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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 23 Sep 14, Tuesday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeffrey Wechsler
THEME: On the QT … each of today’s themed answers comprises two words, the first starting with the letter Q, and the second with the letter T:
20A. Period of meaningful interaction QUALITY TIME
28A. "That's using your head!" QUICK THINKING!
46A. Planck's Nobel prize-winning formulation QUANTUM THEORY
52A. Small musical interval sung in choral warmups QUARTER TONE

65A. Surreptitiously ... and a hint to 20-, 28-, 46- and 52-Across ON THE QT
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

8. Insubstantial stuff PAP
One meaning of "pap" is soft or semi-liquid food for babies and small children. "Pap" comes into English via French, from the Latin word used by children for "food". In the 1500s, "pap" also came to mean "an oversimplified" idea. This gives us a usage that's common today, describing literature or perhaps TV programming that lacks real value or substance. Hands up those who think there's a lot of pap out there, especially on television ...

11. Intro deliverers MCS
Master or mistress of ceremonies (MC)

16. The smile on a smiley face, say ARC
An ideograph or ideogram is pictorial symbol used to represent a concept. A good example would be an emoticon, like a smiley face :o)

17. Green gem EMERALD
The mineral beryl is a source of a number of different, semi-precious stones, depending on the nature of the impurities present. Pure beryl is colorless; blue beryl is called aquamarine, and green beryl is emerald. The source of the green color is mainly chromium.

18. Where to leggo your Eggo? TOASTER
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg's. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name "Eggo" was chosen to promote the "egginess" of the batter. "Eggo" replaced the original name chosen, which was "Froffles", created by melding "frozen" and "waffles".

35. Egyptian snake ASP
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

36. Actress Charlotte RAE
Charlotte Rae is an American actress, best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties: "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life". Towards the end of the series, the Edna Garrett character operated her own gourmet food shop called “Edna’s Edibles”.

38. __ Lanka SRI
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.

39. Scooby-__ DOO
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” is a series of cartoons produced for Hanna-Barbera Productions, first broadcast in 1969. The title character is a great Dane dog owned by a young male called Shaggy Rogers. The character’s name was inspired by the famous “doo-be-doo-be-doo” refrain in the Frank Sinatra hit “Strangers in the Night”.

46. Planck's Nobel prize-winning formulation QUANTUM THEORY
There has always been a conflict between the theory of relativity and quantum theory. Basically, the theory of relativity works for "big stuff" but breaks down when applied to minute things like subatomic particles. On the other hand, quantum theory was developed to explain behavior at the subatomic level, and just doesn't work on the larger scale. One of the reasons physicists are so excited about string theory is that it works at the macro and micro levels. According to string theory, all particles in the universe are really little "strings", as opposed to the points or ball-shaped entities assumed by the other theories.

Max Planck was a theoretical physicist from Germany who developed quantum theory. Planck won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.

51. Carnivorous dinosaur, briefly T REX
The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written T. rex) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. "Tyrannosaurus" comes from the Greek words "tyrannos" (tyrant) and "sauros" (lizard), and the "rex" is of course Latin for "king". They were big boys, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

63. "O, __ fortune's fool!": Romeo I AM
“O, I am Fortune’s fool” is a line from William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”. The words are uttered by Romeo after he kills Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, in a duel. Romeo knows that he has made a bad mistake, and tells everyone so. Sure enough, things go downhill for him and Juliet for the remainder of the play.

65. Surreptitiously ... and a hint to 20-, 28-, 46- and 52-Across ON THE QT
“On the qt” is a slang term for “on the quiet”. It has been around since the 1870s.

68. Traditional Yuletide quaff WASSAIL
“Wassail” is ale or mulled wine used for toasting at festivals, especially Christmas. The term “wassail” comes from Old Norse “ves heill” meaning “be healthy”.

Down
1. Soul, to Zola AME
“Ame” is the French word for “soul”.

