Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with a type of JOKE:
- 67A…Some speeches open with them … as do this puzzle’s four longest entries..JOKES
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Oodles and oodles..SCADS
The origin of the word “scads”, meaning “lots and lots”, is unclear, although back in the mid-1800s “scads” was used to mean “dollars”.
An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” consists of lines made up of four sequential iambs e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With a sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.
14…Kemper of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”..ELLIE
The actress Ellie Kemper’s big break came with the role of Erin Hannon, a receptionist on the sitcom “The Office”. More recently, Kemper has be playing the title role on the Netfliz comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.
The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoar-frost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard.
16…Tennis court surface..CLAY
There are four different surfaces used for playing tennis competitively:
- Clay courts (used for the French Open)
- Hard courts (used for the US Open and the Australian Open)
- Grass courts (used for Wimbledon)
- Carpet courts
21…Ocho minus cinco..TRES
In Spanish, “ocho” (eight) minus “cinco” (five) is “tres” (three).
23…Baltic Sea capital..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.
25…RC or Pepsi..COLA
Nehi Corporation was the nickname for the Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works that introduced the Nehi drink in 1924. Years later the company developed a new brand, Royal Crown Cola (also known as RC Cola). By 1955, RC Cola was the company’s flagship product, so the “Nehi Corporation” became the “Royal Crown Company”. In 1954, RC Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in cans.
The Pepsi-Cola formulation was developed by one Caleb Bradham who made the drink at home and sold it as “Brad’s Drink”. Bradham’s aim was to provide a drink that was pleasant to taste, that would aid digestion and boost energy. Included in the formula were pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts. These two ingredients inspired the brand name we use today: Pepsi-Cola.
27…1998 Bullock/Kidman film involving witchcraft..PRACTICAL MAGIC (giving “practical joke”)
“Practical Magic” is a 1998 romcom starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as two sisters who are raised as witches. The film is based on a 1995 novel of the same name written by Alice Hoffman.
A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.
34…Chicken chow __..MEIN
“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, “basic” chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as Hong Kong style chow mein.
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.
Dollar Rent A Car was founded in 1965. Chrysler acquired the company in 1990 and merged it with Thrifty Car Rental, which Chrysler had purchased a year earlier.
40…Flag Day month..JUNE
Flag Day in the US is June 14th each year, as the Flag of the United States was adopted officially by the Second Continental Congress on June 14th, 1777. Flag Day in Canada is on February 15th, as the current Flag of Canada was inaugurated on February 15th, 1965.
41…Maiden name intro..NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
48…Word on a shoppe sign..OLDE
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.
49…Data set average..MEAN
In a set of numbers, the mean is the average value of those numbers. The median is the numeric value at which half the numbers have a lower value, and half the numbers a higher value.
50…”Gone With the Wind” family name..O’HARA
Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation, in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland.
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game, by a German acquaintance of mine, called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.
A mace is a relatively simple weapon in essence, a heavy weight on the end of a handle that is used to deliver powerful blows on an opponent’s body.
61…Divided island of Southeast Asia..TIMOR
Timor is an island in Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is politically divided into West Timor, belonging to Indonesia, and the independent state of East Timor. The name “Timor” comes from a Malay word for “east”, and is used as Timor lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.
There is an “official” competition involving Oreo cookies, in case anyone is interested in participating. A competitor has to take several steps to finish an OREO Lick Race:
- Twist open the cookie.
- Lick each half clean of creme.
- Show the clean cookie halves to the fellow competitors.
- Dunk the cookie halves in a glass of milk.
- Eat the cookie halves.
- Drink the milk.
Ready, set, go …
Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Irvine, California and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.
A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.
2…Elizabeth Taylor role, informally..CLEO
The 1963 movie “Cleopatra” really was an epic work. It was the highest grossing film of the year, taking in $26 million dollars at the box office, yet it still lost money. The original budget for the film was just $2 million, but so many things went wrong the final cost swelled to a staggering $44 million dollars, making it the second most expensive movie ever made (taking into account inflation). Elizabeth Taylor was supposed to earn a record amount of $1 million for the film, and ended up earned seven times that amount due to delays. But she paid dearly, as she became seriously ill during shooting and had to have an emergency tracheotomy to save her life. The scar in her throat can actually be seen in some of the shots in the film.
