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LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Mar 13, Friday



CROSSWORD SETTER: Dan Margolis
THEME: Sounds Like Ants … today’s themed answers are homonyms of common phrases, with the suffix -ants replacing the suffix -ance:
20A. Valets who get no tips? POOR ATTENDANTS (from “poor attendance”)
25A. "Block that kick!" and "Dee-fense!"? SPORTING CHANTS (from “sporting chance”)
43A. Masked marathon runners? SECRET ENTRANTS (from “secret entrance”)
48A. Temporarily contribute helpers? LEND ASSISTANTS (from “lend assistance”)
COMPLETION TIME: 16m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Powerful swimmer MAKO
The shortfin mako shark can appear on restaurant menus, and as a result the species is dying out in some parts of the world. The mako gets its own back sometimes though, and attacks on humans are not unknown. And the shark in Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea", that's a mako.

16. Variety REVUE
“Revue” is the French word for “review”.

17. Soft mineral TALC
Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days "baby powder" can also be cornstarch.

23. Alliance led by Nasser: Abbr. UAR
Gamal Abdel Nasser was the second president of Egypt, from 1956 until he died in 1970. He stood alongside Muhammad Naguib, Egypt's first president, during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 that overthrew the ruling monarchy of Egypt and Sudan. Nasser was an advocate of Pan-Arabism, an ideology promoting unification of Arab peoples and countries. President Nasser went so far as forming the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union between Egypt and Syria that started in 1958 but fell apart in 1961 when Syria withdrew.

24. Overseas assent OUI
“Oui” is “yes” in French, and “non” is “no”.

35. MapQuest request: Abbr. RTE
MapQuest is a very popular Internet site, one that provides driving directions and maps. MapQuest is actually owned by AOL.

37. City near Presque Isle State Park ERIE
Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area.

Presque Isle State Park is off the coast of Erie, Pennsylvania and sits on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie. The name “Presque Isle” translates from French as “peninsula”, or more literally “almost an island”.

38. Performed a jeté LEAPT
A jeté is a leap in ballet, coming from the French word "jeter" meaning "to throw". A jeté en avant is a “leap to the front”, towards the audience.

40. Delt neighbor PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle.

The deltoid muscle is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

41. Hershey's competitor BOSCO
Bosco Chocolate Syrup is produced in New Jersey, and first hit store shelves in 1928.

43. Masked marathon runners? SECRET ENTRANTS (from “secret entrance”)
The marathon is run over 26 miles and 385 yards, and of course commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens. The actual distance run today was decided in 1921, and matches the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway.

46. Loser to DDE AES
Adlai Stevenson ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were "Don't wait for the translation, answer 'yes' or 'no'!" followed by "I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!"

57. "... a Loaf of Bread ..." poet OMAR
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam".

Here are some lines by 11th-century poet Omar Khayyam:
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

61. __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
Nowadays Simi Valley is perhaps best known as being home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. If you ever get the chance to do so, the library is a great place to visit. There you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.

Down
2. "Stat!" cousin ASAP
The exact etymology of "stat", a term meaning "immediately" in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin "statim" meaning "to a standstill, immediately". A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for "short turn-around time".

5. The Beach Boys' "Surfin' __" SAFARI
“Surfin’ Safari” was the first studio album recorded by the Beach Boys, an album that was released in 1962.

When the Beach Boys formed in 1961, they were very much a family concern. Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson were three brothers, Mike Love was their cousin, and the fifth member of the band was family friend Al Jardine. Back then, the manager of the group was Murry Wilson, the father of the three Wilson brothers.

12. Em, for one AUNT
In “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

13. Kennedy et al. TEDS
Ted Kennedy was the youngest boy in the family and had three older brothers: Joseph Jr. (killed in action in WWII), John (assassinated) and Robert (assassinated). Ted went into the US Senate in 1962 in a special election held after his brother became US President. He remained in the Senate until he passed away in 2009, making Ted Kennedy the fourth-longest-serving Senator in history.

22. Like seven Ryan games NO-HIT
Nolan Ryan is famous for having more career strikeouts that any other pitcher. However, he also holds the record for the most career walks and wild pitches. Another record that Ryan holds is the most no-hitters, a total of seven over his career.

26. Netanyahu's predecessor PERES
Shimon Peres is an Israeli statesman who was born in Poland. A former prime minister, Peres is the current President of the State of Israel. He is 89 years old, making him the oldest head of state in the world.

28. Explosive trial N-TEST
There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. In an atomic bomb, uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. Fusion devices are also called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy than a fission reaction.

30. Chef's fowl CAPON
A capon is a castrated cockerel (poor guy!). Castration has a profound effect on the bird (duh!) making the meat more tender to eat when he is slaughtered.

36. Some Caltech grads: Abbr. ENGS
Caltech is more properly known as the California Institute of Technology, and is a private research-oriented school in Pasadena. One of Caltech's responsibilities is the management and operation of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If you watch "The Big Bang Theory" on television like me, you might know that the four lead characters all work at Caltech.

38. Fertile soil LOESS
Loess is a wind-blown accumulation of silt. "Loess" is German in origin and was first used to describe silt along the Rhine Valley.

42. Spanish tar BREA
“Brea” is the Spanish word for “tar”.

The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It's well worth a visit if you are in town …

44. Inner circles CADRES
A "cadre" is most commonly a group of experienced personnel at the core of a larger organization that the small group trains or heavily influences. "Cadre" is a French word meaning a "frame". We use it in the sense that a cadre is a group that provides a "framework" for the larger organization.

45. Game designed by Alexey Pajitnov TETRIS
Tetris is a very addictive video game, developed in the Soviet Union in 1984. The name Tetris comes from a melding of the prefix “tetra-” (as all the game pieces have four segments) and “tennis” (a favorite sport played by the developer). Since 2005 there have been more than 100 million copies of the game installed on cell phones alone.

48. Senate Republican leader before Frist LOTT
Trent Lott was raised Democrat in Mississippi, but served in Congress as a Republican. Lott ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.

Bill Frist was Senate Majority Leader for the Republicans from 2003 to 2007. Prior to becoming a politician, Frist was a heart and lung transplant surgeon. He has also been a pilot since he was 16-years-old, and has run seven marathons.

49. River to the Fulda EDER
The Eder is a river in Germany, a tributary of the Fulda River. The Eder has a dam near the small town of Waldeck which holds water in the large Edersee reservoir. This was one of the dams that was attacked by the RAF during WWII with the famous Barnes Wallis bouncing bombs. It was destroyed in the Dam Busters raid in 1943, but rebuilt the same year.

51. "Meh" SO-SO
“Meh!” is one of those terms unfamiliar to me, a modern colloquialism meaning “I’m not great, but not bad”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Powerful swimmer MAKO
5. Pipe part STEM
9. Distinguished GREAT
14. "Not a chance!" AS IF!
15. Trusted underling AIDE
16. Variety REVUE
17. Soft mineral TALC
18. Dart FLIT
19. Modify AMEND
20. Valets who get no tips? POOR ATTENDANTS (from “poor attendance”)
23. Alliance led by Nasser: Abbr. UAR
24. Overseas assent OUI
25. "Block that kick!" and "Dee-fense!"? SPORTING CHANTS (from “sporting chance”)
33. It may be perfect TENSE
34. Pursue TRAIL
35. MapQuest request: Abbr. RTE
37. City near Presque Isle State Park ERIE
38. Performed a jeté LEAPT
39. Kind of a drag? MAIN
40. Delt neighbor PEC
41. Hershey's competitor BOSCO
42. Creature BEING
43. Masked marathon runners? SECRET ENTRANTS (from “secret entrance”)
46. Loser to DDE AES
47. Poetic period E’EN
48. Temporarily contribute helpers? LEND ASSISTANTS (from “lend assistance”)
56. Sensory stimuli ODORS
57. "... a Loaf of Bread ..." poet OMAR
58. Got a load of EYED
60. Principle TENET
61. __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
62. Fix, in a way SPAY
63. Head lock TRESS
64. Wallet fillers ONES
65. Like some losers SORE

Down
1. Welcoming sight? MAT
2. "Stat!" cousin ASAP
3. Bust unit KILO
4. "Naturally" OF COURSE
5. The Beach Boys' "Surfin' __" SAFARI
6. Be a little cockeyed, maybe TILT
7. Computer menu option EDIT
8. Dole METE
9. Bit-by-bit GRADUAL
10. Tarry REMAIN
11. Knotted up, sportswise EVEN
12. Em, for one AUNT
13. Kennedy et al. TEDS
21. Charge with a time component RATE
22. Like seven Ryan games NO-HIT
25. Increase, with "up" STEP
26. Netanyahu's predecessor PERES
27. Cold and ready ON ICE
28. Explosive trial N-TEST
29. Supper preceder GRACE
30. Chef's fowl CAPON
31. Commuting option TRAIN
32. Hitch STINT
36. Some Caltech grads: Abbr. ENGS
38. Fertile soil LOESS
39. Parsimony MEANNESS
41. Fowl options BREASTS
42. Spanish tar BREA
44. Inner circles CADRES
45. Game designed by Alexey Pajitnov TETRIS
48. Senate Republican leader before Frist LOTT
49. River to the Fulda EDER
50. Inventory extreme NONE
51. "Meh" SO-SO
52. "Let's do it" I’M IN
53. Word heard before and after old SAME
54. Proof goof TYPO
55. Scorch SEAR
59. Salon job DYE

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LA Times Crossword Answers 28 Feb 13, Thursday



CROSSWORD SETTER: Steven J. St. John
THEME: How to Crash and Burn … today’s themed answers give us three cliched exchanges that one might hear in a singles bar, perhaps:
7A. With 22-, 37- or 48-Across, familiar line HEY, BABE

22A. See 7-Across COME HERE OFTEN?
37A. See 7-Across YOUR PLACE OR MINE?
48A. See 7-Across WHAT'S YOUR SIGN?

