LA Times Crossword Answers 3 Dec 13, Tuesday

CROSSWORD SETTER: Mike Peluso
THEME: Tree Parts at Last … today’s themed answers all end with part of a tree:

18A. Thin, decorative metal SILVER LEAF
23A. Gets married TIES THE KNOT
37A. Dangerous things to risk LIFE AND LIMB
48A. Equestrian’s supply box SADDLE TRUNK
56A. One, to one, e.g. SQUARE ROOT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 09m 06s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Cathedral area APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

5. Tons SCADS
The origin of the word “scads”, meaning “lots and lots”, is unclear, although back in the mid-1800s “scads” was used to mean “dollars”.

10. Reps: Abbr. AGTS
Representatives (reps.) might be agents (agts.).

20. What a 63-Across may speak ERSE
(63A. Hebrides native GAEL)
There are actually three Erse languages. Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

21. The last Mrs. Chaplin OONA
Oona O’Neill dated J. D. Salinger and Orson Welles in her teens, but ended up marrying Charlie Chaplin. Oona was still pretty young when she married Chaplin, much to the dismay of her famous father, the playwright Eugene O’Neill. After the marriage Eugene disowned Oona as he was pretty upset about 54-year-old Chaplin marrying his 18-year-old daughter.

27. This, to Michelle CET
“Cet” is a French word for “this” or “that”.

32. Lulus DILLIES
A dilly is something or someone excellent.

We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder, who was a stage magician active in the 1880s.

36. Mass transit carrier BUS
We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation, an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.

41. Underworld group MAFIA
Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

43. Printer’s widths EMS
In typography, there are em dashes and en dashes. The em dash is about the width of an “m” character, and an en dash about half that, the width of an “n’ character. An en dash is used, for example, to separate numbers designating a range, as in 5-10 years. The em dash seems to be going out of style, and indeed the application I am using to write this paragraph won’t let me show you one!

47. Renoir output ART
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French painter, very much at the forefront of the Impressionist movement. Renoir was a prolific artist, with several thousand works attributed to him. The largest collection of Renoirs is actually in the United States. You can see 181 of his paintings at the Barnes Foundation just outside Philadelphia.

48. Equestrian’s supply box SADDLE TRUNK
A saddle trunk is a container large enough to hold a saddle, as well as other items need for horseriding.

54. Alabama, but not Kansas? TRIO
Alabama is a band from Fort Payne, Alabama who perform a blend of country music and southern rock.

Kansas is a progressive rock band from Topeka. Kansas had some hits in the seventies.

55. “Picnic” playwright INGE
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman.

56. One, to one, e.g. SQUARE ROOT
One is the square root of one, because one squared is one.

60. “Ain’t Misbehavin'” Tony winner Carter NELL
Nell Carter was a singer and actress from Birmingham, Alabama. Carter won a Tony for her performance on Broadway in “Ain’t Misbehavin’”. She also starred in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!” in the 1980s.

63. Hebrides native GAEL
Gaels are speakers of one of the three Gaelic Celtic languages of Irish, Scottish and Manx.

64. Desires YENS
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!

66. Chop __: Chinese American dish SUEY
Many believe that the Chinese dish known as chop suey was invented in America, by Chinese immigrants. In fact, by the time it showed up in the US it already existed in the Taishan district of Guangdong in southeast China, the origin of many of those immigrants. “Chop suey” translates as “assorted pieces”, and is made up of some meat and eggs quickly cooked with vegetables in a thickened sauce.

Down
2. Illinois city that symbolizes Middle America PEORIA
Peoria is the oldest European settlement in the state of Illinois, having been settled by the French in 1680. The city is famous for being cited as “the average American city”. The phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” is used to mean, “Will it appeal to the mainstream?” It is believed the expression originated as a corruption of, “We shall play in Peoria”, a line used by some actors in the 1890 novel “Five Hundred Dollars” by Horatio Alger, Jr.

6. CBS drama with two spin-offs CSI
The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to be winding down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, is still going strong and has been doing so since 2000.

8. Exeter’s county DEVON
Devon is a county in the southwest of England. The county town of Devon is Exeter, and the largest city in the county is Plymouth, the port from which the Mayflower Pilgrims departed.

9. Dictation whiz STENO
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

10. The K.C. Chiefs represented it in Super Bowl I AFL
Super Bowl I was played in January 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers emerged victorious in a game with a score of 35-10. That game was officially known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game, as the name “Super Bowl” wasn’t applied until two seasons later. That “first” Super Bowl is now known as Super Bowl III and was played between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts. The Jets came out on top.

11. High school choral group GLEE CLUB
A glee club is a choir group, usually of males, that sings short songs known as “glees”. A glee is a song scored for three or more voices that is performed unaccompanied.

19. Pied Piper followers RATS
The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory.

24. End-of-the-workweek cry TGIF
“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies.

25. Pebble Beach’s 18 HOLES
Pebble Beach Golf Links, located just south of Monterey, California, is a public course. It was the first public golf course to be chosen as the top course in the country by “Golf Digest”.

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

26. China’s Zhou __ ENLAI
Zhou Enlai (also Chou En-Lai) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

31. SALT concerns ABMS
An ABM is an anti-ballistic missile, a rocket designed to intercept and destroy a ballistic missile (as one might expect from the name). A ballistic missile, as opposed to a cruise missile, is guided during the initial launch phase but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity (hence “ballistic”) to arrive at its target. As an aside, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with a range greater than 3,500 miles.

There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970.

34. ’50s automotive failure EDSEL
The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel, son of Henry Ford. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced.

