1. Couples’ activity once considered scandalous : WALTZING
The Waltz has been around in various forms since the 16th century, and has been danced to both 3 beats and 2 beats to a measure. When it was introduced in some circles, it offended moral standards. At issue was the use of the “closed position” throughout the dance, with the man and woman dancing face-to-face in each other’s arms. Well, shocking or not, it is definitely my favorite ballroom dance.
9. Tilting setting : ARCADE
In a game of pinball, some players find the urge to nudge the machine irresistible. Such a nudge, a movement of the machine designed to influence the path taken by the ball, is called a “tilt”. Most pinball machines have sensors designed to detect a tilt, and when activated a “tilt” warning light comes on and the player’s controls are temporarily disabled.
18. Green goof : FOOZLE
Foozle, such a lovely word. It means to manage something poorly, or to bungle. In golf a poor stroke might be called a foozle.
19. Like a moonstone : OPALINE
Moonstone is a mineral that often has numerous colors, with light reflecting internally within the stone. It’s this unique visual effect that gives the gem the name of moonstone.
20. Fealty swearers : VASSALS
“Fealty” is an old word that means “fidelity”. Often a vassal was required to swear an oath of fealty to his feudal lord.
23. Like overdramatic spoken-word versions of pop songs : SHATNERESQUE
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, famous for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series. Shatner was trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, and appeared on stage in many of the Bard’s works early in his career. While playing the Kirk character, he developed a reputation for over-acting, really emphasizing some words in a speech, and using an excessive number of pauses. He gave his name to a word that describes such a style: “shatneresque”.
31. Not moved much : STOIC
Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher noted for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the famous Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”). And yes, we get our adjective “stoic” from the same root.
33. Old New Zealand natives : MOAS
Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand, now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which in turn caused the extinction of the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man.
37. “___ Love — not me”: Dickinson : TWAS
On our recent trip around the country, we had a very disappointing stop in Amherst, Massachusetts intending to visit the home of Emily Dickinson. We hadn’t done our research, and didn’t realize that the home was only open for tours on certain days of the week, and not the day we were there (so be warned!). Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1800 poems in her lifetime, although less than a dozen were published before she died in 1886. Emily’s younger sister discovered the enormous collection, and it was published in batches over the coming decades. Try this one …
Twas Love — not me —
Oh punish — pray —
The Real one died for Thee —
Just Him — not me —
Such Guilt — to love Thee — most!
Doom it beyond the Rest —
Forgive it — last —
‘Twas base as Jesus — most!
Let Justice not mistake —
We Two — looked so alike —
Which was the Guilty Sake —
‘Twas Love’s — Now Strike!
40. Farmhands, at times : HOERS
A hoer: one who hoes.
42. 1969 Peace Prize grp. : ILO
The ILO is the International Labour Organization, established by the League of Nations after WWI, and is now an agency administered by the UN. The ILO deals with important issues, such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
43. Athlete stripped of a 1994 national title : TONYA HARDING
Tonya Harding won the US Figure Skating Championships in 1991. Her reputation was greatly tarnished in the run up to the 1994 Olympics, when her former husband and her bodyguard contracted someone to attack Harding’s main competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. During a practice session for the US Championship, a hired thug assaulted Kerrigan with police baton, attempting to break her leg. Kerrigan was forced to withdraw, and Harding won the championship. Both Harding and Kerrigan were selected for the Olympic team, and despite attempts to get Harding removed, both skated at the Games in Lillehammer. Harding finished in eighth place, and Kerrigan won the silver medal. Harding admitted that she helped cover up the attack when she found out about it, and was stripped of her US Championship title.
47. Side in a 1948 war : ARABS
After WWI, the League of Nations gave Britain the Mandate for Palestine, in effect administrative responsibility for the region but with the specific responsibility to establish in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people. After WWII, the United Nations proposed partition of Palestine and creation of a Jewish state (leaving an Arab state, and a UN-administered Jerusalem). This was not accepted by all parties, and civil war ensued. Israel declared independence in 1948, and Arab states immediately attacked. The ensuing conflict is often referred to as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, but is known within Israel as the War of Independence, and within the Arab world as the Catastrophe. The 1948 War ended with armistice agreements in 1949, although as we all know, the conflict persists to this day.
51. Many of his subjects were kings : THE BARD
William Shakespeare is known as the Bard of Avon. Many kings of England were the subjects of his plays, namely King John, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard III and Henry VIII.
53. Activity requiring three walls : JAI ALAI
Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world (because of the speed of the ball), in fact golf balls often get going at a greater clip.
55. “84 Charing Cross Road” author Hanff : HELENE
Helene Hanff was an American writer, whose most famous work was “84 Charing Cross Road”, first published in 1970. The book is somewhat biographical, telling of Hanff’s 20-year correspondence with Frank Doel, a buyer of books who worked for a bookstore at 84 Charing Cross Road, in London. The book was made into a very successful stage play, television play as well as a 1987 film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. The irony is, that despite the close relationship that developed between Hanff and Doel, they never met. When Hanff eventually made it to England, Doel had passed away.
57. Fendi rival : ARMANI
Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer, and founder of the company that bears his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume.
Fendi is an Italian fashion house, founded in 1925 by Adele Casagrande. It started out as a fur and leather shop in Rome, and these days is famous for its line of handbags.
