THEME: LET ME IN … all the theme answers are well-known terms or phrases, with LET added i.e A CUT(LET) ABOVE, LOOSE LEAF(LET), RING(LET) TONES, EAVES DROP(LET)
COMPLETION TIME: 7m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
7. Rock’s Steely ___ : DAN
Steely Dan‘s heyday was in the seventies, when they toured for a couple of years, but mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993, and they are still going strong today.
10. Pentagon V.I.P.’s: Abbr. : GENS
The incredible building known as the Pentagon was built during WWII, and dedicated on January 15, 1943. It is the largest office building in the world (by floor space) covering an area of about 6.5 million square feet. As it was built during the war years, a major requirement was that it use a minimum amount of steel. So the steel shortage dictated that the building be no more than four stories in height, covering an awful lot of real estate.
14. Kind of reasoning, after “a” : PRIORI
The Latin term “a priori” translates as “from the former” or “prior to”. We use it to describe an argument that makes reference to experience, something that has been already observed.
15. Ginger ___ : ALE
The brand most closely associated with ginger ale is Canada Dry. “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale” was first formulated in 1904 by a Canadian chemist called John McLoughlin from Ontario, Canada. Prohibition helped sales of the drink as it was particularly effective in masking the taste of illegally produced, homemade liquor.
16. Help in wrongdoing : ABET
The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or to encourage someone in a crime.
19. “Encore!” : MORE
“Encore” is the French word for “again”.
20. Meat slice on the highest shelf? : A CUTLET ABOVE
A cut(let) above
25. Scotland’s Firth of ___ : TAY
The Firth of Tay is an inlet on the east coast of Scotland, into which empties Scotland’s largest river, the Tay. The city of Dundee lies on the Firth, and the city of Perth just inland on the Tay.
27. Advertising sheet blowing in the wind? : LOOSE LEAFLET
33. It has feet in a line : POEM
In a line of poetry, the foot is the basic rhythmic unit. The foot transcends the concept of “words”, and a foot may include a few words, or there may be several feet within one word.
37. Sir Anthony formerly of 10 Downing Street : EDEN
Sir Anthony Eden served as Britain’s Foreign Secretary during WWII, and then as Prime Minister from 1955-57. I think it’s fair to say that he doesn’t have a great reputation as a statesman. He was proud of his stance in favor of peace over war, so his critics characterized him as an appeaser. His major stumble on the world stage occurred with the Suez Crisis in 1956. Egypt’s President Nasser unilaterally nationalized the Suez Canal causing war to be declared on Egypt by Britain, France and Israel. Within a few months political pressure from the US and the USSR caused the allies to withdraw, bolstering Egypt’s national reputation. Eden never recovered from the loss of face at home, and it is felt that the stress even affected his health. Eden resigned in January 1957.
40. Carry on : WAGE
To wage is to carry on, as in waging a war.
41. Oui’s opposite : NON
Oui et non, yes and no in French.
42. ___ Cooper (car) : MINI
The original mini was a fabulous car, one that I drove all over Ireland in my youth. It had a unique front-wheel-drive layout that took up very little space, allowing for a lot of room (relatively speaking) for passengers and baggage. One space-saving trick was to mount the engine transversely, so it sits rotated 90 degrees from the norm. That engine had a capacity of only 848cc. In 1961, a Mini Cooper model was introduced, a sporty version of the Mini. The Mini Cooper was a phenomenal hit, especially after repeated wins in the Monte Carlo Rally.
43. English county : SHIRE
The word “shire” comes from the Old English “scir” meaning “administrative district”. The term was replaced with county as far back as the 14th century, but the usage still persists to this day, largely because some counties retain the use of -shire as a suffix (Yorkshire, Lancashire …).
44. Curly lock tints? : RINGLET TONES
50. Big ___ : SUR
Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast, south of Monterrey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.
52. Dribble from an icicle? : EAVES DROPLET
To “eavesdrop” is to listen in on someone else’s conversation, without being invited to do so. The term comes from the practice of spies loitering in the area just outside the walls of a house, particularly in the “eavesdrip”, the ground close to a house that catches the drips of rainwater falling from the eaves, from the roof.
57. Series finale, in brief : ET AL
Et alii is the equivalent of et cetera, with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names.
62. Ocean motion : TIDE
Tides of course are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the lesser gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tides, the sun and the moon’s gravities act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.
64. Keyless : ATONAL
Atonal music is not written in any particular key, and therefore does not have a key signature.
66. QB pickups: Abbr. : YDS
Quarterbacks pick up yards in football.
67. ___ public : NOTARY
A notary public is a public officer licensed to perform specific legal actions in non-contentious legal matters. The main duties are to administer oaths, take affidavits and witness the execution of documents.
1. Very, very soft, in music : PPP
ppp is a marking assigned to a note or phrase in music directing that it be played extremely quietly. ppp stands for piano pianissimo.
4. L-___ (Parkinson’s treatment) : DOPA
L-3,4-DihydrOxyPhenylAniline, thankfully can be shortened to L-DOPA. Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson won a Nobel Prize for showing that L-DOPA could be used to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Syndrome.
