LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Feb 17, Monday










Constructed by: Mark McClain

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: 8th thru 11th

Each of today’s themed answers starts with an ordinal number, running from EIGHTH at the top of the grid to ELEVENTH at the bottom:

  • 19A. Panama Canal nickname : EIGHTH WONDER
  • 34A. When baseball closers usually shine : NINTH INNING
  • 42A. NYC thoroughfare that becomes Amsterdam at 59th Street : TENTH AVENUE
  • 57A. When time is running out : ELEVENTH HOUR

Bill’s time: 4m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Soothsayer : SEER

A “soothsayer” is someone who claims to have the ability to predict the future. The term comes from “sooth”, an archaic word for “truth”. So a soothsayer was supposedly one who told the “truth” (about the future).

13. Cuba libre fruit : LIME

The cocktail known as a Cuba libre is basically a rum and Coke, although the traditional recipe calls for some lime juice as well.

14. Lorena of LPGA fame : OCHOA

Lorena Ochoa is a retired professional golfer from Mexico who was ranked as the number one female golfer in the world from 2007 to 2010.

18. Rice field draft animals : OXEN

A paddy field is the flooded piece of land used to grow rice. The water reduces competition from weeds allowing the rice to thrive. The word “paddy” has nothing to do with us Irish folk, and is an anglicized version of the word “padi”, the Malay name for the rice plant.

19. Panama Canal nickname : EIGHTH WONDER

The Panama Canal was predated by the Panama Railway. The railway’s route actually determined the eventual route of the canal. The impetus to build a canal was spurred on by the success of the Suez Canal which opened in 1869. Work on the Panama Canal started in 1881, but things did not go smoothly at all. Companies involved in the project went bankrupt, one after the other. Eventually the US government bought its way into the project with President Roosevelt handing over millions of dollars to the country of Panama. The canal was finally completed in 1914. All in all, about 27,500 workers died during construction. A kind blog reader highly recommends the book “The Path Between the Seas” by David McCullough, should anyone want to read more about the fascinating tale of Panama Canal’s construction.

22. Robotic maid on “The Jetsons” : ROSIE

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it was debuted in 1963 by ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” are like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family are Rosie the household robot, and Astro the pet dog.

27. Where to find Lima and llamas : PERU

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem.

Many female mammals lick off their newborn. That’s not an option for llamas as their tongues only reach out of their mouths about half an inch. Instead llama dams nuzzle their young and hum to them.

31. Thanksgiving tuber : YAM

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

42. NYC thoroughfare that becomes Amsterdam at 59th Street : TENTH AVENUE

Amsterdam Avenue in New York City is also known as Tenth Avenue between 59th and 193rd Streets. Tenth Avenue has existed from 1816, and in 1890 the name was changed by the landowners nearby in order to help give the Upper West Side an old-world feeling, and to help boost property prices.

45. Vert. counterpart : HOR

Remember the “horizontal hold” (HOR) and “vertical hold” (VER) on old TV sets? Our kids have no idea what we had to go through …

46. Gandhi’s land : INDIA

Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India in the first part of the 20th century, as the country sought independence from Britain. He was also referred to as “Mahatma”, meaning “great soul”. His remarkable philosophy of nonviolence and living a modest lifestyle was a great inspiration to the Indian people. India (and Pakistan) was granted independence in 1947. Tragically, Gandhi was assassinated the very next year.

47. Garbage email : SPAM

Apparently the term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

57. When time is running out : ELEVENTH HOUR

Something that happens at “the eleventh hour” happens late in the day. The expression originates in the Gospel of Matthew in the Christian New Testament. In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, the owner of the vineyard hires laborers throughout the day, even at “the eleventh hour”.

64. “Giant” author Ferber : EDNA

“Giant” is a 1952 novel by author Edna Ferber. It was adapted into a successful Hollywood movie released in 1956. In the film, Bick Benedict (played by Rock Hudson) marries Leslie (played by Elizabeth Taylor) and takes his new wife home to the family ranch in Texas called Reata. The ranch’s handyman is Jett Rink, played by James Dean. Dean was killed in a car accident before the film was released. Some of Dean’s lines needed work before the film could be released and so another actor had to do that voice-over work.

65. Four-sided campus area : QUAD

A university often features a central quadrangle (quad).

