LA Times Crossword Answers 17 May 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Triple Play

Themed answers each include three identical 3-letter syllables side by side:

  • 19A. Trousers in the Liberace Museum? : CHICHI CHINOS
  • 32A. Less colorful African carpet? : DRABBER BERBER
  • 39A. Surfeit of sweets? : BONBON BONANZA
  • 53A. Made-to-order drum? : CUSTOM TOM-TOM

Bill’s time: 8m 45s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Selfies, e.g. : PICS

A selfie is a self-portrait, usually one taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A “group selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”. A “couple selfie” is known as an “usie” or “ussie”, although those terms are sometimes also used for a group picture.

5. Consumer protection org. : BBB

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a private concern (nope, it is not a government agency) that was founded in 1912. It operates like a franchise, with local BBB’s managed independently while operating to a “corporate” set of guidelines.

8. Grey Poupon variety : DIJON

Dijon is a city in eastern France in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn’t protect the name “Dijon” so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada!

Grey Poupon mustard dates way back to 1777 when Maurice Grey started making mustard with Auguste Poupon in Dijon, France.

13. “I must be cruel, __ to be kind”: Hamlet : ONLY

Here are some lines spoken by Hamlet to his mother in William Shakespeare’s play. The title character is referring to his killing of Polonius as he lurked behind a wall hanging:

I do repent; but heaven hath pleas’d it so
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So again good night.
I must be cruel only to be kind.
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

18. Bit of Blake : VERSE

William Blake was an English poet and artist who is considered now to have been a powerful force in his field during the Romantic Age. One of Blake’s more famous poems is “The Tyger”, which has the celebrated lines:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

19. Trousers in the Liberace Museum? : CHICHI CHINOS

Someone or something described as chichi is showily trendy and pretentious. “Chichi” is a French noun meaning “airs, fuss”.

Chino is a twill cloth most often used to make hard-wearing pants. The pants have come to be referred to as chinos. Chino cloth was originally developed for use by the military, but quickly became popular with civilians.

The flamboyant pianist’s full name was Wladziu Valentino Liberace. Liberace was born in a suburb of Milwaukee into a Polish-Italian family. There used to be a Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, but sadly it closed in 2010 after 31 years in operation.

23. Estadio cheer : OLE!

In Spain, one might hear a shout of “ole!” in “un estadio” (a stadium).

28. Aquarium 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.

30. Title for Maggie Smith : DAME

Dame Maggie Smith is a wonderful, wonderful actress from England. Although Smith has had an extensive stage career, she is perhaps best known outside of Britain as a film and television actress. She has won two Oscars, including Best Actress for playing the title character in 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. TV audiences today know her best as the Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey”. I saw her recently in the movie “The Second Best Marigold Hotel”, a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend …

31. “Mr. Robot” TV network : USA

“Mr. Robot” is an engaging drama series about an anxious and clinically depressed computer hacker. Said hacker joins an anarchic group of hackers known as “Mr. Robot” who are intent on taking down the largest conglomerate in the world. I binge-watched the first two series, and really enjoyed the experience …

32. Less colorful African carpet? : DRABBER BERBER

The Berber peoples live in North Africa, west of the Nile. Most of the Berbers can now be found in Morocco.

35. Morales of Netflix’s “Ozark” : ESAI

The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

“Ozark” is a TV crime show starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as a married couple that relocate from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks. The couple fall foul of Mexican drug lord after a money laundering scheme goes awry. The show is set at lake resort in the Ozarks, although filming actually takes place at lakes in the Atlanta area in order to take advantage of tax breaks offered by the State of Georgia.

37. Father of octuplets on “The Simpsons” : 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 …

39. Surfeit of sweets? : BONBON BONANZA

A bonanza is a mine with a rich pocket of ore that can be exploited. “Bonanza” is the Spanish word for a rich lode, and we imported the term into English. “Bonanza” originally meant “fair weather at sea”, and from that came to mean “prosperity, good fortune”. Ultimately, “bonanza” comes from the Latin “bonus” meaning “good”.

45. Folk singer Axton : HOYT

Hoyt Axton was a singer-songwriter best known for his folk-style songs. The Axton song most familiar to me is “Joy to the World”, which was a bit hit for Three Dog Night in 1971.

49. Hose users: Abbr. : FDS

Fire department (FD)

50. Holm of “The Hobbit” : IAN

English actor Sir Ian Holm is very respected on the stage in the UK, but is better known for his film roles here in the US. Holm played the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in two of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and he also played the character who turns out be an android in the film “Alien”.

