Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
7. Elegant pool entrance : SWAN DIVE
A swan dive is one in which the diver holds the arms outspread until just before hitting the water. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, the same dive is often called a swallow dive. Sometimes we use the verb “to swan-dive” to describe something that plummets, suddenly decreases. The stock markets swan-dives every so often …
15. Jet Ski competitor : SEA-DOO
Sea-Doo is a brand name of personal watercraft (PWC). Other well-known brands are Jet Ski and WaveRunner.
16. NFLer from 1982-’94 : LA RAIDER
The Oakland Raiders football team was founded in 1960, and was originally intended to play in Minnesota. Instead, the team played in Oakland from 1960 to 1981 and then spent 12 years in Los Angeles before returning to Oakland in 1995.
18. Last of Sophocles’ Theban plays : ANTIGONE
“Antigone” is a tragedy written by Greek playwright Sophocles and first performed in 442 BC. Antigone is the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes, and was born out of the incestuous relationship of the king with his mother Jocasta.
21. Midway game : RING TOSS
Back at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago there were rides and amusements that were all concentrated in one place, away from the exhibition halls. The rides included the world’s first Ferris wheel, and one could also see Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show. All these attractions were located in the mile-long linear park on the South Side of Chicago known as Midway Plaisance. Ever since then, the attractions at any fair have been located at “the midway”.
23. Number of hills di Roma : SETTE
In Italian, “Roma” (Rome) was built on “sette” (seven) hills.
Prior to the founding of the city of Rome, supposedly there were seven separate settlements located atop of seven hills east of the River Tiber. Tradition dictates that Romulus founded Rome on one of these hills, Palatine Hill. As the city grew, it came to encompass all seven existing settlements. The most famous hill in modern-day Rome is probably Vatican Hill, but it lies outside of the walled ancient city.
24. “30 for 30” documentary series airer : ESPN
“30 for 30” is a series of ESPN documentary films that has aired since 2009. The series originated as a celebration of the ESPN’s 30th birthday. To recognize that anniversary, the network commissioned 30 filmmakers to make 30 one-hour films covering the big stories in ESPN’s 30-year history. The series was so well received that ESPN continues to make similar documentaries using the “30 for 30” umbrella title.
30. Riding in the far-left lane, perhaps : CARPOOLING
In some parts of the country one sees high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV lanes). Out here in California we refer to them as carpool lanes.
34. NYSE debut : IPO
An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).
The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
35. “Ciao Italia” chef Esposito : MARY ANN
Mary Ann Esposito is celebrity chef. Her PBS show “Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito” has been on the air since 1989, making it the longest-running cooking program in the US.
36. Cable co. that was acquired by AT&T : TCI
Tele-Communications, Inc (TCI) was the largest provider of cable television service in the US for a while. The company was founded in 1968 and was headquartered in Denver. TCI was bought by AT&T in 1999.
37. Producer who developed “The Jeffersons” : NORMAN LEAR
Norman Lear wrote for and produced some great television shows, including “All in the Family”, Sanford and Son” and “The Jeffersons”. He also did some film work, including writing and producing the great 1967 movie “Divorce American Style”.
The very popular sitcom called “The Jeffersons” ran from 1975 until it came to an abrupt end in 1985. CBS cancelled the show without even allowing a series finale that “wrapped things up”. In fact the lead actor, Sherman Hemsley, first learned of the show’s cancellation in the newspaper.
40. Unalaska native : ALEUT
Unalaska Island is one of the Aleutian chain of islands off the coast of Alaska. Dutch Harbor, located within the city of Unalaska, is the largest fisheries port in the whole of the United States.
41. Blocking action : VETO
The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.
45. Braised chicken dish : COQ AU VIN
The French word “coq” actually means rooster, but a more tender bird is usually chosen for the classic French dish “coq au vin”. The most common wine used for the “vin” is burgundy, but sometimes another red wine is chosen, and you can also find on a menu “coq au Champagne” and “coq au Riesling”.
