LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Nov 2017, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Janice Luttrell
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Flat Finish

Each of today’s themed answers start with a word that can “FINISH” the word “FLAT”:

  • 59A. Paint choice … and what the first word of the answers to starred clues can literally be : FLAT FINISH
  • 16A. *2010 Grammy winner for Best Metal Performance : IRON MAIDEN (giving “flatiron”)
  • 39A. *TV cooking competition hosted by Padma Lakshmi : TOP CHEF (giving “flattop”)
  • 10D. *Started a construction project : BROKE GROUND (giving “flat broke”)
  • 24D. *Money-saving investment accounts : TAX SHELTERS (giving “flat tax”)

Bill’s time: 5m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Fancy pillowcase : SHAM

A sham is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens, a sham is also an imitation or fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.

9. Stats for sluggers : RBIS

Run batted in (RBI)

13. Lotto variant : KENO

The name of the game keno has French or Latin roots, with the French “quine” being a term for five winning numbers, and the Latin “quini” meaning “five each”. The game originated in China and was introduced into the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

14. Actress Davis played by Susan Sarandon in TV’s “Feud” : BETTE

I must confess that I have a problem watching movies starring Bette Davis. I think I must have seen her play one of her more sinister roles when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares or something.

“Feud” is a TV series that dramatizes actual events in celebrity feuds. The first season debuted in 2017 and explored the rivalry of Hollywood superstars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (portrayed by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange). A second season takes on the relationship between Charles and Diana, the Princess and Princess of Wales.

Actress Susan Sarandon was born Susan Tomalin in Queens, New York. Although Sarandon played in some notable films from 1969 onwards, it was her appearance opposite Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins in 1988’s “Bull Durham” that truly propelled her into the limelight.

15. “Alice’s Restaurant” singer Guthrie : ARLO

Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.

16. *2010 Grammy winner for Best Metal Performance : IRON MAIDEN (giving “flatiron”)

Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band from London that has been around since 1975. Heavy metal – not really my cup of tea …

19. 2,000 pounds : TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton or sometimes a “long ton”. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a “short ton”. To further complicate matters, there is also a “metric ton” or “tonne”, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

20. French possessive : SES

“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”, when referring to a group of items.

21. __-Ball: midway game : SKEE

Skee-Ball is that arcade game where you roll balls up a ramp trying to “bounce” it into rings for varying numbers of points. The game was first introduced in Philadelphia, in 1909.

Back at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago there were rides and amusements that were all concentrated in one place, away from the exhibition halls. The rides included the world’s first Ferris wheel, and one could also see Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show. All these attractions were located in the mile-long linear park on the South Side of Chicago known as Midway Plaisance. Ever since then, the attractions at any fair have been located at “the midway”.

22. Discreetly, in slang : ON THE DL

Something described as “on the down low” is “secret”. The phrase is often shortened to “on the DL”, The same abbreviated expression can also mean “on the disabled list” in sports.

28. Black-eyed __ : PEAS

Black-eyed peas (also called “black-eyed beans”) are a type of cowpea. Black-eyed peas are especially popular in soul food and other southern cuisine.

31. Without an escort : STAG

Back where I come from, bachelor parties are called stag parties, and bachelorette parties are known as hen parties.

32. Bygone Honda sports car : CR-X

The CR-X is a sports compact car that was built by Honda from 1983 to 1991. The CR-X is sister model to the Honda Civic, with the name “CR-X” standing for “Civic Renaissance Model X”.

33. Impassive type : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). And yes, we get our adjective “stoic” from the same root.

35. Dry-sounding deodorant brand : ARRID

Arrid is an antiperspirant deodorant brand introduced in the thirties. Slogans associated with Arrid have been “Don’t be half-safe – use Arrid to be sure”, “Stress stinks! Arrid works!” and “Get a little closer”.

38. ICU drips : IVS

One might see intravenous drips (IVs) in an intensive care unit (ICU).

39. *TV cooking competition hosted by Padma Lakshmi : TOP CHEF (giving “flattop”)

Padma Lakshmi is a model from India. She is very much into cooking and has published an award-winning cookbook. She is now the host of the American TV show “Top Chef”.

41. Sch. in Columbus : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.

46. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

50. Sinuous ski race : SLALOM

“Slalom” is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”. There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom

54. H.S. exams : SATS

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

57. SEAL’s org. : USN

“SEAL” is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counterguerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.

