Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Most massive of all known elementary particles : TOP QUARK
Quarks are elementary atomic particles that combine to make composite particles called “hadrons”. I’m really only familiar with the really stable hadrons i.e. protons and neutrons. There are six types of quarks (referred to as “flavors”). These flavors are up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top. The term “quark” was borrowed from James Joyce’s book “Finnegans Wake”, by physicist Murray Gell-Mann. However, the word coined by Joyce is pronounced “kwark”, and the particle’s name is pronounced “kwork”.
15. Place frequented by John Jasper in Dickens’ “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” : OPIUM DEN
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. The story itself is centered not on the title character, but on Edwin Drood’s uncle, a choirmaster named John Jasper.
16. Bird of baseball : ORIOLE
The Baltimore Orioles (the “O’s”) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.
17. Aptly named heavy-footed bird : MEGAPODE
Megapodes are Australasian terrestrial birds that resemble large chickens. They have heavy legs and large feet, and indeed the name “megapode” comes from the Latin for “big foot”.
22. Night sch. staple : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
23. Twelve __: neighbor of Tara : OAKS
Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation, in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland. Rhett’s rival for the affections of Scarlet is Ashley Wilkes who lives at the nearby Twelve Oaks plantation.
25. Pre-fax communication : TELEX
Telex grew out of the world of the telegraph. What Telex brought to telegraphy was the ability to route messages. Instead of having to talk to an operator to route a particular message to the intended party, the user of a telex could route the message directly to another telex machine by way of a rotary dial, very similar to that on a telephone.
27. Repeated phrase in Ecclesiastes : A TIME
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
33. 2000s “SNL” alum : SAMBERG
Andy Samberg is an actor and comedian who was a “Saturday Night Live” cast member from 2005 until 2012. Samberg also plays the lead on the police sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.
35. Eastern way : TAO
The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.
36. Game console with a Mini version : WII
The Wii mini is smaller version of the incredibly successful Wii gaming console that was released in 2012.
46. Pickup hr. : ETA
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
50. Polynesian people : MAORI
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities. The Māori refer to New Zealand as “Aotearoa”.
54. California city mentioned after Kingman in the song “Route 66” : BARSTOW
Barstow is a California railroad town that grew with the success of mining operations in the Mojave desert. The city is named for William Barstow Strong, who served as president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway from 1881 to 1889.
The famous old highway called Route 66 has largely been replaced by modern interstates. It ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, right through the heart of America, and so it was often called the “Main Street of America”. The road gained notoriety because of Nat King Cole’s song “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66”, and also because of the sixties TV show called “Route 66”.
57. Aficionados’ creations that may infringe on copyrights, for short : FANFIC
Fan fiction (also “fanfic”) is fiction created by fans of an original work that uses characters from that original work.
59. Oscillating curve : SINE WAVE
A sine wave is a mathematical function that describes a simple, smooth, repetitive oscillation. The sine wave is found right throughout the natural world. Ocean waves, light waves and sound waves all have a sine wave pattern.
61. Cactus spine source : AREOLE
Areoles are bumps on the side of cacti from which grow clusters of spines. These areoles are one of the features of cacti that distinguish them from other succulent plants.
63. Persian king : XERXES
Xerxes was the eldest son of Darius I of Persia. He succeeded to the throne in 486 BC as Xerxes I, and was later to be known as Xerxes the Great. It was Xerxes who fought against the Spartans in the famous Battle of Thermopylae.
1. Steinbeck protagonist : TOM JOAD
Tom Joad is the protagonist the John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath”. The role of Joad was played by Henry Fonda in the 1940 film adaptation directed by John Ford. Ford’s movie has a place in history, as it was one of the first 25 movies selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
3. Game item made of cow leather, actually : PIGSKIN
“Pigskin” is a slang term for the ball used in American football, even though it’s made from cow leather.
4. In the capacity of : QUA
“Qua” is a preposition meaning “in the capacity of”. “Qua” is a form of the Latin word for “who”.
