LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Oct 2017, Monday










Constructed by: Janice Luttrell

Edited by: Rich Norris

Quicklink to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

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Theme: Four Alarm

Today’s FOUR themed answers each start with a type of ALARM:

  • 60A. Hot chili designation, and a literal description of the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 51-Across : FOUR ALARM
  • 17A. Unwise act that could be dangerous : FALSE MOVE (giving “false alarm”)
  • 25A. Time-out for a cigarette : SMOKE BREAK (giving “smoke alarm”)
  • 35A. Dashboard music provider : CAR STEREO (giving “car alarm”)
  • 51A. Pre-talkies movie : SILENT FILM (giving “silent alarm”)

Bill’s time: 4m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. “Death of a Salesman” salesman Willy : LOMAN

“Death of a Salesman” is a famous play by Arthur Miller, first produced in 1949. “Death of a Salesman” won a Pulitzer and several Tony Awards over the years. The “salesman” in the play is the famous character Willy Loman. The play originally opened up on Broadway and ran for 724 performances. The lead role was played by the veteran actor Lee J. Cobb.

6. Abysmal grades : EFS

That would be the letter F (ef).

9. “__ Cross”: 1949 Lancaster movie : CRISS

“Criss Cross” is a 1949 black-and-white film noir that is based on a 1934 novel (titled “Criss-Cross”) by Don Tracy. The movie’s cast is headed by Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo. “Criss Cross” was remade in 1995 as “The Underneath”.

19. Video game pioneer : ATARI

At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

21. Vicinity : AREA

A vicinity is an area surrounding a place. The term “vicinity” ultimately comes from the Latin “vicus” meaning “group of houses, village”.

22. Type of cleansing acid : BORIC

Boric acid is a weak acid that usually comes as a white powder for domestic use. The powder can be dissolved in water and used as an antiseptic.

23. 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.

29. Courage and fortitude : METTLE

“Mettle” is such a lovely word. It means “courage, fortitude, spirit”. “Mettle” is simply a variant spelling of the word “metal”.

31. Swoosh company : NIKE

I remember seeing a lady named Carolyn Davidson on the television show “I’ve Got a Secret”. Davidson created the Nike “swoosh” back in 1971 when she was a design student at Portland State. She did it as freelance work for Blue Ribbon Sports, a local company introducing a new line of athletic footwear. The “swoosh” is taken from the wing of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Years later, BRS changed its name to Nike, so I suppose the company should be grateful to Carolyn for both the great design, and a great company name.

34. Cold War state: Abbr. : SSR

Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR)

The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

35. Dashboard music provider : CAR STEREO (giving “car alarm”)

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

39. Oral health org. : ADA

The American Dental Association (ADA) is the largest and oldest national dental association in the world. Today the ADA is based in Chicago, but the association was founded in Niagara Falls, New York in 1859. The ADA started out as a group of 26 dentists, and it now has more than 152,000 members.

43. Real doozies : LULUS

We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder, who was a stage magician active in the 1880s.

A “doozy” is something extraordinary or bizarre. The word’s exact origins aren’t clear, but it might be a derivative of the name Eleanora Duse, an Italian actress popular early in the 20th century. Some say that the term comes from the Duesenberg brand of automobile, which was indeed referred to as a “duesy”. However, the use of “doozy” in print occurs before the Duesenberg hit the market.

56. Illegal lending tactic : USURY

“Usury” was originally the name given to the practice of lending money at interest, but the term now refers to lending at excessive rates of interest.

57. Wrath, in a 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.

60. Hot chili designation, and a literal description of the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 51-Across : FOUR ALARM

The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.

63. “The Accidental Tourist” actress Davis : GEENA

As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …

“The Accidental Tourist” is a 1985 novel by Anne Tyler. The book was famously adapted into a 1988 movie starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance).

64. Z, alphabet-wise : END

The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s.

67. Part of GPS: Abbr. : SYS

Global positioning system (GPS)

Down

1. Southpaws : LEFTIES

A southpaw is a left-handed person. The term arose as baseball slang in the mid-1880s to describe a left-handed pitcher. Back then, baseball diamonds were often laid out with home plate to the west. So, a pitcher’s left hand would be on his “south” side as he faced the batter.

2. Winning at craps, say : ON A ROLL

If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.

3. First lady after Michelle : MELANIA

When President Donald Trump took office, his wife Melania Trump was the first naturalized US citizen to become First Lady of the US. President Trump’s wife was born Melanija Knavs in the city of Novo Mesto in Slovenia, which was then part of former Yugoslavia. But, Melania Trump isn’t the first First Lady born overseas. That honor goes to London-born Louisa Adams, the wife of President John Adams.

Michelle Obama née Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago and is sister to Craig Robinson, former coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Robinson worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another …

5. PBS “Science Guy” Bill : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

7. “Hawaii __”: TV cop show : FIVE-O

The cop show “Hawaii Five-O” originally ran from 1968 until 1980, with Jack Lord and James MacArthur playing detectives Steve McGarrett and “Danno” Williams. The famous theme music was composed by Morton Stevens. The show was rebooted as “Hawaii Five-0”, premiering in 2010, with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan playing Steve McGarrett and “Danno” Williams. Notice the important difference in the titles of the two versions of the show: the former using a capital letter O, and the latter the numeral zero.

