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LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Dec 14, Monday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Roger Wienberg & Jeff Chen
THEME: King of the Beasts … each of today’s themed answers starts with the name of a BEAST. Also, the name of the beast is often preceded by the word KING:
60A. Lion, and a hint to critters that begin 17-, 24-, 40- and 50-Across KING OF THE BEASTS

17A. Vietnam War chopper COBRA HELICOPTER (giving “king cobra”)
24A. Supernova named for its apparent resemblance to a crustacean CRAB NEBULA (giving “king crab”)
40A. Publisher with an Antarctic bird logo PENGUIN CLASSICS (giving “king penguin”)
50A. Shade similar to coral SALMON PINK (giving “king salmon”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 26s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. California wine county NAPA
The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.

14. __ mater ALMA
The literal translation for the Latin term "alma mater" is "nourishing mother". “Alma mater” was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one's alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one's last place of education.

17. Vietnam War chopper COBRA HELICOPTER (giving “king cobra”)
The Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter was the mainstay of the US Army’s helicopter fleet, until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache.

“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different animal families. The term "cobra" is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.

22. Atlanta-based news channel CNN
CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.

24. Supernova named for its apparent resemblance to a crustacean CRAB NEBULA (giving “king crab”)
In astronomical terms a nebula is a cloud of dust and ionized gases (“nebula” is the Latin for “cloud”). Many nebulae form as gases collapse in on themselves under the influence of enormous gravitational forces. Ultimately these collapses can result in the creation of new stars.

Although the Crab Nebula had been observed back in 1731, it was named by the Earl of Rosse in 1844 when he studied the phenomenon from Birr Castle in Ireland. The drawing that he made resembled a crab, hence the name. When the Earl of Rosse studied the nebula again in 1848 using a more powerful telescope, he failed to see the “crab” shape, but by then the name had stuck.

29. Caesar's "vidi" I SAW
The oft-quoted statement "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered") is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BC and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

34. Bounty alternative VIVA
Viva and Bounty are brands of paper towels.

37. Knife hyped on infomercials GINSU
Ginsu knives are more famous for their hard-sell television ads than they are for their efficacy in the kitchen. The Ginsu phenomenon took off in the seventies when two brothers found a set of knives called "Eversharp" that were being manufactured in Ohio. The brothers changed the brand name to something more exotic, and Japanese in particular (Ginsu), and then produced ads that made references to Japanese martial arts. I think they made a fortune ...

40. Publisher with an Antarctic bird logo PENGUIN CLASSICS (giving “king penguin”)
Penguin Classics is a respected imprint owned by Penguin Books of London. Titles in the series are limited works that are broadly considered to be important to the western literary tradition. The first Penguin Classic was Homer’s “Odyssey”, as translated by E. V. Rieu. Rieu came up with the idea of the Classics collection and served as general editor for the series for many years.

Penguins are flightless aquatic birds found only in the Southern Hemisphere, mainly in Antarctica. The two largest species of penguin are called the emperor penguin and the king penguin.

45. Eight, en español OCHO
In Spanish (en español), “eight” is “ocho”.

50. Shade similar to coral SALMON PINK (giving “king salmon”)
Also known as king salmon, the Chinook salmon is the largest species of Pacific salmon. The Chinook salmon that migrate upriver to spawn in the Yukon River in Alaska travel almost 2,000 miles from the Bering Sea to the spawning grounds. That is the longest freshwater migration of any salmon species.

57. Fleur-de-__ LIS
"Lys" (also “lis”) is the French word for "lily", as in "fleur-de-lys", the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

67. Dispense, with "out" METE
To "mete out" is to distribute by allotments. The verb comes from the Old English word "metan" meaning "to measure", which is also believed to be the root of our word "meter".

70. River of Hades STYX
The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead "to pay the ferryman".

Down
1. Close-up lens MACRO
A macro lens is one that is used for shooting very small subjects, so that the resulting image is usually larger than life size.

4. Mature filly MARE
There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:
- Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
- Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
- Filly: female horse under the age of four
- Colt: male horse under the age of four
- Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
- Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
- Mare: female horse four years or older

6. President in a stovepipe hat, familiarly ABE
A stovepipe hat is also known as a top hat.

8. Himalayan, e.g. ASIAN
The magnificent Himalaya range of mountains in Asia takes its name from the Sanskrit for “abode of snow”. Geographically, the Himalayas separate the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau to the north.

10. Like across and down: Abbr. OPP
Opposite (opp.)

19. "Hell's Kitchen" contestant CHEF
The American TV show “Hell’s Kitchen” is based on the UK show of the same name, which in turn is based on a New Zealand show, also of the same name.

25. Sitarist Shankar RAVI
Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and was noted for his sitar playing. Also, Shankar was the father of the beautiful pop singer Norah Jones.

28. What singers sing in when they don't harmonize UNISON
When performing “in unison”, singers are are singing the same notes. When performing “in harmony”, singers are singing different notes. The notes sung belong to particular chords so that there is a pleasing harmonic effect.

29. Trendsetting socialite IT-GIRL
Clara Bow was a fabulous star of silent film, with her most famous movie being "It" from 1927. Clara Bow's performance was so celebrated in the movie that she was forever to be known as the "It-girl". The term "it" was a euphemism for "sex appeal", and that is what Clara Bow was known to "exude". Bow applied her red lipstick in the shape of a heart, and women who copied this style were said to put on a "Clara Bow".

