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LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Dec 14, Saturday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: John Lieb
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … BELLE (gelle!!), BENE (gene)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. One may become an exurb RURAL AREA
Derived from the term "suburb", an "exurb" is an area beyond the suburbs at the very outskirts of a city. Often "exurb" is used to denote an area inhabited by more wealthy people.

16. Carew's Twins roommate OLIVA
Tony Oliva is a former Major League baseball player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins.

Rod Carew is a former Major League Baseball player from Panama. Actually. Carew is a "Zonian", meaning that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a political entity that existed for decades from 1903.

When Rod Carew and Tony Oliva were teammates playing for the Minnesota Twins, apparently they were also roommates.

17. Monopoly duo UTILITIES
In most versions of the board game Monopoly, the two utilities are Water Works and Electric Company.

18. Inspiration for some Yahtzee categories POKER
The dice game of Yahtzee was introduced in 1956, a variant of earlier dice games, especially the game "Yacht" (which even has a similar name). Yahtzee is required playing in our house at holidays. The game involves the rolling of five dice, with the intent of getting certain combinations. A lot of those combinations resemble poker hands, such as “three of a kind”, “four of a kind” and “full house”.

20. Large volume TOME
“Tome” first came into English from the Latin "tomus" which means "section of a book". The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century "tome" had come to mean "a large book".

22. Alt-rock subgenre EMO
The musical genre of "emo" originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from "emotional hardcore". Not my cup of tea …

23. Material for Caesar GAGS
Sid Caesar achieved fame in the fifties on TV's "Your Show of Shows". To be honest, I know Sid Caesar mainly from the fun film version of the musical "Grease", in which he played Coach Calhoun.

24. Russian crepes BLINI
A blintz (also “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe although unlike a crêpe, a blintz may contain yeast.

26. Egyptian __: cat breed MAU
The Egyptian Mau is an ancient breed of cat. Illustrations of Egyptian Mau cats have been found in artwork that is over 3,000 years old. Maus can run at over 36 mph, making them the fastest breed of domestic cat.

27. Warm time for Nancy? ETE
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in French-speaking countries.

Nancy is a city in northeastern France.

29. Slinky ad feature STAIRS
The marvelous Slinky toy was invented in the early forties by a naval engineer called Richard James. James was developing springs for the navy that could stabilize sensitive instruments in rough seas. One day he accidentally knocked one of his experimental coils off a shelf and watched it "step" onto a stack of books, then onto a table and from there onto the floor where it recoiled itself very neatly. The Slinky was born ...

32. 1970 Top 40 song with the lyric "And I'm lucky that you're mine" RUBBER DUCKIE
“Rubber Duckie” is a song performed by the muppet Ernie on “Sesame Street”. Rubber Duckie is also the name of Ernie’s favorite toy, his rubber duck. “Rubber Duckie” was released as a single in 1970 and actually made it into the charts.

34. Restraining device MANACLE
A manacle is a device for constraining the hands, like handcuffs. The term comes from the Latin “manicula” which means “handle” or literally “little hand”.

38. Nickname for the NFL draft's last pick MR IRRELEVANT
“Mr. Irrelevant” is the not-very-nice title given to the last person picked in the NFL draft each year. The first person so honored was Kelvin Kirk, who was pick number 487 in the 1976 draft.

41. Alice's workplace MEL’S
The TV sitcom "Alice" ran from 1976 to 1985, a story about a widow named Alice who takes a job at Mel's Diner. The show was based on a very successful 1974 movie called "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" directed by Martin Scorsese (his first Hollywood production) and starring Ellen Burstyn and Kris Kristofferson.

42. 1956 milestone for Ford: Abbr. IPO
When Ford became a public company in 1956, the company’s initial public offering (IPO) raised nearly $700 million. That’s about $5 billion in today’s money, and was the biggest IPO ever seen in the US up to that time.

45. __ anglais: English horn COR
The English Horn is also known by its French name “Cor Anglais”, and is a double-reed woodwind instrument.

46. Actor Ken and others OLINS
Ken Olin was one of the stars on the hit television series "Thirtysomething", playing Michael Steadman. After "Thirtysomething", Olin moved behind the camera and is now a producer and director.

