LA Times Crossword Answers 2 May 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Reveal Answer: IT Team

Themed answers form a TEAM of people, all of whom have the initials IT:

  • 48D. Expert computer operations group … to which the answers to starred clues belong? : IT TEAM
  • 17A. *Mother of Donald Jr. and Eric : IVANA TRUMP
  • 26A. *Laurence Fishburne’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” role : IKE TURNER
  • 35A. *With 41-Across, two-time NBA All-Star named for an NBA Hall of Famer : ISAIAH ….
  • 41A. *See 35-Across : … THOMAS
  • 51A. *Swimmer with five Olympic gold medals : IAN THORPE
  • 60A. *Early 20th-century muckraker : IDA TARBELL

Bill’s time: 6m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Low-pH compound : ACID

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

5. Creighton University city : OMAHA

Creighton University is a private Jesuit school in Omaha, Nebraska that was founded in 1878. Originally called Creighton College, it was funded with a bequest of $200,000 from Mary Lucretia Creighton in honor of her husband, banker Edward Creighton.

15. Spanish bar food : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

17. *Mother of Donald Jr. and Eric : IVANA TRUMP

Ivana Zelníčková was born in Czechoslovakia. She married an Austrian named Alfred Winklmayr, in an arrangement that allowed her to leave Communist Czechoslovakia. The marriage was dissolved within two years, and Zelníčková settled in Canada. She was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald’s marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly as well-covered as their very litigious divorce in the early nineties.

Eric Trump is the second son of Donald Trump and his first wife Ivana Zelníčková. Eric works for his father, and in particular manages Donald’s golf courses and the Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia. Eric also used to appear in the boardroom alongside his Dad on the reality show “The Apprentice”.

Donald Trump Jr. is the oldest child of President Donald Trump and his first wife Ivana Trump née Zelníčková. Soon after his father was elected president, Donald Jr. was named trustee of the Trump Organization, along with his brother Eric and company CFO Allen Weisselberg.

19. Pacific Rim continent : ASIA

The phrase “Pacific Rim” describes the countries that surround the Pacific Ocean. The related phrase “Pacific Basin” includes the islands in the Pacific Ocean, in addition to the Pacific Rim nations.

20. Disney collectible : 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.

21. __ anglais: English horn : COR

The English horn is also known by its French name “cor anglais”. It is a double-reed woodwind instrument.

22. “Casablanca” actor Peter : LORRE

The marvelous actor Peter Lorre was born in what is now modern-day Slovakia. Lorre’s real name was Laszlo Lowenstein. He started acting in Vienna when he was quite young, only 17 years old. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish Lowenstein headed to Paris and then London, eventually ending up in Hollywood. Lorre found himself typecast as the wicked foreigner in American movies, but I think he sneered and snarled his way to the bank.

Signor Ugarte is a wonderful character in the classic 1942 film “Casablanca”. Ugarte is played by Peter Lorre, and is the man who has possession of the crucial letters of transit that were obtained by murdering two German couriers.

The movie “Casablanca” was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn’t a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song “As Time Goes By” was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called “Everybody’s Welcome”, and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson (who played “Sam” in the film). Poor Dooley didn’t get to record it as a single, due to a musician’s strike in 1943. The 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.

24. Dublin residents : IRISH

The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as “Baile Átha Cliath” in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city “Dubh Linn”, meaning “black pool”.

26. *Laurence Fishburne’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” role : IKE TURNER

Musician Ike Turner is perhaps best known for the work in the sixties and seventies with then-wife Tina Turner. Turner met his future wife on the local club circuit in St. Louis in the mid-fifties, and together they formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Despite all of his success, Ike’s life went downhill in the eighties and nineties, largely due to addiction to cocaine and crack. He served time in jail, and Tina later described episodes of domestic abuse in her autobiography “I, Tina”. Ike was diagnosed with emphysema in 2005, which left him very weak and in need of a constant supply of oxygen. He passed away in 2007 due to a cocaine overdose.

“I, Tina” is the 1986 autobiography of Tina Turner. The book was so successful, it was adapted into a movie called “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Released in 1993, the film stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner.

I’d guess that most famous roles played by actor Laurence Fishburne are Morpheus in “The Matrix” series of movies, and Dr. Raymond Langston on the TV show “CSI”. Fishburne is married to the actress Gina Torres. The pair play a married couple on the TV show “Hannibal”.

30. Dried chili in Mexican cuisine : ANCHO

An ancho is a dried poblano pepper that is used in Mexican cuisine. The poblano is a mild chili.

