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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 21 Mar 13, Thursday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Alex Bajcz
THEME: Undercover COP … each of today’s themed answers is two words, with COP bridging those two words:
20A. Hot sauce ingredient TABASCO PEPPER
27A. Vox populi PUBLIC OPINION
43A. Genre artist of mid-18th-century Europe ROCOCO PAINTER
49A. Stinger? (and what's literally found in 20-, 27- and 43-Across) UNDERCOVER COP
COMPLETION TIME: 10m 43s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
17. "Scrubs" head nurse CARLA
The head nurse on the TV series “Scrubs” is a character called Carla Espinosa. Carla is played by Judy Reyes.

“Scrubs” is a comedy-drama TV show set in a fictional hospital. The show’s main character is Doctor J. D. Dorian, played by Zach Braff. “Scrubs” ran from 2001 to 2010.

19. "__ 911!": police series parody RENO
"Reno 911!" is what nowadays is called a "mockumentary", a documentary-style comedy that parodies the television show "COPS". I am afraid I don't watch either TV program ... not my cup of tea.

20. Hot sauce ingredient TABASCO PEPPER
Edward McIlhenny created the first Tabasco Sauce in 1868. He recycled old cologne bottles as a container for the sauce so that he could present it to friends, and when he went into business he ordered new cologne bottles for the commercial product. Even today, the Tabasco Sauce bottle bears a striking resemblance to the bottle used to distribute 4711 cologne.

23. Beret-sporting revolutionary CHE
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to "see the world" by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara's memoir later published as "The Motorcycle Diaries". While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara's death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

25. Operation Overlord vessel, for short LST
LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs were the large vessels used mainly in WWII that had doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles could roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

The Allied Invasion of Normandy during WWII was given the codename “Operation Overlord”. The Normandy landings which kicked off the invasion, and which took place on D-Day (6 June 1944), were given the codename “Operation Neptune”.

26. Concerto standout SOLOIST
A concerto is a musical work usually composed of three movements, and is usually written for a solo instrument accompanied by an orchestra.

27. Vox populi PUBLIC OPINION
“Vox populi, vox Dei” is a Latin expression that translates as, “The voice of the people, the voice of God”, meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.

32. NBAer who tweeted "I'm about to retire" in 2011 SHAQ
Shaquille O'Neal is one of the heaviest players ever to have played in the NBA (weighing in at around 325 pounds). Yep, he's a big guy ... 7 foot 1 inch tall.

33. Wrinkly toy PUG
The pug is a breed of dog of Chinese origin. Our current family pet is a boxer/pug cross, a good-looking mutt!

41. British blame game? CLUEDO
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as "Cluedo". Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it's a fabulous game, a must during the holidays ...

43. Genre artist of mid-18th-century Europe ROCOCO PAINTER
The Rococo style is also known as "Late Baroque". It is a very floral and playful style, very ornate.

53. Say and mean AVER
The word "aver", meaning "profess", comes from the Latin "adverare" meaning "to make true, to prove to be true" from "ad" (to) and "verus" (true).

54. Slapstick sidekick OLLIE
Stan Laurel was an English comic actor (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson), who made a great career for himself in Hollywood. Laurel ended up at the Hal Roach studio directing films, intent on pursuing a career in writing and directing. However, he was a sometime actor and was asked to step in when another comic actor, Oliver Hardy, was injured and couldn't perform. Laurel and Hardy started to share a stage together during that time and when it was clear they worked so well together, their partnership was born. Oh, and the oft-quoted story that Clint Eastwood is the son of Stan Laurel … that’s just an urban myth.

57. "House," in Inuit IGLU
The Inuit word for "house" is "iglu", which we usually write as "igloo". The Greenlandic (yes, that's a language) word for "house" is very similar: "igdlo".

61. Woody's son ARLO
Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.

62. "Tearin' Up My Heart" band ‘N SYNC
'N Sync was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded "in sync". But, it's also true that the letters of the name 'N Sync are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:
- Justin Timberlake
- Chris Kirkpatrick
- Joey Fatone
- Lance "Lansten" Bass
- JC Chasez

Down
1. Compound once used as aerosol propellant: Abbr. CFC
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the propellants that were once used in aerosols. CFCs make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). That conversion creates “holes” in the ozone layer. Regular O2 is good stuff, but we need O3 to absorb harmful UV radiation raining down on us. CFC is not good stuff ...

