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Greetings from San Jose, California

My wife and I are on vacation until Friday, July 25th; a road trip through the backroads of the states east of California. I anticipate late-night solving and posting, with acknowledgement of comments and emails suffering. Please, don't be offended at my silence as I prioritize the writing of posts! We had a long and spectacular drive across the Sierra Nevada today, and saw Julianne and Derek Hough's dance spectacular this evening. Back home and back to reality tomorrow (Friday) ...

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Dec 12, Sunday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Tom Heilman
THEME: In and Out … each of today’s theme answers can be considered in two parts, the first of which can follow the word “in” and the second of which can follow “out”:
23A. Wolfing down burgers and fries while driving? A BAD WAY TO LUNCH (in a bad way & out to lunch)
38A. Rocky road from fad to fashion? FITS AND STARTS OF STYLE (in fits and starts & out of style)
57A. Solidarity among commoners? UNISON OF THE ORDINARY (in unison & out of the ordinary)
79A. Reenactment of a memorable scene from "The Exorcist"? FULL SWING OF ONE’S HEAD (in full swing & out of one’s head)
95A. "Dismount" or "settle"? OTHER WORDS LIKE ALIGHT (in other words & out like a light)
117A. Food-fight evidence at the picnic? A PICKLE ON A LIMB (in a pickle & out on a limb)
COMPLETION TIME: 32m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … IBANEZ (Ebanez), RIAL (real)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Inn option RAMADA
The Ramada Inn hotel chain takes its name from the Spanish word for a shady resting place. A ramada is a shelter with a roof and no walls, mainly found in the American southwest. Nowadays a ramada can be temporary or permanent, but originally ramadas were makeshift shelters constructed by aboriginal Indians from branches or bushes.

14. Sources of some stadium images BLIMPS
There is an important difference between a "blimp" (like "The Goodyear Blimp") and an airship (like a Zeppelin). An airship is a rigid structure with an internal framework that helps maintain the shape of the airbag, whereas a blimp uses the pressure of the helium gas inside the airbag to give it shape. Aslo, blimps are usually heavier than air and so will float naturally to the ground. They maintain their lift with forward motion and by raising the nose slightly.

20. Spanish novelist Blasco __ IBANEZ
Vicente Blasco Ibáñez was a journalist and novelist from Spain. Ibáñez’s most famous title was “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, which was made into a 1921 film that turned out to be the vehicle that launched Rudolph Valentino's career.

21. Monster with both a lion's and goat's head CHIMERA
In Greek mythology, a chimera was a female monster with the body of a lioness, a tail that ended in a snake's head, and the head of a goat that emanated from the lioness's spine. The term chimera has entered into our modern languag and means a fanciful illusion or fabrication.

22. Piano brand YAMAHA
The Japanese company Yamaha started out way back in 1888 as a manufacturer of pianos and reed organs. Even though the company has diversified since then, Yamaha's logo still reflects it musical roots. Even on Yamaha motorcycles you can see a logo made up of three intersecting tuning forks.

28. Meryl Streep's alma mater VASSAR
Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York is now a coeducational school after over a century as a women's college since its founding in 1861. The school was officially declared co-ed in 1969, although it had accepted a handful of male students on the GI Bill after WWII.

Meryl Streep has had more nominations for an academy award than any other actor, a tribute to her talent and the respect she has earned in the industry. I am not a huge fan of her earlier works but some of her recent movies are now on my list of all-time favorites. I recommend "Mama Mia" (you'll either love it or hate it!), "Julie & Julia", "It's Complicated" and ”Hope Springs”.

31. Depilatory cream NAIR
Nair is a hair removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide ("slake lime") and sodium hydroxide ("caustic soda"). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name "Nair" probably comes from combining "no" and "hair".

33. Plus-size supermodel EMME
Emme is the highest paid plus-size model in the world. Emme's real name is Melissa Aronson, and she was born in New York City and raised in Saudi Arabia.

