Top Line

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 7 May 13, Tuesday





CROSSWORD SETTER: Jack McInturff
THEME: Current Terms … today’s themed answers end with a word associated with electricity, as hinted at by the show “The Electric Company” on PBS:
20A. Defend a position STAND ONE'S GROUND
33A. Walk-off home run, often TIEBREAKER
40A. Explodes with rage BLOWS A FUSE
47A. With "The," PBS show for kids, and a hint to the ends of 20-, 33- and 40-Across ELECTRIC COMPANY
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 06m 17s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
10. Florida resort, familiarly BOCA
The name of the city of Boca Raton in Florida translates from Spanish as “Mouse Mouth”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology of the name but one plausible explanation is a nautical one. “Boca”, as well as meaning “mouth” can mean “inlet”. “Ratón”, as well as meaning “mouse” was also used to describe rocks that chewed away at a ship’s anchor cable. So possibly Boca Raton was named for a rocky inlet.

15. German sub 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.

16. Cowardly Lion actor LAHR
Bert Lahr's most famous role was that of the cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz". Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Remember the catch phrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!"? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called, "Meet the People" in which it was first uttered by none other than Bert Lahr.

17. Old Sinclair Oil rival ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of "Standard" and "Oil" (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

Sinclair Oil has been around a long time as the company was founded back in 1916 by Harry F. Sinclair. Sinclair Oil sponsored an exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933-34 that focused on the Age of the Dinosaurs and the era's relationship with the formation of petroleum products. The exhibit included a huge model of a brontosaurus that was a big hit with the fair’s attendees. Sinclair cashed in on the popularity of the dinosaur theme by selling rubber dinosaur toys at gas stations and eventually adopted the brontosaurus as part of the company logo.

18. "Throw __ From the Train" MOMMA
The 1987 movie "Throw Momma from the Train" is a comedy remake of the superb 1951 Hitchcock thriller "Strangers on a Train". Danny DeVito co-stars with Billy Crystal, and there is even a cameo performance by Oprah Winfrey.

19. Soap Box Derby state OHIO
(28D. Soap Box Derby city AKRON)
The Soap Box Derby is a soapbox car racing competition. The first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio in 1934. The annual race was moved to Akron, Ohio the following year. Soon after, a purpose built track was built called Derby Downs, as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) program of the late thirties.

23. Bind with a band GIRD
The phrase "gird your loins" dates back to Ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting "one's skirts" and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, "gird your loins" is a metaphor for "prepare yourself for the worst".

24. Pinup's leg GAM
The American slang term "gams" is used for a woman's legs, but the term goes back to the 18th century "gamb" meaning the leg of an animal on a coat of arms.

28. One in a church chorus? AMEN
The word “amen” is translated as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is likely to be also influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

30. Brit. fliers RAF
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on 1 April 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF's "finest hour" has to be the Battle of Britain when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill to utter these memorable words:
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

35. Horne of jazz LENA
Lena Horne was an American jazz singer, actress, dancer and civil rights activist. Horne started out her career as a nightclub singer and then began to get some meaty acting roles in Hollywood. However, she ended up on the blacklist during the McCarthy Era for expressing left wing political views. One of Horne's starring roles was in the 1943 movie "Stormy Weather" for which she also performed the title song.

38. Honda compact CIVIC
Introduced in 1972, the Honda Civic is the second-oldest brand of Japanese car made for the US today (only the Toyota Corolla has been around longer). Today's Civic is a compact car, but the original was smaller, and classed as a sub-compact. The first design had a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive to save on space, copying the configuration introduced with the British Mini.

43. Rounded hammer end PEEN
The peen of a hammer is on the head, and is the side of the head that is opposite the striking surface. Often the peen is in the shape of a hemisphere (as in a Ball-peen hammer), but usually it is shaped like a claw (mainly for removing nails).

44. Filled flapjack-like food CREPES
“Crêpe” is the French word for “pancake”.

46. Bow-toting deity EROS
Cupid is the god of desire and erotic love in Roman mythology. The Greek counterpart of Cupid is Eros.

47. With "The," PBS show for kids, and a hint to the ends of 20-, 33- and 40-Across ELECTRIC COMPANY
“The Electric Company” is an educational show for children aired by PBS that originally ran from 1971 to 1977.

