LA Times Crossword Answers 11 May 2018, Friday

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

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Atoll

Themed answers are common phrases in which a letter A at the end of the first word has been changed TO LL:

  • 53D. Island ring … or, in three parts, a hint to 18-, 32-, 44- and 59-Across : ATOLL … or, A TO LL
  • 18A. Spread served in concave pasta? : SHELL BUTTER (from “shea butter”)
  • 32A. Laid-back cats and dogs? : CHILL PETS (from “chia pets”)
  • 44A. Revealing sweat remover at the poker table? : TELL TOWEL (from “tea towel”)
  • 59A. What Royal Caribbean reps do? : SELL CRUISES (from “sea cruises”)

Bill’s time: 6m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. “U R 2 funny!” : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

15. “On the Media” medium : RADIO

“On the Media” is a weekly radio program produced by WNYC in New York that covers journalism, technology and first amendment issues. The show is distributed to NPR stations nationwide.

16. Michelangelo carved it from a single slab of marble : PIETA

The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous Pietà is probably the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo which is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In some depictions, Mary and her son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, and these depictions are known as Lamentations.

18. Spread served in concave pasta? : SHELL BUTTER (from “shea butter”)

“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.

22. Sushi bar appetizer : EDAMAME

Edamame is a simple dish made of immature soybeans still in the pod. The pods are boiled and then salted before serving, usually as a snack or side dish. The name “edamame” translates as “twig bean”.

23. Start to pace, say : GET ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

28. “We’ll Meet Again” host Curry : ANN

The television journalist Ann Curry is perhaps best known for the time she spent as co-host on NBC’s “Today” show. NBC executives asked Curry to resign from the “Today” show because ratings were low. I just read online that Curry was also pushed out because of the way she insisted on dressing and because she refused to dye her gray hair. I hope that isn’t true …

“We’ll Meet Again” is a PBS documentary series hosted by Ann Curry that started airing in 2018. In each episode, Curry reunites people who experienced an important historical event, but who haven’t seen each other since that event. The show was created by Justine Kershaw who was inspired to do so after she tracked down a Greek goat-herder who rescued her some years after a fall.

29. Documentarian Burns : KEN

Ken Burns directs and produces epic documentary films that usually make inventive use of archive footage. Recent works are the sensational “The War” (about the US in WWII) and the magnificent “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, as well as 2014’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”. His latest offering is 2017’s “The Vietnam War”.

32. Laid-back cats and dogs? : CHILL PETS (from “chia pets”)

Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terracotta figurines to which are applied moistened chia seeds. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.

36. Ancient Aegean region : IONIA

The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of Ancient Greece although it wasn’t a unified state, but rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.

The Aegean Sea is that part of the Mediterranean that lies between Greece and Turkey. Within the Aegean Sea are found the Aegean Islands, a group that includes Crete and Rhodes.

39. Word of welcome : ALOHA

The Hawaiian word “aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently, “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

41. 1993 Literature Nobelist Morrison : TONI

The writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

42. Law school subject : TORTS

The word “tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

49. Name associated with the Gateway Arch : EERO

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish-American architect who was renowned in this country for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK. The list of his lesser-known, but still impressive, works includes several buildings erected on academic campuses. For example, the Chapel and Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus, the Emma Hartman Noyes House at Vassar College, the Law School building at the University of Chicago, and Yale’s David S. Ingalls Rink.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn’t started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch, intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch alright, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment …

56. Hitchcock classic set in San Francisco : VERTIGO

“Vertigo” is a 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film that’s based on a 1954 novel “D’entre les morts” (“From Among the Dead”) by Boileau-Narcejac. Jimmy Stewart stars as a retired San Francisco police detective who has developed an extreme fear of heights. Stewart’s character is hired to trail someone’ wife, played by Kim Novak.

58. Colorful tank addition : 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.

59. What Royal Caribbean reps do? : SELL CRUISES (from “sea cruises”)

Royal Caribbean is a cruise line that was founded in Norway in 1968, and now operates out of Miami. Since 1991, Royal Caribbean’s vessels all have names ending with “of the Seas”, e.g. Empress of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas.

63. Forbidden : TABOO

The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

65. “Hamilton” creator __-Manuel Miranda : LIN

Lin-Manuel Miranda is composer and playwright from New York City, and the creator and star of the hit Broadway musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights”. Miranda also co-wrote the songs for the 2016 Disney animated feature “Moana”. He started composing early, and wrote jingles as a child. One of those jingles was later used by Eliot Spitzer in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

66. Spiral-horned creature : ELAND

An eland is a large African antelope, in fact the largest on the continent. Both male and female elands have horns, and those horns have a steady spiral ridge along their length.

