LA Times Crossword Answers 23 Dec 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 45s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ESIASON (Esieson)
  • PAN (pen!!)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8. The Pleiades of myth, e.g. : SISTERS

The Seven Sisters of Greek mythology are also known as the Pleiades. The Seven Sisters were the daughters of the titan Atlas, who had been forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders. In an act of kindness, Zeus transformed the sisters first into doves, and then into stars so that they could provide comfort for their father. There is indeed a cluster of seven stars in the night sky named for the myth and known as the Pleiades.

15. Football’s “Boomer” : ESIASON

Boomer Esiason is a retired NFL quarterback who developed a second career as a sports commentator. Esiason has had the nickname “Boomer” since before he was born. His mother called him “Boomer” because he was constantly kicking away in her womb.

16. Oregon city named for a fur merchant : ASTORIA

The city of Astoria, Oregon developed around Fort Astoria, which was established in 1810. Fort Astoria was a fur-trading post built by John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company, hence the “Astoria” name.

19. Old Monterey Bay fort : ORD

Fort Ord was an army post on Monterey Bay in California named after a General Ord. It was established in 1917, and closed in 1994. The fort was in a spectacular location with miles of beachfront, and it also had that lovely California weather. The old fort’s land is now managed as the Fort Ord National Monument.

21. Sizing letters : SML

Small (S), medium (M) and large (L).

24. “Music for Airports” producer : 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.

26. Sacha Baron Cohen persona : ALI G

“Da Ali G Show” is a satirical TV series featuring English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. I wouldn’t be a big fan …

31. Law enforcement support org. : PBA

The name Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) is used by several unions representing police officers.

32. “Livin’ La Vida __” : LOCA

“Livin’ la Vida Loca” is a 1999 single recorded by Ricky Martin, the title of which translates as “living the crazy life”.

33. Like grapefruit : SOUR

The somewhat bitter fruit that we know as “grapefruit” originated in the island nation of Barbados in the Caribbean. It developed as a hybrid (possibly accidentally) of the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo. Back in the mid-1700s, the new hybrid was referred to as “the forbidden fruit”, and later as the shaddock. Some believe that a “Captain Shaddock” brought Indonesian pomelo seeds to Barbados and was responsible for developing the hybrid. The contemporary name is perhaps an allusion to the fact that grapefruit grow in clusters like grapes.

34. Seeks a better deal : HAGGLES

Our verb “to haggle”, meaning to argue about the price, originally meant “to cut unevenly”. The suggestion is that haggling is chopping away at the price.

36. Usain Bolt, vis-à-vis virtually everyone : FLEETER

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

42. Eco-friendly wheels : TESLAS

Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015.

45. __ Major : URSA

The constellation named Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, the “plough”.

46. Hockey legend : ORR

Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking.

47. Blood test letters : LDL

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is one of the compounds responsible for transporting fats around the body. When LDL is combined with cholesterol it can be referred to as “bad cholesterol”. This is because LDL actually transports cholesterol into the inner walls of blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis.

49. Stylish jeans feature : RIP

I’ve got rips in my jeans, but they aren’t so stylish …

50. Data restriction on Twitter usage : RATE LIMIT

Twitter’s “rate limit” is something to do with the use of third party apps. I don’t tweet or read tweets, so I don’t understand …

54. Camera initials : SLR

SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

55. Mamet play featuring a rare nickel : AMERICAN BUFFALO

“American Buffalo” is a 1975 play by David Mamet. The title is a reference to a valuable buffalo nickel. The play’s storyline revolves around a plot steal the coin. “American Buffalo” was adapted into a 1996 film of the same name, with a rare three-person cast, just Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz and Sean Nelson.

David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films “The Verdict” (1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).

The Buffalo nickel is also called the Indian head nickel, and was minted from 1913 to 1938. The coin is so called because the obverse bears the profile of a Native American male, and the reverse an image of an American bison.

59. Piranhas, in Venezuela : CARIBES

Piranhas are reputed to be able to strip an animal to its bones in seconds, but this is somewhat of a myth. Piranhas are not in fact strict carnivores, and usually are more of a nuisance to fishermen rather than a danger, as they tend to eat bait that has been set to catch other fish. Much of the reputation of the piranha is owed to the description written by President Theodore Roosevelt in his book “Through the Brazilian Wilderness”. President Roosevelt was somewhat hoodwinked though, as local fishermen put on a special “show” for him. They dumped hordes of hungry piranhas into a dammed section of a river and then tossed in a sliced up cow. President Roosevelt was pretty impressed by the orchestrated feeding frenzy.

