thrive.
36. Bryce Canyon locale : UTAH
Bryce Canyon National Park is truly a beautiful part of America. The strange thing is that Bryce isn’t a canyon at all, but rather is a natural amphitheater created by erosion of sedimentary rocks that are part of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.
39. Red Guard leader : MAO
Red Guards were young paramilitaries who were mobilized by Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-sixties.
41. Prefix with -terranean : MEDI-
The Mediterranean Sea is almost completely enclosed by land, and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. The sea takes its name from the Latin “mediterraneus”, which means “in the middle of land”.
42. Master of the Valkyries : ODIN
In Norse mythology, the valkyries are beautiful female attendants of Odin who choose those who must die in battle and those who must live. Half of those who die go to Fólkvangr, the “army field” ruled over by the goddess Freyja. The other half of those who perish go to Valhalla, the hall of the slain that is ruled over by the god Odin. The etymology of “valkyrie” is Old Norse for “chooser of the slain”.
46. It’s never a poodle in the Iditarod : LEAD DOG
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!
The standard poodle breed of dog is considered to be the second most intelligent breed, after the border collie. The name “poodle” comes from a Low German word meaning “to splash about”, reflecting the original use of the breed as a water retriever.
49. Chef’s crusher : PESTLE
I’ve always loved the sound of the words “mortar” and “pestle”, ever since I was first introduced to them in the chemistry lab. The Romans called a receptacle for pounding or grinding things a “mortarium”, giving us “mortar”. Mortarium was also the word for the product of pounding and grinding, which gives us our “mortar” that’s used with bricks to build a wall. And further, short stubby cannons used in the 16th century resembled a grinding bowl and so were called “mortars”, which evolved into our contemporary weapon of the same name. As far as the pestle is concerned, it is also derived from its Latin name “pistillum”, which comes from the word for “crush”.
51. “The Three Sisters” sister : IRINA
Olga, Masha and Irina were the “Three Sisters” in the play by Anton Chekhov. The three title characters were inspired by the three Brontë sisters, the English authors.
54. Busy time for CPAs : APR
April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.