67. Cincinnati ballplayers : REDS

The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with “Reds”.

69. Saintly rings : HALOS

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo”, used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

70. “Garfield” pooch : ODIE

Odie is Garfield’s best friend and is a slobbery beagle. Both are characters in Jim Davis’ comic strip named “Garfield”.

Down

2. “Old MacDonald” letters : E-I-E-I-O

There was an American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O), that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

5. Fancy-schmancy : POSH

No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that POSH is actually an acronym standing for “Port Out, Starboard Home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

6. Have __: freak out : A COW

The phrase “don’t have a cow” originated in the fifties, a variation of the older “don’t have kittens”. The concept behind the phrase is that one shouldn’t get worked up, it’s not like one is giving birth to a cow.

9. Contemporary of Mozart : HAYDN

Josef Haydn was an Austrian composer, often called the “Father of the Symphony” due to his prolific output of symphonies that helped define the form. This is one of the reasons that he was known, even in his own lifetime, as “Papa Haydn”. Haydn was also the father figure among “the big three” composers of the Classical Period: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Hayden was a good friend to Mozart, and a teacher of Beethoven.

10. Jazz combo horn : SAX

The saxophone was invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

11. Don Ho’s instrument : UKE

The singer and entertainer Don Ho apparently had a pretty liberal arrangement with his wife. When Ho was touring with his two backing singers, Patti Swallie and Elizabeth Guevara, all three of them shared a room together. He had two children with each of his roommates, giving a total of ten kids including the six he had with his wife. The arrangement was quite open, it seems, with all ten kids visiting each other regularly. To each his own …

12. “Gone Girl” co-star Affleck : BEN

“Gone Girl” is a thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn that was first published in 2012. The story tells of a man whose wife has disappeared, with the reader not being certain if the husband is involved in the disappearance. The book was adapted into a movie of the same name released in 2014, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

24. Dickens villain Heep : URIAH

Uriah Heep is a sniveling insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.

26. “Pomp and Circumstance” composer : ELGAR

Sir Edward Elgar was the quintessential English composer, inextricably associated with his “Pomp and Circumstance” marches (including “Land of Hope and Glory”) and the “Enigma Variations”.

28. Capital of Latvia : RIGA

Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

29. Sch. near the Strip : UNLV

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was established in 1957 as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada, Reno. One of UNLV’s flagship departments is the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, which is consistently ranked as one of the best hotel and hospitality colleges in the nation. I suppose that’s not surprising given the proximity to the Las Vegas Strip.

31. “Abominable” critters : YETIS

The yeti, also called the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

33. Paris newspaper Le __ : MONDE

“Le Monde” is a newspaper published each evening in France. “Le Monde” is one of the two most famous French papers, along with “Le Figaro”.

36. __ Christian Andersen : HANS

The wonderful storyteller Hans Christian Andersen became very successful in his own lifetime. In 1847 he visited England for the summer and made a triumphal tour of English society’s most fashionable drawing rooms. There Andersen met with the equally successful Charles Dickens, and the two seemed to hit it off. Ten years later Andersen returned to England and stayed for five weeks in Dickens’ home as his guest. Dickens published “David Copperfield” soon after, and supposedly the less than lovable character Uriah Heep was based on Dickens’ house guest Hans Christian Andersen. That wasn’t very nice!

48. Rescued damsel’s cry : MY HERO!

A “damsel” is a young woman, often referring to a lady of noble birth. The term came into English from the Old French “dameisele”, which had the same meaning. The modern French term is “demoiselle”, which in turn is related to the term of address “mademoiselle”.

51. Throat dangler : UVULA

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

55. Monday, in Le Mans : LUNDI

In French, “lundi” (Monday) is the day before “mardi” (Tuesday).

Le Mans is a city in northwestern France. The city is famous for the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race that has been held annually since 1923. The 24-hour race uses the city’s race track, but closed city streets are also used for part of the circuit.

