LA Times Crossword Answers 8 Jul 2018, Sunday

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Constructed by: Victor Barocas
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: Straight A’s

Themed answers come in pairs, with one element of each pair referring to the other. The linking reference is the letter sequence AAA:

  • 23A. One who has blown a gasket, perhaps : STRANDED MOTORIST
  • 39A. AAA, to a 23-Across : EMERGENCY SERVICE
  • 56A. Old recording accessory : VCR REMOTE
  • 58A. AAA, to a 56-Across, usually : BATTERY SIZE
  • 77A. North Carolina baseball team : DURHAM BULLS
  • 93A. AAA, for the 77-Across : MINOR LEAGUE LEVEL
  • 79A. Office builder? : MICROSOFT
  • 113A. AAA, for 79-Across : BOND CREDIT RATING

Bill’s time: 14m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Derby town : EPSOM

The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across Epsom salt from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.

6. One of 256 in a gal. : TBSP

Tablespoon (tbsp.)

10. Davis of “Dr. Dolittle” : OSSIE

Ossie Davis was a very successful actor, but also a director, poet, playwright and social activist. One of Davis’s better known performances was in the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men”, in which he played the owner of the bait shop by the lake.

“Dr. Dolittle” is a 1998 comedy film that was inspired by the “Doctor Dolittle” children’s books written by Hugh Lofting (I really loved those books as a kid!). The 1998 adaptation stars Eddie Murphy in the title role. There was also a famous 1957 musical adaptation of the book for the big screen that starred Rex Harrison.

15. Pale tone : ECRU

The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

19. Bread in a Hillel sandwich : MATZO

In the Jewish tradition, the Hillel sandwich plays a role in the Passover Seder. The sandwich combines matzo (unleavened flatbread) and maror (“bitter herbs”), with the combination of bitter and non-bitter having symbolic significance.

21. __ William Scott of “American Pie” films : SEANN

Seann William Scott is an actor whose breakthrough role was playing Steve Stifler in the 1999 film “American Pie”, which he reprised in the sequels.

22. Second person in Paris? : VOUS

In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.

29. Jay or A : ALER

The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.

The Oakland Athletics (OAK) baseball franchise was founded back in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. The team became the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and moved to Oakland in 1968. Today, the Athletics are usually referred to as “the A’s”.

30. Dr.’s hours, e.g. : SKED

Schedule (sked)

31. Soviet Union : Salyut :: USA : __ : SKYLAB

Skylab was sent into orbit by NASA in 1973 and continued to circle the Earth there until 1979. Although it was in orbit for many years, Skylab was only occupied by astronauts for 171 days, in three missions in 1973-1974. Skylab burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere a lot earlier than expected, showering some huge chunks of debris on our friends in Australia.

The Soviet Union’s Salyut program launched the world’s first crewed space station, Salyut 1, in 1971. There were several space stations launched as part of the program, the last being Salyut 7, which was taken out of orbit in 1991. “Salyut” is Russian for “salute” and also “fireworks”.

33. Inventor Whitney : ELI

The inventor Eli Whitney is a best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

35. Classic fruity drinks : NEHIS

The Nehi cola brand has a name that sounds like “knee-high”, a measure of a small stature. Back in the mid-1900’s the Chero-Cola company, which owned the brand, went for a slightly different twist on “knee-high” in advertising. The logo for Nehi was an image of a seated woman’s stockinged legs, with her skirt pulled up to her knees, to hint at “knee-high”.

37. Living area in “The Martian,” with “the” : HAB

In the 2015 film “The Martian”, the stranded astronaut survives in the surface habitat (Hab).

“The Martian” is an intriguing 2015 science fiction film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut who is accidentally stranded on Mars. The movie is based on a 2011 novel of the same name by Andrew Weir. One thing that I liked about the film is that the science cited is fairly realistic. In fact, NASA collaborated with the filmmakers extensively from script development to principal casting.

39. AAA, to a 23-Across : EMERGENCY SERVICE
(23A. One who has blown a gasket, perhaps : STRANDED MOTORIST)

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

45. Chilly : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that is has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

48. Cleveland’s lake : ERIE

Cleveland, Ohio was named after the man who led the team that surveyed the area prior to founding of the city. General Moses Cleaveland did his work in 1796 and then left Ohio, never to return again.

