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Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada (again!)

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 strenuos hike today in Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas in 100-degree weather, complete with a touch of heatstroke (scary), and saw the Cirque de Soleil show "Zarkana" this evening (amazing, as all Cirque shows are).

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Feb 13, Thursday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Mike Buckley
THEME: Four Regular Sides … there’s an image hidden in today’s grid. It’s a TETRAHEDRON, like a FOUR-SIDED DICE that appears when you JOIN THE VEES in the puzzle:
18A. Instruction for this puzzle JOIN THE VEES
39A. Small, numbered 60-Acrosses FOUR-SIDED DICE
60A. What you'll draw in this grid if you 18-Across with six straight lines TETRAHEDRON
COMPLETION TIME: 08m 37s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Former "Idol" judge, to fans J.LO
J.Lo is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. "J.Lo" is also the title of her second studio album, released in 2001.

4. Head of Slytherin House, in Potter books SNAPE
Severus Snape is a character in the Harry Potter novels, played by the wonderful Alan Rickman on the big screen.

In the “Harry Potter” series of books, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is divided into four houses:
- Gryffindor
- Hufflepuff
- Ravenclaw
- Slytherin
Each student is assigned to a house by the Sorting Hat. The Sorting Hat placed young Harry into Slytherin House.

9. "The Hobbit" dragon SMAUG
The dragon named Smaug is the principal antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is the second best-selling novel ever written, with only “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens having sold more copies around the world. Remarkably I think, the third best-selling novel is "The Hobbit", which was also written by Tolkien.

15. Fax ancestor TELEX
Telex grew out of the world of the telegraph. What Telex brought to telegraphy was the ability to route messages. Instead of having to talk to an operator to route a particular message to the intended party, the user of a telex could route the message directly to another telex machine by way of a rotary dial, very similar to that on a telephone.

16. Gdansk dance POLKA
The polka is a dance from central Europe, one that originated in Bohemia in the mid-1800s. It’s thought that “polka” comes from a Czech word meaning “little half”, reflecting the little half-steps included in the basic dance.

Gdańsk is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland and is the country’s biggest seaport. Gdańsk was where the European Solidarity movement was born, with Lech Wałęsa in the leadership position. Wałęsa was an electrician working in the Gdańsk shipyards.

17. A, in Acapulco UNA
The Mexican city of Acapulco is on the southwest coast of the country, in the state of Guerrero. The name “Acapulco” translates from the local language into “at the big reeds”.

23. Leg bone TIBIA
The tibia is the shin bone, the larger of the two bones right below the knee. The tibia is the strongest weight-bearing bone in the human body. "Tibia" is the Roman name for a Greek flute and it is thought that the shin bone was given the same name because flutes were often fashioned out of the shin bones of animals.

24. Inamorato BEAU
"Inamorata" is an Italian term that we've imported into English. It describes a female lover. An “innamorato” is a male lover.

29. Bygone dagger SNEE
"Snick or snee" is the name given to cut and thrust while fighting with a knife. The phrase is rooted in a pair of Dutch words and it gave its name to a "snee", a light sword-like knife.

31. Coke competitor RC COLA
"Nehi Corporation" was the nickname for the Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works that introduced the Nehi drink in 1924. Years later the company developed a new brand, Royal Crown Cola (also known as RC Cola). By 1955, RC Cola was the company's flagship product, so the "Nehi Corporation" became the "Royal Crown Company". In 1954, RC Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in cans.

42. Five-0 detective, familiarly DANNO
Danny Williams is a character on the TV show “Hawaii Five-O”, both in the original version that first aired in 1968 and in the remake that was first broadcast in 2010. The original, “Danno” is played by James McArthur. In the remake, Danno is played by Scott Caan, son of Hollywood actor James Caan.

43. Poet Pound EZRA
Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound's work and sympathies for Mussolini's regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, "The Cantos". This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

44. Bill's adventurous partner TED
“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted.

47. Caesar's "I came" VENI
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.

49. "Jeopardy!" creator Griffin MERV
"Jeopardy" first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.

57. ___ Sketch: toy ETCH A
The Etch A Sketch toy was introduced in 1960. It was invented in France by inventor André Cassagnes.

