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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, 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 probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 12 Dec 13, Thursday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: Robert W. Harris
THEME: Puzzling Roots … today’s themed answers celebrate the birth of our beloved crossword puzzle:
16A. How to start working on a 35-Across EXAMINE ALL CLUES
35A. Pastime that will celebrate its 100th anniversary on 12/21/2013 CROSSWORD PUZZLE
54A. How to finish working on a 35-Across WRITE THE ANSWERS
17D. Inventor of the 35-Across ARTHUR WYNNE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 47s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Keyless ATONAL
Atonal music is not written in any particular key, and therefore does not have a key signature.

7. Top BLOUSE
A blouse is a loose-fitting shirt, particularly worn by women or children. The term “blouse” is French, and originally described a peasant’s smock.

15. Some woodwind players OBOISTS
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name "oboe" comes from the French "hautbois" which means "high wood". When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you'll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an "A". The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe's "A". Oh, and if you want to read a fun book (almost an "exposé") about life playing the oboe, you might try "Mozart in the Jungle" by oboist Blair Tindall. I heard recently that the folks at HBO are working towards a pilot based on the book, and I can’t wait to see it!

18. Missile spot SILO
There are still hundreds Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in service, with most of them dotted around the landscape of the plain states. I was driving through the area a couple of years ago and counted five missile silos and two launch control centers, just sitting there, at the side of the road.

20. Fish-eating eagle ERNE
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle or sea-eagle.

21. Talking Trans Am of classic TV KITT
The 1982 crime television show called “Knight Rider” famously starred David Hasselhoff as well a very cool, artificially intelligent car called KITT. KITT (which stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand) is a heavily modified Pontiac Trans Am.

22. Speak incessantly about HARP ON
“To harp on” something is to talk too much about it. The original expression with the same meaning was “to harp on the same string”, a reference to the musical instrument.

24. Spenser's "The __ Queene" FAERIE
"The Faerie Queene" is an epic poem by Edmund Spenser, one of the longest poems written in the English language.

28. Some elimination rounds HEATS
The term "heat", meaning a qualifying race, dates back to the 1660s. Originally a heat was a run given to a horse to prepare it for a race, to "heat" it up.

31. Kirsten of "Melancholia" DUNST
Kirsten Dunst is a Hollywood actress from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Dunst is perhaps best known for playing the love interest and female lead in the “Spider-Man” series of movies opposite Tobey Maguire. Personally, my favorite Dunst films are “Wimbledon” and “Marie Antoinette”. Dunst is a dual citizen of the US and Germany, as her father is from Hamburg.

“Melancholia” is a 2011 drama movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as two sisters who have to face the impending end of the world. The film’s title is the name of a rogue planet that is on a collision course with the Earth.

32. Otologist's concern EAR
Otology is a branch of medicine dealing with the ear. The prefix “oto-” means “pertaining to the ear”.

35. Pastime that will celebrate its 100th anniversary on 12/21/2013 CROSSWORD PUZZLE
It is generally accepted that the first crossword puzzle was published as a “Word-Cross” puzzle on December 21, 1913 in the “New York World”. The name “Word-Cross” was changed to “Cross-Word” a few weeks due to a mistake in the typesetting room. The name “crossword” has been used ever since. The “New York World” then started publishing the puzzles every week, and the idea was picked up by other newspapers. By 1920, crosswords were so popular that the New York Public Library reported difficulties in meeting the demand for access to dictionaries and encyclopedias.

38. Saturn model until 2007 ION
The Saturn Ion was produced by GM from 2003 to 2007. It was the longest (in length) of any car sold in North America that was labelled as a “compact”.

40. Nostrils NARES
The nostrils are also called the “nares” (singular “naris”).

41. Name of eight English kings HENRY
Henry I of England was a son of William the Conqueror. According to legend, Henry died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys”, or more likely food poisoning. Lampreys look like a cross between a fish and an eel.

