LA Times Crossword Answers 13 Mar 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Rich Proulx
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Metric to American

Themed answers are common phrases that cite US measurements. The corresponding clue converts that measurement to metric:

  • 20A. 113-gram sandwich, more or less : QUARTER POUNDER
  • 24A. About 1.8 meters deep : SIX FEET UNDER
  • 46A. 37.9-liter topper, roughly : TEN-GALLON HAT
  • 54A. Proceed another 1.6 kilometers or so : GO THE EXTRA MILE

Bill’s time: 4m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Kind of guitar : BASS

A kithara (also “cithara”) was a lyre-like instrument in Ancient Greece. Our word “guitar” is ultimately derived from “kithara”. Indeed, “kithara” is the modern Greek word for “guitar”.

10. Bouillabaisse, e.g. : STEW

Bouillabaisse is a traditional seafood stew that originated in the port city of Marseille on the Mediterranean coast of France.

14. Where the Jazz play : UTAH

The Utah Jazz professional basketball team moved to their current home in Salt Lake City in 1979. As one might guess from the name, the team originated in New Orleans, but only played there for five seasons. New Orleans was a tough place to be based because venues were hard to come by, and Mardi Gras forced the team to play on the road for a whole month.

16. Weighty book : TOME

“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century, “tome” had come to mean “large book”.

20. 113-gram sandwich, more or less : QUARTER POUNDER

The Quarter Pounder sandwich was created just down the road here, in a McDonald’s restaurant in Fremont, California. The franchise owner felt that there was a market for a hamburger with more meat in the bun, and so introduced a meat patty that weighed a quarter pound prior to cooking. He advertised the Quarter Pounder in his restaurant using the slogan, “Today Fremont, tomorrow the world”. Prophetic words …

22. Sleeping woe : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

23. Like Oberlin College since it opened in 1833 : COED

Oberlin, Ohio is a city southwest of Cleveland. The city is home to Oberlin College, the biggest employer in town. Oberlin was named after Jean-Frédéric Oberlin, a pastor from Alsace. Oberlin was the first college in the country to admit African American students, and the second to admit females (after Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky).

24. About 1.8 meters deep : SIX FEET UNDER

The phrase “six feet under” means “dead and buried”. Six feet is the traditional depth of a grave.

31. Watch pocket : FOB

A fob is attached to an object to make it easier to access. And so a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, and the pocket in a vest in which a watch can be placed is called a fob. In fact, the original use of the term “fob” was for a small pocket in which one could carry valuables.

35. Mall unit : STORE

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

36. Word after New or teen : -AGER

New-Age music is created to provide a relaxing and stress-free atmosphere. The New Age movement is often said to have begun with the release of an album called “Spectrum Suite” by Steven Halpern in 1975.

43. TV ex-military group led by Hannibal Smith : A-TEAM

“The A-Team” is an action television series that originally ran in the eighties. The A-Team was a group of ex-US special forces personnel who became mercenaries. Star of the show was Hollywood actor George Peppard (as “Hannibal” Smith), ably assisted by Mr. T (as “B.A.” Baracus) and Robert Vaughn (as Hunt Stockwell).

45. Mario Bros. console : NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

46. 37.9-liter topper, roughly : TEN-GALLON HAT

The term “ten-gallon hat” describing a cowboy hat only appeared in 1925, and nobody seems to be exactly sure of the term’s origin. Some suggest that the relatively waterproof nature of the hat due to the tight weave might explain it, with images of cowboys giving drinks of water from their upturned hats. However, there’s no way any cowboy hat will hold ten gallons, more like three quarts.

49. Fatty liver spread : PATE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made up of a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

50. Hybrid pack animals : MULES

A hinny is the offspring of a male horse (the “h-” from h-orse) and a female donkey/ass (the “-nny” from je-nny). A mule is more common, and is the offspring of a female horse and male donkey/ass.

59. Christmas tree topper’s topper : HALO

The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

61. Congregation’s “I agree!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

62. Geometry calculations : AREAS

Our word “geometry” comes from Greek. The Greek “geometria” translates as “geometry, measurement of earth or land”. Hence, there is a link between terms like “geography” and “geology”, and the mathematical word “geometry”.

64. Arnaz with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : DESI

Desi Arnaz has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One was placed to mark his contribution motion pictures, and the other for his work in television.

65. Toy truck brand : TONKA

The toy manufacturer today known as Tonka started out as a manufacturer of garden implements in Mound, Minnesota in 1946. By 1955, toys had become the main product line for the company. At that time the owners decided to change the company name and opted for “Tonka”, a Dakota Sioux word meaning “great, big”.

66. Old Russian leader : TSAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

Down

1. Traditional Islamic garment : BURQA

Some Muslim women wear a hijab in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. A hijab is a veil covering the head and chest. Some also wear a niqab as part of the hijab, which is a cloth that covers the face. Other Muslim women wear a burqa, which covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground.

3. Cosmologist Carl : SAGAN

Carl Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist, and a great communicator. Sagan was famous for presenting obscure concepts about the cosmos in such a way that we mere mortals could appreciate. He also wrote the novel “Contact” that was adapted into a fascinating 1997 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.

4. Counties across the pond : SHIRES

The word “shire” comes from the Old English “scir” meaning “administrative district”. The term was replaced with county as far back as the 14th century, but the usage persists to this day, largely because some counties retain the use of “-shire” as a suffix (Yorkshire, Lancashire etc.).

7. Firewood protector : TARP

Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.

