LA Times Crossword 20 Aug 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Brock Wilson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A Fast Finish

Themed answers each end with a word associated with high velocity:

  • 17A. Online site for making a will : LEGALZOOM
  • 23A. Ironic exclamation before an unsurprising announcement : NEWS FLASH
  • 38A. Fills (someone) in about the latest developments : BRINGS UP TO SPEED
  • 47A. All people, with “the” : HUMAN RACE
  • 59A. Hollywood pre-award speculation : OSCAR BUZZ

Bill’s time: 5m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Chowder bit : CLAM

The type of soup known as “chowder” is possibly named for the pot in which it used to be cooked called a “chaudière”, a French term.

9. Chopped cabbage sides : SLAWS

The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.

15. Mine, in Metz : A MOI

The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, and close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944. The cathedral in Metz is home to the largest expanse of stained glass in the world, almost 70,000 square feet in all.

16. Bounce off the wall : CAROM

A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

17. Online site for making a will : LEGALZOOM

LegalZoom.com is a company that operates online as an alternative to hiring a lawyer for the preparation of certain legal documents. The company was founded in 2001 by a small group of lawyers, including Robert Shapiro, who was a very visible member of the “dream team” that successfully O. J. Simpson in his murder trial.

19. Wagner work : OPERA

Richard Wagner was born in the Jewish quarter of Leipzig in 1813. Decades later, Wagner became known not only for writing magnificent music, but also for his anti-semitic views and writings.

22. System of connected PCs : LAN

Local Area Network (LAN)

30. “__ a Sin”: Pet Shop Boys hit : IT’S

Pet Shop Boys are a pop duo from England consisting of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. The pair originally performed as West End in the early 1980s, because they loved London’s West End. When they decided to rename their act, they chose Pet Shop Boys simply because they had good friends working in a nearby pet shop.

“It’s a Sin” is a 1987 song by the Pet Shop Boys. The lyrics describe Pet Shop “Boy” Neil Tennant’s time at Catholic high school, and how he was taught that many pleasures in life should be regarded as sinful.

31. Fashion’s Versace : GIANNI

Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer. His death was perhaps as famous as his life. He was murdered in 1997 outside his mansion in Miami Beach by Andrew Cunanan. It is not certain that Cunanan knew who his victim was, as this was the last in a spree of five murders committed by him over a four month period. A few days after killing Versace, Cunanan used the same gun to commit suicide.

34. Coif for the prom : UPDO

A coif is a hairdo. The term “coif” comes from an old French term “coife” describing a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

41. Flat to change, in Chelsea : TYRE

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

44. Some fridges : GES

The General Electric Company is usually referred to simply as “GE”. One of the precursor companies to GE was Edison General Electric, founded in 1890 by the inventor Thomas Edison. What we know today as GE was formed two years later when Edison merged his company with Charles Coffin’s Thomson-Houston Electric Company. In 1896, GE was selected as one of the 12 companies listed on the newly formed Dow Jones Industrial Average. GE was the last the original 12 to survive on that list, being replaced by Walgreens in 2018. I spent over ten years with GE at the beginning of my working career, and in fact it was GE that asked me to transfer to the US back in the 1980s …

45. Coop layer : HEN

The Old English word “cypa”, meaning “basket”, evolved in the 14th century to the word “coop” to describe a small cage for poultry. We still use that word today.

46. Online chats, briefly : IMS

Even though instant messaging (sending IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

52. Airer of old quiz show reruns, for short : GSN

Game Show Network (GSN)

54. San Antonio mission : ALAMO

The San Antonio mission known as the Alamo may have been named for a grove of nearby cottonwood trees. “Álamo” is the Spanish name for the cottonwood.

63. Muffin spread : OLEO

In North America, a muffin is a sweet, cupcake-like sweetbread. In Great Britain and Ireland, a muffin is a part-raised flatbread that is usually leavened with yeast. The latter is referred to as an “English muffin” here in North America.

