LA Times Crossword Answers 21 May 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter A. Collins
THEME: Ante Up … each of themed answers today is written in the down-direction. And, each of themed answer includes the hidden word ANTE, written in the UP-direction:

69A. Poker request, and a literal hint to what’s hidden in the answers to the starred clues ANTE UP

3D. *Cold War fleet SOVIET NAVY
10D. *Honey and Boo Boo, e.g. PET NAMES
27D. *Wings eaters’ aids WET-NAPS
31D. *Austroasiatic language VIETNAMESE
39D. *Prepare for a bath GET NAKED

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. GM car buyer’s option ONSTAR
The OnStar system was developed as a joint venture between GM, EDS and Hughes. The product itself was launched in 1996. Today, OnStar is only available on GM cars, although it used to be offered on other makes of car through a licensing agreement. OnStar is a subscription service that packages vehicle security, telephone, satellite navigation and remote diagnostics.

7. Make more powerful, with “up” SOUP
“To soup up” an engine is to increase its horsepower. The verb probably derives from the older slang term “soup”, which was a narcotic illegally injected into racehorses to make them run faster.

11. White lie FIB
To “fib” is to “to tell a lie”. The term likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, itself derived from “fable”.

14. Illinois River city PEORIA
Peoria is the oldest European settlement in the state of Illinois, having been settled by the French in 1680. The city is famous for oft being cited as “the average American city”.

15. “Gift From the Sea” author __ Morrow Lindbergh ANNE
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was best known as an author, although she was also an aviator like her husband Charles Lindbergh. Anne was the first American woman to earn a first-class glider pilot’s license.

18. Not quite closed behind you LEFT AJAR
Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

20. Foreman foe ALI
George Foreman is a former World Heavyweight Champion boxer and Olympic gold medalist. Famously, Foreman lost his title to Muhammad Ali in the 1974 title fight that was billed as “the Rumble in the Jungle”. Foreman is also known for promoting the George Foreman Grill, and for naming all five of his sons “George”.

21. She played TV’s Maude BEA
Actress Bea Arthur’s most famous roles were on television, as the lead in the “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude” and as Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls”. Arthur also won a Tony for playing Vera Charles on stage in the original cast of “Mame” in 1966, two years after she played Yente the matchmaker in the original cast of “Fiddler on the Roof”.

24. Serengeti scavenger HYENA
Hyenas have the reputation of being cowardly scavengers. That said, the spotted hyena that lives in Sub-Saharan Africa actually kills about 95% of its food and a pack of spotted hyenas are capable of driving off leopards or lionesses before they can consume their kill.

The Serengeti is a region in Africa, located in northern Tanzania and southwest Kenya. The name “Serengeti” comes from the Maasai language and means “Endless Plains”.

28. Turn to the right, say? TIGHTEN
Most threaded devices tighten when turned to the right. Righty tighty lefty loosy …

30. Chess activity MOVES
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

– Infantry (now “pawns”)
– Cavalry (now “knights”)
– Elephants (now “bishops”)
– Chariots (now “rooks”)

34. Tailless cat MANX
I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

38. George’s lyrical brother IRA
Ira Gershwin was a lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, working with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

42. Protective embankments LEVEES
A levee is an artificial bank usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. A levee is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

45. Work meas. FT LB
The foot-pound is an imperial unit of work or energy. One foot-pound is the amount of work in applying a one pound-force over a distance of one foot.

47. East Lansing athlete SPARTAN
Michigan State University (MSU) is located in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU has the largest study-abroad program of any single-campus university in the US. Programs are offered on all continents of the world, including Antarctica. MSU’s athletic teams are called the Spartans.

49. Banded rock GNEISS
Gneiss is a metamorphic rock containing bands of different colors and compositions. The rock’s name is German in origin and probably comes from the Middle High German word “gneist” meaning “spark”. The “spark” is a reference to the rock’s tendency to glitter in the light.

54. Pub pick PALE ALE
Pale ale is a beer made using mainly pale malt, which results in a relatively light color for a malted beer.

57. Jan. honoree MLK
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states resisted naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like “Civil Rights Day”), but it was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.

60. Dancing style that went viral on YouTube in 2013 TWERKING
Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

62. Mocha resident YEMENI
Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave it’s name to the mocha brown color.

65. Poet __ St. Vincent Millay EDNA
Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

67. Crown installer: Abbr. DDS
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

Down
1. Angel Network charity founder OPRAH
Oprah’s Angel Network was a charity founded by Oprah Winfrey in 1998 that raised most of its funds through her television show. The charity was shut down in 2011, at the same time as the Chicago-based show ended its 25-year run. Over its life, Oprah’s Angel Network raised over $80 million from nearly 150,000 individual donors.

2. Hockey Hall of Famer Cam NEELY
Cam Neely is a retired professional hockey player from Comox, British Columbia. Having played for the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins, Neely is now the president of the Bruins.

