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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 Dec 13, Monday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: C.C. Burnikel
THEME: Diamond Head … today’s themed answers start with a word that is often seen before DIAMOND:
17A. Illegal activity admitted by Lance Armstrong in January 2013 BLOOD DOPING (giving “blood diamond”)
24A. Singer with Crosby, Stills & Nash NEIL YOUNG (giving “Neil Diamond”)
37A. ESPN show with an "Inside Pitch" segment BASEBALL TONIGHT (giving “baseball diamond”)
50A. Trousseau holder HOPE CHEST (giving “Hope Diamond”)
61A. Volcanic Hawaiian landmark, and a hint to the first word of 17-, 24-, 37- and 50-Across DIAMOND HEAD
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 04m 55s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

4. Ancient region surrounding Athens ATTICA
Greece is divided into 13 peripheries, regional administrative divisions. The capital of Greece, Athens, is located in the periphery of Attica.

10. Reagan era mil. program SDI
One of the positive outcomes of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a change in US defense strategy. The new approach was to use missiles to destroy incoming hostile weapons, rather than using missiles to destroy the nation attacking the country. The former doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction went by the apt acronym of MAD ...

15. Resident of Tibet's capital LHASAN
Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet, and the name "Lhasa" translates as "place of the gods". However, Lhasa used to be called Rasa, a name that translates into the less auspicious "goat's place". Lhasa was also once called the “Forbidden City” due to its inaccessible location high in the Himalayas and a traditional hostility exhibited by residents to outsiders. The “forbidden” nature of the city has been reinforced since the Chinese took over Tibet in the early 1950s as it has been difficult for foreigners to get permission to visit Lhasa.

17. Illegal activity admitted by Lance Armstrong in January 2013 BLOOD DOPING (giving “blood diamond”)

Blood doping increases the number of red blood cells in a person’s bloodstream. The extra red blood cells boost aerobic capacity, allowing more oxygen to be carried from the lungs to the muscles. The use of blood doping in sports probably dates back to the seventies, and the practice was not banned until 1986.

Lance Armstrong is a former professional road racing cyclist. Famously, Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times in a row, an especially impressive feat as he is a testicular cancer survivor. However, in August 2012 Armstrong was stripped of his titles when he gave up his opposition to charges that he had used performance enhancing drugs.

Blood diamonds (also “conflict diamonds”) are diamonds that are mined and sold to finance a conflict or war.

19. Writer for whom the Edgar award is named POE
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the Edgars) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America.

Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn't really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 39 years of age.

21. Secret matters ARCANA
Arcana are deep secrets or mysteries. "Arcana" is from the Latin adjective "arcanum" meaning "secret, hidden".

23. Baba who stole from thieves ALI
There is some controversy about the story "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called "One Thousand and One Nights". The suggestion is that the Ali Baba tale was added by one of the European translators of the collection.

24. Singer with Crosby, Stills & Nash NEIL YOUNG (giving “Neil Diamond”)
Neil Young is a singer and songwriter from Toronto, Ontario. Young is known for his solo work, as well as his earlier recordings with Buffalo Springfield and as the fourth member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Young is also a successful movie director, although he uses the pseudonym “Bernard Shakey” for his movie work. Included in his filmography are “Human Highway” and “Greendale”.

The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to "CSNY" when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, "A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y".

I saw Neil Diamond in concert about 15 years ago, and I must say he does put on a great show. His voice is cracking a bit, but that didn't seem to spoil anyone's enjoyment. I've also seen Diamond interviewed a few times on television, and I wouldn't say he has the most scintillating of personalities.

29. Actress Cannon DYAN
The actress Dyan Cannon is perhaps best known for playing Alice in the 1969 film “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”, for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Cannon is also famous for having been on Cary Grant's long list of wives, from 1965 to 1968 (and he was 33 years her senior).

30. Peter Fonda's title beekeeper ULEE
"Ulee's Gold" is a highly respected film from 1997 in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee's "gold" is the honey that Ulee produces. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda and he has shared that playing Ulee brought to mind his father, Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in "Ulee's Gold" you're witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.

42. Willem of "Platoon" DAFOE
Willem Dafoe is an American actor, from Wisconsin. He was born just plain William Dafoe, but didn't like being called "Billy". So, he changed his name to Willem, which was the pronunciation of his name by his Scottish babysitter. Those Scots ...

