LA Times Crossword Answers 30 Jun 14, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jerome Gunderson
THEME: Two AM … each of today’s themed answers includes two incidences of the letter sequence AM, in two different words:

17A. Wishy-washy NAMBY-PAMBY
62A. Cookie brand FAMOUS AMOS
11D. Elite group of athletes DREAM TEAM
35D. It’s “played” by finger-pointers BLAME GAME

52D. Wee hr., and a hint to a feature common to this puzzle’s four longest answers TWO AM

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 20s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Defame in print LIBEL
The word “libel”, meaning a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation, comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s “libel” was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging meaning arising in the 1600s.

14. New York City theater award OBIE
The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. The Obies are presented annually and the recipients are chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper.

15. Dutch-speaking Caribbean island ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands. The ABC Islands is the nickname given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

16. Dianetics creator Hubbard L RON
L. Ron Hubbard wrote a self-improvement book in 1950 called “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. A few years later the concepts were used in the founding of the Church of Scientology.

21. Ukrainian city of one million ODESSA
The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

22. “Othello” conspirator IAGO
Shakespeare’s “Othello” was first performed in 1604. The main characters in the play are:

– Othello, a general in the army of Venice
– Desdemona, Othello’s wife
– Cassio, Othello’s trusted ensign
– Iago, the villain of the piece

33. Exxon merger partner MOBIL
Mobil was founded as part of the the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. The company was originally called Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York). Socony merged with Magnolia Petroleum Company in the thirties and adopted Magnolia’s Pegasus emblem, and it has been used ever since. Mobil merged with Exxon in 1999 but the Mobil brand and Pegasus are alive and well.

38. “Evil Woman” rock gp. ELO
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) recorded the song “Evil Woman” in 1975. “Evil Woman” was written by the band’s lead vocalist, Jeff Lynne, in just thirty minutes!

40. Thyme piece SPRIG
In Ancient Greece, thyme was burned as incense and used in baths as it was believed to be a source of courage.

42. Agcy. that regulates tobacco products FDA
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

43. Apple music players IPODS
When Apple settleD on the name “iPod” for the company’s line of portable media players, they found that the trademark was already owned by one Joseph Grasso of New Jersey. Grasso had registered the name in 2000 to describe Internet kiosks that had a brief flurry of life in 2000-2001. Grasso assigned the iPod trademark to Apple in 2005. One has to wonder if Apple bought him a beer to do so …

44. Greek island SAMOS
Samos is an island in the eastern Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece. Samos is the birthplace of the famed mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos. The latter was the first person known to have proposed that the Earth revolves around the sun.

47. Slalom competitor SKIER
Slalom is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”.

50. Enterprise engineer SCOTTY
In the “Star Trek” series on television and in the movies, the colorful character of “Scotty” was played by the Canadian actor James Doohan. Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery at the start of WWII, and participated in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. After surviving the landing, that same day Doohan was shot by one of his own men in a tragic mishap. Doohan was hit six times, with a bullet to his chest stopped by a silver cigarette case he was carrying. One of Doohan’s fingers was shot off in the incident, an injury that he successfully concealed during his acting career.

60. Run a tab, say OWE
When we “run a tab” at a bar say, we are “running a tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

61. Arabian sultanate OMAN
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The capital city of Muscat has a strategic location on the Gulf of Oman and has a history of invasion and unrest. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody attack. The Portuguese held Muscat for much of the next one hundred years until finally being ousted by local Omani forces in 1648. A Yemeni tribe invaded the area in 1741 and set up a monarchy that has been in place in Oman ever since.

62. Cookie brand FAMOUS AMOS
Wally Amos was a talent agent, one who was in the habit of taking home-baked cookies with him as an enticement to get celebrities to see him. He was urged by friends to open a cookie store (the cookies were that delicious, I guess) and this he did in Los Angeles in 1975 using the name “Famous Amos”. The store was a smash hit and he was able build on the success by introducing his cookies into supermarkets. The brand was eventually bought up making Wally a rich man, and Famous Amos cookies are still flying off the shelf.

64. Rocker Hendrix JIMI
Many of his contemporaries regarded Jimi Hendrix as the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was from Seattle and didn’t really have a really stellar start to his working life. He failed to finish high school and fell foul of the law by getting caught in stolen cars, twice. The courts gave him the option of the army or two years in prison. Hendrix chose the former and soon found himself in the famous 101st Airborne. In the army, his less-than-disciplined ways helped him (as he would have seen it) because his superiors successfully petitioned to get him discharged after serving only one year of his two-year requirement, just to get him out of their hair.

