LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Feb 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Roland Huget
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Bang to Bung

Themed answers start with the letter sequence BxNG, where x represents a vowel progression as move from the top of the grid to the bottom:

  • 17A. Super-fun experience : BANG-UP TIME
  • 24A. Certain baby tiger : BENGAL CUB
  • 35A. Cramming three seasons into a weekend, say : BINGE-WATCHING
  • 48A. Salsa percussion instrument : BONGO DRUM
  • 57A. Securing strap : BUNGEE CORD

Bill’s time: 6m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Curve on a slalom, e.g. : ESS

“Slalom” is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”. There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom

10. Sea devastated by irrigation projects : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

19. Tolkien beasts : ORCS

Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.

20. Concrete strengtheners : REBARS

A steel bar or mesh that is used to reinforce concrete is called “rebar”, which is short for “reinforcing bar”.

21. German auto pioneer : DAIMLER

German engineers Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz worked independently of each other, although just sixty miles apart, to develop the first gasoline-powered vehicle. Most historians credit Benz the win in that race in 1885/86, as he came up with a three-wheel vehicle that used a four-stroke gasoline engine for power. Daimler showed off his four-wheel vehicle in 1886, that was also powered by a four-stroke gasoline engine. Daimler died in 1900, and the company bearing his name merged with Benz’s company in 1926 to form Daimler-Benz. Benz passed away three years later, in 1929.

24. Certain baby tiger : BENGAL CUB

The Bengal tiger is the most populous subspecies of tiger in the world, yet it is still in danger of extinction. There are estimated to be under 2,500 individual Bengal tigers on the planet, with most in India and Bangladesh. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of both countries.

29. Sarge’s superior : LOOIE

Lieutenant (lt., and “looie” in slang).

35. Cramming three seasons into a weekend, say : BINGE-WATCHING

I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show live, and instead wait until whole series have been released on DVD or online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

41. Wolf pack member : U-BOAT

U-boat stands for the German “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

Karl Dönitz was the commander of a submarine during WWI, but was captured by the British after his vessel was sunk. It was while in a prisoner of war camp that Dönitz developed the strategy of using coordinated groups of submarines to attack convoys, a strategy that he famously introduced in the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII. He called this strategy “Rudeltaktik”, which translates as “tactics of a pack”. The strategy came to be known as “wolfpack” in English. The US Navy adopted the wolfpack strategy later in WWII, against Japanese convoys in the Pacific.

44. Natural night lights : AURORAS

The spectacular aurora phenomenon is seen lighting up the night sky at both poles of the earth (the Aurora Borealis in the north, and the Aurora Australis in the south). The eerie effect is caused by charged particles colliding with atoms at high latitudes.

48. Salsa percussion instrument : BONGO DRUM

Bongo drums are Cuban percussion instruments consisting of a pair of drums, one larger than the other, The smaller drum is called the “hembra” (female) and the larger the “macho” (male).

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

52. Crowe’s “A Beautiful Mind” role : NASH

The wonderful 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind” was adapted from a very successful book of the same name written by Sylvia Nasar. Both book and film tell the life story of John Nash (played by Russell Crowe on the big screen). Nash was a mathematician and Nobel Laureate who struggled with paranoid schizophrenia. Sadly, Nash and his wife died in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in 2015. They were on their way home from the airport, returning from Norway where Nash had been awarded the Abel Prize.

53. Remove field heat from before storage, as crops : PRECOOL

Crops harvested from a field are basically still alive, with metabolic processes continuing. Those metabolic processes are referred to as “field heat”. Crops are routinely “precooled” to slow down cellular metabolism, thus increasing shelf life and slowing the ripening of fruit.

54. Japanese faith : SHINTO

It is perhaps best not to describe Shinto as a religion, but more as a “spirituality of the Japanese people”, a spirituality that encompasses folklore, history and mythology. Having said that, “Shinto” translates literally as “Way of the Gods”. Most people in Japan who are described as practicing Shinto, also practice Buddhism.

56. Like cotton candy : SPUN

What we call “cotton candy” here in the US has some interesting names in the rest of the world. Back in Ireland it’s candyfloss, in France it “barbe à papa” (Dad’s beard), and in Australia it is called fairy floss. “Fairy floss” is actually the original name for cotton candy, a name first used when the confection was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

57. Securing strap : BUNGEE CORD

The elastic cord known as bungee cord is also known as shock cord. The term “bungee” probably comes from Britain where it was schoolboy slang for “rubber eraser”, and likely came from the words “bouncy” and “spongy”.

60. Horseshoes score : LEANER

In the game of horseshoes, a ringer is scored when the tossed shoe lands around the target stake. A leaner is almost as good as a ringer, and is scored when a horseshoe lands upright or leans against the stake.

Down

2. Sargasso wriggler : SEA EEL

The Sargasso Sea is an area within the Atlantic Ocean that is famous as the home to many species of Sargassum, the algae floating on the surface that gives the area its name. The Sargasso Sea is also where both European and American species of eel lay their eggs and hatch their young. The young eels (or “elvers”) then head east or west, depending on the species.

3. Nautical stage name of comedian David Adkins : SINBAD

“Sinbad” is the stage name of standup comedian and actor David Adkins. Adkins chose the stage name early in his career, simply in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. Sinbad has certainly achieved success, but has had trouble managing his finances. He owed a lot of money to the state of California for taxes, and had to declare bankruptcy in 2010.

9. “Shrek!” author William : STEIG

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

10. Historic Harlem theater : APOLLO

The Apollo Theater in the Harlem district of Manhattan, New York was opened in 1914 as Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. The original facility was a whites-only venue. When it was opened to African Americans in 1934, the name was changed to the Apollo.

