LA Times Crossword Answers 6 Jan 2018, Saturday

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Constructed by: Daniel Nierenberg
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 16m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Vaudeville show, e.g. : VARIETY ACT

The Vire is a river that flows through Normandy in France. The poets of the Vire valley were known as the “Vau de Vire”, a term that some say gave rise to our word “Vaudeville”.

11. Cuban pronoun : ESTA

In Spanish, the “otra” (other) is neither “esta” (this) nor “esa” (that).

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. The exact etymology of the name “Cuba” seems a little unclear. Most believe “Cuba” to be derived from the Taíno terms for “where fertile land is abundant” (cubao) or “great place” (coabana).

15. Group formed in Cairo in 1945 : ARAB LEAGUE

The Arab League was formed in 1945 in Cairo with six founding members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. As a result of events during the 2011 Arab Spring, the Arab League has suspended Syria’s membership.

21. Great canines? : DANES

The Great Dane breed of dog isn’t actually from Denmark, and rather is from Germany.

22. Tart fruits : SLOES

The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.

29. Brightly plumed songbird : ORIOLE

The songbird called an oriole builds an interesting nest. It is a woven cup-like structure that is suspended from a branch like a hammock.

31. Banned chem. contaminant : PCB

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

37. Super Bowl MVP after Peyton : ELI

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.

39. Galoot : APE

“Galoot” is an insulting term meaning an awkward or boorish man, an ape. “Galoot” comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

40. Big automotive initials : REO

The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.

41. Like some observant Jews : HASIDIC

The Hasidic Jewish movement was founded in the 18th century by Baal Shem Tov, a mystical rabbi from Eastern Europe.

42. Designing initials : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

43. Place for porcelain, possibly : MANTEL

The ceramic known as “porcelain” can be referred to as “china” or “fine china”, as porcelain was developed in China.

47. Zero, to Nero : NIHIL

“Nihil” is the Latin word for “nothing”, and is a term that we’ve absorbed into English. “Nihil” is also the root from which we get our term “nil”.

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

53. Cryotherapy offerers : SPAS

Cryotherapy is the use of low temperatures as medical treatment. The term comes from the Greek “cryo” meaning “cold” and “therapy” meaning “cure”.

59. Trial records : STENO NOTES

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

61. Niggle : CARP

The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later, the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “to carp” so that it came to mean “to find fault with”.

64. Double helix pair : DNA STRANDS

Francis Crick and James Watson discovered that DNA had a double-helix, chain-like structure, and published their results in Cambridge in 1953. To this day the discovery is mired in controversy, as some crucial results collected by fellow researcher Rosalind Franklin were used without her permission or even knowledge.

Down

1. Improvises : VAMPS

“To vamp” is to improvise musically, usually on a piano. A vamp is often an accompaniment to a solo.

2. King Triton’s daughter : ARIEL

“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton. Her best friend is Flounder, who despite his name is not a flounder at all and is actually a tropical fish. Ariel is also friends with Sebastian, a red Jamaican crab whose full name is Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian.

3. 2011 title cowboy chameleon : RANGO

“Rango” is a 2011 animated feature film starring the voice of Johnny Depp. The anti-smoking organization known as Breathe California labelled “Rango” as a public health hazard because of 60 instances of smoking in the movie.

4. Sacred birds : IBISES

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

7. School named for a Welsh merchant : YALE

Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.

8. Ingredient in the Japanese jellied dessert yokan : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

“Yokan” is a jelly dessert made from bean paste, agar and sugar, and often flavored with nuts figs or sweet potato. Now a typical Japanese confection, the recipe is based on a Chinese dessert made from the gelatin derived from boiling sheep. Ugh …

10. Some action in “Full Metal Jacket” took place on it : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 classic war film “Full Metal Jacket” takes its name from the “full metal jacket” bullet that is used by infantry riflemen. The film is set largely in Vietnam and, somewhat bizarrely I think, all those jungle scenes were shot on a disused building site in London!

11. 1844 Verdi opera : ERNANI

“Ernani” is an 1844 opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is based on a play called “Hernani” by Victor Hugo. For over a decade, “Ernani” was Verdi’s most popular opera, and then along came “Il trovatore” in 1853.

13. Plot devices for sci-fi travelers : TIME SLIPS

A time slip is a plot device that is sometimes used in works of science fiction. It is an unexplained movement of an individual or group through time. A time slip differs from time travel in that the affected person has no control over the movement.

14. Liturgical dress : ALBS

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

24. Assembled artwork : MOSAIC

In the Middle Ages, mosaics were often dedicated to the Muses. The term “mosaic” translates as “of the Muses”.

26. Longtime pharmacy chain : REXALL

Rexall is a chain of drugstores in Canada that started out in 1902 as a retailers’ cooperative called United Drug Stores. The name “Rexall” was derived from the “Rx” abbreviation used for prescriptions. Rexall used a very interesting marketing concept in 1936. The company sent “The Million Dollar Rexall Streamlined Convention Train” on a tour all over the US. The train had 12 cars which included product displays, convention facilities and a dining car. The idea was to allow local druggists to attend a convention without having the cost of travel, and of course to promote products and the brand.

27. Christmas poem opener : ‘TWAS

The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. a poet from Upstate New York.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash …

30. Pulitzer-winning biographer Leon : EDEL

Leon Edel wrote a highly respected biography of author Henry James, for which Edel won a Pulitzer Prize. Leon’s younger brother Abraham was a noted philosopher and ethicist.

