LA Times Crossword Answers 2 Dec 14, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Bernice Gordon
THEME: ‘Umble Start … each of today’s themed answers comprises two parts, the first ending with the letters -UMBLE:

17A. Modest abode HUMBLE HOME
53A. Windblown desert plant TUMBLEWEED
11D. Folding feature of an old roadster RUMBLE SEAT
28D. Hogwarts headmaster DUMBLEDORE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 52s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Netherlands export EDAM
Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

Some Dutch people can get a little annoyed if one refers to their country as “Holland”, as the correct name is “the Netherlands”. North and South Holland are two of the country’s twelve provinces. The use of “Holland” instead of “the Netherlands” is analogous to the former Soviet Union being referred to as “Russia” and the United Kingdom being called “England”. That said, sometimes even the Dutch people themselves refer to the country as Holland, especially at a soccer match!

5. “500” initials on Wall Street S AND P
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a financial services company, famous for its stock market indices, especially the S&P 500. The company also publishes credit ratings for sovereign governments, and in 2011 famously lowered the rating of the US federal government from AAA to to AA+.

14. Outfielder Crisp nicknamed for a cereal box character COCO
Covelli “Coco” Crisp is a center fielder and switch-hitter for the Oakland Athletics. Covellia was given the nickname “Coco” by his siblings, telling him that he looked like one of the characters depicted on a Cocoa Krispies cereal box.

15. Acting award OSCAR
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that gives the annual Academy Awards also known as the “Oscars”. The root of the name “Oscar” is hotly debated, but what is agreed is that the award was officially named “Oscar” in 1939. The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929 with an audience of just 29 people. The Awards ceremony is a slightly bigger event these days …

16. Night in Nantes NUIT
Nantes is a beautiful city located on the delta of the Loire, Erdre and Sevre rivers. It has the well deserved nickname of “The Venice of the West”. I had the privilege of visiting Nantes a couple of times on business, and I can attest that it really is a charming city.

19. Armory supply AMMO
The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result, we ended up importing the word “ammunition” into English, a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

20. Galena or hematite ORE
Galena is the most commonly used mineral to produce lead. It is a form of lead sulfide. Galena is the state mineral of Missouri and of Wisconsin.

Iron ore comes in a number of different forms, like magnetite (the most magnetic of all minerals) and hematite (the most commonly exploited iron ore).

21. Currier’s partner IVES
Currier and Ives was a printmaking concern in New York City, run by Nathaniel Currier and his partner James Merritt Ives from 1834 to 1907. The firm specialized in making affordable, hand-colored black and white lithographs.

24. Winnebago owner, briefly RVER
Winnebago Industries is a company that has been manufacturing travel trailers in Forest City, Iowa since 1958. The company made its first motor home in 1966. Winnebago motor homes were very successful because they were priced so reasonably. The line was so successful that “Winnebago” entered the language as a generic term for a motor home.

25. Defendant in a defamation case LIBELEE
The word “libel”, meaning a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation, comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s “libel” was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging meaning arising in the 1600s. A person defending himself or herself in court, having been accused of libel, is known as the “libelee”. This seems a little counterintuitive, as the term would seem to apply to the person who has suffered the wrong. I gues one would call the defamed person the “libeled party” or perhaps just “the libeled”.

30. Grads ALUMS
An “alumnus” (plural … alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural … alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.

31. Tusked porcine animals BOARS
“Porcine” means “of a pig”, coming into English via French from the Latin “porcus” meaning “pig”.

35. Gimlet fruit LIME
A gimlet is a relatively simple cocktail, traditionally made with just gin and lime juice. The trend in more recent times is replace the gin with vodka.

38. Neighbor of Isr. LEB
Lebanon (Leb.) is a neighbor of Israel (Isr.).

Lebanon lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The nation has a rich cultural history, and was home to the ancient civilization of Phoenicia. The name “Lebanon” derives from the Semitic word “lbn” meaning “white”, and is probably a reference to the snow that caps the mountain range known as Mount Lebanon, which parallels the Mediterranean coast.

39. Attorney general under Reagan MEESE
Ed Meese was born in Oakland, California just down the road here and spent 24 years in the office of the Treasurer of Alameda County, the county in which I live. After military service, Meese earned himself a law degree at UC Berkeley. Later, as Chief of Staff for President Reagan, he was instrumental in a famous decision to crack down on student protesters at Berkeley which resulted in one protester dying and a two-week occupation of the city by the California National Guard.

44. __ City: Oz locale EMERALD
The Emerald City is the capital of the Land of Oz in L. Frank Baum’s series of “Oz” novels.

