LA Times Crossword Answers 6 Apr 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: James Sajdak
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Sounds Like …

Themed answers sound like common phrases:

  • 20A. Salute in an old orbiter? : MIR FORMALITY (sounds like “mere formality”)
  • 35A. Stadium scene after a big win? : TIERS OF JOY (sounds like “tears of joy”)
  • 42A. Fishing parties? : PIER GROUPS (sounds like “peer groups”)
  • 57A. Edward Scissorhands’ syndrome? : SHEAR MADNESS (sounds like “sheer madness”)

Bill’s time: 9m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Her first speaking role was in MGM’s “Anna Christie” : GARBO

Famously, Greta Garbo lived a life of seclusion in New York City after she retired from the entertainment business. Commentators often associated her need for privacy with a line she uttered in the great 1932 movie “Grand Hotel”. Her character Grusinskaya the Russian ballerina said, “I want to be alone (…) I just want to be alone”.

“Anna Christie” is a 1930 film adapted from the 1921 play of the same name by Eugene O’Neill. The celebrated actress Greta Garbo plays the title role, in a performance that was her first speaking part. That debut led to the film being marketed with the slogan “Garbo Talks!” Garbo’s first spoken line is “Gimme a whisky, ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy, baby!”

14. Fashion designer Rabanne : PACO

Paco Rabanne is a Spanish fashion designer who was at the height of his success and influence in the 1960s. He was a pioneer in the genre known as Metal Couture. Indeed, it was Rabanne who was responsible for the elaborate metallic fashions used in the 1968 sci-fi movie “Barbarella” starring Jane Fonda.

15. Cold shoulder or hot corner : IDIOM

To give someone the cold shoulder is to ignore the person deliberately. A little research into the etymology of “cold shoulder” reveals that there’s some dispute over the origin of the phrase. To me, the most credible suggestion is that the term was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his writings, and he simply used the imagery of someone “turning away, coldly”, to suggest the act of ignoring someone. Less credible is the suggestion that unwelcome visitors to a home in days gone by might be offered a “cold shoulder” of mutton, rather than a hot meal.

In baseball, third base is referred to as the “hot corner”. Right-handed hitters tend to hit the ball hard in that direction, keeping the third baseman on his toes.

16. Elizabeth of “Jacob’s Ladder” : PENA

Elizabeth Peña was an actress of Cuban descent born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The role I most remember her in was the Colombian mother of Gloria Pritchett on the sitcom “Modern Family”.

“Jacob’s Ladder” is a 1990 horror film. I don’t do horror, and probably will never see this one …

18. It might be uncured : BACON

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

19. Plant with hips : ROSE

The fruit of the rose plant is known as the rose hip or rose haw. I remember drinking rose hip syrup when I was a kid …

20. Salute in an old orbiter? : MIR FORMALITY (sounds like “mere formality”)

The Russian Mir space station was a remarkably successful project. It held the record for the longest continuous human presence in space at just under 10 years, until the International Space Station eclipsed that record in 2010. Towards the end of the space station’s life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in 2001. “Mir” is a Russian word meaning “peace” or “world”.

23. Arizona neighbor : SONORA

Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of the borders with Arizona and New Mexico. Sonora is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.

24. Former SETI funder : NASA

“SETI” is the name given to a number of projects that are searching for extraterrestrial life. The acronym stands for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence”. One of the main SETI activities is the monitoring of electromagnetic radiation (such as radio waves) reaching the Earth in the hope of finding a transmission from a civilization in another world.

25. Pokémon Go finder: Abbr. : GPS

Global positioning system (GPS)

“Pokémon GO!” is a reality-based video game in which players must locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures known as Pokémon. The Pokémon are hidden in the real world, in the sense that they have to be located on an electronic device (like a smartphone) in “the real world”, for which a GPS location is needed. Players see the Pokémon overlaid on a view of the real world on their smart device.