65. Hole __: golf rarity IN ONE
One well-documented hole-in-one was during a round of the British Open in 1973. American golfer Gene Sarazen achieved the feat that day, at the age of 71. A less well-documented series of holes-in-one was reported by the North Korean press in a story about the Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The report was that Kim Jong-il scored 11 holes-in-one in his first and only round of golf.

68. Like pet parakeets CAGED
Parakeets are a group of bird species that are small parrots. The most common type of parakeet that we see in pet stores is the budgerigar.

69. Prom night wheels LIMO
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 …

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

Down
2. 2012 Romney defeater OBAMA
President Obama’s first name, Barack, is Swahili with roots in an old Arabic word meaning “blessed”. Barack was the President’s father’s name. President Obama’s middle name is Hussein, an Arabic word meaning “good” or “handsome one”. Hussein was the name of the President’s grandfather on the paternal side. His surname, Obama, doesn’t really have a translation, but is a common name among the Luo tribe of Kenya.

Mitt Romney was born Willard Mitt Romney in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. Romney’s parents named him after J. Willard Marriott (the hotel magnate) who was the father’s best friend, and after Milton “Mitt” Romney who was the father’s cousin and quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

3. Popeye’s hamburger-loving pal WIMPY
In comic strip “Popeye”, there’s a lovable character called J. Wellington Wimpy, usually shorted to “Wimpy”. Wimpy appeared an awful lot in the comic strip that ran in the newspapers, but he was relegated to the minors when “Popeye” was adapted for television.

4. Neighbor of Syr. LEB
Lebanon (Leb.) is a neighbor of Syria (Syr.).

5. Peke or Yorkie LAP DOG
The pekingese breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier dogs.

The Yorkshire terrier is a breed of dog from the county of Yorkshire in the north of England. That part of the country became very industrialized in the 19th-century, and was home to hundred of clothing mills. The Yorkshire terrier was developed to catch rats in those mills.

6. “Dies __”: Latin hymn IRAE
“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

9. Bomb on stage LAY AN EGG
Apparently the expression “to lay an egg”, meaning “to perform or play really badly” comes from the resemblance of the number 0 to an egg. One laying an egg scores zero.

10. TV’s “Mistress of the Dark” ELVIRA
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was a character originally used to introduce a local Los Angeles weekend horror show back in the early eighties. Elvira was a comic sexy persona played by actress Cassandra Peterson. She wore a tight black gown with a famous low-cut neckline. The weekend horror show is long gone, but the Elvira character is still going strong.

24. Sacred wader of old Egypt IBIS
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

26. Corrida cheer OLE!
In Spain, bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

28. Food for Fido ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

29. Dweebs NERDS
Dweeb, squarepants, nerd … all are not nice terms that mean the same thing, someone excessively studious and socially inept.

31. Red “Sesame Street” Muppet ELMO
The man behind/under the character Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

34. Shoppe modifier OLDE
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc.

37. Floppy __ DISK
I don’t think my kids really know what a floppy disk is. A floppy disk is made up of a thin and flexible magnetic material that can store data, enclosed in a protective case. I’ve used 8-inch floppies in my time, and many 5.25-inch floppy disks. I still have a desktop that will take 3.5-inch disks, although I don’t think there is a 3.5-inch floppy anywhere in the house.

41. Hawaiian root TARO
The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

46. Grammy winner Morissette ALANIS
Alanis Morissette is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After releasing two pop albums in Canada, in 1995 she recorded her first album to be distributed internationally. Called “Jagged Little Pill”, it is a collection of songs with more of a rock influence. The album was a huge success, the highest-selling album of the 1990s, and the highest-selling debut album by any artist at any time (selling over 30 million units).

51. Marisa of “My Cousin Vinny” TOMEI
Marisa Tomei’s first screen role was in the daytime soap “As the World Turns”, but her break came with a recurring role in “The Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World”. Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Man”!

52. Wee hr., and a hint to a feature common to this puzzle’s four longest answers TWO AM
The 12-hour clock has been around a long time, and was even used in sundial format in Ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.