64A. Probable response to 7-/22-, 7-/37- or 7-/48-Across GET LOST!
COMPLETION TIME: 16m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
14. It has its charms VOODOO
Voodoo is a religion that originated in the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

17. Mail for King Arthur ARMOUR
King Arthur probably never really existed, but his legend is very persistent. Arthur was supposedly a leader of the Romano-British as they tried to resist the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

19. Fed. management and support agency GSA
The US Government's General Services Administration (GSA), as the name suggests, provides general services to other federal agencies. So for example, the GSA manages office space for the other agencies, and transportation.

29. Ken and Lena of Hollywood OLINS
Ken Olin was one of the stars on the hit television series "Thirtysomething", playing Michael Steadman. After "Thirtysomething", Olin moved behind the camera and is now a producer and director.

The lovely Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin's breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland.

31. Mosquito-borne fever DENGUE
Dengue fever is a tropical disease, a virus that is transmitted by mosquitos. The etymology of the term “dengue” isn’t well documented. One theory is that it comes from “Ka-dinga pepo”, a Swahili phrase describing the disease as the work of an evil spirit. Dengue fever is also called "breakbone fever", a term that was coined by one of the Founding Fathers of the US, the physician Benjamin Rush. Rush used the term in a 1789 report describing an epidemic of the disease in Philadelphia. "Breakbone" is a reference to the accompanying symptoms of severe muscle and joint pain.

33. Islet AIT
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.

50. Literature Nobelist __ Bashevis Singer ISAAC
Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Jewish-American author from Poland who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. As well as being a much-respected author, Singer was a noted vegetarian, and featured the theme of vegetarianism in his some of his works. He was once asked if he had become a vegetarian for health reasons, to which he remarked “I did it for the health of the chicken”.

52. __ Lanka SRI
The name Sri Lanka translates from Sanskrit into English as "venerable island". Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule. The lion on the country’s national flag symbolizes the fight against British colonialism.

Down
1. Gardner of "The Killers" 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.

“The Killers” is a film noir based on a short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film stars Ava Gardner, as well as Burt Lancaster in his big screen debut.

2. NYY opponent, on scoreboards TOR
The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.

7. An O may symbolize one HUG
In the sequence XOX, I think the X represents a kiss, and the O a hug. Hugs and kisses ...

8. Odessa-to-Austin dir. ESE
The city of Odessa, Texas has as its symbol the jack rabbit. This is because from the thirties through the seventies the city hosted a rodeo for roping rabbits. The Humane Society applied pressure and the city did away with the tradition in 1977.

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas. When the area was chosen to be the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was known as Waterloo. The name was changed in honor of Stephen F. Austin, a native of Virginia who was raised in Missouri and led the first successful colonization of Texas.

10. Leaflike parts BRACTS
A bract is a modified leaf that is usually found near a reproductive structure on a plant, perhaps a flower.

11. "Life of Pi" director ANG LEE
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as "Sense & Sensibility" (my personal favorite), "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hulk", "Brokeback Mountain" and “Life of Pi”.

The 2012 movie “Life of Pi” is based on a 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel. The “Pi” in the title is an Indian boy called Pi Patel who finds himself adrift for 227 days in small boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

12. Unseen "Red" character in "Peanuts" BARON
Snoopy, the famous beagle in the "Peanuts" comic strip, has a number of alter-egos and is sometimes depicted as a World War I flying ace. Snoopy's arch-enemy in the air is Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, and Snoopy can often be seen shaking his fist and crying out, "Curse you, Red Baron!"

16. N.T. book EPH
It seems that the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians is now regarded by scholars as written "in the style of Paul" by someone who was influenced by Paul's thought.

22. Buffalo Bill and the Wyoming city named for him CODYS
Buffalo Bill Cody was a great showman after he retired from the US Army. While serving in the Army, Buffalo Bill was awarded the Medal of Honor. William Frederick Cody earned his “Buffalo Bill” nickname while supplying buffalo meat to the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Cody “hunted” and slaughtered over 4,000 American bison in an 18-month period to fulfill his contract with the railroad.

The city of Cody, Wyoming takes its name from one of the city’s founders Colonel William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill.

23. Kitchen spreads OLEOS
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. In 1869, a French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something that he called oleomargarine, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name "margarine". The name "oleomargarine" also gives us our generic term "oleo".

27. Andy's TV son OPIE
Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show". Howard has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like "Apollo 13", "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Da Vinci Code". And today, "Opie" is a grandfather ...

34. Capone associate NITTI
Frank Nitti was one of the top henchmen working for Al Capone. Unlike American-born Capone, Nitti was actually from Italy and was born near the city of Salerno. When Capone was eventually put away for 11 years for tax evasion, Nitti was convicted of the same crime. Nitti was only imprisoned for 18 months, and when released he was labelled as the new head of Capone's Chicago Outfit. However the truth seems to be that he was just a frontman, with others making the decisions.

36. 1996 role for Madonna or Jonathan Pryce PERON
"Evita" was the follow up musical to "Jesus Christ Superstar" for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). “Evita” was made into a film in 1996, with Madonna playing the title role and Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce playing her husband Juan Perón.

40. Prey for a Hauskatze MAUS
In German, a mouse (Maus) is prey for a housecat (Hauskatze).

46. Aurora, to the Greeks EOS
In Greek mythology, Eos is the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos is Aurora.

50. Like Vivaldi's "Spring" IN E
Antonio Vivaldi was one of the great composers of the Baroque period. Vivaldi achieved fame and success within in his own lifetime, notoriety that faded soon after he died. His music has reemerged in recent decades and most people are familiar with at least part of his most famous composition, the violin concerto called “The Four Seasons”. Vivaldi was nicknamed “The Red Priest” because he was indeed a priest, and he had red hair.

54. Scooby-__ DOO
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” is a series of cartoons produced for Hanna-Barbera Productions, first aired in 1969.

55. Tape speed unit: Abbr. IPS
Inches-per-second (IPS).

56. Hanoi holiday TET
The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning "Feast of the First Morning". Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state and Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City.

58. John of London LOO
When I was growing up in Ireland, a "bathroom" was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called "the toilet" or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term closet was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes and linens in a "closet", as a closet was the right size to take the commode. It has been suggested that the British term "loo" comes from Waterloo (water-closet ... water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of "lanterloo" in which the pot was called the loo!

The use of "john" as a slang term for a toilet is peculiar to North America. "John" probably comes from the older slang term of "jack" or "jakes" that had been around since the 16th century. In Ireland, in cruder moments, we still refer to a toilet as "the jacks".

61. Prof's deg. PHD
PhD is an abbreviation for "philosophiae doctor", Latin for "teacher of philosophy".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Send with an email ATTACH
7. With 22-, 37- or 48-Across, familiar line HEY, BABE
14. It has its charms VOODOO
15. Password accompaniment USERNAME
17. Mail for King Arthur ARMOUR
18. "Pull it together" GET A GRIP
19. Fed. management and support agency GSA
21. Fabric CLOTH
22. See 7-Across COME HERE OFTEN?
29. Ken and Lena of Hollywood OLINS
30. Tell-all account EXPOSE
31. Mosquito-borne fever DENGUE
33. Islet AIT
34. Preschool downtime NAP
37. See 7-Across YOUR PLACE OR MINE?
41. Disapproving sound SSS!
42. Ballpark fig. EST
43. Two-__ SEATER
44. Shrill laugh CACKLE
47. Bookkeeper's deduction OUTGO
48. See 7-Across WHAT'S YOUR SIGN?
50. Literature Nobelist __ Bashevis Singer ISAAC
52. __ Lanka SRI
53. Words often said with a fist pump NAILED IT!
57. Easy pill to swallow GEL CAP
62. Where a shopping list may be jotted down ENVELOPE
63. Word of exasperation ENOUGH!
64. Probable response to 7-/22-, 7-/37- or 7-/48-Across GET LOST!
65. Saved STORED