64. __ 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. The lion on the country’s national flag symbolizes the fight against British colonialism.

66. Guitarist Eddy DUANE
Duane Eddy is a rock and roll guitarist from Corning, New York.

67. Actress Ullmann LIV
Liv Ullmann is a Norwegian, best known to us in North America as an actress (I saw her recently in the classic was movie “A Bridge Too Far”). Ullmann has also directed several films, including “Sofie” released in 1992. Ullmann lived with famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman for several years in the 1960s.

68. Caravan stopovers OASES
The most famous oasis in the US is ... Las Vegas, in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

69. Lustful deity SATYR
The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the "rude" male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.

Down
1. Knight game JOUST
Tilting is the most recognized form of jousting. Jousting can involve the use of a number of different weapons, but when lances are used the competition is called "tilting". Jousting took place in a roped-off enclosure that was called the lists, or list field. In later medieval times, some castles and palaces had purpose-built "tiltyards" that were used for jousting.

2. Hawaii's Pineapple Island LANAI
Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai and turned most of it into the world's largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as "The Pineapple Island".

3. Dental brand ORAL-B
The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first "model" was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

4. Title subject of a G.B. Shaw play ST JOAN
“Saint Joan” is a play penned by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. “Saint Joan” had its debut on Broadway, in 1923.

5. Broadway light NEON
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

6. Baba who outwitted thieves ALI
There is some controversy about the story "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called "One Thousand and One Nights". The suggestion is that the Ali Baba tale was added by one of its European translators.

7. Shilling's five PENCE
I grew up with shillings and pence in Ireland, until they were replaced with decimal currency in 1971. There used to be twelve pence in a shilling, and twenty shillings in a pound. When the conversion was made on “Decimal Day”, the shilling disappeared and the penny was replaced by what was then called the "new penny". One shilling was pegged at five new pence.

9. What freelancers may work on? SPEC
“Free lance” was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his 1820 novel “Ivanhoe” in which he used the term to describe a medieval mercenary warrior. Forty years later, a freelancer was a journalist who did work for more than one publication without a long-term commitment.

12. "My dog has fleas" instrument UKE
The phrase “my dog has fleas” is used in tuning a ukulele. Each word in the phrase represent the note that each string is tuned to, namely G, C, E and A.

21. International contest with a cosmic name MISS UNIVERSE
The Miss Universe beauty pageant was founded in 1952. The organization running the contest was bought by Donald Trump in 1996.

26. Italian bowling game BOCCE
Bocce is the plural of the Italian word "boccia" meaning "bowl". Bocce is based on a game played in Ancient Rome.

28. Like Eeyore SAD
Eeyore is the donkey character in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”. Eeyore is very lovable, but has a gloomy and pessimistic outlook.

30. Pair in Banff? EFS
There are two letter Fs in the word “Banff”.

Banff is a town located within the bounds of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Banff is located high in the Canadian Rockies and is a popular tourist destination. The town and park were given their name in 1884 by the then president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, George Stephen. He named Banff for his birthplace of Banffshire in Scotland.

32. Bounder CAD
Our word "cad", meaning "a person lacking in finer feelings", is a shortening of the word "cadet". "Cad" was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used "cad" as a term for a boy from the local town. "Cad" took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

36. Wood carver ADZ
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool's shaft. An axe's blade is set in line with the shaft.

40. Children's author Asquith ROS
Ros Asquith writes the "Teenage Worrier" books aimed at teens, as well as cartoons for "The Guardian" newspaper in the UK.

41. Daniel __ Kim: "Hawaii Five-0" actor DAE
Daniel Dae Kim is an American actor who is famous for playing Jin-Soo Kwon on "Lost". Kim now plays one of the leads on the CBS remake of "Hawaii Five-O", portraying the character Chin Ho Kelly.

42. BHO, but not GWB DEM
President Obama’s first name, Barack, is Swahili with roots in an old Arabic word meaning “blessed”. Barack was the President’s father’s name. President Obama's middle name is Hussein, an Arabic word meaning “good” or “handsome one”. Hussein was the name of the President’s grandfather on the paternal side. His surname, Obama, doesn’t really have a translation, but is a common name among the Luo tribe of Kenya.

