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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Oct 14, Wednesday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jerome Gunderson
THEME: War and Peace … two of today’s themed answers end with HAWK and DOVE, symbols of WAR AND PEACE. And, “WAR AND PEACE” is a novel by LEO TOLSTOY, who also appears in the grid:
17A. Bird between the partridge and French hen TURTLE DOVE
29A. Species of falcon also called an American kestrel SPARROWHAWK
47A. Epic novel symbolized by the ends of 17- and 29-Across WAR AND PEACE
64A. Author of 47-Across LEO TOLSTOY
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 55s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Snoop's former "surname" DOGG
The rap star Snoop Dogg's real name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus. He is the most famous protege of the notorious rapper Dr. Dre. Sadly, Snoop Dogg has had numerous run-ins with police all round the world, even after he started to live the good life that came with his fame.

5. Sinatra's "The Lady Is a __" TRAMP
“The Lady Is a Tramp” is a song from the 1937 musical “Babes in Arms” by Rodgers and Hart. The song was also sung by Frank Sinatra in the 1957 movie “Pal Joey”.

14. Polynesian capital APIA
Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.

17. Bird between the partridge and French hen TURTLE DOVE
The fabulous Christmas Carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

19. Exile isle ELBA
I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is also overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day and we won't be going back again …

21. Smashes to smithereens DESTROYS
"Smithereens" is such a lovely word and I am proud to say that it comes from Irish. The Irish word "smiodar" means fragment. We add the suffix "-in" (anglicized as "-een") to words to indicate the diminutive form. So, "little fragment" is "smidirin", anglicized as "smithereens".

23. Pique condition? SNIT
The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

Our term "pique" meaning a "fit of ill feeling" is a French word meaning a "prick, sting, irritation".

25. Univ. aides TAS
Teaching assistant (TA)

26. Jamaican music SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term "ska", but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

29. Species of falcon also called an American kestrel SPARROWHAWK
The American kestrel is sometimes referred to as the sparrowhawk, and is the most common falcon found on the continent. It is sometimes trained for use in falconry, and is considered a beginner’s bird.

37. __-Ball: arcade game SKEE
Skee Ball is that arcade game where you roll balls up a ramp trying to "bounce" it into rings for varying numbers of points. The game was first introduced in Philadelphia, in 1909.

39. Dreads sporter RASTA
Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair nowadays usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which "dread" is a very positive term meaning "fear of the Lord".

42. "__ So Vain": Carly Simon hit YOU’RE
“You’re So Vain” is a Carly Simon song that was released in 1972. The song is about self-absorbed man and is supposedly one of Simon’s former lovers. The subject of the song has led to much speculation for decades. Simon agreed to reveal the name of the subject to the highest bidder in a charity auction in 2003. The president of NBC Sports Dick Ebersol won that auction, and he has pledged never to reveal what he was told. Simon did allow him to give one clue to the public, that the name contains the letter E.

Carly Simon is a fabulous singer-songwriter who had her break in the 1970s with a series of hit records including “You’re So Vain” and “Nobody Does It Better”. Simon was married for over ten years to fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor.

44. Optic layer UVEA
The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball.

46. Feds under Ness T-MEN
Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname "The Untouchables", the agents who couldn't be bought.

47. Epic novel symbolized by the ends of 17- and 29-Across WAR AND PEACE
I have to confess that I have tried to read Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" twice in my life, and failed both times (it is l-o-n-g). Even though the 1956 movie adaptation runs for 3 1/2 hours, it's still the easy way out! The film version stars Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostova and Henry Fonda as Count Pierre Bezukhov.

51. "Go for the Goal" author Hamm MIA
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played on the US national team that won the FIFA women's World Cup in 1991. Hamm has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female. Amazingly, Hamm was born with a clubfoot, and so had to wear corrective shoes when she was growing up.

63. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit ADIA
Sarah McLachlan is singer/songwriter from Halifax, Nova Scotia who lives in Vancouver. In 1997, McLachlan married Ashwin Sood, the drummer in her band. Apparently the song "Adia", that she co-wrote and recorded, was intended as an apology to her best friend ... for stealing her ex-boyfriend and then marrying him!

64. Author of 47-Across LEO TOLSTOY
The Russian author Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. He also wrote the celebrated novellas “Hadji Murad” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”.

68. Italian volcano ETNA
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Mt Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius.

69. Egyptian symbol of life ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for "eternal life". The ankh wasn't just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world).

71. After-school mall frequenter TEEN
Surprisingly, our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

Down
1. Crunched stuff DATA
Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

2. Magnum __ OPUS
“Magnum opus” is a Latin term meaning “great work”. The magnum opus of a writer or composer perhaps, is his or her greatest work.

4. "Pirates of Silicon Valley" figure GATES
Bill Gates is the former CEO of Microsoft, a company that he co-founded with Paul Allen. Gates has been listed as the wealthiest man in the world on several occasion over the past two decades. Ge now works full-time as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, alongside his wife Melinda. The Gates’ foundation is the largest transparently-operated charitable foundation in the world.

“Pirates of Silicon Valley" is a 1999 film made by TNT starring Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates and Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs. Based on the book “Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer”, the film deals with the rivalry that fomented between Gates and Jobs in the early days of the development of personal computing.

5. Knight crew? THE PIPS
Gladys Knight & the Pips were performing together from 1953 to 1989. The Pips were founded around Gladys Knight, originally featuring her brother, sister and two cousins. The group took its name from yet another cousin, called "Pip".

11. Roughly 2.2 pounds, briefly KILO
I have to admit that I’ve only heard the term “kilo” used for “kilogram”, but the dictionary tells me that it can also apply as an abbreviation for “kilometer”.

12. First name in advice ABBY
The advice column "Dear Abby" first appeared in 1956. Pauline Phillips was Abby back then, but now the column is written by Jeanne Phillips, her daughter. The full name of the "Abby" pen name is Abigail Van Buren, which Pauline Phillips came up with by combining "Abigail" from the biblical Book of Samuel, and "Van Buren" after the former US president.

22. Lion-colored TAWNY
Our word “tawny”, meaning “brownish-yellow”, comes from an old Anglo-French word “taunĂ©” that meant the same thing, although it specifically referred to the color of tanned leather.

26. Camel's undoing STRAW
We use the idiom “the straw that broke the camel's back” to refer to an seemingly inconsequential action that can cause a cataclysmic failure given the pressure on the situation that already exists. Our English idiom comes from an Arabic proverb with a similar wording and meaning.

27. Tree-dwelling marsupial KOALA
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it's not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope.

28. Pantheon led by Odin AESIR
Aesir is sometimes used as the collective noun for the Norse gods.

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin's wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term "Friday" (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin's son was Thor, and his name gave us the term "Thursday". Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday”, from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

A “pantheon” is the set of all gods in a particular religion or mythology. The term comes from the Greek “pan” (all) “theon” (of gods). A pantheon is also the name given to a temple dedicated to all deities.

30. Superman player REEVE
The actor Christopher Reeve was most associated with his portrayal of Superman in the late seventies and early eighties. Reeve became paralyzed from the neck down when he fell from a horse in a jumping event in 1995. He passed away in 2004.

32. Ones who no longer have class? ALUMS
An "alumnus" (plural ... alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is "alumna" (plural ... alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.

34. Wails KEENS
“To keen” is to wail in lamentation. The word "keening" has its roots in Ireland, coming from the Irish word “caoinim” meaning “I weep, wail, lament”.

40. Musical set in an orphanage ANNIE
The musical “Annie” was based on the Harold Gray comic strip "Little Orphan Annie". There were two subsequent film adaptations, both really quite successful, including one released in 1982 directed by John Huston of all people. "Annie" was Huston's only ever musical.

