LA Times Crossword Answers 9 May 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A-Void First

Themed answers start with a synonym of “void, unfilled”:

  • 17A. Horror film setting : VACANT HOUSE
  • 24A. Rural “Out of the office” sign : GONE FISHING
  • 37A. Ammo for a starter pistol : BLANK CARTRIDGES
  • 48A. One whose “chicks” have flown? : EMPTY NESTER
  • 59A. Explanation for an evolutionary transition : MISSING LINK

Bill’s time: 6m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11. Juan or Jose lead-in : SAN

San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico. It was founded in 1521 by the Spanish, who called it “Ciudad de Puerto Rico” (Rich Port City).

San Jose is the third-largest city in California and is located at the heart of Silicon Valley. The city was founded by the Spanish in 1777 and named El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. Under Spanish and Mexican rule, the territory of Alta California had its capital in Monterey. When California was made a US state, San Jose was named as the first capital, in 1850. Subsequently, the state legislature met in Vallejo in 1852, Benicia in 1853, and finally settled in Sacramento.

15. Semi warning : HORN

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

16. Asian menu general : 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.

19. Physicist with a law : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

20. Bird feeder cake : SUET

Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.

27. Acting twins Mary-Kate and Ashley : OLSENS

I know very little about the Olsen twins, but I am told that folks believe Mary-Kate and Ashley to be identical twins. They look very much alike, but are in fact fraternal twins. The sisters were cast as Michelle Tanner on the eighties sitcom “Full House”, taking turns playing the role.

41. Zingers : MOTS

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

43. Title Kazakh in a 2006 spoof : BORAT

The full name of the 2006 “mockumentary” is “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. Borat is played by a British comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen. Not my cup of tea …

48. One whose “chicks” have flown? : EMPTY NESTER

Waiting, still waiting …

52. Color separator : PRISM

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (“disperses”) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as beautiful spectra.

53. __ Gang : OUR

The marvelous series of “Our Gang” comedy short films was also known as “The Little Rascals”. The series was produced by Hal Roach starting in 1922, and running up until 1944. There were 220 “Our Gang” film shorts made in all, and one feature film title “General Spanky” released in 1936.

59. Explanation for an evolutionary transition : MISSING LINK

The term “missing link” is usually applied to the concept that there existed some form of animal that is a hybrid between apes and humans. The idea that there was some “apeman” is discounted these days by the scientific community, which now favors the theory of evolution.

63. Pointillism unit : DOT

Pointillism is a style of painting that grew out of Impressionism. The pointillist technique calls for the artist to use small, distinct dots of bold color to build up the image. Pointillism was developed in the late 1800s by the great French painter, Georges Seurat. You can go see his magnificent work “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” at The Art Institute of Chicago the next time you’re in town.

65. Rio Grande city : EL PASO

Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juárez ). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.

66. George Strait’s “All My __ Live in Texas” : EX’S

“All My Ex’s Live in Texas” is a song released in 1987 by country singer George Strait.

Down

1. LeBron et al., briefly : CAVS

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

Basketball player LeBron James (nicknamed “King James”) seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.

2. Waikiki party : LUAU

The Hawaiian party or feast known as a “luau” really dates back to 1819, when King Kamehameha II removed religious laws that governed the eating of meals. These laws called for women and men to eat separately. At the same times as he changed the laws, the king initiated the luau tradition by symbolically eating with the women who moved in his circle.

Waikiki is a neighborhood of Honolulu, and home to the famous Waikiki Beach. The name “Waikiki” means “spouting fresh water” in Hawaiian.

5. Strauss’ “__ Heldenleben” : EIN

The title of Richard Strauss’ tone poem “Ein Heldenleben” translates into English as “A Hero’s Life”.

6. 1984 Olympics gymnastics standout : RETTON

Mary Lou Retton is an Olympic champion gymnast from Fairmont, West Virginia. Retton won Olympic Individual All-Around gold in the 1984 games, making her the first female athlete to do so who wasn’t from Eastern Europe.

7. LG product : PHONE

LG is a very large South Korean manufacturer of electronics, chemicals and telecom products. The company used to be known as Lucky-Goldstar, whence the initialism “LG”.

