LA Times Crossword Answers 4 Oct 12, Thursday

CROSSWORD SETTER: Donna S. Levin
THEME: FAHRVERGNUGEN … “Fahrvergnügen” was a slogan used by Volkswagen, and each of the theme answers ends with the name of a Volkswagen model:

20A. Game with a windmill, usually MINIATURE GOLF (VW Golf)
31A. Uncle Remus rogue BRER RABBIT (VW Rabbit)
41A. Insect honored on a 1999 U.S. postage stamp DUNG BEETLE (VW Beetle)
53A. Literally meaning “driving enjoyment,” slogan once used by the maker of the ends of 20-, 31- and 41-Across FAHRVERGNUGEN

COMPLETION TIME: 10m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
9. Gyneco-‘s opposite ANDRO-
“Gyneco-” is a prefix meaning female, as in gynecology. “Andro-” is a prefix meaning male, as in androgen, a steroid hormone that controls the development of masculine characteristics.

15. ABA member ATTY
The American Bar Association (ABA) was founded back in 1878 and is a voluntary association for lawyers and law students. The ABA focuses on setting academic standards for law schools and setting ethical codes for the profession.

16. Man-trap SIREN
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were seductive bird-women who lured men to their deaths with their song. When Odysseus sailed closed to the island home of the Sirens he wanted to hear their voices, but in safety. He had his men plug their ears with beeswax and then ordered them to tie him to the mast and not to free him until they were safe. On hearing their song Odysseus begged to be let loose, but the sailors just tightened his bonds and and the whole crew sailed away unharmed.

19. Thirteenth Amendment beneficiary SLAVE
The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is the amendment outlawing slavery that was adopted in 1865, soon after the Civil War.

20. Game with a windmill, usually MINIATURE GOLF (VW Golf)
The Volkswagen Golf is a small, front-wheel drive car that is sold as the Volkswagen Rabbit in North America.

25. Requiring an adult escort R-RATED
The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

28. Big London attraction? BEN
Big Ben is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster (aka the Houses of Parliament). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who oversaw the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day, Benjamin Caunt.

30. Former despot Amin IDI
Idi Amin received most of his military training in the British armed forces, eventually achieving the highest rank possible for a Black African in the British Colonial Army in 1959, that of Warrant Officer. On his return to Uganda Amin joined his country’s military and quickly rose to the rank of Deputy Commander of the Army. During that time he was quite the athlete. He was a noted rugby player and swimmer, and for nine years held the Ugandan national light-heavyweight boxing title. By the early seventies, Amin was commander of all the armed forces of Uganda and in 1971 seized power in a military coup, displacing the country’s president Milton Obote. There followed seven years of brutal rule by Amin during which it is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were murdered. Amin was ousted from power in 1979 after a war with Tanzania, and fled to Libya where he stayed for a year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he was financially supported by the Saudi Royal Family for the remainder of his life. He died in 2003.

31. Uncle Remus rogue BR’ER RABBIT
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folk tales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” of course stands for “brother”.

36. Big butte MESA
“Mesa” is the Spanish for “table” and is of course is how we get the term “mesa” that describes a geographic feature.

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” I hear you cry! Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide. Now we know …

37. Bootcut Skinny brand LEVIS
Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

38. PC interconnection LAN
You may have a Local Area Network (LAN) in your house. If you’ve got a PC and a router or switch, likely attached to some modem, then you have a LAN.

39. Like proofed dough RISEN
Batter or dough that is “proofed” has become properly light for cooking.

40. Dueler’s choice EPEE
The French word for sword is épée. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

41. Insect honored on a 1999 U.S. postage stamp DUNG BEETLE
Dung beetles take their name from their food source, animal dung. Some species of dung beetle were revered in ancient Egypt, with one species being known as the sacred scarab.

The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

44. __ Lingus AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline, Ryan Air.

45. Article in Der Spiegel EIN
“Der Spiegel” is a very successful German magazine found on news-stands all over Europe. The name “Der Spiegel” translates from German into “the Mirror”.