59. Conservative commentator Peggy : NOONAN
Peggy Noonan is an author and columnist, and was one a speech writer for President Ronald Reagan. She was responsible for one of President Reagan’s most remembered speeches, when he addressed the nation after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. She also came up with some famous phrases used by President George H. W. Bush: “a kinder, gentler nation”, “a thousand points of light” and “read my lips; no new taxes”.
60. Place of discreet punishment : WOODSHED
“The woodshed” has been used figuratively as a place for private punishment, since 1907.
3. The Pineapple Island : LANAI
Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lania was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai, and turned most of it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as “The Pineapple Island”.
4. Chat room annoyances : TROLLS
In Internet terms, a “troll” is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person, as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response.
5. Climbers’ goals : ZENITHS
The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, the direction pointing immediately above, is called the zenith.
7. Squat : NONE
The word “squat” has been used to mean “nothing at all” since 1934. Its most likely etymology is somewhat distasteful.
8. It’s “tachin’ up” in a 1964 song : GTO
Ronny & the Daytonas were a surf rock group in the sixties. Their first recording was the single “G.T.O.”, released in 1964 (which included the phrase “tachin’ up”). Unlike the Beach Boys, the Daytonas had a little trouble reaching the higher tenor notes in the recording studio, so the sound engineers helped them out by “speeding up” their voices.
12. Subject of the 2008 book “How to Break a Terrorist” : AL-ZARQAWI
“How to Break a Terrorist” is a book written by an American soldier using the alias “Matthew Alexander”. Alexander outlines the key role he played in tracking down the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and makes the case against torture being used, stating that it is ineffective and endangers American lives. The book was vetted by the Pentagon prior to publication, but Alexander reports that he did have to work hard to convince the authorities to allow the inclusion of quite a bit of material. Sounds like an interesting book …
22. Part of Scotland’s coat of arms : UNICORN
The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms used by the Scottish monarchs until the United Kingdom of Great Britain (uniting Scotland and England) was formed in 1707. The coat of arms features a shield supported by two chained unicorns on either side.
26. Territory in Risk : URAL
Risk is another fabulous board game, that was first released in France in 1957. The game was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. The original French version was called “La Conquete du Monde” (The Conquest of the World). A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house.
27. Shell alternative : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of Standard and Oil (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but it is still used all over the rest of the world.
Royal Dutch Shell is the largest energy company in the world, and is headquartered in the Hague, in the Netherlands. The company was formed in 1907 with the merger of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading company of the UK. The two companies merged in order to compete globally with the biggest US oil company of the day, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil.
28. Part of a Latin succession : AMAT
Amo, amas, amat … Latin for “I love, you love, he/she loves”.
29. Part of Mauritius’s coat of arms : DODO
The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago, in the mid-1600s, and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius, and when man arrived he cut back the forest that was its home, and introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests.
30. Fire man? : SAINT ELMO
St. Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo’s fire. The “fire” is actually a plasma discharge caused by the air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), often observed during electrical storms.
34. Lecithin source : SOYA BEAN
What are known as soybeans here in the US are called soya beans in most other countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.
Lecithin is the name given to a whole group of yellow-brown fatty compounds found in many different animal and plant tissues. It is widely used, in everything from pharmacological products to food to paint, with much of the processed lecithin coming from soya beans.
36. Guru’s title : SRI
Sri is a title of respect for a male in India.
39. Zebra zone : SAVANNA
A savanna is a grassland. If there are any trees, by definition they are small and widely spaced so that light can get to the grasses which grow unhindered by a canopy of trees. The largest savanna in the world is in Africa, and is one home of the zebra population. The name “zebra” comes from an old Portuguese word “zevra” meaning “wild ass”. Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.
45. Earnestly pursued things : GRAILS
The word “grail” comes into English via French and Latin, from Greek, and means a “shallow cup”. The Holy Grail is a sacred object in some Christian traditions, usually said to be the cup, plate or chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The grail also features in Arthurian legend, a Monty Python movie, and in Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”.
48. Letter resembling an ox’s head : ALEPH
The Hebrew letter, aleph, has the same root as the Greek “alpha”, and hence our Latin A.
49. “King Joe” composer : BASIE
“Count” Basie’s real given name was “William”. Count Basie perhaps picked up his love for the piano from his mother who played, and gave him his first lessons. Later, his mother paid for professional lessons for her son. Basie’s first paying job as a musician was in a movie theater, where he learned to improvise a suitable accompaniment for the silent movies that were being shown.
52. Heart recipient, perhaps : HERO
I think the reference is to Hearts for Heroes, a project designed to show appreciation for our troops fighting for us overseas. The main activity is the sending of “hearts” to soldiers on Valentine’s Day.
53. 2007 Best Picture nominee with a mythological name : JUNO
“Juno” is a great comedy-drama released in 2007 that tells the story of a spunky teenager who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The relatively low-budget movie earned back its initial budget in the first day of its full release to the public. Low-budget blockbuster; my kind of movie …
54. Talos hurled huge stones at it : ARGO
Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo of Greek mythology. After obtaining the Golden Fleece, the Argo approached the island of Crete, guarded by Talos, a giant man of bronze. Talos repulsed the Argonauts by hurling boulders at them. Eventually Talos was slain, by removing the bronze nail that sealed the one vein that ran the length of his body.
56. Avian call : CAW
“Avis” is the Latin word for a bird.