LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Mar 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Parts of a Foot

Themed answers are all in the down-direction, and each ends with a part of the FOOT:

  • 61D. Body part whose parts are aptly found at the bottom of this puzzle’s four longest answers : FOOT
  • 4D. Sunday dinner side dish : ROASTED POTATOES (with “TOES” at the foot)
  • 6D. Driving : AT THE WHEEL (with “HEEL” at the foot)
  • 10D. Summer Olympics event since 1996 : BEACH VOLLEYBALL (with “BALL” at the foot)
  • 31D. Gravy thickener : CORNSTARCH (with “ARCH” at the foot)

Bill’s time: 6m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Spicy dip : SALSA

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

10. French flag couleur : BLEU

In French, the national flag of France is a tricolor comprising the “couleurs” (colors) “bleu, blanc et rouge” (blue, white and red).

15. Cotton swabs : Q-TIPS

Cotton swabs were originally marketed under the name “Baby Gays”. This was changed in 1926 to “Q-Tips”, with the Q standing for “quality”.

16. Pair on a Disneyland hat : EARS

Walt Disney came up with the idea of building Disneyland after visiting other theme parks with his daughters in the thirties and forties. He started building the park at Anaheim, California in 1954, and the facility opened just one year and one day later. The total cost of construction was $17 million. Opening day did not go smoothly, largely because over 28,000 people visited the park compared to the 11,000 people expected at the invitation-only event. The opening day went so badly that for years Disney executives referred to it as “Black Sunday”.

17. Verdi highlight : ARIA

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer mainly of operas who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”. Verdi was a big fan of William Shakespeare and wrote three operas based on the Bard’s plays: “Macbeth”, “Otello” and “Falstaff”.

19. Vast landmass : ASIA

Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.

20. Musical Christmas staple : MESSIAH

“Messiah” is a famous oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel that was first performed in Dublin, Ireland in 1742. The libretto is a text from the King James Bible that was compiled by Handel’s friend Charles Jennens. Not long after he received the libretto from Jennens, Handel took just 24 days to compose the full oratorio. He was obviously on a roll, became Handel started into his next oratorio, “Samson” just one week after finishing “Messiah”. He finished the first draft of “Samson” within a month.

24. Native American symbol : TOTEM

“Totem” is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

27. 22% of the U.S. Senate : WOMEN

The first woman to serve in the US Senate did so for just one day. That lady was Rebecca Latimer Felton, a prominent member of the women’s suffrage movement. Georgia governor Thomas W. Hardwick got the opportunity to appoint Felton to the US Senate when Senator Thomas E. Watson died prematurely. Hardwick nominated Felton in October of 1922, partly as as a ploy to secure as many votes as possible from new women voters. Congress was not in session and the election was imminent, so Hardwick did not expect Felton to be sworn in. However, Hardwick lost the election, and Felton made a deal with election winner Walter F. George that called for her to sworn in, and for George to take his seat the following day. Feltman was just a couple of months shy of 88 years at the time, making her the oldest freshman senator to enter the US Senate.

30. WWII female : WAC

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

39. Miscellany : OLIO

“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture that comes from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

41. Big name in threshers : DEERE

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

Years ago I was taking a tour of a beautiful Elizabethan manor house in England, and was told a little “threshing” story by the guide as we stood in one of the rooms. She reminded us that threshing was the removal of seeds from chaff, and told us that back in the day the “chaff” was sometimes called the “thresh”. Thresh would be used on the floors, particularly in the kitchen areas where it would soak up spills and provide some thermal insulation, much as sawdust was used in my favorite pubs many moons ago. She pointed to two slots at the bottom of the door jambs where she said a low board was placed upright on the floor, to hold the thresh in the room. The board was called a “thresh-hold”, giving us our contemporary word “threshold”. I am not sure if all of that is really true, but it makes a nice story.

42. In __ of: replacing : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

43. City ENE of Reno : ELKO

The city of Elko, Nevada came into being in 1868 as a settlement built around the eastern end of a railway line that was constructed from California and that was destined for Utah. When that section of the line was completed, the construction crews moved on towards the Nevada/Utah border, and the settlement was left behind to eventually form the city of Elko

44. One of pop music’s Papas : DENNY

Denny Doherty was a Canadian singer and musician, and one of the founding members of the sixties folk rock group the Mamas & the Papas. The other members of the group were Cass Elliot and husband and wife John and Michelle Phillips. The original Mamas & the Papas broke up in 1971. John Phillips and Denny Doherty resurrected the group under the name the New Mamas & the Papas in 1982.