The movie “The Wizard of Oz” is full of irony. The Scarecrow wants to be intelligent and discovers he is already very smart. The Tin Man wants to be able to love and finds out that he already has a heart. The Lion thinks he is a coward but turns out to be fearless. And the big reveal is that the Wizard of Oz, who is positioned as all-powerful, is actually just a bumbling and eccentric old man.

46. Tiny energy source ATOM
The amount of energy that we extract from atoms in a nuclear reaction is determined by Albert Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2. Basically, a nuclear reaction is the conversion of a small mass (m) into a lot of energy (E), because the multiplier “c2“ is the square of the speed of light, and that’s a big, big number.

47. Title for Bovary and Butterfly MADAME
“Madame Bovary” is the most famous novel written by Gustave Flaubert. The title character is a doctor’s wife, Emma Bovary, who lives a luxurious life beyond her means, and has many adulterous affairs. The novel had a rousing reception, first being attacked by public prosecutors as obscenity, which I am sure later helped it to become a bestseller.

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” is the most-performed opera in the US. The opera that we see today is actually the second version that Puccini produced. The original version was first staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan where it received a very poor reception. Puccini reworked the piece, breaking the second act into two new acts and making some other significant changes. The opera was relaunched a few months later and it was a resounding success.

49. ROTC school near D.C. VMI
The Virginia Military Institute is one of the six senior military colleges in the country, and is located in Lexington, Virginia. The sports teams of VMI are known as the Keydets, southern slang for “cadets”.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

53. Windblown desert plant TUMBLEWEED
A tumbleweed is the upper part of several species of plant that has dried out, broken away from the roots, and is blown along by the wind. The tumbleweed spreads seeds or spores as it tumbles.

56. To be, to Bizet ETRE
Georg Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet’s most famous work has to be his opera “Carmen”. “Carmen” initially received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly Bizet died at only 36 years of age, before he could see “Carmen’s” tremendous success.

57. Prop for Picasso EASEL
The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey” would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would carry its load.

The artist Pablo Picasso’s full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, a name he was given right from birth. Got that?

58. Inland Asian sea ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

59. Like Easter eggs DYED
Tradition states that the first Easter Egg Roll in the nation’s capitol was staged by Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison. The inaugural event was held in 1814, but not at the White House, where it is held today. That first Egg Roll was held on the grounds of the US Capitol. After a new lawn was planted in 1877, Congress passed law making it illegal to use the lawn as a children’s playground (boo! hiss!), and so President Rutherford and his wife Lucy brought the Egg Roll to the White House (hurrah!).

60. Gin berries SLOES
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin.

61. Lock maker YALE
The Yale brand name of lock comes from Linus Yale Jr., the founder of the original company. Linus Yale was the inventor of the pin tumbler lock.

Down
3. Top ACME
The “acme” is the highest point, coming from the Greek word “akme” which has the same meaning.

5. In any way SOEVER
The adverb “soever” means “at all, in any way” and is often used with words like what, who, when, where etc. The “soever” is often used as a suffix, when there is no intervening word. for example, “choose what thing soever you please” is sometimes reworded as “choose whatsoever you please”.

6. Peter of Peter and Gordon ASHER
Peter and Gordon’s biggest hit is a favorite of mine, “A World Without Love”, written by Paul McCartney. Peter Asher (the “Peter” of Peter and Gordon) had a sister, Jane, who dated Paul McCartney and so they got to sing a lot of his compositions. Peter Asher became a manager and record producer, most notably for James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

7. Cpls. and sgts. NCOS
An NCO is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant (sgt.).

8. Aswan or Hoover DAM
From ancient times right up to 1970, the annual flooding of the Nile was a significant event in Egypt. The flooding allowed the deposition of fertile silt far beyond the banks of the river, helping the region’s agriculture. However, the flooding was unpredictable. So the Aswan Dam was built in the sixties and from 1970 the flooding was brought under control.

When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world’s largest concrete structure. The dam is named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days …

10. Tooth cover ENAMEL
Tooth enamel covers the crowns of our teeth. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is composed of 96% crystalline calcium phosphate.

11. Folding feature of an old roadster RUMBLE SEAT
A rumble seat is an exterior seat found in pre-WWII cars that opens out from the rear of the vehicle. Back in the 1800s, a “rumble” was a seat in the rear of a carriage that was used by servants. A car’s rumble seat was also called a “mother-in-law seat”. No comment …

12. Actress Anouk AIMEE
Anouk Aimée is a French film actress. Aimée’s most famous film outside of France is probably the internationally successful 1966 French hit “A Man and a Woman”, in which she played the female lead.

