LA Times Crossword Answers 15 Dec 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: John Lampkin
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Unfinished Works

Each of today’s themed answers is the title of a musical work, but that title is “unfinished”, is missing the last few letters:

  • 18A. Unfinished Puccini work a.k.a. “Homage to a Dairy”? : MADAMA BUTTER(FLY)
  • 42A. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. “Salute to Manning”? : FUR ELI(SE)
  • 66A. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. “Dracula’s Boy”? : MOONLIGHT SON(ATA)
  • 12D. Unfinished Mozart work a.k.a. “A Sorcerer’s Bug”? : THE MAGIC FLU(TE)
  • 26D. Unfinished Vivaldi work a.k.a. “Water Music for the Mathematically Challenged”? : THE FOUR SEAS(ONS)

Bill’s time: 7m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12. Apt brew for a golfer? : TEA

“Tea” sounds like “tee”.

16. Oral soporific? : LULLABY

“Sopor” is a Latin word that we’ve absorbed into English. “Sopor” translates as “deep sleep” or “lethargy”.

17. Solo with memorable lines : HAN

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

18. Unfinished Puccini work a.k.a. “Homage to a Dairy”? : MADAMA BUTTER(FLY)

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.

21. Cashed, as a forged check : KITED

Check kiting is illegal. The idea behind kiting is to write a check, even though there are insufficient funds to cover the amount. The con artist then writes another check, also with insufficient funds, from another bank’s account to cover the original check. I am not sure it would work nowadays, but then I am as honest as the day is long! Oh, and I think the term “kiting” comes from the older phrase “go fly a kite”, the idea being that the bad check is floated on air (non-existent funds).

22. Hoosegow : SLAMMER

“Hoosegow” is a slang term for “jail”. “Hoosegow” is a mispronunciation of the Mexican-Spanish word “juzgao” meaning “court, tribunal”.

27. Singers do it : SEW

Isaac Singer was not only an inventor, but also an actor. For much of his life, profits made from his inventions supported him while he pursued his acting career. Singer didn’t actually invent the sewing machine, and never claimed to have done so. What he did do though, was invent a version of the machine that was practical and easily used in the home.

30. “Argo” setting : TEHRAN

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …

41. Whistle-blower : REF

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

42. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. “Salute to Manning”? : FUR ELI(SE)

Eli Manning plays as quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning retired from football as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2015. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback. Eli, Peyton and Archie co-authored a book for children titles “Family Huddle” in 2009. It describes the Mannings playing football together as young boys.

“Fur Elise” is a beautiful piece of music by Beethoven that is also known as “Bagatelle in A Minor”. “Fur Elise” means simply “For Elise”, but sadly no one knows for sure the identity of the mysterious dedicatee.

50. Side dish piece : FRY

French fries are called chips back in Ireland where I grew up. And what we call chips in the US are known as “crisps” in Britain and Ireland. In France, French fries are known as “pommes frites”.

60. Dictators : DESPOTS

A despot is a ruler with absolute power, often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century, ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

63. Track bet : PLACE

In a race, a horse finishing first, second or third is said to “place”.

66. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. “Dracula’s Boy”? : MOONLIGHT SON(ATA)

Beethoven subtitled his “Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2” as “Quasi una fantasia”, or “sonata in the manner of a fantasy” in English. Five years after Beethoven died, a music critic wrote that the (superb!) first movement of the piece had an effect like that of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Since then, the work has been known as the “Moonlight Sonata”.

71. Actress Gabor : EVA

Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.

72. “M*A*S*H” unit? : EPISODE

“MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” is a novel written by “Richard Hooker” and first published in 1968. “Richard Hooker” was the pen name used by Dr. H, Richard Hornberger and writer W. C. Heinz. The novel was the inspiration for the iconic movie “M*A*S*H” and the great spinoff television series.

73. “M*A*S*H” actor : ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, especially of course as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He won his most recent Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

74. Guitarist Paul : LES

Les Paul was a guitarist, songwriter and inventor. When he was 33 years old, Paul was involved in a near-fatal car crash that left his right arm and elbow shattered. Surgeons offered him the choice of amputation or a rebuilding of the limb that would leave him unable to bend his elbow. He told them to set his arm at just under 90 degrees so that he could at least hold his guitar and perhaps play it.