55. Put in cargo LADE
The verb "lade" meaning "to load" comes from an Old English word "hladan". Lade also used to mean "to draw water" and indeed gave us our word "ladle". So "lade" and "ladle" are close cousins.

56. Swashbuckler Flynn ERROL
Errol Flynn was born 1909 in Tasmania, Australia where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film "In the Wake of the Bounty" and then appeared in a British film "Murder at Monte Carlo". It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn's non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

60. Swed. neighbor NORW
Norway has been ranked as the country in the world with the highest standard of living almost every year since 2001. Norway is rich in natural resources and has a relatively low population. The people benefit from a comprehensive social security system, subsidized higher education for all citizens and universal health care.

61. "The Thin Man" terrier ASTA
Asta is the wonderful little dog in the superb movie "The Thin Man" starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called "Skippy". Skippy was also the dog in "Bringing up Baby" with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of "The Thin Man" films.

Down
1. "Tarzan" characters APES
"Tarzan" is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line "Me Tarzan, you Jane" never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn't even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (who played Tarzan in the thirties and forties) saw Maureen O'Sullivan ("Jane", to Weissmuller's "Tarzan") struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying "Me Tarzan, you Jane", and people have been quoting those words ever since.

2. "__ we forget" LEST
“Lest we forget” is an oft-quoted phrase, one that comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling called “Recessional”. Kipling wrote the piece on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 and used it to express sadness at the waning of the British Empire. The phrase “lest we forget” is used in this context, a warning that the empire will decline. Ever since WWI we’ve been using the words on memorials as a plea not forget the sacrifices made by others in the past.

3. Colorado's __ Verde National Park MESA
Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado. Mesa Verde is home to ancient cliff dwellings built by the Puebloan people, also know as the Anasazi.

4. Toon fry cook in The Krusty Krab restaurant SPONGEBOB
SpongeBob SquarePants is a cartoon character in a television series. He first appeared in 1999.

6. WWII investment E BOND
Series E Savings Bonds were introduced in 1941, just before the start of WWII, as ‘defense bonds”. After the attack on Pearl Harbor they became known as “war bonds”.

11. Hawaii's most populous island OAHU
O'ahu has been called "The Gathering Place", although the word "O'ahu" has no translation in Hawaiian. It seems that O'ahu is simply the name of the island. One story is that it is named after the son of the Polynesian navigator that first found the islands. The island is made up of two volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau, joined together by a broad valley, the O’ahu Plain.

13. Yankee slugger, familiarly A-ROD
Poor old Alex Rodriguez earned more nicknames than just A-Rod. He has been called "the Cooler" by some players as there is a perception that teams go cold when he joins them and hot when he leaves. He has also been called "A-Fraud" by teammates because of another perception, that he is over-demanding.

21. Bridget Jones's book DIARY
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” is a 1996 novel by English novelist Helen Fielding. The novel is a clever adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and even includes a lead character called Darcy. “Bridget Jones’s Diary” was adapted into a very successful movie released in 2001. Colin Firth plays Darcy in the movie, and of course also played Mr. Darcy in a famous television version of “Pride and Prejudice” in 1995.

28. Soap Box Derby city AKRON
For part of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron's growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name "Akron" comes from the Greek word meaning "summit". Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County.

29. Ask for Friskies, maybe MEOW
The Friskies brand is known today as a cat food, although it was first introduced as a dry dog food in 1930.

31. Licorice-flavored seed ANISE
The essential oil in the anise plant is anethole. Anethole has a licorice-like flavor, and is used extensively in cooking.

38. Billiards bounce CAROM
A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

41. Uses a mouse wheel SCROLLS
The first computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

43. Poe's "The __ and the Pendulum" PIT
“The Pit and the Pendulum” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that was first published in 1842. It is a macabre tale about a prisoner who is being tortured at the hands of the spanish Inquisition. For part of the tale, the prisoner is bound to a wooden board while a scythe-like pendulum wings above him, getting nearer and nearer with each oscillation.

45. Amtrak speedster ACELA
The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, getting up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. The brand name "Acela" was created to evoke "acceleration" and "excellence".