53. Literally meaning “driving enjoyment,” slogan once used by the maker of the ends of 20-, 31- and 41-Across FAHRVERGNUGEN
“Fahrvergnügen” was a slogan used by Volkswagen in a 1990 marketing campaign here in North America. “Fahrvergnügen” is a German term that means “driving enjoyment”. As the ads said, “Fahrvergnügen: It’s what makes a car a Volkswagen”.

56. Popular household fish TETRA
The neon tetra is a freshwater fish, native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.

58. Princess with an earmuff-like hair style LEIA
Princess Leia was played by Carrie Fisher in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …

60. “If __ Would Leave You” EVER I
“If Ever I Would Leave You” is a romantic ballad from the musical “Camelot”.

61. Sea decimated by Soviet irrigation projects ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on the environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

64. Lucie’s dad DESI
Lucille Ball was at the height of her success while she was married to Desi Arnaz. The couple met in 1940 and not long afterwards eloped. Lucy had several miscarriages before she gave birth to her first child (Lucie) in 1951, just one month before her fortieth birthday. A year and a half later, while “I Love Lucy” was garnering large audiences, she became pregnant with her second child (Desi, Jr.), a pregnancy that was written into the television show’s script. In fact, the day that Lucy gave birth on the show, was the same day that she gave birth in real life.

Down
1. “I, Claudius” feature COMMA
There is a comma in the book title “I, Claudius”.

“I, Claudius” is a 1934 novel penned by Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of Emperor Claudius of Rome. Graves wrote a sequel in 1935 called “Claudius the God”. Both books were adapted by the BBC into a fabulous television series that went by the name of the first book, “I, Claudius”.

5. Ensenada bar CANTINA
Ensenada is a city in Baja California, Mexico which sits on the coast about 80 miles south of San Diego. Ensenada is noted as a cruise ship destination, and is also a producer of outstanding wine.

8. Rochester’s love EYRE
“Jane Eyre” is of course the novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. Over the years, I’ve shared here on the blog that the “Jane Eyre” story line is a little too dark and Gothic for my taste, but a very persuasive blog reader convinced me to look more at the romantic side of the story and give it a second chance. I watched a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation of the novel made by the BBC a while back, and I have to say that because I was focused on the relationship between Jane and Rochester, I was able to push past the Gothic influences (that depress me) so I really enjoyed the story. I thoroughly recommend this 2006 BBC adaptation to fans of the novel.

10. Nabisco cookie brand NILLA
As one might expect, Nilla is a shortened from of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

26. Four-wheeled flop EDSEL
It was Henry Ford’s son Edsel, who gave his name to the Edsel brand of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with “failure”.

27. Title name in Mellencamp’s “little ditty” DIANE
“Jack & Diane” was a hit for John Mellencamp released in 1982.

John Mellencamp started to use the stage name Johnny Cougar in 1976, a name that evolved into John Cougar, and then to John Cougar Mellencamp in the eighties. In 1992 the “Cougar” was dropped altogether and Mellencamp has been performing under his own name since then. Mellencamp was married to former supermodel Elaine Irwin for eighteen years, but the two decided to split. Mellencamp’s longtime girlfriend is actress Meg Ryan.

28. Runny fromage BRIE
Brie is a soft cheese, named after the French province of Brie where it originated.

29. Powerful pair of checkers KING
Checkers is yet another word that I had to learn moving across the Atlantic. In Ireland the game is called draughts.

36. Appearance MIEN
One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. “Mien” shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.

44. Secretary of state after Ed Muskie AL HAIG
Alexander Haig was Secretary of State under President Reagan, and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Ed Muskie was Governor of Maine in the late fifties. Muskie was born in Rumford, Maine and was a Polish-American. When he served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration, Muskie held the highest office in the US for any Polish-American.

47. Support for practicing pliés BARRE
A barre is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.

The French word for “bent” is “plié”, and in the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent.

48. Farmers’ John DEERE
John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”.

49. Diva specialties ARIAS
“Diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean goddess or fine lady, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

50. Sonoran succulent AGAVE
The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus, and isn’t related to the aloe plant either.

Sonora is the state in Mexico lying just south of the borders with Arizona and New Mexico. The Sonoran Desert actually straddles the US-Mexico border, covering 120,000 square miles in parts of the states of Sonora, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Arizona and California.

