LA Times Crossword Answers 21 May 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: Jake Braun
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Inside Joke

Each themed answer includes a synonym for JOKE as a hidden word INSIDE. Those INSIDE JOKES are spelled out with circled letters in the grid:

  • 61A. Humor shared by a select few … and by this puzzle’s circles : INSIDE JOKE
  • 17A. Like #1 hits : TOP-RANKING (“prank” inside)
  • 29A. Stands for sheets with notes : MUSIC RACKS (“crack” inside)
  • 44A. For a full license, it’s 17 or 18 in most states : DRIVING AGE (“gag” inside)

Bill’s time: 5m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Pet adoption org. : ASPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

10. Landlocked African nation : CHAD

The landlocked African country called Chad takes its name from the second largest wetland on the continent, which is known as Lake Chad.

15. One of Pittsburgh’s three rivers : OHIO

The Ohio River is formed in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet. It empties into the Mississippi near the city of Cairo, Illinois.

16. Hawaii County seat : HILO

Hilo is the largest settlement on the big island of Hawaii, with a population of over 43,000 (that’s not very many!). I love the Big Island …

Counties are a little different in Hawaii than they are in other states. Counties there are the only government bodies below the state level (so there are no city governments, for example). The five counties of Hawaii are:

  • Hawaii County (covers just the Big Island)
  • County of Honolulu (includes all of Oahu)
  • Kalawao County (the smallest county in the US, on the island of Molokai)
  • Kauai County
  • Maui County

20. Buffet fuel : STERNO

Sterno is a jellied alcohol that usually comes in a can. The can is opened and the contents burn very easily and persistently. The brand name “Sterno” comes from the original manufacturer, S. Sternau & Co. of Brooklyn, New York.

Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.

26. Auto loan default result : REPO

Repossession (repo)

36. Rice field : PADDY

A paddy field is a flooded piece of land used to grow rice. The water reduces competition from weeds allowing the rice to thrive. The word “paddy” has nothing to do with us Irish folk, and is an anglicized version of the word “padi”, the Malay name for the rice plant.

39. Pub beer orders : PINTS

A US pint is made from 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass, marking a full measure of ale.

40. Cup of joe : JAVA

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the usage of the term spread from there.

It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

42. Classic orange soda : FANTA

The soft drink named “Fanta” has quite an interesting history. As WWII approached, the Coca-Cola plant in Germany had trouble obtaining the ingredients it needed to continue production of the cola beverage, so the plant manager decided to create a new drink from what was available. The new beverage was built around whey (left over from cheese production) and pomace (left over after juice has been extracted from fruit). The inventor asked his colleagues to use their “imagination” (“Fantasie” in German) and come up with a name for the drink, so they piped up “Fanta!”

47. Macy’s department : MEN’S

The original Macy’s store was opened by Rowland Hussey Macy in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1851. This store, and several others that Macy opened, all failed. Macy picked himself up though, and started over again in New York City. Those early New York stores all focused on the sale of dry goods, but added departments quickly as the clientele grew. The Macy’s “star” logo has been around since the company was first established. Macy chose the star because it mimicked the star tattoo that he got as a teenager when he was working on a whaling ship out of Nantucket.

48. LeBron, e.g., briefly : CAV

The Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

Basketball player LeBron James (nicknamed “King James”) seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.

49. Nose-in-the-air type : SNOB

Back in the 1780s, a snob was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word “snob” was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

60. Sushi seaweed : NORI

Nori is an edible seaweed that we used to know as “laver” when I was living in Wales. Nori is usually dried into thin sheets. Here in the US, we are most familiar with nori as the seaweed used as a wrap for sushi.

65. Sufferer healed by Jesus : LEPER

The horrible disease known as leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease, named after the Norwegian physician famous for isolating the bacterium that causes the disease. We can use the term “leper” to mean someone in general who is shunned by society.

67. Exxon, formerly : ESSO

The Exxon Corporation was a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Exxon merged with Mobil (yet another descendant of Standard Oil) in 1999 to form ExxonMobil.

Down

3. Le Pew of skunkdom : PEPE

Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe accidentally painted down her back.

5. Yoga position : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

6. Hunky-dory : A-OK

Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.

Surprisingly (to me), the term “hunky-dory” has been around a long time, and is documented back in the mid-1800s. Nobody’s really sure of its origin, but some say it is an Anglicization of Honcho dori, that back in the day was a street of ill repute in Yokohama, Japan.

7. Letters after phis : CHIS

The Greek letter “chi” is the one that looks like our letter X.

9. Quotable Berra : YOGI

Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

  • It ain’t over till it’s over.
  • 90% of the game is half mental.
  • Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • It’s déjà vu all over again.
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

10. “One, two, one-two-three” dance : CHA-CHA

The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

11. Like more efficient gas : HIGH OCTANE

The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”

13. Kennel barkers : DOGS

Our word “kennel” meaning “doghouse” comes from the Vulgar Latin word “canile” meaning the same thing. A sheep (“ovus”) was kept in an “ovile”, a horse (“equus”) in an “equile”, and a dog (“canis”) in a “canile”.

22. Whig rival : TORY

“Tory” comes from the Irish word “tóraí” meaning “outlaw, robber”. The term “tory” was originally used for an Irish outlaw and later became a term of abuse for Irish rebels. At the end of the reign of King Charles II in Britain, there was a political divide with one side being called “Whigs” and the other “Tories”. Historically, the term “Tory” evolved to basically mean a supporter of the British monarchy, and today is used for a member of the British Conservative Party.

24. Fooling : DUPING

A dupe is someone who is easily fooled, a “live one”, one who can fall victim to deception.