32. Colorful tropical fish : TETRA

The neon tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.

35. *With 41-Across, two-time NBA All-Star named for an NBA Hall of Famer : ISAIAH ….
(41. *See 35-Across : … THOMAS)

NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas was born in Tacoma, Washington, and was named for the Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas. His mother insisted on the biblical spelling of the name “Isaiah”.

40. Courthouse figs. : DAS

District Attorney (DA)

47. Place for a Fitbit : WRIST

Fitbits are wearable activity trackers that are mainly used to track the number of steps walked, although more and more features have been added over time. A Fitbit was even used as evidence in at least one murder case. A Connecticut man claimed that a home intruder had shot and killed his wife. Police used data from the wife’s Fitbit to disprove the husband’s story, and ended up charging him with the murder.

51. *Swimmer with five Olympic gold medals : IAN THORPE

Ian Thorpe is a retired competitive swimmer from Australia. Thorpe won five Olympic gold medals, and earned himself the nickname “The Thorpedo”.

53. Perfume compound : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

55. Buccaneer’s domain : SEA

Buccaneers were pirates who worked the Caribbean in the 1800s, mainly attacking Spanish vessels. The original buccaneer was a French hunter living on Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). These hunters used a local design of frame called a “buccan” as a smokehouse for meat, and so picked up the name “buccaneer”. In the first half of the 17th century, many of the buccaneers were driven off the island of Hispaniola by the Spanish and so they turned to the sea, making their living by pirating Spanish shipping.

57. __ chi: martial art : TAI

More correctly called t‘ai chi ch‘uan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

58. “The Boss Baby” voice actor Baldwin : ALEC

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

“The Boss Baby” is a computer-animated comedy film released in 2017. It’s all about the love for puppies and babies, and is apparently very funny. Alec Baldwin voices the title character. The film is loosely based on picture book of the same name by Marla Frazee that was published in 2010.

60. *Early 20th-century muckraker : IDA TARBELL

Ida Tarbell was a teacher and what we would call today an “investigative journalist”, although back in her day she was known as a “muckraker”. Her most famous work is her 1904 book “The History of the Standard Oil Company”. It is an exposé that is credited with hastening the breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in 1911.

63. Sport with periods called chukkers : POLO

A game of polo is divided into periods of play called chukkers (sometimes “chukkas”). The game usually lasts for two hours, and the time between the chukkers is used to change horses.

64. Intoxicating shrubs : COCAS

The coca plant is native to South America and is similar in appearance to a blackthorn bush. Coca leaves have been chewed by humans for centuries, perhaps even as far back as 3,000 years ago. Chewing the leaves apparently produces a pleasurable numb sensation in the mouth and a pleasant taste. The most famous alkaloid in the leaf is cocaine, but this wasn’t extracted in its pure form until the mid-1800s. The extracted cocaine was used in a medicines and tonics and other beverages.

65. Fidel’s successor : RAUL

Raul Castro is the younger brother of Fidel Castro. Raul has been President of Cuba since 2008, when Fidel stepped aside.

Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and passed away in 2016.

68. Band boosters : AMPS

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

Down

1. Keys on a keyboard : ALICIA

“Alicia Keys” is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.

2. Luray attraction : CAVERN

The Luray Caverns are located in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The cave system features are remarkable musical instrument called the Great Stalacpipe Organ. This organ produces sounds when electrically-activated rubber mallets strike stalactites of varying sizes.

3. Slanted, in a way : ITALIC

Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

4. La-Z-Boy room : DEN

La-Z-Boy is a furniture manufacturer based in Monroe, Michigan. Although the company makes furniture for every room in the house, it is famous for its recliner chairs found in family rooms all over the country.

5. Aptly named “Airplane!” autopilot : OTTO

The 1980 movie “Airplane!” has to be one of the zaniest comedies ever made. The lead roles were Ted Striker (played by Robert Hays) and Elaine Dickinson (played by Julie Hagerty). But it was Leslie Nielsen who stole the show, playing Dr. Barry Rumack. That’s my own humble opinion of course …

7. “The Simpsons” storekeeper : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

8. Village : HAMLET

A hamlet is a small village, especially one without a church (it says here …).

11. What some vote in : ABSENTIA

“In absentia” is Latin for “while absent”. For example, a person might be given an award in absentia, or perhaps be convicted of a crime in absentia.

