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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

LA Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 14, Wednesday






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CROSSWORD SETTER: C.C. Burnikel
THEME: First States … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase that starts with a two-letter set of initials. Those initials also serve as a standard abbreviation for a US state name, and the clue refers to that state:
4A. Hartford market checker's action? CT SCAN (from “Hartford, Connecticut”)
17A. Boise jewelry? ID BRACELET (from “Boise, Idaho”)
31A. Harrisburg loudspeaker network? PA SYSTEM (from “Harrisburg. Pennsylvania”)
41A. Jackson hair styles? MS DOS (from “Jackson, Mississippi”)
46A. Tulsa bull pen? OK CORRAL (from “Tulsa, Oklahoma”)
64A. Richmond medical center? VA HOSPITAL (from “Richmond, Virginia”)
70A. Baton Rouge equipment? LA GEAR (from “Baton Rouge, Louisiana”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 08m 13s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

4. Hartford market checker's action? CT SCAN (from “Hartford, Connecticut”)
A CT (or "CAT") scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful causing damage that is cumulative over time. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn't like the term "nuclear" because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it's just called MRI.

Hartford is the capital of the state of Connecticut. The city is home to the headquarters of many insurance companies. As such Hartford is nicknamed the “Insurance Capital of the World”.

10. To be, to Brutus ESSE
The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in Ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

15. La Quinta rival RAMADA
The Ramada Inn hotel chain takes its name from the Spanish word for a shady resting place. A ramada is a shelter with a roof and no walls, mainly found in the American southwest. Nowadays a ramada can be temporary or permanent, but originally ramadas were makeshift shelters constructed by aboriginal Indians from branches or bushes.

17. Boise jewelry? ID BRACELET (from “Boise, Idaho”)
Boise, Idaho is the largest metropolitan area in the state by far. There are a number of stories pertaining to the etymology of the name “Boise”. One is that French trappers named the tree-lined river that ran through the area “la rivière boisée”, meaning “the wooded river”.

19. Radius neighbor ULNA
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the "thumb-side" of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the "pinkie-side".

20. Huffington Post piece ESSAY
“The Huffington Post” is a news website founded in 2005 by Arianna Huffington. It is a very active site, with 3,000 people contributing blog posts (including many celebrities and politicians), and readers leaving over one million comments every month. “The Huffington Post” was sold to AOL in 2011 for $315 million, with Arianna Huffington staying on as editor-in-chief.

23. Helen Reddy's "__ Woman" I AM
The successful singer Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia. In 1966, Reddy won a talent contest, and earned herself a trip to New York City for an audition. The 25-year-old single mother decided to stay in the US, and a few years later was able to launch a successful singing career. Her hit song “I Am Woman”, released in 1972, was the first recording by an Australian artist to reach #1 in the US charts.

28. Like Mont Blanc ALPINE
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. The name "Mont Blanc" translates from French into "white mountain". The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

31. Harrisburg loudspeaker network? PA SYSTEM (from “Harrisburg. Pennsylvania”)
The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the state’s capital. The city was named for John Harris, Sr. who operated a ferry across the Susquehanna River that runs through Harrisburg. Harrisburg is home to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, which is located alongside the Susquehanna, and which had a partial meltdown in 1979.

35. China's Chou En-__ LAI
Zhou Enlai (also Chou En-Lai) was the first government leader of the People's Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon's famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

36. "My Fair Lady" composer LOEWE
Frederick Loewe was a composer best known for his collaborations with the lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, the most famous of which were “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot”.

George Bernard Shaw’s play "Pygmalion" was of course adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady". The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

39. Best of Hollywood EDNA
Edna Best was an English actress, probably best known for playing the mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1934 film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.

41. Jackson hair styles? MS DOS (from “Jackson, Mississippi”)
MS-DOS (short for Microsoft Disk Operating System) was the main operating system used by IBM-compatible PCs in the eighties and for much of the nineties.

