LA Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Theatrical Puns

Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase that has been clued “punnily” with reference to the theater:

  • 18A. Text for a mailroom theater production? : POSTSCRIPT
  • 23A. Statue of a theater troupe? : CAST IN STONE
  • 38A. World leader in the theater? : ACTING PRESIDENT
  • 48A. Squawker in a theater performance? : PLAY CHICKEN
  • 56A. Theater backdrop for a biography of Noah? : FLOOD STAGE

Bill’s time: 7m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Overstress, with “on” : HARP

To harp on something is to talk too much about it. The original expression with the same meaning was “to harp on the same string”, which is a reference to the musical instrument.

9. “Hungarian Rhapsodies” composer : LISZT

“Hungarian Rhapsodies” is a suite of piano pieces by Franz Liszt that are based Hungarian folk music. Liszt himself was a virtuoso pianist, and many these 19 pieces are noted for being difficult to play on the piano.

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, Liszt gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching profession demanded that he commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such advanced age, and in the 1870s, could do so much annual travel. It is estimated that Liszt journeyed at least 4,000 miles every year!

17. Silents star Naldi : NITA

Nita Naldi was a silent film actress from New York City who usually played a “femme fatale” type of role.

18. Text for a mailroom theater production? : POSTSCRIPT

One adds a PS (post scriptum, or simply “postscript”) at the end of a letter (ltr.). A second postscript is a post post scriptum, a PPS.

20. Much Byzantine art : ICONS

Byzantium was a Greek colony that was centered on what was to become Constantinople, and is now Istanbul. Legend suggests that there was a king Byzas, who gave his name to the city and later the Byzantine Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire later became known as the Byzantine Empire, right up until the Middle Ages.

27. CPR provider : EMT

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

30. Upside-down forest hangers : SLOTHS

All four of the extant species of three-toed sloths are native to South and Central America. Cousins of the three-toed sloths are the two-toed sloths, of which there are two species still living.

31. Scottish landscape feature : BRAE

“Brae” is a lowland Scots word for the slope or brow of a hill.

32. Dorm VIPs : RAS

RAs are resident assistants or resident advisers, the peer leaders found in residence halls, particularly on a college campus.

35. “… __ saw Elba” : ERE I

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite words is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

36. Shellfish order : PRAWNS

The terms “prawn” and “shrimp” are often used interchangeably on menus. Over in the UK, the term “prawn” is most common, while “shrimp” is seen more often here in North America. Sometimes there is a differentiation from a food standpoint, with “prawn” being used for larger species and “shrimp” for smaller species. As a result, “jumbo prawns” seems to be an acceptable descriptor for a dish, whereas “jumbo shrimp” seems to be an oxymoron.

41. Literary family name : BRONTE

The Brontë family lived in the lovely village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England. The three daughters all became recognised authors. The first to achieve success was Charlotte Brontë when she published “Jane Eyre”. Then came Emily with “Wuthering Heights” and Anne with “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”.

42. Ottoman officials : DEYS

“Dey” was a title used in North Africa, for rulers in Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli.

44. Shipping hazard : BERG

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken off from a glacier or ice shelf. Out use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

53. Taters : SPUDS

The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?

55. Consolation beginning and ending : THERE

There, there … it’s not worth crying over a crossword.

56. Theater backdrop for a biography of Noah? : FLOOD STAGE

According to the Book of Genesis, Noah lived to a ripe old age. Noah fathered his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth when he was 500 years old, and the Great Flood took place when he was 600.

64. Part of CBS: Abbr. : SYST

CBS used to be known as the Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS introduced its “eye” logo in 1951. That logo is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign.

66. Nonpayment consequence : REPO

Repossession (repo)

Down

2. German camera : LEICA

Leica is a German optics company that is famous for production of lenses and cameras. The 1913 Leica was the first practical camera that could use 35mm film, a size chosen because it was already the standard for film used in motion pictures.

3. Choir parts : ALTOS

In choral music, an alto (plural “alti”) is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus made up of soprano, contr(alto), tenor and bass. The word “alto” describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing-voice, whereas the term “contralto” describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male’s voice (not a boy’s) with the same range as an alto is called a “countertenor”.

4. Photosynthesis users : PLANTS

Photosynthesis is the process used by plants (mainly) in which light energy is harnessed to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate molecules. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy breathing, oxygen is released as a waste product of photosynthesis.

9. It may be filthy : LUCRE

Our word “lucre” meaning “money, profits” comes from the Latin “lucrum” that means the same thing.

12. Close, as a parka : ZIP

A parka is a hooded jacket, often lined with fur, that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment , absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.

