LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Aug 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Victor Barocas
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: It Couple

Themed answers include a COUPLE of occurrences of the letter sequence “IT”:

  • 59A. Tabloid pair found in 17-, 23-, 36- and 49-Across : IT COUPLE
  • 17A. Liveliness : VITALITY
  • 23A. Jefferson Airplane song with the words “Go ask Alice” : WHITE RABBIT
  • 36A. “To boldly go,” e.g. : SPLIT INFINITIVE
  • 49A. Cat owner’s purchase : KITTY LITTER

Bill’s time: 6m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Light-ly armed fighter? : JEDI

The Jedi are the “good guys” in the “Star Wars” series of movies. The most famous Jedi knights from the films are Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness, and later Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz). Well, they’re my favorites anyway …

The famous lightsaber weapons in the “Star Wars” series of films were updated for the seventh episode “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. The new lightsabers have energy crossguards just above the grip.

5. “Better Call Saul” network : AMC

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off drama series from the hit show “Breaking Bad”. The main character is small-time lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, who featured in the original series. “Better Call Saul” is set six years before Goodman makes an appearance in the “Breaking Bad” storyline. The lawyer’s real name is James Morgan McGill, and his pseudonym is a play on the words “S’all good, man!”

14. Nerve impulse carrier : AXON

A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The branched projections that receive electrochemical signals from other neurons are known as dendrites. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.

15. Bit of texting mirth : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

16. ThinkPad maker : LENOVO

Lenovo is a Chinese manufacturer of computers. The company is very successful, and sold more personal computers in 2013 than any other vendor worldwide. IBM sold off its personal computer division to Lenovo in 2005.

19. “Grumpy” film guys : OLD MEN

“Grumpy Old Men” is a wonderful romantic comedy film from 1993 starring the great actors Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret along with an excellent supporting cast. “Grumpy Old Man” was the sixth on-screen collaboration between Lemmon and Matthau, but the first in over a decade.

22. Iberian river : EBRO

The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the “Iber” river that gives the “Iberian” Peninsula its name.

23. Jefferson Airplane song with the words “Go ask Alice” : WHITE RABBIT

“White Rabbit” is a song recorded in 1967 by Jefferson Airplane that made it into the top ten. The lyrics make blatant drug references, and use imagery from the “Alice” children’s novels by Lewis Carroll such as the White Rabbit, the White Knight, the Red Queen and the Dormouse.

The sixties folk group called Jefferson Airplane gave rise to two spin-off groups that were founded by former Jefferson Airplane band members. The first was Jefferson Starship, and the second was Starship. Confusing, huh?

31. Like the Piper : PIED

The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory. The use of the word “pied” implies that the piper dressed in multi-colored clothing.

36. “To boldly go,” e.g. : SPLIT INFINITIVE

Whether English infinitives should be “split” or not is the subject of much debate. In the English language the infinitive of a verb is made up of the “to” marker and the “bare infinitive”, e.g. “to be”, “to do” and “to go”. A split infinitive occurs when an adverb is placed not after the infinitive but in between the “to” marker and the bare infinitive. The most famous example in modern English, I think, has to be in the opening lines of the “Star Trek” television series: “… to boldly go where no man has gone before …”.

41. Boston winter hrs. : EST

Eastern standard time (EST)

43. Swedish retail giant : IKEA

The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.

44. Color from the French for “mole” : TAUPE

Taupe is a dark, gray-brown color. The word “taupe” comes from the Latin name of the European Mole, which has skin with the same color.

52. Nest-building flier : WASP

While the wasp is considered to be a nuisance by many, the insect is very important to the agricultural industry. Wasps prey on many pest insects, while having very little impact on crops.

53. Wordsmith’s ref. : OED

Work started on what was to become the first “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) in 1857. Several interim versions of the dictionary were published in the coming years with the first full version appearing, in ten bound volumes, in 1928. The second edition of the OED appeared in 1989 and is made up of twenty volumes. The OED was first published in electronic form in 1988 and went online in 2000. Given the modern use of computers, the publishing house responsible feels that there will never be a third print version of the famous dictionary.

59. Tabloid pair found in 17-, 23-, 36- and 49-Across : IT COUPLE

An it couple is generally a celebrity couple, and a glamorous one at that.

