Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Alaska’s Alaskan Malamute, for one..STATE DOG
The Alaskan Malamute was bred as a working dog, in particular to pull sleds. The breed takes its name from the Mahlemut tribe of Inuit people. The Alaskan Malamute was designated as Alaska’s official state dog in 2010.
16…Tennyson’s “lily maid of Astolat”..ELAINE
“The Lady of Shalott” is a beautiful poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The storyline is based on the Arthurian legend of Elaine of Astolat. The opening lines are:
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky.
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot.
Obsidian is a volcanic glass, an igneous rock. Obsidian has many functional and decorative uses. I find the use of obsidian to make glass knives to be of particular interest. Well-made obsidian knives can have a cutting edge that is many times sharper than even the highest quality of steel.
18…Omitted from a speech?..ELIDED
“To elide” is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.
22…__ United: English soccer team..LEEDS
Historically, Leeds United is one of the most successful clubs playing professional soccer in England, and is a team with a passionate fan base. The club is based in the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire, and the club badge feature the White Rose of York.
23…Serious order shortage?..MELEE
Our word “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.
26…Where Andorra is..IBERIA
The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrenees, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.
33…Iranian city known for its carpets..TABRIZ
Tabriz is a large city in the very northwest of Iran that once served as the country’s capital. The city is famous for its hand-woven rugs and jewelry.
36…Where Andorra is..EUROPE
Andorra is a small principality nestled in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Andorra is a very prosperous country, mainly due to its status as a tax haven and thriving tourist industry. We used help out the tourist industry there in the winters, enjoying a couple of skiing holidays there. Happy memories …
38…Few are chosen..SURNAMES
What we usually refer to as a “family name” here in the US is routinely called a “surname” in British English.
“Thorp” (also “dorp”) is an archaic term from Old English meaning “hamlet, village”.
41…”Moulin Rouge” (1952) co-star, familiarly..ZSA ZSA
Zsa Zsa Gabor is a Hungarian American actress, born in Budapest as Sári Gábor (the older sister of the actress Eva). Zsa Zsa Gabor has been married a whopping nine times, including a 5-year stint with Conrad Hilton and another 5 years with the actor George Sanders. One of Gabor’s famous quips is that she was always a good housekeeper, as after every divorce she kept the house!
“Moulin Rouge” is a 1952 film that tells the story of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Directed by John Huston, the movie stars José Ferrer as the artist and Zsa Zsa Gabor as Jane Avril, a can-can dancer who becomes the subject for some of his artworks.
Reddi-Wip is a brand of sweetened whip cream that comes out of a pressurized can. The propellant used in the can is nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas”, which is the same gas used by dentists as an anesthetic.
The Pueblo peoples are Native Americans from the American Southwest who are known for their construction of towns and villages comprising buildings made from adobe and stone. The Pueblo inhabited pit houses dug into cliffs prior to c. 1050 CE. After this date, they started to develop planned village that included apartment-like structure often located on ledges of rock that were easy to defend. The largest of these villages extant today is the magnificent Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. It is a “must see” when visiting the area …
53…Hyphenated frozen food brand..ORE-IDA
Ore-Ida frozen foods are all made using potatoes. The company is located in Oregon, just across the border from Idaho. “Ore-Ida” is a melding of the two state names.
Bengay is sold as a painkilling heat rub, to relieve aching muscles. It was developed in France by a Dr. Jules Bengue (hence the name) and was first sold in America way back in 1898.
The American “sedan” car is the equivalent of the British “saloon” car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.
A triad is a group of three, and specifically in music is a chord is made up of three notes.
5…One barely working?..ECDYSIAST
An “ecdysiast” is a striptease artist. The term was coined by the writer H. L. Mencken in 1940 at the request of burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. She wanted a word for her profession that had more dignity than “stripper”. The term comes from the Greek “ecdysis” meaning “to molt”.
6…Place of honor..DAIS
Ultimately our word “dais”, meaning “raised platform for a speaker”, comes from the Latin “discus” meaning a “disk-shaped object”. I guess that many a dais was disc-shaped …
7…__ pro nobis..ORA
“Ora pro nobis” translates from Latin as “pray for us”. It is a common phrase used in the Roman Catholic tradition and is often shortened to “OPN”.