9. $200 Monopoly props. : RRS

The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:

  • Reading Railroad
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • B&O Railroad
  • Short Line

11. Skyy alternative, familiarly : STOLI

Stolichnaya is a brand of “Russian” vodka made from wheat and rye grain. “Stoli” originated in Russia but now it’s made in Latvia. Latvia is of course a completely different country, so you won’t see the word “Russian” on the label.

Skyy Vodka is produced in the US, although the operation is owned by the Campari Group headquartered in Italy. Skyy first hit the shelves in 1992 when it was created by an entrepreneur from San Francisco, California.

13. Chinese menu promise : NO MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

18. Coop residents : HENS

The Old English word “cypa”, meaning “basket”, evolved in the 14th century to the word “coop” to describe a small cage for poultry. And, we still use that word today.

23. Jim’s role on “The Big Bang Theory” : SHELDON

Jim Parsons is an actor from Houston, Texas who is best known for playing Sheldon Cooper on the television sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”. As of 2014, Parsons and his costars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco are earning one million dollars per episode of the show.

24. Best Buy “Squad” member : GEEK

Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.

27. Kon-Tiki Museum city : OSLO

The Kon-Tiki is a raft used by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 to cross the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. The original raft used in the voyage is on display in the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway (Heyerdahl was a native of Norway).

28. Hurdle for atty. wannabes : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

31. Watson’s company : IBM

Watson is a computer system developed by IBM. Watson is designed to answer questions that are posed in natural language, so that it should be able to interpret questions just as you and I would, no matter how the question is phrased. The program is named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J. Watson. Today’s Watson competed in a few memorable episodes of “Jeopardy!” in 2011 taking out two of the best players of the quiz show. That made for fun television …

32. National Gallery attraction : ART

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. comprises an original West Building and a contemporary East Building. The West Building was opened in 1941 and is a neoclassical structure that was designed by John Russell Pope (who later designed the Jefferson memorial). The East Building opened in 1978 and was designed by I.M. Pei, who later was awarded the renovation of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

35. Fuel used in some whisky production : PEAT

Many whiskies are noted for a peaty, smoky flavor. That taste is introduced when the malted grain is dried over a peat-heated fire.

38. Masked critter : COON

The raccoon is native to North America. In captivity, raccoons can live to over 20 years of age, but in the wild they only live two or three years. The main causes for the shorter lifespan are hunting and road traffic.

39. Holy recess : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

45. Floor exercise surface : GYM MAT

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

47. “My Fair Lady” lyricist : LERNER

Alan Jay Lerner was a lyricist from New York City who was known for his collaboration with Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane. Lerner was also known for his colorful private life. He was left with a persistent amphetamine addiction after being treated with “vitamins with enzymes” in the sixties, that were actually hypodermic shots laced with amphetamines. He also married eight times, and was often in dire financial straits due to the heavy load of alimony payments.

George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.

48. Lyric poem : EPODE

An epode is a lyric poem made up of couplets in which the first line is long, and the second line much shorter. The form was invented by the Greek poet Archilochus, and was most famously used by the Roman poet Horace.

49. “Fantastic” Dahl character : MR FOX

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a children’s novel by Roald Dahl. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” was adapted into a 2006 animated film directed by Wes Anderson.

50. Pulitzer-winning columnist Leonard : PITTS

Leonard Pitts is nationally syndicated columnist and novelist. Pitts was first nominated for a Pulitzer in 1993, and won in 2004.

54. Lunch for Spot, maybe : 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?

56. Brookings, e.g.: Abbr. : INST

The Brookings Institution is a Washington think tank that was founded in 1916. The institution is named for the founder, philanthropist Robert S. Brookings. The Brookings Institution has quite the reputation, and was influential in the creation of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan and the Congressional Budget Office.

