LA Times Crossword Answers 25 May 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: Winston Emmons
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pests

Themed answers are well-known phrases in which one word has been anagrammed to give a type of insect:

  • 56D. Ones that have infested four puzzle answers : PESTS
  • 20A. Competition among insects? : GAME OF HORNETS (from “Game of Thrones”)
  • 29A. Rule by generations of insects? : GNAT DYNASTY (from “Tang dynasty”)
  • 47A. Tiny but impressive insect? : HECK OF A MITE (from “heck of a time”)
  • 57A. Deceptiveness of insects? : FLEAS’ PRETENSE (from “false pretense”)

Bill’s time: 7m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Actress Gilbert of “The Big Bang Theory” : SARA

The actress Sara Gilbert grew up playing Darlene on the sitcom “Roseanne” from 1988 to 1997. Today Gilbert appears fairly often on another hit sitcom, namely “The Big Bang Theory”. You can also see her on the daytime talk show called “The Talk”, a show that she herself created. And, she made a comeback as Darlene in 2018 in the “Roseanne” reboot.

“The Big Bang Theory” is very clever sitcom that first aired in 2007. “The Big Bang Theory” theme song was specially commissioned for the show, and was composed and is sung by Canadian band Barenaked Ladies. The theme song was released in 2007 as a single and is featured on a Barenaked Ladies greatest hits album.

5. “Lucky Jim” author : AMIS

Kingsley Amis (what a great name!) was a very successful English writer, famous for producing entertaining, comedic novels. His most famous novel probably is his first, “Lucky Jim” published in 1954. That said, he won a Booker Prize for a later novel, “The Old Devils” published in 1986. He passed on some of his talent through his genes, it seems, as his son Martin Amis is a very successful novelist too.

“Lucky Jim” is a 1954 novel by English author Kingsley Amis. It’s about Jim Dixon, a university lecturer in medieval history who gets involved in some awkward mishaps. There’s a very funny 1957 film adaptation starring Ian Carmichael in the title role.

9. “Be silent,” in scores : TACET

Tacet is a musical direction meaning “be silent”. It is typically written on a score to instruct a particular voice or instrument to remain silent for a whole movement. “Tacet” is Latin for “it is silent”.

14. Stagecraft aid : PROP

We use the term “props” for objects that are used by actors on stage during a play. The term is a shortening of the older term “properties”, which was used with the same meaning up through the 19th century.

18. Director Preminger : OTTO

Otto Preminger was noted for directing films that pushed the envelope in terms of subject matter, at least in the fifties and sixties. Great examples would be 1955’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” that dealt with drug addiction, 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder” that dealt with rape, and 1962’s “Advise and Consent” that dealt with homosexuality. If you’ve seen these films, you’ll have noticed that the references are somewhat indirect and disguised, in order to get past the censors.

20. Competition among insects? : GAME OF HORNETS (from “Game of Thrones”)

A hornet is a large type of wasp, with some species reaching over two inches in length.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy television drama that is adapted from a series of novels by George R. R. Martin called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. “Game of Thrones” is actually filmed in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland. I recently binge-watched the show’s first seven seasons, and enjoyed it. There’s no doubt that the production value of “Game of Thrones” is remarkable, but to be honest, I never became riveted by the storyline …

23. 2000 NBA MVP : O’NEAL

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality show: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

24. Part of ENT : EAR

Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)

25. Cartesian conclusion : … I AM

Anything pertaining to the philosophy of the great Rene Descartes can described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”.

28. Pit stuff : TAR

A tar pit is an unusual geological feature created by leakage of bitumen from below ground to the earth’s surface creating a pool of natural asphalt. One of the most famous of these occurrences is the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

29. Rule by generations of insects? : GNAT DYNASTY (from “Tang dynasty”)

The Tang dynasty of China lasted from 618 to 907 BCE.

34. City north of Memphis : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

Memphis was an ancient city on the River Nile. The ruins of Memphis are located just south of Cairo, Egypt. It was a magnificent city that eventually failed due to the economic success of the city of Alexandria, which was located further down the river and right on the Mediterranean coast.

35. “The Lord of the Rings” actor : ASTIN

Sean Astin is best known for playing the title role in the 1993 film “Rudy” and the character Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” movies. You might also have seen him playing Lynn McGill in the 5th season of “24”. Astin is the son of actress Patty Duke, and the adopted son of actor John Astin (of “The Addams Family” fame).

36. Brand once pitched by Garfield, oddly : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

39. Fabric-dyeing technique : BATIK

Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in solvent that dissolves the wax.

42. “¿Cómo __?” : ESTA

“Cómo está?” is Spanish for “how are you, how’s it going?”

