LA Times Crossword Answers 6 Apr 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski
THEME: Casting Call … each of our themed answers today starts with a type of CASTING:

56A. Process for selecting theatrical performers, and a hint to the first word of the answers to starred clues CASTING CALL

20A. *Manhattan site of Strawberry Fields CENTRAL PARK (giving “central casting”)
39A. *Prepare for printing TYPESET (giving “typecasting”)
11D. *Untrustworthy, as a business FLY-BY-NIGHT (giving “fly casting”)
29D. *Word processor error finder SPELL-CHECK (giving “spell casting”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Halloween costume part MASK
All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows Eve, better known by the Scottish term, “Halloween”.

5. 640 acres: Abbr. SQ MI
One square mile (sq. mi.)is the same as one mile square. However, ten square miles isn’t the same as ten miles square. Ten miles square is a square area with side of ten miles each, hence one hundred square miles (10 miles x 10 miles).

14. Death Valley’s is the lowest in North Amer. ELEV
Death Valley is a spectacular desert valley in California that is part of the Mojave Desert. Badwater Basin in Death Valley is lowest point in North America, sitting at 282 feet below sea level. Remarkably, Badwater Basin is located just 84 miles from Mount Whitney, which is the highest point in the lower 48 states.

15. Mammoth feature TUSK
A relatively well-preserved set of woolly mammoth remains were discovered in Siberia in 2012. The remains included some intact cells, and there is talk about the possibility of cloning the animal who died between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scary stuff …

16. 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.

17. “Dirty Jobs” host Mike ROWE
Mike Rowe is the host of the successful reality show called “Dirty Jobs” that is broadcast by “Discovery Channel”. Rowe is also a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company in a series of television commercials. He is quite the singer too, as he sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera for a while.

18. County Kerry’s isle EIRE
County Kerry is located in the southwest of Ireland. It is a popular tourist destination, largely because it is home to the town of Killarney, which is a jumping off point for the famous Ring of Kerry and the Lakes of Killarney. Kerry’s county town is Tralee, home to the world-famous Rose of Tralee festival.

20. *Manhattan site of Strawberry Fields CENTRAL PARK (giving “central casting”)
“Strawberry Fields” is a memorial in Central Park in New York City. The memorial is a triangular piece of land found directly across from the Dakota Apartments where Lennon lived and was murdered. At the center of the triangle of land is a circular pathway mosaic of stones with the word “Imagine” in the middle. Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, contributed over one million dollars to help pay for the memorial’s design and upkeep.

In the world of movies, central casting is the studio department that is responsible for hiring extras and actors needed for bit parts.

25. One from Nairobi KENYAN
Nairobi is the capital and largest city in the African nation of Kenya. The city is named for the Nairobi River, which in turn takes its name from the Maasai “Enkare Nairobi” meaning “Cool Water”. Nairobi was founded in 1899 as a stop on the Kenya-Uganda railroad, at a time when the country was a British colony.

33. Pumps or clogs SHOES
A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

Clogs are shoes that made either completely or partly from wood. The name comes from the 14th-century word “clogge” meaning “lump of wood”.

35. Thin piece of change DIME
The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

50. Michelangelo masterpieces PIETAS
The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous Pietà is probably the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo which is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In some depictions of Mary with Jesus in her arms, mother and son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament. These depictions are known as “Lamentations”.

52. Tallied, with “up” RACKED
Back in the mid-1600s, a “tally” was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or paid. The term came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”.

54. Group after boomers GEN-X
The term Generation X originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

A baby boomer is someone who was born in the post-WWII baby boom. The rate of births had been falling fairly steadily in the US at least since 1900, but this trend was sharply reversed in 1946 after WWII. The higher birth rate continued until 1964, when it returned to pre-war levels. Since then the birth rate has continued to decline, although at a slower pace. The period between 1946 and 1964 is defined as the “baby boom”.

64. Place for koi POND
Koi are also called Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

66. Italian ball game BOCCE
The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (anglicized as “bocci”) is based on a game played in Ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

67. Woodworking tool ADZE
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe’s blade is set in line with the shaft.

70. Frog’s kiddie-lit friend TOAD
Frog and Toad are the principal characters in a series of illustrated books by Arnold Lobel that are written for young children who are learning to read. The books were adapted into a 2003 Broadway musical called “A Year with Frog and Toad”.

Down
1. Bygone Ford division, for short MERC
The Mercury brand of car was made by Ford from 1938 until 2011. Mercury was introduced by Henry Ford’s son Edsel Ford. Mercury vehicles were positioned as being more luxurious that the regular Ford models, and more economical than Ford’s high-end Lincoln models.

4. Complain KVETCH
The word “kvetch” comes to us from Yiddish, with “kvetshn” meaning “to complain” or “squeeze”.

7. Car sticker abbr. MSRP
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

8. Swedish furniture chain IKEA
The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.

12. Course that’s good for one’s GPA EASY A
Grade point average (GPA)

22. MGM rival RKO
The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO acronym then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

26. Homer’s nice neighbor NED
Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

28. High-speed highway PIKE
Back in the 15th century a “turnpike” was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travellers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike (sometimes “pike”) was the name given to a road with a toll.

34. Oil gp. with 12 member nations OPEC
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrench control of oil prices from the oil companies and to put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.

49. Aquafresh tube letters ADA
American Dental Association (ADA)

Aquafresh is a toothpaste that was introduced in 1973. The original product delivered two “stripes” from the tube: a white paste for cavity protection and an aqua gel for fresh breath. This “double protection” formula was augmented in 1983 to “triple protection” with the addition of a red gel for healthy gums.