76. Putin’s refusal : NYET

Vladimir Putin became acting President of Russia at the very end of 1999 when Boris Yeltsin resigned. Putin was elected in his own right in 2000, re-elected in 2004, and then ran up against a term limit in 2008. In 2008 Putin was appointed by his successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, to the position of Prime Minister. Putin is a controversial figure, inside and outside Russia. On the one hand he led the country out of an economic crisis into a period of stability and relative prosperity. On the other hand he has been associated with government corruption and accused of allowing private concerns to have undue influence on government actions. And then, along came the 2016 US presidential election …

Down

1. Hasty flight : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

2. In the style of : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

3. Stylish, ’60s-style : MOD

“Mod” is short for “modernist”, and describes a subculture that originated in London in the late fifties. Young men who called themselves mods tended to wear tailored suits, listen to pop music and drive around on Italian motor scooters. Mods came into conflict with another subculture that emerged at the same time in the UK called the rockers. Rockers were into rock and roll music, and drove motorcycles I remember as a young kid in school having to declare myself as either a mod or a rocker. I don’t think our “gangs” back then were quite the same as they are today though …

5. Like day-old seltzer : FLAT

The term “seltzer” comes from the village of Selters in Germany. Selters has natural springs of carbonated mineral water that is bottled and sold as Selters water. In English-speaking countries, the name has morphed into “Seltzer” water.

8. Key usually pressed and held : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

9. Takes cuts in a box : BATS

That would be baseball.

10. Slain brother : ABEL

In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

11. Belly dancer, e.g. : GYRATOR

The Middle Eastern dance referred to in Arabic as “Raqs Sharqi” was referred to in French as “danse du ventre” meaning “belly dance”, a reference to the abdominal movements used and the tradition of performing with a bare midriff.

12. Unfinished Mozart work a.k.a. “A Sorcerer’s Bug”? : THE MAGIC FLU(TE)

Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” today is performed more often than any other opera in the repertoire worldwide.

13. Gung-ho : EAGER

“Kung ho” is a Chinese expression meaning “work together, cooperate”. The anglicized version “gung ho” was adopted by a Major Evans Carlson as an expression of combined spirit for his 2nd Marine Raider Battalion during WWII. From there the term spread throughout the Marine Corps and back to America where it persists to this day.

19. Gilt-ridden king? : MIDAS

King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. Of course the power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink and even his children.

25. Word on Spanish mail : AEREO

The words “Correo Aereo” can be found on some stamps. The phrase translates from Spanish as “Air Mail”.

26. Unfinished Vivaldi work a.k.a. “Water Music for the Mathematically Challenged”? : THE FOUR SEAS(ONS)

The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:

  • The North Pacific Ocean
  • The South Pacific Ocean
  • The North Atlantic Ocean
  • The South Atlantic Ocean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Southern Ocean
  • The Arctic Ocean

“The Four Seasons” is the most famous work by Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi. It is a collection of four violin concerti that evoke the seasons of the year. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is a favorite choice for background music in elevators and elevators. Personally, my favorite use of the piece is as a backdrop to the 1981 romantic comedy film “The Four Seasons”, starring Alan Alda and Carol Burnett.

33. Farmer’s habitat? : DELL

The Farmer in the Dell is a nursery rhyme and singing game that probably originated in Germany.

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

34. Boxy Toyota : SCION

The Scion is a family of cars manufactured by Toyota from 2003 to 2016. Scion models were aimed at younger drivers, and are sporty and compact in design. Some of the Scion models are still available, but are sold under the Toyota name.

37. Persian murmur : PURR

The Persian is that long-haired cat with a squashed muzzle. The breed takes its name from its place of origin, namely Persia (Iran).

40. Eye sores : STYES

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

46. “Gangnam Style” genre, for short : K-POP

K-pop (Korean pop) is a genre of music from South Korea that emerged in the early nineties. It’s a bit beyond me …

PSY is the stage name of South Korean rapper Park Jae-sang. PSY became an international star when his 2102 music video “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube. That video had over 1 billion views on YouTube in about six months, making it the most viewed YouTube video clip of all time. I am not one of that billion …

47. Ricocheted : CAROMED

A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

54. Ancient Knossos denizen : CRETAN

Knossos was a city on the island of Crete that is widely believed to be the oldest city in Europe. The ruins of Knossos date back to the Bronze Age and have been extensively excavated since their discovery in 1878.

