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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 14 May 13, Tuesday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Michael Dewey
THEME: End in Separation … each of the themed answers ends with a word for a separation:
17A. 14th/15th-century period of papal uncertainty GREAT SCHISM
38A. Fruity ice cream dessert BANANA SPLIT
59A. When collegians descend on Cancún SPRING BREAK
11D. Osteoporosis concern HIP FRACTURE
25D. Tennis server's setback DOUBLE FAULT
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 17s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Yoda trained several of them JEDIS
The Jedi are the "good guys" in the "Star Wars" series of movies. The most famous Jedi knights from the films are Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness, and later Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz). Well, they're my favorites anyway ...

14. "Gladiator" locale ARENA
The term “gladiator” means “swordsman”, coming from “gladius”, the Latin word for “sword”.

17. 14th/15th-century period of papal uncertainty GREAT SCHISM
The Western Schism in the Catholic Church schism started after a period when several successive popes resided in Avignon in France, rather than in Rome. In 1377, Pope Gregory XI abandoned Avignon and moved the papacy back to Rome. After Gregory XI died in 1378, Pope Urban VI was elected by the cardinals in Rome. Many of the cardinals regretted their decision and moved to the Italian town of Anagni where they elected a competing pope, Clement VII, who established his court back in Avignon. The resulting schism in the Church continued until resolution in 1417.

19. Nittany Lions' sch. PSU
The athletic teams of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) are called the Nittany Lions, or in the case of the female teams, the Lady Lions. The Nittany Lion was introduced as a mascot way back in 1904 and is modeled after mountain lions that used to roam Mount Nittany located near the school's campus.

21. Tokyo, in days of yore EDO
Edo is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today's Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

22. Aqua Velva rival AFTA
Afta Lotion is a brand name of after shave lotion, belonging to Colgate-Palmolive.

The Aqua Velva line of men’s toiletry products includes a famous aftershave. The first product in the line was Aqua Velva aftershave, which was introduced in 1929.

23. Elaborate solo passage CADENZA
“Cadenza” is a musical term, the name for a passage that is sung or played by a soloist. A cadenza is often encountered in a concerto, when the orchestra stops playing and the soloist performs alone. The soloist’s performance can be improvised or written, at the composer’s discretion.

27. Largest penguin EMPEROR
The Emperor Penguin is the largest species of penguin, weighing in at 49-99 pounds fully grown. The Emperor Penguin is known for the incredible journey taken by the adults during the breeding season in the Antarctic winter. Females lay an egg and then trek 30-70 miles from the breeding colony to the sea to feed, returning to feed their chicks.

29. She married a musician in Gibraltar in 1969 ONO
After marrying in Gibraltar, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a very public honeymoon in a hotels in Amsterdam and then Montreal, when they staged their famous "bed-in" for peace. In answering questions from reporters Lennon found himself often repeating the words "give peace a chance". While still in bed, he composed his famous song "Give Peace a Chance" and even made the original recording of the song in the Montreal hotel room, with reporters present, and with a whole bunch of friends. The song was released later in 1969 and became a smash hit.

30. Hound over a debt DUN
"To dun" is to insist on payment of a debt.

38. Fruity ice cream dessert BANANA SPLIT
The banana split was created in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1904. This particular sundae was the idea of David Stickler, a young apprentice pharmacist at the Tassel Pharmacy’s soda fountain.

40. Big name in polling GALLUP
The Gallup company is best known for its public opinion polls. The company was founded by George Gallup in 1935 as the American Institute of Public Opinion.

42. Defeated incumbent LAME DUCK
The original usage of the term “lame duck” was on the London Stock Exchange where it referred to a broker who could not honor his debts. The idea was that a lame duck could not keep up with the rest of the flock and so was a target for predators.

45. Muslim prince EMEER
In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

46. Bilingual subj. ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

50. Scamp's doings KNAVERY
We've been using "knave" to mean a cad since about 1200, and as an alternative name for the jack in a deck of cards since the mid-1500s. "Knave" comes from the Old English word "cnafa", a "boy, male servant".

55. Widespread PD alert APB
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

57. Prez on a fiver ABE
The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

58. __ Dhabi ABU
Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

59. When collegians descend on Cancún SPRING BREAK
Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.

65. Fictional Swiss miss HEIDI
“Heidi” is a Swiss children’s book written and published in two parts. “Heidi” tells the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.

66. Plumed heron EGRET
At one time the egret species was in danger of extinction due to excessive hunting driven by the demand for plumes for women's hats.