24. Hoarfrost RIME
Rime is that beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.

The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoarfrost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard. The term “hoary” has also come to mean “stale, tedious from familiarity”.

27. Nastase of tennis ILIE
I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to give the crowd a laugh. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Hungarian Senate though, and has been a senator since May 2014.

28. Hogwarts headmaster DUMBLEDORE
Dumbledore is the headmaster of the school for wizards called Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter universe. The “Harry Potter” books were of course written by J. K. Rowling, and she chose the name Dumbledore as it is an Early English word for a bumblebee. Apparently she pictured him wandering around, humming to himself.

29. Force unfairly (on) FOIST
The word “foist”, meaning “to pass off fraudulently as genuine”, comes from the Dutch word meaning “take in hand”. The original concept came from playing dice, in which one die was held surreptitiously in one hand.

31. Naan, for example BREAD
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.

33. Jardin du Luxembourg, par exemple PARC
The “Jardin du Luxembourg” is the park surrounding the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, which is home to the French Senate. One of the most famous sights in the park is the Medici Fountain, built in 1630.

34. Lit. collection ANTH
Strictly speaking, an “anthology” is a collection of poetic works, although the meaning has broadened over time to cover any literary collection, or even a collection of ideas, comments, complaints etc. The term derives from the Greek “anthologia”, a word for a collection of short poems by several authors. The literal meaning is “flower collection” from “anthos” and “logia”, so an anthology is a book containing “flowers” of verse.

40. 100 bucks C-NOTE
“Buck” is a slang term for “dollar”. The term “buck” has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days.

45. Title role that won Borgnine a 15-Across MARTY
(15A. Acting award OSCAR)
Ernest Borgnine was the stage name of actor Ermes Borgnino from Hamden, Connecticut. One of Borgnine’s most famous roles was Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale in the hit TV series “McHale’s Navy”. Borgnine had himself served in the US Navy from 1935 to 1941. He then re-enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor and served until 1945.

“Marty” is a 1955 movie that is an adaptation of a very successful television play of the same name that was broadcast live in 1953. Ernest Borgnine plays the title character in the movie, a role played by Rod Steiger in the teleplay. Borgnine won his only Best Actor Oscar for his performance. If you’ve seen the 1991 comedy “Only the Lonely” starring John Candy and Maureen O’Hara, you might know that the 1991 script is based on the original “Marty”.

46. “Tiny Alice” dramatist Edward ALBEE
Edward Albee’s most famous play is “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Albee’s first play, a one-acter, was “The Zoo Story”.

“Tiny Alice” is a play by Edward Albee that premiered on Broadway in 1964. The play deals with the corruption that can arise with the mixing of religion and money.

49. Wang known for wedding gowns VERA
Vera Wang’s first choice for a career was figure skating. Although she a very capable skater, Wang failed to make the 1968 US Olympics team. She switched to the world of fashion, and is now famous for her designs of wedding dresses … but also costumes for figure skaters.

54. Delta rival: Abbr. UAL
United Airlines used the tagline “Fly the Friendly Skies” in its marketing materials from 1965 to 1996. It was then replaced with “It’s time to fly”. United chose George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” as the company’s theme music in 1976, and paid the Gershwin estate a fee of $500,000 for the privilege.

Delta was the world’s largest airline for a while (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008) and is also the oldest airline still operating in the US. Delta’s roots go back to 1924 before it started carrying passengers and was called Huff Daland Dusters, a crop dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name Delta Air Service was introduced in 1928.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Netherlands export EDAM
5. “500” initials on Wall Street S AND P
10. Important time periods ERAS
14. Outfielder Crisp nicknamed for a cereal box character COCO
15. Acting award OSCAR
16. Night in Nantes NUIT
17. Modest abode HUMBLE HOME
19. Armory supply AMMO
20. Galena or hematite ORE
21. Currier’s partner IVES
22. One in a congregation MEMBER
24. Winnebago owner, briefly RVER
25. Defendant in a defamation case LIBELEE
26. More orderly TIDIER
29. Weak FEEBLE
30. Grads ALUMS
31. Tusked porcine animals BOARS
32. Spot for rest and relaxation SPA
35. Gimlet fruit LIME
36. Urge forward DRIVE
37. Help to withdraw WEAN
38. Neighbor of Isr. LEB
39. Attorney general under Reagan MEESE
40. Map out CHART
41. Seize, as a chance LEAP AT
43. Grab greedily SNATCH
44. __ City: Oz locale EMERALD
46. Tiny energy source ATOM
47. Title for Bovary and Butterfly MADAME
48. Landed ALIT
49. ROTC school near D.C. VMI
52. Good buds BROS
53. Windblown desert plant TUMBLEWEED
56. To be, to Bizet ETRE
57. Prop for Picasso EASEL
58. Inland Asian sea ARAL
59. Like Easter eggs DYED
60. Gin berries SLOES
61. Lock maker YALE