49. Runner with big eggs : OSTRICH
The ostrich is a flightless bird that is native to Africa. It is extensively farmed, mainly for its feathers but also for its skin/leather and meat. Famously, the ostrich is the fastest moving of any flightless bird, capable of achieving speeds of over 40 mph. It is also the largest living species of bird, and lays the largest eggs.
51. Final syllable : ULTIMA
In the world of linguistics, the last syllable in a word is called the ultima. The second last syllable is known as the penult.
53. Otis of elevators : ELISHA
Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.
56. Decorative herbs : PARSLEYS
In Britain, parsley is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.
1. Michaelmas daisy : ASTER
Michaelmas is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, a day in the Western Christian calendar. Michaelmas is September 29th every year, and is associated with the beginning of fall.
2. Country singer Gibbs : TERRI
Terri Gibbs is a country music singer. Gibbs had thirteen singles that made the Billboard country singles charts in the eighties. Gibbs was born blind.
3. Memorial rocks : CAIRN
A cairn is a man-made pile of stones that can have various uses. A cairn might be a prosaic trail marker, or a distinctive landmark or monument. Our term “cairn” derives from the Gaelic “carn” meaning “rocky hill, heap of stones”.
6. Coke holder : POP-TOP CAN
The term “pop top” refers to a whole family of designs for opening the top of a soda can. The oldest method is the “pull tab” or “ring pull”, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived, but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull tabs that littered the streets.
7. High-fives, e.g. : SLAPS
The celebratory gesture that we call a “high five” is said to have been invented by former baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke when they were both playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the later 1970s.
9. Crafts in Cancún : ARTES
Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.
26. “What a long week!” : TGIF
“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.
27. Turner of music : TINA
Tina Turner is the stage name used by Anna Mae Bullock, the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Turner has always loved Europe and moved there in the eighties. She now splits her time between her homes in England, France and Switzerland.
28. Michael Corleone’s first wife : APOLLONIA
In the 1972 film “The Godfather”, Michael Corleone’s first wife is Apollonia Vitelli. Apollonia was played by Italian actress Simonetta Stefanelli.
In the Mario Puzo novel “The Godfather”, the story’s central character is Michael Corleone. Michael’s girlfriend, and eventually his second wife, is Kay Adams. In the 1972 film adaptation, Michael Corleone was played by Al Pacino, and Kay Adams-Corleone was played by Diane Keaton.
29. Big storm : NOR’EASTER
A nor’easter is a storm that blows from the northeast.
31. Reuben setting : RYE
There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One is that it was invented around 1914 by Arnold Reuben, an immigrant from Germany who owned Reuben’s Deli in New York.
32. Finnish distance runner Nurmi : PAAVO
Paavo Nurmi was one of a group of Finnish runners to earn the nickname “the Flying Finn”. Nurmi dominated middle and long distance running in the 1920s. He was the most successful athlete at the 1924 Paris Olympics, winning five gold medals.
45. Musical whose plot involves a two-person tournament : CHESS
The musical “Chess” is a very enjoyable show, with music written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame) and lyrics by Tim Rice (of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita” fame). The story is about two chess masters, one American and one Russian, who face off against each other during the Cold War. Much of the action takes place in Bangkok at a World Championship Tournament, and there’s a woman, and a love triangle. I saw the show decades ago in the north of England, and recommend it …
46. Windows 7 precursor : VISTA
Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, 8 and 10; they’re all based on the Windows NT operating system. There is a common perception that Windows NT (WNT) takes its name from VMS, an earlier operating system developed by Digital Equipment Corporation. “WNT” is what’s called a “Caesar cypher” of “VMS”, as you just augment the letters of VMS alphabetically by one to arrive at WNT. Bill Gates disputes this derivation of the name, and in a 1998 interview stated that the NT originally stood for N-Ten and that the marketing folks at Microsoft revised history by changing it to “New Technology”.
48. Asian breads : NAANS
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.
52. Novak Djokovic’s org. : ATP
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is an organization that looks out for the interests of male tennis professionals. The equivalent organization for women is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player and former world No. 1 ranked player. Djokovic is quite the character off the court it seems and he is very popular on the talk-show circuit, all around the world. It helps that Djokovic is fluent in several languages.