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Greetings from Kilkenny, in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland until October 9th. I plan on doing the puzzle each day (with a pint, no doubt), although I may be a little late due to time zone differences. I am sure that you understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Sep 14, Tuesday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke
THEME: “Get” Back … we have a hidden word of sorts today. The word GET is written backwards in each of the themed answers, spanning two words:
41A. Regain, and hint to a hidden letter arrangement in 20- and 59-Across and 11- and 35-Down GET BACK

20A. Hockey player's blade cover SKATE GUARD
59A. Meticulous, as premium service WHITE-GLOVE
11D. Roofing color SLATE GRAY
35D. Rather nice QUITE GOOD
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 32s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Fraternal title for a fictional fox BR’ER
Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. "Br'er" is an abbreviated form of "brother".

5. Easily bamboozled sort PATSY
It's thought that the lovely word "bamboozle" came into English from the Scottish "bombaze" meaning "perplex". We've been using "bamboozle" since the very early 1700s.

10. Former Mach 2 fliers, briefly SSTS
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Famously, the Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is it's speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term "Mach" takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the "sonic boom".

15. Hawaii hello ALOHA
The Hawaiian word "Aloha" has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently "aloha" has come to mean "hello" and "goodbye", but only since the mid-1800s.

17. Steak cut LOIN
The cut known as “loin” is the tissue along the top of the ribs.

18. U.S.-Canada defense letters NORAD
The North American Defense Command (NORAD) isn’t just a US operation but is a cooperative arrangement between Canada and the United States. The two countries entered into an agreement to establish NORAD in 1958, mainly due to the concern that there would be little or no warning of a missile attack from the Soviet Union that came over the North Pole.

19. With 54-Down, longtime Jeep competitor LAND
(54D. See 19-Across ROVER)
Land Rover is a British car manufacturer, the second oldest manufacturer of four-wheel-drive cars in the world (after the American Jeep). The first Land Rover was produced just after WWII, in 1948.

The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.

22. __ Place: Butch and Sundance companion 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.

23. Music rights gp. ASCAP
ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) collects licence fees for musicians and distributes royalties to composers whose works have been performed. BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) provides the same service.

24. Wonderland cake words EAT ME
In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labelled "DRINK ME". When she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. She also sees a cake adorned with the words "EAT ME", and when she eats the cake she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she utters the famous words, "Curiouser and curiouser".

26. Bolivian capital LA PAZ
The administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz, is officially named Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace). La Paz is the seat of the Bolivian government, even though the legal capital of the country is Sucre.

33. www help pages FAQS
Most websites have a page listing answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). There is a link to this blog’s FAQs at the top-right of every page.

36. Old vendor of cold blocks ICE MAN
"The Iceman Cometh" is a play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill and first performed in 1946 on Broadway. The play centers on some down-and-out men in a shabby saloon in Manhattan. The title is a reference to the "ice man", the man who would have delivered ice to homes back in the time of the play. The reference is to a bawdy joke in which the "ice man" was having an affair with someone's wife.

40. Sch. in Columbus OSU
Ohio State University was founded back in 1870 in Columbus as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of Ohio State University (OSU) are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a "buck's eye".

42. Sound system part AMP
An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

43. Xbox 360 competitor WII
The Wii is the biggest-selling game console in the world.

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.

46. Mechanic on TV's "Taxi" LATKA
Latka Gravas is one of the most popular characters in the TV sitcom “Taxi” that aired in the late seventies and early eighties. Latka was played by the controversial comic actor Andy Kaufman. The producers of “Taxi” had the character written around a persona that Kaufman was using in his standup routines called “Foreign Man”.

48. Foil maker ALCOA
The Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA) is the largest producer of aluminum in the United States. The company was founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where its headquarters are to this day.

50. Sinclair Lewis' "__ Gantry" ELMER
Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist and playwright. Lewis was the first US writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he won in 1930.

71. Prohibitionists DRYS
There were concerted efforts to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages in the US from the 1840s right up until the lobbyists achieved success with ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1919. While there were several factors that influenced legislators at that time, one was the perceived need to take political power away from German-based brewing industry during WWI.

Down
1. Lightweight wood BALSA
Balsa is a very fast growing tree that is native to parts of South America. Even though balsa wood is very soft, it is actually classified as a hardwood, the softest of all the hardwoods (go figure!). Balsa is light and strong, so is commonly used in making model airplanes. Amazingly, in WWII a full-size British plane, the de Havilland Mosquito, was built largely from balsa and plywood. No wonder they called it "The Wooden Wonder" and "The Timber Terror".

2. Corner chessmen ROOKS
The corner piece in the game of chess is a called a rook, a word coming from the Persian word "rokh" meaning a "chariot". The rook has also been called, perhaps incorrectly, the castle, tower, marquess and rector.

3. Room-size computer unveiled in 1946 ENIAC
The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist that the C was for "Computer"). Unveiled in 1946, ENIAC was the first general-purpose electronic computer. It was designed to calculate artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it's not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.

4. U-Haul vans, e.g. RENTALS
The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.

6. Baseball family name ALOU
Felipe Alou is a former professional baseball player and manager. Alou managed the Montreal Expos from 1992 to 2001, and the San Francisco Giants from 2003 to 2006. Alou was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and came to the US to play for the Giants in 1955. Felipe’s brothers Matty and Jesús followed him to the US, and into Major League baseball.

7. Afghanistan's __ Bora TORA
The famous cave that almost certainly housed Osama Bin Laden for a while was in Tora Bora in eastern Pakistan. Tora Bora is not far (~ 30 mi) from what used to be an even more famous spot, the Khyber Pass. "Tora Bora" is a Pashto name that translates to "black dust".

