Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Muslim veils : HIJABS
Some Muslim women wear a hijab in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. A hijab is a veil covering the head and chest. Some also wear a niqab as part of the hijab, which is a cloth that covers the face. Other Muslim women wear a burqa, which covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground.
7. Curly’s dad on “Sesame Street” : PAPA BEAR
The Bear Family are a group of characters on “Sesame Street”. There’s Papa Bear and Mama Bear, and their offspring Baby Bear (a male), and Curly Bear (a female).
15. “For unto us a child is born” source : ISAIAH
According to the Bible’s Book of Isaiah:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
19. Penn., for one : STA
Penn Station in New York City may have been the first Pennsylvania Station, but it’s not the only one. The Pennsylvania Railroad gave that name to many of its big passenger terminals, including one in Philadelphia (now called 30th Street Station), one in Baltimore, one in Pittsburgh, one in Cleveland, as well as others.
23. Brewmaster’s need : HOPS
The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flower of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I live here in California used to be home to the largest hop farm in the whole world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London where they could fetch the best price.
25. Plenty of horn? : KLAXON
A klaxon is a loud horn, and “klaxon” is one of those words derived from the name of a particular brand. The original klaxon was a car horn manufactured and sold by the Klaxon Company.
27. Payless box letters : EEE
Payless ShoeSource is discount shoe store that was founded in 1956 in Topeka, Kansas.
30. “Anthem for Doomed Youth” poet Wilfred __ : OWEN
Wilfred Owen was an English soldier and noted poet, famous for writing realistic poetry about the tragedies of trench warfare during WWI. Owen was killed in action only one week before the war ended, so most of his work was published posthumously.
Here’s the text of “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, a famous poem by Wilfred Owen.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
31. Thirsts : YENS
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!
32. Structure from the Arabic for “lighthouse” : MINARET
A minaret is an architectural feature of Islamic mosques, a tall tower with an onion-shaped crown that is used for the call to prayer. The world’s oldest minaret is part of the Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia, having been completed in 836 BCE. The term “minaret” comes from the Arabic for “lighthouse”.
34. Low bar? : DIVE
We’ve been using the word “dive” in American English for a run-down bar since the latter half of the 19th century. The term comes from the fact that disreputable taverns were usually located in basements, so one had to literally and figuratively dive into them.
37. Some timeshares : VILLAS
The original “villas” were country houses owned by the elite in Ancient Rome. A member of the Roman elite would live in a “domus” in the city, whereas the rest of the population would live in “insulae”, apartment buildings.
41. Poet friend of author Ernest : EZRA
Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.
Ernest Hemingway moved around a lot. He was born in Illinois, and after leaving school headed to the Italian front during WWI. There he served as an ambulance driver, an experience he used as inspiration for “A Farewell to Arms”. He returned to the US after being seriously wounded, but a few years later moved to Paris where he worked as a foreign correspondent. He covered the Spanish War as a journalist, from Spain, using this experience for “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. During the thirties and forties he had two permanent residences, one in Key West, Florida, and one in Cuba. In the late fifties he moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in 1961.
44. Downtime? : FUNK
“Funk” is ill-humor, a word that dates back to the mid-1700s and is probably a term that came from Scottish and northern English.
47. Like some ukuleles : OVAL
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
49. Many a group vacation photo, in slang : WEFIE
A “selfie” is a self-portrait, usually one taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A group “selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”.
50. 2008-’09 Japanese prime minister Taro __ : ASO
Taro Aso is a Japanese politician who served as his nation’s prime minister from 2008 until 2009. Aso’s younger sister is Princess Tomohito of Mikasa, having married into Japan’s Imperial Family.
53. Urquhart Castle’s loch : NESS
Urquhart Castle is a ruin that sits right on the edge of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. What’s left of the old castle today dates from the 13th to 16th centuries.
59. Rule broken by deities? : I BEFORE E
“I before E, except after C”, although with so many exceptions, I don’t think that this rule is taught in schools anymore …
61. Target of a whacking : PINATA
Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.
63. “Mad Men” actor John : SLATTERY
Actor John Slattery is perhaps best known for playing Roger Sterling in the TV show “Mad Men”. For those into comic book superhero movies, Slattery might also be recognized for portraying Howard Stark in several recent films of that genre. Slattery is married to actress Talia Balsam, ex-wife of George Clooney.
65. Name on many bars : HERSHEY’S
Milton Hershey used profits from the sale of his successful Lancaster Caramel Company to construct a chocolate plant in his hometown of Derry Church, Pennsylvania. Hershey started building the factory in 1903, and by 1906 his chocolate was so successful that Derry Church changed its name to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
2. Kind of muscle contraction : ISOTONIC
“Isotonic” means “of equal tension” and is of Greek origin. There are two common uses of the term. Solutions of equal concentration are said to be isotonic. An isotonic solution of saline has the same amount of salt (NaCl) as there is in blood. Also, in the isotonic contraction of a muscle, the amount of tension stays the same whereas the muscle’s length changes. Lifting an object at a constant speed causes the isotonic contract of the lifting muscle.
