THEME: TWO HANDS … the theme answers are composed of two words, and each of these words can go before HAND e.g OFF-STAGE (offhand $ stagehand), BEFORE LONG (beforehand & longhand)
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 51s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Sleepwear, informally : PJS
Our word “pajamas” comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals, and eventually by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.
4. Law enforcement org. featured in “Bullitt” : SFPD
The famous 1968 film “Bullitt” starred Steve McQueen and the lovely Jacqueline Bisset. If you want to read the novel on which the film’s screenplay was based, you can check out “Mute Witness” by Robert L. Fish, published in 1963. It may seem dated now, but the movie’s car chase scene created quite a buzz in its day. The chase through the streets of San Francisco goes on for 9 minutes and 42 seconds, and took 3 weeks to film. McQueen did the vast majority of the stunt driving himself, but he was doubled in the more risky moves by stuntman Bid Ekins. Ekins also doubled for McQueen in “The Great Escape” in that famous scene where McQueen’s character rode a motorcycle over a barbed wire fence.
14. ___ de Janeiro : RIO
The name Rio de Janeiro translates into “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the Bay on which Rio sits, on January 1, 1502.
15. Tennis’s Nastase : ILIE
I thought that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 70s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, he always had time to give the crowd a laugh.
16. Former vice president Dan : QUAYLE
Dan Quayle served as both a US Representative and a US Senator from Indiana before becoming the 44th Vice President, under President George H. W. Bush. Quayle refused to run for office in 1996, going up against the Clinton/Gore ticket, but entered the fray again in 2000 seeking the Republican nomination for president. Ironically, he was defeated by the son of his former Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush.
17. Where Claudius is during Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy : OFF-STAGE
Offstage & offhand
In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet“, Hamlet’s nemesis is King Claudius, his father’s brother. It’s felt that Shakespeare chose the name “Claudius” as in those days the Roman Emperor Claudius was considered to be the archetype of an evil ruler.
There has been centuries of debate about Hamlet’s “soliloquy” that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite interpretation is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be — that is the question”).
21. Inexpensive pen : BIC
Societe Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced more than fifty years ago was the Bic Crystal, what we now call the Bic pen.
22. Actress Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” : NIA
Not only was the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” she also wrote the screenplay. The movie never made it to number one at the box office, but still pulled in more money than any other in the category of “movies that didn’t make it to number one”. That record I think reflects that the film wasn’t a blockbuster, but rather a so-called “sleeper hit”, a movie that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came after the movie, when a spin-off TV show was launched, “My Big Fat Greek Life“. It only ran for 7 episodes.
23. Bouquet : POSY
The word “posy” meaning a bouquet of flowers, came from the word “poesy”, which was a line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring. The jump to the “posy” came with the notion that the giving of flowers was a form of language in itself.
25. Any time now : BEFORE LONG
Beforehand & longhand
33. Three-time Masters winner Sam : SNEAD
Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. He did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate.
35. Extra plateful : SECOND HELPING
Second hand & helping hand
41. Early computer that weighed 30 tons : ENIAC
The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist the C was for “Computer”). ENIAC was the first general-purpose electronic computer. It was designed to calculate artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it’s not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.
43. Old Turkish leaders : AGAS
An aga, or agha, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.
46. Matchbox racer : TOY CAR
The brand name Matchbox toy cars were introduced in 1953, and how I loved them growing up. They were called Matchbox cars because they were packed in boxes that looked liked regular matchboxes. The brand was English, but the name spread around the world. The brand was so popular that the term “matchbox car” came to mean any small, die-cast toy car, regardless of who made it.
50. Position for Babe Ruth : RIGHT FIELD
Right-hand & field hand
Jack Dunn was the owner/manager of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1913, when he signed on George Herman Ruth as a pitcher. The other players called Ruth “Jack’s newest babe”, and the name stuck.
52. Normandy battle site : 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.
53. 1960s world chess champion Mikhail ___ : TAL
Mikhail Tal was truly a chess legend. He holds the record for the longest unbeaten streak in competition chess. And the second longest winning streak, that was by Tal as well.
54. Tennis legend Laver : ROD
Rod Laver is a former professional tennis champion, from Australia. He won all four Grand Slam singles titles in 1962, and at that time he wasn’t even a professional player. He won all four titles again in 1969, no longer an amateur, becoming the only tennis player to have achieved the feat twice. Not surprisingly, Laver was the world’s number one for seven consecutive years, from 1964 to 1970. After he retired, Laver suffered a stroke during an interview with ESPN in 1998, but by all accounts he has made an excellent recovery.
59. Things a clock has … or, literally, what 17-, 25-, 35- and 50-Across are : TWO HANDS
63. Les États-___ : UNIS
Les Etat’s-Unis, what French speakers call the United States.
64. ___ gratias (thanks be to God: Lat.) : DEO
The phrase “Deo gratias” meaning, “Thanks be to God” is heard repeatedly during the Latin Mass in the Roman Catholic faith.
65. Feared African fly : TSETSE
Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. They are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. The disease is caused by a parasite which is passed on to humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the tsetse fly, then it is responsible for over a quarter of a million deaths annually.
66. This, in Tijuana : ESTO
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of the city’s growth took place in the twenties, as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s, in the Avenida Revolucion area. Hotel Caesar’s was the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.
1. ___ or con : PRO
The Latin prepositions “pro” and “contra” mean “for and “against”. We’ve become used to the abbreviated from of “contra”, namely “con”. The real Latin word “con”, also a preposition, means “together with”.
