Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with an item of jewelry:
- 17A…Chronological documentation in a court case..CHAIN OF EVIDENCE
- 27A…Point an accusing finger at..PIN THE BLAME ON
- 48A…”Be careful on that icy sidewalk”..WATCH YOUR STEP
- 62A…Brief film role..CAMEO APPEARANCE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Captain obsessed with a whale..AHAB
Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.
5…Baseball great Ruth..BABE
Jack Dunn was the owner/manager of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1913, when he signed on George Herman Ruth as a pitcher. The other players called Ruth “Jack’s newest babe”, and the name “Babe” stuck.
9…Channel covering Capitol Hill..C-SPAN
C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.
Our use of the word “ball” to mean a round object comes from the Old Norse “bollr” meaning the same thing. However, the usage of “ball” to mean “dancing party” comes from the Late Latin “ballare” meaning “to dance”, which in turn derives from the Greek “ballizein” meaning the same thing.
According to tradition, Rome was founded by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The pair had a heated argument about who should be allowed to name the city and Romulus hit Remus with a shovel, killing him. And so, “Rome” was born!
20…Prior name of Ho Chi Minh City..SAIGON
Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese Communist leader who was president of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1969. Ho Chi Minh traveled widely in his earlier years. From 1912 to 1918 he actually lived in the US, in New York and Boston. While in America, he held down several jobs including working as a baker in the Parker House Hotel in Boston, and as a line manager for General Motors.
21…Spot of acne..ZIT
The slang term “zit”, meaning “pimple”, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.
Eros, the Greek god of love, was also known as Amor. The Roman counterpart to Eros was Cupid.
33…Great Lakes’ __ Canals..SOO
In the summer of 2010 I spent a very interesting afternoon watching ships make their way through the Soo Locks and Soo Canals between Lake Superior and the lower Great lakes. The name “Soo” comes from the US and Canadian cities on either side of the locks, both called Sault Ste. Marie.
A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.
Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, both male and female parts.
The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.
51…When repeated, a Hawaiian fish..MAHI
Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for the dolphin-fish, also called a dorado. The mahi-mahi is an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one …
56…New Deal org…WPA
The Work Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest of the New Deal agencies. The WPA employed millions of people during the Depression, putting them to work on various public works projects. The total spending through the WPA from 1936 to 1939 was nearly $7 billion. We have to give the federal government credit for taking an enlightened view of what types of project qualified for financial support, so artists who could not get commissions privately were hired by the government itself. The result is a collection of “New Deal Art”, including a series of murals that can be found in post offices around the country to this day.
62…Brief film role..CAMEO APPEARANCE
Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.
65…Female reproductive gland..OVARY
The ovaries are the female reproductive organs. Most female vertebrates have two ovaries. However, only the left ovary develops in female birds, with the right remaining vestigial.
66…Any one of the Bahamas..ISLE
The Bahamas is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, lying in the same island chain as Cuba and Hispaniola. The Bahamas was a British colony for many years but became independent in 1973, although it retains membership in the British Commonwealth.
67…Geometric art style..DECO
Art deco is the name given to a style of design and architecture of the 1920s that actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe before arriving in North America. Celebrated examples of art deco architecture are the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City completed in 1930, and the GE Building that sits in the middle of Rockefeller Center also in New York City, with the address of “30 Rock”.
68…Cup, in Calais..TASSE
Calais is a major ferry port in northern France that overlooks the Strait of Dover, which is the narrowest point in the English Channel. The strait is just over 20 miles wide, making Calais the nearest French town to England.
Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …
4…Fatal plant diseases..BLIGHTS
A “blight” is a disease caused by some infective organism that results in the rapid browning of the plant due to the death of tissues such a leaves, branches and flowers. One of the most famous such disease is the potato blight caused by the fungus-like microorganism Phytophthora infestans. It was potato blight that caused the Great Famine in Ireland, which led to the death of about a million people and the mass emigration of about a million more between the 1845 and 1852.
5…Outskirts of the outskirts..BOONIES
“Boondocks” (often shortened to “boonies”) is a term used in North America for a remote, usually rural area. Often the term is used derogatively, implying that a remote location is unsophisticated. “Boondocks” was first used by American soldiers stationed in the Philippines in the early 1900s. The word evolved from the Tagalog “bundok” meaning “mountain”.