49. One-time Jets home : SHEA

Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

50. Indiana Jones’ real first name : HENRY

In the “Indiana Jones” series of films, Dr. Henry “Indy” Jones is played by Harrison Ford.

51. “House” star Hugh : LAURIE

English actor and comedian Hugh Laurie used to be half of a comedy double act with Stephen Fry called simply “Fry and Laurie”. Fry and Laurie met in Cambridge University through their mutual friend, the actress Emma Thompson. Over in North America, Laurie is best known for playing the title role in the medical drama “House”.

53. Friend to Tarzan : APE

In the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes was actually Englishman John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke.

55. Shell propeller : OAR

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

56. Old recording accessory : VCR REMOTE

Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)

62. Pre-op test : EKG

An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

64. Friend of Che : FIDEL

Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and passed away in 2016.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

65. Brontë sister : EMILY

The Brontë family lived in the lovely village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England. The three daughters all became recognised authors. The first to achieve success was Charlotte Brontë when she published “Jane Eyre”. Then came Emily with “Wuthering Heights” and Anne with “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”.

69. Like some ukes : OVAL

The ukulele (“uke”) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

72. First name in sci-fi : JULES

Jules Verne really was a groundbreaking author. Verne pioneered the science fiction genre, writing about space, air and underwater travel, long before they were practical and proved feasible. Verne is the second-most translated author of all time, with only Agatha Christie beating him out.

74. Faux __ : PAS

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

77. North Carolina baseball team : DURHAM BULLS

The Durham Bulls are the Triple-A minor league baseball team based in Durham, North Carolina. The team was established in 1902 as the Durham Tobacconists, and are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the Durham Bulls who featured in the 1988 movie “Bull Durham” starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon.

79. Office builder? : MICROSOFT

Microsoft Office is a suite of applications that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook,

83. Pop singer Brickell : EDIE

Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. Brickell has been married to fellow singer Paul Simon since 1991.

85. Adverb in the “Star Trek” intro : BOLDLY

The original “Star Trek” TV show opened each episode with a speech from Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

86. Rock with bands : 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”.

97. Frehley of Kiss : ACE

Ace Frehley was a founding member of the rock band called Kiss, and played with the group from 1973 until 1982. Frehley did return for a reunion tour in 1996, and then stayed until 2002.

105. 1003, to Tiberius : MIII

Tiberius was the second Emperor of Rome and succeeded Augustus. Tiberius spent much of his later life away from Rome, not really wanting the responsibilities of Emperor but refusing to give up his power. Instead, he exiled himself from Rome leaving administrative control of the Empire to unscrupulous aides. Tiberius himself led a quiet life on the island of Capri. His death at the age of 77 was apparently hastened by a pillow placed over his face, an act ordered by his successor Caligula.

108. Verdi’s “__ tu” : ERI

Every crossword constructors’ favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

112. “Daily Planet” byline name : LANE

Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. But never mind all that … one has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

117. MLBer with 696 home runs : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

118. Fist fight fists : DUKES

“Dukes” is a slang term for “fists, hands”. The route taken by “dukes” to become fists seems very tortuous, but might just be true. The term “fork” had been slang for “hand” for centuries (and gives rise to “fork out” meaning “hand over”). The slang term “fork” is expressed in Cockney rhyming slang as “Duke of York”, which is shortened to “duke”. As I said, tortuous …

120. Prisoner’s place, in an 1894 adventure novel : ZENDA

“The Prisoner of Zenda” is an 1894 novel by Anthony Hope about a king who is kidnapped, imprisoned and replaced by an impersonator. The novel has been adapted for stage and screen several times, most famously as a 1937 movie starring Ronald Colman.

121. Snowblower brand : TORO

Toro is a manufacturer of mainly lawn mowers and snow removal equipment based in Bloomington, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1914 to build tractor engines.

124. Rye blight : ERGOT

Ergots are fungi that cause disease in rye and related plants. If human eat ergot-contaminated grain, a condition called ergotism can result. Ergotism is the result of consumption of alkaloids produced by the fungi, alkaloids that can cause seizures and manic behavior. It has even been suggested that the hysteria exhibited by the Salem “witches” was perhaps caused by the ingestion of ergot-contaminated rye.