52. Talmud expert RABBI
The Talmud is a collection of writings by thousands of rabbis and is a central text in Rabbinic Judaism, second only to the Torah.

53. Brother of Moses AARON
In the Bible and the Qur’an, Aaron was the older brother of Moses and was a prophet. Aaron became the first High Priest of the Israelites.

54. Tokyo shopping district GINZA
Ginza is a district in Tokyo that is noted for its western shops, especially the leading fashion stores.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Halloween costume part MASK
5. 640 acres: Abbr. SQ MI
9. Longtime employee LIFER
14. Death Valley’s is the lowest in North Amer. ELEV
15. Mammoth feature TUSK
16. China’s Zhou __ ENLAI
17. “Dirty Jobs” host Mike ROWE
18. County Kerry’s isle EIRE
19. Deep chasm ABYSS
20. *Manhattan site of Strawberry Fields CENTRAL PARK (giving “central casting”)
23. “So long” BYE
24. Young horse COLT
25. One from Nairobi KENYAN
27. Ultimate conclusion UPSHOT
30. Made of oak, e.g. WOODEN
32. Small swallow SIP
33. Pumps or clogs SHOES
35. Thin piece of change DIME
38. __ out a living EKE
39. *Prepare for printing TYPESET (giving “typecasting”)
42. Guy’s partner GAL
43. Bank (on) RELY
45. Glue in a hobbyist’s kit EPOXY
46. “Let me think … ” HMM …
47. Utter madness LUNACY
50. Michelangelo masterpieces PIETAS
52. Tallied, with “up” RACKED
54. Group after boomers GEN-X
55. “How relaxing!” AAH!
56. Process for selecting theatrical performers, and a hint to the first word of the answers to starred clues CASTING CALL
62. Bit of luck BREAK
64. Place for koi POND
65. Prefix with distant EQUI-
66. Italian ball game BOCCE
67. Woodworking tool ADZE
68. Put on a pouty face SULK
69. Filled (in), as a comic strip INKED
70. Frog’s kiddie-lit friend TOAD
71. Yard event SALE

Down
1. Bygone Ford division, for short MERC
2. Sunburn soother ALOE
3. Stitched up SEWN
4. Complain KVETCH
5. Furtive STEALTHY
6. Comforter to get comfy in QUILT
7. Car sticker abbr. MSRP
8. Swedish furniture chain IKEA
9. Didn’t hold water LEAKED
10. Having five sharps, musically IN B
11. *Untrustworthy, as a business FLY-BY-NIGHT (giving “fly casting”)
12. Course that’s good for one’s GPA EASY A
13. Ascended RISEN
21. Barnyard perch ROOST
22. MGM rival RKO
26. Homer’s nice neighbor NED
27. Password creator USER
28. High-speed highway PIKE
29. *Word processor error finder SPELL-CHECK (giving “spell casting”)
30. Teary-eyed WEEPY
31. Bone, in Italian OSSO
34. Oil gp. with 12 member nations OPEC
36. Papa’s partner MAMA
37. Stately shade trees ELMS
40. Paid out EXPENDED
41. Making, as a knot TYING
44. Big laugh YUK
48. Did some smooching NECKED
49. Aquafresh tube letters ADA
51. Overabundance EXCESS
52. Talmud expert RABBI
53. Brother of Moses AARON
54. Tokyo shopping district GINZA
57. Petty quarrel SPAT
58. Chore list heading TO-DO
59. Greenish-blue AQUA
60. Temporary calm LULL
61. Similar to LIKE
63. Unreturnable serve ACE

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8 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 6 Apr 15, Monday”

  1. Somewhat difficult for a Mon. It took a while for the late MERC to bubble up in my brain, as well as GINZA.

    MSRP had to be right, but I couldn't figure what it meant.

    However, it's good to have a little challenge.

  2. It's funny how Monday puzzles generally seem to be more difficult than Tuesday puzzles. As to (not so) wonderful world of acronyms, abbreviations and Internet slang who can keep up? I realized the other day that I put up a comment on Bill's site which was "IIRC" and just now realized I probably puzzled (ha) some folks here. That means "if I recall correctly" for those who might have wondered but didn't want to take the time to look it up on line.

    See everyone back here tomorrow I hope.

  3. Tough for Monday, but I did it in my normal time. Maybe I just thought harder?

    Tony, embarrassingly I did know what that meant when I saw IIRC…

    Kvetch? I think I've heard the term on tv but never in real life.

    I'm so clueless that I didn't even know Mecury was no longer. That's the car company and not the planet they're referring to, correct?

    Best

  4. If too far forgotten, MERC could also refer to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Sadly the MERC will close their open outcry pits this Summer. The end of a 150-year tradition–think of the penultimate scene in Trading Places.

  5. I'm not too wild about Spell Casting. The rest of the theme works but that is weak. Casting Spells yes. Spell Casting not so much.

  6. The puzzle was challenging but not that hard. IMHO. Lots of Q's helped. My time was just over twice as much as the Guru Bill …. or would that be the 'Bill of Gurus' …. like the Bill of Rights ?

    Willie D – whadya mean the MERC is going to 'close their open outcry pits this summer ' ? From now on, will the traders just stab each other in the back ?? …. or poke each other with the elbow ?

    Have a nice night guys and gals.

  7. @Willie — I noticed a lotta Ks today too! Early on I thought it might be connected to whatever theme.
    I agree @Jeff, it often seems like Mondays are a bit tougher than Tuesdays.
    See you crazy cats mañana!

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