4. Square root of nove TRE
In Italian, three (tre) is the square root of nine (nove).

10. *Honey and Boo Boo, e.g. PET NAMES
“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is a reality show about a child beauty pageant contest called Honey Boo Boo Thompson, and her family. “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is actually a spinoff show of another reality show called “Toddlers & Tiaras” that follows the families of a whole host of child beauty pageant contestants. Honey Boo Boo’s mother peps up her daughter before appearing in a pageant by giving her “Go Go Juice”, a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew.

11. McIntosh alternative FUJI
The Fuji apple is a cross between two American varieties of apple that was developed in Japan, a cross is between Red Delicious and old Virginia Ralls Genet. The apple takes its name from Fujisaki, the town where the cross was developed.

Every McIntosh apple grown today can trace its roots back (pun!) to a tree on a farm near Morrisburg in Ontario, Canada. John McIntosh owned the tree, and he started to cultivate seedlings in 1796.

13. Baffin Bay sight BERG
Baffin Bay is that part of the North Atlantic Ocean located between Baffin Island in Canada and the island of Greenland. Both the bay and island are named for English navigator William Baffin. Baffin Bay is largely covered with ice and icebergs for most of the year and so is usually unnavigable.

19. Matthew Fox or Peter Coyote ACTOR
Matthew Fox is an American actor best known for playing surgeon Jack Shephard on the TV show “Lost”, and Charlie Salinger in the show “Party of Five”.

Peter Coyote is an American actor who was born Peter Cohon in New York City. Before taking up acting, Cohon changed his name to Coyote. He had been hallucinating while under the influence of peyote and saw his own footprints as coyote paw prints.

22. Latin stars ASTRA
“Astra” is the Latin word for “stars”.

25. Put the kibosh on NIX
The use of “nix” as a verb, meaning “to shoot down”, dates back to the early 1900s. Before that “nix” was just a noun meaning “nothing”. “Nix” comes from the German “nichts”, which also means “nothing”.

“Kibosh” is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.

27. *Wings eaters’ aids WET-NAPS
There are a few stories about how Buffalo wings were first developed, most of them related to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. If you’re looking for Buffalo wings on a menu in Buffalo, you’ll note that in and around the city they’re just referred to as “wings”.

29. Dutch portraitist Frans HALS
Frans Hals was a painter from the Dutch Golden Age born in Antwerp but who lived and worked in Haarlem. Hals is best known for his portraits, the most famous of which is probably “The Laughing Cavalier”.

32. Countess’ husband EARL
In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquess. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquess and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.

34. Wire units MILS
The thickness unit known as a “mil” here in the US is usually referred to as a “thou” on the other side of the Atlantic. A “mil” is actually one thousandth of an inch. I vote for “thou” …

43. Peak in an Eastwood film EIGER
“The Eiger Sanction” is a very entertaining action film that was released in 1975, which stars and was directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie is all about assassins and mountain climbers, and is based on a 1972 novel of the same name by Trevanian (a pen name of author Rodney William Whitaker).

The Eiger is a mountain in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. It is a noted peak for mountain climbing, with its treacherous north face being the most famous approach to the summit. Over sixty climbers have died since 1935 on that north face.

45. Scale fourths FAS
The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

47. Earth pigment SIENNA
The shade of “sienna” (two letters N) was originally a pigment made from earth found around Siena (one letter N) in Tuscany.

50. Say “prob’ly,” say ELIDE
“To elide” is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.

52. African language group BANTU
There are hundreds of Bantu languages, mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

54. VA concern PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was formed in 1930 to manage pre-existing government affecting war veterans, some of which had existed since the days of the Continental Congress.

55. Gobsmacked AWED
“Gobsmack” is slang from the British Isles. “Gob” is also slang, for a mouth. So someone who is gobsmacked has received “a smack in the mouth”, is stunned.

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

58. Harp constellation LYRA
Lyra is a constellation that includes the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The constellation Lyra is surrounded by the neighboring constellations of Draco, Hercules, Vulpecula and Cygnus. “Lyra” is Latin for “lyre”.

61. With 7-Down, Hayworth title role, with “My” GAL
(7D. See 61-Down SAL)
“My Gal Sal” is a 1942 musical biopic about Paul Dresser the composer and Sally Elliot the singer. The lead roles are played by Victor Mature and Rita Hayworth.

