LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Dec 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Heeeeere’s Johnny!

Each of today’s themed answers starts with the name of a famous JOHNNY:

  • 35A. Classic TV intro which can be applied to the starts of the four other longest puzzle answers : HEEEEERE’S JOHNNY!
  • 18A. Year-end rewards : CASH BONUSES (giving “Johnny Cash”)
  • 23A. Silver State capital : CARSON CITY (giving “Johnny Carson”)
  • 50A. Bad break : ROTTEN LUCK (giving “Johnny Rotten”)
  • 56A. Dugout loudmouth : BENCH JOCKEY (giving “Johnny Bench”)

Bill’s time: 6m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. “Norma __” : RAE

“Norma Rae” is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called “Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance”.

15. She famously said “Play it” to 49-Across : ILSA
(49A. See 15-Across : SAM)

There is a famous exchange in the movie “Casablanca” that results in the piano player Sam singing “As Time Goes By”.

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.
Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”
Sam: Oh, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I’ll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum…
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.

16. Saved to watch later : TIVOED

TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful Digital Video Recorder (DVR).

17. Horace’s “__ Poetica” : ARS

The full name of Horace’s work is “Ars Poetica, Epistula ad Pisones” (The Art of Poetry, Letters to Piso). The work describes the technical aspects of poetry in Ancient Rome, and the term “ars poetica” has come to mean the poetry of that period.

18. Year-end rewards : CASH BONUSES (giving “Johnny Cash”)

I must admit that I am not a big country music fan, but who doesn’t love Johnny Cash? The man had such a unique voice, and indeed unique songs. I think that his biopic, “Walk the Line”, is very cool, as is the title song itself. Recorded back in 1956, “Walk the Line” is relatively creative for “popular” music. The basic rhythm of the song emulates the sound of a freight train, the “boom-chicka-boom” sound. Cash’s guitar has a unique tone to it as it plays this rhythm, achieved by threading a piece of paper between the guitar strings giving the rhythm a bit of a “buzz”. Above the rhythm line, each of the five verses is sung in different keys. You can actually hear Cash hum a note signifying the key change at the start of each verse. With all these modulations, the final verse is sung a full octave lower that the first. A remarkable tune …

20. One-step-at-a-time toy : SLINKY

The marvelous Slinky toy was invented in the early forties by a naval engineer called Richard James. James was developing springs for the navy that could stabilize sensitive instruments in rough seas. One day he accidentally knocked one of his experimental coils off a shelf and watched it “step” onto a stack of books, then onto a table and from there onto the floor where it recoiled itself very neatly. The Slinky was born …

22. “Only __”: NPR sports program : A GAME

NPR’s flagship sports program is “Only a Game”. It is hosted by Bill Littlefield and aired on Saturdays.

23. Silver State capital : CARSON CITY (giving “Johnny Carson”)

Carson City, Nevada was named for the Carson River, which in turn was named for the Kit Carson, the scout who accompanied the team of European Americans that first arrived in the area in 1843. Carson City was named state capital in 1864.

The official nickname of Nevada is the “Silver State”, a reference to importance of silver ore in the state’s growth and economy. An unofficial nickname is the “Battle Born State”. “Battle Born” is a reference to Nevada being awarded statehood during the American Civil War.

Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” for thirty years, from 1962 to 1992. Although Carson was the first choice to take over the show from Jack Paar, he initially declined. Carson eventually took the job, after it had also been refused by Bob Newhart, Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx and Joey Bishop.

26. “The Mindy Project” actor Barinholtz : IKE

Ike Barinholtz is an actor and comedian who appeared on MADtv from 2002 until 2007. More recently, Barinholtz became a writer on the TV show “The Mindy Project”, and was then cast as Nurse Morgan Tookers.

29. Well-endowed org.? : OPEC

OPEC has a lot of oil wells.

30. McKellen and McShane : IANS

Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, someone who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK, Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

Ian McShane is an English actor, famous in his homeland (and to PBS viewers in the US) for playing the title role in “Lovejoy”. In this country he is perhaps better known for playing the conniving saloon owner on the HBO western drama “Deadwood”.

35. Classic TV intro which can be applied to the starts of the four other longest puzzle answers : HEEEEERE’S JOHNNY!

Ed McMahon was Johnny Carson’s sidekick on “The Tonight Show” (Here’s Johnny!). McMahon was trained as a fighter pilot in WWII, but did not see action. However he saw a lot of action in the following conflict as he did fly 85 combat missions in Korea.

42. “Vaya con __” : DIOS

“Vaya con Dios” is Spanish for “Go with God”.

44. Half of half-and-half : MILK

Half & half is a dairy product consisting of half milk and half light cream.

