LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Feb 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Inflation Rate

Themed answers are common phrases in featuring a coin, but we INFLATE the phrase by using the coin that is next highest in value:

  • 59A. Economic factor that affects three puzzle answers : INFLATION RATE
  • 20A. Really cheap : QUARTER A DOZEN (“dime a dozen” inflated)
  • 37A. Precisely : TO THE NICKEL (“to the penny” inflated)
  • 44A. Worthless item : PLUGGED DIME (“plugged nickel” inflated)

Bill’s time: 9m 01s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ORYX (orix!! Oops!)
  • ELY (Eli)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Burgoo or ragout : STEW

Burgoo is a stew that is popular in the American Midwest and South, in particular. The term “burgoo” was used for a thick porridge back in the late 18th century, and it’s possible that “burgoo” gave rise to our adjective “gooey” meaning “sticky”.

A ragout is dish from French cuisine, and is highly-seasoned stew of either meat or fish. The name “ragout” comes from the verb “ragouter”, “to revive the taste”. The Italian “ragù” is a term borrowed from the French that describes a meat-based sauce served with pasta.

15. Speeder spotter : RADAR

Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.

16. Dance for a lei person : HULA

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

17. Cornstarch brand in a yellow-and-blue container : ARGO

Argo brand cornstarch first hit the store shelves in 1892.

18. String in a kids’ song : E-I-E-I-O

There was an American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O), that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

19. African antelope : ORYX

The oryx is a large antelope species, mainly found in Africa but also in the Arabian Peninsula. One species was introduced by man into the White Sands Missile Range. As a result, the oryx is now considered an invasive species in the neighboring White Sands National Monument.

20. Really cheap : QUARTER A DOZEN (“dime a dozen” inflated)

The American quarter is a little unusual in the world of decimal currency if you think about it. Most currencies have a “20-cent” coin, easier to work with mathematically. The US went for the quarter in deference to the practice of dividing Spanish Milled Dollars into eight wedge-shaped “bits”. That’s also why the quarter is sometimes referred to as “two bits”. State quarters were introduced in 1999, but prior to that the quarter had an eagle on its reverse.

Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.

23. Baltimore’s __ Harbor : INNER

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was once a major gateway for immigrants to the US, second only to New York City. In recent decades, the Inner Harbor has been transformed from an industrial area full of dilapidated warehouses into a major tourist destination and commercial district, with some very expensive real estate.

24. Enjoy Vail : SKI

The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

32. Sully : TAINT

To sully is to stain, tarnish. The term is often used in the context of sullying or tarnishing a reputation.

37. Precisely : TO THE NICKEL (“to the penny” inflated)

The 5-cent American coin known as a nickel is actually made up of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The first nickel was introduced in 1866, and was named the Shield nickel due to the shield design on the front of the coin. The current design is the Jefferson nickel, which was introduced in 1938.

40. Mother Nature’s balm : ALOE

Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. Ancient Egyptians knew it as the plant of immortality, and Native Americans called it the wand of heaven.

42. “The Glass Lake” writer Binchy : MAEVE

Maeve Binchy was a fabulous Irish novelist, and in my day a famous newspaper columnist whose column I would read daily. A few of her novels have made it to the big screen, including two I would recommend: “Circle of Friends” starring Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver, and “Tara Road” starring Andie MacDowell.

43. Trillion: Pref. : TERA-

The numerical prefix “tera-” means “trillion”. The prefix was first adopted in 1947, and comes from the Greek “teras” meaning “marvel, monster”.

44. Worthless item : PLUGGED DIME (“plugged nickel” inflated)

The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

Coin debasement is the practice of reducing the amount of precious metal in a coin, while passing it off as having full value. The three main techniques used to debase coins were clipping, sweating and plugging. Clipping involved shaving small pieces off the edge of coins. Sweating was the shaking of coins together in a bag, and collecting the bits of metal that wear off the coins in the bottom of the bag. Larger coins could be plugged, which involved sawing a coin in half, extracting a plug of precious metal and replacing it with a cheap metal, and welding the halves together again. The latter practice led to the phrase “not worth a plugged nickel” meaning “worthless”.

47. “Mamma Mia!” number : SOS

The ABBA song “SOS.” was originally titled “Turn Me On”. In the movie “Mamma Mia!”, “S.O.S.” is performed by Meryl Streep (brilliantly) and by Pierce Brosnan (terribly).

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

48. Slow movement : LARGO

“Largo” is a instruction to play a piece of music with a very slow tempo. “Largo” is an Italian word meaning “broadly”.

51. Kennedy twins? : ENS

There is a pair of letters N (en) in the name “Kennedy”.

52. Luthor of the comics : LEX

Lex Luthor is the arch-nemesis of Superman in comics. Luthor has been portrayed in a number of guises in the comic world as well in movies and on the small screen. For example, he appeared as Atom Man in the 1950 film series “Atom Man vs. Superman”, and was played by actor Lyle Talbot, opposite Kirk Alyn’s Superman.

55. Infield fly : POP-UP

That would be baseball.