Down
1. Gardner of "The Killers" AVA
2. NYY opponent, on scoreboards TOR
3. Cat on the prowl TOM
4. Excitement ADO
5. Forks over reluctantly COUGHS UP
6. __ trade HORSE
7. An O may symbolize one HUG
8. Odessa-to-Austin dir. ESE
9. To this point YET
10. Leaflike parts BRACTS
11. "Life of Pi" director ANG LEE
12. Unseen "Red" character in "Peanuts" BARON
13. Give off EMIT
16. N.T. book EPH
20. "All bets __ off" ARE
22. Buffalo Bill and the Wyoming city named for him CODYS
23. Kitchen spreads OLEOS
24. Frigid forecast word MINUS
25. Tech sch. grad ENGR
26. "Bingo!" EXACTLY
27. Andy's TV son OPIE
28. Pics FOTOS
32. To-be, in politics ELECT
34. Capone associate NITTI
35. Words after crack or fry AN EGG
36. 1996 role for Madonna or Jonathan Pryce PERON
38. Sets a price of ASKS
39. Adjust, as to a new situation REORIENT
40. Prey for a Hauskatze MAUS
44. Alpine dwelling CHALET
45. Battery not included, perhaps AA CELL
46. Aurora, to the Greeks EOS
48. Refrain from claiming WAIVE
49. Prods URGES
50. Like Vivaldi's "Spring" IN E
51. Joined the choir SANG
54. Scooby-__ DOO
55. Tape speed unit: Abbr. IPS
56. Hanoi holiday TET
58. John of London LOO
59. Nasty mutt CUR
60. Birthday candle number AGE
61. Prof's deg. PHD

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LA Times Crossword Answers 27 Feb 13, Wednesday



CROSSWORD SETTER: Mark Bickham
THEME: AAAA … each of today’s themed answers includes four letters A:
17A. *Largest port in NW Africa CASABLANCA
24A. *Warrior's cry ATTACK! ATTACK!
32A. *Picnic side dish PASTA SALAD
42A. *Knocking sound RAT-A-TAT-TAT
51A. *Delighted HAPPY AS A CLAM
60A. *Island nation in the Indian Ocean MADAGASCAR

69A. Incursions ... or, phonetically, what the answers to starred clues contain FORAYS
COMPLETION TIME: 7m 06s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Not interesting JEJUNE
The adjective “jejune” means “dull in the mind”. The term comes from the Latin “ieiunus” meaning “dry, barren”.

7. Real heel CAD
Our word "cad", meaning "a person lacking in finer feelings", is a shortening of the word "cadet". "Cad" was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used "cad" as a term for a boy from the local town. "Cad" took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

10. German exports BMWS
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.

14. Beaucoup A LOT OF
“Beaucoup” is of course a French word that we’ve imported into English, meaning “a lot”. In French, “beaucoup” can be parsed into “beau coup” meaning “handsome stroke”.

15. Eight-time Norris Trophy winner ORR
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the top defensive player in the NHL each year, based on votes by members of the professional Hockey Writers' Association. Bobby Orr won the award every single season from 1967-1975. Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn't skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking ...

17. *Largest port in NW Africa CASABLANCA
Casablanca is a major city in western Morocco and sits on the Atlantic coast in Northern Africa. Casablanca is the country’s largest city (although the capital is Rabat), and the country’s largest port.

19. "Black Beauty" author Sewell ANNA
English novelist, Anna Sewell, only wrote one book in her life, the immensely popular "Black Beauty" first published in 1877. The book was written at the tail end of Sewell's life, over a period of six years while her health was declining. “Black Beauty” was an immediate success, and is supposedly the sixth best selling title in the English language. Sewell died just five months after the book was published, but she did get to see its immediate success.

21. Athos, to Porthos 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. Funnily enough, Alexandre Dumas' "Three Musketeers" really don't use their muskets, and are better known for their prowess with their swords.

22. Word with dark or gray MATTER
Dark matter is the theoretical material that makes up over 80% of the universe. Astrophysicists use dark matter to explain the discrepancy between the calculated mass of a large object and the mass determined empirically by observing gravitational effects. The term “dark matter” is an apt one as the matter is invisible to telescopes and neither admits nor absorbs light of significance.

Grey matter and white matter are the two component of the central nervous system. Grey matter is mainly made up of neurons, and white matter is largely made of axons, the projections of the neurons that form nerve fibers.

27. Hersey novel setting ADANO
"A Bell for Adano" is a novel written by John Hersey. Hersey's story is about an Italian-American US Army officer, Major Joppolo, who found a replacement for a town's bell stolen by fascists. "A Bell for Adano" was made into a film in 1945, the same year the novel won a Pulitzer.

30. Rob Roy's refusal NAE
Rob Roy's full name was Robert Roy MacGregor, itself an Anglicization of the Scottish Raibeart Ruadh.

31. Four-time Grammy winner Lovett LYLE
As well as being famous in his own right as a successful country singer, Lyle Lovett is known for his marriage to the actress Julia Roberts in 1993. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.

32. *Picnic side dish PASTA SALAD
Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning: “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable pot-luck affair, not necessarily held outdoors.

37. As found IN SITU
“In situ” is a Latin phrase meaning "in the place".

38. Pupil surrounder AREOLA
An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” comes from Latin, meaning "small open space", and is a diminutive of the Latin word "area", meaning "open space".

41. Ft. Worth campus TCU
Texas Christian University (TCU) is a private school in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU used to be called AddRan Male & Female, named after an AddRan Clark, the son of Addison Clark who died at the age of 3-years-old from diphtheria. Poor young AddRan was named after his father and his brother, Addison and Randolph.

46. Australian six-footers EMUS
Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs.

50. "SNL" alum Mike MYERS
Mike Myers does do a great British accent, witness his performance in the madcap "Austin Powers" movies. He has an advantage though, as both his parents are British, and live in Ontario, Canada.

51. *Delighted HAPPY AS A CLAM
Our phrase “happy as a clam” dates back to the mid-1600s. Back then it was a more lengthy expression “happy as a clam in the mud at high tide”. The idea was that a clam would be happy in its muddy home at high tide, because no one from land could get to it and eat it.

54. Animals who like to float on their back OTTERS
The fur of the sea otter is exceptionally thick. It is in fact the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom.

60. *Island nation in the Indian Ocean MADAGASCAR
Madagascar is the large island country lying off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The main island of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world (after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo).

65. Rocker Rose AXL
Axl Rose is the lead vocalist of the American rock band, Guns N' Roses.

66. Sedative OPIATE
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

Down
1. With 2-Down, "Rio Lobo" actor JACK
2. See 1-Down ELAM
Jack Elam was a movie actor noted for playing the bad guy in Westerns. When Elam was a boy scout, he was accidentally stabbed in the eye with a pencil. The incident left him blind in that eye, and the iris remained skewed to the outside of his face. This gave him a crazed, wide-eyed look that helped add a sense of menace to the characters Elam played.

“Rio Lobo” is a Western movie that was released in 1970, starring John Wayne. “Rio Lobo” is the third film in a trilogy that was directed by Howard Hawks, the other two films being “Rio Bravo” (1959) and “El Dorado” (1966). “Rio Lobo” was the last film that Hawks directed.

3. __ stick: incense JOSS
A joss stick is a type of incense that is traditionally burned before religious images and shrines in many Asian cultures. The term “joss” comes into English via Portuguese from the Latin “deus” meaning “god”.

4. Hagen often mentioned on "Inside the Actors Studio" UTA
Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

“Inside the Actors Studio” is an incredibly successful show on Bravo that is hosted by James Lipton. “Inside the Actors Studio” is broadcast in 125 countries around the world. The show is basically a very comprehensive interview by Lipton of celebrities from the world of film.

5. Head, slangily NOB
The slang term "nob" has been used for "head" for over 300 years, and is a variant of "knob".

6. Key of Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto E-FLAT
Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73” is better known as the Emperor Concerto”. It was written between 1809 and 1811 and was the last piano concerto composed by Beethoven. The nickname “Emperor” was coined not by the composer himself, but rather by the publisher of the concerto in England.

9. Pulitzer category DRAMA
Pulitzer Prizes are awarded annually for achievements in journalism, literature and musical composition. The prize was established back in 1917 by the Hungarian-American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer left money in his will for the prize, and for its administration by Columbia University.

12. Cab storage site WINE CELLAR
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been around since the 17th century. It is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc grapes.

13. Hunted Carroll creature SNARK
Lewis Carroll was actually a pseudonym, for English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. His most famous novels are of course "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass", and his most famous poems are the two nonsense pieces "Jabberwocky" and "The Hunting of the Snark".

18. Microwave maker AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa.

23. Braves, on scoreboards ATL
The Atlanta Braves are the only team to have won baseball's World Series in three different home cities. They won as the Boston Braves in 1914, the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and the Atlanta Braves in 1995.

25. Exactly TO A T
The expression "to a T" can also be written as "to a tee", and has been around at least since 1693.

26. Mauna __ KEA
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed. So, the "real" height of the volcano is over 33,000 feet, which is significantly "taller" than even Mount Everest, which has an elevation of 29,029 feet above sea level.

