LA Times Crossword Answers 22 May 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeffrey Wechsler
THEME: Funny, But It Sounds OK … each of today’s themed answers gives us a bit of a laugh, although each also sounds like a common phrase:

18A. Chorus of cows? MOOED MUSIC (sounds like “mood music”)
25A. Environmentalist priests? COLLARED GREENS (sounds like “collard greens”)
41A. Assessed penalties against nonconformists? FINED THE WAY OUT (sounds like “find the way out”)
53A. Barbie after a bit too much bubbly? WINED-UP TOY (sounds like “wind-up toy”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 19m 26s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. H.S. concerns SATS
Today the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation SAT.

5. Place to pick up a kitten SCRUFF
The “scruff” is the nape of the neck.

11. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” threat ASP
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is, in my humble opinion, the best of the Indiana Jones franchise of movies. This first Indiana Jones film was released in 1981, produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg. Harrison Ford was Spielberg’s first choice to play the lead, but Lucas resisted as he was concerned that he would be too closely associated with the actor (as Ford played Han Solo in “Star Wars”, and also appeared in Lucas’s “American Graffiti”). Tom Selleck was offered the role but he couldn’t get out of his commitments to “Magnum, P.I.” Eventually Spielberg got his way and Ford was hired, a good thing I say …

15. They may be seen on slides AMEBAE
An ameba (or “amoeba” as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

16. Black __ SEA
The Black Sea in southeastern Europe drains into the Mediterranean via the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits. There are four seas named for colors in English: the Yellow Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the White Sea.

17. He dethroned Carnera in 1934 BAER
Max Baer was an American Heavyweight Champion of the World in the thirties. Baer held the title for 364 days, and then went into the ring after hardly any training at all against the well-prepared James J. Braddock. Braddock was a huge underdog, and yet emerged victorious after 15 rounds (Braddock is the subject of the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man”). By the way, Baer’s son is Max Baer, Jr., the actor who played Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies”.

Primo Carnera was an Italian boxer and former world heavyweight champion. Carnera was a big guy for an Italian in his day, standing at almost 6’ 9” tall and weighing over 280 pounds. Given his size, he was called the Ambling Alp.

20. Egg component ALBUMEN
“Albumen” is the technical name for egg white.

24. Cubist Fernand LEGER
Fernand Leger was a French painter, and among his works was a series of paintings called “La Grande Parade”. I quite like his “Still Life with Beer Mug”, painted in 1921 (anything with beer!) Leger painted a lot of cylindrical shapes in some works, which was his quirky version of cubism. As a result, one critic described Leger’s style as “tubism”.

32. Cajuns’ 18th-century ancestors, for example EXILES
The great explorer Verrazzano gave the name “Arcadia” to the coastal land that stretched from north of present day Virginia right up the North American continent to Nova Scotia. The name Arcadia was chosen as it was also the name for a part of Greece that had been viewed as idyllic from the days of classical antiquity. The “Arcadia” name quickly evolved into the word “Acadia” that was used locally here in North America. Much of Acadia was settled by the French in the 1600s, and then in 1710 Acadia was conquered by the British. There followed the French and Indian War after which there was a mass migration of French Acadians, often via the French colony of Saint-Dominique (present-day Haiti) to the French colony of Louisiana. The local dialectic pronunciation of the word “Acadian” was “Cajun”, giving the name to the ethnic group for which Louisiana has been home for about 300 years.

34. Burkina Faso neighbor BENIN
The Republic of Benin is a country in West Africa. Benin used to be a French colony, and was known as Dahomey. Dahomey gained independence in 1975, and took the name Benin after the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies.

Burkina Faso is an inland country in western Africa. The country used to be called the Republic of Upper Volta and was renamed in 1984 to Burkina Faso meaning “the land of upright people”.

39. Apologia’s opposite TIRADE
An apologia is a formal apology, or a formal defense of one’s beliefs.

40. Mitch Miller’s instrument OBOE
Mitch Miller was an American musician and conductor who was very popular in the fifties and sixties. Early in his career Miller was a successful oboe and English horn player. He played the very recognizable horn part in the largo movement from Dvořák’s “New World Symphony” in a famous recording conducted in 1947 by Leopold Stokowski.