58. Tech news site : CNET

c|net is an excellent technology website. c|net started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as host of a c|net show.

64. Longfellow’s “The Bell of __” : ATRI

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Sicilian’s Tale; The Bell of Atri”, a narrative poem set in the small town of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

65. Standoffish : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that is has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

67. Pear variety : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear grown in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?

69. What Simon does : SAYS

“Simon Says” is a kids’ game. The idea is for the players of the game to obey the “controller” who gives instructions. But the players should only obey when the controller uses the words, “Simon says …”. The game has very old roots, with a Latin version that uses the words “Cicero dicit fac hoc” (Cicero says do this).

Down

2. “Tell __ About It”: Billy Joel hit : HER

Billy Joel is the third-best selling solo artist in the US, after Elvis Presley and Garth Brooks. Joel’s name has been associated with two supermodels in his life. He dated Elle Macpherson, and wrote two songs about their relationship: “This Night” and “And So It Goes”. Joel’s second wife was Christie Brinkley, to whom he was married from 1985 to 1994. Brinkley appeared in the title role in the music video for “Uptown Girl”.

“Tell Her About It” us a 1983 hit written and recorded by Billy Joel. I love that song, and its retro feel …

4. Wall calendar pages : MONTHS

Our word “calendar” ultimately derives from the Latin “calendae”. “Calends” were the first days of each Roman month. The Latin “calendarium” was an account book, as the debts fell due and accounts were reckoned on the first day of each month.

5. Welcoming prop on “Hawaii Five-O” : LEI

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

6. Scheduled takeoff hrs. : ETDS

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

9. Nas or Nelly : RAP STAR

Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …

Nelly is the stage name of rap artist Cornell Haynes, Jr. from Austin, Texas.

17. “The Simpsons” bartender : MOE

The regulars on “The Simpsons” hang out at Moe’s Tavern, which is named for and run by Moe Szyslak. The most popular beer at Moe’s is Duff Beer. The name “Duff” is a reference to the real-life Duffy’s Tavern that used to be East 13th Street in Eugene, Oregon. “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening used to frequent Duffy’s regularly, and Moe’s looks very much like Duffy’s in terms of decor and floorplan.

22. Footnote ref. : OP CIT

Op. cit. is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to “ibid”, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.

24. *Money-saving investment accounts : TAX SHELTERS (giving “flat tax”)

A true flat tax is one in which a single tax rate is applied to all one’s personal income with no deductions. Here in the US, probably the most famous flat tax proposals came from Governor Jerry Brown and candidate Steve Forbes when they were both running for president in the 1990s.

34. Sorbonne sweetie : CHERI

“Sorbonne” is the name usually used for the old University of Paris, and some of the institutions that have succeeded it. The institution was named for French theologian Robert de Sorbonne who founded the original Collège de Sorbonne in 1257. That’s quite a while ago …

37. Collaborative 1993 Sinatra album : DUETS

Frank Sinatra recorded the album “Duets” in 1993 and “Duets II” in 1994. Both of these marvelous sets of recordings featured Sinatra performing with another celebrity singer. However, some folks felt “conned” as the duets didn’t involve Sinatra and the second artist singing together. Instead, the tracks were made using vocal parts pre-recorded by Sinatra.

47. Like 1% milk : LOW-FAT

The fatty component of milk is known as butterfat (sometimes “milkfat”). To be labeled whole milk, the butterfat content must be at least 3.25%. Low-fat milk is defined as milk containing 0.5-2% fat, with levels of 1% and 2% commonly found on grocery store shelves. Skim milk must contain less than 0.5% fat, and typically contains 0.1%.

49. Wimbledon sport : TENNIS

Wimbledon is a suburb of London located in the southwest of the metropolis. Wimbledon translates from Old English as “Wynnman’s Hill”, with “dun” being an archaic word for “hill”. And, the district is home to the All England Club where the Wimbledon tennis championships are played each year.

50. __ Domingo: Dominican capital : SANTO

Santo Domingo de Guzmán (often just “Santo Domingo”) is the capital city of the Dominican Republic. Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit what is now the Dominican Republic, in 1492. Four years later Christopher’s younger brother, Bartholomew Columbus arrived, and founded Santo Domingo, making the city the oldest, continuously-inhabited European settlement in the Americas.

