LA Times Crossword Answers 17 May 15, Sunday

Frequently Asked Question: Why isn’t the puzzle in my paper the same as the one shown on your blog?
If the puzzle in your paper doesn’t match the one that I solved, it is probably a Sunday crossword. On Sundays, the “LA Times” chooses to publish Merl Reagle’s excellent crossword, and not their own “LA Times” Crossword. The “LA Times” puzzle is still sent out in syndication, and is also published in the “LA Times” online. I’ve been asked to blog about Merl Reagle’s crossword, but frankly I don’t have the time. Sunday puzzles have lots of clues!

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mike Peluso
THEME: Elements of Style … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase that includes the name of a chemical element. That element’s name is replaced by the element symbol:

22A. Pirate once portrayed by Orson Welles LONG JOHN SILVER (Ag)
24A. Relative of the Marquis and Montclair MERCURY (Hg) MONTEREY
47A. Annoying with trivialities NICKEL (Ni) AND DIMING
67A. Electronics tool SOLDERING IRON (Fe)
90A. “Quit dilly-dallying!” GET THE LEAD (Pb) OUT
114A. Cartoonist known for his intricate contraptions RUBE GOLD(Au)BERG
118A. Music publishing nickname TIN (Sn) PAN ALLEY
35D. Kesselring comedy about the murderous Brewster sisters ARSENIC (As) AND OLD LACE
40D. Dickens classic DAVID COPPER(Cu)FIELD

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 22m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Light wood BALSA
Balsa is a very fast-growing tree that is native to parts of South America. Even though balsa wood is very soft, it is actually classified as a hardwood, the softest of all the hardwoods (go figure!). Balsa is light and strong, so is commonly used in making model airplanes. Amazingly, in WWII a full-size British plane, the de Havilland Mosquito, was built largely from balsa and plywood. No wonder they called it “The Wooden Wonder” and “The Timber Terror”.

14. “High Voltage” band AC/DC
“High Voltage” is 1975 studio album released by AC/DC, the band’s first.

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

19. “O mio babbino __”: Puccini aria CARO
“O mio babbino caro” is a really beautiful aria from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Gianni Schicchi”.

22. Pirate once portrayed by Orson Welles LONG JOHN SILVER (Ag)
Long John Silver is a character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”, a pirate with a peg leg.

1972’s big-screen adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island” stars the magnificent Orson Welles as Long John Silver. Welles also wrote the film’s original screenplay, although it was rewritten to such an extent that he asked to be credited as “O.W. Jeeves”. Welles ended up distancing himself from the whole production. When the time came to dub in his voice over the action, Welles did the whole thing in one night, while downing white wine. I haven’t seen this film, but apparently the influence of the wine is pretty obvious.

24. Relative of the Marquis and Montclair MERCURY (Hg) MONTEREY
The Mercury Monterey is a full-size car that Ford manufactured from 1952 until 1974. There was also a Mercury Monterey minivan produced for three years starting in 2004.

26. Genesis twin ESAU
Esau, was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described, “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

29. Old Burma neighbor SIAM
Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and again from 1945 to 1949).

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is the official name of the Asian country that some nations still recognize as the Union of Burma.

32. Defense secretary under Nixon LAIRD
Melvin Laird was a US congressman from Wisconsin who was appointed as Secretary of Defense in the Nixon administration, a post he held from 1969 until 1973. One of Laird’s stated goals in moving to the Department of Defense was to end subscription. He achieved that goal in early 1973 after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords that ended US military involvement in Vietnam.

41. Autobahn rollers OPELS
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

43. Some MIT grads EES
Many graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are electrical engineers (EEs).

46. Co-star of Janeane in “The Truth About Cats & Dogs” UMA
Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

Janeane Garofalo is a stand-up comedian, actress and political activist. On the big screen, she appears in two of my favorite (light) movies: “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” (1996) and “The Matchmaker” (1997). I must admit, I have quite a crush on Ms. Garofalo …

51. __ ordo seclorum: Great Seal words NOVUS
The Latin phrase “novus ordo seclorum” means “new order of the ages”. These words appear on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, a device used to authenticate some US federal documents. “Novus ordo seclorum” also appears on the back of one-dollar bills. The phrase itself is lifted from one of the works of the ancient Roman poet Virgil.

