LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Nov 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Matt Skoczen
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Sir Mix-a-Lot

Today’s themed answers each include the letters SIR. Those letters have been MIXED up in order, and are circled in the grid:

  • 61A. “Baby Got Back” rapper, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : SIR MIX-A-LOT
  • 17A. Restaurant review pricing symbol : DOLLAR SIGN
  • 25A. Grad’s memento : CLASS RING
  • 40A. British Columbia’s capital is on it : VANCOUVER ISLAND
  • 46A. Equal chance : FAIR SHAKE

Bill’s time: 7m 31s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • JALOUSIE (jabousie)
  • SALINA (Sabina!)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Olympic swimmer Buster who played Buck Rogers : 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. His crowning achievement in the pool must have been winning the 1932 Olympic gold medal for the 400 meter freestyle.

10. Queequeg’s captain : AHAB

Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.

Queequeg is a character in Herman Melville’s classic tale “Moby Dick”. Queequeg is the chief harpooner on the boat. He is also the son of a South Sea chieftain, and a cannibal who is covered in tattoos.

15. 365 días : ANO

In Spanish, there are 365 “días” (days) in an “año” (year).

17. Restaurant review pricing symbol : DOLLAR SIGN

The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.

19. __ bar : TIKI

The world’s first tiki bar was called “Don the Beachcomber”, and was opened in L.A. in 1933 by Ernest Gantt (also known as “Donn Beach”). The bar became famous for its exotic rum cocktails. Gantt was called to serve in WWII, and the business expanded dramatically under his ex-wife’s management so that there was a 160-restaurant chain waiting for Gantt when he returned stateside.

20. Physicians’ gp. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

21. Cheese couleur : BLEU

Being a bit of a French speaker (admittedly a very poor one), the term “bleu” cheese has always kind of irritated me. I would prefer that we use either “blue cheese” or “fromage bleu” and not mix the languages, but then I can be annoyingly picky! It’s said that blue cheese was probably discovered accidentally, as molds tend to develop in the same conditions that are best for storing cheese. The blue mold in the cheese is introduced by adding Penicillium spores before the cheese is allowed to set. And yes, it’s the same mold that is used to produce penicillin, the antibiotic.

28. Wagering parlors: Abbr. : OTBS

Off-track betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.

35. Slatted window : JALOUSIE

A jalousie window is one in which rectangular panes are configured as louvers set in a frame. The design dates back to a 1901 US patent, although the use of jalousie windows didn’t catch on until the mid-1900s. “Jalousie” is French for “jealousy”, with the word being used more in the sense of louvered shades “jealously” guarding the privacy of the home. Outside of North America, the more common name for the structure is “louvre window”.

40. British Columbia’s capital is on it : VANCOUVER ISLAND

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. The city of Vancouver was named in his honor. Travelling with him on his American 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.

The Canadian province of British Columbia is in the Pacific Northwest. The British referred to the territory drained by the Columbia River as the “Columbia District”. Queen Victoria chose the name “British Columbia” for that section of the Columbia District that fell under British control. The remainder of the Columbia District was referred to as “American Columbia” or “Southern Columbia”, which became the Oregon Territory in 1848.

43. Most cordial : NICEST

Back in the 14th century, we used the word “cordial” to mean “from the heart”. The most common meaning today is “courteous and gracious”. The original usage also evolved into the name for a drink that “stimulated the heart”. Today’s cordial beverages are strong, sweetened liqueurs.

44. Like this ans. : ACR

This is an across (acr.) answer (ans.).

45. Diamond bag : BASE

That would be baseball.

51. Slide __ : RULE

The slide rule was invented in the early 17th century, with the design building on the work by John Napier on logarithms. As such, slide rules were introduced primarily to carry out multiplication and division. Here in the US, the device is sometimes referred to as a “slipstick”.

55. Slangy negative : IXNAY

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

56. School whose a cappella group is the Whiffenpoofs : YALE

The Yale Whiffenpoofs are an a cappella group based in Yale University. They are the oldest such university group in this country, established in 1909. “The Whiffenpoof Song” is the group’s traditional closing number. The song was first performed back in 1909, and has been recorded by many artists including Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby.

We’re poor little lambs
Who have lost our way,
Baa Baa Baa,
We’re little black sheep
Who have gone astray
Baa Baa Baa.