45. Rio Grande feeder PECOS
The Pecos River flows through New Mexico and Texas before emptying into the Rio Grande. Running largely in a north-south directions, in days gone by the phrase “West of the Pecos” was used to describe the desolate area that we usually refer to as “the Wild West”. Famous Texas Judge Roy Bean was known as the “Only Law West of Pecos”.

46. “Suit the action to the __ … “: Hamlet WORD
In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, the title character gives instructions to the troupe of actors that he employs to entrap King Claudius. He warns them not to overact, but also to not be too timid:
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature.

50. Shade on the links? GOLF TAN
A “farmer’s tan” or “golfer’s tan” is one that affects only the arms and neck, and is the result of wearing a sleeveless shirt.

53. Barbie after a bit too much bubbly? WINED-UP TOY (sounds like “wind-up toy”)
The famous Barbie doll was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler and first appeared on store shelves in 1959. Barbie was based on a German fashion doll called Bild Lilli that had been introduced four years earlier. Lilli had been a German cartoon character before taking on a three-dimensional form. Prior to the introduction of Bild Lilli and Barbie, children’s dolls were primarily representations of infants.

55. __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
Nowadays Simi Valley, California is perhaps best known as being home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. If you ever get the chance to do so, the library is a great place to visit. There you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.

58. Actor Peters of “American Horror Story” EVAN
Evan Peters is an actor from St. Louis who is best known for playing several roles on the TV series “American Horror Story”. Peters is engaged to actress Emma Roberts, the niece of Julia Roberts.

59. Paris’ Pont __ Arts DES
The Pont des Arts is a footbridge crossing the River Seine in Paris. The bridge is named for the nearby Palais de Louvre, which used to be known as the Palais des Arts. In recent years, tourists have attaching “love locks” to the railing on the side of the bridge. These are padlocks engraved with the names of a couple who are in love. The pair attach the lock to the railing and then throw the key into the Seine as a romantic gesture.

60. PLO chairman before Mahmoud YASSER
Yasser (also Yasir, Yassir) Arafat was born in Cairo in 1929, the son of two Palestinians and the second-youngest of seven children. Arafat was beaten by his father as a child and so did not have a good relationship with him. Arafat did not attend his father’s funeral, nor did he visit his grave. The beatings were apparently administered because the young Arafat was repeatedly attending religious services in the Jewish quarter of Cairo. Arafat’s explanation was that he wanted to “study the mentality” of the Jewish people.

Mahmoud Abbas took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 2004 after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, equivalent to “head of state”.

61. Spinoff of TV’s “Hercules” XENA
The Xena character, famously played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role.

Down
1. Buckwheat noodle SOBA
Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word soba tends to be used to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodles that are called udon.

7. __ Speedwagon REO
The REO Speed Wagon (note the space between “speed” and “wagon”) is the vehicle. REO Speedwagon (no space) is the American rock band.

8. Outstanding, in slang UBER
“Uber” is the German word for “above”, as in the famous words from the German national anthem, “Deutchland uber alles”, meaning “Germany above all others”. We tend to use “uber” as a slang term in English, meaning “extremely”.

10. The Muses, e.g. FEMALES
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

– Calliope (epic poetry)
– Clio (history)
– Erato (lyric poetry)
– Euterpe (music)
– Melpomene (tragedy)
– Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
– Terpsichore (dance)
– Thalia (comedy)
– Urania (astronomy)

13. Bankers Life Fieldhouse athlete PACER
The Indiana Pacers are the professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, who play in the NBA. The name was chosen when the team was formed in 1967. “Pacers” is a homage harness racing pacers (famed in Indiana) and the pace car used in the Indianapolis 500.

19. To whom Chance said, “You’re not workin’ as many bees these days” ULEE
“Ulee’s Gold” is a highly respected film from 1997 in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee’s “gold” is the honey that Ulee produces. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda and he has shared that playing Ulee brought to mind his father Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold” you’re witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.

21. __ culpa MEA
Many Roman Catholics are very familiar with the Latin phrase “mea culpa” meaning “my fault”, as it is used in the Latin Mass. The additional term “mea maxima culpa” translates as “my most grievous fault”.