57. Boxing stats : TKOS

Technical knockout (TKO)

61. Ignore a Commandment : SIN

According to the Book of Exodus, God inscribed the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Bullpen hero : CLOSER
7. Technical opening? : PYRO-
11. Juan or Jose lead-in : SAN
14. Mom’s sis : AUNTIE
15. Semi warning : HORN
16. Asian menu general : TSO
17. Horror film setting : VACANT HOUSE
19. Physicist with a law : OHM
20. Bird feeder cake : SUET
21. Common math base : TEN
22. Ocean dots : ISLES
24. Rural “Out of the office” sign : GONE FISHING
27. Acting twins Mary-Kate and Ashley : OLSENS
30. Feel some pain : ACHE
31. Send forth : ISSUE
32. Hotshot : ACE
33. Easy gait : LOPE
37. Ammo for a starter pistol : BLANK CARTRIDGES
41. Zingers : MOTS
42. Vote, say : OPT
43. Title Kazakh in a 2006 spoof : BORAT
44. Big heads? : EGOS
46. Revolver? : PLANET
48. One whose “chicks” have flown? : EMPTY NESTER
52. Color separator : PRISM
53. __ Gang : OUR
54. Minimally : A BIT
58. Many times, in poems : OFT
59. Explanation for an evolutionary transition : MISSING LINK
63. Pointillism unit : DOT
64. Stirring solo : ARIA
65. Rio Grande city : EL PASO
66. George Strait’s “All My __ Live in Texas” : EX’S
67. Watch over : TEND
68. Bird hangouts : ROOSTS

Down

1. LeBron et al., briefly : CAVS
2. Waikiki party : LUAU
3. Back in the day : ONCE
4. Saves, for a 1-Across : STAT
5. Strauss’ “__ Heldenleben” : EIN
6. 1984 Olympics gymnastics standout : RETTON
7. LG product : PHONE
8. “That’s so __!” : YOU
9. $200 Monopoly props. : RRS
10. Vague lunch date time : ONEISH
11. Skyy alternative, familiarly : STOLI
12. Looking drained : ASHEN
13. Chinese menu promise : NO MSG
18. Coop residents : HENS
23. Jim’s role on “The Big Bang Theory” : SHELDON
24. Best Buy “Squad” member : GEEK
25. It’s true : FACT
26. One piping frosting : ICER
27. Kon-Tiki Museum city : OSLO
28. Hurdle for atty. wannabes : LSAT
29. Stereotypical Western-ending backdrops : SUNSETS
31. Watson’s company : IBM
32. National Gallery attraction : ART
34. Meanie : OGRE
35. Fuel used in some whisky production : PEAT
36. Md. winter hours : EST
38. Masked critter : COON
39. Holy recess : APSE
40. Building girder : I-BAR
45. Floor exercise surface : GYM MAT
46. Spitting sound : PTUI!
47. “My Fair Lady” lyricist : LERNER
48. Lyric poem : EPODE
49. “Fantastic” Dahl character : MR FOX
50. Pulitzer-winning columnist Leonard : PITTS
51. “Alas!” : SO SAD!
54. Lunch for Spot, maybe : ALPO
55. Fairness obstacle : BIAS
56. Brookings, e.g.: Abbr. : INST
57. Boxing stats : TKOS
60. Fury : IRE
61. Ignore a Commandment : SIN

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

  1. About The Big Bang Theory salaries:
    In March 2017, the main cast members (Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco, Helberg, and Nayyar) took a 10% pay cut to allow Bialik and Rauch [Amy and Bernadette] an increase in their earnings. This put Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco, Helberg and Nayyar at $900,000 per episode, with Parsons, Galecki, and Helberg also receiving overall deals with Warner Bros. Television. By the end of April, Bialik and Rauch had signed deals to earn $500,000 per episode, each, with the deals also including a separate development component for both actors. The deal was an increase from the $175,000 – $200,000 the duo had been making per episode.

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Bang_Theory#Actors'_salaries

  2. LAT: 9:00, no errors. Newsday: 7:37, no errors. WSJ: 14:43, no errors; has a somewhat complicated theme.

    Yesterday’s Tim Croce: About 48 minutes, no errors. I started it over a late dinner in a restaurant, interrupted the solve at an triple-impasse point to drive home, picked it up again, quickly (and unexpectedly!) resolved the three problem areas, and then, just before declaring myself done, noticed a possible problem area and took another minute or two to fix it. (So my timing is a little uncertain.) Good puzzle.

