LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Mar 13, Friday

CROSSWORD SETTER: Dan Margolis
THEME: Sounds Like Ants … today’s themed answers are homonyms of common phrases, with the suffix -ants replacing the suffix -ance:

20A. Valets who get no tips? POOR ATTENDANTS (from “poor attendance”)
25A. “Block that kick!” and “Dee-fense!”? SPORTING CHANTS (from “sporting chance”)
43A. Masked marathon runners? SECRET ENTRANTS (from “secret entrance”)
48A. Temporarily contribute helpers? LEND ASSISTANTS (from “lend assistance”)

COMPLETION TIME: 16m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. Powerful swimmer MAKO
The shortfin mako shark can appear on restaurant menus, and as a result the species is dying out in some parts of the world. The mako gets its own back sometimes though, and attacks on humans are not unknown. And the shark in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, that’s a mako.

16. Variety REVUE
“Revue” is the French word for “review”.

17. Soft mineral TALC
Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” can also be cornstarch.

23. Alliance led by Nasser: Abbr. UAR
Gamal Abdel Nasser was the second president of Egypt, from 1956 until he died in 1970. He stood alongside Muhammad Naguib, Egypt’s first president, during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 that overthrew the ruling monarchy of Egypt and Sudan. Nasser was an advocate of Pan-Arabism, an ideology promoting unification of Arab peoples and countries. President Nasser went so far as forming the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union between Egypt and Syria that started in 1958 but fell apart in 1961 when Syria withdrew.

24. Overseas assent OUI
“Oui” is “yes” in French, and “non” is “no”.

35. MapQuest request: Abbr. RTE
MapQuest is a very popular Internet site, one that provides driving directions and maps. MapQuest is actually owned by AOL.

37. City near Presque Isle State Park ERIE
Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area.

Presque Isle State Park is off the coast of Erie, Pennsylvania and sits on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie. The name “Presque Isle” translates from French as “peninsula”, or more literally “almost an island”.

38. Performed a jeté LEAPT
A jeté is a leap in ballet, coming from the French word “jeter” meaning “to throw”. A jeté en avant is a “leap to the front”, towards the audience.

40. Delt neighbor PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle.

The deltoid muscle is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

41. Hershey’s competitor BOSCO
Bosco Chocolate Syrup is produced in New Jersey, and first hit store shelves in 1928.

43. Masked marathon runners? SECRET ENTRANTS (from “secret entrance”)
The marathon is run over 26 miles and 385 yards, and of course commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens. The actual distance run today was decided in 1921, and matches the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway.

46. Loser to DDE AES
Adlai Stevenson ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were “Don’t wait for the translation, answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” followed by “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!”

57. “… a Loaf of Bread …” poet OMAR
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”.

Here are some lines by 11th-century poet Omar Khayyam:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

61. __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
Nowadays Simi Valley is perhaps best known as being home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. If you ever get the chance to do so, the library is a great place to visit. There you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.

Down
2. “Stat!” cousin ASAP
The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

5. The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ __” SAFARI
“Surfin’ Safari” was the first studio album recorded by the Beach Boys, an album that was released in 1962.

When the Beach Boys formed in 1961, they were very much a family concern. Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson were three brothers, Mike Love was their cousin, and the fifth member of the band was family friend Al Jardine. Back then, the manager of the group was Murry Wilson, the father of the three Wilson brothers.

12. Em, for one AUNT
In “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

13. Kennedy et al. TEDS
Ted Kennedy was the youngest boy in the family and had three older brothers: Joseph Jr. (killed in action in WWII), John (assassinated) and Robert (assassinated). Ted went into the US Senate in 1962 in a special election held after his brother became US President. He remained in the Senate until he passed away in 2009, making Ted Kennedy the fourth-longest-serving Senator in history.

22. Like seven Ryan games NO-HIT
Nolan Ryan is famous for having more career strikeouts that any other pitcher. However, he also holds the record for the most career walks and wild pitches. Another record that Ryan holds is the most no-hitters, a total of seven over his career.

26. Netanyahu’s predecessor PERES
Shimon Peres is an Israeli statesman who was born in Poland. A former prime minister, Peres is the current President of the State of Israel. He is 89 years old, making him the oldest head of state in the world.

28. Explosive trial N-TEST
There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. In an atomic bomb, uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. Fusion devices are also called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy than a fission reaction.

30. Chef’s fowl CAPON
A capon is a castrated cockerel (poor guy!). Castration has a profound effect on the bird (duh!) making the meat more tender to eat when he is slaughtered.

36. Some Caltech grads: Abbr. ENGS
Caltech is more properly known as the California Institute of Technology, and is a private research-oriented school in Pasadena. One of Caltech’s responsibilities is the management and operation of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If you watch “The Big Bang Theory” on television like me, you might know that the four lead characters all work at Caltech.

