Edited by: Rich Norris
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Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Nevada’s state flower : SAGEBRUSH
One of the nicknames for Nevada is “the Sage State”, a reference to the wild sagebrush found all over the state. Nevada is also called “the Sage-Hen State”, for the sage hen (also “sage grouse”) that once was plentiful there.
10. Yippie Hoffman : ABBIE
Abbie Hoffman was the founder of the “Yippies”, an activist group that had violent clashes with the police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
16. Like some winds : REEDY
Those would be woodwinds, the musical instruments.
18. “Joyful, __ nations, rise”: carol lyric : ALL YE
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. It was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, although he scored it as a very slow and somber tune. A number of musicians modified the music over the years (including Felix Mendelssohn) giving us the more uplifting air that we know today.
19. Asylum seeker : IMMIGRANT
“Asylum” (plural “asyla”) is a Latin word, meaning “sanctuary”.
20. Walk quartet : BALLS
That would be baseball. Pitching four balls leads to a walk.
21. Rathskeller turndown : NEIN
A city hall in Germany is called a Rathaus. In days gone by there was often a restaurant located in the basement or cellar of a Rathaus, and this restaurant was given the name Rathskeller.
24. Half of Bennifer : J.LO
“Bennifer” is a portmanteau used for the super-couple pairing of actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Other supercouples are/were:
- Tomkat – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
- Grant ‘n’ Hurley – Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley
- Posh and Becks – Victoria and David Beckham
- Brangelina – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
25. “Inferiority complex” coiner : ADLER
Alfred Adler was one of the group of medical professionals that founded the psychoanalytic movement. Today Adler is less famous than his colleague, Sigmund Freud.
27. “Unfaithful” co-star : GERE
Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.
“Unfaithful” is a 2002 drama film with leads played by Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The Hollywood movie is a remake of a French film called “La Femme infidèle” (The Unfaithful Wife).
28. Hold ’em holding : PAIR
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.
29. Calif. NHL team, on scoreboards : LAK
The Los Angeles Kings hockey team was founded in 1967 and joined the NHL as an expansion team. The Kings played their home games at the start first season not in Los Angeles, but rather in neighboring Long Beach, at the Long Beach Arena. Team owner Jack Kent Cooke built his own arena for the Kings called the Forum, which opened for business later in the season. The Kings called the Forum home for thirty-two years, until they moved to the Staples Center at the start of the 1999-2000 season.
32. Liftoff sensation : G-FORCE
The force of gravity (g-force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is a actually an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero-G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.
35. Moonraker, for one : SAIL
On a square-rigged sailing ship, the moonraker is the uppermost square sail on each of the masts. If the uppermost sail is triangular, then it is referred to as a skyscraper.
36. “You kiss by the book” speaker : JULIET
In William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, after their first kiss, Juliet tells her beau, “You kiss by the book”. There has been some debate about the exact intent of this line. On the downside, it could be a mild rebuke, indicating that Romeo kisses, well, but there’s nothing special. On the upside, it could be that Juliet is complimenting Romeo on his knowledge and expertise in the art of the kiss.
39. Solar __ : CELL
Solar panels are arrays of solar cells that make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.
43. Heavy traffic may affect them, briefly : ETAS
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
44. Buddy : CHUM
A “chum” is a friend. The term originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.
48. First date concern : ZIT
The slang term “zit”, meaning “pimple”, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.
49. Civil War battle site : SHILOH
The Battle of Shiloh was a major engagement in the Civil War, and was fought in 1862 at Pittsburg Landing in southwestern Tennessee. The battle started with a surprise attack by Confederate forces led by Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard. The attackers gained the upper hand on the first day over the Union forces led by Major General Ulysses S. Grant. Union reinforcements arrived during the night and the tide of the battle turned the next day and the Confederates were forced to withdraw. Almost 3,000 men died in the course of the Battle of Shiloh, thus making it the bloodiest battle in US history up to that point in time.
51. Tahari of fashion : ELIE
Elie Tahari is an American fashion designer, although he was born in Jerusalem. Tahari immigrated to the US from Israel in 1971 and started work as an electrician in the the Garment District in New York City. It was there that he became interested in fashion.
52. Young would-be 19-Across in 2000 news : ELIAN
(19A. Asylum seeker : IMMIGRANT)
The immigration status of young Cuban boy Elián González was all over the news in 2000. Elián’s mother drowned while trying to enter the US illegally, whereas Elián and his mother’s boyfriend survived the journey. The INS placed Elián in the care of paternal relatives in the US who then petitioned to have the boy stay with them permanently, against the wishes of Elián’s father back in Cuba. After court proceedings, the federal authorities forcibly removed Elián from his relatives in the US, and he was returned to his father who took him back to Cuba. Back in Cuba, Fidel Castro stepped in and befriended Elián, and the young man still has influential sponsorship in his homeland as a result of his ordeal. Elián has grown up, earning himself a degree in industrial engineering in 2016.
54. River across Quebec, in Quebec : ST LAURENT
The Saint Lawrence River (“Fleuve Saint-Laurent” in French” rises as the principal outflow of Lake Ontario, runs almost 2,000 miles before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, which is the largest estuary on the planet.
57. Carousel riders : SUITCASES
Apparently the baggage carousel was developed by a French company. The first installation was in Paris Orly Airport in the 1950s.
