Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
The color “jet black” takes its name from the minor gemstone known as jet. The gemstone and the material it is made of takes its English name from the French name “jaiet”.
5…Govt. property overseer..GSA
The US Government’s General Services Administration (GSA), as the name suggests, provides general services to other federal agencies. So for example, the GSA manages office space for the other agencies, and transportation.
The Great Dane dog of isn’t actually from Denmark, and rather is a German breed.
One might get an actor onstage by cuing him or her.
18…Start of a noncommittal RSVP..WE MAY …
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “please, answer”.
21…Awards for “Rent” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”..OBIES
The musical “Rent” by Jonathan Larson is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. “Rent” tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and we were very disappointed …
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is a rock musical that opened Off-Broadway in 1998, and which won that year’s Obie for Best Off-Broadway musical. The film version of the show was released in 2001, and apparently there are plans for a sequel.
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.
23…San Francisco, to most Californians..UPSTATE
The California city of San Francisco takes its name from the Presidio of San Francisco and the nearby Mission San Francisco de Asís that were founded in 1776 by Spanish colonists.
26…Rice on a field..JERRY
Jerry Rice won three Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers: XXIII vs the Bengals, XXIV vs the Broncos, and XXIX vs the Chargers.
The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.
30…PC-checking org., at times..TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks. TSA personnel carry out the baggage and body searches at US airports. The TSA has a Trusted Traveler program that allows certain passengers to move more quickly through security screening. These passengers pay the TSA a one-time fee that covers a background check after which successful applicants are issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN).
In the classic cartoon show “The Flintstones”, Pebbles is the red-haired daughter of Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Pebbles’ best friend Bamm-Bamm lives next door, the adopted son of Barney and Betty Rubble. As the franchise developed, so did the two youngsters, and they eventually married.
The dram is a confusing unit of measurement, I think. It has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!
37…It first passed 2014 in 2014, briefly..S AND P
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a financial services company, famous for its stock market indices, especially the S&P 500. The company also publishes credit ratings for sovereign governments, and in 2011 famously lowered the rating of the US federal government from AAA to to AA+.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!
39…”Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” author..FLAGG
Fannie Flagg is the stage name of American actress Patricia Neil. Neil had to change her name to avoid confusion with the famous Oscar-winning actress of the same name. As well as acting, Flagg is a celebrated author, her most famous work being the 1987 novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”. She also wrote the screenplay for the screen adaptation “Fried Green Tomatoes”, which was released in 1991.
41…Raiding group, familiarly..THE FEDS
A “fed” is an officer of a US federal agency, although the term usually applies to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
51…Group of football players, perhaps..RUGBY TEAM
Rugby is a town in County Warwickshire, England. It is a market town, and is also home to the famous Rugby School, one of the oldest private schools in the country. The school gave its name to the sport of rugby, as the laws of the game were first published by three boys at Rugby School in 1845.
52…”Mr. Belvedere” actress Graff..ILENE
Ilene Graff is an American actress, probably best known for playing Marsha Owens, the wife of George in the TV series “Mr. Belvedere”.
Euro coins are issued by all the participating European states. The reverse side is a common design used by all countries, whereas the obverse is a design specific to each nation. For example, the one euro coin issued by Malta features the Maltese Cross. That Maltese euro is legal tender right across the eurozone. Of course the Irish euro features a harp.
The use of the word “bread” as a slang term for money dates back to the 1940s, and is derived from the term “breadwinner”, meaning the person in the house who puts bread on the table, brings in the money.
Dweeb, squarepants, nerd, they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing: someone excessively studious and socially inept.
56…Gp. using sub titles?..USN
US Navy (USN)
When a guy heads out to a party alone, he is said to be “going stag”.
1…”Thus with a kiss __”: Romeo..I DIE
In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the last words uttered by Romeo are:
O true apothecary!
They drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
Juliet’s last words are:
Yea, noise? then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die.
2…Table salt, in chem class..NACL
Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound, a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na) ions in between the chlorides.
The term “pants”, meaning trousers, is an abbreviated form of “pantaloons” that first appeared in the 1840s. Pantaloons were a kind of tights named for a silly old male character in Italian comedy called “Pantaloun”, who always wore tight trousers over skinny legs.