Down
1. Reverberate ECHO
2. Sullen DOUR
3. Top ACME
4. Unruly group MOB
5. In any way SOEVER
6. Peter of Peter and Gordon ASHER
7. Cpls. and sgts. NCOS
8. Aswan or Hoover DAM
9. Opening night showing PREMIERE
10. Tooth cover ENAMEL
11. Folding feature of an old roadster RUMBLE SEAT
12. Actress Anouk AIMEE
13. Put away for the future STORE
18. Exists LIVES
23. Recedes to the sea EBBS
24. Hoarfrost RIME
25. Sailor’s time off LEAVE
26. Hard to believe, as a story TALL
27. Nastase of tennis ILIE
28. Hogwarts headmaster DUMBLEDORE
29. Force unfairly (on) FOIST
31. Naan, for example BREAD
33. Jardin du Luxembourg, par exemple PARC
34. Lit. collection ANTH
36. Seriously reduces DEPLETES
37. “Kapow!” cousin WHAM!
39. Respectful address MA’AM
40. 100 bucks C-NOTE
42. Wiped off the board ERASED
43. Motion picture frames STILLS
44. Fix firmly EMBED
45. Title role that won Borgnine a 15-Across MARTY
46. “Tiny Alice” dramatist Edward ALBEE
48. “Are not” retort AM SO!
49. Wang known for wedding gowns VERA
50. Supper, e.g. MEAL
51. Out of a job IDLE
54. Delta rival: Abbr. UAL
55. Method WAY

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 2 Dec 14, Tuesday”

  1. Nice to remember the beautiful Jane Asher. Never heard of SOEVER. Didn't care for ETRE crossing DUMBLEDORE. Someday, I'l have to read Harry Potter. I know I'll never study French, which is not, I may add, a language which has the future that Spanish has.

    But, Where's the bumblebees?

    Pretty good puzzle.

  2. I think the confusion centers on what a "libel" is. Black's Law Dictionary calls libel, "The initiatory pleading the part of the plaintiff or complainant in an admiralty or ecclesiastical cause, corresponding to the declaration, bill, or complaint." (4th ed, p. 1060). The actual harm is the defamation, malicious publication, etc.. But I can see where it throws people for a loop.

    Otherwise, standard fare for Tuesday. Cheers to all!

  3. Hi everyone!
    Tough one for my brain today.
    Finished unassisted, but big workout for my eraser.
    S AND P, RVER, LEB, VMI, NCOS, ANTH, UAL
    Always loved the movie "Marty"
    We're getting RAIN!!!!
    Yaay!

  4. Great puzzle, as usual, Bernice Gordon.

    This was more like a Thursday puzzle for me. I was beaten up by a 100 year old woman yet again. However, I did finish.

    One of these days I'll remember to think of the letter-ADN-letter type answers. Was stuck on SANDP for way too long.

    I did get ALIT this time so apparently I'm capable of remembering SOMETHING (something-soever??)

    I never realized what a polyglot Ilie Nastase is. He is Romanian born, speaks English, writes in French, and does his politics in Hungary? That's quite an impressive array.

    Best –

  5. Hoover Dam was actually called Boulder Dam when it was completed in 1935. This was because one of the locations proposed for the dam was Boulder Canyon. Although the dam was eventually built in Black Canyon, the name of Boulder Dam stuck. Twelve years later Congress decided to rename the dam Hoover Dam after the then President. It cost the government close to a million dollars to change all the name plates and written materials referencing the dam to Hoover. It has been pointed out that for twenty five dollars Herbert Hoover could have simply changed his name to Boulder 🙂

  6. VMI is in Lexington, Virginia (hence the "V"), not Lexington, Kentucky. Wonderful school, many famous alums, including many in the George Patton lineage.

  7. Re LIBELEE
    Interesting discussion, and something I didn't pick up on when doing my little blurb about the clue. It seems counterintuitive, but apparently true, that a "libelee" is a person who is defending himself or herself in a court of law, having being accused of committing libel. I suppose on might refer to the person who has allegedly been libeled as "the libeled party" or simply "the libeled"? I must write up something in the post now!

  8. Hi all,
    Nice Tuesday puzzle! I also got stuck with SANDP and automatically wanted to put AANDP, as in the old grocery stores. Yikes!
    As for libelee, it's a weird word anyway. It's one of those answers I hate to fill in, knowing what it is but not liking it.
    Stay dry all (if you're in this rain…)

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