39. Like Bach’s music BAROQUE
The musical era known as the Baroque started about 1600 and ended about 1730 with the ushering in of the Classical period. Famous composers associated with the Baroque style were Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel and of course Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach raised a very large family. He had seven children with his first wife, who died suddenly. He had a further thirteen children with his second wife. Of his twenty youngsters, there were four sons who became famous musicians in their own right:

– Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (aka “the Halle Bach”)
– Carl Philipp Bach (aka “the Hamburg Bach”)
– Johann Christoph Bach (aka “the Buckeberg Bach”)
– Johann Christian Bach (aka “the London Bach”)

44. Alaskan capital JUNEAU
Given that it’s the capital of the vast state of Alaska, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that the municipality of Juneau is almost as big as the area of the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, and yet has only a population of about 31,000 people!

45. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” director ANG LEE
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is a film with Mandarin dialogue that was released in the year 2000. The movie was made on the relatively meagre budget of $17 million, and yet earned over $125 million in the US alone. It is in fact the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history.

46. “I Believe I Can Fly” singer R KELLY
R. Kelly is the stage name of R&B singer Robert Kelly from Chicago. R. Kelly was named by “Billboard” as the most successful R&B singer in the past 25 years, and so I guess he has earned his nickname “King of R&B”. Kelly ran into some problems in the press when it was revealed that he had married singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 and Kelly was 27-years-old.

“I Believe I Can Fly” is a 1996 hit that was written and performed by R&B singer R. Kelly. Notably, the song was used in the 1996 film “Space Jam”.

57. Gore and Green ALS
Al Gore was born in Washington DC and was the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.

Al Green is a gospel and soul music singer. Green was born in Arkansas, where he started out as a gospel singer and moved into R&B. In 1974, he was assaulted by a girlfriend who burned him badly on much of his body by pouring boiling grits over him (and then she committed suicide). The incident changed Green’s life and he turned to the church, becoming a pastor in Memphis in 1976. He continued to record music, but never really enjoyed the same success that he had in the early seventies with hits like “Let’s Stay Together” and “I’m Still In Love With You”.

58. Lacto-__ vegetarian OVO
A lacto-ovo vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat or fish, but does eat eggs (ovo) and dairy (lacto) products.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Cathedral area APSE
5. Tons SCADS
10. Reps: Abbr. AGTS
14. Garden center supply SEED
15. Dot in the ocean ISLET
16. Circus performer? FLEA
17. Tune SONG
18. Thin, decorative metal SILVER LEAF
20. What a 63-Across may speak ERSE
21. The last Mrs. Chaplin OONA
22. Grand Rapids-to-Detroit dir. ESE
23. Gets married TIES THE KNOT
27. This, to Michelle CET
28. Morose SAD
29. Geometric suffix -GON
30. Like potato chips SALTY
32. Lulus DILLIES
36. Mass transit carrier BUS
37. Dangerous things to risk LIFE AND LIMB
39. Retirement destination? BED
40. Wimps SISSIES
41. Underworld group MAFIA
43. Printer’s widths EMS
44. Cookie container JAR
47. Renoir output ART
48. Equestrian’s supply box SADDLE TRUNK
53. Spoil ROT
54. Alabama, but not Kansas? TRIO
55. “Picnic” playwright INGE
56. One, to one, e.g. SQUARE ROOT
60. “Ain’t Misbehavin'” Tony winner Carter NELL
61. Throw hard HURL
62. Hero’s quality NERVE
63. Hebrides native GAEL
64. Desires YENS
65. Burning desire? ARSON
66. Chop __: Chinese American dish SUEY

Down
1. Valuables ASSETS
2. Illinois city that symbolizes Middle America PEORIA
3. Had a hunch SENSED
4. Barely beats EDGES
5. Member of the fam SIS
6. CBS drama with two spin-offs CSI
7. “Everything’s fine” ALL OK
8. Exeter’s county DEVON
9. Dictation whiz STENO
10. The K.C. Chiefs represented it in Super Bowl I AFL
11. High school choral group GLEE CLUB
12. Dollhouse cups, saucers, etc. TEA SETS
13. Protected condition SAFETY
19. Pied Piper followers RATS
24. End-of-the-workweek cry TGIF
25. Pebble Beach’s 18 HOLES
26. China’s Zhou __ ENLAI
31. SALT concerns ABMS
32. “__ say something wrong?” DID I
33. Elected ones INS
34. ’50s automotive failure EDSEL
35. Goo SLIME
37. There’s a lane for one at many intersections LEFT-TURN
38. Superlative suffix -IEST
39. Like Bach’s music BAROQUE
41. Boggy MARSHY
42. Solar system sci. ASTR
44. Alaskan capital JUNEAU
45. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” director ANG LEE
46. “I Believe I Can Fly” singer R KELLY
49. Stadium ARENA
50. More desperate, as circumstances DIRER
51. Some portals DOORS
52. Adornments for noses and toes RINGS
57. Gore and Green ALS
58. Lacto-__ vegetarian OVO
59. Years in a decade TEN

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2 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 3 Dec 13, Tuesday”

  1. Hello, Bill. The puzzle was quite straight forward. But I tried in vain to get the theme, but couldn't .

    … Thanks to your blog, I finally understood it.

    I don't know if I would call out an exceptional person, a Dilly, I have never heard the expression before, …. it sounds like a pejorative. The recipient may not like it.

    Can it be said that the Japanese have a 'yen' for everything ? Or plenty of yen for everything ?

    Have a nice day, all

  2. Hi there, Vidwan.

    It took me a little while to work out the theme, and only after I had finished the puzzle. It didn't help me at all in solving.

    And I agree, "dilly" doesn't have an "excellent" ring to it 🙂

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