LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Nov 2017, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Mengel & Jan-Michele Gianette
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Curvy Expressions

Each of today’s themed answers is in the format “X of Y”, where X is a “curvy” word:

  • 17A. Hand from the audience : ROUND OF APPLAUSE
  • 27A. Group one likes to hang with : CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
  • 48A. Area in which one has power : SPHERE OF CONTROL
  • 63A. 1970 Temptations hit with the subtitle “That’s What the World Is Today” : BALL OF CONFUSION

Bill’s time: 5m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Gospel truth : FACT

“Gospel” is a term that came to us via Old English. The Old English term is “godspel” meaning “good story”, and referred to the glad tidings announced by Jesus. There are four Gospels in the Christian New Testament: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

14. Southwestern stewpot : OLLA

An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in Ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.

15. Texter’s modest “I think … ” : IMHO …

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

16. Choosing rhyme starter : EENIE

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

20. Actor __ Ivory Wayans : KEENEN

Keenan Ivory Wayans is a member of the Wayans family that is so very successful in the world of entertainment. Keenan is perhaps best known for sketch comedy show “In Living Color” that ran from 1990 to 1994. Keenan created wrote and starred in the show with his brother Damon Wayans. Keenan also directed the horror comedy film “Scary Movie”, which was co-written by two other brothers, Shawn and Marlon Wayans.

21. Castle barrier : MOAT

A moat is a protective trench that surrounds a castle, say, or a an exhibit in a zoo. A moat may or may not be filled with water.

22. Con man’s sucker : SAP

“Sap” is slang for a fool, someone easily scammed. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain, when it was short for in “saphead” and “sapskull”.

23. Robert of “The Sopranos” : ILER

The actor Robert Iler’s most famous role was A.J., son of mob leader Tony Soprano in HBO’s “The Sopranos”. Apparently Iler’s screen persona has spilled over into his personal life, as he was arrested for armed robbery of two tourists in 2001 (and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge).

35. Shrunken 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 …

39. Blue cartoon papa : SMURF

The Smurfs are little blue people created in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist who went by the pen name Peyo. The Smurfs became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children’s cartoon series. The characters are largely a group of males. The original lineup included just one “Smurfette”, who is wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix called Sassette, and still later along came Granny Smurf.

42. “Zip-__-Doo-Dah” : A-DEE

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is a song from the Disney film “Song of the South” released in 1946. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” won that season’s Oscar for Best Original Song. The song is also featured at the end of the Disney theme parks’ ride called Splash Mountain.

45. Holiday trees : FIRS

Firs are evergreen coniferous trees, with several species being popular as Christmas trees. The most commonly used species during the holidays are the Nordmann fir, noble fir, Fraser fir and balsam fir. We also see a lot of Douglas fir trees at Christmas, but they’re not actually true firs.

47. “Hometown Proud” supermarket chain : IGA

“IGA” stands for Independent Grocers Alliance, a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

52. Royal sari wearer : RANI

A ranee (also “rani”) is a queen or a princess, the female equivalent of a raja in India.

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

53. Indian nurse : AMAH

“Amah” is an interesting word in that we associate it so much with Asian culture and yet it actually comes from the Portuguese “ama” meaning “nurse”. Ama was imported into English in the days of the British Raj in India when a wet-nurse became known as an amah.

63. 1970 Temptations hit with the subtitle “That’s What the World Is Today” : BALL OF CONFUSION

“Ball of Confusion” was hit in 1970 for the Temptations. Richard Street, a long-time member of the group, called his autobiography “Ball of Confusion”. That title in itself is a little confusing, as Street didn’t join the Temptations until the year after the song “Ball of Confusion” was recorded.

66. Sing like Bing : CROON

The singer Bing Crosby was a great lover of the game of golf. Crosby had just finished up 18 holes on a course in Spain in 1977 when he suffered a massive heart attack on the final green. Crosby’s last words were “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

67. Actress Jessica : ALBA

Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that she acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. It seems that she has really turned her life around …

71. Droops like an old sofa : SAGS

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

Down

3. Game with suspects : CLUE

Clue is board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

4. Kind of acid in red wine : TANNIC

The terms “tannic acid” and “tannin” are often used interchangeably, but strictly speaking this usage is incorrect. Tannic acid is a specific type of tannin, a tannin that doesn’t occur naturally in wines to any significant amount. Tannic acid can be added to wines as a clarifying agent, color stabilizer or even taste enhancer.

5. First settlers : PIONEERS

Back in the early 16th century, the original pioneers were foot soldiers sent ahead to prepare the way for the main body of an army. “Pioneer” came into English via the Old French “peon”, from the Latin “pes” meaning “foot”. The name of the “pawn” chess piece has a similar etymology. It was at the end of the 16th century that we started using “pioneer” more generally to describe a “person who goes first”.

6. Big initials in bowling : AMF

AMF Bowling Centers, Inc. is an operator of bowling alleys, and is in fact the largest such company in the world.

7. Bedding accessory : 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.

12. Italian tower town : PISA

The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

18. Singer Reese : DELLA

Della Reese is the stage name of the actress, singer and all-round entertainer Delloreese Patricia Early. Her career that started as a singer in the fifties and was revived in the nineties when she played the lead character in the TV show “Touched by an Angel”.

26. Actress Ward : SELA

The actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. Ward played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast …

29. Insect trapped in a “motel” : ROACH

Figuratively speaking, a roach motel is a low-priced lodging facility that is in a pretty dilapidated state. There is also a Roach Motel trademarked brand of cockroach traps that is owned by Black Flag. Despite the trademark protection, the term “roach motel” is commonly applied to any device that uses a bait to lure cockroaches into a compartment fitted with a sticky trap.

