LA Times Crossword Answers 4 Jan 13, Friday

CROSSWORD SETTER: Gareth Bain
THEME: Gaining a Ton … each of today’s theme answers is a common phrase with “TON” added to suit the clue:

18A. Center of Swiss Oktoberfest celebrations? BEER CAN(TON)
23A. Tiny sea thugs? GANG PLANK(TON)
37A. More equitable church official? THE FAIRER SEX(TON)
46A. Cigarette buyer’s bonus? BUMPER CAR(TON)
56A. What 18-, 23-, 37- and 46-Across do to become puns? GAIN WEIGHT

COMPLETION TIME: 10m 16s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
5. Hollow stone GEODE
A geode is a rock in which there is a cavity lined or filled with crystal formations.

10. Some Siamese CATS
The exact origins of the Siamese cat aren’t very clear, but it is believed to be from Southeast Asia. The Siamese takes its name from the sacred temple cats of Thailand (once called Siam).

14. Flamingo hue PINK
The name “flamingo” comes from the Greek word for “purple wing”. The flamingo’s pink or reddish color comes from the bird’s diet, and in particular the pigments ingested from animal and plant sources.

17. Queen, in some Indo-Aryan languages RANI
A ranee (also spelled rani) is the female equivalent of a raja in India.

18. Center of Swiss Oktoberfest celebrations? BEER CAN(TON)
Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …

20. Like the Baha’i faith, by origin IRANIAN
The Baha’i Faith is relatively new in the scheme of things, and was founded in Persia in the 1800s. One of the tenets of the religion is that messengers have come from God over time, including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and most recently Bahá’u’lláh who founded the Baha’i Faith.

27. “Phat!” relative RAD
In “modern lingo”, the term “rad” means “super awesome, super cool”.

In hip-hop circles, the term “phat” means excellent or first-rate.

28. Friend abroad AMI
A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.

32. Filmmaker Coen ETHAN
I think it’s great to see two brothers working together and being so successful. Joel and Ethan Coen are two movie producers and directors who both live in New York City. The Coen brothers do love the movie-making business and they even married industry “insiders”. Ethan’s wife is film editor Tricia Cooke, and Joel is married to one of my favorite actresses, the lovely Frances McDormand.

35. Fed. agent G-MAN
The nickname “G-men” is short for “Government Men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

36. Pre-coll. catchall ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

37. More equitable church official? THE FAIRER SEX(TON)
A sexton is an officer in a church who looks after the building and perhaps an attached graveyard. The term “sexton” comes from the Medieval Latin word “sacristanus” which means “custodian of sacred objects”.

41. Rail family bird COOT
Rails are birds of the family Rallidae (hence their name). Outside of America, the name “rail” tends to be reserved for long-billed specie and the the term “crake” is used for short-billed species.

42. Ecological community BIOME
I tend to think of “biome” is another word for ecosystem.

43. Drillmaster’s syllable HUP
Hup, two, three, four …

45. Boozer SOT
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning a fool. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

60. Mange cause MITE
Mange is a skin disorder in animals caused by parasitic mites that embed themselves in the skin, perhaps living in hair follicles. The same disorder in humans is called scabies.

61. Computer science pioneer Turing ALAN
Alan Turing was an English mathematician. Turing was deservedly well-respected for his code-breaking work during WWII at Bletchley Park in England. However, despite his contributions to cracking the German Enigma code and other crucial work, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He agreed to chemical castration, treatment with female hormones, and two years later he committed suicide by taking cyanide.

62. ’90s FBI chief FREEH
Louis Freeh was the Director of the FBI in the Clinton administration. Prior to heading up the FBI, Freeh had been a US Attorney and US district court judge. Years earlier, Freeh had started out his career with the FBI as an agent.

63. __-à-porter: ready-to-wear PRET
“Prêt-à-Porter” is a common enough phrase over in Europe, a French expression meaning “ready to wear” that has made it into a number of other languages including English.