45. "Speed-the-Plow" playwright MAMET
David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play "Glengarry Glen Ross". Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films "The Verdict" (1982) and "Wag the Dog" (1997).

48. Port of Yemen 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.

49. "__ Wiedersehen" AUF
“Auf Wiedersehen” is German for “goodbye”, literally translating as “till we see each other again”.

63. Offscreen friend in "Ernest" films VERN
The character Ernest P. Worrell is featured in a whole series of television commercials and eventually in a TV show and several feature films. Ernest was played by actor Jim Varney.

64. Professor 'iggins ‘ENRY
Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins' speech student in George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion". Of course "Pygmalion" was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady". The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was "'Enry 'Iggins".

65. On the safer side ALEE
"Alee" is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing "aweather".

66. Former Indy champ Bobby RAHAL
Bobby Rahal is an auto racing driver and team owner. Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 as a driver, and won the 2004 Indianapolis 500 as a team owner (the driver was Buddy Rice).

70. Jefferson Davis's sch. USMA
The United States Military Academy (USMA) accepts about 1,300 cadets each year of which about 1,000 graduate, each with a bachelor of science degree. The graduates are then commissioned with the rank of second lieutenant. The first female candidates entered the USMA in 1976, and today about 15% of all new cadets are women.

The Confederate States of America (CSA) et up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation and retained the post for the life of the government.

74. Brief court plea NOLO
"Nolo contendere" is a legal term that translates from the Latin as "I do not wish to contend". It's the plea of "no contest" and is an alternative to "guilty" or "not guilty", meaning that one doesn't admit guilt but nor does one dispute the charge.

75. Actor whose voice is emulated by Snagglepuss the Lion LAHR
Bert Lahr's most famous role was that of the cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz". Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Remember the catch phrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!"? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called, "Meet the People" in which it was first uttered by none other than Bert Lahr.

83. "Reservoir Dogs" actor KEITEL
Harvey Keitel is an actor from New York City who grew up in Brighton Beach. He is best known for playing “tough guy” roles, as he did in “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Taxi Driver”.

“Reservoir Dogs” was the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino and was released in 1992. I really don’t like Tarantino movies as I just cannot take all the violence. I checked the cast listing for "Reservoir Dogs" and it is a "men only" production. There are no named characters in the film played by women. All I can see is Linda Kaye who played “Shocked Woman”, and Suzanne Celeste who played “Shot Woman” ...

86. Radio host John TESH
John Tesh is a pianist and composer, as well as a radio and television presenter.

87. Ironically, he composed the "Microsoft sound" on a Mac ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, Eno's most oft-played composition (by far!) is Microsoft's "start-up jingle", the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system is booting up. Eno might have annoyed the Microsoft folks when he stated on a BBC radio show, “I wrote it on a Mac. I’ve never used a PC in my life; I don’t like them".

88. Drying oven OAST
An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an "oast house".

89. Actor Daniel __ Kim DAE
Daniel Dae Kim is an American actor who is famous for playing Jin-Soo Kwon on "Lost". He now plays one of the leads on the CBS remake of "Hawaii Five-O", portraying the character Chin Ho Kelly.

103. __ cava VENA
The superior vena cava is a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood from the upper part of the body to the right atrium of the heart. The inferior vena cava does the same thing for the lower part of the body.

109. City near Anaheim BREA
The city of Brea, California takes its name from “brea”, the Spanish word for “tar”.

111. Daughter of Darth LEIA
Princess Leia was played by Carrie Fisher in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous "cinnamon bun hairstyle" that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds ...

122. Sing unlike Bing BELT OUT
The singer Bing Crosby was a great lover of the game of golf. Crosby had just finished up 18 holes on a course in Spain in 1977 when he suffered a massive heart attack on the final green. Crosby’s last words were “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

Down
1. Iranian currency RIAL
The "Rial" is name of the currency of Iran (as well as Yemen, Oman, Cambodia and Tunisia).

