LA Times Crossword 10 Oct 18, Wednesday

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

Today’s Reveal Answer: Wild Rice

Themed answers each contain the letter sequence RICE, although that sequence has changed in order, gone WILD:

  • 39D. Whole-grain food, and a description of each set of circles : WILD RICE
  • 16A. Vice squad operations : POLICE RAIDS
  • 28A. Fictional feline that could disappear at will : CHESHIRE CAT
  • 45A. “Talladega Nights” actor : JOHN C REILLY
  • 62A. It eases tension in some serious tales : COMIC RELIEF
  • 3D. Social class prominent in “The Great Gatsby” : IDLE RICH

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Vice president after Hubert : SPIRO

Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.

Hubert Humphrey was the running mate of President Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 presidential campaign. Humphrey was sworn in as Vice President in 1965, becoming the 38th person to hold the office. Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president in the 1968 election, but lost to Richard Nixon.

6. Harry Potter’s lightning bolt, e.g. : SCAR

Author J. K.Rowling’s famous character Harry Potter has a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, the result of an attack on his life as a baby by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.

10. Cauldron stirrer : HAG

The witches in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” have some lovely lines as they boil up and evil brew and cast a spell:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

14. Big strings : CELLI

The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation ‘cello was often used. Nowadays we just drop the apostrophe.

18. Prefix with angle or athlete : TRI-

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked to come up with the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finished first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

20. “__ Go”: cellphone game : POKEMON

“Pokémon GO” is a reality-based video game in which players must locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures known as Pokémon. The Pokémon are hidden in the real world, in the sense that they have to be located on an electronic device (like a smartphone) in “the real world”, for which a GPS location is needed. Players see the Pokémon overlaid on a view of the real world on their smart device.

24. PC core : CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) is the main component on the motherboard of a computer. The CPU is the part of the computer that carries out most of the functions required by a program. Nowadays you can get CPUs in everything from cars to telephones.

26. Sorvino of “Mimic” : MIRA

Mira Sorvino is an American actress, and a winner of an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1995 Woody Allen movie “Mighty Aphrodite”. Sorvino also played a title role opposite Lisa Kudrow in the very forgettable “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”.

“Mimic” is a 1997 sci-fi horror film that is based on a short story Donald A. Wollheim. I’m a sci-fi fan, but don’t do horror, so won’t be seeing this one …

27. Hawaiian garland : LEI

“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

28. Fictional feline that could disappear at will : CHESHIRE CAT

The Cheshire Cat is a character in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. The Cheshire Cat has an expansive grin, and at one point magically disappears in front of Alice, leaving just the grin visible.

Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; `but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was born in 1832 in the village of Daresbury near Warrington in the county of Cheshire, in the northwest of England. And, let’s not forget one of Carroll’s most beloved characters, the Cheshire Cat.

32. Ultra-masculine : MACHO

A man described as macho shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

34. Underwater detector : SONAR

The British developed the first underwater detection system that used sound waves. Research was driven by defence demands during WWI, leading to production of working units in 1922. This new sound detection system was described as using “supersonics”, but for the purpose of secrecy the term was dropped in favor of an acronym. The work was done under the auspices of the Royal Navy’s Anti-Submarine Division, so ASD was combined with the “IC” from “superson-ic-s” to create the name ASDIC. The navy even went as far as renaming the quartz material at the heart of the technology “ASDivite”. By the time WWII came along, the Americans were producing their own systems and coined the term SONAR, playing off the related application, RADAR. And so, the name ASDIC was deep-sixed …

35. Sister of Laertes : OPHELIA

In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Ophelia is courted by Hamlet, the man himself. Ophelia is the daughter of nobleman Polonius. She dies …

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Laertes is the son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. It is Laertes who kills Hamlet using a poisoned sword..

42. They may be pumped or bumped : FISTS

The fist bump is that tapping of fists together as a form of greeting. It is a more “hip” version of a handshake, a might be called a “pounding of flesh”.

44. Neutral shade : BEIGE

Our word “beige” comes from the Old French “bege”, a term that applied to the natural color of wool and cotton that was not dyed.

45. “Talladega Nights” actor : JOHN C REILLY

Actor John C. Reilly is best known as a supporting actor, and garnered a nomination for a best-supporting actor Oscar for playing Roxie’s naive husband Amos in the 2002 movie “Chicago”. Reilly is a quite the musician, and sings and plays with his band John Reilly and Friends.

51. Sheriff Andy Taylor’s boy : OPIE

Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

53. ISP option : DSL

An Internet service provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP’s network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs.

58. African country whose name begins another African country : NIGER

The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.

Nigeria is in West Africa, and it takes its name from the Niger River which flows through the country. Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent, with over 180 million inhabitants. It is also the most populous member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

66. Baton Rouge sch. : LSU

LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, and is located in Baton Rouge. LSU was founded in 1860 as a military academy, with then-Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.

