LA Times Crossword 11 Oct 18, Thursday

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Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Oil Change

Themed answers each start with an anagram of a type of OIL:

  • 60A. Jiffy Lube service, and a hint to the start of the answers to starred clues : OIL CHANGE
  • 17A. *They’re for the dogs : LEASH LAWS (giving “shale oil”)
  • 39A. *Enter on the sly : SNEAK IN (giving “snake oil”)
  • 11D. *Two-time women’s soccer Olympic gold medalist : ABBY WAMBACH (giving “baby oil”)
  • 25D. *Gravlax : CURED SALMON (giving “crude oil”)

Bill’s time: 8m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Portrayer of a big scaredy-cat : LAHR

Bert Lahr’s most famous role was the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Remember the catchphrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called, “Meet the People” in which it was first uttered by none other than Bert Lahr.

14. Saucony rival : AVIA

The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.

Saucony is a sportswear manufacturer that is known mainly for athletic shoes. The company was founded in 1898 on the banks of Saucony Creek in Pennsylvania, hence the name.

15. Resort town near Santa Barbara : OJAI

The city of Ojai, California is located just northwest of Los Angeles. One of the city’s claims to fame is that according to the TV shows “The Bionic Woman” and “The Six Million Dollar Man”, Jaime Sommers and Steve Austin grew up in Ojai and were childhood sweethearts!

The city of Santa Barbara on the California coast was indirectly named by Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno in 1602. He named the channel between the mainland and the Channel Islands “Santa Barbara Channel”, while naming one of the islands “Santa Barbara”. Some time later, the Spanish established the Santa Barbara Mission on the Feast of Saint Barbara in 1786.

16. Buffalo hockey player : SABRE

The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” following a fan contest.

17. *They’re for the dogs : LEASH LAWS (giving “shale oil”)

Shale oil can be extracted from oil shale (!), although the extraction process is more expensive than that used to produce crude oil.

19. French clerics : ABBES

In French, an “abbé” (abbot) is in charge of “une abbaye” (an abbey).

22. __ tick: disease carrier : LYME

Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is becoming more and more common. The condition takes its name from the town of Lyme, Connecticut where several cases were diagnosed in 1975. Humans catch the disease when bitten by infected ticks. If caught early enough, the disease is usually treated successfully with antibiotics.

32. Poll gathering : DATA

Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

33. Lancelot and Mix-a-Lot : SIRS

Sir Lancelot is one of the knights in the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table. Lancelot is the most trusted of Arthur’s knights when it comes to battle, but off the field he has a poorer reputation. Famously, Lancelot had an affair with Guinevere, Arthur’s wife.

“Sir Mix-a-Lot” is the stage name used by record producer and rap artist Anthony Ray.

34. “La Cage __ Folles” : AUX

The musical “La Cage aux Folles” opened on Broadway in 1985. It is an adaptation of the French play of the same name by Jean Poiret that was first staged in 1973. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the stage play nor the musical, but I love the wonderful movie adaptation called “The Birdcage”, which was released in 1996. The film has a very strong cast that includes Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and Hank Azaria.

35. Bleak : DISMAL

Our adjective “dismal”, meaning “lacking merit, particularly bad”, comes from a Medieval Latin term “dies mali”, which is a noun phrase that translates as “unlucky days”.

39. *Enter on the sly : SNEAK IN (giving “snake oil”)

There is actually a real snake oil, a Chinese medicine made from fat extracted from snakes. You can buy snake oil at traditional Chinese pharmacies and it is supposed to be very efficacious in the treatment of joint pain. Snake oil was introduced into the US by Chinese laborers working on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Medicine salesmen started to ridicule the snake oil as it competed with their own remedies, and in time the term “snake oil” became associated with any cure-all potion.

41. Word before and after “oh” : … BOY …

Boy oh boy, what a clue!

42. Freshwater minnow : REDFIN

The redfin shiner is a freshwater fish, and a type of minnow. It is primarily found in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.

Minnow are small fish often used as bait when fishing. Over in Ireland, we call them “pinkeens”. The term “minnow” is also used figuratively to for someone who is comparatively insignificant or perhaps small in stature.

44. Chaps : MEN

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

45. 2002-’03 viral outbreak, briefly : SARS

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral disease in humans that went pandemic in 2002/2003. There were over 8,000 confirmed cases, and 12 deaths from the disease during that outbreak. There have been no known cases since 2003, although the disease has not yet been declared as “eradicated”.

48. Plasm prefix : ECTO-

The endoplasm is the inner part of a cell’s cytoplasm, and the ectoplasm is the outer part.