45. Flower painted by van Gogh : IRIS

Van Gogh painted his “Irises” while he was in an asylum in the south of France the year before he committed suicide. The original owner was a French art critic and supporter of van Gogh who paid 300 francs to purchase the painting. “Irises” was bought for $53.9 million in 1987 making it the most expensive painting sold up to that point. But, the buyer didn’t actually have the necessary funds, so it had to be resold in 1990. It was picked up by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where you can see it today.

50. Bad break : ROTTEN LUCK (giving “Johnny Rotten”)

Johnny Rotten is the former stage name of English punk rock singer John Lydon. Lydon was most famous as the lead singer for the Sex Pistols in the seventies. Apparently he was given the name “Rotten” as he had very poor oral hygiene as a teenage, which turned his teeth green. So, one of the Sex Pistols declared, “You’re rotten, you are!”

55. __ Tunes : LOONEY

“Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” are two series of animated short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 until 1969. The list of famous “Looney Tunes” characters includes Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, and my favorites Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.

56. Dugout loudmouth : BENCH JOCKEY (giving “Johnny Bench”)

Johnny Bench is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds. Bench is now a spokesman for the Stryker Corporation, makers of medical implants. After a career as a baseball catcher, his natural hip joint was in bad shape and so he had very successful replacement surgery in 2004. Bench isn’t just a spokesman for Stryker, he’s a customer.

60. Horseplayer’s hangout, for short : OTB

Off-track betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.

61. “Good News” Grammy winner Kathy : MATTEA

Kathy Mattea is a country singer who grew up just outside Charleston, West Virginia. Many of Mattea’s songs were written by her husband Jon Vezner.

63. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-

The prefix “paleo-” means “prehistoric, primitive”. It comes from the Greek word “palaios” which means “old, ancient”. The prefix “neo-” would be the opposite, meaning “new, recent”.

64. Wimps : WUSSES

Our term “wimp”, describing a “timid person”, is probably an alteration of “whimper”, the sound that such an individual might make.

66. “Yakety __”: rock-‘n’-roll novelty hit : SAX

I bet a lot of us know this tune, but may not recognize the title. “Yakety Sax” is often used to accompany funny chase scenes, most famously on the British television series “The Benny Hill Show“.

Down

1. “Donnie __”: Depp film : BRASCO

The 1997 movie “Donnie Brasco” is about an FBI agent who infiltrates a New York City crime family. The film is loosely based on the true story of agent Joseph Pistone who worked his way into the Bonanno family. Johnny Depp plays Pistone on screen, and uses the name Donnie Brasco when undercover.

2. Part of a winter hat : EARLAP

Earlaps (or ear flaps) might be attached to a cap.

4. Michael Moore film about healthcare : SICKO

Like all of Michael Moore’s films, his 2007 documentary “Sicko” tends to polarize his audience. The film deals with the health care system in the United States, comparing it with the systems in place in other countries. Having lived in two of the countries covered in the movie, France and the UK, I can attest that the basic facts presented about those foreign health care systems are accurate. Now Moore’s style of presentation of those facts … that might give rise to some debate …

5. “No more fighting!” : PLAY NICE!

Nicely …!

8. Cheap smoke : STOGY

A “stogie” (also “stogy”) is both a “rough, heavy shoe” and a “long, cheap cigar”. Both items were favored by the drivers of the covered wagons called “Conestogas” that wended their way across the Midwest in days gone by. The term “stogie” is derived from the name of the wagon, which itself is named after the area in which the wagons were built: Conestoga, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

9. Actress Fey : TINA

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

11. Trident-carrying god : POSEIDON

Poseidon was the god of the sea in Greek mythology as well as the “Earth-Shaker”, the god responsible for earthquakes.

13. Pigs out (on), for short : ODS

Overdose (OD)

21. Pres. advisory team : NSC

The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.

24. “The Alienist” novelist Caleb : CARR

“The Alienist” is a 1994 crime novel by author Caleb Carr.

One of Caleb Carr’s novels is a latter day Sherlock Holmes mystery called “The Italian Secretary”. The novel was written as a homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (using the Holmes character with the permission of the Doyle estate). I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes stories so I must put this one on my reading list.

31. Tori of pop : AMOS

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. Amos started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. She was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …

33. Long, long time : AEON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

36. Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

44. Fictional detective Mr. __ : MOTO

The mysterious Mr. Moto is a Japanese secret agent who appears in six novels by American author, John P. Marquand. Mr. Moto was famously played by Peter Lorre in a series of eight films released in the 1930s.

45. U.N. workers’ agcy. : ILO

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is an agency, now administered by the UN, that was established by the League of Nations after WWI. The ILO deals with important issues such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

46. Sentences that need fixing : RUN-ONS

A “run-on sentence” is one in which two separate clauses are linked without appropriate conjugation. Two examples would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, I can’t finish.

More acceptable sentences would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough. I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough; I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, so I can’t finish.

50. Hindu princes : RAJAS

“Raja” (also “rajah”) is word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.