43. Macy’s competitor : SEARS

Richard Sears was a station agent on the railroad. In the late 1800s, he bought up a shipment of unwanted watches that was left at his depot and sold the watches to other agents up and down the line. He was so successful that he ordered more watches and then came up with the idea of using a catalog to promote more sales. The catalog idea caught on, and his success allowed Sears to open retail locations in 1925. By the mid 1900s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the whole country.

45. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA

Edina, Minnesota lies just southwest of Minneapolis. The town takes its name from Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. The name was suggested by a Scottish mill owner at the time the new village was founded in 1888.

47. Tiny but impressive insect? : HECK OF A MITE (from “heck of a time”)

Mites are tiny arthropods in the arachnid (spider) class. Mites are (annoyingly!) very successful creatures that have adapted to all sorts of habitats. And being so small, they generally pass unnoticed. Ick …

50. One on first? : WHO

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players

First Base: Who
Second Base: What
Third Base: I Don’t Know
Left field: Why
Center field: Because
Pitcher: Tomorrow
Catcher: Today
Shortstop: I Don’t Care/I Don’t Give a Darn

53. “__ tu”: Verdi aria : ERI

“Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”) is an 1859 opera by Giuseppe Verdi. It tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball, which is an event that actually took place in 1792. “Un ballo in maschera” includes every crossword constructors favorite aria “Eri tu”.

54. Fairy queen of folklore : MAB

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Mercutio refers to the fairy known as Queen Mab. It seems that Queen Mab was Shakespeare’s creation, although she became popular in subsequent works of literature. For example, she is referred to in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”, in Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”, and Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a large poetic work called “Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem”.

55. Bee-related : APIAN

Something described as apian is related to bees. “Apis” is the Latin for “bee”.

57. Deceptiveness of insects? : FLEAS’ PRETENSE (from “false pretense”)

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

64. Israeli carrier : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

66. Barclays Center, for one : ARENA

The Barclays Center is an arena in Brooklyn, New York that is home to the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA, and to the New York Islanders of the NHL. Barclays ending up paying over $200 million for the naming rights, even though the London-based banking group has no retail banks or ATMs in the US.

67. Barclays Center team : NETS

The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets were the New Jersey Nets until 2012, and were based in Newark. Prior to 1977, the team was known as the New York Nets and played in various locations on Long Island. Ten years earlier, the Nets were called the New Jersey Americans and were headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey.

70. Stun, in a way : TASE

“To tase” is to use a taser, a stun gun.

Down

1. Peg in a cask : SPIGOT

Back in the 15th century, a spigot was specifically a plug to stop a hole in a cask. Somewhere along the way, a spigot had a valve added for variable control of flow.

2. One of two tarot card groups : ARCANA

In a 78-card tarot deck, there are four 14-card suits known as the four minor arcana. There is also a 21-card trump suit, and a card referred to as the Fool. The Fool and trump suit are sometimes collectively called the major arcana.

4. Sleep disorder : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

6. “Breaking Bad” contraband : METH

“Meth” is a street name used for the drug methamphetamine, also called “crank” and “crystal meth”.

7. Enthusiastic about : INTO

The AMC drama “Breaking Bad” is a well-written show about a high school teacher stricken by lung cancer who turns to a life of crime to make money. It turns out that the teacher has a talent for making high-quality crystal meth. The show was created by Vince Gilligan who had spent many years as producer and writer of “The X-Files”. There is a “Breaking Bad” spin-off show running on AMC called “Better Call Saul” that focuses on the life of lawyer Saul Goodman. I hear that it’s pretty good …

10. Help badly? : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

12. Vanderbilt domain : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

Vanderbilt University is a private school in Nashville that was established in 1873. Construction started following a $1 million donation by Cornelius Vanderbilt, the wealthiest man in America at that time.

13. Where many a drive begins : TEE

That would be golf.

21. Memorable first name in Olympic gymnastics : OLGA

Olga Korbut is from modern-day Belarus, but was born during the days of the Soviet Union. Korbut competed for the USSR team in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. She was 17 when she appeared in the 1972 Munich Games, and had been training in a sports school since she was 8-years-old. The world fell in love with her as she was a very emotional young lady, readily expressing joy and disappointment, something that we weren’t used to seeing in athletes from behind the Iron Curtain. Korbut immigrated to the US in 1991 and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

27. Mimic on a perch : MYNA

Some species of myna (also “mynah”) bird are known for their ability to imitate sounds.

30. Pen part : NIB

“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

31. Coach Parseghian : ARA

Ara Parseghian coached the Notre Dame football team from 1964 to 1974, a period known as “The Era of Ara”.