51. Jason’s jilted wife MEDEA
In Greek mythology Medea was the wife of Jason, the heroic leader of the Argonauts.

54. “Impaler” of Romanian history VLAD
Vlad III was a 15th century ruler in modern-day Bulgaria. He was given the name “Vlad the Impaler” after he died, and this suggests that he was in the habit of impaling his enemies. His father, Vlad II, was known as Vlad Dracul, which translates as Vlad the Devil or Dragon. As a result, Vlad the Impaler was also known by the diminutive form of his father’s name i.e. Dracula! Bram Stoker borrowed this name for his famous 1897 novel titled “Dracula”.

55. Sci-fi staples UFOS
In 1952, the USAF revived its studies of reports of UFO sightings in a program called Project Blue Book. There were two prior USAF studies of the UFO phenomenon, namely Project Sign and Project Grudge. Project Blue Book ran from 1952 until it was shut down in 1969 with the conclusion that there was no threat to national security, and that there were no sightings that could not be explained within the bounds of modern scientific knowledge.

56. Rocker Nugent TED
Ted Nugent was the lead guitarist with the Amboy Dukes, and is now a successful solo artist.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. They sit at stands CABS
5. Check out with nefarious intent CASE
9. Gyneco-‘s opposite ANDRO-
14. Really cruel guy OGRE
15. ABA member ATTY
16. Man-trap SIREN
17. Grievously wound MAIM
18. Approach NEAR
19. Thirteenth Amendment beneficiary SLAVE
20. Game with a windmill, usually MINIATURE GOLF
23. “__ takers?” ANY
24. Big shots VIPS
25. Requiring an adult escort R-RATED
28. Big London attraction? BEN
29. Handy set KIT
30. Former despot Amin IDI
31. Uncle Remus rogue BR’ER RABBIT
36. Big butte MESA
37. Bootcut Skinny brand LEVIS
38. PC interconnection LAN
39. Like proofed dough RISEN
40. Dueler’s choice EPEE
41. Insect honored on a 1999 U.S. postage stamp DUNG BEETLE
43. Make a booboo ERR
44. __ Lingus AER
45. Article in Der Spiegel EIN
46. Not at all out of the question DOABLE
48. “Shucks!” DANG
50. Friend of François AMI
53. Literally meaning “driving enjoyment,” slogan once used by the maker of the ends of 20-, 31- and 41-Across FAHRVERGNUGEN
56. Popular household fish TETRA
58. Princess with an earmuff-like hair style LEIA
59. Lose color FADE
60. “If __ Would Leave You” EVER I
61. Sea decimated by Soviet irrigation projects ARAL
62. Done OVER
63. Removal of govt. restrictions DEREG
64. Lucie’s dad DESI
65. Boarding pass datum SEAT

Down
1. “I, Claudius” feature COMMA
2. Piano teacher’s command AGAIN
3. Like pickle juice BRINY
4. Big rig SEMI
5. Ensenada bar CANTINA
6. Devoured ATE UP
7. Headlines STARS
8. Rochester’s love EYRE
9. Categorize ASSORT
10. Nabisco cookie brand NILLA
11. Most in need of insulation DRAFTIEST
12. Gun REV
13. Individual ONE
21. Declares AVERS
22. Spunk GRIT
26. Four-wheeled flop EDSEL
27. Title name in Mellencamp’s “little ditty” DIANE
28. Runny fromage BRIE
29. Powerful pair of checkers KING
31. Run, as colors BLEED
32. Copy, for short REPRO
33. Eternally EVER AFTER
34. Get fuzzy BLUR
35. Prohibition BAN
36. Appearance MIEN
39. Run the country REIGN
41. Antelope playmate DEER
42. Language of South Asia BENGALI
44. Secretary of state after Ed Muskie AL HAIG
47. Support for practicing pliés BARRE
48. Farmers’ John DEERE
49. Diva specialties ARIAS
50. Sonoran succulent AGAVE
51. Jason’s jilted wife MEDEA
52. Like helium INERT
54. “Impaler” of Romanian history VLAD
55. Sci-fi staples UFOS
56. Rocker Nugent TED
57. Night before EVE

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