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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 15 Feb 13, Friday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Donna S. Levin
THEME: Plugola … each of today’s themed answers is a well-known term with the letters OLA “plugged” into it:
37A. Paid endorsement, in slang, and an apt title for this puzzle PLUGOLA

20A. Catch that's burnt sienna and cerulean? CRAY(OLA) FISH
53A. Result of Pepsi shortages? C(OLA) RATIONS
11D. Bootblack's buffer? SHIN(OLA) PAD
29D. Spec on an architect's blueprint? CUP(OLA) SIZE
COMPLETION TIME: 19m 16s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. AOL and NetZero ISPS
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP's network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs. I'd go with cable if I were you, if it's available in your area ...

14. Medieval defense MOAT
Something described as “medieval” pertains to the Middle Ages. The term derives from the Latin “medium” meaning “the middle” and “aevum” meaning “age”.

15. Slim woodwind OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name "oboe" comes from the French "hautbois" which means "high wood". When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you'll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an "A". The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe's "A". Oh, and if you want to read a fun book (almost an "exposé") about life playing the oboe, you might try "Mozart in the Jungle" by oboist Blair Tindall. I heard recently that the folks at HBO are working towards a pilot based on the book, and I can’t wait to see it!

16. Having a designated assignment AD HOC
The Latin phrase "ad hoc" means "for this purpose".

19. Capital name derived from an Arabic term for "the conqueror" CAIRO
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is the largest city on the continent of Africa and is nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name "Cairo" is a European corruption of the city's original name in Arabic, "Al-Qahira", which translates as “the Vanquisher” or “the Conqueror”.

20. Catch that's burnt sienna and cerulean? CRAY(OLA) FISH
The shade of "sienna" was originally a pigment made from earth found around Siena in Tuscany.

Cerulean is a blue color, with the name probably coming from the Latin “caeruleus” meaning “blue”.

23. "Platoon" war zone NAM
"Platoon" is a 1986 movie, written and directed by Oliver Stone. The storyline comes out of Stone's own experiences in Vietnam as an infantryman. It is gritty stuff, and is Stone's response to the more "glamorous" movie "Green Berets" starring John Wayne. And that famous piece of classical music included the soundtrack is "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber.

25. Battery terminal CATHODE
The two terminals of a battery are called the anode and the cathode. Electrons travel from the anode to the cathode creating an electric current.

30. Adenoid, e.g. TONSIL
The palatine tonsils are located at the back of the human throat. The exact role that tonsils play isn’t completely understood, but it is known that they are in the first line of defense in the body’s immune system. They provide some level of protection against pathogens that are ingested and inhaled.

31. Reclassification of 2006 PLUTO
Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a "scattered disc object" at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren't that much smaller, Pluto's status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a "planet" agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of "dwarf planet", along with Eris.

32. Soufflé recipe word FOLD
A soufflé is of course a French dish, usually served as a dessert. The verb “souffler” means “to blow, blow up”.

33. One of the Smurfs PAPA
The Smurfs are little blue men created by a Belgian cartoonist in 1958. The Smurfs became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children's cartoon series. The characters are largely a group of males. The original lineup included just one "Smurfette", who is wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix called Sassette, and still later along came Granny Smurf.

36. The world total was approx. $70 trillion in 2011 GDP
A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of a country for that year.

37. Paid endorsement, in slang, and an apt title for this puzzle PLUGOLA
"Plugola" is the public promotion of something in which the promoter has a financial interest, but without the promoter disclosing that interest. Plugola is similar to "payola" in that it is a form of promotion, but unlike payola, it's perfectly legal.

46. Napery LINENS
Naperies are household linens, especially table linens. The term comes from Old French. In Modern French, the word "nappe" means "tablecloth.

