Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Robin on ’60s TV : BURT WARD
The television show “Batman” aired from 1966-1968. Burt Ward played Robin opposite Adam West’s Batman. Supposedly, Burt Ward was offered the part taken by Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate”, but Ward couldn’t get out of his contract for the “Batman” television series. Holy xxxx, Batman!
15. What one taking a flight doesn’t use? : ELEVATOR
Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.
16. Mustang rival : CAMARO
The Chevrolet Camaro is a car produced by General Motors from 1966 to 2002, and reintroduced in 2009. The Camaro shared much of its design with the Pontiac Firebird, and was introduced as a potential competitor to the Ford Mustang.
17. Abomination : ANATHEMA
“Anathema” is a source of persistent annoyance. Anathema is the Latin word for an excommunicated person. Note that “anathema” does not take an article, so we say “he is anathema” rather than “he is an anathema”.
19. Coach Eric Taylor’s wife on “Friday Night Lights” : TAMI
“Friday Night Lights” is a TV series about a high school football team in Texas. The television show was inspired by the book “Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream”, as well as the 2004 movie based on the book. I binge-watched a few seasons of the TV show recently, and really enjoyed the characters and the writing …
22. Hardboard brand : MASONITE
Masonite is a hardboard made by pressure-molding steam-cooked wood fibres. The product was patented in 1924 by William H. Mason, who was a friend and protégé of Thomas Edison.
24. William Donovan’s WWII org. : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
William J. Donovan was the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII. Given that the OSS was the precursor to the CIA, Donovan is known as the “Father of Central Intelligence”. Donovan was the only person to have received the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Model and the National Service Medal, all four of the highest awards in the US.
31. “Star Trek” rank: Abbr. : ENS
An extra in “Star Trek” is often an ensign (ens.).
When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …
32. __ St. Louis : EAST
East St. Louis is a city in Illinois that is located right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. East St. Louis is home to a riverfront fountain called Gateway Geyser. The fountain sits opposite the Gateway Arch and shoots water about 630 feet into the air, which is the same height as the arch.
35. Exodus pronoun : THOU
The Book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible, and deals with Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. The name “Exodus” comes from the Greek “exodos” meaning “departure”.
38. “The Time Machine” race : ELOI
In the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounter in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a race of cannibals living underground who use the Eloi as food.
40. Jethro Tull frontman Anderson : IAN
Jethro Tull is a rock band from the UK, formed in 1967 and active until 2012. The band uses the name of a 18th-century, English agriculturist.
41. Big name in printers : EPSON
Seiko Epson is a Japanese company, one of the largest manufacturers of printers in the world. The company has its roots in the watch business, roots that go back to 1942. Seiko was chosen as the official timekeeper for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and was asked to supply a timer that produced a printed record. This request brought Seiko into the business of printer production. The company developed the world’s first mini-printer for the 1964 Games and called it EP-101 (EP standing for Electronic Printer). In 1975 Seiko introduced the next generation of EP printers which was called EPSON, from “SON of EP”. Cute, huh?
44. Drea de Matteo’s role on “The Sopranos” : ADRIANA
Drea de Matteo is an actress who is most familiar to me for playing Adriana la Cerva on HBO’s wonderful series “The Sopranos”. De Matteo also played Joey’s sister on the short-lived “Friends” spin-off called “Joey”, and the character Angie Bolen on “Desperate Housewives”.
48. Balderdash : UTTER ROT
“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids, like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!
50. Dark personification : GRIM REAPER
The Grim Reaper one of the personifications of death, along with the Hooded One and the Angel of Death. Death has been depicted since the 1400s as a skeleton in a hooded, black cloak and carrying a scythe. The name “Grim Reaper” only dates back to the mid-1800s.
61. Toll road convenience : E-ZPASS
E-ZPASS was a technology development driven (pun!) by the tolling agencies of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The first E-ZPASS toll booth was built on the New York Thruway, and opened at the Spring Valley toll plaza in 1993.
