LA Times Crossword Answers 10 Apr 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Assurance from the Start

Themed answers start with synonyms of “assurance”:

  • 18A. “This Kiss” country singer : FAITH HILL
  • 26A. Swindler’s swindle : CONFIDENCE GAME
  • 47A. Important percentage to a prosecutor : CONVICTION RATE
  • 61A. Heir’s financial security : TRUST FUND

Bill’s time: 6m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Former auto financing co. : GMAC

“GMAC” stands for “General Motors Acceptance Corporation”. General Motors has only a small stake in GMAC now, and indeed the name has been officially changed to Ally Bank. You and I, we are the biggest shareholders in GMAC/Ally today, since the US government gave the bank $12.5 billion to bail it out in 2008-2009.

14. “The Chew” co-host Hall : CARLA

Carla Hall is a chef. She is one of the co-hosts on the ABC talk show “The Chew”, which discusses food.

15. Dinghy steering tools : OARS

Our word “dinghy” comes from the Hindi “dingi”, a word “small boat”.

16. Award coveted on “Mad Men” : CLIO

The Clio Awards are the Oscars of the advertising world and are named after Clio, the Greek Muse of History. Clio was also the recorder of great deeds, the proclaimer and celebrator of great accomplishments and a source of inspiration and genius. The Clio Awards were first presented in 1959.

“Mad Men” was the flagship show on the AMC television channel for several seasons. Set in the sixties, it’s all about an advertising agency located on Madison Avenue in New York (hence the title). “Mad Men” became the first show created by a basic cable channel to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

18. “This Kiss” country singer : FAITH HILL

Faith Hill is a country singer from Ridgeland, Mississippi. Hill is married to fellow country singer Tim McGraw.

20. City near Scottsdale : MESA

The city of Mesa, Arizona is in effect a suburb of Phoenix. The original settlement of non-Native Americans was founded by Daniel Webster Jones who led a Mormon group from St. George, Utah. The settlement was first called Jonesville, then Fort Utah and eventually Lehi. A second group of Mormons arrived and formed a settlement on top of a nearby mesa. It was this use of a mesa that eventually gave the city its current name.

The city of Scottsdale in Arizona is part of the Greater Phoenix Area. It was established in the late 1880s as Orangedale, with the name referring to the large citrus groves planted by the ex-US Army Chaplain Winfield Scott. Orangedale was renamed to Scottsdale in 1894, in honor of the founder. The city’s official nickname is “The West’s Most Western Town”.

21. Cookbook maven Rombauer : IRMA

Irma Rombauer was the author of the famous cookbook “The Joy Of Cooking”. Rombauer self-published the book back in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her family continued to publish privately as demand was high, and then a commercial printing house picked it up in 1936. “The Joy of Cooking” has been in print continuously ever since.

33. Pain-relieving drug : OPIATE

The opium poppy is the source of the narcotic alkaloids known as opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

34. Sailor : TAR

A jack tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.

35. “__ Tide!”: Alabama cheer : ROLL

The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, which is a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.

37. Derby-wearing Addams cousin : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

38. Soaked in hot water, as a tea bag : STEEPED

I think a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

41. “Argo” spy gp. : CIA

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be pretty frightening …

45. Nautical measure : FATHOM

Our word “fathom” comes from the Old English word used to describe the length of the outstretched arms. Today, a fathom is equal to six feet.

50. Animation still : CEL

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.

51. First Nations tribe : CREE

The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

“First Nations” is a term used in Canada describing the ethnicity of Native Americans who are neither Inuit nor Métis people.

52. Hawke of “Training Day” : ETHAN

Ethan Hawke is a Hollywood actor who made his breakthrough in a supporting role in “Dead Poet’s Society”, playing opposite Robin Williams. Hawke was married to Uma Thurman, with whom he has two children.

“Training Day” is a 2001 crime movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as two narcotics officers in Los Angeles. The film was well received and merited a TV spin off. The small-screen version was canceled after one season following the death of lead actor Bill Paxton.