32. Tribal symbol : TOTEM

“Totem” is a word used to describe any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

34. Ireland’s largest county : CORK

Cork is the largest and most southerly county in Ireland. The county is named for the city of Cork, which is the second largest in the country. Cork is sometimes referred to as “the Rebel County”, which alludes to the region’s resistance to British rule. Tourists flock to Cork for several reasons, not least as it is home to the famous Blarney Stone as well as Cobh, the port from which so many Irish emigrants left for countries like Australia, Canada and the United States.

36. Tennis legend : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979 Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

37. Lascivious look : LEER

“Lascivious” is such an appropriate-sounding word, I always think. It means “lecherous, salacious”.

38. Binky : PACIFIER

“Binky” is an informal term used for a child’s pacifier. “Binky” was a brand name for a pacifier sold from the forties through the seventies.

40. Uganda’s Amin : IDI

Uganda is a landlocked county in East Africa lying just to the west of Kenya. Uganda was ruled by the British as a protectorate from 1894 and gained independence in 1962. Uganda is very much associated with the tyrannical rule of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

48. Runway safety org. : FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was set up in 1958 (as the Federal Aviation Agency). The agency was established at that particular time largely in response to an increasing number of midair collisions. The worst of these disasters had taken place two years earlier over the Grand Canyon, a crash between two commercial passenger airplanes that resulted in 128 fatalities.

62. Adage : SAW

A saw is an old adage, a saying.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Actress Gilbert of “The Big Bang Theory” : SARA
5. “Lucky Jim” author : AMIS
9. “Be silent,” in scores : TACET
14. Stagecraft aid : PROP
15. Email category : SENT
16. House : ABODE
17. App opener : ICON
18. Director Preminger : OTTO
19. 66-Across, e.g. : VENUE
20. Competition among insects? : GAME OF HORNETS (from “Game of Thrones”)
23. 2000 NBA MVP : O’NEAL
24. Part of ENT : EAR
25. Cartesian conclusion : … I AM
28. Pit stuff : TAR
29. Rule by generations of insects? : GNAT DYNASTY (from “Tang dynasty”)
34. City north of Memphis : CAIRO
35. “The Lord of the Rings” actor : ASTIN
36. Brand once pitched by Garfield, oddly : ALPO
39. Fabric-dyeing technique : BATIK
42. “¿Cómo __?” : ESTA
43. Macy’s competitor : SEARS
45. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA
47. Tiny but impressive insect? : HECK OF A MITE (from “heck of a time”)
50. One on first? : WHO
53. “__ tu”: Verdi aria : ERI
54. Fairy queen of folklore : MAB
55. Bee-related : APIAN
57. Deceptiveness of insects? : FLEAS’ PRETENSE (from “false pretense”)
62. Gathered intelligence : SPIED
64. Israeli carrier : EL AL
65. Stagecraft arrangements : SETS
66. Barclays Center, for one : ARENA
67. Barclays Center team : NETS
68. Cherry or pear : TREE
69. Inclined to ramble : WORDY
70. Stun, in a way : TASE
71. In __: aligned : SYNC

Down

1. Peg in a cask : SPIGOT
2. One of two tarot card groups : ARCANA
3. Small-space renter : ROOMER
4. Sleep disorder : APNEA
5. Starting : AS OF
6. “Breaking Bad” contraband : METH
7. Enthusiastic about : INTO
8. Saved : STORED
9. Greek restaurant : TAVERNA
10. Help badly? : ABET
11. Is made up : CONSISTS
12. Vanderbilt domain : EDU
13. Where many a drive begins : TEE
21. Memorable first name in Olympic gymnastics : OLGA
22. Vote against : NAY
26. Arguing : AT IT
27. Mimic on a perch : MYNA
30. Pen part : NIB
31. Coach Parseghian : ARA
32. Tribal symbol : TOTEM
33. Whaling, say : ASEA
34. Ireland’s largest county : CORK
36. Tennis legend : ASHE
37. Lascivious look : LEER
38. Binky : PACIFIER
40. Uganda’s Amin : IDI
41. Modeling enthusiast’s purchase : KIT
44. Eventually : SOME DAY
46. Picked-up : NEAT
48. Runway safety org. : FAA
49. Away : ABSENT
50. Vintage locale : WINERY
51. Hurry : HASTEN
52. “Hold on” : ONE SEC
56. Ones that have infested four puzzle answers : PESTS
58. Advance : LEND
59. Court bargaining chip : PLEA
60. “Darn!” : RATS!
61. Otherwise : ELSE
62. Adage : SAW
63. Ace : PRO

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