LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Mar 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: Roland Huget
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Turnabout

Themed answers are common two-word phrases that have to be TURNED ABOUT in order to make sense of the clue:

  • 65A. Fair play? … or the key to understanding the answers to starred clues : TURNABOUT
  • 17A. *Prepares to pass the football : BACKDROPS (giving “drops back”)
  • 21A. *Baseball position : STOP SHORT (giving “shortstop”)
  • 38A. *Strokes in tennis : HEADS OVER (giving “overheads”)
  • 59A. *Basketball strategy : BREAKFAST (giving “fast break”)

Bill’s time: 8m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Fifth pillar of Islam : HAJJ

Followers of the Muslim tradition believe in the Five Pillars of Islam, five obligatory acts that underpin Muslim life. The Five Pillars are:

  1. The Islamic creed
  2. Daily prayer
  3. Almsgiving
  4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  5. The pilgrimage to Mecca (haj, hajj, hadj) once during a lifetime

9. Intestinal tract division : ILEUM

The human ileum (plural “ilea”) is the lowest part of the small intestine, and is found below the jejunum and above the cecum of the large intestine.

14. Moises of the 2002-’04 Cubs : ALOU

Moisés Alou played Major League Baseball, as did his father Felipe and his uncles Matty and Jesús.

15. Card in a baby straight : TREY

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The name “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even a three-point play in basketball.

In poker, an ace-high straight can be referred to as a broadway straight. A five-high straight is also known as a baby straight.

19. Butyl acetate, e.g. : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

Butyl acetate is a chemical found in some fruits. It is a chemical that contributes to the characteristic taste and smell of apples and bananas.

25. Water__: dental brand : -PIK

Waterpik is a brand of oral irrigator, a device that uses a stream of water to remove food debris and dental plaque from the teeth. There are claims made that water irrigators are more effective than dental floss.

26. Curator’s deg. : MFA

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The term “curator” is Latin and applies to a manager, guardian or overseer. In English, the original curators were the guardians and overseers of minors and those with mental disease.

28. Gaucho’s weapon : BOLA

Bolas are heavy balls connected by cords that constitute a throwing weapon. Bolas are often used to capture animals by tripping them as they run. The weapon is usually associated with gauchos, the South American cowboys, although there is evidence that the Inca army used them in battle.

31. Schmoozing sort : GABBER

“To schmooze” is to chat intimately, a word that comes from the Yiddish “schmusen” meaning ‘to chat” .

33. Hardy heroine : TESS

The full name of Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel is “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented”. When it was originally published, “Tess …” received very mixed reviews, largely because it addressed some difficult sexual themes including rape, and sexual double standards (attitudes towards men vs women). I suppose the most celebrated screen adaptation is Roman Polanski’s “Tess” released in 1979. Polanski apparently made “Tess” because his wife, Sharon Tate, gave him Hardy’s novel as her last act before she was murdered by the Manson family. There is a dedication at the beginning of the movie that just says “To Sharon”.

37. Shocks, in a way : TASES

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

41. Uppity sort : SNOOT

“Snoot” is a variant of “snout” and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is snooty, or “snouty”, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

49. Aerobic regime, familiarly : CARDIO

Aerobic exercise is moderate activity designed to be at a low enough intensity that very little anaerobic activity takes place. In other words, the exercise is at a level where oxygen is taken in to burn fat and carbohydrate and to create energy. Anaerobic exercise is more intense and uses carbohydrate (glycogen) in the muscle to provide energy, without the need for oxygen. Aerobics are also called “cardio” as the exercises strengthen the cardiovascular system.

51. Many a Black Friday worker : TEMP

In the world of retail, “Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Black Friday is when many stores start the holiday shopping season, and so offer deep discounts to get ahead of the competition.

55. Two-timer : CAD

Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

63. Big haulers : MACKS

Mack Trucks was founded by John Mack in the early 1900s, after he had spent some years working in companies that made carriages and electric motor cars. Along with his two brothers, Mack started their company to focus on building heavy-duty trucks and engines.

64. Comedic pianist Victor : BORGE

Victor Borge was such a talented entertainer. He was nicknamed “The Great Dane” as well as “The Clown Prince of Denmark”. Borge was a trained concert pianist, but soon discovered that the addition of a stand up comedy routine to his musical presentations brought him a lot of work. He toured Europe in the 1930s, and found himself in trouble for telling anti-Nazi jokes, so when Germany occupied Denmark during WWII Borge escaped to America.

67. “Sneak Previews” co-host : EBERT

“Sneak Previews” was a PBS film review show that ran from 1975 until 1996. Called “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You”, the show’s most famous hosts were Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Siskel and Ebert hosted from 1975 until 1982.

