LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Feb 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: Robert E. Lee Morris
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Right of Center

Themed answers start with words that are often found “RIGHT OF CENTER”, often found following the word “CENTER”.

  • 36A. Somewhat conservative, politically … and where the first word of 17-, 31-, 43- and 60-Across can literally be found : RIGHT OF CENTER
  • 17A. School group excursion : FIELD TRIP (giving “center field”)
  • 31A. First single by a rapper to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 : ICE ICE BABY (giving “center ice”)
  • 43A. Economize : CUT CORNERS (giving “center cut”)
  • 60A. Actor’s pseudonym : STAGE NAME (giving “center stage”)

Bill’s time: 5m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Perp chaser : COP

Perpetrator (perp)

4. “E pluribus unum” language : LATIN

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

14. Tycoon Onassis, familiarly : ARI

Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

19. Santa __ racetrack : ANITA

Santa Anita Park is a racetrack for horses located in Arcadia, California. The most famous races on the track’s calendar are the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap.

23. Oakland’s county : ALAMEDA

“Alameda” is Spanish for “a place full of poplars”. There are number of locations in the US and elsewhere with the name “Alameda”, including the county of Alameda, California where I am right now, writing this post. Alameda County is also home to the city of Alameda located on Alameda Island.

The city of Oakland, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, was settled by the Spanish in 1772. The area now known as Oakland was called “Encinal” by those early settlers, which translates as “oak grove”, giving the city its name.

26. WWII craft : LST

The initialism “LST” stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs are the large vessels used mainly in WWII that have doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles can roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

27. Prime rib au __ : JUS

The French term “au jus” is usually translated as “with it’s own juice”.

30. Costner’s “The Untouchables” role : NESS

“The Untouchables” is a 1957 memoir by famed Prohibition agent Eliot Ness. The book was adapted into a TV show of the same name that in the late fifties and early sixties, starring Robert Stack as Ness. The same memoir was the basis of the 1987 film, again of the same name, with Kevin Costner in the lead role.

31. First single by a rapper to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 : ICE ICE BABY (giving “center ice”)

“Ice Ice Baby” is 1990 song released by rap artist Vanilla Ice. What’s unusual about “Ice Ice Baby” is that it’s a rap song this oldster will actually listen to sometimes. Admittedly, that’s because it features a bassline lifted directly from the 1981 song “Under Pressure” by Queen. And, the lifting of the bassline led to quite a bit of controversy and a lawsuit.

34. Feudal drudge : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

Feudalism was a legal and military system that flourished in medieval Europe. Central to the system were the concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. Lords would grant fiefs (land or rights) to vassals in exchange for allegiance and service.

36. Somewhat conservative, politically … and where the first word of 17-, 31-, 43- and 60-Across can literally be found : RIGHT OF CENTER

The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France’s National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President’s right, and supporters of the revolution to the President’s left. The political terms “left” and “right” were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

41. Pink cocktail, for short : COSMO

Like so many famous cocktails, the actual origins of the cosmopolitan are disputed. It is a nice drink though. One of the standard recipes is 4 parts citrus vodka, 1.5 parts Cointreau, 1.5 parts lime juice and 3 parts cranberry juice.

42. Greek “i” : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

46. __ Linda, Calif. : LOMA

Loma Linda is a city in California located not far from Los Angeles. The name Loma Linda translates from Spanish as “Beautiful Hill”.

50. Vintage auto : 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.

51. Earl Grey, for one : TEA

The Earl Grey blend of tea is supposedly named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 to 1834. Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor that is largely due to the addition of oil from the rind of the bergamot orange.

54. Infant in a crèche : JESUS

In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene (also “crèche”) is a display of representing the the scene of the birth of Jesus. Nativity scenes might be subjects for paintings, for example, although the term is usually used for seasonal displays associated with the Christmas season.

56. Railroad in Monopoly : B AND O

The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:

  • Reading Railroad
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • B&O Railroad
  • Short Line

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) was one of the oldest in the country. Construction started on the railroad in 1828 in order to offer a method of transportation inland from Baltimore. This was deemed necessary as Baltimore was losing business to New York City after the completion of the Erie Canal (which cheaply and efficiently moved goods inland).

63. Reeves of “Bill & Ted” films : KEANU

Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor whose most celebrated roles were a metalhead in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), a cop in “Speed” (1994) and the protagonist Neo in “The Matrix” series of films. Although Reeves is a Canadian national, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves has some Hawaiian descent, and the name “Keanu” is Hawaiian for “the coolness” or “cool breeze”..

