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LA Times Crossword Answers 28 Nov 14, Friday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mike Peluso
THEME: National Sounds, Like ... each of today’s themed answers comprises two words. The first is a country adjective, and the whole answer sounds like a common phrase:
20A. WWII personnel from Rio? BRAZILIAN WACS (sounds like “Brazilian wax”)
25A. Yoko Ono, in spirit? JAPANESE BEATLE (sounds like “Japanese beetle”)
46A. Andalusian plains? SPANISH STEPPES (sounds like “Spanish Steps”)
52A. Brussels-born lumberjack? BELGIAN LOGGER (sounds like “Belgian lager”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 37s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Cream, for one TRIO
Cream were a "supergroup" from Britain, meaning the band was comprised of musicians from other successful groups. The band’s members were Eric Clapton (from the Yardbirds), and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker (both from the Graham Bond Organisation).

5. Old lab burners ETNAS
“Etna” (after the volcano) is another name for a Bunsen Burner that is used in a laboratory.

10. Julia's "Ocean's Twelve" role TESS
“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts. The 2001 remake (Called “Ocean’s Eleven”, note the spelling) spawned two sequels: “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007.

14. Teeny bit IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word "iota" to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

17. Wii alternative XBOX
The XBox line of video game consoles is made by Microsoft. The original XBox platform was followed by XBox 360 and most recently by XBox One. Microsoft’s XBox competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

18. Prefix with marine ULTRA-
Ultramarine is a deep blue color. The name was originally applied to a pigment made by grinding the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli into a powder. “Ultramarine” comes from the Latin for “beyond the sea”, a reference to the fact that the pigment was imported into Europe from Afghanistan by Italian traders.

19. Lawless role XENA
The Xena character, famously played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys". Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role.

20. WWII personnel from Rio? BRAZILIAN WACS (sounds like “Brazilian wax”)
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women's Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his "best soldiers", saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

Brazilian waxing is the removal of all hair in the pelvic area. The practice took off (pun) relatively recently with introduction of thong bikinis, especially for the beaches of Brazil. Brazilian waxing was popularized here in the US by J. Sisters International Salon in Manhattan, New York that opened in 1987. The “J Sisters” were seven real sisters from Brazil, named Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Janea, Jussara, Juracy and Judseia Padilha.

23. Reds, on scoreboards CIN
The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with "Reds".

24. French pronoun CES
"Ces" is the French word for "these".

25. Yoko Ono, in spirit? JAPANESE BEATLE (sounds like “Japanese beetle”)
Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

The Japanese beetle is a destructive pest here in North America, arriving on the continent in the early 20th century. Back in its native Japan, the beetle is less of an issue as populations are kept under control by natural predators.

33. EPA standard AQI
The air quality index (AQI) is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

34. 1986 Best New Artist Grammy winner SADE
Sade's real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

40. Rio maker KIA
Kia have making the subcompact model called a Rio since 2000.

42. Place for sweaters? SAUNA
As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, "sauna" is a Finnish word, and is correctly pronounced "sow-nah" (with "sow" as in the female pig).

43. Place Sundance liked ETTA
Etta Place is the schoolteacher character played by the lovely Katharine Ross in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

The actress Katharine Ross is best known for two major roles: playing Elaine Robinson in “The Graduate”, and Etta Place in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. Ross is married to the actor Sam Elliott. Although the couple appeared together in “Butch Cassidy …” it was in different scenes. They never actually met during the 1969 filming and first ran into each almost ten years later in 1978, and then started dating.

46. Andalusian plains? SPANISH STEPPES (sounds like “Spanish Steps”)
A steppe is a grassland, devoid of trees apart from those growing near rivers and lakes. We would likely call such a geographic feature a prairie in this country.

Andalusia (Andalucia in Spanish) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities in the Kingdom of Spain, and is the most southerly. The capital of Andalusia is the old city of Seville. The name Andalusia comes from its Arabic name, Al-Andalus, reflecting the region's history as the center of Muslim power in Iberia during medieval times.

Rome’s Spanish Steps are known locally as the “Scalinata” and are a set of 135 steps the sit above the Piazza di Spagna. The Spanish Steps are the actually the widest staircase in Europe. They always remind me of the movie “Roman Holiday”, as that is where Audrey Hepburn ate her gelato.

50. Joseph Smith's denom. LDS
Joseph Smith, Jr. published the Book of Mormon in 1830, and founded the church that he originally called the Church of Christ, later known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Today, the largest of the churches descended from Smith's organization is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with the members of the church referred to as Latter Day Saints. The name "Mormons" is just a nickname, derived from the title of Joseph Smith's book.

52. Brussels-born lumberjack? BELGIAN LOGGER (sounds like “Belgian lager”)
The Belgian capital of Brussels is famous for its food and drink. The list includes the city’s special waffles, chocolate, French fries and beer.

