Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase in which the 2nd and 3rd letters are AR, except that those letters are switched around:
- 17A. Aging hero Jones, in his latest film? : GRAY INDIANA (from “Gary, Indiana”)
- 24A. Pitt portraying Shakespeare? : BRAD OF AVON (from “Bard of Avon”)
- 33A. Skill displayed at the gift counter? : WRAP SPEED (from “warp speed”)
- 45A. Times when hokey humor prevailed? : ERAS OF CORN (from “ears of corn”)
- 54A. Early stage of muffin production? : BRAN RAISING (from “barn raising”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. 1987 Michael Jackson album : BAD
The song “Bad” was written and sung by Michael Jackson, and released in 1987. The song is about being tough on the streets, being “bad”.
16. “Bambi” doe : ENA
Ena is Bambi’s aunt in the 1942 Disney film “Bambi”. The movie is based on the novel “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” written by Austrian author Felix Salten and first published in 1923. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.
17. Aging hero Jones, in his latest film? : GRAY INDIANA (from “Gary, Indiana”)
George Lucas created a lead character named Indiana Smith for what was to be his “Indiana Jones” series of films. Lucas asked Steven Spielberg to direct the first film, and Spielberg wasn’t too fond of the name “Smith”. Lucas then suggested Jones as an alternative, and Indiana Jones was born.
The city of Gary, Indiana is located just 25 miles from downtown Chicago and falls within the Chicago metropolitan area (also known as “Chicagoland”). Gary was founded by US Steel in 1906, as the company selected it as the site for a new steel plant. The name “Gary” was chosen in honor of Elbert H. Gary, who was the key player in setting up US Steel in 1901.
20. “… let __ put asunder”: Matthew : NO MAN
The Christian marriage ceremony usually includes the words, “What God has joined together let no man put asunder”. This line comes from the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament.
22. Island band The __ Men : BAHA
The Baha Men are so called because they hail from the Bahamas. Their big hit was “Who Let the Dogs Out?” That song ranked as third in a list of the world’s most annoying songs!
23. Shakespeare’s jet? : EBON
Ebony is another word for the color black (often shortened to “ebon” in poetry). Ebony is a dark black wood that is very dense, one of the few types of wood that sinks in water. Ebony has been in high demand so the species of trees yielding the wood are now considered threatened. It is in such short supply that unscrupulous vendors have been known to darken lighter woods with shoe polish to look like ebony, so be warned …
The color “jet black” takes its name from the minor gemstone known as jet. The gemstone and the material it is made of takes its English name from the French name: “jaiet”.
24. Pitt portraying Shakespeare? : BRAD OF AVON (from “Bard of Avon”)
The original “bards” were storytellers, poets and composers of music in medieval Britain and Ireland, with the term coming from the Old Celtic word “bardos” that described a poet or singer. I guess the most famous bard was William Shakespeare, the “Bard of Avon”.
Brad Pitt’s first major role was the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma and Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston and then to Angelina Jolie.
28. Undefeated Ali : LAILA
Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.
32. “John Wick” star : REEVES
Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor whose most celebrated roles were a metalhead in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), a cop in “Speed” (1994) and the protagonist Neo in “The Matrix” series of films. Although Reeves is a Canadian national, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves has some Hawaiian descent, and the name “Keanu” is Hawaiian for “the coldness”.
“John Wick” is a 2014 action movie starring Keanu Reeves in the title role. Reeves plays a retired hitman who goes on a killing spree to avenge the murder of his dog.
33. Skill displayed at the gift counter? : WRAP SPEED (from “warp speed”)
In the “Star Trek” universe, the warp speed achieved by the warp drive engines is very much like our real-world Mach number. Just as a plane traveling at Mach 1 is moving at the speed of sound, a starship traveling at warp factor 1 is moving at the speed of light. Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound, and warp factor 2 is twice the speed of light. Cool, huh …?
35. Fish-eating raptor : OSPREY
The osprey is also known as the sea hawk or fish eagle.
39. Boorish sort : CAD
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.
43. Where Mozart was born : AUSTRIA
Salzburg is a city in Austria with a great musical tradition. Salzburg was the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was also the setting for much of “The Sound of Music”.
45. Times when hokey humor prevailed? : ERAS OF CORN (from “ears of corn”)
“Hokum” was originally theater slang, meaning “melodramatic, exaggerated acting”. Now the term just means “empty talk”. It is also the root for our word “hokey” meaning “silly, old-fashioned”.
52. Beatle ending : -MANIA
The phenomenon known as “Beatlemania” originated in the early sixties, with the term describing the frenzy exhibited particularly by female fans of the group. The term is perhaps imitative of the much older “Lisztomania”, a term coined in 1844 for the similar fan frenzy directed towards pianist and composer Franz Liszt during an eight-year tour of Europe starting in 1939. Hysterical fans of Liszt would try to get locks of his hair, fight over his handkerchiefs and even carry glass vials containing the dregs from his coffee cup.