Down

1. Common core? : EMS

The core/middle of the word “common” comprises two letters M (em).

2. Liver spread : PATE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made up of a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

3. European Parliament meeting city : STRASBOURG

Strasbourg is a beautiful city that I had the privilege to visit some years ago. Strasbourg is home to many international organizations, including the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament.

4. Missouri’s __ Mountains : OZARK

The Ozark Mountains aren’t really mountains geographically speaking, and the Ozarks are better described by the alternate name, the Ozark Plateau. It’s not really certain how the Ozarks got their name, but my favorite theory is that “Ozarks” is the phonetic spelling of “aux Arks”, short for “of Arkansas” in French.

5. “Spamalot” name : MONTY

The hit musical “Spamalot” is a show derived from the 1974 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. In typical Monty Python style, the action starts just before the curtain goes up with an announcement recorded by the great John Cleese:

(You can) let your cell phones and pagers ring willy-nilly … (but) be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you.

6. What’s “afoot,” to Holmes : THE GAME

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in writing the “Sherlock Holmes” stories, had his hero use the phrase “the game is afoot” on more than one occasion. Holmes first uttered the expression in “The Adventures of the Abbey Grange”. However, the phrase was used long before Conan Doyle put pen to paper. In William Shakespeare’s “King Henry IV Part I” there is the line “Before the game is afoot, thou let’st slip”.

7. Home for a tulip : BED

Tulip festivals are held in a few cities around the world. The largest of these is the Canadian Tulip Festival that is held every year in the capital city of Ottawa. The tradition of growing tulips in Ottawa really started at the end of WWII. The Dutch royal family presented the city with 100,000 tulip bulbs as an act of thank for having sheltered Princess Juliana and her children while the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. The first Canadian Tulip Festival took place in 1953.

9. Doolittle, to Higgins : PROTEGEE

We use the term “protégé” (female form “protégée”) for someone whose career is helped along and guided by a more experienced person, a mentor. “Protégé” is French for “protected”.

Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins’ speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. “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”.

10. Bear, in Barcelona : OSO

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

11. Blood fluids : SERA

Blood serum (plural “sera”) is the clear, yellowish part of blood i.e. that part which is neither a blood cell or a clotting factor. Included in blood serum are antibodies, the proteins that are central to our immune system. Blood serum from animals that have immunity to some disease can be transferred to another individual, hence providing that second individual with some level of immunity. Blood serum used to pass on immunity can be called “antiserum”.

14. Major course : ENTREE

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found it very confusing to order meals when I first came to America!

17. Mystical character : RUNE

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

18. Like many eBay products : USED

There have been some notable things sold on eBay over the years. For example:

  • Ad space on a guy’s forehead, in the form of a temporary tattoo – $37,375
  • William Shatner’s kidney stone – $25,000
  • A cornflake shaped like Illinois – $1,350
  • A single corn flake – $1.63
  • A box of 10 Twinkies – $59.99
  • The original Hollywood sign – $450,400
  • The meaning of life – $3.26

25. Cooper work : TALE

James Fenimore Cooper’s most famous works are the romantic novel “The Last of the Mohicans” and the collection of historical novels known as the “Leatherstocking Tales” featuring the hero Natty Bumppo. James Fenimore was the son of William Cooper, a US Congressman. The Cooper family lived in Cooperstown, New York that was a community founded by James’s father William Cooper.

32. Read the riot act to : BERATE

The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act to” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.

34. Big-time : IN SPADES

The phrase “in spades” meaning “in abundance” dates back to the late twenties. The term probably comes from the game of bridge, in which spades are the highest-ranking suit.

36. Title for Kate Middleton, briefly : HRH

His/Her Royal Highness (HRH)

Kate Middleton is the wife of Prince William of the UK. Middleton is what one might call a commoner, although since her marriage she is known as the Duchess of Cambridge. She was born to parents who had worked together as flight attendants before becoming quite wealthy running their own mail-order business. As is so often the case in Britain, Kate’s ancestry can be traced back far enough to show that she and William do have common ancestors, dating back to the 1500s on her mother’s side and to the 1400s on her father’s side.