38. Fertile soil LOESS
Loess is a wind-blown accumulation of silt. “Loess” is German in origin and was first used to describe silt along the Rhine Valley.

42. Spanish tar BREA
“Brea” is the Spanish word for “tar”.

The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It’s well worth a visit if you are in town …

44. Inner circles CADRES
A “cadre” is most commonly a group of experienced personnel at the core of a larger organization that the small group trains or heavily influences. “Cadre” is a French word meaning a “frame”. We use it in the sense that a cadre is a group that provides a “framework” for the larger organization.

45. Game designed by Alexey Pajitnov TETRIS
Tetris is a very addictive video game, developed in the Soviet Union in 1984. The name Tetris comes from a melding of the prefix “tetra-” (as all the game pieces have four segments) and “tennis” (a favorite sport played by the developer). Since 2005 there have been more than 100 million copies of the game installed on cell phones alone.

48. Senate Republican leader before Frist LOTT
Trent Lott was raised Democrat in Mississippi, but served in Congress as a Republican. Lott ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.

Bill Frist was Senate Majority Leader for the Republicans from 2003 to 2007. Prior to becoming a politician, Frist was a heart and lung transplant surgeon. He has also been a pilot since he was 16-years-old, and has run seven marathons.

49. River to the Fulda EDER
The Eder is a river in Germany, a tributary of the Fulda River. The Eder has a dam near the small town of Waldeck which holds water in the large Edersee reservoir. This was one of the dams that was attacked by the RAF during WWII with the famous Barnes Wallis bouncing bombs. It was destroyed in the Dam Busters raid in 1943, but rebuilt the same year.

51. “Meh” SO-SO
“Meh!” is one of those terms unfamiliar to me, a modern colloquialism meaning “I’m not great, but not bad”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Powerful swimmer MAKO
5. Pipe part STEM
9. Distinguished GREAT
14. “Not a chance!” AS IF!
15. Trusted underling AIDE
16. Variety REVUE
17. Soft mineral TALC
18. Dart FLIT
19. Modify AMEND
20. Valets who get no tips? POOR ATTENDANTS (from “poor attendance”)
23. Alliance led by Nasser: Abbr. UAR
24. Overseas assent OUI
25. “Block that kick!” and “Dee-fense!”? SPORTING CHANTS (from “sporting chance”)
33. It may be perfect TENSE
34. Pursue TRAIL
35. MapQuest request: Abbr. RTE
37. City near Presque Isle State Park ERIE
38. Performed a jeté LEAPT
39. Kind of a drag? MAIN
40. Delt neighbor PEC
41. Hershey’s competitor BOSCO
42. Creature BEING
43. Masked marathon runners? SECRET ENTRANTS (from “secret entrance”)
46. Loser to DDE AES
47. Poetic period E’EN
48. Temporarily contribute helpers? LEND ASSISTANTS (from “lend assistance”)
56. Sensory stimuli ODORS
57. “… a Loaf of Bread …” poet OMAR
58. Got a load of EYED
60. Principle TENET
61. __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
62. Fix, in a way SPAY
63. Head lock TRESS
64. Wallet fillers ONES
65. Like some losers SORE

Down
1. Welcoming sight? MAT
2. “Stat!” cousin ASAP
3. Bust unit KILO
4. “Naturally” OF COURSE
5. The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ __” SAFARI
6. Be a little cockeyed, maybe TILT
7. Computer menu option EDIT
8. Dole METE
9. Bit-by-bit GRADUAL
10. Tarry REMAIN
11. Knotted up, sportswise EVEN
12. Em, for one AUNT
13. Kennedy et al. TEDS
21. Charge with a time component RATE
22. Like seven Ryan games NO-HIT
25. Increase, with “up” STEP
26. Netanyahu’s predecessor PERES
27. Cold and ready ON ICE
28. Explosive trial N-TEST
29. Supper preceder GRACE
30. Chef’s fowl CAPON
31. Commuting option TRAIN
32. Hitch STINT
36. Some Caltech grads: Abbr. ENGS
38. Fertile soil LOESS
39. Parsimony MEANNESS
41. Fowl options BREASTS
42. Spanish tar BREA
44. Inner circles CADRES
45. Game designed by Alexey Pajitnov TETRIS
48. Senate Republican leader before Frist LOTT
49. River to the Fulda EDER
50. Inventory extreme NONE
51. “Meh” SO-SO
52. “Let’s do it” I’M IN
53. Word heard before and after old SAME
54. Proof goof TYPO
55. Scorch SEAR
59. Salon job DYE

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