68. Niagara Falls source : ERIE

The mighty Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and forms part of the border between the US and Canada. The river is only about 35 miles long, so some describe it as a “strait”. It has a drop in elevation of 325 feet along its length, with 165 feet of that drop taking place at Niagara Falls.

70. Pranks : DIDOS

A “dido” is a mischievous prank. The term’s etymology is unclear, though it might somehow come from the Carthaginian Queen Dido who appears in the “Aeneid”.

72. Bodily passage : ITER

An iter is an anatomical passageway. The term is Latin for “path, journey”.

Down

2. Amino acid used in protein biosynthesis : ALANINE

Alanine is an amino acid used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Alanine is not classified as an essential amino acid as it is readily synthesized in the human body.

3. Derby VIPs : JOCKEYS

Our use of the word “derby” to mean a race started in 1780 with the English Derby horse race, which was founded then by the 12th Earl of Derby. Ultimately, the term “derby” derives from the old English shire of “Deorby”, a word meaning “deer village”.

4. Diner devices, familiarly : JUKES

Although coin-operated music players had been around for decades, the term “jukebox” wasn’t used until about 1940. “Jukebox” derives from a Gullah word, the language of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. In Gullah, a “juke joint”, from “juke” or “joog” meaning “rowdy, wicked”, was an informal establishment where African Americans would gather and for some music, dancing, gambling and drinking. The coin-operated music players became known as “jukeboxes”.

5. Orch. section : STR

A orchestra (orch.) has a string (str.) section.

6. Piccadilly Circus statue : EROS

London’s Piccadilly Circus is a major road junction in the West End of London. The junction is at one end of the thoroughfare called Piccadilly, hence the first part of the name. The junction’s shape is roughly circular, hence the use of “circus”, a Latin word meaning “circle”. Famously, there is a statue of Eros at the center of the junction.

8. Network admin : SYSOP

System operator (sysop)

9. One of many seen at the NCAA’s Frozen Four : ICE SKATE

The semi-finals and finals of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship tournaments are collectively referred to as the “Frozen Four”. This term is a play on “Final Four”, which is the name given to the final of rounds of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship tournament.

10. Mascara target : LASH

Variants of mascara have been around a long time, and certainly there was a similar substance in use in Ancient Egypt. “Mascara” is a Spanish word meaning “stain, mask”.

13. Pestle partners : MORTARS

I’ve always loved the sound of the words “mortar” and “pestle”, ever since I was first introduced to them in the chemistry lab. The Romans called a receptacle for pounding or grinding things a “mortarium”, giving us “mortar”. Mortarium was also the word for the product of pounding and grinding, which gives us our “mortar” that’s used with bricks to build a wall. And further, short stubby cannons used in the 16th century resembled a grinding bowl and so were called “mortars”, which evolved into our contemporary weapon of the same name. As far as the pestle is concerned, it is also derived from its Latin name “pistillum”, which comes from the word for “crush”.

18. Smidgen : DRIB

A “drib” is a negligible amount, as in “dribs and drabs”.

Our word “smidgen” (sometimes shortened to “smidge”) is used to describe a small amount. The term might come from the Scots word “smitch” that means the same thing or “a small insignificant person”.

22. Barnyard rooter : PIG

The verb “to root” can be used for a pig’s action with the snout, turning objects over.

24. Stellar phenomenon : NOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

40. Mae West persona : VAMP

A “vamp” (short for “vampire”) is a seductive woman. The term was first used in reference to the sultry performance of actress Theda Bara in the 1915 film “A Fool There Was”. The movie’s title is a quotation from Rudyard Kipling’s 1897 poem “The Vampire”. Bara’s role was positioned as a “vampire”, a woman out to seduce a man, launching the use of “vamp” as an alternative term for a “femme fatale”.

Mae West was always pushing the envelope when it came to the “sexy” side of show business, even in her early days in Vaudeville. One of the first plays in which West starred on Broadway was called “Sex”, a work that she penned herself. The show was a sell-out, but city officials had it raided and West found herself spending ten days in jail after being convicted of “corrupting the morals of youth”. She started in movies in 1932, already 38 years old. West used her experience writing plays to rewrite much of the material she was given, and so really she was totally responsible for her own success and on-screen appeal.

41. Crossed a picket line : SCABBED

We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

42. Capital east of Lake Victoria : NAIROBI

Nairobi is the capital and largest city in the African nation of Kenya. The city is named for the Nairobi River, which in turn takes its name from the Maasai “Enkare Nairobi” meaning “Cool Water”. Nairobi was founded in 1899 as a stop on the Kenya-Uganda railroad, at a time when the country was a British colony.

Lake Victoria is the largest lake by surface area on the continent of Africa. It was named by English explorer John Hanning Speke in honor of Queen Victoria of the UK. Speke was the first European to set eyes on the lake.

46. Primer application : ONE COAT

Primer is the first layer of paint, a coating on the base surface that serves as a sealant.