31. Wave generator? : PERM

“Perm” is the name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls. I don’t worry about such things, as it’s a number-one all over for me …

32. Controversial technology involving carbon capture and storage : CLEAN COAL

“Clean coal” is the term preferred by the coal industry and its supporters for what is more accurately referred to as “coal pollution mitigation”. In environmental terms, coal is one of the dirtiest of fuels, and causes a lot of pollution. Technologies can reduce that level of pollution, making coal “less dirty”. But “clean”, I’m not so sure …

33. Part of a fictional six-million-dollar repair : BIONIC ARM

Bionic limbs are in fact a reality, although a relatively small number of amputees have been fitted with them. Bionic limbs depend on the fact that the brain continues to send out messages to nerves that have been truncated through amputation. The nerve stub is redirected to a set of chest muscles, so when the person thinks “open the hand” say, that cause a chest muscle to contract. Electrodes placed on the surface of the chest muscle detects its movement, and that signal is sent to the prosthetic limb, causing it to move. Science can be so wonderful …

“The Six Million Dollar Man” is a 1970s sci-fi show that starred Lee Majors as the title character Steve Austin. The series is based on a 1972 novel called “Cyborg”.

35. Ancient Icelandic text : EDDA

The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in the 13th century, in Iceland.

46. Chihuahua neighbor : SONORA

Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of the borders with Arizona and New Mexico. Sonora is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.

Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname “El Estado Grande”. The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. The Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.

49. Ipso facto, e.g. : LATIN

“Ipso facto” is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of particular act, as opposed to something that is the result of some subsequent event. For example, my father was born in Dublin and was an Irish citizen ipso facto. My son was born in California and is an Irish citizen by virtue of being the son of an Irish citizen (i.e. “not” ipso facto).

50. Fix : AMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

51. Breaks in scores : RESTS

Those would be musical scores.

52. Killer whale : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

54. Org. promoting veganism : PETA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a very large animal rights organization, with 300 employees and two million members and supporters worldwide. Although the group campaigns for animal rights across a broad spectrum of issues, it has a stated focus in opposition of four practices:

  • Factory farming
  • Fur farming
  • Animal testing
  • Use of animals in entertainment

A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

55. Years in Granada : ANOS

Granada is a city and province in Andalusia in the south of Spain. Granada should not to be confused with Grenada (note the different spelling), the island nation in the Caribbean that was invaded by the US in 1983.

60. “On Point” syndicating org. : NPR

“On Point” is a radio show produced by WBUR in Boston and syndicated by National Public Radio (NPR). Hosted by Tom Ashbrook, “On Point” is a two-hour call-in show that addresses a wide range of topics.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Vaudeville show, e.g. : VARIETY ACT
11. Cuban pronoun : ESTA
15. Group formed in Cairo in 1945 : ARAB LEAGUE
16. Make muddy : ROIL
17. Reactionary ’60s genre : MINIMAL ART
18. Unfeeling : NUMB
19. Identifies : PEGS
20. Just : MERE
21. Great canines? : DANES
22. Tart fruits : SLOES
24. Is bothered : MINDS
25. More or less, informally : SORTA
29. Brightly plumed songbird : ORIOLE
31. Banned chem. contaminant : PCB
34. Most lascivious : LEWDEST
36. Mess with : KID
37. Super Bowl MVP after Peyton : ELI
38. Final hour? : EXAM DAY
39. Galoot : APE
40. Big automotive initials : REO
41. Like some observant Jews : HASIDIC
42. Designing initials : YSL
43. Place for porcelain, possibly : MANTEL
45. Stuffed fare : TACOS
47. Zero, to Nero : NIHIL
48. Opposite : POLAR
52. Come to pass : OCCUR
53. Cryotherapy offerers : SPAS
57. Give significance to, in a way : NAME
58. Travel in no particular direction : ROAM
59. Trial records : STENO NOTES
61. Niggle : CARP
62. Collectible, maybe : OUT OF PRINT
63. Charity : ALMS
64. Double helix pair : DNA STRANDS

Down

1. Improvises : VAMPS
2. King Triton’s daughter : ARIEL
3. 2011 title cowboy chameleon : RANGO
4. Sacred birds : IBISES
5. Stately street adornment : ELM
6. __ spirit : TEAM
7. School named for a Welsh merchant : YALE
8. Ingredient in the Japanese jellied dessert yokan : AGAR
9. Means of correction : CURE
10. Some action in “Full Metal Jacket” took place on it : TET
11. 1844 Verdi opera : ERNANI
12. Seem reasonable : SOUND OKAY
13. Plot devices for sci-fi travelers : TIME SLIPS
14. Liturgical dress : ALBS
21. Surprise bad guy : DIRTY COP
23. One who gets it all : SOLE HEIR
24. Assembled artwork : MOSAIC
26. Longtime pharmacy chain : REXALL
27. Christmas poem opener : ‘TWAS
28. Let in : ADMIT
30. Pulitzer-winning biographer Leon : EDEL
31. Wave generator? : PERM
32. Controversial technology involving carbon capture and storage : CLEAN COAL
33. Part of a fictional six-million-dollar repair : BIONIC ARM
35. Ancient Icelandic text : EDDA
44. Hits hard : THUMPS
46. Chihuahua neighbor : SONORA
49. Ipso facto, e.g. : LATIN
50. Fix : AMEND
51. Breaks in scores : RESTS
52. Killer whale : ORCA
53. Surprise big-time : STUN
54. Org. promoting veganism : PETA
55. Years in Granada : ANOS
56. __ light : SOFT
59. Land development aid : SOD
60. “On Point” syndicating org. : NPR

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