LA Times Crossword Answers 13 Nov 2017, Monday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Tows

Each of today’s themed answers is a 3-word phrase with the initials TOW:

  • 69A. Highway breakdown need … or, initially, feature of 17-, 27-, 45- and 60-Across : TOW
  • 17A. Saber-rattling : THREAT OF WAR
  • 27A. Shed a few pounds : TAKE OFF WEIGHT
  • 45A. Romantic triangle figure : THE OTHER WOMAN

Bill’s time: 5m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8. India neighbor : NEPAL

Nepal lies to the northeast of India. Today, the state is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country’s general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.

13. “You __ here”: mall map words : ARE

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk, enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for the Mall in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called The Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

14. Banquet, e.g. : MEAL

A banquet is an elaborate feast. “Banquet” is a term that seems to have reversed in meaning over time. Coming into English via French from Old Italian, “banquet” is derived from “banco” meaning “bench”. The original “banco” meal was simply a snack eaten on a bench, rather than at a table. I guess we eat more these days …

16. With 36-Across, Polo Grounds great : MEL …
(36A. See 16-Across : … OTT)

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.

The original Polo Grounds in New York city was built in 1876 and as one might expect, it was used to play polo. The property was leased in 1880 by the New York Metropolitans and was converted into a baseball stadium. Over the years, the stadium was replaced, three times in all, but the “Polo Grounds” name was retained.

19. Ravel classic : BOLERO

Ravel’s “Bolero” is a remarkable piece of music, with a very insistent theme that just builds and builds with instruments being added to the mix as the piece develops. Famously, Bolero played a significant role in the 1979 film “10” starring Bo Derek, Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews. Not a bad movie …

Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. Ravel’s most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he thought it to be a trivial work. Personally though, I love the minimalism and simplicity …

21. Car dealer’s no. : MSRP

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

25. Regatta propellers : OARS

The word “regatta” is Venetian dialect and was originally used to describe boat races among the gondoliers of Venice on the Grand Canal back in the mid-1600s.

32. California’s San __ Obispo : LUIS

The city of San Luis Obispo is one of the oldest communities in California. The name “San Luis Obispo” translates as “Saint Louis, the Bishop of Toulouse”. In 1990, San Luis Obispo was the first municipality in the world to ban smoking in all indoor public areas.

34. Disco __: “The Simpsons” character : STU

On “The Simpsons”, the character of Disco Stu is voiced by Hank Azaria, although he was voiced for a while by Phil Hartman. Disco Stu is described as “a black, wrinkly John Travolta”.

40. Dismantled Brit. music conglomerate : EMI

EMI was a British music company, with the initialism standing for Electric and Musical Industries.

41. Truckee River’s lake : TAHOE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

The Truckee River is the only outlet of the magnificent Lake Tahoe in the High Sierra of California/Nevada. The Truckee River flows northeast through Reno, Nevada and empties into Pyramid Lake.

50. “__ le roi!”: French Revolution cry : A BAS

“Vive le roi!” is French for “Long live the king!” “À bas le roi!” is French for, “Down with the king!”, which was a phrase often heard during the French Revolution.

56. Rose garden pests : APHIDS

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids in my experience is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

68. Little dog breeds : TOYS

The toy group of dogs is made up of the smallest breeds. The smallest of the small breeds are sometimes called teacup breeds.

Down

1. Vertical door part : JAMB

A door or window jamb is the vertical portion of the frame. The term “jamb” comes from the French word “jambe” meaning “leg”.

