LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Dec 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: Paul Cuerdon
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Either Way

Today’s themed answers are all palindromes, phrases that read the same in EITHER direction:

  • 17A. “The terrible tsar has arrived,” either way? : ‘TIS IVAN ON A VISIT
  • 27A. Disappointed reaction to the censored version of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” either way? : EGAD! NO BONDAGE!
  • 48A. Query about the Cheshire’s grin, either way? : WAS IT A CAT I SAW?
  • 63A. Mrs. Claus’ remark about what she did to keep Santa home, either way? : TOO BAD I HID A BOOT

Bill’s time: 8m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Not quite shut : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

15. Protected at sea : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

16. Queen of Heaven : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

17. “The terrible tsar has arrived,” either way? : ‘TIS IVAN ON A VISIT

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”.

20. Gambit : TACTIC

A gambit is a chess opening that intrinsically involves the sacrifice of a piece (usually a pawn) with the intent of gaining an advantage. The term “gambit” was first used by the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez de Segura who took it from the Italian expression “dare il gambetto” meaning “to put a leg forward to trip someone”. Said priest gave his name to the common Ruy Lopez opening, which paradoxically is not a gambit in that there is no sacrifice. The chess term dates back to the mid-1600s. We’ve been using “gambit” more generally for any opening move designed to gain advantage since the mid-1800s.

21. __ Field: NYC stadium : CITI

Citi Field is the relatively new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets that sits right next door to the site of Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the new facility’s name comes from corporate sponsor Citigroup.

22. QB Peyton Manning has an NFL passing record 539 of them : TDS

Peyton Manning is a former NFL quarterback who played most of his professional career with the Indianapolis Colts. Manning retired at the top of his game, holding records for passing yards, touchdown passes, Pro Bowl appearances, and several other records. Peyton is the son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, and the older brother of NFL quarterback Eli Manning.

25. “Sommersby” actor : GERE

The 1993 romantic drama “Sommersby” stars Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. The film is about an imposter who returns after the Civil War and moves in with a woman while claiming to be her husband. The real husband returns, and things get very rancorous. I know it sounds implausible, but the storyline is based on true events that took place in France in the 1500s.

27. Disappointed reaction to the censored version of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” either way? : EGAD! NO BONDAGE!

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is an incredibly popular erotic novel by British writer E. L. James. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is the fastest-selling paperback of all time. And there are two other titles to complete the trilogy: “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed”.

32. Amused initialism : LOL

Laugh out loud (“LOL” in text-speak)

37. Eponymous virologist : SALK

Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher, famous for developing the first safe polio vaccine. In the fifties, especially after the 1952 epidemic, polio was the biggest health fear in the US because it killed thousands, left even more with disabilities and most of the victims were children. The situation was dire and the authorities immediately quarantined the family of any polio victim, and that quarantine was so strict that in many cases the families were not even permitted to attend the funeral of a family member who died from the disease.

39. Part of NAFTA : TRADE

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is between Canada, Mexico and the United States. When NAFTA came into force in 1994, it set up the largest free trade zone in the world.

43. Hawaiian greeting : ALOHA

The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

45. “The Americans” actress Russell : KERI

Actress Keri Russell got her big break on television when she was cast in the title role in the drama show “Felicity” that ran from 1998 from 2002. The lead character in the show is Felicity Porter, a young lady introduced to the audience with a head of long curly blonde hair. Famously, Russell cut her hair extremely short at the start of the second season, an action that was associated with a significant drop in the show’s viewership. Russell had to grow out her hair over the season. I haven’t seen “Felicity”, but I really do enjoy Russell playing one of the leads in the entertaining Cold War drama called “The Americans” that is aired by FX.

“The Americans” is a very engaging drama series set during the Cold War that features two KGB spies living as a married couple just outside Washington, D.C. The show was created by Joe Weisberg, who is a novelist and former CIA officer. The lead roles in “The Americans” are played by real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

47. Magic org.? : NBA

The Orlando Magic were formed in 1989 as an NBA expansion team. A local paper was asked to run a competition to suggest names for the new team and the community came up with its four top picks of “Heat”, “Tropics”, “Juice” and “Magic”. A committee then opted for “Orlando Magic”. A good choice I think …

48. Query about the Cheshire’s grin, either way? : WAS IT A CAT I SAW?

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was born in 1832 in the village of Daresbury near Warrington in the county of Cheshire, in the northwest of England. And, let’s not forget one of Carroll’s most beloved characters, the Cheshire Cat.

