LA Times Crossword 26 Oct 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Joe Kidd
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): I for Insertion

Themed answers are common phrases with a letter I inserted:

  • 17A. Cheeky server? : FRESH WAITER (from “fresh water”)
  • 26A. Bro on the go? : MOBILE HOMIE (from “mobile home”)
  • 37A. European auto left out in the rain? : SATURATED FIAT (from “saturated fat”)
  • 49A. Food for thought? : BRAIN MUFFIN (from “bran muffin”)
  • 58A. Result of a yank prank? : WEDGIE ISSUE (from “wedge issue”)

Bill’s time: 8m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Slips in pots : CHITS

A chit is a note or a short letter. The term tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but was closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself because when we are at school we would be excused class if we had a “chitty”.

16. Nice handle? : NOM

In French, “Georges” (George) “par exemple” (for example) is a “nom” (name).

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

19. Call from a cote : COO

The Old English word “cote” was used for a small house. Our modern word “cottage” comes from “cote”. We now use “cote” to mean a small shelter on a farm for sheep or birds.

20. Former Rocket Ming : YAO

Yao Ming is a retired professional basketball player from Shanghai who played for the Houston Rockets. At 7’6″, Yao was the tallest man playing in the NBA.

21. Hanoi holiday : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

Hanoi (“Hà Nội” in Vietnamese) was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

22. “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester : HOLT

Lester Holt is a television journalist. When Holt became the permanent anchor of “NBC Nightly News” in 2015, he became the first African-American solo anchor for a daily network news program.

23. Sgt.’s underling : PFC

Private First Class (PFC)

26. Bro on the go? : MOBILE HOMIE (from “mobile home”)

“Homie” is short for “homeboy”, someone from one’s home neighborhood.

31. Creator of many word lists : ROGET

Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. Roget was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine of list-making to combat depression, a condition he endured for most of his life. He published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.

36. ’40s Giant manager : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

37. European auto left out in the rain? : SATURATED FIAT (from “saturated fat”)

Saturated fats (“bad” fats) differ from unsaturated fats (“good” fats) chemically in that saturated fats have chains of fatty acids that are relatively straight, allowing individual molecules to pack closely together. This close packing largely explains why saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fatty acids on the other hand have “kinks” in the chains of their fatty acids, so that they cannot pack together closely. Unsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature. Food manufacturers have learned that humans get sick by consuming saturated fats (i.e. fats from animal sources). So, they market “healthy” vegetable fats (naturally unsaturated and liquid at room temperature) that they have magically transformed in solid fats (like vegetable spreads). All they did was saturate the healthy fats, so that now it solidifies at room temperature, and in your arteries. There should be a law …

42. Weight adjustment factor : TARE

Tare is the weight of a container that is deducted from the gross weight to determine the net weight, the weight of the container’s contents.

45. Prove to be untrue : BELIE

The verbs “to confute” and “to belie” both mean “to show to be false”.

49. Food for thought? : BRAIN MUFFIN (from “bran muffin”)

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.

52. Airport near OAK : SFO

The San Francisco Bay Area is served by three major airports: San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC).

54. Taker of ppm measurements : EPA

The air quality index (AQI) is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

57. Bad picnic omen : ANT

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.

63. B.S. part: Abbr. : SCI

Bachelor of Science (BS or BSc)

66. Rocky outcropping : TOR

A tor is a high, rocky hill. “Tor” comes from the Old English “torr”, the word for a tower or rock, which in turn comes from the Old Welsh “twrr” meaning a heap or a pile.

67. AAA and NRA : ASSNS

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

The NRA is the National Rifle Association, an organization that has been around since 1871. The NRA has had some celebrity presidents, including US President Ulysses S. Grant. It’s often said that the NRA is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington.

68. Bar shelf lineup : RYES

For whiskey to be labelled as “rye” in the US, it has to be distilled from at least 51% rye grain. In Canada however, a drink called rye whiskey sometimes contains no rye at all.