2. "Dancing Queen" band ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA's music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

6. Hank who voices some "Simpsons" characters AZARIA
Hank Azaria is one of my favorite American actors, someone who I think can really expertly portray a vast array of characters. I can't stand "The Simpsons" mind you, a show to which Azaria is inextricably linked, but if you look at his role in "The Birdcage" as a flamboyant gay houseboy, and his role in "Shattered Glass" as a stoic magazine editor, you'll get a taste for Azaria's extensive range.

9. Small, aptly? LIL
“Lil” is a “little” word that’s short for “little”.

10. Leggy runner EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an "Emu War" in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the "invading force". The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of "war", the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

11. John who loved Colorado DENVER
Singer John Denver’s real name was Henry John Deutchendorf, Jr. Denver was a great singer and he had many other passions. He was an excellent photographer, and an avid skier and golfer. He also loved flying and collected vintage biplanes. He flew himself to concerts in his own Learjet and had a handful of other planes that he would take out for spin when he could. One of his planes was an Experimental Rutan Long-EZ, a homebuilt aircraft noted for its fuel efficiency and tremendous range. Denver took the Rutan Long-EZ up in the middle of October 1997 not having much experience with the plane, even though he had logged over 2,700 hours of flying time in other aircraft. The plane crashed into the ocean near Pacific Grove, California in an accident that Denver did not survive.

15. Actress Linney et al. LAURAS
The wonderfully talented actress Laura Linney is a native New Yorker from Manhattan. The performances of hers that I most admire are in “The Truman Show” and “Love Actually” on the big screen, and in the HBO miniseries “John Adams” on the small screen.

17. Memorable Eastwood line MAKE MY DAY
“Go ahead, make my day” is a famous line spoken by the character Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood in the 1983 movie “Sudden Impact”.

19. "Marat/__": 1963 play SADE
The name "Marat/Sade" is a useful abbreviation for the real name of Peter Weiss's most famous play. Weiss's opus is actually called "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade". Don't forget now ...

32. Team moving to the American League in 2013 ASTROS
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city's long association with the US space program.

34. McKinley, e.g.: Abbr. MTN
Denali means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language, and is now the name used for Mount McKinley. I was surprised to learn that there is a Denali State Park, as well as the Denali National Park. The two are located adjacent to each other (which makes sense!). The State Park is undeveloped for all practical purposes, with just a few campgrounds and trailheads.

37. Packer with a strong arm STARR
Bart Starr is a retired football player and coach who spent his whole career with the Green Bay Packers. Starr was quarterback for the Packers from 1956 to 1971.

43. Seinfeld's Uncle Leo portrayer __ Lesser LEN
On the sitcom "Seinfeld", Jerry's eccentric maternal uncle is Leo, played by actor Len Lesser. Lesser acted in movies and television for many years, alongside some of the greats of stage and screen. He was fond of telling a marvelous story about acting in the 1973 film "Papillon" starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. In his role as a prison guard, Lesser was required to shove McQueen, but McQueen didn't think that Lesser was pushing him roughly enough. He turned to Lesser and told him "Don't think of me as a movie star. Think of me as a character in a show", encouraging him to be more aggressive. When McQueen walked away, Hoffman was left standing there beside Lesser. He paused and quietly said to Lesser, "Think of me as a movie star ..."

45. Tierney of "NewsRadio" MAURA
Maura Tierney is an actress from Boston, Massachusetts. Tierney is best known for playing Lisa Miller on television’s “NewsRadio” and Abby Lockhart on “ER”.

54. Top dog HONCHO
“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a "hancho" is a squad (han) leader (cho).

58. Riesling giant Chateau __ Michelle STE
Chateau Ste. Michelle is a winery in Woodinville, Washington in the Columbia Valley. Chateau Ste. Michelle produces so much Riesling wine that it is the number one producer in the world in terms of number of bottles.

59. FDR project TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has to be one of America's great success stories when it comes to economic development. Created in 1933, the TVA spearheaded economic development in the Tennessee Valley at the height of the Great Depression. Central to the success was the federally-funded construction of flood-control and electricity-generation facilities.