31. Sunblock letters SPF
In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun ...

32. Cartoon frame CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the "cel" its name.

36. Suspect's need ALIBI
"Alibi" is the Latin word for "elsewhere" as in, "I claim that I was 'elsewhere' when the crime was committed ... I have an 'alibi'".

39. Support gp. for troops USO
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR "to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces". A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

41. E pluribus __ UNUM
From 1776, "E pluribus unum" was the unofficial motto of the United States. “E pluribus unum” is Latin for “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated "In God We Trust" as the country's official motto.

49. Dust Bowl refugee OKIE
The Dust Bowl was the name given to a period in which severe dust storms ravaged the American and Canadian Prairies in the thirties. A major factor in the storms was the loss of the deep-rooted grasses native to the land that had been displaced by intensive farming. Without the grasses, the topsoil was blown away in a period of drought.

“Okies” was a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.

50. "Ghostbusters" goo SLIME
1984's "Ghostbusters" really is a fun movie. It stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, and was directed by Ivan Reitman (a trio that also worked together on 1981's "Stripes"). The first draft of the screenplay was written by another star of the movie, Dan Akroyd. Akroyd originally envisioned "Ghostbusters" as a vehicle for himself and John Belushi, but sadly Belushi passed away before the project could be realized.

51. The "N" in TNT NITRO
TNT is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

53. Balance sheet item ASSET
The balance sheet of a company is a snapshot (single point in time) view of a company’s financial position. The balance sheet lists all the company’s liabilities, all of its assets, and all of its ownership equity. The assets of a company, less its liabilities equals the ownership equity. The term “balance” is used because assets always balance out with the sum of liabilities and shareholder equity.

59. Wal-Mart warehouse club SAM’S
Sam’s Club is owned and operated by Walmart and is named after the company’s founder, Sam Walton.

62. Extra-play qtrs. OTS
Overtime (OT)


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Address for a Southern belle MA'AM
5. California wine county NAPA
9. Chip-in at a doc's office COPAY
14. __ mater ALMA
15. Preschool basics ABCS
16. Where to hear high C's OPERA
17. Vietnam War chopper COBRA HELICOPTER (giving “king cobra”)
20. Measuring stick RULER
21. Sigh of delight AAH
22. Atlanta-based news channel CNN
23. Reverent poem ODE
24. Supernova named for its apparent resemblance to a crustacean CRAB NEBULA (giving “king crab”)
29. Caesar's "vidi" I SAW
30. Pierre's "Done!" FINI!
31. "Scram, cat!" SCAT
34. Bounty alternative VIVA
37. Knife hyped on infomercials GINSU
40. Publisher with an Antarctic bird logo PENGUIN CLASSICS (giving “king penguin”)
43. Arrive by corporate jet FLY IN
44. Sandstorm residue GRIT
45. Eight, en español OCHO
46. Pharmaceutical product DRUG
48. Blessing BOON
50. Shade similar to coral SALMON PINK (giving “king salmon”)
53. "Then what happened?" AND?
56. Cunning SLY
57. Fleur-de-__ LIS
58. Magazine copy ISSUE
60. Lion, and a hint to critters that begin 17-, 24-, 40- and 50-Across KING OF THE BEASTS
65. "Too rich for my blood" I’M OUT
66. Ecstatic review RAVE
67. Dispense, with "out" METE
68. Pond critters NEWTS
69. Was in debt OWED
70. River of Hades STYX

Down
1. Close-up lens MACRO
2. Not whispered ALOUD
3. Walk leisurely AMBLE
4. Mature filly MARE
5. "Not for me" NAH
6. President in a stovepipe hat, familiarly ABE
7. Techie training site PC LAB
8. Himalayan, e.g. ASIAN
9. Murmur lovingly COO
10. Like across and down: Abbr. OPP
11. Place for animal vaccinations PET CLINIC
12. Competition setting ARENA
13. Entertaining story YARN
18. Parts of circles ARCS
19. "Hell's Kitchen" contestant CHEF
25. Sitarist Shankar RAVI
26. Bowling over AWING
27. Major leagues, in baseball slang BIGS
28. What singers sing in when they don't harmonize UNISON
29. Trendsetting socialite IT-GIRL
31. Sunblock letters SPF
32. Cartoon frame CEL
33. Words said with impatience ANY DAY NOW
35. DVD predecessor VCR
36. Suspect's need ALIBI
38. Org. with .edu addresses SCH
39. Support gp. for troops USO
41. E pluribus __ UNUM
42. Like __ of bricks A TON
47. Game often involving a cart GOLF
49. Dust Bowl refugee OKIE
50. "Ghostbusters" goo SLIME
51. The "N" in TNT NITRO
52. "Fiddle-faddle!" PSHAW!
53. Balance sheet item ASSET
54. Off-the-wall NUTTY
55. Spay or neuter DESEX
56. Tattooist's surface SKIN
59. Wal-Mart warehouse club SAM’S
61. Belly GUT
62. Extra-play qtrs. OTS
63. Time for last-minute Christmas wrapping EVE
64. Stream bottom BED


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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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