LA Times Crossword Answers 8 Nov 14, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Bruce Venzke
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 18m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Staff leaders MAJORDOMOS
A majordomo is a person in charge, or the senior person who might act in the absence of a boss. The term derives from the Latin “major domus” meaning “senior in the house”.

16. Wheels RIDE
“Wheels” and “ride” are slang terms for “automobile”.

17. Group with many hits COSA NOSTRA
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.

18. Menlo Park middle name ALVA
Thomas Alva Edison was nicknamed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, a name that stuck. He was indeed a wizard, in the sense that he was such a prolific inventor. The Menlo Park part of the moniker recognizes the location of his first research lab, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

19. Fuse, as ore SMELT
Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and of course, a greenhouse gas).

20. Comic strip about a high schooler ZITS
“Zits” is a popular cartoon strip written by Jerry Scott and illustrated by Jim Borgman. The strip debuted in 1997, and features a teenage boy called Jeremy Duncan as the main character.

22. She plays Watson in “Elementary” LIU
Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

23. Fourth most populous U.S. island OAHU
The most populous islands governed by the US are:

– Long Island, New York (7.7 million)
– Puerto Rico (3.7 million)
– Manhattan Island, New York (1.6 million)
– Oahu, Hawaii (1 million)
– Staten Island, New York (0.5 million)

32. Steelers ownership family name ROONEY
Art Rooney was the son of Irish immigrants who left the country during the Potato Famine. Rooney founded the football team that was to become the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers football team were founded in 1933, making them the oldest franchise in the AFC. Back in 1933, the team was known as the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates name was chosen as the Pittsburgh baseball team was the Pirates. The name was changed to the Steelers in 1940, and then the Steagles in 1943 when the team merged with the Philadelphia Eagles. There was a further merger in 1944, with the Chicago Cardinal to form Card-Pitt. From 1945, the Steelers name was resurrected.

33. Nanki-__ POO
“The Mikado” is a wonderful comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, set in the exotic location of Japan. “Mikado” is a former term for the “Emperor of Japan”. In the opera, Nanki-Poo is the Mikado’s son, who falls in love with Yum-Yum.

37. “… men in __” A TUB
The nursery rhyme “Rub-a-Dub-Dub” dates back to at least 1798 when it was first published in London:

Rub-a-dub-dub,
Three men in a tub,
And how do you think they got there?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick-maker,
They all jumped out of a rotten potato,
‘Twas enough to make a man stare.

39. Locks that are picked AFROS
That would be using an Afro pick, a type of comb used on kinky hair.

41. Victoria’s Secret spec D-CUP
Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 in San Francisco, California. The founder wanted to create an environment where men were comfortable buying lingerie for their wives and girlfriends, an alternative to a department store.

42. Longtime name in baseball broadcasting CARAY
The announcer Harry Caray was famous for exclaiming “Holy cow!” during baseball games, and used the same phrase for the title of his autobiography.

46. Valuable elemento ORO
In Spanish, gold (oro) is an element (elemento).

47. “And wilt thou pledge me this for time __?”: Aeschylus ETERNE
“And wilt thou pledge me this for time eterne?” is a line from “The Eumenides”, a play by Aeschylus, the ancient Greek tragedian.

Aeschylus was one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived. The first of these was Aeschylus, the second Sophocles, and the third Euripides. Aeschylus is sometimes referred to as the father of tragedy, as his work is the earliest known representation of the style.

49. Takes a powder SKIPS OUT
The phrase “to take a powder” means “to scram, vanish”. This meaning was first recorded in the 1920s, and may derive from the medical instruction “take a powder”, which may imply having to make a quick exit!

54. “He’s mine, __ am his”: “Coriolanus” OR I
“Coriolanus” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. The play tells the story of the real-life Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, who lived in the 5th century BC.

55. Lases or tases ZAPS
The term “laser” comes from an acronym, “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER …

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym TASER stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

57. Verdi aria ERI TU
The aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (A Masked Ball). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

61. Star followers MAGI
“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, magi is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born.

67. Revealing TATTLETALE
Something described as “tattletale” is revealing, it gives away a secret. The term is a combination of “tattle” and “tale”, and is probably patterned on the similar word “telltale”. “To tattle” means to tell secrets.

68. Table tennis club’s supply NETS
Ping-pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name.

Down
1. Apple array MACS
Macintosh (also “Mac”) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Mac was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

3. Muralist Orozco JOSE
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican painter famous for his themed murals, often promoting the causes of peasants and workers. Orozco’s most famous mural is probably a fresco painted in the Library of Dartmouth College, called “The Epic of American Civilization”.

4. Where a turtle might be seen ON A LOG
Turtles have the habit of clambering up onto riverbanks and floating logs, so that they can bask in the sun.

5. Some prom night wear RENTALS
A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

6. Brit. military award DSO
The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a British military award that is usually presented to officers with the rank of Major or higher.

7. Delivery pros OBS
Obstetrician (Ob.)

8. City on the Moselle METZ
The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944.

The Moselle is a river that flows through France, Luxembourg and Germany, entering the Rhine at the city of Koblenz.

9. “Hamlet” courtier OSRIC
In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Osric is the courtier that Claudius dispatches to invite Hamlet to participate in a duel.

10. Electric generator component STATOR
The stator is the stationary part of a machine such as an electric generator. The moving part is called the rotor.

11. Celestial altar ARA
The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for “altar”.

12. Get romantic BILL AND COO
When birds “bill and coo” together they touch beaks and make noises to each other. The term is also used when two lovers talk quietly to each other, and kiss.

13. Amy Dickinson, e.g. ADVICE GURU
Any Dickinson is the journalist behind the “Ask Amy” advice column that appears in so many newspapers. Dickinson also appears frequently on the highly entertaining radio show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” that is broadcast on NPR.

14. Mole, maybe BEAUTY SPOT
A mole is a dark spot on the skin that is sometimes called a beauty spot if it is located on the face. The term “mole” comes from the Old English word “mal”, which described a mark or blemish on a piece of cloth.

21. Stereotypical status seeker SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

24. Rival of Martina and Chris HANA
Hana Mandlikova is a former professional tennis star from Czechoslovakia. Mandlikova won four Grand Slam titles and then retired in 1990, at the ripe old age of 28.

Martina Navratilova is a retired tennis player who is thought by many to have been the greatest player of all time. Navratilova won the Wimbledon singles title a record nine times, which is one of many records that she holds. She was born in Czechoslovakia but asked for political asylum in the US in 1975 at 18 years of age. Navratilova was granted temporary residency in the US and as a result was stripped of her Czech citizenship. That Czech citizenship was restored in 2008 making her a dual citizen.

Chris Evert is a former professional tennis player from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Evert has the best winning percentage in professional tennis, man or woman worldwide, losing fewer than 10% of all her matches.

28. Some astronauts SPACEWOMEN
The Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space when she piloted Vostok 6 in 1963. Prior to joining the USSR’s space program, Tereshkova had worked in a textile factory on an assembly line, but was an amateur skydiver. At the age of 76, she offered to go on a one-way mission to Mars, should a spot ever open up.

35. Grammy category eliminated in 2009 POLKA
The Grammy Award for Best Polka Album was first presented in 1986. The award was retired in 2009.

43. Santa __ Valley: California wine region YNEZ
The Santa Ynez Valley is a winegrowing region in Santa Barbara County in California. The Santa Ynez Valley was the setting and location for the wonderful 2004 film “Sideways”.

45. Catalog giant SPIEGEL
Spiegel is a company that sells women’s clothing and accessories, and which has a famous catalog sales business. The company was founded way back in 1865 by Joseph Spiegel as a home furnishings retail outlet in Chicago.

50. Low clouds STRATI
Stratus clouds are very common, and as they are wider than they are tall and flat along the bottom, we might just see them as haze in a featureless sky above us. Stratus clouds are basically the same as fog, but above the ground. Indeed, many stratus clouds are formed when morning fog lifts into the air as the ground heats up.

58. “Project Runway Canada” host IMAN
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid is a supermodel from Somalia who goes simply by the name “Iman” these days. Iman is smart cookie. Imam has a degree in Political Science and is fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, French and English. Iman has been married to British rock star David Bowie since 1992.

62. Cyclades island IOS
The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean Sea lying southeast of the Greek mainland. There are about 200 islands in the group, almost all of which are the peaks of a submerged mountain range. Ios is one of the larger islands, 11 miles long and 6 miles wide.