59. It's done in parts of Switzerland FINI
“Fini” is French for “finished”.

60. Giant or Titan, briefly NFLER
The New York Giants joined the National Football League way back in 1925. Since 2010, the Giants have played at MetLife Stadium, sharing the facility with their rivals, the New York Jets.

The Tennessee Titans are a football team based in Nashville. The team relocated to Nashville from Houston in 1997, and was called the Tennessee Oilers for two seasons, before adopting the “Titans” moniker.

63. Der __: Adenauer epithet ALTE
Konrad Adenauer was the first Chancellor of West Germany after WWII, taking office in 1949 at the age of 73. Adenauer was 87 years old when he left office. Understandably perhaps, his nickname was “Der Alte”, German for “the old man”. Adenauer spent much of WWII in prison, courtesy of Herr Hitler.

64. Island tubers TAROS
The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

65. Foil relative EPEE
The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, both of which are also thrusting weapons. However, the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

67. Wrigley brand ORBIT
Orbit is a sugarless gum made by Wrigley’s. Orbit was first introduced during WWII, but was taken off the shelves in the 1980s when there was a concern that the gum’s sweetener was carcinogenic. Orbit was relaunched in 2001.

68. Fishing leader? GONE
Gone fishing ...

Down
1. B'way pickups TIX
Tickets (tix)

Broadway really is, and always has been, the Main Street of New York City. It started out as the Wickquasgeck Trail that was trampled into the Manhattan brush land by the Native Americans of the area. In the days of the Dutch, the trail became the man road though the island of Manhattan, down to the New Amsterdam settlement in the south. The Dutch described it as a "Breede weg", a broad street or broad way. The name Broadway was adopted as the official name for the whole thoroughfare in 1899 ... on Valentine's Day.

2. Former Virginia senator Charles ROBB
Chuck Robb is a former Governor of Virginia and former US Senator. Robb is married to Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, the daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The couple were married in the White House in December 1967.

4. Veracruz neighbor OAXACA
Oaxaca is a state in the southern part of Mexico on the Pacific coast. The state takes the name of Oaxaca, its largest city.

Veracruz is one of Mexico’s 31 states, and is located in the east of the country east coast. The state takes its name from the city of Veracruz, which is a major port city in the state. Veracruz is not the state capital, however, That honor goes to the city of Xalapa.

5. Some dams EQUINES
A dam is a female parent, especially of four-footed domestic animals such as horses.

6. Rock's Jethro __ TULL
Jethro Tull is a rock band from the UK, formed in 1967 and still going strong today.

8. Gillette brand ATRA
Fortunately for crossword setters, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

9. Medium setting SEANCE
A séance is a meeting in which a medium tries to communicate with the spirits of the dead. "Séance" is a French word meaning "sitting".

10. Jed Clampett's discovery, in a sitcom theme song TEXAS TEA
The theme song to the sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies” starts with:
Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he was shootin at some food,
And up through the ground came a bubblin crude.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

"The Beverly Hillbillies" was a rags-to-riches sitcom that aired from 1962 to 1971, a creation of writer Paul Henning. Buoyed by the success of "Hillbillies", Henning created another sitcom in 1965, one that was a complete opposite in terms of plot, the riches-to-rags story of "Green Acres".

The actor Buddy Ebsen is best known for playing Jed Clampett in television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ebsen had been cast in the role of the Tin Man in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, but he developed an allergy to the aluminium dust that was used in the makeup. He ended up in hospital and had to walk away from the part. Ebsen blamed “The Wizard of Oz” on persistent problems that he had with his lungs in subsequent years. But Ebsen lived 16 years longer that any of the other major cast members of the film, so maybe he got the last laugh!

12. Without SANS
In French, one can be with (avec) or without (sans).

13. "He'll hae misfortunes great an' __": Burns SMA'
"He'll hae misfortunes great an' sma'” is a line from the Robert Burns poem “Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin”.

Robert Burns is a cultural icon in Scotland and for Scots around the world. As a poet, Burns was a pioneer in the Romantic movement in the second half of the 18th century. One of his most famous works is the poem “Auld Lang Syne”, which has been set to the tune of a traditional Scottish folk song and is used to celebrate the New Year in the English-speaking world.

21. Cab cousin ZIN
Zinfandel is my favorite red wine varietal. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc grapes.

27. Betty Grable, e.g. PINUP
The actress Betty Grable was the biggest earner for 20th Century-Fox in 1943, and in 1947 was the highest-paid entertainer in the whole country. It was said that Grable had the most beautiful legs in Hollywood. A famous photograph of her in a bathing suit made her the most popular pin-up girl of WWII.

29. WWI first lady Wilson EDITH
President Woodrow Wilson's first wife was Ellen Axson. Ellen died in 1914 in the White House, having suffered from Bright's disease. The following year, the president was introduced to a widow called Edith Galt. The couple quickly fell in love and were married in December 1915. Less than four years later, President Wilson had a debilitating stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Edith took over many routine matters of government normally handled by her husband, and vigorously opposed allowing Vice President Thomas R. Marshall assuming the powers of the office. As a result of the role she played while nursing her husband, Edith Wilson is sometimes called "the Secret President" and "the first female president of the United States".

