THEME: HEAD BAND … the first word in each of the theme answers is the name of a band i.e. QUEEN (ANNE’S LACE), KISS (OF DEATH), TRAFFIC (CONE), CREAM (OF THE CROP)
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 52s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
5. “Nonsense!” : BOSH
Our word “bosh” meaning nonsense came into English via a well-defined route. It was first used in the novel “Ayesha, the Maid of Kars” written by J. J. Morier in 1905, and is a Turkish word that literally translates as “empty”.
9. Webster of Webster’s dictionary : NOAH
Not only is Noah Webster’s name inextricably linked with his series of dictionaries, but he is also renowned as an advocate for English spelling reform. He argued that “traditional” English is hard to learn, and that is should be simplified and standardized. He published spelling books that were used in schools, and from edition to edition he changed the spelling of words in order to simplify the language. Examples are the use of s over c in words like “defense” (In Ireland we have defence and defense depending on usage), -re became -er as in center instead of centre (reversing the influence of French), and he dropped one of the Ls in words like traveler (I learned “traveller”). Mind you, he also spelled “tongue” as “tung”, but he didn’t get very far with that one.
14. Convention center event, for short : EXPO
Expo, short for “exposition”.
16. Priestly robes : ALBS
The alb is the white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually worn with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.
17. ___ year (period of 366 days) : LEAP
I wasn’t sure of the true origin of the term “leap year”, and when I checked I found it to be fairly obvious. As a reference, let’s use March 25, 2009, a Wednesday. The year before in 2008, March 25th fell one weekday earlier on a Tuesday, following the rule that each year any particular date moves forward in the week by one day. However, the next year (2010) has an extra day, February 29th. So March 25, 2010 falls on a Friday, “leaping” two weekdays forward, not one, as 2010 is a “leap” year. I think I am more confused now then when I started this paragraph …
19. Wildflower from which the cultivated carrot originated : QUEEN ANNE’S LACE
What we call “Queen Anne’s Lace” over here in the is known by many in the British Isles as the “wild carrot”. The roots of Queen Anne’s Lace are indeed edible, just like carrots, but only when they are very young because later in life they get very woody. The wild carrot was given the name Queen Anne’s Lace when it was introduced into America as the flowers do resemble white lace, and there is one, small, red flower in the center of the plant which is said to be a drop of blood that Queen Anne spilled when she pricked herself as she was making the lace.
The rock band Queen was formed in 1971, famously headed up by the flamboyant Freddie Mercury. Queen are very successful over here in the US, but really are hugely popular in their homeland, the UK. Their 2006 “Greatest Hits” album is the UK’s all time best selling album, beating out anything produced by even the Beatles. The band’s records have been in the UK charts over 1,300 weeks in all, more than any other musical act.
22. “When ___ See You Again” (1974 #2 hit) : WILL I
The Philadelphia soul group, the Three Degrees, was formed back in 1963 and really only broke into the mainstream with the 1974 hit “When Will I See you Again?” The song, and the group, was a bigger hit in the UK than back in America, and indeed the Three Degrees were known as favorites of Prince Charles. They performed “When Will I See You Again?” at Charles’s 30th birthday party in Buckingham Palace in 1977.
23. AOL or MSN: Abbr. : ISP
An Internet Service Provider is just what its name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way that the end users are connected to the ISPs network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs. I’d go with cable if it’s available in your area …
Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, America Online changed its name in 1989. As the company went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the “America-centric” sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL’s success, the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That’s when users called AOL “Always Off-Line”.
MSN was originally called The Microsoft Network, a service introduced in 1995 as an integral part of Microsoft’s Windows 95 operating system. MSN is a whole bundle of services including email, instant messaging, and the MSN.com portal, the 9th most visited site on the Internet.
24. Former C.I.A. chief Porter ___ : GOSS
Porter Goss was recruited into the CIA in his junior year at Yale, and spent the sixties working in the clandestine services arm of the agency. He was “actively” involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, whatever that means, and he also recruited and trained foreign agents. After leaving the CIA he served in Congress as a US representative for a district in Florida for 16 years, before being asked by President George W. Bush to return to the CIA, this time as the boss.
26. Enzyme suffix : ASE
Enzymes are basically catalysts, chemicals that act to increase the rate of a particular chemical reaction. So, for example, starches will break down into sugars over time, especially under the right conditions. However, in the presence of the enzyme amylase (found in saliva, say) this production of sugar happens very, very quickly.
27. Something that is ultimately ruinous : KISS OF DEATH
KISS is an American hard rock band, formed in 1973 in New York City. They were a pretty wild bunch, performing with faces painted in gruesome designs. The group abandoned use of the make-up in the mid-eighties, and still managed sell a lot of records.
31. Cincinnati baseball team : REDS
The Red Scare following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due the public distrust of anyone associated with “Reds”.
33. Homer Simpson exclamation : D’OH
“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.
34. Nervous : ANTSY
The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.
35. With 37-Across, hair accessory … or a literal hint to 19-, 27-, 47- and 56-Across : HEAD
37. See 35-Across : BAND
42. Kind of sauce : SOY
Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with a mold in the presence of water and salt. Charming …
47. Orange item set out by a highway crew : TRAFFIC CONE
Traffic was an English rock band, popular in the late sixties and early seventies. The most famous musician in the lineup was guitarist and singer Steve Winwood.
51. “Bali ___” (“South Pacific” song) : HAI
The song “Bali Ha’i” is from the musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. In the musical, Bali Ha’i is the name of a volcanic island that neighbors the island on which the story takes place.
53. Nearly worthless amount : SOU
A sou was an old French coin.
