Edited by: Rich Norris
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Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Part of the back forty : ACRE
In the Public Land Survey System, land right across the country is divided into townships and sections. A section is roughly equivalent to a square mile, 640 acres. It became the practice to refer to quarter-quarter divisions of a section, with a quarter of a quarter of a section being equal to 40 acres (check the math!). From this sprung phrases like “lower 40” (nominally the lowest elevation 40 acres on a property) and the “back 40” (nominally a 40 acre parcel that was undeveloped on a property, “out the back”).
5. Genghis Khan subject : TATAR
Tatars are an ethnic group of people, mainly residing in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.
Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire who was destined to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. He first built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At it’s height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.
10. Go after, as flies : SHAG
“To shag” (I am reliably informed, never having played a game of baseball in my life!) is to chase and catch a fly ball.
16. One heading for the cape? : TORO
The “muleta” is the red flannel cloth that a matador uses towards the end of a bull fight, instead of a cape. The muleta serves to distract the bull and also to hide the sword that is used for the kill. The term “matador” is only used in English, and translates aptly enough as “killer”.
21. Rooney and Griffith : ANDYS
Andy Rooney began his career in newspapers during WWII working for “Stars and Stripes” in London. He had some memorable experiences during the war, including flying on the first American bombing raid over Germany. He was also one of the first American journalists to visit the German concentration camps as they were liberated. He started his segment called “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” on CBS’s “60 Minutes” way back in 1978, and so was on our screens for over 40 years. Rooney passed away in 2011.
Andy Griffith was an actor and gospel singer. As an actor, he is perhaps best remembered for his starring roles in TV shows “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock”. As a singer, his 1996 album “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns” went platinum and won a 1997 Grammy.
23. Calligraphy problems : SMEARS
Calligraphy is the art of fine handwriting, and a term derived from the Greek “kallos” meaning “beauty” and “graphein” meaning “to write”.
31. ADHD drug : DEXEDRINE
Dexedrine is a trade name for the drug dextroamphetamine. The most common use for dextroamphetamine is the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).
33. Triangle relationship : SINE
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”
34. Removed a cylinder from, maybe : CORED
A core test involves the cutting out of a cylinder from the test material. The test might be for compressive strength in concrete, perhaps, or for measuring dates using ice samples.
35. Kurylenko of “Quantum of Solace” : OLGA
Olga Kurylenko is a Ukrainian actress and model. Kurylenko played the Bond girl Camille Montes in the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”.
40. Notable feature of Africa : HORN
The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the easternmost tip of the continent, containing the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia. The Horn of Africa is also known as the Somali Peninsula.
41. Father’s changing room : VESTRY
A vestry is where a priest dresses for services. Like so many English words, “vestry” came into our language via Anglo-Norman, from the Latin “vestarium” meaning “wardrobe”.
44. Like “The Age of Reason” doctrine : DEIST
Thomas Paine’s pamphlet known as “The Age of Reason” (published in three parts, in 1794, 1795 and 1807) is critical of mainstream religion and also challenges the legitimacy of the Bible.
46. One of Israel’s 12 tribes : ASHER
In the Torah, the Israelites are traced back to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. Jacob’s twelve sons became the ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob’s sons were:
47. Vermouth name : ROSSI
The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams. And yes, the famous cocktail is probably named for Mr. Martini.
54. Go south : TANK
Apparently, the first use of the verb “to tank” to mean “to lose or fail” can be pinpointed quite precisely. Tennis great Billie Jean King used the verb in that sense in an interview with “Life” magazine in 1967, with reference to male players.
55. Compilation publication since 1984 : UTNE READER
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984 by Eric Utne, with management taken over by Eric’s wife Nina Rothschild Utne in 1990.
57. 30% of essentials : ESSES
30% (3 out of 10) of the letters in the word “essentials” are letters S (ess).
1. Hamilton, to General Washington : AIDE
Alexander Hamilton was one of America’s Founding Fathers, chief of staff to General George Washington and the first Secretary of the Treasury. It was Hamilton who founded the nation’s first political party, the Federalist Party. He is also famous for fighting a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, which resulted in Hamilton’s death a few days later.
3. Author born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum : RAND
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.
4. Baby newt : EFT
Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.
5. Cronus and Rhea, e.g. : TITANS
In Greek mythology Rhea was one of the Titans. She was the sister and husband of Cronus, and together they had six children, the last of which was Zeus. Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, except for Zeus, who Rhea managed to hide from her husband.
6. Harlem Renaissance writer Locke : ALAIN
The author and philosopher Alain LeRoy Locke was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar, and studied in Oxford and Berlin. Years later, Locke was the philosophical architect of what became known as the Harlem Renaissance, and indeed is often referred to as the Harlem Renaissance’s “Dean”.
9. Outdoor gear giant : REI
REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.
10. Georgia’s __ Mountain : STONE
Stone Mountain is a granite dome in Georgia that has a circumference of over 5 miles in length. Famously, the dome has a massive bas relief structure of the three Confederate leaders of the Civil War: President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson, each mounted on their favorite horse. The carving surface is 3 acres in area, making it the largest bas relief sculpture in the world.
11. Acura MDX relative : HONDA PILOT
The Honda Pilot is mid-size crossover SUV that was introduced in 2002. The luxury version of the vehicle is sold as the Acura MDX.
12. Elite military member : ARMY RANGER
Army Rangers belong to a Special Operations unit known as the 75th Ranger Regiment. The modern Army Rangers have roots that go back to Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, a militia organization that served in the Revolutionary War.
24. Bath additive : EPSOM SALTS
The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across Epsom salt from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.
25. Head rest? : TOILET SEAT
In old sailing ships the toilet area for the regular sailors was located in the forward part (the head) of the ship, hence the term “head” that has been used since then for any toilet on board a boat.
28. Winter Olympics maneuver : AXEL
An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.
31. Word with front or pocket : DOOR
A pocket door is a sliding door that disappears into a pocket in an adjacent wall.
34. Martial arts move : CHOP
Martial arts are various fighting traditions and systems used in combat or simply to promote physical well-being. The term ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.
45. Competitor of Helena : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …
Helena Rubinstein was an American businesswoman born in Poland. She arrived in New York City just after the outbreak of WWI, and there opened up her first cosmetics salon. Within a decade she had built a huge chain of salons, and sold off the business to Lehman Brothers in 1928 for over $7 million. A couple of years later during the Great Depression, Rubinstein bought back her business, for less than one million dollars.