  3. 11:49. Nice for a Wednesday. I couldn’t remember the OLSEN twins last name so I had to get that via crosses. Otherwise, no surprises.

    Btw – I’m pretty sure God delivered the two stone tablets to Charlton Heston on Mount Sinai…. I was going to make a joke about the missing link and all of Dave’s neanderthal DNA, but I decided to take the high road…… 😛

    @Carrie –
    Are you starting the first season of Fargo? I think there have been 3. They’re all good and all independent of one another. All well worth the time.

    Moving for me should be pretty easy. I own a car, a bed and a big tv. That’s about it. What else do I need?? Amusingly (…or not) that’s about all I have that I need local movers for. Harvey took care of all my furniture, although I did salvage a lot of my office furniture that was on the second floor as well as my patio furniture. I have all that stuff in storage here now and it gets delivered on Monday. I didn’t want to get any new furniture (I’ve been renting all this time) until I knew what space I would be putting it into. Now I know so I’m starting that process …almost 9 months hence.

    Best –

  4. This was an easy Wed. puzzle! Hope by the time we get to Fri./Sat. I’m not completely depressed.

    @ Jeff – good luck in your new home. And 9 months is just like having a baby! Think moving is less painful however.

  5. I had a good time with this puzzle and also the one yesterday – when I forgot/ was unable to post….
    Yesterday, and the previous day, I have been Online trying to get a visa or an OCI card ( don’t ask – ! ) for my wife, in lieu of an indian visa. The indian govt. has joined hands with Mr. Murphy’s Law and the SNAFU acronym ( the non-polite version – ) … to create an even bigger obnoxious monster. This is one big f– mess !!@! Considering there is a streotypical impression that many indians are good computer programmers — the visa internet site is the lousiest I have ever seen in my life. The entire internet sobcontracting company executives should be lined up and shot ! Enough said ! There … thats off my chest.

    Again, I had a good time solving the puzzle, and I even got the theme.

    Jeff, good luck with your move. Being, a minimalist, should really help you, in these times. My niece, who is a VP at Google, does not even have a bed, – just a floor mat …. I personally, can never imagine moving out of my house, what with 25 years of accumulated junk. I have already informed my wife, that in the event of my demise, – just burn everything – preferably in our neighbor’s back yard ….

    have a nice day, all.
    Back to the internet visa conundrum.

    1. @JD
      Indeed! I’ve been a season ticket holder all year, and I just got my Conference Final tickets today. And you’re right – it’s helped.

      Best –

  6. Pretty easy Wednesday; took about 15 minutes with no errors.

    Had bone before ALPO and PEAr before PEAT.

    So suet – rendered fat – is fed to birds!?? What do they get out of eating that?

  7. Greetings from Night Watch! ?
    No errors; good puzzle. I’ll divulge a few facts so that y’all know how unsophisticated I am! ?
    I used to get the names Lerner & Loewe mixed up with Leopold & Loeb.
    I never was sure, till now, what exactly the term MISSING LINK originally meant.
    Last (and perhaps worst) — I actually CAN tell the Olsen twins apart. I know which is which! Ashley has more conventional features; Mary-Kate is “cuter.” Why do I know this??? ?
    Jeff! I’m starting from season one of Fargo! So, a whole new set of story lines for each season? Interesting. I hope the main characters return, tho it ain’t looking good for some of them. (If anyone’s interested, that’s not a spoiler.) Quite a lot of fake blood being spilled! I’ve had to look away a coupla times, but overall I’m addicted.
    Dave From Tuesday! Yes, I kinda thought, after posting that, that maybe #4 isn’t so questionable. I’m seeing that puzzle through to the bitter end!
    Dirk! I thought birds used suet in their nest-building — maybe I’m wrong on that, but i also think it’s kinda weird that they eat it. ?
    Be well~~?

  8. Carrie and Dirk-
    Suet is a high energy food and a lot of birds love it. Maybe their usual grubs are naturally high fat. I’ve put suet out a few times, and nobody touches it. My chickadees will only eat the most expensive sunflower seeds.

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