Henry VIII was the last male to lead the the House of Tudor, as his daughter Queen Elizabeth I died without issue.

42. Lunch, say REPAST
Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

48. Quite a while AEON
In astronomical terms, an aeon (also “eon”) is defined as one billion years.

50. Vocalist James ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song "At Last". Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

58. Corrida figures TOREROS
"Toreador" is an old Spanish word for a bullfighter, but it's a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term "toreador", but in Spanish a bullfighter is a "torero". A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

In Spain, bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally "race of bulls".

61. Satisfies the munchies NOSHES
Our word "nosh" has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word "nashn" meaning "to nibble".

Down
2. Doorman's cry TAXI
We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

4. Literary sea captain NEMO
In the 1954 movie version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne the fate of Nemo and his crew isn't quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones' Locker.

5. Porthos, to Aramis AMI
A male friend in France is "un ami", and a female friend is "une amie".

“The Three Musketeers" are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and their young protégé is D'Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Paradoxically, Alexandre Dumas' three musketeers really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for their prowess with their swords.

6. Gentle giant in "Of Mice and Men" LENNIE
"Of Mice and Men" is a novella written by American author John Steinbeck, published in 1937. The title comes from the famous poem by Robert Burns, "To a Mouse". The inspirational line from the poem is "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft tagley." Steinbeck actually wrote “Of Mice and Men” as a “novel-play”, intending that the line from the novel used as a script for a play. I actually saw the theatrical version on stage for the first time quite recently, and really enjoyed it.

7. Crude meas. BBL
The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to "bbl". Barrels aren't really used for transporting crude oil anymore. Instead, oil moves in bulk through pipelines and in tankers. "Barrel" is just a quantity these days.

8. __ cit. LOC
Loc. cit. is short for "loco citato" meaning "in the place cited". Loc. cit. is used in a footnote instead of op. cit. as it refers not only to a prior work, but also to the same page in that work.

9. Crude fleet OILERS
An “oiler” is an oil tanker.

11. Pool worker STENO
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek "steno" (narrow) and "graphe" (writing).

12. Chief Ruhr River valley city ESSEN
The Ruhr is a large urban area in western Germany. The area is heavily populated, and is the fifth largest urban area in the whole of Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow, London and Paris.

14. Discontinued depilatory NEET
The hair removal product "Neet" was launched in Canada in 1901, and was also sold as "Immac". Today it is sold under the name "Veet".

17. Inventor of the 35-Across ARTHUR WYNNE
Arthur Wynne is generally credited with the invention of what we now known as a crossword puzzle. Wynne was born in Liverpool, England and emigrated to the US when he was 19-years-old. He worked as a journalist and was living in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1913 when he introduced a “Word-Cross Puzzle” in his page of puzzles written for the “New York World”. And the rest, as they say, is history ...

26. Avenger John Steed's alma mater ETON
“The Avengers” was must-see television when I was growing up. “The Avengers” was a sixties comedy spy series set in England during the days of the Cold War. The hero was John Steed, played ably by Patrick MacNee. Steed had various female partners as the series progressed, the first of which was Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman (who also played Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”). Following Ms. Gale was Emma Peel played by the wonderful Diana Rigg. Finally there was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.

The literal translation for the Latin term "alma mater" is "nourishing mother". “Alma mater” was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one's alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one's last place of education.

27. Thing in court? RES
"Res" is the Latin for "thing". "Res" is used in a lot of phrases in the law.

32. Biblical reformer EZRA
Ezra the Scribe, also called Ezra the Priest, is the central character in the Book of Ezra in the Hebrew Bible.

37. Microwave ZAP
The first household microwave oven was introduced to the market in 1955, a Tappan microwave.

Tappan is a brand name of appliances that is now owned by Electrolux. The brand originated with the Ohio Valley Foundry company in Bellaire, Ohio that was founded in 1881 by W.J. Tappan. Back then the company made cast-iron stoves that it sold door-door.