21. Org. concerned with greenhouse gases EPA
Greenhouse gases are those that absorb and emit infrared radiation, meaning that they act as an insulator for our planet. The most abundant greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by about 40% since 1750, and levels of methane have increased over 150% in the same timeframe.

29. Striped equine ZEBRA
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.

34. Sri Lanka setting ASIA
The name Sri Lanka translates from Sanskrit into English as "venerable island". Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule. The lion on the country’s national flag symbolizes the fight against British colonialism.

38. Electrical adapter letters AC/DC
If you have a laptop with an external power supply then that big “block” in the power cord is an AC/DC converter. It converts the AC current you get from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

41. Largest of the Mariana Islands GUAM
Guam is a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean, the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is also the first territory in the United States to see the sun rise on any particular day. As such, the territory has adopted the motto, "Where America's day begins". During WWII, the US territory of Guam was occupied by the Japanese for 31 months until it was liberated in the Battle of Guam in July 1944. Of the 18,000 Japanese men holding the island, only 485 surrendered, so almost all perished in the invasion. One Japanese sergeant hid out on the island for an incredible 28 years, finally surrendering in 1972!

The Mariana Islands are an archipelago lying south of Japan at the eastern limit of the Philippine Sea. The islands were colonized by the Spanish who named them after Queen Mariana of Austria (who was a Spaniard). The island in the Marianas with which we are most familiar in the US is Guam.

47. Compulsive thief, for short KLEPTO
Kleptomania is the compulsion to steal, whether or not one is need of what is stolen. The term derives from the Greek word for “to steal”, “kleptein”, with the suffix “-mania”.

49. Texter's "Zounds!" OMG
OMG is text-speak for Oh My Gosh! Oh My Goodness! or any other G words you might think of …

51. Furry "Star Wars" creatures EWOKS
The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi". They're the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

52. Thick-skinned beast RHINO
There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, and the smaller Javan Rhino is the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

58. Kibbles 'n Bits alternative ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with "Alpo" being an abbreviation for "Allen Products". Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

Kibbles ‘n Bits is a dog food first produced by Del Monte Foods that was introduced in 1981. The original selling feature of the product was that it contained both chewy and hard crunchy pieces.

60. Robert of "The Sopranos" ILER
The actor Robert Iler's most famous role was A.J., son of mob leader Tony Soprano in HBO's "The Sopranos". Apparently Iler's screen persona has spilled over into his personal life, as he was arrested for armed robbery of two tourists in 2001 (and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge).


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Fraternal title for a fictional fox BR’ER
5. Easily bamboozled sort PATSY
10. Former Mach 2 fliers, briefly SSTS
14. Top-rated A-ONE
15. Hawaii hello ALOHA
16. Butterlike spread OLEO
17. Steak cut LOIN
18. U.S.-Canada defense letters NORAD
19. With 54-Down, longtime Jeep competitor LAND
20. Hockey player's blade cover SKATE GUARD
22. __ Place: Butch and Sundance companion ETTA
23. Music rights gp. ASCAP
24. Wonderland cake words EAT ME
26. Bolivian capital LA PAZ
30. Ticked off ANGRY
33. www help pages FAQS
36. Old vendor of cold blocks ICE MAN
39. French king ROI
40. Sch. in Columbus OSU
41. Regain, and hint to a hidden letter arrangement in 20- and 59-Across and 11- and 35-Down GET BACK
42. Sound system part AMP
43. Xbox 360 competitor WII
44. Log-on requirement USER ID
45. Work on a keyboard TYPE
46. Mechanic in TV's "Taxi" LATKA
48. Foil maker ALCOA
50. Sinclair Lewis' "__ Gantry" ELMER
53. Swampy areas MIRES
57. Senate gofer PAGE
59. Meticulous, as premium service WHITE-GLOVE
63. Swine's supper SLOP
64. No longer squeaking OILED
65. Fifty-fifty EVEN
66. Get a glimpse of SPOT
67. Do a bakery job KNEAD
68. Socially awkward type NERD
69. Bustle TO-DO
70. "My apologies" SORRY
71. Prohibitionists DRYS

Down
1. Lightweight wood BALSA
2. Corner chessmen ROOKS
3. Room-size computer unveiled in 1946 ENIAC
4. U-Haul vans, e.g. RENTALS
5. Sign of hunger PANG
6. Baseball family name ALOU
7. Afghanistan's __ Bora TORA
8. Divvy up SHARE
9. When tripled, "and so on" YADDA
10. Serious SOLEMN
11. Roofing color SLATE GRAY
12. No-frills shelter TENT
13. Fountain drink SODA
21. Org. concerned with greenhouse gases EPA
25. Gas holder TANK
27. Bakery array PIES
28. French play part ACTE
29. Striped equine ZEBRA
31. One-sided win ROMP
32. "Holy cow!" YIPE!
33. Pheasant or turkey FOWL
34. Sri Lanka setting ASIA
35. Rather nice QUITE GOOD
37. Letters in a box MAIL
38. Electrical adapter letters AC/DC
41. Largest of the Mariana Islands GUAM
45. Final part TAIL END
47. Compulsive thief, for short KLEPTO
49. Texter's "Zounds!" OMG
51. Furry "Star Wars" creatures EWOKS
52. Thick-skinned beast RHINO
54. See 19-Across ROVER
55. All-inclusive adjective EVERY
56. Ships SENDS
57. Subtle "Over here!" PSST!
58. Kibbles 'n Bits alternative ALPO
60. Robert of "The Sopranos" ILER
61. Fabric mishap TEAR
62. Whirling current EDDY


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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 answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com, contact me on Google+ or leave a comment below.

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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