LA Times Crossword 1 Oct 18, Monday

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

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ziti

Themed answers start with the letters Z-T, which sounds like “ZITI”:

  • 64A. Tubular pasta … and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23-, 51- and 60-Across : ZITI (and “Z-T“)
  • 17A. Complete quickly, as a test : ZIP THROUGH
  • 23A. Predecessor to Millard Fillmore : ZACHARY TAYLOR
  • 51A. Strict rule-enforcement policy : ZERO TOLERANCE
  • 60A. Buddhist meditation sites : ZEN TEMPLES

Bill’s time: 5m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Neeson of “Silence” : LIAM

Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic, “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news a few years ago when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.

“Silence” is a 2016 Martin Scorsese movie based the 1966 novel of the same name. It’s about two 17th-century Jesuit priests, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who travel from Portugal to Japan to find their mentor, and to spread the Roman Catholic faith.

13. Cancún currency : PESO

The coin called a “peso” is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.

15. Cellist Casals : PABLO

Pablo Casals was a wonderful cellist from Catalonia in Spain. He lived at the time of the Franco regime in Spain. As a supporter of the Spanish Republican Government, he placed himself in self-imposed exile in 1938, vowing not to return home until democracy had been restored. Casals never again set foot on Spanish soil, and died in Puerto Rico in 1973.

21. Lake crossed traveling from Ohio to Ontario : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

23. Predecessor to Millard Fillmore : ZACHARY TAYLOR

Zachary Taylor won the 1848 election to become the 12th US president, and the first president to hold office without a political resume. Taylor was a career military man, known as “Old Rough and Ready” Taylor. He died only 16 months into his term, apparently of gastroenteritis. Given that rumors of poisoning persisted over the decades, his body was exhumed in 1991 and tissue samples were checked for signs of foul play. Nothing out of order was discovered, although rumours still persist.

Vice President Millard Fillmore took over the US Presidency when Zachary Taylor died after only 16 months in office. Fillmore was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, but grew up around Buffalo. He was one of the founders of the University of Buffalo and served as chancellor there after he left office in 1853. He was also the last Whig to occupy the White House, as the party broke up after Fillmore’s presidency.

27. “Later, Jacques” : ADIEU

“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

28. Northern sky sight : AURORA

The spectacular aurora phenomenon is seen lighting up the night sky at both poles of the earth (the Aurora Borealis in the north, and the Aurora Australis in the south). The eerie effect is caused by charged particles colliding with atoms at high latitudes.

31. Mixed-breed barker : MUTT

The original use of the term “mutt” was for a foolish person, and was probably short for “muttonhead”. The usage evolved into today’s “mongrel dog”.

34. Isl. of Australia : TASM

Tasmania is the large island lying off the southeast coast of Australia. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sail past the island, in 1642. Tasman named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after the Governor of the Dutch East Indies, Anthony van Diemen. The name was officially changed to Tasmania, after the discoverer himself, in 1856. In Australia a more familiar name used is “Tassie”.

42. Lovestruck teen from Verona : ROMEO

William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is all about the love between the two title characters, which is forbidden as the pair come from two families who are sworn enemies. Early in the play, Romeo (a Montague) sneaks into a masquerade ball being held by the Capulets in the hope of meeting a Capulet girl named Rosaline. Instead, he meets and falls for Juliet, also a Capulet. Tragedy ensues …

Verona is a city in northern Italy. Famously, William Shakespeare set three of his plays in Verona: “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “The Taming of the Shrew”.

44. Houston MLBer : ‘STRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

47. Angelic figure : CHERUB

A cherub (plural “cherubim”) is an angel. The term “cherub” ultimately comes from the Hebrew “kerubh” (plural “kerubhim”) meaning “winged angel”.

56. Margaret of stand-up : CHO

Margaret Cho is a very successful stand-up comedian, but she is also a fashion designer with her own line of clothing. Cho acts as well, and you might have seen her in the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie “Face/Off” in which she played John Travolta’s FBI colleague.

60. Buddhist meditation sites : ZEN TEMPLES

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

64. Tubular pasta … and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23-, 51- and 60-Across : ZITI (and Z-T)

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

66. Brazilian soccer legend : PELE

“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been a member of three World Cup winning squads (1958, 1962 and 1970), and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

67. Actor Baldwin : ALEC

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

69. Part of GPS: Abbr. : SYST

Global positioning system (GPS)

70. Some cameras, for short : SLRS

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

Down

1. Dog group that includes the Akita : SPITZ

Spitz-type dogs are those with long thick fur that is usually white. Most spitz-type dogs seem to have originated in the Arctic and/or East Asia. Examples of breed described as spitz-type are the Alaskan Malamute and the Canadian Eskimo Dog.

