LA Times Crossword Answers 3 Nov 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: Daniel Nierenberg
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Gene Editing

Each of today’s themed answers is a phrase that starts with the word GENE, but GENE has been EDITED; one letter of GENE has been changed:

  • 50A. Molecular manipulation technique … and a hint to the starts of the three other longest puzzle answers : GENE EDITING
  • 21A. Counseling for boomers’ kids? : GEN-X THERAPY (from “gene therapy”)
  • 26A. Sign on a film studio employee’s door? : GONE SPLICING (from “gene splicing”)
  • 43A. Altered clone of actor Richard? : GERE MUTATION (from “gene mutation”)

Bill’s time: 10m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Kappa preceder : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

Kappa is the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the equivalent of our letter K.

17. Saint toppers : NIMBI

A nimbus (plural “nimbi”) is a halo, or an aura. “Nimbus” is Latin, and can also translate as “cloud”.

21. Counseling for boomers’ kids? : GEN-X THERAPY (from “gene therapy”)

The term Generation X (often shortened to “Gen-X”) originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

Gene therapy is an experimental technology used to treat disease. The basic principle is to transplant genes into a patient’s cells in order to cure a disease caused by the absence of those genes.

24. Santa __: Sonoma County seat : ROSA

Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s Wine Country, and the county seat of Sonoma County. The epicenter of the so-called 1906 San Francisco Earthquake was located near Santa Rosa. There was actually more damage in Santa Rosa, for the size of the city, than there was in San Francisco.

26. Sign on a film studio employee’s door? : GONE SPLICING (from “gene splicing”)

Recombinant DNA is DNA made under laboratory conditions. The recombination technique (sometimes referred to as “gene splicing”) brings together genetic material from multiple sources. The sources of that genetic material might be from a different part of the same gene, or even from the gene of a different organism. The end result is a new, man-made, genetic combination.

32. Room at the hacienda : SALA

In Spanish, the term “hacienda” is usually used for a large estate.

36. Gave for a while : LENT

Here in North America, we tend to use the verb “to loan” to mean “to give for a while”, with “loaned” meaning “gave for while”. Over on the other side of the pond, it is common to use the “to lend” to mean “to give for a while”, and so “lent” can mean “gave for a while”. American English favors the use of “to loan” in the context of borrowing money at interest. Well, that’s my impression …

37. Some rank indicators : BELTS

Perhaps in the martial arts?

39. Corona product : BEER

The Mexican beer called Corona is the biggest-selling imported beer in the United States.

41. “Write once, run anywhere” software : JAVA

Java is a programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it didn’t fit the needs at the time. Back then, the language was called Oak, named after an oak tree that stood outside the designer’s office. Later it was called Green, and finally named Java, which was simply picked out of a list of random words.

42. One with many mouths to feed? : HYDRA

The Lernaean Hydra was a mythical sea snake that had multiple heads. Heracles had to slay the Hydra of Lerna as the second of his Twelve Labors.

43. Altered clone of actor Richard? : GERE MUTATION (from “gene mutation”)

Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.

Genetic variation is a fundamental behind the process of natural selection. Genetic variation is the result of mutations occurring in genes. If a mutation results in an individual that is more fit for survival, then the principle of “survival of the fittest” makes is more likely that the individual will mate. The mutation can then be passed onto offspring.

46. French gambling game : ECARTE

Écarté is a card game that comes to us from France, with a name that translates into ‘discarded”. Écarté is similar to whist but is played with a stripped-down deck and involves only two players.

58. Immune system component : T CELL

T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

61. Cithara relative : LYRE

The lyre is a stringed instrument most closely associated with Ancient Greece, and with the gods Hermes and Apollo in particular. According to myth, Hermes slaughtered a cow from a sacred herd belonging to Apollo and offered it to the gods but kept the entrails. Hermes used the entrails to make strings that he stretched across the shell of a tortoise, creating the first lyre. Apollo liked the sound from the lyre and agreed to accept it as a trade for his herd of cattle.

A kithara (also “cithara”) was a lyre-like instrument in Ancient Greece. Our word “guitar” is ultimately derived from “kithara”. Indeed, “kithara” is the modern Greek word for “guitar”.

63. “__ bien!” : TRES

“Very good” is written as “sehr gut” in German, and as “très bien” in French.

