Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are common phrases that include a type of animal. The twist is that the animal’s name has been replaced with the SOUND that it makes:
- 21A. Sign of a lawn tractor problem? : HISS IN THE GRASS (from “snake in the grass”)
- 26A. Inhospitable medical fraud? : COLD QUACK (from “Cold Duck”)
- 41A. Landscaping mulch specialists? : BARK HANDLERS (from “dog handlers”)
- 67A. “Ahooga!” producer? : SILLY HONK (from “silly goose”)
- 71A. Hard golf club to swing? : GRUNT IRON (from “pig iron”)
- 96A. Excitement about the producer of the original “Charlie’s Angels”? : SPELLING BUZZ (from “spelling bee”)
- 111A. Playful crib liner? : SQUEAK PAD (from “mousepad”)
- 119A. Posting that periodically reposts itself? : MIGRATORY TWEET (from “migratory bird”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
7. Sulky-pulling horse : PACER
A “sulky” is a very light cart used in harness racing. The same term is used for a cart pulled by dogs. The cart gets its name because it takes only one driver and no passengers, so perhaps that driver is “sulking”. Cute …
12. Woods on a tee : TIGER
The golfer Tiger Woods’ real name is Eldrick Tont Woods. “Tont” is a traditional Thai name. Tiger’s father Earl Woods met his second wife Kultida Punsawad in 1966 while on a tour of duty in Thailand.
18. Independent African nation since 1993 : ERITREA
Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for the anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.
20. Arizona neighbor : SONORA
Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of the borders with Arizona and New Mexico. Sonora is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.
25. Bucket list items, say : GOALS
A “bucket list” is a list of things one wants to achieve before dying, before “kicking the bucket”. The expression hasn’t been used in this context for very long, only a decade or so, but was popularized by the 2007 film “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
26. Inhospitable medical fraud? : COLD QUACK (from “Cold Duck”)
A “quack” is a person who pretends to have knowledge that he or she does not in fact possess. The term especially applies to someone fraudulently pretending to have medical skills. Our modern word is an abbreviation of “quacksalver”, an archaic term with Dutch roots that translates as “hawker of salve”, Back in the Middle Ages, quacksalvers would shout out (quack) as they sold their pseudo-medical wares.
Cold Duck is a brand of sparkling wine that was developed in Detroit in 1937. The original recipe was based on a German legend that involved the mixing of the dregs of unfinished wine bottle with Champagne. As such, today’s Cold Duck is usually a mix of one part Mosel wine, one part Rhine wine, one part Champagne along with a little seasoning. The wine from legend was given the German name “Kaltes Ende” (cold end), but this evolved into the similarly sounding “Kalte Ente” that translates as “Cold Duck”.
28. __ Schwarz : FAO
FAO Schwarz is perhaps the most famous, and is certainly the oldest, toy store in the United States. The FAO Schwarz outlet on Fifth Avenue in New York City closed in 2015. This store was famously used in several Hollywood movies. For example, it was home to the Walking Piano that Tom Hanks played in the movie “Big”.
30. Plant with edible leaf sheaths : LEEK
The leek is a vegetable closely related to the onion and the garlic. It is also a national emblem of Wales (along with the daffodil), although I don’t think we know for sure how this came to be. One story is that the Welsh were ordered to wear leeks in their helmets to identify themselves in a battle against the Saxons. Apparently, the battle took place in a field of leeks.
33. Org. that dropped “Lawn” from its name in 1975 : USTA
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national organization governing the sport of tennis in the US. The USTA was founded way back in 1881 as the United States National Lawn Tennis Association.
44. Like the viva voce part of some exams : ORAL
“Viva voce” translates literally from Latin as “with living voice”, and we use the phrase today to mean “by word of mouth”. The term might also be used for an oral exam in university, or for a voice vote in a governing assembly.
48. 15-member sports org. : ACC
The collegiate athletic conference known as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was founded in 1953. The seven charter members of the ACC were Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest.
52. Irish brew : RED ALE
My guess is that the most famous Irish red ale that actually comes from Ireland is Smithwick’s, which is produced in Kilkenny. Many visitors to Ireland flock to the world-famous Guinness Storehouse. The equivalent Smithwick’s Experience in Kilkenny is a much more intimate affair, and one that I highly recommend …
54. Pampas birds : RHEAS
The rhea is a flightless bird native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek titan Rhea, an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.
