LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Apr 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Spaghetti

Circled letters in the center of the grid spell out the word “SPAGHETTI”. Themed answers end with a word that is often preceded by “SPAGHETTI”:

  • 17A. Phoenix-based hotel chain (and see circles) : BEST WESTERN (giving “spaghetti western”)
  • 55A. Old family recipe (and see circles) : SECRET SAUCE (giving “spaghetti sauce”)
  • 11D. Produce served in the fall (and see circles) : ACORN SQUASH (giving “spaghetti squash”)
  • 25D. Feature of some penny loafers (and see circles) : SADDLE STRAP (giving “spaghetti strap”)

Bill’s time: 7m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Film director’s honor : OSCAR

Legend has it that actor Emilio Fernández was the model for the Oscar statuette. Cedric Gibbons, art director at MGM, created the design and supposedly convinced a reluctant Fernández to pose nude for “Oscar”.

6. Rich, dusty soil : LOESS

Loess is a wind-blown accumulation of silt. The word is German in origin and was first used to describe silt along the Rhine Valley.

14. 100 kopecks : RUBLE

The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as several other countries in the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks (also “kopeks”).

17. Phoenix-based hotel chain (and see circles) : BEST WESTERN (giving “spaghetti western”)

Spaghetti westerns are cowboy movies that were produced and directed by Italians in the 1960s. Pioneer in the field was filmmaker Sergio Leone. Leone directed the best-known and most successful movies in the genre: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), all of which star Clint Eastwood.

19. Mac platform : OS X

Apple introduced the OS X Operating System in 2000. Each version of this operating system has had a code name, and that code name until recently has been a type of big cat. The versions and code names are:

  • 10.0: Cheetah
  • 10.1: Puma
  • 10.2: Jaguar
  • 10.3: Panther
  • 10.4: Tiger
  • 10.5: Leopard
  • 10.6: Snow Leopard
  • 10.7: Lion
  • 10.8: Mountain Lion
  • 10.9: Mavericks
  • 10.10: Yosemite
  • 10.11: El Capitan
  • 10.12: macOS Sierra

20. Crankcase reservoir : OIL PAN

In most internal combustion engines the pistons that move up and down are arranged in a line, and connected to a crankshaft that runs along the bottom of the engine. The up and down motion of the pistons turns the crankshaft, which turning motion is “transmitted” (via the transmission) to the wheels. The case surrounding the crankshaft is called the crankcase. The crankcase contains a lot of oil that is squirted onto the crankshaft to lubricate it. Excess oil falls to the bottom of the crankcase and into a reservoir called the oil pan.

21. Small bouquet : SPRAY

“Bouquet” comes from the French word for a “bunch” in the sense of bunch of flowers. In French, the term is derived from an older word describing a little wood or small grove of trees.

23. “Help!” at sea : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

34. Web unit : PAGE

In essence, the World Wide Web is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is the collection of documents, and the Internet is global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I, for one, am very grateful …

36. Here, in Spanish : AQUI

“Here” is “aquí” in Spanish and “ici” in French.

38. Skater Sasha or comic Sacha Baron : COHEN

Sasha Cohen is an American figure skater from Westwood, California. Cohen’s mother is a former ballet dancer who immigrated here from Ukraine. “Sasha” is a Russian diminutive of Cohen’s birth name of “Alexandra”.

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m not a fan …

40. Indianapolis NFLer : COLT

The Indianapolis Colts professional football team has been in Indiana since 1984. The team traces its roots back to the Dayton Triangles, one of the founding members of the NFL created in 1913. The Dayton Triangles relocated and became the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1930, and then the Brooklyn Tigers in 1944. The team merged with the Boston Yanks in 1945, so then played in Boston. The Yanks were moved to New York in 1949, and then to Dallas in 1952 as the Dallas Texans. The Texan franchise moved to Baltimore in 1953, forming the Colts. The Colts made their last move in 1984, to Indianapolis. Whew!

42. Accra is its capital : GHANA

The country name “Ghana” translates as “warrior king” in the local language. The British established a colony they called Gold Coast in 1874, later to become Ghana, as part of the scramble by Europeans to settle as much of Africa as they could. One of Ghana’s most famous sons is Kofi Annan, the diplomat who served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007.

Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

45. Yellowstone attraction : GEYSER

The Great Geysir in Iceland is the first known geyser to have been discovered and documented. The name “Geysir” comes from the Icelandic and Old Norse word “geysa” meaning “to gush”. It is the Great Geysir that gives us our English word “geyser”.

President Abraham Lincoln passed a bill in 1864 creating the Yosemite Grant, which was the first piece of federal legislature that set aside park land for preservation and public use. The Yosemite Grant paved the way for the creation of Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872. Yosemite was made a national park in 1890.

47. With 31-Down, “Proud Mary” singer : TINA …
(31D. See 47-Across : … TURNER)

“Tina Turner” is the stage name used by Anna Mae Bullock, the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Turner has always loved Europe and moved there in the eighties. She now splits her time between her homes in England, France and Switzerland.

“Proud Mary” is a song written by John Fogerty and recorded in 1968 by Creedence Clearwater Revival with Fogarty singing lead vocals. The song was famously covered by Ike and Tina Turner in 1970. The “Proud Mary” in the title is a riverboat, with a “big wheel” that keeps on turnin’.

50. Cast a ballot : VOTED

Today a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

52. Sources of fragrant wood : CEDARS

Cedar is used for the manufacture of some wardrobes and chests as it has long been believed that the fragrant oil in the wood is a moth-repellent. However, whether or not cedar oil is actually effective at keeping moths away seems to be in doubt.

61. “Carmen,” e.g. : OPERA

When Georges Bizet wrote his famous opera “Carmen”, he used the melody of what he thought was an old folk song as a theme in the lovely aria “the Habanera”. Not long after he finished “Carmen” he discovered that the folk song was in fact a piece that had been written by another composer, who had died just ten years before “Carmen” was published. Fittingly, Bizet added a note to the score, declaring the original source.

64. Ten-time French Open winner : NADAL

Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player. He is noted for his expertise on clay courts, which expertise earned him the nickname “The King of Clay”.

Down

1. Mercury or Mars : ORB

Mercury is the smallest of the planets in our solar system, and is the nearest to the Sun. Mercury orbits the sun relatively rapidly compared to the other planets, and this fact may have led to it being given the name “Mercury”, the Roman deity who was the speedy messenger to the gods.

The surface of the planet Mars has a very high iron oxide content, so Mars is red because it is rusty!

2. Alphabet Series novelist Grafton : SUE

Sue Grafton writes detective novels, and her “alphabet series” features the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with “A Is for Alibi” in 1982 and is working her way through the alphabet. Apparently Ms. Grafton has already decided that “Z is for Zero” will be the final title in the series. What a clever naming system!

3. “Young Sheldon” network : CBS

“Young Sheldon” is spinoff prequel to the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” that follows the life of a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper. The title character is played by child actor Iain Armitage. Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory”, is the narrator for the spinoff, and is also an executive producer. In another link between the shows, young Sheldon’s Mom is played by actress Zoe Perry. Perry is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who plays “old” Sheldon’s mom in the original series.

4. Kind of clarinet : ALTO

The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn’t it? The name comes from the Italian word “clarino” meaning “trumpet”, with the “-et” suffix indicating “small”.

8. Genesis garden : EDEN

The Book of Genesis is the first book in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. Some of the main figures in the book are Adam and Eve, Moses, Abraham and Jacob/Israel. “Genesis” is a Greek word meaning “origin, creation”.

9. Ringo Starr’s title : SIR

Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles, replacing drummer Pete Best, Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name “Ringo Starr”, because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded “cowboyish”. Back then his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time”.

12. Civil rights hero Parks : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

18. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

Ben Gurion International (TLV) is Israel’s main airport, and is located in the city of Lod just a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv. The airport is named for David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.

23. One carrying a torch? : SCONCE

A sconce is a light fixture that today uses electric bulbs, but in the past used candles and torches. The defining feature of a sconce is that it is supported by a wall and does not have a base that stands on the ground. Usually the light is indirect, projected upwards towards the ceiling.