44. Former Argentine ruler PERON
Nowadays, President Juan Perón of Argentina is perhaps less well-known than his second wife, Eva Perón of "Evita" fame. Juan and Eva Perón were overthrown in a military coup in 1955, although Juan Perón was returned to power in 1973 when he served for only nine months before he passed away. Juan was succeeded in office by his third wife, Isabel Perón.

45. Longest river in France LOIRE
The Loire River is so long that it drains a full one-fifth of France's land mass. It rises in the southeast, in the Cevennes mountain range, then it heads north and then due east, emptying into the Bay of Biscay at the city of Nantes.

51. Composer who was a CBS reporter TESH
John Tesh is a pianist and composer, as well as a radio and television presenter. For many years Tesh presented the show "Entertainment Tonight". For "ET" he once covered the filming of an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation". As part of the piece, he volunteered to act as a Klingon warrior and so if you see the "Star Trek: TNG" episode called "The Icarus Factor" in reruns, watch out for John Tesh engaging in ritual torture with Mr. Worf as his victim.

57. __ Balls: Hostess snack food SNO
The Hostess cakes called Sno Balls are usually pink in color, although in its original form each packet of two cakes contained one white and one pink. Around Halloween you can buy Sno Balls in the form of Scary Cakes and Glo Balls that are colored orange and green. and on St. Paddy's Day there's a green one available. Yoo hoo!

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Keyless ATONAL
7. Top BLOUSE
13. Crude dudes CAVEMEN
15. Some woodwind players OBOISTS
16. How to start working on a 35-Across EXAMINE ALL CLUES
18. Missile spot SILO
19. Socially awkward type NERD
20. Fish-eating eagle ERNE
21. Talking Trans Am of classic TV KITT
22. Speak incessantly about HARP ON
24. Spenser's "The __ Queene" FAERIE
28. Some elimination rounds HEATS
30. Quite a lot OFTEN
31. Kirsten of "Melancholia" DUNST
32. Otologist's concern EAR
35. Pastime that will celebrate its 100th anniversary on 12/21/2013 CROSSWORD PUZZLE
38. Saturn model until 2007 ION
39. Pet sounds MEOWS
40. Nostrils NARES
41. Name of eight English kings HENRY
42. Lunch, say REPAST
43. It may be used after a break SPLINT
46. Requisite NEED
48. Quite a while AEON
49. Not even semi-pro? ANTI
50. Vocalist James ETTA
54. How to finish working on a 35-Across WRITE THE ANSWERS
58. Corrida figures TOREROS
59. Gets in order LINES UP
60. Tense ON EDGE
61. Satisfies the munchies NOSHES

Down
1. Nails, as a test ACES
2. Doorman's cry TAXI
3. Roundish OVAL
4. Literary sea captain NEMO
5. Porthos, to Aramis AMI
6. Gentle giant in "Of Mice and Men" LENNIE
7. Crude meas. BBL
8. __ cit. LOC
9. Crude fleet OILERS
10. Seize USURP
11. Pool worker STENO
12. Chief Ruhr River valley city ESSEN
14. Discontinued depilatory NEET
15. Long-established OLD
17. Inventor of the 35-Across ARTHUR WYNNE
21. Branches on some trees KINSMEN
22. Metal fastener HASP
23. Adjusted (to) ATTUNED
24. Central points FOCI
25. High style AFRO
26. Avenger John Steed's alma mater ETON
27. Thing in court? RES
29. Limits ENDS
31. __ prize DOOR
32. Biblical reformer EZRA
33. Brown or golden drinks ALES
34. Take ten REST
36. Made an exit WENT
37. Microwave ZAP
41. Was indirect HINTED
42. Keep from getting out of control REIN IN
43. Took care of SAW TO
44. Former Argentine ruler PERON
45. Longest river in France LOIRE
47. Catchall abbr. ET AL
49. Sounds of contentment AHS
50. Woolly females EWES
51. Composer who was a CBS reporter TESH
52. Veracious TRUE
53. Threatening slitherers ASPS
55. Centimeter-gram-second unit ERG
56. Shoe part TOE
57. __ Balls: Hostess snack food SNO


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7 comments:

Vidwan827 said...