30. African megalopolis : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

32. Nonstick kitchen product : T-FAL

Tefal (also “T-Fal”) is a French manufacturer of cookware, famous for its nonstick line. The name “Tefal” is a portmanteau, of TEFlon and ALuminum, the key materials used in producing their pots and pans.

39. Normandy river : ORNE

Orne is a department and river in the northwest of France. Perhaps one of the most famous locations in Orne is the village of Camembert, the home of the famous (and delicious!) cheese.

Normandy is a region in northern France that is named for the Normans, a people descended from Norse Vikings who arrived from Denmark, Iceland and Norway. The term “Norman” comes from “Norsemen, men from the north”.

40. Foil firm : ALCOA

The Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA) is the largest producer of aluminum in the United States. The company was founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where its headquarters are to this day.

Before thin sheets of aluminum metal were available as aluminum foil, thin sheets of tin were used in various applications. Tin foil isn’t a great choice for wrapping food though, as it imparts a tinny taste. On the other side of the pond, aluminum foil has a different name. No, it’s not just the different spelling of aluminum (“aluminium”). We still call it “tin foil”. You see, we live in the past …

41. It borders both the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers : IOWA

The US state of Iowa is bordered to the east by the Mississippi River, and to the west by the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers.

44. Early Disney productions : CELS

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

45. __ del Carmen, Mexico : PLAYA

Playa del Carmen is a resort city located south of Cancún in Eastern Mexico. The city is named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patron saint of Cancún.

48. Photog’s choice : SLR

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

49. Org. offering shelter for some homeless : SPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

53. It merged with Chevron in 2005 : UNOCAL

The oil and gas company Unocal was founded in 1890 as the Union Oil Company of California. The “Union” name reflected the roots of the new enterprise, which was a merger of three existing Southern California oil companies. Famously, Union Oil was in competition with Standard Oil, a rivalry that was fictionalized in Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!”, and the novel’s 2007 film adaptation “There Will Be Blood”.

57. Edward Scissorhands’ syndrome? : SHEAR MADNESS (sounds like “sheer madness”)

“Edward Scissorhands” is a 1990 film starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton; always a turn-off for me …

62. 1975 Pulitzer winner for criticism : EBERT

Roger Ebert was a film critic for “The Chicago Sun-Times” for 50 years. He also 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 was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, which he did in 1975. He was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in 2002, and finally succumbed to a recurrence of the disease in April 2013.

63. Old film dog : ASTA

Asta is the wonderful little dog in the superb “The Thin Man” series of films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called “Skippy”. Skippy was also the dog in “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of “The Thin Man” films.

65. __ attack : 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.

69. Prizes in los Juegos Olímpicos : OROS

In Spanish, one might win “oros” (golds) at “los Juegos Olímpicos” (the Olympic Games).

Down

1. Bombards with e-junk : SPAMS

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

4. Nonsense : TOMFOOLERY

In Middle English, in the mid-14th century, a mentally deficient man might be referred to as a “Thom Foole”. We retain the old pejorative term in our contemporary word “tomfoolery” meaning “clowning around”.

5. Iberian peninsula territory : GIBRALTAR

Gibraltar is a small British territory on the Mediterranean coast just south of Spain. The British gained control of the area, which is just 2.6 square miles, during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1704. The ownership of Gibraltar is contested by the Spanish, but successive UK governments refuse to cede the territory as it is a major base for the Royal Navy. Gibraltar sits at the narrow entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic.

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

6. Economist Smith : ADAM

Adam Smith was a pioneer in the field of “political economy”, an original term used for the study of production and trade and their relationship with law, government and the distribution of wealth. Adam Smith’s great work is called “The Wealth of Nations”, published in 1776. The book was a big hit within his own lifetime and went a long way to earning him the reputation as the father of modern economics and capitalism. Smith coined the phrase “the invisible hand of the market”, describing his assertion that a marketplace tends to self-regulate.

7. Puerto __ : RICAN

Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.

