Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1 Underground areas explored by spelunkers : CAVES
“Spelunking” is an American term describing recreational caving, although the word has Latin roots (“spelunca” is the Latin for “cave”). The term originated in the 1940s in New England when it was adopted by a group of men who explored caves in the area.
10 Degs. for some entrepreneurs : MBAS
An entrepreneur is someone who takes on most aspects of a business venture, from the original idea to the execution. The term is imported from French, with “entreprendre” meaning “to undertake”. The original usage in English dates back to the early 1800s, when it applied to a manager and promoter of a theatrical production.
16 Noble rank above viscount : EARL
In the British peerage system, a viscount ranks below an earl and above a baron. The term “viscount” basically means “deputy of a count”, i.e. “vice-count”.
18 French champagne brand : MOET
Moët & Chandon is a French winery, and one of the world’s largest producers of champagne. The company was founded by wine trader Claude Moët in 1743. The name was changed to Moët & Chandon in the 1830s when Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, an in-law to the Moët family, was given co-ownership. Moët & Chandon owns the famous Dom Pérignon brand name, honoring the Benedictine monk who did so much to improve the quality of champagne.
34 County Clare’s nat. : IRE
One of my favorite counties in Ireland is Clare. Clare is home of the Burren, a beautiful and desolate landscape, as well as the world-famous Cliffs of Moher that greet the Atlantic Ocean.
36 “The Banana Boat Song” opener : DAY-O …
“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is a traditional folk song from Jamaica. It is sung from the standpoint of dock workers unloading boats on the night shift, so daylight has come, and they want to go home. The most famous version of “Day-O” was recorded by Harry Belafonte, in 1956.
39 Color TV pioneer : RCA
RCA, or the Radio Corporation of America, played a significant role in the history of television as a pioneer in the industry. RCA developed and introduced the first electronic television system in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair. RCA also created the NTSC (National Television System Committee) broadcast standard, which was adopted in the United States in 1953 and is still used today for analog television broadcasting. Additionally, RCA produced the first color television sets in 1954.
40 “Barbie” actor Liu : SIMU
Simu Liu is a Chinese-born Canadian actor. One of his more famous roles was the title character in the Marvel Comics 2021 superhero movie “Shang-Chi and the legend of the Ten Rings”.
The 2023 fantasy comedy movie “Barbie” stars Margo Robbie in the title role and Ryan Gosling as Ken. It was directed by Greta Gerwig, who also co-wrote the script with her partner Noah Baumbach. I highly recommend this one …
41 La __: Real Madrid’s division : LIGA
The premier division of Spanish club soccer is the “Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División”, or more usually “La Liga” (The League).
Real Madrid is a professional soccer team based in Madrid, Spain. The team name translates as “Royal Madrid”. Real Madrid is often ranked as the world’s most valuable soccer team, and is one of the most widely supported sports teams on the planet.
42 Frank on the grill : WEENIE
What we call a wiener in this country is known as a Vienna sausage in Germany. It was first produced by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna, hence the name “Wiener”, which is German for “of Vienna”. Paradoxically, the same sausage is called a Frankfurter in Vienna, as it was created by someone from Frankfurt. It’s all very confusing …
49 Photo app filter shade : SEPIA
Sepia is that rich, brown-gray color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as ancient Rome and ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.
51 Celebratory shout heard before “Auld Lang Syne” is played, and an apt title for this puzzle? : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.
Should auld acquaintance be forgotAnd never brought to mind?Should auld acquaintance be forgotAnd days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dearFor auld lang syneWe’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yetFor days of auld lang syne
58 Crèche trio : MAGI
“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:
- Melchior: a scholar from Persia
- Caspar (also “Gaspar”): a scholar from India
- Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia
In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene (also “crèche”) is a display representing the scene of the birth of Jesus. Nativity scenes might be subjects for paintings, for example, although the term is usually used for seasonal displays associated with the Christmas season.