66. Hawaiian root : 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.

Down

1. NCO below sgt. : CPL

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) might be a sergeant (sgt.) or a corporal (cpl.).

3. Thin spaghetti : ANGEL HAIR

Capellini is a pasta that is like a thin spaghetti. An even thinner version of the pasta is known as “capelli d’angelo”, which translates as “angel hair”.

4. Anne who teamed with Stiller : MEARA

Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spin-off from “All in the Family”.

5. Starbucks tea brand : TAZO

The Tazo Tea Company was founded in 1994 in Portland, Oregon. Tazo was purchased in 1999 by Starbucks. Starbucks now runs tea shops that are fully dedicated to Tazo teas.

8. “Lil'” rapper : KIM

“Lil’ Kim” is the stage name of rap artist Kimberly Denise Jones from Brooklyn, New York. Lil’ Kim spent a year in jail in 2005 for lying to a jury in a case about a shooting.

10. Boutonniere site : LAPEL

A boutonnière is a flower worn by men in the lapel of a jacket, in the buttonhole. In fact, sometimes a boutonnière is referred to as a “buttonhole”, which is the translation of the French term.

12. Lexicographer’s love : WORDS

A lexicographer is someone who compiles a dictionary. The term comes into English via French from the Greek “lexikon” meaning “wordbook”, and “graphos” meaning “writer”.

18. Every cloud’s silver feature? : LINING

The idiom “every cloud has a silver lining” suggests that there is something good to be found in in every bad situation. The phrase “silver lining” was coined by English poet John Milton in “Comus”, a piece of dramatic entertainment that was first performed in 1634. The relevant lines are:

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

25. Moe or Curly, e.g. : STOOGE

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you might have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

26. Rainbow flag letters : LGBT

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)

The best-known rainbow flag is the one representing gay pride. Such usage of the rainbow flag was popularized in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. The varying colors of the flag represent the diversity of the gay community.

29. Anne Brontë, to Emily : SISTER

Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

In terms of age, Emily Brontë was the middle of the three Brontë sisters, younger than Charlotte and older than Anne. Emily was a poet and a novelist, and is best remembered for her only novel, “Wuthering Heights”. Emily died very young, at 30 years old. She never recovered from a severe cold that she caught at the funeral service of Branwell Brontë, her only brother. The cold developed into tuberculosis, for which she eschewed medical attention. She passed away after three months of illness.

33. One of many in TV’s “The Americans” : SPY

“The Americans” is a very engaging drama series set during the Cold War that features two KGB spies living as a married couple just outside Washington, D.C. The show was created by Joe Weisberg, who is a novelist and former CIA officer. The lead roles in “The Americans” are played by real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

34. AP competitor : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a fraction of that workforce.

The Associated Press (AP) is a news agency based in New York City. AP is a non-profit cooperative that was set up by five New York newspapers in 1846 to share the cost of transmitting news. Nowadays, AP recoups most of its cost by selling news stories and related materials to newspapers all around the world, mostly outside of the US.

37. Pre-Kentucky Derby postings : ODDS

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

39. Heavenly bear : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

40. Birth control activist Margaret : SANGER

Margaret Sanger was a nurse and a birth control activist. Sanger is credited with popularizing the term “birth control” and opened the first birth control clinic in the US, in 1916. That action led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception.

44. Pointy-hatted garden figures : GNOMES

In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable. We now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.

48. Michelob diet beer : ULTRA

Michelob Ultra is a diet beer, a beer low in carbohydrates, that was introduced in 2002.

49. He broke Ruth’s home run record : MARIS

Roger Maris (whose real family name was “Maras”) was the son of Croatian immigrants. It was Maris’s single-season record of 61 home runs that Mark McGwire broke in 1998 (hitting 70 that season). Maris’s own record of 61 runs (from 1961) beat the previous record of 60 set in 1927 by Babe Ruth.

50. Get a guffaw from : AMUSE

“Guffaw”, meaning “boisterous laugh”, is an imitative word that is Scottish in origin.