54. Magic charm MOJO
The word “mojo”, meaning magical charm or magnetism, is probably of Creole origin.

55. Gulf States prince EMIR
An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written as “amir” and “ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

58. Skyline haze SMOG
“Smog” is of course a portmanteau word formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s.

59. Actress Skye IONE
Ione Skye is an American actress born in Hertfordshire in England. She is best known for portraying the character Diane Court in the 1989 high school romance movie “Say Anything …”, starring opposite John Cusack. Skye is the daughter of the Scottish folk singer Donovan.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Cereal dish BOWL
5. Defame in print LIBEL
10. Brink EDGE
14. New York City theater award OBIE
15. Dutch-speaking Caribbean island ARUBA
16. Dianetics creator Hubbard L RON
17. Wishy-washy NAMBY-PAMBY
19. Heating outlet VENT
20. Baseball official UMP
21. Ukrainian city of one million ODESSA
22. “Othello” conspirator IAGO
23. Give up the single life SAY “I DO”
25. Standard NORM
27. Took the first step BEGAN
30. Very happy ELATED
33. Exxon merger partner MOBIL
36. Pigeon’s roost, often LEDGE
38. “Evil Woman” rock gp. ELO
39. Societal problems ILLS
40. Thyme piece SPRIG
41. Not at all wild TAME
42. Agcy. that regulates tobacco products FDA
43. Apple music players IPODS
44. Greek island SAMOS
45. Doe or sow FEMALE
47. Slalom competitor SKIER
49. Utility abbr. ELEC
50. Enterprise engineer SCOTTY
54. Lead-in for bytes or bucks MEGA-
56. Persistently demand INSIST
60. Run a tab, say OWE
61. Arabian sultanate OMAN
62. Cookie brand FAMOUS AMOS
64. Rocker Hendrix JIMI
65. Hole __: golf rarity IN ONE
66. Tilt LEAN
67. Valuable rocks ORES
68. Like pet parakeets CAGED
69. Prom night wheels LIMO

Down
1. Paycheck surprise BONUS
2. 2012 Romney defeater OBAMA
3. Popeye’s hamburger-loving pal WIMPY
4. Neighbor of Syr. LEB
5. Peke or Yorkie LAP DOG
6. “Dies __”: Latin hymn IRAE
7. Mooches, as a cigarette BUMS
8. Flows out EBBS
9. Bomb on stage LAY AN EGG
10. TV’s “Mistress of the Dark” ELVIRA
11. Elite group of athletes DREAM TEAM
12. Loud bell GONG
13. Within: Pref. ENTO-
18. Swiss Alps melody YODEL
24. Sacred wader of old Egypt IBIS
26. Corrida cheer OLE!
28. Food for Fido ALPO
29. Dweebs NERDS
31. Red “Sesame Street” Muppet ELMO
32. Performs DOES
33. Annoy MIFF
34. Shoppe modifier OLDE
35. It’s “played” by finger-pointers BLAME GAME
37. Floppy __ DISK
40. Explicit SPECIFIC
41. Hawaiian root TARO
43. Suffix with infant -ILE
44. Religious divisions SECTS
46. Grammy winner Morissette ALANIS
48. Put out, as a publication ISSUED
51. Marisa of “My Cousin Vinny” TOMEI
52. Wee hr., and a hint to a feature common to this puzzle’s four longest answers TWO AM
53. Courtroom question type YES/NO
54. Magic charm MOJO
55. Gulf States prince EMIR
57. Mom’s mom NANA
58. Skyline haze SMOG
59. Actress Skye IONE
63. Every bit ALL

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LA Times Crossword Answers 29 Jun 14, Sunday

Frequently Asked Question: Why isn’t the puzzle in my paper the same as the one shown on your blog?
If the puzzle in your paper doesn’t match the one that I solved, it is probably a Sunday crossword. On Sundays, the “LA Times” chooses to publish Merl Reagle’s excellent crossword, and not their own “LA Times” Crossword. The “LA Times” puzzle is still sent out in syndication, and is also published in the “LA Times” online. I’ve been asked to blog about Merl Reagle’s crossword, but frankly I don’t have the time. Sunday puzzles have lots of clues!

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gail Grabowski
THEME: Let’s Party … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase, but with the -LET suffix added to suit the clue:

22A. Tale about the making of a quilt? COVERLET STORY (from “cover story”)
38A. Low-priced entrée item? BUDGET CUTLET (from “budget cut”)
56A. Sign of embarrassment? SCARLET FACE (from “Scarface”)
82A. Sale on ornamental bands? ARMLETS DEAL (from “arms deal”)
97A. Shopper comparing iPad prices? TABLET HUNTER (from “Tab Hunter”)
119A. Oldest in a delivery line? SENIOR TRIPLET (from “senior trip”)
15D. Wine bar tip containers? GOBLETS OF MONEY (from “gobs of money”)
51D. Bargain mall in the Sahara? OUTLET OF AFRICA (from “Out of Africa”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 29m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Indian in “The Big Bang Theory” RAJ
Raj Koothrappali is a character on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” who is played by British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. Nayyar is married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India.