5. Ballpark figures : UMPS
Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came for Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.
7. Lucille Ball, e.g. : REDHEAD
Lucille Ball was at the height of her success while she was married to Desi Arnaz. The couple met in 1940 and not long afterwards eloped. Lucy had several miscarriages before she gave birth to her first child in 1951, just one month before her fortieth birthday. A year and a half later, while “I Love Lucy” was garnering large audiences, she became pregnant with her second child, a pregnancy that was written into the television show’s script. In fact, the day that Lucy gave birth on the show, was the same day that she gave birth in real life.
9. Scrolls successor : CODEX
A codex is an old book, one in the format of a modern book as opposed to its predecessor, which was a scroll. The word “codex” comes from the Latin “caudex” meaning “trunk of a tree”.
11. Tina’s “30 Rock” role : LIZ
“30 Rock” is a sitcom on NBC that was created by the show’s star Tina Fey. Fey is an ex-performer and writer from “Saturday Night Live” and uses her experiences on that show as a basis for the “30 Rock” storyline. Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer for the fictional sketch comedy series “TGS with Tracy Jordan”.
12. Cough syrup alternative : LOZENGE
Back in the 14th century, a “lozenge” was a diamond shape. The original lozenges, which were tablets held in the mouth to dissolve, had this diamond shape and hence the name.
13. Home Run Derby competitor : ALL-STAR
Major League Baseball holds the Home Run Derby annually, on the day prior to the league’s All-Star Game. The Derby is a home run hitting competition held between four players from the National League, and four players from the American League.
28. Online biz : E-TAIL
“E-tail” is the term used these days for online shopping (coming from “retail”). E-tail is often compared to regular shopping in the “real world” by juxtaposing it with a “brick and mortar” store.
32. Extended period : EON
Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:
- eon (also “aeon”)
37. U.K.-based personal organizer brand : FILOFAX
Filofax is a brand of personal organizer wallet that was introduced way back in 1921. The name comes from the phrase “file of facts”. I’m very old school, and was using my Filofax long after my colleagues at work had become addicted to their electronic organizers.
39. Fidget __ : SPINNER
A fidget spinner is toy that supposedly can be used for stress relief. Sales of fidget spinners really took off in 2017, although versions of the toy existed back in the early nineties.
41. Bach work : PARTITA
A “partita” can be a suite of music written for one instrument. The Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote two sets of partitas, one set for a solo keyboard and one set for a solo violin.
44. Most dreary, in Dublin : GREYEST
The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as “Baile Átha Cliath” in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city “Dubh Linn”, meaning “black pool”.
50. Medieval clubs : MACES
A mace is a relatively simple weapon in essence. It is a heavy weight on the end of a handle that is used to deliver powerful blows on an opponent’s body.
European history is often divided in three major periods: classical antiquity and the modern period, with the Middle Ages in between. Specifically, the Middle Ages are said to have begun in 476 AD, when the last Roman Emperor was deposed by a Germanic chieftain. The end date for the Middle Ages is less specific, but is about 1500 AD. The list of events signalling the end of the Middle Ages includes Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the New World (1492) and the Protestant Reformation (1517). The term “medieval” is used to describe something belonging to the Middle Ages.
51. Like the Jefferson Memorial’s columns : IONIC
The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.
The beautiful Jefferson Memorial was completed in 1947 and sits on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. The idea for the memorial really came from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as he was a great admirer of President Jefferson.
55. Old TV host with an accordion : WELK
The bandleader and accordion player Lawrence Welk hosted “The Lawrence Welk Show” for over thirty years starting in 1951. Lawrence was from Strasburg, North Dakota and grew up in a German-speaking community. His parent were ethnic Germans who emigrated to the US from Odessa, now in Ukraine.
58. Kit maker : FOX
Kits are the young of several mammalian species, including the ferret and the fox. “Kit” is probably a shortened form of “kitten”.