44. "Peter Pan" pirate SMEE
In J. M. Barrie's play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook's pirates and is Hook's right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being "Irish" and "a man who stabbed without offence". Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on the pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

49. Pretoria's land: Abbr. RSA
Republic of South Africa (RSA).

Pretoria is the executive capital of South Africa, one of three capital cities in the country. Cape Town is the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.

50A. Trousseau holder HOPE CHEST (giving “Hope Diamond”)
A “hope chest” is (or perhaps “was”) used by young unmarried women to collect items for their new household in anticipation of marriage. The term used for the same thing in the UK is “bottom drawer” and in Australia is “glory box”.

55. Start of the line that includes "wherefore art thou" O ROMEO
In the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Juliet utters the famous line:
O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Every school kid must have commented with a giggle “he’s down in the garden!” Of course, “wherefore” isn’t an archaic word for “where”, but rather an old way of saying “why”. So Juliet is asking, “Why art thou Romeo, a Montague, and hence a sworn enemy of the Capulets?”

61. Volcanic Hawaiian landmark, and a hint to the first word of 17-, 24-, 37- and 50-Across DIAMOND HEAD
Diamond Head on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu was given its name by British sailors in the 1800s. These sailors found calcite crystals in the rock surrounding the volcanic tuff cone and mistook the crystals for diamonds.

65. __ Pie: ice cream treat ESKIMO
Russell Stover and a partner started in business in 1921. Their company’s initial product was the world’s first chocolate-dipped ice cream bar that they called an Eskimo Pie. When competition for the ice cream product became too intense, Russell and his wife formed a new company to make boxed chocolates. That enterprise was formed in 1923, and the chocolates were originally known as Mrs. Stover’s Bungalow Candies. They were renamed to Russell Stover Candies in 1943.

Down
2. Look at lasciviously OGLE
“Lascivious” is such a lovely sounding word, with a far from lovely meaning. It means lecherous or salacious.

4. Alan of "M*A*S*H" ALDA
Alan Alda had a great television career, especially of course on "M*A*S*H". Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing Hawkeye Pierce on "M*A*S*H". He won his most recent Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy "Same Time, Next Year" in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

"M*A*S*H" has only three stars in it (three asterisks, that is!). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.

7. "Woe __": Patricia T. O'Conner grammar book IS I
Patricia O'Conner has written five books about the English language, including "Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English". What a great subject for a book! I need to buy it for my kids (and probably should take a peek myself) ...

8. Gondolier's "street" CANAL
The word "gondola" was originally limited to the famous boats that travel along the canals of Venice. When man started to fly through the air in hot air balloons, "gondola" was used for the basket in which the passenger(s) traveled. By extension, the structure carrying passengers and crew under an airship is also called a gondola, as are the cars suspended from a cable at a ski resort.

10. One of Minn.'s Twin Cities ST PAUL
Saint Paul that is the state capital of Minnesota, and is one half of the “Twin Cities” or Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Saint Paul used to be called Pig’s Eye, named after a popular tavern in the original settlement in the area. In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier established a log chapel nearby that he dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, giving the city it’s current name. The magnificent Cathedral of St. Paul now sits on the site where the log chapel was built.

11. Singer Warwick DIONNE
Dionne Warwick is a very, very successful singer, with more Top 100 hits than any other female vocalist other than Aretha Franklin. Warwick had a pretty successful cousin who was a singer as well … called Whitney Houston.

12. Frigid historic period ICE AGE
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

14. Aretha's genre SOUL
I think Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, "Rolling Stone" magazine ranked Franklin as number one in their list of the greatest singers of all time.

18. 551, at the Forum DLI
The Roman forum was the public space in the middle of a city, taking it's name from the Latin word "forum" meaning "marketplace, town square".

26. Playing an extra NBA period, say IN OT
In overtime (in OT)

28. Gardner once married to Sinatra AVA
Ava Gardner is noted for her association with some big movies, but also for her association with some big names when it came to the men in her life. In the world of film, she appeared in the likes of "Mogambo" (1953), "On the Beach" (1959), "The Night of the Iguana" (1964) and "Earthquake" (1974). The men in her life included husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. After her marriages had failed (and perhaps before!) she had long term relationships with Howard Hughes and bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin whom she met through her friend Ernest Hemingway.

Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Like so many of our heroes, Sinatra had a rough upbringing. His mother was arrested several times and convicted of running an illegal abortion business in the family home. Sinatra never finished high school, as he was expelled for rowdy conduct. He was later arrested as a youth on a morals charge for carrying on with a married woman, which was an offence back then. But Sinatra straightened himself out by the time he was twenty and started singing professionally.

