LA Times Crossword Answers 23 May 2018, Wednesday

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

Today’s Reveal Answer: Lightheaded

Themed answers each start with a synonym of “LIGHTHEADED”:

  • 60A. Feeling woozy … and a hint to the first words of the answers to starred clues : LIGHTHEADED
  • 17A. *Precarious position : SHAKY GROUND
  • 38A. *1979 boxing sequel : ROCKY II
  • 11D. *Hall of Fame pitcher with the 1930s Cardinals : DIZZY DEAN
  • 31D. *Very small chance : FAINT HOPE

Bill’s time: 5m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Italian fashion label : PRADA

Prada was started in 1913 as a leather-goods shop in Milan, by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the company as he didn’t believe women should be involved in business (!). When the sexist brother died, his son had no interest in the business so it was his daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter. I’d say the devil loved that …

6. Invasive Asian vine : KUDZU

Kudzu is a climbing vine that is native to southern Japan and southeast China. “Kudzu” is derived from the Japanese name for the plant, “kuzu”. Kudzu is a vigorously growing weed that chokes other plants by climbing all over them and shielding them from light. Kudzu was brought to the US from Asia for the Japanese pavilion in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It was marketed as an ornamental, especially in the southeast of the country, and now is all over the region. Kudzu earned itself the nickname “the vine that ate the South”.

11. CSI lab sample : DNA

Crime scene investigator (CSI)

14. “Cosmos” host : SAGAN

“Cosmos: A Personal Journey” is a TV show co-written and presented by astronomer Carl Sagan. Originally airing in 1980, it was the most-watched series in the history of public television until Ken Burns started to produce his documentaries a decade later. Sagan’s opening words for the series are:

The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

19. Zoo opening in Britain : ZED

The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s. The spelling and pronunciation “zed” is still used in Britain and Ireland.

20. Long-lasting needlework? : TATTOO

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are also sometimes referred to as “ink”.

21. Hero of Uris’ “Exodus” : ARI

“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris that was first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, a character played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

22. Business magnate : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

29. Fido’s poodle amie : FIFI

“Mon ami” is French for “my friend”, when referring to a male. The phrase “mon amie” is used for a female.

32. Classification prefix meaning “arrangement” : TAXO-

Taxonomy is the classification of organisms or maybe even just items into groups or categories. We are most familiar with the classification of organisms in the major taxonomic ranks of:

  • Life
  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species

38. *1979 boxing sequel : ROCKY II

“Rocky II” is the 1979 sequel to the incredibly successful 1976 boxing movie “Rocky”. Sylvester Stallone’s screenplay of “Rocky II” was adapted into a 1979 novel, with Stallone given credit as the author.

40. Wanted poster letters : AKA

Also known as (aka)

44. Foul mood : SNIT

The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

45. __ Ark : NOAH’S

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

47. “Get outta there!” : SCAT!

Our word “scat!” means “get lost!” It comes from a 19th-century expression “quicker than s’cat”, which meant “in a great hurry”. The original phrase probably came from the words “hiss” and “cat”.

49. Bronchial woe : ASTHMA

In the human body, the windpipe (trachea) divides into the left and right bronchi, which enter the lungs. Inflammation of the bronchi can cause the airways to contract and narrow, leading to the condition known as asthma.

54. Journalist Paula : ZAHN

Paula Zahn has worked as a journalist and news anchor with ABC, NBC, Fox News and CNN. She is currently the host of a true crime show on the Discovery Channel called “On the Case with Paula Zahn”. Outside of her work on television, Zahn is an accomplished cellist and has even played at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops Orchestra.

55. It has a dozen signs: Abbr. : ZOD

Most of the signs of the classical Greek zodiac are animals. This fact relates to the etymology of the term “zodiac”, which comes from the Greek “zodiakos kyklos”, literally “circle of animals”.

57. Low clouds : STRATI

Stratus clouds (plural “strati”) are very common, and as they are wider than they are tall and flat along the bottom, we might just see them as haze in a featureless sky above us. Stratus clouds are basically the same as fog, but above the ground. Indeed, many stratus clouds are formed when morning fog lifts into the air as the ground heats up.

59. “Evil Woman” band, briefly : ELO

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) recorded the song “Evil Woman” in 1975. “Evil Woman” was written by the band’s lead vocalist Jeff Lynne, in just thirty minutes!

