LA Times Crossword Answers 5 Dec 2017, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: E-I-E-I-O

Today’s main themed answers start with the letters E-I-E-I-O, a reference to the children’s song “Old Mac
Donald Had a Farm”. We also have other themed answers that are words preceding E-I-E-I-O in the song’s lyrics:

  • 20A. *Company that maintains network messages : EMAIL HOST
  • 30A. *Apple music player : IPOD NANO
  • 36A. *Springsteen’s ensemble : E STREET BAND
  • 46A. *”My stars!” : I DECLARE!
  • 52A. *Willa Cather novel set in Nebraska : O PIONEERS
  • 1A. Place that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : FARM …
  • 69A. Bird that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : DUCK …
  • 13D. Animal that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : PIG …
  • 57D. Animal that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : COW …

Bill’s time: 5m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Spanish red wine : RIOJA

Rioja wines come from the province of La Rioja in Northern Spain. In my days living back in Europe, Rioja wines were noted for their heavy oaky flavors and it wasn’t uncommon to order a “rough Rioja” when out for dinner of an evening.

14. Yours, in Tours : A TOI

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. It is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country, and when spoken by a local it is also said to be free of any accent.

15. Sign up, in Sussex : ENROL

Sussex is a county in the very southeast of England that lies right on the English Channel. The county of Sussex has about the same boundaries as the ancient Kingdom of Sussex, a Saxon colony that existed for about five hundred years until the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Hastings, a town on the Sussex coast, was the site of the first battle of the Norman Conquest of England.

16. Jai __ : ALAI

Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …

17. The Volunteer St. : TENN

Tennessee uses the nickname “Volunteer State” as during the War of 1812 volunteer soldiers from Tennessee fought with valor, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

22. Bygone Toyotas : SUPRAS

The Supra is a sporty car made by Toyota from 1979 to 2002. The Supra is, in effect, a longer and wider Celica.

29. ’60s United Nations secretary general : U THANT

U Thant was a diplomat from Burma who served as the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, taking over from Dag Hammarskjöld. In Burmese, he was known as Pantanaw U Thant. The “U” is an honorific in Burmese, simply the equivalent of “Mr.” in English.

30. *Apple music player : IPOD NANO

The iPod Nano was the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There were seven versions of the Nano, until it was discontinued in 2017.

34. Ivan the Terrible, e.g. : TSAR

The Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan IV became known as Ivan the Terrible. The name “terrible” is a translation from Russian, and perhaps creates the wrong impression about the man. The Russian word is “Grozny”, which is more akin to “strict” and “powerful” rather than “cruel” or “abominable”.

36. *Springsteen’s ensemble : E STREET BAND

The E Street Band is the backing group for Bruce Springsteen. The band came together in 1972 but didn’t take a formal name until two years later. The keyboard player in the original line up was David Sancious, and his mother allowed the group to rehearse at her home. That home was on E Street in Belmar, New Jersey, and that’s where the band got their name.

40. “Mazel __!” : TOV

“Tov” is the Hebrew word for “good”, as in “mazel tov” meaning “good luck”.

43. Soft leather : SUEDE

Suede is leather made from the underside of the skin, mainly from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called “gants de Suede” in France, or “gloves of Sweden”. So, the name “suede” comes from the French word for Sweden.

50. Instruments for Yo-Yo Ma : CELLI

The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation ‘cello was often used. Nowadays we just drop the apostrophe.

Yo-Yo Ma is a marvelous American cellist who was born in Paris to Chinese parents. Ma started studying the violin when he was very young, working his way up (in size) to the viola and finally to the cello. He has said that he wanted to play the double bass, but it was just too big for his relatively small frame.

51. Traveled like Huck Finn : RAFTED

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain was first published in 1884, not here in the US but rather in England. The original launch planned for the US had to be delayed until the following year because some rascal had defaced the plate for one of the illustrations, making an obscene joke. Once the problem was spotted a new plate had to be made, and 30,000 copies already printed had to be reworked to cover up the obscenity.

52. *Willa Cather novel set in Nebraska : O PIONEERS

American novelist Willa Cather wrote what’s referred to as the “prairie trilogy”, books that tell the story of Swedish immigrants living in Nebraska. The titles in the trilogy are “O Pioneers!”, “The Song of the Lark” and “My Antonia”. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for another novel, “One of Ours”, that is set in Nebraska and the French battlefields of WWI.

60. Gillette brand : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

64. Curved molding : OGEE

An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).

66. Worker finishing an éclair : ICER

The name for the pastry known as an “éclair” is clearly French in origin. The French word for lightning is “éclair”, but no one seems to be too sure how it came to be used for the rather delicious bakery item.

Down

1. __ Tuesday: Mardi Gras : FAT

“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

3. Potter pal Weasley : RON

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling.

4. Necessary nutrients : MINERALS

In dietary term, minerals are needed to support life. There are five major mineral requirements for humans, namely calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Other elements, required in very small quantities, are referred to as “trace elements”. Examples of trace elements are sulfur, iron, copper and iodine.

5. Meal : REPAST

Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

6. Cross inscription : INRI

The letters written on the cross on which Jesus died were “INRI”. INRI is an initialism standing for the Latin “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum”, which translates into English as “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”.

7. Baseball analyst Hershiser : OREL

Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.