The Pampas are fertile lowlands covering a large part of Argentina, Uruguay and some of Brazil. “Pampa” is a Quechua word meaning “plain”.
59. “Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat” author : AMY TAN
“Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat” is a 1994 children’s book by author Amy Tan (of “The Joy Luck Club” fame). PBS Kids produced an animated TV series of the same name that originally ran in 2001-2002.
63. MGM motto word : ARS
It seems that the phrase “art for art’s sake” has its origins in France in the nineteenth century, where the slogan is expressed as “l’art pour l’art”. The Latin version “Ars gratia artis” came much later, in 1924, when MGM’s publicist chose it for the studio’s logo, sitting under Leo the lion. Who’d a thunk it?
64. Bottled surprise : GENIE
The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …
66. Pet Shop Boys label : EMI
Pet Shop Boys are a pop duo from England consisting of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. The pair originally performed as West End in the early 1980s, because they loved London’s West End. When they decided to rename their act, they chose Pet Shop Boys simply because they had good friends working in a nearby pet shop.
67. “Ahooga!” producer? : SILLY HONK (from “silly goose”)
“Ahooga!” is a sound made by male cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny when encountering a particularly good-looking female.
71. Hard golf club to swing? : GRUNT IRON (from “pig iron”)
“Pig iron” is crude iron that has been cast in blocks. The traditional molds produce ingots attached to a central runner. The configuration resembles a sow (the runner) with piglets (the ingots) suckling. This similarity gave rise to the name “pig iron”.
73. Sch. in Tempe : ASU
Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.
74. Island veranda : LANAI
A lanai is a type of veranda, a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.
75. Anti-bullying ad, e.g. : PSA
Public service announcement (PSA)
77. 2014 “Cosmos” presenter __ deGrasse Tyson : NEIL
“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” is a 2014 science documentary TV show presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The series is a follow-on to the famous 1980 show “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” that was presented by Carl Sagan.
83. Did pre-heist planning at : CASED
The term “case the joint” is American slang dating back at least to 1915, meaning to examine a location with the intent of robbing it. The origins of the phrase are apparently unknown.
89. Director DuVernay : AVA
Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma”, which was centered on the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
92. Conceptual artist Yoko : ONO
Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.
93. Ritz alternative : HI-HO
Sunshine Biscuits was an independent producer of cookies and crackers which produced Hi-Ho crackers in competition to the successful Ritz brand. In 1996, Sunshine was absorbed by the Keebler Company and Hi-Ho Crackers was on the list of brands that was discontinued because of the merger.
94. Schubert’s “The __ King” : ERL
“Der Erlkönig” (“The Erl King”) is a poem by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem tells of the death of child attacked by the Erl King, a supernatural being. The Austrian composer Franz Schubert made a musical adaptation of Goethe’s poem, using the same title.
96. Excitement about the producer of the original “Charlie’s Angels”? : SPELLING BUZZ (from “spelling bee”)
Aaron Spelling was a film and television producer who is most associated with his TV successes such as “Charlie’s Angels”, “The Love Boat”, “Dynasty” and “Beverly Hills, 90210”. Spelling made a pretty penny with his production company Spelling Television. He purchased Bing Crosby’s former home in LA in 1988, demolished it and built a 56,500 square-foot mansion on the property. “The Manor”, as it’s called, is the largest single-family home in Los Angeles, and has 123 rooms.
100. 70s jazz band Spyro __ : GYRA
Spyro Gyra is a jazz fusion band that formed in the mid-seventies in Buffalo, New York. The band’s name is inspired by the genus of green algae known as Spirogyra.
102. Model X maker : TESLA
The Model X is an all-electric crossover SUV made by Tesla Motors in Fremont, California. The Model X is built on Tesla’s Model S sedan platform.
104. Vogue rackmate : ELLE
“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.
108. Part of iOS : SYST
iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system, previously known as iPhone OS.
110. “Monsters, __” : INC
The animated feature “Monsters, Inc.” was released in 2001, and was Pixar’s fourth full-length movie. It’s about cute monsters, and that’s all I know other than that the voice cast included the likes of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi.
115. “Top Hat” studio : RKO
The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.
