Edited by: Rich Norris
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Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Two-sided : BIPARTISAN
I’ll say nothing …
11. Shows one’s hand, in a way : GINS
Gin rummy is a variant of the slower game of standard rummy and was introduced in 1909 by one Elwood Baker and his son.
17. George Washington in New York, e.g. : TOLL BRIDGE
New York City’s George Washington Bridge spans the Hudson River and links the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan with Fort Lee in New Jersey. When the bridge was opened in 1931 it had one deck, allowing six lanes of traffic to traverse the river. The bridge’s designer allowed for the construction of a second deck under the first, and this was added in 1946. Some locals refer to the second deck as “Martha”, a reference to the president’s wife.
18. Middle of a classical trio : VIDI
The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BC and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.
19. Tolkien character : ENT
Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.
20. Pindar works : ODES
Pindar was an ancient Greek poet who is best known perhaps for composing a series of Victory Odes that celebrated triumph in competition, most notably the Olympian Games of the day.
21. 2,000-year-old portrayal for Eden : GENIE
Back in 1964, the second most watched show on American television was ABC’s “Bewitched”. Sidney Sheldon was tasked with the job of creating a rival sitcom and he came up with “I Dream of Jeannie”, which first aired in 1965 and starred Barbara Eden in the title role. The censors had a big say in how the story developed. For starters, Jeannie’s skimpy costume was permitted on air, provided that Eden didn’t show off her navel on the screen. Also, Jeannie was only allowed to live with an unmarried man as long as the story made it clear that she slept in a bottle.
23. “Semper Fidelis” group : MARINES
“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “semper fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.
28. Tuscan treat : GELATO
Gelato (plural “gelati”) is the Italian version of American ice cream, differing in that it has a lower butterfat content than its US counterpart.
Tuscany is a beautiful region of central Italy, the capital of which is the city of Florence. Tuscany is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, centered around Florence. It was home to great artistic icons such as Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Galileo and Puccini.
29. Model Cheryl : TIEGS
Cheryl Tiegs was only 17-years-old when she appeared as a model on the cover of “Glamour” magazine. After that Tiegs became famous for sequential appearances in the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” throughout the seventies.
30. Audacious : BALD-FACED
Our “bald-faced” lies here in the US are “bare-faced” lies on the other side of the Atlantic. The original expression was indeed “bare-faced”, which portrays the concept of lying with an uncovered face, unashamedly.
34. Kazantzakis title character : ZORBA
“Zorba the Greek” the film, and “Zorba” the musical, are adaptations of the 1952 novel “Zorba the Greek” by Nikos Kazantzakis. The 1964 film version stars Anthony Quinn in the title role, and Alan Bates. The movie is set and was filmed on location on the island of Crete, the home of author Kazantzakis.
35. HR dept. concern : RELO
Relocate (relo) is a real estate and human resources (HR) term.
36. 2013 Nelson Mandela portrayer : IDRIS 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 occasionally works as a disk jockey using the name DJ Big Driis.
“Long Walk to Freedom” is a 1994 autobiography by the revolutionary and eventual statesman Nelson Mandela. The book was adapted into a very successful film entitled “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, with English actor Idris Elba in the title role. The movie was released in South Africa at the end of November 2013, and Nelson Mandela passed away just a few days later.
39. Voice of Magoo : BACKUS
Actor Jim Backus was perhaps most famous for playing Thurston Howell III on the sixties sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”, and for voicing the cartoon character Mr. Magoo. In a less-remembered appearance, Backus also played the father of James Dean’s character in the classic film “Rebel Without a Cause”.
Mr. Quincy Magoo is a wonderful cartoon character voiced by Jim Backus. Backus is probably equally well-known for playing Mr. Magoo as well as Thurston Howell, III on “Gilligan’s Island”. Mr. Magoo first appeared on the screen in a short called “The Ragtime Bear” in 1949. His persona was at least in part based on the antics of W. C. Fields. Backus originally used a fake rubber nose that pinched his nostrils in order to create the distinctive voice, although in time he learned to do the voice without the prop. My absolute favorite appearance by Mr. Magoo is in “Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol”, a true classic from the sixties. There was a movie adaptation of “Mr Magoo” released in 1997, with Leslie Nielsen playing the title role.
40. Shade-tolerant foliage : HOSTAS
The Hosta genus of plant was once classified as a lily, but is now in a family of its own and is described as “lily-like”. The plant was given the name “Hosta” in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host.
45. Fashion designer Jacobs : MARC
Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer from New York City with his own line of clothing. He is also the creative director for the French design house, Louis Vuitton.
46. Arctic coast explorer : RAE
John Rae was a Scottish explorer who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae stirred up much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.
50. California Raisins ads production technique : CLAYMATION
Clay animation, also known as “claymation”, is a stop motion animation technique that has been around since the early 1900s. The list of famous claymation productions includes the “Gumby” series of TV show segments, the California Raisins musical group ad campaign, and “Wallace and Gromit” British comedy series.
53. Pitcher Hershiser : OREL
Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.
54. Cylindrical stuffed pasta : CANNELLONI
Cannelloni differs from manicotti, even though both are essentially tubes of pasta. Manicotti (Italian for “sleeves”) are pre-shaped tubes. Cannelloni (Italian for “large reeds”) are rectangular sheets of pasta that are rolled into tubes after having been stuffed with some filling.