61. As a group : EN MASSE

“En masse” is a French term, one that is best translated as “as a group”

62. Bishop’s purview : DIOCESE

In some Christian traditions, a district under the control of a bishop is called a diocese, bishopric or see. Dioceses are in turn divided into parishes that are under the control of priests. A particularly significant diocese might be called an archdiocese, and falls under the control of an archbishop.

Down

2. Fort Benning, e.g. : US ARMY BASE

Fort Benning is a US Army facility located outside Columbus, Georgia that has been home to the Army Infantry since 1918. It is named for Henry L. Benning, a general in the Confederate States Army.

3. Knight time : MIDDLE AGES

European history is often divided in three major periods: classical antiquity and the modern period, with the Middle Ages in between. Specifically, the Middle Ages are said to have begun in 476 AD, when the last Roman Emperor was deposed by a Germanic chieftain. The end date for the Middle Ages is less specific, but is about 1500 AD. The list of events signalling the end of the Middle Ages includes Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the New World (1492) and the Protestant Reformation (1517). The term “medieval” is used to describe something belonging to the Middle Ages.

4. Item wielded on “Chopped” : PAN

“Chopped” is a cooking competition TV show that started airing on the Food Network in 2009.

5. Equal start? : ISO-

“Iso-” is a combining form meaning “equal” that comes from the Greek “isos”, which translates as “the same as”. Strictly speaking, “iso-” should only be used with words of Greek origin. The prefix “equi-” has the same meaning and should be used with words of Latin origin.

6. Rich beverage : NOG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

7. Ancient spiritual groups : GNOSTICS

“Gnosis” is a Greek word meaning “knowledge”. The related term “Gnosticism” describes a religious movement that espouses the belief that only a few people can have special knowledge or insight into the central tenets of that religion.

8. “Soldier of Love” Grammy winner : SADE

The singer Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

10. Fuel in tins : STERNO

Sterno is a “jellied alcohol” that usually comes in a can. The can is opened and the contents burn very easily and persistently. The brand name “Sterno” comes from the original manufacturer, S. Sternau & Co. of Brooklyn, New York.

11. Burns poem whose subject is “ugly, creepin” : TO A LOUSE

“To A Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church” is a 1786 poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns. With an unlikely subject, the narrator addresses a louse that he notices roaming around the bonnet of an upper-class lady in church.

12. Gaelic tongue : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

13. Lago feeders : RIOS

In Spanish, a “lago” (lake) is usually fed by a “rio” (river).

14. Lacking : SANS

“Sans” is the French word for “without”, and is a word that we’ve absorbed into English with the same meaning.

18. TAG Heuer competitor : OMEGA

Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon.

TAG Heuer is a watch manufacturer based in Switzerland that has diversified into fashion accessories and even mobile phones. The original company was founded by Edouard Heuer in 1860. The company’s current name came about when Heuer was acquired by an entity called Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG).

22. Critical subject in Roman history : FALL

Ancient Rome went through three distinct periods. From 753 to 509 BC, Rome was a kingdom, founded by the legendary Romulus. The Roman Republic lasted from 509 to 27 BC. The Republic started with the overthrow of the last monarch, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, and replacement by two elected consuls who were advised by a senate. The Republic evolved over time, but came to an end when Octavian expanded his power and declared himself “First Citizen”, and effectively became Rome’s first Emperor and took the name Caesar Augustus. The “Fall of the Western Roman Empire” took place in the 5th century, formally ending in 476 CE when the last emperor, Romulus Augustus, was deposed. The Eastern Roman Empire survived as the Byzantine Empire that was centered on Constantinople.

23. Natural emollient : ALOE

An emollient is a moisturizer. The term “emollient” comes from the Latin “mollire” meaning “to soften”.

28. Like much museum art : NOT FOR SALE

The term “museum” comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” that denoted a temple dedicated to the “Muses”. The Muses were the patrons of the arts in Greek mythology.

29. Small raiding bands : GUERRILLAS

Guerrilla (sometimes “guerilla”) warfare is a type of fighting engaged in by irregular forces using ambushes and sabotage. The term “guerra” is Spanish for war, and “guerrilla” translates as “little war”.

37. Bonny one : LASS

“Bonny” is a Scottish term meaning “pleasing, good-looking”. The exact etymology of the term is unclear, although the assumption is that it comes from the Old French “bon, bone” meaning “good”.

