LA Times Crossword 3 Oct 18, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: High Chairs

Themed answers are all in the down-direction. As such, the HIGHER word in each themed answer is the first word. That HIGH word is a type of CHAIR:

  • 27D. Perches for tots, and what the answers to starred clues literally contain : HIGH CHAIRS
  • 3D. *Life of affluence : EASY STREET (giving “easy chair”)
  • 9D. *Specialty : WHEELHOUSE (giving “wheelchair”)
  • 17D. *Magician’s riffled prop : DECK OF CARDS (giving “deck chair”)
  • 25D. *Swimming option : SIDESTROKE (giving “side chair”)

Bill’s time: 8m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Party with a piñata : FIESTA

Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.

7. Tin alloys : PEWTERS

Pewter is a relatively soft alloy that is made up mostly of tin, with some copper, antimony, bismuth and lead.

14. Online icon : AVATAR

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of “online presences” one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

17. 31-day month : DECEMBER

December is the twelfth month in our calendar but was the tenth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the name (“decem” is Latin for “ten”). Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” (February) were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

19. Surge protector? : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. A levee is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

20. __-Cat: winter vehicle : SNO

The brand name “Sno-Cat” is owned by the Tucker company. All snowcats are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, and are famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

22. Italian tenor Andrea : BOCELLI

Andrea Bocelli is a classically-trained tenor from Italy who sings popular music, and hence is a so-called cross-over artist. Bocelli was born with poor eyesight and then became totally blind at the age of 12 when he had an accident playing soccer.

24. Cricket club : BAT

Cricket is the national game of England. The term “cricket” apparently comes from the Old French word “criquet” meaning “goalpost, stick”.

26. Dander reaction, perhaps : AH-CHOO

Dander is microscopic material shed from an animal’s body. It is small enough to travel through the air, and becomes part of house dust. It is usually when traveling through the air that it can be breathed in by humans, and cause an allergic reaction. Dandruff is similar to dander, except that the skin that is shed comes from the scalp instead of the main body, and the flakes are larger in size.

30. 1979 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee : 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. While still 31 years old, in 1979, Orr became the youngest person inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

31. Shakespearean bad guy : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

32. __ the line : TOEING

The idiomatic expression “to toe the line” means “to obey”. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, although it is likely to come from the Royal Navy. Barefooted sailors were required to stand to attention for inspection lined up along the seams for the wooden deck, hence “toeing the line”.

33. Word with dating or skating : SPEED …

Speed dating is a matchmaking process in single people meet a relatively large number of potential partners in short period of time. The first speed-dating event took place in Beverly Hills in 1998 at a Peet’s Café.

35. Airport NW of LAX : SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves as the main base of operations for Virgin America (sold to Alaska Airlines not that long ago), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines.

37. Egged on : URGED

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

40. 2018 Stanley Cup champs, familiarly : CAPS

The Washington Capitals hockey team is based in Arlington, Virginia. The team was founded in 1974.

The Stanley Cup is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. Lord Stanley’s sons became avid fans of ice hockey while in Canada, and so he donated the trophy in 1909, originally as a challenge cup for the country’s best amateur club.

44. Tennis immortal Arthur : ASHE

The Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997 and for years was the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

45. “Fareed Zakaria GPS” network : CNN

Journalist and author Fareed Zakaria hosts the weekly CNN public affairs show “Fareed Zakaria GPS”, with GPS standing for “Global Public Square”.

48. Revolutionary icon : CHE

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.

52. Marmalade morsels : RINDS

Marmalade is my favorite fruit preserve. The essential ingredients in a marmalade are fruit juice and peel, and sugar and water. “Marmalade” comes from the Portuguese “marmelada” meaning “quince jam”.

54. Marine animals named for flowers : ANEMONES

The name “anemone” means “daughter of the wind” in Greek, and at one time it was believed that the wind was what actually caused the flower to bloom. The sea anemone is named for the terrestrial plant even though the sea anemone isn’t a plant at all. The sea anemone is a predatory animal found on the ocean floor.