38. Shakespearean cry of woe : ALACK!

The archaic interjection “alack!” is an exclamation of sorrow or dismay. It is an abbreviated form of “ah, lack”, with “lack” used in the sense of loss, failure or shame.

42. Streisand title role : YENTL

“Yentl” is a play that opened in New York City in 1975. The move to adapt the play for the big screen was led by Barbra Streisand, and indeed she wrote the first outline of a musical version herself as far back as 1968. The film was eventually made and released in 1983, with Streisand performing the lead role.

44. Charlotte’s Jane : EYRE

Charlotte Brontë was the eldest of the three Brontë sister authors. Charlotte’s most famous work is the novel “Jane Eyre”, which she published under the pen name Currer Bell. The pen name veiled her gender, but preserved the initials of her real name. After “Jane Eyre” was published, Brontë started to move in the same circles as other successful novelists of the day, including William Makepeace Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. Just two years after Bronte died in her late thirties, it was Gaskell who published the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.

46. Bobby enshrined in a Toronto hall : ORR

Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking.

The Hockey Hall of Fame was established in 1943 in Kingston, Ontario. However, years of effort failed to raise sufficient funds to build a permanent building for the Hall of Fame in Kingston. The NHL finally agreed to construct a building for a permanent exhibition in Toronto that was opened in 1961. A larger home for the Hockey Hall of Fame was opened in Toronto in 1993.

52. “The Monster” rapper : EMINEM

“The Monster” is a 2013 song recorded by hip hop artist Eminem, with guest vocals by singer Rihanna. That’s really all that I know …

59. Surf music feature : REVERB

When audio mixing in the process of sound recording, the sound engineer might add some reverb, a slight reverberation.

60. Sumac of Peru : YMA

Yma Sumac was a Peruvian soprano. Sumac had a notable vocal range of five octaves.

61. RSVP part : S’IL

RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

66. Cry from Homer : D’OH!

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

67. “Love __ Battlefield”: Pat Benatar hit : IS A

Pat Benatar is a singer from Brooklyn, New York who was born Patricia Andrzejewski. She married her high school boyfriend Dennis Benatar in 1972 when she 19 years old, but they divorced in 1979 and Pat presumably kept the Benatar name as her career was already showing signs of taking off. Benatar’s biggest hits are “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, “Love is a Battlefield” and “We Belong”.

69. Member of Sauron’s army, in Tolkien : ORC

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, Sauron is the actual “Lord of the Rings”. Sauron was the Dark Lord Morgoth’s trusted lieutenant.

70. Video game brother : LUIGI

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

72. Where Herod reigned : JUDEA

Herod the Great was a vassal king in the first century BCE who ruled Judea under Roman supremacy. According to the Christian Bible, It was Herod the Great who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents, the execution of all young, male children in Bethlehem at the time of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. When Herod the Great died circa 4 BCE, Rome divided his kingdom between his three sons and one daughter. The son named Herod Antipas became ruler of Galilee and Perea. It is Herod Antipas who is cited as “King Herod” in the Bible, and who played a key role in the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.

73. Pope during the French Revolution : PIUS VI

Pope Pius VI was head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1775 until his death in 1799. Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy in 1796, and eventually took Pope Pius VI prisoner and removed him to France. The pope died just a few weeks into his captivity in Valence in southeast France. There followed a period of six months in which the church had no pope, until Pope Pius VII was elected in Rome. After some rapprochement between the church and the newly crowned Emperor Napoleon, Pius VII also found himself imprisoned in France, although he was allowed to return to Rome after Napoleon’s forced abdication in 1814.

74. Offering downloadable content : PODCASTING

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

75. Company with a duck in its logo : AFLAC

In 1999, Aflac (American Family Life Assurance Company) was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn’t a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency’s art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with “Aflac”, and that duck has been “Aflacking” ever since …

77. Nip at a bar : DRAM

The dram is a confusing unit of measurement, I think. It has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!

79. Pouty face : MOUE

The term “moue” comes from French, and means “small grimace, pout”.

81. Cal Poly campus site, initially : SLO

“Cal Poly” is the more familiar name for California Polytechnic State University. There are actually two Cal Poly institutions, one in San Luis Obispo (the most famous) and one in Pomona. The Pomona institution was founded in 1938 as the southern campus for Cal Poly in 1938, but became independent from the northern school in 1966.