12. Christopher A. Wray’s agcy. : FBI

Christopher A. Wray was working as a partner in a law firm when he was called on by President Donald Trump to replace fired FBI director James Comey. Wray had acted as personal attorney for then Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie during the infamous Bridgegate scandal. Prior to going into private practice, Wray had worked in the Justice Department. James Comey was his boss for while, when Comey was Deputy Attorney General.

13. Bag-checking org. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.

18. “Gesundheit!” evoker : ACHOO!

“Gesundheit” is the German word for “health”, and is used in response to a sneeze in Germany, as indeed it is here in the US quite often.

27. Patella : KNEECAP

The patella is the kneecap. “Patella” is the Latin name for the bone, and is a diminutive form of “patina”, the word for “pan”. The idea is that the kneecap is pan-shaped.

34. FedEx alternative : UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.

35. Many a cable co. : ISP

An Internet service provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP’s network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs.

36. __ butter: cosmetic moisturizer : SHEA

“Shea butter” is a common moisturizer or lotion used as a cosmetic. It is a fat that is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There is evidence that shea butter was used back in Cleopatra’s Egypt.

39. Symbol of the second-largest state : LONE STAR

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single gold star on a blue background symbolized Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

48. Expert computer operations group … to which the answers to starred clues belong? : IT TEAM

Information technology (IT)

59. Bath bathroom : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo” comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

62. Push-up top : BRA

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Low-pH compound : ACID
5. Creighton University city : OMAHA
10. Silly : DAFT
14. Running behind : LATE
15. Spanish bar food : TAPAS
16. Falls back : EBBS
17. *Mother of Donald Jr. and Eric : IVANA TRUMP
19. Pacific Rim continent : ASIA
20. Disney collectible : CEL
21. __ anglais: English horn : COR
22. “Casablanca” actor Peter : LORRE
24. Dublin residents : IRISH
26. *Laurence Fishburne’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” role : IKE TURNER
30. Dried chili in Mexican cuisine : ANCHO
31. Tiny tunneler : ANT
32. Colorful tropical fish : TETRA
33. Cause of red cheeks : ROUGE
35. *With 41-Across, two-time NBA All-Star named for an NBA Hall of Famer : ISAIAH ….
36. Biol. or geol. : SCI
38. Spa treatments : PEELS
40. Courthouse figs. : DAS
41. *See 35-Across : … THOMAS
43. Woody thicket : COPSE
45. Extends a tour : RE-UPS
46. Sunbather’s goal : TAN
47. Place for a Fitbit : WRIST
51. *Swimmer with five Olympic gold medals : IAN THORPE
53. Perfume compound : ESTER
54. Take a pass : SAY NO
55. Buccaneer’s domain : SEA
57. __ chi: martial art : TAI
58. “The Boss Baby” voice actor Baldwin : ALEC
60. *Early 20th-century muckraker : IDA TARBELL
63. Sport with periods called chukkers : POLO
64. Intoxicating shrubs : COCAS
65. Fidel’s successor : RAUL
66. Throw out : TOSS
67. Contest submission : ENTRY
68. Band boosters : AMPS

Down

1. Keys on a keyboard : ALICIA
2. Luray attraction : CAVERN
3. Slanted, in a way : ITALIC
4. La-Z-Boy room : DEN
5. Aptly named “Airplane!” autopilot : OTTO
6. Two-party system? : MARRIAGE
7. “The Simpsons” storekeeper : APU
8. Village : HAMLET
9. __ of tea : A SPOT
10. Start of a message to magazine subscribers : DEAR READERS …
11. What some vote in : ABSENTIA
12. Christopher A. Wray’s agcy. : FBI
13. Bag-checking org. : TSA
18. “Gesundheit!” evoker : ACHOO!
23. Well-worn tracks : RUTS
25. Tex-Mex seafood dish : SHRIMP TACOS
27. Patella : KNEECAP
28. Periods of history : ERAS
29. Root word? : RAH!
34. FedEx alternative : UPS
35. Many a cable co. : ISP
36. __ butter: cosmetic moisturizer : SHEA
37. Gives legal advice : COUNSELS
39. Symbol of the second-largest state : LONE STAR
41. Prefix with angle or cycle : TRI-
42. Pallid : ASHY
44. Use foul language : SWEAR
46. Walked all over : TROD ON
48. Expert computer operations group … to which the answers to starred clues belong? : IT TEAM
49. Make airtight : SEAL UP
50. Quavering musical sounds : TRILLS
52. In reserve : ON ICE
56. “Child’s play!” : EASY!
58. On point : APT
59. Bath bathroom : LOO
61. Pretend to be : ACT
62. Push-up top : BRA

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