LA Times Crossword Answers 24 Jul 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Jeff Eddings
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Stuck in a Rut

Themed answers are a bunch of letters STUCK inside the word RUT:

  • 57A. Trapped by mundanity … and hint to the answers to starred clues : STUCK IN A RUT
  • 20A. *Opposes in an election : RUNS AGAINST
  • 39A. *Welcome news for potential borrowers : RATE CUT
  • 11D. *Brit’s traffic circle : ROUNDABOUT
  • 29D. *”Word on the street is … ” : RUMOR HAS IT

Bill’s time: 5m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. River through Kazakhstan : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea. It is the third-longest river in Europe, after the Volga and Danube.

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

16. Chess piece that can’t move diagonally : ROOK

The corner piece in the game of chess is a called a rook, a word coming from the Persian word “rokh” meaning a “chariot”. The rook has also been called, perhaps incorrectly, the castle, tower, marquess and rector.

19. Apple from Japan : FUJI

The Fuji apple is a cross between two American varieties of apple that was developed in Japan, i.e. a cross is between Red Delicious and old Virginia Ralls Genet.

30. High behind a cold front, e.g. : AIR MASS

“Cold front” is the name given to the leading edge of a relatively cold mass of air that is replacing a warmer mass of air at ground level. In the presence of sufficient moisture in the air, a cold front can bring rain and perhaps thunderstorms.

34. Pan-fry : SAUTE

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

35. Boy band *N__ : SYNC

NSYNC was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded “in sync”. But, it’s also true that the letters of the name NSYNC are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:

  • Justin Timberlake
  • Chris Kirkpatrick
  • Joey Fatone
  • Lance “Lansten” Bass
  • JC Chasez

37. Ill-fated Genesis son : ABEL

In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

42. Tokyo-born Yoko : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great firebombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

43. River near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre : AVON

There are actually four rivers called the Avon in England, but “Shakespeare’s Avon” lies mainly in Warwickshire. The name “Avon” comes from the Old English word for a river, “abona”. Stratford-upon-Avon was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a theater in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The facility opened in 1932, replacing the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre that had been destroyed by fire six years earlier. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a marvelous redbrick structure that backs onto the River Avon.

45. Hockey legend Gordie : HOWE

Gordie Howe is a retired Canadian hockey player. Regarded as one of the game’s greatest players, Howe is sometimes referred to as “Mr Hockey”. He is the only hockey player to have competed in the NHL for five decades (from the forties through the eighties), and holds the NHL record for most games and most seasons played.

51. “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” network : HBO

Home Box Office (HBO) is the second largest network of premium channels in the US, after Encore. HBO is a favorite of mine as I really like many of the HBO made-for-television movies and especially the HBO original series. Among the list of original series from HBO are “Mildred Pierce”, “The Pacific”, “John Adams”, “Big Love”, “Extras”, “The Wire”, “Sex and the City”, “From the Earth to the Moon”, “The Sopranos” and “Band of Brothers”. What great television …

Bryant Gumbel is a television journalist best known for co-hosting NBC’s “The Today Show” for 15 years. Bryant’s older brother is sportscaster Greg Gumbel.

52. Simpson trial witness Kato : KAELIN

The actor Kato Kaelin’s 15 minutes of fame came in 1964 when he was called as a witness in the trial of O. J. Simpson for the murders of his wife and Ronald Goldman. Kaelin had been staying at the guest house on the Simpson property and was called to account for some of the movements of O. J. on that fateful night.

55. Report card no. : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

57. Trapped by mundanity … and hint to the answers to starred clues : STUCK IN A RUT

Something mundane is a of the world, something ordinary. The term “mundane” comes from the Latin “mundus” meaning “universe, world”.

64. Ladybug food : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

The insect we know as a ladybug has seven spots on its wing covers. These seven spots gave rise to the common name “ladybug”, as in the Middle Ages the insect was called the “beetle of Our Lady”. The spots were said to symbolize the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows, events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary called out in the Roman Catholic tradition.