87. Sea battle weapon : TORPEDO

The naval weapon called a torpedo is named for the group of electric rays of the genus “Torpedo”. The name of the fish comes from the verb “torpere”, Latin for “to be stiffened, paralyzed”, which is what happens to someone who steps on an electric ray.

88. “I kissed thee __ I killed thee”: “Othello” : ERE

“I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” is a line from Shakespeare’s “Othello”. The words are spoken by Othello as he kisses his wife Desdemona, whom he has just strangled, and then takes his own life in repentance.

94. Wavelength symbol : LAMBDA

The Greek letter lambda is equivalent to the letter L in our modern Latin alphabet. The uppercase lambda resembles the caret character on a keyboard (over the number-6 key).

103. Venetian blind part : SLAT

Venetian blinds probably did not originate in Venice, and rather were brought to Europe from Persia by Venetian traders. Apparently, the French haven’t forgotten the true origins of the design as they call Venetian blinds “Les Persienes”.

104. Root for a luau : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

107. Output from Rodin’s thinker? : IDEE

In French, one’s “tête” (head) might produce an “idée” (idea).

Rodin’s famous sculpture known as “The Thinker” has been reproduced many times. Rodin’s original version of “The Thinker” is actually a detail in a much larger work known as “The Gates of Hell”. The original plaster version of “The Gates of Hell” can be seen at the magnificent Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

111. Prefix with skeleton : ENDO-

An animal with an endoskeleton has a supporting skeleton inside its body. So, we humans have an endoskeleton. A turtle, on the other hand, has both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton, its outer shell.

114. Minn. winter hours : CST

Central Standard Time (CST)

115. Bromide particle : ION

A bromide is a compound containing a bromide ion i.e. a bromine atom with a singular negative charge. Potassium bromide was commonly used as a sedative in the 19th century, and this led to our use of the term “bromide” to mean “boring cliché” or “verbal sedative”.

116. Gangster’s piece : GAT

“Gat” is a slang term for a gun that is derived from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Derby town : EPSOM
6. One of 256 in a gal. : TBSP
10. Davis of “Dr. Dolittle” : OSSIE
15. Pale tone : ECRU
19. Bread in a Hillel sandwich : MATZO
20. Learn : HEAR
21. __ William Scott of “American Pie” films : SEANN
22. Second person in Paris? : VOUS
23. One who has blown a gasket, perhaps : STRANDED MOTORIST
26. Top-notch : A-ONE
27. Livestock identifier : EAR TAG
28. Greek vowel : ETA
29. Jay or A : ALER
30. Dr.’s hours, e.g. : SKED
31. Soviet Union : Salyut :: USA : __ : SKYLAB
33. Inventor Whitney : ELI
35. Classic fruity drinks : NEHIS
37. Living area in “The Martian,” with “the” : HAB
39. AAA, to a 23-Across : EMERGENCY SERVICE
45. Chilly : ALOOF
48. Cleveland’s lake : ERIE
49. One-time Jets home : SHEA
50. Indiana Jones’ real first name : HENRY
51. “House” star Hugh : LAURIE
53. Friend to Tarzan : APE
54. “Three and out” football play : PUNT
55. Shell propeller : OAR
56. Old recording accessory : VCR REMOTE
58. AAA, to a 56-Across, usually : BATTERY SIZE
62. Pre-op test : EKG
63. Wrath : IRE
64. Friend of Che : FIDEL
65. Brontë sister : EMILY
66. “The cookies are done!” sound : DING!
68. Religious acts : RITES
69. Like some ukes : OVAL
70. Baggy : LOOSE
72. First name in sci-fi : JULES
73. School opening? : PRE-
74. Faux __ : PAS
77. North Carolina baseball team : DURHAM BULLS
79. Office builder? : MICROSOFT
82. Convoy member : RIG
83. Pop singer Brickell : EDIE
84. Debtor’s letters : IOU
85. Adverb in the “Star Trek” intro : BOLDLY
86. Rock with bands : AGATE
89. Put on a mission : SEND
90. Wanton want : LUST
92. Like the center of attention : FOCAL
93. AAA, for the 77-Across : MINOR LEAGUE LEVEL
97. Frehley of Kiss : ACE
98. Dismal, poetically : DREAR
99. Sgt.’s underling : PVT
100. Stills, say : IMAGES
103. Transit map dot : STOP
105. 1003, to Tiberius : MIII
108. Verdi’s “__ tu” : ERI
110. Copy illegally : PIRATE
112. “Daily Planet” byline name : LANE
113. AAA, for 79-Across : BOND CREDIT RATING
117. MLBer with 696 home runs : A-ROD
118. Fist fight fists : DUKES
119. Soothing agent : ALOE
120. Prisoner’s place, in an 1894 adventure novel : ZENDA
121. Snowblower brand : TORO
122. Thus far : AS YET
123. Are inclined : TEND
124. Rye blight : ERGOT

