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Greetings from Kilkenny, in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland until October 9th. I plan on doing the puzzle each day (with a pint, no doubt), although I may be a little late due to time zone differences. I am sure that you understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 12 May 13, Sunday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Gail Grabowski
THEME: Neon Lightness … each of the themed answers is a well-known phrase, but with NE inserted (Ne is the symbol of the element neon).
27A. Moniker on a box of pasta? PENNE NAME (from “pen name”)
29A. Gala for players of small pianos? SPINET BALL (from “spitball”)
48A. Kangaroo from a lab? CLONED HOPPER (from “clodhopper”)
82A. Player asleep on the sidelines? PRONE ATHLETE (from “pro athlete”)
101A. Dollhouse wicker chair craftsman? MODEL CANER (from “model car”)
104A. Reality show judge in a pouch? PANEL JOEY (from “pal Joey”)
36D. Cops' disagreement? FINEST FIGHT (from “fistfight”)
40D. "No military bigwigs allowed"? BRASS BANNED (from “brass band”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 14m 50s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
5. Slanted column OP-ED
Op-ed is an abbreviation for "opposite the editorial page". Op-eds started in "The New York Evening World" in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

20. Links shirt POLO
The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. "Hlinc" was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.

21. "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" singer ELIZA
“Wouldn't It Be Loverly?” is a fun song from the musical “My Fair Lady”.

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".

23. 1847 novel with the chapter "Life at Loohooloo" OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for "Moby Dick"). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for "Typee"). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for "Omoo").

25. Like some suspicious contracts NO-BID
A “no-bid contract” is also known as a “sole source contract”. Such contracts are often awarded when there is only one contractor who is deemed able to provide the services required. No-bid contracts can lead to suspicion that a contract is awarded inappropriately, and not competitively. No-bid contracts that made the news in recent years are those awarded by the US government to Halliburton and Blackwater for security services related to the Iraq War.

27. Moniker on a box of pasta? PENNE NAME (from “pen name”)
Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends.

29. Gala for players of small pianos? SPINET BALL (from “spitball”)
A spinet is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord, piano or organ. Spinets are still made today, as smaller and cheaper versions of full-size instruments.

Up until 1920, the spitball was a legal pitch used in baseball. Following the 1920 season, the spitball was outlawed. However, seventeen named pitchers who used the spitball routinely were allowed to continue to use the pitch until they retired.

32. Material that might need waterproofing SUEDE
Suede is leather made from the underside of the skin, mainly from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called "gants de Suede" in France, or "gloves of Sweden". So, the name "suede" comes from the French word for Sweden.

45. Attack word SIC
Sic 'em is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with "sic" being a variation of "seek".

46. GPS option RTE
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The modern GPS system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians all round the world owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. President Reagan was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.

48. Kangaroo from a lab? CLONED HOPPER (from “clodhopper”)
Our term “clodhopper” is used to describe a clumsy and coarse person. Back in the 1600s, a clodhopper was someone who worked on plowed land.

52. Big name in shipping ARI
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They had two children, including the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

53. Suffix with polymer -ASE
Polymerase is an enzyme found in the body. It has the task of making new RNA and DNA.

56. Stomach creation PEPSIN
Pepsin is a digestive enzyme that is produced in the stomach. Pepsin is used to break proteins into peptides, short chains of amino acids.

60. ___ clock ATOMIC
An atomic clock is the most accurate way of keeping track of time that is known. Most clocks work using some sort of an oscillation that takes place at a regular interval, like a pendulum. In the case of an atomic clock, the oscillation that is measured is between the nucleus of an atom and its surrounding electrons.

63. Cantina condiments SALSAS
“Salsa” is simply the Spanish for “sauce”.

65. IQ psychologist in the crib? TINY BINET (from “tiny bit”)
The first usable intelligence test was invented by a French psychologist named Alfred Binet. Binet collaborated with Théodore Simon and together they produced the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale that is still in use today for IQ tests.

77. Iago kills her in Act V EMILIA
Emilio and Iago are characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Othello”.

80. "The Matrix" hero NEO
Neo is the character played by Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix” series of films.

