LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jun 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Final Touch

Themed answers each end with a different synonym of the word “TOUCH”:

  • 63A. Last detail that makes things perfect … and what each answer to a starred clue has? : FINAL TOUCH
  • 16A. *Question to the bartender : WHAT’S ON TAP?
  • 38A. *Subject of a neighborhood flier : LOST PET
  • 10D. *Master perfectly : GET DOWN PAT
  • 28D. *Daring action : BOLD STROKE

Bill’s time: 4m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Viking tales, say : SAGAS

The Vikings were a Germanic people from northern Europe who were noted as great seafarers. Key to the success of the Vikings was the design of their famous “longships”. Made from wood, the longship was long and narrow with a shallow hull, It was also light, so that the crew would actually carry it small distances over land and around obstacles. Longships were designed to be propelled both by sail and by oars.

6. Actress Rooney or Kate : MARA

The actress Rooney Mara is noted for her role in the 2010 film “The Social Network” and for playing the title character in the 2011 hit movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Mara has American football in her blood. Her mother’s family founded the Pittsburgh Steelers, and her father’s family founded the New York Giants.

Kate Mara is the actress who plays a female lead in the US TV series “House of Cards”. Kate is the sister of fellow actress Rooney Mara who played the lead in the American version of the film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

13. __ Lodge: motel chain : ECONO

Econo Lodge is a low-cost hotel chain in the Choice Hotels portfolio of brands. The chain started in 1969 as Econo-Travel, and demonstrated pretty quickly that budget-hotels were a good idea. The first hotel was built in Norfolk, Virginia and it started making money three weeks after welcoming its first guests.

18. “The Simpsons” bus driver : OTTO

Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

19. Rogen of “Steve Jobs” : SETH

Seth Rogen is a Canadian comedian who got a lot of credit for his supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. That led to him being cast as the lead in the 1970 film “Knocked Up”. Rogen also co-directed and and co-starred in the movie “The Interview”, which created a huge ruckus in North Korea.

“Steve Jobs” is a 2015 biographical film about the life of the Apple co-founder. The film is based on an excellent biography of the same name by Walter Isaacson. Michael Fassbender plays Jobs, and Seth Rogen plays Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to have to put this film on my “watch” list …

20. Kumquat peel : RIND

The kumquat tree bears fruit that looks like a small orange, about the size of an olive. The rind of a kumquat is sweet, and the center sour, so often it is only the rind that is eaten. The name “kumquat” comes from the Cantonese “kamkwat” meaning “golden orange”.

22. Bean product? : IDEA

Slang terms for “head” are “bean”, “coconut” and “noggin”.

24. Fragrant hybrid bloom : TEA ROSE

The first tea roses were so called because they had a fragrance reminiscent of Chinese black tea.

29. Tight braid : CORNROW

The traditional braids known as “cornrows” can also be called “crows”, which is a shortened version of the original term. The style was imported into the US from Africa.

31. Coral rings : ATOLLS

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.

33. Mango seed : PIT

The delicious mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Almost half of the world’s supply of mangoes comes from India.

34. Org. for the Minnesota Lynx : WNBA

Both Minnesota professional basketball teams are owned by billionaire businessman Glen Taylor. The Timberwolves play in the NBA, and the Lynx in the WNBA.

37. Brooks of “High Anxiety” : MEL

Mel Brooks’ real name is Melvin Kaminsky. Brooks is one of very few entertainers (there are only ten) who have won the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam” i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy. He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

“High Anxiety” is a Mel Brooks film released in 1977 that parodies suspense films, particularly Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound”, “Vertigo” and “The Birds”. In fact, Hitchcock actually helped Brooks with the movie’s screenplay. He also sent Brooks a case of wine after viewing the film with a note that read “A small token of my pleasure, have no anxiety about this.”

41. Chum : PAL

A chum is a friend. The term “chum” originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn, “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.