52. Chipmaker’s prefix : NANO-

The prefix “nano-” is used for units of one thousand-millionth part. “Nano-” comes from the Greek “nanos” meaning “dwarf”.

Nanotechnology is the study of the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular level. Nanotechnology is essential to the electronic and biomaterials industries.

57. DEA agent : NARC

“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

66. __ Domini : ANNO

The Latin word for year is “annus”. We often see it used in Latin phrases, but usually with a different spelling. For example in “anno Domini”, the “anno” is the ablative case of “annus” as the phrase means “in the year of the Lord”. Another example is “per annum”, in which “annum” is the accusative case as the literal translation of the phrase is “during the year”.

67. Calendario units : ANOS

In Spanish, we start the “año” (year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).

68. Springsteen’s “Born __” : TO RUN

“Born to Run” is a 1975 album released by Bruce Springsteen, the third of his career. “Born to Run” was to be Springsteen’s “breakout” album and really established him as popular artist.

Down

1. Measure of power : WATT

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.

2. Tibet’s place : ASIA

Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

3. __ jockey : DISC

The world’s first radio disc jockey (DJ) was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his debut broadcast in 1909, would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, Newby started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.

6. Ending with Tyrol : -EAN

The Austrian state of Tyrol (“Tirol” in German) has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially if you love the mountains. It is in the very west of the country, just south of Bavaria in Germany. The capital city is the famous Innsbruck.

7. Common-interest group : BLOC

“Bloc” is the French word for “block”.

10. Sushi tuna : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

19. Like some memes : VIRAL

A meme (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

27. Big cat of film : ELSA

The life story of Elsa the lion was told by game warden Joy Adamson, who had a very close relationship with the lioness from when Elsa was orphaned as a young cub. Adamson wrote the book “Born Free” about Elsa, and then “Living Free” which tells the story of Elsa and her three lion cubs. In the 1966 film based on “Born Free”, Adamson is played by the talented actress Virginia McKenna.

30. City near Kobe : OSAKA

The Japanese city of Osaka used to be called Naniwa, with the name changing to Osaka sometime before 1500. “Osaka” can be translated either as “large hill” or “large slope”. Osaka is sometimes referred to as “the Chicago of Japan” as it is a major center of commerce and industry. The city has also been named the “nation’s kitchen”, and was a center for Japan’s rice trade for centuries.

Kobe in a city on the island of Honshu in Japan. Here is North America, the city of Kobe is perhaps most famous for its beef. And yes, basketball star Kobe Bryant is named after that very same beef.

31. Roulette bets : EVENS

The name “roulette” means “little wheel” in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796. A roulette wheel bears the numbers 1-36. A French entrepreneur called François Blanc introduced the number “0” on the wheel, to give the house an extra advantage. Legend has it that Blanc made a deal with the devil in order to unearth the secrets of roulette. The legend is supported by the fact that the numbers 1 through 36 add up to a total of “666”, which is the “Number of the Beast”. Spooky …

35. Actor Idris __ : ELBA

The English actor Idris Elba is probably best known in North America for playing the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally works as a disk jockey using the name DJ Big Driis.

36. Sandwich side : SLAW

The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.

38. Medieval Tatar chief : KHAN

A “khan” was a medieval sovereign, a ruler over Mongol, Turkish and Tatar tribes.

Tatars are an ethnic group of people, mainly residing in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

40. Ten up front? : DECA-

Our prefix “dec-” comes from “deka”, the Greek word for “ten”. The prefix “deca-” means “multiplied by ten”, and “deci-” means “divided by ten”.

44. Pose in yoga : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

50. Piemonte city : TORINO

Turin (“Torino” in Italian) is a major city in the north of Italy that sits on the Po River. Back in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was formed, Turin was chosen as the first capital of the country.

Piedmont in the northwest of Italy is one of the nation’s twenty administrative regions. It is a mountainous region that is surrounded on three sides by the Alps. The Italian name “Piemonte” translates as “foot of a mountain”. Piedmont’s capital city is Turin.

