Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are common phrases with the letter H dropped (BOMBED!) into the front:
- 29D. Its testing awakened Godzilla … and what’s dropped, facetiously, into five puzzle answers : H-BOMB
- 17A. Cool site? : HIP ADDRESS (H + “IP address”)
- 38A. Android greeting? : HI, ROBOT (H + “I, Robot”)
- 62A. Congress taking some R and R? : HILL AT EASE (H + “ill at ease”)
- 11D. When the punch line hits? : HA HA MOMENT (H + “aha moment”)
- 27D. Lonely banquet reservation? : HALL FOR ONE (H + “all for one”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Smears : DAUBS
“To daub” is to coat a surface with something thick and sticky, like say plaster or mud.
6. Warthog weapon : TUSK
The warthog is a wild animal from the pig family found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The animal takes its name from four wart-like protrusions on its head that serve as a means of defense, but are also reserves of fat.
14. __ de l’air: French Air Force : ARMEE
The French Air Force is known as the “Armée de l’air” in French, literally “Air Army”.
15. Bart Simpson’s bus driver : OTTO
Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”
17. Cool site? : HIP ADDRESS (H + “IP address”)
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical label assigned to every device on a computer network.
19. Melville’s “grand, ungodly, god-like man” : AHAB
Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.
20. Like a Hail Mary pass : LAST-GASP
A “Hail Mary pass” (also called “the long bomb”) is a desperation move in American football in which a long pass is thrown with very little chance of a success, right at the the end of a game or at the end of a half. The term dates back to thirties, and was probably first used at Notre Dame. The “Hail Mary” is a prayer in the Christian tradition that is of particular significance Roman Catholicism.
21. “Animal House” rivals : FRATS
The very funny 1978 movie “Animal House” has the prefix “National Lampoon’s …” because the storyline came out of tales that had already appeared in “National Lampoon” magazine. “Animal House” was to become the first in a long line of successful “National Lampoon” films. The main pledges in the movie are Tom Hulce (Pinto), who later played a magnificent “Amadeus”, and Stephen Furst (Flounder), who later played a regular role on television’s “Babylon 5”.
22. “Suicide Squad” actor Jared : 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 Buying Club”.
23. TV fantasy drama inspired by iconic brothers : GRIMM
“Grimm” is an NBC television police drama, one that I haven’t seen. It doesn’t sound like my cup of tea though, as the hero of the piece is a Portland Police Bureau detective who has to battle with mythological creatures who come in and out of the human world.
The Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) were two German academics noted for collecting and publishing folk tales. Among the tales in their marvelous collection are “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella”.
28. Younger Simpson sister : ASHLEE
Ashlee Simpson is the younger sister of Jessica Simpson. They are both reality show stars. I know no more … I don’t want to know any more …
35. DealDash offers : BIDS
DealDash is an online auction site, one in which users pay for every bid made, regardless of whether or not they are successful in winning the auction. Sounds like gambling to me …
38. Android greeting? : HI, ROBOT (H + “I, Robot”)
“I, Robot” is an interesting 2004 science fiction film starring Will Smith that is loosely based on the excellent collection of short stories of the same name by Isaac Asimov.
The Android Operating System is used by many manufacturers of smartphones. Google partners with several companies to produce Android One phones. The beauty of the Android One is that it runs an unadulterated version of the Android Operating System, one that hasn’t been “customized” by the likes of T-Mobile or Verizon.
42. Seminary subj. : REL
Originally, a “seminary” was where plants were raised from seeds, as “semen” is the Latin for “seed”. The first schools labelled as seminaries were established in the late 1500s. Those first schools were more likely to be academies for young ladies back then, rather than for trainee priests.
43. Former L.A. Laker Lamar __ : ODOM
Lamar Odom is a basketball forward in NBA. Apparently Odom loves candy, and that’s how he earned his nickname, “The Candy Man”. Odom was married to Khloé Kardashian, and the couple’s wedding featured on an episode of the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Not a show that I have ever seen …
44. Capp chap : ABNER
“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”.
47. Liable to spill the beans : BLABBY
“To spill the beans” is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”.
50. Mediterranean hot spot : ETNA
Mt. Etna 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.
51. Willow twig : OSIER
Most willows (trees and shrubs of the genus Salix) are called just that, willows. Some of the broad-leaved shrub varieties are called sallow, and the narrow-leaved shrubs are called osier. The variety known as osier is commonly used in basketry, as osier twigs are very flexible. The strong and flexible willow stems are sometimes referred to as withies.
53. CPR pros : EMTS
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has for decades involved the simultaneous compression of the chest to pump blood using the heart, and artificial respiration by blowing air into the lungs. Nowadays emergency services are placing more emphasis on heart compressions, and less on artificial respiration.
55. Show tune that begins, “The most beautiful sound I ever heard” : MARIA
“Maria” is a song from “West Side Story”.
Say it loud and there’s music playing,
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.
I’ll never stop saying Maria!
Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets (played by Richard Beymer) falls in love with Maria (played by Natalie Wood) from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona.
57. “The Rock” (1996) setting : ALCATRAZ
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a maximum high-security prison operating from 1934 to 1963 on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The US Army had opened Fort Alcatraz on the island back in 1859, and constructed the first prison there in 1868. The first buildings that were to become the Federal Penitentiary were erected between 1910 and 1912, and again were used as a military prison. The construction was modernized and became the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1934. The Federal prison housed famous inmates like Al Capone, The Birdman of Alcatraz and “Machine Gun” Kelly. The prison was closed in 1963 by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, as the cost of operation was excessively high and major capital improvements were needed.
“The Rock” is an entertaining action movie from 1996 set on the old prison island of Alcatraz, “the Rock”. Sean Connery stars as an ex-inmate of the prison, alongside Nicolas Cage who plays an FBI chemist tasked with stopping a threatened gas attack against San Francisco.