56. Sask. neighbor NWT
Given its vast size and relatively low population, the Northwest Territories (NWT) has the highest per capita gross domestic product of any province or territory in Canada. The NWT’s economy is driven by exploitation of its geological resources, which include gold, diamonds, natural gas and oil.

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan takes its name from the Saskatchewan River. The river in turn takes its name from the Cree name, which translates as “swift flowing river”. The capital of Saskatchewan is Regina, although the biggest city in the province is Saskatoon.

59. Composer Saint-Saëns CAMILLE
Camille Saint-Saens was one of the great French composers in my opinion. Saint-Saëns composed during the Romantic Era, and it was he who introduced the symphonic poem to France. Even his light and airy “The Carnival of the Animals” is a lovely work.

63. The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, for one CUBAN
Yasiel Puig is a professional baseball player from Cuba who now plays in the US. Puig defected from Cuba to Mexico in 2011 as part of his quest to play Major League Baseball, and was rewarded with a contract with the LA Dodgers in 2012.

66. It may be applied: Abbr. SCI
Applied science is a discipline focused on applying to existing scientific knowledge to real world practice.

67. Electronics tool SOLDERING IRON (Fe)
Solder is a metal alloy that is used to join pieces of a work together using the principle that the melting point of the alloy is below the melting point of the workpieces.

71. Honorary legal deg. LLD
The honorary degree of Legum Doctor (LL.D.) translates from the Latin as Doctor of Laws, a plural. This practice of using the plural originated in Cambridge University in England, as one was awarded an LL.D. after having been taught both Canon Law and Civil Law.

72. Sites for sweaters? SAUNAS
As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is correctly pronounced “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

74. Say “ma’am,” say ELIDE
“To elide” is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.

75. Syrian president ASSAD
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.

77. E.T. from Melmac ALF
“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. ALF is a hand-puppet, supposedly an alien from the planet Melmac that crash-landed in a suburban neighborhood. “ALF” stands for “alien life form”.

80. Grainy course RICE PILAF
“Pilaf” is a Persian word, and we use it to describe rice that is browned in oil and then cooked in a seasoned broth.

84. Him, in Le Havre LUI
Le Havre is a city on the mouth of the river Seine on the northwest coast of France. The city’s name translates as “the haven”.

87. Gulf State native OMANI
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is the largest sultanate in the world.

88. Skipped Denny’s, say ATE IN
Denny’s was the first restaurant I ate at on my initial visit to the US over 30 years ago. I thought I was in heaven. I’ve changed my opinion a little since then! Denny’s is famous for being “always open” (almost), something that blew my mind as a visitor from Ireland back in 1980. Denny’s was founded in 1953 in Lakewood, California, and originally went by the name “Denny’s Donuts”.

94. CCV doubled CDX
In Roman numerals, 205 (CCV) doubled is 410 (CDX).

95. Target of a military press DELT
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.

96. Bigeye tuna AHI
Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

97. 10-Down creation WIMPY
(10D. “Thimble Theatre” creator SEGAR)
In comic strip “Popeye”, there’s a lovable character called J. Wellington Wimpy, usually shorted to “Wimpy”. Wimpy appeared an awful lot in the comic strip that ran in the newspapers, but he was relegated to the minors when “Popeye” was adapted for television.

98. Friend of 97-Across POPEYE
Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up Olive Oyl was the main character.

102. Civil rights org. NAACP
The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the old offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University.

105. Coastal raptor ERNE
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle or sea-eagle.

110. 1987 “Crying” duettist with Orbison LANG
k.d. lang is the stage name of Kathryn Dawn Lang, a Canadian singer and songwriter. Beyond her performing career, she is a noted activist focused on animal rights, gay rights, and human rights in Tibet.