55. River in Rwanda : NILE
Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.
Rwanda is a sovereign nation in central Africa that is populated by three groups: the Hutu, Tutsi (aka “Watutsi”) and Twa. The Tutsi are the second largest population of people in Rwanda, with the Hutu being the largest group. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.
1. Subside : BATE
To bate is to restrain, as in “with bated breath”, with restrained breath. The term can also mean to lessen, and is a shortening of “abate”.
3. Skin : PELT
A pelt is the skin of a furry animal.
5. Completes an installation, perhaps : REBOOTS
The verb “to boot” as used in the world of computers comes from the phrase “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps”. The idea is that the software that has to be loaded before a computer can do anything useful is called a “bootstrap load”.
6. “Buenas __” : TARDES
“Buenas tardes” is Spanish for “Good afternoon”.
9. Director Lee : ANG
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.
10. Born : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
21. German count : GRAF
“Graf” and “Gräfin” are the male and female forms of a historical title used by German nobility. The terms are usually translated into English as “count” and “countess”, or “earl” and “countess”.
22. Pasta commonly served with Bolognese sauce : TAGLIATELLE
Tagliatelle is a type of pasta from eastern Italy. Tagliatelle is similar to fettuccine, and so is made up of long, flat ribbons. The name comes from the Italian “tagliare” meaning “to cut”.
Bolognese sauce is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna in Italy, hence the name. The recipe is usually referred to as “ragù alla bolognese” in Italian, or simply “ragù”. Note that the Ragú brand of sauces introduced in North America in 1937 takes its name from the same source (pun … sauce!). However, the brand name uses the wrong accent (“Ragú” instead of “Ragù”), which drives a pedant like me crazy …
23. Peach __ : MELBA
Peach Melba is a dessert comprising peaches and raspberry sauce with vanilla ice cream. The dish was the creation of chef Auguste Escoffier, who introduced it at the Savoy Hotel in London in the 1890s in honor of Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba. Escoffier later developed Melba toast, also in honor of the singer.
24. Pierce portrayer : ALDA
Alan Alda has had a great television career, especially of course on “M*A*S*H”. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He won his most recent Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.
Hawkeye Pierce is the lead character in the “M*A*S*H” novel, movie and TV series. Hawkeye was originally portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the film, and then by Alan Alda in the television show. Pierce is the only character appearing in all 250 episodes of the groundbreaking TV series.
25. Abruzzi bell town : ATRI
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Sicilian’s Tale; The Bell of Atri”, a narrative poem set in the small town of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
30. Hard pill to swallow : BOLUS
The term “bolus” is used for a soft lump, especially of chewed food. The same term is used for a particularly large pill or mass of medicinal material.
31. “Frozen” queen : ELSA
“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”.
34. Cowardly Lion’s farmhand alter ego : ZEKE
Zeke is the farmworker played by Bert Lahr in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz”. Zeke is the character who morphed into the Cowardly Lion in Dorothy’s dream.
37. Skim along, as clouds : SCUD
To scud is a move swiftly as if propelled forward. The term is often used with reference to clouds, scudding across the sky.
40. Spam source : HORMEL
Spam is a precooked meat product that is sold in cans. It was introduced by Hormel Foods in 1937. The main meat ingredients are pork shoulder meat and ham. The name “Spam” was chosen as the result of a competition at Hormel, with the winner earning himself a hundred dollars. According to the company, the derivation of the name “Spam” is a secret known by only a few former executives, but the speculation is that it stands for “spiced ham” or “shoulders of pork and ham”. Spam is particularly popular in Hawaii, so popular that it is sometimes referred to as “the Hawaiian steak”.
41. “Danke __” : SCHON
“Danke schön” is German from “Thank you very much”.
42. Alpha __: Bull constellation star : TAURI
Aldebaran is a star that also goes by the name Alpha Tauri, as it is the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus. The name “Aldebaran” translates from Arabic as “the follower”. Aldebaran forms the eye of Taurus the bull, and appears to “follow” the Hyades star cluster that forms the head, hence the name.
43. ESPN journalist Kenny : MAYNE
Kenny Mayne is a sports journalist who started working for ESPN in 1994. Famously, Mayne appeared in the second season of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars”, and was the first contestant to be eliminated. More famously, Mayne returned repeatedly for a “Dances with the Stars” segment called “DanceCenter”, a parody of ESPN’s “SportsCenter”.
46. Fracas : RIOT
“Fracas”, meaning “noisy quarrel”, is a French word that we absorbed into English. In turn, the French usage evolved from the Italian “fracasso” meaning “uproar, crash”.
48. Lover of Geraint : ENID
Enid is a Welsh name, from “einit” an old Welsh word meaning “purity”. Enid was the wife of Geraint, one of King Arthur’s knights. Enid is described as “the personification of spotless purity”.
50. Ward for heart patients, briefly : CCU
Cardiac/coronary care unit (CCU)
51. PC connection : LAN
Local Area Network (LAN)
52. Attention in a 50-Down : TLC
(50D. Ward for heart patients, briefly : CCU)
Tender loving care (TLC)