81. Mind reader? EEG
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is "brain dead".

87. Do-others link UNTO
The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

90. Eccentric OUTRE
The word "outré" comes to us from French, as you might imagine, derived from the verb "outrer" meaning "to overdo, exaggerate". "Outrer" is also the ultimate root of our word "outrage".

95. Ravel work originally composed as a ballet BOLERO
Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. His most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he thought it to be a trivial work. Personally though, I love minimalism and simplicity …

98. Museum funder: Abbr. NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though ...

100. Former Mideast despot SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

104. Reality show judge in a pouch? PANEL JOEY (from “Pal Joey”)
"Joey" is the name given to all infant marsupials, not just kangaroos. No one really seems to know for sure what the etymology is of the term "joey".

“Pal Joey” is a 1940 novel by John O’Hara that was made into a stage musical and musical film with music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hart. There are two well-known songs from the musical: “I Could Write a Book” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”.

112. 1968 self-titled folk album 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.

114. "Idol" judge replaced by Ellen PAULA
Paula Abdul is primarily a singer and dancer, and someone who endeared herself even more to the American public in recent years as a judge on "American Idol" from 2002 to 2009. Abdul had a famous husband for a couple of years, as she was married to actor Emilio Estevez from 1992-94.

Ellen DeGeneres is a very, very successful TV personality, having parlayed her career in stand-up comedy into lucrative gigs as an actress and talk show host. Back in 1997 DeGeneres chose the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to announce that she was a lesbian. Her character on “The Ellen Show” also came out as a lesbian, in a scene with her therapist, played by Oprah Winfrey. Nice twist! DeGeneres signed a 5-year contract to act as a judge on “American Idol” in 2009, but she left after just one season.

Down
2. Chanteuse's fabric LAME
Lamé is a fabric that has metallic yarns included in the weave. Lamé is a popular fabric for stylish evening wear, and also in the sport of fencing. The metallic threads are conductive and so help register a touch by an épée.

A “chanteuse” is a female singer, a French term.

11. Important drive in Freudian theory LIBIDO
"Libido" is a term first popularized by Sigmund Freud. Freud's usage was more general than is understood today, as he used "libido" to describe all instinctive energy that arose in the subconscious. He believed that we humans are driven by two desires, the desire for life (the libido, or Eros) and the desire for death (Thanatos). Personally, I don't agree ...

12. Newsweek Global, e.g. EZINE
“Newsweek” was a weekly American news magazine launched in 1933. The magazine ran into financial trouble starting in 2008 and eventually had to cease publication of a print version at the end of 2012. “Newsweek” continues to do business in an all-digital format as “Newsweek Global” after a merger with the news website “The Daily Beast”.

16. Biblical shepherd ABEL
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur'an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Qabil and Habil.

30. Bench press beneficiary TRICEPS
The triceps brachii muscle is found at the back of the upper arm. The muscle’s name translates to “three-headed arm muscle”, fitting as it is actually made up of three bundles of muscles.

34. Emmy-winning legal drama LA LAW
"L.A. Law" ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network's most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful "Hill Street Blues" in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, "E.R." The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.

41. Sunlit courts ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium is a large open space, often in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

45. Curiosity's milieu SPACE
NASA’s Curiosity rover is the fourth in a series of unmanned surface rovers that NASA has sent to Mars. Previous rovers are the Sojourner rover (1997), Spirit rover (2004-2010) and Opportunity rover (2004-present). Curiosity rover was launched in November of 2011, and landed on Mars in August 2012 after having travelled 350 million miles. After that long journey, Curiosity landed just 1½ miles from its targeted touchdown spot.

48. One of two N.T. books COR
The seventh and eighth books of the New Testament are the First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians.

51. Bailiwicks REALMS
Bailiwick is a word dating back to the mid-1600s, and originally meant the "district of a bailiff".

60. Battery end ANODE
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.

61. Competitive by nature TYPE A
The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called "stress junkies", whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn't seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.

62. "Madama Butterfly" accessory OBI
The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot.

Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" is the most-performed opera in the US. The opera that we see today is actually the second version that Puccini produced. The original version was first staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan where it received a very poor reception. Puccini reworked the piece, breaking the second act into two new acts and making some other significant changes. The opera was relaunched a few months later and it was a resounding success.

70. Movado competitor OMEGA
Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon.

Movado is a manufacturer of upscale watches in Switzerland. The company name is an Esperanto word, meaning “always in motion”.

83. Work areas with long tables, briefly ORS
Operating room (OR).

86. Copier tray abbr. LTR
Like so many things it seems, our paper sizes here in North America don't conform with the standards in the rest of the world. ISO standard sizes used elsewhere have some logic behind them in that the ratio of width to length is usually one to the square root of two. This mathematical relationship means that when you cut a piece of paper in two each half preserves the aspect ratio of the original, which can be useful in making reduced or enlarged copies of documents. Our standard size of "letter" (8.5 x 11 inches) was determined in 1980 by the Reagan administration to be the official paper size for the US government. Prior to this, the "legal" size (8.5 x 14 inches) had been the standard, since 1921.

87. Hoops franchise born in New Orleans UTAH JAZZ
The Utah Jazz professional basketball team moved to their current home in Salt Lake City in 1979. As one might guess from the name, the team originated in New Orleans, but only played there for five seasons. New Orleans was a tough place to be based because venues were hard to come by, and Mardi Gras forced the team to play on the road for a whole month.

91. Inland Asian sea ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad ...

95. Heston title role BEN-HUR
The celebrated Charlton Heston movie "Ben-Hur" is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled "Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ". The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but has never been beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings".

97. Depressed area GHETTO
The first "ghetto" was an island in Venice that was used for confining Venetian Jews. The same island was used to store slag from a foundry, and “getto” was the Venetian word for "slag". The term ghetto spread across Europe, at the beginning always associated with repressed Jewish populations. Ultimately it came to mean any urban area housing a minority group under economic and social pressure.

99. Butter-yielding bean CACAO
Cocoa butter is extracted from the cacoa bean and is used to make chocolate, among other things.

103. Yokum drawer CAPP
The comic strip character’s full name is “Li’l Abner Yokum”.

"Li'l Abner" was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he went so far as to apologize to his long-standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt that the quality of his work had gone down in those latter years.

104. Catherine who outlived Henry VIII PARR
Henry VIII was of course the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife, Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry, she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died, she married once again.

106. Snack brand with a 2012 centennial OREO
The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

107. Joie de vivre ELAN
Our word "élan" was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours i.e "style" or "flair".

“Joie de vivre” means "joy of living" in French. We use the phrase to mean the happy, carefree enjoyment of life, like when we finish our crossword puzzles ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Show appreciation, in a way CLAP
5. Slanted column OP-ED
9. Show biz type CELEB
14. Greeting not needing a stamp E-CARD
19. Inaugural ritual OATH
20. Links shirt POLO
21. "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" singer ELIZA
22. Leafy recess ARBOR
23. 1847 novel with the chapter "Life at Loohooloo" OMOO
24. Hgt. ELEV
25. Like some suspicious contracts NO-BID
26. Is knocked for a loop REELS
27. Moniker on a box of pasta? PENNE NAME (from “pen name”)
29. Gala for players of small pianos? SPINET BALL (from “spitball”)
31. Carafe kin EWER
32. Material that might need waterproofing SUEDE
33. Track RUT
34. Picked up LIFTED
37. Strange duck WEIRDO
39. Bench conference SIDEBAR
43. Alter ego? ALIAS
44. Hard stuff BOOZE
45. Attack word SIC
46. GPS option RTE
47. Time-consuming LONG
48. Kangaroo from a lab? CLONED HOPPER (from “clodhopper”)
52. Big name in shipping ARI
53. Suffix with polymer -ASE
54. Ear-splitting LOUD
55. Notable time ERA
56. Stomach creation PEPSIN
58. Film with stage scenes WESTERN
60. ___ clock ATOMIC
63. Cantina condiments SALSAS
64. Trike rider TOT
65. IQ psychologist in the crib? TINY BINET (from “tiny bit”)
68. Court tactic LOB
69. True __: exactly as expected TO FORM
72. Weathering the storm COPING
73. Barricade RAMPART
77. Iago kills her in Act V EMILIA
78. Poem of praise ODE
79. Darts ZIPS
80. "The Matrix" hero NEO
81. Mind reader? EEG
82. Player asleep on the sidelines? PRONE ATHLETE (from “pro athlete”)
87. Do-others link UNTO
88. "That's awful!" UGH!
89. Common refund source: Abbr. IRS
90. Eccentric OUTRE
91. Had leftovers, say ATE IN
92. Inventor's safeguards PATENTS
95. Ravel work originally composed as a ballet BOLERO
97. Transcript letters GRADES
98. Museum funder: Abbr. NEA
99. Modern communicators CELLS
100. Former Mideast despot SHAH
101. Dollhouse wicker chair craftsman? MODEL CANER (from “model car”)
104. Reality show judge in a pouch? PANEL JOEY (from “Pal Joey”)
109. Did a car wash job WAXED
110. Cold explosion? ACHOO!
111. Heaps A LOT
112. 1968 self-titled folk album ARLO
113. Flawless IDEAL
114. "Idol" judge replaced by Ellen PAULA
115. Plant anchor ROOT
116. Passion ZEAL
117. Rock or metal GENRE
118. Studied, with "over" PORED
119. Forfeited wheels REPO
120. Nod off, with "out" ZONK