48. Charley, in Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley" POODLE
“Travels with Charley: In Search of America” is a kind of travel diary by John Steinbeck. It tells the story of a road trip taken by Steinbeck with his pet poodle called Charley. The traveling companions started out in Long Island, New York and worked their way around the country in a counterclockwise loop that covered almost 10,000 miles.

52. "__ So Fine": Chiffons hit HE’S
“He’s So Fine” is a great little song that was released by the Chiffons in 1962. Famously, the owners of the rights to the song sued George Harrison in 1971, claiming that he was guilty of plagiarising “He’s So Fine” in writing his hit “My Sweet Lord”. Harrison was found guilty of “subconscious” plagiarism. In a strange twist, the Chiffons recorded a version of “My Sweet Lord” a year before the case was decided.

53. Result of Pepsi shortages? C(OLA) RATIONS
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that's easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

The Pepsi-Cola formulation was developed by one Caleb Bradham who made the drink at home and sold it as “Brad’s Drink”. Bradham's aim was to provide a drink that was pleasant to taste, that would aid digestion and boost energy. Included in the formula were pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts. These two ingredients inspired the Pepsi Cola brand name that is used today.

60. Dollar alternative AVIS
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

Dollar Rent A Car was founded in 1965. Chrysler acquired the company in 1990 and merged it with Thrifty Car Rental, which Chrysler had purchased a year earlier.

61. Airline with blue-striped jets EL AL
El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”.

63. They may be loaded DICE
As we all know, the numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. Now, there are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting ...

65. Dog in a horned helmet SNERT
Snert is the clever dog who belongs to Hägar the Horrible in the classic comic strip.

66. Chatty bovines? YAKS
The English word "yak" is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

Down
1. Eye-catching Apple IMAC
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an "all-in-one" design, with the computer console and monitor integrated.

5. Herding dog COLLIE
The collie isn’t actually a breed of dog, but rather the name given to a group of herding dogs that originate in Scotland and Northern England. An obvious (and wonderful) example would be the Border Collie. Many dogs classed as collies don’t have the word “collie” in the name of the breed, for example the Old English Sheepdog and the Shetland Sheepdog.

6. Member of the Kaiser's fleet U-BOAT
U-boat stands for the German "Unterseeboot" (undersea boat). Notably, a U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania in 1915, an event that helped propel the US into WWI.

8. Wink without batting an eye? SEMICOLON
A semicolon is included in the emoticon  ;)  which is used to portray a smiling wink.

9. Marina Del Rey craft YACHTS
Marina del Rey is a coastal community in California located within the borders of the City of Los Angeles. Marina del Rey is home to the world’s largest harbor for small craft, with a capacity for 5,300 boats.

10. Author LeShan EDA
Eda LeShan wrote "When Your Child Drives You Crazy", and was host of the PBS television show "How Do Your Children Grow?"

12. "WarGames" org. NORAD
The North American Defense Command (NORAD) isn’t just a US operation but is a cooperative arrangement between Canada and the United States. The two countries entered into an agreement to establish NORAD in 1958, mainly due to the concern that there would be little or no warning of a missile attack from the Soviet Union that came over the North Pole.

“WarGames” is a really fun 1983 movie starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. I just found out that there is a sequel that was released in 2008 called “WarGames: The Dead Code”. I just put it on my Christmas list …

13. Carol start O COME
The lovely hymn "Adeste Fideles" (aka "O Come, All Ye Faithful") was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time.

22. Common '80s-'90s failure S AND L
Savings and Loan (S&L).

27. Stacy Lewis's org. LPGA
Stacy Lewis is a professional golfer from Toledo, Ohio who plays on the LPGA tour.

28. Auto pioneer OLDS
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom E. Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan.

29. Spec on an architect's blueprint? CUP(OLA) SIZE
A cupola is a small, dome-like structure on the top of a building. “Cupola” comes from the Latin “cupula” meaning “small cup”.

