Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. It’s commonly read by waiters : TABLOID
Tabloids are commonly read by those waiting in a grocery store checkout line.
Tabloid is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.
15. 1992 Mamet play : OLEANNA
I’ve never seen it, but “Oleanna” sounds like a powerful play to me. Written by David Mamet, it was first performed in 1992. It’s a two-person piece, the tale of a university professor and a female student who accuses him of sexual exploitation. Mimet got many of the themes of the play from the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in which Anita Hill accused the future Supreme Court justice of sexual harassment.
David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films “The Verdict” (1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).
16. Cork holder : IRELAND
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Cork has been a major port for many years, and was the last port of call for many, many Irish emigrants to America. When these Irish people reached the US it was common for them to give their point of origin as “Cork”, whereas they may have come from almost anywhere in Ireland. It’s because of this that many descendants of Irish immigrants who had been told they were from a Cork family often find out they were under a misapprehension as their ancestors just sailed from Cork.
17. Enterprise enterprise : RENTING
Enterprise Rent-A-Car was established in 1957 by Jack. C. Taylor in St. Louis, Missouri, where the company is still headquartered today. The company was originally called Executive Leasing Company. The name was changed in 1962 in honor of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on which Taylor served during WWII.
18. They’re usually kept : GIGOLOS
In French, a “gigole” is a “dancing girl, prostitute”. The male form of the word, “gigolo”, came into use in English in the 1920s.
19. 1976 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year awardee : EVERT
Chris Evert is a former professional tennis player from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Evert has the best winning percentage in professional tennis, man or woman worldwide, losing less than 10% of all her matches.
22. Hawthorne cover image : RED A
The main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” is Hester Prynne. When Prynne is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title, “The Scarlet Letter”.
24. Ben, to Jerry : SON
Ben Stiller is the son of comic actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Ben is perhaps as well-known as a director as he is an actor. He made his debut as a director in the film “Reality Bites” in 1994.
29. John Paul’s successor : ELENA
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …
John Paul Stevens retired as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court in 2010 after having served for over 34 years. That made him the third longest serving justice in the history of the court. Stevens had been nominated by President Gerald Ford to replace Justice William O. Douglas, who had been the longest serving justice in the court (at over 36 years).
32. Pollutant banned by Cong. in 1979 : PCB
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.
34. Sights from la mer : ILES
In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “la mer” (the sea).
41. __-Man : PAC
The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.
43. Singer Lovato : DEMI
Pop and R&B singer Demi Lovato started her performing career as a child actress, playing Angela on the kids TV show “Barney & Friends” from 2002 to 2004. When she was all grown up, Levato served as a judge on “The X Factor” from 2012 to 2013, and soon after had the recurring role of Dani on “Glee”.
44. Renée Fleming et al. : DIVAS
The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.
Renée Fleming is a marvelous soprano from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Famous for her appearances in opera houses and concert halls all over the world, Fleming is also noted for her willingness to bring her craft to the masses. She was a guest on “Sesame Street”, singing “counting lyrics” to an aria from “Rigoletto”, and she has appeared a few times on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”.
50. Fed. assistance program : SSI
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is federal program that provides financial relief to persons with low incomes who are 65 or older, or who are blind or disabled. The SSI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) even though the the Social Security trust fund is not used for SSI payments. SSI payments come out of general tax revenue.
53. Durango demonstrative : ESTA
In Spanish, the “otra” (other) is neither “esta” (this) nor “esa” (that).
Durango is one of the 31 states of Mexico. Durango is landlocked, and is located in the northwest of the country.
59. Rayed flowers : DAISIES
The flowers of the daisy plant close tightly at sunset and then open up again in the morning. It is this behavior that led to the name “daisy”, from the Old English for “day’s eye”. So, the daisy could be called a “well-rested” plant. And, someone who is well-rested attacks the day “fresh as a daisy”. Interesting, huh?
61. Bond choice : MARTINI
Why have a vodka martini shaken and not stirred (as does James Bond, 007)? Well, for one thing the shaken drink tends to be colder. And with more melted ice in the drink, it isn’t as strong. These are my personal observations … no need to write in …
62. Charlie McCarthy feature : MONOCLE
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s most famous character was Charlie McCarthy, but Bergen also worked with Mortimer Snerd.
63. Significant supply : ARSENAL
Our word “arsenal” comes from the Italian “arzenale”, a work adapted from the Arabic for “workshop”. There was a large wharf in Venice called the Arzenale that became associated with the storage of weapons and ammunition, and this led to our contemporary usage of “arsenal”.
64. Sounded like a flute duet? : CLINKED
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.
1. One facing charges? : TORERO
“Toreador” is an old Spanish word for a bullfighter, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.