64. Naan relative : ROTI

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is the unleavened cousin to naan.

67. Adopt-a-Pet pet : MUTT

Adopt-a-Pet.com is a non-profit website that maintains a website of adoptable pets from over 12,000 pet shelters across North America.

68. “Dilbert” intern : ASOK

In the “Dilbert” comic strip, the character named Asok is one of Dilbert’s coworkers, and a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology. “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams named Asok for a friend and former coworker of his own at Pacific Bell.

70. Geek Squad client : USER

Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.

71. LGBT Pride Month : JUNE

The police readied a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn on June 29th, 1969. That raid triggered to a spate of violent demonstrations led by the LGBT community. Now known as the Stonewall riots, those demonstrations are viewed by many as a significant event leading to the modern-day fight for LGBT rights in the US. Since then, June has been chosen as LGBT Pride Month in recognition of the Stonewall riots.

72. 2017 AL MVP José Altuve, for one : ASTRO

José Altuve is a Major League baseball player who came to the US in 2007 after being signed to a contract at a Houston Astros’ tryout camp in his native city of Maracay, Venezuela. Altuve is just 5 feet 6 inches in height, and became the shortest player active in the Majors when he started playing for the Astros in 2011.

Down

1. Kirkuk native : IRAQI

Kirkuk is a city in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish region of the country.

2. “Seinfeld” episode, now : RERUN

Jerry Seinfeld is a standup comedian and comic actor from Brooklyn, New York. Jerry is most famous for playing the lead in the “Seinfeld” sitcom from 1989 to 1998. “Seinfeld” was good for Jerry, earning him $267 million in 1998 alone, making him the highest-paid celebrity that year.

4. Reproductive bodies : SPORES

Spores are produced by many bacteria, fungi and non-flowering plants. A spore is a reproductive body encased in a protective shell that is highly resistant to damage, and resistant to heat in particular.

5. Hudson Bay nation : CREE

The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

Hudson Bay in northern Canada is the second largest bay in the world, after the Bay of Bengal. Hudson Bay was named by English explorers after Henry Hudson who explored the area in 1610 on his ship “Discovery”. Hudson’s crew mutinied during that voyage and set Hudson and his officers adrift in a small boat. It is presumed that the castaways didn’t survive for very long.

8. “Downton Abbey” figures : MAIDS

In the incredibly successful period drama “Downton Abbey”, the patriarch of the family living at Downton is Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham or Lord Grantham. The character is played by Hugh Bonneville. Lord Grantham married American Cora Levinson (played by Elizabeth McGovern). Lord and Lady Grantham had three daughters, and no son. The lack of a male heir implied that the Grantham estate would pass to a male cousin, and out of the immediate family. The Grantham daughters are Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (played by Laura Carmichael) and Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). Lady Sybil had the audacity to marry the family chauffeur, an Irish nationalist. The shame of it all …

10. Christian Louboutin creation : SHOE

Christian Louboutin is a fashion designer from Paris who is known for creating stiletto shoes with trademark, red-lacquered soles. His biggest individual client is American author Danielle Steel, who is said to own more that 6,000 pairs of Louboutin shoes!

11. Tolls are taken on them : TURNPIKES

Back in the 15th century, a turnpike was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

12. Bridge expert Culbertson : ELY

Ely Culbertson was a great personality in the world of contract bridge (the greatest card game known to man!). He wrote an autobiography called “The Strange Lives of One Man” which is supposed to be an extraordinary read. I will have to put it on my Christmas wish list …

22. Tubular pasta : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

26. Summer month in Uruguay : ENERO

In Spanish, one wishes someone “un prospero año nuevo” (a happy new year) in “enero” (January).

The official name of Uruguay is the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which reflects the nation’s location on the eastern coast of South America. It is a relatively small country, the second-smallest on the continent, after Suriname. In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide a free laptop and Internet access to every child. Now there’s a thought …

27. Book with 11-Down : ATLAS
(11D. Tolls are taken on them : TURNPIKES)

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas”.

29. St. Paul’s feature : DOME

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas”.

33. Part of ACA : ACT

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

34. Scott Joplin’s “__ Leaf Rag” : MAPLE

Ragtime music was at the height of it popularity in the early 1900s. It takes its name from its characteristic “ragged” rhythms. The most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who had a big hit with his “Maple Leaf Rag” when it was published in 1899. He followed that up with a string of hits, including the “Pine Apple Rag” (sic). Ragtime fell out of favor about 1917 when the public turned to jazz. It had a resurgence in the forties when jazz musicians started to include ragtime tunes in their repertoires. But it was the 1973 movie “The Sting” that brought the true revival, as the hit soundtrack included numerous ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, including the celebrated “The Entertainer” originally published in 1902.

35. Literary middle name : ALLAN

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

39. “Finding Dory” character : NEMO

Pixar’s 2016 animated feature “Finding Dory” is a sequel to the megahit film “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” seems to have built on the success of its predecessor and had the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in North America for an animated movie.

