Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14. “Fish” star : ABE VIGODA
Abe Vigoda played Detective Sergeant Phil Fish in television’s “Barney Miller” in the seventies, and even got his own spinoff show called “Fish”. On the big screen, Vigoda played Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and Grandpa Ubriacco in “Look Who’s Talking”.
15. It’s often transported upside-down : CANOE
The boat called a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.
17. “Loot” playwright : ORTON
Joe Orton was an English playwright who was active in the 1960s and who was noted for penning outrageous black comedies. Orton’s career was cut short as he was bludgeoned to death by his lover, when Orton was only 24 years old.
18. Fictional 1847 autobiographer : EYRE
“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. Over the years, I’ve shared here on my blogs that the “Jane Eyre” story line is a little too dark and Gothic for my taste, but a very persuasive blog reader convinced me to look more at the romantic side of the story and give it a second chance. I watched a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation of the novel made by the BBC a while back and I have to say that because I was focused on the relationship between Jane and Rochester, I was able to push past the Gothic influences (that depress me) so I really enjoyed the story. I thoroughly recommend the 2006 BBC adaptation to fans of the novel.
19. Physics model using an analogy to the solar system : BOHR ATOM
Niels Bohr and Ernest Rutherford introduced a model in which the atom comprised a small, positively charged nucleus around which traveled negatively-charged electrons. This model is often referred to as the Rutherford-Bohr model, or simply the Bohr model.
21. Adulterer follower, in slang : TEC
“Tec” is a slang term for a private detective, a private investigator (PI).
24. They’re framed : CELS
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.
25. British racing cars : MGS
My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget roadster in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by the MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979, with the MG abbreviation standing for “Morris Garages”.
28. Trees whose bark contains the anti-inflammatory salicin : ALDERS
Alder trees are deciduous (i.e. not evergreen), and the fruit of the tree is called a “catkin”. The tree carries both male and female catkins that look very similar to each other, but the male catkin is longer than the female. Alders are pollinated by wind usually, although bees can play a role.
38. 1997 Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series : GILLIAN ANDERSON
The marvelous actress Gillian Anderson came to prominence playing FBI agent Dana Scully on TV’s “The X-Files” alongside David Duchovny. Anderson was born in Chicago, but grew up in London in the UK. After spending most of her adult life in the US, Anderson now lives in London.
41. Bible-toting aunt on “Sanford and Son” : ESTHER
On the hit sitcom “Sanford and Son”, Aunt Esther is played by actress LaWanda Page. Page was a childhood friend of the show’s star Redd Foxx. Foxx introduced the “Sanford and Son” producers to Page, resulting in her getting the role.
43. Bite : NOSH
Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means snack, or as a verb meaning to eat between meals.
45. Muppets chimp __ Minella : SAL
Sal Minella is a Muppet character, the bodyguard for fellow muppet Johnny Fiama who is modeled after Frank Sinatra.
59. The “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” : SAGAS
“The Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the ten-year siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “The Iliad”.
60. Like bears and koala bears : UNRELATED
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …
62. Best Upset, e.g. : ESPY AWARD
The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.
1. Tinder meeting : DATE
Tinder is a matchmaking app that uses Facebook profiles. Users “swipe” photos of potential matches, either to the right (“like”) or to the left (“not interested”). Users who “match” each other can then chat within the app.
5. Dimple on a die : PIP
A pip is a dot on a die or a domino, or a mark on a playing card.
8. SSN, e.g. : ID NO
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.
10. MVP of Super Bowls I and II : BART STARR
Bart Starr is a retired football player and coach who spent his whole career with the Green Bay Packers. Starr was quarterback for the Packers from 1956 to 1971. Starr was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the first two Super Bowls.
12. Shooter’s piece : ZOOM
That would be a zoom lens.
13. Peaceful : ZEN
Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.
23. Least obfuscatory : CLEAREST
“To obfuscate” is to make something unclear, a word derived from the Latin “obfuscare” meaning “to darken”.
25. Bobby in a ’70s chart-topper : MCGEE
Janis Joplin recorded the song “Me and Bobby McGee” just a few days before she died in 1970. The song was released anyway, and it became Joplin’s only number one single. There have been just two posthumous number one singles: Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”, and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay”.