67. Sinatra standard : MY WAY

The song “My Way” has lyrics that were written by Paul Anka in 1969, but the tune itself was composed two years earlier by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. The song had been released with completely different lyrics in France as “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”). When Anka heard the song on television in Paris he sought out and obtained the rights to use it himself, for free. Supposedly, “Comme d’habitude” has been recorded in more languages, by more artists, than any other song in the contemporary repertoire.

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Like so many of our heroes, Sinatra had a rough upbringing. His mother was arrested several times and convicted of running an illegal abortion business in the family home. Sinatra never finished high school, as he was expelled for rowdy conduct. He was later arrested as a youth on a morals charge for carrying on with a married woman, which was an offence back then. But Sinatra straightened himself out by the time he was twenty and started singing professionally.

Down

1. Urban Dictionary focus : SLANG

UrbanDictionary.com is a website that was founded in 1999 by a computer science student at Cal Poly. The site contains definitions of mainly slang terms, and is maintained by the site’s members.

2. Mandel of “Deal or No Deal” : HOWIE

Howie Mandel is a Canadian comic. He was a regular on TV a few years ago as host of “Deal or No Deal”, and more recently as a judge on “America’s Got Talent”. I remember Mandel from “St. Elsewhere” in the eighties, which was the first American TV show that I watched regularly when I moved to the US …

The TV game show that is called “Deal or No Deal” in the US is shown all around the world in local versions. The original version of the show was developed in the Netherlands as “Miljoenenjacht” (Hunt for Millions).

4. Premier League powerhouse : ARSENAL

Arsenal Football Club (nicknamed “the Gunners”) is an English soccer team based in the Holloway district of London. The club was founded in 1886 as Dial Square by workers at the Royal Arsenal munitions factory. Dial Square was the name given to the workshops at the center of the Royal Arsenal complex. After just a few weeks in existence, the club changed its name to Royal Arsenal, which was eventually shortened to just Arsenal.

The best soccer teams in England and Wales play in the Premier League. The league was founded in 1992 as the FA Premier League to take advantage of a generous television deal. Today, the Premier League is the most-watched soccer league in the world.

7. One with an easy life : RILEY

The phrase “life of Riley” dates back to at least 1919. It may have originated in a song from the 1880s about a man named O’Riley and how he became rich and lived an easy life.

8. Spilled the beans : TOLD

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”.

9. Layered ice cream : SPUMONI

Spumone (plural “spumoni”) is an Italian dessert, one made with a mixture of three ice cream flavors and containing candied fruit and nuts.

10. Deli pockets : PITAS

Pita is a lovely bread from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a “pocket” in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.

13. Street cover : TAR

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.

21. Play with a ghost : HAMLET

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, the title character is the Prince of Denmark. The prince’s father is also a character in the play, who makes three appearances as a ghost. The ghost has the same name as the prince, but is referred to as King Hamlet in order to distinguish him from the son.

24. Taberna tidbit : TAPA

“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.

“Taberna” is Spanish for “tavern”.

25. Refines, as ore : SMELTS

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

28. “Pieces of Me” singer Simpson : ASHLEE

Ashlee Simpson is the younger sister of Jessica Simpson. They are both reality show stars. I know no more … I don’t want to know any more …

30. Bonn article : EINE

After WWII, Bonn was chosen as the capital of West Germany. That choice was promoted by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who was from the area. After German reunification, the capital was moved to Berlin.

32. Older PC screens : CRTS

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

34. “Luther” star : IDRIS ELBA

The English actor Idris Elba is probably best known in North America for playing the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name DJ Big Driis.

“Luther” is a British television series starring in the title role as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. There has been talk about developing a US version of “Luther”, and a Russian version first broadcast in 2016 using the title “Klim”.

37. “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969) star : O’TOOLE

Irish actor Peter O’Toole got his big break in movies when he played the title role in the 1962 epic film “Lawrence of Arabia”. My favorite of O’Toole’s movies is much lighter fare, namely “How to Steal a Million” in which he stars opposite Audrey Hepburn. O’Toole never won an Oscar, but holds the record for the greatest number of Best Actor nominations without a win.

The fabulous 1939 movie “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” is an adaptation of a novel of the same name by James Hilton. Heading the cast are British actors Robert Donat and Greer Garson. “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” was remade as musical in 1969 starring Peter O’Toole and Petula Clark. I haven’t seen the remake, and frankly am a little scared to do so …

43. Dried fish used in brandade : SALT COD

Brandade is a Mediterranean dish made from salt cod and olive oil that is traditionally eaten in winter with bread or potatoes. I guess brandade might be described as a whipped spread. The name “brandade” comes from the Provençal word “brandado” meaning “something that has been shaken”.

