Edited by: Rich Norris
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The TRAILING end (last word) of each of today’s themed answers is a type of BOAT:
- 61A. Lakeside launching aid … and, literally, each set of circled letters : BOAT TRAILER
- 17A. Crude early version of a work of art : ROUGH SKETCH (trailing “ketch”)
- 30A. Computer programming glitch : ENDLESS LOOP (trailing “sloop”)
- 46A. New York City zoo locale : CENTRAL PARK (trailing “ark”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Bindle-toting migrants : HOBOS
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.
“Bindle” is the name given to that bag or sack that the stereotypical hobo carried on a stick over his shoulder. “Bindle” is possibly a corruption of “bundle”.
6. “Oliver!” no-goodnik : FAGIN
Fagin is the colorful antagonist in the Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist”. Fagin leads a band of children who earn their keep by picking pockets and committing other petty crimes. Fagin’s most successful pickpocket is the Artful Dodger.
“Oliver!” is stage musical by Lionel Bart that is based on the Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist”. “Oliver!” was adapted successfully for the big screen in 1968. The film version won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Carol Reed. Leading the movie’s cast are Mark Lester in the title role, Ron Moody as Fagin and Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes.
11. Bygone intl. carrier : TWA
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.
16. A, in Aachen : EIN
Aachen is a city in the very west of Germany, right on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. In English, we quite often refer to this city by its French name, Aix-la-Chapelle.
17. Crude early version of a work of art : ROUGH SKETCH (trailing “ketch”)
A ketch is a sailboat with two masts. The most forward mast is the mainmast, and is the taller of the two. The smaller mast is further aft, and is known as the mizzen mast.
19. Bottom-row PC key : ALT
The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.
23. Financial claim : LIEN
A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.
28. Pakistani language : URDU
Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.
29. “The Lord of the Rings” beast : 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.
30. Computer programming glitch : ENDLESS LOOP (trailing “sloop”)
Sloops and cutters are sailboats, and each has just one mast. One major difference between the two types of vessel is that the mast on a cutter is set much further aft than the mast on a sloop.
33. What marathoners load up on : CARBS
Only relatively small amounts of carbohydrate can be stored by the human body, but those stores are important. The actual storage molecule is a starch-like polysaccharide called glycogen, which is found mainly in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a quick source of energy when required by the body. Most of the body’s energy is stored in the form of fat, a more compact substance that is mobilized less rapidly. Endurance athletes often eat meals high in carbohydrate (carbo-loading) a few hours before an event, so that their body’s glycogen is at optimum levels.
35. WWII conference site : YALTA
The Yalta Conference was a wartime meeting between WWII leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Held in February of 1945, the conference is most remembered for decisions made on the post-war organization of Europe. To a large extent, the three leaders made decisions carving up political influence around the world, decisions that have profound implications to this day.
46. New York City zoo locale : CENTRAL PARK (trailing “ark”)
The Central Park Zoo is in Central Park in New York City. Founded in the 1860s, it was the first official zoo to open in the city.
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.
52. Et __: and others : ALIA
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).
53. Harp constellation : LYRA
Lyra (Latin for “lyre, harp, lute”) is a constellation that includes the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The constellation Lyra is surrounded by the neighboring constellations of Draco, Hercules, Vulpecula and Cygnus.
54. Daly of “Cagney & Lacey” : TYNE
The actress Tyne Daly really came into the public eye playing Detective Lacey in “Cagney and Lacey”. From 1999 to 2005, Daly played the mother of the title character in the TV show “Judging Amy”.
55. Sun protection for kissers? : LIP BALM
“Kisser” and “yap” are slang terms for the mouth.
58. Former Russian ruler : CZAR
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.
67. When Macbeth kills Duncan : ACT II
In William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, King Duncan is the good king of Scotland whom Macbeth murders in the pursuit of power.
68. French-speaking Caribbean country : HAITI
The Republic of Haiti occupies the smaller, western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The rest of the island is taken up by the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of only two nations in the Americas to have French as an official language, the other being Canada.
69. FDR successor : HST
The letter “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman (HST) doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.