13. Explosive letters : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

21. Like the last letter in a column? : SILENT

The last letter in the word “column” is a silent letter N.

24. Norway, in Norway : NORGE

“Norge” is Norwegian for “Norway”, and “Sverige” is Swedish for “Sweden”.

28. Food for the wandering Israelites : MANNA

According to the Book of Exodus, manna was a food eaten by the Israelites as they traveled out of Egypt. The manna “fell” to Earth during the night, six days a week, and was gathered in the morning before it had time to melt.

29. Irritable : TESTY

Somebody described as testy is touchy, irritably impatient. The term comes into English from Old French, ultimately deriving from “testu” meaning “stubborn, headstrong”, literally “heady”. So, our word “testy” comes from the same root as the French word “tête” meaning “head”.

40. Anti-discrimination agcy. : EEOC

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

45. Like the tortoise in the fable, ultimately : FASTER

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

46. Religious division : SCHISM

A schism is a split or a division, especially in a religion.

49. Mormons, initially : LDS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is known colloquially as the Mormon Church.

50. African nation on the Indian Ocean : KENYA

Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.

51. Surrealist Max : ERNST

Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, and a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914” a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.

56. HST predecessor : FDR

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.

The letter “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman (HST) doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.

57. “Fever” singer Peggy : LEE

Peggy Lee was a jazz and popular music singer from Jamestown, North Dakota. “Peggy Lee” was a stage name, as she was born Norma Egstrom. She was a successful songwriter as well as singer, and supplied several numbers for the Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp”. Lee also sang in the film and voiced four of the characters.

60. Punk rock offshoot : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Ovation fraction : CLAP
5. Overstress, with “on” : HARP
9. “Hungarian Rhapsodies” composer : LISZT
14. Shout : YELL
15. Notion : IDEA
16. Let down, as hair : UNPIN
17. Silents star Naldi : NITA
18. Text for a mailroom theater production? : POSTSCRIPT
20. Much Byzantine art : ICONS
22. Put on : HIRED
23. Statue of a theater troupe? : CAST IN STONE
27. CPR provider : EMT
30. Upside-down forest hangers : SLOTHS
31. Scottish landscape feature : BRAE
32. Dorm VIPs : RAS
35. “… __ saw Elba” : ERE I
36. Shellfish order : PRAWNS
38. World leader in the theater? : ACTING PRESIDENT
41. Literary family name : BRONTE
42. Ottoman officials : DEYS
43. Large inlet : BAY
44. Shipping hazard : BERG
45. Shepherds’ charges : FLOCKS
47. Brief belief : ISM
48. Squawker in a theater performance? : PLAY CHICKEN
53. Taters : SPUDS
55. Consolation beginning and ending : THERE
56. Theater backdrop for a biography of Noah? : FLOOD STAGE
61. Auto club recommendations : INNS
62. Clear of mist : DEFOG
63. Measure of skills : EXAM
64. Part of CBS: Abbr. : SYST
65. Prepare beans, Mexican-style : REFRY
66. Nonpayment consequence : REPO
67. Yoga needs : MATS

Down

1. Pessimist : CYNIC
2. German camera : LEICA
3. Choir parts : ALTOS
4. Photosynthesis users : PLANTS
5. Trendy : HIP
6. Stir : ADO
7. Hi-__ image : RES
8. Compassion-evoking quality : PATHOS
9. It may be filthy : LUCRE
10. As to : IN RE
11. Catcher of small prey : SPIDERWEB
12. Close, as a parka : ZIP
13. Explosive letters : TNT
19. Reason for regret : SIN
21. Like the last letter in a column? : SILENT
24. Norway, in Norway : NORGE
25. Dance part : STEP
26. Adverb after a second contract item : THIRDLY
28. Food for the wandering Israelites : MANNA
29. Irritable : TESTY
31. Serious, as an injury : BAD
32. Jewish teacher : RABBI
33. Farm parts : ACRES
34. Departs in anger : STORMS OFF
36. “Fooled you!” : PSYCH!
37. Take a chance : RISK IT
39. Having one sharp : IN G
40. Anti-discrimination agcy. : EEOC
45. Like the tortoise in the fable, ultimately : FASTER
46. Religious division : SCHISM
48. Rotund : PUDGY
49. Mormons, initially : LDS
50. African nation on the Indian Ocean : KENYA
51. Surrealist Max : ERNST
52. Forest homes : NESTS
54. Needy : POOR
56. HST predecessor : FDR
57. “Fever” singer Peggy : LEE
58. Hatchet : AXE
59. Space : GAP
60. Punk rock offshoot : EMO

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