LA Times Crossword 3 Dec 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Bagg to Bugg

Themed answers start with the letters BxGG, where x progresses through the vowels A-E-I-O-U as we progress down the grid:

  • 17A. Passenger train’s suitcase carrier : BAGGAGE CAR
  • 25A. Turned down an invitation : BEGGED OFF
  • 36A. Guy acting more maturely : BIGGER MAN
  • 50A. Cross between a Boston terrier or boxer and a beagle : BOGGLE DOG
  • 60A. Carriage outings : BUGGY RIDES

Bill’s time: 5m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Sicilian resort city : ENNA

The city of Enna sits very high up in the hills of Sicily, overlooking the whole island below. Enna is the capital of the province that bears its name, which is the highest province in the whole of Italy. Some of the important buildings in and around the city are Lombardy Castle and the Duomo (cathedral).

15. Houston baseballer : ASTRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

19. “Otello” solo : ARIA

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Otello” was first performed in 1887 at La Scala Theater in Milan. The opera is based on Shakespeare’s play “Othello” and is considered by many to be Verdi’s greatest work.

20. Single-celled creature : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

21. “Platoon” setting, briefly : NAM

“Platoon” is a 1986 movie written and directed by Oliver Stone. The storyline comes out of Stone’s own experiences in Vietnam as an infantryman. It is gritty stuff, and is Stone’s response to the more “glamorous” movie “Green Berets” starring John Wayne. And that famous piece of classical music included the soundtrack, that is “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber.

23. Texter’s soul mate : BFF

Best friend forever (BFF)

24. Former Yankee manager Joe : TORRE

As a manager, Joe Torre was part of four World Series wins, all of them with the New York Yankees baseball team. Torre is an Italian American who was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the run up (pun intended!) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torre carried the Olympic flame part of the way through Florence in Italy, handing it over to the next runner at the famous Ponte Vecchio. I’d guess that was quite a thrill for him …

28. Victorian, for one : ERA

The Victorian era was a period in British history from 1837 to 1901, defined by the reign of Queen Victoria. Generally speaking, the Victorian era was a period of peace and prosperity for the UK.

29. Puerto Rico, to the U.S. : TERR

There are sixteen US territories in all, but only five of them are inhabited:

  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • US Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa

Examples of US territories with no permanent or native inhabitants are Wake Island and Midway Islands.

31. Harlem Renaissance author Zora __ Hurston : NEALE

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author who was most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

“Harlem Renaissance” is the term used to describe a cultural movement in the 1920s that was known at the time as the “New Negro Movement”. The movement involved new cultural expression by African Americans that was centered mainly in urban areas in the northeast and midwest, and that was especially vibrant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

33. Jets or Sharks, in “West Side Story” : GANG

Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets (played by Richard Beymer) falls in love with Maria (played by Natalie Wood) from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona.

39. Some corporate jets : LEARS

Learjet is a company making business jets that was founded in 1960 by William Powell Lear. The original Learjet was a modified Swiss ground-attack fighter aircraft.

43. Actress Ryan : MEG

Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan’s big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally”, from which she went on to star in some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.

46. Prenatal test, for short : AMNIO

Amniocentesis (“amnio” for short) is the prenatal test which involves the removal of a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus using a hypodermic needle. The fluid naturally contains some fetal cells, the DNA of which can then be tested to determine the sex of the child and to check for the presence of genetic abnormalities.

47. U. of Maryland athlete : TERP

The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or “the Terps” for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was coined by the the university’s president at the time, Curley Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

55. French summer : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is a common time to go “en vacances” (on vacation).

57. America’s has 100 seats : SENATE

The six-year terms enjoyed by US senators are staggered, so that every two years about one third of the 100 US Senate seats come up for reelection.

58. Euros replaced them in Italy : LIRE

The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

65. Jazzman Allison : MOSE

Mose Allison is a pianist and singer of the jazz blues genre of music. Allison was born, raised and educated in Mississippi, but launched and maintained his career in New York.

66. Cincinnati team : REDS

The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with “Reds”.

68. Art Deco icon : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

Art deco is a style of design and architecture of the 1920s that actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe before arriving in North America. Celebrated examples of art deco architecture are the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City completed in 1930, and the GE Building that sits in the middle of Rockefeller Center also in New York City, with the address of “30 Rock”.

