LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Dec 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Arctic Winter Games gear : SNOWSHOES

The Arctic Winter Games is a sports competition that has been held every two years since 1970. The participants in the event are limited to those living in the circumpolar north, e.g. Alaska, Greenland and Yukon.

16. Red River city : HANOI

Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

19. Nucor and POSCO, industry-wise : STEELS

Nucor Corporation is the largest producer of steel in the US, bigger even than US Steel. Despite its size, Nucor doesn’t own one blast furnace. Instead, Nucor’s business was built on recycling steel using electric arc furnaces.

POSCO is a huge steel-manufacturing company based in Pohang, South Korea. The acronym “POSCO” stands for Pohang Iron and Steel Company, which is the former name of the enterprise.

20. Steak __ : TARTARE

What we now call steak tartare was first served in French restaurants in the early 1900s. Back then, the dish went by the name “steak à l’Americaine”, would you believe? It was basically raw, seasoned beef mixed with egg yolk. A later version of l’Americaine, without the egg yolk and with tartar sauce served on the side, was called steak tartare. Over time the two versions became one, and the steak tartare moniker won out. By the way, if you order steak tartare in Switzerland, I believe you are served horse meat. There are now similar “tartare” dishes made with raw salmon, or raw tuna.

27. Con game : MONTE

Three-card monte is a confidence trick in which someone is goaded into betting money on the assumption that he or she can find the “money card” (usually a queen) among three cards placed face down. The “mark” who is being duped has all sorts of ways to lose and there are usually several people in on the scam, including others playing who seem to be winning.

28. Longtime foe of Rafael : ROGER

Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer is married to former tennis pro Mirka Vavrinec. The couple are parents to two sets of twins.

Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player. He is noted for his expertise on clay courts, which earned him the nickname “The King of Clay”.

35. Rap sheet entry, perhaps : ARSON

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

40. Songwriter Green : CEELO

“CeeLo Green” is the stage name of rapper Thomas DeCarlo Callaway. Apparently Green is one of the coaches for the contestants on the singing TV show “The Voice”. That’s all I need to know …

42. New Brunswick neighbor : MAINE

There seems to be some uncertainty how the US state of Maine got its name. However, the state legislature has adopted the theory that it comes from the former French province of Maine. The legislature included language to that effect when adopting a resolution in 2001 to establish Franco-American Day.

The Province of New Brunswick takes its name from the city of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony in northern Germany. Braunschweig, known as Brunswick in English, was the ancestral home of the British King George III.

43. Propellant in ion thrusters : XENON

An ion thruster is a type of engine used to propel spacecraft. Orbiting satellites might have several ion thrusters, which are used to maintain orbit and for repositioning. Basically, ion thrusters use power generated by solar panels to force ions out of a nozzle. The mass of the ions creates movement in the required direction using the principle of conservation of momentum.

45. Patellar and Achilles : TENDONS

Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.

51. Popular blend of seasoning : ITALIAN

Italian seasoning is a blend of mainly basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Despite the name, we are unlikely to find any Italian seasoning being sold in Italy.

53. Ulyanov’s alias : LENIN

“Lenin” wasn’t the birth name of the Russian leader. He was born Vladimir Ulyanov, and originally used “Lenin” as a pen name.

58. Browbeats : BULLDOZES

The term “bulldoze” comes from the noun “bulldose”, which meant “a severe beating” back in the late 1800s. A bulldose was “a dose fit for a bull”, a beating designed to intimidate mainly black Republican voters in the 1876 US presidential election.

Down

2. Like some dressers : NATTY

A natty dresser is one who dresses smartly. The term may come from the Middle English “net” meaning “fine, elegant”, in which case it shares its etymology with the word “neat”.

3. Flexible wood : OSIER

Most willows (trees and shrubs of the genus Salix) are called just that, willows. Some of the broad-leaved shrub varieties are called sallow, and the narrow-leaved shrubs are called osier. The variety known as osier is commonly used in basketry, as osier twigs are very flexible. The strong and flexible willow stems are sometimes referred to as withies.

