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Greetings from Greenville, Missouri: BUSINESS AS USUAL

My wife and I are on a summer road trip, a loop from California extending as far east as New Orleans (we hope). While on the road I am continuing to solve and post, although I may not be as prompt in posting or responding to messages as I would like. I hope you can understand! We spent much of today at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. What a great place to visit ... Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 30 Jul 15, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeffrey Wechsler
THEME: Secret Meeting … we have a hidden word in each of today’s themed answers. That word is TRYST, meaning SECRET MEETING:
50A. Romance novel staple, another word for which is aptly hidden in 20-, 32- and 40-Across SECRET MEETING

20A. Defiant challenge TRY STOPPING ME!
32A. Would-be immigrant's concern ENTRY STATUS
40A. Nashville VIP COUNTRY STAR
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … MUSS (mess), USURY (usery!!!)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Stock items: Abbr. MDSE
Merchandise (mdse.)

14. Couch potato's aid TIVO
TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world's first commercially successful DVR (Digital Video Recorder).

15. Bizarre OUTRE
The word "outré" comes to us from French, as you might imagine, derived from the verb "outrer" meaning "to overdo, exaggerate". "Outrer" is also the ultimate root of our word "outrage".

16. Severely damaged sea ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad ...

19. Beatle George's Indian friend RAVI
Raga isn't really a type of music, but has been described as the "tonal framework" in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners). Western rock music with a heavy Indian influence might be called raga rock.

George Harrison is often referred to as the “quiet Beatle”, although he did have a profound influence on the direction taken by the Fab Four. It was Harrison who first became an admirer of Indian culture and led the rest of the group into the Indian way of life. Harrison went as far as embracing the Hindu religion.

23. Matzo's lack YEAST
Matzo is a unleavened bread, that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.

25. Approach to a landing? RISER
The “riser” is the vertical part of a step in a flight of stairs.

A “landing” is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one flies between landings! Can that be true?

28. Grass plot around a sundial, in "Jabberwocky" WABE
Here are the first two verses of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, probably the one poem that we all just loved learning to recite at school:
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

31. __ chi TAI
More properly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

37. "__, With Love" TO SIR
“To Sir, with Love” is an excellent 1967 drama film starring Sidney Poitier that is based on a novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite. The film is about an inexperienced teacher in a tough school in the East End of London. If you see the movie keep a lookout for a couple of supporting actors. Lulu plays the student called Babs Pegg, and also sings the hit theme song from the movie. Patricia Routledge plays fellow teacher Clinty Clintridge, and later in her career played Hyacinth Bucket in the enduring BBC comedy series “Keeping Up Appearances”.

39. Scand. country that borders Russia NOR
Norway has been ranked as the country in the world with the highest standard of living almost every year since 2001. Norway is rich in natural resources and has a relatively low population. The people benefit from a comprehensive social security system, subsidized higher education for all citizens and universal health care. And Norway is famous for her success at the Winter Olympic Games, having won more gold medals than any other nation.

40. Nashville VIP COUNTRY STAR
The Tennessee city of Nashville was founded in 1779 near a stockade in the Cumberland River valley called Fort Nashborough. Both the settlement and the fort were named for General Francis Nash, a war hero who died in combat during the American Revolution.

43. Commercial suffix with wheat -ENA
Wheatena is a toasted wheat cereal that has been on the shelves since about 1879. Back in the golden days of radio, Wheatena sponsored the “Popeye the Sailor” show, which resulted in the jingle:
Wheatena is his diet,
He asks you to try it,
With Popeye the sailor man.

44. Antlered deer HART
Nowadays a “hart” is a male red deer, over five years old.

45. Hops driers OASTS
An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an "oast house".

46. Aqua __: corrosive acid REGIA
Aqua regia is a mixture of concentrated nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. “Aqua regia” translates as “royal water”. The mixture was given this name as it can dissolve the “noble” metals, gold and platinum.

48. X-rated stuff SMUT
“Smut” means “dirt, smudge” and more recently “pornographic material”. The term comes from the Yiddish “schmutz”, which is a slang word used in English for dirt, as in “dirt on one’s face”.

56. Part of RNA RIBO-
RNA and DNA are very similar molecules. One big difference is that RNA is a single strand structure, whereas DNA is famously a double-helix. Another difference is that RNA contains ribose as a structural unit, and DNA contains deoxyribose i.e. ribose with one less oxygen atom. And that ribose/deoxyribose difference is reflected in the full name of the two molecules: ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

57. Watergate figure DEEP THROAT
Mark Felt was the Associate Director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal of the early seventies. Felt was also the secret informant who provided secret information to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of “The Washington Post”, who broke the story. Felt was given the pseudonym “Deep Throat” by the newspaper’s managing editor, and was a reference to the “deep” background information that was provided and was a play on the “Deep Throat” pornographic film that was released in 1972. To their credit, Woodward and Bernstein refused to reveal the identity of Deep Throat for almost three decades. It was Felt who actually gave up his name to the public, in 2005, after which Woodward and Bernstein confirmed the facts.