62. __ urchin : SEA

Sea urchins are globular, spiny creatures found just about everywhere in the ocean. The “roe” of a sea urchin is eaten as a delicacy in several cuisines around the world. In a sushi restaurant, the sea urchin roe is called “uni”. The term “roe” normally means “fish eggs”, but in the case of the sea urchin it refers to the gonads of both the male and female.

64. Chinese bamboo eaters : PANDAS

The giant panda is a bear, and so has the digestive system of a carnivore. However, the panda lives exclusively on bamboo, even though its gut is relatively poorly adapted to extract nutrients from plants per se. The panda relies on microbes in its gut to digest cellulose, and consumes 20-30 pounds of bamboo each day to gain enough nourishment.

65. TV shopper’s option : HSN

The Home Shopping Network (HSN) was the first national shopping network, and was launched locally as the Home Shopping Club in Florida in 1982.

66. Tom Stoppard creation : PLAY

Sir Tom Stoppard is a British playwright. His most famous work is probably “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (which I saw years ago, and slept through!). Stoppard also writes screenplays, and was co-writer for the 1998 movie “Shakespeare in Love”.

Down

1. Indonesian island : JAVA

Java is a large island in Indonesia that is home to the country’s capital, Jakarta. With a population of over 130 million, Java is the most populous island in the world, with even more people than Honshu, the main island of Japan.

5. Keys of music : ALICIA

“Alicia Keys” is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.

6. Church songs : MOTETS

A motet is a simple musical composition based on a sacred text that is usually sung without an accompaniment. The term “motet” is a diminutive form of “mot”, the French for “word”.

7. Half a notorious crime duo : CLYDE

Bonnie and Clyde were criminals who robbed and killed their way across the central US during the Great Depression. Clyde Barrow was born a desperately poor young boy just south of Dallas, Texas. He was always in trouble with the law, first getting arrested at the age of 16. He met Bonnie Parker in 1930 at a friend’s house, and the smitten Parker followed Clyde into a life of crime. The pair were killed by a posse of Texas police officers just four years later in Louisiana.

11. Resembling the walking dead : ZOMBIE-LIKE

A zombie is a corpse that has been brought back to life by some mystical means. Our modern use of the term largely stems from the undead creatures featured in the 1968 horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. Now that film I haven’t seen, and probably never will …

12. Tennis legend Chris : EVERT

Chris Evert is a former professional tennis player from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Evert has the best winning percentage in professional tennis, man or woman worldwide, losing less than 10% of all her matches.

13. Prefix with gram : SONO-

A sonogram is an image made created using ultrasound. “Ultrasound” is the name given to sound energy that has frequencies above the audible range.

18. Cowardly Lion portrayer : LAHR

Bert Lahr’s most famous role was that of the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Remember the catchphrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called, “Meet the People” in which it was first uttered by none other than Bert Lahr.

23. Desert riverbed : WADI

“Wadi” is an Arabic term referring to a valley, or perhaps a (mostly) dry riverbed. In English we might call this a wash, or in Spanish an “arroyo”.

24. Sitar master Shankar : RAVI

Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and was noted for his sitar playing. Also, Shankar was the father of the pop singer Norah Jones.

25. Yemen’s main port : ADEN

Aden is a seaport in Yemen that is located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

26. City on the Adriatic : BARI

Bari is a major port city on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Bari has the unfortunate distinction of being the only city in Europe to experience chemical warfare during WWII. Allied stores of mustard gas were released during a German bombing raid on Bari in 1943. Fatalities caused by the chemical agent were reported as 69, although other reports list the number as maybe a thousand military personnel and a thousand civilians.

27. Semicircular church area : 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.

29. Sharpie, e.g. : FELT TIP PEN

Sharpie is a brand of marker pen that has been on sale since 1964.

34. “Cupcake Wars” appliance : OVEN

“Cupcake Wars” is a reality show on the Food Network. Each episode features four teams competing to make the best cupcakes.

39. Dramatist Coward : NOEL

Noël Coward was the most flamboyant of personalities. A playwright, composer and actor, Coward worked in a remarkable range of genres. He wrote the wonderfully airy play “Blithe Spirit”, as well as the Oscar-winning WWII naval drama “In Which We Serve”. A couple of his more famous songs, many of which he performed himself in cabaret, are “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and “London Pride”.