58. El __: weather phenomenon : NINO

When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more that half a degree centigrade, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

60. Mensa nos. : IQS

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Soothsayer : SEER

5. Quick fix for an elbow hole : PATCH

10. Underwater vessel : SUB

13. Cuba libre fruit : LIME

14. Lorena of LPGA fame : OCHOA

15. Phony : FAKE

16. Votes in favor : YEAS

17. “My mistake” : SORRY

18. Rice field draft animals : OXEN

19. Panama Canal nickname : EIGHTH WONDER

22. Robotic maid on “The Jetsons” : ROSIE

23. Inherently : BY NATURE

27. Where to find Lima and llamas : PERU

30. Like farm country : RURAL

31. Thanksgiving tuber : YAM

34. When baseball closers usually shine : NINTH INNING

38. They’re often big in showbiz : EGOS

40. Sparkle : GLEAM

41. “I’m hungry enough to __ horse!” : EAT A

42. NYC thoroughfare that becomes Amsterdam at 59th Street : TENTH AVENUE

45. Vert. counterpart : HOR

46. Gandhi’s land : INDIA

47. Garbage email : SPAM

49. “Get moving!” : STEP IT UP!

53. Wash or spin : CYCLE

57. When time is running out : ELEVENTH HOUR

60. Computer image : ICON

63. TV signal part : AUDIO

64. “Giant” author Ferber : EDNA

65. Four-sided campus area : QUAD

66. Extended families : CLANS

67. Cincinnati ballplayers : REDS

68. Tennis match segment : SET

69. Saintly rings : HALOS

70. “Garfield” pooch : ODIE

Down

1. Not as forthright : SLYER

2. “Old MacDonald” letters : E-I-E-I-O

3. Webzines : E-MAGS

4. Mail again, as a package : RESHIP

5. Fancy-schmancy : POSH

6. Have __: freak out : A COW

7. Pulsate : THROB

8. Like grandpa’s jokes, probably : CORNY

9. Contemporary of Mozart : HAYDN

10. Jazz combo horn : SAX

11. Don Ho’s instrument : UKE

12. “Gone Girl” co-star Affleck : BEN

15. Mint of money : FORTUNE

20. High school junior, usually : TEEN

21. Merit : EARN

24. Dickens villain Heep : URIAH

25. Totaled, as a bill : RAN TO

26. “Pomp and Circumstance” composer : ELGAR

28. Capital of Latvia : RIGA

29. Sch. near the Strip : UNLV

31. “Abominable” critters : YETIS

32. Insurance rep : AGENT

33. Paris newspaper Le __ : MONDE

35. Golfer’s starting point : TEE

36. __ Christian Andersen : HANS

37. “Still sleeping?” response : I’M UP

39. Regular payment : STIPEND

43. Precipitation stones : HAIL

44. A pop : EACH

48. Rescued damsel’s cry : MY HERO!

50. Enlighten : TEACH

51. Throat dangler : UVULA

52. Bicycle feature : PEDAL

54. Encrypted : CODED

55. Monday, in Le Mans : LUNDI

56. Use the delete key, e.g. : ERASE

58. El __: weather phenomenon : NINO

59. Throw away : TOSS

60. Mensa nos. : IQS

61. Billiards stick : CUE

62. Breakfast grain : OAT

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LA Times Crossword Answers 19 Feb 17, Sunday










Constructed by: Derek Bowman

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Between the Covers

Each of today’s themed answers is a common, two-word phrase with the name of a MAGAZINE INSERTED in the middle:

  • 119A. Subscription deal promos … and a hint to this puzzle’s seven other longest answers : MAGAZINE INSERTS
  • 23A. Some pool English? : SIDESPIN EFFECTS (“Spin” inside “side effects”)
  • 27A. Ballet phenom? : BREAKOUT DANCER (“Out” inside “break-dancer”)
  • 40A. Regular stockings, as opposed to fishnets? : GARDEN-VARIETY HOSE (“Variety” inside “garden hose”)
  • 63A. 8 or 9, e.g.? : PRIME-TIME NUMBER (“Time” inside “prime number”)
  • 70A. Snowfall during the Olympics? : WINTER GAMES COAT (“Games” inside “winter coat”)
  • 94A. Doghouses and scratching posts? : PET PEOPLE PROJECTS (“People” inside “pet projects”)
  • 112A. Goal for a teacher’s pet? : GOLD STAR RECORD (“Star” inside “gold record”)

Bill’s time: 18m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Mouth Healthy org. : ADA

MouthHealthy.org is the consumer website published by the American Dental Association (ADA).

4. Lineal beginner : MATRI-

“Matrilineal” means relating to ancestral descent through the maternal line.