27. "Whoso diggeth __ shall fall therein": Proverbs A PIT
The Book of Proverbs is in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. The original Hebrew title for the book translates as “Proverbs of Solomon”.

33. California's Big __ SUR
Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast, south of Monterrey and Carmel. The name "Big Sur" comes from the original Spanish description of the area as "el sur grande" meaning "the big south".

36. Chow EATS
"Chow" is an American slang term for food that originated in California in the mid-1800s. "Chow" comes from the Chinese pidgin English "chow-chow" meaning "food".

39. Avatar of Vishnu RAMA
In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has seven different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.

45. Foil maker ALCOA
The Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA) is the largest producer of aluminum in the United States. The company was founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where its headquarters are to this day.

48. Neighbor of Isr. SYR
The modern state that we know as Syria was established after WWI as a French mandate. Syria was granted independence from France in 1946.

51. __ Minh HO CHI
Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese Communist leader who was president of North Korea from 1945 to 1969. Ho Chi Minh traveled widely in his earlier years. From 1912 to 1918 he actually lived in the US, in New York and Boston. While in America, he held down several jobs including working as a baker in the Parker House Hotel in Boston, and as a line manager for General Motors.

52. Comparable to a March hare AS MAD
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is often cited as as the origin of the expression "mad as a March hare", perhaps because of confusion between the March Hare and the Mad Hatter who appear together at the famous "tea party" in the story. However, the expression actually predates the Lewis Carroll tale, and arose as hares were said to behave quite “madly” in the March breeding season.

56. School sports org. NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910.

57. Like Cheerios OATY
Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then it was called CheeriOats.

58. Half of seis TRES
“Seis” is Spanish for “six”, and “tres” is Spanish for “three”.

62. G.I.'s mail drop APO
Army Post Office (APO).

63. Paul McCartney, for one SIR
Paul McCartney’s real name, including his knightly title, is Sir James Paul McCartney.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Not interesting JEJUNE
7. Real heel CAD
10. German exports BMWS
14. Beaucoup A LOT OF
15. Eight-time Norris Trophy winner ORR
16. Bit attachment REIN
17. *Largest port in NW Africa CASABLANCA
19. "Black Beauty" author Sewell ANNA
20. Metric distances: Abbr. KMS
21. Athos, to Porthos AMI
22. Word with dark or gray MATTER
24. *Warrior's cry ATTACK! ATTACK!
27. Hersey novel setting ADANO
30. Rob Roy's refusal NAE
31. Four-time Grammy winner Lovett LYLE
32. *Picnic side dish PASTA SALAD
35. 23-Down's div. NLE
37. As found IN SITU
38. Pupil surrounder AREOLA
41. Ft. Worth campus TCU
42. *Knocking sound RAT-A-TAT-TAT
46. Australian six-footers EMUS
49. Punching tool AWL
50. "SNL" alum Mike MYERS
51. *Delighted HAPPY AS A CLAM
54. Animals who like to float on their back OTTERS
55. Female hare DOE
56. "Hardly!" NOT
59. Violin holder CHIN
60. *Island nation in the Indian Ocean MADAGASCAR
64. A sweatshirt may have one HOOD
65. Rocker Rose AXL
66. Sedative OPIATE
67. Overnight lodging choices INNS
68. Low grade DEE
69. Incursions ... or, phonetically, what the answers to starred clues contain FORAYS

Down
1. With 2-Down, "Rio Lobo" actor JACK
2. See 1-Down ELAM
3. __ stick: incense JOSS
4. Hagen often mentioned on "Inside the Actors Studio" UTA
5. Head, slangily NOB
6. Key of Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto E-FLAT
7. Funnel-shaped CONICAL
8. Compass-aided curve ARC
9. Pulitzer category DRAMA
10. Like a spoiled kid, often BRATTY
11. Unwritten reminder MENTAL NOTE
12. Cab storage site WINE CELLAR
13. Hunted Carroll creature SNARK
18. Microwave maker AMANA
23. Braves, on scoreboards ATL
24. Against ANTI
25. Exactly TO A T
26. Mauna __ KEA
27. "Whoso diggeth __ shall fall therein": Proverbs A PIT
28. Fundraiser with steps? DANCE-A-THON
29. Thing taken for granted ASSUMPTION
33. California's Big __ SUR
34. Not dis? DAT
36. Chow EATS
39. Avatar of Vishnu RAMA
40. Wd. derivation ETYM
43. Some Duracells AAS
44. Silly talk TWADDLE
45. Foil maker ALCOA
47. Capsizes UPENDS
48. Neighbor of Isr. SYR
51. __ Minh HO CHI
52. Comparable to a March hare AS MAD
53. Words with lamb or mutton LEG OF
56. School sports org. NCAA
57. Like Cheerios OATY
58. Half of seis TRES
61. Fire truck item AXE
62. G.I.'s mail drop APO
63. Paul McCartney, for one SIR

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LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Feb 13, Tuesday



CROSSWORD SETTER: Marti DuGuay-Carpenter
THEME: Station Breaks … there are three themed answers today, referenced by a fourth. The three themed answers start with the first few letters of the word “STATION” and end with the remaining letters of the same word, each making a “STATION BREAK:
20A. Pittsburgh fan base, collectively ST(EELER N)ATION
27A. Philatelist's pride STA(MP COLLEC)TION
49A. Annual political speech STAT(E OF THE UN)ION
57A. Commercial interruptions literally found in this puzzle's three other longest answers STATION BREAKS
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
10. Highland tongue ERSE
There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gàidhlig (in Scotland).

19. Debt-heavy corp. takeovers LBOS
A leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which an investor acquires a controlling volume of stock in a company, but buys that stock with borrowed funds (hence "leveraged"). Often the assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed money. There is a special form of LBO known as a management buyout (MBO) in which the company's own management team purchases the controlling interest.

20. Pittsburgh fan base, collectively ST(EELER N)ATION
The Pittsburgh Steelers football team were founded in 1933, making them the oldest franchise in the AFC. Back in 1933, the team was known as the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates name was chosen as the Pittsburgh baseball team was the Pirates. The name was changed to the Steelers in 1940, and then the Steagles in 1943 when the team merged with the Philadelphia Eagles. There was a further merger in 1944, with the Chicago Cardinal to form Card-Pitt. From 1945, the Steelers name was resurrected.

31. Pet welfare org. ASPCA
Unlike in other countries, there is no "umbrella" organization in the US with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

34. "Bus Stop" playwright INGE
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge's most celebrated work of that time was the play "Picnic", for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of "Picnic" included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman.

37. Radar's favorite drink NEHI
"Nehi Corporation" was the nickname for the Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works that introduced the Nehi drink in 1924. Years later the company developed a new brand, Royal Crown Cola (also known as RC Cola). By 1955, RC Cola was the company's flagship product, so the "Nehi Corporation" became the "Royal Crown Company". In 1954, RC Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in cans.

Corporal Radar O’Reilly is a character in the “M*A*S*H” television series and film. The role was played by Gary Burghoff in both the film and on television.

43. Windy City trains ELS
The Chicago "L" is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The "L" is also the second oldest, again with the New York City Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the "L" (originally short for "elevated railroad"), although the term "El" is also in common use (especially in crosswords as "ELS"). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

It seems that the derivation of Chicago's nickname as the "Windy City" isn't as obvious as I would have thought. There are two viable theories. First that the weather can be breezy, with wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. The effect of the wind is exaggerated by the grid-layout adopted by city planners after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The second theory is that "windy" means "being full of bluster". Sportswriters from the rival city of Cincinnati were fond of calling Chicago supporters "windy" in the 1860s and 1870s, meaning that they were full of hot air in their claims that the Chicago White Stockings were superior to the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

49. Annual political speech STAT(E OF THE UN)ION
The US President’s State of the Union address is requirement called out in Article II of the Constitution. George Washington gave the first address before a joint session of Congress in 1790. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of making a personal address by send Congress a written document that was then read out by a clerk. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson re-established the custom of delivering the message personally, There have been occasions since then when a written address has had to suffice, the last occasion being in 1981 when Jimmy Carter was in office.

56. AFL affiliate CIO
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886, making it one of the first federations of unions in the country. Over time the AFL became dominated by craft unions, unions representing skilled workers of particular disciplines. In the early thirties, John L. Lewis led a movement within the AFL to organize workers by industry, believing this would be more effective for the members. But the craft unions refused to budge, so Lewis set up a rival federation of unions in 1932 called the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The two federations became bitter rivals for over two decades until finally merging in 1955 to form the AFL-CIO.

62. City near Sacramento LODI
Lodi, California may not be as well known a wine producer as Sonoma and Napa counties, but has been given the moniker “Zinfandel Capital of the World”.

68. Israel's only female prime minister MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the "Iron Lady" when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before the term came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.