6…Part of WYSIWYG..SEE IS
Flip Wilson was a comedian who had his own show on television in the early seventies. Such was his level of success that in 1972, “Time” featured Wilson on the magazine’s cover and dubbed him “TV’s first black superstar”. Wilson’s birth name was Clerow, and he earned the nickname “Flip” while serving the US Air Force, as he was always “flipped out”. He often played a character called Geraldine on his show, who became known for using the expression “What you see is what you get”. Computer scientists adopted Geraldine’s catchphrase to describe a system in which onscreen content is the same as that printed on paper. The computer term is WYSIWYG, an acronym standing for “what you see is what you get”.
7…Home position, for some..ASDF
ASDF is a sequence of keys on the home row of keyboard.
12…Sebaceous gland issue..STYE
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
Tiny sebaceous glands are found on most of the skin. Their function is to produce an oily substance called sebum, which lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair.
17…Fare on a stick..KEBAB
The name “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.
20…Round Greek letter..THETA
The Greek letter theta is the one that looks like a number zero with a horizontal line across the middle.
23…Monument Valley locale..UTAH
The spectacular Monument Valley, with it’s magnificent sandstone buttes and mesas, lies within the bounds of the Navajo Nation Reservation near the Four Corners region in the Southwest. The valley has served as a spectacular backdrop in many Hollywood movies. I always remember it as the location where Forrest Gump decided to stop running back and forth across the country.
Jim Nabors was discovered by Andy Griffith and brought onto “The Andy Griffith Show” as Gomer Pyle, the gas station attendant. Famously, Nabors then got his own show called “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”
25…Computer screen?..SPAM FILTER
Apparently the term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …
32…Organic frozen-food brand..AMY’S
Amy’s Kitchen is a company making organic and easy-to-prepare frozen food. The company was founded in 1987 by Andy and Rachel Berliner, and Amy is their daughter.
37…”SNL” sketches, e.g…SATIRES
“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)
38…Like a bad apple..MEALY
Something described as “mealy” resembles meal in texture, and so is granular in consistency.
40…University founder Stanford..LELAND
Leland Stanford became a very successful businessman in California after moving there from New York during the Gold Rush. Stanford then served as governor of the state for two years, and later US Senator for California. He founded the Leland Stanford Junior University in memory of his teenage son who died of typhoid fever while the family was travelling in Italy in 1884. The university opened its doors for business in 1891, and the first student admitted was none other than Herbert Hoover, the man would become the 31st President of the US.
42…Film hero Roy who wielded a bat called “Wonderboy”..HOBBS
Bernard Malamud wrote the novel “The Natural”, published in 1952. It tells the story of a baseball player named Roy Hobbs, who gets shot early in his career and makes a remarkable comeback many years later. Although Roy Hobbs is a fictional character, the story is apparently based on the real-life Phillies player Eddie Waitkus, who was indeed shot in his hotel room by an obsessed fan in 1949. The film adaptation released in 1984 is an excellent movie starring Robert Redford as “The Natural”.
43…De Gaulle’s birthplace..LILLE
Lille is a large city in the very north of France sitting right on the border with Belgium. The name “Lille” is a derivation of the term “l’isle” meaning “the island”.
Charles de Gaulle was a colonel in the French army at the outbreak of WWII. He was promoted to brigadier general after a successful attack on German tank forces in 1940, one of the few successes enjoyed by the French at the start of the war. Some months later, he was appointed junior minister in the French government, at which time he strenuously argued against surrender to Germany, advocating removal of the government to the French territory of Algeria. He was unsuccessful in his arguments and so flew to England where he set about building the Free French Forces from soldiers who had also fled the country. De Gaulle made several important radio addresses to the French from London that helped rally the resistance movement. Despite a shaky relationship with Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower, De Gaulle managed to maintain a working relationship with the rest of the Allies and was accepted as leader of the new French government when Paris was liberated in 1944.
“Fain” is an old way of saying “gladly, joyfully”.
46…Briefs covering, in brief..TROU
“Trou” is short for “trousers”.
48…Supergirl’s Krypton name..KARA
Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers.
“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s.