9. Gibbons, e.g. : APES

Gibbons are referred to as lesser apes as they differ in size and behavior from the great apes e.g. chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans.

13. __ palm : BETEL

The areca palm is sometimes referred to as the betel palm, although I find this a bit confusing. The fruit of the areca palm is the areca nut. The nut is often chewed along with a “betel”, a leaf from a vine in the pepper family. The combined leaf plus nut is referred to as a “betel nut”, which gives rise to the somewhat misleading “betel palm” name.

20. Meredith Grey’s half sister on “Grey’s Anatomy” : LEXIE

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

22. 14th-century Russian ruler : IVAN I

Ivan I was Prince of Moscow from 1325, succeeding his older brother Yuri III, who in turn succeeded their father Daniil Aleksandrovich. Daniil was the first Prince of Moscow, the first in a long line that culminated in Ivan the Terrible, who became the first Tsar of Russia.

23. Some pool English? : SIDESPIN EFFECTS (“Spin” inside “side effects”)

“Spin” is a music magazine founded in 1985 by Bob Guccione, Jr. Bob is the eldest son of “Penthouse” founder Bob Guccione. “Spin” abandoned its print edition in 2012 and now only exists as a webzine.

In my misspent youth, I’d play a little snooker. When deliberately placing sidespin on the cue ball, we Irish (and British) players would simply say “I put some ‘side’ on that shot”. The term used over here in the US for the same shot is putting “english” on the ball. Ironically, the term “english” comes from the French “anglé” meaning “angled”. “Anglé” sounds exactly like the word “Anglais”, which is French for “English”. There you have it …

25. “Save Me the Waltz” writer Fitzgerald : ZELDA

Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, was a novelist in her own right. Zelda’s one and only novel is “Save Me the Waltz”, a semi-autobiographical account of her life and marriage.

27. Ballet phenom? : BREAKOUT DANCER (“Out” inside “break-dancer”)

“Out” is a monthly magazine focused on LGBT culture and lifestyle. “Out” first hit the newsstands in 1992.

29. “The Fountainhead” author Rand : AYN

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand was first published in 1943, her first novel to achieve public success. The story focuses on an idealistic architect, Howard Roark. Roark is uncompromising in his designs, refusing the give the public what it wants, staying doggedly loyal to his own vision.

52. Military wear, for short : CAMO

Our word “camouflage” evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

54. Logan of “60 Minutes” : LARA

Lara Logan is a South African newswoman, and is currently the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News. CBS placed Logan on a forced leave of absence at the end of 2013 for comments that she made about the US Government’s culpability in the Benghazi attack and for inaccuracies in her reporting of the story.

61. “Fuller House” actor : SAGET

Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.

“Fuller House” is a Netflix original series that first aired in 2016. It is a sequel to the hit sitcom “Full House” that aired on network television in the eighties and nineties. Both shows were created by Jeff Franklin. Many of the original cast appear in the sequel, with the notable exception of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The now-famous Olsen twins played young Michelle Tanner on “Full House”.

63. 8 or 9, e.g.? : PRIME-TIME NUMBER (“Time” inside “prime number”)

In the world of television, “prime time” is that part of the day when networks and advertisers bring maximize revenues due to the high number of viewers. Prime time is often defined as 7-10 p.m. Mountain and Central Time, and 8-11 p.m. Pacific and Eastern Time.

“Time” magazine has a readership of about 25 million, making it the largest-circulation weekly news magazine in the world.

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided evenly by 1 and itself. There are still some unanswered questions involving prime numbers, perhaps most notably Goldbach’s Conjecture. This conjecture dates back to the 1740s and is assumed to be true, but has never been proven. It states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

69. “Wish Tree” artist : ONO

“Wish Tree” is a series of living art installations by Yoko Ono. The series consists of native trees planted under her direction, Ono invites viewers to tie written wishes to the trees. Ono has been installing “Wish Tree” exhibits in locations around the world since the 1990s. She does not read the wishes, but collects them for burial under the Imagine Peace Tower, a memorial to John Lennon located on an island near Reykjavik, Iceland. There are over a million such wishes under the memorial today.

70. Snowfall during the Olympics? : WINTER GAMES COAT (“Games” inside “winter coat”)

“Games” is a magazine featuring games and puzzles that was first published in 1977. The original publisher was “Playboy”.