67. East, in Essen OST
I knew a man back in Ireland, a German national from the city of Essen. He had very sad tales to tell from the days of WWII. As a young boy he lost his (socialist) parents during the Nazi purges early in the war. In 1943 he was living with his grandmother and still attending school when he was drafted into the army along with the rest of his class (at 14 years of age). His platoon leader was his school teacher who made a point of tutoring the boys in place of military drilling. One day he was on guard duty with his class/platoon at the dam above the city, and along come the Dam Busters with their bouncing bombs. The raid was successful (from the perspective of the Allies), but he described terrible famine faced by the people below the dam due to flooding of the farmland that surrounded the factories.

68. Politician Kefauver ESTES
Estes Kefauver was a Democratic politician from Tennessee. In 1956 Kefauver was the running mate of Adlai Stevenson when Stevenson made a bid for the presidency. The pair of course lost to the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket.

69. Trips around the sun YEARS
The time taken for the Earth to completely orbit the sun is what we call a year.

Down
1. Beemer cousin JAG
Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters "SS" at that time.

BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into "Bavarian Motor Works". BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company started making motorcycles, and then moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

6. Mil. bravery medal DSC
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest honor awarded to members of the US Army. The DSC is equivalent to the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.

9. English town worth its salt? EPSOM
The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. You might also have heard of Epsom salt. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time.

10. Half a school yr. SEM
"Semester" is a German word from the Latin "semestris", an adjective meaning "of six months". We of course use "semester" in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester system has three parts, and a quarter system has four.

11. Osteoporosis concern HIP FRACTURE
The name “osteoporosis” is Greek for “porous bones”, a very descriptive name for a disease that is caused by a loss of mineral density in bones.

13. Scottish royal family STUARTS
The Royal House of Stewart (also Stuart) came to power in Scotland in the late 14th century, starting with Robert II of Scotland. The Stewarts extended their power to England and Ireland when the Tudor line became extinct as Queen Elizabeth I died without issue. James VI of Scotland became James I of England at that time. The last Stewart monarch was Anne, Queen of Great Britain who also died without issue, despite going through seventeen pregnancies. Assuming Prince William, Duke of Cambridge becomes the British Monarch one day, then there will be a Stewart descendant on the throne again. William is the son of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Diana was descended from the Stewart monarchs.

22. Epic featuring the Trojan Horse AENEID
"The Aeneid" is Virgil's epic poem that tells of the journey of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy to become the ancestor of all Romans. “The Aeneid” begins with the words “Arma virumque cano …”, which translates as “I sing of arms and of a man …”

The story of the Wooden Horse of Troy is told in the Virgil’s poem “The Aeneid”. According to the tale, the city of Troy finally fell to Greeks after a siege that had lasted for ten years. In a ruse, the Greeks sailed away in apparent defeat, leaving behind a large wooden horse. Inside the horse were hidden 30 crack soldiers, and when the horse was dragged into the city as a victory trophy, the soldiers sneaked out and opened the city’s gates. The Greeks returned under cover of night, and entered the open city.

23. Funny Bill's nickname COS
The great comedic entertainer Bill Cosby is from Philadelphia. After working as a standup comedian, Cosby got his big break on television when he landed a starring role in “I Spy” alongside Robert Culp in the sixties. His greatest success on television came in the eighties and early nineties with his own sitcom “The Cosby Show”. At its height, “The Cosby Show” was the number one show in the US for five straight years.

24. It begins with enero ANO
In Spanish, we start years (anos) in January (enero) as noted on a calendar (calendrio).

26. Tennis server's edge AD IN
In tennis, if the score reaches "deuce" (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the "advantage". If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that's two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. If the one of the players is calling out the score then if he/she has the advantage then that player announces "ad in" or more formally "advantage in". If the score announcer's opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is "ad out" or "advantage out". Follow all of that ...?

28. Socialite Mesta PERLE
Perle Mesta was a socialite and fundraiser for the Democratic Party. She was made U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg in 1949. The character played by Ethel Merman in the show and movie titled "Call Me Madam" was inspired by Perle Mesta.

31. 1,550-mile continental range URALS
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

37. Typist's efficiency no. WPM
Words per minute (WPM)

39. Vaccine pioneer SALK
Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher, famous for developing the first safe polio vaccine. In the fifties, especially after the 1952 polio epidemic, the biggest health fear in the US was polio because it killed thousands, left even more with disabilities and most of the victims were children. The situation was dire and the authorities immediately quarantined the family of any polio victim, and that quarantine was so strict that in many cases the families were not even permitted to attend the funeral of a family member who died from the disease.