Down

1. Common core? : EMS
2. Liver spread : PATE
3. European Parliament meeting city : STRASBOURG
4. Missouri’s __ Mountains : OZARK
5. “Spamalot” name : MONTY
6. What’s “afoot,” to Holmes : THE GAME
7. Home for a tulip : BED
8. Likewise, with “the” : SAME
9. Doolittle, to Higgins : PROTEGEE
10. Bear, in Barcelona : OSO
11. Blood fluids : SERA
12. Move easily : SAIL
13. Lacking feeling : INSENSATE
14. Major course : ENTREE
15. Like many a politician’s answers : EVASIVE
16. Deep-fries : COOKS IN OIL
17. Mystical character : RUNE
18. Like many eBay products : USED
24. Glen relative : DALE
25. Cooper work : TALE
32. Read the riot act to : BERATE
34. Big-time : IN SPADES
36. Title for Kate Middleton, briefly : HRH
37. Split in two : HALVE
38. Shakespearean cry of woe : ALACK!
40. Ready to pick : RIPE
41. Inclined channels : CHUTES
42. Streisand title role : YENTL
43. Nonsensical : CRAZY
44. Charlotte’s Jane : EYRE
46. Bobby enshrined in a Toronto hall : ORR
47. Shakespearean cry of disgust : FIE!
52. “The Monster” rapper : EMINEM
57. Website suffix : ORG
58. Small servings : BITES
59. Surf music feature : REVERB
60. Sumac of Peru : YMA
61. RSVP part : S’IL
64. Topped off : FILLED UP
66. Cry from Homer : D’OH!
67. “Love __ Battlefield”: Pat Benatar hit : IS A
68. Court decision : RULING
69. Member of Sauron’s army, in Tolkien : ORC
70. Video game brother : LUIGI
71. Certain transplant need : ORGAN DONOR
72. Where Herod reigned : JUDEA
73. Pope during the French Revolution : PIUS VI
74. Offering downloadable content : PODCASTING
75. Company with a duck in its logo : AFLAC
76. Flair : STYLE
77. Nip at a bar : DRAM
78. “Stop fooling around!” : BE SERIOUS!
79. Pouty face : MOUE
80. Wind-knocked-out sound : OOF!
81. Cal Poly campus site, initially : SLO
84. Behave cruelly towards : ILL-TREAT
87. Sea battle weapon : TORPEDO
88. “I kissed thee __ I killed thee”: “Othello” : ERE
91. Trying to resist the rich dessert, say : TEMPTED
94. Wavelength symbol : LAMBDA
95. Even once : EVER
96. Retreat : LAIR
101. Barely hit : GRAZE
102. Food processor? : EATER
103. Venetian blind part : SLAT
104. Root for a luau : TARO
106. Black : INKY
107. Output from Rodin’s thinker? : IDEE
109. Not in operation : IDLE
111. Prefix with skeleton : ENDO-
114. Minn. winter hours : CST
115. Bromide particle : ION
116. Gangster’s piece : GAT

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8 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 8 Jul 2018, Sunday”

  1. 40 minutes, no errors on this one. Very straight-forward. For writing this one, I wondered how much of how I do on these is dependent on the print size of the grid, and consequently being able to read the numbers on the grid after I write over them – or reading them in the first place. I’ll have to compare and contrast between what ends up on an 8 1/2-11 sheet of paper versus the area used in the newspaper (when I get those I get both the LAT & NYT on Sundays), but I recall most times that the newspaper grid is always easier to read.

