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Last seen on: Wall Street Journal Crossword – Mar 9 2019 – On the Line
Random information on the term “ACME”:
The Acme Corporation is a fictional corporation that features prominently in the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote animated shorts as a running gag featuring outlandish products that fail or backfire catastrophically at the worst possible times. The name is also used as a generic title in many cartoons, especially those made by Warner Bros., and films, TV series, commercials and comic strips.
The company name in the Road Runner cartoons is ironic, since the word acme is derived from Greek (ακμή; English transliteration: akmē) meaning the peak, zenith or prime, yet products from the fictional Acme Corporation are often generic, failure-prone, and/or explosive.
Acme means “pinnacle”, so the name was sometimes used to symbolize the best. An early global Acme brand name was the ‘Acme City’ whistle made from mid 1870s onwards by J Hudson & Co, followed by the ‘Acme Thunderer’, and Acme Siren in 1895. The name became particularly popular for businesses in the 1920s, when alphabetized business telephone directories such as the Yellow Pages began to be widespread: a name at the beginning of the alphabet would be listed first, and a name implying “the best” was even better. There was a flood of businesses named Acme; some survive to this day, including Acme Brick, Acme Markets, and Acme Boots. Early Sears catalogues contained a number of products with the “Acme” trademark, including anvils, which are frequently used in Warner Bros. cartoons. The ubiquitousness of the name became something of a joke.