32. Dinsmore of children's books ELSIE
“Elsie Dinsmore” is a series of children’s books from author Martha Finley, written between 1867 and 1905. There are 28 volumes in the series.

36. Duff Beer seller MOE’S
Moe Szyslak is the surly bartender and owner of Moe’s Tavern in "The Simpsons" animated TV show. I don't really care for "The Simpsons", but Hank Azaria who supplies the voice for the Moe character ... him I like ...

Duff Beer is a fictional beer that appears on the “The Simpsons”. Well, if you want to taste a real manifestation of Duff Beer, you buy some at the Springfield area of Universal Studios Florida, and you can even drink it in Moe’s Tavern.

39. Ohio-based consumer products giant, familiarly P AND G
Procter & Gamble was a founded in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble. Procter was a candlemaker, an immigrant from England. Gamble was a soapmaker, an immigrant from Ireland. The pair had settled in Cincinnati and married two sisters. Their father-in-law persuaded the two to set up in business together, and rest is history.

48. Wave checker: abbr. EEG
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is "brain dead".

53. __'acte ENTR
The term “entr'acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval between two acts ("entre" deux "actes") of a theatrical performance. It often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

55. Union-mgmt. mediator NLRB
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was set up in 1935. The NLRB is an independent government agency with the roles of conducting elections for labor unions as well as investigating and rooting out any labor practices that are deemed to be unfair.

56. Sainted pope called "the Great" LEO I
The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

57. Nat, before 2005 EXPO
The Washington Nationals baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.

58. It was nothing for Louis XIV RIEN
Louis XIV is perhaps the most famous of the kings ("rois") of France and was known as the "Sun King" (le Roi Soleil"). Louis XIV was king from 1638 to 1715, a reign of over 72 years and the longest reign of any European monarch.

62. Vacation starter? VEE
The word “vacation” starts with the letter V (vee).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Cream, for one TRIO
5. Old lab burners ETNAS
10. Julia's "Ocean's Twelve" role TESS
14. Teeny bit IOTA
15. Repeat exactly QUOTE
16. Bar __ EXAM
17. Wii alternative XBOX
18. Prefix with marine ULTRA-
19. Lawless role XENA
20. WWII personnel from Rio? BRAZILIAN WACS (sounds like “Brazilian wax”)
23. Reds, on scoreboards CIN
24. French pronoun CES
25. Yoko Ono, in spirit? JAPANESE BEATLE (sounds like “Japanese beetle”)
33. EPA standard AQI
34. 1986 Best New Artist Grammy winner SADE
35. Kingdom REALM
37. Accumulate RUN UP
40. Rio maker KIA
41. Leader's prerogative SAY-SO
42. Place for sweaters? SAUNA
43. Place Sundance liked ETTA
45. Illegal turn, maybe UIE
46. Andalusian plains? SPANISH STEPPES (sounds like “Spanish Steps”)
50. Joseph Smith's denom. LDS
51. __ hours WEE
52. Brussels-born lumberjack? BELGIAN LOGGER (sounds like “Belgian lager”)
59. It's done in parts of Switzerland FINI
60. Giant or Titan, briefly NFLER
61. VIII squared LXIV
63. Der __: Adenauer epithet ALTE
64. Island tubers TAROS
65. Foil relative EPEE
66. Techie, stereotypically NERD
67. Wrigley brand ORBIT
68. Fishing leader? GONE

Down
1. B'way pickups TIX
2. Former Virginia senator Charles ROBB
3. "Like __ not ..." IT OR
4. Veracruz neighbor OAXACA
5. Some dams EQUINES
6. Rock's Jethro __ TULL
7. Claim of innocence NOT I
8. Gillette brand ATRA
9. Medium setting SEANCE
10. Jed Clampett's discovery, in a sitcom theme song TEXAS TEA
11. Suit EXEC
12. Without SANS
13. "He'll hae misfortunes great an' __": Burns SMA'
21. Cab cousin ZIN
22. Erodes WEARS
25. Shakes JARS
26. Blue shades AQUAS
27. Betty Grable, e.g. PINUP
28. Benefits SAKES
29. WWI first lady Wilson EDITH
30. Pulsates BEATS
31. Easy two-pointer LAY-UP
32. Dinsmore of children's books ELSIE
36. Duff Beer seller MOE’S
38. Neutral UNALLIED
39. Ohio-based consumer products giant, familiarly P AND G
44. In the most dire circumstance AT WORST
47. Has a passion for IS INTO
48. Wave checker: abbr. EEG
49. Stereotypical pirate PEG LEG
52. Venom BILE
53. __'acte ENTR
54. Hardly close AFAR
55. Union-mgmt. mediator NLRB
56. Sainted pope called "the Great" LEO I
57. Nat, before 2005 EXPO
58. It was nothing for Louis XIV RIEN
59. Buff FAN
62. Vacation starter? VEE


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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.

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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.

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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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