THEME: BROWN UNIVERSITY! It seems that today’s setter is in the class of ’13 at Brown … the first word of all the theme answers can be preceded by BROWN i.e. (BROWN) BEAR with me, (BROWN) SUGAR daddy, (BROWN) BETTY Boop, BROWN (NOSE) dives.
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Homes for hens : COOPS
An Old English word for basket (“cypa”) started to be used in the 14th century as the word “coop”, meaning a small cage for poultry, and we still use the word today.
6. Scrapes (out) : EKES
I believe that technically speaking one can’t actually “eke out” an existence, as to “eke out” means to “make something go further or last longer”. So, you can eke out your income by cutting back on expenses, but you can’t eke out your existence, or any existence.
16. Pixar’s “Finding ___,” 2003 : NEMO
“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar, winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, it is the best selling DVD of all time, and until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time.
17. “I’ll be through in a minute” : BEAR WITH ME
Brown bears are found over much of northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The biggest subspecies of brown bear is the Kodiak Bear, the largest land-based predator in the world. The Kodiak grows to about the same size as the enormous polar bear.
22. Ending for a female Smurf : ETTE
The Smurfs were little blue men created by a Belgian cartoonist in 1958, who became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children’s cartoon series. The Smurfs were largely a group of males, originally with just one female character, Smurfette, who was wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix, Sassette, and later still along came Granny Smurf.
30. Girl who plays football, perhaps : TOMBOY
Back in the 1550s “tomboy” was used to describe a male, a boy that was rude or boisterous. A few years later the term was being used for a bold or perhaps immodest girl. By 1600 a tomboy was being used to describe a girl who acts like a spirited boy, just as we’d say today.
36. ___ salts : EPSOM
Epsom salt is the familiar name for hydrated magnesium sulfate, also known as epsomite. It takes its name from the town of Epsom in Surrey, in England, as there is a large deposit of the mineral nearby. Epsom salt readily dissolves in water and has been used as a major ingredient in bath salts for centuries. The magnesium sulfate actually raises the density of the water making the body more buoyant as it floats in the bath.
Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the eight Ivy League schools in the US. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. gave a substantial gift to the school.
42. Fliers of U.F.O.’s : ETS
An Unidentified Flying Object might be crewed by Extra-Terrestials.
43. Barton of the Red Cross : CLARA
Clara Barton was deeply disturbed by her experiences caring for the wounded during the Civil War, and so worked tirelessly for American recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The American Red Cross was inevitably formed, in 1881, and Barton was installed as it first president.
45. Mount Everest guide : SHERPA
In the Tibetan language, Sherpa means “eastern people” (sher = east, pa = people). Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal, but the name is also used for the local guides who assist mountaineers in the Himalayas, and particularly on Mount Everest.
47. Big name in printers : EPSON
Seiko Epson is a Japanese company, one of the largest manufacturers of printers in the world. The company has its roots in the watch business, roots that go back to 1942. Seiko was chosen as the official time keeper for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and encountered the need for a timer that produced a printed record, and so started development of printers. They produced the world’s first miniprinter and called it EP-101 (EP standing for Electronic Printer). In 1975 the company introduced the next generation of EP printers, and they called it EPSON, the SON of EP. Cute, huh?
49. “Pride and Prejudice” beau : DARCY
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has to be one of the great romantic leads in English literature. He of course appears opposite Mis Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice“. There have been many (terrible) “sequels” written for “Pride and Prejudice”, but I have read one “spin off” that I heartily recommend if you’d like to explore the story of Elizabeth and Darcy some more. There is a three-part novel called “Fitzwilliam Darcy: Gentleman” written by Pamela Aiden and published in 2003-2005. Ms. Aiden does a great job retelling the story of “Pride and Prejudice”, but from Darcy’s perspective. It really is a great read, even for die-hard Austen fans …
51. Like Papa Bear’s porridge, to Goldilocks : TOO HOT
The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837, in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.
