LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Dec 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Quasimodo Quip

Today’s themed answers give us a quip that might have come from Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame:

  • 17A. Hugo character memorably portrayed by Charles Laughton : QUASIMODO
  • 23A. With 36- and 44-Across, what 17-Across might have said when his job became too repetitious? : IF I TOLLED THEM …
  • 36A. See 23-Across : … ONCE, I TOLLED THEM …
  • 44A. See 23-Across : … A HUNDRED TIMES
  • 57A. 17-Across’ workplace : BELL TOWER

Bill’s time: 8m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Qualifier for a hall entry? : FAME

The first Hall of Fame (HOF) established in the US was the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, an outdoor sculpture gallery located in the grounds of Bronx Community College in New York City. Completed in 1900, it is an open-air colonnade featuring the bronze busts of renowned Americans such as President George Washington, author Henry David Thoreau, musician John Philip Sousa and baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The Hall of Fame of Great Americans was inspired by the Ruhmeshalle (“Hall of Fame” in German) located in Munich, Germany that exhibits busts of important people from Bavaria.

9. Med. recordings : EKGS

An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

13. Over, in much Twain dialogue : AGIN

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.

17. Hugo character memorably portrayed by Charles Laughton : QUASIMODO

The title character in Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” is Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell-ringer . Quasimodo falls for the beautiful Roma girl Esmeralda, and eventually rescues her just before she is due be hanged. He carries Esmeralda into Notre-Dame crying out “Sanctuary!” There is some recent evidence that a hunchbacked stone carver, working at Notre-Dame at the same time Hugo was alive, may have been the inspiration for the Quasimodo the bell-ringer.

Charles Laughton was an actor from Yorkshire, England who had remarkably successful career in Hollywood. Among his most famous roles were Captain Bligh in 1935’s “Mutiny on the Bounty”, and Quasimodo in 1939’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Laughton was married to English actress Elsa Lanchester, who was also a big star in Hollywood.

20. Uncle __ : SAM

The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the codeword “Samland” for “America” in intelligence communiques.

21. Risk pieces : DICE

Risk is a fabulous board game, one first sold in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

22. Type of large TV : PLASMA

Plasma televisions are so called because the screen is made up tiny cells containing electrically charged ionized gases (plasmas). Each of the cells is effectively a tiny fluorescent lamp.

26. Sitarist 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 beautiful pop singer Norah Jones.

29. Important part of a whale’s diet : KRILL

Krill are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the oceans. Krill feed on plankton, and in turn, krill are the main part of the diet of larger animals such as whales, seals and penguins. There’s an awful lot of krill in the world, an estimated 500,000,000 tonnes of it. That’s about twice the biomass of humans on the planet!

33. Many an IRS employee : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

40. Parts of Walmart work uniforms : VESTS

Walmart (previously “Wal-Mart”) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can actually go into the original store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor Center.

41. Frodo’s home, with “the” : SHIRE

Frodo Baggins is a principal character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo is a Hobbit, and is charged with the quest of destroying Sauron’s Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

43. Actor Omar : EPPS

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Forman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Forman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Grant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

53. Fluoride-touting org. : ADA

American Dental Association (ADA)

Fluoridation is the addition of a fluoride salt to the public drinking water system, a measure taken to reduce tooth decay. What I find interesting is that bottled water usually has no added fluoride, and most domestic water filters remove the fluoride from the water coming out of the faucet. Maybe that explains why my dental hygienist has been applying a fluoride varnish to my teeth …

61. “Lobster Telephone” artist : DALI

“Lobster Telephone” is a work by surrealist artist Salvador Dalí that dates back to 1936. It consists of a telephone with plaster lobster lying across the handpiece.

63. Monthly Roman calendar occurrences : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

Down

1. Customer info sources : FAQS

Most websites have a page listing answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Even this blog has one!

2. Lago contents : AGUA

In Spanish, “un lago” (a lake) contains “agua” (water).