The city of Jackson, Mississippi was named for President Andrew Jackson, although the name was bestowed before he ran for electoral office. General Jackson was so honored in recognition of his victory at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

43. "The Ides of March" actor Gosling RYAN
Ryan Gosling is a Canadian actor who really seems to be riding high right now. He is one of a string of entertainers to graduate from the Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel. I saw him not too long ago in the fun romantic comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love” starring alongside Steve Carell.

"The Ides of March" is a 2011 political drama film that was co-written and directed by, and stars George Clooney. The movie is an adaptation of Beau Willimon’s play “Farragut North”. I enjoyed this one …

46. Tulsa bull pen? OK CORRAL (from “Tulsa, Oklahoma”)
The most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West has to be the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which took place in Tombstone, Arizona. Strangely enough, the fight didn't happen at the O.K. Corral, but played out six doors down the street in a vacant lot next to a photography studio.

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Loachapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

48. Lyric poems EPODES
An epode is a lyric poem made up of couplets in which the first line is long, and the second line much shorter. The form was invented by the Greek poet Archilochus, and was most famously used by the Roman poet Horace.

51. New Rochelle campus IONA
Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York.

54. Like Richard Burton, by birth WELSH
The actor Richard Burton was born in South Wales, as Richard Jenkins. The actor took “Burton” as a stage name in honor of his schoolmaster and mentor Philip Burton.

58. First name on a 1945 bomber ENOLA
The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

64. Richmond medical center? VA HOSPITAL (from “Richmond, Virginia”)
The city of Richmond, Virginia was named in 1737 by English civil engineer Major William Mayo. He chose the name because he thought that the view of the James River was similar to the view of London’s River Thames from Richmond Hill.

69. Evangelist Roberts ORAL
Oral Roberts was a pioneer televangelist who started preaching on radio in 1947, and on television in 1954. He founded Oral Roberts University n 1963 in Tulsa. Oklahoma, which today has an enrollment of over 3,000 students.

70. Baton Rouge equipment? LA GEAR (from “Baton Rouge, Louisiana”)
LA Gear is an athletic shoe manufacturer based in Los Angeles.

Baton Rouge is the capital city of the state of Louisiana. The name “Baton Rouge” is French for “red stick or staff”. The exact reason why such a name was given to the city isn’t really clear.

71. Doo-wop horn SAX
Doo-wop developed in the 1940s and can be described as a vocal-based R&B music. Even though the style has been around since the forties, the name doo-wop wasn't introduced until the early sixties.

Down
1. Mayberry kid OPIE
Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier. Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like "Apollo 13", "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Da Vinci Code".

5. "Tic __ Dough": old TV game show TAC
“Tic-Tac-Dough” is a television game show that was first broadcast in 1956. New episodes were recorded as recently as 1991.

6. Small diving ducks SMEWS
The smew is a beautiful-looking species of duck found right across northern Europe and Asia.

7. City SW of Bogotá CALI
In terms of population, Cali is the third largest city in Colombia. Santiago de Cali (the full name for the city) lies in western Colombia. Apparently, Cali is a destination for "medical tourists". The city's surgeons have a reputation for being expert in cosmetic surgery and so folks looking for a "cheap" nose job head there

9. Cager Archibald NATE
Nate Archibald is a retired basketball player who played mainly for the Kansas City Kings and the Boston Celtics. Archibald could get the ball in the basket, but was also willing pass to a teammate when advantageous. He is only player to lead the league in assists and scoring in the same season.

10. Evian water EAU
Évian-les-Bains (or simply Évian) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As you might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. I can't stand the taste of Évian water ...

13. Cheese in a red coat EDAM
Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

18. Delhi royal RANI
A ranee (also spelled “rani”) is the female equivalent of a raja in India, and is the equivalent of a western queen or princess.

New Delhi is the capital city of India. New Delhi resides within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (otherwise known as the metropolis of Delhi). New Delhi and Delhi, therefore, are two different things.