45. October Revolution leader : TROTSKY

Leon Trotsky was a Soviet politician and revolutionary, the founder and first leader of the Red Army as well as one of the first members of the Politburo. Trotsky was ousted and deported in 1929 when he opposed the policies of Joseph Stalin. Trotsky continued to be vocal in opposition to Stalin in Mexico, his place of exile. Stalin had him assassinated there in 1940.

At the second party congress of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, a split developed. The faction with the most support was led by Vladimir Lenin, and as they were in the majority, they became known as the Bolsheviks, derived from the Russian word for “more” or “majority”. Lenin and the Bolsheviks led the October Revolution of 1917, as a result of which Lenin came to power. He headed the new Soviet State during its formative years.

51. Wrinkle-resistant fabric : ORLON

Orlon is the brand name used by the DuPont Corporation for the acrylic fibers the company developed in 1941.

52. Lacy table mat : DOILY

There was a draper in London in the seventeenth century called Doiley, and he gave his name to the lace fabric that he sold, which in turn gave its name to the ornamental mat that we call a “doily”. I can’t stand doilies …

53. Island ring … or, in three parts, a hint to 18-, 32-, 44- and 59-Across : ATOLL … or, A TO LL

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.

56. Saltimbocca meat : VEAL

Saltimbocca is a dish from southern Europe made of veal topped with prosciutto and sage, and then marinated in perhaps wine. The name “saltimbocca” is Italian for “jump in the mouth”.

57. Largest of the Mariana Islands : GUAM

Guam is a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean, and is the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is also the first territory in the United States to see the sun rise on any particular day. As such, the territory has adopted the motto, “Where America’s day begins”. During WWII, the US territory of Guam was occupied by the Japanese for 31 months until it was liberated in the Battle of Guam in July 1944. Of the 18,000 Japanese men holding the island, only 485 surrendered, so almost all perished in the invasion. One Japanese sergeant hid out on the island for an incredible 28 years, finally surrendering in 1972!

The “Marianas” is a familiar name for the Mariana Islands that lie in the Pacific Ocean south of Japan and north of New Guinea. The “Mariana” Trench (note there is no “s” on the end of Mariana) is the lowest elevation on the surface of the Earth’s crust. The Mariana Trench takes its name from the Islands, as it lies just to the east of the Marianas.

59. Sault __ Marie : STE

Sault Ste. Marie is the name of two cities on either side of the Canada-US border, one in Ontario and the other in Michigan. The two cities were originally one settlement in the 17th century, established by Jesuit Missionaries. The missionaries gave the settlement the name “Sault Sainte Marie”, which can be translated as “Saint Mary’s Falls”. The city was one community until 1817, when a US-UK Joint Boundary Commission set the border along the St. Mary’s River.

61. Cy Young Award stat : ERA

Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. Young is remembered for pitching the first perfect game of baseball’s modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created and is presented to the best pitcher in each baseball season.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Cow, for one : SHE
4. Cancel, in a way : ABORT
9. Food fight noise : SPLAT!
14. “U R 2 funny!” : LOL
15. “On the Media” medium : RADIO
16. Michelangelo carved it from a single slab of marble : PIETA
17. Circus reaction : AWE
18. Spread served in concave pasta? : SHELL BUTTER (from “shea butter”)
20. Statuette site : NICHE
22. Sushi bar appetizer : EDAMAME
23. Start to pace, say : GET ANTSY
26. Stood : ROSE
27. Polite address : MA’AM
28. “We’ll Meet Again” host Curry : ANN
29. Documentarian Burns : KEN
32. Laid-back cats and dogs? : CHILL PETS (from “chia pets”)
36. Ancient Aegean region : IONIA
38. Teased : RODE
39. Word of welcome : ALOHA
41. 1993 Literature Nobelist Morrison : TONI
42. Law school subject : TORTS
44. Revealing sweat remover at the poker table? : TELL TOWEL (from “tea towel”)
46. Sliding runner : SKI
47. Sounds of contentment : AHS
49. Name associated with the Gateway Arch : EERO
50. Only : SOLE
52. Like ghost towns : DESOLATE
56. Hitchcock classic set in San Francisco : VERTIGO
58. Colorful tank addition : TETRA
59. What Royal Caribbean reps do? : SELL CRUISES (from “sea cruises”)
62. Move on a lake : OAR
63. Forbidden : TABOO
64. For fun, with “on” : A LARK
65. “Hamilton” creator __-Manuel Miranda : LIN
66. Spiral-horned creature : ELAND
67. Sinatra standard : MY WAY
68. Sgt.’s superiors : LTS