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted. It’s about two lazy students traveling through time in preparation for a history assignment, with a lot of “Dude!” and “Excellent!” scattered throughout the dialog. Reading the plot, this isn’t a movie that I’d normally go for, but somehow, I enjoyed it …

68. Evidence on “CSI” : DNA

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to have finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two seasons, before being canceled in 2016.

Down

1. Lounging robe : CAFTAN

A kaftan (also “caftan”) is long robe associated for thousands of years with Islamic cultures.

2. Baltimore bird : ORIOLE

The Baltimore oriole is a small bird with a largely yellow body. The male’s coloring of black and yellow resembles the colors of the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, the first Governor of the Province of Maryland, and so the bird was given the name “Baltimore” oriole. It is the state bird of Maryland, and lends its name to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

3. Michelangelo sculptures : 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.

4. Soup scoop : LADLE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

5. Singer Garfunkel : ART

Singer and actor Art Garfunkel is best-known for the years he spent performing with Paul Simon, although Garfunkel had a successful solo career after the duo split up. As well as singing and acting, he is fond of taking long, long walks while composing poetry. Garfunkel walked across Japan in the early 1980s, and across America in increments from 1983 to 1997. He then walked across Europe, also in increments, from 1998 to 2011.

6. Canadian A.L. East 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.

8. Seaport in Italia : NAPOLI

Naples (“Napoli” in Italian) is the third largest city in Italy. The name “Napoli” comes from the city’s Ancient Greek name, which translates as “New City”. That’s a bit of a paradox as today Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

9. “Rabbit ears” on an RCA cabinet, back in the day : TV ANTENNA

Remember the television antenna called a “rabbit ears”? I don’t recall being told this when I was younger, but to get the best reception the length of the “ears” needs to be set at about one half of the wavelength of the signal of the target channel. If only I had known …

10. Mapmaker __ McNally : RAND

Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant named Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into “railroad guides” in 1870, including the first Rand McNally map in the December 1872 edition. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map in 1904, a map of New York City. Rand and McNally popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

11. News org. since 1958 : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a handful of employees.

13. Pitcher’s stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

18. Hightails it : LAMS

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

25. Prefix for phobia meaning “height” : ACRO-

Our prefix “acro-” comes from the Greek “akros” meaning “at the top”. Examples are “acrophobia” (fear of heights) and “Acropolis” (“city at the top”).

27. One of the Blues Brothers : JAKE

The Blues Brothers blues band was created in 1978 for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The original Blues Brothers were Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues) and John Belushi (“Joliet” Jake Blues).

28. Ride for hire : UBER

Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft.

29. Pink Floyd guitarist Barrett : SYD

Syd Barrett was the lead singer and a founding member of the English rock band Pink Floyd. Barrett was only active as a musician for just over ten years. He retired from the music scene in 1975 and spent the next 30 years living off Pink Floyd royalties until he passed away in 2006.

32. Jennifer Hudson’s “Dreamgirls” role : EFFIE

The Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” follows the lives of a fictional female singing trio named “The Dreams”. The stage musical was adapted for the big screen in 2006 film of the same name starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles and Anika Noni Rose as the trio.

Jennifer Hudson is a singer and actress who had her career breakthrough by appearing as a finalist in 2004 on the show “American Idol”. Hudson went through a very difficult period in 2008 when her mother, her older sister and her nephew with shot dead by her brother-in-law.

36. Don Juan : ROUE

“Roue” is a lovely word, I think, describing a less than lovely man. A roue could otherwise be described as a cad, someone of loose morals. “Roue” comes from the French word “rouer” meaning “to break on a wheel”. This describes the ancient form of capital punishment where a poor soul was lashed to a wheel and then beaten to death with cudgels and bars. I guess the suggestion is that a roue, with his loose morals, deserves such a punishment.

Don Juan is a flighty character who has been featured by a number of authors, poets and composers, including Molière, Byron, and Mozart. In the underlying legend, Don Juan ends up talking to the statue of the dead father of one of his conquests. Don Juan dines with the ghost of the dead man and when shaking the hand of the ghost he is dragged away to hell. We now use the term “Don Juan” to describe any womanizer or ladies’ man.

38. Yukon automaker : GMC

GMC is a division of General Motors (GM) established in 1901 that started out as GMC Truck.

The GMC Yukon is basically the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Tahoe.

40. Craftsy website : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

41. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” band, initially : CCR

Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) was a rock band from San Francisco that played in a Southern rock style, with hits such as “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “Down on the Corner” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.

45. Queasy feeling : NAUSEA

“Nausea” is a sick feeling in the stomach. The term derives from the Greek “naus” meaning “ship”, and so was originally associated only with seasickness.

47. Ventura County’s largest city : OXNARD

Oxnard is a coastal city in Ventura County in Southern California. Oxnard is famous for its production of strawberries, producing about a third of the states total volume annually. If you’d care to visit Oxnard’s California Strawberry Festival, then you can sample strawberry pizza, strawberry nachos and strawberry champagne. Personally, I’d go for the champagne …

48. Lunatics : MADMEN

“Lunatic” is an adjective that is now considered offensive. The term arose in the late 1400s when it meant “affected with periodic insanity”, insanity attacks brought on by the cycles of the moon. “Lunatic” comes from the Latin “luna” meaning “moon”.

49. Single-celled organism : AMOEBA

An ameba (or “amoeba”, as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

53. Film critic Roger : EBERT

Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert himself died in 2013.

54. Jupiter’s wife : JUNO

Juno was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, and also looked after the interests of the women of Rome. Juno was the sister and wife of Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods.

57. Boxing outcome, for short : TKO

In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

59. Stool pigeon : RAT

Stoolies, also called “canaries”, will sing to the cops given the right incentive. “Stoolie” is short for “stool pigeon”. A stool pigeon was a decoy bird tied to a stool so as to lure other pigeons. Originally a stoolie was a decoy for the police, rather than an informer, hence the name.

62. Mil. bigwig : GEN

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Perp chaser : COP
4. “E pluribus unum” language : LATIN
9. Agreement to stop fighting : TRUCE
14. Tycoon Onassis, familiarly : ARI
15. Enticing smell : AROMA
16. Steam, e.g. : VAPOR
17. School group excursion : FIELD TRIP (giving “center field”)
19. Santa __ racetrack : ANITA
20. Absolute : TOTAL
21. Ad infinitum : NO END
23. Oakland’s county : ALAMEDA
26. WWII craft : LST
27. Prime rib au __ : JUS
30. Costner’s “Untouchables” role : NESS
31. First single by a rapper to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 : ICE ICE BABY (giving “center ice”)
34. Feudal drudge : SERF
35. In the altogether : NAKED
36. Somewhat conservative, politically … and where the first word of 17-, 31-, 43- and 60-Across can literally be found : RIGHT OF CENTER
41. Pink cocktail, for short : COSMO
42. Greek “i” : IOTA
43. Economize : CUT CORNERS (giving “center cut”)
46. __ Linda, Calif. : LOMA
50. Vintage auto : REO
51. Earl Grey, for one : TEA
52. Optometrist’s test : EYE EXAM
54. Infant in a crèche : JESUS
56. Railroad in Monopoly : B AND O
57. Continuous humming sound : THRUM
60. Actor’s pseudonym : STAGE NAME (giving “center stage”)
63. Reeves of “Bill & Ted” films : KEANU
64. More than ready : EAGER
65. Civil War soldier : REB
66. Winning : ON TOP
67. Operative : AGENT
68. Evidence on “CSI” : DNA

Down

1. Lounging robe : CAFTAN
2. Baltimore bird : ORIOLE
3. Michelangelo sculptures : PIETAS
4. Soup scoop : LADLE
5. Singer Garfunkel : ART
6. Canadian A.L. East team : TOR
7. “You can count on me!” : I’M IN!
8. Seaport in Italia : NAPOLI
9. “Rabbit ears” on an RCA cabinet, back in the day : TV ANTENNA
10. Mapmaker __ McNally : RAND
11. News org. since 1958 : UPI
12. Camper’s snoozing spot : COT
13. Pitcher’s stat : ERA
18. Hightails it : LAMS
22. Upper-left PC key : ESC
24. Lose weight : DIET
25. Prefix for phobia meaning “height” : ACRO-
27. One of the Blues Brothers : JAKE
28. Ride for hire : UBER
29. Pink Floyd guitarist Barrett : SYD
32. Jennifer Hudson’s “Dreamgirls” role : EFFIE
33. Slugger’s club : BAT
34. Typical Western : SHOOT-‘EM-UP
36. Don Juan : ROUE
37. Analogy words : IS TO
38. Yukon automaker : GMC
39. Apple throwaway : CORE
40. Craftsy website : ETSY
41. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” band, initially : CCR
44. High-__ graphics : RES
45. Queasy feeling : NAUSEA
46. Like unfatty meat : LEAN
47. Ventura County’s largest city : OXNARD
48. Lunatics : MADMEN
49. Single-celled organism : AMOEBA
53. Film critic Roger : EBERT
54. Jupiter’s wife : JUNO
55. Guys-only : STAG
57. Boxing outcome, for short : TKO
58. Farm clucker : HEN
59. Stool pigeon : RAT
61. Cake candle count : AGE
62. Mil. bigwig : GEN

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