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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 2 Oct 13, Wednesday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gareth Bain
THEME: A-Head at the End … today’s themed answers end with a word that can have an “A-” suffix:
39A. In the future, or, when spoken with a long starting vowel, what the last word of the answers to starred clues can have AHEAD

17A. *Shopper's aid GROCERY LIST (giving “A-list”)
64A. *Stop-action film technique FREEZE-FRAME (giving “A-frame”)
11D. *Phone that can't be tapped SECURE LINE (giving “A-line”)
29D. *Angler's equipment FISHING ROD (giving “A-Rod”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 27s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Facial expression VISAGE
"Visage" is the French word for "face", and is a term we’ve imported into English to mean “face” or “facial expression”.

14. Pre-migraine phenomenon, for some AURA
The symptom known as an “aura” is a sensory disturbance that is perceived by migraine sufferers, prior to the onset of a migraine headache. The aura might be visual in nature, like a strange light. The aura can also be a smell, or just confusing thoughts.

The name of the searing headache called a “migraine” comes from the Greek words “hemi” meaning “half”, and “kranion” meaning “skull”.

15. Hot wings did him in ICARUS
Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

22. Songwriter Bacharach BURT
Composer and pianist Burt Bacharach had an incredible run of hits from the fifties through the eighties, usually working with lyricist Hal David. Bacharach's hits ranged from "Magic Moments", a fifties hit for Perry Como, "Close to You", a sixties hit for the Carpenters, and "Arthur's Theme", a hit for Christopher Cross in the seventies. Bacharach was married to Angie Dickinson for fifteen years.

25. Katana-wielding warrior SAMURAI
The katana is a curved sword worn by the samurai of Japan. The katana is sometimes referred to as a “samurai sword”.

33. Evening for trivia buffs QUIZ NIGHT
Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …

36. Disney lioness NALA
In "The Lion King", Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba.

41. 1492 vessel NINA
The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname "Niña" probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.

43. Hoodlum THUG
The handheld weapon known as a garrote (or garotte) was in particular used by murderers and robbers harassing travelers in India. These felons were known locally as "thuggees" (from the Hindi word for "thief"). This gave us our contemporary word "thug", meaning a brute.

47. HST part, say: Abbr. INIT
The initial (init.) H stands for Harry in the monogram used by President Harry S. Truman (HST).

The initial “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.

49. Ex-Yankee Martinez TINO
Tino Martinez has retired from Major League Baseball. Martinez played first base for a number of teams including the Mariners, Yankees, Cardinals and Devil Rays. Martinez was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and as a boy he worked in his father's cigar factory.

54. Islands in the stream AITS
Aits are little islands found in a river. Aits aren't formed by erosion, but by the deposition of silt over time. As a result, aits often have a long and narrow shape running parallel to the banks as the sediment builds up with the flow of the water. Many of the islands in the River Thames in England have been given the name "Ait", like Raven's Ait in Kingston-upon-Thames, and Lot's Ait in Brentford.

57. Alts. HTS
Altitudes (alts.) are heights (hts.).

59. Homemade pistol ZIP GUN
A zip gun is an improvised firearm, one that can be quite crude or sometimes very sophisticated. Zip guns were quite popular in the US in the 1950s when gun control laws were more restrictive. They aren’t found very often these days as it is relatively easy for folks to get a gun either legally or illegally. I found a handgun in a parking lot one time …

63. Bygone space station MIR
The Russian Mir Space Station was a remarkably successful project, with the station still holding the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at just under ten years. Towards the end of the space station's life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up in 2001.

66. Rock gp. known for its symphonic sound ELO
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

67. Maker of Light & Fit yogurt DANNON
Danone is a French company that sells a wide range of food products, as well as bottled water. Here in the US Danone sells under the brand name "Dannon". Examples of Danone products are Evian bottled water and Activia yogurt.

68. Jungfrau's range ALPS
The Jungfrau is a peak in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. “Jungfrau” translates from German as “maiden” or “virgin”.

69. Homer's nice neighbor NED
Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV's "The Simpsons". Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

70. Battery parts ANODES
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.

Down
2. Mark replacement EURO
One of the currencies replaced by the euro was Germany’s Deutsche Mark (called “Deutschmark” in English).

5. Birth state of four of the first five American presidents VIRGINIA
The first six US presidents hailed from either Virginia or Massachusetts:
1. George Washington (Virginia)
2. John Adams (Massachusetts)
3. Thomas Jefferson (Virginia)
4. James Madison (Virginia)
5. James Monroe (Virginia)
6. John Quincy Adams (Massachusetts)

8. Met program details ARIAS
The Metropolitan Opera of New York City is the largest classical music organization in the country, presenting about 220 performances each and every year. Founded in 1880, the Met is renowned for using technology to expand its audiences. Performances have been broadcast live on radio since 1931, and on television since 1977. And since 2006 you can go see a live performance from New York in high definition on the big screen, at a movie theater near you ...

9. Austrian painter Klimt GUSTAV
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter who primarily painted the female body, often producing works that were described as erotic. One of Klimt’s most famous paintings was “The Kiss” completed in 1908.