Rita Hayworth was born in Brooklyn as Margarita Carmen Cansino. Rita’s father was a flamenco dancer from Spain and so his daughter fell naturally into dancing. The family moved to Hollywood where Hayworth’s father set up a dance studio, and there worked with the likes of James Cagney and Jean Harlow. The young Hayworth had a slow start in movies, finding herself typecast because of her Mediterranean features. When she underwent extensive electrolysis to change her forehead and dyed her hair red, she started to get more work (how sad is that?). In 1941 she posed for that famous pin-up picture which accompanied GIs all over the world.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. GM car buyer’s option ONSTAR
7. Make more powerful, with “up” SOUP
11. White lie FIB
14. Illinois River city PEORIA
15. “Gift From the Sea” author __ Morrow Lindbergh ANNE
16. Milk USE
17. Go back REVERT
18. Not quite closed behind you LEFT AJAR
20. Foreman foe ALI
21. She played TV’s Maude BEA
23. Food processor job MINCING
24. Serengeti scavenger HYENA
26. Try to hit SWAT AT
28. Turn to the right, say? TIGHTEN
30. Chess activity MOVES
34. Tailless cat MANX
36. Poetry or painting ART
37. Published in installments SERIAL
38. George’s lyrical brother IRA
39. Strangers’ exchanges GLANCES
41. Important time period ERA
42. Protective embankments LEVEES
44. “So it was you!” AHA!
45. Work meas. FT LB
46. “Cat got your tongue?” SAY IT
47. East Lansing athlete SPARTAN
49. Banded rock GNEISS
51. Easy __ AS ABC
54. Pub pick PALE ALE
57. Jan. honoree MLK
59. Stain MAR
60. Dancing style that went viral on YouTube in 2013 TWERKING
62. Mocha resident YEMENI
64. Studio creation SET
65. Poet __ St. Vincent Millay EDNA
66. Cooks slowly ROASTS
67. Crown installer: Abbr. DDS
68. Poker request DEAL
69. Poker request, and a literal hint to what’s hidden in the answers to the starred clues ANTE UP

Down
1. Angel Network charity founder OPRAH
2. Hockey Hall of Famer Cam NEELY
3. *Cold War fleet SOVIET NAVY
4. Square root of nove TRE
5. Auto safety device AIRBAG
6. Give a star, perhaps RATE
7. See 61-Down SAL
8. Like some bands ONE-MAN
9. Out of shape UNFIT
10. *Honey and Boo Boo, e.g. PET NAMES
11. McIntosh alternative FUJI
12. “This __ outrage!” IS AN
13. Baffin Bay sight BERG
19. Matthew Fox or Peter Coyote ACTOR
22. Latin stars ASTRA
25. Put the kibosh on NIX
27. *Wings eaters’ aids WET-NAPS
29. Dutch portraitist Frans HALS
31. *Austroasiatic language VIETNAMESE
32. Countess’ husband EARL
33. Big chunk SLAB
34. Wire units MILS
35. House painter’s calculation AREA
37. Char SEAR
39. *Prepare for a bath GET NAKED
40. Great divide CHASM
43. Peak in an Eastwood film EIGER
45. Scale fourths FAS
47. Earth pigment SIENNA
48. Tangle with TAKE ON
50. Say “prob’ly,” say ELIDE
52. African language group BANTU
53. Like new bills CRISP
54. VA concern PTSD
55. Gobsmacked AWED
56. Al Green’s “__ Stay Together” LET’S
58. Harp constellation LYRA
61. With 7-Down, Hayworth title role, with “My” GAL
63. Yoga __ MAT

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 21 May 15, Thursday”

  1. Only bobble was putting in "pie" for the finish to "Easy as" until I saw that wasn't working and figured out ABC. Never saw the theme until I came to Bill's blog after completing the puzzle.

    Hope everyone has a great day.

  2. NE did me in as well. Was thinking of the computer MacIntosh rather than the fruit mcintosh apple. Duh. Also had ASK for milk. Didn't make that much sense to me, but neither does USE. Thought they were referring to Boo Boo bear from Yogi bear fame. I was doomed.

    Carrie from your query from last night – I'd say baseball and hockey would equally be my favorite sports depending on the time of year you ask..

    Cloudy, rainy and dreary here in Houston for going on about 6 months now. I'm ready for another vacation somewhere. Is it sunny anywhere?

    Best –

  3. I really enjoy a puzzle that initially has few "gimmes" and then I figure out the theme and then in one corner after another each answer leads to another few letters… and then… I'm done ;=)

  4. Had RAMP UP/ PET NAMES so it looked OK to me. Took a long time to suss MY GAL SAL which I've never seen. Alas, a DNF because of GNEISS/EIGER.
    I still don't get FT/LB even though Bill has explained it more than once.
    Bill, horrible story about Al Green and the grits. Never heard that.
    Carrie, I vote baseball. Both brothers were catchers. Spent a lot of time at the ballpark.
    I know NOTHING about hockey. When I was in school in Boston,(nuts over hockey)I had a 5" Sony TV and actually tried to watch the Bruins play. Couldn't see the puck, let alone the players. Hah!

  5. @Pookie – The most common measurement that we typically see today using food pounds (ft/lb) as the force described is for our car engines and their horsepower and torque. Torque is always expressed in ft. lbs. as far as I can recall.

  6. Seems toreso recently that Thursday "themes" are linguistic. And while it may have been a "literal" clue, it wasn't a very useful one. We've discussed the FTLB thing before, that helped. And at 10D, could please please please sometime tell the constructor to not use "Honey Boo Boo" as a clue? The very thought of that calorically-challenged family making its way into crosswords sickens me.

  7. When the nappie's wet, it's time to change it.
    I got gneiss, but not Eiger because I mispelled Levees
    Bella

  8. I got thru about 70% of this grid — about par for me on a Thursday. I did catch the theme halfway through! Cute enough.
    Say hey, our score is baseball 3, hockey 1! Best sport ever is in the lead.
    Happy Friday all you solvents, and since it's a long weekend I will attempt both Fri & Sat grids…=-O

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