25. Feature of some penny loafers (and see circles) : SADDLE STRAP (giving “spaghetti strap”)

The type of slip-on shoe called a “loafer” dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by the Fortnum and Mason’s store in London. The derivative term “penny loafer” arose in the late fifties or early sixties, although the exact etymology seems unclear.

27. Small, chirpy bird : WREN

A wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.

32. Indian lutes : SITARS

The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. It is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

34. “Always be a __, even in prose”: Baudelaire : POET

Charles Baudelaire was a French poet noted not only for his own work but also for translating the work of American poet Edgar Allan Poe.

38. Computer “brains,” briefly : CPUS

The central processing unit (CPU) is the main component on the motherboard of a computer. The CPU is the part of the computer that carries out most of the functions required by a program. Nowadays you can get CPUs in everything from cars to telephones.

45. Pesky flier : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and to vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

47. __ cotta : TERRA

The tem “terra cotta” comes to us from Latin via Italian and means “baked earth”. Terra cotta is a ceramic made from clay which is left unglazed. Maybe the most famous work in terra cotta is the Terracotta Army, the enormous collection of life-size figures that was buried with the Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China around 210 BC. I had the privilege of seeing some of this collection when it toured the US a few years ago, and just the few pieces on display were so very impressive.

51. Two-toned snack : OREO

The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

56. Org. that monitors wetlands : EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

57. Actress Thurman : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s “moll” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from 1998 until 2002, doing very little work in favor of motherhood. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

58. Cartoon sheet : 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.

59. Purported UFO crew : ETS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Film director’s honor : OSCAR
6. Rich, dusty soil : LOESS
11. Greeting at a dog park : ARF!
14. 100 kopecks : RUBLE
15. Common film festival film : INDIE
16. Loving murmur : COO
17. Phoenix-based hotel chain (and see circles) : BEST WESTERN (giving “spaghetti western”)
19. Mac platform : OS X
20. Crankcase reservoir : OIL PAN
21. Small bouquet : SPRAY
23. “Help!” at sea : SOS
26. Filing tool : RASP
27. Threadbare : WORN
28. Place for prayer : CHAPEL
30. Collars : ARRESTS
33. __ the hills : OLD AS
34. Web unit : PAGE
36. Here, in Spanish : AQUI
37. Agrees quietly : NODS
38. Skater Sasha or comic Sacha Baron : COHEN
39. Short : CURT
40. Indianapolis NFLer : COLT
41. Veggie burger veggies : PEAS
42. Accra is its capital : GHANA
43. Struggled to achieve : EKED OUT
45. Yellowstone attraction : GEYSER
46. Brewski : SUDS
47. With 31-Down, “Proud Mary” singer : TINA …
49. Nine and five, in nine-to-five: Abbr. : HRS
50. Cast a ballot : VOTED
52. Sources of fragrant wood : CEDARS
54. Make a mistake : ERR
55. Old family recipe (and see circles) : SECRET SAUCE (giving “spaghetti sauce”)
60. Salty body : SEA
61. “Carmen,” e.g. : OPERA
62. Not yet realized : UNMET
63. Peak : TOP
64. Ten-time French Open winner : NADAL
65. Sounds from a belfry : PEALS

Down

1. Mercury or Mars : ORB
2. Alphabet Series novelist Grafton : SUE
3. “Young Sheldon” network : CBS
4. Kind of clarinet : ALTO
5. Does some electrical work : REWIRES
6. Speech therapist’s concerns : LISPS
7. Ready to pour : ON TAP
8. Genesis garden : EDEN
9. Ringo Starr’s title : SIR
10. Motion detector, e.g. : SENSOR
11. Produce served in the fall (and see circles) : ACORN SQUASH (giving “spaghetti squash”)
12. Civil rights hero Parks : ROSA
13. Sly : FOXY
18. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL
22. Tediously moralistic : PREACHY
23. One carrying a torch? : SCONCE
24. “Hey, check it out!” : OH LOOK!
25. Feature of some penny loafers (and see circles) : SADDLE STRAP (giving “spaghetti strap”)
27. Small, chirpy bird : WREN
29. Incurring late fees : PAST DUE
30. Forever : AGES
31. See 47-Across : … TURNER
32. Indian lutes : SITARS
34. “Always be a __, even in prose”: Baudelaire : POET
35. Finder’s cry : AHA!
38. Computer “brains,” briefly : CPUS
42. Gets ready (for) : GEARS UP
44. Heavily favored : ODDS ON
45. Pesky flier : GNAT
47. __ cotta : TERRA
48. Exemplary : IDEAL
50. Garment for brisk days : VEST
51. Two-toned snack : OREO
52. Sent a dupe to : CC’ED
53. Reasonable : SANE
56. Org. that monitors wetlands : EPA
57. Actress Thurman : UMA
58. Cartoon sheet : CEL
59. Purported UFO crew : ETS