4. Durable do PERM
“Perm” is the name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls. I don’t worry about such things, as it’s a number-one all over for me …

11. Shape seen at some crossings OCTAGON
In the US, a stop sign is red, and octagonal.

18. Mil. mailroom APO
Army Post Office (APO)

19. First aid plant ALOE
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.

20. Nice friend AMIE
The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

21. 1953 Biblical epic THE ROBE
The 1953 Biblical epic “The Robe” is based on a 1942 historical novel of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas. The book and film revolve around the fate of the Roman soldier called Marcellus who wins Jesus’ robe in a game of dice at the time of the crucifixion. Stars of the movie are Richard Burton, Jean Simmons and Victor Mature. “The Robe” is also notable as the first movie to be released in the widescreen format CinemaScope.

29. Russian city on the Oka OREL
Orel (also Oryol) is a city lying on the Oka River, just over 200 miles SSW of Moscow. Orel was one of the cities occupied by Germany during WWII. It was liberated in 1943, but had been almost completely destroyed.

30. Ennui, with “the” BLAHS
“Ennui” is the French word for boredom, a word that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported that we haven’t anglicized and actually pronounce “correctly”.

31. Political satirist Stewart JON
Jon Stewart is a political satirist and the current host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. Stewart started out as a stand-up comic, and took over “The Daily Show” from Craig Kilborn in 1999. Stewart is a great fan of the New York Times Crossword, and appears in the fabulous movie about the puzzle called “Wordplay” (if you love this crossword, you will love this fantastic film!). Stewart actually proposed to his wife using a personalized crossword that he created with the help of Will Shortz!

37. Hollandaise ingredient YOLK
Hollandaise sauce is a mixture of egg yolk and melted butter that is then seasoned, usually with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Hollandaise has an exalted position in French cuisine. Although the origin is debated, some say that the recipe was invented in the Netherlands and taken to France by the Huguenots, hence the name “Hollandaise” meaning “of Holland”.

43. __:CON: Weather Channel twister probability index TOR
The Weather Channel created the Tornado Condition Index (TOR:CON) as a measure of the probability of a tornado occurring. Values of the index range from 0 to 10. For example, a value of 4 means that there is a 40% chance of a tornado within 50 miles.

44. They’re sometimes written by guests OP-EDS
Op-ed is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

46. Río de la Plata country: Abbr. URU
When the Uruguay River and the Paraná River come together on the border between Argentina and Uruguay, they form the Rio de la Plata. “Rio de la Plata” translates as “River of Silver” from Spanish, but in English we sometimes call the waterway the River Plate. The famous WWII action known as the Battle of the River Plate took place out to sea a few miles from the River Plate estuary. The German battleship Admiral Graf Spee took refuge in the River Plate in the neutral port of Montevideo. Forced to return to sea, and to the Royal Naval vessels waiting for her, Berlin gave orders for the Graf Spee to be scuttled in the estuary.

48. Respond to a tort, perhaps SUE
The word “tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. Tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another but that action falls outside of the scope of criminal law.

55. __ Dhabi ABU
Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

56. Sign of embarrassment? SCARLET FACE (from “Scarface”)
When Al Capone was a young man, he worked as a bouncer in nightclubs and saloons. He was working the door of a Brooklyn night spot one evening when he apparently insulted a woman, sparking off a fight with her brother. In the tussle, Capone’s face was slashed three times. Capone wasn’t too proud of the incident, nor the “Scarface” moniker. He always hid the scars as best he could when being photographed, and was also fond of telling people that the scars were from old war wounds.

61. Glassmaking ingredient POTASH
Potash is the common name for potassium carbonate, and is also applied to other minerals containing the element potassium. The term arises from the old process for producing the chemical which involved soaking wood ashes in water and evaporating the mixture in an iron pot. The resulting material were called “pot ashes”.

65. Disease-stricken tree ELM
Dutch elm disease is a fungus devastating to all species of elm trees that is transmitted by the elm bark beetle. The disease is thought to have originated in Asia and is now rampant in Europe and North America. Even though there is a hybrid of elm known as the Dutch elm, the disease isn’t named after the tree. Rather, the disease is called “Dutch” as it was identified in 1921 by a phytopathologist (plant pathologist) in the Netherlands.