63. Former Houston hockey team : AEROS

The Aeros were the professional ice hockey team based in Houston, Texas until 2013. The Houston Aeros were added to the International Hockey League in 1994. The franchise name was taken from the World Hockey Association’s Houston Aeros of the seventies, the team for whom Gordie Howe played. When the team moved to Des Moines in 2013, they became the Iowa Wild.

64. Tequila plant : AGAVE

Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave. The drink takes its name from the city of Tequila, located about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara.

66. __-Roman wrestling : GRECO

Greco-Roman wrestling was contested at the first modern Olympic Games, back in 1896. Back then there was relatively little regulation of the sport and Greco-Roman contests were noted for their brutality. Bouts also took a long time to finish, often lasting hours. In fact, two competitors in the final round of the event at the 1912 Olympic Games fought a match that lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes. The victor was so exhausted after the contest that he was unable to compete in the final bout.

Down

2. 1986 Indy 500 champ Bobby : RAHAL

Bobby Rahal is an auto racing driver and team owner. Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 as a driver, and won the 2004 Indianapolis 500 as a team owner (the driver was Buddy Rice).

3. Colorful quartz : AGATE

Agate is a micro-crystalline form of quartz (so is related to sand/silica). Some agate samples have deposited layers that give a striped appearance, and these are called “banded agate”.

4. ’60s TV show whose title means “doctor” in Swahili : DAKTARI

“Daktari” is a children’s television show that originally aired in the late sixties. The series involved the adventures of a vet called Dr. Marsh Tracy who worked with animals in East Africa. The show was based on a 1965 film called “Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion”. The title “Daktari” is Swahili for “doctor”.

6. “MASH” setting: Abbr. : KOR

Korea was occupied by the Japanese military from 1910 until Japan surrendered at the end of WWII in 1945. While the UN was working towards a trusteeship administration for Korea, the Soviet Union managed the Korean Peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the US managed the south. The UN’s plans came to naught as the Cold War dictated the establishment of the two separate states of North Korea and South Korea. North Korea invaded the South in 1950, leading to the Korean War. After three years of fighting, the border between the two states became the demarcation line between the two military forces on the day the Armistice Agreement was signed. That line runs diagonally across the 38th parallel, and is better known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

“MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” is a novel written by “Richard Hooker” and first published in 1968. “Richard Hooker” was the pen name used by Dr. H, Richard Hornberger and writer W. C. Heinz. The novel was the inspiration for the iconic movie “M*A*S*H” and the great spin-off television series.

7. WWII sub : U-BOAT

The term “U-boat” comes from the German “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

9. Apex : ZENITH

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

10. Amer. money : USD

The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish-American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.

11. *Hall of Fame pitcher with the 1930s Cardinals : DIZZY DEAN

Dizzy Dean was Major League Baseball pitcher who is best remembered for his time with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1930s. Dean had a successful second career after he retired from the game, working a radio and television sportscaster. The 1952 movie “The Pride of St. Louis” is a biographical film about his life and career, with Dan Dailey portraying Dean.

13. Agassi of tennis : ANDRE

Retired tennis professional Andre Agassi has been married to fellow player Steffi Graf since 2001. Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

22. Honeycomb unit : CELL

Honeybees create a structure within their nests called a honeycomb that is used to contain their larvae and also to store honey and pollen. The honeycomb comprises hexagonal cells made from wax.

26. LP player : HI-FI

Hi-fi systems were introduced in the late forties. A hi-fi is a piece of audio equipment designed to give a much higher quality reproduction of sound than cheaper systems available up to that point. “Hi-fi” stands for “high fidelity”.

28. Most coquettish : COYEST

A “coquet” is a male flirt, with “coquette” being a female flirt. The word comes from French, and is the diminutive of “coq”, the word for a cock.

33. Jaguar model : XK-E

We knew them as E-type Jags in my part of the world growing up, but they were marketed over in the US as the Jaguar XK-E line. The XK-E was manufactured from 1961 to 1974.

36. Fez, e.g. : HAT

A fez is a red cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. The fez used to be a very popular hat across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of “fez” is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

38. Scold, with “out” : REAM …

I must admit that I find the slang term “to ream out”, with its meaning “to scold harshly”, to be quite distasteful. The usage of the word as a reprimand dates back to about 1950.

42. “Walking in Memphis” singer Marc : COHN

Marc Cohn is an American country singer, who is best known for his 1991 hit “Walking in Memphis”. A few years ago, someone tried to carjack Cohn in Denver, Colorado and left him shot in the head. Fortunately, the bullet did not penetrate the skull, and his injury was relatively minor.