54. ERA or RBI : STAT

That would be baseball.

60. Wine named for an Iberian city : PORT

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.

62. Sicilian mountain : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts.

64. Derek and Peep : BOS

Bo Derek’s most famous role was in the comedy film from 1979 titled “10”, in which she starred opposite Dudley Moore. Born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, California, she started a romantic relationship when she was 16 with actor and director John Derek, who was thirty years her senior. The couple moved to Germany in order to avoid the statutory rape laws in California, eventually returning to the US to marry in 1976, when Cathleen was 20. Around the same time, she changed her name to Bo Derek.

The lines that are most commonly quoted for the rhyme about “Little Bo Peep” are:

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

But, there are actually four more verses, including this one:

It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.

65. U.K. component : ISL

The terms “United Kingdom”, “Great Britain” and “England” can sometimes be confused. The official use of “United Kingdom” originated in 1707 with the Acts of Union that declared the countries of England and Scotland as “United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain”. The name changed again with the Acts of Union 1800 that created the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” (much to the chagrin of most of the Irish population). This was partially reversed in 1927 when the current name was introduced, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, in recognition of an independent Irish Free State in the south of the island of Ireland.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Plodded (through) : WADED
6. Dies down : EBBS
10. Not quite shut : AJAR
14. Where something can be set for later : ASIDE
15. Protected at sea : ALEE
16. Queen of Heaven : HERA
17. “The terrible tsar has arrived,” either way? : ‘TIS IVAN ON A VISIT
20. Gambit : TACTIC
21. __ Field: NYC stadium : CITI
22. QB Peyton Manning has an NFL passing record 539 of them : TDS
23. “I could __ horse!” : EAT A
25. “Sommersby” actor : GERE
27. Disappointed reaction to the censored version of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” either way? : EGAD! NO BONDAGE!
32. Amused initialism : LOL
33. Clumsy boats : TUBS
34. Sweethearts : LOVES
37. Eponymous virologist : SALK
39. Part of NAFTA : TRADE
42. 39-Across, perhaps : SELL
43. Hawaiian greeting : ALOHA
45. “The Americans” actress Russell : KERI
47. Magic org.? : NBA
48. Query about the Cheshire’s grin, either way? : WAS IT A CAT I SAW?
52. Chipmaker’s prefix : NANO-
53. A, in many orgs. : ASSN
54. “__ who?!” : SEZ
57. DEA agent : NARC
59. Slip away : ELAPSE
63. Mrs. Claus’ remark about what she did to keep Santa home, either way? : TOO BAD I HID A BOOT
66. __ Domini : ANNO
67. Calendario units : ANOS
68. Springsteen’s “Born __” : TO RUN
69. Tuts : TSKS
70. Wail : YOWL
71. __ innings : EXTRA

Down

1. Measure of power : WATT
2. Tibet’s place : ASIA
3. __ jockey : DISC
4. Polished words : EDITED
5. Nowhere near the norm : DEVIANT
6. Ending with Tyrol : -EAN
7. Common-interest group : BLOC
8. Harmless : BENIGN
9. Ready for the curtain to open : SEATED
10. Sushi tuna : AHI
11. Kid : JEST
12. Moistureless : ARID
13. Traitors : RATS
18. Rebel, in a way : ACT OUT
19. Like some memes : VIRAL
24. ERA or RBI : ABBR
26. Coaches’ headaches : EGOS
27. Big cat of film : ELSA
28. Certain score : GOAL
29. Give the okay : ALLOW
30. City near Kobe : OSAKA
31. Roulette bets : EVENS
35. Actor Idris __ : ELBA
36. Sandwich side : SLAW
38. Medieval Tatar chief : KHAN
40. Ten up front? : DECA-
41. Undid : ERASED
44. Pose in yoga : ASANA
46. Words just before leaving : IT’S LATE
49. How Rome wasn’t built? : IN A DAY
50. Piemonte city : TORINO
51. Ready to be shipped : IN A BOX
54. ERA or RBI : STAT
55. An eternity : EONS
56. Pass (out) : ZONK
58. Food on the trail : CHOW
60. Wine named for an Iberian city : PORT
61. __ grapes : SOUR
62. Sicilian mountain : ETNA
64. Derek and Peep : BOS
65. U.K. component : ISL

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