51. __ Yello: soft drink : MELLO

Like so many beverages introduced by the Coca-Cola Company, Mello Yello was launched to compete against a successful drink already on the market. Mello Yello first hit the shelves in 1979, and was designed to take market share from Pepsico’s “Mountain Dew”.

53. 23rd Greek letter : PSI

Psi is 23rd letter in the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

54. Picket line crosser : SCAB

We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

Back in the late 17th century, a picket was a pointed stake used militarily to defend against attacking forces, and charging cavalry in particular. Ultimately, the term “picket” comes from the French verb “piquer” meaning “to pierce”. The term “pickets” then became the name for troops posted in the front lines, watching for the enemy. A picket line is a unit of soldiers lined up as a team of lookouts. The first use of “picket line” in the sense of labor disputes appeared just after the end of WWII.

56. New Mexico town known for its art scene : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began to settle in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Fancy pillowcase : SHAM
5. Not as expensive : LESS
9. Stats for sluggers : RBIS
13. Lotto variant : KENO
14. Actress Davis played by Susan Sarandon in TV’s “Feud” : BETTE
15. “Alice’s Restaurant” singer Guthrie : ARLO
16. *2010 Grammy winner for Best Metal Performance : IRON MAIDEN (giving “flatiron”)
18. Opinion sampling : POLL
19. 2,000 pounds : TON
20. French possessive : SES
21. __-Ball: midway game : SKEE
22. Discreetly, in slang : ON THE DL
26. Nag, nag, nag : PESTER
28. Black-eyed __ : PEAS
29. Electrified particle : ION
31. Without an escort : STAG
32. Bygone Honda sports car : CR-X
33. Impassive type : STOIC
35. Dry-sounding deodorant brand : ARRID
38. ICU drips : IVS
39. *TV cooking competition hosted by Padma Lakshmi : TOP CHEF (giving “flattop”)
41. Sch. in Columbus : OSU
42. Tiny laugh : TEHEE
44. Bundle of papers : SHEAF
45. Put into service : USE
46. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL
48. Flub it : ERR
49. Letter-shaped hardware item : T-NUT
50. Sinuous ski race : SLALOM
52. Gets in the way of : IMPEDES
54. H.S. exams : SATS
55. Dripping : WET
57. SEAL’s org. : USN
58. Tech news site : CNET
59. Paint choice … and what the first word of the answers to starred clues can literally be : FLAT FINISH
64. Longfellow’s “The Bell of __” : ATRI
65. Standoffish : ALOOF
66. Just sitting around : IDLE
67. Pear variety : BOSC
68. Mix, as a salad : TOSS
69. What Simon does : SAYS

Down

1. Word before bum or bunny : SKI
2. “Tell __ About It”: Billy Joel hit : HER
3. “That’s __-brainer!” : A NO
4. Wall calendar pages : MONTHS
5. Welcoming prop on “Hawaii Five-O” : LEI
6. Scheduled takeoff hrs. : ETDS
7. Opposite of cheap : STEEP
8. Taste and touch, e.g. : SENSES
9. Nas or Nelly : RAP STAR
10. *Started a construction project : BROKE GROUND (giving “flat broke”)
11. More green around the gills : ILLER
12. Shoe bottom : SOLE
14. Old Western villain : BANDITO
17. “The Simpsons” bartender : MOE
22. Footnote ref. : OP CIT
23. __-racking: very stressful : NERVE
24. *Money-saving investment accounts : TAX SHELTERS (giving “flat tax”)
25. Belt holders : LOOPS
27. Chief of __: Army leader : STAFF
30. Wall recess : NICHE
33. Make off with : STEAL
34. Sorbonne sweetie : CHERI
36. Point to debate : ISSUE
37. Collaborative 1993 Sinatra album : DUETS
40. Half a winter warmer : EARMUFF
43. Stretchy : ELASTIC
47. Like 1% milk : LOW-FAT
49. Wimbledon sport : TENNIS
50. __ Domingo: Dominican capital : SANTO
51. __ Yello: soft drink : MELLO
53. 23rd Greek letter : PSI
54. Picket line crosser : SCAB
56. New Mexico town known for its art scene : TAOS
60. Lean-__: shacks : TOS
61. Wash. neighbor : IDA
62. Tricky : SLY
63. Guys : HES

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