49. Its Batman version contains a Joker UNO
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game, by a German acquaintance of mine, called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that's used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

51. Coming-out party? BELLE
A “belle” is the girlfriend of a “beau”, with both being terms we’ve imported from French.

54. Zen-like "Caddyshack" mantra BE THE BALL
“Caddyshack” is a comedy that was released in 1980 that was directed by Harold Ramis, his first movie. The film stars Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Bill Murray. “Caddyshack” has quite a cult following, but it’s a little too slapstick for me …

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word "chan", which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word "dhyana" meaning "meditation".

57. Grenoble's river ISERE
The Isère river gives its name to the French Department of Isère, located partly in the French Alps. In turn, Isère gave its name to a somewhat famous ship called the Isère, which in 1885 delivered the Statue of Liberty from France to America in 214 shipping crates.

Grenoble is a city at the edge of the French Alps. Grenoble hosted the 1968 Winter Olympic Games.

58. Hoops matchups ONE-ON-ONES
Basketball is truly an American sport. It was created in 1891 by a James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first "hoops" were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the "net", someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

59. Former lab heaters ETNAS
“Etna” (after the volcano) is another name for a Bunsen Burner that is used in a laboratory.

Down
2. Best in a mess OUTEAT
"Mess" first came into English about 1300 and described the list of food needed for a meal, from the Old French word "mes" meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into "mess" meaning a jumbled mass of anything from the concept of "mixed food". At the same time, the original usage in the sense of a food for a meal surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a "mess" was a communal eating place.

3. ER protocol TRIAGE
"Triage" is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on a battlefield. The term "triage" is French and means "a sorting".

4. "Vapor Action" brand HALLS
Halls brand of cough drops were first made by Halls Brothers in England in the 1930s.

5. 2013 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey champs ELIS
Eli is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.

7. George W.'s first press secretary ARI
Ari Fleischer was the White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. Fleischer now runs his own media consulting firm that specializes in representing sports players and organizations. Fleischer helped Mark McGwire handle the media when he had to admit to the use of steroids, and was briefly hired by Tiger Woods as he planned his return to the PGA after dropping out of the spotlight to handle the problems in his personal life.

11. U.N. workers' gp. ILO
The ILO (International Labour Organization) is an agency now administered by the UN which was established by the League of Nations after WWI. The ILO deals with important issues such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

12. 2002 Lil' Bow Wow film LIKE MIKE
“Like Mike” is a 2002 movie about three friends who are into playing and watching basketball. Lots of NBA stars appear in this film, with rap star Lil’ Bow Bow (now just “Bow Wow”) playing the lead role.

13. Prayer sung by Desdemona in "Otello" AVE MARIA
“Ave Maria” is an aria from Verdi’s “Otello”.

Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Otello" was first performed in 1887 at La Scala Theater in Milan. The opera is based on Shakespeare's play "Othello" and is considered by many to be Verdi's greatest work.

24. Hall of Fame pitcher who managed the Yankees to a 1978 title BOB LEMON
Bob Lemon was a pitcher with the Cleveland Indians in the forties and fifties, and a manager in the seventies and eighties. The Chicago White Sox fired Lemon as manager in 1978, and he was almost immediately called on to manage the New York Yankees. He led the Yankees to the 1978 World Series title just a few months later.

28. Ill-gotten loot LUCRE
Our word “lucre” meaning “money, profits” comes from the Latin “lucrum” that means the same thing.

31. Vier times zwei ACHT
In German, four (vier) times two (zwei) is eight (acht).

33. Poetic rapper RAVEN
"The Raven" is a narrative poem by Edgar Allen Poe that tells of a student who has lost the love of his life, Lenore. A raven raps on the window of the student's bedchamber and then perches on a bust of Pallas. The raven can talk, to the student’s surprise, but utters nothing but the word “nevermore” (“quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’”). As the student questions all aspects of his life, the raven taunts him with the same comment, “nevermore”. Finally the student decides that his soul is trapped beneath the raven's shadow and shall be lifted "nevermore" …

34. Only woman with two Nobel prizes, formally MME CURIE
Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in 1903 and 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie's personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.