79. “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” soloist : ANNIE

“It’s the Hard-Knock Life” is a song written for the 1977 Broadway musical “Annie”. The musical was based on Harold Gray’s comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”. There were two subsequent film adaptations, both really quite successful, including one released in 1982 directed by John Huston of all people. “Annie” was Huston’s only ever musical.

83. Vulcans, for one : ALIEN RACE

Vulcans are an alien race in the “Star Trek” franchise. The most famous (half) Vulcan is Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Spock’s father is a Vulcan, and his mother is human.

91. Writer __ Neale Hurston : ZORA

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Like the author, the main character in the novel is an African American woman, a part played by Halle Berry in a television movie adaptation that first aired in 2005.

92. Samarra’s land : IRAQ

Samarra is a city north of Baghdad in Iraq. We are perhaps familiar with the city name from John O’Hara’s 1934 novel “Appointment in Samarra”.

94. Doghouses and scratching posts? : PET PEOPLE PROJECTS (“People” inside “pet projects”)

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

98. White choice, familiarly : CHARD

The Chardonnay grape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France. Now it’s grown “everywhere”. Drinkers of California “Chards” seem to be particularly fond of “oak” flavor, so most Chardonnay wines are aged in oak barrels.

101. Texting qualifier : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

102. Nickname in satirical music : WEIRD AL

“Weird Al” Yankovic is a singer-songwriter who is noted for writing and performing parodies of popular songs. Of the 150 or so such songs, the best known are probably “Eat It” (parodying “Beat It” by Michael Jackson) and “Like a Surgeon” (parodying “Like a Virgin” by Madonna).

109. __ tai : MAI

The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.

112. Goal for a teacher’s pet? : GOLD STAR RECORD (“Star” inside “gold record”)

“Star” magazine is a celebrity tabloid that was introduced by Rupert Murdoch in 1974 as a potential competitor to “National Enquirer”. A regular feature in “Star” gossips about suspected plastic surgeries under the title “Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. I wouldn’t be a fan of celebrity magazines, but that “Knifestyles …” name, that’s funny …

118. Paragon : IDEAL

A paragon is an model of excellence, a peerless example. Ultimately the term derives from the Greek “para-” meaning “on the side” and “akone” meaning “whetstone”. This derivation comes from the ancient practice of using a touchstone to test gold for its level of purity by drawing a line on the stone with the gold and comparing the resulting mark with samples of known purity.

123. Bologna bride : SPOSA

Bologna is a city in northern Italy. The city is home to the University of Bologna that was founded way back in 1088. The University of Bologna is the oldest existing university in the world.

124. Cry from Poirot : SACRE BLEU!

French speakers don’t really use the profanity “sacrebleu”, at least not anymore, but we see it a lot in English literature featuring native French speakers. Most famously it is uttered by Agatha Christie’s delightful Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. There is some dispute about the origins of “sacrebleu” (sacred blue), but French dictionaries explain that it is a “softening” of the alternative “Sacré Dieu” (Holy God).

125. Jane Austen specialty : IRONY

Perhaps Jane Austen’s most famous ironic statement comes at the start of her 1813 masterpiece “Pride and Prejudice”:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

126. Cabinet dept. with an atom on its seal : ENER

The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.

127. Cabinet dept. first led by Hamilton : TREAS

Alexander Hamilton was one of America’s Founding Fathers, chief of staff to General George Washington and the first Secretary of the Treasury. It was Hamilton who founded the nation’s first political party, the Federalist Party. He is also famous for fighting a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, which resulted in Hamilton’s death a few days later.

128. 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.

Down

2. Tatted covering : DOILY

There was a draper in London in the seventeenth century called Doiley, and he gave his name to the lace fabric that he sold, which in turn gave its name to the ornamental mat that we call a “doily”. I can’t stand doilies …

3. Eve who played the principal in “Grease” films : ARDEN

The actress Eve Arden’s most famous role early in her career was playing the high school teacher in the 1950’s radio and television show “Our Miss Brooks”. Years later she played the Principal of Rydell High School in the movies “Grease” (a great film!) and “Grease 2” (a terrible film!).

5. Dadaist Jean : ARP

Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

6. Paris pronoun : TOI

In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.