3. ’80s cop show featuring Ferraris : MIAMI VICE

“Miami Vice” is a detective television show that originally aired in 1984-1989. Stars of the show are Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. There is a 2006 film adaptation of “Miami Vice” starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.

The Italian sports car company Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939. Ferrari built the most expensive car ever sold: a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that exchanged hands for over $38 million in 2012.

4. USN rank : ENS

Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

6. Merged gas company : AMOCO

“Amoco” is an abbreviation for “American Oil Company”, an oil company that merged with BP in 1998. Amoco was the first oil company to introduce gasoline tanker trucks and drive-through filling stations. I wonder did they know what they were starting …?

8. Brian of music : ENO

Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.

10. Gold fineness units : KARATS

A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

12. “They __ up!”: scapegoat’s cry : SET ME

A scapegoat is a person chosen to take the blame in place of others. The term comes from the Bible’s Book of Leviticus, which describes a goat that was cast into the desert along with the sins of the community.

18. Infamous Amin : IDI

Idi Amin ruled Uganda as a dictator from 1971 until 1979. Amin started his professional career as a cook in the Colonial British Army. Amin seized power from President Milton Obote in a 1971 coup d’état. The former cook eventually gave himself the title “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.

22. Intrinsically : PER SE

“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

24. Rank partner : FILE

At the end of the 16th century, a group of soldiers marching in formation were divided into ranks and files. The ranks in the formation were the “horizontal” lines, and the files the “vertical” lines. The phrase “rank and file” was then used for “common soldiers”, and eventually “common people”.

26. Classic movie theaters : RKOS

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

27. “Alfred” composer : ARNE

“Alfred” is a sung work for the stage with music by Thomas Arne. “Alfred” was first performed as a masque in 1740. Arne further developed the piece into an oratorio that debuted in 1745, and then an opera that opened in 1753. The finale of all three versions is the stirring song “Rule, Britannia!”.

31. Broadway choreographer for “Chicago” : FOSSE

Bob Fosse won more Tony Awards for choreography than anyone else, a grand total of eight (and another Tony for direction). Fosse also won an Oscar for Best Director for his 1972 movie “Cabaret”, even beating out the formidable Francis Ford Coppola who was nominated that same year for “The Godfather”.

The wonderful 1975 musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name written by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaertner became Velma Kelly. I’ve only ever seen the movie version of “Chicago” and never a live performance …

35. Iowa college town : AMES

The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.

37. Jones or Gilliam of Monty Python : TERRY

Terry Jones is a comic actor from Wales who was a member of the “Monty Python” team. It was Jones who devised the stream-of-consciousness format for the “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” TV show, with sketches flowing from one into the other.

Terry Gilliam is a former member of the famous British Monty Python comedy troupe. Gilliam was the only American in the group, and he was the person responsible for the animations featured in “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.

42. Impertinent in tone : SNARKY

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

44. PBS “Mystery!” host Cumming : ALAN

Alan Cumming is a very versatile Scottish actor. Cumming has played some pretty “commercial” roles, like the bad guy Boris Grishenko in “GoldenEye” and Fegan Flopp in the “Spy Kids” movies. He also played the unwanted suitor in the fabulous film “Circle of Friends” and won a Tony for playing the emcee in the 1998 Broadway revival of “Cabaret”.

PBS’s wonderful “Masterpiece Theatre” changed its name to “Masterpiece” in 2008. At the same time, three different versions of the show were introduced:

  • “Masterpiece Classic” introduced by Gillian Anderson, and then Laura Linney
  • “Masterpiece Mystery!” introduced by Alan Cumming
  • “Masterpiece Contemporary” introduced by Matthew Goode, and then David Tennant

45. LP players : HI-FIS

Hi-fi systems were introduced in the late forties. A hi-fi is a piece of audio equipment designed to give a much higher quality reproduction of sound than cheaper systems available up to that point. “Hi-fi” stands for “high fidelity”.

46. Erie Canal city : UTICA

Utica, New York is known as “Second Chance City” these days, due to the recent influx of refugees from war-torn parts of the world and from Bosnia in particular. These immigrants have helped revitalize the area and reverse a trend of population loss.