48. Mil. officers : LTS

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

49. High-IQ group : 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.

50. Perilous hisser : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

58. Like most kosher frankfurters : ALL-BEEF

The frankfurter sausage that is typically used in a North American hot dog get its name from Frankfurter Würstchen. The latter is a German sausage that is prepared by boiling in water, just like a hot dog frank.

62. Water sport : POLO

The sport of water polo is thought to have originated in Scotland, where it was a feature of fairs and festivals. Men’s water polo was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1900, making it one of the oldest team sports in the games.

63. Only inanimate zodiac sign : LIBRA

The constellation of Libra is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that isn’t named for a living creature.

65. Iams alternative : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

67. Historical period : EPOCH

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

68. Slimming procedure, briefly : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

69. Shopping club : SAM’S

Sam’s Club is owned and operated by Walmart, and is named after the company’s founder Sam Walton.

Down

1. “Careless Whisper” pop group : WHAM!

I found out relatively recently that the eighties pop duo that we knew on the other side of the Atlantic as “Wham!” were better known as “Wham! UK” in North America. Apparently there already was a band called Wham! here in the US. Wham! UK was composed of singers George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. George Michael made it big as a solo artist after the pair broke up and Ridgeley kind of faded into obscurity, relatively speaking.

The 1984 song “Careless Whisper” was the first single issued George Michael as a solo artist, although he was still performing with Wham! at the time.

3. Eye part : IRIS

The iris is the colored part of the eye. It has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

7. “Elementary” co-star Lucy : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

If you’ve seen the American television show “Elementary”, you will know that it is an adaptation of the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that are set in the present day. “Elementary” is similar in look and feel to the excellent BBC series “Sherlock”, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day Holmes. We can pick up “Sherlock” in some parts of the country as part of “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS.

9. Ed with seven Emmys : ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

10. Summer Olympics event since 1996 : BEACH VOLLEYBALL (with “BALL” at the foot)

The idea of playing volleyball on sand apparently originated in 1915 at the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Beach volleyball has been an Olympic event since 1996.

12. Historic canal : ERIE

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

13. “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” military org. : USAF

Here are the mottos of the various US Armed Forces:

  • US Army: This We’ll Defend
  • Air Force: Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win
  • Marine Corps: “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful)
  • Navy: “Non sibi sed patriae” (Not Self, but Country)
  • Coast Guard: “Semper Paratus” (Always Prepared)

25. Purplish hue : MAGENTA

The colors fuchsia and magenta are identical when used on the Web. The name “magenta” comes from an aniline dye that was patented in 1859 in France and called “fuchsine”. The dye was renamed in honor of a victory against the Austrians in the Battle of Magenta of 1859, fought near the northern Italian town of Magenta.

28. Small egg : OVULE

As we all remember from botany class (don’t we?), an “ovule” is a small structure in many plants that develops into the seed after fertilization.

33. From far away (perhaps very far) : ALIEN

Like me …

35. “The March King” : SOUSA

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

38. Susan of “L.A. Law” : DEY

The actress Susan Dey first appeared on “The Partridge Family” when she was 17-years-old when she had no acting experience. Years later, Dey won a Golden Globe for playing the leading role of Grace Van Owen in “L. A. Law”.

49. Prefix with ware : MAL-

Malware is software and program code that is created to intentionally disrupt and exploit computer systems. Viruses, worms, trojan horses and spyware are all covered by the term. “Malware” is short for “malicious software”.

51. With 34-Down, really retro eating programs : PALEO …
(34D. See 51-Down : … DIETS)

The paleolithic or caveman diet is a fad diet that became popular in the 2000s. The idea is to eat wild plants and animals that would have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (roughly the Stone Age). This period precedes the introduction of agriculture and domestication of animals. As a result, someone on the diet avoids consuming grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. The diet consists mainly of lean meat (about 45-65% of the total calorie intake), non-starchy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.

55. Romance writer Roberts : NORA

Nora Roberts is a very successful author who has written over 165 romance novels. Roberts is published under a number of pen names, i.e. J.D. Robb, Jill March and Sarah Hardesty.