9. Buster who played Flash Gordon : CRABBE

As an actor, Buster Crabbe was best known for playing Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Before taking up acting, Crabbe was a championship swimmer, the winner of the 1932 Olympic gold medal for the 400 meter freestyle.

“Flash Gordon” was originally a comic strip that was first published in 1934 and drawn by Alex Raymond. It was created to compete with the already successful strip titled “Buck Rogers”.

11. Turkish travel shelters : IMARETS

Imarets were inns or hostels used by pilgrims throughout the Ottoman Empire. The network of imarets was set up to provide food to anyone in need, so they also served as “soup kitchens”.

18. Sunday service : MASS

The principal act of worship in the Roman Catholic tradition is the Mass. The term “Mass” comes from the Late Latin word “missa” meaning “dismissal”. This word is used at the end of the Latin Mass in “Ite, missa est” which translates literally as “Go, it is the dismissal”.

26. 911 situation: Abbr. : EMER

The first use of an emergency phone number nationally was in the UK in 1937, where the number 999 was introduced to call emergency services. If you need emergency services in the UK or Ireland to this day, you have to dial 999. It’s not really clear why 911 became the emergency number in the US. The most credible suggestion (to me) is that when it was introduced by the FCC in 1967, it was a number that “fit” with the numbers already used by AT&T for free services (211-long distance; 411-information; 611-repair service).

28. Disney doe : ENA

Ena is Bambi’s aunt in the 1942 Disney film “Bambi”. The movie is based on the novel “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” written by Austrian author Felix Salten and first published in 1923. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.

37. Overhead trains : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

40. Yellow-disked flowers : DAISIES

The flowers of the daisy plant close tightly at sunset and then open up again in the morning. It is this behavior that led to the name “daisy”, from the Old English for “day’s eye”. So, the daisy could be called a “well-rested” plant. And, someone who is well-rested attacks the day “fresh as a daisy”. Interesting, huh?

44. Spotted wildcat : LEOPARD

The four “big cats” are the tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard. The smallest of these is the leopard.

48. Williams of tennis : SERENA

Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

52. Small winds paired with drums : FIFES

A fife is a small flute that is often used in military and marching bands. The name “fife” comes from the German “Pfeife” meaning “pipe”.

62. Golfer Trevino : LEE

Lee Trevino is an American golfer of Mexican descent, and so has the nicknames “The Merry Mex” and “Supermex”. He is well known for his great sense of humor and for playing pranks on the golf course. For many years, Trevino wore a Band-Aid on his arm while playing, covering the tattoo with the name of his ex-wife.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. “Death of a Salesman” salesman Willy : LOMAN

6. Abysmal grades : EFS

9. “__ Cross”: 1949 Lancaster movie : CRISS

14. Friend’s opposite : ENEMY

15. Minor point to pick : NIT

16. Convened again : REMET

17. Unwise act that could be dangerous : FALSE MOVE (giving “false alarm”)

19. Video game pioneer : ATARI

20. Singing syllable : TRA

21. Vicinity : AREA

22. Type of cleansing acid : BORIC

23. Actress Skye : IONE

25. Time-out for a cigarette : SMOKE BREAK (giving “smoke alarm”)

27. Upper crust groups : ELITES

29. Courage and fortitude : METTLE

30. Done in, as a dragon : SLAIN

31. Swoosh company : NIKE

34. Cold War state: Abbr. : SSR

35. Dashboard music provider : CAR STEREO (giving “car alarm”)

39. Oral health org. : ADA

42. “Piece of cake!” : EASY!

43. Real doozies : LULUS

47. Dips for tortilla chips : SALSAS

50. Agree : ASSENT

51. Pre-talkies movie : SILENT FILM (giving “silent alarm”)

55. “Please leave your message at the __” : TONE

56. Illegal lending tactic : USURY

57. Wrath, in a hymn : IRAE

58. Round green veggie : PEA

59. Helped : AIDED

60. Hot chili designation, and a literal description of the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 51-Across : FOUR ALARM

