LA Times Crossword Answers 2 Apr 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: Brock Wilson
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Leading Question

Themed answers end with a word that is often seen LEADING the word QUESTION:

  • 62A. It’s designed to elicit a certain answer … or where the end of 17-, 25- and 47-Across may be found : LEADING QUESTION
  • 17A. Made it possible (for) : LEFT THE DOOR OPEN (giving “open question”)
  • 25A. Reason for “Fahrenheit 451” fires : BOOK BURNING (giving “burning question”)
  • 47A. Achieved desired results : DID THE TRICK (giving “trick question”)

Bill’s time: 5m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Smallest chess piece : PAWN

In the game of chess, the pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. A pawn that can make it to the opposite of the board can be promoted to a piece of choice, usually a queen. Using promotion of pawns, it is possible for a player to have two or more queens on the board at one time. However, standard chess sets come with only one queen per side, so a captured rook is often used as the second queen by placing it on the board upside down.

5. Intl. alliance with a phonetic alphabet : NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded not long after WWII in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The first NATO Secretary General was Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill’s chief military assistant during WWII. Famously, Lord Ismay said the goal of NATO was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

14. Where to find Columbus : OHIO

The city of Columbus, Ohio is a “purpose-built” state capital. The state legislature selected the location for Ohio’s new capital in 1812, choosing dense forestland with no significant settlement, largely due to its strategic location in the center of the state. The name was chosen in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

24. Big pic from a small neg. : ENL

Enlargement (enl.)

25. Reason for “Fahrenheit 451” fires : BOOK BURNING (giving “burning question”)

“Fahrenheit 451” is a 1953 novel by Ray Bradbury that tells the story of a future American society that discourages reading of books. The main character’s job is that of a “fireman”, someone responsible for burning books. The title was chosen to supposedly represent the temperature at which book paper will burn, although whether that temperature is accurate or not seems to be up for debate.

31. Yr.’s dozen : MOS

Our contemporary calendar has its roots in the old Roman calendar, which originally had ten months and was attributed to Romulus:

  1. March (Month of Mars)
  2. April (Month of Apru/Aphrodite)
  3. May (Month of Maia)
  4. June (Month of Juno)
  5. Quintilis (Fifth Month)
  6. Sextilis (Sixth Month)
  7. September (Seventh Month)
  8. October (Eighth Month)
  9. November (Ninth Month)
  10. December (Tenth Month)

Julius Caesar order the calendar realigned, adding two months at the beginning of the year (our “January” and “February”). Subsequently, the former “fifth” month of Quintilis was renamed in honor of Julius Caesar giving our “July”, and then the former “sixth” Month of Sextilis was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar giving our “August”.

34. Smoothie berry : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

36. Resell exorbitantly, as tickets : SCALP

Scalping of tickets, selling them above retail price for an excessive profit, originated in the mid-1800s with scalpers making money off theater tickets. There was also quite a bit of money made by people scalping railway tickets. Railroads gave discounts on tickets for longer journeys, so someone trying to get from San Francisco to Chicago say, might buy a ticket to New York. Once in Chicago the passenger would scalp the remainder of his/her ticket to someone wanting to get to New York, and make his or her invested money back with a bonus. The exact etymology of the term “scalper” seems unclear.

38. Iowa crop : CORN

The Corn Belt (sometimes “Grain Belt”) is a region in the Midwest where, since the mid-1800s, corn has been the major crop. Geographically, the Corn Belt covers Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and parts of Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. About 40% of the world’s corn production comes from the region, and most of that production is used for the feeding of livestock.

39. Extreme fear : PANIC

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god, one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

41. First website page : HOME

To find this website’s home page, just click on the LAXCrossword.com title at the top of each page.

42. Last Greek letter : OMEGA

The Greek alphabet starts with the letter “alpha”, and ends with the letter “omega”.

44. Lucy’s sitcom partner : DESI

Desi Arnaz was famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

46. Stark in “Game of Thrones” : NED

Ned Stark is the protagonist in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novel “A Game of Thrones”, although his character doesn’t exactly come out on top by the end of the story. Stark is played by actor Sean Bean in the HBO television adaptation of the novel.

51. Tweeter’s titter : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

52. White ursine critter : POLAR BEAR

Polar bears are close cousins of brown bears, and are thought to have evolved from a population of brown bears that became isolated during a period of glaciation. Most polar bears live north of the Arctic Circle, and live mainly on seals that they capture near to the edge of ice floes.

58. Hand prettifiers : MANIS

Manicure (mani)

64. Dickens’ Drood : EDWIN

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. The story itself is centered not on the title character, but on Edwin Drood’s uncle, a choirmaster named John Jasper.

65. Garage goop : GUNK

“Gunk” is a thick greasy substance. The original “Gunk” was a brand of thick liquid soap that was patented in 1932.

69. Twice-monthly 7-Down : NEAP
(7D. Ocean phenomenon : TIDE)

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

Down

1. Seasoned senators, say : POLS

Politician (pol)

3. Edith, to Archie : WIFE

Archie Bunker’s wife Edith was played by Jean Stapleton on the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family”. By 1980, Stapleton was growing tired of playing the role and appeared in fewer and fewer episodes. When the show’s spin-off series “Archie Bunker’s Place” premiered, the storyline revealed that Archie Bunker had just lost his wife, setting the tone for the new show.

6. Confirmation from the congregation : AMEN

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

8. Reason for a diaper change : ODOR

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term diaper was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, diaper was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

10. Phantom’s rival, in “The Phantom of the Opera” : RAOUL

In Gaston Leroux’s novel “The Phantom of the Opera”, the young Christine Daaé is obsessively admired by Erik, the “phantom” who lives below the Paris Opera House. Christine is also pursued by her childhood friend Raoul, Viscount de Chagny.