8. Val d’__: French ski resort : ISERE

Val d’Isère is a noted ski resort in south-eastern France, lying just 3 miles from the Italian border. If you’ve ever watched the British sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous”, Edina and Patsy used to holiday in Val d’Isère whenever they got they chance.

9. Two before Charlie : ALFA

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

16. Köln closing : ENDE

Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany, and is known as “Koln” in German.

19. Gumshoe : TEC

“Gumshoe” is a slang term for a private detective or private investigator (P.I.). Apparently the term “gumshoe” dates back to the early 1900s, and refers to the rubber-soled shoes popular with private detectives at that time.

21. “¿Cómo __?” : ESTA

“Cómo está?” is Spanish for “how are you, how’s it going?”

24. Eponymous physicist : FERMI

Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. Fermi moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

31. What “p” may stand for : PENCE

The official name of our smallest denomination coin is a “cent”, and our use of the word “penny” is just a colloquialism derived from the British coin of the same name. However, in the UK the plural of penny is “pence”, whereas we have “pennies” in our pockets.

44. “The Kite Runner” boy : AMIR

“The Kite Runner” was the first novel by Khaled Hosseini, published in 2003. The very successful book became an equally successful film released in 2007. “The Kite Runner” tells the story of a young boy called Amir growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hosseini is a medical doctor, but after the success of “The Kite Runner” he gave up his practice and is now a fulltime write. His second book “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is also a great success.

48. Jon Arbuckle’s dog : ODIE

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

50. __ City: Baghdad suburb : SADR

Sadr City is a suburb of Baghdad, oft in the news in recent years. Sadr City is named after the deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr.

57. Pirate shipmate of Starkey : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on the pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

Gentleman Starkey is one of the pirates who sails with Captain Hook in J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan. Starkey is known as “Gentleman” as he one worked as an usher in a public school.

59. __-Cat : SNO

The brand name Sno-Cat is owned by the Tucker company. All “snowcats” are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

64. “All My __ Live in Texas”: George Strait hit : EX’S

George Strait is a country music singer, known as the “King of Country”. The moniker seems to be well deserved as Strait has had more number one hits on Billboard’s list of Hot Country Songs than any other artist.

71. Hipbone-related : ILIAC

The ilium is the upper portion of the hipbone.

72. Closers often open it : NINTH

That would be baseball.

73. Post-WWII commerce agreement : GATT

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was laid down in 1949, a compromise solution reached by participating governments after they failed in their goal to establish the International Trade Organization. Finally in 1995, a similar organization was formed and the World Trade Organization (WTO) effectively succeeded GATT.

74. “… __ o’ kindness … “: Burns : A CUP

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

80. DEA agent : NARC

“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

82. Law office abbreviations : ESQS

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

85. Supermodel Campbell : NAOMI

Naomi Campbell is a supermodel from England. There’s a lot of interest in Campbell’s life off the runway, as she is known to have an explosive temper and has been charged with assault more than once. Her dating life is much-covered in the tabloids as well, and she has been romantically linked in the past with Mike Tyson and Robert De Niro.

94. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” singer : PRESLEY

“Are You Lonesome Tonight?” is a song that was written back in 1926 by Roy Turk and Lou Hardman. The most famous version of the song was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1960, a month after he finished his two-year stint in the US Army.

95. Blue-pencil : EDIT

The tradition is that an editor writes corrections to written copy using a blue pencil. The practise arose with the introduction of the “non-photo blue” pencil, which had a color that did not show up in some photographic reproduction processes.

96. “Vive __!” : LE ROI

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

97. Generic trendsetters : JONESES

The phrase “keep up with the Joneses”, meaning “want the best and the most expensive things”, was popularized by the comic strip called “Keep up with the Joneses” that first appeared in American newspapers in 1913. The eponymous “Jones” family never appeared in person in the strip, but were referred to constantly,

103. Super Bowl XXXIV champions : RAMS

The St. Louis Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936-45, Los Angeles from 1946-94 and St. Louis from 1995 to the present day. The Rams have only won the Super Bowl once, Super Bowl XXXIV at the end of the 1999 season. The Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16.

105. Incandescent bulb gas : ARGON

The chemical element argon has the symbol Ar. Argon is a noble gas, and so by definition is relatively nonreactive. The name “argon” comes from the Greek word for “lazy, inactive”. There’s a lot of argon around, as it is the third-most abundant gas in our atmosphere.