11. *Phone that can't be tapped SECURE LINE (giving “A-line”)
An A-line skirt is one that fits snugly at the hips and flares toward the hem.

12. Ancient Greek market AGORA
In early Greece the "agora" was a place of assembly. Often the assemblies held there were quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a market place. Our contemporary word "agoraphobia" comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of "public meeting places".

13. Mob boss John GOTTI
John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family from 1985. Gotti was known as the Teflon Don and took over leadership of the family from Paul Castellano when he was gunned down, allegedly on Gotti's orders. Gotti remained head of the New York family until he was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Gotti died of throat cancer after ten years behind bars.

18. Subject of the 2003 TV film "The Crooked E" ENRON
After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow's wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

22. Zippo filler BUTANE
The first Zippo lighter was made in 1933, in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The name "Zippo" was simply a word invented by the company founder, George Blaisdell, as he liked the word "zipper". You can buy one today for $12.95, or if you want the solid gold model ... for $8,675.95.

26. Work-wk. start MON
For most North Americans, the work-week (work-wk.) starts on Monday (Mon.).

27. Pollution meas. AQI
Air quality index (AQI)

28. Tin Woodman's trouble RUST
Actor Jack Haley played the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz". Haley was the second choice for the role, as it was originally given to Buddy Ebsen (who later played Jed Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies"). Ebsen was being "painted up" as the Tin Man when he had an extreme, near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup that was being used. When Haley took over, the makeup was changed to a paste, but it was still uncomfortable and caused him to miss the first four days of shooting due to a reaction in his eyes. During filming, Haley must have made good friends with the movie's star, Judy Garland, as years later Jack's son married Judy's daughter, Liza Minnelli.

29. *Angler's equipment FISHING ROD (giving “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. Rodriguez is now seems to be in a world of hurt for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

35. Patty Hearst, in the SLA TANIA
The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was founded in 1973 by an escapee of the prison system, Donald DeFreeze. The group's manifesto promoted the rights of African Americans although, in the 2-3 year life of the group, DeFreeze was the only black member. Famously, the SLA kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. Hearst apparently fell victim to what is called the Stockholm syndrome and became sympathetic to her captors’ cause. She joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”.

37. Kitty builder ANTE
The "pot" in a card game has been referred to as the kitty since the 1880s. It's not certain how the name "kitty" evolved but possibly it came from "kit", the necessary equipment for the game.

44. Miracle Mets manager Hodges GIL
Gil Hodges was a professional baseball player and manager. Perhaps Hodges’ most celebrated achievement was managing the New York Mets team (the “Miracle Mets”) that won the 1969 World Series. Hodges died from a heart attack just a few years later in 1972, when he was only 48 years old.

46. Recurring theme MOTIF
A motif is a recurring element in an artistic work or design.

48. Mideast capital TEHRAN
Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around an awful long time and Tehran is actually the country's 31st national capital.

53. Shorthand expert STENO
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek "steno" (narrow) and "graphe" (writing).

55. Fat-shunning fellow SPRAT
Jack Sprat was a nickname given in the 16th century to people of small stature. Jack featured in a proverb of the day:
Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane. Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane.
Over time, this mutated into a nursery rhyme that is still recited in England:
Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean.

64. Govt. Rx watchdog FDA
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol "Rx" that's used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter's blessing to help a patient recover.

65. Actress Caldwell ZOE
Zoe Caldwell is an Australian-born actress who won four Tony Awards for her performances on Broadway.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Cried one's eyes out WEPT
5. Facial expression VISAGE
11. Hang down SAG
14. Pre-migraine phenomenon, for some AURA
15. Hot wings did him in ICARUS
16. It may need a boost EGO
17. *Shopper's aid GROCERY LIST (giving “A-list”)
19. Barracks bed COT
20. Scattering seed SOWING
21. Raid the fridge EAT
22. Songwriter Bacharach BURT
23. Small combo TRIO
25. Katana-wielding warrior SAMURAI
27. Barking sound ARF
30. Responsibility ONUS
32. Choice in a booth VOTE
33. Evening for trivia buffs QUIZ NIGHT
36. Disney lioness NALA
38. "That __ last year!" IS SO
39. In the future, or, when spoken with a long starting vowel, what the last word of the answers to starred clues can have AHEAD
41. 1492 vessel NINA
43. Hoodlum THUG
45. Run-down urban buildings TENEMENTS
47. HST part, say: Abbr. INIT
49. Ex-Yankee Martinez TINO
50. "A mouse!" EEK!
51. Takes care of HANDLES
54. Islands in the stream AITS
56. Meringue needs EGGS
57. Alts. HTS
59. Homemade pistol ZIP GUN
63. Bygone space station MIR
64. *Stop-action film technique FREEZE-FRAME (giving “A-frame”)
66. Rock gp. known for its symphonic sound ELO
67. Maker of Light & Fit yogurt DANNON
68. Jungfrau's range ALPS
69. Homer's nice neighbor NED
70. Battery parts ANODES
71. Push to the limit TEST