Down

3. Some woolen sweaters : ANGORAS

Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. On the other hand, the Angora goat produces the wool known as mohair. Both rabbit and goat are named for Turkey’s capital Ankara, which was known as “Angora” in many European languages.

4. Bar beer : LAGER

Lager is so called because of the tradition of cold-storing the beer during fermentation. “Lager” is the German word for “storage”.

6. Mao __-tung : TSE

Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.

7. Like stocks not sold on an exch. : OTC

Over-the-counter (OTC) trading of stocks is a way of trading directly between two parties, as opposed to exchange trading in which trading occurs in an exchange.

8. Sumatran ape : ORANG

Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and live in the rainforests. Like most species in rainforests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.

9. Hip-hop headgear : DO-RAG

Hip-hoppers might wear do-rags today, but they have been around for centuries. The etymology of “do-rag” is pretty evident: a piece of cloth (rag) to hold a hairstyle (do) in place.

10. “Everychild.onevoice” org. : PTA

The National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA) was founded back in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers. The PTA uses the slogan “everychild.onevoice”.

11. Everglades transport : AIRBOAT

An airboat is a boat with a flat bottom and aircraft type propeller on the stern that provides forward motion. The propeller is often connected to a small aircraft engine. Believe it or not, the first airboat was built in 1905 by a team led by Alexander Graham Bell, who famously invented the first practical telephone.

The Everglades are a tropical wetlands that cover much of southern Florida. The area was named “River Glades” by a British surveyor in 1773, and is suggested that poor transcription of the word “river” led to the use of “ever”. The southern 20% of the Everglades is a protected region that we know as Everglades National Park. The park is the third-largest National Park in the lower 48 states, after Death Valley NP (the largest) and Yellowstone NP.

18. Assist with a heist : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

22. Brainy bunch : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

25. Sonia of “Moon Over Parador” : BRAGA

Sonia Braga achieved fame in her native Brazil playing the title role in the movie “Gabriela”. There followed roles in American films such as “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “The Milagro Beanfield War”. She has also played in the Portuguese version of “Desperate Housewives”.

“Moon Over Parador” is a 1988 romantic comedy that stars Richard Dreyfuss, Raúl Juliá and Sonia Braga. The 1988 film is a remake of a 1939 movie called “The Magnificent Fraud”. The character played by Dreyfus is an actor who is forced to play the part of the dead president of Parador. In the early scenes, when actor and president are in the same shot, the president is played by Dreyfuss’ older brother Lorin.

27. Campus bigwig : DEAN

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

34. “Peer Gynt Suite” composer : GRIEG

Edvard Grieg is Norway’s best known composer, some who was active in the Romantic Era. Grieg’s most famous works are the gorgeous “Piano Concerto in A minor”, and his incidental music for the play “Peer Gynt” by Henrik Ibsen.

36. Naval hoosegow : BRIG

A brig is a two-masted sailing vessel, with the name “brig” coming from the related vessel known as a brigantine. Brigs and brigantines are both two-masted, but there is a difference in the sails used. It was the use of retired brigs as prison ships that led to use of “brig” as the word for a jail or prison cell on a seagoing vessel.

“Hoosegow” is a slang term for “jail”. “Hoosegow” is a mispronunciation of the Mexican-Spanish word “juzgao” meaning “court, tribunal”.

37. Sicily, to Sicilians : ISOLA

In Italian, no man is an “isola” (island).

In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the the ball being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.

39. Shipping department gizmo : LABELER

The word “gizmo” (also “gismo”), meaning something the name of which is unknown or forgotten, was originally slang used by both the US Navy and the Marine Corps. The exact origin seems unknown.

43. Fighter with a cape : MATADOR

The term “torero” is used to describe all bullfighters. The term “matador” is reserved for the bullfighter whose job is to make the final kill. Aptly enough, “matador” is Spanish for “killer”.

44. Exam that involves reading letters : EYE TEST

The commonly used eye chart (that starts with the letters “E FP TOZ LPED”) is called a Snellen chart. The test is named after its developer Herman Snellen, who introduced it way back in 1862.