25. Beach town NW of San Diego DEL MAR
Del Mar translates into English as "of the sea" aptly enough. Also aptly enough, this upscale beach town started out as a purpose-built resort developed for the rich and famous, back in 1885. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball had a house there for many years, as did Burt Bacharach. Skateboarder Tony Hawks grew up in Del Mar.

27. "Semper Fi" org. USMC
"Semper Fidelis" is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. The phrase is Latin and means "Always Faithful". The US Marine Corps isn't the only military unit using "Semper Fidelis" as a motto . It's also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

28. Last Olds model ALERO
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.

30. Rum-and-coconut drink PINA COLADA
“Piña colada” is a Spanish term which translates into "strained pineapple". The Piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum ...

32. Illegally off base, briefly AWOL
Absent without leave (AWOL)

33. Six-line sonnet section SESTET
A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century. The Shakespearean sonnet is composed of three quatrains (4 lines) and a final couplet (2 lines).

37. Workplace protection agcy. OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

40. Like most Internet trolls: Abbr. ANON
In Internet terms, a "troll" is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term "troll" is used to describe such a person, as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to "lure" others into some emotional response.

50. Upscale hotel chain OMNI
Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Irvine, California and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.

55. Stunt legend Knievel EVEL
Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. He eventually passed away in 2007.

57. Chase, as flies SHAG
To shag (I am reliably informed, never having played a game of baseball in my life!) is to chase and catch a fly ball.

59. Elevator man OTIS
Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the "safety elevator", a design that he showcased at the 1853 World's Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

60. "60 Minutes" correspondent Logan LARA
Lara Logan is a South African newswoman, and is currently the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News. CBS placed Logan on a forced leave of absence at the end of 2013 for comments that she made about the US Government's culpability in the Bengazi attack and for innacuracies in her reporting of the story.

61. "Jeopardy!" fixture, to contestants ALEX
The word is that Alex Trebek will step down as host of the game show “Jeopardy” in 2016, when his current contract expires. The list of names mentioned to replace Trebek includes Brian Williams, Dan Patrick, Matt Lauer and Anderson Cooper. I vote for Cooper, but I can't see him taking the job ...

63. Capitol Hill fig. POL
There are lots of politicians (pols.) on Capitol Hill, lots and lots of them …

65. Fed. benefits agency SSA
The Social Security Administration (SSA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Fly-by-nighter? OWL
4. Hartford market checker's action? CT SCAN (from “Hartford, Connecticut”)
10. To be, to Brutus ESSE
14. Pod resident PEA
15. La Quinta rival RAMADA
16. Mocked, in a way APED
17. Boise jewelry? ID BRACELET (from “Boise, Idaho”)
19. Radius neighbor ULNA
20. Huffington Post piece ESSAY
21. Catches on, with "up" WISES
23. Helen Reddy's "__ Woman" I AM
24. Signs of approval NODS
26. Seek, as a fugitive HUNT
28. Like Mont Blanc ALPINE
31. Harrisburg loudspeaker network? PA SYSTEM (from “Harrisburg. Pennsylvania”)
35. China's Chou En-__ LAI
36. "My Fair Lady" composer LOEWE
38. Piddling MERE
39. Best of Hollywood EDNA
41. Jackson hair styles? MS DOS (from “Jackson, Missouri”)
42. Pull an all-nighter, perhaps CRAM
43. "The Ides of March" actor Gosling RYAN
44. Grind to __ A HALT
45. Environmental prefix ECO-
46. Tulsa bull pen? OK CORRAL (from “Tulsa, Oklahoma”)
48. Lyric poems EPODES
51. New Rochelle campus IONA
52. Agenda unit ITEM
53. Every little bit ALL
54. Like Richard Burton, by birth WELSH
58. First name on a 1945 bomber ENOLA
62. Commotion FLAP
64. Richmond medical center? VA HOSPITAL (from “Richmond, Virginia”)
66. Start from scratch REDO
67. Pass by ELAPSE
68. Spleen IRE
69. Evangelist Roberts ORAL
70. Baton Rouge equipment? LA GEAR (from “Baton Rouge, Louisiana”)
71. Doo-wop horn SAX