36. Ammonia component NITROGEN
Ammonia is a colorless gas with a very strong smell. The compound has the chemical formula NH3. The name “ammonia” comes from salt deposits (actually the salt “ammonium chloride”) that the Romans collected near the Temple of Amun in ancient Libya.

42. Historic island palace ‘IOLANI
The ‘Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is unique within this country. It is the only royal palace in the US that was used as an official residence by a reigning monarch. The Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in 1893 so the palace was used by successive governments even after Hawaii was awarded statehood in 1959. The palace has been a public museum since 1978.

47. Latin rock group Los __ LOBOS
Los Lobos are an American Chicano rock band, who released their first LP in 1978 and are still going strong today. The band's name "Los Lobos" translates from Spanish as "The Wolves".

48. First sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy TEBOW
Tim Tebow is a former quarterback who played mainly for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. Tebow's relatively short professional career followed a very successful college career during which he became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.

50. "Iliad" war god ARES
The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of blood-lust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos, Deimos and Eros. The Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war.

53. Mouths, anatomically ORA
In the world of anatomy, an “os” (plural “ora”) is a mouth or external opening. The medical term “per os” means “ingestion by mouth”.


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Go figure? DO THE MATH
10. Scented candle option LILAC
15. One may become an exurb RURAL AREA
16. Carew's Twins roommate OLIVA
17. Monopoly duo UTILITIES
18. Inspiration for some Yahtzee categories POKER
19. Reasons for handshakes DEALS
20. Large volume TOME
22. Alt-rock subgenre EMO
23. Material for Caesar GAGS
24. Russian crepes BLINI
26. Egyptian __: cat breed MAU
27. Warm time for Nancy? ETE
28. Nursery nourishment LOAM
29. Slinky ad feature STAIRS
32. 1970 Top 40 song with the lyric "And I'm lucky that you're mine" RUBBER DUCKIE
34. Restraining device MANACLE
37. Numskull AIRHEAD
38. Nickname for the NFL draft's last pick MR IRRELEVANT
40. High regard ESTEEM
41. Alice's workplace MEL’S
42. 1956 milestone for Ford: Abbr. IPO
45. __ anglais: English horn COR
46. Actor Ken and others OLINS
48. Hitch TOUR
49. Its Batman version contains a Joker UNO
50. Like some annoying blog posts: Abbr. ANON
51. Coming-out party? BELLE
52. Quality of a good math proof RIGOR
54. Zen-like "Caddyshack" mantra BE THE BALL
57. Grenoble's river ISERE
58. Hoops matchups ONE-ON-ONES
59. Former lab heaters ETNAS
60. Like many lotteries STATEWIDE

Down
1. Lowly worker DRUDGE
2. Best in a mess OUTEAT
3. ER protocol TRIAGE
4. "Vapor Action" brand HALLS
5. 2013 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey champs ELIS
6. Place to wrestle MAT
7. George W.'s first press secretary ARI
8. Driver's appointment? TEE TIME
9. Sports HAS ON
10. Make big strides LOPE
11. U.N. workers' gp. ILO
12. 2002 Lil' Bow Wow film LIKE MIKE
13. Prayer sung by Desdemona in "Otello" AVE MARIA
14. Carried on CAROUSED
21. Makes bad calls? MISDIALS
24. Hall of Fame pitcher who managed the Yankees to a 1978 title BOB LEMON
25. Tag LABEL
28. Ill-gotten loot LUCRE
30. Chances TURNS
31. Vier times zwei ACHT
32. Special RARE
33. Poetic rapper RAVEN
34. Only woman with two Nobel prizes, formally MME CURIE
35. Insurance fraud perpetrator, perhaps ARSONIST
36. Ammonia component NITROGEN
39. Distinguished EMINENT
42. Historic island palace ‘IOLANI
43. __ pork PULLED
44. Uncreative threat OR ELSE!
47. Latin rock group Los __ LOBOS
48. First sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy TEBOW
50. "Iliad" war god ARES
51. Factor opening BENE-
53. Mouths, anatomically ORA
55. See 56-Down TEA
56. With 55-Down, sore throat soother HOT


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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.

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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