61 Moisturizer brand : OLAY
Oil of Olay was developed in South Africa in 1952. When Oil of Olay was introduced internationally, it was given slightly different brand names designed to appeal in the different geographies. In Ireland we know it as Oil of Ulay, for example, and in France it is Oil of Olaz.
62 Missouri River tributary : OSAGE
Much of the Osage River in Missouri is now taken up by two large reservoirs created behind two dams that provide power for St. Louis and the surrounding area. The two reservoirs are the Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks.
63 Minnesota representative Ilhan : OMAR
Ilhan Omar has been representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in the US House since 2019. At that time, she became one of the first two Muslim women, as well as the first Somali American, to serve in the US Congress.
66 Sheepherding pig in a 1995 film : BABE
The hit 1995 film “Babe” was produced and filmed in Australia. The movie is an adaptation of a 1983 novel called “The Sheep-Pig” written by Dick King-Smith. “Babe” was a smash hit at the box office and was extremely well received by the critics. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but lost out to “Braveheart”. However, it did win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects by beating out “Apollo 13”, which was an amazing feat, I’d say…
68 Austin Powers player Mike : MYERS
The Austin Powers character was created by the actor who plays him, namely Mike Myers. Apparently Myers came up with the idea for Powers while listening to the Burt Bacharach song “The Look of Love”.
2 Tibet’s continent : ASIA
Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.
7 Double-reed woodwind : OBOE
A double-reed instrument is one in which two pieces of cane vibrate against each other to produce sound. In a single-reed instrument, just one piece of cane vibrates the mouthpiece. The best-known examples of double-reed instruments are the oboe and the bassoon.
8 Actor Guinness : ALEC
Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”. He won his only Best Actor Oscar for playing Colonel Nicholson in the marvelous 1957 WWII movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. Guinness did himself serve during the Second World War, in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. He commanded a landing craft during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.
9 Invasive plants with stinging hairs : NETTLES
Most nettle species have stinging hairs that secrete formic acid. This formic acid is the same chemical that is found in the venom injected with a bee or ant sting. The Latin word for ant is “formica”, which gives its name to the acid.
11 Green __, Wisconsin : BAY
The city of Green Bay is the third-largest in the state of Wisconsin, after Milwaukee and Madison. The city is located on an arm of Lake Michigan called Green Bay. People in the area refer to the city as “Green Bay” and the body of water as “the Bay of Green Bay” in order to avoid confusing one with the other.
25 “Seinfeld” character who worked for Pendant Publishing : ELAINE
The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.
26 Really frustrate : STYMIE
The word “stymie” comes from golf, and is a situation in which one’s approach to the hole is blocked by an opponent’s ball. We use the term more broadly as a verb to describe standing in the way of something.
38 Blue gem : SAPPHIRE
The gemstone sapphire is a type of corundum, and consists mainly of aluminum oxide. The color of sapphire varies, depending on the metallic impurities that are present. In general terms, if the impurity is predominantly chromium, then the color is red and the stone is called a ruby. The presence of ferrous iron and titanium results in a blue sapphire.
42 Some cards in the board game Clue : WEAPONS
Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …
44 Overly catchy song : EARWORM
“Earworm” is a colloquial term used for a catchy tune that is also somewhat irritating, one that you can’t get out of your head.
47 Actress Zadora : PIA
Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Zadora’s most famous role was in the 1982 film “Butterfly” in which she worked with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel “The Butterfly” by James M. Cain and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.
53 When tripled, phrase spoken by 25-Down : YADA
[25D “Seinfeld” character who worked for Pendant Publishing : ELAINE] “The Yada Yada Yada” is the title of the 153rd episode of “Seinfeld”. Before “Seinfeld” made “yada yada yada” famous, we were more likely to hear the phrase “yadda yadda” that was often used by comedian Lenny Bruce, for example.
57 Cincinnati MLB team : REDS
When the Cincinnati Reds were a dominating force in the National League in the seventies, the team was given the nickname “the Big Red Machine”.
59 GP’s gp. : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)