President George W. Bush is of course named for his father, George H. W. Bush. The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

46. MIT's newspaper, with "The" TECH
The MIT newspaper called “The Tech” has been published regularly since 1881. “The Tech” has the honor of being the first newspaper to be published on the World Wide Web, having appeared online back in 1993.

48. Tryst at twelve NOONER
In its most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting.

52. St. Anthony's home PADUA
Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon, Portugal but died in Padua, Italy. Anthony is the patron saint of both Lisbon and Padua.

54. Magnetic induction unit TESLA
The Tesla unit measures the strength of a magnetic field, and is named after the physicist Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. His work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

55. Apt first name of Fleming's Goldfinger AURIC
Gert Fröbe was a German actor, best known to us in the English-speaking world as the man who played Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film “Goldfinger”. Fröbe had been a member of the Nazi Party before WWII and as a result of this, “Goldfinger” was banned in Israel for a while. But then the family of two German Jews came forward and explained that Fröbe had helped with their escapeduring the war by hiding them from the Gestapo. They formally thanked the actor, and the film was released.

58. Skin pictures, briefly TATS
The word "tattoo" was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word "tatau" into our "tattoo".

59. Doodle's ride PONY
Yankee Doodle came to town
Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Former "Idol" judge, to fans J.LO
4. Head of Slytherin House, in Potter books SNAPE
9. "The Hobbit" dragon SMAUG
14. Rower's tool OAR
15. Fax ancestor TELEX
16. Gdansk dance POLKA
17. A, in Acapulco UNA
18. Instruction for this puzzle JOIN THE VEES
20. Food fish SALMON
22. Iris family flowers CROCI
23. Leg bone TIBIA
24. Inamorato BEAU
25. Goes out to sea EBBS
29. Bygone dagger SNEE
31. Coke competitor RC COLA
33. "Really?" responses OHS
35. Spanish custard FLAN
38. Curved ARCED
39. Small, numbered 60-Acrosses FOUR-SIDED DICE
42. Five-0 detective, familiarly DANNO
43. Poet Pound EZRA
44. Bill's adventurous partner TED
45. Swellhead EGOIST
47. Caesar's "I came" VENI
49. "Jeopardy!" creator Griffin MERV
50. See from afar ESPY
53. Set of eight OCTAD
57. ___ Sketch: toy ETCH A
59. Pretender POSEUR
60. What you'll draw in this grid if you 18-Across with six straight lines TETRAHEDRON
64. __ Lanka SRI
65. Reprimander's slapping spot? WRIST
66. Guitarist Eddy DUANE
67. Actress Ullmann LIV
68. Caravan stopovers OASES
69. Lustful deity SATYR
70. High card ACE

Down
1. Knight game JOUST
2. Hawaii's Pineapple Island LANAI
3. Dental brand ORAL-B
4. Title subject of a G.B. Shaw play ST JOAN
5. Broadway light NEON
6. Baba who outwitted thieves ALI
7. Shilling's five PENCE
8. Soldier in a war film, e.g. EXTRA
9. What freelancers may work on? SPEC
10. Star givers, often MOVIE CRITICS
11. Stout relative ALE
12. "My dog has fleas" instrument UKE
13. __ guzzler GAS
19. Appointment time HOUR
21. International contest with a cosmic name MISS UNIVERSE
24. Prove otherwise BELIE
26. Italian bowling game BOCCE
27. Run, as colors BLEED
28. Like Eeyore SAD
30. Pair in Banff? EFS
32. Bounder CAD
33. Old enough OF AGE
34. __ among thieves HONOR
36. Wood carver ADZ
37. Brazen NERVY
40. Children's author Asquith ROS
41. Daniel __ Kim: "Hawaii Five-0" actor DAE
42. BHO, but not GWB DEM
46. MIT's newspaper, with "The" TECH
48. Tryst at twelve NOONER
51. Gets rid of SHEDS
52. St. Anthony's home PADUA
54. Magnetic induction unit TESLA
55. Apt first name of Fleming's Goldfinger AURIC
56. Automatic transmission gear DRIVE
58. Skin pictures, briefly TATS
59. Doodle's ride PONY
60. Not quite a crowd, so they say TWO
61. Swing or jazz follower ERA
62. "'Tain't" rebuttal ‘TIS
63. Squealer RAT

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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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