56. Very best : CREAM OF THE CROP
Cream were a rock trio from Britain that made it big in the sixties. The three members of Cream were guitarists Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton (who both went on to extraordinarily successful solo careers), and drummer Ginger Baker.
60. Toboggans : SLEDS
Toboggan came into English from the French Canadian “tabagane”, the name for a long sled with a flat bottom. The French Canadian word is probably from the Algonquian word for a sled, “tobakun”,
62. Taj Mahal city : AGRA
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth, delivering the couple’s 14th child!
63. 11 ___ and spices (KFC secret ingredients) : HERBS
The Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is indeed a trade secret. Apparently there is only one copy of the recipe, a handwritten piece of paper with writing in pencil, signed by Colonel Sanders. Since 2009, the piece of paper has been locked in a computerized vault surrounded with motion detectors and security cameras.
64. German river where American and Soviet forces met in 1945 : ELBE
Towards the end of WWII in Europe the American and Soviet armies were closing in on the German troops, with the Americans coming from the west and the Soviets from the east. An important step achieved in the final plan to defeat Germany was when the two allied armies met on April 25, 1945, joining forces near Torgau in German on the River Elbe.
66. “___ can you see …?” : O! SAY
The words “O! say can you see” come from “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key. The lyrics were written first as a poem by Key, inspired by his witnessing of the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song written by John Stafford Smith called “The Anacreontic Song”, with the Anacreontic Society being a men’s club in London.
68. German three : DREI
Eins, zwei, drei …
1. It started in 2003 with the bombing of Baghdad : IRAQ WAR
The coalition invasion force that launched the attack on Iraq on March 20, 2003 was comprised of troops from four different nations:
– 248,000 from the US (Operation Iraqi Liberation)
– 45,000 from the UK (Operation Telic)
– 2,000 from Australia (Operation Falconer)
– 194 from Poland
2. Comic actor Dom : DELUISE
Dom DeLuise was of course a talented comic actor, bet he was also an avid cook. He wrote several books on cooking and appeared regularly on radio cooking shows. He also wrote a few children’s books.
4. 1950s Ford flop : EDSEL
It was Henry Ford’s son, Edsel Ford, who gave his name to the Edsel brand of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with “failure”.
5. Lugosi of horror films : BELA
Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian stage and screen actor, best known for playing the title role in the 1931 film “Dracula”, and for playing the same role on Broadway. He found himself typecast for the rest of his career, and almost always played the role of the villain, often in horror movies. When he passed away in 1956, he wife had him buried in the costume he wore playing Count Dracula on Broadway.
7. “Cómo está usted?” language : SPANISH
“Come esta usted?” is the more formal way of asking, “how are you?” in Spanish.
12. “___ Just Not That Into You” (2009 film) : HE’S
“He’s Just Not That Into You” was a line of dialogue from the HBO television series “Sex and the City”. The line was lifted and used as the title of a self-help book published in 2004. The book was adapted into a romantic comedy film released in 2009, starring an ensemble cast that included Ben Affleck, Jennifer Anniston, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson. Never saw it …
20. Suffix with refuse : NIK
Refuseniks were those individuals, usually Jews, refused permission to leave the Soviet Union and/or other countries behind the Iron Curtain. Nowadays, we use the term “refusenik” for someone who protests or refuses to do something, a very different use of the word.
21. Letters on a Coppertone bottle : SPF
In theory, the Sun Protection Factor, is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it will take 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn with lotion on, than without it. I say, just stay out of the sun …
28. Boise’s home: Abbr. : IDA
Boise, Idaho is the largest metropolitan area in the state by far. Boise is home to many famous residents, including the actor, George Kennedy.
32. Handed a raw deal from : SHAFTED BY
“Shafted” isn’t a nice term at all. It means to give someone a raw deal. The term arose in the fifties, playing on the vulgar slang usage of shaft to represent the penis (a usage that has been around since the early 1700s). The use of the verb “shaft” therefore is a reference to sodomy. We should stop using that term, I think.
38. Literary Rand : AYN
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” in 1957. Back in 1951, Ayn Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan.
39. Bouquets-to-order co. : FTD
Back in 1910, fifteen florists from around America agreed to fulfill each others orders using the telegraph system, setting up what they called the Florists’ Telegraph Delivery. The concept grew so large that in 1965 the group started to offer international service, and changed its name to Florists’ Transworld Delivery.
– Without a doubt
– Ask again later
– My sources say no
– Outlook not so good
41. Classic Porsche model : CARRERA
Porsche was founded in 1931 in Stuttgart, Germany by Professor Ferdinand Porsche. The company didn’t produce cars at first, but worked on design and development. The first big job awarded to the company was from the German government, to design a car for the people, and they came up with the Volkswagen Beetle. Yep, the Beetle is a Porsche design.
44. San Diego footballer : CHARGER
The San Diego Chargers was an AFL charter team, so was established in 1959. They played their first season in Los Angeles, but moved to San Diego in 1961.
46. Kettledrums : TIMPANI
“Timpani” is the Italian word for “drums”.
49. Author James Fenimore : COOPER
James Fenimore Cooper’s most famous works are his collection of historical novels known as the “Leatherstocking Tales” featuring the hero Natty Bumppo, and his Romantic novel “The Last of the Mohicans”. James Fenimore was the son of William Cooper, a US Congressman. The Cooper family lived in Cooperstown, New York from when young James was about a year old. Cooperstown was a community actually founded by James’s father, William Cooper.
59. Hurried : HIED
To hie is to move quickly, to bolt.
60. “___ ’nuff” : SHO
“Sho’nuff” is a slang expression meaning “sure enough”.