45. Rochester brewery or its river : GENESEE

One of Genesee Brewing Company’s most famous beers is Genesee Cream Ale, which was introduced in 1960. If you’re ordering a Genesee Cream Ale, you might ask for a “screamer”, which is what some Genesee drinkers call the bottle or can the beer comes in.

The Genesee is a river that rises in Pennsylvania, flows through New York State, and empties into Lake Ontario.

51. Curved macaroni shape : ELBOW

In many cases, the name given to a type of pasta comes from its shape. However, the name macaroni comes from the type of dough used to make the noodle. Here in the US, macaroni is usually elbow-shaped tubes, but it doesn’t have to be.

52. A trey beats it : DEUCE

A “two” playing card might be called a “deuce”, from the Middle French “deus” (or Modern French “deux”) meaning “two”.

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even a three-point play in basketball.

54. Cartoon genre : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

57. “Auld Lang __” : SYNE

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

59. “Star Trek” rank: Abbr. : ENS

An extra in “Star Trek” is often an ensign (ens.).

61. H.S. equivalency exam : GED

The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “Agreed!” : DEAL!
5. Rose from a chair : STOOD
10. Free ticket : PASS
14. Sicilian resort city : ENNA
15. Houston baseballer : ASTRO
16. Salon coloring : TINT
17. Passenger train’s suitcase carrier : BAGGAGE CAR
19. “Otello” solo : ARIA
20. Single-celled creature : AMOEBA
21. “Platoon” setting, briefly : NAM
23. Texter’s soul mate : BFF
24. Former Yankee manager Joe : TORRE
25. Turned down an invitation : BEGGED OFF
28. Victorian, for one : ERA
29. Puerto Rico, to the U.S. : TERR
31. Harlem Renaissance author Zora __ Hurston : NEALE
32. Hissing sound : SSS!
33. Jets or Sharks, in “West Side Story” : GANG
35. Filled completely : SATED
36. Guy acting more maturely : BIGGER MAN
39. Some corporate jets : LEARS
42. Japan is in it : ASIA
43. Actress Ryan : MEG
46. Prenatal test, for short : AMNIO
47. U. of Maryland athlete : TERP
49. Affirmative vote : AYE
50. Cross between a Boston terrier or boxer and a beagle : BOGGLE DOG
53. In one’s stomach : EATEN
55. French summer : ETE
56. Pub pint filler : ALE
57. America’s has 100 seats : SENATE
58. Euros replaced them in Italy : LIRE
60. Carriage outings : BUGGY RIDES
63. Tied, as a game : EVEN
64. Continental divide? : OCEAN
65. Jazzman Allison : MOSE
66. Cincinnati team : REDS
67. Golfer’s “pitching” iron : WEDGE
68. Art Deco icon : ERTE

Down

1. Arguments with teams : DEBATES
2. Captivates : ENAMORS
3. Some woolen sweaters : ANGORAS
4. Bar beer : LAGER
5. Story spanning generations : SAGA
6. Mao __-tung : TSE
7. Like stocks not sold on an exch. : OTC
8. Sumatran ape : ORANG
9. Hip-hop headgear : DO-RAG
10. “Everychild.onevoice” org. : PTA
11. Everglades transport : AIRBOAT
12. Nasal cold symptom : SNIFFLE
13. Supplied with personnel : STAFFED
18. Assist with a heist : ABET
22. Brainy bunch : MENSA
25. Sonia of “Moon Over Parador” : BRAGA
26. Che Guevara’s first name : ERNESTO
27. Campus bigwig : DEAN
30. It’s often broken at breakfast : EGG
34. “Peer Gynt Suite” composer : GRIEG
36. Naval hoosegow : BRIG
37. Sicily, to Sicilians : ISOLA
38. Scratch or dent : MAR
39. Shipping department gizmo : LABELER
40. Like tearjerkers : EMOTIVE
41. Made irate : ANGERED
43. Fighter with a cape : MATADOR
44. Exam that involves reading letters : EYE TEST
45. Rochester brewery or its river : GENESEE
48. Jury member : PEER
51. Curved macaroni shape : ELBOW
52. A trey beats it : DEUCE
54. Cartoon genre : ANIME
57. “Auld Lang __” : SYNE
59. “Star Trek” rank: Abbr. : ENS
61. H.S. equivalency exam : GED
62. Prank : GAG

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