55. RR station posting : SKED

Schedule (sked), railroad (RR)

57. Save, with “away” : SOCK

We’ve been “socking away” money, i.e. saving money, since the early 1940s. The etymology of “sock away” is related to the idea of hiding cash in one’s sock.

61. Heir’s financial security : TRUST FUND

When someone sets up a trust, he or she transfers property or cash to a trustee for the benefit of a third person, i.e. for the beneficiary.

63. Scrabble 10-pointer : Z TILE

The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.

64. PetSmart purchase : CAGE

PetSmart is a chain of retail facilities offering supplies and services for pets. The chain opened in 1987 as the PetFood Warehouse. Services offered include grooming, dog training, boarding and day care.

65. Environs : AREA

“Environ” is the French word for “round” or “round about”. We use “environ” as a verb in English, meaning to surround, form a circle around. The related plural noun “environs” is used to mean “surroundings, environment”.

66. Metallic mixture : ALLOY

An alloy is a mixture of metals, or a mixture of metal with some other element, that behaves like a metal. Alloys are produced as perhaps cheaper alternatives to pure metals, or as alternatives that have enhanced metallurgical properties. Common examples of alloys are steel, solder, brass, pewter and bronze.

67. Gps. requiring copays : HMOS

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Down

1. Bogus offer : SCAM

Our word “bogus”, meaning “not genuine” was coined (pun!) in the 1830s, when it applied to counterfeit money.

3. Arrow shooter of myth : EROS

Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic”, meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both Amor (meaning “love”) and Cupid (meaning “desire”).

4. “Our Gang” kid with spiky hair : ALFALFA

Alfalfa was one Hollywood’s “Little Rascals”, also known as “Our Gang”. He was the young lad who sported the unique hairstyle, with a long spike of hair sticking up from the center of his head. Alfalfa’s real name was Carl Switzer. He and his brother were quite the young performers around his hometown in Illinois, singing and playing instruments. On a trip to California, the Switzer family were touring the Hal Roach movie studio and were fooling around in the studio cafeteria, basically giving an impromptu performance. Hal Roach happened to be there at the time, and signed both brothers up for roles in “Our Gang”. Carl was to play “Alfalfa”, and brother Harold played “Slim” (aka “Deadpan”).

5. Chinese zodiac animal : RAT

Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic”, meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both Amor (meaning “love”) and Cupid (meaning “desire”).

8. Song often sung in Italian : ARIA

Opera is a performing art involving musicians as well as singers who perform a dramatic work that combines a libretto and a musical score. The art form developed in the Italy in the late 1500s, with the first opera being recognised as “Dafne”, a work by Jacopo Peri that is now lost but was first performed in Florence in 1598. The oldest surviving opera score is also by Peri, a work called “Euridice” that was first staged in 1600. The oldest opera that is still performed regularly today is “L’Orfeo” by Claudio Monteverdi, which dates back to 1607.

9. Ill. clock setting : CST

Central Standard Time (CST)

10. Bagel spread : SCHMEAR

The word “schmear” comes from the Yiddish word “shmir” meaning “spread”. The phrase “the whole schmear” is a relatively recent one, dating back to around 1969 and coming from the world of business.

19. Reagan’s first secretary of state : HAIG

Alexander Haig was Secretary of State under President Reagan, and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Famously, Haig took over temporary control of the country immediately after President Reagan was shot in 1981. To do so was a pragmatic move, while waiting on Vice President Bush to arrive in Washington. There was much debate at the time about the legality of the steps taken, as the presidential line of succession called out in the US Constitution is President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the US Senate, and then Secretary of State.

24. River isles : AITS

Aits are little islands found in a river. Aits aren’t formed by erosion, but by the deposition of silt over time. As a result, aits often have a long and narrow shape running parallel to the banks as the sediment builds up with the flow of the water. Many of the islands in the River Thames in England have been given the name “Ait”, like Raven’s Ait in Kingston-upon-Thames, and Lot’s Ait in Brentford.

25. British cattle breed : HEREFORD

Hereford cattle have a white face with a largely red body. The breed originated in the county of Herefordshire along the Welsh border in England, hence the name.