    More to come if I end up feeling like it…

    1. @Glenn—-I have often wondered the same thing. My local newspaper prints the New York Times puzzle quite small. I absolutely have to arrange for a very bright light coming in over my right shoulder. Sunlight is best. An individual’s eyesight ability has to be a major factor also. It is exasperating when I write in a wrong answer not because I didn’t know the answer but because I confused the tiny numbers.

  2. LAT: 29:19, but I neglected to fill in one square, and, oddly enough, I was also going to comment about the size of the print on this one. For the last week or two, the formatting of the LAT and Newsday puzzles has been such as to force me to reduce the print size to get everything on one page, at which point I have a lot of trouble reading both the numbers in the grid and the clues. I’m sure that they’re using the same underlying software to do the formatting (a blue title on the puzzle is the main clue to this), and I theorize that the IT guy who knows how to override problems with that software is on vacation … 😜.

    Aside: A few months ago, if the same software produced a red title instead of a blue one, it signalled an error in the formatting: usually, some clues would be printed on top of other clues and, if you printed the same puzzle the next morning, you’d get a corrected version with a blue title. I infer that the software is a flawed work in progress. They need to find out how the folks at the WSJ and the New Yorker format their puzzles (or talk to Tim Croce, Matt Jones, or Brendan Emmet Quigley).

    Newsday: 17:31, no errors. I printed this grid on a separate piece of paper (but the clues were still too small to read comfortably).

    (Gripe, gripe, gripe … 😜.)

  3. Washington Post: 45 minutes, 2 dumb errors. A 21×21 themeless. It’s not much different than a Saturday LAT, but the novelty of it being bigger somehow makes it different. This puzzle is usually recommended if someone wants something different. Usually don’t get the will to do it much, though, because 21x21s are usually chorish and tire me out. Newsday: 18 minutes, 1 dumb error. Pretty much to be expected.

    @Dave, @Dale
    I know a lot of it is the difference in size and number of clues between 15×15 and 21×21 grids. To be honest, a 21×21 grid has a whole lot of information. Granted, Across Lite (henceforth ACL) lets you tweak fonts and their sizes, but I haven’t gotten in much to play and see if I can get a 21×21 to look better. ACL gives you the option to print on two pages, which I tried on the Post puzzle. While it wasn’t hard to read, keeping track of two pages is hard too (I taped them together). ACL works exceeding well when you do them online – you can zoom the puzzle, change all the fonts, and pretty much make the puzzle look the way you want.

    Meanwhile I have the newspapers, which I’ll measure puzzles in later. My NYT 21×21 in the paper is pretty good, IMO, while the LAT is fair. Part of the NYT is them using half a page of news print, but I think they made decent font choices in the layout too.

    @Dave
    They need to find out how the folks at the WSJ and the New Yorker format their puzzles (or talk to Tim Croce, Matt Jones, or Brendan Emmet Quigley).

    I don’t know what the WSJ is using. The New Yorker, Newsday, and the Washington Post (LAT side) all use the same software, so we know how the New Yorker formats their puzzles. Croce, Jones, and BEQ use ACL. They create PUZ files (text script like I’ve been making over at Cruciverb.com lately), and then print to get any PDFs they output. Like I mentioned above, ACL is pretty customizable, so the user can almost control the formatting and such themselves. I can say though, that I think most every software does 15×15 well enough – it’s just the 21x21s that can be messed up.

  4. 39:19 after overcoming several missteps – e.g. faux PAx among other similar hijinks. Enjoyed the theme. I did an NYT Sunday crossword on my Houston-Las Vegas flight yesterday from June 10 which also had the word MOUE in it. That helped significantly in that little area.

    13 days isn’t exactly an eternity, but it sure felt like one to me. I don’t ever remember being so glad to get home before. I just about collapsed when I came through the door yesterday. I think it’s still a little PTSD from last August and re-living Hurricane Harvey survival mode. It wasn’t the days (13), it was all the moving around – 6 flights in those 13 days – that wore me out.

    Anyway – happy to be home. I don’t have another trip planned for a month, but even that seems WAY too soon. We’ll see.

    Best –

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