52. Taj __ : MAHAL

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

58. “Mental Illness” Grammy winner Mann : AIMEE

Aimee Mann is a rock singer and guitarist from Virginia. Mann is married to Michael Penn, the brother of actor Sean Penn.

60. Jiffy Lube service, and a hint to the start of the answers to starred clues : OIL CHANGE

Jiffy Lube is an automotive service chain that specializes in quick oil changes. The Jiffy Lube slogan is “The Well-Oiled Machine”.

65. Lackluster : DRAB

We now use the word “drab” to mean “dull, cheerless”. Back in the late 17th century, “drab” was the color of natural, undyed cloth.

66. Like some U.S. mail : CERT

Certified (cert.)

67. Belarus capital : MINSK

Minsk is the capital of Belarus, formerly known as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. One of Minsk’s more infamous residents was Lee Harvey Oswald, who lived there from 1960 to 1962.

68. Start of a decision-making rhyme : EENY

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

69. Actor Miller of “Justice League” : EZRA

Ezra Miller is an actor and classical-trained singer who is best known for playing the Flash in a series of superhero movies. As a singer, Miller has sung with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Down

2. Park in NYC, e.g. : AVE

Park Avenue in New York City used to be known as Fourth Avenue, and for much of its length carried the tracks of the New York and Harlem Railroad. When the line was built, some of it was constructed by cutting through the length of the street and then forming underground tunnels by covering over the line with grates and greenery. This greenery formed a parkland between 34th and 40th Streets, and in 1860 the grassy section of Fourth Avenue was renamed Park Avenue, a name that was eventually used for the whole thoroughfare.

3. Long of “NCIS: Los Angeles” : NIA

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

5. “Copacabana” showgirl : LOLA

The Copacabana of the 1978 Barry Manilow song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Frank Sinatra song “Meet Me at the Copa”). The Copa opened in 1940 and is still going today although it is struggling. The club had to move due to impending construction and is now “sharing” a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from 8 ’til 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

6. Open a bit : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

8. Reacts to yeast : RISES

Yeasts are unicellular microorganisms in the Fungi kingdom. The species of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used for centuries in the making of wine and beer, and in breadmaking. Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and alcohol in the process of fermentation. When making beer and wine, the carbon dioxide and alcohol may be captured by the liquid. When making bread, the carbon dioxide and alcohol is driven off by heat.

9. ID issuer : SSA

Social Security Administration (SSA)

11. *Two-time women’s soccer Olympic gold medalist : ABBY WAMBACH (giving “baby oil”)

Abby Wambach is retired professional soccer player and coach. Wambach played regularly for the US national team 2001 to 2015 and holds the record for the number of goals scored for the US in international competition, by males or females. She was also named the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2012.

12. Espresso foam : CREMA

“Crema” is the name given to that brown foam that sits on the top of a freshly prepared cup of espresso. There’s no milk involved; just foamy coffee.

Espresso is made by forcing extremely hot water, under pressure, through finely ground coffee beans. The result is a thick and concentrated coffee drink, which contains quite a lot of solids and a lot of foam. An espresso machine was first patented in 1884 in Italy, although it was a machine to make the beverage in bulk. The first patent for a machine that made individual measures was applied for in 1901, also in Italy.

13. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” novelist : KESEY

Ken Kesey wrote the novels “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion”. Kesey was one of a group of friends who called themselves the “Merry Pranksters”, a bunch of guys who were associated with the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, all icons of the Beat Generation.

Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a set in a psychiatric hospital in Salem, Oregon. The novel was adapted into a stage play in 1963 starring Kirk Douglas, who had purchased the rights to produce it on stage and screen. The film version was finally made in 1975, with Kirk Douglas’s son Michael Douglas as co-producer.

23. Indy racing family name : UNSER

The Unser family seems to have racing cars in their blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

25. *Gravlax : CURED SALMON (giving “crude oil”)

Gravlax is the Swedish name for a dish consisting of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. Gravlax dates back to the Middle Ages when fishermen fermented salted salmon by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line. The name gravlax comes from the Scandinavian “grav” meaning “grave, hole in the ground” and “lax” meaning “salmon”.

29. They go for the gold : PANNERS

When prospectors pan for gold, they do so by mixing soil and water in a pan. Because gold is very dense, gravel and soil can be washed over the side of the pan leaving the heavy precious metal at the bottom. The gold has been “panned out”, and so we often use “pan out” figuratively to mean “turn out, succeed”.

36. Major artery : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

37. Germ-killing brand : LYSOL

The disinfectant called Lysol takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.

39. Triangle ratio : SINE

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

40. Hawaii’s Mauna __ : KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

50. French-speaking Western Hemisphere country : HAITI

The Republic of Haiti occupies the smaller, western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The rest of the island is taken up by the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of only two nations in the Americas to have French as an official language, the other being Canada.

