Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Canine cleaners : TOOTHBRUSHES
The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The name “eye” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.
13. Canine fixers : ORTHODONTISTS
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry dealing with the straightening of teeth. The name comes from the Greek “orthos” meaning “straight” and “dontia” meaning “teeth”.
15. Brown nemesis? : KITE-EATING TREE
Charlie Brown is the main character in the long-running comic strip called “Peanuts”, created by Charles Schulz. Charlie has several persistent frustrations in his life, including an inability to fly a kite. The focus of his kite-flying frustration is the dreaded Kite-Eating Tree.
23. Movie makeup dept. creations : ETS
27. French physician Paul for whom an area of the brain is named : BROCA
Paul Broca was a French physician who provided the first anatomical proof that brain function was localized. He studied the brains of individuals suffering from aphasia, the inability to comprehend formulate language due to brain injury after a stroke or head trauma. Broca discovered that aphasia patients had lesions in a specific part of the brain, the left frontal region. This region of the brain’s cortex that is responsible for language is now called Broca’s Area, in his honor.
29. Rose on the charts : AXL
Axl Rose is the lead vocalist of the American rock band, Guns N’ Roses.
30. Idris of “Zootopia” : ELBA
The English actor Idris Elba is probably best known in North America for playing the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba works as a disk jockey using the name DJ Big Driis.
“Zootopia” is a 2016 Disney animated film about a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist who team up.
34. Milky Way cousin : MARS BAR
Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic, I find the Mars Bar to be the most perplexing of candies! The original Mars Bar is a British confection (and delicious) first manufactured in 1932. The US version of the original Mars Bar is called a Milky Way. But there is candy bar called a Milky Way that is also produced in the UK, and it is completely different to its US cousin, being more like an American “3 Musketeers”. And then there is an American confection called a Mars Bar, something different again. No wonder I gave up eating candy bars …
37. JFK skill : ORATORY
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was the son of Joe Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, hence the president’s double-barreled name.
39. 2010 role for Denzel : ELI
2010’s “The Book of Eli” is one of those “end of the world” type movies, with Denzel Washington playing a tough guy traveling across what is left of the United States after some apocryphal event.
Denzel Washington is an actor from Mount Vernon, just outside New York City. Washington’s big break came with a TV role, playing Dr. Philip Chandler on “St. Elsewhere” from 1982 to 1988.
40. Mus. version : ARR
43. Skein makeup : GEESE
A collection of geese is referred to as a “gaggle” when on the ground. When geese are in v-formation in flight, they are referred to collectively as a “skein”.
49. PC components : CPUS
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the main component on the motherboard of a computer. The CPU is the part of the computer that carries out most of the functions required by a program. Nowadays you can get CPUs in everything from cars to telephones.
51. Vowel-free lunch : BLT
The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.
52. Baited with a red herring : MISLED
The exact origin of the term “red herring”, meaning “something that misleads”, isn’t known. The most common explanation for the use of the phrase is that kippers (strong-smelling smoked herrings) were used to by fugitives to distract bloodhounds who were on their trail. Kippers become red-colored during the smoking process, and are no longer “white herrings”.
53. Violinist Mintz mentored by Isaac Stern : SHLOMO
Shlomo Mintz is a violin virtuoso from Israel, who lived the first two years of life in Moscow. Mintz studied with Dorothy Delay in the Juillard School of Music, and was mentored by Isaac Stern.
Isaac Stern was Ukrainian-born, but moved with his family to San Francisco at a very young age. He was a wonderful violin virtuoso who passed away in 2001.
55. Ipanema greeting : OLA
Ipanema is a beach community in the south of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The name Ipanema is a local word meaning “bad water”, signifying that the shore is bad for fishing. The beach became famous on release of the song “The Girl from Ipanema” written in 1965.
57. Recess in church : 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.
58. Winner of the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era : SERENA WILLIAMS
Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.
In the sport of tennis, the Grand Slam tournaments were opened up to professional players, and not just amateurs, in 1968. So, the period since 1968 has been called “The Open Era”.
To win the Grand Slam of tennis, a player must win the four major tournaments:
- The Australian Open (in mid-January, played on hard courts)
- The French Open (in May/June, played on clay)
- Wimbledon (in June/July, played on grass)
- The US Open (in August/September, played on hard courts)
62. Company known for programming languages : ROSETTA STONE
Rosetta Stone is a technology company that produces language-learning software. The software uses an immersion system to teach a language, immersing the student using images, text and sound. There are no translations provided. The company takes its name from the Rosetta Stone, and ancient stone slab that proved to be key in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Rosetta is a coastal city and port on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact of tremendous importance in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. Carvings on the stone are actually three translations of the same passage of prose, one in Egyptian hieroglyphics, one in Egyptian Demotic language, and one in classical Greek. The stone was discovered by the French military during Napoleon’s 1798 campaign in Egypt. Before the French could get it back to France, the stone somehow ended up in enemy hands (the British), so it is now on display in the British Museum. Ownership of the stone is very much in dispute. The French want it, and understandably, the Egyptians would like it back.
1. Stein’s partner : TOKLAS
Gertrude Stein was a great American writer who spent most of her life in France. Gertrude Stein met Alice B. Toklas in Paris in 1907 and the two were life partners until Stein died in 1946. Cleverly, Stein published her own memoirs in 1933 but called the book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”. It was to become her best selling title.
2. Maryland state bird, e.g. : ORIOLE
The Baltimore oriole is a small bird with a largely yellow body. The male’s coloring of black and yellow resembles the colors of the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, the first Governor of the Province of Maryland, and so the bird was given the name “Baltimore” oriole. It is the state bird of Maryland, and lends its name to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.