13. “__ Miz” : LES

The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London many years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

24. “Iron Chef Showdown” host Alton : BROWN

Alton Brown is a celebrity chef who is behind the Food Network show “Good Eats”, and is the host of “Iron Chef America”.

25. “Big” London attraction : BEN

Big Ben is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster (aka the Houses of Parliament). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who oversaw the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day Benjamin Caunt. Big Ben fell silent in 2017 to make way four years of maintenance and repair work to the clock’s mechanism and the tower.

27. ESL part: Abbr. : ENG

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

31. “Is This Love” singer Corinne Bailey __ : RAE

Corinne Bailey Rae is a British singer from Yorkshire in the north of England.

33. Sandy-colored : ECRU

The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

35. 1940s jazzman : BEBOPPER

The jazz term “bebop” probably came from “Arriba! Arriba!”, which were words of encouragement uttered by Latin American bandleaders to their musicians.

36. Totalitarian control : IRON RULE

Totalitarianism differs somewhat from author regimes differ somewhat from authoritarian regimes, at least by definition. In the latter, the ruling entity is concerned mainly with political power, and so a degree of freedom exists for the populace. Totalitarian regimes not only enforce political control, but also control of the economy, education, as well social and private life.

39. Happy hour site : PUB

I personally think that Happy Hour is best enjoyed shaken, not stirred; and with a good crossword …

42. It may form the outline for a meeting’s minutes : AGENDA

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

43. Front-of-bk. list : TOC

Table of contents (TOC)

45. Skedaddled : RAN OFF

“Skedaddle ” is a slang term meaning “run away” that dates back to the Civil War.

49. Paso __: two-step dance : DOBLE

The lively and dramatic dance called the paso doble (Spanish for “double-step”) is very much associated with the Spanish bullfight, but in fact it originated in southern France, where bullfighting is also legal. The dance is based on music that is played at bullfights when the bullfighters enter the arena, and when they close in for the kill. Not a big fan of bullfighting …

50. City where Joan of Arc died : ROUEN

Rouen is the major city in Normandy in northern France. During the days of Norman Britain, Rouen was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties. Rouen was also where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

51. Arm bones : ULNAS

The bones in the forearm are the radius and ulna. “Ulna” is the Latin word for “elbow”, and “radius” is Latin for “ray”.

55. Where you are, on a mall map : HERE

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

56. __ Na Na : SHA

Do you remember the band “Johnny Casino & The Gamblers” in the movie “Grease”? That was actually the real-world group named Sha Na Na. Johnny Casino & the Gamblers sang “Those Magic Changes” at the high school dance, in between “Rock’N Roll Is Here to Stay” and “Hound Dog”. Sha Na Na got together in the sixties and are still performing today.

58. Bearded grazer : GNU

The gnu is also known as the wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is a Dutch meaning “wild beast”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Curve on a slalom, e.g. : ESS
4. Frugal folks : SAVERS
10. Sea devastated by irrigation projects : ARAL
14. “Something tells __ should’ve stayed in bed” : ME I
15. Brunch staple : OMELET
16. Walk worriedly : PACE
17. Super-fun experience : BANG-UP TIME
19. Tolkien beasts : ORCS
20. Concrete strengtheners : REBARS
21. German auto pioneer : DAIMLER
23. Junior or senior : YEAR
24. Certain baby tiger : BENGAL CUB
26. Grandmotherly type : OLD DEAR
29. Sarge’s superior : LOOIE
30. Stand behind : ENDORSE
34. Rural stopover : INN
35. Cramming three seasons into a weekend, say : BINGE-WATCHING
39. A pop : PER
40. Contemptuous one : SNEERER
41. Wolf pack member : U-BOAT
44. Natural night lights : AURORAS
48. Salsa percussion instrument : BONGO DRUM
52. Crowe’s “A Beautiful Mind” role : NASH
53. Remove field heat from before storage, as crops : PRECOOL
54. Japanese faith : SHINTO
56. Like cotton candy : SPUN
57. Securing strap : BUNGEE CORD
59. Owned : HELD
60. Horseshoes score : LEANER
61. Short-lived obsession : FAD
62. Neighborhood : AREA
63. Make certain : ENSURE
64. Trout lure : FLY

Down

1. Developmental stage : EMBRYO
2. Sargasso wriggler : SEA EEL
3. Nautical stage name of comedian David Adkins : SINBAD
4. Lemony cocktail : SOUR
5. Rock concert gear : AMPS
6. Zoo staffer : VET
7. Slur over : ELIDE
8. Hire a new crew for : REMAN
9. “Shrek!” author William : STEIG
10. Historic Harlem theater : APOLLO
11. Treasury collectible : RARE COIN
12. Accumulating, as interest : ACCRUING
13. “__ Miz” : LES
18. Source of tomatoes for homemade sauce : GARDEN
22. Bad beginning? : MAL-
24. “Iron Chef Showdown” host Alton : BROWN
25. “Big” London attraction : BEN
27. ESL part: Abbr. : ENG
28. Citrus drinks : ADES
31. “Is This Love” singer Corinne Bailey __ : RAE
32. Power source : STEAM
33. Sandy-colored : ECRU
35. 1940s jazzman : BEBOPPER
36. Totalitarian control : IRON RULE
37. Naval pronoun : HER
38. Having a twist : IRONIC
39. Happy hour site : PUB
42. It may form the outline for a meeting’s minutes : AGENDA
43. Front-of-bk. list : TOC
45. Skedaddled : RAN OFF
46. Celestial : ASTRAL
47. Substandard : SHODDY
49. Paso __: two-step dance : DOBLE
50. City where Joan of Arc died : ROUEN
51. Arm bones : ULNAS
54. Crystal ball reader : SEER
55. Where you are, on a mall map : HERE
56. __ Na Na : SHA
58. Bearded grazer : GNU

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