59. Barbara of "Mission: Impossible" BAIN
The actress Barbara Bain is perhaps best known for playing the sultry Cinnamon Carter on the TV show “MIssion: Impossible”. One of Cinnamon’s cohorts was Rollin Hand played by Martin Landau, who was Bain’s husband at that time. Bain and Landau also starred together in the sci-fi series “Space: 1999”, which ran in the mid-seventies for a couple of years.

60. Bottled-up sort? GENIE
The "genie" in the bottle takes his or her name from "djinn". "Djinns" were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book "The Thousand and One Nights" was translated into French, the word "djinn" was transformed into the existing word "génie", because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This "génie" from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived "genius", a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the "djinn" that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

63. Old Norse texts EDDAS
The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in the 13th century, in Iceland.

Down
1. Org. regulating explosives ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. "Explosives" was added to the ATF's name when the bureau was moved under the DOJ as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

2. Painter Mondrian PIET
Piet Mondrian was painter from the Netherlands who also lived and worked in Paris, London and New York. Mondrian’s works ranged in style from Impressionism to Abstract.

4. Nylon, for one POLYMER
The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application was as bristles on toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous, for women’s stockings starting in 1940, stockings that came to be known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was to become in short supply during WWII.

5. Egyptian Christians COPTS
The Copts make up the largest minority religious group in Egypt. Copts are Christians, with most adhered to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and others practicing Coptic Catholicism or Coptic Protestantism. The term “Copt” ultimately derives from a Greek word for Egyptian.

7. Trans Am roof option T-TOP
A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

The Trans Am was a specialty version of the Pontiac Firebird produced from 1969 to 2002. My favorite Trans Am is KITT, the artificially intelligent car in the eighties TV show “Knight Rider” ...

9. "Snowman" in a fur coat YETI
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. "Yeti" is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

10. Homer's beloved MARGE
Marge Simpson is the matriarch of the family in “The Simpsons” animated sitcom. Marge is voiced by actress Julie Kavner, who is also well known for playing Brenda Morgenstern in the TV show “Rhoda” in the seventies.

13. Priest who mentored Samuel ELI
In the Bible, Eli is a High Priest of Shiloh, and the teacher of Samuel. As such, his story is told in the Book of Samuel. Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, both of whom are described as wicked. As a result of their wayward lifestyle, it is prophesied that all of Eli’s male descendents will die before reaching old age.

18. Unreasonable interest USURY
“Usury” was originally the name given to the practice of lending money at interest, but the term now refers to lending at excessive rates of interest.

21. Scientific Bill et al. NYES
That would be "Bill Nye the Science Guy". Bill's show ran on Disney for 4 years from 1993-97. I was surprised to learn that Bill Nye was married briefly to Blair Tindall, the author of "Mozart in the Jungle". That's a great book, if anyone is interested, and now a comedy-drama series produced by Amazon ...

25. "The Bucket List" director REINER
The great director and actor Rob Reiner first came to prominence playing “Meathead”, Archie and Edith Bunker’s son-in-law in “All in the Family”. Since then, Reiner has directed a long string of hit movies including, “The Princess Bride”, “Stand by Me”, “This Is Spinal Tap”, “When Harry Met Sally”, “Misery” and “A Few Good Men”.

“The Bucket List" is a 2007 film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two men who have terminal illnesses. The pair go on a road trip with a “wish list” of things they want to do before “kicking the bucket”, hence the name of the movie.

26. Bali citizen INDONESIAN
Bali is the most important tourist destination in Indonesia and is an island lying east of Java. In recent years, Bali's tourist industry has been badly hit in the aftermath of two terrorist bombings. The first one, in 2002, killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists in a nightclub.

28. "The Weavers: __ That a Time!": folk documentary WASN’T
“The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time!” is a 1982 documentary about the Weavers folk music quartet that is centered on their 1980 appearance at Carnegie Hall for a reunion concert.

The folk group called the Weavers formed back in 1948 in Greenwich Village, New York. The most famous of the founding members was probably Pete Seeger.

30. Third U.S. VP BURR
Aaron Burr was the third vice-president of the US, serving under Thomas Jefferson. In the final year of his term in office, Burr fought an illegal duel and killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton. Burr wasn't brought to justice, but he did pay the price politically. Thomas Jefferson dropped him from his ticket in the election held the following year.

33. Ancient portico STOA
A stoa was a covered walkway in Ancient Greece. A stoa usually consisted of columns lining the side of a building or buildings, with another row of columns defining the other side of the walkway. The columns supported a roof. Often stoae would surround marketplaces in large cities.