28. Shore seen on TV DINAH
Dinah Shore had a lot of success as a singer in the forties and fifties in the Big Band Era, and then in the sixties as a hostess of variety programs on television. Shore was also a big fan of golf, both as a player and a spectator. She founded the Colgate Dinah Shore golf tournament which is now the Kraft Nabisco Championship, one of the four majors on the LPGA Tour.

35. 1972 Alex Comfort best-seller, with “The” JOY OF SEX
“The Joy of Sex” is a bestselling sex manual by Alex Comfort that was first published in 1972. The title of the book is a play on “The Joy of Cooking”, which explains why there are sections in the manual called “starters” and “main courses”.

38. Wimbledon unit SET
The Wimbledon Championships of tennis are held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club located in Wimbledon, a district of London. The Wimbledon Championships started in 1877, and are still played on grass.

41. Like Lewis’ Aslan FELINE
In the C. S. Lewis series of books “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Aslan is the name of the lion character (as in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). “Aslan” is actually the Turkish word for lion. Anyone who has read the books will recognize the the remarkable similarity between the story of Aslan and the story of Christ, including a sacrifice and resurrection.

48. 2003-’11 Brazilian president, familiarly LULA
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the 35th President of Brazil, and was in office from 2003 until 2011. “Lula” thrust himself onto the international stage, positioning himself as a negotiator. For example, he befriended both President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President George W. Bush, two leaders with very, very different political positions.

49. “House” actor EPPS
Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Grant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

51. Open hearing, in law OYER
“Oyer” is a term used to describe the reading out loud of a document in court.

52. Historic voyager to Hispaniola NINA
The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.

Hispaniola is an island in the Greater Antilles, and is the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba. The island is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Hispaniola was home to the first European settlement in the whole of the Americas, founded by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus named the island La Isla Española, which evolved to “Hispaniola”.

54. “__ the gift to be simple … “: Shaker song ‘TIS
“Simple Gifts” is a Shaker song from 1848 written by Joseph Brackett. The song became widely popular when Aaron Copland used its melody in the ballet “Appalachian Spring”, first performed in the 1940s.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. H.S. concerns SATS
5. Place to pick up a kitten SCRUFF
11. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” threat ASP
14. Psych ending -OTIC
15. They may be seen on slides AMEBAE
16. Black __ SEA
17. He dethroned Carnera in 1934 BAER
18. Chorus of cows? MOOED MUSIC (sounds like “mood music”)
20. Egg component ALBUMEN
22. Make REALIZE
23. Relaxed pace LOPE
24. Cubist Fernand LEGER
25. Environmentalist priests? COLLARED GREENS (sounds like “collard greens”)
31. Way to get a deal started ANTE
32. Cajuns’ 18th-century ancestors, for example EXILES
33. Disarray MESS
34. Burkina Faso neighbor BENIN
35. Noisy nesters JAYS
39. Apologia’s opposite TIRADE
40. Mitch Miller’s instrument OBOE
41. Assessed penalties against nonconformists? FINED THE WAY OUT (sounds like “find the way out”)
45. Rio Grande feeder PECOS
46. “Suit the action to the __ … “: Hamlet WORD
47. Slightly A LITTLE
50. Shade on the links? GOLF TAN
53. Barbie after a bit too much bubbly? WINED-UP TOY (sounds like “wind-up toy”)
55. __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
56. H.S. subject ENG
57. Like some Olympics milieus ALPINE
58. Actor Peters of “American Horror Story” EVAN
59. Paris’ Pont __ Arts DES
60. PLO chairman before Mahmoud YASSER
61. Spinoff of TV’s “Hercules” XENA