59. Lily’s “Laugh-In” operator : ERNESTINE
Lily Tomlin is a comedian and actress who got her big break as a regular member of the cast of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” in the late sixties and early seventies. Tomlin created several great characters on the show. My personal favorite is Ernestine, the condescending telephone operator with the marvelous nasal voice and snorting laugh. Ernestine was fond of saying “One ringy dingy …” I really enjoy Tomlin’s performances as an actress, notably in the movies “9 to 5” and “All of Me”, and on the TV shows “The West Wing” and “Grace and Frankie”. I went to her stage show many years ago in San Francisco, and just did not enjoy it. I was devastated …
60. Janitor’s supply : LYSOL
The disinfectant called Lysol takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.
A janitor is someone who takes care of the maintenance or cleaning of a building. An older definition of the term is “doorman”. Our word comes from the Latin “ianitor” meaning “doorkeeper”.
1. Pioneering : SEMINAL
Something that is seminal is creative and has the power to originate, is formative. The term comes from the Latin “semen” meaning “seed”.
2. Oakland’s county : ALAMEDA
“Alameda” is Spanish for “a place full of poplars”. There are number of locations in the US and elsewhere with the name “Alameda”, including the county of Alameda, California where I am right now, writing this post. Alameda County is also home to the city of Alameda located on Alameda Island.
The city of Oakland, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, was settled by the Spanish in 1772. The area now known as Oakland was called “Encinal” by those early settlers, which translates as “oak grove”, giving the city its name.
3. Dairy line? : GOT MILK?
The “got milk?” advertising campaign was funded originally by the California Milk Processor Board and later by milk processors and dairy farmers. The “got milk?” ads encourage us to drink cow’s milk, and lots of it.
5. Hamlet : BURG
“Burg” is an informal term used in the US for a smaller town, from the German word “burg” meaning a fortified city.
A hamlet is a small village, especially one without a church (it says here …).
7. Innate : UNTAUGHT
Something innate is untaught, has existed from birth. The term comes from the Latin “innatus” meaning “inborn”.
9. Hawthorne’s Prynne : HESTER
The main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” is Hester Prynne. When Prynne is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title “The Scarlet Letter”.
10. Sheikdom of song : ARABY
“The Sheik of Araby” is a song that dates back to 1921, when it was a Tin Pan Alley hit. It was soon absorbed into the jazz standard repertoire. The inspiration of the song was Rudolph Valentino’s performance in the 1921 movie “The Sheik”.
11. Coach of Nadia and Mary Lou : BELA
Béla Károlyi is a gymnastics coach from Romania who has lived in the US since 1981. Károlyi has coached both the US and Romanian national teams, with both winning Olympic gold.
Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of a ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.
Mary Lou Retton is an Olympic champion gymnast from Fairmont, West Virginia. Retton won Olympic Individual All-Around gold in the 1984 games, making her the first female athlete to do so who wasn’t from Eastern Europe.
12. Protective display cover : BELL JAR
A bell jar is a bell-shaped glass jar used in a laboratory. The jar is placed over an object that needs to be surrounded by a vacuum. That vacuum is created by pumping air from inside the jar via a hose fitted to the top. Bell jars can also be used as display cases.
13. Charmingly rustic : IDYLLIC
An “idyll” (also “idyl”) is a short poem with a pastoral theme, usually depicting the scene in romantic and idealized terms. The word comes from the Greek “eidyllion”, which literally translates to “little picture” but was a word describing a short, poem with a rustic theme.
14. Candidate for Photoshop : EYESORE
Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software used for editing graphics. When I first bought a copy of Photoshop, it was really expensive (about $300, ten years ago), but now there are cost-effective, stripped-down versions available. Also, the full version of Photoshop is now only available as a monthly subscription service.
34. Grafton’s “__ for Burglar” : B IS
Sue Grafton writes detective novels, and her “alphabet series” features the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with “A Is for Alibi” in 1982 and is working her way through the alphabet, most recently publishing “’W’ is for Wasted” in 2009. Apparently Ms. Grafton is working on her “X is for …” novel, and has already decided that “Z is for Zero” will be the final title in the series. What a clever naming system!
36. Biblical wife of Ahab : JEZEBEL
Ahab was a King of Israel, but the power behind his throne was his wife Jezebel, a Phoenician princess. Jezebel’s god was Ba’al, and she used her influence to get temples of Ba’al built in Israel. Jezebel’s name is still associated with the worship of false prophets.
38. Selena and others : LATINAS
Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as “Selena”, was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena’s life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role.
39. Lab dish subject : CULTURE
Julius Richard Petri was a German bacteriologist and was the man after whom the Petri dish is named. The petri dish can have an agar gel on the bottom which acts a nutrient source for the specimen being grown and studied, in which case the dish plus agar is referred to as an “agar plate”.
40. Historical Oder River region : SILESIA
Silesia is a region in Central Europe that lies mainly in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic and Germany. Silesia is home to large coalfields. As a result, the region is highly industrialized.
42. Flies over Africa? : TSETSES
Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.
49. Fishhook connector : SNELL
A snell is a length of thin line that connects a fishhook to heavier line.
53. Currency exchange fee : AGIO
The term “agio” derives from the Italian “aggio” meaning “exchange rate, discount, premium”. Most often, the agio is defined as the difference between the actual exchange rate and the nominal exchange rate for two currencies. That difference is mainly made up of the service fee for making the exchange.
55. Sch. in the same system as Berkeley : UCSB
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is one of the 10 campuses in the UC system. UCSB joined the UC system in 1944, although the school was founded as a teachers’ college in 1891.
The University of California, Berkeley (Cal) is the most difficult public university to get into in the world. It opened in 1869 and is named for Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley.