LA Times Crossword Answers 30 Jan 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Paolo Pasco
THEME: Back Words Puzzle … each of today’s themed answers starts with a word that has the suffix -BACK. But the suffix is omitted in the answer and is instead implied by writing the prefix in the BACK-direction:

16A. Deep-sea creature, literally PMUH WHALE (giving “humpback whale”)
20A. Alternative strategies, literally LLAF PLANS (giving “fallback plans”)
40A. Infomercial offers, literally YENOM GUARANTEES (giving “money-back guarantees”)
55A. Toddler’s transport, literally YGGIP RIDE (giving “piggyback ride”)
65A. Preflight purchase, literally REPAP BOOK (giving “paperback book”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 38s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Rock blasters AMPS
An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

9. Californie, for one ETAT
In French, California (Califonie) is a state (état).

13. Apple variety IMAC
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such strawberry, blueberry and lime.

14. Goal for a runner SEAT
A person running for election is usually seeking a seat.

15. Renaissance painter Veronese PAOLO
Paolo Veronese was a Renaissance painter from the Italian city of Verona (hence his name “Veronese”). Veronese is most famous for his paintings “The Wedding at Cana” and “The Feast at the House of Levi”. “The Wedding at Cana” is a massive work, measuring over 21 x 32 feet in size. It has the honor of being the largest painting in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

16. Deep-sea creature, literally PMUH WHALE (giving “humpback whale”)
The males of the humpback whale species are particularly known for their song. This song can last up to 20 minutes and can be repeated for hours at a time. It is usually assumed that the song is part of a mating ritual.

18. Mozart’s “King of Instruments” ORGAN
Mozart is quoted as saying, “In my eyes and ears, the organ will forever be the King of Instruments”.

19. Seat of Dallas County, Alabama SELMA
The Alabama city of Selma is noted for the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches from 1965.

The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day.

22. Churchill, for one TORY
“Tory” comes from the Irish word “tóraí” meaning “outlaw, robber”. The term “tory” was originally used for an Irish outlaw and later became a term of abuse for Irish rebels. At the end of the reign of King Charles II in Britain, there was a political divide with one side being called “Whigs” and the other “Tories”. Historically, the term “Tory” evolved to basically mean a supporter of the British monarchy, and today is used for a member of the British Conservative Party.

After a year of fighting in WWII, the British people had lost confidence in the British prime minister Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain stepped aside, and fellow-Conservative Winston Churchill took charge of the government. For the duration of the war, Churchill led a coalition government comprising mainly Conservative and Labor Party members, but also a handful of independents.

25. 1,000 G’s MIL
One “G” is a thousand dollars, and 1,000 Gs make up a cool million (mil).

30. Fusion, for one ECO-CAR
Ford introduced the Fusion mid-size car in 2006. A hybrid version of the Fusion came out in 2010, and a plug-in hybrid in 2012.

35. Receptionist on “The Office” ERIN
When Pam gave up her spot at the reception desk in the US version of the hit sitcom “The Office”, it was taken over by Kelly Erin Hannon. Erin, as she is known, is played by Ellie Kemper. Kemper had auditioned for the sitcom “Parks and Recreation” but didn’t get the part. However, she did get a callback to play on “The Office”. I think it’s a great show, and the addition of the character called Erin added a lot …

39. Yellowish tone OCHRE
Ochre is often spelled “ocher” in the US (it’s “ochre” where I come from). Ocher is a light, yellowy-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher.

43. Time to say “¡Feliz año nuevo!” ENERO
In Spanish, one often says “Happy New Year!” (Feliz Año Nuevo!) each January (enero).

48. 1980s surgeon general KOOP
C. Everett Koop was Surgeon General from 1982-89, appointed by President Reagan. Koop was a somewhat controversial character and one who brought the position of Surgeon General into the spotlight more than was historically the case. Partly this was due to his pro-life position, his anti-tobacco stance and the fact that AIDS became a prominent issue while he was in office.

50. Dennings of “Thor” KAT
Kat Dennings is the stage name of actress Katherine Litwack, noted today for her co-starring role on CBS’s sitcom “2 Broke Girls”. Dennings is an avid blogger, and you can check out her video blog on YouTube.

The 2011 movie “Thor” is yet another film based on a comic book hero. Even though I won’t be seeing it (I don’t do comics), I must admit it does have an impressive cast. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, supported by Natalie Portman, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins. And to crown it all, Kenneth Branagh is the director.

51. __ lane HOV
In some parts of the country one sees high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV lanes), but out here in California, we call them carpool lanes.

64. Certain Middle Easterner IRANI
Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was called Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

69. “Truth in Engineering” automaker AUDI
In most countries around the world, Audi uses its corporate tagline in advertising, namely “Vorsprung durch Technik” (which translates as “Advancement through Technology”). However, the German has been dropped for the US in favor of “Truth in Engineering”.

70. First place? EDEN
According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

71. Bothersome parasites LICE
Lice are small wingless insects of which there are thousands of species, three of which are human disease agents. The three kinds of lice affecting humans are head lice, body lice and pubic lice. Most lice feed on dead skin found on the body of the host animal, although some feed on blood. Ick …

Down
2. Former “Fashion Emergency” host EMME
Emme is the highest paid plus-size model in the world. Emme’s real name is Melissa Aronson, and she was born in New York City and raised in Saudi Arabia.

“Fashion Emergency” is a reality TV show that originally aired on E!

3. Surface fractures FAULT LINES
In geology, a “fault” is a fracture in the Earth’s crust resulting from the action of plate tectonic forces. The fault manifests itself at the surface of the Earth as a “fault line”.

There are eight major tectonic plates and numerous small plates, which make up the outermost shell of our planet. The heat from within the Earth causes the plates to move, albeit it slowly, creating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions where the plates meet each other, like right under my house here in California …

4. Blockhead SCHMO
“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

7. Depressing atmosphere PALL
A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase “casting a pall over”, meaning to create a dark mood, is metaphorical use of the pall over the casket.

9. “Downton Abbey” title EARL
In the incredibly successful period drama “Downton Abbey”, the patriarch of the family living at Downton is Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham or Lord Grantham. The character is played by Hugh Bonneville.

10. Draped garment TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

11. The first “A” in A.A. Milne ALAN
Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author, best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

15. Michael Jackson, e.g. POP ICON
Michael Jackson was such a sad figure I always think. Jackson’s apparently unconstrained lifestyle made him an easy target for the tabloids. The less than charitable representatives of the media gave him the nickname “Wacko Jacko”.

23. Half a philosophical duality YANG
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

25. “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” author Nicholas MEYER
Nicholas Meyer is a screenwriter, director and author. Meyer directed two of the “Star Trek” films, and is credited with saving the franchise.

“The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” is a 1974 Sherlock Holmes mystery written by Nicholas Meyer. Mayer adapted the novel into a screenplay for the 1976 film of the same name. Somehow, I’ve not seen this movie, despite a great cast that includes Robert Duvall as Dr. Watson, Samantha Eggar as Irene Adler and Laurence Olivier as Professor Moriarty. Nicol Williamson plays Sherlock Holmes, and Alan Arkin turns up as Sigmund Freud.

26. Adler of Sherlock Holmes lore IRENE
The character Irene Adler only appeared in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In that story, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Holmes expresses remarkable admiration for Adler as a woman and as a foe. As a result, derivative works in the Holmes genre often feature Adler as something of a romantic interest for Sherlock.

29. Snideness SNARK
“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

36. Sushi seaweed NORI
Nori is an edible seaweed that we used to know as “laver” when I was living in Wales. Nori is usually dried into thin sheets. Here in the US, we are most familiar with nori as the seaweed used as a wrap for sushi.

38. Layered snack OREO
There’s an iPhone app featuring the Oreo cookie. It’s a game in which one twists Oreo cookies apart, “licks” the cream from the center and then dunks the remainder of the cookie in a glass of milk.

41. Venue involving a lot of body contact MOSH PIT
Moshing (also “slam dancing”) is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually a punk or heavy metal concert). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a “stage dive” it is into (or I suppose “onto”) the mosh pit. It doesn’t sound like fun to me. Injuries are commonplace in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.

42. “Right Now (Na Na Na)” artist AKON
Akon is a Senegalese American R&B and hip hop singer, who was born in St. Louis but lived much of his early life in Senegal. Akon is a stage name, and his real name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. Got that?

47. Rogers Centre team, on scoreboards TOR
The SkyDome is a stadium in downtown Toronto, home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and the Toronto Argonauts Canadian football team. The SkyDome was officially renamed to the Rogers Centre when it, and the Toronto Blue Jays team, was purchased by Rogers Communications in 2005.