“The Hobbit” is a series of three films based on the 1937 novel of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. “The Hobbit” trilogy was very successful at the box office, even outstripping “The Lord of the Rings” collection of films.

51. GI address : APO

Army post office (APO)

The initials “GI” stand for “Government Issue”, and not “General Infantry” as is widely believed. “GI” was first used in the military to denote equipment made from Galvanized Iron and during WWI, incoming German shells were nicknamed “GI cans”. Soon after, the term GI came to be associated with “Government Issue” and eventually became an adjective to describe anything associated with the Army.

53. Made-to-order drum? : CUSTOM TOM-TOM

A tom-tom is a drum without snares. The name “tom-tom” came from the Hindi name “tam-tam”, which in turn was likely imitative of the sound made by the instrument.

59. Island off Tuscany : ELBA

I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is also overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day and we won’t be going back again …

60. Whodunit canine : 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.

63. User of black lipstick, perhaps : GOTH

The goth subculture developed from the gothic rock scene in the early eighties, and is a derivative of the punk music movement. It started in England and spread to many countries around the globe. The term “goth” comes from the Eastern Germanic tribe called the Goths.

64. Gumption : MOXIE

Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …

66. “Orinoco Flow” singer : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

Down

3. “Homeland” Emmy winner : CLAIRE DANES

Claire Danes is an actress from New York City who played the title role in the HBO movie “Temple Grandin”. More recently, she has been starring as Carrie Mathison in the excellent Showtime drama series “Homeland”.

“Homeland” is a psychological drama shown on Showtime about a CIA officer who is convinced that a certain US Marine is a threat to the security of the United States. The show is based on a series from Israeli television called “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War”). I saw the first season of this show and highly recommend it …

5. Lawn game : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in Ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

7. Drive someone home? : BAT IN A RUN

That would be baseball.

9. Composer Charles : IVES

Charles Ives was one of the great classical composers, and probably the first American to be so recognized. Sadly, his work largely went unsung (pun intended!) during his lifetime, and was really only accepted into the performed repertoire after his death in 1954.

11. Goes overboard (on) : ODS

Overdose (OD)

12. Wedding notice word : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.

14. Forensics facility, briefly : CSI LAB

Crime scene investigator (CSI)

Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

20. Circle dance : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

25. Masters champ in 2012 and 2014 : BUBBA WATSON

Bubba Watson is a golfer on the PGA Tour from Bagdad, Florida. Watson is known as a big driver of the ball. He can hit a golf ball over 350 yards. Born Gerry Watson, he was nicknamed by his father in honor of football player Bubba Smith.

29. Twin Cities daily, familiarly : TRIB

The “Star Tribune” is a Minneapolis-based newspaper that has the widest circulation in the state of Minnesota. “The Trib” dates back to the “Minneapolis Tribune” founded in 1867 and the “Minneapolis Daily Star” founded in 1920. A merger led to the formation of the “Star Tribune” in 1982.

30. Home __ : DEPOT

The Home Depot is the largest home improvement retail chain in the US, ahead of Lowe’s. Home Depot opened their first two stores in 1979. The average store size if just over 100,000 square feet. The largest Home Depot outlet is in Union, New Jersey, and it is 225,000 square feet in size. That’s a lot of nuts and bolts …

34. Demolish : RAZE

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “to raise”, a homophone of “to raze”, means “to build up”.

35. Former Skype owner : EBAY

The main feature of the Skype application when introduced was that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

36. Dover fish : SOLE

Dover sole is the name given to two different species of flatfish. The common sole found in the Atlantic is called “Dover sole” in Europe, taking its names from the fishing port of Dover on the English coast where a lot of the fish was landed. The second species found in the Pacific is known as “Dover sole” on the Pacific coast of America. The Pacific species is called “Dover sole” just because it resembles the European species.

42. Video game figure : AVATAR

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of “online presences” one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

43. Spanish lad : NINO

In Spanish, a “madre” (mother) might have a “niño” (boy).

50. Boast in a 1987 Michael Jackson hit : I’M BAD

The song “Bad” was written and sung by Michael Jackson, and released in 1987. The song is about being tough on the streets, being “bad”.