69. Nile threats ASPS
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

70. Toy bear named for a president TEDDY
The stuffed toy known as a teddy bear was introduced in the early 1900s and was name after President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The toy was inspired by a political cartoon that was drawn in 1902 showing President Roosevelt on a bear hunt and refusing to kill black bear cub.

Down
1. Line piece: Abbr. SEG
A piece of a line is a segment.

5. He refused to grow up PETER PAN
The author and dramatist J. M. Barrie is best remembered as the creator of Peter Pan. Barrie wrote a play in 1904 called “Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”. He turned this into a novel called “Peter and Wendy” in 1911. The girl’s name “Wendy” was very uncommon before Barrie named his character, and he is given credit for making the name as popular as it is today.

7. Oil units BARRELS
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. Talk with one's hands SIGN
It's really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

10. Nixon attorney general Richardson ELLIOT
Elliot Richardson and George Shultz are the only two individuals to have served in four US Cabinets positions. Richardson was Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1970-73), Secretary of Defense (1973), Attorney General (1973) and Secretary of Commerce (1976-77). The three appointments in 1973 came at the height of the Watergate Scandal.

11. Like some of Michael Jackson's moves ROBOTIC
Michael Jackson was such a sad figure I always think. Jackson's apparently unconstrained lifestyle made him an easy target for the tabloids. The less than charitable representatives of the media gave him the nickname "Wacko Jacko".

21. DMV certificate LIC
In most states, the government agency responsible for vehicle registration and the issuing of drivers licenses is called the DMV. This acronym usually stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles, but there are "variations on the theme". For example, in Arizona the responsible agency is called the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and in Colorado the familiar acronym DMV stands for "Division" of Motor Vehicles.

22. Dr. Mom's specialty TLC
Tender loving care (TLC).

23. "This is your brain on drugs," e.g. PSA
Public service announcement (PSA).

“This Is Your Brain on Drugs” was a memorable anti-narcotics campaign launched in 1987 that used the effective imagery of two eggs frying in a pan.

29. Deighton who wrote the "Hook, Line and Sinker" trilogy LEN
I used to walk my dog right past author Len Deighton's house years ago, as we lived in the same village in Ireland (probably my only claim to fame!). Deighton wrote the excellent espionage thriller "The IPCRESS File", made into a 1965 movie starring Michael Caine.

39. Author Fleming IAN
Ian Fleming is most famous of course for writing the "James Bond" series of spy novels. You might also know that he wrote the children's story "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", which was made into a cute movie released in 1968 and even a stage musical that opened in 2002.

40. Cape Town's country: Abbr. RSA
The Republic of South Africa (RSA).

42. Bond's is shaken, not stirred MARTINI
The name "martini" probably takes it name from the "Martini & Rossi" brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis and the term "dry" has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noel Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by "filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy".

48. Nestlé's __-Caps SNO
Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

58. Rick's love in "Casablanca" ILSA
Ilsa Lund was of course played by Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie "Casablanca". I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: "she paints his face with her eyes". Wow ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Leftover bit SCRAP
6. Kitchen meas. TBSP
10. Highland tongue ERSE
14. Thrill to pieces ELATE
15. Commuter's option RAIL
16. Cuts short LOPS
17. "Understood!" GOT IT!
18. Egg on URGE
19. Debt-heavy corp. takeovers LBOS
20. Pittsburgh fan base, collectively ST(EELER N)ATION
23. A pop PER
24. Confirmation or bar mitzvah RITE
25. Tons of, casually LOTSA
27. Philatelist's pride STA(MP COLLEC)TION
31. Pet welfare org. ASPCA
32. Tie up loose ends? SEW
33. Shed a few tears CRY
34. "Bus Stop" playwright INGE
37. Radar's favorite drink NEHI
40. Butter on the farm? RAM
43. Windy City trains ELS
45. Solemn promises OATHS
49. Annual political speech STAT(E OF THE UN)ION
54. Appeared on TV AIRED
55. Penlight batteries AAAS
56. AFL affiliate CIO
57. Commercial interruptions literally found in this puzzle's three other longest answers STATION BREAKS
61. Just as you see it AS IS
62. City near Sacramento LODI
63. Young neigh sayers COLTS
65. Adjust, as strings TUNE
66. Close SHUT
67. Slippery as __ AN EEL
68. Israel's only female prime minister MEIR
69. Nile threats ASPS
70. Toy bear named for a president TEDDY

Down
1. Line piece: Abbr. SEG
2. Places to hide skeletons? CLOSETS
3. Dilapidated dwelling RAT TRAP
4. End in __: come out even A TIE
5. He refused to grow up PETER PAN
6. Faithfully following TRUE TO
7. Oil units BARRELS
8. Talk with one's hands SIGN
9. Earnest request PLEA
10. Nixon attorney general Richardson ELLIOT
11. Like some of Michael Jackson's moves ROBOTIC
12. Advertiser SPONSOR
13. Twisty curve ESS
21. DMV certificate LIC
22. Dr. Mom's specialty TLC
23. "This is your brain on drugs," e.g. PSA
26. Unspecified quantity ANY
28. 12th century opener MCI
29. Deighton who wrote the "Hook, Line and Sinker" trilogy LEN
30. 40-Across mate EWE
35. Prefix with thermal GEO-
36. Santa's helper ELF
38. Pet on your lap, maybe HOUSECAT
39. Author Fleming IAN
40. Cape Town's country: Abbr. RSA
41. Being debated AT ISSUE
42. Bond's is shaken, not stirred MARTINI
44. Comedy genre STAND UP
46. Got a giggle out of TICKLED
47. Raised, as a flag HOISTED
48. Nestlé's __-Caps SNO
50. Movie trailer, e.g. TEASER
51. Boston summer hrs. EDT
52. Nuns' clothing HABITS
53. Kernel holder EAR
58. Rick's love in "Casablanca" ILSA
59. Fireworks responses OOHS
60. Top-shelf A-ONE
61. Way to check your balance, briefly ATM
64. Sneaky SLY

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LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Feb 13, Monday



CROSSWORD SETTER: Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel
THEME: Developing Relationship … by taking the ends of the first three themed answers, we progress through a romantic relationship, with the fourth themed answer giving us the happy day:
17A. Soft hit that barely makes it over the infield BLOOP SINGLE
28A. Archaeological age-determination process CARBON DATING
45A. Completely absorbed FULLY ENGAGED
59A. Sign in a limo that aptly concludes the sequence formed by the last words of 17-, 28- and 45-Across JUST MARRIED
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 53s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Apt. parts, in ads BRS
Bedrooms (brs.)

4. Talking head PUNDIT
A pundit is a learned person who one might turn to for an opinion. “Pundit” is derived from the Hindi word “payndit” meaning “learned man”.

10. Big name in ATMs NCR
NCR is an American company that has been in business since 1884, originally called the National Cash Register Company. The company has done well in a market where new technologies seem to be constantly disrupting the status quo.

16. Suffix for pay -OLA
Payola is the illegal practice of paying radio stations or disk jockeys to repeatedly play a particular piece of music. The impetus behind the crime is that the more often a song is played, the more likely it is to sell. The term "payola" comes from the words "pay" and "Victrola", an RCA brand name for an early phonograph.

17. Soft hit that barely makes it over the infield BLOOP SINGLE
A bloop single is more usually called a blooper. It's fly ball that drops for a single between an infielder and an outfielder (in baseball, of course!).

19. Cranberry-growing area BOG
When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant's flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant "craneberry", which later evolved into "cranberry".

20. Africa's Sierra __ LEONE
The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, lying on the Atlantic Coast. The capital city of Freetown was originally set up as a colony to house the "Black Poor" of London, England. These people were mainly freed British slaves of Caribbean descent who were living a miserable life in the run-down parts of London. Perhaps to help the impoverished souls, perhaps to rid the streets of "a problem", three ships were chartered in 1787 to transport a group of blacks, with some whites, to a piece of land purchased in Sierra Leone. Those who made the voyage were guaranteed British citizenship and protection. The descendants of these immigrants, and others who made the journey over the next 60 years, make up the ethnic group that's today called the Sierra Leone Creole.

21. Fed. retirement org. SSA
The Social Security Administration (SSA) was of course set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

23. Like dodos and dinosaurs EXTINCT
The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared relatively recently, in the mid-1600s, and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius, and when man arrived he cut back the forest that was its home. He also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo's nests.

The most popular dinosaurs depicted in the movies, especially the older ones, are the Tyrannosaurs and the Allosauruses. They look very similar, with the former being the really big guy.

28. Archaeological age-determination process CARBON DATING
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon that is found in nature in small amounts Carbon-14 is used in the technique known as radiocarbon dating, a relatively accurate way of determining the age of something up to about 60,000 years old. When an organism is alive, the amount of radioactive carbon-14 it has compared to the amount of regular carbon-12, is a fixed ratio. After the organism dies, it is no longer exchanging carbon with the atmosphere through metabolism. So, the stable carbon-12 stays in the body as it rots but the radioactive carbon-14 gradually decays, causing the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 to fall. Scientists can determine the age of remains by measuring this carbon-14/carbon-12 ratio.