Baton Rouge is the capital city of the state of Louisiana. The name “Baton Rouge” is French for “red stick” or “red staff”. The exact reason why such a name was given to the city isn’t really clear.

68. Award for “Moonlight” or “Spotlight” : OSCAR

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that gives the annual Academy Awards also known as the “Oscars”. The root of the name “Oscar” is hotly debated, but what is agreed is that the award was officially named “Oscar” in 1939. The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929 with an audience of just 29 people. The Awards ceremony is a slightly bigger event these days …

“Moonlight” is a 2016 semi-autobiographical film based on an unpublished play by Tarell Alvin McCraney titled “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. “Moonlight” won the season’s Best Picture Oscar, thus becoming the first film to do so with an all-black cast, and the first with an LGBT storyline.

“Spotlight” is a marvelous biographical drama released in 2015 that deals with “The Boston Globe” investigation into child sex abuse in the city by Roman Catholic priests. The film’s title refers to the paper’s “Spotlight” team of investigative journalists. “Spotlight” very much reminded me of another of my favorite movies, “All the President’s Men”. I really, really rue the demise of investigative journalism in the world …

69. Some Caltech grads : EES

Electrical engineer (EE)

Caltech is more properly known as the California Institute of Technology, and is a private research-oriented school in Pasadena. One of Caltech’s responsibilities is the management and operation of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If you watch “The Big Bang Theory” on television like me, you might know that the four lead characters all work at Caltech.

Down

1. Liquid from a trunk : SAP

The sap of a plant can be broadly divided into phloem sap and xylem sap. The phloem is the tissue that transports sugars made by photosynthesis from the leaves to the parts of the plant needing those sugars. The sugary solution flowing through the phloem is the phloem sap. The xylem is the tissue that transports water and other nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant. The watery solution flowing through the xylem is the xylem sap.

3. Social class prominent in “The Great Gatsby” : IDLE RICH

“The Great Gatsby” is a 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that tells of the prosperous life of Jay Gatsby during the Roaring 20s. Gatsby develops an obsessive love for Daisy Fay Buchanan, a girl he met while serving during WWI, and meets again some years later after he has improved his social standing.

5. White-bellied ocean predator : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

6. __ salt : SEA

The lobbyists have done their job when it comes to the labelling of “sea salt”. In the US, sea salt doesn’t even have to come from the sea. The argument is that all salt came from the sea if you look back far enough. The politics of food, don’t get me started …

8. Big name in footwear : ALDO

ALDO is a chain of shoe stores that was founded in Montreal in 1972 by Moroccan-born Canadian Aldo Bensadoun. Bensadoun is the son of a retailer of shoes in Morocco and France, and the grandchild of a cobbler. A man with shoe leather in his blood …

10. One may pick up an embarrassing remark : HOT MIC

One of my favorite hot-mic moments took place in 2005, when Paris and London were vying to host the 2012 Olympics. French President Jacques Chirac compared Paris and London in that context while chatting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Chirac said, over a hot mic:

The only thing that they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease … You cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine.

11. Goddess of the dawn : AURORA

Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn, and was equivalent to the Greek goddess Eos. According to myth, Aurora renewed herself each and every morning and then flew across the sky to announce the rising of the sun.

14. Dessert pancake : CREPE

“Crêpe” is the French word for “pancake”.

22. Sailor’s patron : ELMO

Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. More formally referred to as Erasmus of Formia, St. Elmo is perhaps venerated by sailors as tradition tells us that he continued preaching despite the ground beside him being struck by a thunderbolt. Sailors started to pray to him when in danger of storms and lightning. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo’s fire. The “fire” is actually a plasma discharge caused by air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), something often observed during electrical storms.

23. Use a scythe : REAP

I guess there are several designs of scythe, e.g. English scythes and Austrian scythes. The two main components of any scythe are the blade and the handle known as a snaith.

25. Navy vessel letters : USS

The abbreviation “USS” stands for “United States Ship”. The practice of naming US Navy vessels in a standard format didn’t start until 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order that addressed the issue.

28. Infant’s ailment : COLIC

Baby colic is a condition in which a baby cries for no apparent reason for extended periods. At least one study has shown that breastfed babies are about half as likely to suffer from colic.

29. Gluttonous sort : HOG

A “glutton” is a person who eats and drinks to excess, with the term deriving from the Latin “gluttire” meaning “to swallow”.

33. Playboy founder : HEFNER

Hugh Hefner (often called “Hef”) was from Chicago. His first publishing job was in the military, where he worked as a writer for a US Army newspaper from 1944-46. He went to college after his military service and then worked as a copywriter for “Esquire” magazine. He left “Esquire” to found his own publication that he called “Playboy”, which first hit the newsstands in 1953. “Playboy” has been around ever since.