12. Kuwaiti leader : EMIR

The State of Kuwait sits at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf, famously sharing a border to the north with Iraq. After WWI, Kuwait was a Protectorate within the British Empire and then gained independence from the UK in 1961. Iraq annexed Kuwait in 1990, which led to the Gulf War of 1990-1991.

21. We, to one who says “oui” : NOUS

In French, “nous” (we) might say “oui ou non” (yes or no).

25. Ballot markings : XES

Today a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

27. Muse for Shelley : ERATO

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry, and is often depicted playing a lyre.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English Romantic poet. Shelley had strong views on vegetarianism. He was dedicated to the cause of all sentient beings, believing that the slaughter of animals by humans for the use of food was a barbaric practice. He wrote a famous essay on the subject called “A Vindication of Natural Diet” in 1813.

28. German industrial city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

29. Cleveland’s lake : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

37. Tubular pasta : RIGATONI

Rigatoni is a tubular pasta that is relatively short, and with ridges along its length. The name “rigatoni” comes from the Italian “rigato” meaning “ridged, lined”.

42. Course with squares and cubes : MATH

Here’s another term that catches me out all the time, having done my schooling on the other side of the Atlantic. The term “mathematics” is shorted to “math” in the US, but to “maths” in the UK and Ireland.

48. Ruckus : TUMULT

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

51. Turkish coins : LIRAS

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

52. Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

53. Meal where the 10 Plagues of Egypt are recalled : SEDER

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday that celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

According to the biblical Book of Exodus, God inflicted ten plagues on Egypt to persuade the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from bondage. For example, the first was the changing of water in the Nile to blood, the eighth was a plague of locusts that consumed all the Egyptian crops, and the tenth was the death of firstborn sons.

54. Mario Bros., for one : GAME

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

55. Architect Saarinen : EERO

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect who was renowned in this country for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK. The list of his lesser-known, but still impressive, works includes several buildings erected on academic campuses. For example, the Chapel and Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus, the Emma Hartman Noyes House at Vassar College, the Law School building at the University of Chicago, and Yale’s David S. Ingalls Rink.

56. Magneto’s enemies : X-MEN

In the Marvel Comics universe, Magneto is a powerful mutant, and an enemy of the X-Men. As his name implies, Magneto’s superhuman ability is that he can generate and control magnetic fields. Magneto has been portrayed on the big screen in the “X-Men” series of films by Sir Ian McKellen, and by Michael Fassbender.

57. Hardwood prized for outdoor furniture : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family, commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

58. Tabula __ : RASA

“Tabula rasa” (plural “tabulae rasae”) is the idea that people are born with a “blank slate”, and that knowledge comes from experience and perception.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Kind of guitar : BASS
5. Foul-smelling : FETID
10. Bouillabaisse, e.g. : STEW
14. Where the Jazz play : UTAH
15. Dodge : EVADE
16. Weighty book : TOME
17. Signed up, as to vote : REGISTERED
19. Military group : UNIT
20. 113-gram sandwich, more or less : QUARTER POUNDER
22. Sleeping woe : APNEA
23. Like Oberlin College since it opened in 1833 : COED
24. About 1.8 meters deep : SIX FEET UNDER
31. Watch pocket : FOB
34. Approaches : NEARS
35. Mall unit : STORE
36. Word after New or teen : -AGER
38. Hidden drug supply : STASH
40. Big gulp : SWIG
41. Insurance case : CLAIM
43. TV ex-military group led by Hannibal Smith : A-TEAM
45. Mario Bros. console : NES
46. 37.9-liter topper, roughly : TEN-GALLON HAT
49. Fatty liver spread : PATE
50. Hybrid pack animals : MULES
54. Proceed another 1.6 kilometers or so : GO THE EXTRA MILE
59. Christmas tree topper’s topper : HALO
60. Double-checked before cutting : REMEASURED
61. Congregation’s “I agree!” : AMEN!
62. Geometry calculations : AREAS
63. Track assignment : LANE
64. Arnaz with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : DESI
65. Toy truck brand : TONKA
66. Old Russian leader : TSAR

Down

1. Traditional Islamic garment : BURQA
2. Thoroughly delighted in : ATE UP
3. Cosmologist Carl : SAGAN
4. Counties across the pond : SHIRES
5. Lavish party : FETE
6. At any time : EVER
7. Firewood protector : TARP
8. Logical beginning? : IDEO-
9. Subtract : DEDUCT
10. They often have class : STUDENTS
11. Softened, as rhetoric : TONED DOWN
12. Kuwaiti leader : EMIR
13. Rainy : WET
18. Wood finish : STAIN
21. We, to one who says “oui” : NOUS
25. Ballot markings : XES
26. Deadly : FATAL
27. Muse for Shelley : ERATO
28. German industrial city : ESSEN
29. Cleveland’s lake : ERIE
30. Govt. agency rules : REGS
31. Something known to be true : FACT
32. Eye rudely : OGLE
33. Tall, skinny sorts : BEANPOLES
37. Tubular pasta : RIGATONI
39. “So there!” : HAH!
42. Course with squares and cubes : MATH
44. What babies create, and vice versa? : MAMAS
47. Eye rudely : LEER AT
48. Ruckus : TUMULT
51. Turkish coins : LIRAS
52. Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA
53. Meal where the 10 Plagues of Egypt are recalled : SEDER
54. Mario Bros., for one : GAME
55. Architect Saarinen : EERO
56. Magneto’s enemies : X-MEN
57. Hardwood prized for outdoor furniture : TEAK
58. Tabula __ : RASA
59. Owned : HAD

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