47. Wagner’s “Die __” : WALKURE

In Richard Wagner’s (very, very lengthy) “Ring Cycle”, Erda is the goddess of the Earth (as well as wisdom and fate). Erda gives birth to eight immortal daughters called the Valkyries (die Walküre).

48. Lawyer to avoid : SHYSTER

“Shyster” is American slang for an unscrupulous lawyer, and is probably an alteration of the German word “Scheisser” meaning an incompetent and worthless person. “Scheisser” derives from an even less complimentary term “Sheisse”, the German for …. well, I won’t say it. But I will say as an aside that one of my son’s school friends told me one time that he didn’t really hold with the “Thank God It’s Friday” philosophy (TGIF), and was more into “So Happy It’s Thursday”. You can work it out …

52. Big cat : PUMA

The mountain lion is found in much of the Americas from the Yukon in Canada right down to the southern Andes in South America. Because the mountain lion is found over such a vast area, it has many different names applied by local peoples, such as “cougar” and “puma”. In fact, the mountain lion holds the Guinness record for the animal with the most number of different names, with over 40 in English alone.

56. Old hat : DATED

The use of “old hat” to mean something “out of date, stale” started about 1911. Before that, the term “old hat” meant something very different, and very vulgar. “Old hat” was the name given to a very private part of the female anatomy, the idea being that it was “often felt” (as in a “felt hat”). I just don’t know what to say …

62. Salt Lake daily, familiarly : TRIB

“The Salt Lake Tribune” is the largest-circulation daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Known locally as “The Trib”, it was founded in 1870 as the “Mormon Tribune”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Fifth pillar of Islam : HAJJ
5. Puts on a patch, say : SEWS
9. Intestinal tract division : ILEUM
14. Moises of the 2002-’04 Cubs : ALOU
15. Card in a baby straight : TREY
16. Playground retort : CAN SO!
17. *Prepares to pass the football : BACKDROPS (giving “drops back”)
19. Butyl acetate, e.g. : ESTER
20. Graphic novel artist : INKER
21. *Baseball position : STOP SHORT (giving “shortstop”)
23. Is connected : TIES IN
25. Water__: dental brand : -PIK
26. Curator’s deg. : MFA
27. Word with idea or luck : ANY
28. Gaucho’s weapon : BOLA
31. Schmoozing sort : GABBER
33. Hardy heroine : TESS
35. Sweeping : VAST
37. Shocks, in a way : TASES
38. *Strokes in tennis : HEADS OVER (giving “overheads”)
41. Uppity sort : SNOOT
44. Hospital fluids : SERA
45. Hair adornments : BOWS
49. Aerobic regime, familiarly : CARDIO
51. Many a Black Friday worker : TEMP
53. Casual negative : NAH
54. First __ : AID
55. Two-timer : CAD
57. 100 percent : PURELY
59. *Basketball strategy : BREAKFAST (giving “fast break”)
63. Big haulers : MACKS
64. Comedic pianist Victor : BORGE
65. Fair play? … or the key to understanding the answers to starred clues : TURNABOUT
67. “Sneak Previews” co-host : EBERT
68. Niagara Falls source : ERIE
69. Empty : BARE
70. Pranks : DIDOS
71. It may be payable monthly : DEBT
72. Bodily passage : ITER

Down

1. Natural environment : HABITAT
2. Amino acid used in protein biosynthesis : ALANINE
3. Derby VIPs : JOCKEYS
4. Diner devices, familiarly : JUKES
5. Orch. section : STR
6. Piccadilly Circus statue : EROS
7. Turned on the waterworks : WEPT
8. Network admin : SYSOP
9. One of many seen at the NCAA’s Frozen Four : ICE SKATE
10. Mascara target : LASH
11. Puts to rest : ENTOMBS
12. Cover charge relative : USER FEE
13. Pestle partners : MORTARS
18. Smidgen : DRIB
22. Barnyard rooter : PIG
24. Stellar phenomenon : NOVA
29. Fellows : LADS
30. Corporate machinery, e.g. : ASSET
32. Caustic remark : BARB
34. Like racehorses : SHOD
36. Went like racehorses : TORE
39. Modern concert conveniences : E-TICKETS
40. Mae West persona : VAMP
41. Crossed a picket line : SCABBED
42. Capital east of Lake Victoria : NAIROBI
43. Requested at a drive-thru : ORDERED
46. Primer application : ONE COAT
47. Wagner’s “Die __” : WALKURE
48. Lawyer to avoid : SHYSTER
50. Clumsy one : OAF
52. Big cat : PUMA
56. Old hat : DATED
58. Religious leader : RABBI
60. Prefix with industry : AGRO-
61. Unwavering : SURE
62. Salt Lake daily, familiarly : TRIB
66. Realize : NET

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Mar 2018, Friday”

  1. LAT: 25 minutes, 2 errors. WSJ: DNF after 40 minutes, had the lower right completely messed up. No idea on the meta yet.