Down
1. Fowl house COOP
2. Chanteuse's fabric LAME
3. Heaps A TON
4. Series of misses PHONE TAG
5. Bet first OPENED
6. Extremely cold POLAR
7. Pre-jr. high ELEM
8. One seeking justice for the peace? DOVE
9. Harshly rebuked CENSURED
10. Took off to team up ELOPED
11. Important drive in Freudian theory LIBIDO
12. Newsweek Global, e.g. EZINE
13. Commanded BADE
14. Hearing aid of a sort EARBUD
15. Get started CREATE
16. Biblical shepherd ABEL
17. Tape unit ROLL
18. Their offices often have small rms. DRS
28. Members of the flock EWES
30. Bench press beneficiary TRICEPS
32. Petite, say SIZE
34. Emmy-winning legal drama LA LAW
35. Brief concession I LOSE
36. Cops' disagreement? FINEST FIGHT (from “fistfight”)
37. Logs WOOD
38. It's quite a stretch EON
39. Drink daintily SIP
40. "No military bigwigs allowed"? BRASS BANNED (from “brass band”)
41. Sunlit courts ATRIA
42. Curbs, with "in" REINS
44. Straightforward BLUNT
45. Curiosity's milieu SPACE
48. One of two N.T. books COR
49. Surround HEM IN
50. Round gasket O-RING
51. Bailiwicks REALMS
54. Activate without restraint LET RIP
57. Sit heavily PLOP
59. Level or bevel TOOL
60. Battery end ANODE
61. Competitive by nature TYPE A
62. "Madama Butterfly" accessory OBI
66. Desktop array ICONS
67. Humdrum TRITE
69. Start a round TEE UP
70. Movado competitor OMEGA
71. __ status MARITAL
74. Wild way to go? APE
75. Do over, as a bow RETIE
76. Popeye and Porky, e.g. TOONS
79. Round number? ZERO
83. Work areas with long tables, briefly ORS
84. Where to see rows of booths TOLL ROAD
85. Color chart components HUES
86. Copier tray abbr. LTR
87. Hoops franchise born in New Orleans UTAH JAZZ
91. Inland Asian sea ARAL
93. Make beloved ENDEAR
94. You might get stuck with it NEEDLE
95. Heston title role BEN-HUR
96. Chant in a ring OLE! OLE!
97. Depressed area GHETTO
99. Butter-yielding bean CACAO
100. One poking around SNOOP
101. Cooked up MADE
102. Pullers of heavy loads OXEN
103. Yokum drawer CAPP
104. Catherine who outlived Henry VIII PARR
105. Soap additive ALOE
106. Snack brand with a 2012 centennial OREO
107. Joie de vivre ELAN
108. Potato salad ingredient, perhaps YOLK
109. Bogus locks WIG



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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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