“Top Hat” is a fun comedy musical starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is the most successful movie that the Astaire-Rogers team made.
118. Card game with tricks : EUCHRE
Euchre is a card game that probably came to the US from Germany, introduced by German farmers who settled in Wisconsin. Euchre is a trick-taking game usually played by four people in two partnerships. Unlike bridge, Euchre is played with a stripped down deck of 24 or 32 cards. The verb “to euchre” is slang for “to cheat, swindle”, a term that presumably comes from the card game.
125. August birthstone : PERIDOT
Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:
- January: Garnet
- February: Amethyst
- March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
- April: Diamond
- May: Emerald
- June: Pearl or Moonstone
- July: Ruby
- August: Sardonyx or Peridot
- September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
- October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
- November: Topaz or Citrine
- December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)
126. Sherpas’ language : NEPALI
In the Tibetan language, “Sherpa” means “eastern people” (sher = east, pa = people). Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal, but the name is also used for the local guides who assist mountaineers in the Himalayas, and particularly on Mount Everest.
127. Moves like a monarch : FLITS
The monarch butterfly has very recognizable orange and black wings, and is often seen across North America. The monarch is the state insect of several US states and was even nominated as the national insect in 1990, but that legislation was not enacted.
128. Rent-a-car choice : SEDAN
The American “sedan” car is the equivalent of the British “saloon” car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.
1. Dr. Seuss title ender : … A WHO
Horton the elephant turns up in two books by Dr. Seuss, “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “Horton Hears a Who!”
2. Seed used in smoothies : CHIA
Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terracotta figurines to which are applied moistened chia seeds. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.
8. 2008 bailout beneficiary : AIG
AIG is the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …
9. Shaq’s pos. : CTR
Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality show: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”
15. Former “Weekend Today” co-host Hill : ERICA
Erica Hill was the co-anchor of “CBS This Morning”, and before that she was co-anchor of CBS’s “The Early Show”. Hill moved in 2008 to NBC News and now co-hosts the weekend edition of “Today”.
18. Jennifer of “Zero Dark Thirty” : EHLE
Jennifer Ehle is a favorite actress of mine, an American actress who is noted for playing English characters. Most famously, Ehle played Elizabeth Bennett opposite Colin Firth’s D’Arcy in the fabulous 1995 BBC production of “Pride and Prejudice”. Ehle and Firth began a romantic relationship during the filming of the Jane Austen novel. Years later, the couple worked together again, for the film “The King’s Speech”.
“Zero Dark Thirty” is a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow that tells of the long but ultimately successful hunt for Osama bin Laden. I found one aspect of this film to be particularly uplifting, namely the central role played by a remarkable CIA officer who was a woman operating against the odds in a man’s world.
27. Old Fords : LTDS
There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation LTD stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for Luxury Trim Decor, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.
29. Genesis vessel : ARK
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.
38. Ovine sign : ARIES
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.
The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine”, meaning “like a sheep”.
40. Poland neighbor : UKRAINE
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the” Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say “Ukraine”.
42. Prefix with -lexic : DYS-
Dyslexia is a disorder in which a person with normal intelligence has difficulty in reading. The term “dyslexia” comes from the Greek “dys-” meaning “bad” and “lexis” meaning “word”.
43. Voice of the difficult homeowner in “Up” : ASNER
“Up” is the tenth movie released by Pixar studios, featuring wonderful animation as we have come to expect from Pixar. The film earned itself two Academy Awards. The main voice actor is Ed Asner, whose animated persona as Carl Fredricksen was created to resemble Spencer Tracy, as Tracy appeared in his last film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.
45. Yelp contributor : RATER
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”.
46. Enterprise rival : ALAMO
The third largest car rental company over recent years is Alamo, a relative newcomer that was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.
47. October Revolution figure : LENIN
The year 1917 saw two revolutions in Russia, with the pair collectively called “the Russian Revolution”. As a result of the February Revolution that centered on Petrograd, the last Emperor of Russia (Tsar Nicholas II) abdicated and members of the Imperial parliament took control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. The Provisional Government was itself overthrown in the October Revolution, by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party.
51. The Skatalites music genre : REGGAE
The Skatalites are a Jamaican ska band that was active originally from 1963 to 1965. The band got together again in 1983, and have been performing ever since.
