Edited by: Rich Norris
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Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Where regular payments are made : GAS PUMPS
The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”
9. Arena cannon fodder? : T-SHIRT
T-shirts can be shot out of an air cannon, perhaps at a sports game.
15. Agent : EMISSARY
An “emissary” is an ambassador, an agent sent on a mission, usually from one government to another. The term derives from the Latin “emissarius” meaning “that is sent out”.
17. Soybean product also called yuba : TOFU SKIN
Tofu skin is a food product that forms on the surface of boiling soy milk. It is also known as yuba.
18. “__ Butterfly” : MADAMA
Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” is the most-performed opera in the US. The opera that we see today is actually the second version that Puccini produced. The original version was first staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan where it received a very poor reception. Puccini reworked the piece, breaking the second act into two new acts and making some other significant changes. The opera was relaunched a few months later and it was a resounding success.
19. Stint for Björn Borg or Björk : SET
Björn Borg is a retired tennis player from Sweden, and a former World No. 1. Borg won 41% of the 27 Grand Slam singles tournaments that he entered, which is a record that stands to the day. He was known for reacting very calmly under pressure on the tennis court and hence earned the nicknames “Ice Man” and “Ice Borg”, which is my personal favorite.
Björk is a rather eccentric singer-songwriter from Iceland who is a big hit in the UK in particular. Björk is the daughter of a nationally-recognized union leader in her home country.
22. Messenger substance : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.
23. Its services include water taxis : UBER
In some locations, the transportation network company Uber offers water-taxi services under the brand name UberBOAT. Most notably available in the city of Istanbul in Turkey, the service is also offered in other locations, often during special events.
28. Shunned ones : PARIAHS
“Pariah” is an anglicized version of the Tamil word “Paraiyar”. The Paraiyar are a social group of about 9 million people found in some Indian states and in Sri Lanka. The term “pariah” came to be a general term for members of the lowest caste in society, outcasts.
30. Private phone connection : TIE LINE
A tie line is a connection between extensions of a private telephone system. A tie line may also be called a tie trunk.
32. In vitro cells : OVA
In vitro fertilization is the process in which egg cells are fertilized by sperm cells outside of the body in vitro. The phrase “in vitro” translates from Latin as “in glass”. The process is usually carried out in a glass culture dish.
33. Govt. bureau dealing with explosives : ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
34. Memo abbr. : ATTN
35. Modern pizza option : GLUTEN-FREE CRUST
Gluten is a protein mixture found in foods processed mainly from wheat. The sticky properties of gluten are used in making bread, giving dough its elasticity and making the final product chewy. “Gluten” is the Latin word for “glue”.
40. Collateral takeback, for short : REPO
42. Loafer letters : EEE
The type of slip-on shoe called a “loafer” dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by the Fortnum and Mason’s store in London.
43. Certain radio receiver : AM TUNER
In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (for “amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (for “frequency modulation”).
45. Debate-ending procedure : CLOTURE
“Cloture” is a parliamentary process used to bring a debate to an early close. The procedure was first used in the French National Assembly, and “clôture” is a French word meaning “ending, conclusion”. The cloture process was introduced into the US Senate in 1917, but there is no equivalent maneuver existing in the US House.
49. Lasso feature : NOOSE
Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.
52. Pet reindeer in “Frozen” : SVEN
“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”.
53. Chapel Hill inst. : UNC
The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill started enrolling students way back in 1795, making it the oldest public university in the country, i.e. the first to enrol students.
54. It stops the bleeding : STYPTIC
A styptic is an antihemorrhagic, a substance that stops bleeding. It works by contracting tissue, and thus sealing injured blood vessels.
57. Post-Civil War pres. : USG
Ulysses S. Grant (USG) had been a career soldier when he was elected as the 18th president of the US, and had risen to commander of all the Union armies by the end of the Civil War. Grant served two terms as president, and also made a failed bid for a third term. Grant’s reputation was tarnished by his apparent tolerance of corruption in his administration. On the other hand, Grant worked hard to protect African Americans during Reconstruction after the Civil War, and pursued peaceful relations with Native Americans.
58. Chinese philosophy mainstay : LAO TSE
Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.