56. Grad : ALUM

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.

57. Longtime “Live!” host : RIPA

When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting gig. Ripa has acted as spokeswoman for several brands over the years, most recently for Electrolux and Rykä.

59. Author Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

60. Omar of “Shooter” : EPPS

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Forman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Forman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Drone sound : WHIR
5. Spicy dip : SALSA
10. French flag couleur : BLEU
14. Parade celebrity : HERO
15. Cotton swabs : Q-TIPS
16. Pair on a Disneyland hat : EARS
17. Verdi highlight : ARIA
18. It’s prohibited on many highways : U-TURN
19. Vast landmass : ASIA
20. Musical Christmas staple : MESSIAH
22. Culinary student’s assent : YES, CHEF
24. Native American symbol : TOTEM
26. Bit of cheer? : RAH!
27. 22% of the U.S. Senate : WOMEN
30. WWII female : WAC
32. Program breaks : TV ADS
36. Enthusiastic : AVID
37. “Good Lord!” : OH GOD!
39. Miscellany : OLIO
40. [Uh-oh!] : GULP!
41. Big name in threshers : DEERE
42. In __ of: replacing : LIEU
43. City ENE of Reno : ELKO
44. One of pop music’s Papas : DENNY
45. Permits : LETS
46. Takes a load off : RESTS
48. Mil. officers : LTS
49. High-IQ group : MENSA
50. Perilous hisser : ASP
52. In check : AT BAY
54. Succeeding like nobody’s business : ON A TEAR
58. Like most kosher frankfurters : ALL-BEEF
62. Water sport : POLO
63. Only inanimate zodiac sign : LIBRA
65. Iams alternative : ALPO
66. “Quite so” : TRUE
67. Historical period : EPOCH
68. Slimming procedure, briefly : LIPO
69. Shopping club : SAM’S
70. Swearing-in rituals : OATHS
71. For fear that : LEST

Down

1. “Careless Whisper” pop group : WHAM!
2. “__ comes trouble!” : HERE
3. Eye part : IRIS
4. Sunday dinner side dish : ROASTED POTATOES (with “TOES” at the foot)
5. Weightlifting maneuver : SQUAT
6. Driving : AT THE WHEEL (with “HEEL” at the foot)
7. “Elementary” co-star Lucy : LIU
8. Nimble : SPRY
9. Ed with seven Emmys : ASNER
10. Summer Olympics event since 1996 : BEACH VOLLEYBALL (with “BALL” at the foot)
11. Word with back or whip : -LASH
12. Historic canal : ERIE
13. “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” military org. : USAF
21. Non-neutral atom : ION
23. Took a load off : SAT
25. Purplish hue : MAGENTA
27. Ante, e.g. : WAGER
28. Small egg : OVULE
29. Takes full advantage of : MILKS
31. Gravy thickener : CORNSTARCH (with “ARCH” at the foot)
33. From far away (perhaps very far) : ALIEN
34. See 51-Down : … DIETS
35. “The March King” : SOUSA
37. Unexpected : ODD
38. Susan of “L.A. Law” : DEY
47. Ottawa-to-NYC dir. : SSE
49. Prefix with ware : MAL-
51. With 34-Down, really retro eating programs : PALEO …
53. Vague discomfort, with “the” : BLAHS
54. Makes a choice : OPTS
55. Romance writer Roberts : NORA
56. Grad : ALUM
57. Longtime “Live!” host : RIPA
59. Author Wiesel : ELIE
60. Omar of “Shooter” : EPPS
61. Body part whose parts are aptly found at the bottom of this puzzle’s four longest answers : FOOT
64. Plant sci. : BOT

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Mar 2018, Wednesday”

    1. I’m glad I am not as good as Bill in solving these puzzles. What would I do with the other 50 minutes I allot to complete them?

      1. @Dennis
        Like was said, we find a way to fill that hour. It used to be that it would take that long or more for me just for this puzzle or another easier puzzle if I couldn’t do the LAT ones, especially later in the week if I could do it at all. There’s always more puzzles waiting to try out to fill the other 50 minutes (and sometimes more like with todays much harder than normal WSJ puzzle). Or other stuff.

  1. LAT: 9:44, no errors, but with lots of missteps again (and I’m beginning to really dislike the WP site). Newsday: 5:57, no errors.