8…Pair in many languages..GENDERS
About one quarter of the world’s languages collect nouns into genders, of which there are usually two or three. The most common gender divisions are masculine, feminine and neuter. Modern English really does not have grammatical genders, although there are some hangovers from Old English such as “he, she and it”, “tiger and tigress” and “duke and duchess”.
9…Britain’s Yeoman Warders, familiarly..BEEFEATERS
“Beefeater” is the popular name for a Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London. The official responsibility of a beefeater is to guard any prisoners in the Tower, and to look after the crown jewels. But the cadre of beefeaters actually spend their day guiding tours around the magnificent castle. No one really knows where the origin of the name “beefeater”. Any time you are in London, be sure to check out the Tower. As you leave the Tower, turn left and walk down to the river. There you can catch a water taxi to Westminster which will take you by St. Paul’s and drop you off at the Houses of Parliament, just around the corner from Westminster Abbey. A great day out …
10…”Hyperbole and a Half” blogger Brosh..ALLIE
“Hyperbole and a Half” is a webcomic cum blog written by Allie Brosh since 2009. Brosh used some of her blog posts as the basis for a “Hyperbole and a Half” book that was released in 2013.
Pedestrian Crossing (Ped Xing)
21…”The Good Wife” crisis manager Gold..ELI
“The Good Wife” is a legal drama showing on CBS starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a litigator who returns to practicing the law after spending 13 years as a stay-at-home mom. I binge-watched a few series of the show some time back. I find it to be well-written, with a great cast and great acting …
There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.
28…Yellow Pokémon species that ultimately evolves to Alakazam..ABRA
“Pokémon” is the second-biggest video game franchise in the world, second only to the “Mario” franchise. “Pokémon” is a contraction of “Pocket Monsters”.
A group of lions is known as a “pride” of lions. It’s possible that the term “pride” in this context derives from the Latin “praeda” meaning “prey”.
30…What “love is like,” in a 1960s hit..LEMON TREE
The 1965 Trini Lopez hit “Lemon Tree” is a folk song that was written by Will Holt earlier in the sixties. Holt’s song is based on a Brazilian folk song “Meu limão, meu limoeiro”.
When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me,
“Come here and take a lesson from the lovely lemon tree.”
“Don’t put your faith in love, my boy,” my father said to me,
“I fear you’ll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.”
32…No small feat..COUP
A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We often use the shortened version “coup” to describe a successful and unexpected accomplishment.
“Au naturel” is a French phrase, simply meaning “in a natural state”. We use the term in the same sense, and also to mean “nude”.
38…Bad news metaphor..SAD NOTE
If we end an address with bad news, we end on a “sad note”.
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.
42…Star Wars, initially..SDI
One of the positive outcomes of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, also “Star Wars”) was a change in US defense strategy. The new approach was to use missiles to destroy incoming hostile weapons, rather than using missiles to destroy the nation attacking the country. The former doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction went by the apt acronym of MAD …
44…Godzilla ally, at times..RODAN
Rodan is a flying pterosaur appearing in a series of Japanese monster movies, created by the same studio that had earlier come up with Godzilla.
Godzilla is a Japanese creation. The first in a very long series of films was released way back in 1954. The original name in Japanese was “Gojira”, but this was changed to Godzilla for audiences outside of Japan. “Gojira” is a combination of “gorira” and “kujira”, the Japanese words for gorilla and whale, apt because Godzilla is a big ape-like creature that came out of the deep.
46…Prefix with tropic..HELIO-
Many plants grow towards the light, usually the light from the sun. That behavior is known as heliotropism.
47…FDR bought the first one in 1941..E BOND
Series E Savings Bonds were introduced in 1941, just before the start of WWII, as “defense bonds”. After the attack on Pearl Harbor they became known as “war bonds”.
The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.
“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.
51…University of Latvia locale..RIGA
Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
52…Lineup member, hopefully..PERP
What we know in American English as a “police lineup” is referred to as an “identity parade” in British English.
Obstetrics specialist (Ob)
The Latin phrase “vox populi” translates as “voice of the people”. The expression is used in the world of broadcasting to describe interviews with members of the public.