47. Orange Crush, e.g. : SODAPOP

The Crush brand of soft drinks was formulated in 1916. The first product was an orange-flavored beverage sold as Ward’s Orange Crush.

51. Belgian seaport known for its diamond shops : ANTWERP

The port city of Antwerp is the second most populous urban area in Belgium after the capital Brussels. To most of the French-speaking population of the country, Antwerp is known as Anvers. The city’s economy is driven by the volume of traffic through the port, as well as trade in diamonds.

58. Spring flower : IRIS

Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because irises leaves look like reeds.

66. Home of leprechauns : ERIN

A leprechaun is a mischievous fairy in Irish folklore. Traditionally, leprechauns spend their days making shoes and hide all their money in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Our word “leprechaun” comes from the Irish name for such a sprite, i.e. “leipreachán”.

67. __ Lauder : ESTEE

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

68. Big name in jeans : LEE

The Lee company that’s famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

Down

2. Ibuprofen target : ACHE

The anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen is sold under the brand names Advil and Motrin.

3. Nanny or billy : GOAT

Male goats are called “bucks” or “billies”, although castrated males are known as “wethers”. Female goats are called “does” or “nannies”, and young goats are referred to as “kids”.

4. Mound built by insects : ANTHILL

Anthills are actually underground nests. The ants in the colony excavate below ground, resulting in a pile of sand or soil above ground.

5. Mariner’s “Help!” : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

7. Address label abbr. : ATTN

Attention (attn.)

9. Band booster : AMP

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

12. Strip mall unit : STORE

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “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.

23. Lenovo competitor : DELL

Computer manufacturer Dell is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

Lenovo is a Chinese manufacturer of computers. The company is very successful, and sold more personal computers in 2013 than any other vendor worldwide. IBM sold off its personal computer division to Lenovo in 2005.

25. Cross the threshold : ENTER

Years ago I was taking a tour of a beautiful Elizabethan manor house in England, and was told a little “threshing” story by the guide as we stood in one of the rooms. She reminded us that threshing was the removal of seeds from chaff, and told us that back in the day the “chaff” was sometimes called the “thresh”. Thresh would be used on the floors, particularly in the kitchen areas where it would soak up spills and provide some thermal insulation, much as sawdust was used in my favorite pubs many moons ago. She pointed to two slots at the bottom of the door jambs where she said a low board was placed upright on the floor, to hold the thresh in the room. The board was called a “thresh-hold”, giving us our contemporary word “threshold”. I am not sure if all of that is really true, but it makes a nice story …

36. Nanobrewery beverages : ALES

Originally, the term “microbrewery” applied to smaller breweries. In contemporary usage, a microbrewery really describes a brewery that competes in the market on the basis of quality and diversity, rather than on the basis of price and advertising. The really small brewing operations are now referred to as “nanobreweries”.

39. Blue birthstone : SAPPHIRE

Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Pearl or Moonstone
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Sardonyx or Peridot
  • September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
  • October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
  • November: Topaz or Citrine
  • December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

40. Polo of “The Fosters” : TERI

Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.

“The Fosters” is a teen drama TV show about a lesbian couple raising a blended family of biological, adopted and foster children. Jennifer Lopez is involved in the show as an executive producer.

43. Dubuque natives : IOWANS

The city of Dubuque, Iowa is named for a pioneer from Quebec who arrived in the area in 1785. That pioneer was one Julien Dubuque.

46. Underworld family member : MAFIOSO

A Mafioso is a member of the Mafia, with the plural being “Mafiosi” ( sometimes “Mafiosos”).

48. California’s Marina __ Rey : DEL

Marina del Rey is a coastal community in California located within the borders of the City of Los Angeles. Marina del Rey is home to the world’s largest harbor for small craft, with a capacity for 5,300 boats.

49. Some polytheists : PAGANS

A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world, and especially someone who believes in polytheism. In classical Latin, “paganus” means “villager, rustic”.

54. Pinch from le chef : SEL

In French, “le chef” might add a pinch of “sel” (salt) to a dish.