52. Lincoln neighbor : OMAHA

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

The city of Lincoln is the second-largest in Nebraska, and is the state capital. In the days of the Nebraska Territory, the capital was the larger city of Omaha. When the territory was being considered for statehood, most of the population (which lived south of the River Platte) was in favor of annexation to Kansas. The pro-statehood legislature voted to move the capital nearer to that population in a move intended to appease those favoring annexation. As this conflict was taking place just after the Civil War, a special interest group in Omaha arranged for the new capital to be named Lincoln, in honor of the recently-assassinated president. The thought was that the populace south of the River Platte had been sympathetic to the Confederate cause and so would not pass the measure to move the capital if the Lincoln name was used. But the measure passed, the capital was moved, and Nebraska became the thirty-seventh State of the Union in 1867.

54. Muffin spread : OLEO

Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. A French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine in 1869, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”. The name “oleomargarine” also gives us our generic term “oleo”.

55. Sorcerer in fantasy games : MAGE

“Mage” is an archaic word meaning “magician”.

56. “Grace and Frankie” actor Waterston : SAM

Actor Sam Waterston is perhaps best known for his roles on television. He played District Attorney Jack McCoy on “Law & Order” for several years, and more recently was cast alongside Martin Sheen, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the Netflix original “Grace and Frankie”.

“Grace and Frankie” is a Netflix original comedy series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles, alongside Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. Grace & Frankie are two ex-wives who decide to live together after their longtime husbands announce that they are in love and intend to get married.

57. Latin trio word : AMO

“Amo, amas, amat” translates from Latin as “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”.

58. Cured salmon : LOX

Lox is brine-cured salmon fillet that is finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Selfies, e.g. : PICS
5. Consumer protection org. : BBB
8. Grey Poupon variety : DIJON
13. “I must be cruel, __ to be kind”: Hamlet : ONLY
14. Bar mixer : COLA
15. Slip away from : EVADE
16. __ all-time low : AT AN
17. “Beat it!” : SCAT!
18. Bit of Blake : VERSE
19. Trousers in the Liberace Museum? : CHICHI CHINOS
22. Guffaw syllable : HAR!
23. Estadio cheer : OLE!
24. Hardware item : NUT
25. Overalls part : BIB
28. Aquarium fish : TETRA
30. Title for Maggie Smith : DAME
31. “Mr. Robot” TV network : USA
32. Less colorful African carpet? : DRABBER BERBER
35. Morales of Netflix’s “Ozark” : ESAI
37. Father of octuplets on “The Simpsons” : APU
38. Not yet up : ABED
39. Surfeit of sweets? : BONBON BONANZA
44. Many a craft beer : ALE
45. Folk singer Axton : HOYT
46. Scenic highway offerings : VIEWS
48. “Absolutely” : YES
49. Hose users: Abbr. : FDS
50. Holm of “The Hobbit” : IAN
51. GI address : APO
53. Made-to-order drum? : CUSTOM TOM-TOM
56. Cold dish : SALAD
59. Island off Tuscany : ELBA
60. Whodunit canine : ASTA
61. Interspersed with : AMONG
62. Nectar flavor : PEAR
63. User of black lipstick, perhaps : GOTH
64. Gumption : MOXIE
65. Nursery purchase : SOD
66. “Orinoco Flow” singer : ENYA

Down

1. Cook in hot milk, say : POACH
2. Since : IN THAT
3. “Homeland” Emmy winner : CLAIRE DANES
4. Harmonized, with “in” : SYNC
5. Lawn game : BOCCE
6. Vanilla : BLAH
7. Drive someone home? : BAT IN A RUN
8. Fan : DEVOTEE
9. Composer Charles : IVES
10. 8-Across holder : JAR
11. Goes overboard (on) : ODS
12. Wedding notice word : NEE
14. Forensics facility, briefly : CSI LAB
20. Circle dance : HORA
21. Unfeeling : NUMB
25. Masters champ in 2012 and 2014 : BUBBA WATSON
26. “That’s clear” : I SEE
27. Meter writer : BARD
29. Twin Cities daily, familiarly : TRIB
30. Home __ : DEPOT
33. Slow-but-steady progress : BABY STEPS
34. Demolish : RAZE
35. Former Skype owner : EBAY
36. Dover fish : SOLE
40. “Dang!” : OH FUDGE!
41. Some assents : NODS
42. Video game figure : AVATAR
43. Spanish lad : NINO
47. Inconsistent : SPOTTY
50. Boast in a 1987 Michael Jackson hit : I’M BAD
52. Lincoln neighbor : OMAHA
53. “__ help you?” : CAN I
54. Muffin spread : OLEO
55. Sorcerer in fantasy games : MAGE
56. “Grace and Frankie” actor Waterston : SAM
57. Latin trio word : AMO
58. Cured salmon : LOX

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