54. Big brass TUBAS
The tuba is the lowest pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …

56. Crossword component GRID
It is generally accepted that the first crossword puzzle was published as a “Word-Cross” puzzle on December 21, 1913 in the “New York World”. The name “Word-Cross” was changed to “Cross-Word” a few weeks due to a mistake in the typesetting room. The name “crossword” has been used ever since. The “New York World” then started publishing the puzzles every week, and the idea was picked up by other newspapers. By 1920, crosswords were so popular that the New York Public Library reported difficulties in meeting the demand for access to dictionaries and encyclopedias.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Ones calling the shots? REFS
5. Rock blasters AMPS
9. Californie, for one ETAT
13. Apple variety IMAC
14. Goal for a runner SEAT
15. Renaissance painter Veronese PAOLO
16. Deep-sea creature, literally PMUH WHALE (giving “humpback whale”)
18. Mozart’s “King of Instruments” ORGAN
19. Seat of Dallas County, Alabama SELMA
20. Alternative strategies, literally LLAF PLANS (giving “fallback plans”)
22. Churchill, for one TORY
24. “Who, me?” MOI?
25. 1,000 G’s MIL
27. Goes out for a bit? NAPS
30. Fusion, for one ECO-CAR
35. Receptionist on “The Office” ERIN
37. It’s frowned upon NO-NO
39. Yellowish tone OCHRE
40. Infomercial offers, literally YENOM GUARANTEES (giving “money-back guarantees”)
43. Time to say “¡Feliz año nuevo!” ENERO
44. Pioneers’ journey, say TREK
45. Unpopular spots ACNE
46. Buck RESIST
48. 1980s surgeon general KOOP
50. Dennings of “Thor” KAT
51. __ lane HOV
53. “Who, me?” NOT I?
55. Toddler’s transport, literally YGGIP RIDE (giving “piggyback ride”)
61. Alley wanderers MUTTS
64. Certain Middle Easterner IRANI
65. Preflight purchase, literally REPAP BOOK (giving “paperback book”)
67. Pirouette, essentially PIVOT
68. Settled down ALIT
69. “Truth in Engineering” automaker AUDI
70. First place? EDEN
71. Bothersome parasites LICE
72. Block (up) STOP

Down
1. Steals, with “off” RIPS
2. Former “Fashion Emergency” host EMME
3. Surface fractures FAULT LINES
4. Blockhead SCHMO
5. Fire proof ASH
6. Courses taken consecutively? MEAL
7. Depressing atmosphere PALL
8. Energy STEAM
9. “Downton Abbey” title EARL
10. Draped garment TOGA
11. The first “A” in A.A. Milne ALAN
12. Piles TONS
15. Michael Jackson, e.g. POP ICON
17. Tip off WARN
21. One on the other side FOE
23. Half a philosophical duality YANG
25. “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” author Nicholas MEYER
26. Adler of Sherlock Holmes lore IRENE
28. Look down POUT
29. Snideness SNARK
31. Numerical prefix OCTA-
32. “Look at this!” CHECK IT OUT!
33. Battleground ARENA
34. Start over, in a way RESET
36. Sushi seaweed NORI
38. Layered snack OREO
41. Venue involving a lot of body contact MOSH PIT
42. “Right Now (Na Na Na)” artist AKON
47. Rogers Centre team, on scoreboards TOR
49. Majestic display POMP
52. Like some popular videos VIRAL
54. Big brass TUBAS
55. “Heavens to Betsy!” YIPE!
56. Crossword component GRID
57. Collapsed GAVE
58. Aware of IN ON
59. Where many subs are assembled DELI
60. Really, really cool EPIC
62. Stir TO-DO
63. Pass over SKIP
66. Downed ATE

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23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 30 Jan 15, Friday”

  1. It took me an awfully long to figure out the theme and therefore an awfully long time to finish the puzzle. Once I got the theme, the puzzle wasn't all that bad for a Friday. Piggyback.. and paperback.. fell right into place, but the first 3 themes answers stumped me for a good while.

    I might have a gripe with YIPE. That slowed me at the very end in that corner. YIPE??

    Have a good weekend all –

  2. Should have cheated on the theme first.
    Instead, Googled a dozen (too much pop culture for me), and then cheated on the theme. After that OK, but never heard of hove. But, we have them wide open spaces.

    A washout for me.

    And just yesterday, It was so easy.

  3. This annonymous also says stupid.
    Changing spellings always feels like cheating to me, and this was really over the top.