8. Kid around : JOSH

When the verb “to josh” was first used in the 1840s, as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely then that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

10. Kilt pattern : TARTAN

Tartan is sometimes called “plaid” over here in the US, and is a word not used in the same sense outside of this country. In Scotland a “plaid” is a blanket or a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder.

11. Inventor Whitney : ELI

The inventor Eli Whitney is a best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

21. Painter Édouard : MANET

Édouard Manet was a French painter whose works are mainly classified as Realist. Manet was friends with Impressionists masters like Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir and greatly influenced the Impressionist movement. The list of Manet’s marvelous paintings includes “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe”, “Le Repose” and “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère”.

23. Versatile vehicle, for short : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

24. Soil acidity measure : PH LEVEL

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

27. Eclectic musician Brian : ENO

Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the “ambient” genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, which was the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks somewhat inventively: 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.

30. Grenoble’s river : ISERE

The Isère river gives its name to the French Department of Isère, located partly in the French Alps. In turn, Isère gave its name to a somewhat famous ship called the Isère, which in 1885 delivered the Statue of Liberty from France to America in 214 shipping crates.

31. Liver spread : PATE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made up of a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

37. Old cereal box no. : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

45. Itinerary approx. : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

48. Fat-reducing procedure, briefly : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

54. Bassoon kin : OBOE

When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance, you’ll note (pun!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

Our modern bassoon first appeared in the 1800s and has had a place in the concert orchestra ever since.

55. Basketball Hall of Famer Archibald : NATE

Nate Archibald is a retired basketball player who played mainly for the Kansas City Kings and the Boston Celtics. Archibald could get the ball in the basket, but was also willing pass to a teammate when advantageous. He is only player to lead the league in assists and scoring in the same season.

58. Single-malt datum : AGE

In order to be labelled as “single-malt” scotch, the whisky must come from a single distillery (hence “single”), and from a mash of malted grain (hence “malt”) that has been processed in a pot still.

59. Family tree word : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.

61. Longhorn State sch. : TCU

Texas Christian University (TCU) is a private school in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU used to be called AddRan Male & Female, named after an AddRan Clark, the son of Addison Clark who died at the age of 3-years-old from diphtheria. Poor young AddRan was named after his father and his brother, Addison and Randolph.

63. Genesis craft : ARK

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Place that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : FARM …
5. Spanish red wine : RIOJA
10. Office fill-in : TEMP
14. Yours, in Tours : A TOI
15. Sign up, in Sussex : ENROL
16. Jai __ : ALAI
17. The Volunteer St. : TENN
18. Putting the squeeze on : PRESSURING
20. *Company that maintains network messages : EMAIL HOST
22. Bygone Toyotas : SUPRAS
25. Lets up : EASES
29. ’60s United Nations secretary general : U THANT
30. *Apple music player : IPOD NANO
33. Beauty at a ball : BELLE
34. Ivan the Terrible, e.g. : TSAR
35. Crime family leader : DON
36. *Springsteen’s ensemble : E STREET BAND
40. “Mazel __!” : TOV
42. Take a chance : DARE
43. Soft leather : SUEDE
46. *”My stars!” : I DECLARE!
49. Counterbalance : OFFSET
50. Instruments for Yo-Yo Ma : CELLI
51. Traveled like Huck Finn : RAFTED
52. *Willa Cather novel set in Nebraska : O PIONEERS
57. Arms-around-knees swimming pool jump : CANNONBALL
60. Gillette brand : ATRA
64. Curved molding : OGEE
65. Written reminders : NOTES
66. Worker finishing an éclair : ICER
67. Invasive plant : WEED
68. Terse summons from the boss : SEE ME
69. Bird that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : DUCK …

Down

1. __ Tuesday: Mardi Gras : FAT
2. Chowed down : ATE
3. Potter pal Weasley : RON
4. Necessary nutrients : MINERALS
5. Meal : REPAST
6. Cross inscription : INRI
7. Baseball analyst Hershiser : OREL
8. Kid around : JOSH
9. “Not to mention … ” : ALSO …
10. Kilt pattern : TARTAN
11. Inventor Whitney : ELI
12. Superhero suffix : -MAN
13. Animal that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : PIG …
19. Employed : USED
21. Painter Édouard : MANET
22. Long sandwich : SUB
23. Versatile vehicle, for short : UTE
24. Soil acidity measure : PH LEVEL
26. Most mournful : SADDEST
27. Eclectic musician Brian : ENO
28. Prince, to a king : SON
30. Grenoble’s river : ISERE
31. Liver spread : PATE
32. Heavenly body : ORB
34. Drop of sadness : TEAR
37. Old cereal box no. : RDA
38. To the same extent : AS FAR
39. Informal “No more talk” : ‘NUFF SAID
40. Twitch : TIC
41. Poetic tribute : ODE
44. Low grade : DEE
45. Itinerary approx. : ETD
47. Copied genetically : CLONED
48. Fat-reducing procedure, briefly : LIPO
49. Words ending a threat : OR ELSE!
53. Quaint lodgings : INNS
54. Bassoon kin : OBOE
55. Basketball Hall of Famer Archibald : NATE
56. Grade sch. level : ELEM
57. Animal that can precede the starts of 20-, 30-, 36-, 46- and 52-Across : COW …
58. Single-malt datum : AGE
59. Family tree word : NEE
61. Longhorn State sch. : TCU
62. DVR button : REC
63. Genesis craft : ARK

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