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, the Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

2. “Tik Tok” singer : KESHA

“Kesha” (formerly “Ke$ha”) is the stage name used by singer Kesha Rose Sebert.

3. Author Asimov : ISAAC

Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

5. Tabloid TV debut of 2007 : TMZ

TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip website launched in 2005. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard. If you’re interested, there’s also a television show called “TMZ on TV” that was launched in 2007.

6. Xbox 360 competitor : WII

Introduced in 2006, Nintendo’s Wii quickly became the biggest-selling game console in the world.

8. Colorful aquarium fish : TETRA

The neon tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.

9. Poet __-tzu : LAO

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

10. Active ingredient in Advil : IBUPROFEN

“Ibuprofen” is a shortened version of the drug’s name: Iso-BUtyl-PROpanoic-PHENolic acid. Ibuprofen is primarily an anti-inflammatory, but apparently it is good for headaches too.

11. Pond growth : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

12. Jay of “Last Comic Standing” : MOHR

Jay Mohr is an American actor, one I most remember playing a supporting role in the wonderful HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon” (must see TV!). Mohr also created and hosted a reality show called “Last Comic Standing”.

“Last Comic Standing” is a reality TV show in which stand-up comedians vie for a cash prize and a development contract with NBC for a comedy show. Wanda Sykes was executive producer.

24. Beatles’ meter maid : RITA

“Lovely Rita” is a Beatles song on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. When the album was released in 1967, the term “meter maid” wasn’t used in the UK, although it was a slang term used in the US. The song helped spread the usage of “meter maid” all around the English-speaking world. Apparently the inspiration for the song was McCartney getting a parking ticket one day outside the Abbey Road Studios. He accepted the ticket with good grace, from a warden named Meta Davis. McCartney felt that Meta “looked like a Rita”, so that was the name she was given in the song.

25. First Irish Literature Nobelist : YEATS

Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.

29. Egg-shaped tomato : ROMA

The Roma tomato isn’t considered an heirloom variety but it is very popular with home gardeners, especially those gardeners that don’t have a lot of space. It is a bush type (as opposed to vine type) and needs very little room to provide a lot of tomatoes.

31. Artist Chagall : MARC

Marc Chagall was a Russian-French artist, one of the most successful of the 20th century. Unlike so many painters, Chagall was able to achieve wealth and notoriety for his work during his own lifetime. It did help that Chagall lived to a ripe old age though. He passed away in 1985, when he was 97 years young. One of Chagall’s most famous works is the ceiling of the Paris Opera. The new ceiling for the beautiful 19th-century building was commissioned in 1963, and took Chagall a year to complete. Chagall was 77 years old when he worked on the Paris Opera project.

33. Mountain and Pacific, e.g. : TIME ZONES

Local solar time was replaced with standard time zones due to the increasing use of rail travel and telecommunications as the variations in local solar times became somewhat inconvenient. Time zones in the US vary in hourly increments, but in some parts of the world a 30-minute or even 15-minute difference can apply.

35. Gourmet mushroom : MOREL

The morel is that genus of mushroom with the honeycomb-like structure on the cap. They’re highly prized, especially in French cuisine. Morels should never be eaten raw as they are toxic, with the toxins being removed by thorough cooking.

40. Info : DOPE

Apparently, “to dope out” is a slang term meaning “to figure out, infer from available information”. Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a bettor might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.

46. Sonnet sections : STANZAS

“Stanza” is an Italian word meaning “verse of a poem”.

52. Big name in trading cards : TOPPS

Topps was a relaunch of an older company called American Leaf Tobacco, with the Topps name used from 1938. The earlier company was in trouble because it could not get supplies of its Turkish tobacco, so it moved into another chewy industry, making bubblegum. Nowadays, Topps is known for including (mainly) sports-themed trading cards in the packs of gum.

53. Sam of “Jurassic Park” : NEILL

Sam Neill is a very talented actor from New Zealand. I really enjoyed Neill in a 1983 television miniseries called “Reilly, Ace of Spies”, about a British spy operation during WWI. He is perhaps better-known for his roles in the movies “Omen III”, “Dead Calm”, “Jurassic Park” and “The Hunt for Red October”.