60. Mongo Santamaria jazz standard whose title is rhymed with “cocoa hue” in Oscar Brown Jr.’s lyrics : AFRO BLUE
Dream of a land my soul is from
I hear a hand stroke on a drum
Shades of delight cocoa hue
Rich as the night, afro blue
2. Protozoan genus : AMOEBA
An ameba (or “amoeba”, as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.
4. Nittany Lions’ sch. : PSU
The athletic teams of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) are called the Nittany Lions, or in the case of the female teams, the Lady Lions. The Nittany Lion was introduced as a mascot way back in 1904 and is modeled after mountain lions that used to roam Mount Nittany located near the school’s campus.
5. Foe in a four-plus-decade “war” : USSR
The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
6. Break bread? : MAKE CHANGE
The use of the word “bread” as a slang term for money dates back to the 1940s, and is derived from the term “breadwinner”, meaning the person in the house who puts bread on the table, brings in the money.
7. Consumer Reports data : PRICES
“Consumer Reports” is a monthly magazine that has been published by Consumers Union since 1936. Consumers Union was established as a non-profit organization with the mission to “test products, inform the public, and protect customers.”
8. Church council : SYNOD
The word synod comes from the Greek word for assembly, or meeting. A synod is a church council, usually in the Christian faith.
12. First director to win back-to-back Oscars since Mankiewicz : INARRITU
Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a film director from Mexico City. The years 2014 and 2015 were great for Iñárritu. He won Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture for “Birdman” in 2014. He won Best Director again the following year, for “The Revenant”.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz was a very successful film director. He won three Oscars for the 1949 movie “A Letter to Three Wives” (Best Director, Best Writing and Best Screenplay), and then won the same “triple” of Oscars the following year, for the 1950 movie “All About Eve”.
13. Left things : REMNANTS
A remnant is a small part that’s left over from something larger. The term comes from the Latin “remanour” meaning “to remain”. So, a “remnant” is something “remaining”.
14. One screening fliers : TSA AGENT
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.
21. Chevy sportster : VETTE
The Chevrolet Corvette was introduced to the world in 1953, and was named after the small maneuverable warship called a corvette. The Corvette has legs. It is the only American sports car that has been around for over 50 years.
27. Some reds : CLARETS
Clairet is a dark rosé wine. Although it is uncommon today, clairet used to be the most common wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. For centuries now, English consumers have used the derivative term “claret” to describe any red wine from Bordeaux.
29. “__ Maria” : AVE
“Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary” in English) is the prayer at the core of the Roman Catholic Rosary, which itself is a set of prayers asking for the assistance of the Virgin Mary. Much of the text of the “Hail Mary” comes from the Gospel of Luke. The words in Latin are:
AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
The prayer has been adapted as a hymn. The two most famous musical versions of “Ave Maria” are by Charles Gounod (based on a piece by Bach) and by Franz Schubert.
39. Boardroom cheese? : CEO
The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, used way back in late 1800s (long before Coke picked it up). “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” would morph into “the real cheese”. Then in early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”. And I think that is about the only use of the word “cheese” that is in anyway complimentary!
44. Mythical Highlander : NESSIE
The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.
The Scottish Highlands are that part of the country not classified as the Lowlands(!). The Highlands make up the north and west of Scotland.
45. Conniption : CATFIT
A fit of hysterical excitement or anger might be called a cat-fit, or perhaps a duck-fit.
46. Palate protrusions : UVULAS
The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.
48. Editor of two “Das Kapital” volumes : ENGELS
Friedrich Engels was a German political theorist who worked closely with Karl Marx to develop what became known as Marxist Theory. Along with Marx, he also co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848, and later he supported Marx as he worked to publish “Das Kapital”.
51. Warm-blooded fish : OPAHS
“Opah” is the more correct name for the fish also known as the sunfish, moonfish or Jerusalem haddock. I’ve seen one in the Monterrey Aquarium. It is one huge fish …
56. Holiday stocking bummer : COAL
Apparently, the tradition of putting coal in the Christmas stocking of a poorly-behaved child comes simply from the proximity of the stocking (hanging on the fireplace) to a source of coal!
61. MD airport : BWI
There are three airports serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area:
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
Of the three, BWI handles the most passengers.