Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Each of today’s themed clues gives just the initial letters at the start of a well-known adage. The corresponding answer is the end of that adage, with all words spelled out fully:
- 17A. TW … : (Two Wrongs) DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT
- 25A. DCYC … : (Don’t Ccount Your Chickens) BEFORE THEY HATCH
- 44A. CI … : (Cleanliness Is) NEXT TO GODLINESS
- 58A. AGT … : (All Good Things) MUST COME TO AN END
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Yanks’ foes : JAYS
The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.
5. Operation designed to hurt : STING
A sting operation often involves a law enforcement officer operating undercover, and is designed to catch a person in the act of committing a crime.
10. Shipboard resident : SWAB
“Swabbie” (also “swabby, swab, swabber”) is a slang term for a sailor that we’ve been using since the late 1700s. A “swab” was originally a member of the crew assigned to the swabbing (mopping) of the ship’s decks.
14. CFO, e.g. : EXEC
Chief financial officer (CFO)
20. Shoelace site : INSTEP
The instep is in the middle of the human foot, right in front of the ankle. The term can also apply more specifically to the upper surface of that part of the foot.
24. Apartment listing abbr. : RMS
34. Nice with? : AVEC
The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.
35. Gobs and gobs : SLEWS
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”.
36. Cart for heavy loads : DRAY
A dray is a sideless 4-wheeled cart that is used for hauling goods.
37. Filly’s brother : COLT
There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:
- Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
- Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
- Filly: female horse under the age of four
- Colt: male horse under the age of four
- Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
- Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
- Mare: female horse four years or older
38. Fighter eulogized by Bill Clinton, among others : ALI
After Muhammad Ali passed away in June 2016, there was a large prayer service and funeral procession in his hometown of Louisville. The pallbearers included actor Will Smith and boxer Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Eulogies were delivered by Ali’s wife Lonnie, Billy Crystal, Bryant Gumbel and former President Bill Clinton.
40. “The Grapes of Wrath” figure : OKIE
“Okies” is a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.
John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is set during the Great Depression. The novel tells the story of the Joad family from Oklahoma, farmers who had to leave their home and head for California due to economic hardship.
43. Prime real estate? : EDEN
According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.
44. CI … : (CLEANLINESS IS) NEXT TO GODLINESS
The old adage “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is said by some to have originated in ancient Hebrew writings. However, an alternative view is that the first version of the expression is found in a 1605 book by English philosopher Francis Bacon entitled “The Advancement of Learning”. In Bacon’s words, “Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.”
53. One of a biblical ten : PLAGUE
According to the biblical Book of Exodus, God inflicted ten plagues on Egypt to persuade the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from bondage. For example, the first was the changing of water in the Nile to blood, the eighth was a plague of locusts that consumed all the Egyptian crops, and the tenth was the death of firstborn sons.
63. One “sitting lonely on the placid bust,” in a classic poem : RAVEN
Here are some lines from “The Raven”, Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative poem:
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
1. “Star Wars” warrior : JEDI
The Jedi are the “good guys” in the “Star Wars” series of movies. The most famous Jedi knights from the films are Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness, and later Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz). Well, they’re my favorites anyway …
2. Nerve cell 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.
4. Ewan McGregor, for one : SCOT
Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.
6. Sched. question mark : TBA
Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).
9. Sir Georg Solti’s record 31 : GRAMMYS
Sir Georg Solti was a great Hungarian-British conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony, one of many prestigious positions he held in the world of classical music and opera. Solti was awarded 31 Grammy Awards, the most won by any individual in any genre of music. I think it’s kind of cool that Solti’s name comprises two notes in the solfa scale: sol-ti …
23. On the lam : AT LARGE
To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.
25. Cobb salad ingredient : BACON
Ty Cobb’s first cousin, Robert H. Cobb, owned the Brown Derby chain of restaurants. One of his regular customers was the famous Sid Grauman, who ran Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Late one night, Grauman asked for a snack, and Cobb came up with a chopped salad simply made from ingredients he happened to have in the refrigerator. Grauman liked it so much that continued to request it, and the Cobb salad was born.
27. Composer Mendelssohn : FELIX
Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer who was active in the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s most famous works are probably his overtures “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Hebrides”, as well as his “Italian Symphony” and “Scottish Symphony”.
29. Prefix for “sun” : HELIO-
Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology. Helios was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night be travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.
30. Madison Ave. pitchers : ADMEN
Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.
45. Gymnast’s powder : TALC
Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.
46. Ibiza, por ejemplo : ISLA
Ibiza is a Mediterranean island almost 100 miles off the Spanish coast. It is a very popular tourist destination, largely for its legendary nightlife.
49. Key of the finale of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 : C MAJ
Johannes Brahms was a leading German composer during the Romantic period. Brahms is one of the “Three Bs”, often grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.
50. “Les Misérables” author : HUGO
Victor Hugo was a French poet and playwright, known in his native country mainly for his poetry. However, outside of France, Hugo is perhaps more closely associated with his novels such as “Les Misérables” and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”.
52. 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.
55. Spice Girl Halliwell : GERI
The five members of the English pop group the Spice Girls are:
- Scary Spice (Melanie Brown, or Mel B)
- Baby Spice (Emma Bunton, and my fave!)
- Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell)
- Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham)
- Sporty Spice (Melanie Chisholm, or Mel C)
56. Second, e.g. : UNIT
The hour is subdivided into 60 parts, each of which was known as a “pars minuta prima” in Medieval Latin, translating as “first small part”. This phrase “pars minuta prima” evolved into our word “minute”. The “pars minuta prima” (minute) was further divided into 60 parts, each called a “secunda pars minuta”, meaning “second small part”. “Secunda pars minuta” evolved into our term “second”.
60. Actress Mendes : EVA
I best know the actress Eva Mendes as the female lead in the movie “Hitch”, playing opposite Will Smith. Mendes was known off the screen for dating actor Ryan Gosling from 2011 to 2013.
61. President pro __ : TEM
Pro tempore can be abbreviated to “pro tem” or “p.t.” “Pro tempore” is a Latin phrase that best translates as “for the time being”. It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior. The President pro tempore of the US Senate is the person who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President of the US. It has been tradition since 1890 that the president pro tem is the most senior senator in the majority party. The president pro tem ranks highly in the line of succession to the presidency, falling third in line after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.