Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
15. Ancient Roman coins : DENARII
The denarius (plural “denarii”) is a small silver coin that was used in Ancient Rome. Derived from the Latin “deni” meaning “containing ten”, a denarius had the value of ten asses. Today’s “dinar” is a common coin in the Arab world and is named for the old Roman coin. The dinar name was chosen in the days when Arabs were conquering large swathes of the old Roman Empire.
17. Court exhibit, perhaps : DNA TEST
I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relations.
19. Customs : MORES
Mores are the accepted customs and practices of a particular group. “Mores” is the plural of the Latin word “mos” which means “custom”.
20. ’70s org. for 21-Down : WHA
The World Hockey Association (WHA) was a professional league active from 1972 to 1979. The WHA was a competitor to the National Hockey League (NHL). Four WHA teams (the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets) joined the NHL when the WHA ceased operations.
22. Viking family dog of comics : SNERT
“Hägar the Horrible” is a comic strip that was created by the late Dik Browne and is now drawn by his son, Chris Browne. “Hägar the Terrible” (not “Horrible”) was the nickname given to Dik by his sons. The strip’s title character is a red-bearded Viking living on the Norwegian coast during the Middle Ages. Hägar lives with his overbearing wife Helga, his sensitive son Hamlet, his pretty daughter Honi, and his clever dog Snert.
24. Side issue? : THORN
A thorn in the side (often “thorn in the flesh”) is an idiom describing an irritant. The phrase comes from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians in the Christian Bible:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
26. Piano __ : TRIO
In the world of chamber music, a trio often includes a piano. Common forms are:
30. “Microsoft sound” composer : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, Eno’s most oft-played composition (by far!) is Microsoft’s “start-up jingle”, the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system is booting up. Eno might have annoyed the Microsoft folks when he stated on a BBC radio show:
I wrote it on a Mac. I’ve never used a PC in my life; I don’t like them.
31. Classic children’s story about healing : THE SECRET GARDEN
“The Secret Garden” is a children’s novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published in serial form in 1910, and then as a complete book in 1911. The story is so popular that it has been adapted on more than one occasion, for the stage, big screen, and television and there are also numerous animated productions as well.
34. “What’s Hecuba to him, __ to Hecuba”: Hamlet : OR HE
In “Hamlet”, William Shakespeare employs the “play-within-a-play” device. Hamlet engages some professional actors to stage “The Murder of Gonzago”. After watching the Player King deliver a moving soliloquy, Hamlet himself makes a speech, including the lines:
What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her?
35. St Ives gallery : TATE
The museum known as “the Tate” is actually made up of four separate galleries in England. The original Tate gallery was founded by Sir Henry Tate as the National Gallery of British Art. It is located on Millbank in London, on the site of the old Millbank Prison, and is now called Tate Britain. There is also the Tate Liverpool in the north of England located in an old warehouse, and the Tate St Ives in the west country located in an old gas works. My favorite of the Tate galleries is the Tate Modern which lies on the banks of the Thames in London. It’s a beautiful building, a converted power station that you have to see to believe.
36. ’60s TV sidekick : AGENT NINETY-NINE
The satirical comedy series called “Get Smart” was the creation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and starred Don Adams as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. Agent 86 worked for the spy agency CONTROL, alongside the lovely Agent 99. CONTROL’s sworn enemy was the criminal organization called KAOS. Smart’s shoe phone was a hilarious prop used in almost every episode. When Smart dialed the number 117, the shoe converted into a gun. Cool stuff …
43. Discount tag abbr. : IRR
45. Put the kibosh on : NIX
Kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.
46. Actors Glass and Silver : RONS
Ron Glass was an actor best known for playing Det. Ron Harris on the sitcom “Barney Miller”.
Ron Silver has a long career playing relatively small roles on the big screen and television, with roles in well known films like “Mr. Saturday Night”, “Ali”, and “Garbo Talks”. Notably, Silver was the president of Actors’ Equity from 1991 to 2000.
49. High seas adverb : THAR
“Thar she blows!” is a phrase that originated on whaling ships. A lookout spotting a whale surfacing to breathe might see the spray from the blowhole caused by the expulsion of carbon dioxide. Thar (there) she blows!
50. Creamer of the LPGA : PAULA
Paula Creamer is a American golfer, winner of the 2010 US Women’s Open. She is a local here where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Indeed, as her career took off we were members of the same golf club here in town. That said, I never met the talented Ms. Creamer …
52. Search result : URL
53. “Rocky IV” antagonist Ivan : DRAGO
Dolph Lundgren is an actor and martial artist from Sweden. Lundgren’s debut role was a small one, acting as a KGB henchman in the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill”. His big break was starring opposite Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky IV”, playing a scary Russian boxer named Ivan Drago.
59. Hyundai 1990 launch : ELANTRA
The Elantra is a compact car made by Hyundai of South Korea. There was a long-standing dispute between Hyundai and manufacturers Lotus and Mitsubishi. Lotus contended that the Elantra name was too close the Lotus Elan, and Mitsubishi didn’t like the similarity to the Mitsubishi Elante.
2. Festival of Lights symbol : MENORAH
There is a seven-branched menorah used symbolically in ancient temples. However, the Hanukkah menorah is a nine-branched lampstand that is lit during the eight-day holiday called Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. “Menorah” is the Hebrew word for “lamp”.
14. Floatplane feature : PONTOON
The aircraft known as a floatplane differs from a flying boat. The former uses pontoons under the fuselage to provide buoyancy, whereas the latter’s buoyancy comes from the fuselage itself.
21. Six-time Hart Trophy winner : HOWE
Gordie Howe is a retired Canadian hockey player. Regarded as one of the games greatest players, Howe is sometimes referred to as “Mr Hockey”. He is the only hockey player to have competed in the NHL for five decades (from the forties through the eighties), and holds the NHL record for most games and most seasons played.
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged to be most valuable for his team in the NHL. The award is named for Dr. David Hart, a Canadian who donated the original trophy to the league.
28. Capital of Western Australia : PERTH
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. Perth earned itself the nickname of “City of Light” in 1962 as the virtually all the town’s lights were turned on at full power when astronaut John Glenn passed overhead in earth orbit in Friendship 7, so that he could see the city below. The city gave a repeat performance for Glenn in 1998 when he passed overhead in the Space Shuttle in 1998.
29. Faun look-alike : SATYR
The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.
Fauns are regarded as the Roman mythological equivalent of the Greek satyrs, but fauns were half-man and half-goat and much more “carefree” in personality than their Hellenic cousins. In the modern age we are quite familiar with Mr. Tumnus, the faun-like character encountered by the children entering the world of Narnia in C. S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
33. Cartoon canine : REN
“The Ren and Stimpy Show” is an animated television show that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …
38. Hospital triage pro : ER NURSE
“Triage” is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on a battlefield. The term “triage” is French and means “a sorting”.
39. Mayberry’s home: Abbr. : NCAR
Mayberry is the fictional North Carolina town in which the “The Andy Griffith Show” is set. Mayberry is said to based on Griffith’s own hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
41. New York county north of Erie : NIAGARA
Niagara County in the state of New York is home to the magnificent Niagara Falls. The city of Niagara Falls is the largest in the county, but the county seat is Lockport.
42. 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, e.g. : EX-ROYAL
Ben Zobrist is a professional baseball player. Zobrist won the 2015 World Series with the Kansas City Royals, and the the 2016 World Series with the Chicago Cubs. For the latter win, he was named the 2016 World Series MVP.
55. Dogfight participant : ACE
A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.
57. Like : A LA
The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.