Down
1. Clowns WAGS
2. Mark replacement EURO
3. Figurehead spot PROW
4. Silently understood TACIT
5. Birth state of four of the first five American presidents VIRGINIA
6. More than unfriendly ICY
7. Word after fire or bake SALE
8. Met program details ARIAS
9. Austrian painter Klimt GUSTAV
10. Superlative suffix -EST
11. *Phone that can't be tapped SECURE LINE (giving “A-line”)
12. Ancient Greek market AGORA
13. Mob boss John GOTTI
18. Subject of the 2003 TV film "The Crooked E" ENRON
22. Zippo filler BUTANE
24. Should, with "to" OUGHT
26. Work-wk. start MON
27. Pollution meas. AQI
28. Tin Woodman's trouble RUST
29. *Angler's equipment FISHING ROD (giving “A-Rod”)
31. Fitted bedding item SHEET
34. "Gadzooks!" ZOUNDS!
35. Patty Hearst, in the SLA TANIA
37. Kitty builder ANTE
40. Inhabitants DENIZENS
42. Pose ASK
44. Miracle Mets manager Hodges GIL
46. Recurring theme MOTIF
48. Mideast capital TEHRAN
51. Hunks HE-MEN
52. Like gymnasts AGILE
53. Shorthand expert STENO
55. Fat-shunning fellow SPRAT
58. Email button SEND
60. Storm wind GALE
61. Calls the game UMPS
62. Brooding place NEST
64. Govt. Rx watchdog FDA
65. Actress Caldwell ZOE


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5 comments:

Vidwan827 said...

Bill - great blog. The puzzle was relatively easy, I'd like to think I'm getting good at this ..." But I think it's just chance the puzzles have been so easy this week.

I didn't get the theme, despite being AHEAD. I couldn't make head nor tail out of it.

Re; batteries. ..... Since electricity is defined as the movement of electrons .... Despite the scientific convention , which you have so accurately stated ....

Shouldn't the current be actually, traveling FROM the cathode TO the Anode ?? after all, the electrons would be traveling from a point of higher electro magnetic potential, where they have congregated, viz. the cathode to a point of lower EMP, viz. the anode.

I know, our electrical conventions, which I studied in school etc., dictate otherwise ...as you have correctly stated .... . Lol

Regarding Thuggee - I have read quite ardently, for my morbid curiosity, about thugs, especially in central India, and their eventual eradication by an Englishman, Sir William Henry Sleeman in the early 1800's. -the first half of the century. There is a town in central India, Sleemanbad ( - 'after' Sleeman -), named for him.

In Hindi, the word, thug, is both the singular and plural, and it describes the perpetrator(s). On the other hand, the word Thuggee, to the best of my knowledge is not known, as such, in Hindi. I may be wrong, but I think, 'thuggee' would be the anglicized version, to represent the profession itself .... If it can indeed, be called a profession. (It must have been, since over several hundred perps were in active business .....).

They operated in large groups of upto 30 people, and had a sophisticated espionage system, with code words and signs. They would befriend a group of travelers, traveling by foot, between distant towns, and gain their confidence. Then, in a distant area of a forest, they would attack, strangle their victims with silk handkerchiefs, and bury all the bodies .... So the group of victims, would disappear without a trace.

Despite such morbid thoughts, may I wish all of us, a happy and nice day.

Pookie said...

Hi Bill, This one left me cold. Thought the theme was, well, kind of inane. Answers least liked were HST/Init, Raid the fridge,Eat, the Arias clue, Tacit, and Meringue needs/should be Egg Whites.
And Wags? I can't figure out if Gareth is in his twenties or from another century.
On to the day!
Have a great one.

Bill Butler said...

@Vidwan
Yes, my solving time was a little slow for a Wednesday, so I'd agree this one was relatively easy.

I've always been perplexed by the fact that electric current is defined as movement from the cathode to the anode, whereas electric current is caused by the flow of electrons in the reverse direction. I think the definition of current flow came before it was explained in terms of electron flow.

Thanks for all that info on "thugs". I just wish we could get rid of their modern incarnation.

@Pookie
Sorry to hear this one left you cold (freeze-framed, perhaps?). I think we all have our favorite setters and types of clues. I am an old fuddy duddy so prefer a puzzle with plenty of wags and the like, rather than the rap singers and street slang. But, that's just me! We all have our likes and dislikes. Vive la difference! :)

Addict said...

I didn't mind the puzzle today but yes, I thought the Theme was a little flat also.

Pookie, FYI. The constructor, Gareth Bain, is a Veterinarian from the RSA(Republic of South Africa) so some words and definitions are regional. Example, Bill refers to constructors as setters and I, vice versa. It's all in the fun of solving.
P.S. Tried as I did last night to post the syntax to link something in BLUE. It always showed up as a link!
I hope Bill helped you out.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Addict.

Thanks for posting the info about Gareth Bain. Gareth is another setter who one has to admire, creating crosswords for North Americans, while sitting on the other side of the world.

Re linking in comments
I ran into the same problem you did! It's hard to include the necessary HTML in the comment without it turning into a link! :)

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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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