46. “Around the Horn” channel : ESPN

“Around the Horn” is a 30-minute sports roundup aired every day on ESPN. I’m told that the show takes the format of a debating panel game.

50. Strait of __: Persian Gulf outlet : HORMUZ

The Persian Gulf is in effect an inland sea although it technically is an offshoot of the Indian Ocean. The outlet from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean is one of the most famous maritime “choke points” in the world, and is known as the Strait of Hormuz. About 20% of the world’s supply of petroleum passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

53. With 3-Down, justice since 2010 : ELENA …
(3D. See 53-Down : … KAGAN)

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …

58. Chemical prefix? : PETRO-

Petrochemicals are chemicals derived from petroleum. Common petrochemicals are ethylene, propylene, benzene and toluene. The term “petrochemical” is really a misnomer. “Petros” is Greek for “rock”, whereas “oleum” is Latin for “oil”. A more accurate word than “petrochemical” might be “oleochemical”, but the latter term is used for chemicals derived from plant and animal fats.

60. Maker of LeBron 15 basketball shoes : NIKE

Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, often referred to as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The athletic shoe company Nike uses the “Nike swoosh” as its logo, a logo that is inspired by the goddess’ wing.

63. Other, in España : OTRO

In Spanish, “Spain” is written as “España”.

64. British rule in India : RAJ

The period of colonial rule by the British in South Asia from 1858 to 1947 is referred to as the British Raj. Prior to 1858, the area was ruled by a private enterprise, the British East India Company. “Raj” is the Hindi word for “reign”.

65. The Cowboys of the Big 12 Conf. : OSU

The athletic teams of Oklahoma State University are called the Cowboys and the Cowgirls.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Rankles : IRKS
5. Go higher : CLIMB
10. Burgoo or ragout : STEW
14. Harvest : REAP
15. Speeder spotter : RADAR
16. Dance for a lei person : HULA
17. Cornstarch brand in a yellow-and-blue container : ARGO
18. String in a kids’ song : E-I-E-I-O
19. African antelope : ORYX
20. Really cheap : QUARTER A DOZEN (“dime a dozen” inflated)
23. Baltimore’s __ Harbor : INNER
24. Enjoy Vail : SKI
25. Podded plant : PEA
28. Fountain output : SODAS
32. Sully : TAINT
34. Rest area freebie : MAP
37. Precisely : TO THE NICKEL (“to the penny” inflated)
40. Mother Nature’s balm : ALOE
42. “The Glass Lake” writer Binchy : MAEVE
43. Trillion: Pref. : TERA-
44. Worthless item : PLUGGED DIME (“plugged nickel” inflated)
47. “Mamma Mia!” number : SOS
48. Slow movement : LARGO
49. Move through muck : SLOSH
51. Kennedy twins? : ENS
52. Luthor of the comics : LEX
55. Infield fly : POP-UP
59. Economic factor that affects three puzzle answers : INFLATION RATE
64. Naan relative : ROTI
66. Demand and obtain, as vengeance : EXACT
67. Adopt-a-Pet pet : MUTT
68. “Dilbert” intern : ASOK
69. Comparatively friendly : NICER
70. Geek Squad client : USER
71. LGBT Pride Month : JUNE
72. 2017 AL MVP José Altuve, for one : ASTRO
73. Zip : ZERO

Down

1. Kirkuk native : IRAQI
2. “Seinfeld” episode, now : RERUN
3. See 53-Down : … KAGAN
4. Reproductive bodies : SPORES
5. Hudson Bay nation : CREE
6. Bear’s home : LAIR
7. One may be called bright when it isn’t : IDEA
8. “Downton Abbey” figures : MAIDS
9. Forest babbler : BROOK
10. Christian Louboutin creation : SHOE
11. Tolls are taken on them : TURNPIKES
12. Bridge expert Culbertson : ELY
13. Candle stuff : WAX
21. Easy gait : TROT
22. Tubular pasta : ZITI
26. Summer month in Uruguay : ENERO
27. Book with 11-Down : ATLAS
29. St. Paul’s feature : DOME
30. Minimally : A TAD
31. Drops, as pounds : SHEDS
33. Part of ACA : ACT
34. Scott Joplin’s “__ Leaf Rag” : MAPLE
35. Literary middle name : ALLAN
36. Goes all out : POURS IT ON
38. Downright nasty : EVIL
39. “Finding Dory” character : NEMO
41. __ salad : EGG
45. Club sport : GOLF
46. “Around the Horn” channel : ESPN
50. Strait of __: Persian Gulf outlet : HORMUZ
53. With 3-Down, justice since 2010 : ELENA …
54. Graph line : X-AXIS
56. Hesitation : PAUSE
57. Unmitigated : UTTER
58. Chemical prefix? : PETRO-
60. Maker of LeBron 15 basketball shoes : NIKE
61. Delicate handling : TACT
62. Pastry prettifier : ICER
63. Other, in España : OTRO
64. British rule in India : RAJ
65. The Cowboys of the Big 12 Conf. : OSU

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