Down

2. Nine-time NHL All-Star : 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.

3. Aran Islands country: Abbr. : IRE

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay in the west of Ireland. They are beautiful and desolate places, and one of the few places in Ireland where the main language spoken is Irish, as opposed to English. If you’ve seen the television comedy “Father Ted”, you’ll be familiar with the landscape. Many of the external shots are from Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands.

5. Many an IRS e-file user : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

6. 1492 landing site, now : HAITI

When Columbus made his famous voyage of discovery, the largest of his three ships was the Santa Maria. The Santa Maria ran aground on the coast of Hispaniola on Christmas Day in 1492 and was lost. 39 of Columbus’s men were left behind with the permission of the locals. These men stripped the timbers from the Santa Maria and used them to build a settlement they called La Navidad (Spanish for “Christmas”). La Navidad is now the modern town of Môle-Saint-Nicolas in the Republic of Haiti.

9. Hasselblad product : SLR

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

Hasselblad is a manufacturer of medium-format cameras, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Famously, Hasselblads were used almost exclusively to take still photographs during the first moon landings.

14. Hula Hoop manufacturer : WHAM-O

Wham-O was founded in 1948, with the company’s first product being the Wham-O slingshot. Since then, Wham-O has market a string of hit toys including the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee, the Slip ‘N Slide, Silly String, the Hacky Sack and the Boogie Board.

Hula hoops were a big craze in the 1950s, but they have been around in various forms at least since the year 500 BCE.

18. Sound system component : WOOFER

In a sound system, a speaker that is designed to produce high frequencies is known as a “tweeter”. A speaker made for low frequencies is called a “woofer”. The terms come from the fact that birds migh high-pitched “tweets”, and dogs make low-pitched “woofs”.

22. Rendered immobile : HOGTIED

The hog-tie was first used on pigs (hence the name), and involves the tying together of all four limbs in order to render the animal immobile. On a pig, or any other four legged animal, the limbs are obviously tied in front. To hogtie a human, the hands are usually tied behind the back and joined to a rope binding the ankles.

23. Student advocacy gp. : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

24. Ruckus : FUSS

The word “ruckus” is used to mean “commotion”, and has been around since the late 1800s. “Ruckus” is possibly a melding of the words “ruction” and “rumpus”.

30. Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs : NATALIE

10,000 Maniacs is a rock band from Jamestown, New York that formed in 1981. Perhaps the most famous former band member is singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant who was the lead vocalist from 1981 until she left in 1993 to pursue her solo career.

34. Kingston Trio hit with the lyric “Fight the fare increase!” : MTA

M.T.A. was a 1958 hit for the Kingston Trio. The song tells of a man called Charlie who is stuck on board an MTA subway car in Boston. His problem is that “exit fares” had been introduced on the system to supplement “entrance fares” (true story!), and the man didn’t have the extra nickel needed to get off the train. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MTBA) started issuing smart cards for use as tickets in 2006, called them “Charlie Cards” in honor of “Charlie on the MTA”.

The Kingston Trio is a folk and pop music group from San Francisco that formed in 1957. The original lineup disbanded in 1967, although there there is a derivative lineup still performing today. The Kingston Trio’s biggest is 1958’s “Tom Dooley”, which was also their first hit.

35. Letter enhancement : SERIF

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

40. End-of-week exclamation : TGIF!

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

44. Midori on the ice : ITO

Midori Ito is a Japanese figure skater. Ito was the first woman to land a triple/triple jump and a triple axel in competition. In fact, she landed her first triple jump in training when she was only 8 years old. Ito won Olympic silver in 1992, and was chosen as the person to light the Olympic cauldron at the commencement of the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

45. Bouncy ride, to say the least : BRONCO

A bronco (also “bronc”) is a horse that is untamed. In Mexican Spanish “bronco” is a word for “horse”, and in the original Spanish “bronco” means “rough, rude”.

46. Arab bigwigs : EMEERS

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

48. Bit of tomfoolery : ANTIC

In Middle English, in the mid-14th century, a mentally deficient man might be referred to as a “Thom Foole”. We retain the old pejorative term in our contemporary word “tomfoolery” meaning “clowning around”.