67. Yoga posture ASANA
“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

71. Caracas crackers? LOCO
Caracas is the capital of Venezuela, and is located in the north of the country. The original settlement of Caracas was named by the Spanish using the name of a local indigenous tribe.

74. Org. concerned with CFCs EPA
Environmental protection agency (EPA)

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the propellants that were once used in aerosols. CFCs make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). That conversion creates “holes” in the ozone layer. Regular O2 is good stuff, but we need O3 to absorb harmful UV radiation raining down on us. CFC is not good stuff …

76. Sky god after whom a weekday is named TIU
Týr (sometimes “Tīw”, “Tius” or “Tio”) is the Norse god of single combat, victory and heroic glory. Our “Tuesday” is in fact “Tīw’s Day”.

77. Radius, e.g. BONE
The bones in the forearm are the radius and ulna. “Ulna” is the Latin word for “elbow”, and “radius” is Latin for “ray”.

85. “The Book of __”: 2010 film ELI
2010’s “The Book of Eli” is one of those “end of the world” type movies, with Denzel Washington playing a tough guy traveling across what is left of the United States after some apocalyptic event.

86. “Star Trek” diagnostic tool BIO-SCAN
When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …

89. Altar attendant ACOLYTE
The word “acolyte” comes from the Greek “akolouthos” meaning “companion, attendant, helper”. In the Christian tradition, an acolyte is an individual who assists some way in a ceremony, by lighting candles for example. In more general terms, an acolyte is a devoted follower or attendant.

91. E.T. from Melmac ALF
“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. ALF is a hand-puppet, supposedly an alien from the planet Melmac that crash-landed in a suburban neighborhood. “ALF” stands for “alien life form”.

92. Retro sign word OLDE
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc.

94. Co. involved in arrangements FTD
Back in 1910, fifteen florists from around America agreed to fulfill each other’s orders using the telegraph system, setting up what they called the Florists’ Telegraph Delivery. The concept grew so large that in 1965 the group started to offer international service, and changed its name to Florists’ Transworld Delivery (FTD).

95. Rugged ridge ARETE
An arete is ridge of rock defining the border between two parallel valleys that have been formed by glaciation. If the ridge between the valleys is rounded, it is called a “col”. However if it is “sharpened”, with rock falling way due to successive freezing and thawing, then it is called an “arete”. “Arête“ is the French word for “fish bone”.

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

100. Pieces of 8? ARCS
The numeral “8” is drawn from a series of “arcs”.

106. Distance swimmer Diana NYAD
Diana Nyad is a long-distance swimmer. Nyad holds the distance record for a non-stop swim without a wet-suit, a record that she set in 1979 by swimming from Bimini to Florida. In 1975 she became the fastest person to circle Manhattan in a swim that lasted 7 hours 57 minutes. More recently, in 2013, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage. She was 64 years old when she made that swim!

107. Brit. lexicon OED
“Oxford English Dictionary” (OED)

109. Pool accessory RACK
The more correct name for the game of pool is pocket billiards. The name “pool” arose after pocket billiards became a common feature in “pool halls”, places where gamblers “pooled” their money to bet on horse races.

115. __ Sound PUGET
George Vancouver was a British explorer, and an officer in the Royal Navy. As well as exploring the coast of Australia, he is best known for his travels along the northwest coast of North America. Of course the city of Vancouver was named in his honor. Travelling with him on his Vancouver voyage was a lieutenant Peter Puget, and in his honor, Vancouver named the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows “Puget’s Sound”. Nowadays, the name Puget Sound describes an area much greater than Vancouver had envisioned.

122. Swiss tourist city LUCERNE
The city of Lucerne is home to the famous “Chapel Bridge”, the oldest, covered wooden bridge in Europe. It’s no small structure, being 670 feet (204 meters) long stretching across the Reuss River. It was built in 1333. Can you imagine?

123. “Chocolat” actress OLIN
“Chocolat” is big screen adaption of the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. “Chocolat” tells the story of a young mother with a six-year-old daughter who opens up a chocolate shop in a French village. The mother is played by the lovely Juliette Binoche.

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.

124. Parting words? OBIT
“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

125. Galoot APE
“Galoot” is an insulting term meaning an awkward or boorish man, an ape. “Galoot” comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

129. TV’s “Science Guy” NYE
That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on Disney for 4 years from 1993-97. I was surprised to learn that Bill Nye was married briefly to Blair Tindall, the author of “Mozart in the Jungle”. That’s a great book, if anyone is interested …

Down
2. Theater near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard APOLLO
The Apollo Theater in the Harlem district of Manhattan, New York was opened in 1914 as Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. The original facility was a whites-only venue. When it was opened to African Americans in 1934, the name was changed to the Apollo.