67. Yankees’ manager Aaron : BOONE

Aaron Boone is a former MLB infielder who retired as a player in 2009, a few months after undergoing open-heart surgery to have a heart valve replaced. He then pursued a successful career in sports broadcasting, primarily with ESPN. In late 2017, Boone was hired as manager of the New York Yankees.

68. Olympics sled : LUGE

A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!

69. Fiddle (with) : FUTZ

To futz around is to waste time on trivial matters, to fool around. “Futz” is probably derived from a “not so nice” word that has been merged with “putz”.

70. Kisses and cuddles, in British slang : SNOGS

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

Down

1. App that arranges a lift but not a Lyft : UBER

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

2. Pasta sauce brand : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

3. Elvis __ Presley : ARON

Elvis Aron Presley (aka “the King”) was the younger of two identical twins. His brother was stillborn, and delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, although born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.

6. __ sign: = : EQUAL

The equals sign (=) was the 1557 creation of a Welsh physician and mathematician Robert Recorde. Recorde proposed the use of two parallel lines to indicate equality “because no 2 things, can be more equal.”

7. Jazz great Blake : EUBIE

James Hubert “Eubie” Blake was a composer and pianist from Baltimore, Maryland. Blake was a noted composer and performer of ragtime music. The 1978 musical revue “Eubie!” features his music. Apparently Blake claimed to have started smoking cigarettes at the age of 10 years, and died 85 years later in 1983. Blake’s celebrity status and long life as a smoker was often cited by politicians who opposed anti-tobacco legislation.

9. Nine-digit IDs : SSNS

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011 SSNs are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

10. Boxer’s sound : ARF!

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites!) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

11. *Brit’s traffic circle : ROUNDABOUT

There are more traffic circles in France than in any other country in the world. However, the UK has more traffic circles per mile of road than any other nation. The term “traffic circle” is generally used in the US, while “roundabout” is commonly used in Britain and Ireland.

12. Magic charm : MOJO

The word “mojo”, meaning “magical charm, magnetism”, is probably of Creole origin.

21. Hole-making tool : AUGER

An auger is a drill, a boring tool [Yawn].

22. __ Heels: UNC team : TAR

“Tar Heel” is a nickname for anyone living in, or from, the state of North Carolina. As such, it is the also nickname for an athlete of the University of North Carolina (UNC). No one seems to know for sure where the term “Tar Heel” originated, but it is thought to be related to the historical importance of the tar, pitch and turpentine industries that thrived in the state due to the presence of vast forests of pine trees.

26. “__ little teapot … ” : I’M A

The children’s song “I’m a Little Teapot” was written and published in 1939, composed by a married couple who ran a dance school for children. They needed a simple tune that young ones could use to learn a simple tap routine, and came up with this:

I’m a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle,
Here is my spout,
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out!

27. Soul singer Hayes : ISAAC

Isaac Hayes was a soul singer and songwriter. Hayes wrote the score for the 1971 film “Shaft”, and the enduring “Theme from ‘Shaft’” won him an Academy Award in 1972.

28. Easily duped : NAIVE

A dupe is someone who is easily fooled, a “live one”, one who can fall victim to deception.

31. Post-op area : ICU

Many a hospital (hosp.) includes an intensive care unit (ICU).

36. Source of pliable wood : YEW

Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

49. Jun. and Jul. : MOS

Our contemporary calendar has its roots in the old Roman calendar, which originally had ten months and was attributed to Romulus:

  1. March (Month of Mars)
  2. April (Month of Apru/Aphrodite)
  3. May (Month of Maia)
  4. June (Month of Juno)
  5. Quintilis (Fifth Month)
  6. Sextilis (Sixth Month)
  7. September (Seventh Month)
  8. October (Eighth Month)
  9. November (Ninth Month)
  10. December (Tenth Month)

Julius Caesar order the calendar realigned, adding two months at the beginning of the year (our “January” and “February”). Subsequently, the former “fifth” month of Quintilis was renamed in honor of Julius Caesar giving our “July”, and then the former “sixth” Month of Sextilis was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar giving our “August”.

55. Court great Steffi : GRAF

Steffi Graf is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany. Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other man or woman other than Margaret Court. She is married to another former World No. 1, namely Andre Agassi.