57. Knot or pound : UNIT

A knot (kt.) is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour. Traditionally a vessel’s speed was determined by using a “chip log”. A chip log is made up of a wooden board attached to a line wrapped around a reel. The line (called a “log-line”) had knots tied in it at uniform spacings. To determine the vessel’s speed the board was thrown overboard and the line allowed to unroll. The speed was then the “number of knots” paid out in a fixed time interval.

64. Hamilton’s bill : TEN

The obverse of the US ten-dollar bill features the image of Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury. As such, ten-dollar bills are sometimes called “Hamiltons”. By the way, the $10 bill is the only US currency in circulation in which the portrait faces to the left. The reverse of the ten-dollar bill features the US Treasury Building.

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 established 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.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Viking tales, say : SAGAS
6. Actress Rooney or Kate : MARA
10. Empty talk : GAS
13. __ Lodge: motel chain : ECONO
14. Tiny particle : ATOM
15. Dropped in the mail : SENT
16. *Question to the bartender : WHAT’S ON TAP?
18. “The Simpsons” bus driver : OTTO
19. Rogen of “Steve Jobs” : SETH
20. Kumquat peel : RIND
21. Demand from the judge : ORDER!
22. Bean product? : IDEA
24. Fragrant hybrid bloom : TEA ROSE
26. Computer cord : CABLE
29. Tight braid : CORNROW
31. Coral rings : ATOLLS
33. Mango seed : PIT
34. Org. for the Minnesota Lynx : WNBA
37. Brooks of “High Anxiety” : MEL
38. *Subject of a neighborhood flier : LOST PET
41. Chum : PAL
42. Salon foot treatment, briefly : PEDI
44. It’s burned during workouts : FAT
45. New version of an old movie : REMAKE
47. Orange Crush, e.g. : SODAPOP
50. Hotel postings : RATES
51. Belgian seaport known for its diamond shops : ANTWERP
53. “Dream on!” : AS IF!
55. Countrified : RURAL
56. Colossal : HUGE
58. Spring flower : IRIS
62. Golfer’s chipping club : IRON
63. Last detail that makes things perfect … and what each answer to a starred clue has? : FINAL TOUCH
65. Questions : ASKS
66. Home of leprechauns : ERIN
67. __ Lauder : ESTEE
68. Big name in jeans : LEE
69. Dampens : WETS
70. Snooped (around) : NOSED
Down
1. Works with thread : SEWS
2. Ibuprofen target : ACHE
3. Nanny or billy : GOAT
4. Mound built by insects : ANTHILL
5. Mariner’s “Help!” : SOS
6. Superfan to the max : MANIAC
7. Address label abbr. : ATTN
8. Traveling for away games : ROAD TRIP
9. Band booster : AMP
10. *Master perfectly : GET DOWN PAT
11. Poker prepayments : ANTES
12. Strip mall unit : STORE
15. One cause of tears : SORROW
17. It’s mined and refined : ORE
21. Blade making waves : OAR
23. Lenovo competitor : DELL
25. Cross the threshold : ENTER
26. Sleep in the woods, maybe : CAMP
27. Suit to __ : A TEE
28. *Daring action : BOLD STROKE
30. Decide one will : OPT TO
32. Up to now : SO FAR
35. Cook in the oven : BAKE
36. Nanobrewery beverages : ALES
39. Blue birthstone : SAPPHIRE
40. Polo of “The Fosters” : TERI
43. Dubuque natives : IOWANS
46. Underworld family member : MAFIOSO
48. California’s Marina __ Rey : DEL
49. Some polytheists : PAGANS
51. Easy-to-read font : ARIAL
52. Sip slowly : NURSE
54. Pinch from le chef : SEL
57. Knot or pound : UNIT
59. Road grooves : RUTS
60. Slushy drink brand : ICEE
61. Backyard shelter : SHED
63. Not a lot : FEW
64. Hamilton’s bill : TEN

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