2. NPR's "Science Friday" host Flatow IRA
"Science Friday" is an excellent talk show broadcast every Friday on NPR, and hosted by Ira Flatow. Flatow is known on television as the host of “Newton’s Apple”, which ran from 1983 to 1998.

4. Land in el agua ISLA
In Spanish, “land in the water” is an “island”.

5. Dry French wine CHABLIS
Chablis wine comes from the Chablis region that is the most northerly wine district in the Burgundy region of France. Chablis is a dry white wine made mainly from Chardonnay grapes.

11. Bowler's target ONE-PIN
Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

21. "The Nazarene" author Sholem ASCH
Sholem Asch was a Polish-born American novelist and dramatist who published his work in Yiddish. One of his plays was "God of Vengeance", a highly-regarded work performed all over Europe and translated into many languages. It opened on Broadway in 1923, but the adult themes (it was set in a brothel, and featured a lesbian relationship) led to the entire cast being arrested and convicted on obscenity charges.

22. Belgian prime minister Di Rupo ELIO
Elio Di Rupo is a the current Prime Minister of Belgium and the leader of the Socialist Party. Di Rupo has the honor of being the first openly gay leader of a country in the European Union.

23. Coast Guard noncoms CPOS
A Chief Petty Officer (CPO) is a non-commissioned officer in the Navy and Coast Guard. The "Petty" is derived from the French word "petit" meaning "small".

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuous seagoing service. The USCG was founded as the Revenue Cutter Service by Alexander Hamilton in 1790.

24. Jackman of "Les Misérables" (2012) HUGH
Australian actor Hugh Jackman is most famous perhaps for his recurring role as Wolverine in the "X-Men" series of films, but as I don't really "do" superhero movies, I like him best from the romantic comedy "Kate & Leopold" and the epic "Australia". More recently, Jackman has garnered praise for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables”.

The 2012 movie adaption of the musical “Les Misérables” has an ensemble cast, although the two actors getting the most acclaim seem to be Hugh Jackman (as Jean Valjean) and Anne Hathaway (as Fantine). There’s a lot of buzz about the way the soundtrack was recorded. In the past few decades it is common for actors to lip-sync musical numbers to voices that are pre-recorded. In “Les Misérables” the actors instead sang while on set with a piano accompaniment playing in their ears. The orchestral accompaniment was added in post-production.

29. São __ PAULO
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. São Paulo is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city's streets.

36. Coconut product? IDEA
“Coconut” is a slang term for “head”.

37. McEnroe rival BORG
Bjorn Borg reacted very calmly under pressure on the tennis court, earning him the nicknames "Ice Man" and "Ice Borg", which is my personal favorite.

39. Tar Heel St. N CAR
Tar Heel is a nickname for a native of the state of North Carolina. As such, it is also the nickname of the athletic teams of the University of North Carolina. No one seems to know for sure where the term "Tar Heel" originated, but it is thought to be related to the historical importance of the tar, pitch and turpentine industries that thrived in the state due to the presence of vast forests of pine trees.

40. Improvisational piece TOCCATA
The name "toccata" comes from the Italian word "toccare" meaning "to touch". I am not sure one can really describe a toccata as "improvisatory", as it is very precisely composed. Rather it is a piece of music with an "improvisatory feel", a piece that seems very spontaneous in form.

41. Gideon Fell creator John Dickson __ CARR
John Dickson Carr was an American author of crime fiction. Carr's most famous work is "The Hollow Man" published in 1935, a so-called "locked room mystery" in which two murders are committed in apparently impossible circumstances. "The Hollow Man" was selected in 1981 as the best "locked room mystery" of all time.

42. Apt vehicle in a presidential motorcade? LINCOLN
Lincoln is a luxury brand in the Ford Motors portfolio. The Lincoln name originated as the Lincoln Motor Company in 1917 when it was founded by Wilfred Leland. The company was named for President Abraham Lincoln, someone for whom Leland actually got to vote for in 1864.