3. Merry JOVIAL
Someone described as “jovial” is a “good-humored, merry”. The term literally means “under the influence of the planet Jupiter”. The Roman god Jupiter was also known as “Jove”, and someone born under the sign of Jupiter was said to have a good-humored nature.

6. Shad output ROE
The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the female shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

8. One way to run AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

11. Available without a scrip OTC
Over the counter (OTC)

When used in a medical context, “scrip” is an abbreviation for “prescription”.

14. Van Gogh inspiration ARLES
A few years ago I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and where he painted his famous “Cafe Terrace at Night”, as well as “Bedroom in Arles”.

16. It’s a cinch in Sapporo OBI
The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot (chocho musubi) or perhaps in a drum knot (taiko musubi).

Sapporo is the fourth largest city in Japan, and lies on the island of Hokkaido. The city and surrounding area was home to the first Olympic Games to be held in Asia, the Winter Games of 1972. For the beer drinkers out there, Sapporo is also home to Sapporo Brewery, with the Sapporo beer being one of the more internationally recognizable brand names.

17. Former Giants pitcher Robb NEN
Robb Nen is a former relief pitcher, best known as a player with the San Francisco Giants. When Nen entered a game in the ninth inning, fans referred to it as the “Nenth” inning.

20. Case worker: Abbr. ATT
Attorney (att.)

23. ’60s Israeli prime minister ESHKOL
Levi Eshkol was Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 to 1969, serving after David Ben-Gurion. Eshkol died of a heart attack while he was still in office.

28. They’re often blitzed SOTS
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning a fool. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

31. Herod’s kingdom JUDEA
Herod the Great was made King of the Roman province of Judea (now the southern part of Israel). Herod the Great’s son was Herod Antipas, the Herod who appears in the New Testament in the stories of the execution of Jesus of Nazareth and John the Baptist.

33. Control group handout PLACEBO
A “placebo” is a medical treatment that is ineffective, but that is deliberated formulated to deceive the patient into thinking it is real. Placebos can be given as control treatments in trials, and so the level of deception can be relatively low, as the patients are aware of the possibility of being given an ineffective treatment. The term “placebo” is the Latin word for “I shall please”. The idea is that the treatment is given more to please than to benefit the patient.

39. California’s motto EUREKA
“Eureka” is the Greek for “I have found it”, and is the motto of the state of California.

50. English horn kin OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

The English Horn is also known by its French name “Cor Anglais”, and is a double-reed woodwind instrument.

51. Bargain mall in the Sahara? OUTLET OF AFRICA (from “Out of Africa”)
“Out of Africa” is a Sydney Pollack film released in 1985, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. The storyline is based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Karen Blixen (written under the pen name Isak Dinesen).

52. Full legislative assembly PLENUM
“Plenum” (plural “plena”) is the name given to a complete legislative assembly under the parliamentary system, with the associated term of “quorum” being the minimum number of members required to be present to conduct business.

58. “The Tempest” king ALONSO
In William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”, Alonso is the King of Naples. Alonso helps Antonio to depose his brother Prospero as Duke of Milan and set him adrift in a boat with Prospero’s young daughter Miranda.

69. College URL ending DOT EDU
The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

– .com (commercial enterprise)
– .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
– .mil (US military)
– .org (not-for-profit organization)
– .gov (US federal government entity)
– .edu (college-level educational institution)

72. Maker of the Commando rifle COLT
Samuel Colt was fascinated as a young man by the science behind gunpowder and its used in weapons. He decided early on in his life, that he would respond to the challenge of the day, how to achieve the impossible, a weapon that fire more than the two times available at the time using a double-barreled rifle. He came up with the concept of the revolver while at sea, modeling his design on the spoked wheel that steered the ships on which he served. His revolver made him a very rich man in his own lifetime. By the time he died in 1862, his estate was valued at around $15 million. Can you imagine? $15 million back in 1862?

75. Race site for more than 300 years ASCOT
Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing, and is located in the town of Ascot, Berkshire in England. The course is located just six miles from Windsor Castle, and is often visited by members of the royal family. Royal Ascot is the name given to the most famous race meeting in the year, at which members of the royal family attend each day, arriving in horse-drawn carriages amidst great ceremony.