74. Marlins' div. NLE
The Miami Marlins baseball team started out life in 1993 as the Florida Marlins. The franchise changed its name to the Miami Marlins in 2011 when it relocated to the newly constructed Marlins Park.

81. Quebec's __'Orléans ILE D’
Île d'Orléans is an island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River just a few miles from downtown Quebec City.

82. Chiwere speaker OTOE
Chiwere is a Siouan language spoken by the Otoe people, as well as by the Missouria and Iowa peoples.

83. "Rock and Roll, Hoochie __": 1974 hit KOO
“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” is a song written and recorded by Rick Derringer as a solo work in 1973, which made it into the Top 40 the following year. A few years earlier, Derringer recorded another version of the song with Johnny Winter.

92. Color in large Crayola packs SKY-BLUE
In the year 2000 the Crayola company, very cleverly I think, held the “Crayola Color Census 2000” in which people were polled and asked for their favorite Crayola colors. President George W. Bush chose “Blue Bell” and Tiger Woods chose “Wild Strawberry”.

99. Chevy subcompact AVEO
The Chevrolet Aveo is a subcompact that has been around since 2002. The Aveo is manufactured by GM Daewoo, the GM subsidiary in South Korea. Although the Aveo name is still used in some markets, here in North America the Aveo has been sold as the Chevrolet Sonic since 20120. By the way, GM Daewoo is the third largest manufacturer of automobiles in South Korea, after Hyundai and Kia.

119. Land div. by the 38th parallel KOR
A demilitarized zone (DMZ) is usually a border between two countries where military activity is banned according to some treaty between interested parties. The most famous DMZ today has to be the buffer zone between North and South Korea. The Korean DMZ snakes right across the Korean peninsula near the 38th parallel. The centerline of the DMZ is where the front was when the ceasefire came into effect in 1953 after the Korean War. According to the armistice signed, all troops had to move back 2,000 meters from the front line on both sides, creating the DMZ that is in place today. Paradoxically perhaps, the areas on either side of the DMZ form the most heavily militarized border in the world.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Inn option RAMADA
7. Assigned in spades PILED ON
14. Sources of some stadium images BLIMPS
20. Spanish novelist Blasco __ IBANEZ
21. Monster with both a lion's and goat's head CHIMERA
22. Piano brand YAMAHA
23. Wolfing down burgers and fries while driving? A BAD WAY TO LUNCH (in a bad way & out to lunch)
25. Like corn in the kettle HUSKED
26. Tibetan priest LAMA
27. Rough talk RASP
28. Meryl Streep's alma mater VASSAR
30. Pasture parent EWE
31. Depilatory cream NAIR
33. Plus-size supermodel EMME
36. Suffix meaning "living substance" -PLASM
38. Rocky road from fad to fashion? FITS AND STARTS OF STYLE (in fits and starts & out of style)
45. "Speed-the-Plow" playwright MAMET
46. Many millennia EONS
47. Kind of bran OAT
48. Port of Yemen ADEN
49. "__ Wiedersehen" AUF
50. Personnel list ROTA
53. Whomp relative THUD
55. To-do list item ERRAND
57. Solidarity among commoners? UNISON OF THE ORDINARY (in unison & out of the ordinary)
62. Vents frustration toward RANTS AT
63. Offscreen friend in "Ernest" films VERN
64. Professor 'iggins ‘ENRY
65. On the safer side ALEE
66. Former Indy champ Bobby RAHAL
68. Kid's comeback CAN SO!
70. Jefferson Davis's sch. USMA
74. Brief court plea NOLO
75. Actor whose voice is emulated by Snagglepuss the Lion LAHR
77. Put to shame ABASHED
79. Reenactment of a memorable scene from "The Exorcist"? FULL SWING OF ONE’S HEAD (in full swing & out of one’s head)
83. "Reservoir Dogs" actor KEITEL
85. Polar sheet FLOE
86. Radio host John TESH
87. Ironically, he composed the "Microsoft sound" on a Mac ENO
88. Drying oven OAST
89. Actor Daniel __ Kim DAE
90. Utterly OH SO
93. Washing station BASIN
95. "Dismount" or "settle"? OTHER WORDS LIKE ALIGHT (in other words & out like a light)
101. Sipped uncertainly TRIED
102. Contrary current EDDY
103. __ cava VENA
104. Gone by AGO
106. Ripped off STOLEN
109. City near Anaheim BREA
111. Daughter of Darth LEIA
115. What opinions often do DIFFER
117. Food-fight evidence at the picnic? A PICKLE ON A LIMB (in a pickle & out on a limb)
121. Proofer's finds ERRATA
122. Sing unlike Bing BELT OUT
123. Golf shoe brand ETONIC
124. Shifty sort SLY DOG
125. Blows up SEES RED
126. Hinge (on) DEPEND