4. 1998 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee : WYNETTE

Tammy Wynette was a country music singer and songwriter who is perhaps best known for her 1968 hit record “Stand by Your Man”. The following year, Wynette married fellow country artist George Jones, although the couple divorced in 1975.

7. Baja bear : OSA

In Spanish, “osa” is a female bear, and “oso” is a male. An “oso” might be found in “un zoológico” (a zoo).

9. Roman numeral : SETTE

“Sette” is Italian for “seven”.

10. Penn’s business school : WHARTON

Wharton is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. The school was established in 1881 largely due to a donation from industrialist Joseph Wharton, co-founder of Bethlehem Steel.

14. Many retired Kentucky Derby winners : SIRES

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

23. Flier that delivers? : STORK

In German and Dutch society, storks resting on the roof of a house were considered a sign of good luck. This tradition led to nursery stories that babies were brought to families by storks.

26. County in four Northeast states : ESSEX

There are four counties named Essex in the northeast of the US:

  • Essex County, Massachusetts
  • Essex County, New Jersey
  • Essex County, New York
  • Essex County, Vermont

28. Indian filmmaker Kapoor : RAJ

Raj Kapoor was an influential figure in Hindi cinema. Known as “the greatest showman of Indian cinema”, Kapoor worked as an actor, producer and director. As an actor, he was also referred to as “the Clark Gable of the Indian film industry”.

29. Devices used on trips : ODOMETERS

An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

30. Freak out : GO BANANAS

The expression “to go bananas” is one that I would have imagined had a clear etymology but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A further surprise is that we’ve only been “going bananas” since the sixties, in the days of flower power. One apt theory about the hippy roots of the phrase is that there was an unfounded belief that ingesting roasted banana peels had a similar hallucinogenic effect as magic mushrooms.

33. Old Tokyo : EDO

“Edo” is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

35. Air Canada Centre, e.g. : ARENA

The Air Canada Centre is a sporting arena in Toronto that is home to the Maple Leafs of the NHL and the Raptors of the NBA. In 2017, Scotiabank agreed to pay $800 million Canadian dollars for the rights to name the facility Scotiabank Arena for a period of 20 years. Apparently, that’s the richest sponsorship deal in the history of North American sports.

40. Bullfight : CORRIDA

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, or literally “race of bulls”.

41. “Did Hamlet so __ with his envy … “: Shakespeare : ENVENOM

The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

45. Alternative nickname to Mattie, perhaps : TILDA

Both “Mattie” and “Tilda” are nicknames that might be used by someone called Matilda.

46. Hardly humble sorts : SNOBS

Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

50. Barrette target : TRESS

A barrette is a hair clip, a clasp for holding the hair in place. The word is French in origin, with a literal translation of “little bar”.

56. Type of camera, briefly : 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.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Arctic Winter Games gear : SNOWSHOES
10. Follows a cookbook direction : WHIPS
15. Apparent : EASY TO SEE
16. Red River city : HANOI
17. Nomadic : ITINERANT
18. Pertaining to : AS FOR
19. Nucor and POSCO, industry-wise : STEELS
20. Steak __ : TARTARE
22. Fragrant shrubs : MYRTLES
24. Stretches out : EXTENDS
25. Try : TASTE
27. Con game : MONTE
28. Longtime foe of Rafael : ROGER
31. Apparent : OSTENSIVE
34. Commotion : ADO
35. Rap sheet entry, perhaps : ARSON
36. Jar head? : LID
37. Available employment : JOB MARKET
40. Songwriter Green : CEELO
42. New Brunswick neighbor : MAINE
43. Propellant in ion thrusters : XENON
45. Patellar and Achilles : TENDONS
47. Hired help : SERVANT
51. Popular blend of seasoning : ITALIAN
52. Small 1-Down : TREMOR
53. Ulyanov’s alias : LENIN
54. Unyielding : OBSTINATE
57. Player selection process : DRAFT
58. Browbeats : BULLDOZES
59. Long-eared critters : ASSES
60. Party decorations : STREAMERS