The Western Hemisphere is that half of the Earth’s surface lying to the west of the prime meridian (which runs through Greenwich). The opposing half of the planet is the Eastern Hemisphere.

51. Fine English china : SPODE

Spode is a brand of pottery made in Stoke-on-Trent in the north of England. The company was founded by Josiah Spode in 1770. Spode is noted for its fine bone china, and indeed Josiah Spode came up with the first successful formulation for bone china. Bone china is so called because one of the main components is bone ash derived from animal bones.

55. Kerry locale : EIRE

County Kerry is located in the southwest of Ireland. It is a popular tourist destination, largely because it is home to the town of Killarney, which is a jumping off point for the famous Ring of Kerry and the Lakes of Killarney. Kerry’s county town is Tralee, home to the world-famous Rose of Tralee festival.

57. Frozen dessert chain : TCBY

TCBY is a chain of stores selling frozen yogurt that was founded in 1981 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The acronym TCBY originally stood for “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but this had to be changed due to a lawsuit being pressed by a competitor called “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt”. These days TCBY stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.

61. Pince-__ glasses : NEZ

Pince-nez are eyeglasses clipped to the bridge of the nose. “Pince-nez” is French, and translates as “pinch the nose”.

63. ORD posting : ETA

The IATA airport code for O’Hare International in Chicago is ORD, which comes from Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field (OR-D).

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Moment of remorse : PANG
5. Portrayer of a big scaredy-cat : LAHR
9. One thing on top of another : STACK
14. Saucony rival : AVIA
15. Resort town near Santa Barbara : OJAI
16. Buffalo hockey player : SABRE
17. *They’re for the dogs : LEASH LAWS (giving “shale oil”)
19. French clerics : ABBES
20. Make rough : COARSEN
22. __ tick: disease carrier : LYME
23. Open, as toothpaste : UNCAP
26. By any means : SOME WAY
28. It may be proper : NOUN
29. Start to mature? : PRE-
32. Poll gathering : DATA
33. Lancelot and Mix-a-Lot : SIRS
34. “La Cage __ Folles” : AUX
35. Bleak : DISMAL
38. Linguistic suffix : -ESE
39. *Enter on the sly : SNEAK IN (giving “snake oil”)
41. Word before and after “oh” : … BOY …
42. Freshwater minnow : REDFIN
44. Chaps : MEN
45. 2002-’03 viral outbreak, briefly : SARS
46. Together, so to speak : SANE
47. Droop : SAG
48. Plasm prefix : ECTO-
49. Followers of shots : CHASERS
52. Taj __ : MAHAL
53. Put the brakes on : HALT
54. Phantom : SPECTER
58. “Mental Illness” Grammy winner Mann : AIMEE
60. Jiffy Lube service, and a hint to the start of the answers to starred clues : OIL CHANGE
64. Engagement ring centerpiece : STONE
65. Lackluster : DRAB
66. Like some U.S. mail : CERT
67. Belarus capital : MINSK
68. Start of a decision-making rhyme : EENY
69. Actor Miller of “Justice League” : EZRA

Down

1. Bud : PAL
2. Park in NYC, e.g. : AVE
3. Long of “NCIS: Los Angeles” : NIA
4. Garage containers : GAS CANS
5. “Copacabana” showgirl : LOLA
6. Open a bit : AJAR
7. Verbal hesitations : HAWS
8. Reacts to yeast : RISES
9. ID issuer : SSA
10. Laptop alternatives : TABLETS
11. *Two-time women’s soccer Olympic gold medalist : ABBY WAMBACH (giving “baby oil”)
12. Espresso foam : CREMA
13. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” novelist : KESEY
18. Short trip : HOP
21. Dropping (off) : NODDING
23. Indy racing family name : UNSER
24. Din : NOISE
25. *Gravlax : CURED SALMON (giving “crude oil”)
27. Key : MAIN
29. They go for the gold : PANNERS
30. Feel remorse for : RUE
31. Finals, say : EXAMS
36. Major artery : AORTA
37. Germ-killing brand : LYSOL
39. Triangle ratio : SINE
40. Hawaii’s Mauna __ : KEA
43. Buckles, as a seat belt : FASTENS
45. Yachting event, e.g. : SEA RACE
49. Great divide : CHASM
50. French-speaking Western Hemisphere country : HAITI
51. Fine English china : SPODE
52. “So-so” : MEH
55. Kerry locale : EIRE
56. Extended family : CLAN
57. Frozen dessert chain : TCBY
59. “Yikes!” : EEK!
61. Pince-__ glasses : NEZ
62. Watchdog’s warning : GRR!
63. ORD posting : ETA

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