47. Diagnostic pic : CT SCAN

A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful, causing damage that is cumulative over time.

48. Loan default risk : REPO

Repossession (repo)

49. Iota follower : KAPPA

Kappa is the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the equivalent of our letter K.

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

53. Iridescent gem : OPAL

An opal is often described as having a milky iridescence known as opalescence.

54. “East of Eden” director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

“East of Eden” is a 1955 film based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Among other things, the movie is noted for providing James Dean his first major role.

57. MouthHealthy.org initials : ADA

MouthHealthy.org is the consumer website published by the American Dental Association (ADA).

58. Lille lily : LYS

Lille is a large city in the very north of France sitting right on the border with Belgium. The name “Lille” is a derivation of the term “l’isle” meaning “the island”. The former name “L’Isle” dates back to 1066, and is a reference to a castle that once stood on an island in the Deûle river that runs through the city. The city grew around the island and the castle.

60. Diamond authority : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Light-ly armed fighter? : JEDI
5. “Better Call Saul” network : AMC
8. Takes by force : SEIZES
14. Nerve impulse carrier : AXON
15. Bit of texting mirth : LOL
16. ThinkPad maker : LENOVO
17. Liveliness : VITALITY
19. “Grumpy” film guys : OLD MEN
20. Really enjoyed, with “up” : ATE
21. Got 100 on : ACED
22. Iberian river : EBRO
23. Jefferson Airplane song with the words “Go ask Alice” : WHITE RABBIT
27. To the degree that : AS FAR AS
30. “It’s __!” : A DATE
31. Like the Piper : PIED
32. Wrapped up : OVER
33. Piece of land : LOT
36. “To boldly go,” e.g. : SPLIT INFINITIVE
41. Boston winter hrs. : EST
42. Words before a start date : AS OF …
43. Swedish retail giant : IKEA
44. Color from the French for “mole” : TAUPE
46. Multiplex theater count : SCREENS
49. Cat owner’s purchase : KITTY LITTER
51. Deeply engrossed : RAPT
52. Nest-building flier : WASP
53. Wordsmith’s ref. : OED
56. Verdict challenge : APPEAL
59. Tabloid pair found in 17-, 23-, 36- and 49-Across : IT COUPLE
61. Throwing money around, in slang : SPENDY
62. __ urchin : SEA
63. Central : MAIN
64. Chinese bamboo eaters : PANDAS
65. TV shopper’s option : HSN
66. Tom Stoppard creation : PLAY

Down

1. Indonesian island : JAVA
2. __ interview : EXIT
3. Spoil, with “on” : DOTE
4. Ship __ bottle : IN A
5. Keys of music : ALICIA
6. Church songs : MOTETS
7. Half a notorious crime duo : CLYDE
8. __-mo replay : SLO
9. Slender aquarium swimmer : EEL
10. Like many a college graduate : IN DEBT
11. Resembling the walking dead : ZOMBIE-LIKE
12. Tennis legend Chris : EVERT
13. Prefix with gram : SONO-
18. Cowardly Lion portrayer : LAHR
23. Desert riverbed : WADI
24. Sitar master Shankar : RAVI
25. Yemen’s main port : ADEN
26. City on the Adriatic : BARI
27. Semicircular church area : APSE
28. Doesn’t guzzle : SIPS
29. Sharpie, e.g. : FELT TIP PEN
32. On vacation : OFF
34. “Cupcake Wars” appliance : OVEN
35. Drinks with scones : TEAS
37. Opposite of slack : TAUT
38. Game played with one’s “little eye” : I SPY
39. Dramatist Coward : NOEL
40. Level : TIER
45. Go to : ATTEND
46. Declares : STATES
47. Diagnostic pic : CT SCAN
48. Loan default risk : REPO
49. Iota follower : KAPPA
50. “If only” : I WISH
51. Rough file : RASP
53. Iridescent gem : OPAL
54. “East of Eden” director Kazan : ELIA
55. Say no to : DENY
57. MouthHealthy.org initials : ADA
58. Lille lily : LYS
60. Diamond authority : UMP

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