    WSJ: 20:55, no errors. Agree. With. Glenn. Hard. (Partly, maybe mostly, due to some very odd cluing.)

    NYT: 12:39, no errors. (Bill must be running late, as the NYT Wednesday blog isn’t up yet.)

  2. I had a toughish time with this puzzle, with a feraed constructor. Had to hunt and peck – but finally finished. I enjoyed it never the less.

    Bill … A small typo, housekeeping … on 27 Across WOMEN, … in the last line of the para, Felton was mistyped as Feltman. Unless she married a Feltman, at 88 years old. ( I was wondering who was this Feltman, that I missed. ) maybe it was a combination of Felton and freshman – a Freudian slip.

    I did not get the theme, drat.
    Bill, thank you for the story of the thresh hold – a factoid thats makes your blog such interesting and fascinating reading. ! The first time I read about this, was about or concerning a bride who was carried across the threshhold – and I thought maybe the threshhold was there to hold or bind the bride to the house …. quaint.

    Regarding liposuction, my ex-neighbor had lipo done, plus a stomach stapling, to lose ~ 120 lbs …. unfortunately she gained some of that back over the next year. Maybe, a body’s philosophy of metabolism is more powerful than we give it credit for ….

    Have a nice day, folks.

  3. Didn’t have much of a problem except for 35D “march king”. I wanted to put in St. Pat. because of March but knew that wasn’t working. Finally got Sousa and finished. And for a change, I got the theme which made it fall together fast.

  4. Did this one last night. 15 minutes….ish, if I remember correctly. Got the theme about halfway through. Maybe I was tired, but nothing seemed to come easy with this one.

    Originally I had an issue with MAGENTA. I always thought MAGENTA was the red cartridge in a laser printer. I went and looked up the definition of MAGENTA and was more confused than before: I copied and pasted it here for laughs…..

    “Magenta is a color in between red and purple or pink and purple. Sometimes it is confused with pink or purple. In terms of the HSV (RGB) color wheel, it is the color halfway between red and purple and is composed equally of red and blue (50% red and 50% blue). ”

    That definition seems to contradict itself in more than one place. You almost have to believe pink and purple are the same to believe all that. I also thought purple was 50% red and blue each.

    Oh well, I’m a little color deficient anyway (statistically so are most men to some degree). I see color just fine normally. Late at night looking at a distant light, red and green can look very similar to me though. When they start making MAGENTA lights, I think I’m in trouble…..

    Btw I’ve taken on a second career……i.e. looking for a house to buy here. It seems to be taking the same amount of time as my actual income generating career…. Wow I hate this process. I’m looking at it like a 20 or 30 year commitment (not exactly my forte) so I’m sure there’s some sort of neurosis at play here too.

    Best –

  5. I’m glad I am not as good as Bill at solving these puzzles. What would I do with the other 50 minutes I allot to complete them?

  6. @Dennis
    You’ve reminded me of a comedian’s routine from years ago. He told the story of a beautiful actress who claimed she spent an hour every day of her life listening to people tell her how beautiful she is. He was talking about his “extra hour” he has every day and then whenever heckled would tell the heckler he too has an extra hour every day…..

    All I can say is, we all find a way to fill that hour 🙂

    Best –

  7. Nice easy Wechsler Wednesday; took about 10-12 minutes with no errors.

    Off to bed early for the market tomorrow after skipping last week due to rain/wind.

    @Carrie – Yeah sorry too, the slots at the Integratron fill up super quick and I’d like a nice relaxed trip. Cool too, I just got a call to ship a pint of my honey to Pasadena from an earlier student of SFSU.

  8. Hi folks! ?
    Nice puzzle! Nothing special, except that I once again have the opportunity to mention that MENSA means “stupid” in Spanish!! (It’s the feminine form.) The joke is on those too-smart MENSA members!! ?
    Just saw an episode of the old Bob Newhart Show, from about 1972, wherein Bob finds​ out that Emily’s IQ is higher than his. Bob: 129. Emily: 151. Bob tries to act as if the difference doesn’t bother him. They go to a party hosted by the High IQ Club, and some brilliant dork brags that he can instantly say anyone’s name backwards!! Then he’s introduced to Bob….
    OMG I do love my old TV shows! ?
    Dirk! Can I buy your soap yet?
    Be well~~™?

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