33. Entrepreneur-aiding org. SBA
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency with the mission of assisting small businesses. The SBA doesn't give loans itself, but it does act as a guarantor under the right circumstances. The SBA was set up in 1953, and isn't a favorite with fiscal conservatives.

39. Lasagna-loving cat GARFIELD
“Garfield” is a comic strip drawn by Jim Davis since 1978. Garfield is an orange tabby cat. Davis named his hero Garfield after his own grandfather.

Lasagna was originally the name of a cooking pot, but it came to mean a dish that was cooked in it. Lasagna also became the name of the flat noodle used in the dish. If you order lasagna on the other side of the Atlantic, you'll notice the "lasagne" spelling, the plural of "lasagna". The plural is used as there is more than one layer of pasta in the dish.

40. Growth chart nos. HTS
Heights (hts.)

45. Wells' "The Island of Dr. __" MOREAU
“The Island of Doctor Moreau” is an 1896 novel penned by H. G. Wells. The book tells the story of a shipwrecked man who ends up on the island of Doctor Moreau. Moreau engages in vivisection and creates new beasts by combining different species.

46. Arnold Palmer or Shirley Temple, drinkwise EPONYM
An eponym is a name for something that is derived from the name of a person.

The drink named for golfer Arnold Palmer is made from lemonade and ice tea. The drink named for fellow golfer John Daly is also made from lemonade and ice tea, but with vodka added …

The original drink called a Shirley Temple was made with two parts ginger ale, one part orange juice and a dash of grenadine. The contemporary drink is much simpler, a mix of 7up (or equivalent) with grenadine. A variant of the non-alcoholic original that includes some form of booze is often called a "Dirty Shirley".

53. Old fort near Monterey ORD
Fort Ord was an army post on Monterey Bay in California named after a General Ord, established in 1917 and closed in 1994. The fort was in a spectacular location with miles of beachfront, and it also had that lovely California weather.

57. Grandson of Adam ENOS
Enos was the son of Seth and the grandson of Adam and Eve.

58. Depilatory brand NAIR
Nair is a hair removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide ("slake lime") and sodium hydroxide ("caustic soda"). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name "Nair" probably comes from combining "no" and "hair".

62. Alias letters AKA
Also known as (aka)

63. Former Russian 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.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Mooing critter COW
4. Ancient region surrounding Athens ATTICA
10. Reagan era mil. program SDI
13. Disgusted grunts UGHS
15. Resident of Tibet's capital LHASAN
16. Muscle spasm TIC
17. Illegal activity admitted by Lance Armstrong in January 2013 BLOOD DOPING
19. Writer for whom the Edgar award is named POE
20. Not sacred SECULAR
21. Secret matters ARCANA
23. Baba who stole from thieves ALI
24. Singer with Crosby, Stills & Nash NEIL YOUNG
27. Glass container JAR
29. Actress Cannon DYAN
30. Peter Fonda's title beekeeper ULEE
31. Opposed (to) AVERSE
34. Hurts with a tusk GORES
37. ESPN show with an "Inside Pitch" segment BASEBALL TONIGHT
42. Willem of "Platoon" DAFOE
43. 100-lawmakers group SENATE
44. "Peter Pan" pirate SMEE
47. Hang around STAY
49. Pretoria's land: Abbr. RSA
50. Trousseau holder HOPE CHEST
53. Stomach-punch response OOF!
55. Start of the line that includes "wherefore art thou" O ROMEO
56. Female star HEROINE
60. Comfy room DEN
61. Volcanic Hawaiian landmark, and a hint to the first word of 17-, 24-, 37- and 50-Across DIAMOND HEAD
64. Night's opposite DAY
65. __ Pie: ice cream treat ESKIMO
66. Reached base in a cloud of dust SLID
67. "Tasty!" YUM!
68. Unsettling looks STARES
69. Arid DRY

