Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Shoots down : DEBUNKS
The word “bunk” is short for “bunkum”, the phonetic spelling of “Buncombe”, which is a county in North Carolina. Supposedly, a state representative made a dull and irrelevant speech that was directed to his home county of Buncombe, bringing the term “bunkum” into the language with the meaning of “nonsense”. The derivative word “debunk” first appeared in a novel by William Woodward in 1923, when he used it to describe “taking the bunk out of things”.
16. Variation of the Latin square puzzle : SUDOKU
Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …
A Latin square is a square-shaped array of symbols in which there is exactly one occurrence of each symbol in each row and in each column. The name “Latin square” comes from the work of Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, who authored papers in which he used Latin symbols in the squares.
17. Motherboards, etc. : HARDWARE
The motherboard is the main printed circuit board in devices such as portable computers and smartphones. Usually included on the motherboard are essential components such as the central processing unit (CPU, memory chips, and connectors used by peripherals.
19. You usually can’t see your shadow on it : LID
Without say looking in a mirror, one can’t see one’s eyeshadow, the makeup used to color the eyelids.
23. Sebastian in “The Little Mermaid,” e.g. : CRUSTACEAN
Crustaceans are a subphylum of animals that are quite closely related to insects. Crustaceans all have exoskeletons, and most live in aquatic environments.
“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton. Her best friend is Flounder, who despite his name is not a flounder at all and is actually a tropical fish. Ariel is also friends with Sebastian, a red Jamaican crab whose full name is Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian.
25. High wind? : OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.
27. They get checked at airports, briefly : ETAS
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
28. One on the E. Coast? : RTE
US Route 1 runs from Fort Kent in Maine right down to Key West in Florida.
35. Shreds comics? : HECKLES
Originally, the verb “to heckle” meant to question severely, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at standup comics.
36. 561-piece White House, for one : LEGO SET
Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:
- The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
- The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
- The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
- Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
- The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)
41. Sun Devils’ sch. : ASU
Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.
42. Grammy winner James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
43. It has a Yakutsk card : RISK
Risk is a fabulous board game, one first sold in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …
Yakutsk is the capital city of the Sakha Republic in Russia. Yakutsk sits on the Lena River, just south of the Arctic Circle.
48. Dodge two-seater : VIPER
The Dodge Viper is an American sports car with a V10 engine. The Viper was introduced in 1991, and is still in production today.
50. Yemeni neighbor : SAUDI
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world’s largest oil producer, home to the world’s largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring “true” Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.
51. Grinch victim : WHO
The Whos live in Whoville in Dr. Seuss’ children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
58. No. 2 terminus : ERASER
I grew up with the HB method of grading pencils, from “hardness” to “blackness”. Here in the US we sometimes use a numerical grading system, with #2 being the equivalent of HB. The numerical system was introduced in the US by one John Thoreau, father of famed author and hero of mine, Henry David Thoreau.
60. Blush producer : WINERY
The term “blush” in the world of wine has only been around since the late seventies, and is really only used here in the US. Today we think of a blush as a relatively sweet pink wine, and a rosé as something more dry.
61. Venus, say : GODDESS
Venus was the Roman goddess of love and, according to Roman myth, was the mother of the Roman people. Her Greek counterpart was Aphrodite.
1. “George’s Marvelous Medicine” author : DAHL
“George’s Marvelous Medicine” is a 1981 children’s book by Welsh author Roald Dahl. In the story, 8-year-old George makes magic medicines out of ingredients he finds around his home, including horseradish sauce, gin, anti-freeze and brown paint. Understandably, there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the narrative that states “Warning to Readers: Do not try to make George’s Marvellous Medicine yourselves at home. It could be dangerous.”
2. Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.
4. Amer. capital : USD
The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.
8. Hieroglyphics creature : ASP
The prefix “hiero-” comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyphics”, meaning “sacred carving”, the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.
10. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA
Edina, Minnesota lies just southwest of Minneapolis. The town takes its name from Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. The name was suggested by a Scottish mill owner at the time the new village was founded in 1888.
11. One or two may arrive on Valentine’s Day : DOZEN ROSES
Saint Valentine’s Day was introduced by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor various martyrs with the name Valentine. However, the saint’s’ day was dropped by the Roman Catholic church in 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Try telling that to Hallmark though …
12. Furniture giant : IKEA
The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.
13. Mastodon feature : TUSK
Mastodons were large mammals that were related to the modern elephant. Mastodons roamed the forest of North and Central America until they became extinct about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Their extinction is believed to have come about due to a rapid change in climate.
29. Suggestive dance : TWERK
Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.
30. Insurance co. requests : ESTS
31. Second-largest branch of Islam : SHIA
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.
34. Fox product : MOVIE
William Fox founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 to produce motion pictures. Fox lost control of his company soon after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The new owners of Fox merged the company with Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935, forming 20th Century Fox.
37. President for 200 days : GARFIELD
James Abram Garfield, the 20th President, was assassinated in office. He was shot twice, and one bullet could not be found (it was lodged in his spine). The inventor Alexander Graham Bell developed a metal detector in an attempt to locate the bullet, but apparently he was unsuccessful because of interference from the metal bed frame on which the president lay. Garfield died two months after being shot.
40. Swahili word for “problems” : MATATA
“Hakuna Matata” is a Swahili phrase, with a literal translation of “there are no worries”, or more colloquially perhaps, “no problem”. It is a hit song from the musical “The Lion King”.
42. Bacon recipient? : EARNER
Back in the day, a wealthy man would “bring home the bacon”, and sit around with guests “chewing the fat”.
49. Cross letters : INRI
The letters written on the cross on which Jesus died were “INRI”. INRI is an initialism for the Latin “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum”, which translates into English as “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”.
53. Auto pioneer : OLDS
Oldsmobile was an automobile brand founded by Ransom E. Olds (REO) in 1897. The brand was finally phased out by General Motors in 2004.
57. Walker, for short : PED