26. Check, as an invoice : RE-ADD

An invoice is an itemized bill. The term comes from the Middle French “envois” meaning “dispatch (of goods)”. The root verb is “envoyer”, which translates as “to send”.

28. Park place with tables : PICNIC AREA

Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable potluck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.

30. North Pole letter recipient : SANTA

If you want to send a note to Santa in Canada, he has his own special postal code: “North Pole, HOH OHO”. The US Postal Service suggests that we send mail for Santa to zip code 99705, which directs it to the city of North Pole, Alaska.

33. Actor Costner : KEVIN

Kevin Costner attributes some of his motivation to pursue an acting career to the great Welsh actor, Richard Burton. Back when Costner was taking acting classes, and was undecided about whether to continue chasing his dream, he ran into Burton on a flight from Puerto Vallarta. Burton agreed to chat with him for a little while, and so Costner was able to ask him if acting meant tolerating the kind of personal drama that had plagued Burton’s own life. Burton told him, “You have green eyes. I have green eyes. I think you’ll be fine”.

39. Flying Peter : PAN

JM Barrie’s stage play “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” premiered in London in 1904. Barrie adapted the play into a 1911 novel titled “Peter and Wendy”. The character Peter Pan actually predated the play, having been introduced by Barrie as baby in his 1902 adult novel called “The Little White Bird”.

40. 747, e.g. : JUMBO JET

The first jet to be called a “Jumbo” was Boeing’s 747, as it was the first wide-body airliner. A wide-body passenger aircraft has seating laid out with two aisles running the length of the plane. The 747 also has three decks for part of its length, with the lower deck being used for cargo and galley space, and the upper deck for extra passenger seating. The Airbus A380 is called a “Superjumbo” as it has two full decks of passengers.

46. Oklahoma city : ENID

Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

50. 16 oz. : ONE LB

The unit of mass that we know today as a pound is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a libra. That libra connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” though comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

55. Govt. mail agency : USPS

The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

58. Flat-package furniture chain : IKEA

The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

59. Senate six years : TERM

A member of the US House of Representatives serves for a two-year term, whereas a member of the US Senate serves for a six-year term.

62. Prefix with metric : ISO-

The word “isometric” comes from Greek, and means “having equal measurement”. Isometric exercise is a resistance exercise in which the muscle does not change in length (and the joint angle stays the same). The alternative would be dynamic exercises, ones using the joint’s full range of motion.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Pet adoption org. : ASPCA
6. Sore after exercise : ACHY
10. Landlocked African nation : CHAD
14. They’re entered in court : PLEAS
15. One of Pittsburgh’s three rivers : OHIO
16. Hawaii County seat : HILO
17. Like #1 hits : TOP-RANKING (“prank” inside)
19. Wide-eyed : AGOG
20. Buffet fuel : STERNO
21. Sewn medical treatment : STITCHES
23. 36 inches : YARD
25. “So that’s your game!” : OHO!
26. Auto loan default result : REPO
29. Stands for sheets with notes : MUSIC RACKS (“crack” inside)
35. Key with one sharp: Abbr. : E MIN
36. Rice field : PADDY
37. Shirt with a slogan : TEE
38. School basics : ABCS
39. Pub beer orders : PINTS
40. Cup of joe : JAVA
41. Writing desk room, perhaps : DEN
42. Classic orange soda : FANTA
43. Inch or mile, e.g. : UNIT
44. For a full license, it’s 17 or 18 in most states : DRIVING AGE (“gag” inside)
47. Macy’s department : MEN’S
48. LeBron, e.g., briefly : CAV
49. Nose-in-the-air type : SNOB
51. Challenging words : I DARE YOU!
56. Privy to the scheme : IN ON IT
60. Sushi seaweed : NORI
61. Humor shared by a select few … and by this puzzle’s circles : INSIDE JOKE
63. Leg joint : KNEE
64. Litter yippers : PUPS
65. Sufferer healed by Jesus : LEPER
66. Apt “ayes” anagram : YEAS
67. Exxon, formerly : ESSO
68. Substitutes’ squad : B-TEAM

Down

1. Tenants’ qtrs. : APTS
2. Vegas machine : SLOT
3. Le Pew of skunkdom : PEPE
4. Bags you don’t check : CARRY-ONS
5. Yoga position : ASANA
6. Hunky-dory : A-OK
7. Letters after phis : CHIS
8. Dash, as of a spice : HINT
9. Quotable Berra : YOGI
10. “One, two, one-two-three” dance : CHA-CHA
11. Like more efficient gas : HIGH OCTANE
12. Botanical balm : ALOE
13. Kennel barkers : DOGS
18. Usual : NORM
22. Whig rival : TORY
24. Fooling : DUPING
26. Check, as an invoice : RE-ADD
27. Fireplace glower : EMBER
28. Park place with tables : PICNIC AREA
30. North Pole letter recipient : SANTA
31. 4-Down attachments : ID TAGS
32. DJ’s assortment : CDS
33. Actor Costner : KEVIN
34. 4-Down may be stored under them : SEATS
39. Flying Peter : PAN
40. 747, e.g. : JUMBO JET
42. Pentagon side count : FIVE
45. Isn’t the same for everyone : VARIES
46. Oklahoma city : ENID
50. 16 oz. : ONE LB
51. Pitch-black : INKY
52. All finished : DONE
53. “Jeepers!” : YIPE!
54. Heavy burden : ONUS
55. Govt. mail agency : USPS
57. “Uh-uh” : NOPE
58. Flat-package furniture chain : IKEA
59. Senate six years : TERM
62. Prefix with metric : ISO-

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