Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
15. Offer a libation (for) : POUR ONE OUT
Back in the 14th century libation was the pouring of wine in the honor of a god. The term comes from the Latin word “libare”, which basically means the same thing. Nowadays we tend to use “libation” as a somewhat ornate word for a drink.
16. Polar explorer’s concern : FLOE
An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.
20. William Tell Monument city : ALTDORF
Supposedly, William Tell came from Uri, a canton in the German part of Switzerland. Altdorf is the capital of Uri and is the city where William Tell shot the apple off his son’s head, at least according to legend. There is a bronze statue of Tell that was erected in the city’s marketplace in 1895 to memorialize the event.
22. Venus is in it: Abbr. : WTA
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is an organization that looks out for the interests of male tennis professionals. The equivalent organization for women is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
Venus Williams is the older of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. In 2002, Williams became the first African-American woman to earn the World No. 1 ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association in the Open Era.
23. “S” on an invitation : S’IL
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer please”.
24. Vehicle-sharing company : ZIPCAR
Zipcar is a carsharing company. Carsharing differs from car rental in that cars are available only to members, but 24 hours a day as opposed to office hours. There are other differences, including the fact that members are usually responsible for leaving cars gassed up and clean for the next user.
26. “Born on the Bayou” band, briefly : CCR
Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) was a rock band from San Francisco that played in a Southern rock style, with hits such as “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “Down on the Corner” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.
“Born of the Bayou” is a Creedence Clearwater Revival song that was released as the B-side to their big hit “Proud Mary” in 1969.
30. It’s tuned an octave higher than a cello : VIOLA
The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, between the violin and the cello.
31. 1988 noir remake : DOA
Both the original 1950 film “D.O.A.” starring Edmond O’Brien, and its 1988 remake starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, are excellent movies in my opinion. The basic storyline is that the lead character discovers he has been poisoned, and uses the limited time he has to live in order to discover who “murdered” him.
34. Samoa or Caramel deLite : GIRL SCOUT COOKIE
Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookie, the name can vary. For example, Little Brownie Bakers makes the Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel deLites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name of “Samoa” because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa. The most popular variety of Girl Scout cookie sold are Thin Mints.
37. King’s value, at times : TEN
That would be in card games, such a blackjack.
39. Sch. period : SEM
“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester system has three parts, and a quarter system has four.
44. Chinese military gp. : PLA
In the 1930s, the rebel People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China was locked in battle with the army of the Chinese Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek. In the jaws of defeat, the PLA (or “Red Army”, as it was known) managed to make a series of withdrawals from the southern part of the country, evading capture by retreating to the north. This campaign of retreat involved the Red Army traversing about 8,000 miles of difficult terrain in a move that took over a year. The Communist troops of the Red Army were led by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. The retreat came to be termed “the Long March”, and its relative success established the reputations of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai within the Communist Party, and ultimately led to their takeover of power after the subsequent Chinese Civil War.
49. Pipe in a song : COB
Corncob pipes are made from cobs that have been dried for two years and are then hollowed out into the shape of a bowl. Famous smokers of corncob pipes were General Douglas MacArthur, Mark Twain, Norman Rockwell as well as Popeye and Frosty the Snowman.
“Frosty the Snowman” is a song that was recorded first by Gene Autry, in 1950. The song was specifically written in the hope that it would become a follow-up hit to Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that topped the charts the previous year.
52. Pen name that sounds like a drink : SAKI
Hector Hugh Munro was a British writer who actually was born in Burma. He was most famous for his short stories, which he published using the pen name “Saki”. “The Square Egg and Other Sketches” was a collection of short stories published in 1924, nine years after his death.
We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.
54. Cry at the craps table : COME TO PAPA!
If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.
56. U.S. dept. with a bolt on its seal : ENER
The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features a lightning bolt and symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.
57. Experience for Marty McFly : TIME TRAVEL
In the fun 1985 movie “Back to the Future”, Marty McFly finds himself back in 1955, and is trying to get back to HIS future, which is 1985. But on the other hand, 1985 is really Marty’s present, before he went back in time. Why does time travel have to be so complicated …?