51. “… mighty __ has struck out” : CASEY

“Casey at the Bat” is a poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer, first published in the San Francisco Examiner. The poem became very popular due to repeated live performances in vaudeville by DeWolf Hopper. Casey played for the Mudville Nine, and the last line of the poem is “But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.”

53. Wooden shoe : SABOT

There is a story that disgruntled textile workers would kick their wooden shoes, called sabots, into the looms in order to disable them so that they didn’t have to work. This act of vandalism was named for the shoe, an act of … sabotage.

57. Weizman of Israel : EZER

Ezer Weizman was the seventh President of Israel. Earlier in his career, Weizman was a combat pilot in the UK’s Royal Air Force and later rose to Commander of the Israeli Air Force. He also served as Israel’s Minister of Defense before becoming President.

59. Unit of resistance : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Chowder bit : CLAM
5. Conversation : TALK
9. Chopped cabbage sides : SLAWS
14. Tree with needles : PINE
15. Mine, in Metz : A MOI
16. Bounce off the wall : CAROM
17. Online site for making a will : LEGALZOOM
19. Wagner work : OPERA
20. Not kidding : SERIOUS
21. Wards (off) : FENDS
22. System of connected PCs : LAN
23. Ironic exclamation before an unsurprising announcement : NEWS FLASH!
26. __-di-dah: pretentious : LAH
28. Suffix with violin : -IST
30. “__ a Sin”: Pet Shop Boys hit : IT’S
31. Fashion’s Versace : GIANNI
33. __-pitch : SLO
34. Coif for the prom : UPDO
38. Fills (someone) in about the latest developments : BRINGS UP TO SPEED
41. Flat to change, in Chelsea : TYRE
42. Attempt : TRY
43. Profited : GAINED
44. Some fridges : GES
45. Coop layer : HEN
46. Online chats, briefly : IMS
47. All people, with “the” : HUMAN RACE
52. Airer of old quiz show reruns, for short : GSN
54. San Antonio mission : ALAMO
55. Placate : APPEASE
58. Doodle on the guitar : STRUM
59. Hollywood pre-award speculation : OSCAR BUZZ
61. Get up : ARISE
62. Summer weather word : HEAT
63. Muffin spread : OLEO
64. Stuns in an arrest : TASES
65. Legend : MYTH
66. Hawaiian root : TARO

Down

1. NCO below sgt. : CPL
2. False statements : LIES
3. Thin spaghetti : ANGEL HAIR
4. Anne who teamed with Stiller : MEARA
5. Starbucks tea brand : TAZO
6. Total up (to) : AMOUNT
7. Running free : LOOSE
8. “Lil'” rapper : KIM
9. Pooh-poohs, with “at” : SCOFFS
10. Boutonniere site : LAPEL
11. Sports stadium : ARENA
12. Lexicographer’s love : WORDS
13. Huge hit : SMASH
18. Every cloud’s silver feature? : LINING
24. Go limp : WILT
25. Moe or Curly, e.g. : STOOGE
26. Rainbow flag letters : LGBT
27. Well-ventilated : AIRY
29. Anne Brontë, to Emily : SISTER
32. Opposite of SSW : NNE
33. One of many in TV’s “The Americans” : SPY
34. AP competitor : UPI
35. Florida, mostly : PENINSULA
36. Consider to be : DEEM
37. Pre-Kentucky Derby postings : ODDS
39. Heavenly bear : URSA
40. Birth control activist Margaret : SANGER
44. Pointy-hatted garden figures : GNOMES
45. Jazz music fan : HEP CAT
47. Attacks : HAS AT
48. Michelob diet beer : ULTRA
49. He broke Ruth’s home run record : MARIS
50. Get a guffaw from : AMUSE
51. “… mighty __ has struck out” : CASEY
53. Wooden shoe : SABOT
56. Way in the woods : PATH
57. Weizman of Israel : EZER
59. Unit of resistance : OHM
60. Animal house : ZOO

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