40. Feared "Hogan's Heroes" group GESTAPO
Gestapo is a contraction for "Geheime Staatspolizei", or "Secret State Police". The Gestapo was formed in 1934, not long after Adolf Hitler took power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

“Hogan’s Heroes” is a sitcom that ran in the late sixties and early seventies. The show starred Bob Crane as the ranking prisoner in a German POW camp during WWII. The four major German roles were played by actors who all were Jewish, and who all fled from the Nazis during the war. In fact, the Sergeant Schultz character was played by John Banner, who spent three years in a concentration camp.

41. Tiny lab subjects AMOEBAS
An ameba (or "amoeba" as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek "amoibe", meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

46. Energetic wit ESPRIT
Our word “esprit”, meaning :liveliness of mind”, comes to us from Latin via French. The Latin “spiritus” means “spirit.

60. Grafton's "__ for Noose" N IS
Sue Grafton writes detective novels, and her "alphabet series" features the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with "A Is for Alibi" in 1982 and is working her way through the alphabet, most recently publishing "U Is for Undertow" in 2009. What a clever naming system!

61. Clinton __ ERA
Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978 at the age of 32, making him the youngest governor in the country at the time, and the fourth governor in the history of the US.

63. Gold fineness meas. KTS
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Yoda trained several of them JEDIS
6. Titled ladies DAMES
11. "To each __ own" HIS
14. "Gladiator" locale ARENA
15. It can follow land and precede goat SCAPE
16. Bankbook abbr. INT
17. 14th/15th-century period of papal uncertainty GREAT SCHISM
19. Nittany Lions' sch. PSU
20. Ills in tales WOE
21. Tokyo, in days of yore EDO
22. Aqua Velva rival AFTA
23. Elaborate solo passage CADENZA
27. Largest penguin EMPEROR
29. She married a musician in Gibraltar in 1969 ONO
30. Hound over a debt DUN
32. Make into law ENACT
33. Tourist shop offering SOUVENIR
37. Divers' destinations WRECKS
38. Fruity ice cream dessert BANANA SPLIT
40. Big name in polling GALLUP
42. Defeated incumbent LAME DUCK
45. Muslim prince EMEER
46. Bilingual subj. ESL
47. Long for another chance at RUE
48. Melts, say SOFTENS
50. Scamp's doings KNAVERY
54. Socials with cucumber sandwiches TEAS
55. Widespread PD alert APB
57. Prez on a fiver ABE
58. __ Dhabi ABU
59. When collegians descend on Cancún SPRING BREAK
64. Buddy PAL
65. Fictional Swiss miss HEIDI
66. Plumed heron EGRET
67. East, in Essen OST
68. Politician Kefauver ESTES
69. Trips around the sun YEARS

Down
1. Beemer cousin JAG
2. Throw wildly, say ERR
3. Report card bummer DEE
4. Slack-jawed IN AWE
5. Quashed SAT ON
6. Mil. bravery medal DSC
7. Jogging aftermath ACHE
8. Lass MAIDEN
9. English town worth its salt? EPSOM
10. Half a school yr. SEM
11. Osteoporosis concern HIP FRACTURE
12. Available for purchase IN STOCK
13. Scottish royal family STUARTS
18. "So I __ to myself ..." SEZ
22. Epic featuring the Trojan Horse AENEID
23. Funny Bill's nickname COS
24. It begins with enero ANO
25. Tennis server's setback DOUBLE FAULT
26. Tennis server's edge AD IN
28. Socialite Mesta PERLE
31. 1,550-mile continental range URALS
34. Lot attendants VALETS
35. Toughen by exposure ENURE
36. Catch a few z's NAP
37. Typist's efficiency no. WPM
39. Vaccine pioneer SALK
40. Feared "Hogan's Heroes" group GESTAPO
41. Tiny lab subjects AMOEBAS
43. Scoundrel CUR
44. Teacher's answer sheet KEY
46. Energetic wit ESPRIT
49. Buns are seen above them NAPES
51. Pester NAG
52. Monastic headquarters ABBEY
53. Cusp VERGE
56. __ one's time: wait BIDE
59. That woman SHE
60. Grafton's "__ for Noose" N IS
61. Clinton __ ERA
62. Fizzy prefix AER-
63. Gold fineness meas. KTS



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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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