LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Nov 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Greg Johnson
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 8m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13. Leader of the track : PACE CAR

In automobile racing, a pace car is used for safety when there is an obstruction on the track. The pace car enters the track in front of the leader and slows the racing cars to what is deemed to be a safe speed. While the pace car is on the track, the competitors cannot pass the pace car and nor can they pass each other. When the pace car exits the track, the race resumes.

16. Immediate slap shot after receiving a pass, in hockey : ONE-TIMER

A slap shot in ice hockey involves slapping the ice just behind the puck with the stick, causing the stick to bend and store up extra energy. When the stick finally hits the puck, all that extra energy is released along with the energy from the swing resulting in the hardest shot in hockey.

18. Biology notebook doodle : AMOEBA

An ameba (or “amoeba”, as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

19. __ Mahal : TAJ

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

20. Parsons School sketches : DESIGNS

The Parsons School of Design is a private school in New York’s Greenwich Village. Parsons was established in 1896 by artist William Merritt Chase as the Chase School, and was renamed two years later to the New York School of Art. Frank Alvah Parsons joined the school as a teacher in 1904, and soon after became president. His contributions to the school’s success was recognized in 1936 when it was renamed again, to the Parsons School of Design.

23. “A Jug of Wine … ” poet : OMAR

Here are some lines by 11th-century poet Omar Khayyam:

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

30. Blue ghost in Pac-Man : INKY

The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

37. Order of encyclopedias : A TO Z

An encyclopedia is a compendium reference work containing summary information about a branch of knowledge, or about all knowledge. The word “encyclopedia” comes from the Greek “enkyklios paideia” meaning “general education”, or literally “general rearing of a child”.

42. Cook seen on TV specials : DANE

Dane Cook is a stand-up comedian who has had a number of roles in movies as well. He had a setback handling the income he was earning from his work though back in 2008. His half-brother had been his business manager up to that point and it was discovered that he had embezzled millions of dollars from Dane. The half-brother and his wife are now in prison for the crime.

44. Cover on the street : PAVE

Back in Ireland, the “pavement” is what we call the “footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”, often with “paving” stones!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught from a young age to “walk on the pavement” …

45. GI grub : MRE

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that’s easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

50. Leaning to the right, in a way : ITALIC

Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

52. Cheese from the Italian for “sheep” : PECORINO

Pecorino is a family of hard cheeses from Italy, with the name coming from the Italian “pecora” meaning “sheep”. The most famous variety here in North America is Pecorino Romano, which we often refer to simply as “Romano”.

Down

2. Southernmost location in continental North America : PANAMA

The nation that we now know as Panama sits on an isthmus that formed about 3 million years ago. The isthmus was the result of a land bridge forming between North and South America as two tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust slowly collided. Man first attempted to create a waterway across the Isthmus of Panama in 1881, but the 48-mile long Panama Canal only opened for business in 1914.

8. Stage embarrassments : HAMS

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is apparently a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

12. Dallas plaza in 1963 headlines : DEALEY

Dealey Plaza is a square in downtown Dallas that was the location of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The plaza is mainly a city park, one that was completed in 1940 as a project funded by the WPA. The name honors George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of “The Dallas Morning News”.

32. “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.

33. Pre-metalworking period : STONE AGE

Ancient societies can be classified by the “three-age system”, which depends on the prevalence of materials used to make tools. The three ages are:

  • The Stone Age
  • The Bronze Age
  • The Iron Age

The actual dates defined by each age depend on the society, as the timing of the transition from the use of one material to another varied around the globe.

36. Spring festival focus : TULIP

Tulip festivals are held in a few cities around the world. The largest of these is the Canadian Tulip Festival that is held every year in the capital city of Ottawa. The tradition of growing tulips in Ottawa really started at the end of WWII. The Dutch royal family presented the city with 100,000 tulip bulbs as an act of thank for having sheltered Princess Juliana and her children while the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. The first Canadian Tulip Festival took place in 1953.