56. Ecuador neighbor : PERU

Peru’s name comes from the word “Biru”. Back in the early 1500s, Biru was a ruler living near the Bay of San Miguel in Panama. The territory over which Biru ruled was the furthest land south in the Americas known to Europeans at that time. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was the first European to move south of Biru’s empire and the land that he found was designated “Peru”, a derivative of “Biru”.

“Ecuador” is the Spanish word for “equator”, which gives the country her name.

58. Bar bills : TABS

When we run a tab at a bar say, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

59. Gravy thickener : ROUX

A roux is a mixture of wheat flour and clarified butter (or other fat) cooked together until it can be used as a thickening agent.

63. Toon devil : TAZ

The “Looney Tunes” character known as the Tasmanian Devil, or “Taz”, first appeared in a cartoon short with Bugs Bunny called “Devil May Care” in 1954.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. River through Kazakhstan : URAL
5. Brewpub orders : BEERS
10. Upper limbs : ARMS
14. Expose : BARE
15. Blue shades : AQUAS
16. Chess piece that can’t move diagonally : ROOK
17. Big stars often have big ones : EGOS
18. Apply, as liniment : RUB IN
19. Apple from Japan : FUJI
20. *Opposes in an election : RUNS AGAINST
23. Wordless “okay” : NOD
24. Put gas into : FUELED
25. Assistance : AID
27. Shabbily dressed : IN RAGS
30. High behind a cold front, e.g. : AIR MASS
34. Pan-fry : SAUTE
35. Boy band *N__ : SYNC
37. Ill-fated Genesis son : ABEL
38. Point : AIM
39. *Welcome news for potential borrowers : RATE CUT
42. Tokyo-born Yoko : ONO
43. River near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre : AVON
45. Hockey legend Gordie : HOWE
46. “It’s __-see!”: rave review : A MUST
48. Tile type : CERAMIC
50. Sudden bursts : SPATES
51. “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” network : HBO
52. Simpson trial witness Kato : KAELIN
55. Report card no. : GPA
57. Trapped by mundanity … and hint to the answers to starred clues : STUCK IN A RUT
62. Take a break : REST
64. Ladybug food : APHID
65. Apple discard : CORE
66. Opera solo : ARIA
67. Yankees’ manager Aaron : BOONE
68. Olympics sled : LUGE
69. Fiddle (with) : FUTZ
70. Kisses and cuddles, in British slang : SNOGS
71. Former spouses : EXES

Down

1. App that arranges a lift but not a Lyft : UBER
2. Pasta sauce brand : RAGU
3. Elvis __ Presley : ARON
4. Phrase on a heart-healthy food label : LESS FAT
5. Flat-bottomed boats : BARGES
6. __ sign: = : EQUAL
7. Jazz great Blake : EUBIE
8. Weather-related Native American ceremony : RAIN DANCE
9. Nine-digit IDs : SSNS
10. Boxer’s sound : ARF!
11. *Brit’s traffic circle : ROUNDABOUT
12. Magic charm : MOJO
13. Icy road risk : SKID
21. Hole-making tool : AUGER
22. __ Heels: UNC team : TAR
26. “__ little teapot … ” : I’M A
27. Soul singer Hayes : ISAAC
28. Easily duped : NAIVE
29. *”Word on the street is … ” : RUMOR HAS IT …
31. Post-op area : ICU
32. Get a feeling : SENSE
33. Schedule openings : SLOTS
35. Order lots of : STOCK UP ON
36. Source of pliable wood : YEW
40. Sushi tuna : AHI
41. Easy putt : TAP-IN
44. Slap cuffs on : NAB
47. Slap cuffs on : MANACLE
49. Jun. and Jul. : MOS
50. Microscope inserts : SLIDES
53. “Bless you” prompter : ACHOO!
54. Just making, with “out” : EKING
55. Court great Steffi : GRAF
56. Ecuador neighbor : PERU
58. Bar bills : TABS
59. Gravy thickener : ROUX
60. Encourage : URGE
61. Shirts from concerts : TEES
63. Toon devil : TAZ

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