LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Jan 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: On It

Themed answers are common phrases comprising a verb followed by “… on it”. These phrases have been reinterpreted as clues pointing to objects:

  • 17A. Step on it : WELCOME MAT
  • 39A. Sleep on it : BUNK BED
  • 62A. Count on it : TALLY SHEET
  • 11D. Bet on it : HORSE RACE
  • 35D. Bank on it : POOL TABLE

Bill’s time: 7m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Lara Croft targets : TOMBS

Lara Croft was introduced to the world as the main character in a pretty cool video game (I thought, back then) called “Tomb Raider” in 1996. Lara Croft moved to the big screen in 2001 and 2003, in two pretty awful movie adaptations of the game’s storyline. Angelina Jolie played Croft, and she did a very energetic job.

14. Jamba Juice berry : ACAI

The Jamba Juice chain of stores was founded in 1990 in San Luis Obispo, California and now has outlets across much of the US and as far as the Philippines and South Korea.

15. “Tommy” is one : OPERA

“Tommy” is the fourth album recorded by the British band called the Who. “Tommy” was the original rock opera and was adapted for both the stage and screen, with both adaptations becoming huge successes. The title character has an uncanny ability to play pinball, giving rise to the hit song “Pinball Wizard”.

16. Chewy Hershey candy : ROLO

Rolo was a hugely popular chocolate candy in Ireland when I was growing up. Rolo was introduced in the thirties in the UK, and is produced under license in the US by Hershey. I was a little disappointed when I had my first taste of the American version as the center is very hard and chewy. The recipe used on the other side of the Atlantic calls for a soft gooey center.

21. Company that introduced Styrofoam : DOW

Styrofoam is an extruded polystyrene foam made by The Dow Chemical Company. Styrofoam has loads of applications, including home insulation and use as a buoyancy aid. It is also formed into “peanuts” used as a packaging filler.

22. Spacek of “Bloodline” : SISSY

The actress Sissy Spacek probably got her big break in movies when she played the title role in the 1976 horror movie “Carrie”, which is based on the Stephen King novel. Her most acclaimed role is the lead in the 1980 biopic about Loretta Lynn called “Coal MIner’s Daughter”, for which she won an Oscar. Spacek’s first cousin is the actor Rip Torn.

“Bloodline” is a Netflix-original thriller television series. It’s a cleverly constructed program about a well-off family in the Florida Keys. As the show progresses, more and more dark secrets are revealed about each of the family members. I enjoyed this one …

25. Foamy pick-me-up : LATTE

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

36. __ Paulo, Brazil : SAO

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.

37. Roman poet who coined “carpe diem” : HORACE

“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”. The satirical motto of a procrastinator is “carpe mañana”, “translating” as “seize tomorrow”.

38. Creator of Iceland’s Imagine Peace Tower : ONO

“Wish Tree” is a series of living art installations by Yoko Ono. The series consists of native trees planted under her direction, Ono invites viewers to tie written wishes to the trees. Ono has been installing “Wish Tree” exhibits in locations around the world since the 1990s. She does not read the wishes, but collects them for burial under the Imagine Peace Tower, a memorial to John Lennon located on an island near Reykjavik, Iceland. There are over a million such wishes under the memorial today.

41. “SNL” writer/actor Michael : CHE

Michael Che is a standup comedian from New York City. Che had worked as a writer for “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), and then started to appear in front of SNL cameras in September 1914. One of his roles was co-anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment of the show.

42. “Becket” star : O’TOOLE

Irish actor Peter O’Toole got his big break in movies when he played the title role in the 1962 epic film “Lawrence of Arabia”. My favorite of O’Toole’s movies is much lighter fare, namely “How to Steal a Million” in which he stars opposite Audrey Hepburn. O’Toole never won an Oscar, but holds the record for the greatest number of Best Actor nominations without a win.

“Becket” is a 1964 film, an adaptation of the play “Becket or the Honour of God” written by Jean Anouilh. The film has a very impressive cast including Richard Burton as Thomas Becket and Peter O’Toole as King Henry II. This wasn’t the last time Peter O’Toole was to play Henry II on the big screen, as four years later he was the same character in “The Lion in Winter” opposite Katharine Hepburn.