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free
Feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues
And buddy, that was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.
26. Give the third degree : GRILL
The phrase “third degree” is used to describe a particularly rough interrogation. We seem to be unsure where the expression originates, but there are theories. One is that it refers the third degree level of Freemasonry, which requires rigor and dedication to attain. Another theory is that it comes from Richard Sylvester who was Chief of Police for Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s. Sylvester saw the first degree of police procedure as arrest, the second degree as transportation to jail, and the third degree as interrogation.
27. Palindromic court star : SELES
Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents, in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.
29. Cheese with PGI status (protected geographical indication) : DANISH BLUE
Danish Blue Cheese is an example of a PGI-marked foodstuff in the European Union. “PGI” stands for “protected geographical indication”, meaning that any cheese labelled Danish Blue Cheese must be made in Denmark, using Danish milk, and at approved dairies.
32. First name in landscape photography : ANSEL
As an avid amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.
33. Clotted cream may be put on one : SCONE
Clotted cream is a product associated with the southwest of England. It is thick cream prepared by heating rich cow’s milk and allowing it to cool and “clot”. The clots are collected, and sold as “clotted cream”. If you ever order a “cream tea” in England, you’ll get scones, jam and clotted cream. Delicious …
34. Superman’s kin : KENTS
Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.
36. Indians’ habitat?: Abbr. : AL CENTRAL
The Cleveland baseball franchise started out in 1869 as the Forest Citys named after Forest City, the nickname for Cleveland. After a number of transitions, in 1914 the team took on the name “Indians”. The media came up with name “Indians” after being asked for suggestions by the team owners. “Indians” was inspired by the successful Boston team of the day, the Boston Braves.
37. Brazilian mountain chain : SERRA
The word “serra” appears in the name of many mountain ranges in Brazil. “Serra” is Portuguese for “mountain range”, and for “saw”, and is equivalent to the Spanish “sierra” that has the same meaning.
44. Essential __ : OILS
Essential oils are concentrated liquids containing volatile chemical compounds that have a smell or odor. The term “essential” oil comes from the fact that it contains the “essence” of a plant’s fragrance.
46. Bochco drama : LA LAW
Steven Bochco is a television producer and writer. He created such shows as “Hill Street Blues”, “L.A. Law” and “NYPD Blue”.
47. Big enchilada : HEAD
“Enchilada” is the past participle of the Spanish word “enchilar” meaning “to add chile pepper to”. An enchilada is a basically a corn tortilla rolled around some filling and then covered in chili pepper sauce. The term “big enchilada” is used in the same way as we would use “big cheese” i.e. the top dog. The phrase was popularized in the sixties when John Ehrlichman refers to Attorney General John Mitchell as “the big enchilada” on one of the Watergate Tapes.
48. Manipulator of the Moor : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.
The most famous Moor in literature has to be Othello, the title character in William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello, the Moor of Venice”. The word “Moor” describes various peoples of North Africa, usually of the Muslim faith. At the height of their geographic influence the Moors occupied much of the Iberian peninsula, calling it Al Andalus (from which modern Andalusia gets its name).
50. It’s also called scroggin or schmogle : GORP
“Gorp” is the name sometimes used for trail mix, particularly by hikers. It’s not really known for sure how this name came about, but some say it stands for “good old raisins and peanuts” or perhaps “gobs of raw protein”.
“Scroggin” and “schmogle” are names used for “trail mix” in New Zealand.
52. Sanskrit scripture, with “the” : GITA
The Bhagavad Gita (sometimes just “the Gita”) is a Hindu scripture written in Sanskrit, the title of which translates as “The Song of the Bhagavan”.
54. “Sanford and Son” first name : REDD
Redd Foxx was the stage name of John Elroy Sanford, best known for starring in “Sanford and Son”. “Sanford and Son” was an American version of a celebrated hit BBC sitcom that I grew up with in Ireland, called “Steptoe and Son”.
55. Chi follower : PSI
The Greek letter psi is the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.