Roy Orbison had to be one the sickliest looking performers I’ve ever seen. Orbison had a very sallow complexion, pock-marked from teenage acne. The yellowish skin tone came from a severe bout of jaundice as a child. Perhaps poor nutrition affected him and his siblings, because all of them had very poor eyesight, with Roy almost blind and wearing very thick lenses from a very young age. He was also very ashamed of his head of hair, which was almost a ghostly white, and so he dyed it jet black even when he was young. Despite all this, he was immensely popular in his heyday with teenage girls, particularly in Canada and Ireland for some reason. On a tour of Ireland in 1963, the Irish police had to stop one of his performances in order to pull a bevy of local lasses off poor Mr. Orbison …

“Crying” is a lovely ballad that was co-written and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1961. Orbison re-recorded the song as a duet with k.d. lang in 1987 for the soundtrack of the movie “Hiding Out”, so that “Crying” hit the charts again over 25 years after its initial release. An excellent 1981 cover version recorded by Don McLean made it to number in the UK charts.

114. Cartoonist known for his intricate contraptions RUBE GOLD(Au)BERG
Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, engineer and inventor who became famous for designing overly-complicated gadgets to perform the simplest of tasks. Goldberg produced a famous series of cartoons depicting such designs. Such was the success of his work, the Merriam-Webster dictionary accepted the phrase “Rube Goldberg” as an adjective in 1931, an adjective meaning “accomplishing something simple through complicated means”.

118. Music publishing nickname TIN (Sn) PAN ALLEY
Tin Pan Alley was originally a specific location, West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. The area was associated with the music publishing business from about 1885 to the start of the Great Depression The name itself is possibly a reference to the tinny sound of cheap pianos that were common at the time.

121. Morning staple for some LATTE
The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

124. Thriller set in the seaside town of Amity JAWS
“Jaws” is a thrilling 1975 movie directed by Steven Spielberg that is based on a novel of the same name by Peter Benchley. The film has a powerful cast, led by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw. “Jaws” was perhaps the first “summer blockbuster” with the highest box office take in history, a record that stood until “Star Wars” was released two years later.

125. Hair net SNOOD
A “snood” is a net or a bag worn over the hair. “Snood” comes from the Old English word “snod” meaning a ribbon for the hair.

126. One of two Mad rivals SPY
“Spy vs. Spy” is a comic strip that has run in “Mad” magazine continuously since 1961. It was drawn by Antonio Prohias, a refugee from Cuba, until his retirement. The early storyline was very fitting for the times, a statement about the futility of the arms race, detente and the Cold War.

127. VP before Nelson SPIRO
Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice-President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.

Nelson Rockefeller was Governor of New York from 1959 to 1973, and US Vice President from 1974 to 1977 serving under President Gerald Ford. Nelson was the grandson of the oil magnate, John D. Rockefeller.

Down
2. Yucatán years ANOS
The Yucatán is one of Mexico’s 31 states, and is located in the east of the country, on the northern tip of the Yucatán peninsula.

3. Singer Horne LENA
Lena Horne was an American jazz singer, actress, dancer and civil rights activist. Horne started out her career as a nightclub singer and then began to get some meaty acting roles in Hollywood. However, she ended up on the blacklist during the McCarthy Era for expressing left wing political views. One of Horne’s starring roles was in the 1943 movie “Stormy Weather” for which she also performed the title song.

4. Naturally followed SEGUED
A “segue” is a transition from one topic to the next. “Segue” is an Italian word that literally means “now follows”. It was first used in musical scores directing the performer to play into the next movement without a break. The oft-used term “segway” is given the same meaning, although the word “segway” doesn’t really exist. It is a misspelling of “segue” that has been popularized by its use as the name of the personal transporter known as a Segway.