Down

1. Urban Dictionary focus : SLANG
2. Mandel of “Deal or No Deal” : HOWIE
3. Give a seat to : ELECT
4. Premier League powerhouse : ARSENAL
5. “Humph!” : BAH!
6. Celebratory work : ODE
7. One with an easy life : RILEY
8. Spilled the beans : TOLD
9. Layered ice cream : SPUMONI
10. Deli pockets : PITAS
11. “I’ll be waiting to hear from you” : LET ME KNOW
12. Suit to __ : A TEE
13. Street cover : TAR
19. Raised building? : BARN
21. Play with a ghost : HAMLET
24. Taberna tidbit : TAPA
25. Refines, as ore : SMELTS
28. “Pieces of Me” singer Simpson : ASHLEE
30. Bonn article : EINE
31. Polish target : NAIL
32. Older PC screens : CRTS
33. Errant golf shot, usually : HOOK
34. “Luther” star : IDRIS ELBA
35. Golf club part : TOE
37. “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969) star : O’TOOLE
40. Taproom array : ALES
43. Dried fish used in brandade : SALT COD
45. October Revolution leader : TROTSKY
48. Next in line : HEIR
51. Wrinkle-resistant fabric : ORLON
52. Lacy table mat : DOILY
53. Island ring … or, in three parts, a hint to 18-, 32-, 44- and 59-Across : ATOLL … or, A TO LL
54. Black hair, e.g. : TRAIT
55. Deserves : EARNS
56. Saltimbocca meat : VEAL
57. Largest of the Mariana Islands : GUAM
59. Sault __ Marie : STE
60. Tool with teeth : SAW
61. Cy Young Award stat : ERA

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 11 May 2018, Friday”

  1. LAT: 9:24, no errors. Newsday: 14:50, no errors.

    WSJ: 14:31, with one silly error that I know of. (No answer key is available, but I noticed it later while working on the meta.) And, I think I see what I am supposed to see in the grid, but I haven’t yet come up with a clear-cut answer for the meta.

    Croce at 4 (MDT) …

  2. This was a snap. Much easier than Thursdays. Maybe I’m getting in sync with C.C. Burnikel! So now, I should expect a really tough one Sat.

  3. Very challenging, but got it done, finally. I enjoyed the puzzle. Couldn’t get the theme …. A to LL , well, if you say so ….
    I used to think the Gteway Arch was a parabola, but it is a catenary. A catenary ( y = Acoshx ) forms if you hang a heavy metal chain, while holding its ends. Like a parabola, but a different sort of shape. It is a hyperbolic parabola …

    I’ve seen Lin Miranda, at his wedding, and at the White House – both on YouTube. Fantastic !!@! I hope to see Hamilton, if and when a movie or documentary is made.

    Is it correct to say that the Eland ( which, I knew – ) has a spiral horn, or a spirally twisted horn ?? Bighorn sheep have spiral horns – they go all the way around.

    Re: Frank Sinatra …. Finally, a thought about old times …. whatever did women do, before Roe v. Wade was decided… in 1973 ???? To some, “running an illegal abortion business” …. might even have been an act of mercy … or compassion ….

    Anyway, …. Have a great day, folks, and a great weekend.

  4. 14:28. I got a sense of the theme, but never put my finger on it until I looked at the blog. Pretty straightforward for a Friday.

    As an aside, the Russian word “bolshye” means “bigger” . It is the comparative form of the word “bolshoi” which means big or large…as in the Bolshoi Ballet..Interestingly, “biggest” would be expressed as “sami bolshoi” – one of very few instances in the language where a “helping word” ( like we use so often in English) is used rather than an inflection of the word itself.

    I love VEAL saltimbocca. It might be my favorite Italian dish of all when done correctly. However, VEAL is getting harder and harder to find on menus these days….

    @Vidwan –
    Interesting tidbit on the shape of The Arch. I’ll have to investigate that further. The trip up the arch is rather disconcerting as you kind of go up this rickety old car, then go sideways, then up, then sideways…until you’re at the top. I’ve never felt comfortable on that ride. I guess that’s the only way to the top of a catenary….except of course the guy’s idea in Bill’s unfortunate example.

    Best –

  5. Moderately easy Friday; took about 25-30 minutes without errors. Everything but the theme answers were pretty straight-forward. Had a little trouble getting SHELL BUTTER, but the others came easy, well TELL TOWEL didn’t make any sense, but I got it. Should have done the ATOLL clue first.

    Just had to change Sow to SHE and I almost put DESerted but stopped at DES.

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