The Weimaraner was originally bred for hunting large game such as bears, boars and deer, and is now classed as a gun dog. The breed gets its name from Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, as he was big into hunting.
7…Joan at Woodstock..BAEZ
Joan Baez is an American folk singer and a prominent activist in the fields of non-violence, civil rights, human rights and environmental protection. Baez has dated some high-profile figures in her life including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs (of Apple) and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.
8…Horror’s “Mistress of the Dark”..ELVIRA
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was a character originally used to introduce a local Los Angeles weekend horror show back in the early eighties. Elvira was a comic sexy persona played by actress Cassandra Peterson. She wore a tight black gown with a famous low-cut neckline. The weekend horror show is long gone, but the Elvira character is still going strong.
9…Spanish hero El __..CID
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as “The Champion” or perhaps “The Lord, Master of Military Arts”. El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). However, he was sent into exile by the King in 1080, after acting beyond his authorization in battle. El Cid then offered his services to his former foes, the Moorish kings, After a number of years building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. By this time El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso, he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, making it is headquarters and home. He died there, quite peacefully in 1099.
10…Classic cowboy hat..STETSON
Stetson is a brand name of hat, manufactured by the John B. Stetson Company of St. Joseph, Missouri. The so called “cowboy hat” that Stetson pioneered was such a success that the company became the largest hat maker in the world, producing over 3.3 million hats per year.
The glass cleaner called Windex was introduced in 1933. The formulation sold up to the end of WWII had to be packed in metal cans because it was so flammable.
12…MLB postseason semifinal..ALCS
American League Championship Series (ALCS)
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.
I was lucky enough to visit the Moscow Kremlin as a tourist a few decades ago. The Kremlin sits right on Red Square, along with Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the famed GUM department store. “Kremlin” is a Russian word for “fortress”.
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.
The Book of Genesis is the first book in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. Some of the main figures in the book are Adam and Eve, Moses, Abraham and Jacob/Israel. “Genesis” is a Greek word meaning “origin, creation”.
24…Wall St. deals..LBOS
A leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which an investor acquires a controlling volume of stock in a company, but buys that stock with borrowed funds (hence “leveraged”). Often the assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed money. There is a special form of LBO known as a management buyout (MBO) in which the company’s own management team purchases the controlling interest.
28…__-Z: classic Camaro..IROC
The IROC-Z is a model of Camaro, introduced in 1978. The IROC-Z takes its name from a famous stock car race, the International Race of Champions.
Something described as “loony” is insane, crazy. “Loony” is short for “lunatic”, an adjective “lunatic” is now considered offensive. The term arose in the late 1400s, when it meant “affected with periodic insanity”, i.e. insanity attacks brought on by the cycles of the moon. “Lunatic” comes from the Latin “luna” meaning “moon”.
Something described as “zany” is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.
36…Sing like Joe Cocker..RASP
Joe Cocker is an English rock and blues singer from Sheffield in the North of England who is noted for his gritty and raspy voice. Cocker has had many hits, several of which are cover versions of songs. Included in the list is “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Cry Me a River”, “You Are So Beautiful” and “Up Where We Belong”.
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently the “X” has no significant meaning.
44…The “a” sound in “about” or “around”..SCHWA
A “schwa” is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.
46…Ice cream treats..SUNDAES
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.
47…Erik of “CHiPs”..ESTRADA
Actor Erik Estrada’s big break came with the movie “Airport 1975”, in which he played the doomed flight engineer of a Boeing 747. A couple of years later, Estrada began a six-year gig, co-starring on the television show “CHiPs” as motorcycle police officer Poncherello.
The Scottish skirt called a “kilt” takes its name from the Middle English word “kilten” meaning “to tuck up”. The idea is that the kilt can be tucked up around the body to give freedom to the legs.
55…Amo, __, amat..AMAS
“Amo, amas, amat” … “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”, in Latin.
57…Vaulted church recess..APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.
60…Behold, to Caesar..ECCE
“Ecce!” is Latin for “look!” or “behold!”
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.
63…Santana’s “__ Como Va”..OYE
“Oye Como Va” is a song written by Tito Puente in 1963. The best-known recording is the cover version by Santana released in 1970.
64…Lodge logo animal..ELK
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.