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

  1. No Googles. Had overDUE before PASTDUE.

    In the Polish neighborhood of my childhood, Kopek was a last name. Zusha was the name for Sasha.

  2. Bill is something else. I couldn’t do it in 7 minutes if I was the author; I
    couldn’t write them down that fast! The wife and I got 95% (using two
    boxes = 1%) after starting the week at 97 and 100%.

  3. 15:09. Pretty straightforward leisurely solve.

    Making the COLT history even more confusing is the Dallas Texans actually just folded, and a lot of their players opted to go play in Baltimore for the COLTS. There was another Dallas Texans team in the AFL that eventually became the Kansas City Chiefs. However, there is no relation between the old NFL Dallas Texans, the old AFL Dallas Texans, nor even the current NFL Houston Texans teams….

    Going to the first ever playoff game of the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL hockey) tonight. I suspect that building will be rocking…

    Best –

  4. The puzzle went by quite fast, faster than yesterday’s ( which I forgot to post -). The long up and down answers were relatively common.
    Hope you had a nice game, last night, Jeff.
    I initially had LOAMY before LOESS.

    Finally, a scientific fact …. Mercury may be the planet closest to the sun, but it is not the hottest planet – it is Venus that is the hottest planet. This is because Venus is made up of a thick atmosphere of CO2 carbon dioxide, which, together with its heavier mass, stores and keeps the heat, like a greenhouse effect – so it is hotter than Mercury. ( 462oC vs. 333oC) Mercury is a solid iron ball, with a thin silicate crust.

    Also Mercury, being so close to the sun vis-a-vis the earth, frequently goes into ‘retrograde’. This means, that an apparent optical illusion, in which Mercury ( as seen from the Earth – ) is seen ‘travelling’ say progressively east, on successive nights, ….. suddenly changes direction, going west, for a few days, …. and then again starts travelling east, once again. This is because Mercury, being much faster revolving around the Sun, comes alongside the Earth, from behind, levels, and then overtakes it. Happens three or four times a year.
    . Astronomically, there is no problem, but astrologically, all sorts of dire consequences are predicted …. it is not good to get married, during a “retrograde” … or even propose …. Retrograde is actually fairly common, occurring about four times a year.
    Mercury takes 60 Earth days to rotate around its own axis, and 88 days to revolve around the sun. So its rotation takes about two thirds of its own year.

    Have a nice day, all.

  5. Unfortunately Sue Grafton died in Dec 2017 before she was able to write the final “Z is for…..” book in the series. Great recorded books for a long drive.

  6. Pretty easy Wednesday; took about 10 minutes with no errors.

    Off to bed early for a rainy and windy market tomorrow…

  7. Hi folks!! ?
    Last night I accidentally saw a bit of Wednesday’s puzzle!! I forgot to cover Bill’s completed grid when I logged on…so I saw SPAGHETTI in advance! Thought it would ruin the puzzle for me but I just ignored the circles and it was fine. Not as hard as Tuesday’s, I thought.
    I don’t like the answer for penny loafers tho!! Penny loafers don’t have any straps! That would cover the place where you put the penny!?
    I actually love my penny loafers. Instead of coins, I put little silver or gold discs in the slots, as a creative touch. I get the little trinkets from jewelry making supply stores. How clever is that?? ?
    Vidwan! Thank you for the explanation of Mercury in retrograde… I never knew what that meant. I guess one needs a telescope to see it? That would be trippy! ?
    Be well~~?

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