45. Inert gas : NEON

Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid, and then warmed the liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.

An inert gas can be different from a noble gas. Both are relatively non-reactive, but a noble gas is an element. An inert gas on the other hand, might be a compound i.e. made up of more than one element.

49. Youngsters : TYKES

“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902, but for centuries before that a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

51. Hamlet cousins : TOWNS

A hamlet is a small village, especially one without a church (it says here …).

59. Knuckleheads : TWITS

“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that was quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

62. Count on it : TALLY SHEET

Back in the mid-1600s, a “tally” was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or had paid. The term came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”. The act of “scoring” the stick with notches gave rise to our word “score” for the number in a tally.

64. Lawn pest : MOLE

One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country (outside of politics, that is). A less known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …

66. It might be a whole lot : ACRE

At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. Then, an acre was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one furlong wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. A area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

69. Safari shelter : TENT

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

Down

2. Aquaman’s realm : OCEAN

Aquaman is a comic book superhero who first appeared in 1941. Aquaman was inspired by a character in a Russian science-fiction novel called Amphibian Man.

3. __ Cup: classic candy in a yellow wrapper : MALLO

Mallo Cups are cup-shaped candy pieces with a whipped marshmallow cream center covered with milk chocolate. Mallo Cups were introduced by Boyer Brothers in the late forties. Apparently, there are over 2 million Mallo Cups made every day.

5. Young Spider-Man portrayer Holland : TOM

Tom Holland is an English actor whose big break came when he was cast in London’s West End production of “Billy Elliot the Musical”. Several years later, Holland landed the part of Spider-Man, starting with the 2016 film “Captain America: Civil War”. Tom’s father is Dominic Holland, who is quite a successful stand-up comedian in the UK.

6. Pundit’s piece : OP-ED

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

A pundit is a learned person who one might turn to for an opinion. “Pundit” is derived from the Hindi word “payndit” meaning “learned man”.

10. False friend : TRAITOR

Treason is a serious crime committed against the nation (or the sovereign). One who commits “treason” is called a “traitor”. In the past, the term treason also applied to lesser crimes so there was a differentiation between high treason against the king, and “petit treason”, against a more common citizen.

18. Dumpster output : ODOR

“Dumpster” is one of those words that we use generically even though it is actually a brand name. The original “Dumpster” was patented by the Dempster Brothers of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Dumpster” is derived from “dump” and “Dempster”.

26. Massachusetts college or its town : AMHERST

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) is the largest public university in New England. UMass was founded back in 1863, although it took a while to get the school into service. Construction work was delayed and the college went through two presidents before William S. Clark took charge. He cracked the whip, completed the construction and enrolled the first students in the same year that he took over the reins, in 1867. As a result, although Clark was the third President of UMass, he is regarded by most as the school’s founding father.

29. Stir : POKEY

“Pokey” (also “poky”) is a slang term for prison. It might be a corruption of “pogie”, a term for a “poorhouse”.

The slang word “stir”, meaning a prison, probably has its roots in Start Newgate prison in London, where it was a nickname for the establishment.

31. Letter between Delta and Foxtrot : ECHO

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

32. “It Ain’t All About the Cookin'” memoirist Paula : DEEN

Paula Deen is a celebrity chef from Savannah, Georgia who is noted for her Southern cooking. Deen has been criticized for the amount of salt, fat and sugar in her recipes. The criticism became even more intense when Deen disclosed that she herself has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

39. Chap : BLOKE

“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

“Chap” is an informal term for “lad, fellow”, especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

43. Adventurous trip : ODYSSEY

“The Odyssey” is one of two epic poems from ancient Greece that is attributed to Homer. “The Odyssey” is largely a sequel to Homer’s other epic, “The Iliad”. “The Odyssey” centers on the heroic figure Odysseus, and his adventures on his journey home to Greece following the fall of Troy. We now use the term “odyssey” to describe any long series of adventures.