  4. The only reason I finished was because I "groked" (thanks to Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land for the word "grok" that has stuck in my mind all these years) the theme. I still had to do some serious wrestling with the upper right corner, but finally it yielded to my full Nelson and I pinned it! (g)

    Hope everyone one of my fellow solvers has a great Friday and I look forward to seeing you and your comments back here tomorrow when the Saturday puzzle tries to beat us up.

  5. Nooooooo.
    Literally?
    What a slog and for what?
    I'm really annoyed when I put this much time into a puzzle only to find out that the damn answers are literally spelled backwards.
    Really, who gives a @#!&# ?

  6. While I appreciate the thought that must go into a theme like today's, it seems like effort in a poor direction. Being SNARKY is being clever, but it is also entertains much more. This theme does not entertain, amuse, enlighten or provoke me.

    And there's that &^%$&*() ALIT again. Stop the insanity! I also don't get why a runner's goal is a SEAT.

    Finally, 47D – TOR. The Maple Leafs are the most mediocre hockey team out there. Always either average or worse since 1967, the last year the won the Cup. And yet they are ironically the richest and most powerful team in the league, because they play in hockey-crazy Toronto, and they effectively block any team from moving into Ontario. They are the hockey equivalent of the Washington ________ [football].

    Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

  7. Didn't get SEAT either at first, Willie. Someone running for a seat in congress, for example. His goal is that seat

    Don't shoot the messenger

  8. BTW, we had a quinella of banned words in today's GRIDS: ALIT in the LA Times, and EPEE in the NY Times. Tsk tsk. 😉

    I'd love to see someone posting on Bill's NYT blog. I'm gettin' lonely over there.

  9. Re The movie Thor: I wouldn't normally be interested in movies based on comics either, but my kids convinced me to watch this one. I have to admit it's a pretty good film. The special effects alone make it worth watching IMHO. Just don't expect any deep drama. BTW I started watching the TV series Gotham based on Batman comics and now I'm hooked. Pretty schmaltzy but fun.

    Fun to see the Seven Percent Solution and Irene Adler in the same puzzle. I'm a big Sherlock Holmes fan. In the previous TV season of Elementary, Irene Adler appears as Sherlock's nemesis. The show protrays her and the infamous Moriarty as one in the same person. That was a bridge too far 🙂

  10. Not sure when you posted the news about Bernice Gordon, Bill, but I just saw it. Indeed rest in peace, Bernice. Even at 101 she was making very challenging puzzles.

    She will be missed here on this board, no doubt. Sad.

  11. @Willie D
    Thanks for mentioning the NYTCrossword.com blog. I actually started that blog before this one, by a few years. Thanks for leaving comments over there, Willie. You're a sad man like me, doing two crosswords a day 🙂

    @Piano Man
    Is there a WSJ crossword blog? I've been asked to write one a few times by readers, but there are only so many hours in the day 🙂

    @Jeff
    I posted the announcement about Bernice's passing about 10 a.m. Pacific time, then I heard. The more I read about that lady's life, the more respect I have for her. A sad day, indeed.

  12. @Bill – I'm the Wall St. Friday puzzle fan (although Piano Man may be one too for all I know). I've never checked to see if there's a blog for the WSJ puzzle or not. It's a large puzzle (I liken it to a Sunday puzzle) and tends to be fairly difficult and clever usually. I enjoy working it right after I finish the LA Times daily on Friday (assuming I finish the LA Times puzzle that is).

  13. The so-called theme isn't a theme ar all. Just someone's poor attempt at being clever. Too obscure. Takes all the fun out of the puzzle. Finally had to give up. Oh, well. (sigh)

  14. Hi folks — I didn't hate this puzzle, although I do agree that spelling words backwards is kinda like cheating. There's a topic I know well!
    So sad about Ms. Gordon. Would that we all could reach that age AND be so sharp.
    Til tomorrow!

  15. These cryptic-type themes are always controversial, I think. Personally, I fall down on the side of enjoying such themes, but that's largely because I grew up solving cryptic crosswords. Each and every clue involves a "trick". This theme reminds of one of my favorite cyrptic clues of all time, namely "AKNOGOELR", the answer to which is "LOOK BACK IN ANGER". I think if that turned up in the LA Times puzzle, there would me a mass revolt 🙂

  16. Look back in anger: brilliant! Took me a moment. How creative! Those types of crossword constructions I think are actually more diffucult to create so my hat is off to the constructors. Thanks so much for responding. 🙂

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