5. Sm., med. or lge. ADJ
Small (sm.), medium (med.) and large (lge.); each is an adjective (adj.)

7. “Dies __” IRAE
“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

8. Iditarod conveyances DOGSLEDS
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers a massive 1,161 miles, from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. The fastest finishing time was set in 2002 at just under 9 days. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!

9. State of disbelief? ATHEISM
The term “atheism”, meaning “disbelief in the existence of a god or gods”, comes from the Greek “atheos” meaning “without god”.

10. “Thimble Theatre” creator SEGAR
Elzie Segar was a cartoonist who went by the name E. C. Segar. Segar was the man who created the strip “Thimble Theater”, home of the character Popeye.

12. “Aeneid,” for one EPOS
“Epos” is the Greek word for a story or a poem. We have absorbed it into English as “epic”, a long narrative poetic work describing heroic deeds and ventures.

“The Aeneid” is Virgil’s epic poem that tells of the journey of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy to become the ancestor of all Romans. “The Aeneid” begins with the words “Arma virumque cano …”, which translates as “I sing of arms and of a man …”

13. Thunder predecessors SONICS
The Seattle SuperSonics were the professional basketball team based in Seattle from 1967 to 2008, at which time the franchise moved to Oklahoma City (and became the Oklahoma City Thunder).

19. Detective fond of aphorisms CHAN
Charlie Chan is the main character in a series of novels by Earl Derr Biggers. Chan is a Chinese-American detective working with the Honolulu police department. There have been almost 50 movies made featuring the Charlie Chan character.

An aphorism is a short and pithy statement that embodies a general truth or insightful observation. Some great examples are:

– Life is a journey, not a destination (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
– The average person thinks he isn’t (Larry Lorenzoni)
– To err is human, to forgive divine (Alexander Pope)
– Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one (Albert Einstein)
– Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton)

23. Funny Cheri OTERI
Cheri Oteri was the SNL cast member who regularly appeared with Will Farrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.

25. Salt TAR
A Jack Tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.

28. Anklebones TALI
The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the foot are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called the ankle bone. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

35. Kesselring comedy about the murderous Brewster sisters ARSENIC (As) AND OLD LACE
I suppose that most famously “Arsenic and Old Lace” is a Frank Capra film, released in 1944. The movie was based on a 1939 stage play by Joseph Kesselring. The film stars Cary Grant as a completely madcap and frantic Mortimer Brewster. Grant was only the fourth choice for the role, after Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan. That’s quite an eclectic mix of actors …

37. Six-line sonnet section SESTET
A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century. The Shakespearean sonnet, for example, is composed of three quatrains (4 lines) and a final couplet (2 lines).

38. Brooks’ singing partner DUNN
Brooks & Dunn was a country music duo made up of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn.

39. “Typee” sequel OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).

40. Dickens classic DAVID COPPER(Cu)FIELD
“David Copperfield” is the eighth novel penned by English author Charles Dickens, first published in serial form from 1848 to 1849. The novel is seen as a somewhat autobiographical work, with many characters and events mirrored in Dickens’ own life.

42. Apples, sometimes PDAS
Personal digital assistant (PDA)

44. Alike, to Pascal EGAL
“Égal” is the French word for “equal, alike”, and a word we sometimes use in English. The national motto of France is “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, meaning “Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood).

Blaise Pascal was an important French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, who lived in the mid-1600s. In math, his name was given to Pascal’s triangle, a triangle of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers above it. Pascal also wrote on the subject of theology. His most important theological writings were published after his death under the title “Pensées”, meaning “Thoughts”.

48. 1999-2004 Olds ALERO
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.

49. “What __?”: Twain dialogue IS MAN
“What Is Man?” is a 1906 essay written by Mark Twain. It takes the form of a conversation between a Young Man and Old Man, as they discuss the nature of man. The title comes from Psalm 8:4

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

50. Sporty Jags XKES
XK and XKE are models of Jaguar motor car.

Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” at that time.