64. 18th-century French winemaker Martin REMY
Remy Martin is my favorite brand of cognac (remember that when it’s my birthday!). In China, the name Remy Martin is not used, but rather the more colorful moniker “man-headed horse” which describes the centaur logo on the bottle.

65. “La __ Nikita”: 1997-2001 TV drama FEMME
“La Femme Nikita” is a Canadian action/drama series based on the film “Nikita” that was written and directed by Luc Besson.

66. Some 35mm cameras SLRS
SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

Down
3. 2001 Nobel Peace Prize recipient ANNAN
Kofi Annan is the diplomat from Ghana who served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007. Annan attended the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1971-72, and graduated with a Master of Science degree.

6. John Paul’s Supreme Court successor ELENA
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the fourth female US Supreme Court justice (there have been 108 men!). I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …

John Paul Stevens retired as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court in 2010 after having served for over 34 years. That made him the third longest serving justice in the history of the court. Stevens had been nominated by President Gerald Ford to replace Justice William O. Douglas, who had been the longest serving justice in the court (at over 36 years).

7. Shelley work ODE
The English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe 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, and some lines of poetry including:

The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head:
The blooms of dewy spring shall gleam beneath thy feet:
But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead,
Ere midnight’s frown and morning’s smile, ere thou and peace may meet.

9. Continental trade org. EEC
The European Economic Community (EEC) was also called “the Common Market”. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union.

10. Lexmark rival CANON
The Japanese company called Canon is noted mainly in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.

Lexmark is a company that was formed when IBM divested itself of its printer operations in 1991. Lexmark is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky.

13. __ serif SANS
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”). 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 …

19. Blood typing system ABO
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a “universal donor”.

21. Hygiene product with a Disney-created mascot IPANA
Ipana toothpaste was introduced in 1915 and was at the height of its popularity in the forties and fifties. Sales declined in the sixties and the product was withdrawn from the US market in the seventies. Bucky the Beaver was the “spokesman” for Ipana. Bucky the Beaver’s slogan was “Brusha… Brusha… Brusha. Get the New Ipana – it’s dandy for your teeth!”

25. Craftsman tools seller KMART
Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

26. Pantry array TINS
The word “pantry” dates back to 1300 when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.

29. __ sax ALTO
The saxophone was invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

30. It’s “no longer current in natural colloquial speech,” per the OED WHOM
Wow! This surprises me. I guess I’m going to have to stop using “whom” everyday!

38. SDI defense target ICBM
One of the positive outcomes of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a change in US defense strategy. The new approach was to use missiles to destroy incoming hostile weapons, rather than using missiles to destroy the nation attacking the country. The former doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction went by the apt acronym of MAD …

39. WWII torpedo craft E-BOAT
In WWII, the German Navy’s Motor Torpedo Boats (a version of the American PT boat) were called S-boots, short for Schnellboot (“fast craft”). The Allied forces referred to them as E-boats, with the “E” possibly standing for “enemy” or “Eilboot” (“hurry boat”).

46. Hope contemporary BENNY
The great comedian Jack Benny’s real name was Benjamin Kubelsky. Benny was born in 1894 and passed away in 1974 at the age of 80. Although, when Benny was on stage he always claimed to be just 39 years old!

47. Motor City org. UAW
The United Auto Workers (UAW) was founded to represent workers in auto plants in the Detroit area in 1935. Nowadays the UAW’s membership extends into the aerospace, agriculture and other industries.

Detroit (aka Motor City) is the largest city in the state of Michigan. Detroit was founded in 1701 by the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. The city takes its name from the Detroit River, which in French is called “le détroit du Lac Érié” meaning “the strait of Lake Erie”.

50. Wayne feature OATER
The term “oater” used for a western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!

John Wayne’s real name was Marion Mitchell Morrison, and he was named after his grandfather, a Civil War veteran. When he was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him “Little Duke” because he was always seen walking with his large dog called “Duke”. Young Mr. Morrison preferred the name “Duke” to “Marion” and so he adopted it, and it stuck with him.