81. Nabisco snack brand NILLA
As one might expect, Nilla is a shortened from of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

The National Biscuit Company was formed in 1898 with the merger of three existing bakery businesses. The company name today is Nabisco, an abbreviated form of National Biscuit Company.

84. Like sea lions EARED
There are three families of seals. The first is the walrus family, the second the eared seals (like sea lions), and thirdly the earless seals.

87. “Matzo Balls for Breakfast” author ALAN KING
Alan King was a comedian and satirist, famous for joking about his Jewish culture. He was also an actor, and starred in many movies over a 50-year period, including “I, the Jury (1982), “Author! Author!” (1982), “Casino” (1995) and “Rush Hour 2” (2001).

93. Israir alternative EL AL
Israir and El Al are both airlines based in Israel. El Al is the flag carrier for the country, and Israir is said to model itself on the American low-cost airline JetBlue.

95. Suffered humiliation ATE CROW
The phrase “eat crow”, an alternative to “eat humble pie”, perhaps refers to the fact that cooked crow may be edible, but is not a great food choice.

98. National Inventors’ Day is observed on his birthday EDISON
National Inventors’ Day was established in 1983 by then-president Ronald Reagan. He chose February 11th as the day of recognition, as it is the anniversary of the birth of inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who held more than a thousand patents.

101. Sleeve type seen in sportswear RAGLAN
The hereditary title of Baron Raglan was created in 1852 as a reward for Lord Fitzroy Somerset for his service commanding the British troops during the Crimean War. It’s the raglan sleeve that gives the name to the raglan coat. A raglan sleeve extends right to the collar of the garment. That design was created to suit the first Baron Raglan, who had lost his arm at the Battle of Waterloo.

103. Parlor piece SETTEE
“Settee” is another word for a couch. The term come from the Old English “setl”, which was a long bench with a high back and arms.

105. It’s a stunner TASER
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”.

110. “Flashdance… What a Feeling” singer CARA
Irene Cara (as well as acting in “Fame”) sang the theme songs to the hit movies “Fame” and “Flashdance”.

“Flashdance” is a 1983 romantic drama film about a young welder at a steel plant who aspires to become a professional dancer. The movie’s soundtrack was also a big hit and features songs like “Maniac” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling” performed by Irene Cara that won the Best Original Song Oscar.

112. Athlete dubbed “O Rei do Futebol” PELE
Pelé is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name Pelé for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads, and is a national treasure in his native Brazil.

113. Pique SNIT
The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

Our term “pique” meaning a “fit of ill feeling” is a French word meaning a “prick, sting, irritation”.

114. Taoist force YIN
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

116. Poetic pugilist ALI
Muhammad Ali first used his famous catchphrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” before his world title fight against Sonny Liston in 1964. Back then Ali still went by his birth name of Cassius Clay.

“Pugilism”, another word for “boxing”, comes from the Latin “pugil” meaning “boxer”. In turn, “pugil” derives from “pugnus”, the word for “fist”.