52. Bolt of Jamaica USAIN
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

55. Idle colleague CLEESE
The magnificent actor and comedian John Cleese came to the public’s attention as a cast member in the BBC’s comedy sketch show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Cleese then co-wrote and starred in the outstanding comedy “Fawlty Towers”. He even had a role in two “James Bond” films.

Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.

59. Like cottage cheese CURDY
Cottage cheese got its name because it was a simple cheese that was made by simple folk living in cottages, using any milk left over from butter production.

60. Rose’s title partner ABIE
“Abie’s Irish Rose” was originally a Broadway comedy play by Anne Nichols that opened in 1922 and ran for over five years, which back then was the longest run for any show in New York. The show then went on tour, and stayed on tour for an amazing 40 years. The play tells of a young Jewish man called Abie Levy who marries an Irish Catholic girl called Rosemary Murphy. Abie lies to his family and pretends that his “Irish Rose” is Jewish.

63. Provide with a roof CEIL
“To ceil” is to provide with a ceiling. What a lovely word!

69. Hardly paparazzi quarry D-LIST
Paparazzi are photojournalists who specialize in taking candid shots of celebrities. The name comes from the famous Fellini movie, “La Dolce Vita”. One of the characters in the film is a news photographer called Paparazzo.

70. De __: actual FACTO
Conceptually, “de jure” and “de facto” are related terms, one meaning “concerning, according to law”, and the other meaning “concerning, according to fact”. There is an example of the use of the two terms together from my homeland of Ireland. According to our constitution, Irish is the first language of the country, and yet almost everyone in the country uses English as his or her first language. One might say that Irish is the de jure first language, but English is the first language de facto.

72. Brand named for an old Indian tea garden SALADA
Salada Tea was founded in 1892 to provide tea packaged in foil to the consumer, as opposed to smaller wooden tea chests. This kept the tea fresher and more consistent in flavor.

80. Kentucky’s __ Arena RUPP
The Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky is home to the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team. The arena is is named for former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, and is the country’s largest sports indoor area with a capacity of 24,000 people.

81. “One __ land, …” IF BY
“One if by land, and two if by sea” is the famous signal code used by Paul Revere to warn the people of Charlestown when the British army was approaching. The words “one if by land, and two if by sea”, are immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride”.

82. Barney’s boss ANDY
Barney Fife is a deputy sheriff in the sleepy old town of Mayberry, the setting for “The Andy Griffith Show”. Barney was played by comic actor Don Knotts.

83. Idée __ FIXE
An “idée fixe” (a French term) is basically a fixed idea, an obsession.

91. Performed like Buck Owens TWANGED
Buck Owens was a very successful country star, along with his backing band, the Buckaroos. Owens had 21 number one hits in the country music charts, but never had a record that successfully crossed over to the popular charts. From 1968 to 1986, Owens was the co-host of the TV show “Hee Haw”.

92. Minute Maid drinks HI-CS
Hi-C orange drink was created in 1946, and introduced to the market in 1948, initially in the south of the country. The name Hi-C was chosen to emphasize the high vitamin C content in the drink, as it contained added ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

In the mid-forties a process was developed to concentrate orange juice into a powder, the intent being to make it available to the armed forces. When WWII came to an end the government’s need for the product went away, so Florida Foods Corporation was set up to market orange juice concentrate (rather than powder) to the public. This new concentrate was given the name “Minute Maid” implying that juice could be prepared quickly by simple dilution.

93. Ivy League sch. UPENN
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) was founded in 1740 by by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses.

101. Vivaldi’s hour ORA
Antonio Vivaldi was one of the great composers of the Baroque period. Vivaldi achieved fame and success within in his own lifetime, notoriety that faded soon after he died. His music has reemerged in recent decades and most people are familiar with at least part of his most famous composition, the violin concerto called “The Four Seasons”. Vivaldi was nicknamed “The Red Priest” because he was indeed a priest, and he had red hair.