The most famous work of French writer Émile Zola is his 1898 open letter "J'Accuse!" written to then French president Félix Faure. The letter was published on the front page of a leading Paris newspaper, and accused the government of anti-Semitism in its handling of the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus was a Jewish military officer in the French army, falsely accused and convicted of spying for Germany. Even after the error was discovered, the government refused to back down and let Dreyfus rot away on Devil's Island rather than admit to the mistake. It wasn't until 1906, 12 years after the wrongful conviction, that Dreyfus was freed and reinstated, largely due to the advocacy of Emile Zola.

2. "A Christmas Carol" boy TIM
Tiny Tim is the nickname of Timothy Cratchit, the little disabled boy in the Charles Dickens novella "A Christmas Carol". “A Christmas Carol” is such a popular book that it has not been out of print since its first publication in December 1843.

4. Debussy's "La __" MER
"La Mer" is a lovely group of three symphonic sketches for orchestra by the French composer Claude Debussy. Listen to it, and you can feel yourself at the ocean. "La Mer" is French for "The Sea".

Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers, one who epitomises the Romantic Era and Impressionist Movement in music. One of my favorite CDs is a collection of some "lighter" Debussy pieces called "Debussy for Daydreaming", and what an evocative collection it is. Included are "Syrinx", "Maid with the Flaxen Hair", "Rêverie" and everyone's favorite, "Clair de Lune".

6. Last letter of a pilot's alphabet ZULU
The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … Zulu.

7. Mark similar to a hyphen EN DASH
In typography, there are em dashes and en dashes. The em dash is about the width of an "m" character, and an en dash about half that, the width of an "n' character. An en dash is used, for example, to separate numbers designating a range, as in 5-10 years. Th em dash seems to be going out of style, and indeed the application I am using to write this paragraph won't let me show you one!

11. Checking conclusively, in chess MATING
In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be "in check". If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in "checkmate" and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce "check!") so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn't occur.

12. __ de cacao CREME
Creme de Cacao is a very sweet, chocolate-flavored liqueur.

21. San __ Obispo, California LUIS
The city of San Luis Obispo is one of the oldest communities in California. The name “San Luis Obispo” translates as “Saint Louis, the Bishop of Toulouse”. In 1990, San Luis Obispo became the first municipality in the world to ban smoking in all indoor public areas.

25. Novelist Umberto ECO
Umberto Eco is an Italian writer, probably best known for his novel "The Name of the Rose" published in 1980. In 1986, "The Name of the Rose" was adapted into a movie with the same title starring Sean Connery.

29. Divided nation KOREA
The Korean War took place from 1950 to 1953 and was fought between the Republic of Korea (the South) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the North). The war came about because, at the end of WWII, Korea was divided by the allies along the 38th Parallel, with the Soviet Union controlling territory north of the line, and the US occupying the south. North Korean troops invaded the south in 1950, which started the armed conflict. An armistice was signed in 1953 which restored the border, but there are outbreaks of fighting to this very day, as we all well know.

31. Jeweler's purity unit KARAT
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

32. Dublin-born IRISH
The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as Baile Átha Cliath in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city, “Dubh Linn” meaning “black pool”.

39. Couturier Christian DIOR
Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, imposing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

"Haute couture", literally "high dressmaking" in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

40. Shrek, for one OGRE
Before "Shrek" was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children's picture book called "Shrek!" authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title "Shrek!" came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning "fear" or "terror".

41. Black stone ONYX
Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it's the black version that's used for jewelry. The name "onyx" comes from the Greek word for "fingernail", as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

42. Grand Canyon pack animal BURRO
Our word “burro” meaning donkey comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, “burrico”.

The Grand Canyon is in Arizona. The canyon continues to be carved out of layers of rock by the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and over a mile deep.