2. Two-toned cookie : OREO

Nabisco launched an ad campaign for the Oreo brand of in 2012, telling us that the cookie is “wonderfilled”, that the modest little Oreo cookie can bring about a positive change of perspective and create a sense of wonder. I think that’s the idea …

3. Inventor associated with telephones : BELL

Alexander Graham Bell was an inventor and scientist from Edinburgh, Scotland who later lived in Canada and the US. Both his wife and his mother were deaf, a fact that led to Bell spending much of life researching hearing and speech. Bell’s work on hearing devices led to the invention of the telephone. Paradoxically, Bell hated the telephone and refused to have one in the study of his home where he worked. I am with him on this one, as I hate the phone …

4. California Zephyr operator : AMTRAK

The California Zephyr is a passenger train that operates between Chicago and Emeryville, California. That’s a distance of 2,438 miles, making it the longest route operated by Amtrak. I’ve taken the California Zephyr a couple of times, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience …

8. Wetsuit material : NEOPRENE

Neoprene is the trade name given by DuPont to polychloroprene, a synthetic rubber made by polymerizing chloroprene. Neoprene is perhaps mostly readily associated with the manufacture of wetsuits. The version used in wetsuits is foamed neoprene, a material containing gas cells that provide heat insulation.

9. North Pole assistant : ELF

If you want to send a note to Santa in Canada, he has his own special postal code: “North Pole, HOH OHO”. The US Postal Service suggests that we send mail for Santa to zip code 99705, which directs it to the city of North Pole, Alaska.

10. Seats for the flock : PEWS

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

11. Palm tree berry : ACAI

Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

12. Acronym parts: Abbr. : LTRS

Letters (ltrs.)

Strictly speaking, words formed from the first letters or other words are known as “initialisms”. Examples would be FBI and NBC, where the initials are spoken by sounding out each letter. Certain initialisms are pronounced as words in their own right, such as NATO and AWOL, and are called “acronyms”. So, acronyms are a subset of initialisms. As I say, that’s “strictly speaking”, so please don’t write in …

15. McDonald’s freebie : STRAW

The original McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant. The brothers then moved into fast food hamburgers, eventually selling out to one of their franchise agents, Ray Kroc. It was Ray Kroc who really led the company to its worldwide success. He was played by Michael Keaton in the movie about Ray Kroc’s business life called “The Founder”.

24. Dorothy’s dog : TOTO

Toto is Dorothy’s dog in the film “The Wizard of Oz”, and in the original book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Toto was played in the movie by a dog called Terry, but Terry’s name was soon changed to Toto in real life due to the success of the film.

26. “Sprechen __ Deutsch?” : SIE

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” is the German for “Do you speak German?”

27. Ten percent donation : TITHE

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

29. Edmund who played Kris Kringle : GWENN

Edmund Gwenn was an actor from London who appeared in some famous films over the years. Most famously, Gwenn played Kris Kringle in 1947’s “Miracle on 34th Street”, for which performance he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

30. Prefix with sphere : HEMI-

Ever wonder what the difference is between the prefixes “hemi-”, “demi-” and “semi-”, all of which mean “half”? Well, the general observation is that words using the “demi-” prefix date back to the days of Norman influence over the English language. As a result, “demi-” turns up in the world of period costume and coats of arms. Words using “hemi-” tend to have Greek roots, and are prevalent in the world of the sciences and the medical field. Words with “semi-” tend to have Latin roots, and are most often found in music and the arts, and mathematics.

31. __ odometer : TRIP

An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

32. Ronnie in the Pro Football Hall of Fame : LOTT

Ronnie Lott is a former NFL footballer who played most of his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers. After Lott retired, he co-founded the investment firm HRJ Capital with Harris Barton and Joe Montana (the H and J in “HRJ”). HRJ was in business for nine years but collapsed in 2009.

33. Beehive State : UTAH

When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag.

38. Old Sony brand : AIWA

Aiwa was a Japanese company that produced consumer electronics, mainly audio and video equipment. Sony bought Aiwa in 2002 and eventually discontinued the brand in 2006. The Aiwa trademark was acquired by a Chicago-based consumer electronics company in 2015.

46. Garden fertilizer : HUMUS

Humus is the dark organic material found in soil. It is result of the decomposition of vegetable and animal matter, and supplies vital nutrients to the earth. “Humus” is Latin for “earth, soil”.