118. Bad ending? DEE
The word “bad” ends with the letter D (dee).

120. Sched. uncertainty TBA
To be advised (TBA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Indian in “The Big Bang Theory” RAJ
4. Durable do PERM
8. “That’s the spot!” AHH!
11. Shape seen at some crossings OCTAGON
18. Mil. mailroom APO
19. First aid plant ALOE
20. Nice friend AMIE
21. 1953 Biblical epic THE ROBE
22. Tale about the making of a quilt? COVERLET STORY (from “cover story”)
25. Fuel storage unit COAL BIN
26. Group mailing aid E-LIST
27. User shortcuts HOT KEYS
29. Russian city on the Oka OREL
30. Ennui, with “the” BLAHS
31. Political satirist Stewart JON
32. “Didn’t mean to do that!” OOPS!
34. Faith group SECT
37. Hollandaise ingredient YOLK
38. Low-priced entrée item? BUDGET CUTLET (from “budget cut”)
43. __:CON: Weather Channel twister probability index TOR
44. They’re sometimes written by guests OP-EDS
46. Río de la Plata country: Abbr. URU
47. Identical SAME
48. Respond to a tort, perhaps SUE
49. Not in time TOO LATE
52. Class-conscious one, briefly? PROF
53. Bleeping overseers CENSORS
55. __ Dhabi ABU
56. Sign of embarrassment? SCARLET FACE (from “Scarface”)
60. Searches carefully SIFTS
61. Glassmaking ingredient POTASH
63. Alarmed cries EEKS
64. Court tactic LOB
65. Disease-stricken tree ELM
66. Fly off the shelves SELL
67. Yoga posture ASANA
69. Dummies DODOS
71. Caracas crackers? LOCO
74. Org. concerned with CFCs EPA
76. Sky god after whom a weekday is named TIU
77. Radius, e.g. BONE
78. Webpage button under a bill PAY NOW
80. Gets in the game ANTES
82. Sale on ornamental bands? ARMLETS DEAL (from “arms deal”)
85. “The Book of __”: 2010 film ELI
86. “Star Trek” diagnostic tool BIO-SCAN
88. Three-part snack OREO
89. Altar attendant ACOLYTE
91. E.T. from Melmac ALF
92. Retro sign word OLDE
94. Co. involved in arrangements FTD
95. Rugged ridge ARETE
96. Infamous 1974 bank-robbing gp. SLA
97. Shopper comparing iPad prices? TABLET HUNTER (from “Tab Hunter”)
100. Pieces of 8? ARCS
104. Sword handle HAFT
106. Distance swimmer Diana NYAD
107. Brit. lexicon OED
108. Flat substitute SPARE
109. Pool accessory RACK
111. Fake it, in a way LIP SYNC
115. __ Sound PUGET
116. “Let me repeat …” AS I SAID …
119. Oldest in a delivery line? SENIOR TRIPLET (from “senior trip”)
122. Swiss tourist city LUCERNE
123. “Chocolat” actress OLIN
124. Parting words? OBIT
125. Galoot APE
126. Fit to be tied IN A RAGE
127. Target in some sports NET
128. Carry on WAGE
129. TV’s “Science Guy” NYE

Down
1. Zoom past RACE BY
2. Theater near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard APOLLO
3. Merry JOVIAL
4. What a junker might be good for PARTS
5. Angular shape ELL
6. Shad output ROE
7. Means METHODS
8. One way to run AMOK
9. Addition to the staff HIRE
10. “Psst!” HEY, YOU!
11. Available without a scrip OTC
12. Hand-waving kid’s cry CHOOSE ME!
13. Rip TEAR
14. Van Gogh inspiration ARLES
15. Wine bar tip containers? GOBLETS OF MONEY (from “gobs of money”)
16. It’s a cinch in Sapporo OBI
17. Former Giants pitcher Robb NEN
20. Case worker: Abbr. ATT
23. ’60s Israeli prime minister ESHKOL
24. Hit, say SONG
28. They’re often blitzed SOTS
31. Herod’s kingdom JUDEA
33. Control group handout PLACEBO
35. Place for a case COURT
36. Hair piece TRESS
38. “You __!” BETCHA
39. California’s motto EUREKA
40. Easy gaits TROTS
41. Place for a link CUFF
42. Jittery TENSE
45. “I’d rather not” PASS
49. Pub array TAPS
50. English horn kin OBOE
51. Bargain mall in the Sahara? OUTLET OF AFRICA (from “Out of Africa”)
52. Full legislative assembly PLENUM
54. Nonsensical SILLY
57. Put on again RE-AIR
58. “The Tempest” king ALONSO
59. Hard to crack CODED
62. French high spots ALPES
68. One way to fly STANDBY
69. College URL ending DOT EDU
70. Orthodontic device SPACER
72. Maker of the Commando rifle COLT
73. Toddler’s boo-boo OWIE
75. Race site for more than 300 years ASCOT
77. Sea bed? BERTH
79. Bunches A LOT
80. Shame ABASH
81. Nabisco snack brand NILLA
83. Artist’s rental LOFT
84. Like sea lions EARED
87. “Matzo Balls for Breakfast” author ALAN KING
90. Jump to one’s feet LEAP UP
93. Israir alternative EL AL
95. Suffered humiliation ATE CROW
98. National Inventors’ Day is observed on his birthday EDISON
99. It’s prohibited NO-NO
101. Sleeve type seen in sportswear RAGLAN
102. Spine-tingling CREEPY
103. Parlor piece SETTEE
105. It’s a stunner TASER
108. Ill will SPITE
110. “Flashdance… What a Feeling” singer CARA
112. Athlete dubbed “O Rei do Futebol” PELE
113. Pique SNIT
114. Taoist force YIN
116. Poetic pugilist ALI
117. It may be blocked by a screen SUN
118. Bad ending? DEE
120. Sched. uncertainty TBA
121. Drilling equipment RIG

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