64. Word appearing twice in a Woody Guthrie title : LAND

Woody Guthrie was a singer-songwriter best known for his recording of the folk song “This Land is Your Land”, the lyrics of which were written by Guthrie himself.

65. Synthetic polymer : NYLON

The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application was as bristles in toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous, for women’s stockings starting in 1940, stockings that came to be known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was to become in short supply during WWII.

Down

1. Turner of “The Bad and the Beautiful” : LANA

Lana Turner started work as a Hollywood actress at a very young age, signing up with MGM at only sixteen. Early in her career she earned the nickname “The Sweater Girl” after wearing a pretty tight sweater in the film “They Won’t Forget”, which was her film debut. She married eight times, to seven different husbands, the first of which was bandleader Artie Shaw. Shaw and Turner eloped and married on their very first date, when the young actress was just nineteen years old. After divorcing Shaw she married restaurateur Joseph Crane, but had the marriage annulled when she found out that Crane was still married to his first wife. The two had a daughter together, and so remarried when Crane’s divorce was finalized. Cheryl Crane was the daughter from the marriage to Joseph and she lived with Turner after her parents split up. When Cheryl was 14-years-old, her mother was romantically involved with a shady character named Johnny Stompanato. One evening Cheryl found her mother engaged in a violent argument with Stompanato, and Cheryl became so scared that she pulled out a gun and killed him in what was deemed to be justifiable homicide. Turner’s last marriage was to a nightclub hypnotist, Ronald Pellar, and that union lasted just six months as Pellar disappeared one day with a lot of Turner’s money and jewelry. Years later Turner said, “My goal was to have one husband and seven children, but it turned out to be the other way around.”

“The Bad and the Beautiful” is a 1952 film that won five Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Gloria Grahame. Remarkably, Grahame was on screen for just nine minutes in the movie, so she set a record for the shortest performance to ever win an acting Oscar. That record stood until Beatrice Straight’s Oscar-winning performance in the 1976 film “Network”, a performance that took up 5 minutes and 2 seconds of screen time.

6. Traffic or turn follower : … SIGNAL

I wish all drivers would use their turn signals. Back in Ireland we don’t call them “turn signals”, but rather “indicators”.

11. Condemned Titan : ATLAS

In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan who was tasked with holding up the celestial sphere on his shoulders. The Greeks observed the planets moving and the stars in fixed positions. They believed that the stars were on the surface of a single starry sphere, the celestial sphere that was supported by Atlas.

13. “Game of Thrones” accumulation : EMMYS

The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars from the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy television drama that is adapted from a series of novels by George R. R. Martin called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. “Game of Thrones” is actually filmed in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland. I recently binge-watched the show’s first seven seasons, and enjoyed it. There’s no doubt that the production value of “Game of Thrones” is remarkable, but to be honest, I never became riveted by the storyline …

22. Zener cards presumably tested for it : ESP

Zener cards were developed in the early thirties by psychologist Karl Zener, for use in experiments related to extra-sensory perception (ESP). These five simple and distinctive cards replaced the standard deck of cards that had been used in trials up to that point. The five symbols used on the cards are a circle, a cross, three wavy lines, a square and a star.

23. “Show Boat” author Ferber : EDNA

Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman. Ferber also wrote “Show Boat”, “Cimarron” and “Giant”, all three of which were adapted successfully for the stage and/or big screen.

“Show Boat” is a 1926 novel by Edna Ferber that tells the story of performers on a floating theater, a riverboat named Cotton Blossom. The novel was famously adapted into a stage musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein that premiered in 1927. “Show Boat”, the musical, gave us classic songs such as “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”.

26. __ monster : GILA

A Gila monster is a venomous lizard found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico, and is the only venomous lizard native to America. Gila monsters move along at a snail’s pace so aren’t normally a danger to humans. The name “Gila” is a reference to the Gila River Basin in the American Southwest, where the Gila monster was prevalent.

28. Yucatán youngster : NINO

The Yucatán Peninsula is located in southeastern Mexico, where it separates the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest from the Caribbean Sea to the southeast.

29. Sunni’s religion : ISLAM

The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

33. Force user : JEDI

The Force is a metaphysical power much cited in all of the “Star Wars” movies. We may even hear someone in real life say “May the Force be with you”.