106. ’60s Israeli deputy prime minister EBAN
Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban in Cape Town, South Africa. While working at the United Nations after WWII, Eban changed his given name to “Abba”, the Hebrew word for “father”. He made this change as reportedly as he could see himself as the father of the nation of Israel.

111. Some choristers ALTI
In choral music, an alto (plural “alti”) is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus made up of soprano, contr(alto), tenor and bass. The word “alto” describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing-voice, whereas the term “contralto” describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male’s voice (not a boy’s) with the same range as an alto is called a “countertenor”.

113. Lamb sandwich GYRO
A gyro is a traditional Greek dish, a sandwich made with pita bread containing meat, tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce). The meat for gyros is usually roasted on a tall vertical spit and is sliced from the spit as required. The name “gyro” comes from the modern Greek word “gyros” meaning “circle”, a reference to the meat turning as it is grilled in a rotating circular motion.

114. “The Big Bang Theory” astrophysicist RAJ
Raj Koothrappali is a character on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” who is played by British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. Nayyar is married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India.

115. Hagen of the stage UTA
Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

117. Eisenhower’s WWII purview ETO
General Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII.

119. Carrier units, briefly ACS
The modern form of air conditioning (AC) that is still used today was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. He co-founded the Carrier Engineering Corporation in New York in 1915. The Carrier Corporation eventually moved to Syracuse, New York in 1937. Beyond the world of air conditioning, the Carrier name has been associated with Syracuse University’s famous Carrier Dome since it opened in 1980, and which is the largest on-campus basketball stadium in the country.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Light wood BALSA
6. Purged RID
9. Tray contents ASHES
14. “High Voltage” band AC/DC
18. With 108-Down, tired comment I NEED …
19. “O mio babbino __”: Puccini aria CARO
20. Speed TEMPO
21. It’s sometimes held in a deli MAYO
22. Pirate once portrayed by Orson Welles LONG JOHN SILVER (Ag)
24. Relative of the Marquis and Montclair MERCURY (Hg) MONTEREY
26. Genesis twin ESAU
27. Enjoys an afternoon snack, across the pond TAKES TEA
29. Old Burma neighbor SIAM
30. Paradise EDEN
32. Defense secretary under Nixon LAIRD
34. Pond sounds CROAKS
38. Shake DODDER
41. Autobahn rollers OPELS
43. Some MIT grads EES
45. “Got it” I SEE
46. Co-star of Janeane in “The Truth About Cats & Dogs” UMA
47. Annoying with trivialities NICKEL (Ni) AND DIMING
50. Inside information? X-RAYS
51. __ ordo seclorum: Great Seal words NOVUS
53. Rural expanses LEAS
54. Smoke source STACK
56. Sask. neighbor NWT
57. Quiet NOISELESS
59. Composer Saint-Saëns CAMILLE
61. Forest female DOE
62. Rash type DARER
63. The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, for one CUBAN
64. Accompany ESCORT
66. It may be applied: Abbr. SCI
67. Electronics tool SOLDERING IRON (Fe)
71. Honorary legal deg. LLD
72. Sites for sweaters? SAUNAS
74. Say “ma’am,” say ELIDE
75. Syrian president ASSAD
77. E.T. from Melmac ALF
78. With an edge TESTILY
80. Grainy course RICE PILAF
84. Him, in Le Havre LUI
85. Shortens TRIMS
86. Grassy cluster TUFT
87. Gulf State native OMANI
88. Skipped Denny’s, say ATE IN
90. “Quit dilly-dallying!” GET THE LEAD (Pb) OUT
94. CCV doubled CDX
95. Target of a military press DELT
96. Bigeye tuna AHI
97. 10-Down creation WIMPY
98. Friend of 97-Across POPEYE
100. Attaches ADDS ON
102. Civil rights org. NAACP
104. File __ MENU
105. Coastal raptor ERNE
107. When some seafood is available IN SEASON
110. 1987 “Crying” duettist with Orbison LANG
114. Cartoonist known for his intricate contraptions RUBE GOLD(Au)BERG
118. Music publishing nickname TIN (Sn) PAN ALLEY
120. Tiny particle ATOM
121. Morning staple for some LATTE
122. Sharp-tasting TART
123. More fetching CUTER
124. Thriller set in the seaside town of Amity JAWS
125. Hair net SNOOD
126. One of two Mad rivals SPY
127. VP before Nelson SPIRO