62. Site of Napoleon’s last exile : ST HELENA
The island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic is one of the most remote islands in the world. It was discovered by Galician explorer João da Nova, who was sailing under the Portuguese flag. He name the island after Helena of Constantinople, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Famously, the British opted to exile Napoleon on Saint Helena soon after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The former French emperor died on the island in 1821.
2. Radius neighbor : ULNA
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.
3. Office quantity : REAM
A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper has been called a “short ream”.
7. “Think Like a Man Too,” e.g. : ROMCOM
“Think Like a Man Too” is a 2014 sequel to the 2012 film “Think Like a Man”. Both movies are romantic comedies, with the original based on comedian Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”.
9. Terrier type : SCOTTISH
Scottish Terrier is another name for the Aberdeen Terrier, commonly referred to as the Scottie. One of the most famous Scotties in American history was Fala, the much-loved dog belonging to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also, the Scottie is famous as one of the playing pieces in the original game of Monopoly.
10. Participates in a camp activity : CANOES
The boat called a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.
11. Grace closing : AMEN
A “grace” is a short prayer recited before or after a meal.
13. Hybrid hatchback : PRIUS
The Toyota Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car sold in the US, according to the EPA. The name “Prius” is a Latin word meaning “ahead, leading”. In the US we pronounce the name “pree-us”, but across the Atlantic it’s pronounced “pry-us”. Oh, and I drive one …
21. “We __ Start the Fire”: Billy Joel : DIDN’T
“We Didn’t Start the Fire” is a 1989 song by Billy Joel. The lyrics are really quite unique, consisting mainly of over a hundred newspaper headlines from 1949 to 1989. Joel chose 1949 as it was the year of his birth.
23. Shakespearean title word : ADO
“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, and is a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.
25. Power eponym : WATT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.
26. Dos cubed : OCHO
In Spanish, “dos” (two) raised to the power of three is “ocho” (eight).
34. Brown of publishing : TINA
Tina Brown is a British/American journalist and author. Brown wrote “The Diana Chronicles”, a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, of whom Brown was a personal friend. She emigrated to the US in 1984 to become editor for “Vanity Fair”, and later took the helm at “The New Yorker”.
36. Marshland waders : BITTERNS
Bitterns are wading birds in the heron family. Unlike most of their heron cousins, bitterns tend to have short necks.
37. Dreaded figure? : RASTA
Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair nowadays usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.
41. “__ e Leandro”: Handel cantata : ERO
The Greek myth of Hero and Leander gave rise to a couple of operas (one by Giovanni Bottesini and another by Arrigo Boito) and a more famous cantata from George Frideric Handel, all called “Ero e Leandro”.
45. Longtime “Sexually Speaking” host : DR RUTH
Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a German sex therapist who made a name for herself as a media personality. Westheimer is the daughter of Orthodox Jews and was sent away from Germany by her family just before WWII. She ended up in Palestine and participated in the 1948 Palestine War serving as a scout and sniper. Westheimer was seriously wounded, and spent several months unable to walk. She moved to France in 1950, and soon after arrived in the US. It was in the US where she did her training as a sex therapist.
47. Pollo partner : ARROZ
In Spanish, “pollo” (chicken) might be served with “arroz” (rice).
54. Engine with a lot of juice : V-TEN
The engine known as a V10 is configured with two rows of five cylinders mounted on a crankcase. The rows of cylinders are offset from each other around the crankshaft at right angles, or perhaps a little less. This arrangement of ten cylinders in a V-shape gives rise to the name “V10”.
55. Slugger who began and ended his career as a Texas Ranger : SOSA
Sammy Sosa was firmly in the public eye in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire were vying to be the first to surpass the home run record held by Roger Maris. McGwire fell out of public favor due to stories of steroid abuse (stories which he later admitted were true) while Sosa fell out of favor when he was found to be using a corked bat in a 2003 game.