53. Ipecac, for one : EMETIC
Syrup of ipecac is a preparation made from the dried roots and rhizomes of the ipecacuanha plant. The syrup is used as an emetic, a substance that induces vomiting. Ipecac accomplishes this by irritating the lining of the stomach.
56. Galaxy Note accessory : STYLUS
Samsung’s Galaxy Note is a line of smartphone and tablets that run on the Android operating system. One feature of the Galaxy Note is that it’s designed around the use of a stylus.
65. Blue __: German wine brand : NUN
Blue Nun is a brand of German wine that was introduced in 1923. It is a Liebfraumilch, a semi-sweet wine. Due to some canny marketing, Blue Num was incredibly popular in the US and the British Isles in the mid-eighties I remember it well …
67. She played Buffy : SARAH
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a TV series that originally aired from 1997 to 2003. “Buffy …” was incredibly successful, especially given that it wasn’t aired on the one of the big four networks. The show was created by Joss Whedon and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role.
68. Question in Matthew : IS IT I?
At the Last Supper, Jesus told his apostles that one of them would betray him that day. According to the Gospel of Matthew:
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
72. Stevedore’s org. : ILA
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)
A stevedore, or longshoreman, is someone employed in the loading and unloading of ships at a port. The word “stevedore” comes from the Spanish “estibador”, meaning “one who loads cargo”, with the verb “to steeve” meaning to load cargo in a hold. The word “longshoreman”, is simply from a man who works “alongshore”.
81. Brian who has coached two Olympic skating gold medalists : ORSER
Brian Orser is a retired Canadian figure skater. Orser was one of the “combatants” in the Battle of the Brians, the name given to the rivalry between Brian Orser and US skater Brian Boitano. Orser moved onto coaching after retiring from competition. He coached two Olympic champions: Kim Yuna (2010) and yuzuru Hanyu (2014).
82. Indian lentil stew : DAL
I love dal dishes, which are prepared from various peas or beans (often lentils) that have been stripped of their outer skins and split. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisines. I suppose in Indian terms, split pea soup (another of my favorites) would be called a dal.
85. Longtime Wyoming senator Mike : ENZI
Mike Enzi is the senior US Senator from Wyoming, who has been in office since 1997. Enzi succeeded Senator Ted Kennedy as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
91. Ducks, on ESPN crawls : ANA
The Walt Disney Company founded the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team in 1993, with the franchise’s name being a nod to the 1992 Disney movie called “The Mighty Ducks”. The name was changed to the Anaheim Ducks when Disney sold the team before the 2006-2007 season.
95. Farrier’s tool : RASP
A blacksmith is someone who forges and shapes iron, perhaps to make horseshoes. A farrier is someone who fits horseshoes onto the hooves of horses. The term “blacksmith” is sometimes used for one who shoes horses, especially as many blacksmiths make horseshoes and fit them as well.
99. It’s good in Quebec : BON
The name “Québec” comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.
105. “All My Children” Emmy winner on her 19th try : LUCCI
“All My Children” was the first daytime soap opera to debut in the seventies. Star of the show was Susan Lucci who played Erica Kane. The show was cancelled in 2011 after having being on the air for 41 years.
107. Pipe smoker’s gadget : TAMP
“To tamp” means to pack down tightly by tapping. “Tamp” was originally used to specifically describe the action of packing down sand or dirt around an explosive prior to detonation.
116. Large seaweed : KELP
Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.
117. Spunkmeyer of cookie fame : OTIS
Otis Spunkmeyer is a company noted for producing muffins and cookies. Kenneth Rawlings founded the company in 1977 in Oakland, California. “Otis Spunkmeyer” isn’t a real person, and instead is a name that was made up by Rawlings’ 12-year-old daughter.
120. Hurdle for srs. : GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.
122. Govt. lawyer : ADA
Assistant District Attorney (ADA)
123. Employment org. created in 1935 : WPA
The Work Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest of the New Deal agencies. The WPA employed millions of people during the Depression, putting them to work on various public works projects. The total spending through the WPA from 1936 to 1939 was nearly $7 billion. We have to give the federal government credit for taking an enlightened view of what types of project qualified for financial support, so artists who could not get commissions privately were hired by the government itself. The result is a collection of “New Deal Art”, including a series of murals that can be found in post offices around the country to this day.