56. Nabokov novel : LOLITA

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” has a famously controversial storyline, dealing with a middle-aged man’s obsession and sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze. 38-year-old professor Humbert Humbert privately refers to Dolores as “Lolita”. Although “Lolita” is considered a classic today, after Nabokov finished it in 1953 the edgy subject matter made it impossible for him to find a publisher in the US (where Nabokov lived). In 1955, he resorted to publishing it in English at a printing house in Paris. Publication was followed by bans and seizures all over Europe. A US printing house finally took on the project in 1958, by which time the title had such a reputation that it sold exceptionally quickly. “Lolita” became the first book since “Gone with the Wind” to sell over 100,000 copies in its first three weeks in stores.

60. Island group that includes São Miguel : AZORES

The Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic lying about 1,000 miles west of Portugal. The Azores are an autonomous region belonging to Portugal.

São Miguel Island is the largest island in the archipelago known as the Azores. It is known locally as “the Green Island”.

61. Italian Riviera resort : SANREMO

The Italian city of San Remo sits on the Mediterranean, right on the border with France. In Italian, the city is named “Sanremo”, just one word. That said, the spelling “San Remo” dates back to ancient times.

62. Triple Crown winners : HORSES

The US Triple Crown horse races are, in order through the year:

  1. The Kentucky Derby
  2. The Preakness Stakes
  3. The Belmont Stakes

Down

5. Fail big-time : TANK

Apparently, the first use of the verb “to tank” to mean “to lose or fail” can be pinpointed quite precisely. Tennis great Billie Jean King used the verb in that sense in an interview with “Life” magazine in 1967, with reference to male players. A more specific use of “tanking” in recent years is “deliberately losing” a contest.

6. “The creation of beauty is __”: Emerson : ART

Here’s a quote from essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist and poet who was active in the mid-1800s. Most of the essays that Emerson wrote were composed originally as lectures and then revised for print. He is often referred to as “The Sage of Concord”, as Emerson spent much of his life in Concord, Massachusetts.

9. *Specialty : WHEELHOUSE (giving “wheelchair”)

The idiom “in one’s wheelhouse” means “within one’s area of expertise”. The idea is that someone in his or her element is like a captain in the wheelhouse, in command of a vessel.

10. “Humble and Kind” singer McGraw : TIM

Country singer Tim McGraw is the son of the late Tug McGraw, the baseball pitcher. McGraw’s wife is fellow country singer Faith Hill.

12. Nothing, in Quebec : RIEN

Québec is the largest province in Canada, and the only one with French as its sole official language. The name “Québec” comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs. The province has voted twice in referenda asking whether or not Quebec should become an independent country, once in 1980, and again in 1995. The 1995 result was 49% in favor of sovereignty, up from 40% in 1980.

13. Texas ballplayer, to fans : ‘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.

17. *Magician’s riffled prop : DECK OF CARDS (giving “deck chair”)

A deckchair is a folding chair with a single strip of fabric that forms the backrest/seat. The term “deckchair” was coined when such folding chairs became common sights on the decks of ocean liners and cruise ships.

21. La Brea attraction : TAR PIT

The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It’s well worth a visit if you are in town …

24. __ nova : BOSSA

Bossa Nova is a style of music from Brazil that evolved from samba. The most famous piece of bossa nova is the song “The Girl from Ipanema”.

25. *Swimming option : SIDESTROKE (giving “side chair”)

A chair with a seat and a back, and without armrests, is known as a side chair. Side chairs are often used with dining tables.

29. Nash who wrote “Parsley / Is gharsley” : OGDEN

Ogden Nash the poet was well known for his light and humorous verse, such as:

Candy
Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker

Parsley
Is gharsley

36. Desert refuges : OASES

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

39. “Revolution From Within” writer Gloria : STEINEM

Gloria Steinem is a journalist whose name is very much associated with the feminist movement of the late sixties and early seventies. Steinem co-founded “Ms.” magazine with fellow-feminist Dorothy Pitman Hughes.