55. Collectible lemon : EDSEL

The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel Ford, son of Henry. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

56. “Still Me” memoirist : REEVE

The actor Christopher Reeve was most associated with his portrayal of Superman in the late seventies and early eighties. Reeve became paralyzed from the neck down when he fell from a horse in a jumping event in 1995. He passed away in 2004.

58. One way to come home : SLIDE

That would sliding home in baseball.

61. Hit the sauce : TOPE

“To tope” is to drink alcohol excessively and habitually.

64. Like port, usually : AGED

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

67. DOD division : NSA

National Security Agency (NSA)

Department of Defense (DOD)

69. Keats forte : ODE

The poet John Keats is famous for writing a whole series of beautiful odes. The most renowned are the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.

70. 2017 NLDS player : NAT

The Washington Nationals (“Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.

National League Division Series (NLDS)

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Meat of which Australia is among the largest producers : LAMB
5. Down-and-out inn : FLEABAG
12. Apt brew for a golfer? : TEA
15. Healing salve : ALOE
16. Oral soporific? : LULLABY
17. Solo with memorable lines : HAN
18. Unfinished Puccini work a.k.a. “Homage to a Dairy”? : MADAMA BUTTER(FLY)
20. Fertilization target : EGG
21. Cashed, as a forged check : KITED
22. Hoosegow : SLAMMER
24. Completely filled : SATED
27. Singers do it : SEW
29. Moist-eyed : TEARY
30. “Argo” setting : TEHRAN
32. It may make you 29-Across : SAD SONG
35. “All bets __ off” : ARE
36. Soak (up), as gravy : SOP
38. They may be raw : RECRUITS
41. Whistle-blower : REF
42. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. “Salute to Manning”? : FUR ELI(SE)
44. Cabin bed : COT
45. Proceeded cautiously : TOOK CARE
48. Arcing shot : LOB
50. Side dish piece : FRY
51. Stuck : UP A TREE
53. What the puzzled have : NO CLUE
55. Baseball commission? : ERROR
57. Mex. distances : KMS
59. Tie for cooking : TRUSS
60. Dictators : DESPOTS
63. Track bet : PLACE
65. View : SEE
66. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. “Dracula’s Boy”? : MOONLIGHT SON(ATA)
71. Actress Gabor : EVA
72. “M*A*S*H” unit? : EPISODE
73. “M*A*S*H” actor : ALDA
74. Guitarist Paul : LES
75. Held up : DELAYED
76. Putin’s refusal : NYET

Down

1. Hasty flight : LAM
2. In the style of : A LA
3. Stylish, ’60s-style : MOD
4. Lab container : BEAKER
5. Like day-old seltzer : FLAT
6. Garage services : LUBES
7. Dodges : ELUDES
8. Key usually pressed and held : ALT
9. Takes cuts in a box : BATS
10. Slain brother : ABEL
11. Belly dancer, e.g. : GYRATOR
12. Unfinished Mozart work a.k.a. “A Sorcerer’s Bug”? : THE MAGIC FLU(TE)
13. Gung-ho : EAGER
14. Steamed : ANGRY
19. Gilt-ridden king? : MIDAS
23. List of options : MENU
24. Square one : START
25. Word on Spanish mail : AEREO
26. Unfinished Vivaldi work a.k.a. “Water Music for the Mathematically Challenged”? : THE FOUR SEAS(ONS)
28. Soft finish? : -WARE
31. Dietary watchwords : NO FAT
33. Farmer’s habitat? : DELL
34. Boxy Toyota : SCION
37. Persian murmur : PURR
39. Bagel shape : TORUS
40. Eye sores : STYES
43. Smell to high heaven : REEK
46. “Gangnam Style” genre, for short : K-POP
47. Ricocheted : CAROMED
49. Make a mess of : BOTCH
52. Use : EMPLOY
54. Ancient Knossos denizen : CRETAN
55. Collectible lemon : EDSEL
56. “Still Me” memoirist : REEVE
58. One way to come home : SLIDE
61. Hit the sauce : TOPE
62. Get dirty : SOIL
64. Like port, usually : AGED
67. DOD division : NSA
68. Underhanded : SLY
69. Keats forte : ODE
70. 2017 NLDS player : NAT

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