45. Chess pieces and board, e.g. SET
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called "chaturanga", a Sanskrit word meaning "four divisions". These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now "pawns")
- Cavalry (now "knights")
- Elephants (now "bishops")
- Chariots (now "rooks")

48. Ink squirter SQUID
Octopuses and squid have the ability to release a dark pigment into the water as a means of escape. The dark pigment is called cephalopod ink (the squid and octopus belong to the class cephalopod). The dark color is created by melanin, the same substance that acts as a pigment in human skin.

53. Mummy's home TOMB
We use the term “mummy” for a dead body that has been embalmed in preparation for burial, especially if done so by the ancient Egyptians. The term “mummy” comes from the Persian word “mumiyah” meaning “embalmed body”.

54. Genesis twin ESAU
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins "the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)". As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father's wealth (it was his "birthright"). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a "mess of pottage" (a meal of lentils).

56. CPR providers EMTS
An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

60. Stephen of "The Crying Game" REA
Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

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

62. Arch city: Abbr. STL
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn't started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch alright, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment ...


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Reduce to mist ATOMIZE
8. Insubstantial stuff PAP
11. Intro deliverers MCS
14. Short outing for a jogger MILE RUN
15. From A to Z ALL
16. The smile on a smiley face, say ARC
17. Green gem EMERALD
18. Where to leggo your Eggo? TOASTER
20. Period of meaningful interaction QUALITY TIME
22. Having the wherewithal ABLE
26. Take to court SUE
27. From square one ANEW
28. "That's using your head!" QUICK THINKING!
33. Detach from the dock UNMOOR
34. Sharply delineated, as a contrast STARK
35. Egyptian snake ASP
36. Actress Charlotte RAE
38. __ Lanka SRI
39. Scooby-__ DOO
42. Living thing BEING
44. Make responsible for, as chores ASSIGN
46. Planck's Nobel prize-winning formulation QUANTUM THEORY
48. Insulting remark SLUR
50. Equal: Pref. ISO-
51. Carnivorous dinosaur, briefly T REX
52. Small musical interval sung in choral warmups QUARTER TONE
57. Let go UNLOOSE
58. Movie equipment CAMERAS
63. "O, __ fortune's fool!": Romeo I AM
64. Start to practice? MAL-
65. Surreptitiously ... and a hint to 20-, 28-, 46- and 52-Across ON THE QT
66. 8-Down treaters: Abbr. DRS
67. Get at a store BUY
68. Traditional Yuletide quaff WASSAIL

Down
1. Soul, to Zola AME
2. "A Christmas Carol" boy TIM
3. Bullfight "Bravo!" OLE!
4. Debussy's "La __" MER
5. Syria neighbor IRAQ
6. Last letter of a pilot's alphabet ZULU
7. Mark similar to a hyphen EN DASH
8. Waiting room waiters PATIENTS
9. Very much A LOT
10. Be in the game PLAY
11. Checking conclusively, in chess MATING
12. __ de cacao CREME
13. Carpentry fastener SCREW
19. Performed really poorly STANK
21. San __ Obispo, California LUIS
22. Color of water AQUA
23. Cookout supply BUNS
24. Walk on a bad knee, say LIMP
25. Novelist Umberto ECO
29. Divided nation KOREA
30. Teach a skill to TRAIN
31. Jeweler's purity unit KARAT
32. Dublin-born IRISH
37. In every aspect ENTIRELY
39. Couturier Christian DIOR
40. Shrek, for one OGRE
41. Black stone ONYX
42. Grand Canyon pack animal BURRO
43. Sudden wind GUST
45. Chess pieces and board, e.g. SET
46. Reservations QUALMS
47. Barnyard animal, in totspeak MOO COW
48. Ink squirter SQUID
49. Like some ancient calendars LUNAR
53. Mummy's home TOMB
54. Genesis twin ESAU
55. Grandma NANA
56. CPR providers EMTS
59. Canadian interjections EHS
60. Stephen of "The Crying Game" REA
61. EPA concern AQI
62. Arch city: Abbr. STL


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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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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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