41. Prof.’s degree : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

47. Month after 17-Across, south of the border : ENERO

In Spanish, “el año” (the year) starts in “enero” (January) and ends in “diciembre” (December).

49. Bridge call : PASS

That would be bridge, the card game.

50. LPGA golfer Nordqvist : ANNA

Anna Nordqvist is a professional golfer from Sweden who plays on the LPGA tour as well as the Ladies European Tour. Nordqvist won the LPGA Championship in 2009, and the Evian Championship in 2016.

53. Nincompoop : BOZO

A bozo is a man with a low IQ, and one who is usually quite muscular. We’ve been using the term since the early 1900s and it possibly comes from the Spanish “bozal” that was used to describe someone who spoke Spanish poorly.

The word “nincompoop”, meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Party with a piñata : FIESTA
7. Tin alloys : PEWTERS
14. Online icon : AVATAR
15. Expo entry : EXHIBIT
16. Begrudge : RESENT
17. 31-day month : DECEMBER
18. Jabber : YAK
19. Surge protector? : LEVEE
20. __-Cat: winter vehicle : SNO
21. “That wasn’t nice of you” : TSK
22. Italian tenor Andrea : BOCELLI
24. Cricket club : BAT
25. Went down : SANK
26. Dander reaction, perhaps : AH-CHOO
30. 1979 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee : ORR
31. Shakespearean bad guy : IAGO
32. __ the line : TOEING
33. Word with dating or skating : SPEED …
35. Airport NW of LAX : SFO
37. Egged on : URGED
38. Strainers : SIEVES
40. 2018 Stanley Cup champs, familiarly : CAPS
42. Yard tool : HOE
43. Swear (to) : ATTEST
44. Tennis immortal Arthur : ASHE
45. “Fareed Zakaria GPS” network : CNN
46. Took the helm : STEERED
48. Revolutionary icon : CHE
49. Butter square : PAT
52. Marmalade morsels : RINDS
53. Feathery accessory : BOA
54. Marine animals named for flowers : ANEMONES
56. Nabokov novel : LOLITA
59. Athletic shoe : SNEAKER
60. Island group that includes São Miguel : AZORES
61. Italian Riviera resort : SANREMO
62. Triple Crown winners : HORSES

Down

1. Many miles : FAR
2. “Now __ seen it all!” : I’VE
3. *Life of affluence : EASY STREET (giving “easy chair”)
4. It might be rare : STEAK
5. Fail big-time : TANK
6. “The creation of beauty is __”: Emerson : ART
7. Complaint : PEEVE
8. Show a real talent for : EXCEL AT
9. *Specialty : WHEELHOUSE (giving “wheelchair”)
10. “Humble and Kind” singer McGraw : TIM
11. Falls back : EBBS
12. Nothing, in Quebec : RIEN
13. Texas ballplayer, to fans : ‘STRO
17. *Magician’s riffled prop : DECK OF CARDS (giving “deck chair”)
19. Yearns (for) : LONGS
21. La Brea attraction : TAR PIT
22. Barnyard bleat : BAA
23. Bakery employee : ICER
24. __ nova : BOSSA
25. *Swimming option : SIDESTROKE (giving “side chair”)
27. Perches for tots, and what the answers to starred clues literally contain : HIGH CHAIRS
28. Common soccer score : ONE-ONE
29. Nash who wrote “Parsley / Is gharsley” : OGDEN
34. Big nights : EVES
36. Desert refuges : OASES
39. “Revolution From Within” writer Gloria : STEINEM
41. Prof.’s degree : PHD
47. Month after 17-Across, south of the border : ENERO
48. __ scheme : COLOR
49. Bridge call : PASS
50. LPGA golfer Nordqvist : ANNA
51. Video game rating : TEEN
53. Nincompoop : BOZO
55. Spoil : MAR
56. “Well, __-di-dah!” : LAH
57. Ball holder : TEE
58. Pack animal : ASS

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