Cecilius Calvert was the 2nd Baron of Baltimore, an English peer and member of the Irish House of Lords who became Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Calvert managed the Maryland colony from his home in England, for 42 years. As Calvert was a Roman Catholic, the colony of Maryland became a haven for Catholics from England who were suffering religious persecution. The city of Baltimore is named after Calvert, who was also known as Lord Baltimore. The Baltimore title comes from the Manor of Baltimore, a large estate in County Longford in Ireland.
3. National capital from the Algonquin for “to trade” : OTTAWA
Ottawa is the second largest city in the Province of Ontario (after Toronto) and is the capital city of Canada. The name “Ottawa” comes from an Algonquin word “adawe” which means “to trade”.
4. Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos : THE FATES
The three Fates of Greek mythology were white-robed deities, and were also called the Moirai. The three Fates were Clotho the spinner, Lachesis the allotter and Atropos the unturnable.
9. Metro abbr. : STN
10. Slugfest feature : HIGH SCORE
A baseball game in which there are lots of hits and runs might be called a “slugfest”.
14. Pico de gallo pepper : SERRANO
The serrano chili pepper is native to the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo, where they grow in the mountainous regions. The name “serrano” derives from the Spanish “sierra” meaning “mountain”.
Pico de gallo is a Mexican condiment made from tomato, onion and chili peppers. “Pico de gallo” is Spanish for “beak of rooster”. Apparently this name was given as eating of the condiment with the thumb and forefinger resembled the pecking of a rooster.
16. Cure-all : ELIXIR
An elixir is a solution of alcohol and water that is used to deliver a medicine. The term “elixir” can also be used to mean a medicine that has the power to cure all ills.
22. High-end fashion accessory, briefly : YSL BAG
Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …
28. Sampras rival : AGASSI
Retired tennis professional Andre Agassi has been married to fellow player Steffi Graf since 2001. Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?
Pete Sampras is a retired Greek-American tennis professional. Sampras was rated number one in the world rankings for six years in a row in the nineties.
34. Monterey and Montclair, for short : MERCS
The Mercury brand of car was made by Ford from 1938 until 2011. Mercury was introduced by Henry Ford’s son Edsel Ford. Mercury vehicles were positioned as being more luxurious that the regular Ford models, and more economical than Ford’s high-end Lincoln models.
35. A’s in Hebrew school? : ALEPHS
“Aleph” is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and “beth” the second.
38. Title role for Roger Moore and Val Kilmer : THE SAINT
Simon Templar is a very cool character in “The Saint” series of books written by British author Leslie Charteris. “The Saint” was adapted into a famous UK television series in the sixties, with Roger Moore in the title role. The same character appeared on the big screen in numerous films. Most recently, Val Kilmer appeared as Simon Templar in a 1997 espionage thriller titled “The Saint”.
Roger Moore is best known in the US for taking on the role of 007 in seven James Bond movies from 1973 to 1985. In my part of the world we remember him playing a very debonair hero called Simon Templar in a TV series called “The Saint” from 1962 to 1969. Moore’s Templar character could very easily have morphed into a great James Bond, but by the time he was offered the part I personally think that he was just a tad too long in the tooth to pull off a credible 007.
Val Kilmer’s first big leading role in a movie was playing Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic “The Doors”. A few years later, Kilmer was chosen for the lead in another big production, “Batman Forever”. Things haven’t really gone as well for Kilmer since then, I’d say. Off the screen, he flirted with the idea of running for Governor of New Mexico in 2010. A Hollywood actor as a Governor? Would never happen …
46. Texas city near Juárez : EL PASO
Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juárez ). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.
The Mexican city sitting across the border from El Paso is more correctly called Ciudad Juárez. Juárez used to be called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). It was to be the younger settlement on the northern side of the Rio Grande which would retain the “El Paso” name.
47. Toadies : YES MEN
A “toady” is someone who is very servile, and somewhat of a parasite. Derived from “toad-eater” the term originally applied to the assistant of a “quack”, a seller of useless potions that had no actual benefit to health. The “toady” would eat an apparently poisonous toad in front of an audience, so that the charlatan could “cure” him or her with one of the potions for sale.
48. “__ Fideles” : ADESTE
The lovely Christmas hymn “Adeste Fideles” (entitle “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in English) was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time. A kind blog reader pointed out to me that the English translation is in fact a little “off”. The term “adeste” best translates from Latin as “be present, attend”, rather that “come”. The verb “come” appears later in the lyrics in “venite adoremus”, meaning “come, let us worship”.
52. Former White House daughter : MALIA
Malia Obama is the oldest of Barack and Michelle Obama’s two daughters. Malia graduated from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same school that Chelsea Clinton attended. Malia took a gap year after leaving high school, and spent the 2016 summer as an intern in the US Embassy in Madrid, before heading to Harvard in 2017
54. Prefix with drama : MELO-
A “melodrama” is a play or film that usually pits good against evil, with an obvious hero or heroine vying against an obvious villain. Melodrama has evolved over time, originating in the 18th century as a drama for which there was a musical accompaniment. The term is derived from the Greek “melos” meaning “music” and the French “drame” meaning “drama”.
59. “__ Maria” : AVE
“Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary” in English) is the prayer at the core of the Roman Catholic Rosary, which itself is a set of prayers asking for the assistance of the Virgin Mary. Much of the text of the “Hail Mary” comes from the Gospel of Luke. The words in Latin are:
AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
The prayer has been adapted as a hymn. The two most famous musical versions of “Ave Maria” are by Charles Gounod (based on a piece by Bach) and by Franz Schubert.