Down
1. Iranian currency RIAL
2. "Dancing Queen" band ABBA
3. Respectful address MA’AM
4. Not as slow as adagio ANDANTE
5. Lawn beads DEW
6. Hank who voices some "Simpsons" characters AZARIA
7. Chance-of-rain nos. PCTS
8. Optimistic reply I HOPE SO
9. Small, aptly? LIL
10. Leggy runner EMU
11. John who loved Colorado DENVER
12. Ocean predator ORCA
13. Offhand turndowns NAHS
14. To a large degree BY HALF
15. Actress Linney et al. LAURAS
16. Online exchanges, briefly IMS
17. Memorable Eastwood line MAKE MY DAY
18. "Close call!" PHEW
19. "Marat/__": 1963 play SADE
24. Tale YARN
29. Tie concern SPOT
32. Team moving to the American League in 2013 ASTROS
34. McKinley, e.g.: Abbr. MTN
35. Learn all aspects of MASTER
37. Packer with a strong arm STARR
38. Relating to regional animal life FAUNAL
39. "Don't worry about me" I'M FINE
40. Unheeding DEAF
41. Performing trip TOUR
42. Get down? SADDEN
43. Seinfeld's Uncle Leo portrayer __ Lesser LEN
44. Cut off END
45. Tierney of "NewsRadio" MAURA
51. Winning like crazy ON A ROLL
52. Smashes beyond repair TOTALS
54. Top dog HONCHO
55. Dresses ENROBES
56. Sign of hope RAY
58. Riesling giant Chateau __ Michelle STE
59. FDR project TVA
60. "__, we won't go!": '60s antiwar chant HELL NO
61. Like some nuts INSANE
67. To what length HOW FAR
69. Woofer's sound ARF
70. Work the aisles, in slang USH
71. "Oh, come on!" SHEESH
72. Avoid waffling MEAN IT
73. Accompaniment ADD-ON
74. Marlins' div. NLE
76. Ancient AGE-OLD
78. Cinder receptacle ASH BIN
79. Issues requiring attention FISH TO FRY
80. Absolute UTTER
81. Quebec's __'Orléans ILE D’
82. Chiwere speaker OTOE
83. "Rock and Roll, Hoochie __": 1974 hit KOO
84. Clean off plates? EAT
89. Dimwit DODO
91. Kept under wraps HID
92. Color in large Crayola packs SKY-BLUE
94. Running swiftly AGALLOP
96. Equal, as expectations RISE TO
97. Cleaning basic WET RAG
98. Declining in later years SENILE
99. Chevy subcompact AVEO
100. Tilted LEANED
104. Food truck drinks ADES
105. Lass GIRL
107. Report generators LABS
108. Foil relative EPEE
110. Pensioned: Abbr. RETD
112. Berlin article EINE
113. Participation declaration I’M IN
114. Preschool song opener ABCD
116. Short-lived diet, perhaps FAD
118. Sm. change CTS
119. Land div. by the 38th parallel KOR
120. Absorbed, as a cost ATE


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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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