48. Syrup trees : MAPLES

The sugar maple is the state tree of New York, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. It is also the primary source of maple syrup.

51. ASAP, to an MD : STAT

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

52. Brownish purple : PUCE

The name of the purple shade known as “puce” has a strange derivation. “Puce” came into English from French, in which language “puce” means “flea”. Supposedly, puce is the color of a flea!

55. Silly goose : TWIT

“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that was quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

58. Art __ : DECO

Art deco is a style of design and architecture of the 1920s that actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe before arriving in North America. Celebrated examples of art deco architecture are the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City completed in 1930, and the GE Building that sits in the middle of Rockefeller Center also in New York City, with the address of “30 Rock”.

62. Old name for Tokyo : EDO

“Edo” is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Position at work : JOB
4. Busy as __ : A BEE
8. India neighbor : NEPAL
13. “You __ here”: mall map words : ARE
14. Banquet, e.g. : MEAL
15. Top-quality : SELECT
16. With 36-Across, Polo Grounds great : MEL …
17. Saber-rattling : THREAT OF WAR
19. Ravel classic : BOLERO
21. Car dealer’s no. : MSRP
22. Bro’s sib : SIS
23. Carry on wildly : RANT
25. Regatta propellers : OARS
27. Shed a few pounds : TAKE OFF WEIGHT
32. California’s San __ Obispo : LUIS
34. Disco __: “The Simpsons” character : STU
35. More up-to-date : NEWER
36. See 16-Across : … OTT
37. Shed purpose : STORAGE
40. Dismantled Brit. music conglomerate : EMI
41. Truckee River’s lake : TAHOE
43. Crude __ : OIL
44. Small cut : SNIP
45. Romantic triangle figure : THE OTHER WOMAN
49. Continuous change : FLUX
50. “__ le roi!”: French Revolution cry : A BAS
51. Relaxing retreat : SPA
54. Drop from a list : OMIT
56. Rose garden pests : APHIDS
60. End up just fine : TURN OUT WELL
63. After-tax : NET
64. What a password provides : ACCESS
65. Not working : IDLE
66. Rocks in a bar : ICE
67. Giggly sound : TEHEE
68. Little dog breeds : TOYS
69. Highway breakdown need … or, initially, feature of 17-, 27-, 45- and 60-Across : TOW

Down

1. Vertical door part : JAMB
2. Two-toned cookie : OREO
3. Inventor associated with telephones : BELL
4. California Zephyr operator : AMTRAK
5. “Tell it like it is” : BE HONEST
6. Sensory organ : EAR
7. Sch. before junior high : ELEM
8. Wetsuit material : NEOPRENE
9. North Pole assistant : ELF
10. Seats for the flock : PEWS
11. Palm tree berry : ACAI
12. Acronym parts: Abbr. : LTRS
15. McDonald’s freebie : STRAW
18. Starting on : AS OF
20. Important periods : ERAS
24. Dorothy’s dog : TOTO
26. “Sprechen __ Deutsch?” : SIE
27. Ten percent donation : TITHE
28. Public commotion : FUROR
29. Edmund who played Kris Kringle : GWENN
30. Prefix with sphere : HEMI-
31. __ odometer : TRIP
32. Ronnie in the Pro Football Hall of Fame : LOTT
33. Beehive State : UTAH
37. Let free : SET LOOSE
38. Old Sony brand : AIWA
39. “Think __, act locally” : GLOBALLY
42. Cartoon fight sound : OOF!
44. Merit badge holder : SASH
46. Garden fertilizer : HUMUS
47. Red sign over a door : EXIT
48. Syrup trees : MAPLES
51. ASAP, to an MD : STAT
52. Brownish purple : PUCE
53. Foot part : ARCH
55. Silly goose : TWIT
57. Not yet eliminated : IN IT
58. Art __ : DECO
59. Hearty bowlful : STEW
61. Word seen between married and maiden names : NEE
62. Old name for Tokyo : EDO

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