7. Author Roald : DAHL
Roald Dahl‘s name is Norwegian, as his parents were from Norway. Dahl himself was Welsh, and became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Some of his famous titles are “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory“.
8. Lily of Africa : ALOE
The so called “true aloe” is Aloe vera, a succulent plant native to Africa that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been extensively studied. Regardless of the studies, aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.
9. Colorful amphibian : NEWT
Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world, living on land or in the water depending on the species, but always associated with water, even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants, unlike the eggs of frogs and toads which float freely. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition then takes place, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.
10. Chess ploy : GAMBIT
A gambit is a chess opening, that intrinsically involves the sacrifice of a piece (usually a pawn) with the intent of gaining an advantage. The term “gambit” was first used by the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez de Segura who took it from the Italian expression “dare il gambetto” meaning “to put a leg forward to trip someone”. Said priest gave his name to the common Ruy Lopez opening, which paradoxically is not a gambit in that there is no sacrifice.
11. Something to read on a Kindle : E-BOOK
The Kindle is Amazon’s famous reader, a handheld device used for reading books in electronic form. When the Kindle was launched on November 19, 2007, it sold out in five and a half hours! I don’t have one myself (my librarian-wife won’t let me buy one) but I have friends that swear by them, especially for travel. If you’re interested, Amazon are pushing them right now, and they even have a version that is selling for $139 with free shipping. I am sorely tempted …
12. Chutzpah : NERVE
Our word “chutzpah” meaning nerve, gall or impudence, is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.
22. “The X-Files” subject : ALIEN
“The X-Files” was a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show were David Duchovney (Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, it was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history.
23. Sonata movement : RONDO
The name “sonata” comes from the Latin and Italian word “sonare” meaning “to sound”. In music, a sonata is a piece of music that is played, as opposed to a cantata (from Latin and Italian “cantare” meaning “to sing”), a piece of music that is sung.
A rondo was often chosen by composers for the last movement of a sonata (or symphony or concerto, for that matter). In rondo form there is principal theme that alternates with a contrasting theme or themes, with the main theme anchoring the whole piece in between episodes or digressions off to explore the secondary themes.
28. When doubled, a breath freshener : SEN
Sen-Sen was developed as a breath freshener in the late 1800s, and was marketed back then as “breath perfume”. You can still buy it today, centuries later …
29. When to celebrate Earth Day : APRIL
Earth Day started out in the US, an event introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was designed to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. The original Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. Decades later, the day is observed in over 175 countries.
30. Axis, once : FOE
Before WWII, Hungary’s prime minister was lobbying for an alliance between Germany, Hungary and Italy, and worked towards such a relationship that he called an “axis”. The main Axis powers during the war of course, were Germany, Italy and Japan. However, also included in the relationship were Romania, Bulgaria and the aforementioned Hungary.
34. Nicholas or Patrick : SAINT
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the inspiration for Santa Claus. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now in modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century AD, and was known for being generous to the poor. Centuries after he died his remains were desecrated by Italian sailors and moved to Bari in Italy. They were moved again centuries later and reburied in the grounds of Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland, where you can visit the grave today.
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. He 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. He managed to escape and return home, where he studied and entered the Church. He returned to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary, where he lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th, although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.
36. Fliers in V’s : GEESE
Apparently geese fly in that V-formation for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to “slipstream” a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It’s also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.
39. Director Lee : ANG
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre, not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense and Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“, “Hulk“, and “Brokeback Mountain“.
43. Feature of a fugue : STRETTO
Stretti is the plural of stretto, an Italian term used to describe a closing passage in an aria or perhaps a movement in a musical work. Stretto comes from the verb “stringere”, and means narrow, tight or close.
45. Big game hunter? : ESPN
Cleverly disguised clue …
ESPN is the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, a cable network that broadcasts sports programming 24 hours a day. It was launched back in 1979.
46. Resident of Oklahoma’s second-largest city : TULSAN
For much of the 20th century, Tulsa had the nickname “Oil Capital of the World”, but that title has been taken over by Houston, Texas. Prior to Tulsa discovering oil, the title belonged to Cleveland, Ohio!
53. Heavy cart : DRAY
A dray is a side-less, 4-wheeled cart used for hauling goods.
54. A.T.F. agents’ activity : RAID
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the department of Justice. However it has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the department’s name when the bureau was moved under the control of the Department of Justice as part of the government reorganization called out in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
59. Cellular stuff : RNA
RNA and DNA are very similar in molecular structure. One big difference is that RNA is a single strand structure, whereas DNA is famously a double-helix. Another difference is that RNA contains ribose as a structural unit, with DNA containing deoxyribose, ribose without one oxygen atom. And that ribose/deoxyribose difference is reflected in the full name of the two molecules: ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
60. “Striving to better, oft we ___ what’s well”: Shak. : MAR
The line “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well” is said by Albany to Goneril in William Shakespeare’s “King Lear“. Albany is remarking that in the search for perfection, we can ruin what is perfectly adequate.