36. Mideast nation: Abbr. : ISR

The land that is now Israel was ruled by the British after WWI as the British Mandate of Palestine. The British evacuated the area after WWII, largely responding to pressure from both Jewish and Arab nationalist movements. The British Mandate expired on 14 May 1948 and the State of israel was established at the same time. This declaration of a new state was followed by the immediate invasion of the area by four Arab countries and the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A ceasefire was declared after a year of fighting, and tension has persisted in the region ever since.

39. Whole-grain food, and a description of each set of circles : WILD RICE

Wild rice is not a true rice, and rather is a grain harvested from four different species of grass in the genus Zizania. Most of the wild rice in the US is grown commercially in the California and Minnesota. Indeed, wild rice has been the state grain of Minnesota since 1977.

41. Bona fide : REAL

“Bona fide(s)” translates from the Latin as “in good faith”, and is used to indicate honest intentions. It can also mean that something is authentic, like a piece of art that is represented in good faith as being genuine.

47. Continuity break : HIATUS

A hiatus is a break or opening in a material object. “Hiatus” is Latin for “opening”.

55. Vaper’s smoke, briefly : E-CIG

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering the nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

56. Stereo preceder : MONO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

57. Fast Aussie birds : EMUS

The large flightless birds called emus make sounds by manipulating inflatable neck-sacs. The sac is about a foot long, has a thin wall and allows the bird to emit a booming sound. The type of sound emitted is the easiest way to differentiate between male and female emus.

59. Earth sci. : GEOL

Geology (geol.) is a science (sci.).

65. Cook, as spring rolls : FRY

Spring rolls are so called as they were historically a seasonal food consumed in the spring. Those early pancakes were filled with freshly harvested spring vegetables.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Vice president after Hubert : SPIRO
6. Harry Potter’s lightning bolt, e.g. : SCAR
10. Cauldron stirrer : HAG
13. Intense passion : ARDOR
14. Big strings : CELLI
15. “We’re on __ way” : OUR
16. Vice squad operations : POLICE RAIDS
18. Prefix with angle or athlete : TRI-
19. Make very happy : ELATE
20. “__ Go”: cellphone game : POKEMON
22. Mess up : ERR
24. PC core : CPU
26. Sorvino of “Mimic” : MIRA
27. Hawaiian garland : LEI
28. Fictional feline that could disappear at will : CHESHIRE CAT
32. Ultra-masculine : MACHO
34. Underwater detector : SONAR
35. Sister of Laertes : OPHELIA
38. Major turf battle : GANG WAR
42. They may be pumped or bumped : FISTS
44. Neutral shade : BEIGE
45. “Talladega Nights” actor : JOHN C REILLY
50. Meadow : LEA
51. Sheriff Andy Taylor’s boy : OPIE
52. Ewe call : BAA!
53. ISP option : DSL
54. “Oh, puh-leeze!” : SPARE ME!
58. African country whose name begins another African country : NIGER
61. Wee one : TOT
62. It eases tension in some serious tales : COMIC RELIEF
66. Baton Rouge sch. : LSU
67. Occupied, as a restroom : IN USE
68. Award for “Moonlight” or “Spotlight” : OSCAR
69. Some Caltech grads : EES
70. “Gee whiz!” : GOSH!
71. Cautious (of) : LEERY

Down

1. Liquid from a trunk : SAP
2. Golf instructor : PRO
3. Social class prominent in “The Great Gatsby” : IDLE RICH
4. Churn up : ROIL
5. White-bellied ocean predator : ORCA
6. __ salt : SEA
7. Movie excerpt : CLIP
8. Big name in footwear : ALDO
9. Put in peril : RISK
10. One may pick up an embarrassing remark : HOT MIC
11. Goddess of the dawn : AURORA
12. Be amused by : GRIN AT
14. Dessert pancake : CREPE
17. Draw with acid : ETCH
21. Come into view : EMERGE
22. Sailor’s patron : ELMO
23. Use a scythe : REAP
25. Navy vessel letters : USS
28. Infant’s ailment : COLIC
29. Gluttonous sort : HOG
30. Once __ while : IN A
31. Asked for an opinion on, as an idea : RAN BY
33. Playboy founder : HEFNER
36. Mideast nation: Abbr. : ISR
37. Had breakfast : ATE
39. Whole-grain food, and a description of each set of circles : WILD RICE
40. Quite a while : AGES
41. Bona fide : REAL
43. Family vacay participant : SIB
45. Push rudely : JOSTLE
46. Vote against : OPPOSE
47. Continuity break : HIATUS
48. Renaissance Faire weapon : LANCE
49. Dragon’s den : LAIR
55. Vaper’s smoke, briefly : E-CIG
56. Stereo preceder : MONO
57. Fast Aussie birds : EMUS
59. Earth sci. : GEOL
60. “What __ can I do?” : ELSE
63. “Kinda” suffix : -ISH
64. Piece of corn : EAR
65. Cook, as spring rolls : FRY

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