51. “The Highwayman” poet : NOYES

Alfred Noyes was an English poet best known for his narrative poem “The Highwayman”, published in 1906. The highwayman in the poem is in love with an innkeeper’s daughter named Bess. Bess dies trying to warn her lover about an ambush, and then the highwayman dies when trying to exact revenge for her death. The highwayman and Bess meet up as ghosts on winter nights.

53. “Hair” parts : ACTS

The full name of the famed show from the sixties is “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”. This controversial work outraged many when it was first performed in the sixties, as it attacked many aspects of life at the time. For example, the song “Air” is a satirical look at pollution, sung by a character who comes onto the stage wearing a gas mask. The opening lines are “Welcome, sulfur dioxide. Hello carbon monoxide. The air … is everywhere”. How things have changed in fifty years said he … satirically …

56. Big name in luxury autos : BMW

The initialism BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

57. __ de cologne : EAU

Back in 1709, an Italian perfume-maker moved to Cologne in Germany. There he invented a new fragrance that he named Eau de Cologne after his newly adopted town. The fragrance is still produced in Cologne, using a secret formulation. However, the terms “Eau de Cologne” and “cologne”, are now used generically.

58. Rite Aid competitor : CVS

The name of the drugstore chain CVS once stood for “Consumer Value Stores”, although these days the company uses the initialism to denote “Convenience, Value and Service”.

59. Soul maker : KIA

The Kia Soul is a compact car produced in South Korea, although it was designed by Kia here in the US, in Irvine, California. Yep, the Kia Soul is made in Seoul …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Place for peas or z’s : BED
4. Bridge measure : SPAN
8. Like traffic at a bottleneck : STOP/GO
14. “Norma __” : RAE
15. She famously said “Play it” to 49-Across : ILSA
16. Saved to watch later : TIVOED
17. Horace’s “__ Poetica” : ARS
18. Year-end rewards : CASH BONUSES (giving “Johnny Cash”)
20. One-step-at-a-time toy : SLINKY
22. “Only __”: NPR sports program : A GAME
23. Silver State capital : CARSON CITY (giving “Johnny Carson”)
26. “The Mindy Project” actor Barinholtz : IKE
29. Well-endowed org.? : OPEC
30. McKellen and McShane : IANS
31. Said further : ADDED
33. Real estate unit : ACRE
34. Acted bullish? : MOOED
35. Classic TV intro which can be applied to the starts of the four other longest puzzle answers : HEEEEERE’S JOHNNY!
41. Volunteer’s offer : I’LL GO
42. “Vaya con __” : DIOS
43. Attach with string : TIE ON
44. Half of half-and-half : MILK
45. Flower painted by van Gogh : IRIS
49. See 15-Across : SAM
50. Bad break : ROTTEN LUCK (giving “Johnny Rotten”)
52. Really worry : EAT AT
55. __ Tunes : LOONEY
56. Dugout loudmouth : BENCH JOCKEY (giving “Johnny Bench”)
60. Horseplayer’s hangout, for short : OTB
61. “Good News” Grammy winner Kathy : MATTEA
62. Workshop gadget : VISE
63. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-
64. Wimps : WUSSES
65. Cheek or lip : SASS
66. “Yakety __”: rock-‘n’-roll novelty hit : SAX

Down

1. “Donnie __”: Depp film : BRASCO
2. Part of a winter hat : EARLAP
3. Appetite : DESIRE
4. Michael Moore film about healthcare : SICKO
5. “No more fighting!” : PLAY NICE!
6. Pack animal : ASS
7. “Don’t think so” : NAH
8. Cheap smoke : STOGY
9. Actress Fey : TINA
10. Egg cell : OVUM
11. Trident-carrying god : POSEIDON
12. “My goodness” : GEE
13. Pigs out (on), for short : ODS
19. Creatures in caves : BATS
21. Pres. advisory team : NSC
24. “The Alienist” novelist Caleb : CARR
25. Boss’ demand often followed by “now!” : I NEED IT!
27. Shrewd : KEEN
28. Circular current : EDDY
31. Tori of pop : AMOS
32. Head-slapper’s cry : DOH!
33. Long, long time : AEON
35. Search engine results : HITS
36. Director Kazan : ELIA
37. Basic principles : ELEMENTS
38. Big head : EGO
39. Sandy sediment : SILT
40. Like a really bad comedy skit : JOKELESS
44. Fictional detective Mr. __ : MOTO
45. U.N. workers’ agcy. : ILO
46. Sentences that need fixing : RUN-ONS
47. Summer drink : ICE TEA
48. Posh stadium seating : SKYBOX
50. Hindu princes : RAJAS
51. “The Highwayman” poet : NOYES
53. “Hair” parts : ACTS
54. Biblical pronoun : THEE
56. Big name in luxury autos : BMW
57. __ de cologne : EAU
58. Rite Aid competitor : CVS
59. Soul maker : KIA

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