Down
1. Acrimony BILE
2. Yucatán years ANOS
3. Singer Horne LENA
4. Naturally followed SEGUED
5. Sm., med. or lge. ADJ
6. Standing RANK
7. “Dies __” IRAE
8. Iditarod conveyances DOGSLEDS
9. State of disbelief? ATHEISM
10. “Thimble Theatre” creator SEGAR
11. “Let me see …” HMM …
12. “Aeneid,” for one EPOS
13. Thunder predecessors SONICS
14. Autobiographical subtitle A MEMOIR
15. Elevator feature CAR
16. Color DYE
17. Like one saying “Moi?” COY
19. Detective fond of aphorisms CHAN
23. Funny Cheri OTERI
25. Salt TAR
28. Anklebones TALI
31. Worse, as fog DENSER
33. Making an impression DENTING
35. Kesselring comedy about the murderous Brewster sisters ARSENIC (As) AND OLD LACE
36. Google entry KEYWORD
37. Six-line sonnet section SESTET
38. Brooks’ singing partner DUNN
39. “Typee” sequel OMOO
40. Dickens classic DAVID COPPER(Cu)FIELD
41. Most of a deceptive wad ONES
42. Apples, sometimes PDAS
44. Alike, to Pascal EGAL
48. 1999-2004 Olds ALERO
49. “What __?”: Twain dialogue IS MAN
50. Sporty Jags XKES
52. Bolt of Jamaica USAIN
55. Idle colleague CLEESE
58. Inferior LESSER
59. Like cottage cheese CURDY
60. Rose’s title partner ABIE
63. Provide with a roof CEIL
65. It may be filed CLAIM
66. Showed respect, in a way SALUTED
68. Rapper’s demand LET ME IN!
69. Hardly paparazzi quarry D-LIST
70. De __: actual FACTO
72. “Share the moment. Share the warmth” beverage brand SALADA
73. Envelope abbr. ATTN
76. Precise SPOT ON
79. [Alas!] SIGH
80. Kentucky’s __ Arena RUPP
81. “One __ land, …” IF BY
82. Barney’s boss ANDY
83. Idée __ FIXE
86. Storms TEMPESTS
89. Evidently IT SEEMS
91. Performed like Buck Owens TWANGED
92. Minute Maid drinks HI-CS
93. Ivy League sch. UPENN
96. Invalidates ANNULS
99. Come to a halt PULL UP
101. Vivaldi’s hour ORA
103. __-surface missile AIR-TO
104. Protective trench MOAT
106. ’60s Israeli deputy prime minister EBAN
108. See 18-Across … A NAP
109. Agile SPRY
111. Some choristers ALTI
112. Elided adverb NE’ER
113. Lamb sandwich GYRO
114. “The Big Bang Theory” astrophysicist RAJ
115. Hagen of the stage UTA
116. Hair accessory BOW
117. Eisenhower’s WWII purview ETO
119. Carrier units, briefly ACS

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4 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 17 May 15, Sunday”

  1. I liked the answers altered by swapping out their periodic table abbreviations, with the exceptions of Mercury Monterey and Rube Goldberg. The puzzle was not easy, and having such esoteric answers replaced by Hg and Au was a kick in the pants.

  2. Chris says … On a side-note , Elvis said he never wanted to go on stage after Roy Orbison , he knew he didn't have the chops . Roy Orbison had incredible pitch and range , and some amazing songs .

  3. That's a good point about Gerald Ford being VP between Rockefeller and Agnew. I wish I'd caught that. But technically, I suppose the clue is correct as Spiro Agnew was VP before Nelson Rockefeller, just not immediately before.

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