35. Wish granter GENIE
The "genie" in the bottle takes his or her name from "djinn". "Djinns" were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book "The Thousand and One Nights" was translated into French, the word "djinn" was transformed into the existing word "génie", because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This "génie" from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived "genius", a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the "djinn" that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

40. Sinus doc ENT
Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT).

In anatomical terms a sinus is a cavity in tissue. Sinuses are found all over the body, in the kidney and heart for example, but we most commonly think of the paranasal sinuses that surround the nose.

43. Simpsons neighbor Flanders 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.

54. Merle Haggard's "__ From Muskogee" OKIE
Merle Haggard is a country singer and songwriter whose most famous recording has to be "Okie from Muskogee" released in 1969. Haggard will tell you that the song was actually meant as a spoof, but it has become a country "anthem".

55. N.J. neighbor DEL
The state of Delaware takes its name from Virginia's first colonial governor, Englishman Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr. Delaware is known as "The First State" as it was the first to ratify the US Constitution, in 1787.

58. Libertarian politician Paul RON
Ron Paul is a celebrated Republican Congressman from Texas. He is a libertarian, and actually ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian Party candidate. He ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2008 as a member of the Liberty Caucus of the party, meaning that he values a federal government that is limited in size and scope.

59. Sign in a limo that aptly concludes the sequence formed by the last words of 17-, 28- and 45-Across JUST MARRIED
The word "limousine" actually derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a "limousine". Well, that's how the story goes anyway ...

62. Mystery novelist Grafton SUE
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!

63. Houston team ASTROS
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city's long association with the US space program.

Down
2. Pricey watch with a gold crown logo ROLEX
My most prized possession is a stainless steel Rolex watch that my uncle bought while serving with the RAF in Canada during WWII. Rolex watches were made available to the Canadian servicemen at that time as they were shipping overseas. My uncle brought his Rolex home to Ireland after the war. He needed money for booze one weekend and so sold the watch to my Dad, for five pounds. My Dad gave it to me just before he died, as he knew I loved the watch, and my brothers weren't interested in it all. Not so long ago I had the watch appraised ($3,000!), and my brothers all of a sudden took a liking to it! Still, it's not something that will ever be sold, that's for sure.

3. Nose-in-the-air type SNOOT
"Snoot" is a variant of "snout" and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is snooty, or snouty, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

4. "Nova" airer PBS
“Nova” is an excellent science television series on PBS. “Nova” was created back in 1974, and was inspired by a very similar BBC show called “Horizon”, a show that I grew up with. Many “Nova” episodes are actually co-productions with the BBC with an American narrator used for the PBS broadcasts and a British narrator for the BBC broadcasts.

5. Ocean State sch. URI
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was first chartered as an agricultural school, back in 1888. URI's main campus today is located in the village of Kingston.

Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State, largely because about 14% of the state’s area is made of ocean bays and inlets.

6. Convent dwellers NUNS
Convents have been religious houses since the 1200s, but it wasn't until the 1700s that convents became purely female institutions.

8. Manhattan is one ISLAND
The island we know as Manhattan was inhabited by the Lenape Indians when the first Europeans explorers arrived in the area. According to the logbook of one of the officers on Henry Hudson's yacht, the island was called "Manna-hata" in the local language, from which the modern name derives.

11. Metaphorical state of elation CLOUD NINE
I don't think that anyone is really certain of the etymology of the term "cloud nine", but I do like the following explanation. The 1896 "International Cloud-Atlas" was a long-standing reference used to define cloud shapes. The biggest and puffiest of all cloud shapes (and most comfortable looking to lie on) is cumulonimbus. And you guessed it, of the ten cloud shapes defined in the atlas, cumulonimbus was cloud nine ...

14. Former (and likely future) Seattle NBA team SONICS
The Seattle SuperSonics were the professional basketball team based in Seattle from 1967 to 2008, at which time the franchise moved to Oklahoma City (and became the Oklahoma City Thunder). There are moves afoot to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, and revive the “Sonics” team name.

18. '90s Cabinet member Federico PENA
Federico Peña served as the Secretary of Transportation and as the Secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration.

25. Skier's way up T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift in which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There's also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

27. Glad __: party clothes RAGS
“Glad rags” is a slang term for one’s best clothes.

29. Long-armed primate ORANG
Orangutans are arboreal creatures, in fact the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, living in the rain forests. Like most species in rain forests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word "orangutan" is Malay, meaning "man of the forest".

31. Tick off MIFF
"To miff" is "to put out, to tee off", a word that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word "miffed" as "a women's phrase". That would get him a slap, I'd say ...

37. Leonard __: Roy Rogers's birth name SLYE
Cowboy actor and singer Roy Rogers' real name was Leonard Franklin Slye, and his nickname was "King of the Cowboys". Roy Rogers married Dale Evans in 1947. Evans' nickname was "Queen of the West".

42. Nastase of tennis ILIE
I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to give the crowd a laugh.

47. Big bomb trials N-TESTS
There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. In an atomic bomb, uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. Fusion devices are also called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy than a fission reaction.

53. Icelandic sagas EDDAS
The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in the 13th century, in Iceland.

60. Stooge with bangs MOE
If you've seen a few of the films starring "The Three Stooges" you'll have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as "Moe, Larry and Shemp". Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, "Moe, Larry And Curly". Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then "Curly-Joe" DeRita. When Larry Fine had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Apt. parts, in ads BRS
4. Talking head PUNDIT
10. Big name in ATMs NCR
13. Charged particles IONS
15. Black-and-blue mark, e.g. BRUISE
16. Suffix for pay -OLA
17. Soft hit that barely makes it over the infield BLOOP SINGLE
19. Cranberry-growing area BOG
20. Africa's Sierra __ LEONE
21. Fed. retirement org. SSA
22. "T" on a test, usually TRUE
23. Like dodos and dinosaurs EXTINCT
26. Foray INROAD
28. Archaeological age-determination process CARBON DATING
31. Texting units: Abbr. MSGS
34. Rowboat mover OAR
35. Wish granter GENIE
36. "How was __ know?" I TO
37. Abrasions SCRAPES
40. Sinus doc ENT
41. Not exactly robust FRAIL
43. Simpsons neighbor Flanders NED
44. Makes really angry IRES
45. Completely absorbed FULLY ENGAGED
49. Lawyer's customer CLIENT
50. Accessory often carried with a wallet KEY CASE
54. Merle Haggard's "__ From Muskogee" OKIE
55. N.J. neighbor DEL
57. Lightened EASED
58. Libertarian politician Paul RON
59. Sign in a limo that aptly concludes the sequence formed by the last words of 17-, 28- and 45-Across JUST MARRIED
62. Mystery novelist Grafton SUE
63. Houston team ASTROS
64. Statistician's input DATA
65. NHL tiebreakers OTS
66. Tinkers (with) MESSES
67. Figs. NOS

Down
1. The Good Book BIBLE
2. Pricey watch with a gold crown logo ROLEX
3. Nose-in-the-air type SNOOT
4. "Nova" airer PBS
5. Ocean State sch. URI
6. Convent dwellers NUNS
7. Starts to eat with gusto DIGS IN
8. Manhattan is one ISLAND
9. Golf ball's perch TEE
10. Choice you don't have to think about NO-BRAINER
11. Metaphorical state of elation CLOUD NINE
12. Violent anger RAGE
14. Former (and likely future) Seattle NBA team SONICS
18. '90s Cabinet member Federico PENA
22. Lug TOTE
24. Gator's kin CROC
25. Skier's way up T-BAR
27. Glad __: party clothes RAGS
29. Long-armed primate ORANG
30. Comprehends GETS
31. Tick off MIFF
32. Went down swinging STRUCK OUT
33. Touchdowns require crossing them GOAL LINES
37. Leonard __: Roy Rogers's birth name SLYE
38. Mountain top PEAK
39. Advantage EDGE
42. Nastase of tennis ILIE
44. Security checkpoint request ID CARD
46. Ultimate application END USE
47. Big bomb trials N-TESTS
48. Binoculars user EYER
51. Made in China, say ASIAN
52. Look after SEE TO
53. Icelandic sagas EDDAS
54. Estimator's words OR SO
56. P.O. box inserts LTRS
59. Printer problem JAM
60. Stooge with bangs MOE
61. Pack animal ASS

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LA Times Crossword Answers 24 Feb 13, Sunday



CROSSWORD SETTER: Melanie Miller
THEME: Excess Baggage … today’s themed answers are well-known terms with BAG inserted, to suit the clue:
23A. Self-defense overkill? HANDBAG GRENADE (from “hand grenade”)
33A. Red wines aged in autos? AIRBAG PORTS (from “airports”)
50A. KEGO on your radio dial? GASBAG STATION (from “gas station”)
70A. Direct route to Loserville? DIRTBAG ROAD (from “dirt road”)
90A. Entertaining show in a run-down hotel? FLEABAG CIRCUS (from “flea circus”)
104A. Consumer Reports first aid recommendations? ICEBAG PICKS (from “icepicks”)
121A. Activist grocery clerk? PAPERBAG PUSHER (from “paper pusher”)
COMPLETION TIME: 26m 12s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … ABALONE (abilone!), GRAFT (grift)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
5. Proofer's mark STET
"Stet" is the Latin word meaning "let it stand". In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word "stet" and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

13. Protozoa genus AMOEBA
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.

19. First Nations tribe CREE
The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

22. Elephant in the Jungle of Nool HORTON
Horton the elephant turns up in two books by Dr. Seuss, "Horton Hatches the Egg" and "Horton Hears a Who!"

