Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers might be described as CATCHPHRASES, as each ends with something one might CATCH:
- 63A. Familiar slogan … or, based on its last word, what each answer to a starred clue is? : CATCHPHRASE
- 17A. *One may follow the wedding dress : BRIDAL TRAIN (giving “catch a train”)
- 39A. *Avant-garde : NEW WAVE (giving “catch a wave”)
- 10D. *Westminster’s top canine : BEST IN SHOW (giving “catch a show”)
- 29D. *Harsh and wintry : BITTER COLD (giving “catch a cold”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Heckler’s array : JEERS
Originally, the verb “to heckle” meant to question severely, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at standup comics.
6. Slender woodwind : OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.
10. Crony : BUD
A crony is a friend or companion. The term originated as slang in Cambridge University in England in the 1600s. “Crony” is probably derived from the Greek “khronios” meaning “long-lasting”.
14. With 24-Across, Chilean poet with a Nobel Prize : PABLO …
(24A. See 14-Across : … NERUDA)
Pablo Neruda was the pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Basoalto chose the name as a homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.
20. Drunk : SOT
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.
21. Pontiac that was Motor Trend’s 1968 Car of the Year : GTO
The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.
22. Orchestra overseer : MAESTRO
“Maestro” is often used to address a musical conductor. “Maestro” (plural “maestri”) is the Italian word for “master, teacher”. The plural in English is usually “maestros”.
27. Swedish pop quartet : ABBA
Only three members of the quartet that made up the pop group ABBA were born in Sweden. Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born in Norway just after the end of WWII, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a father who was German soldier and a member of the German occupying force during the war. The father returned to Germany with the army, and in 1947, Anna-Frid was taken with her family to Sweden. They left fearing reprisals against those who dealt with the German army during the occupation.
30. Arnold’s crime : TREASON
Treason is a serious crime committed against the nation (or the sovereign). One who commits “treason” is called a “traitor”. In the past, the term treason also applied to lesser crimes (like a woman killing her husband) so there was a differentiation between high treason against the king, and “petit treason”, against a more common citizen.
Benedict Arnold was a general in the Continental Army during the American War of Independence, who defected to the British Army. While serving with the Continental Army, Arnold was given command of the fort at West Point. He planned on surrendering the fort to the British, but his plot was discovered before he could do so and he made a narrow escape. Arnold was made a brigadier general in the British Army and he led British forces in several raids against American troops. After the war ended, Arnold moved to London and worked in the merchant business. He died there in 1791.
39. *Avant-garde : NEW WAVE (giving “catch a wave”)
People described as avant-garde are especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.
50. Feudal drudge : SERF
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.
52. Low-risk govt. securities : T-NOTES
A Treasury note (T-Note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-Note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-Bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-Bond matures in 20-30 years.
55. Strategy : TACTICS
The terms “strategy” and “tactic” are often confused. In the original frame of reference, namely war, strategy is decided prior to battle. Tactics are implemented during the battle, and are consistent with the strategy.
58. Granola morsel : OAT
The name “Granola” (and “Granula”) were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.
59. 27-Down user’s need : PIN
(27D. Bread box? : ATM)
One enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Given that the N in PIN stands for “number”, then PIN number is a redundant phrase. And, given that the M in ATM stands for “machine”, then ATM machine is a redundant phrase as well. Grr …!
67. Poetry Muse : ERATO
In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry, and is often depicted playing a lyre.
68. __ Hebrides : INNER
The Hebrides is a group of islands just off the west coast of Scotland. The Hebrides are divided into two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
69. Knight who played a newsman : TED
Ted Knight was the actor best known for playing the slow-witted news anchor Ted Baxter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Knight’s most famous role on the big screen was Judge Elihu Smails in the 1980 comedy “Caddyshack”.
71. Checked out before a heist : 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.
2. Currency since 1999 : EURO
The reverse side of euro coins feature a common design, a design that includes the 12-stars featured on the Flag of Europe. The number of stars is not related to the number of states in the European Union, nor has it ever been. The number of stars in the design was the subject of much debate prior to its adoption in 1955 by the Council of Europe. Twelve was a deliberate choice, as at that time there was no political connotation, and twelve was considered to be a symbol of unity.
7. Trivia night locale : BAR
Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …
8. The Affordable Care Act became law during it : OBAMA ERA
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).
9. “On the Waterfront” director Kazan : ELIA
Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.
The 1954 drama “On the Waterfront”, starring Marlon Brando, told a story of violence and corruption among longshoremen. The movie was based on a series of 24 articles written by investigative journalist Malcolm Johnston and published in “The New York Sun”. The original news stories uncovered mob infiltration on the New York City Waterfront, but the location for the film was chosen as Hoboken, New Jersey.
10. *Westminster’s top canine : BEST IN SHOW (giving “catch a show”)
The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held in 1877, which makes it the second oldest sporting event in the country (narrowly beaten out by the Kentucky Derby, first run in 1875). The show was originally limited to gun dogs and was established by a group of hunters who routinely met at the Westminster Hotel in Manhattan, New York.
11. Take by force : USURP
To usurp is to seize and hold by force, say the power or authority of a ruler. The term “usurp” comes to us from Latin via French, from “usus” (a use) and “rapere” (to seize).
18. P.O. box item : LTR
28. La __ Tar Pits : BREA
The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It’s well worth a visit if you are in town …
29. *Harsh and wintry : BITTER COLD (giving “catch a cold”)
The common cold is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. There are over 200 strains of virus that are known to cause the disease.
31. Off-rd. transports : ATVS
All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
32. Pedometer unit : STEP
A pedometer is an instrument worn by a runner or walker that measures the number of steps taken. The name of the device comes from “pes”, the Latin for “foot”.
37. Luau torch type : TIKI
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.
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.
40. Attended without a partner : WENT STAG
Back where I come from, bachelor parties are called stag parties, and bachelorette parties are known as hen parties.
42. Chinese menu abbr. : MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …
44. Heaviest U.S. president : TAFT
William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.
46. Extra NBA periods : OTS
In overtime (in OT)
50. Mar. 17 figure : ST PAT
There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.
51. “Guitar Town” rocker Steve : EARLE
Steve Earle is an American songwriter and performer, with a reputation as a man who has lived a hard life. Earle’s brushes with the law and drug addiction problems have earned him the nickname “the hardcore troubadour”.
56. Zamboni’s milieu : ICE
The first ice resurfacing machine was developed in 1949 by one Frank Zamboni. The machine works by simultaneously executing a number of tasks. First, the surface of the ice is scraped off by a sharp blade. Next the ice is “washed” with water sprayed from the front of the Zamboni, and that wash water is vacuumed back up and filtered to remove impurities. Water is then reapplied to the scraped ice by a wet towel dragging behind the machine, forming a new skating surface.
57. “Fame”-ous Irene : CARA
Irene Cara (as well as acting in “Fame”) sang the theme songs to the hit movies “Fame” and “Flashdance”.
61. Stereotypical Geek Squad employee : NERD
Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.
64. WNBA position : CTR
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was founded in 1996. The WNBA had to compete with the American Basketball League (ABL), a professional women’s basketball league that started playing games the same year the WNBA was founded. The ABL folded in its third season.
65. Genetics lab subject : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.