2. Two-part British academic exam : A LEVEL
The UK’s education system was reformed in the fifties with the introduction of the General Certificate of Education (GCE). There were two levels of certification that could be awarded in most subjects. The GCE Ordinary Level (O Level) was a much less rigorous standard of examination than the GCE Advanced Level (A Level). The O Levels have largely been replaced now, but students still sit A Level examinations.
3. Noted 2013 resignee : BENEDICT XVI
Did you know that the former Pope, Benedict XVI, released a music CD while in office? His Holiness is featured singing on an album released by the Vatican called “Alma Mater: Featuring The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI Deluxe Edition”, a collection of sacred music. All proceeds go to help underprivileged children around the world. Benedict XVI was also the first pope to have a Twitter account. His first tweet went out on 12 December 2012:
Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.
4. Opera originally titled “Violetta” : LA TRAVIATA
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata” was originally titled “Violetta” after the main character in the piece. The title “La Traviata” translates into “The Woman Gone Astray”, reflecting Violetta’s life as a courtesan.
7. Typographical symbol : DAGGER
A dagger (also called an obelisk, plural obeli) is a typographical symbol. The dagger is usually used to indicate a footnote.
10. 1852 literary villain : LEGREE
Simon Legree is the cruel slave owner in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.
11. Turn preceder, in Texas Hold ’em : FLOP
In the card game called Texas hold ‘em, two hole cards are dealt to each player, and five community cards are dealt face up on the table. The community cards are dealt in the three stages. The first three cards are dealt in one stage (the flop), then the fourth card is shown (the turn), and finally the fifth card (the river).
12. Popular store opening? : WAL-
Walmart (previously “Wal-Mart”) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can actually go into the original store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor Center.
13. Periodo de tiempo : ANO
In Spanish, an “año” (year) is a “periodo de tiempo” (time frame, period of time).
23. Higher than you might have hoped : STEEP
That might be a steep price, higher than one might have hoped.
24. Phone accessory banned at Disney parks : SELFIE STICK
Selfie sticks, oh how I hate selfie sticks. A walk down the Strip in Vegas is an enlightening exercise in what’s wrong with contemporary photography …
26. Cartoon award eponym : NAST
The Thomas Nast Award has been presented annually since 1968 for the best cartoons on international affairs. There’s also a Thomas Nast Prize that has been awarded periodically since 1978 to one German cartoonist and one North American cartoonist. The celebrated cartoonist Thomas Nast was born in Landau, Germany and moved with his family to New York City when he was a child.
28. Sinusitis-treating MD : ENT
Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)
The suffix “-itis” is used to denote inflammation, as in laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), otitis (inflammation of the ear) and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).
30. 1993 “Ethan Frome” star : LIAM NEESON
Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news several years ago when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.
“Ethan Frome” is a novel by New York and Massachusetts author Edith Wharton, first published in 1911. Wharton started “Ethan Frome” as a composition in French that she wrote while studying the language in Paris. The novel was adapted into a 1993 film of the same name starring Liam Neeson in the title role, opposite Patricia Arquette.
36. Paquete de __: cerveza purchase : SEIS
In Spanish, when buying “cerveza” (beer), one might purchase a “paquete de seis” (six-pack).
37. Iceberg topper : SALAD OIL
Iceberg lettuce is the most popular lettuce consumed in the US. Also known as “crisphead”, it is considered by many experts to be one of least flavorful varieties of lettuce available. I agree …
39. One of Donald’s pair : DEE
There are two letters D (dees) in the word “Donald”.
45. Tried to make it home : SLID IN
That would be baseball.
47. Hip-hop group at Live Aid’s 1985 Philadelphia concert : RUN-DMC
Run-DMC was a hip hop group from Queens, New York. The trio took its name from two of the group’s members: Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.
48. Holt’s detective partner in ’80s TV : STEELE
The eighties detective show “Remington Steele” stars Stephanie Zimbalist as a private detective Laura Holt, and Pierce Brosnan as the handsome bad boy Remington Steele, who’s really a good boy. The show successfully melds the detective genre with elements of romantic comedy.
52. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA
Edina, Minnesota lies just southwest of Minneapolis. The town takes its name from Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. It was suggested by a Scottish mill owner at the time a new village was being set up in 1888.
56. Chicago-based professional org. : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)
58. Board game spots with nine sqs. between them : RRS
The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:
- Reading Railroad
- Pennsylvania Railroad
- B&O Railroad
- Short Line
60. Moviefone owner : AOL
Moviefone is a movie listing service that is available by telephone in many parts of the country. Moviefone was launched in 1989, and purchased by AOL ten years later for $388 million.