45. Salon solvent ACETONE
Acetone is the active ingredient in many nail polish removers and paint thinners.

48. Texas city that spans five counties DALLAS
The city of Dallas is the ninth largest in the US, although it ranks fourth when considered as part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

49. Oscar winner Jannings EMIL
Emil Jannings, an actor from Switzerland, was the first person to receive an Oscar. He was the star of the 1928 silent movie called "The Last Command".

54. __ California BAJA
Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.

55. Yemen port city ADEN
Aden is a seaport in Yemen, located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

58. Artsy Manhattan district SOHO
The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname "Hell's Hundred Acres". The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city's Planning Commission i.e "South of Houston". This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in the SoHo Artists Association, and the name stuck.

62. Meg of "Sleepless in Seattle" RYAN
Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan's big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally” from which she went on to star in some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.

“Sleepless in Seattle” is a lovely romantic comedy directed and co-written by Nora Ephron, released in 1993. The film’s storyline is based on the excellent 1957 movie “An Affair to Remember”, and there are numerous direct references to the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr classic throughout the “remake”. The lead roles in “Sleepless …” are played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Snoop's former "surname" DOGG
5. Sinatra's "The Lady Is a __" TRAMP
10. Fine OKAY
14. Polynesian capital APIA
15. __ roll HONOR
16. Hard-to-explain feeling VIBE
17. Bird between the partridge and French hen TURTLE DOVE
19. Exile isle ELBA
20. In dreamland ASLEEP
21. Smashes to smithereens DESTROYS
23. Pique condition? SNIT
25. Univ. aides TAS
26. Jamaican music SKA
29. Species of falcon also called an American kestrel SPARROWHAWK
35. Boot parts TOES
37. __-Ball: arcade game SKEE
38. "I'm not kidding!" NO LIE!
39. Dreads sporter RASTA
41. What's always in poetry? E’ER
42. "__ So Vain": Carly Simon hit YOU’RE
43. Sci-fi regular ALIEN
44. Optic layer UVEA
46. Feds under Ness T-MEN
47. Epic novel symbolized by the ends of 17- and 29-Across WAR AND PEACE
50. Future 32-Down: Abbr. SRS
51. "Go for the Goal" author Hamm MIA
52. Sales rep's tool DEMO
54. Gym gear BARBELLS
59. Musical ineptitude TIN EAR
63. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit ADIA
64. Author of 47-Across LEO TOLSTOY
66. Witty remark JEST
67. Pasty ASHEN
68. Italian volcano ETNA
69. Egyptian symbol of life ANKH
70. Garden path piece STONE
71. After-school mall frequenter TEEN

Down
1. Crunched stuff DATA
2. Magnum __ OPUS
3. Lass GIRL
4. "Pirates of Silicon Valley" figure GATES
5. Knight crew? THE PIPS
6. Bit of fishing tackle ROD
7. Give __ to: okay A NOD
8. Relocate MOVE
9. Magic word PRESTO!
10. Miss, as an intended target OVERSHOOT
11. Roughly 2.2 pounds, briefly KILO
12. First name in advice ABBY
13. Votes for YEAS
18. Eyepiece piece LENS
22. Lion-colored TAWNY
24. Start, as a new hobby TAKE UP
26. Camel's undoing STRAW
27. Tree-dwelling marsupial KOALA
28. Pantheon led by Odin AESIR
30. Superman player REEVE
31. Enjoy again, as a cherished book REREAD
32. Ones who no longer have class? ALUMS
33. Cable installer, at times WIRER
34. Wails KEENS
36. Post-workout relaxation spot STEAM BATH
40. Musical set in an orphanage ANNIE
45. Salon solvent ACETONE
48. Texas city that spans five counties DALLAS
49. Oscar winner Jannings EMIL
53. Start ONSET
54. __ California BAJA
55. Yemen port city ADEN
56. Put on the line RISK
57. For fear that LEST
58. Artsy Manhattan district SOHO
60. Cigar butt? -ETTE
61. Primo A-ONE
62. Meg of "Sleepless in Seattle" RYAN
65. Down-for-the-count count TEN


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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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