57. Australian animal that munches on eucalyptus leaves : KOALA
The koala really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. It is an arboreal marsupial, and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Like so many of the cute and cuddly species on our planet, the koala was hunted nearly to extinction for its fur. It’s making a comeback now due to conservation measures taken by the Australian government.
60. Like Lindbergh’s famous flight : SOLO
Charles Lindbergh was the American pilot who made the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of nearly 3,600 miles. He won the accolades of a whole country for that feat, and was awarded the Medal of Honor (for which Lindbergh was eligible, as an Army Reserve officer). His new-found fame brought tragedy to his door, however, when a kidnapper took his infant son from his home in East Amwell, New Jersey. A ransom was paid in part, but the child was never returned, and was found dead a few weeks later. It was as a result of this case that Congress made kidnapping a federal offence should there be any aspect of the crime that crosses a state line.
61. “___ and Let Die” (Paul McCartney hit) : LIVE
“Live and Let Die” was the first rock and roll song to be used as the theme for a James Bond movie. It was written by Paul and Linda McCartney for the 1973 movie of the same name, starring Roger Moore as 007. The song was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar that year, but lost out to the theme from “The Way We Were”.
62. Husband of a trophy wife, maybe : SUGAR DADDY
64. ___ of March : IDES
There were three important days in each month of an old, Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon, but were eventually “fixed” by law. Kalendae were the first day of each month, originally the day of the new moon. Nonae were originally the day of the half moon. And idus (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed as the 15th day of the month. Well, the Ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the Ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …
65. Creme-filled cookie : OREO
The Oreo was the biggest selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been produced since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days, the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America though, you might notice it has a different taste than the homegrown cookie as coconut oil is added for flavor.
66. ___ March, Saul Bellow protagonist : AUGIE
“The Adventures of Augie March” is a novel by Saul Bellow published first in 1953. The story tells of a young man growing up during the Great Depression.
68. Gen ___ (thirtysomethings) : XERS
The term Generation X originated in the UK, the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of her study of British youth in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. However, Canadian author Douglas Coupland was responsible for the popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture“. By the latest accepted definition, Gen Xers were born from 1961 to 1981.
3. Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett : O’HARA
As casting proceeded for the movie version of “Gone With the Wind”, Clark Gable was a shoo-in from day one. The role of Scarlett was considered very desirable in the acting community, with Bette Davis on the short list, and Katherine Hepburn demanding an appointment with producer David O. Selznick to discuss the role. Vivien Leigh was an unlikely contender, an English actress for the definitive Southern belle role. Selznick was adamant though, and stuck by his choice despite a lot of protests.
4. Serving in Homer Simpson’s favorite dinner : PORK CHOP
“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh”, such a famous exclamation nowadays that it has been included in the OED since 2001.
6. “At Last” singer James : ETTA
Etta James is best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last“. Sadly, as she discloses in her autobiography, James has lived a life that has been ravaged by drug addiction, leading to numerous legal and health problems.
In the 1974 Mel Brooks Western satire “Blazing Saddles”, Madeline Kahn played a German seductress-for-hire called Lili von Shtupp.
8. Wabbit’s “wival” : ELMER
Bugs Bunny first said “What’s up, Doc” in the 1940 cartoon short “A Wild Hare”, addressing the hunter, Elmer Fudd.
9. What a paleontologist reconstructs : SKELETON
Paleontology is the study of prehistoric life. My favorite “paleontologist” is Dr. David Huxley played by Cary Grant opposite Katherine Hepburn in the wonderful 1938 comedy “Bringing Up Baby“. Dr. Huxley might have been the first character in a movie to use the word “gay” in the context of homosexuality, as when asked why he was dressed in women’s clothing he answers, “Because I just went gay all of a sudden”. Now that’s a prehistoric fact …
11. Flapper of old toondom : BETTY BOOP
Brown Betty is a simple dessert made from apples (usually) with sweetened crumbs on top, and then baked.