27. Orbital extremes APOGEES
In the celestial world, an apsis is a point in an orbit when the orbiting body is at its greatest, or least, distance from it's center of orbit. The farthest and closest points of orbit are known as the apogee and perigee, when talking about bodies orbiting the Earth. The farthest and closest points for bodies orbiting the sun are known as the aphelion and perihelion.

30. Shocked, in a way TASED
Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called "Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle". The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym TASER stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle". Interesting, eh?

33. Red wines aged in autos? AIRBAG PORTS (from “airports”)
The city of Oporto in Portugal gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s, as it was the seaport through which most of the region's fortified wine was exported.

42. Dashboard Confessional music genre EMO
Dashboard Confessional is an emo band from Boca Raton, Florida.

The musical genre of "emo" originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from "emotional hardcore". Not my cup of tea …

46. Edible mollusks ABALONES
The large edible sea snails that we call abalone are called ormer in the British Isles.

50. KEGO on your radio dial? GASBAG STATION (from “gas station”)
A radio station for gasbags might well be called KEGO (K-EGO).

56. Thread holder ETUI
An etui is an ornamental case used to hold small items, in particular sewing needles. We imported both the case design and the word "etui" from France. The French also have a modern usage of "etui", using the term to depict a case for carrying CDs.

58. Secret alternative BAN
Ban was the first roll-on deodorant, introduced in 1952. The formulation for Ban is the same as the brand called Mum, the first commercial deodorant, which dates back to the late 1800s.

Secret is an antiperspirant/deodorant made by Procter & Gamble, first introduced in 1956 as a cream that was applied with the fingers (ick!). There followed a roll-on version in 1958, a spray in 1964 and the solid stick in 1978.

59. Solar __ PLEXUS
A nerve plexus is a network of intersecting nerves. One example of a plexus in the human body is the celiac plexus, also known as the solar plexus. The celiac plexus is a network of nerves in the abdomen that serves many of the internal organs.

67. Part of the Constitution that describes Cong. powers ART I
Article One of the US Constitution describes the powers of the US Congress. Those powers are described in great detail, and cover everything from the number or representatives of each state in the House and Senate to the responsibility to prove a postal service.

80. Chicago-based superstation WGN
WGN America is a cable television network based in Chicago. The WGN name has long been associated with Chicago, and is the acronym for the former slogan of the Chicago Tribune: "World's Greatest Newspaper".

84. California peak rumored to hide advanced beings called Lemurians SHASTA
Lemuria is a legendary lost continent located either in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. Frederick S. Oliver wrote a book in the late 1800s called “A Dweller on Two Planets” in which he claimed that survivors from sunken Lemuria lived in Mount Shasta in northern California, in a complex of tunnels beneath the mountain.

97. After Effects and Final Cut Pro EDITORS
Adobe’s After Effects and Apple’s Final Cut Pro are software applications used in the post-production of film and television production.

98. Mount Rushmore prez ABE
The four presidents whose faces are carved in the granite face of Mount Rushmore are (from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the presidents is about 60 feet in height, although this might have been larger. The original intent was for the presidents to be depicted from head to waist, but the project lost funding.

99. Pabst brand STROH’S
Bernard Stroh was the son of a German brewer. Stroh immigrated to the US in 1848 and set up his own brewery in 1850 in Detroit. Years later, the Stroh Brewing Company introduced a European process called fire-brewing. This results in higher temperatures at a crucial stage in the brewing process, supposedly bringing out flavor. Stroh's is the only American beer that still uses this process.

101. Large green moth LUNA
The lime-green Luna Moth is one of the largest moths found in North America, growing to a wingspan of up to 4½ inches.

102. Mythical enchantress MEDEA
In Greek mythology Medea was the wife of Jason, the heroic leader of the Argonauts.

124. "The Human Condition" writer Hannah ARENDT
Hannah Arendt was studying and working the field of philosophy, when she had to flee her native Germany in the run up to WWII because of her Jewish heritage. She ended up in the US in 1941, and took posts in various schools here. In 1969 she was appointed full professor at Princeton, the first woman to win such a position, and a decade before women students were admitted to the college.

129. It may be used to walk the dog YO-YO
Would you believe that the first yo-yos date back to 500 BC? There is even an ancient Greek vase painting that shows a young man playing with a yo-yo. Centuries later Filipinos were using yo-yos as hunting tools in the 1500s. "Yo-yo" is a Tagalog (Filipino) word meaning "come-come" or simply "return".

Down
2. Many a Yemeni ARAB
Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, lying just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office.

6. Hash attachment -TAG
A hashtag is word preceded by the symbol #. Hashtags are big these days because of Twitter, a microblogging service that I will never understand …

8. __ Bora: Afghan region TORA
The famous cave that almost certainly housed Osama Bin Laden for a while was in Tora Bora in eastern Pakistan. Tora Bora is not far (~ 30 mi) from what used to be an even more famous spot, the Khyber Pass. "Tora Bora" is a Pashto name which translates to "black dust".

9. Italy's largest seaport GENOA
Genoa is a seaport in the very north of Italy, in the region known as Liguria. One of Genoa's most famous sons was Christopher Columbus.

10. Eel, at sushi bars UNAGI
Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, and unadon is the Japanese word for "eel bowl". Unadon is actually a contraction of "unagi no kabayaki" (grilled eel) and "donburi" (rice bowl dish).

11. Ritual meals SEDERS
The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. One of the traditions at the meal is that the youngest child at the table asks "The Four Questions", all relating to why this night is different from all other nights in the year:
- Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?
- Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
- Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
- Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?

13. Hawaiian tuna AHI
Yellowfin tuna is usually marketed as "ahi", its Hawaiian name. Yellowfin tuna is one big fish, often weighing over 300 pounds.

14. Least populous state capital MONTPELIER
Montpelier is the capital of the state of Vermont, the smallest state in the Union in terms of population. The city was named for the French city of Montpelier in the days when there was great enthusiasm for things French after the aid received during the American Revolution.

16. Wild blue yonder ETHER
The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also "ether"). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets.

18. Kitty starters ANTES
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.

28. Swedish import SAAB
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. SAAB was, and still is, mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automobile division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011.

34. Payola, e.g. GRAFT
Payola is the illegal practice of paying radio stations or disk jockeys to repeatedly play a particular piece of music. The impetus behind the crime is that the more often a song is played, the more likely it is to sell. The term "payola" comes from the words "pay" and "Victrola", an RCA brand name for an early phonograph.

36. Apple variety IMAC
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an "all-in-one" design, with the computer console and monitor integrated.

37. Elegant POSH
No one really knows the etymology of the word "posh". The popular myth that POSH stands for "Port Out, Starboard Home" is completely untrue, a story that can be traced back to the 1968 movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

39. Cryptologic govt. org. NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname ... "No Such Agency".

44. Hair color immortalized by a Renaissance painter TITIAN RED
The shade of red known as “titian” is named for the Italian Renaissance painter Titian, who often painted women with red hair.

47. Jar Jar Binks's home planet NABOO
Jar Jar Binks is a comedic character who appears in Episodes I-III of the “Star Wars” movies.

48. Virginie et Floride ETATS
In French, Virginia (Virginie) and Florida (Floride) are states (états).

53. Short blaster? NITRO
Nitroglycerin is a very unstable, oily, colorless liquid. It is usually used as the explosive ingredient in a stabilized product like dynamite or cordite. Nitroglycerin is also used medically, as a vasodilator. Right after it hits the bloodstream is causes the blood vessels to dilate to that the heart has less work to do. I had occasion to take it a couple of times, and boy, what a speedy and fundamental effect it has.

60. Capital of Shaanxi province XI’AN
Xi'an, the capital of the Shaanxi province of China, is one of the oldest cities in the country, with history going back over 3,000 years. Today, in contemporary China, Xi-an is figuring at the forefront of the country's participation in the modern world. China's second aerospace center is being built in Xi'an, for example, and the city is also home to the world's largest Internet Cafe/Bar, a facility with over 3,000 computers.

61. Modern search result URL
Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

64. Small-government proponent Paul RON
Ron Paul is a celebrated Republican Congressman from Texas. He is a libertarian, and actually ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian Party candidate. He ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2008 as a member of the Liberty Caucus of the party, meaning that he values a federal government that is limited in size and scope.

