Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Annual July 1 celebration marking the 1867 signing of the British North America Act : CANADA DAY
Canada’s national day is known as Canada Day, and has been held on July 1st annually since 1879. The holiday was originally referred to as Dominion Day, and recognizes the date in 1867 when the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united into one dominion within the British Empire using the name “Canada”. Dominion Day became Canada Day in 1982.
10. Some Australian carvings : ABORIGINAL ART
Even though the term “aborigine” is often associated with the indigenous peoples of Australia, in the widest sense “aboriginal” refers to any indigenous race. The Aborigines were a people in Roman mythology, the oldest inhabitants of central Italy.
17. Old Andorran currency : PESETA
The peseta is the former currency of Spain, and the de facto currency of Spain’s neighbor, the Principality of Andorra. The peseta was replaced by the euro in 2002.
Andorra is a small principality nestled in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Andorra is a very prosperous country, mainly due to its status as a tax haven and thriving tourist industry. We used help out the tourist industry there in the winters, enjoying a couple of skiing holidays there. Happy memories …
19. Dickensian denouncement : BAH!
The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.
23. Get out of Dodge : FLEE
The phrase “get out of Dodge”, meaning “scram, flee”, is a reference to Dodge City, Kansas. The phrase became a cliché on TV westerns (mainly “Gunsmoke”, I think) and was then popularized by teenagers in the sixties and seventies.
24. Australian Stock Horses, perhaps : POLO PONIES
The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.
The Australian Stock Horse is a breed that can be traced back to the very first batch of nine horses that were imported into Australia in 1788. From that time onwards, horses were bred for stamina and strength in the Australian environment, with one result being today’s Australian Stock Horse.
29. Yusufislam.com musician : CAT STEVENS
The singer-songwriter that I mainly know by the name “Cat Stevens” has had a few monikers in his life. He was born in London as Steven Georgiou and adopted the stage name “Steve Adams” in the mid-sixties. A year later he changed his stage name to “Cat Stevens”, with which he had most of success. During this time he had hits with classic songs like “Wild World”, “Moonshadow” and “Morning Has Broken”. He also wrote the song “The First Cut Is the Deepest”, which became a hit for four different artists. In 1977, Stevens converted to Islam and took the name Yusuf Islam in 1978.
30. Having a short cut : BOB-HAIRED
A “bob cut” is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s a “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …
31. Like home, say : FOUR-LETTER
“Home” is a four-letter word, a word comprising four letters.
40. 4/8/74 record breaker : AARON
Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run on 8th April 1974, breaking the record of 714 career home runs held by Babe Ruth. Aaron went on to hit 755 home runs prior to his retirement from the game in 1976.
41. Brie who played Trudy on “Mad Men” : ALISON
Alison Brie is an actress best known for playing Trudy Campbell, the wife of Pete Campbell, on the TV drama “Mad Men”.
45. Home Depot work apparel : APRONS
The Home Depot is the largest home improvement retail chain in the US, ahead of Lowe’s. Home Depot opened their first two stores in 1979. The average store size if just over 100,000 square feet. The largest Home Depot outlet is in Union, New Jersey, and it is 225,000 square feet in size. That’s a lot of nuts and bolts …
46. Spicy meatless dish : VEGETABLE CHILI
The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.
50. Legacy Hartsfield-Jackson tenant : DELTA AIRLINES
Delta was the world’s largest airline for a while (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008) and is also the oldest airline still operating in the US. Delta’s roots go back to 1924 before it started carrying passengers and was called Huff Daland Dusters, a crop dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name Delta Air Service was introduced in 1928.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest airport, as measured by passenger traffic. Atlanta has had that distinction since 1998, and was the world’s busiest in terms of take-offs and landings from 2005 until 2013. Over 50% of Atlanta’s traffic comes from Delta Airlines.
1. Beardie, for one : COLLIE
The bearded collie is essentially a working dog, although it makes an excellent pet and is very tolerant of high-energy children. The breed originated in Scotland, where it is used to herd sheep and cattle.