26. Salon do : COIF

A coif is a hairdo. The term comes from an old French term “coife”, a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

27. __ nerve : OPTIC

The optic nerve enters the eyeball at a location on the retina called the optic disc. Because there are no light-sensitive cells at the optic disc, there is a “hole” in our visual field that is called the blind spot. People with normal vision don’t usually notice this blind spot as the brain “fills in” the blind spot with information from the other eye.

28. Explosive liquid, briefly : NITRO

Nitroglycerin (also known as “nitro”) is a very unstable, oily, colorless liquid. It is usually used as the explosive ingredient in a stabilized product like dynamite or cordite. Nitroglycerin is also used medically, as a vasodilator. Right after it hits the bloodstream, nitroglycerin causes the blood vessels to dilate so that the heart has less work to do. I had occasion to take it a couple of times, and boy, what a speedy and fundamental effect it has …

29. Modern mil. treaty violation : N-TEST

Nuclear test (N-test)

31. Starbucks flavor : MOCHA

Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave it’s name to the mocha brown color, and to the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.

32. “Adam Bede” novelist George : ELIOT

“George Eliot” was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

“Adam Bede” was the first novel written by the English writer George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans). It was published in 1859 and has been in print since then, for over 150 years.

40. Great __: big dog : DANE

The Great Dane breed of dog isn’t actually from Denmark, and rather is from Germany.

46. Railroad bridge framework : TRESTLE

A trestle is a frame that is used as a support, particularly a support forming part of a bridge.

54. Award for Isaac Asimov : HUGO

The Hugo Awards are presented annually for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing. The awards are named for Hugo Gernsback, founder of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories”.

Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

59. Coagulate : CLOT

A blood clot is a very necessary response to an injury and is intended to prevent bleeding. Also called a thrombus, the clot comprises aggregated blood platelets trapped in a mesh made from fibrin, a fibrous protein. If a thrombus forms in a healthy blood vessel, restricting blood flow, that condition is known as thrombosis.

62. Liposuction target : FAT

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.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Stick a toothpick in : SPEAR
6. Former auto financing co. : GMAC
10. Get smart with : SASS
14. “The Chew” co-host Hall : CARLA
15. Dinghy steering tools : OARS
16. Award coveted on “Mad Men” : CLIO
17. In the sky : ALOFT
18. “This Kiss” country singer : FAITH HILL
20. City near Scottsdale : MESA
21. Cookbook maven Rombauer : IRMA
22. Childish retort : AM TOO!
23. Freeway division : LANE
25. Go quickly, quaintly : HIE
26. Swindler’s swindle : CONFIDENCE GAME
33. Pain-relieving drug : OPIATE
34. Sailor : TAR
35. “__ Tide!”: Alabama cheer : ROLL
37. Derby-wearing Addams cousin : ITT
38. Soaked in hot water, as a tea bag : STEEPED
41. “Argo” spy gp. : CIA
42. Blaze : FIRE
44. Braying beast : ASS
45. Nautical measure : FATHOM
47. Important percentage to a prosecutor : CONVICTION RATE
50. Animation still : CEL
51. First Nations tribe : CREE
52. Hawke of “Training Day” : ETHAN
55. RR station posting : SKED
57. Save, with “away” : SOCK
61. Heir’s financial security : TRUST FUND
63. Scrabble 10-pointer : Z TILE
64. PetSmart purchase : CAGE
65. Environs : AREA
66. Metallic mixture : ALLOY
67. Gps. requiring copays : HMOS
68. Abound (with) : TEEM
69. Younger siblings, at times : PESTS