63. “The Accidental Tourist” actress Davis : GEENA

64. Z, alphabet-wise : END

65. Start of a tennis point : SERVE

66. Opinion piece : ESSAY

67. Part of GPS: Abbr. : SYS

68. Passover feast : SEDER

Down

1. Southpaws : LEFTIES

2. Winning at craps, say : ON A ROLL

3. First lady after Michelle : MELANIA

4. Wee hrs. : AMS

5. PBS “Science Guy” Bill : NYE

6. Huge, in verse : ENORM

7. “Hawaii __”: TV cop show : FIVE-O

8. T-bone, for one : STEAK

9. Buster who played Flash Gordon : CRABBE

10. Sharp comeback : RETORT

11. Turkish travel shelters : IMARETS

12. Continuing stories : SERIALS

13. Place for a new-car price : STICKER

18. Sunday service : MASS

24. Suffix with diet : -ETIC

26. 911 situation: Abbr. : EMER

28. Disney doe : ENA

31. CIA cousin : NSA

32. “__ not up to me” : IT’S

33. Vitally important : KEY

36. Relax : REST

37. Overhead trains : ELS

38. Kick out of office : OUST

39. Appease : ASSUAGE

40. Yellow-disked flowers : DAISIES

41. Refers casually (to) : ALLUDES

44. Spotted wildcat : LEOPARD

45. Rattle : UNNERVE

46. Soft-shell clam : STEAMER

48. Williams of tennis : SERENA

49. Very soon : ANY DAY

50. From the States: Abbr. : AMER

52. Small winds paired with drums : FIFES

53. Literary twist : IRONY

54. Heaps praise on : LAUDS

61. Beast of burden : ASS

62. Golfer Trevino : LEE

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6 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Oct 2017, Monday”

  1. LAT: 7:00, no errors. BEQ: 36:58, no errors; quite difficult, I thought, with some odd cluing. Newsday: 7:34, no errors. WSJ: 9:38, and, for lack of careful review of crossing entries, I had an “I” where an “O” should have been, at the intersection of 10D and 43A.

    So … about that WSJ meta on Friday: The key to getting it was the very first thing I tried after completing the puzzle and I actually cranked out the first six letters of the ten-letter answer in my head, but they didn’t suggest any title I recognized, so I foolishly moved on, spent several hours trying other things, and only later (as I woke up the following morning) cranked out all ten letters, saw a possible interpretation, got up, wrote them down on paper, separated them into words, looked up the result online, and found that it really was the name of a best-selling book (one that I may order, actually). So I guess the lesson is the usual one: “Think, man, think! Take the time to use the little gray cells! And don’t jump to hasty conclusions!” … 😳😄

  2. Re Lee Travino: He was great in interviews. He was pretty strapped for cash for a lot of his career and made eating money by betting on golf shots. He once said that real pressure in golf is pressing (betting) on a putt for $10 when you only have $5 in your pocket.

  3. 7:02, no errors. Too many missteps to call it completely “Monday easy”, including the “almost there” I had to search out.

    @Dave
    That’s understandable. The thing that baffled me about that meta was the instructions that were provided within the puzzle (57-A). I had the thing solved in < 1 min. But like you, I had to verify what I had and realize that, yes, it really was a book title. I'm pretty surprised it was made that easy, and am curious at how many got right answers off of it. Of course, as I mentioned before, I'm usually on the unhappy side of this stuff and got that in trying the NYT again this week (a mistake). DNFed the Sunday grid after an hour with 15% filled in – and I go on Bill's other blog and EVERYBODY completes it with decent times. It seems there's always a reminder out there that I can't do crossword puzzles.

    @PeteInAK
    Since you asked Dave specifically, I didn't say anything yesterday. But I see that it turned into that, so I'll answer. I usually do the stuff I know that's easier online, but print out the harder stuff when I can. A lot of that is waste, but a lot of it is realizing that it was taking me longer to print the puzzles than it did to do them. I still print some easy ones every once in a while to drill my writing ability, but that's reflective of another problem. There was a time when I couldn't do anything but print things out, but I'm past that a bit now. I'm not that good of a solver (see above) to be able to handle sitting for ~ an hour at a computer screen. The problem presents itself on e-books too. As with puzzles, I have so many of those sitting here that I feel like I can't read too well because I can't be physically comfortable long enough.

    Given the amount of paper I (still) go through, my preference would be the computer if I can get past the whole visibility problem that Dave mentions. I actually DNFed a Tuesday grid online for that very reason, because there were enough cross-references that I couldn't follow them all. I wear out my printer tray finding backs of other things that I print on to save paper. Thankfully, on one level, I have a laser printer that seems to work well and has a toner cartridge that lasts a good while.

    But then like I mention above, I get the NYT papers second-hand from someone and (maybe?) do those. The one thing about news print is how the poor quality shows itself if one is not careful about writing (a pencil/pen will etch it if you're not careful) or erasing (ditto).

    As I've remarked here several times, paper-solving is definitely a different skill set than solving them on computer. I notice that in the difference between my computer and paper times for sure (this one would be in the 10-11 minute range). A lot of that, I think is my superior ability in keyboarding versus hand writing, but that's another topic altogether.

  4. Hi folks!! 😊
    No errors; a few sticking points but a fun solve. Didn’t really bother with the theme.
    Wonder if Criss Cross is a good movie — anyone know? I like film noir, and I like Burt Lancaster.
    Thanks Bill for another great write-up! Interesting that the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair came up (as the venue that introduced chili to America!!) I’m still reading this great book, “The Devil in the White City,” about the 1893 Fair and the mass murderer who preyed on young women in town for the Fair. Very interesting, if a bit gruesome. The Chicago history, and the massive project of designing and building the Fair, makes for good reading.
    Dodgers swept the D-Backs!! ⚾😁 If we make it to the World Series I’m hoping we face Cleveland.
    Be well~~™🍷🍷

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