46. Pierre's school ECOLE
A French word for school is “école”.

47. Isle off Tuscany ELBA
I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is also overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day and we won't be going back again …

48. Cambodia neighbor LAOS
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People's Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country's name is "Meuang Lao". The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of "Lao" entities united into one, the French added the "S" and so today we tend to use "Laos" instead of "Lao".

50. "Joy of Cooking" writer Rombauer IRMA
Irma Rombauer was the author of the famous cookbook "The Joy Of Cooking". Rombauer self-published the book back in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her family continued to publish privately as demand was high, and then a commercial printing house picked it up in 1936. "The Joy of Cooking" has been in print continuously ever since.

52. Suffix with buck -AROO
The American English word “buckaroo” comes from “vaquero”, the Spanish for cowboy.

53. Emperor after Claudius I NERO
The emperor Nero had quite the family life. When Nero was just 16-years-old he married his stepsister, Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and stepbrother executed.

I find Claudius to be the most fascinating of all the Roman Emperors. Claudius had a lot going against him as he walked with a limp and was slightly deaf. He was put in office by the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s bodyguards) after Caligula was assassinated. Claudius had very little experience and yet proved to be very forward-thinking and capable.

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Help for the poor ALMS
5. Buffalo bunches HERDS
10. Florida resort, familiarly BOCA
14. Quick look PEEP
15. German sub U-BOAT
16. Cowardly Lion actor LAHR
17. Old Sinclair Oil rival ESSO
18. "Throw __ From the Train" MOMMA
19. Soap Box Derby state OHIO
20. Defend a position STAND ONE'S GROUND
23. Bind with a band GIRD
24. Pinup's leg GAM
25. Water under the bridge STREAM
28. One in a church chorus? AMEN
30. Brit. fliers RAF
33. Walk-off home run, often TIEBREAKER
35. Horne of jazz LENA
36. Metallic mixture ALLOY
37. Homie BRO
38. Honda compact CIVIC
39. Fast-talking GLIB
40. Explodes with rage BLOWS A FUSE
42. PC panic button ESC
43. Rounded hammer end PEEN
44. Filled flapjack-like food CREPES
45. Assist AID
46. Bow-toting deity EROS
47. With "The," PBS show for kids, and a hint to the ends of 20-, 33- and 40-Across ELECTRIC COMPANY
55. Put in cargo LADE
56. Swashbuckler Flynn ERROL
57. Space AREA
58. Prepare, as rice BOIL
59. Petty SMALL
60. Swed. neighbor NORW
61. "The Thin Man" terrier ASTA
62. Tones down TAMES
63. Before long SOON

Down
1. "Tarzan" characters APES
2. "__ we forget" LEST
3. Colorado's __ Verde National Park MESA
4. Toon fry cook in The Krusty Krab restaurant SPONGEBOB
5. "Just go along with what I said" HUMOR ME
6. WWII investment E BOND
7. "When in __ ..." ROME
8. River projects DAMS
9. Walk drunkenly STAGGER
10. Come into one's own BLOOM
11. Hawaii's most populous island OAHU
12. Stubble spot CHIN
13. Yankee slugger, familiarly A-ROD
21. Bridget Jones's book DIARY
22. Was on the ballot RAN
25. __ fright STAGE
26. Cultivates TILLS
27. Thing of the past RELIC
28. Soap Box Derby city AKRON
29. Ask for Friskies, maybe MEOW
30. Accelerate, as an engine REV UP
31. Licorice-flavored seed ANISE
32. Stands up to FACES
34. Competent ABLE
35. Cradle-to-grave stretches LIFESPANS
38. Billiards bounce CAROM
40. Doctor's advice BEDREST
41. Uses a mouse wheel SCROLLS
43. Poe's "The __ and the Pendulum" PIT
45. Amtrak speedster ACELA
46. Pierre's school ECOLE
47. Isle off Tuscany ELBA
48. Cambodia neighbor LAOS
49. Revise copy EDIT
50. "Joy of Cooking" writer Rombauer IRMA
51. Study all night CRAM
52. Suffix with buck -AROO
53. Emperor after Claudius I NERO
54. Show fatigue YAWN



Return to top of page

Posted by Bill Butler
Google+

No comments:

Tell a Friend about LAXCrossword.com:

Facebook Twitter Google Email

Adsense Wide Skyscraper

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

Blog Archive

Bottom Nav