65. Bridge expert Culbertson ELY
Ely Culbertson was a great personality in the world of contract bridge (the greatest card game known to man!). He wrote an autobiography called “The Strange Lives of One Man” which is supposed to be an extraordinary read. I will have to put it on my Christmas wish list …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Staff leaders MAJORDOMOS
11. Common rhyme scheme ABAB
15. In top form AT ONE’S BEST
16. Wheels RIDE
17. Group with many hits COSA NOSTRA
18. Menlo Park middle name ALVA
19. Fuse, as ore SMELT
20. Comic strip about a high schooler ZITS
22. She plays Watson in “Elementary” LIU
23. Fourth most populous U.S. island OAHU
26. Reach CONTACT
28. Surveillance aid SPYGLASS
32. Steelers ownership family name ROONEY
33. Nanki-__ POO
34. Prowler SNOOP
36. Landlord’s assets: Abbr. BLDGS
37. “… men in __” A TUB
39. Locks that are picked AFROS
41. Victoria’s Secret spec D-CUP
42. Longtime name in baseball broadcasting CARAY
44. Inset site ATLAS
46. Valuable elemento ORO
47. “And wilt thou pledge me this for time __?”: Aeschylus ETERNE
49. Takes a powder SKIPS OUT
51. Goes south WORSENS
53. Rested from flight ALIT
54. “He’s mine, __ am his”: “Coriolanus” OR I
55. Lases or tases ZAPS
57. Verdi aria ERI TU
61. Star followers MAGI
63. They go down to the wire CLOSE GAMES
66. Repeat ECHO
67. Revealing TATTLETALE
68. Table tennis club’s supply NETS
69. Plots STORYLINES

Down
1. Apple array MACS
2. It may be ionized ATOM
3. Muralist Orozco JOSE
4. Where a turtle might be seen ON A LOG
5. Some prom night wear RENTALS
6. Brit. military award DSO
7. Delivery pros OBS
8. City on the Moselle METZ
9. “Hamlet” courtier OSRIC
10. Electric generator component STATOR
11. Celestial altar ARA
12. Get romantic BILL AND COO
13. Amy Dickinson, e.g. ADVICE GURU
14. Mole, maybe BEAUTY SPOT
21. Stereotypical status seeker SNOB
24. Rival of Martina and Chris HANA
25. Patriotic nickname US OF A
27. Spoiled the surprise TOLD
28. Some astronauts SPACEWOMEN
29. Kid’s birthday party contest POTATO RACE
30. “No argument” YOU’RE RIGHT
31. Prepares for filing SORTS
35. Grammy category eliminated in 2009 POLKA
38. Illegalizes BARS
40. Zip (through) SAIL
43. Santa __ Valley: California wine region YNEZ
45. Catalog giant SPIEGEL
48. Adopts ENACTS
50. Low clouds STRATI
52. Paint-spill sound SPLAT
56. __ speak SO TO
58. “Project Runway Canada” host IMAN
59. Commuting leader? TELE-
60. Doesn’t let sit USES
62. Cyclades island IOS
64. Harp, e.g.: Abbr. STR
65. Bridge expert Culbertson ELY

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5 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 8 Nov 14, Saturday”

  1. Good morning Saturday Solvers.

    Tough one today. I messed up all over the place. Proper names and the Mafia
    killed me.
    Hope everyone did better than I.

    Have a great day all!

  2. Good morning all –

    I give up. I lost. This one beat me. I finished, but only after googling my fingers to the bone. I always feel like they're ganging up on me when there are 2 setters.

    Answers like majordomos made me feel like a majord*m***s…

    At least there was ALIT in this puzzle for Willie…if he's over the flu yet.

    I have never played bridge in my life, but Bill is intriguing me to the point where maybe I will someday soon.

    Hope others did better than I did today –

    Best –

  3. @Addict
    A good Saturday workout, I thought. I got there with a bit of persistence and decent wind at my back.

    @Jeff
    I've always thought that two card games stand head-and-shoulders abouve the rest, one being poker and the other bridge. Poker takes a few minutes to learn, but a lifetime to learn to play well. Bridge takes a lifetime both to learn and to play well!

  4. Hi Bill and Saturday warriors.
    Soundly, utterly defeated by this.
    Gave up and went to Mensa site with only 4 correct answers and 3 incorrect answers.
    INEZ, AABA, and DSA.
    Hopelessly beat up by Bruce and Victor.
    How could I possibly get A TUB from "…men in a__" ???
    Phooey!

  5. @Addict – If that wasn't a great pun it should have been "…and the Mafia killed me." LOL

    This finally came together after that upper left hand corner yielded its secrets. I had it SO VERY screwed up for the longest time. And customers kept interrupting my train of thought (which is probably a good thing since that upper left corner had derailed it).

    Hope all my fellow solvers have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you all back here on Monday.

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