66. "__ the train a-comin'": Johnny Cash lyric I HEAR
I must admit that I am not a big country music fan, but who doesn't love Johnny Cash? The man had such a unique voice, and indeed unique songs. I think that his biopic, "Walk the Line", is very cool, as is the title song itself. Recorded back in 1956, "Walk the Line" is relatively creative for “popular” music. The basic rhythm of the song emulates the sound of a freight train, the “boom-chicka-boom” sound. Cash’s guitar has a unique tone to it as it plays this rhythm, achieved by threading a piece of paper between the guitar strings giving the rhythm a bit of a “buzz”. Above the rhythm line, each of the five verses is sung in different keys. You can actually hear Cash hum a note signifying the key change at the start of each verse. With all these modulations, the final verse is sung a full octave lower that the first. A remarkable tune …

67. Covers for a crook, say ABETS
The word "abet" comes into English from the Old French "abeter" meaning "to bait" or "to harass with dogs" (it literally means "to make bite"). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of "abet" meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

68. Battle on a log ROLEO
Roleo is the name given to a log rolling competition traditionally engaged in by lumberjacks

71. Bluesy Memphis street BEALE
Beale Street in downtown Memphis, Tennessee is a major tourist attraction. In 1977, by act of Congress, the street was officially declared the "Home of the Blues" due to its long association with the musical genre. Apparently "Beale" is the name of some forgotten military hero.

78. Vital life force, to acupuncturists CHI
In Chinese culture “qi” or “chi” is the life force in any living thing.

81. Storied officer __ Ludwig von Trapp GEORG
Baron Georg Johannes von Trapp was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Navy who achieved worldwide fame when his family became the inspiration for the musical “The Sound of Musical”.

"The Sound of Music" is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers", a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war and one family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives here in the same town in which I reside in California.

91. A/C measure BTU
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water's temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

95. 1969 Arkin/Moreno comedy POPI
“Popi” is a drama/comedy film from 1969 starring Alan Arkin and Rita Moreno.

104. Faith of nearly a quarter of Earth's population ISLAM
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family.

105. Where "Aida" premiered CAIRO
"Aida" is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi, actually based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first performed in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then of course complications arise!

106. Rivendell inhabitants ELVES
Rivendell is a location occupied by Elves in Middle-earth, the fictional realm created by novelist J. R. R. Tolkien.

107. Key letter KAPPA
Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for "philosophia biou kybernētēs", which translates into "philosophy is the guide of life". The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.

108. "Golf Begins at Forty" author SNEAD
Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball by teeing off from home plate.

110. Souse DIPSO
"Dipsomania" is a craving for alcohol to the point of damaging one's health. "Dipsa" is the Greek for "thirst", hence dipsomania is a "manic thirst".

113. Lab warning GRR
The Labrador breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s.

117. Designer Saarinen EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in this country for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK.

120. Some Windows systems NTS
Windows XP, Windows Vista and now Windows 7; they're all based on the Windows NT operating system. There is a common perception that Windows NT (WNT) takes its name from VMS, an earlier operating system developed by Digital Equipment Corporation. "WNT" is what's called a "Caesar cipher" of "VMS", as you just augment the letters of VMS alphabetically by one to arrive at WNT. Bill Gates disputes this derivation of the name, and in a 1998 interview stated that the NT originally stood for N-Ten and that the marketing folks at Microsoft revised history by changing it to "New Technology".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Corn at a picnic EARS
5. Proofer's mark STET
9. Wind surge GUST
13. Protozoa genus AMOEBA
19. First Nations tribe CREE
20. Kitchen aid CAN OPENER
22. Elephant in the Jungle of Nool HORTON
23. Self-defense overkill? HANDBAG GRENADE (from “hand grenade”)
25. Because IN THAT
26. Secure OBTAIN
27. Orbital extremes APOGEES
29. The ones right here THESE
30. Shocked, in a way TASED
33. Red wines aged in autos? AIRBAG PORTS (from “airports”)
35. Water carriers PIPES
38. Garbage collectors BINS
41. Rose to great heights SOARED
42. Dashboard Confessional music genre EMO
43. Expanding concern? OBESITY
46. Edible mollusks ABALONES
50. KEGO on your radio dial? GASBAG STATION (from “gas station”)
54. Get stuck (on), mentally FIXATE
55. Ocean gathering SCHOOL
56. Thread holder ETUI
57. Series of turns, usually: Abbr. RTE
58. Secret alternative BAN
59. Solar __ PLEXUS
63. Foreword, briefly INTRO
65. Takes to the streets RIOTS
67. Part of the Constitution that describes Cong. powers ART I
70. Direct route to Loserville? DIRTBAG ROAD (from “dirt road”)
73. Stockings HOSE
74. They may have spurs BOOTS
76. Unfamiliar ALIEN
77. How chicken may be served ON RICE
79. Bugler with horns ELK
80. Chicago-based superstation WGN
82. Growing business FARM
84. California peak rumored to hide advanced beings called Lemurians SHASTA
88. Giggle TEE-HEE
90. Entertaining show in a run-down hotel? FLEABAG CIRCUS (from “flea circus”)
94. Vending machine options SODA POPS
97. After Effects and Final Cut Pro EDITORS
98. Mount Rushmore prez ABE
99. Pabst brand STROH’S
101. Large green moth LUNA
102. Mythical enchantress MEDEA
104. Consumer Reports first aid recommendations? ICEBAG PICKS (from “icepicks”)
109. Rear-__ ENDER
111. Retail benchmark SALES
112. Close enough IN RANGE
115. "Shortly" IN A SEC
119. Like some domestic help LIVE-IN
121. Activist grocery clerk? PAPERBAG PUSHER (from “paper pusher”)
124. "The Human Condition" writer Hannah ARENDT
125. Contraption APPARATUS
126. Italian capital EURO
127. They're popular in Japanese gardening MOSSES
128. Unusable, as a cellphone DEAD
129. It may be used to walk the dog YO-YO
130. Obey a red light STOP

Down
1. Chamber bouncer ECHO
2. Many a Yemeni ARAB
3. Borrow for a price RENT
4. Unflappable SEDATE
5. Checks out, as groceries SCANS
6. Hash attachment -TAG
7. H.S. course ENG
8. __ Bora: Afghan region TORA
9. Italy's largest seaport GENOA
10. Eel, at sushi bars UNAGI
11. Ritual meals SEDERS
12. South American arboreal snake TREE BOA
13. Hawaiian tuna AHI
14. Least populous state capital MONTPELIER
15. Traditional ORTHODOX
16. Wild blue yonder ETHER
17. Sing one's own praises BOAST
18. Kitty starters ANTES
21. Verve PEP
24. Leaning BIAS
28. Swedish import SAAB
31. Dies down EBBS
32. Plan to take off DIET
34. Payola, e.g. GRAFT
35. Correctly assesses PEGS
36. Apple variety IMAC
37. Elegant POSH
39. Cryptologic govt. org. NSA
40. Something to build on SITE
43. Checked out OGLED
44. Hair color immortalized by a Renaissance painter TITIAN RED
45. In its early stages YOUNG
47. Jar Jar Binks's home planet NABOO
48. Virginie et Floride ETATS
49. Horse __ SENSE
51. Hasbro reaction game BOP IT
52. Email letters AOL
53. Short blaster? NITRO
57. Revved engine sound ROAR
60. Capital of Shaanxi province XI’AN
61. Modern search result URL
62. Strong, drinkwise STIFF
64. Small-government proponent Paul RON
66. "__ the train a-comin'": Johnny Cash lyric I HEAR
67. Covers for a crook, say ABETS
68. Battle on a log ROLEO
69. Tipped, as a dealer TOKED
71. Bluesy Memphis street BEALE
72. Some are compact DISCS
75. Brushed off SWEPT ASIDE
78. Vital life force, to acupuncturists CHI
81. Storied officer __ Ludwig von Trapp GEORG
83. Junk __ MAIL
85. Gob SCAD
86. Den focus, familiarly TUBE
87. Sailing ASEA
89. Stars no longer shining HAS-BEENS
91. A/C measure BTU
92. Unrivaled A-ONE
93. Nana GRAN
95. 1969 Arkin/Moreno comedy POPI
96. Soccer protection SHINPAD
100. Minor injury SCRAPE
102. Options list MENU
103. Takes out mistakes ERASES
104. Faith of nearly a quarter of Earth's population ISLAM
105. Where "Aida" premiered CAIRO
106. Rivendell inhabitants ELVES
107. Key letter KAPPA
108. "Golf Begins at Forty" author SNEAD
110. Souse DIPSO
113. Lab warning GRR
114. Cybermarket since 1995 EBAY
116. Latched, say SHUT
117. Designer Saarinen EERO
118. Prune CROP
120. Some Windows systems NTS
122. From __ Z A TO
123. Chap GUY

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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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