30. Senate wear TOGAS
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a "stola".

32. 1975 film sequel FUNNY LADY
“Funny Lady” the 1975 sequel to the 1968 hit film “Funny Girl”. Both movies star Barbra Streisand in the title role, portraying the life of comedienne Fanny Brice.

35. Fantasy author McCaffrey ANNE
Anne McCaffrey is an American science-fiction author, famous for her "Dragonriders of Pern" series of novels. McCaffrey emigrated to Ireland in 1970 and lives in a house of her own design in County Wicklow. She calls her home "Dragonhold-Underhill".

50. Shoebill's cousin HERON
The Shoebill is a bird that is native to tropical east Africa. The Shoebill looks like a stork, although it is more closely related to the pelican.

54. New Balance rival AVIA
The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as "avia" is the Latin word for "to fly", and suggests the concept of aviation.

55. Dairy bar OLEO
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. In 1869, a French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something that he called oleomargarine, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name "margarine". The name "oleomargarine" also gives us our generic term "oleo".

59. Msg. from the Bible SER
Sermon (ser.)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. AOL and NetZero ISPS
5. Alley biters CURS
9. Like some questions YES/NO
14. Medieval defense MOAT
15. Slim woodwind OBOE
16. Having a designated assignment AD HOC
17. Intangible quality AURA
18. Rise dramatically LOOM
19. Capital name derived from an Arabic term for "the conqueror" CAIRO
20. Catch that's burnt sienna and cerulean? CRAYOLA FISH
23. "Platoon" war zone NAM
24. Peevish mood SNIT
25. Battery terminal CATHODE
27. Not just search for LOCATE
30. Adenoid, e.g. TONSIL
31. Reclassification of 2006 PLUTO
32. Soufflé recipe word FOLD
33. One of the Smurfs PAPA
36. The world total was approx. $70 trillion in 2011 GDP
37. Paid endorsement, in slang, and an apt title for this puzzle PLUGOLA
40. Say nothing good about PAN
41. Dating from AS OF
43. "__ uncertain world ..." IN AN
44. Hit on the head BRAIN
46. Napery LINENS
48. Charley, in Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley" POODLE
49. Tax-exempt entity, usually CHARITY
51. Ergo THUS
52. "__ So Fine": Chiffons hit HE’S
53. Result of Pepsi shortages? COLA RATIONS
58. Roll out of bed ARISE
60. Dollar alternative AVIS
61. Airline with blue-striped jets EL AL
62. Slips through the cracks OOZES
63. They may be loaded DICE
64. Rest area rester SEMI
65. Dog in a horned helmet SNERT
66. Chatty bovines? YAKS
67. Nailed obliquely TOED

Down
1. Eye-catching Apple IMAC
2. Grow displeased SOUR
3. Normal beginning? PARA-
4. Patronizes, in a way STAYS AT
5. Herding dog COLLIE
6. Member of the Kaiser's fleet U-BOAT
7. Heliport site ROOF
8. Wink without batting an eye? SEMICOLON
9. Marina Del Rey craft YACHTS
10. Author LeShan EDA
11. Bootblack's buffer? SHINOLA PAD
12. "WarGames" org. NORAD
13. Carol start O COME
21. Victorious ON TOP
22. Common '80s-'90s failure S AND L
26. Cool HIP
27. Stacy Lewis's org. LPGA
28. Auto pioneer OLDS
29. Spec on an architect's blueprint? CUPOLA SIZE
30. Senate wear TOGAS
32. 1975 film sequel FUNNY LADY
34. Water holder PAIL
35. Fantasy author McCaffrey ANNE
38. Deceive LIE TO
39. Near ABOUT
42. Cone home FIR
45. Least pessimistic ROSIEST
47. Superlatively sweet NICEST
48. Stages PHASES
49. Opposite of order CHAOS
50. Shoebill's cousin HERON
51. Ruse TRICK
54. New Balance rival AVIA
55. Dairy bar OLEO
56. Identify NAME
57. Decreased SLID
59. Msg. from the Bible SER

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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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