50. Prom night coifs : UPDOS

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.

51. Dickens bad guy : FAGIN

Fagin is the colorful antagonist in the Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist”. Fagin leads a band of children who earn their keep by picking pockets and committing other petty crimes. Fagin’s most successful pickpocket is the Artful Dodger.

56. River in western Belgium : YSER

The Yser river flows into the North Sea at Nieuwpoort in the Flemish province of West Flanders in Belgium.

58. Org. for pugilists : WBA

World Boxing Association (WBA)

“Pugilism”, another word for “boxing”, comes from the Latin “pugil” meaning “boxer”. In turn, “pugil” derives from “pugnus”, the word for “fist”.

59. They, in Tours : ILS

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. Sitting on the Loire river, it is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country. The French spoken by a local is also said to be free of any accent.

62. Some MIT grads : EES

Electrical engineer (EE)

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Decision-making tool : COIN
5. Slips in pots : CHITS
10. Assure, as victory : ICE
13. One of four on a keyboard : ARROW
15. Comics unit : PANEL
16. Nice handle? : NOM
17. Cheeky server? : FRESH WAITER (from “fresh water”)
19. Call from a cote : COO
20. Former Rocket Ming : YAO
21. Hanoi holiday : TET
22. “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester : HOLT
23. Sgt.’s underling : PFC
26. Bro on the go? : MOBILE HOMIE (from “mobile home”)
29. Alienate : TURN OFF
31. Creator of many word lists : ROGET
32. Sailing : ASEA
33. Stately shaders : ELMS
36. ’40s Giant manager : OTT
37. European auto left out in the rain? : SATURATED FIAT (from “saturated fat”)
41. Draw at a pub : TAP
42. Weight adjustment factor : TARE
43. One no longer serving : EX-GI
45. Prove to be untrue : BELIE
47. Late arriver’s cry : I MADE IT!
49. Food for thought? : BRAIN MUFFIN (from “bran muffin”)
52. Airport near OAK : SFO
53. Outwit, as a tail : LOSE
54. Taker of ppm measurements : EPA
55. Dorm room, perhaps : STY
57. Bad picnic omen : ANT
58. Result of a yank prank? : WEDGIE ISSUE (from “wedge issue”)
63. B.S. part: Abbr. : SCI
64. Oven setting : BROIL
65. Put an end to : CEASE
66. Rocky outcropping : TOR
67. AAA and NRA : ASSNS
68. Bar shelf lineup : RYES

Down

1. Half-__: coffee choice : CAF
2. Nine-time NHL All-Star : ORR
3. Aran Islands country: Abbr. : IRE
4. Prone to prying : NOSY
5. Many an IRS e-file user : CPA
6. 1492 landing site, now : HAITI
7. Gathering of spies : INTEL
8. Show instability : TEETER
9. Hasselblad product : SLR
10. 5-Down’s concern : INCOME TAXES
11. “Chillax!” : COOL IT!
12. Act to excess : EMOTE
14. Hula Hoop manufacturer : WHAM-O
18. Sound system component : WOOFER
22. Rendered immobile : HOGTIED
23. Student advocacy gp. : PTA
24. Ruckus : FUSS
25. Shake things up : CREATE A STIR
27. Key of Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto : B-FLAT
28. Horseshoe holder : HOOF
30. Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs : NATALIE
34. Kingston Trio hit with the lyric “Fight the fare increase!” : MTA
35. Letter enhancement : SERIF
38. Go __ smoke : UP IN
39. End that may be untimely : DEMISE
40. End-of-week exclamation : TGIF!
44. Midori on the ice : ITO
45. Bouncy ride, to say the least : BRONCO
46. Arab bigwigs : EMEERS
48. Bit of tomfoolery : ANTIC
49. Rollicking good time : BLAST
50. Prom night coifs : UPDOS
51. Dickens bad guy : FAGIN
56. River in western Belgium : YSER
58. Org. for pugilists : WBA
59. They, in Tours : ILS
60. “Suppose … ” : SAY …
61. Play for a fool : USE
62. Some MIT grads : EES

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