Edited by: Rich Norris
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Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
11. Symbol of purity : HALO
The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo”, used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.
15. Fizzled : PETERED OUT
The verb phrase “to peter out”, meaning “to fizzle out”, originated in the 1840s in the American mining industry. While the exact etymology isn’t clear, it probably derives from the term “saltpetre”, a constituent of gunpowder.
16. Junket : TRIP
Nowadays we use the term “junket” for a trip taken by a government official at public expense that has no public benefit. Back in the late 1500s, a junket was a basket for carrying fish. The term was then applied to a feast or banquet, perhaps adopting the notion of a picnic “basket”. From feast or banquet, the term came to mean a pleasure trip, and is now our political junket.
22. Comforter : DUVET
A “duvet” is a large flat bag that is filled with down, feathers or a synthetic substitute that is used as a top cover for a bed. Although a duvet is similar to what is called a “comforter” in the US, there is a difference. A duvet is often has an easily removed cover that is usually laundered at the same time as the bottom sheet and pillowcases. We use them a lot in Europe, and generally without a top sheet due to the ease of laundering.
23. Metered lines : POESY
“Poesy” is an alternative name for poetry, often used to mean the “art of poetry”.
24. Rudder location : AFT
A rudder is usually a flat sheet of wood or metal located at the stern of a boat, under the waterline. The rudder is attached to a rudder post, which rotates to change the orientation of the rudder hence steering the boat. That rotation of the rudder post can be achieved by pulling or pushing a lever at the top of the post called a tiller.
25. “Now!” : STAT
The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.
26. “Buddenbrooks” author : MANN
“Buddenbrooks” was Thomas Mann’s first novel, published in 1901. When Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929, it was given on the basis of his whole body of work, although “Buddenbrooks” was specifically mentioned as the main reason for the award.
27. Farm follower? : E-I-E-I-O
There was an American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O), that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.
29. Moolah : GELT
“Gelt” is the Yiddish word for “money”.
Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, scratch, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.
30. Pop-up producer : ADWARE
Adware is “advertising-supported software”, an application that includes ads in some form so that the developed can generate revenue. Sometimes deceptive practices can be used to entice a user to install such programs, so adware can sometimes be classed as malware (malicious software).
36. Wine flavor component : TANNIN
Some red wines and teas can have an astringent taste, a dry and puckering feeling, because of the presence of tannins. Tannins occur naturally in plants, probably as a defensive measure against predators who shy away from the astringent. The word “tannin” comes from an Old German word for oak or fir tree, as in “Tannenbaum”.
37. Compact __ : DISC
The compact disc was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.
38. Jerks : TWITS
“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that was quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.
40. Inventing middle name : ALVA
Thomas Alva Edison (TAE) was nicknamed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, a name that stuck. He was indeed a wizard, in the sense that he was such a prolific inventor. The Menlo Park part of the moniker recognizes the location of his first research lab, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
44. Six-pack to be proud of : ABS
The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …
45. Big name in ’50s-’60s civil rights : EVERS
Medgar Evers was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi who was assassinated by the Klu Klux Klan in 1963. A year after the murder, one Byron De La Beckwith was arrested and charged with the crime. Two trials failed to return a decision on Beckwith’s guilt as the juries, composed completely of white males, deadlocked both times. New evidence was unearthed some thirty years later so Beckwith could be retried and he was finally convicted of the murder in 1994. Back in 1963 Evers was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Evers had served in the US Army in France during WWII and left the military with the rank of sergeant.
52. Symbol of ancient Egypt : SACRED IBIS
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!
56. Exam for some college srs. : LSAT
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
1. Radar pickups : SPEEDS
Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.
3. Interval for Rossini : OTTAVA
“Ottava” is the Italian word for “octave”.
Gioachino Rossini was a prolific and very successful composer from Pesaro, Italy. During his lifetime, Rossini was lauded as the most successful composer of operas in history. His best known opera today is probably “The Barber of Seville”. His best known piece of music is probably the finale of the overture from his opera “William Tell”.
4. Three-line stanza : TERCET
A tercet is a group of three connected lines of poetry.
5. Benjamin of “Law & Order” : BRATT
The actor Benjamin Bratt’s most noted role has to be Detective Rey Curtis on the NBC cop show “Law & Order”. Bratt dated the actress Julia Roberts for a few years.
7. Payroll service initials : ADP
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) is an enterprise based in Roseland, New Jersey that provides business services to companies.
9. German coffeecake : KUCHEN
We use the term “kucken” in English to describe a frosted coffee cake. “Kuchen” is the German word for “cake”.
10. Optical maladies : STYES
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
11. Webmaster’s code : HTML
HTML is HyperText Markup Language, the language used to write most Internet web pages (including this one).
12. Ancient Syrian : ARAMAEAN
The ancient Biblical land of Aram was named after Aram, a grandson of Noah. Aram was located in the center of modern-day Syria. Aramaic became the everyday language of Syria, Mesopotamia and Palestine.
23. Date provider : PALM
Date palms can be either male or female. Only the female tree bears fruit.
26. 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.
28. WWII battle site, for short : IWO
Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.
29. Theodor whose middle name was Seuss : GEISEL
“Dr. Seuss” was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel first used the pen name while studying at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford. Back then, he pronounced “Seuss” as it would be in German, i.e. rhyming with “voice”. After his books found success in the US, he went with the pronunciation being used widely by the public, quite happy to have a name that rhymed with “Mother Goose”.
30. It adjoins the altar : APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.
31. “Brava!” : ATTA GIRL!
To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer by using “bravi!”
34. Blaster : TNT
“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.
35. Unleashes : SICS
“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.
39. William of “24” : DEVANE
Actor William Devane is perhaps best known for playing Greg Sumner on “Knots Landing in the eighties and nineties, and more recently for playing Secretary of Defense James Heller on “24”. Here’s a little trivia: Devane’s father was chauffeur to Franklin D. Roosevelt when he was Governor of New York.
40. Fifth-century invader : ATTILA
In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.
41. Elvis Presley lyricist Jerry : LEIBER
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were a songwriting partnership, with Leiber writing lyrics and Stoller writing music. The list of Leiber and Stoller hits is impressive, including “Hound Dog”, “Poison Ivy”, “Stand By Me”, “Jailhouse Rock” and “Spanish Harlem”.
42. __ facias: jury pool (from the Latin for “make come”) : VENIRE
The term “venire facias juratores” is used to describe a write directing that a jury is to be assembled. The term is also used for resulting pool of jurors, often shortened to “venire facias”, or just “venire”. The Latin “venire facias” translates as “may you cause to come”.
43. Grain bristle : ARISTA
An arista is a stiff bristle found on some plants. The bristles seen on some grasses and cereals are called awns, and awns are a specific type of arista.
46. Sun block : VISOR
Nowadays, we tend to think of a “visor” as the front brim of a hat, or a shade for the eyes. The original “viser” was the front part of a helmet, back in the 14th century. The term comes from the Old French “vis” meaning “face”.
47. ’70s-’80s Egyptian president : SADAT
Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.
50. Suggestive gander : LEER
To take “a gander” is to take a long look. It’s a term we’ve been using since the 1880s and comes from the idea that in taking a long look one might be craning one’s neck like a goose (or gander).
53. Letter after pi : RHO
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.