Incandescent bulbs are still quite common in many homes, despite the fact that they convert less than 5% of the energy used into light. Incandescents have an electric filament that glows as current passes through it. The life of the filament is preserved as the bulb is filled an inert gas such as argon, which displaces harmful oxygen in air.

107. Young partner : ERNST

Ernst & Young is one of the Big Four accountancy firms, alongside Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ernst & Young is headquartered in London. The company was founded in 1989 with the merger of Ernst & Whinney with Young & Co.

109. Haggard of country : MERLE

Merle Haggard is a country singer and songwriter whose most famous recording has to be “Okie from Muskogee” released in 1969. Haggard will tell you that the song was actually meant as a spoof, but it has become a country “anthem”.

112. 1958 winner of nine Oscars : GIGI

In the lovely musical film “Gigi”, released in 1958, the title song is sung by Louis Jourdan who plays Gaston. My favorite number though, has to be “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” sung by Maurice Chevalier. Many say that “Gigi” is the last in the long line of great MGM musicals. It won a record 9 Academy Awards, a record that only lasted one year. Twelve months later “Ben Hur” won 11 Oscars. In the 1958 film, Gigi was played by the lovely Leslie Caron. A few years earlier, “Gigi” was a successful stage play on Broadway. Chosen for the title role on stage was the then-unknown Audrey Hepburn.

113. Polish-German border river : ODER

The Oder river rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland. Downstream, the Oder breaks into three branches that empty into the Gulf of Pomerania in the Baltic Sea.

114. Fallon’s predecessor : LENO

“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:

  • Steve Allen (1954-57)
  • Jack Paar (1957-62)
  • Johnny Carson (1962–92)
  • Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
  • Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
  • Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)

115. Kingpin : CZAR

The term “czar” (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

The word “kingpin” is mainly used figuratively these days, to describe the most prominent member of a group. Back at the start of the 19th century, a “kingpin” was the largest pin in a bowling game called “kayles”. As such, the term is also used sometimes in ten-pin bowling to describe the 5-pin, the pin in the center of the triangular array.

117. Bush in Florida : JEB

Jeb Bush is the son of President George H. W. Bush, and the brother of President George W. Bush. I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara’s son John Ellis Bush is called “Jeb”. A kind blog reader has suggested the the name “Jeb” may have been chosen as JEB are the initials of John Ellis Bush.

120. Curling surface : ICE

I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone is it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

121. Second Amendment org. : NRA

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution was adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. The actual text of the amendment is:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The wording and punctuation in the original text has led to some controversy over the years, some debate over the original intent. That might be an understatement …

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Mouth Healthy org. : ADA

4. Lineal beginner : MATRI-

9. Gibbons, e.g. : APES

13. __ palm : BETEL

18. Long and drawn-out, say : TORTUROUS

20. Meredith Grey’s half sister on “Grey’s Anatomy” : LEXIE

22. 14th-century Russian ruler : IVAN I

23. Some pool English? : SIDESPIN EFFECTS (“Spin” inside “side effects”)

25. “Save Me the Waltz” writer Fitzgerald : ZELDA

26. Vote in : ELECT

27. Ballet phenom? : BREAKOUT DANCER (“Out” inside “break-dancer”)

29. “The Fountainhead” author Rand : AYN

30. More agile : SPRYER

33. Two by two : IN PAIRS

34. Shoebox letters : EEE

35. Chess pieces : MEN

37. Holds (up) : PROPS

40. Regular stockings, as opposed to fishnets? : GARDEN-VARIETY HOSE (“Variety” inside “garden hose”)

49. Old DJs’ assortment : LPS

51. Same, for starters : EQUI-

52. Military wear, for short : CAMO

53. Courted : WOOED

54. Logan of “60 Minutes” : LARA

55. One in a rib cage : LUNG

56. Sends out : EMITS

58. Shone : GLISTENED

61. “Fuller House” actor : SAGET

63. 8 or 9, e.g.? : PRIME-TIME NUMBER (“Time” inside “prime number”)