48. Forget-me-__: flowers : NOTS

The plants known as forget-me-nots were given their distinctive name first in French, i.e. “ne m’oubliez pas”. “Forget-me-not” is simply a translation into English.

52. Jenna, to Jeb : NIECE

Jeb Bush is the son of President George H. W. Bush, and the brother of President George W. Bush. I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara’s son John Ellis Bush is called “Jeb”. A kind blog reader has suggested the the name “Jeb” may have been chosen as JEB are the initials of John Ellis Bush.

Jenna Bush is one of the twin daughters of President George W. Bush. During her father’s 2004 presidential campaign, Jenna met and started dating Henry Hager who was a White House aide for deputy chief of staff Karl Rove. The couple were married in 2008.

54. Firing range supply : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

55. Doofus : BOOB

“Doofus” (also “dufus”) is student slang that has been around since the sixties. Apparently the word is a variant of the equally unattractive term “doo-doo”.

57. Pond plant : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

60. Editor’s mark : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Splendor : POMP
5. Lara Croft targets : TOMBS
10. In that case : THEN
14. Jamba Juice berry : ACAI
15. “Tommy” is one : OPERA
16. Chewy Hershey candy : ROLO
17. Step on it : WELCOME MAT
19. Activates, as a security system : ARMS
20. Tossed course : SALAD
21. Company that introduced Styrofoam : DOW
22. Spacek of “Bloodline” : SISSY
23. Things to avoid : NO-NOS
25. Foamy pick-me-up : LATTE
27. Defeat decisively : TROMP
30. Tied in the harbor : MOORED
33. Flowing garment : CAPE
36. __ Paulo, Brazil : SAO
37. Roman poet who coined “carpe diem” : HORACE
38. Creator of Iceland’s Imagine Peace Tower : ONO
39. Sleep on it : BUNK BED
41. “SNL” writer/actor Michael : CHE
42. “Becket” star : O’TOOLE
44. Auction ending? : -EER
45. Inert gas : NEON
46. Not very often : SELDOM
47. Like some poll questions : YES/NO
49. Youngsters : TYKES
51. Hamlet cousins : TOWNS
54. Put down : ABASE
56. Crone : HAG
59. Knuckleheads : TWITS
61. Wild bunches : MOBS
62. Count on it : TALLY SHEET
64. Lawn pest : MOLE
65. “That’s too bad” : AW GEE
66. It might be a whole lot : ACRE
67. Follow instructions : OBEY
68. Covert agent : PLANT
69. Safari shelter : TENT

Down

1. Bear feet : PAWS
2. Aquaman’s realm : OCEAN
3. __ Cup: classic candy in a yellow wrapper : MALLO
4. Hot and spicy : PICANTE
5. Young Spider-Man portrayer Holland : TOM
6. Pundit’s piece : OP-ED
7. Short note : MEMO
8. Wild fight : BRAWL
9. Suppressed, with “on” : SAT
10. False friend : TRAITOR
11. Bet on it : HORSE RACE
12. Shade trees : ELMS
13. Way too interested : NOSY
18. Dumpster output : ODOR
22. Put up with : STOOD
24. “Well, sorrrr-ry!” : SO SUE ME!
26. Massachusetts college or its town : AMHERST
28. “Holy smokes!” : MAN!
29. Stir : POKEY
31. Letter between Delta and Foxtrot : ECHO
32. “It Ain’t All About the Cookin'” memoirist Paula : DEEN
33. Pigeon calls : COOS
34. Poker stake : ANTE
35. Bank on it : POOL TABLE
39. Chap : BLOKE
40. Cause of a buzz : BEE
43. Adventurous trip : ODYSSEY
45. “Another problem?” : NOW WHAT?
48. Forget-me-__: flowers : NOTS
50. Shoulder warmer : SHAWL
52. Jenna, to Jeb : NIECE
53. Unsmiling : STERN
54. Firing range supply : AMMO
55. Doofus : BOOB
57. Pond plant : ALGA
58. Small valley : GLEN
60. Editor’s mark : STET
62. You may feel one on your shoulder : TAP
63. Even so : YET

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