41. Red herrings, perhaps : DECOYS

The exact origin of the term “red herring”, meaning “something that misleads”, isn’t known. The most common explanation for the use of the phrase is that kippers (strong-smelling smoked herrings) were used to by fugitives to distract bloodhounds who were on their trail. Kippers become red-colored during the smoking process, and are no longer “white herrings”.

46. Arcade game ender : TILT

In a game of pinball, some players get an irresistible urge to “nudge” the machine . Such a nudge, a movement of the machine designed to influence the path taken by the ball, is called a “tilt”. Most pinball machines have sensors designed to detect a tilt, and when activated a “tilt” warning light comes on and the player’s controls are temporarily disabled.

47. Harbor hauler : SCOW

A scow is a flat-bottomed boat with squared-off ends that’s often used for transportation, usually pushed or pulled by a barge. Often a scow can be seen carrying junk or garbage.

51. “Hotel du __”: Anita Brookner novel : LAC

Anita Brookner is a British novelist and art historian. Brookner’s fourth book was “Hotel du Lac”, which was published in 1984 and won that year’s Booker Prize.

53. Light color : RED

The first traffic lights date back to 1868 when they were installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled the signals already in use for trains, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for nighttime use. That first system was operated manually, by a policeman at the base. Sadly, one police officer was killed, just one year after the light’s installation, when the gas system exploded.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. __ cord : SPINAL
7. Considered, with “on” : CHEWED
13. Leader of the track : PACE CAR
15. “To the end of the block! C’mon!” : RACE ME!
16. Immediate slap shot after receiving a pass, in hockey : ONE-TIMER
18. Biology notebook doodle : AMOEBA
19. __ Mahal : TAJ
20. Parsons School sketches : DESIGNS
22. __ Kan: Alpo rival : KAL
23. “A Jug of Wine … ” poet : OMAR
25. Brought along : TOOK
26. Plural contraction : WE’RE
27. Desk accessories : NAMEPLATES
30. Blue ghost in Pac-Man : INKY
31. Recycling center debris : GLASS SHARDS
33. Opposite of hastens : SLOWS
34. Gets under control : TAMES
35. “This doesn’t concern you” : STAY OUT OF IT
37. Order of encyclopedias : A TO Z
38. Shaking one’s head, maybe : FRUSTRATED
42. Cook seen on TV specials : DANE
43. Cut down : FELL
44. Cover on the street : PAVE
45. GI grub : MRE
46. Like the most substantial sum : TIDIEST
49. Social post : PIC
50. Leaning to the right, in a way : ITALIC
52. Cheese from the Italian for “sheep” : PECORINO
54. Entertain lavishly : REGALE
55. Strength : POTENCY
56. Puts up : ERECTS
57. Golfer’s short irons : WEDGES

Down

1. 100% correct : SPOT ON
2. Southernmost location in continental North America : PANAMA
3. It may delay river traffic : ICE JAM
4. Realize : NET
5. Sour : ACID
6. “That’s so weak!” : LAME!
7. Engine part often connected to a flywheel : CRANKSHAFT
8. Stage embarrassments : HAMS
9. Prefix with tourist : ECO-
10. Time off for many : WEEKENDS
11. Boards a ship : EMBARKS
12. Dallas plaza in 1963 headlines : DEALEY
14. Lead-in to a promise : REST ASSURED
17. Gets out of control : RIOTS
21. Calls it a night : GOES TO SLEEP
24. Do some window maintenance : REGLAZE
26. Evidence-gathering device : WIRETAP
28. Tactic : PLOY
29. Some partners’ workplaces : LAW OFFICES
32. “The Kite Runner” boy : AMIR
33. Pre-metalworking period : STONE AGE
35. First course : STARTER
36. Spring festival focus : TULIP
37. Esteem : ADMIRE
39. Recording : TAPING
40. Show clearly : EVINCE
41. Red herrings, perhaps : DECOYS
46. Arcade game ender : TILT
47. Harbor hauler : SCOW
48. Handy bag : TOTE
51. “Hotel du __”: Anita Brookner novel : LAC
53. Light color : RED

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