48. Circumflex cousin : TILDE

The tilde (~) diacritical mark is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

A circumflex is a diacritic mark used routinely in some languages, such as French. For example, there’s a circumflex over the first “e” in “être”, the French for “to be”.

54. Editor’s mark : DELE

“Dele” is the editorial instruction to delete something from a document, and is often written in red.

55. Like much of New Mexico : ARID

The region now covered by the US state of New Mexico was known as “Nuevo México” at least since 1563. Spanish explorers gave the area this name due to an erroneous belief that it was home to a branch of the Mexica, a people who were indigenous to the Valley of Mexico. So, the region has had the “New Mexico” name for centuries before the nation of Mexico adopted its name in 1821.

57. Md. airport serving D.C. : BWI

There are three airports serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area:

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

Of the three, BWI handles the most passengers.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Qualifier for a hall entry? : FAME
5. Excuse descriptor : LAME
9. Med. recordings : EKGS
13. Over, in much Twain dialogue : AGIN
14. “__ my way” : I’M ON
15. Relatives of windsocks : VANES
17. Hugo character memorably portrayed by Charles Laughton : QUASIMODO
19. Fuming : IRATE
20. Uncle __ : SAM
21. Risk pieces : DICE
22. Type of large TV : PLASMA
23. With 36- and 44-Across, what 17-Across might have said when his job became too repetitious? : IF I TOLLED THEM …
26. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
28. Metal sources : ORES
29. Important part of a whale’s diet : KRILL
31. Feigned : FALSE
33. Many an IRS employee : CPA
36. See 23-Across : … ONCE, I TOLLED THEM …
39. “Got it now?” : SEE?
40. Parts of Walmart work uniforms : VESTS
41. Frodo’s home, with “the” : SHIRE
42. Gentlemen : SIRS
43. Actor Omar : EPPS
44. See 23-Across : … A HUNDRED TIMES
51. Lengthy account : LITANY
52. Participate in a race, maybe : RIDE
53. Fluoride-touting org. : ADA
56. Blazing : AFIRE
57. 17-Across’ workplace : BELL TOWER
59. Problems electric razors should prevent : NICKS
60. Avoid getting into deep water? : WADE
61. “Lobster Telephone” artist : DALI
62. “__ who?” : SAYS
63. Monthly Roman calendar occurrences : IDES
64. Turned yellow, perhaps : DYED

Down

1. Customer info sources : FAQS
2. Lago contents : AGUA
3. ’80s cop show featuring Ferraris : MIAMI VICE
4. USN rank : ENS
5. Keep in check : LIMIT
6. Merged gas company : AMOCO
7. Auto datum : MODEL
8. Brian of music : ENO
9. What superheroes seek to thwart : EVIL DEEDS
10. Gold fineness units : KARATS
11. Grind : GNASH
12. “They __ up!”: scapegoat’s cry : SET ME
16. Alteration target : SEAM
18. Infamous Amin : IDI
22. Intrinsically : PER SE
24. Rank partner : FILE
25. Doesn’t do much : LOLLS
26. Classic movie theaters : RKOS
27. “Alfred” composer : ARNE
30. Red state? : LIVIDNESS
31. Broadway choreographer for “Chicago” : FOSSE
32. PC key : ALT
33. Cuts into, with “at” : CHIPS AWAY
34. Cop’s collar : PERP
35. Iowa college town : AMES
37. Jones or Gilliam of Monty Python : TERRY
38. Passé pronoun : THEE
42. Impertinent in tone : SNARKY
44. PBS “Mystery!” host Cumming : ALAN
45. LP players : HI-FIS
46. Erie Canal city : UTICA
47. More than fear : DREAD
48. Circumflex cousin : TILDE
49. Doesn’t do much : IDLES
50. Satisfied : MET
54. Editor’s mark : DELE
55. Like much of New Mexico : ARID
57. Md. airport serving D.C. : BWI
58. Not quite right : ODD

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