Alan Greenspan served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, the longest anyone has held that post. He was appointed by President Reagan for a four-year term, and was reappointed by subsequent presidents until Greenspan retired. Outside of the world of economics, Greenspan is married to NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell, and back in the seventies he dated Barbara Walters.
4…Acts like Elizabeth Taylor?..DIVORCES
Actress Elizabeth Taylor married eight times, to seven husbands. Those marriages were to:
- Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, the young hotel heir
- Michael Wilding, the English actor
- Mike Todd, the film and stage producer
- Eddie Fisher, the singer
- Richard Burton (twice), the Welsh actor
- John Warner, who went on to become a US Senator for Virginia
- Larry Fortensky, a construction worker whom Taylor met at the Betty Ford Clinic
6…Former French president Jacques..CHIRAC
Jacques Chirac served as French President from 1995 to 2007. He also served twice as Prime Minister of France, and as the Mayor of Paris.
8…Symbol for the lower piano music part..BASS CLEF
Clef is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on the stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, the alto clef is the C-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.
The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.
12…Rodent in a German lab..MAUS
The German for “mouse” is “maus”.
In the world of computers, a “bit” is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of bits (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. And the prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and kilobyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.
19…Ken or Daria of financial journalism..DOLAN
Husband and wife Ken and Daria Dolan are sometimes referred to as “The First Family of Finance”. They are both authors of book on personal finance management, and also co-anchored the show “Dolans Unscripted” on CNN.
T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain, founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.
There have been several rovers sent to Mars from Earth. The Soviet Union’s Mars 2 landed in 1971, and failed. Mars 3 landed the same year, and ceased operation just 20 seconds after landing. NASA’s Sojourner landed in 1997 (what a great day that was!) and operated from July through September. The British rover Beagle 2 was lost six days before its scheduled entry into the Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Spirit landed in 2004, and operated successful for over six years before getting trapped in sand and eventually ceasing to communicate. NASA’s Opportunity also landed in 2004, and it is still going. And then NASA’s Curiosity made a spectacular, hi-tech landing in 2012 and is continuing to explore the planet today.
29…”So long!” along the Seine..ADIEU
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.
The Seine is the river that flows through Paris. The Seine empties into the English Channel to the north, at the port city of Le Havre.
40…Surrealist painter from Barcelona..JOAN MIRO
Joan Miró was a Spanish artist. Miro immersed himself in Surrealism, so much so that Andre Breton, the founder of the movement, said that Miro was “the most Surrealist of us all”.
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.
The origin of the word “bikini”, a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name “bikini” was chosen for the swim-wear because of the “explosive” effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!
45…Big name in antivirus software..NORTON
Norton Antivirus software is produced by Symantec. The Norton brand name originated with Peter Norton Computing, a company that Symantec acquired in 1990. Peter Norton’s most famous product was Norton Utilities, and he never produced an antivirus application. Symantec decided to use the respected Norton brand for the antivirus product that it developed and introduced in 1991.
46…Estevez of “The Breakfast Club”..EMILIO
Emilio Estevez is one of the members of Hollywood’s famous “Brat Pack”, having appeared in “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire”. Estevez’s father (and can’t you tell it from looking at him?) is actor Martin Sheen. Estevez decided to keep his father’s real name, and not the stage name of “Sheen”. Charlie Sheen is Emilio’s brother, and Charlie’s real name is Carlos Estevez.
“The Breakfast Club” is a fabulous teen drama film (a genre which I usually avoid like the plague) released in 1985. It is directed by John Hughes, and stars Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy as the students at a Saturday school detention class.
51…”Big Hero 6″ hero..HIRO
“Big Hero 6” is a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. They are a relatively new creation, introduced in 1998. “Big Hero 6” appeared in their own Disney animated film in 2014.
54…Classic arcade game Donkey __..KONG
The first video game featuring the ape called Donkey Kong was created in 1981. That first “Donkey Kong” game also introduced the world to the character known as “Mario”, four years before “Super Mario Bros” became such a big hit.
56…Every which way..AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …
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.