Down
1. Mayberry kid OPIE
2. Unites WEDS
3. Physical exam tests LABS
4. Coloring stick CRAYON
5. "Tic __ Dough": old TV game show TAC
6. Small diving ducks SMEWS
7. City SW of Bogotá CALI
8. Lemony drinks ADES
9. Cager Archibald NATE
10. Evian water EAU
11. Broke into small, sharp pieces SPLINTERED
12. Contest for a seat SENATE RACE
13. Cheese in a red coat EDAM
18. Delhi royal RANI
22. Hardly outgoing SHY
25. Beach town NW of San Diego DEL MAR
27. "Semper Fi" org. USMC
28. Last Olds model ALERO
29. Playboy LADYKILLER
30. Rum-and-coconut drink PINA COLADA
31. Organ part PEDAL
32. Illegally off base, briefly AWOL
33. Six-line sonnet section SESTET
34. Bulletin board postings MEMOS
37. Workplace protection agcy. OSHA
40. Like most Internet trolls: Abbr. ANON
47. Unpolished RAW
49. Eye PEEPER
50. Upscale hotel chain OMNI
52. "Fingers crossed" I HOPE
53. Curly hairdo AFRO
55. Stunt legend Knievel EVEL
56. Singer's syllables LA LA
57. Chase, as flies SHAG
59. Elevator man OTIS
60. "60 Minutes" correspondent Logan LARA
61. "Jeopardy!" fixture, to contestants ALEX
63. Capitol Hill fig. POL
65. Fed. benefits agency SSA


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6 comments:

Argyle said...

(from “Jackson, Missouri”)
How about (from Jackson, Mississippi).

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Argyle.

My slip is showing yet again. I am going to have to learn my American state abbreviations.

Thanks for the help!

Addict said...

I thought this was a great offering from C.C.
It felt like I was wrong on so many answers until PA System appeared. That was the AHA! moment for the theme.

The rest fell quickly after that.

Also, A grid not loaded with names that no one ever heard of added to the enjoyable solve.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand the relationship between the clue and the answer to 41 across, "Jackson hairstyles" even after reading your comments. Help!

Piano Man said...

I believe the clue for "Jackson hairstyles" refers to Mississippi hair-"dos", not the MS-DOS operating system. Also BTW, Lara Logan has been suspended by CBS for her reporting errors on the Benghazi story :-)

Bill Butler said...

@Addict
It took me a good while to work out the theme too, and I found that I needed that understanding to complete the grid. That's a good thing, I think, as so often we just work out the theme after we've finished the puzzle.

@Anonymous
Apologies for confusing folks. There are two things going on in the themed answers at the same time. At one level, the answer is a well-known phrase that starts with a two-letter abbreviation e.g. MS DOS, CT SCAN. The clue ignores this meaning of the answer though and treats the initials as the abbreviation for a state name, so CT SCAN is clued as CONNECTICUT SCAN (Hartford market checker's action?). By analogy, MS DOS is clued as MISSISSIPPI DOS (Jackson hair-dos). The same reasoning works for the rest of the themed answers. I hope that helps ...

@Piano Man
When I was deciphering the theme, I also thought that the Jackson reference might be to Michael, as I found out that he was sometimes referred to as "M" or "MJ". But, by analogy with the other themed answers and clues, the "MS" is MISSISSIPPI and not Michael's (M'S). I hope you agree! Also, thanks for reminding me about Lara Logan's fate. I will add that comment to my little blurb right now.

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This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the Los Angeles Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, usually before midnight PST.

I've been writing the NYTCrossword.com blog (about the New York Times crossword) since 2009. I finally started this LAXCrossword.com blog in response to many requests over the years to write about the daily LA Times crossword.

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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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