“A cappella” music is sung without instruments accompanying. The name translates from Italian as “in the manner of the chapel”.

59. Albany is its cap. : NYS

New York State (NYS)

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany. It became the capital of New York State in 1797.

60. Nabisco cracker : RITZ

I’ve always liked Ritz crackers. They’ve been around since 1934 when they were introduced by Nabisco. The name Ritz was chosen because the marketing folks felt that the association with Ritz-Carlton would evoke images of wealth and the highlife.

61. “Baby Got Back” rapper, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : SIR MIX-A-LOT

Sir Mix-a-Lot is the stage name used by record producer and rap artist Anthony Ray.

65. Boxing legend : ALI

After Muhammad Ali passed away in June 2016, there was a large prayer service and funeral procession in his hometown of Louisville. The pallbearers included actor Will Smith and boxer Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Eulogies were delivered by Ali’s wife Lonnie, Billy Crystal, Bryant Gumbel and former President Bill Clinton.

67. Cookie monster? : 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. Wally Amos also became an energetic literacy advocate. He hosted 30 TV programs in 1987 entitled “Learn to Read” that provided reading instruction targeted at adults.

68. Center of Austria? : TEE

The center letter in the word “Austria” is a letter T (tee).

69. Fly to flee : TSETSE

The tsetse fly is responsible for the transmission of sleeping sickness, and is also responsible for transmission of trypanosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic protozoan.

Down

1. Musical endings : CODAS

In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

3. Poe’s middle name : ALLAN

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

4. Statement amt. : BAL

Balance (bal.)

7. Olympic skater Oksana : BAIUL

Oksana Baiul is a Ukrainian figure skater, the 1994 Olympic champion. Baiul had a rough start to her life as her father deserted her and her mother when she was just two years old, and then her mother died when she was thirteen. Her grandparents had died earlier so she was left as an orphan, sleeping on a cot in her hometown ice rink.

8. Country in SW Afr. : ANG

Angola is a country in south-central Africa on the west coast. It is the fourth largest diamond exporter in Africa, after Botswana, the Congo and South Africa. Such a valuable export hasn’t really helped the living standard of the country’s citizens as life expectancy and infant mortality rates are among the poorest on the continent.

11. Port-au-Prince’s country : HAITI

Port-au-Prince is the capital of Haiti. The city was hit by a devastating earthquake in January of 2010. The official government estimate of the death toll stands at 230,000 people, with many bodies never recovered.

12. Singer whose fans are called Claymates : AIKEN

Clay Aiken is one of the singing stars discovered on “American Idol”. Aiken had filled out an application to appear on the show “Amazing Race”, but a friend persuaded him to try out for “American Idol” instead. Fans of Clay Aiken call themselves “Claymates”. Aiken ventured into politics in 2014, winning the Democratic primary in the race for House Representative in the second congressional district of North Carolina. Aiken ultimately lost the race to the Republican incumbent.

22. Gradual absorption : OSMOSIS

Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often just water) across a semipermeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of absorbing water effortlessly gives rise to the expression “learning by osmosis”.

24. Marine snail : CONCH

Although “conch” is now used as a generic term for largish sea snails and their shells, the true conch belongs to a specific group of gastropods. The “meat” is very popular, and so the conch is the second most popular edible snail after “escargot”. The conch shell can be used as a wind instrument, and the true conch is also a good source for pearls.

26. Open a bit : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

27. City in central Kansas : SALINA

I assume that Salina, Kansas was named for the Saline River that runs through the city. In turn, the Saline River was named by French explorers from its description as a “small river where the water was briny.”

30. Mimosa time : BRUNCH

Where I come from, the cocktail known in North America as a mimosa is called a buck’s fizz, with the latter named for Buck’s Club in London where it was introduced in 1921. The mimosa came along a few years later, apparently first being served in the Paris Ritz. If you want to make a mimosa, it’s a 50-50 mix of champagne and orange juice, and it is very tasty …

32. Glamorous Gardner : 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.

34. Statement amt. : INT

Interest (int.)

36. Stomach problem : ULCER

Until fairly recently, a peptic ulcer was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in fact associated with a particular bacterium.

37. RSVP convenience : SAE

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

39. July hrs. in Georgia : EDT

What is now the US state of Georgia, was the last of the original Thirteen colonies to be established. It was named for King George II of Great Britain.

