Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.
A police car is often referred to by the slang term “black and white”, a reference to the vehicle’s common paint scheme.
19…Ivory, e.g…BAR SOAP
Ivory soap is one of Procter & Gamble’s oldest products, introduced way back in 1879. Ivory soap is noted for its “purity” and also because of its property of floating in water. Despite urban myths to the contrary, the property of floating in water was developed deliberately by a chemist at the time Ivory was being formulated. The soap floats because the ingredients are mixed longer than necessary for homogenization, which introduces more air into the product.
26…Protect against harm, in a way..VACCINATE
A vaccine is a modified virus that causes a particular disease, which is administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity. British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.
30…It’s about 40.5 for Pittsburgh, Pa…N LAT
The latitude and longitude coordinates for Pittsburgh are: 40.440624, -79.995888. The positive value of latitude indicates a latitude north. The negative value of longitude indicates longitude west.
32…Tirana is its cap…ALB
The Republic of Albania is a country in the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Albania was made a communist state after WWII but became independent again with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Albania has been a member of NATO since 2009, and was accepted as an official candidate to join the European Union in 2014. The nation’s capital and largest city is Tirana.
33…One of ten in the Kentucky Derby..FURLONG
There are about five furlongs in a kilometer. The name “furlong” comes from the Old English “furh” (meaning “furrow”) and “lang” (meaning “long”). In Anglo-Saxon times, a furlong was the length of a furrow in ploughed field that was one acre in area. The width of said one-acre field was defined as one chain.
The first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875, and is a race modelled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, The Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles (12 furlongs), although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles (10 furlongs). The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses.
Gr8 joke! (great joke!); LOL (laugh out loud).
37…Where le nez is..TETE
“Tête” is the French word for “head”, and “le nez” is French for “the nose”.
38…Typical ham feature..THEATRICS
The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is apparently a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.
41…Inc. magazine subject..CEO
Chief executive officer (CEO)
“Inc.” is a business magazine that specializes in articles about growing companies. “Inc.” publishes a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country each year, calling it the “Inc. 500”. The “Inc 5000” is an expanded list also published by the magazine.
42…A museum in Pesaro, Italy, marks his birthplace..ROSSINI
Gioachino Rossini was a prolific and very successful composer from Pesaro, Italy. During his lifetime, Rossini was lauded as the most successful composer of operas in history. His best known opera today is probably “The Barber of Seville”. His best known piece of music is probably the finale of the overture from his opera “William Tell”.
49…Possible response to “I raise”..ALL IN
The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas hold ‘em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas hold ‘em in the television lineup that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.
50…Words seen before a dollar sign..AMOUNT DUE
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.
52…Filmmaker’s __ light..KLIEG
A Klieg light is the intensely bright spotlight used to illuminate film sets and theater stages. The lights use tungsten-halogen filaments, and were invented by brothers John and Anton Kliegl.
An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, sort of part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol” therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.
3…Landlocked African country..MALI
The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa, south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.
8…Union foe in the 19th cen…CSA
The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation and retained the post for the life of the government.
Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.
22…Black arts practitioner..WARLOCK
A male practitioner of black magic can be referred to as a witch, but also as a warlock. The term “witch” is used predominantly for female sorcerers.
The name “Allah” comes from the Arabic “al-” and “ilah”, meaning “the” and “deity”. So “Allah” translates as “God”.
The Koran is also known as the Qur’an in English, a transliteration of the Arabic name for the holy text of the Muslim faith. The literal translation of “Koran” is “the recitation”.
26…Jefferson and others..VIRGINIANS
Thomas Jefferson was born a British subject in 1743 in the Colony of Virginia, one of ten children born to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson. The Jefferson’s had four sons in all, with two dying in infancy. The remaining two sons inherited Peter’s estate, divided between them. Thomas came into 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, and 20-40 slaves.
27…Dancer posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014..AILEY
Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own group in New York in 1958, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”. President Barack Obama awarded Ailey the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously in 2014.
A Treasury note (T-Note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-Note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-Bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-Bond matures in 20-30 years.
A sniggler is a person who angles for eels (also called an “eeler”). The term “sniggler” comes from “snig”, a young eel, which in turn is probably related to Old English “snegge” meaning “snail”.
36…Many Aberdeen residents..LASSIES
The Scottish city of Aberdeen is located amidst plentiful supplies of granite, which were actively quarried until the 1970s. Many local buildings incorporate the granite in their structure. Aberdeen granite is especially prized for its high levels of mica, which can cause the stone to sparkle like silver.
The “casino” originated in the 1700s, first describing a public room for music or dancing. The name “casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.
An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in Ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.
Paella is sometime referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia.
“Excusez-moi” is French for “excuse me”.