8. Half an Ivy cheer : BOOLA!

“Boola Boola” is a fight song of Yale University that was composed in 1900, although it is based on a song called “La Hoola Boola” that had been around in the 1800s. The melody of “Boola Boola” is used by the University of Oklahoma for its fight song, “Boomer Sooner”.

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

9. Dodges of old : OMNIS

The Dodge Omni is basically the same car as the Plymouth Horizon, and was produced by Chrysler from 1978-90. The Omni is a front-wheel drive hatchback, the first in a long line of front-wheel drive cars that were very successful for Chrysler. The Omni was developed in France, by Chrysler’s Simca division. When production was stopped in the US in 1990, the tooling was sold to an Indian company that continued production for the Asian market for several years.

11. Uncle on “Seinfeld” : LEO

On the sitcom “Seinfeld”, Jerry’s eccentric maternal uncle is Leo, played by actor Len Lesser. Lesser acted in movies and television for many years, alongside some of the greats of stage and screen. He was fond of telling a marvelous story about acting in the 1973 film “Papillon” starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. In his role as a prison guard, Lesser was required to shove McQueen, but McQueen didn’t think that Lesser was pushing him roughly enough. He turned to Lesser and told him “Don’t think of me as a movie star. Think of me as a character in a show”, encouraging him to be more aggressive. When McQueen walked away, Hoffman was left standing there beside Lesser. He paused and quietly said to Lesser, “Think of me as a movie star …”

13. Novelist Rita __ Brown : MAE

Rita Mae Brown is an American author who is best known for her 1973 novel “Rubyfruit Jungle”. Brown was the domestic partner of tennis champion Martina Navratilova in the late seventies and early eighties.

21. “He’s mine, __ am his”: “Coriolanus” : OR I

Here are some lines from William Shakespeare’s play “Coriolanus”:

… By the elements,
If e’er again I meet him beard to beard,
He’s mine, or I am his:

“Coriolanus” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. The play tells the story of the real-life Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, who lived in the 5th century BC.

25. Boy toy? : GI JOE

G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.

27. Milk sources : SOYAS

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

29. Prairie skyline feature : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

31. Buff : AFICIONADO

An aficionado is an enthusiast. Imported from Spanish, “aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

32. Name on collectible cards : TOPPS

Topps was a relaunch of an older company called American Leaf Tobacco, with the Topps name used from 1938. The earlier company was in trouble because it could not get supplies of its Turkish tobacco, so it moved into another chewy industry, making bubblegum. Nowadays, Topps is known for including (mainly) sports-themed trading cards in the packs of gum.

33. Bell or whistle? : FRILL

Something that includes “all the bells and whistles” is complete, with all available accessories.

36. Old French coin : ECU

The ecu is an Old French coin. When introduced in 1640, the ecu was worth three livres (an older coin, called a “pound” in English). The word “ecu” comes from the Latin “scutum” meaning “shield”. The original ecu had a coat of arms on it, a shield.

38. Cryptozoologist’s quarry : SASQUATCH

The sasquatch or bigfoot is our North American equivalent of the yeti, the ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayas. Bigfoot is supposedly hiding out mainly in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

47. Conjunction in a German article : UND

“Und” is German for “and”.

50. Buds, slangily : PEEPS

“Peeps” is a slang term for one’s associates or friends, one’s “people”.

51. Band of intrigants : CABAL

A cabal is a small group of plotters acting in secret, perhaps scheming against a government or an individual. The use of “cabal” in this way dates back to the mid-1600s. It is suggested that the term gained some popularity, particularly in a sinister sense, during the reign of Charles II in the 1670s. At that time, it was applied as an acronym standing for “Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale”, a group of ministers known for their plots and schemes.

54. Romero who played The Joker : CESAR

Cesar Romero was an American actor of Cuban descent from New York. He played a wide variety of roles on the big screen, but is remembered by many for playing the Joker on the “Batman” television show in the sixties.