38. Logician’s “E” : ERAT

The initialism QED is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

40. Flowering plant in the legume family : LUPIN

Lupins are flowering plants in the legume family. Lupin beans have been eaten for over 6,000 years in the Andes, and for over 3,000 years around the Mediterranean. However, some lupins produce beans containing toxic alkaloids. These species are avoided for food, or the beans are processed to remove the toxic elements.

43. Improv staples : AD LIBS

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

44. Examples of bad driving : SLICES

In golf, an errant driver might slice or hook the ball.

51. “I am __ / More sinn’d against than sinning”: King Lear : A MAN

Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.

53. Rapper with the albums “Harlem World” and “Welcome Back” : MASE

“Mase” is the stage name of rap artist Mason Durell Betha. He formerly performed under the name “Murda Ma$e”.

56. Aussie college : UNI

In Australia (Down Under) and in the British Isles the term “Uni” is routinely used for “university”.

57. __ Schwarz : FAO

FAO Schwarz was perhaps the most famous, and certainly the oldest, toy store in the United States. The FAO Schwarz outlet on Fifth Avenue in New York City closed in 2015. This store was famously used in several Hollywood movies. For example, it was home to the Walking Piano that Tom Hanks played in the movie “Big”.

58. TV monitor : FCC

TV broadcasting is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. With 1-Down, “Gadzooks!” : JUMPING …
8. The Pleiades of myth, e.g. : SISTERS
15. Football’s “Boomer” : ESIASON
16. Oregon city named for a fur merchant : ASTORIA
17. Couldn’t offer any justification : HAD NO GOOD REASON
19. Old Monterey Bay fort : ORD
20. Lipstick marketing word : SMEARLESS
21. Sizing letters : SML
22. Lot : FATE
24. “Music for Airports” producer : ENO
25. “Understood” 39-Across : AYE
26. Sacha Baron Cohen persona : ALI G
27. Type of lizard found indoors? : LOUNGE
31. Law enforcement support org. : PBA
32. “Livin’ La Vida __” : LOCA
33. Like grapefruit : SOUR
34. Seeks a better deal : HAGGLES
36. Usain Bolt, vis-à-vis virtually everyone : FLEETER
39. Where to hear 25-Across : ASEA
40. One might be convincing : LIAR
41. Back again : FRO
42. Eco-friendly wheels : TESLAS
45. __ Major : URSA
46. Hockey legend : ORR
47. Blood test letters : LDL
48. Subtle “Listen up” : PSST!
49. Stylish jeans feature : RIP
50. Data restriction on Twitter usage : RATE LIMIT
54. Camera initials : SLR
55. Mamet play featuring a rare nickel : AMERICAN BUFFALO
59. Piranhas, in Venezuela : CARIBES
60. Part of the family group : IN A CLAN
61. As a group : EN MASSE
62. Bishop’s purview : DIOCESE

Down

1. See 1-Across : … JEHOSAPHAT
2. Fort Benning, e.g. : US ARMY BASE
3. Knight time : MIDDLE AGES
4. Item wielded on “Chopped” : PAN
5. Equal start? : ISO-
6. Rich beverage : NOG
7. Ancient spiritual groups : GNOSTICS
8. “Soldier of Love” Grammy winner : SADE
9. Mediterranean land : ISRAEL
10. Fuel in tins : STERNO
11. Burns poem whose subject is “ugly, creepin” : TO A LOUSE
12. Gaelic tongue : ERSE
13. Lago feeders : RIOS
14. Lacking : SANS
18. TAG Heuer competitor : OMEGA
22. Critical subject in Roman history : FALL
23. Natural emollient : ALOE
28. Like much museum art : NOT FOR SALE
29. Small raiding bands : GUERRILLAS
30. Unreliable, in a way : ERROR-PRONE
35. Shopping mecca : GALLERIA
36. Auction action starter : FIRST BID
37. Bonny one : LASS
38. Logician’s “E” : ERAT
40. Flowering plant in the legume family : LUPIN
43. Improv staples : AD LIBS
44. Examples of bad driving : SLICES
50. Hurdles, for one : RACE
51. “I am __ / More sinn’d against than sinning”: King Lear : A MAN
52. School division : TERM
53. Rapper with the albums “Harlem World” and “Welcome Back” : MASE
56. Aussie college : UNI
57. __ Schwarz : FAO
58. TV monitor : FCC

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