1. ___ soup : MISO
Miso is the name of the seasoning that makes the soup. Basic miso seasoning is made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a fungus (!), producing a paste. The paste can be added to stock to make miso soup, or perhaps to flavor tofu.
5. One ___ (kid’s game) : O’CAT
One o’cat, or more properly “one old cat”, is an abbreviated from of baseball with a home plate and just one base.
9. Floor support? : YEAS
Support for the motion on the floor elicits a round of “yeas”.
13. Former Israeli P.M. Olmert : EHUD
Ehud Olmert took over as Acting Prime Minister after Ariel Sharon suffered a severe stroke early in 2006. He then led his party to victory in a general election held later that same year. He held Israel’s highest office in his own right until 2009, when he had to step down facing allegations of corruption.
14. Beast on Botswana’s coat of arms : ZEBRA
Botswana is a country in southern Africa, located just north of South Africa. Someone from Botswana is called a “Motswana” (yes, with an M), with the plural being “Batswana” (yes, with a B).
The name “zebra” comes from an old Portuguese word “zevra” meaning “wild ass”. Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.
16. Running gear component : AXLE
The running gear of most cars (the working parts) includes two axles.
17. One might perform behind bars : GO-GO DANCER
Go-go dancing started in the early sixties. Apparently, the first go-go dancers were women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City who would spontaneously jump up onto tables and dance the twist. It wasn’t long before clubs everywhere started hiring women to dance on tables for the entertainment of their patrons. Out in Los Angeles, the “Whisky a Go Go” club on Sunset Strip added a twist (pun intended!), as they had their dancers perform in cages suspended from the ceiling, creating the profession of “cage dancing”. The name “go-go” actually comes from two expressions. The expression in English, “go-go-go” describes someone who is high energy, and the expression in French “a gogo” describes something in abundance.
19. The wind unwinds it : KITE
As the wind blows, you can unwind the line tied to your kite.
21. Gentleman’s partner? : SCHOLAR
The expression is “a gentleman and a scholar”. The Scottish poet, Robert Burns, used the terms “gentleman” and “scholar” together in his poem “‘Twa Dogs”. He describes one of the two dogs in the poem thus:
“His locked, letter’d, braw brass collar
Shew’d him the gentleman and scholar.”
26. Cutting edge of science? : OCCAM’S RAZOR
Ockham’s Razor (also Occam’s Razor) is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something. The principle was developed by 14th-century logician and Franciscan Friar William of Ockham (or “Occam” in Latin). The principle is dubbed a “razor” as it is used as a philosophical tool used to cut out absurd and spurious reasoning in an argument.
38. Style of Duchamp’s “Fountain” : DADA
Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement began in Zurich, Switzerland, started by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire, frequently expressing disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated “works” is simply what he called “readymade” art, a urinal which he titled “Fountain”. Even though this work is considered to be “a major landmark in 20th century art”, the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed, and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around he world. I have no further comment …
39. Light limiter : APERTURE
In general, an aperture is an opening, a hole or a slit. In optical instruments (like a camera) the aperture is often adjustable, regulating the amount of light that passes into the instrument.
42. Bits : SMITHEREENS
“Smithereens” is such a lovely word, and I am proud to say that it comes from Irish. The Irish word “smiodar” means fragment. We add the suffix “-in” (anglicized as “-een”) to words to indicate the diminutive form. So, “little fragment” is “smidirin”, anglicized as “smithereens”.
45. Literary character who’s “always good-tempered” and “not very clever” : MR. TOAD
Mr. Toad is one of the main characters in the children’s novel “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Graham. A. A. Milne (of “Winnie the Pooh” fame) wrote several plays based on “The Wind in the Willows”, the first of which is “Toad of Toad Hall”. And, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride was (it’s gone now!) one of the original rides at Disneyland when the park opened in 1955.
52. Danger for small watercraft : LEE TIDE
A leeward tide (sometime lee tide) is one that runs in the same direction that the wind is blowing. A windward tide, on the other hand, runs in the opposite direction to the wind. I think that the main danger with a lee tide is when a boat is at anchor. If the tide and wind are acting in concert, then the anchor is more likely to slip.
55. Drop without warning : JILT
To “jilt” someone with whom you have a relationship, is to drop them suddenly or callously. “Jilt” is an obsolete noun that used to mean “harlot” or “loose woman”.
56. Kind of line symbolizing a cultural boundary : MASON-DIXON
The original Mason-Dixon line was surveyed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the 1760s. The line was used to resolve a border dispute between some of the original British colonies. The Mason-Dixon now forms part of the state lines of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia. The line has come to symbolize the cultural boundary between the Northern and Southern United States.
59. Arab, maybe : STEED
The Arab (or Arabian) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have bred though, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal, and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.
60. Historic town on the Vire : ST-LO
Saint-Lo is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads, and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After the bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.
The Vire is a river that flows through Normandy in France. The poets of the Vire valley were known as the “Vau de Vire”, a term that some say gave rise to our word “Vaudeville”.
61. Rigging handler, briefly : BOS’N
A boatswain works on the deck of a boat, and is unlicensed, so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel. The boatswain has charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. Boatswain is pronounced “bosun” and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with “boatswain”. The contraction “bos’n” is also very popular.
62. Fresh lines? : SASS
Nicely worded clue.
1. Drive units, briefly : MEGS
Disk drive capacity can be measured in “megs” (megabytes), although nowadays one tends to think in “gigs” (gigabytes).
2. Chain with many links : IHOP
The International House of Pancakes was founded in 1958, with the first restaurant located in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles.