66. Word for a lady : SHE

68. PC file extension : EXE

69. “Wish Tree” artist : ONO

70. Snowfall during the Olympics? : WINTER GAMES COAT (“Games” inside “winter coat”)

79. “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” soloist : ANNIE

83. Vulcans, for one : ALIEN RACE

84. Biker’s invite : HOP ON

86. Skip it : PASS

87. Gentle : KIND

88. Territories of a sort : TURFS

91. Writer __ Neale Hurston : ZORA

92. Samarra’s land : IRAQ

93. Use (up) : EAT

94. Doghouses and scratching posts? : PET PEOPLE PROJECTS (“People” inside “pet projects”)

98. White choice, familiarly : CHARD

100. Deli option : RYE

101. Texting qualifier : IMO

102. Nickname in satirical music : WEIRD AL

106. Transferred to computer memory : READ IN

109. __ tai : MAI

112. Goal for a teacher’s pet? : GOLD STAR RECORD (“Star” inside “gold record”)

116. DVD player option : EJECT

118. Paragon : IDEAL

119. Subscription deal promos … and a hint to this puzzle’s seven other longest answers : MAGAZINE INSERTS

122. Punk, e.g. : GENRE

123. Bologna bride : SPOSA

124. Cry from Poirot : SACRE BLEU!

125. Jane Austen specialty : IRONY

126. Cabinet dept. with an atom on its seal : ENER

127. Cabinet dept. first led by Hamilton : TREAS

128. Op-__ : EDS

Down

1. Hopelessly lost : AT SEA

2. Tatted covering : DOILY

3. Eve who played the principal in “Grease” films : ARDEN

4. Exuberant review term : MUST-SEE

5. Dadaist Jean : ARP

6. Paris pronoun : TOI

7. Show for quick feedback : RUN BY

8. Val d’__: French ski resort : ISERE

9. Two before Charlie : ALFA

10. Sneak a look at : PEEK INTO

11. Former pen pal? : EX-CON

12. Exercise done from a supine position : SIT-UP

13. Unusually strange : BIZARRE

14. Yet : EVEN SO

15. Powder source : TALC

16. Köln closing : ENDE

17. Defense attorney’s challenge : LIAR

19. Gumshoe : TEC

21. “¿Cómo __?” : ESTA

24. Eponymous physicist : FERMI

28. Potluck fare : DIPS

31. What “p” may stand for : PENCE

32. Completely make over : REVAMP

36. “TMI!” : EEW!

38. Hatched backup : PLAN B

39. Jag : SPREE

40. Comes together : GELS

41. Cyan relative : AQUA

42. Tolled : RUNG

43. Took in : DIGESTED

44. “The Kite Runner” boy : AMIR

45. Unleavened Indian flatbread : ROTI

46. Hindu mystic : YOGI

47. Place of control : HELM

48. Jon Arbuckle’s dog : ODIE

50. __ City: Baghdad suburb : SADR

54. Tangy treat : LEMON PIE

57. Pirate shipmate of Starkey : SMEE

59. __-Cat : SNO

60. Sushi offering : TUNA

62. At that point : THEN

64. “All My __ Live in Texas”: George Strait hit : EX’S

65. Support pro : TECH

67. Blunder : ERR

70. Waterskiing hurdle : WAKE

71. Hipbone-related : ILIAC

72. Closers often open it : NINTH

73. Post-WWII commerce agreement : GATT

74. “… __ o’ kindness … “: Burns : A CUP

75. Only : MERE

76. Exude : OOZE

77. Each : A POP

78. Like some love affairs : TORRID

80. DEA agent : NARC

81. Attends : IS AT

82. Law office abbreviations : ESQS

85. Supermodel Campbell : NAOMI

89. Empty storefront sign : FOR LEASE

90. Secret agent : SPY

94. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” singer : PRESLEY

95. Blue-pencil : EDIT

96. “Vive __!” : LE ROI

97. Generic trendsetters : JONESES

99. “Oh, shucks” : AW, DARN

103. Super Bowl XXXIV champions : RAMS

104. Hang : DRAPE

105. Incandescent bulb gas : ARGON

107. Young partner : ERNST

108. “Be __ … ” : A DEAR

109. Haggard of country : MERLE

110. Didn’t procrastinate : ACTED

111. Chorused “Who’s there?” response : IT’S US

112. 1958 winner of nine Oscars : GIGI

113. Polish-German border river : ODER

114. Fallon’s predecessor : LENO

115. Kingpin : CZAR

117. Bush in Florida : JEB

120. Curling surface : ICE

121. Second Amendment org. : NRA

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