61. Conductive nerve part : AXON
A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The branched projections that receive electrochemical signals from other neurons are known as dendrites. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.
62. Congress taking some R and R? : HILL AT EASE (H + “ill at ease”)
Washington D.C.’s designer Pierre L’Enfant chose the crest of a hill as the site for the future Congress House. He called the location “Jenkins Hill” and “Jenkins Heights”. Earlier records show the name as “New Troy”. Today we call it “Capitol Hill”.
Rest and relaxation/recuperation/recreation (R&R)
64. Wilder acting : GENE
Gene Wilder was an actor noted for his comedic roles. Wilder had a successful collaboration with Mel Brooks on three great films: “The Producers”, “Blazing Saddles” and my favorite, “Young Frankenstein”. For a while, Wilder dated his “Young Frankenstein” co-star Teri Garr, but he was married most famously to “Saturday Night Live” star Gilda Radner.
67. Whole mess : SLEW
Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew”. The noun “slew” come into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.
68. “The Hunger Games” president : SNOW
“The Hunger Games” is a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins, the first in a trilogy of titles that also includes “Catching Fire” (2009) and “Mockingjay” (2010). “The Hunger Games” was adapted into a very successful movie released in 2012, with the sequels following soon after. Amazon.com reports more sales of “The Hunger Games” series books than even the “Harry Potter” series.
69. __ pad : STENO
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).
1. Oompa-Loompa creator : DAHL
The Oompa-Loompas are characters in the Roald Dahl book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and indeed in the sequel story “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”. Willy Wonka came across the Oompa-Loompas on an isolated island in the Atlantic and invited them to work in his factory in order to escape those hunting them on the island. Right before Dahl’s book was first published, he was intending to call the Oompa-Loompas the “Whipple-Scrumpets”.
4. Apple Records founders : BEATLES
The Beatles founded their own record label in 1968, calling it Apple Records. When singles were released, the A-sides had the image of a Granny Smith apple on the label, with the B-sides label showing the midsection of the same apple cut in half. Cute …
5. Swamp growth : SEDGE
Sedges are a family of plants that resemble grasses and rushes. Sedges are more properly called Cyperaceae.
6. Trunks : TORSOS
“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.
7. Sch. that calls the Sun Bowl its home : UTEP
The Sun Bowl is an annual college football game played in El Paso. The Rose Bowl is the oldest of the bowl games, but the Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl come in second. The first Sun Bowl was played on New Year’s Day 1935. To be fair to the sponsors, the full name today is the Hyundai Sun Bowl …
8. New Eng. sextet : STS
The geographical region of New England comprises the six northeastern states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The name “New England” was given to the region by English explorer John Smith in 1616.
9. Mayweather stat : KOS
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a former professional boxer who retired undefeated in 2015.
12. Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT
The initialism QED is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.
13. Society newbies : DEBS
“Deb” is short for “debutante”, which translates from French as “female beginner”.
18. Mining target : DATA
The process of data mining is used to extract information from a database and present it in a form that facilitates further use.
25. Prefix with 34-Down : AGORA-
(34D. Irrational aversion : PHOBIA)
In early Greece the “agora” was a place of assembly. Often the assemblies held there were quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a market place. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.
26. Town __ : CRIER
Town criers make public announcements on the streets, usually shouting “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” to attract attention. The term “oyez” derives from the Anglo-Norman word for “listen” and is used in this instance to me “Hear ye!”
27. Lonely banquet reservation? : HALL FOR ONE (H + “all for one”)
A banquet is an elaborate feast. “Banquet” is a term that seems to have reversed in meaning over time. Coming into English via French from Old Italian, “banquet” is derived from “banco” meaning “bench”. The original “banco” meal was simply a snack eaten on a bench, rather than at a table.
29. Its testing awakened Godzilla … and what’s dropped, facetiously, into five puzzle answers : H-BOMB
There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. Uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. These devices are called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy.
Godzilla is a Japanese invention. The first in a very long series of “Godzilla” films was released way back in 1954. The original name in Japanese was “Gojira”, but this was changed to Godzilla for audiences outside of Japan. “Gojira” is a combination of “gorira” and “kujira”, the Japanese words for gorilla and whale, apt because Godzilla is a big ape-like creature that came out of the deep.
39. “Spamalot” lyricist : IDLE
Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was released as a movie in 1975, and was a great success. Some thirty years later the film’s storyline was used as inspiration for the hit musical “Spamalot”. I saw “Spamalot” on stage not that long ago and wasn’t that impressed. But, mine was very much a minority opinion …
49. Where “It’s fun to stay,” in a disco hit : YMCA
“YMCA” was released in 1978 by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics are extolling the virtues of the “YMCA” as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that …
52. Tendon : SINEW
Sinew is another name for a tendon. Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle. We also use the term “sinew” to mean muscular power.
54. Exit lines : TATAS
An Englishman might say “tata” or “cheerio” instead of “goodbye”. Well, supposedly so!
55. Money and Fortune, briefly : MAGS
One of the best-known features in “Money” magazine is its annual listing of “America’s Best Places to Live”. Top of the list for 2016 is the city of Columbia, Maryland.
“Fortune” is a tri-weekly business magazine that was founded by Henry Luce in 1930, just four months after the 1929 Wall Street Crash. “Fortune” is noted for its annual ranking of companies by revenue, especially the Fortune 500.
56. Winter Olympics leap : AXEL
An Axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.
57. Adele, vocally : ALTO
“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. More recently, her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.
58. Use a Yelp account, say : RATE
yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.
59. Words used for a spell? : AS IN
A as in apple, B as in bear …