Down

1. Bogus offer : SCAM
2. Light in color : PALE
3. Arrow shooter of myth : EROS
4. “Our Gang” kid with spiky hair : ALFALFA
5. Chinese zodiac animal : RAT
6. Be released : GO FREE
7. Respectful address : MA’AM
8. Song often sung in Italian : ARIA
9. Ill. clock setting : CST
10. Bagel spread : SCHMEAR
11. Touched down : ALIT
12. Where feed can be stored : SILO
13. Unaided : SOLO
19. Reagan’s first secretary of state : HAIG
21. With all the fine points : IN DETAIL
24. River isles : AITS
25. British cattle breed : HEREFORD
26. Salon do : COIF
27. __ nerve : OPTIC
28. Explosive liquid, briefly : NITRO
29. Modern mil. treaty violation : N-TEST
30. Keep from going higher : CAP
31. Starbucks flavor : MOCHA
32. “Adam Bede” novelist George : ELIOT
36. Like a weak excuse : LAME
39. Changed-my-mind key : ESC
40. Great __: big dog : DANE
43. Crates up : ENCASES
46. Railroad bridge framework : TRESTLE
48. Opening for air : VENT
49. Winter river blockage : ICE DAM
52. Make a fine impression? : ETCH
53. Monorail transport : TRAM
54. Award for Isaac Asimov : HUGO
55. “By all means!” : SURE!
56. Replaceable joint : KNEE
58. Masseur’s supply : OILS
59. Coagulate : CLOT
60. Door openers : KEYS
62. Liposuction target : FAT
63. Heat in a microwave : ZAP

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 10 Apr 2018, Tuesday”

  1. LAT: 12:02(!) after fixing a typo; lots of missteps; did it last night as the twentieth puzzle of the day; prob’ly should’a waited ‘til morning … 😜

    Newsday: 5:04, no errors. WSJ: 9:36, no errors. Jones: 10:31, no errors. Thirteen old Jones puzzles: 10-15 minute average, a stupid error on one of them. Croce to come. Running late (and foggy) … 😜

    1. Tim Croce: 48:29, no errors. Typical TC outing. A little easier than usual (or maybe I was just “on” for this one). Most enjoyable.

  2. Yes, ‘aits’ was a new one on me, too. But this was, overall, an easy puzzle. I won’t remember ‘sits’ in the future though. When a word comes up only sporadically, I have no talent for recall. Ugh.

  3. I learned the word “ait” from crossword puzzles more than forty years ago and the reason I know it was that long ago is that I remember using it in a game of Scrabble against an English major. She loudly insisted that it was not a word and I just as loudly insisted that it was a word and (incorrectly) that it came from French. So we looked it up, and it was there, but it didn’t come from French, so she then insisted that I shouldn’t be allowed to use a word whose origin was unknown to me. And things went downhill from there … but it fixed the word in my memory … 😜.

  4. Never noticed the theme, so what’s new. Had one Google – HAIG. Couldn’t fit Kisssinger in. Never heard of this CARLA, or of ROLL (sports). Also weak on AITs, though got it.

  5. 15:25. This felt harder than a normal Tuesday – more like a NYT Tuesday. Then again I’m getting to this later in the day than usual and I’m just thinking more slowly.

    I didn’t know AITS , but I got it via crosses and didn’t notice it until the blog. History of Scottsdale and ALFALFA were interesting too.

    Alexander HAIG’s son, Brian Haig, was a West Pointer, military analyst and has a very impressive resume in his own right. I know him from his spy novels which are some of my favorites of all time. His Sean Drummond series is great reading. His style is so similar to Nelson Demille’s that I’m convinced Haig modeled his books after Demille’s. Regardless, I highly recommend any of his books. My favorite – “The Hunted” is based on the true story of a Russian billionaire that was eventually hunted by the KGB, FBI and the Russian mob and lived to tell about it. Truly an amazing story.

    Best –

  6. Hi every buddy!! 🍀
    No errors on a somewhat difficult Tuesday– seemed like a Wednesday to this gal. I had RAM before RAT and I was so sure of myself that I erased ALOFT, which of course was correct. Then it hit me: “Oh, RAT!!” 🙃
    Also had ERIE before CREE.
    I’m a fan of George Eliot, but for some reason I don’t like “Silas Marner” at all. Weird– it’s considered one of her best, I guess, but I find her other major novels so much better.
    I’ve really gotta get back in the habit of reading!! I’ve mentioned it here before, I think — I’m doing too much binge-watching and I just KNOW my brain cells have been dying off lately. 😮 It’s a slippery slope…
    Be well~~🌍✌

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