51. Politburo objections NYETS
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

52. Petri dish gel AGAR
Agar is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

Julius Richard Petri was a German bacteriologist and was the man after whom the Petri dish is named. The petri dish can have an agar gel on the bottom which acts a nutrient source for the specimen being grown and studied, in which case the dish plus agar is referred to as an “agar plate”.

53. Chaucer chapter TALE
Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author. He is often referred to as the father of English literature because he established vernacular English as a legitimate language for artistic works, as up to that point authors used French or Latin. Chaucer’s most famous work is actually unfinished, a collection of stories called “The Canterbury Tales”, all written at the end of the 14th century.

54. King Mongkut’s domain SIAM
King Mongkut was the fourth monarch of Siam (now Thailand). King Mongkut was the “King” in the Margaret Landon novel “Anna and the King of Siam”.

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. RR sched. listings STAS
5. Hollow stone GEODE
10. Some Siamese CATS
14. Flamingo hue PINK
15. Memorable number OLDIE
16. Vibes AURA
17. Queen, in some Indo-Aryan languages RANI
18. Center of Swiss Oktoberfest celebrations? BEER CAN(TON)
20. Like the Baha’i faith, by origin IRANIAN
22. Kicks out BOOTS
23. Tiny sea thugs? GANG PLANK(TON)
27. “Phat!” relative RAD
28. Friend abroad AMI
29. Punching tool AWL
32. Filmmaker Coen ETHAN
35. Fed. agent G-MAN
36. Pre-coll. catchall ELHI
37. More equitable church official? THE FAIRER SEX(TON)
40. Cover, as with paint COAT
41. Rail family bird COOT
42. Ecological community BIOME
43. Drillmaster’s syllable HUP
44. Tight do BUN
45. Boozer SOT
46. Cigarette buyer’s bonus? BUMPER CAR(TON)
52. Totally flummoxed AT SEA
55. Erode EAT AWAY
56. What 18-, 23-, 37- and 46-Across do to become puns? GAIN WEIGHT
60. Mange cause MITE
61. Computer science pioneer Turing ALAN
62. ’90s FBI chief FREEH
63. __-à-porter: ready-to-wear PRET
64. 18th-century French winemaker Martin REMY
65. “La __ Nikita”: 1997-2001 TV drama FEMME
66. Some 35mm cameras SLRS

Down
1. Hint of mint SPRIG
2. Part of a princess costume TIARA
3. 2001 Nobel Peace Prize recipient ANNAN
4. Plastic surgeon’s procedure SKIN GRAFT
5. Become unlocked? GO BALD
6. John Paul’s Supreme Court successor ELENA
7. Shelley work ODE
8. Hollywood VIP DIR
9. Continental trade org. EEC
10. Lexmark rival CANON
11. Prefix with pilot AUTO-
12. Bouncy gait TROT
13. __ serif SANS
19. Blood typing system ABO
21. Hygiene product with a Disney-created mascot IPANA
24. “Give me an example!” NAME ONE!
25. Craftsman tools seller KMART
26. Pantry array TINS
29. __ sax ALTO
30. It’s “no longer current in natural colloquial speech,” per the OED WHOM
31. Place to wait LINE
32. Write permanently ETCH
33. Commandment word THOU
34. Car that’s seen better days HEAP
35. Put together GROUP
36. Cloverleaf components EXIT RAMPS
38. SDI defense target ICBM
39. WWII torpedo craft E-BOAT
45. Verbally attack SCATHE
46. Hope contemporary BENNY
47. Motor City org. UAW
48. Turn into a mini, as a midi REHEM
49. Spin TWIRL
50. Wayne feature OATER
51. Politburo objections NYETS
52. Petri dish gel AGAR
53. Chaucer chapter TALE
54. King Mongkut’s domain SIAM
57. Gee preceder EFF
58. Fury IRE
59. Bit of treasure GEM

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