LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Feb 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Backwoods

Themed answers contain hidden words that are shown with circled letters in the grid. Those hidden words are types of WOOD spelled BACKWARDS:

  • 63A. Primitive area, and what’s literally found in this puzzle’s circles : BACKWOODS
  • 17A. Longtime PBS news anchor : JIM LEHRER (hiding “elm” backwards)
  • 23A. Site for a railroad signal : GRADE CROSSING (hiding “cedar” backwards)
  • 39A. Statistic including farmers and their neighbors : RURAL POPULATION (hiding “poplar” backwards)
  • 51A. Kielbasa : POLISH SAUSAGE (hiding “ash” backwards)

Bill’s time: 6m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4. AMA part: Abbr. : ASSOC

The list of American Medical Association (AMA) past-presidents includes William James Mayo (1906-07) and Charles Horace Mayo (1917-18). William and Charles were brothers, and were two founders of the famous Mayo Clinic located in Rochester, Minnesota.

9. __ Bornes: card game : MILLE

Milles Bornes translates into “A Thousand Milestones”, and is a French card game. It’s a relatively young game, invented in 1954, and you can buy it in stores today. I’ve read that it is similar to an American card game called “Touring”, but I’m not familiar with either.

14. Caen comrade : AMI

Caen, on the River Orne, lies in the Calvados department of France in the northwest of the country. Caen is famous for the WWII Battle of Caen that left the town practically destroyed. Caen is also the burial place of the Norman King William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

15. Thick-skinned herbivore : RHINO

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino, as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

16. Big Apple stage honors : OBIES

The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. The Obies are presented annually and the recipients are chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper.
Apparently the first published use of the term “Big Apple” to describe New York City dates back to 1909. Edward Martin wrote the following in his book “The Wayfarer in New York”:

Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city. . . . It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap.

Over ten years later, the term “big apple” was used as a nickname for racetracks in and around New York City. However, the concerted effort to “brand” the city as the Big Apple had to wait until the seventies and was the work of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau.

17. Longtime PBS news anchor : JIM LEHRER (hiding “elm” backwards)

Jim Lehrer is a former news anchor with PBS for the “PBS Newshour” show. Lehrer is also associated with presidential debates and has moderated 12 such events.

20. Delon of cinéma : ALAIN

Alain Delon is an award-winning French actor who was once called “the male Brigitte Bardot”. Delon hit the headlines in 1968 when one of his bodyguards was found shot in the head outside his home. Delon found himself held for questioning, but he was released and the crime was attributed to a Corsican crime family.

21. Exactas, e.g. : BETS

To win a bet called an exacta (also called “perfecta”), the person betting must name the horses that finish first and second, and in the exact order. The related bet called the trifecta requires naming of the first, second and third-place finishers in the right order.

31. Hawk or eagle : RAPTOR

“Raptor” is a generic term for a bird of prey, one that has talons to grip its victims.

32. Tic-toe link : TAC

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

38. Buckwheat dish : KASHA

Kasha is a type of porridge made from roasted whole-grain buckwheat. The dish is most popular in the Russian and Jewish cultures.

43. “25” album maker : ADELE

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. More recently, her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.

44. Wedding invitation encl. : SASE

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

45. Yellowknife is its cap. : NWT

Yellowknife is the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT). The city is located on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, and lies just 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The city was named for the Yellowknives Dene aboriginal people who traded tools made from local copper deposits. The tools were “yellow” in color, hence the name.

46. Mournful artwork : PIETAS

The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous Pietà is probably the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo which is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In some depictions, Mary and her son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, and these depictions are known as Lamentations.

51. Kielbasa : POLISH SAUSAGE (hiding “ash” backwards)

Kielbasa is a type of sausage. The name “kielbasa” translates from Polish simply as “sausage”.

55. Anorak part : HOOD

Anoraks aren’t very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.

56. Really cool place to live? : IGLOO

The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.

66. Ventricular outlet : AORTA

The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze the blood into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

67. Thar Desert country : INDIA

The Thar Desert is an arid region covering almost 80,000 square miles that is shared by India and Pakistan. With 85% of the total area falling with India, the Thar Desert accounts for about 10% of that nation’s landmass.

68. JFK Library architect : PEI

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is a splendid structure located right beside the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. President Kennedy chose the location for his library just one week before he was assassinated. The library itself was designed by architect I. M. Pei.

69. 180-degree river bend : OXBOW

The term “oxbow” can describe both a meander in the course of a river as well as the lake that forms if such a meander gets cut off from the main stream.

70. __ Heights: Mideast region : GOLAN

Geographically speaking, the Golan Heights is a plateau in the Middle East with the western two-thirds of its area falling within Israel, and the eastern third falling within Syria. The name Golan Heights also applies to the geopolitical region that was captured from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967 and occupied by Israel.

Down

1. Mexicali’s locale : BAJA

Mexicali is a Mexican city in the state of Baja that lies on the US border, adjacent to Calexico, California. Mexicali is the most northerly city in Latin America.

2. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL

Emil Jannings was an actor from Switzerland who also held German and Austrian citizenship. Jannings was the first person to receive an Oscar, as the star of the 1928 silent movie called “The Last Command”. He also starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 classic “The Blue Angel”.

3. Joltin’ Joe : DIMAG

Joe DiMaggio was born not too far from here, in Martinez, California, the son of Italian immigrants. The family moved to San Francisco when Joltin’ Joe was just a baby. Joe’s Dad was a fisherman, and it was his hope that all his sons would follow him into his trade. But Joe always felt sick at the smell of fish, so fishing’s loss was baseball’s gain.

7. Year not designated as such until centuries later : ONE BC

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

8. Kitchen gizmo : CORER

The word “gizmo” (also “gismo”), meaning something the name of which is unknown or forgotten, was originally slang used by both the US Navy and the Marine Corps. The exact origin seems unknown.

9. Greek menu staple : MOUSSAKA

Moussaka is a delicious dish from the Balkans that uses eggplant or potato as a base. The dish often includes ground meat, particularly lamb.

10. Hebrew : Ben :: Arabic : __ : IBN

In Arabic names, “ibn” is a word meaning “son of”. The words “bin” and “ben” are also used for “son of”. The word “bint” means “daughter of”. Similarly, in Hebrew “ben” is used to mean “son of”, and “bat” is used to mean “daughter of”.

11. Lemon on “30 Rock” : LIZ

“30 Rock” is a sitcom on NBC that was created by the show’s star Tina Fey. Fey is an ex-performer and writer from “Saturday Night Live” and uses her experiences on that show as a basis for the “30 Rock” storyline. Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer for the fictional sketch comedy series “TGS with Tracy Jordan”.

12. Floral neckwear : LEI

“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

13. Clairvoyant’s gift : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)
We’ve been using the term “clairvoyant” to describe a psychic since the nineteenth century. Prior to that, a clairvoyant was a clear-sighted person. The term comes from French, with “clair” meaning “clear” and “voyant” meaning “seeing”.

18. Turkish dough : LIRA

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

22. Only Canadian MLB team : TOR

The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.

24. “Murder on the Orient Express” (2017) actor : DEPP

Johnny Depp got his big break as an actor on television, in the eighties television show “21 Jump Street”. Depp’s first film success came when he played the title role in 1990’s “Edward Scissorhands”. He has twice been named Sexiest Man Alive by “People” magazine.
“Murder on the Orient Express” is a 2017 film adaptation of the great Agatha Christie novel published in 1934. It is very much a Kenneth Branagh project, as he directs and stars as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Apparently, there’s now talk of Branagh playing Poirot in a sequel based on the novel “Death on the Nile”.

27. “__ the bag” : IT’S IN

To have something “in the bag” can mean to have it virtually secured, an outcome almost certainly assured. Such a usage of the phrase is very American, and arose in the game of baseball in the early 1900s. The New York Giants baseball team developed a superstition during a run of 26 consecutive wins in 1916. If the Giants were leading at the top off the ninth inning, then superstition required that a player be sent to the clubhouse with a ball bag in order to the Giants of victory. The game was said to be “in the bag”.

32. “The Sound of Music” name : TRAPP

“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war, and one family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives here in the same town in which I live in California.

34. Fish basket : CREEL

A creel is a basket used for catching sea creatures (lobsters, for example). Creel is also the name given to the small wicker basket used to hold fish that have been caught by an angler. “Creel” is originally a Scottish word.

36. #TestforRadon org. : EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.
The element radon (Rn) is a radioactive gas, and a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

37. Chinese martial arts : WUSHU

“Wushu” is a Mandarin term describing Chinese martial arts. An equivalent term is “kung fu”, a term that we might recognise more readily.

40. Meter opening? : ALTI-

An altimeter is an instrument used to measure altitude, height above sea level. The word “altitude” arose in the late 14th century, and was originally an astronomical term that defined the elevation above the horizon of a star or planet. The term comes from the Latin “altus” meaning “high, grown tall”.

47. “Ray Donovan” network, briefly : SHO

“Ray Donovan” is a very successful Showtime crime drama series starring Liev Schreiber in the title role. Donovan is a law firm’s “fixer” who helps out the rich and famous clients.

49. Ang Lee’s birthplace : TAIWAN

Prior to 1945, the island that we know today as Taiwan was called “Formosa”, the Portuguese word for “beautiful”. Portuguese sailors gave the island this name when they spotted it in 1544. The official name for the state of Taiwan is the “Republic of China”.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

50. Its main product was originally given the portmanteau name “Froffles” : EGGO

Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.
A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “travelling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from from “slimy” and “lithe”.

52. Ferber novel : SO BIG

“So Big” is a Pulitzer-winning novel by Edna Ferber that was first published in 1924. The book follows the life of Dutch-American Selina Peake De Jong, who is a character inspired by real-life immigrant Antje Paarlberg. In the story, De Jong has a child who she nicknames “So Big”, from the kiddy-talk “How big is baby” … “So-o-o-o big!” The novel has been adapted for the big screen several times. Barbara Stanwyck played the lead in a 1932 film, and Jane Wyman in 1953.

53. Hersey’s “A Bell for __” : ADANO

“A Bell for Adano” is a novel written by John Hersey. Hersey’s story is about an Italian-American US Army officer, Major Joppolo, who found a replacement for a town’s bell stolen by fascists. “A Bell for Adano” was made into a film in 1945, the same year the novel won a Pulitzer.

57. Pindaric verses : ODES

Pindar was an ancient Greek poet who is best known perhaps for composing a series of “Victory Odes” that celebrated triumph in competition, most notably the Olympian Games of the day.

58. Malady suffix : -OSIS

The suffix “-osis” is found in medical terms. The suffix indicates a disorder in general, with the prefix providing more specificity. Examples are silicosis (a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust), and psychosis (a serious mental illness). The plural of “-osis” is usually “oses”, but “osises” is out there as well.

59. __ Paulo : 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.

60. Regatta chief : COX

The coxswain of a boat is one in charge of steering and navigation. The name is shortened to “cox”, particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.
The word “regatta” is Venetian dialect and was originally used to describe boat races among the gondoliers of Venice on the Grand Canal back in the mid-1600s.

61. Marble, e.g. : ORB

Evidence has been found showing that the game of marbles existed in some form in Ancient Rome, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. The World Marbles Championship has been held annually since 1932. Said competition is hosted by The Greyhound Pub in Tinsley Green, which is located outside London near Gatwick Airport.

62. Geneva-based commerce gp. : WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The stated aim of the WTO is to liberalize international trade. The organization was founded in 1995 when an international agreement on trade was reached that effectively replaced the existing General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that was laid down in 1949.

64. XLV x X : CDL

In Roman numerals, XLV x X = CDL (45 x 10 = 450)

65. Sedona, for one : KIA

The Kia Sedona is a minivan that is also sold as the Kia Carnival.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Word with rose or road : … BED
4. AMA part: Abbr. : ASSOC
9. __ Bornes: card game : MILLE
14. Caen comrade : AMI
15. Thick-skinned herbivore : RHINO
16. Big Apple stage honors : OBIES
17. Longtime PBS news anchor : JIM LEHRER (hiding “elm” backwards)
19. Open, in a way : UNZIP
20. Delon of cinéma : ALAIN
21. Exactas, e.g. : BETS
23. Site for a railroad signal : GRADE CROSSING (hiding “cedar” backwards)
30. Part of __ : A SET
31. Hawk or eagle : RAPTOR
32. Tic-toe link : TAC
35. “That was close!” : PHEW!
38. Buckwheat dish : KASHA
39. Statistic including farmers and their neighbors : RURAL POPULATION (hiding “poplar” backwards)
43. “25” album maker : ADELE
44. Wedding invitation encl. : SASE
45. Yellowknife is its cap. : NWT
46. Mournful artwork : PIETAS
48. Abhor : HATE
51. Kielbasa : POLISH SAUSAGE (hiding “ash” backwards)
55. Anorak part : HOOD
56. Really cool place to live? : IGLOO
59. Grouchy look : SCOWL
63. Primitive area, and what’s literally found in this puzzle’s circles : BACKWOODS
66. Ventricular outlet : AORTA
67. Thar Desert country : INDIA
68. JFK Library architect : PEI
69. 180-degree river bend : OXBOW
70. __ Heights: Mideast region : GOLAN
71. Serpentine letter : ESS

Down

1. Mexicali’s locale : BAJA
2. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
3. Joltin’ Joe : DIMAG
4. Bull-riding venues : ARENAS
5. Warning to a chatty theatergoer : SHH!
6. Chivalrous title : SIR
7. Year not designated as such until centuries later : ONE BC
8. Kitchen gizmo : CORER
9. Greek menu staple : MOUSSAKA
10. Hebrew : Ben :: Arabic : __ : IBN
11. Lemon on “30 Rock” : LIZ
12. Floral neckwear : LEI
13. Clairvoyant’s gift : ESP
18. Turkish dough : LIRA
22. Only Canadian MLB team : TOR
24. “Murder on the Orient Express” (2017) actor : DEPP
25. Value system : ETHOS
26. Irritated words : SPAT
27. “__ the bag” : IT’S IN
28. “Not gonna happen” : NO HOW
29. Researcher’s request : GRANT
32. “The Sound of Music” name : TRAPP
33. Sound : AUDIO
34. Fish basket : CREEL
36. #TestforRadon org. : EPA
37. Chinese martial arts : WUSHU
40. Meter opening? : ALTI-
41. Rule governing intentional walks? : LEASH LAW
42. Open fields : LEAS
47. “Ray Donovan” network, briefly : SHO
49. Ang Lee’s birthplace : TAIWAN
50. Its main product was originally given the portmanteau name “Froffles” : EGGO
52. Ferber novel : SO BIG
53. Hersey’s “A Bell for __” : ADANO
54. Skip church? : ELOPE
57. Pindaric verses : ODES
58. Malady suffix : -OSIS
59. __ Paulo : SAO
60. Regatta chief : COX
61. Marble, e.g. : ORB
62. Geneva-based commerce gp. : WTO
64. XLV x X : CDL
65. Sedona, for one : KIA

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