41. “Bates Motel” actress Farmiga : VERA

My favorite performance by the film actress Vera Farmiga was in the 2009 film “Up in the Air”. In the movie, she played the love interest for the character played by George Clooney, and ended up with a nomination for that season’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

“Bates Motel” is a television series that started airing in 2013. The show is described as a prequel to the famous 1960 Hitchcock film “Psycho”, although the TV adaptation is set in the modern day.

46. Terra __ : FIRMA

“Terra firma” is Latin for “solid ground”.

50. Four-time NBA All-Star __ Irving : KYRIE

Kyrie Irving is a professional basketball player who grew up in New Jersey, although he was born in Melbourne, Australia to American parents. Irving played for Duke University before launching his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers following the 2011 draft.

53. Rhone cathedral city : LYONS

The city of Lyon in France, is also known as “Lyons” in English. Lyon is the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, after Paris. It is located just to the north of the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers.

54. Lauder of cosmetics : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

62. __-de-France : ILE

Île-de-France (literally “Island of France”) isn’t an island at all. Instead, it is the most populous of France’s 26 administrative regions. Île-de-France is roughly equivalent to the Paris metropolitan area.

63. Oktoberfest quaff : ALE

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Olympic swimmer Buster who played Buck Rogers : CRABBE
7. Naughty : BAD
10. Queequeg’s captain : AHAB
14. “Yowzah!” : OO LA LA!
15. 365 días : ANO
16. Place for a long winter’s nap : LAIR
17. Restaurant review pricing symbol : DOLLAR SIGN
19. __ bar : TIKI
20. Physicians’ gp. : AMA
21. Cheese couleur : BLEU
22. Like some bread : OATEN
23. Out of __: not together : SYNC
25. Grad’s memento : CLASS RING
28. Wagering parlors: Abbr. : OTBS
31. Printer problem : JAM
32. Key with no sharps or flats : A MINOR
35. Slatted window : JALOUSIE
40. British Columbia’s capital is on it : VANCOUVER ISLAND
42. Where a tennis server’s doubles partner is usually positioned : AT THE NET
43. Most cordial : NICEST
44. Like this ans. : ACR
45. Diamond bag : BASE
46. Equal chance : FAIR SHAKE
51. Slide __ : RULE
55. Slangy negative : IXNAY
56. School whose a cappella group is the Whiffenpoofs : YALE
59. Albany is its cap. : NYS
60. Nabisco cracker : RITZ
61. “Baby Got Back” rapper, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : SIR MIX-A-LOT
64. Extra : MORE
65. Boxing legend : ALI
66. Catty? : FELINE
67. Cookie monster? : AMOS
68. Center of Austria? : TEE
69. Fly to flee : TSETSE

Down

1. Musical endings : CODAS
2. Unlike most airline seating : ROOMY
3. Poe’s middle name : ALLAN
4. Statement amt. : BAL
5. Spoil the surprise : BLAB
6. English nobleman : EARL
7. Olympic skater Oksana : BAIUL
8. Country in SW Afr. : ANG
9. Put on : DON
10. Place to say “I do” : ALTAR
11. Port-au-Prince’s country : HAITI
12. Singer whose fans are called Claymates : AIKEN
13. __ to light: reveal : BRING
18. “Just a few __” : SECS
22. Gradual absorption : OSMOSIS
24. Marine snail : CONCH
26. Open a bit : AJAR
27. City in central Kansas : SALINA
29. Not the least bit challenging : TOO EASY
30. Mimosa time : BRUNCH
32. Glamorous Gardner : AVA
33. Yoga class need : MAT
34. Statement amt. : INT
35. Hot tub water agitator : JET
36. Stomach problem : ULCER
37. RSVP convenience : SAE
38. Officeholders : INS
39. July hrs. in Georgia : EDT
41. “Bates Motel” actress Farmiga : VERA
45. Shine : BEAM
46. Terra __ : FIRMA
47. Self-evident principle : AXIOM
48. Opening words : INTRO
49. Reduces to rubble : RAZES
50. Four-time NBA All-Star __ Irving : KYRIE
52. Not illuminated : UNLIT
53. Rhone cathedral city : LYONS
54. Lauder of cosmetics : ESTEE
57. Emotional boost : LIFT
58. Former union members? : EXES
61. Posed (for) : SAT
62. __-de-France : ILE
63. Oktoberfest quaff : ALE

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