3. Pepper with punch : JALAPENO
The jalapeño is a chili pepper, and a favorite of mine. The pepper’s name translates from Spanish as “from Xalapa”. Xalapa (also “Jalapa”) is the capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz, and the traditional origin of the jalapeño pepper.
6. Osso buco cut : SHANK
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish called osso buco, which features braised veal shanks.
7. Tree with green-skinned fruit : PAWPAW
The papaw (also “pawpaw”) tree is native to North America and has a fruit that looks similar to a papaya. Papaw probably gets its name from the word papaya, but papaw and papaya are two distinct species.
8. Maugham’s “Cakes and __” : ALE
The phrase “cakes and ale” makes a number of appearances in literature. Aesop uses the phrase in his fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”, to symbolize the good life. Shakespeare included the line “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” in his play “Twelfth Night”. W. Somerset Maugham used the Shakespearean line as inspiration for the title of his 1930 play “Cakes and Ale, or, The Skeleton in the Cupboard”.
W. Somerset Maugham was a playwright and novelist from the UK. Maugham was actually born in France, but on British soil in the British embassy in Paris. He became very successful as an author and was the highest paid writer of the 1930s.
9. Irritating growth : POISON IVY
Two of the plants that are most painful to humans are poison oak and poison ivy. Poison oak is mainly found west of the Rocky Mountains, and poison ivy to the east.
10. Chlorine’s periodic table follower : ARGON
The chemical element argon has the symbol Ar. Argon is a noble gas, and so by definition is relatively nonreactive. The name “argon” comes from the Greek word for “lazy, inactive”. There’s a lot of argon around, as it is the third-most abundant gas in our atmosphere.
Chlorine is a yellow-green gas that is very poisonous at high concentrations. As such, chlorine gas was used in WWI, earning the shameful title of the world’s first gaseous chemical weapon. Chlorine was mistakenly believed to be an oxide for many years, until English chemist Sir Humphry Davy correctly concluded that the gas was an element. Davy coined the name “chlorine”, from the Greek “chloros” meaning “”green-yellow”.
11. __ Men: one-hit wonders of 2000 : BAHA
The Baha Men are so called because they hail from the Bahamas. Their big hit was “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, which has been ranked as third in a list of the world’s most annoying songs!
12. Carte part : ENTREE
Entrée means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found it very confusing to order meals when I first came to America!
“Carte” is a word sometimes used in French for a menu. Menu items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately, as opposed to “table d’hôte” which is a fixed price menu with limited choice.
13. Tatum O’Neal received her Oscar at it : AGE TEN
Tatum O’Neal is the youngest actress to win a “competitive” Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1974 when she was just 10 years old, for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon”. The youngest person to win an honorary Academy Award was Shirley Temple, who was only 5 years old when she was presented with an Oscar in 1934.
24. Best Actress after Field : SPACEK
The actress Sissy Spacek probably got her big break in movies when she played the title role in the 1976 horror movie “Carrie”, which is based on the Stephen King novel. Her most acclaimed role is the lead in the 1980 biopic about Loretta Lynn called “Coal MIner’s Daughter”, for which she won an Oscar. Spacek’s first cousin is the actor Rip Torn.
Actress Sally Field first came to the public’s attention in the sixties with title roles in the TV shows “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun”. She has two Best Actress Oscars: one for “Norma Rae” (1979) and one for “Places in the Heart” (1984).
29. “Yes!” singer Jason : MRAZ
Jason Mraz is a singer-songwriter from Mechanicsville, Virginia. Jason is of Czech descent, and his name “Mraz” translates as “frost”.
31. #3 on the 2016 Forbes “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list : YELLEN
The economist Janet Yellen has been the Chair of the Federal Reserve since 2014, and is the first woman to hold the position.
“Forbes” has been compiling a list of the world’s 100 most powerful women since 2004. The five women at the top of the list for 2016 are:
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
- Hillary Clinton, Presidential candidate of the United States
- Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States
- Melinda Gates, Co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors
38. Productivity-increasing trick, in modern parlance : LIFE HACK
A “life hack” is a technique that makes a routine task easier or more efficient. The term was coined in 2004 by journalist Danny O’Brien when describing less-than-elegant shortcuts used by IT professionals.
42. Prefix with fauna : AVI-
“Avifauna” is the collective name for birds of a specific region. An older term for the same thing is “ornis”, which has the same root as “ornithology”.
43. Airline to Eilat : EL AL
El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.
Eilat (sometimes “Elat”) the most southerly city in Israel, sitting right at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba.
52. Toon pursuing l’amour : LE PEW
Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe painted down her back accidently.
55. Small salamanders : EFTS
Salamanders are lizard-like amphibians found in all across the northern hemisphere. They are the only vertebrate animals that can regenerate lost limbs.
57. Conn of “Grease” : DIDI
Didi Conn, born Edith Bernstein, played a great character in the “Grease” films called “Frenchy”. Conn also played Stacy Jones in the children’s television show “Shining Time Station” in the late eighties-early nineties.
“Grease” was, and still is, a very successful stage musical with a blockbuster film version released in 1978. The movie stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Travolta wasn’t the first choice for the lead role. It was first offered to Henry Winkler of “Happy Days” fame in which he played “the Fonz”. Winkler turned down the role for fear of being typecast as a leather-clad fifties “hood”.