Down
1. Baby bears CUBS
2. Look at lasciviously OGLE
3. "So what?" WHO CARES?
4. Alan of "M*A*S*H" ALDA
5. Like rosebushes THORNY
6. Pub spigot TAP
7. "Woe __": Patricia T. O'Conner grammar book IS I
8. Gondolier's "street" CANAL
9. Hopping mad ANGRY
10. One of Minn.'s Twin Cities ST PAUL
11. Singer Warwick DIONNE
12. Frigid historic period ICE AGE
14. Aretha's genre SOUL
18. 551, at the Forum DLI
22. Dad's nephew COUSIN
25. Aerie hatchlings EAGLETS
26. Playing an extra NBA period, say IN OT
27. Quick blow JAB
28. Gardner once married to Sinatra AVA
29. Refusing to listen DEAF
32. Use, as a coupon REDEEM
33. Entrepreneur-aiding org. SBA
35. Optimistic ROSY
36. Opposite of WSW ENE
38. Come in last LOSE
39. Lasagna-loving cat GARFIELD
40. Growth chart nos. HTS
41. Brewed drink TEA
44. Poorly made SHODDY
45. Wells' "The Island of Dr. __" MOREAU
46. Arnold Palmer or Shirley Temple, drinkwise EPONYM
48. Where charity begins AT HOME
51. Formally gives up CEDES
52. Raise, as a sail HOIST
53. Old fort near Monterey ORD
54. Sounds of wonder OOHS
57. Grandson of Adam ENOS
58. Depilatory brand NAIR
59. Hot tub swirl EDDY
62. Alias letters AKA
63. Former Russian space station MIR


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7 comments:

Vidwan827 said...

Very nice blog, Bill. Learnt a lot, like always.

Re; the Reagan SDI ... When it initially came out , .... Was passionately derided as a Star Wars cockamamie idea. Now there are plaudits.....

Regarding the SBA .... I worked for a consulting firm for the SBA, and those were my most depressing years. The sheer degree of massive waste makes you lose full faith in the government and the so called entrepreneurs . I doubt things have changed. C'est la vie.

Actually, I am having the same problem on my online solve ..... No Monday puzzle. So I am missing an opportunity to solve a very easy puzzle at all. C'est la vie.

Have a nice day, and a nice week, all.

Vidwan827 said...

I finally got the puzzle online .... But now I knew the answers by rote.... Sometimes, you never win ... Oh well.

Pookie said...

Hi Bill and Vidwan,

Easy, but not much fun.
Too much 3-letter nonsense.
SDI,RSA,OOF,DLI,AKA, and IN OT,OOHS.
Anyway, off to work.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Bill as always.

Monday puzzles are a great way to start the week. period.

The Russian word "Mir" means both "peace" as well as "world". I never figured out which this was supposed to signify. "Sputnik" simply means "satellite" so I can figure that one out.

Anonymous said...

7Bill, While Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin were big stars, I just watched the PBS concert with Barbara Streisand and learned that:
According to the RIAA, Streisand holds the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 32 since 1963.[10] Streisand has the widest span (48 years) between first and latest top-ten albums of any female recording artist. With her 2009 album, Love Is the Answer, she became one of the rare artists to achieve number-one albums in five consecutive decades.[11] According to the RIAA, she has released 51 Gold albums, 30 Platinum albums, and 13 Multi-Platinum albums in the United States.[2]

Streisand fan said...

Anon, as above, I too saw that PBS special ... Barbra Streisand, was magnificent !!

BTW, her first name is Barbra not Barbara. ;-)

She "changed" her name, by dropping the extra 'a' , on advice of her media consultants, in Hollywood. They wanted her to change her entire name ... And get a nose job. She refused on both.

Link Barbra in WIKI.

Not only was she a great singer, a great actress, but also an award winning movie director and producer.

She won the gamut of the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards.

Kind regards.

Bill Butler said...

@Vidwan
I am sorry to hear about your access problems to the puzzle. I am wondering which website you are using? Is it the LA Times' own site?

I never worked in the public sector, but spent much of my career going after waste in the private sector. It's amazing how we can't see the wood for the trees. We can get so focused on making more revenue that we forget profits also come from lowering spending.

@Pookie
Not a big fan of 3-letter words myself, especially acronymns. Ah well ...

@Jeff
Thanks for the extra info on "mir". I read the other day that Sputnik 1 was just under two feet in diameter. A little smaller than the Mir space station!

@Anonymous
Thanks for mentioning Barbra Streisand. I'm a big fan too. The stats on her record sales are indeed impressive. She was a favorite of my nother's and I remember surreptitiously listening to them (along with Perry Como records) while touting the latest Don Maclean and Beatles albums with my friends. Happy days :)

@Streisand Fan
The list of winners of all four awards is impressive, and short (I just checked it!). Some names that catch my eye alongide Streisand are John Geilgud, Whoopi Goldberg and the ever-beguiling Audrey Hepburn.

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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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