70. 2000s TV series set in California : THE OC
“The O.C.” is a teen drama that aired for four seasons on Fox finishing up in 2007. I never watched it, but I understand that it is set in Newport Beach in Southern California.
2. Good Grips kitchenware brand : OXO
The OXO line of kitchen utensils is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average kitchen too. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.
3. A/C capacity meas. : BTU
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.
5. Satirist Mort : SAHL
Mort Sahl is a Canadian-born actor and comedian who moved to the US with his family when he was a child. Sahl became friends with John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy became president, Sahl wrote a lot of jokes for the President’s speeches, although he also told a lot of Kennedy jokes in his acts. After the President was assassinated in 1963, Sahl was intensely interested in finding out who was behind the crime and even got himself deputized as a member of one of the investigating teams. He was very outspoken against the results of the Warren Commission report on the assassination, and soon found himself out of favor with the public. It took a few years for him to make his comeback, but come back he did.
10. Grape soda brand : NEHI
The brand of Nehi cola has a name that sounds like “knee-high”, a measure of a small stature. Back in the mid-1900’s the Chero-Cola company, which owned the brand, went for a slightly different twist on “knee-high” in advertising. The logo for Nehi was an image of a seated woman’s stockinged legs, with her skirt pulled up to her knees, to hint at “knee-high”.
22. New Orleans university : TULANE
Tulane University is a private research university in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tulane was founded in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana. The university was privatized with the aid of an endowment from philanthropist Paul Tulane in 1884, and as a result the school’s name was changed to Tulane University. The school’s sports teams use the name Tulane Green Wave, and the team mascot is Riptide the Pelican.
23. “Livin’ La Vida __”: Ricky Martin hit : LOCA
“Livin’ La Vida Loca” is a 1999 single recorded by Ricky Martin, the title of which translates as “living the crazy life”.
24. Baghdad’s land : IRAQ
According to the University of Baghdad, the name “Baghdad” dates way back, to the 18th-century BC (yes, BC!). The name can be translated into English from the language of ancient Babylon as “old garden” (bagh) and “beloved” (dad).
25. Beige shade : ECRU
The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.
Our word “beige” comes from the Old French “bege”, a term that applied to the natural color of wool and cotton that was not dyed.
30. To be, in Barcelona : ESTAR
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.
34. Bill for drinks : BAR TAB
When we “run a tab” at a bar say, we are “running a tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.
37. “Hometown Proud” supermarket chain : IGA
IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance, a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.
40. Earl __ tea : GREY
The Earl Grey blend of tea is supposedly named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 to 1834. Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor that is largely due to the addition of oil from the rind of the bergamot orange.
41. Pizza cooker : OVEN
Pizza was invented in Naples where it has a long tradition that goes back to Ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today, on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …
42. Actor Chandler of “Bloodline” : KYLE
I know Kyle Chandler best from playing the lead in the excellent TV show “Friday Night Lights”. Chandler started playing the lead in another show in 2015: “Bloodline”, a Netflix original. Off the screen, Chandler serves his community as a volunteer firefighter.
44. CIA operative : SPY
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
46. Muslim bigwig : CALIPH
“Caliph” is an Arabic word meaning “successor”. In the Islamic tradition, a caliph is a leader who is deemed to be a successor of Muhammad.
49. Super cold : ARCTIC
Our word “Arctic” ultimately derives from the Greek “arktikos” meaning “of the bear”, a reference to the northerly constellation Ursa Major (the Bear).
50. Motorola phone : RAZR
The Droid Razr is a smartphone made by Motorola that was launched in 2011. The Droid Razr is one in a series of Razr phones that Motorola first introduced back in 2003. The Razr name was chosen in part because of the phone’s relatively thin form factor.
57. Ness, for one : LOCH
Loch Ness is one of the two most famous lakes in Scotland. Loch Ness is famous for its “monster”, and Loch Lomond is famous for the lovely song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road …
62. Padre’s brother : TIO
In Spanish, a “tio” (uncle) is the “hermano del padre o de la madre” (brother of the father or the mother).
64. Summer, in 68-Across : ETE
In French, the season of “été” (summer) starts in “juin” (June).