    @Dave
    Finished up CCH 46-70, DNF around 50%, definitely an improvement. Going to work backward from there…

  2. LAT: 12:10, no errors. Newsday: 12:56, no errors.

    WSJ: 26:46, no errors that I know of. An unusually difficult one, with ten entries that gave me a lot of trouble, mostly because they involved things I’ve never heard of (but the clue for 34D is sufficiently odd to make me want to cry foul). But I finally struggled through it. And, as for the meta, I have a new mantra (motto?): “No meta? Mamma mia! No matter. Maybe later. Maybe never. Matters not!” (But I will undoubtedly spend some more time on it later … and Heidi has probably already solved it! … 😜.)

    @Glenn … I’ve now finished CCH puzzles 1-58, so I have twelve of them left. So far, I have made three 1-square errors, two of which were personal Naticks and one of which was just plain stupid. Patrick Berry did respond to my email about the errors in the PDF file, thanking me for the report and saying he would look into it. (So far, I’ve found only three puzzles – numbers 39, 40, and 45 – for which the answers in the PDF are slightly off, in that they apparently apply to an improved version of the puzzle.)

    Croce at four (my time) … 😳

    1. @Dave
      The answer key in the PDF for #45 is definitely way off (55A, 60A, 63A). At the rate those are going down, I’ll probably see 39-40 before the day is out. As a little preview of the rest, there’s no relationship between increasing number and difficulty in his themeless set. I thought they weren’t much tougher than the average Friday/Saturday NYT that I’ve solved in the past.

    2. I actually haven’t solved the WSJ meta yet. This one is alluding me. But I haven’t had time to really stare at it much yet.

  3. This week has been the hardest. And todays puzzle was a complete mess. Could not click into Huget’s head at all.

  4. I had a very tough time with this puzzle … but, it’s a Friday, after all. Bill’s time is incredible – as usual. I did get the theme, after I had solved the whole puzzle.

    > Btw, at Piccadilly Circus, the statue, by Albert Gilbert, atop the Shaftesbury Fountain ( after Lord Shaftesbury, philathrophist – ) is NOT Eros, but his brother Anteros. …. Now, you know. Eros was the chief god of Love, but Anteros was the god of selfless love, or requited love … as befitting a philanthrophist. Now, thats an intersting trivia question …

    As far as the Fifth Pillar of Islam, Hadj or Hajj, I have been informed that in atleast one Shia sect, the Nizari Ismailis, who follow the Aga Khan ( currently, Aga Khan, the IV ) can get around to going for the Hajj, by personally (physically ) ‘seeing’ or meeting with the Aga Khan, himself. This is because, amongst other things, the Aga Khan has been given the full, irrevocable, and infallible, and unchallenged rights on the interpretation of the Quran, for his sect, …. by his followers, The ismailis constitute about 20% of all Shias, in the world. They constitute a highly educated and wealthy community in India.

    Bill, a small typo … 48 Down SHYSTER … in your explanation, your probably meant to type Scheisse ….. instead of Sheisse …. because I checked the meaning, through the English ~ German Google translator.

    Have a nice day, and a great weekend, all.

  5. So I finished the other 12 CCH puzzles, with another one-square personal Natick (for a total of four on the 70 puzzles). I finished on #68 and it took me the longest: just over an hour (partly due to burnout, I think). My average time was closer to 10-15 minutes on the early ones, 20-25 minutes on the later ones. Good puzzles, but I had to make a surprising number of educated guesses.

    And I found no additional errors in the PDF file.

    So then, after a long nap, I tackled today’s Tim Croce puzzle: 54:15, no errors. A completely astonishing classic! Wonderful! His site has a “tip jar” and I think I’m overdue to leave something in it! … 😁

  6. A fairly tough Friday for me; took about an hour with two errors and one forgot to fill.

    Stuff I didn’t know or wasn’t familiar with the word form – DIDO, SCABBED, ONE COAT or HA(D)JJ. Is a scab, pre-coat or Hadj, OK. Anyway, just me moaning about a tough week, not counting Monday and Tuesday and at least I learned DIDO.

    On to Saturday…

  7. Hi gang!!😶
    Just one wrong letter!! Dang! Y’know, sometimes when that happens, I kinda wish I had another wrong letter or two — missing just ONE LETTER is such a STARK defeat!!!😮😮😮 Then again, I could also say that I scored a 98% on this here thing– that sounds much better. 😊 Anyhoo — I wrote ILIUM/INTOMBS instead of ILEUM/ENTOMBS, and I actually think my spellings are acceptable… 😁
    On to Saturday!!
    Be well~~™☕

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