THEME: PARA SOUNDS … all the theme answers are homonyms of words starting with PARA- i.e. PAIR A GRAPHS (para-graphs), PARER PHRASE (para-phrase), PERE AMOURS (paramours) & PEAR AMOUNT (paramount)
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ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
9. Any member of the genus Homo : BIPED
The Homo genus includes, of course, the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but that’s it. All the rest of the species that were part of the genus Homo are all extinct. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species discovered in Indonesia in 2003 was Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … aka “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …
16. In ___ (not yet born) : UTERO
In utero is a Latin term meaning “in the uterus”. The Latin “uterus” translates as both “womb” and “belly”. The Latin word was derived from the Greek “hystera” also meaning womb, which gives us the words “hysterectomy”, and “hysterical”.
18. Having two or three kids in a family, nowadays : NORM
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the total number of children born to the average woman (approximately). In the early fifties, the TFR for the world was 4.9, whereas today it is down to 2.6. That’s quite a shift. Here in the US the TFR was as low as 2.0 in the late thirties, and climbed to a high of 3.7 in the late fifties, and is now down to about 2.0 again.
19. What to “Come see the softer side of,” in a slogan : SEARS
Sears made a big splash in the world’s newspapers in 1974 when it completed its new headquarters in Chicago, the Sears Tower. At 110 stories, it was the tallest building in the world, and remained so until the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were completed in 1996. Sears moved out of the building in 1993, but had the rights to the name on the building until early 2009. I don’t think many people outside of Chicago know that since 2009, the building is actually called the Willis Tower, after the new owners.
20. Two charts? : PAIR-A-GRAPHS
Two charts would be a “pair-a-graphs”, which sounds like “paragraph”.
23. ___ v. Wade : ROE
Roe v. Wade was decided in a US District Court in Texas in 1970, and reached the Supreme Court on appeal. The Supreme Court ordered that the case be retried, and made its landmark decision in 1973. The basic decision by the Supreme Court was that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy applied to an abortion, but that this right had to be balanced with a state’s interest in protecting an unborn child, and a mother’s health. The Court further defined that the state’s interest became stronger with each trimester of a pregnancy. So, in the first trimester, the woman’s right to privacy outweighed any state interest. In the second trimester, the state’s interest in maternal health was deemed to be strong enough to allow state regulation of abortion for the sake of the mother. In the third trimester, the viability of the fetus meant that the state’s interest in the unborn child came into play, so states could regulate or prohibit abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. I’m no lawyer, but that’s my understanding of the Supreme Court decision …
24. Nav. rank : ENS
An ensign is the most junior rank of commissioned officer (usually) in many armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.
27. Dr. Seuss title : HOP ON POP
“Hop on Pop” was first published in 1963, written by Dr. Seuss and subtitled “The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use”. “Hop on Pop” was listed by former First Lady Laura Bush as her favorite title, citing the memories evoked of family life with her young daughters.
Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss is simply a pen name.
39. See 43-Across : CARB
41. Like some stock : NO PAR
In days gone by, when companies first issued a stock, it would be given a face value (called “par value”). In effect, the company made a commitment not to issue any more stock under that par value, giving investors confidence that there was no better deal to be had. Nowadays, most stocks are issued without such a “guarantee” and are called “no-par stocks”.
43. With 39-Across, kind of engine : DUAL
39. See 43-Across : CARB
The carburetor is a device in an internal combustion engine that has the job of blending air and fuel prior to combustion. When you hit the accelerator on a car, you’re not actually directly controlling the amount of fuel going to the engine. Instead, you’re controlling the amount of air that the carburettor gets, which then sucks in the amount of fuel it needs for efficient combustion.
46. Retro photo tone : SEPIA
Sepia is that lovely rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. The name sepia comes from the pigment derived from the ink sac of the cuttle fish, with “sepia” being the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish. The sepia tone of old photographs is not a result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Sepia-toned prints can last in excess of 150 years.
49. Some airport data: Abbr. : ARRS
53. Danced at Rio’s Carnival, maybe : SAMBAED
Samba is a Brazilian dance, very much symbolic of the festival known as Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the Samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “Semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …
56. Homer Simpson’s Indian friend : APU
The fictional store, Kwik-E-Mart, is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, on “The Simpsons” TV show. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph. D. in computer science that he earned in the US. His undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class … of seven million students …
57. Mideast grp. : PLO
The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964. Its early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine granted by the League of Nations back in 1923.
58. Edit? : PARE A PHRASE
An editor might “pare a phrase”, which sounds like “paraphrase”.
69. Israel’s Golda : MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before the term came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (nowadays in Ukraine), and when she was a young girl, she moved with her family to the United States, and lived in Milwaukee. As a teenager, she relocated to Denver, where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, at that time in her twenties. She had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, she had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. She led the country during turbulent times (the massacre at the Munich Olympics, the Yom Kippur War), and eventually resigned in 1974 saying that was what the people wanted.