2. Pioneer in portable music : SONY
Walkman is a brand of portable audio and video products manufactured by Sony. The first Walkman was introduced in 1979 and popularized the practice of carrying music around and listening through lightweight headphones.
4. Top medalla : ORO
In Spanish, a “medalla” (medal) might be made from “oro” (gold).
9. Mark’s replacement : EURO
One of the currencies replaced by the euro was Germany’s Deutsche Mark (known as the “deutschmark” in English).
10. Premium movie channel that dropped its “!” in 2005 : STARZ
The Starz premium cable channel is owned by the same company that owns the Encore cable channel. Starz was launched in 1994 and mainly shows movies.
11. “Portlandia” airer : IFC
“Portlandia” is a satirical sketch show that airs on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). The show is set in Portland, Oregon and takes its name from a statue called “Portlandia” which sits above the entrance to a building in downtown Portland. The statue is a copper repoussé work, and is second in size in the US only to the Statue of Liberty.
12. Pot without speed : SLOW COOKER
We often use the term “crockpot” as an alternative for “slow cooker”. The generic term comes from the trademark “Crock-Pot”, now owned by Sunbeam products.
13. Serious transgression, in Catholicism : MORTAL SIN
In some Christian denominations, sins can be either venial or mortal in terms of severity, with mortal sins being the more grievous.
21. Coppers : FIVE-O
“Five-O” has become urban slang for a police officer, or the police force in general. The term is rooted in the 1970s TV Show “Hawaii Five-O”. Hawaii Five-O was a totally fictional police force created for the television show. The name recognizes that Hawaii was the 50th state to join the union. Steve McGarrett in the original show was played by Jack Lord, and “Danno” Williams was played by James MacArthur.
27. Some sweaters : WOOLS
Until the early 1880s, the word “sweater” applied to clothing worn specifically for weight reduction by “sweating”.
29. Venerated symbol : TOTEM
“Totem” is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.
31. Martha Kent portrayer in recent Superman films : DIANE LANE
Diane Lane is an American film actress, who was born and raised in New York City. Not so long ago, I saw Lane with Richard Gere in “Nights in Rodanthe” (a movie that I recommend). My absolute favorite movie of hers is “Under the Tuscan Sun”, which is based on the memoir of the same name by Frances Mayes (a writer from San Francisco). It’s a lovely romantic story, not without humor, and set in the gorgeous Tuscan landscape.
Superman was sent to Earth in a rocket as a child by his parents, who remained on the doomed planet of Krypton. On Earth, the child was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent, farmers who lived near the fictional town of Smallville. The Kents raised the infant as their own, giving him the name Clark, which was Ma Kent’s maiden name.
32. Barracks VIP : NCO
Non-commissioned officer (NCO)
33. Betamax player : VCR
Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)
The video standard known as VHS is more fully referred to as the Video Home System. VHS was one of many standards touted by various manufacturers in the seventies. The biggest rival to VHS was Betamax, but we all knew which of the two standards won the final round in that fight.
35. Mole-like mammal : SHREW
Shrews are mammals that look like small moles or long-nosed mice. They are the only terrestrial mammals that are known to echolocate, using a series of ultrasonic squeaks to examine their nearby surroundings.
40. Hat for Indiana Jones : FEDORA
A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …
George Lucas created a lead character named Indiana Smith for what was to be his “Indiana Jones” series of films. Lucas asked Steven Spielberg to direct the first film, and Spielberg wasn’t too fond of the name “Smith”. Lucas then suggested “Jones” as an alternative, and Indiana Jones was born.
42. Decrees : DICTA
“Dictum” (plural “dicta”) is a legal term describing a statement by a court as part of a judgment.
43. 2017 Dolly portrayer on Broadway : BETTE
“Hello, Dolly!” is a Broadway musical that was first produced in 1964, and adapted into a hugely successful movie in 1969. The title role of Dolly Levi was played by Barbra Streisand in the film, with Gene Kelly directing and a leading part for a young Michael Crawford. The stage show was revived on Broadway in 2017, with Bette Midler in the title role.
47. “Handsome, clever, and rich” Austen character : EMMA
Here is the opening paragraph of the novel “Emma”, by Jane Austen:
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
55. Enhance, as a résumé : PAD
A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.