Down

1. Quake : SEISM
2. Like some dressers : NATTY
3. Flexible wood : OSIER
4. 1998 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee : WYNETTE
5. Finer than fine : STELLAR
6. Fools (around) : HORSES
7. Baja bear : OSA
8. Poetic contraction : E’EN
9. Roman numeral : SETTE
10. Penn’s business school : WHARTON
11. Moves quickly : HASTENS
12. Childish : INFANTILE
13. Unfortunate one : POOR DEVIL
14. Many retired Kentucky Derby winners : SIRES
21. Forestry workers : AXMEN
23. Flier that delivers? : STORK
26. County in four Northeast states : ESSEX
28. Indian filmmaker Kapoor : RAJ
29. Devices used on trips : ODOMETERS
30. Freak out : GO BANANAS
32. Lugs : TOTES
33. Old Tokyo : EDO
35. Air Canada Centre, e.g. : ARENA
38. __ crisis : MIDLIFE
39. Consecrates, in a way : ANOINTS
40. Bullfight : CORRIDA
41. “Did Hamlet so __ with his envy … “: Shakespeare : ENVENOM
44. Aggravate : NETTLE
45. Alternative nickname to Mattie, perhaps : TILDA
46. Hardly humble sorts : SNOBS
48. Knock over : AMAZE
49. Observant one : NOTER
50. Barrette target : TRESS
55. “__ I digress” : BUT
56. Type of camera, briefly : SLR

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7 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Dec 2017, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 82 minutes, 1 dumb error. A lot of that I think was “spinning” while I was trying it online, but finally printed it out and tried it there and still spent 57 minutes looking at it, noting a large number of missteps. So, harder one for me for some reason.

    @Dave
    I tried #298 and #73 (one back/forward off of those links on Thursday), “medium” grids. 29 and 41 minutes. I thought clues in #73 were a little harder to come by, but nothing different than anything he’s done recently. It’s possible the others could be one-offs, but possibly not too.

    1. @Glenn … I have now finished the ten BEQ puzzles from last fall that I downloaded and they seem very similar to more recent puzzles of his, so I can at least conclude that he’s not in sync with Croce. I will try the ones you have posted, but not for a day or two – at this point, I’m a little burned out … 😜.

      The BEQ of 2016/10/13 has an oddity: At the intersection of 3D and 20A, the clues shown in the online solver require a “G”, giving “TIGE” and “IMAGE”, while both the PDF and PUZ files have clues requiring a “D”, giving “TIDE” and “I MADE”.

  2. LAT: 29:18, no errors. I think I made every possible misstep along the way to the solution. It seemed as if I was able to think of an alternate possibility for almost every entry (except the ones for which I had nothing); I spent as much time erasing things as I did entering things.

    WSJ: 24:12, no errors. Straightforward, but tedious.

    Newsday: 1:56:52 (not including a 40-minute stretch during which I put it down and did another puzzle), no errors. I had a heck of a time with the lower right and upper right corners. I got stubborn and refused to give up, so I finished and went to bed well past midnight.

  3. North West corner my downfall. Stuck with “balsa” for flexible wood and never heard of the word “seism” (Sounds like an Eastern religion…)

  4. Real challenger by Craig Stowe today. Some of the cluing wasn’t to my liking (Aggravate=NETTLE / Knock over=AMAZE), but fair enough. Tough NW for me, too; saved it for last, broke it open with a lucky guess (STELLAR) and OSA, which led to EASY TO SEE, whose Y tipped me off to WYNETTE. All around, a tougher puz than today’s NYT.

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