70. “Lonesome” tree : PINE
“The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” is a song first published in 1913, extolling the virtues of “the Blue Ridge Mountain of Virginia”. It was sung by Laurel and Hardy in the 1937 movie “Way Out West”. For some reason, the Laurel & Hardy version was released as a single in 1975 over in the UK, a great move as it turned out. The song rocketed up to No. 2 in the British charts.
72. Basic subj. for a surgeon : ANAT
A surgeon studies the subject of anatomy.
1. Fault-find : CARP
The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “carp” so that it came to mean “find fault with”.
3. Coffee shop convenience for a laptop : WI-FI
“Wi-Fi” is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that uses wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with “Wi-Fi” has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other.
7. Gumbo staple : OKRA
Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement, but this is no longer the case. In fact, okra gave the dish its name, as the vernacular name for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”.
8. ___ node : LYMPH
Lymph is a fluid that exists “alongside” blood in the body, transported through lymph vessels. One of the functions of the system is to pick up bacteria in the body, transporting them to lymph nodes where they are destroyed by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Lymph can also carry metastatic cancer cells, which can lodge in lymph nodes making lymph nodes a common site where tumors may be found growing.
11. A bushel of Boscs? : PEAR AMOUNT
A bushel is an amount of pears, a “pear amount”, which sounds like “paramount”.
Bosc is a cultivar of the European Pear, grown here in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?
21. Raggedy ___ (dolls) : ANNS
Raggedy Ann is a rag doll, created by Johnny Gruelle in 1915, for his daughter, Marcella. He decided to name the doll using the titles of two poems by James Whitcomb Riley, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphan Annie”. Gruelle introduced Raggedy Ann in a series of books three years later. Sadly, Marcella died at 13 years of age, with her father blaming a smallpox vaccination she was given at school. Gruelle became very active in the movement against mass vaccination, for which Raggedy Ann became a symbol.
26. Full or half nelson : HOLD
The full nelson and half nelson are wrestling holds, in which one wrestler secures the opponent by encircling his or her arms under the armpits and around the neck. Some say the hold is named after Admiral Nelson, who was renowned for using encircling tactics in battle.
27. What a debtor might be in : HOCK
The term “in hock” is an American invention. Back in the mid-19th century it meant both “in debt” and “in prison”. The work “hock” came from the Dutch “hok” meaning “jail”.
28. Algerian port : ORAN
Oran lies on the Algerian coast, and is famous for being the port where the French Navy was largely destroyed by the British Navy during WWII in order to avoid the vessels falling into the hands of Nazi Germany after the French surrender. This decisive and unexpected action by the British sent a very strong message around the world that Britain was willing to fight alone against the axis powers if necessary.
29. French father’s affairs? : PERE AMOURS
A french father, “un pere”, might have affairs with his “amours”, “pere amours”, which sounds like “paramours”.
A paramour is a lover, particularly one in an adulterous relationship. As one might expect, “paramour” comes from the French, an adverb “par amour” meaning “with strong love”. Given the current usage of the term, it’s a paradoxical that the word first came into English in the 1300s as a term women used for Christ, and men used for the Virgin Mary.
30. Western 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 the horse culture 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, the Otoe were moved onto a reservation. Today the tribe is based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.
38. Toboggan, e.g. : SLED
Toboggan came into English from the French Canadian “tabagane”, the name for the long sled with a flat bottom. The French Canadian word is probably from the Algonquian word for a sled, “tobakun”,
45. Fabric dealers, to Brits : DRAPERS
Even though I’ve lived in the US since 1983, every so often the New York Times crossword points out yet another word that I didn’t realize was different on either side of the Atlantic. I didn’t realize that the word “draper” isn’t used (much) in the US. It’s an old term across the pond anyway, the word for a cloth merchant.
47. Coleridge’s sacred river : ALPH
“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my wife’s favorite poem. Coleridge wrote the masterpiece one night in 1797, after a vivid dream heavily influenced by opium.
54. Foil-making giant : ALCOA
Before thin sheets of aluminum metal was available, thin sheets of tin were used for the same purpose. Tin foil isn’t a great choice for wrapping food though, as it imparts a tinny taste. On the other side of the pond, aluminum foil has a different name. No, it’s not just the different spelling of aluminum (“aluminium”). We still call it “tin foil”. You see, we live in the past …
60. 1998 Sarah McLachlan song : ADIA
Based on what I just read, the song “Adia”, co-written by McLachen, was written as an apology to her best friend … for stealing her ex-boyfriend, and then marrying him!
63. Prominent features of a “Cats” poster : EYES
Andrew Lloyd Weber’s source material for his hit musical “Cats” was T. S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Eliot’s collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was personal favorite of Weber as he was growing up. “Cats” is the second longest running show in Broadway history (“Phantom of the Opera” is the longest, and is still running; deservedly so, in my humble opinion).
The classic poster advertising “Cats” features two dramatic, yellow eyes on a black background.