34. NASA prefix : AERO-

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

39. Data measure : BYTE

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. And the prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and kilobyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

41. Ballet jump : JETE

A “jeté” is a leap in ballet, coming from the French word “jeter” meaning “to throw”. A “jeté en avant” is a “leap to the front”, towards the audience. A “grand jeté” is a long horizontal jump, a split in the air, leaping from one foot to the other.

42. Do a surfing maneuver : HANG TEN

“To hang ten” is a verb used in surfing. A surfer hangs ten when he or she is able to walk forward and hang ten toes over the nose of the board because the back of the board is covered by the wave being ridden.

47. Wood for grilling planks : CEDAR

Planking is a technique used to roast or bake fish or meat (mainly). While using an open flame, the food items are placed in contact with planks so that natural oils and moisture from the wood can be imparted into the meat or fish. A common wood used for planking is cedar.

48. What “x” may be in trigonometry : ANGLE

Trigonometry (trig) is a branch of mathematics dealing with triangles, and calculations based on the relationships between a triangle’s angles and the lengths of its sides.

51. Former NHL winger Kovalchuk : ILYA

Ilya Kovalchuk is a Russian-born hockey player who turns out for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League.

53. Gusto : ZEAL

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Free : LET GO
6. Crusty formation : SCAB
10. One in a farm array : BALE
14. Truism : AXIOM
15. Kappa preceder : IOTA
16. Entry : ITEM
17. Saint toppers : NIMBI
18. Equine footwork : GAIT
19. Glitz : GLAM
20. Renewed one’s energy, in a way : ATE
21. Counseling for boomers’ kids? : GEN-X THERAPY (from “gene therapy”)
24. Santa __: Sonoma County seat : ROSA
25. Complimentary writers : ODISTS
26. Sign on a film studio employee’s door? : GONE SPLICING (from “gene splicing”)
31. Words of desire : I WISH
32. Room at the hacienda : SALA
33. Fast hit : JAB
36. Gave for a while : LENT
37. Some rank indicators : BELTS
39. Corona product : BEER
40. Disturbance : ADO
41. “Write once, run anywhere” software : JAVA
42. One with many mouths to feed? : HYDRA
43. Altered clone of actor Richard? : GERE MUTATION (from “gene mutation”)
46. French gambling game : ECARTE
49. Zero : NONE
50. Molecular manipulation technique … and a hint to the starts of the three other longest puzzle answers : GENE EDITING
53. Sudden turn : ZAG
56. Advantage : EDGE
57. Bunches : A LOT
58. Immune system component : T CELL
60. Food preservative : SALT
61. Cithara relative : LYRE
62. Clear, in a way : ERASE
63. “__ bien!” : TRES
64. Word appearing twice in a Woody Guthrie title : LAND
65. Synthetic polymer : NYLON

Down

1. Turner of “The Bad and the Beautiful” : LANA
2. It’s a turnoff : EXIT
3. What’s up at the deadline? : TIME
4. Mushy lump : GOB
5. “Yikes!” : OMIGOSH!
6. Traffic or turn follower : … SIGNAL
7. Influence with flattery : COAX
8. Studying like crazy, say : AT IT
9. Tub soothers : BATH OILS
10. Interstate rumbler : BIG RIG
11. Condemned Titan : ATLAS
12. Jumped : LEAPT
13. “Game of Thrones” accumulation : EMMYS
22. Zener cards presumably tested for it : ESP
23. “Show Boat” author Ferber : EDNA
24. Take a load off : REST
26. __ monster : GILA
27. Was required to pay : OWED
28. Yucatán youngster : NINO
29. Sunni’s religion : ISLAM
30. Indoor __ : CAT
33. Force user : JEDI
34. NASA prefix : AERO-
35. Muffin option : BRAN
37. Left nothing out : BARED ALL
38. Big event lead-in : EVE
39. Data measure : BYTE
41. Ballet jump : JETE
42. Do a surfing maneuver : HANG TEN
43. Shakes hands with, say : GREETS
44. Bonded : UNITED
45. Weigh station unit : TON
46. Get rid of : EGEST
47. Wood for grilling planks : CEDAR
48. What “x” may be in trigonometry : ANGLE
51. Former NHL winger Kovalchuk : ILYA
52. Uncertain : TORN
53. Gusto : ZEAL
54. “Just one more thing … ” : ALSO …
55. Narrow valley : GLEN
59. Sound of woe : CRY

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