12. Baseball’s Hershiser : OREL

Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.

13. Big Apple address letters : NY, NY

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.

18. Chicago paper, for short : TRIB

“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

23. Dilapidated joint : DUMP

Something dilapidated has fallen into a state of ruin, a state of decay. Ultimately, the term “dilapidation” comes from the Latin “lapis” meaning “stone”, with the Latin verb “dilapidare” meaning “to throw away, squander”, literally “pelt with stones”.

25. Breakfast partner of 55-Down : BACON
(55D. See 25-Down : EGGS)

“Bacon” is an Old French word that we imported into English. The term ultimately comes from the Proto-Germanic “bakkon” meaning “back meat”.

26. “__, all ye faithful … ” : O COME

The lovely Christmas hymn “Adeste Fideles” (entitled “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in English) was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time. A kind blog reader pointed out to me that the English translation is in fact a little “off”. The term “adeste” best translates from Latin as “be present, attend”, rather that “come”. The verb “come” appears later in the lyrics in “venite adoremus”, meaning “come, let us worship”.

29. Octet plus one : NONET

A nonet is a piece of music requiring nine musicians for a performance. The term is also used for the group itself.

31. New Zealand native : MAORI

The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities. The Māori refer to New Zealand as “Aotearoa”.

32. Early Mesoamerican : OLMEC

The Olmec were an ancient civilization that lived in the lowlands of south-central Mexico from about 1500 BC to about 400 BC.

Mesoamerica is a region extending from Central Mexico, south to Costa Rica. It is known as an area where societies flourished prior to the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 16th and 17th centuries.

37. Phony : CHARLATAN

A charlatan is someone who makes false claims of skill or knowledge. “Charlatan” is a word we imported from French, although the original derivation is the Italian “ciarlatano”, the term for “a quack”.

40. Sky over Paris : CIEL

In French, one can see “étoiles” (stars) in the “ciel” (sky).

48. Library vol. ID : ISBN

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who was a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a barcode) for each publication.

49. Gobbling guys? : TOMS

A male turkey is called a “tom”, taking its name from a “tomcat”. The inference is that like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently gets into fights. A female turkey is called a “hen”.

50. Gymnast Comaneci : NADIA

Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of a ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.

53. Voluminous syn. and etym. sources : OEDS

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a great source for a synonym (syn.) or an etymology (etym.) of any particular word.

60. Kappa preceder : 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.

Kappa is the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the equivalent of our letter K.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Smallest chess piece : PAWN
5. Intl. alliance with a phonetic alphabet : NATO
9. Test for fit : TRY ON
14. Where to find Columbus : OHIO
15. Surrounded by : AMID
16. Like a wolfman : HAIRY
17. Made it possible (for) : LEFT THE DOOR OPEN (giving “open question”)
20. Bit of campaign ugliness : SMEAR
21. In a jittery way : NERVOUSLY
22. Food storage cover : LID
24. Big pic from a small neg. : ENL
25. Reason for “Fahrenheit 451” fires : BOOK BURNING (giving “burning question”)
31. Yr.’s dozen : MOS
34. Smoothie berry : ACAI
35. Pet store cry : MEOW!
36. Resell exorbitantly, as tickets : SCALP
38. Iowa crop : CORN
39. Extreme fear : PANIC
41. First website page : HOME
42. Last Greek letter : OMEGA
44. Lucy’s sitcom partner : DESI
45. Neighborhood : AREA
46. Stark in “Game of Thrones” : NED
47. Achieved desired results : DID THE TRICK (giving “trick question”)
50. Math basics: Abbr. : NOS
51. Tweeter’s titter : LOL
52. White ursine critter : POLAR BEAR
58. Hand prettifiers : MANIS
62. It’s designed to elicit a certain answer … or where the end of 17-, 25- and 47-Across may be found : LEADING QUESTION
64. Dickens’ Drood : EDWIN
65. Garage goop : GUNK
66. Opponent : ANTI
67. Hit __: ran into trouble : A SNAG
68. Wise, as advice : SAGE
69. Twice-monthly 7-Down : NEAP

Down

1. Seasoned senators, say : POLS
2. “If I may say something … ” : AHEM …
3. Edith, to Archie : WIFE
4. Teacher’s “Shh!” : NO TALKING!
5. “Uh-uh” : NAH
6. Confirmation from the congregation : AMEN
7. Ocean phenomenon : TIDE
8. Reason for a diaper change : ODOR
9. Big crowds : THRONGS
10. Phantom’s rival, in “The Phantom of the Opera” : RAOUL
11. Pet store cries : YIPS
12. Baseball’s Hershiser : OREL
13. Big Apple address letters : NY, NY
18. Chicago paper, for short : TRIB
19. Toaster __ : OVEN
23. Dilapidated joint : DUMP
25. Breakfast partner of 55-Down : BACON
26. “__, all ye faithful … ” : O COME
27. Rowed : OARED
28. Verify, as totals : RE-ADD
29. Octet plus one : NONET
30. “If only” : I WISH
31. New Zealand native : MAORI
32. Early Mesoamerican : OLMEC
33. “Bark, Bowser!” : SPEAK!
37. Phony : CHARLATAN
40. Sky over Paris : CIEL
43. Loving and devoted, as fans : ADORING
48. Library vol. ID : ISBN
49. Gobbling guys? : TOMS
50. Gymnast Comaneci : NADIA
52. Ardent request : PLEA
53. Voluminous syn. and etym. sources : OEDS
54. Mowed expanse : LAWN
55. See 25-Down : EGGS
56. Water color : AQUA
57. Ladder step : RUNG
59. 29-Down count : NINE
60. Kappa preceder : IOTA
61. Barbershop sound : SNIP
63. Barely make, with “out” : EKE

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