Link sausages are so called as sausages can come in chains, with each sausage being a link in that chain.
4. Product associated with the annual Rotten Sneakers Contest : ODOR EATER
Odor Eater insoles were first introduced in the early seventies, and are manufactured by Combe. Combe sponsors a national contest held every year in Montpelier, Vermont, called “The Odor Eaters Rotten Sneakers Contest”. Very pleasant …
5. Range near Wal-Mart’s headquarters : OZARKS
Walmart (no longer called Wal-Mart) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can go see the store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor’s Center.
The Ozark Mountains aren’t really mountains geographically speaking, and the Ozarks are better described by the alternate name, the Ozark Plateau. It’s not really certain how the Ozarks got their name, but my favorite theory is that the name is the phonetic spelling of “aux Arks”, short for “of Arkansas” in French.
6. Pixelate, say : CENSOR
One way of censoring an image is to pixelate the area to be hidden, in a process known as “pixelization” (which is different from “pixelation”). You’ll often see license plates and faces, for example, “blurred” out on television news shows. That’s pixelization.
8. Cube root of veintisiete : TRES
No matter what the language, and in this case it is Spanish, the cube root of 27 is 3.
9. Comedian Smirnoff : YAKOV
The Ukrainian-born comedian Yakov Pokhis is better known by his stage name, Yakov Smirnoff. Smirnoff was popular on television in the eighties, playing comedic roles with a thick, Russian accent. He is a smart cookie. He earned a master’s degree in positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.
11. Stopping point for a train? : ALTAR
The train, attached to the back of the bride’s gown, makes a stop at the altar.
12. Ball-bearing types? : SEERS
Some seers look into their crystal balls.
15. Ancient Athenian magistrates : ARCHONS
The Greek word “archon” means “ruler” or “lord”. In many of the city states in Ancient Greece, Archon was the name given to the chief magistrate.
22. Feature of Africa … and some of its denizens : HORN
The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the eastern most tip of the continent. The Horn of Africa contains the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia, so it sometime called the Somali Peninsula.
24. Angel player of the 1970s : FAWCETT
Farrah Fawcett’s first big role was that of Jill Monroe, one of the famous “Charlie’s Angels”. Her life off-stage was just a celebrated. She was married to actor Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) for nine years, and then spent fifteen years with actor Ryan O’Neal.
28. Drummer Starkey : ZAK
Zak Starkey is an English drummer, just like his Dad, Richard, better known as Ringo Starr. Zak has appeared with the Who, and Oasis.
31. Throw out pitches? : ADVERTISE
Clever wording … advertisers throw out sales pitches.
32. Number system used by the Babylonians : BASE SIXTY
Base 60, also known as the sexagesimal system, was used by the ancient Babylonians. This ancient usage gives rise to our having 60 seconds in a minute, and 360 (6 x 60) degrees in a circle.
33. An old couple fell in it : EDEN
The Fall of Man in the Christian doctrine is the name given to Adam and Eve’s succumbing to temptation in the Garden of Eden.
34. Some lasting art, in slang : TATS
The word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian word “tatau” (“tatu” in Tahitian). The practice of tattooing was brought to the western world by sailors, who liked what they saw in Polynesia where locals tattooed their bodies including their faces.
36. Yo-yos : DUM-DUMS
“Yo-yo” and “dum-dum” are both slang terms for stupid people, dolts.
37. It’s between Bern and Graubünden : URI
Uri is a canton in the German part of Switzerland. Supposedly William Tell came from Uri. Altdorf is the capital, and is the city where William Tell shot the apple off his son’s head, according to legend.
40. Bolshevik foe : TSAR
At the second party congress of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, a split developed. The faction with the most support was led by Vladimir Lenin, and as they were in the majority, they became known as the Bolsheviks, derived from the Russian word for “more” or “majority”.
41. Unable to escape, in a way : TREED
Unable to escape, cornered, up a tree.
43. Features in many Fra Angelico paintings : HALOES
The title “Fra” (brother) is used by Italian monks. Fra Angelico was an Italian Renaissance painter.
44. Fixes : EMENDS
One emends a text, fixes any errors.
45. Not the most stimulating work : MCJOB
McJob is a slang term for a low-paying job that offers little chance for advancement. The term of course comes from front-line jobs at McDonald’s fast-food restaurants.
46. Record label named after an animal : RHINO
Rhino Entertainment Group is a record label owned by Warner Music Group. The label started out issuing novelty songs and compilation albums in the seventies and eighties. The company now issues DVDs as a well, re-issues of old television programs.
48. “The Ruffian on the Stair” playwright : ORTON
“The Ruffian on the Stair” is a radio play by British playwright Joe Orton, first broadcast by the BBC in 1964. Radio plays are still are big deal in the UK, and I listen to them all the time on the BBC website over the Internet. If you liked the old radio plays from the heyday of American radio, you’ll love what’s on offer at the bbc.co.uk website.
53. Relief : DOLE
The word “dole” meaning “financial relief” originated as the Old English word “dal”, the state of sharing, giving out. Our term “on the dole”, relating to institutional relief, dates back to the twenties.
54. 1980 TV spinoff : ENOS
The TV series “Enos” is a spinoff of the “The Dukes of Hazard”. Enos Strate (played by Sonny Shroyer) was the small-town deputy in the original series, and the success of his character merited the follow-on show. It only ran for 18 episodes though.
57. Source of rays : SEA
Rays are types of fish.
Books, Movies, Songs etc. appearing in today’s crossword (at Amazon.com)