43. Furniture wood RED ELM
The Slippery Elm is a species of elm native to North America, and is also known as the Red Elm.

44. __ Rico PUERTO
Puerto Rico is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name "Puerto Rico" is Spanish for "rich port". The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of "Boriken", the original name used by the natives.

45. Dutch export TULIP
We usually associate the cultivation of tulips with the Netherlands, but they were first grown commercially in the Ottoman Empire. The name “tulip” ultimately derives from the Ottoman Turkish word “tulbend” which means “muslin, gauze”.

46. Covent Garden architect Jones INIGO
Inigo Jones was a British architect, a native of London. The most famous Jones’s design is probably London’s Covent Garden Square.

Covent Garden in London’s West End is associated with the Royal Opera House that is located in the area, and with the former fruit and vegetable market that used to sit right at the center of the district. The name “Covent Garden” comes from the fact that there once was a walled garden in the area owned by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of St. Peter in Westminster. The abbey rented out the walled garden calling it "Convent Garden", and this morphed into the area’s current name.

50. Scaloppine meat VEAL
Scaloppine is an Italian word used for small, thin slices of meat.

51. Fútbol cheers OLES
"Fútbol" is the Spanish word for football, soccer.

56. "I didn't mean to do that" key ESC
The escape key was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. __-minded CIVIC
6. Skating team PAIR
10. Strong desire, with "the" HOTS
14. Caught this morning FRESH
15. "Look __ when I'm talking to you!" AT ME
16. Auth. of many snarky blog comments ANON
17. "Scrubs" head nurse CARLA
18. Nurses SIPS
19. "__ 911!": police series parody RENO
20. Hot sauce ingredient TABASCO PEPPER
23. Beret-sporting revolutionary CHE
25. Operation Overlord vessel, for short LST
26. Concerto standout SOLOIST
27. Vox populi PUBLIC OPINION
30. Monstrous OGRISH
31. Off __: sporadically AND ON
32. NBAer who tweeted "I'm about to retire" in 2011 SHAQ
33. Wrinkly toy PUG
34. Silver-tongued GLIB
38. No later than UNTIL
41. British blame game? CLUEDO
43. Genre artist of mid-18th-century Europe ROCOCO PAINTER
45. Men's department fixture TIE RACK
47. Vessel near the desserts URN
48. Droop SAG
49. Stinger? (and what's literally found in 20-, 27- and 43-Across) UNDERCOVER COP
52. Produced fiction? LIED
53. Say and mean AVER
54. Slapstick sidekick OLLIE
57. "House," in Inuit IGLU
58. Suckling spot TEAT
59. Favors, with "toward" LEANS
60. Fanfare POMP
61. Woody's son ARLO
62. "Tearin' Up My Heart" band ‘N SYNC

Down
1. Compound once used as aerosol propellant: Abbr. CFC
2. NPR's "Science Friday" host Flatow IRA
3. Anatomical column component VERTEBRA
4. Land in el agua ISLA
5. Dry French wine CHABLIS
6. Target in the end zone PASS TO
7. System ending? -ATIC
8. Eliciting awe IMPOSING
9. Plead in court, say RESPOND
10. Whaling weapon HARPOON GUN
11. Bowler's target ONE-PIN
12. Strengthens TONES
13. Sound from the bull pen SNORT
21. "The Nazarene" author Sholem ASCH
22. Belgian prime minister Di Rupo ELIO
23. Coast Guard noncoms CPOS
24. Jackman of "Les Misérables" (2012) HUGH
28. Sloshed LIQUORED UP
29. São __ PAULO
33. Examine, as produce PICK OVER
35. "Game on!" LET’S PLAY!
36. Coconut product? IDEA
37. McEnroe rival BORG
39. Tar Heel St. N CAR
40. Improvisational piece TOCCATA
41. Gideon Fell creator John Dickson __ CARR
42. Apt vehicle in a presidential motorcade? LINCOLN
43. Furniture wood RED ELM
44. __ Rico PUERTO
45. Dutch export TULIP
46. Covent Garden architect Jones INIGO
50. Scaloppine meat VEAL
51. Fútbol cheers OLES
55. Resting place INN
56. "I didn't mean to do that" key ESC


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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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