41. "__, I do adore thee": Shakespeare YOUTH
“The Passionate Pilgrim” is a 1599 anthology of poems that were attributed to “W. Shakespeare”. Of the twenty poems, the authorship of fifteen are disputed by scholars. For example, it has been suggested that the poem shown below was written by the English novelist and balladist Thomas Deloney:
Crabbed Age and Youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave,
Age like winter bare:
Youth is full of sports,
Age's breath is short,
Youth is nimble, Age is lame:
Youth is hot and bold,
Age is weak and cold,
Youth is wild, and Age is tame:-
Age, I do abhor thee;
Youth, I do adore thee;
O! my Love, my Love is young!
Age, I do defy thee-
O sweet shepherd, hie thee,
For methinks thou stay'st too long.

42. Swiftian SATIRIC
Jonathan Swift was an Irish author and cleric. Swift is most famous perhaps for his 1726 novel "Gulliver's Travels", but we Irishmen also remember him as the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Swift was renowned for his wit and satire.

48. Old photo tone SEPIA
Sepia is that lovely rich, brown-grey 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.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. A Möbius strip has just one EDGE
A Möbius strip is a surface that has only one side. One is easily made by taking a strip of paper and joining the ends together, but with a twist so that it isn't a regular "band".

52. Upset, with "off" TEED
The term “teed off” meaning to be angry, has been around since the early fifties. It is probably a polite way of saying something that might be considered more offensive.

55. Chutzpah GALL
Our word "chutzpah" meaning "nerve, gall, impudence" is derived from the Yiddish "khutspe", which has the same meaning.

56. Box score stat RBI
Run batted in (RBI)

In baseball, the line square is a summary set of statistics for the game. It is seen at every baseball stadium, and includes the number of runs scored by each team per innings, as well as the total number of hits and errors. The more comprehensive box score includes the line score, but also shows the individual performance of each player.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Each A POP
5. Subtly cruel CATTY
10. Stock items: Abbr. MDSE
14. Couch potato's aid TIVO
15. Bizarre OUTRE
16. Severely damaged sea ARAL
17. "Think you can manage?" FEEL UP TO IT?
19. Beatle George's Indian friend RAVI
20. Defiant challenge TRY STOPPING ME!
22. Dishevel MUSS
23. Matzo's lack YEAST
25. Approach to a landing? RISER
28. Grass plot around a sundial, in "Jabberwocky" WABE
31. __ chi TAI
32. Would-be immigrant's concern ENTRY STATUS
35. Believer's suffix -ISM
36. Binding oath I DO
37. "__, With Love" TO SIR
38. Comprehend SEE
39. Scand. country that borders Russia NOR
40. Nashville VIP COUNTRY STAR
43. Commercial suffix with wheat -ENA
44. Antlered deer HART
45. Hops driers OASTS
46. Aqua __: corrosive acid REGIA
48. X-rated stuff SMUT
50. Romance novel staple, another word for which is aptly hidden in 20-, 32- and 40-Across SECRET MEETING
56. Part of RNA RIBO-
57. Watergate figure DEEP THROAT
59. Barbara of "Mission: Impossible" BAIN
60. Bottled-up sort? GENIE
61. On a break, say IDLE
62. Rustic accommodations INNS
63. Old Norse texts EDDAS
64. Con's confines CELL

Down
1. Org. regulating explosives ATF
2. Painter Mondrian PIET
3. Concluded OVER
4. Nylon, for one POLYMER
5. Egyptian Christians COPTS
6. Road runners AUTOS
7. Trans Am roof option T-TOP
8. Road __ TRIP
9. "Snowman" in a fur coat YETI
10. Homer's beloved MARGE
11. Ones earning play money? DRAMATISTS
12. Helps by arriving early, with "for" SAVES A SEAT
13. Priest who mentored Samuel ELI
18. Unreasonable interest USURY
21. Scientific Bill et al. NYES
24. Ski race equipment TIMERS
25. "The Bucket List" director REINER
26. Bali citizen INDONESIAN
27. Container seen above seats STORAGE BIN
28. "The Weavers: __ That a Time!": folk documentary WASN’T
29. Quarreling AT IT
30. Third U.S. VP BURR
33. Ancient portico STOA
34. Band commitment TOUR
40. Sear CHAR
41. "__, I do adore thee": Shakespeare YOUTH
42. Swiftian SATIRIC
47. Screen array ICONS
48. Old photo tone SEPIA
49. Deals (out) METES
51. A Möbius strip has just one EDGE
52. Upset, with "off" TEED
53. Fix MEND
54. Joint NODE
55. Chutzpah GALL
56. Box score stat RBI
58. Business card no. TEL


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About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the Los Angeles Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, usually before midnight PST.

I've been writing the NYTCrossword.com blog (about the New York Times crossword) since 2009. I finally started this LAXCrossword.com blog in response to many requests over the years to write about the daily LA Times crossword.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Los Angeles Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

Bill
January 29, 2009

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