2. Former senator Specter : ARLEN
Arlen Specter was the US Senator for Pennsylvania, famous for switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 2009. In 2010 he lost the Democratic primary and his seat went to Pat Toomey, a Republican. Spector developed a reputation for himself of being hard to work with over the years, earning the nickname “Snarlin’ Arlen”.
3. Twizzlers pieces : NIBS
Twizzlers candy has been produced since 1845, although back then the only flavor available was licorice. Famously, Twizzlers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, namely Twists, Bites and Nibs. My wife is addicted to strawberry Twizzlers. Can’t stand the stuff myself …
8. Winglike parts : ALAE
In Latin, an “avis” (bird) has “alae” (wings).
9. Centuries-old Asian wool sources : YAKS
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.
16. Imaging company once big in film : AGFA
Agfa was founded in Germany in 1867 as a company focused on the manufacture of dyes. The full name of the enterprise was Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation, shortened to Agfa, and translating as “Corporation for Aniline (a dye) Production”. Agfa merged with the Belgian company Gevaert in 1894, getting them into the photographic business. Agfa 35mm film hasn’t been produced for a few years now, but there is still inventory out there and purists are buying it when they can.
20. Ancient French region : ALSATIA
Alsace is a region in the east of France that we sometimes refer to as Alsatia, its Latin name. Alsace is home to Strasbourg, a beautiful city that I had the privilege to visit some years ago. Strasbourg is home to many international organizations, including the European Court of Human Rights.
24. Artist Picasso : PABLO
The artist Pablo Picasso’s full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, a name he was given right from birth. Got that?
25. Netanyahu’s predecessor : PERES
Shimon Peres was an Israeli statesman who was born in Poland, in a township that is now part of Belarus. Peres served as President of the State of Israel from 2007 to 2014. Born Szymon Perski, Peres was the oldest head of state in the world while he served as president of Israel. While serving as foreign minister, he represented Israel in the secret negotiations that led to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. For that work, Peres was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has been the Prime Minister of Israel since 2009. Netanyahu is the only leader of the country to date who was born in the state of Israel. After graduating high school, he served in the Israeli special forces and participated in several combat missions, and was wounded on multiple occasions. After leaving the army in 1972, Netanyahu studied at MIT in the US, earning bachelors degree in architecture and a masters degree in business.
26. CBer’s punctuation : OVER
A CBer is someone who operates a Citizens’ Band radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens’ Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren’t many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.
27. Friend of Homer : NED
Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.
29. “Harold and Maude” co-star Bud : CORT
Bud Cort is the actor who played the title role in the 1970 film “Brewster McCloud”, and Harold in the 1971 movie “Harold and Maude”.
“Harold and Maude” is a somewhat dark comedy film released in 1971. I found the storyline to be quite bizarre when I saw it many years ago, with a death-obsessed young man taken to driving a hearse as his private vehicle. The young man makes friends with a 79-year-old woman who, like him, is in the habit of attending the funerals of people she never knew. It’s not my cup of tea, quite frankly …
30. Mover of many : BUS
We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation, an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.
33. Sentence ender : PAROLE
The term “parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.
34. Head turner : ADONIS
In Greek mythology, Adonis is a beautiful young god loved by Aphrodite. Adonis dies in a hunting accident (gored by a boar), but not before he gives Aphrodite a child. Adonis was originally a Phoenician god “absorbed” into Greek lore (Phoenicia is modern day Lebanon). The child born of Adonis to Aphrodite was called Beroe, after which is named Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. We also use the term “adonis” to mean “beautiful male”.
36. Many a Balkan : SLAV
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:
- the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
- the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
- the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)
The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.
40. Plant-ruining genus : APHIS
Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids in my experience is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).
45. Rights org. : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.
48. In most mammals, the upper one has a groove called a philtrum : LIP
The vertical groove on our upper lip, just under our nose, is known as the philtrum or medial cleft. “Philtrum” is a Latin term coming from the Greek “philtron” meaning “love charm”. Not sure why that is …