“Walking in Memphis” is a lovely 1991 song composed and recorded by folk-rock artist Marc Cohn. Successful cover versions were released by Cher in 1995, and by Lonestar in 2003.

44. Attic function : STORAGE

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

48. Chi. White Sox or Bos. Red Sox : AL TEAM

The Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball team was established in Chicago in 1900 and originally was called the White Stockings. The name was changed because the abbreviation “Sox” for “Stockings” was regularly used in newspaper headlines.

The Boston Red Sox is one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so commands a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell-out since May of 2003. I recently had the pleasure of touring Fenway Park. It’s quite a place …

49. Hyundai sedan : AZERA

The Hyundai Azera was the name used worldwide for the model known as the Hyundai Grandeur in its homeland of South Korea. The Azera was produced from 1986 to 1992.

51. For a special purpose : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.

52. ’70s-’80s Egyptian president : SADAT

Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.

53. Actor Carell : STEVE

The actor Steve Carell has achieved great success on both television and in movies. On the small screen, Carell came to prominence on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and then of as the lead in the US version of “The Office”. On the big screen, he starred in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Evan Almighty”. My personal favorite Carell movie is 2007’s ”Dan in Real Life”, in which he stars opposite the wonderful Juliette Binoche.

61. Chinese menu surname : TSO

General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Italian fashion label : PRADA
6. Invasive Asian vine : KUDZU
11. CSI lab sample : DNA
14. “Cosmos” host : SAGAN
15. Symphonic winds : OBOES
16. + or – particle : ION
17. *Precarious position : SHAKY GROUND
19. Zoo opening in Britain : ZED
20. Long-lasting needlework? : TATTOO
21. Hero of Uris’ “Exodus” : ARI
22. Business magnate : CZAR
23. Lowest in fat : LEANEST
25. “And __ off!” : THEY’RE
27. Take it easy : REST
28. Grade-schooler : CHILD
29. Fido’s poodle amie : FIFI
32. Classification prefix meaning “arrangement” : TAXO-
34. What candidates “press” a lot of : FLESH
37. Time division : ERA
38. *1979 boxing sequel : ROCKY II
40. Wanted poster letters : AKA
41. Do an airport maintenance job : DEICE
43. Eager about, with “on” : KEEN
44. Foul mood : SNIT
45. __ Ark : NOAH’S
47. “Get outta there!” : SCAT!
49. Bronchial woe : ASTHMA
51. Totally puzzled : AT A LOSS
54. Journalist Paula : ZAHN
55. It has a dozen signs: Abbr. : ZOD
57. Low clouds : STRATI
59. “Evil Woman” band, briefly : ELO
60. Feeling woozy … and a hint to the first words of the answers to starred clues : LIGHTHEADED
62. Knock : RAP
63. Former Houston hockey team : AEROS
64. Tequila plant : AGAVE
65. Citrus suffix : -ADE
66. __-Roman wrestling : GRECO
67. Doled (out) : METED

Down

1. Subtle summons : PSST!
2. 1986 Indy 500 champ Bobby : RAHAL
3. Colorful quartz : AGATE
4. ’60s TV show whose title means “doctor” in Swahili : DAKTARI
5. “Do I have a volunteer?” : ANYONE?
6. “MASH” setting: Abbr. : KOR
7. WWII sub : U-BOAT
8. Gloomy : DOUR
9. Apex : ZENITH
10. Amer. money : USD
11. *Hall of Fame pitcher with the 1930s Cardinals : DIZZY DEAN
12. Lack of musical skill : NO EAR
13. Agassi of tennis : ANDRE
18. Heads for : GOES TO
22. Honeycomb unit : CELL
24. Puts into piles : STACKS
26. LP player : HI-FI
28. Most coquettish : COYEST
29. Gave grub to : FED
30. Anger : IRE
31. *Very small chance : FAINT HOPE
33. Jaguar model : XK-E
35. Hit the slopes : SKI
36. Fez, e.g. : HAT
38. Scold, with “out” : REAM …
39. One way to pay : IN CASH
42. “Walking in Memphis” singer Marc : COHN
44. Attic function : STORAGE
46. Not as clear : HAZIER
48. Chi. White Sox or Bos. Red Sox : AL TEAM
49. Hyundai sedan : AZERA
50. Tossed __ : SALAD
51. For a special purpose : AD HOC
52. ’70s-’80s Egyptian president : SADAT
53. Actor Carell : STEVE
56. Folklore brute : OGRE
58. Carded at a club, briefly : ID’ED
60. Fall behind : LAG
61. Chinese menu surname : TSO

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