Welcome, Bill and friends,

Today's Thursday ... So, difficult.

The puzzle was engaging, but when I got some of the answers, I loved it, because of the theme. But nevertheless a tech. Did not finish.

I was reading on Arthur Wynnes first attempt ... He used the same words twice, he used rather difficult words and rare words, and the clues wee haphazard. But the game was so novel, the public loved it ... And the rest is history. I would not risk to guess that crossword puzzles need more dictionaries and encyclop. Than spelling bees.

As for the poor Mr. Henry the first, .... Anybody's who rash enough to eat lampreys, is probably asking for it .... Since a king can eat whatever he wants .... He must have been rather fond of them. My stomach starts growling at any lesser vertebrates than fish ... Lol.

Thank you for your lovely, informative blog. Learnt a lot.

Pookie said...

Hi Bill and Vidwan.
Got all but 2 letters.
TOP got me. I was thinking of some word that meant above everything, or to get ahead of someone.
BLOUSE never occurred to me.
Plus don't know BBL or LOC so I was stumped.
The long answers came easily, it was the two 3-letter ones that did me in.
Bill, you mentioned the oboe and I have been unsuccessfully trying to find an old book of poems about the orchestra members. It is probably from the 20's or 30's.
One poem is about the harpist who must have pluck, a long dress and a truck.
And I too can't imagine eating eel, Vidwan.

Bill Butler said...

@Vidwan
It is great to see the 100th anniversary of the crossword being celebrated. I wonder did Mr. Wynne come to appreciate just what he started? Thanks for the extra information about that first puzzle.

@Pookie
I am not sure what the collection of poems is to which you refer, but I suspect that the harpist reference is to some lines by Robert Benchley from "Pluck and Luck"
A harpist certainly needs pluck,
A black silk costume--and a truck.

I hope that helps, Pookie!

Pookie said...

Bill, I FINALLY found it!
"People of Note" a score of symphony faces. Laurence McKinney and illustrator Gluyas William. AAACK! It took me so long.The illustration are great, but I can't find the one of the oboe, the harpist is easier to find.
Hard to pronounce and play, the OBOE--
(With cultured folk it rhymes with
"doughboy"
Though many an intellectual hobo
Insists that we should call it oboe)
However, be that as it may,
Whene'er the oboe sounds its A
All of the others start their tuning
And there is fiddling and bassooning.
Its plaintive note presaging gloom
Brings anguish to the concert room,
Even the player holds his breath
And scares the audience to death
For fear he may get off the key,
Which happens not infrequently.
This makes the saying understood:
"It's an ill wood wind no one blows good."
HARP
If there's one lady in the bunch
To find her takes no special hunch
Nor sight particularly sharp
She is the girl who hugs the HARP.
The very longest tuner-upper
She has to have an early supper
And seated on a lonesome chair
Proceeds to wind up the affair.
Then she will sit and sit and wait,
Dispassionate and desolate,
Till the conductor's nod, or frown,
Sets her to stroking up and down.
And after these chromatic bits -
She simply sits and sits and sits.
A harpist must have lots of pluck -
A black silk costume - and a truck.

Bill Butler said...

Pookie,

Congrats on your successful quest.

"It's an ill wood wind no one blows good."

That's a great line, and one that has appeared in the crossword a few times :)

Vidwan827 said...

Porkies,

What a wonderful poem ... I must note it down. Thank you. That almost sounds like Ogden Nash ... Almost....


Good night, all.

Vidwan827 said...

I meant Pookie, stupid auto correct.

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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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