53. Cakes go-with : ALE
The phrase “cakes and ale” makes a number of appearances in literature. Aesop uses the phrase in his fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”, to symbolize the good life. Shakespeare included the line “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” in his play “Twelfth Night”. W. Somerset Maugham used the Shakespearean line as inspiration for the title of his 1930 play “Cakes and Ale, or, The Skeleton in the Cupboard”.
57. Off one’s rocker : BONKERS
The word “bonkers” meaning “crazy” originated in the fifties. The term might come from navy slang meaning “slightly drunk”, behaving as though one received a “bonk” on the head.
59. Paul with guitars : LES
Les Paul was a guitarist, songwriter and inventor. When he was 33 years old, Paul was involved in a near-fatal car crash that left his right arm and elbow shattered. Surgeons offered him the choice of amputation or a rebuilding of the limb that would leave him unable to bend his elbow. He told them to set his arm at just under 90 degrees so that he could at least hold his guitar and perhaps play it.
61. Ergotamine derivative popular in the ’60s : LSD
LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …
Ergotamine is a chemical that was first isolated from the ergot fungus at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a vasoconstrictor, and has been used historically to treat post-partum bleeding. Nowadays, ergotamine is more commonly used to treat acute migraine attacks.
5. Lading measure : TON
Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton or sometimes a “long ton”. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a “short ton”. To further complicate matters, there is also a “metric ton” or “tonne”, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …
The verb “lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. Lade also used to mean “to draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.
6. Kentucky Derby call : RIDERS UP!
The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modelled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.
7. Jungian concept : ANIMA
The concepts of anima and animus is found in the Carl Jung school of analytical psychology. The idea is that within each male there resides a feminine inner personality called the anima, and within each female there is a male inner personality known as the animus.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, the founder of analytical psychology. Jung was very much associated with the analysis of dreams, and also introduced us to the psychological concepts of introversion and extroversion.
9. Introduction to Domingo? : SANTO …
Santo Domingo de Guzmán (often just “Santo Domingo”) is the capital city of the Dominican Republic. Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit what is now the Dominican Republic, in 1492. Four years later Christopher’s younger brother, Bartholomew Columbus arrived, and founded Santo Domingo, making the city the oldest, continuously-inhabited European settlement in the Americas.
10. Greek letter : ETA
Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.
11. Mediterranean metropolis : TEL AVIV
The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.
18. Half a philosophical duality : YANG
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.
27. City on the Rio Grande : LAREDO
Laredo is a border city in Texas that is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, across the border from Nuevo Laredo in Mexico.
31. Net neutrality beneficiary: Abbr. : ISP
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP’s network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs.
The principle of Net neutrality holds that those entities managing the Internet should treat all data passing through equally. The term “Net neutrality” was coined in 2003 by Tim Wu, a media law professor at Columbia University. Net neutrality is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US.
32. Any “Twilight Zone” episode, now : RERUN
The iconic television series called “The Twilight Zone” first aired in 1959 and then ran for 156 episodes before being pulled in 1964. “The Twilight Zone” was revived for four years in the late eighties, and was also spun-off into a movie by Steven Spielberg in 1983.
33. Omega holder : WRIST
Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon.
34. Part of a traditional holiday gift : PEAR TREE
The fabulous Christmas Carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.
36. Frozen dessert brand : SARA LEE
In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit and he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day, as does Ms. Sara Lee herself who now goes by the name Sara Lee Schupf.
37. Seven-movement Holst work that omits Earth, with “The” : PLANETS
Despite the Scandinavian-sounding name, Gustav Holst was born in Britain and was the most English of classical composers. His most famous work is the orchestral suite known as ‘The Planets”. The suite has seven movements, one for each of the planets known at the time (1914-1916) except Earth. Pluto was discovered during Holst’s lifetime, but decades after he had completed his masterpiece. Anyway, Pluto was relegated from the league of planets …
39. Like the olfactory nerve, e.g. : CRANIAL
The adjective “olfactory” means “relating to the sense of smell”. The term comes from the Latin verb “olfacere” meaning “to get the smell of”.
44. “__ brillig … ” : ‘TWAS
Here are the first two verses of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, probably the one poem that we all just loved learning to recite at school
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!
46. Denmark’s __ Islands : FAROE
The Faroe Islands (also “Faeroe Islands”) are a group of islands lying halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark and were granted the power of self-governance in 1948.
54. OPEC unit : BBL
The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to “bbl”. Barrels aren’t really used for transporting crude oil anymore. Instead, oil moves in bulk through pipelines and in tankers. “Barrel” is just used as a unit of volume these days.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
55. “… such stuff / As dreams __ made on”: Prospero : ARE
Here is a line that is oft quoted from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, spoken by Prospero:
… We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep …