LA Times Crossword Answers 12 Mar 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Mensa

Themed answers start with adjectives that might be used to describe members of MENSA:

  • 65A. Group described by the starts of the answers to starred clues : MENSA
  • 20A. *Samsung Galaxy, e.g. : SMARTPHONE
  • 37A. *Trick that’s “pulled” : FAST ONE
  • 51A. *Optimist’s perspective : BRIGHT SIDE
  • 11D. *Yeast-free bakery product : QUICK BREAD
  • 28D. *Hairpin turn, e.g. : SHARP CURVE

Bill’s time: 5m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Medicare section for doctors’ services : PART B

Medicare is divided into four parts:

  • A: Hospital Insurance
  • B: Medical Insurance
  • C: Medicare Advantage Plans
  • D: Prescription Drug Plans

6. Number of sides on most game cubes : SIX

The numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

9. Fit of __: irritated state : PIQUE

Our term “pique” meaning a “fit of ill feeling” is a French word meaning a “prick, sting, irritation”.

14. Western neighbor of Wyoming : IDAHO

Idaho borders six states, and one Canadian province:

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • British Columbia, Canada

16. Finnish hot spot : SAUNA

As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is pronounced more correctly as “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

18. Some Little League eligibility rules : AGE LIMITS

Little League Baseball was founded in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania by Carl Stotz. Back then, Little League was limited to boys. Participation was opened up to girls in 1974, although it took a lawsuit by the National Organization for Women for that to happen.

20. *Samsung Galaxy, e.g. : SMARTPHONE

The Galaxy is a series of mobile computing devices made by Samsung that was introduced in 2009. All of the Galaxy devices have used Google’s Android operating system, although a Windows 10 Galaxy device was introduced by Samsung in 2016.

22. Aberdeen native : SCOT

The Scottish city of Aberdeen is located amidst plentiful supplies of granite that were actively quarried until the 1970s. Many local buildings incorporate the granite in their structure. Aberdeen granite is especially prized for its high levels of mica, which can cause the stone to sparkle like silver. It’s no surprise then, that the list of Aberdeen’s nicknames includes “Granite City” and “Silver City”.

24. Eastern neighbor of Wyoming: Abbr. : SDAK

The Dakota Territory was formed in 1861 and ceased to exist with the admission to the Union of the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. The territory was split into two states in 1889 largely due to lobbying by the Republican Party, which enjoyed a lot of support in the Dakota Territory. The admission of two states added to the political power of the party in the US Senate, by adding four safe Republican seats.

26. Sewn loosely : BASTED

To baste is to sew loosely, just holding a join in a fabric together temporarily using large running stitches.

29. Put together, as IKEA furniture : ASSEMBLE

The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.

36. Reggae relative : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

39. Bit of energy : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

40. Capek sci-fi play : RUR

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

42. Taxi meter amount : FARE

We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

47. Big name in banking : CITI

During the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the US government rescued Citibank by providing loan guarantees and two payments of $25 billion each. It turns out that the government made a tidy profit on that deal, as Citibank has since repaid the loans in full, along with interest.

49. Heavy hammer : MAUL

A maul is a large, heavy hammer, one often used for driving stakes into the ground. The term comes from the Old French “mail” and ultimately from the Latin “malleus”, with both meaning “hammer”.

57. Barbra with Oscars : STREISAND

Barbra Streisand has recorded 31 top-ten albums since 1963, more than any other female recording artist. In fact, she has had an album in the top ten for the last five decades, a rare achievement in itself.

59. Ballet skirts : TUTUS

The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word meaning “bottom, backside”.

61. NHL surface : ICE

The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in 1917 in Montreal as a successor to the defunct National Hockey Association (NHA) that had been founded in 1909. Today, the NHL comprises 30 teams: 23 in the US and 7 in Canada.

62. Layered cookies : OREOS

There’s a smartphone app featuring the Oreo cookie. It’s a game in which one twists Oreo cookies apart, “licks” the cream from the center and then dunks the remainder of the cookie in a glass of milk.

63. With 21-Down, dictation taker’s need : STENO …
(21D. See 63-Across : … PAD)

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

64. Bobbsey girl : NAN

The “Bobbsey Twins” series of children’s novels was first written by Edward Stratemeyer in 1904. Stratemeyer used the pseudonym Laura Lee Hope, as did subsequent authors who wrote 72 books in the series between 1904 and 1979. The title characters are two sets of fraternal twins, one called Bert and Nan (who are 12) and the other called Flossie and Freddie (who are 6).

65. Group described by the starts of the answers to starred clues : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

Down

2. “The Voice” judge Levine : ADAM

Adam Levine is the lead vocalist of the pop rock band Maroon 5. Levine is also one of the coaches on the reality show “The Voice”.

“The Voice” is yet another reality television show. It is a singing competition in which the judges hear the contestants without seeing them in the first round. The judges then take on chosen contestants as coaches for the remaining rounds. “The Voice” is a highly successful worldwide franchise that originated in the Netherlands as “The Voice of Holland”.

3. Pro __: in proportion : RATA

“Pro rata” is a Latin phrase meaning “in proportion”.

5. Crocheted baby shoe : BOOTEE

Crochet is the process of making a fabric using a hooked needle. “Crochet” is a French word meaning “hook”.

6. Persian monarchs : SHAHS

“Shah” was a title used by Persian emperors that translate into English as “king”. The full title in Persian is “Sahahsah”, which means “King of Kings”.

7. “Othello” villain : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

8. Marvel Comics mutants : X-MEN

In the Marvel Comics universe, mutants are beings with an X-gene. Such mutants are humans who naturally develop superhuman powers. The most celebrated of these mutants are known as the X-Men.

9. Pitchfork-shaped Greek letter : PSI

Psi is the 23rd letter in the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

10. Sean Penn film with a Seussian title : I AM SAM

“I Am Sam” is a 2001 drama movie starring Sean Penn. Penn plays a man with a developmental disability who is raising a young daughter alone after her mother abandoned the family.

Actor Sean Penn is a two-time Oscar winner, for his roles in “Mystic River” released in 2003 and “Milk” released in 2008. Penn’s celebrity on screen is only matched with his fame off the screen. Apart from his “big name” marriages to singer Madonna and actress Robin Wright, Penn is also well known for political and social activism. He perhaps inherited some of his political views from his father, actor and director Leo Penn. As an actor, Leo refused to “name names” in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and so was blacklisted in Hollywood and had to move into directing to put bread on the table. In later years as a director he gave his son Sean his first acting role, in a 1974 episode of “Little House on the Prairie”.

12. “Do __ others … ” : UNTO

The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

25. What a stet cancels : DELE

“Dele” is the editorial instruction to delete something from a document, and is often written in red.

“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.

26. Iraqi port : BASRA

Basra is a Iraq’s main port, and is located in the south of the country, 34 miles from the Persian Gulf. Access to the gulf is via the Shatt al-Arab waterway, a river that discharges into the gulf in the port city of Umm Qasr.

27. Invite to one’s penthouse : ASK UP

Originally, the term “penthouse” described a modest building attached to a main structure. In fact, in centuries past, the manger in which Jesus was born was often referred to as a penthouse. The modern, more luxurious connotation dates back to the early twenties.

30. Dalmatian mark : SPOT

The Dalmatian breed of dog originated in Dalmatia, in the Republic of Croatia. Here in the US, Dalmatians are known as “firehouse dogs”. This association dates back to the use of Dalmatians in firehouses to guard the valuable horses that pulled the fire engines.

31. Sitcom producer Chuck : LORRE

Chuck Lorre created many great sitcoms that have stood the test of time. Included in the list of his shows are “Grace Under Fire”, “Cybil”, “Dharma & Greg”, “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory”. Lorre is famous for the “vanity cards” that appear for a few seconds at the end of his shows. The cards include a message directly from Lorre, perhaps an observation on life, and maybe something quite controversial. CBS has had to censor several of Lorre’s vanity cards, but you can read the uncensored versions on his website.

37. Royal decree : FIAT

A fiat is an arbitrary rule that is imposed, and is the Latin for “let it be done”.

38. Goes off script : AD LIBS

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

44. Astronaut Collins : EILEEN

Eileen Collins was the first female pilot of a Space Shuttle, and the first female commander of a Space Shuttle mission. She was also the first astronaut to fly the shuttle through the 360-degree, rendezvous pitch maneuver. This maneuver became routine for Shuttles in docking with the International Space Station. The idea is for the spacecraft to perform a backflip so that the crew of the Space Station can photograph the Shuttle’s heat-shield to verify integrity prior to reentry.

48. Poet Nash : OGDEN

Ogden Nash the poet was well known for his light and humorous verse, such as:

Candy
Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker

Parsley
Is gharsley

52. Reason to roll out the tarp : RAIN

Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.

53. Peruvian native : INCA

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Tupac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

54. Cal.-to-Fla. highway : I-TEN

I-10 is the most southerly of the interstate routes that cross from the Atlantic right to the Pacific. I-10 stretches from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. Various stretches of the route have been given different names, for example, the Rosa Parks Freeway, the Santa Monica Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.

56. She, in Sicily : ESSA

In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the the ball being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.

58. Prefix with -bar or -tope : ISO-

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

An isotope is a variant of an element. All isotopes of an element have the same number of protons and electrons, but not the same number of neutrons. This means that isotopes of an element have different atomic weights. The term “isotope” was coined in 1913, and translates from Greek “having the same place”. The idea is that isotopes may have different atomic weights, but they occupy the same place in the periodic table.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Medicare section for doctors’ services : PART B
6. Number of sides on most game cubes : SIX
9. Fit of __: irritated state : PIQUE
14. Western neighbor of Wyoming : IDAHO
15. Omelet meat : HAM
16. Finnish hot spot : SAUNA
17. Deck : PATIO
18. Some Little League eligibility rules : AGE LIMITS
20. *Samsung Galaxy, e.g. : SMARTPHONE
22. Aberdeen native : SCOT
23. Salty waters : SEAS
24. Eastern neighbor of Wyoming: Abbr. : SDAK
26. Sewn loosely : BASTED
29. Put together, as IKEA furniture : ASSEMBLE
33. Pale : ASHY
34. Urge forward : IMPEL
35. Curtain holder : ROD
36. Reggae relative : SKA
37. *Trick that’s “pulled” : FAST ONE
39. Bit of energy : ERG
40. Capek sci-fi play : RUR
41. Jerk : IDIOT
42. Taxi meter amount : FARE
43. Tickle the fancy of : APPEAL TO
45. Puts up with : ABIDES
47. Big name in banking : CITI
48. “So that’s it!” cries : OHOS
49. Heavy hammer : MAUL
51. *Optimist’s perspective : BRIGHT SIDE
57. Barbra with Oscars : STREISAND
59. Ballet skirts : TUTUS
60. Donates : GIVES
61. NHL surface : ICE
62. Layered cookies : OREOS
63. With 21-Down, dictation taker’s need : STENO
64. Bobbsey girl : NAN
65. Group described by the starts of the answers to starred clues : MENSA

Down

1. Apple seeds : PIPS
2. “The Voice” judge Levine : ADAM
3. Pro __: in proportion : RATA
4. Needing a drink : THIRSTY
5. Crocheted baby shoe : BOOTEE
6. Persian monarchs : SHAHS
7. “Othello” villain : IAGO
8. Marvel Comics mutants : X-MEN
9. Pitchfork-shaped Greek letter : PSI
10. Sean Penn film with a Seussian title : I AM SAM
11. *Yeast-free bakery product : QUICK BREAD
12. “Do __ others … ” : UNTO
13. Dawn direction : EAST
19. Reduce : LESSEN
21. See 63-Across : PAD
25. What a stet cancels : DELE
26. Iraqi port : BASRA
27. Invite to one’s penthouse : ASK UP
28. *Hairpin turn, e.g. : SHARP CURVE
29. “Are not!” response : AM TOO!
30. Dalmatian mark : SPOT
31. Sitcom producer Chuck : LORRE
32. Boundaries : EDGES
34. “__ just me … ?” : IS IT
37. Royal decree : FIAT
38. Goes off script : AD LIBS
42. Narrow crack : FISSURE
44. Astronaut Collins : EILEEN
45. “That feels good!” : AHH!
46. Inning half : BOTTOM
48. Poet Nash : OGDEN
49. Inbox list: Abbr. : MSGS
50. Going __: fighting : AT IT
52. Reason to roll out the tarp : RAIN
53. Peruvian native : INCA
54. Cal.-to-Fla. highway : I-TEN
55. Couples : DUOS
56. She, in Sicily : ESSA
58. Prefix with -bar or -tope : ISO-

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