2. Skippy alternative : JIF
Jif is the leading brand of peanut butter in the US, and has been since 1981. It has been around since 1958, and is now owned by Smuckers.
Skippy is a brand of peanut butter that has been around since 1933, and was introduced by Rosefiled Packing Co., just down the road here in Alameda, California. The companies that have owned the brand name have for decades been in dispute with the estate of Percy Crosby, the creator of the “Skippy” comic strip, over use of the name.
3. Form of tap dance : SOFT SHOE
“Soft shoe” is a type of tap-dancing without metal taps on the heels and toes of the shoes. Makes sense …
4. In ___ (as found) : SITU
In situ is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place”.
5. Served on fire, as cherries jubilee : FLAMBE
“Flambé” is the French word for “flamed”, and was originally a term used to describe certain types of porcelain. It crept into cookery just after 1900.
7. Ruby or Sandra of film : DEE
Ruby Dee is an American actress and activist. Her big movie appearance early in her career was in “The Jackie Robinson Story” from 1950, in which she played Robinson’s sweetheart and wife. More recently, Dee was nominated for a Best-Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Mama Lucas in “American Gangster“. At 83 years of age, she is the second oldest actress to be so nominated.
The actress Sandra Dee started out as a model before moving into film. After a promising start to her career, it seemed to peter out, and the public became more interested in her 7-year marriage to Bobby Darin. And of course, she will forever be remembered for the song in the movie and stage-show “Grease” called “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”.
21. Frontiersman Daniel : BOONE
Daniel Boone was a pioneer and folk hero. For Boone the frontier was what we now call the state of Kentucky. He led the building of the Wilderness Road through the famous Cumberland Gap in the Appalachians, a route subsequently taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants into Kentucky. Boone fought in the Revolutionary War with distinction, and after the war returned to Kentucky and got himself into land speculation. He became mired in debt, forcing him to emigrate to Missouri to settle down on land that was at that time owned by the French. It was there that he spent the last decades of his life.
24. Plains tribe : OTOS
The Otoe tribe once lived in the Great Lakes region, and were part of the Siouan tribes. The Otoe migrated at some point, to the south and west, eventually settling in the Great Plains. There the tribe adopted a culture centered on the horse and grew dependent on the American bison for food and many aspects of their lives. After ceding most of their lands to the US by treaty in 1854, they settled on a reservation. Today the tribe is based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.
26. Kind of lens with a wide angle : FISHEYE
A fisheye lens is an extremely wide-angle lens, meaning that it takes a very wide, hemispherical image. The image is quite distorted because of the short focal lengths (less than 20mm).
29. Sellout signs : SROS
Standing Room Only.
32. Online money : ECASH
There was a lot of talk about ecash back in the nineties, cash that could be used onlone, but the idea really fizzled out. Nowadays the term ecash really applies to money available in an account that can be accessed online. It’s not really cash per se.
37. R2-D2, for one : DROID
R2-D2, is the smaller of the two famous droids from “Star Wars”. British actor, Kenny Baker,who stands at just 3 ft 8 ins tall, has been the man inside the R2-D2 droid for all six of the “Star Wars” movies.
38. Video game maker that owns the Seattle Mariners : NINTENDO
The Seattle Mariners have been around since 1977, one of only three Major League Baseball teams not to have played in a World Series (the others being the Washington Senators/ Texas Rangers, and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals). The Mariners are also one of only three Major League teams owned by corporations. The Mariners are owned by Nintendo, the Atlanta Braves are owned by Liberty Media, and the Toronto Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications.
39. Collins on the Op-Ed page : GAIL
Gail Colins writes a semi-weekly op-ed column for “The New York Times“.
42. “___ Sharkey” of 1970s TV : C.P.O.
“C.P.O. Sharkey” was a relatively short-lived sitcom that aired from 1976-78. The series starred the great Don Rickles as Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey. There was a famous incident in the show’s run where the taping was interrupted by Johnny Carson who wanted to complain (light-heartedly) about Rickles who had broken a cigarette box on his desk while guesting on “The Tonight Show”. The impromptu comedy spot is one of the highlights in “The Tonight Show” history.
43. Warhol or Wyeth : ARTIST
Andy Warhol went through a period of painting iconic American products, including Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell’s Soup cans. In 1964 he participated in a gallery show called “The American Supermarket”. Along with other pop artists he contributed works including a painting of a can of Campbell’s soup. He priced the painting at $1,500, and sold autographed cans of soup for $6 a piece.
Andrew Wyeth was known as a realist painter, and “the painter of the people” in recognition of his popularity with the man in the street. His neighbor, Helga Testorf, posed for a total of 247 paintings over a 14 year period, a series known as “The Helga Pictures“. The remarkable thing is that neither Wyeth’s wife, nor Testorf’s husband, knew anything about the portrait sessions or the paintings.
44. San Francisco nine : GIANTS
The San Francisco Giants are one of the oldest teams in the sport, and they have won more games than any other in the history of baseball.
48. Dexterous : ADROIT
The French for “to the right” is “à droit”, from which we get our word “adroit”. The original meaning of “adroit” was “rightly, properly”, but it has come to mean dexterous and skillful.
51. Club finance officer: Abbr. : TREAS
Club finances are usually managed by the treasurer.
52. Depot: Abbr. : STA
A railroad depot might be a station.
59. U.S. Election Day, e.g.: Abbr. : TUE
Election Day was chosen by congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest, and yet not too much into winter which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that might interfere with Christian services.
61. Note above fa : SOL
do re mi fa sol …