31. Low point : NADIR

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

32. San __ Padres : DIEGO

The San Diego Padres baseball team was founded in 1969. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.

38. Jetty : PIER

A jetty is a pier that juts out into a body of water. “Jetty” derives from the French verb “jeter” meaning “to throw”, the idea being that a jetty is a structure that is “thrown” out past the edge of the land surrounding the body of water.

40. Costa __ : RICA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua in the north, and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

41. How the wise men came : FROM AFAR

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

46. Major mix-up : SNAFU

SNAFU is an acronym standing for Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (well, that’s the “polite” version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

50. Tin Man’s need : OILCAN

Actor Jack Haley played the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”. Haley was the second choice for the role, as it was originally given to Buddy Ebsen (who later played Jed Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies”). Ebsen was being “painted up” as the Tin Man when he had an extreme, near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup that was being used. When Haley took over, the makeup was changed to a paste, but it was still uncomfortable and caused him to miss the first four days of shooting due to a reaction in his eyes. During filming, Haley must have made good friends with the movie’s star, Judy Garland, as years later Jack’s son married Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli.

55. Pointed pub flier : DART

Darts is a wonderful game that’s often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 in sequence.

56. __ gin fizz : SLOE

By definition, a cocktail known as a Fizz includes lemon or lime juice and carbonated water. The most popular of the genre is the Gin Fizz, made from 3 parts gin, 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part sugar syrup and 5 parts soda water. There is also a variant known as a sloe gin fizz.

60. Verdi title princess : AIDA

“Aida” is a famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is actually based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then of course complications arise!

61. “Walkabout” director Nicolas : ROEG

Nicolas Roeg is a film director from England with quite the pedigree when it comes to association with great movies. He contributed to 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia”, and he himself directed noted films like “Walkabout” (1972), “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976).

“Walkabout” is an interesting 1971 film set in Australia that stars the lovely English actress Jenny Agutter.The movie is about a teenage girl and her young brother who are stranded in the Australian outback. They are rescued by an Aboriginal youth who then wanders with them through the desert landscape. The young brother is played by Luc Roeg, the son of Nicolas Roeg who directed the film.

62. Genetic carriers : DNAS

The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein “generators” called ribosomes.

65. Org. with Lakers and Clippers : NBA

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team started out in 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team chose the Lakers name in honor of the nickname of Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

The Los Angeles Clippers NBA team started off life as the Buffalo Braves in 1970. The Braves took on the Clippers name when the franchise moved to San Diego in 1978. The new team name was chosen in honor of the great clipper ships that used to pass through San Diego Bay. The San Diego Clippers were sold in 1982 to real estate developer Donald Sterling, who moved the team to his native Los Angeles two years later. That move was not approved by the NBA, which resulted in a lawsuit and a $6 million fine, but the team was allowed to stay in its new home.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Gospel truth : FACT
5. Previous time of life : PAST
9. Broadway bombs : FLOPS
14. Southwestern stewpot : OLLA
15. Texter’s modest “I think … ” : IMHO …
16. Choosing rhyme starter : EENIE
17. Hand from the audience : ROUND OF APPLAUSE
20. Actor __ Ivory Wayans : KEENEN
21. Castle barrier : MOAT
22. Con man’s sucker : SAP
23. Robert of “The Sopranos” : ILER
25. Is the right size : FITS
27. Group one likes to hang with : CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
34. Prefix with logical : ECO-
35. Shrunken Asian sea : ARAL
36. Braid : PLAIT
37. Jump : LEAP
39. Blue cartoon papa : SMURF
42. “Zip-__-Doo-Dah” : A-DEE
43. Clear, as an argument : LUCID
45. Holiday trees : FIRS
47. “Hometown Proud” supermarket chain : IGA
48. Area in which one has power : SPHERE OF CONTROL
52. Royal sari wearer : RANI
53. Indian nurse : AMAH
54. Plugs for products : ADS
57. Swallow hard : GULP
59. Frightened, in dialect : AFEARD
63. 1970 Temptations hit with the subtitle “That’s What the World Is Today” : BALL OF CONFUSION
66. Sing like Bing : CROON
67. Actress Jessica : ALBA
68. Creative spark : IDEA
69. Frets : STEWS
70. Close at hand : NEAR
71. Droops like an old sofa : SAGS

Down

1. Road split : FORK
2. Skin soother : ALOE
3. Game with suspects : CLUE
4. Kind of acid in red wine : TANNIC
5. First settlers : PIONEERS
6. Big initials in bowling : AMF
7. Bedding accessory : SHAM
8. Fill to the brim : TOP OFF
9. Soft penpoint : FELT TIP
10. Pasture : LEA
11. Responsibility : ONUS
12. Italian tower town : PISA
13. Ooze : SEEP
18. Singer Reese : DELLA
19. Two of a kind : PAIR
24. Wander : ROAM
26. Actress Ward : SELA
27. Basic anatomy units : CELLS
28. Freeze over : ICE UP
29. Insect trapped in a “motel” : ROACH
30. Pillow down, say : FLUFF
31. Low point : NADIR
32. San __ Padres : DIEGO
33. Take illegally : STEAL
38. Jetty : PIER
40. Costa __ : RICA
41. How the wise men came : FROM AFAR
44. Fire-breathing beasts : DRAGONS
46. Major mix-up : SNAFU
49. Sufficient, in texts : ENUF
50. Tin Man’s need : OILCAN
51. Grad student’s paper : THESIS
54. Grade school basics : ABCS
55. Pointed pub flier : DART
56. __ gin fizz : SLOE
58. Flag holder : POLE
60. Verdi title princess : AIDA
61. “Walkabout” director Nicolas : ROEG
62. Genetic carriers : DNAS
64. Weather map “L” : LOW
65. Org. with Lakers and Clippers : NBA

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