Betty Boop made her first appearance on the screen in 1930, in a cartoon called “Dizzy Dishes”. Her character was modeled on the the It-girl, the sexy Clara Bow of movie fame. Back then Betty Boop was a sexy poodle, and it wasn’t until 1932 that she morphed into completely human form. Betty was quite the risque figure, but her vampish ways only lasted a few years. When the Production Code of 1934 came into force, Betty started to dress more modestly, and to tone down her behavior.
18. ___ facto : IPSO
Ipso facto is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of particular act, as opposed to something that is a result of some subsequent event.
26. Small dog, in brief : POM
The Pomeranian is a breed of small dog, named for the Pomerania region of Europe (part of eastern Germany and northern Poland). The breed was much loved by the royalty of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian. Due to the notoriety of the monarch’s pet, the Pomeranian was bred for small size, so that during the Queen’s admittedly long reign, the size of the average “pom” was reduced by 50%.
29. Mold’s origin : SPORE
Spores are produced by many bacteria, fungi and non-flowering plants. A spore is a reproductive body encased in protective shell that is highly resistant to damage, and to heat in particular.
34. One drawn to a flame : MOTH
It isn’t really understood why moths are attracted to artificial lights. There is one theory that sounds plausible to me though. It is suggested that moths can navigate at night by maintaining the moon (the brightest celestial object) at a fixed angle. When a moth finds a brighter light source, like an artificial light, it gets confused.
35. Loses altitude fast : NOSE DIVES
To “brown nose” is act in a very servile manner in order to attain advancement. It’s American military slang dating back to before WWII, and seeing as it originated in the military, it has a pretty vulgar etymology.
40. Scandalous 1919 Chicago baseball team : BLACK SOX
In the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, eight Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the World Series for financial gain. The tale is told in “Eight Men Out“, a movie released in 1988 based on the book “8 Men Out” written by Eliot Asinof and published in 1963.
41. Triceratops, e.g. : DINOSAUR
The triceratops is that dinosaur that kind of looked like a rhinoceros, but with three horns. The name “triceratops” is derived from the Greek for “three-horned face”.
43. Lifeguard’s skill, for short : CPR
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation used to involve the simultaneous compression of the chest to pump blood using the heart, and artificial respiration by blowing air into the lungs. Nowadays emergency services are placing more emphasis on the heart compressions, and less on the artificial respiration (I just discovered).
48. Symbol on a flag : STAR
Back in the fifties there was competition for deciding on the design of the American flag when Alaska and Hawaii were being considered for statehood. Most of the designs submitted were with 50 stars, as the assumption was that the 49-star flag would not be needed for long, if at all. 17-year-old Robert Heft submitted a 49-star design to his teacher for a school project, earning him a B-minus grade. Heft complained and was jokingly told that his grade would only be reconsidered if the design was accepted by congress. I guess Robert received his A because his flag flew from January 1959 when Alaska joined the union, until August when Hawaii became the 50th state. How cool is that?
50. “___ the One That I Want” (“Grease” song) : YOU’RE
“Grease” was, and still is, a very successful stage musical with a blockbuster film version released in 1978. “You’re the One That I Want” was a song written especially for the movie, one which made it to number one in the charts, followed soon after by the “Grease” theme song.
52. ___-podge : HODGE
There is an Old French word for stew or soup “hochepot”, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodge-podge” in the early 1400s.
56. Opera set in ancient Egypt : AIDA
“Aida” is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verde, actually based on a scenario written by a French Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette, who also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first performed in 1871, in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander that falls in love with her, and then of course, complications arise!
59. Neighbor of Cambodia : LAOS
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the name is “Meuang Lao”. The French ruled the country as part of French Indochina, uniting three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of “Lao” entities united into one, the French added the “S” and so today we tend to use “Laos”.