“Jurassic Park” is a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton that was adapted into a hugely successful movie by Steven Spielberg in 1993. One of the main premises of the novel is that dinosaur DNA could be harvested from mosquitoes trapped in amber (fossilized tree resin), the DNA coming from the dinosaur blood consumed by the mosquitoes. The dinosaur DNA is then sequenced and used to create clones of the original beasts. Apparently, that’s a clever idea, but not very practical …

56. Industry mogul : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

57. Zeus’ jealous wife : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

62. Lolling trio? : ELS

There is a trio of letters L (els) in the word “lolling”.

63. Erector __ : SET

Oh how I loved my Erector Set as a kid. The version we used growing up was referred to as a Meccano set, as “Meccano” was the brand name used for for the toy sold as “Mechanics Made Easy”. The original Erector Set was developed by inventor Alfred Carlton Gilbert, and first produced in 1913. Back then it was sold as “The Erector/Structural Steel and Electro-Mechanical Builder”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Crispy fried chicken part : SKIN
5. Foolish sort : TWIT
9. Neeson of “Silence” : LIAM
13. Cancún currency : PESO
14. Nonspeaking street performer : MIME
15. Cellist Casals : PABLO
16. “__ it first!” : I SAW
17. Complete quickly, as a test : ZIP THROUGH
19. Spring melts : THAWS
21. Lake crossed traveling from Ohio to Ontario : ERIE
22. Golf course standard : PAR
23. Predecessor to Millard Fillmore : ZACHARY TAYLOR
27. “Later, Jacques” : ADIEU
28. Northern sky sight : AURORA
31. Mixed-breed barker : MUTT
34. Isl. of Australia : TASM
36. Remove mist from, as a windshield : DEFOG
37. Sushi tuna : AHI
38. Grabbed a chair : SAT
39. Praiseful poem : ODE
41. Angsty music genre : EMO
42. Lovestruck teen from Verona : ROMEO
44. Houston MLBer : ‘STRO
46. Unexpected problem : SNAG
47. Angelic figure : CHERUB
49. Transplant to a new container : REPOT
51. Strict rule-enforcement policy : ZERO TOLERANCE
56. Margaret of stand-up : CHO
58. Chilly : COOL
59. Get the better of : ONE-UP
60. Buddhist meditation sites : ZEN TEMPLES
64. Tubular pasta … and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23-, 51- and 60-Across : ZITI (and Z-T)
65. Geometry calculations : AREAS
66. Brazilian soccer legend : PELE
67. Actor Baldwin : ALEC
68. Sore throat sign : RASP
69. Part of GPS: Abbr. : SYST
70. Some cameras, for short : SLRS

Down

1. Dog group that includes the Akita : SPITZ
2. “Tik Tok” singer : KESHA
3. Author Asimov : ISAAC
4. “Yet another problem?” : NOW WHAT?
5. Tabloid TV debut of 2007 : TMZ
6. Xbox 360 competitor : WII
7. Driving force : IMPETUS
8. Colorful aquarium fish : TETRA
9. Poet __-tzu : LAO
10. Active ingredient in Advil : IBUPROFEN
11. Pond growth : ALGA
12. Jay of “Last Comic Standing” : MOHR
15. Musical intro : PRELUDE
18. “Howdy there!” : HIYA
20. Pathetic : SAD
24. Beatles’ meter maid : RITA
25. First Irish Literature Nobelist : YEATS
26. Miner’s strike : ORE
29. Egg-shaped tomato : ROMA
30. Spellbound : AGOG
31. Artist Chagall : MARC
32. “Looks like trouble!” : UH-OH!
33. Mountain and Pacific, e.g. : TIME ZONES
35. Gourmet mushroom : MOREL
38. Reporter’s contacts : SOURCES
40. Info : DOPE
43. Before, poetically : ERE
45. Streetcar : TROLLEY
46. Sonnet sections : STANZAS
48. Market upswing : BOOM
50. Gold, to José : ORO
52. Big name in trading cards : TOPPS
53. Sam of “Jurassic Park” : NEILL
54. More adorable : CUTER
55. Heroic sagas : EPICS
56. Industry mogul : CZAR
57. Zeus’ jealous wife : HERA
61. Touch lightly : TAP
62. Lolling trio? : ELS
63. Erector __ : SET

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