55. Dog in Orbit City : ASTRO

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it was debuted in 1963 by ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” are like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family in Orbit City are Rosie the household robot and Astro the pet dog.

56. Exams for future attys. : LSATS

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

57. Susie-shirts tongue-twister link : SEWS

Sister Suzie sewing shirts for soldiers
Such skill as sewing shirts
Our shy young sister Suzie shows
Some soldiers send epistles
Say they’d rather sleep in thistles
Than the saucy, soft short shirts for soldiers Sister Suzie sews.

58. Hosp. tests : MRIS

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

60. Sells-shells tongue-twister link : SEA

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Disagreement : SPAT
5. Her first speaking role was in MGM’s “Anna Christie” : GARBO
10. Unlikely : SLIM
14. Fashion designer Rabanne : PACO
15. Cold shoulder or hot corner : IDIOM
16. Elizabeth of “Jacob’s Ladder” : PENA
17. Wee bit : ATOM
18. It might be uncured : BACON
19. Plant with hips : ROSE
20. Salute in an old orbiter? : MIR FORMALITY (sounds like “mere formality”)
23. Arizona neighbor : SONORA
24. Former SETI funder : NASA
25. Pokémon Go finder: Abbr. : GPS
28. Spa supplies : OILS
30. African megalopolis : CAIRO
32. Nonstick kitchen product : T-FAL
35. Stadium scene after a big win? : TIERS OF JOY (sounds like “tears of joy”)
39. Normandy river : ORNE
40. Foil firm : ALCOA
41. It borders both the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers : IOWA
42. Fishing parties? : PIER GROUPS (sounds like “peer groups”)
44. Early Disney productions : CELS
45. __ del Carmen, Mexico : PLAYA
46. Distant beginning? : EQUI-
48. Photog’s choice : SLR
49. Org. offering shelter for some homeless : SPCA
53. It merged with Chevron in 2005 : UNOCAL
57. Edward Scissorhands’ syndrome? : SHEAR MADNESS (sounds like “sheer madness”)
59. Chain part : ISLE
62. 1975 Pulitzer winner for criticism : EBERT
63. Old film dog : ASTA
64. Catty reply : MEOW
65. __ attack : PANIC
66. Flit : DART
67. Cat catchers : PAWS
68. Seriously reduce : SLASH
69. Prizes in los Juegos Olímpicos : OROS

Down

1. Bombards with e-junk : SPAMS
2. Deck alternative : PATIO
3. Nut with a cap : ACORN
4. Nonsense : TOMFOOLERY
5. Iberian peninsula territory : GIBRALTAR
6. Economist Smith : ADAM
7. Puerto __ : RICAN
8. Half an Ivy cheer : BOOLA!
9. Dodges of old : OMNIS
10. Agile : SPRY
11. Uncle on “Seinfeld” : LEO
12. Advantages for job seekers : INS
13. Novelist Rita __ Brown : MAE
21. “He’s mine, __ am his”: “Coriolanus” : OR I
22. Stand snack : TACO
25. Boy toy? : GI JOE
26. Lurk : PROWL
27. Milk sources : SOYAS
29. Prairie skyline feature : SILO
31. Buff : AFICIONADO
32. Name on collectible cards : TOPPS
33. Bell or whistle? : FRILL
34. At hand, poetically : ANEAR
36. Old French coin : ECU
37. It’s often skipped : ROPE
38. Cryptozoologist’s quarry : SASQUATCH
43. Wicked slice : GASH
47. Conjunction in a German article : UND
50. Buds, slangily : PEEPS
51. Band of intrigants : CABAL
52. Concert setting : ARENA
54. Romero who played The Joker : CESAR
55. Dog in Orbit City : ASTRO
56. Exams for future attys. : LSATS
57. Susie-shirts tongue-twister link : SEWS
58. Hosp. tests : MRIS
59. Little demon : IMP
60. Sells-shells tongue-twister link : SEA
61. Bit of cowspeak : LOW

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