Down
1. Buckwheat noodle SOBA
2. Bar order A TALL ONE
3. Industrial fasteners TIE-BOLTS
4. What con artists lack SCRUPLES
5. ” __ thing” SAME
6. “Seriously?!” C’MON!
7. __ Speedwagon REO
8. Outstanding, in slang UBER
9. Lose energy FADE
10. The Muses, e.g. FEMALES
11. Give, as a job ASSIGN
12. Captures SEIZES
13. Bankers Life Fieldhouse athlete PACER
19. To whom Chance said, “You’re not workin’ as many bees these days” ULEE
21. __ culpa MEA
25. Rotating piece CAM
26. Bridge call REBID
27. Apply EXERT
28. Shore seen on TV DINAH
29. Ice-skate, say GLIDE
30. Fix up RENEW
35. 1972 Alex Comfort best-seller, with “The” JOY OF SEX
36. Unsuccessful ABORTIVE
37. “Awesome job, bro!” YOU DA MAN!
38. Wimbledon unit SET
39. High school concern TEST DAY
41. Like Lewis’ Aslan FELINE
42. Baker’s variety ICINGS
43. Importance NOTE
44. Punching tool AWL
45. Emulated a 41-Down PAWED
48. 2003-’11 Brazilian president, familiarly LULA
49. “House” actor EPPS
50. Out of the park GONE
51. Open hearing, in law OYER
52. Historic voyager to Hispaniola NINA
54. “__ the gift to be simple … “: Shaker song ‘TIS

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 22 May 15, Friday”

  1. Not sure what to say about this grid today. I didn't really like it that much. AMEBAE is an aritficial creation, as are YOUDAMAN and CMON. Maybe I just woke up grumpy. It feels much more like a NYT puzzle, with multiple word answers, and Wechsler lands there with some regularity.

    I hope the rest of the day is more fun. Slainte.

  2. I clawed my way to the finish of this puzzle. How I'm not really sure. Again putting it down for awhile. But even after I completed it I wasn't all that sure I had done it correctly until I came here.

    As difficult as I found today's puzzle I am starting to have heart palpitations worrying about tomorrow.

    Hope everyone has a great Friday. I'm really, really looking forward to having Monday off!

  3. A very tough puzzle. The top wasn't too bad, but the bottom got me. I was so confused at that point that I would have missed "FOUR" as an answer for "two plus two".

    An apologia is more of an explanation or a formal defense of someone's actions or opinions. It differs from an apology in that there is no remorse in the explanation (among other ways). A politician might give an apologia for voting a certain way, for example, but he is not apologizing for the vote necessarily. Why "TIRADE" would be opposite of that I'm really not certain. Emotional vs unemotional, perhaps?? I just don't get it.

    That is just one of many head scratchers, but I really enjoyed the challenge of today's puzzle. A lot of info in the clues and answers to ponder.

    Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend –

  4. I'm dreading Jeffrey Wechsler's puzzles even more than Bain, Lim and Silk..if that's possible. I just don't "get" his clues. Do we really need Shakespeare to clue WORD? And (blank) Thing? or Black(blank)? Could it get any more elusive?
    C'MON and YOU DA MAN…….. agree with Willie D. meh.
    Opposite of apologia? REFUSAL or DENIAL. Agree with Jeff.
    No fun for me today.

  5. Very interesting info on Acadia from Bill. As far as I know, the only remnant of Acadia is the Acadia National Park in Maine which includes the area of Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert. Question: if Arcadia/ Acadia was the territory north of Virginia, why did the immigrants to Louisiana call themselves Acadians?
    I have always thought that the Cajun antecedents were from Canada traveling down the Mississippi as per Longfellows poem "Evangeline a tale of Arcadie"

  6. Piano Man: In the late 1700s, following the end of the Revolutionary War, the British allowed any loyalist the opportunity to move to Canada and receive land. To find the land, the Tories decided to displace all the Catholic French in Nova Scotia. They were shipped down to New Orleans because (a) at the time, it was owned by France (b) it was far, far away from the Colonies (i.e., they couldn't come back to haunt the Brits). The Acadians brought their culture with them. Hence the reason the fleur-de-lis is all over Louisiana.

  7. @Willie D – and the funny French patois. I had French instead of EXILES.

    This puzzle made me wonder – should I just fill in the most obvious crosswordese – for instance OBOE for Mr. Miller, as the main instrument in c.w. puzzles. Or ULEE, cuz who else has bees? Or SIMI? or other common answers even if I don't know the answers, actually?

  8. YEEKS!! Horrible. Impossible to finish, even using Jeff's "just walk away" technique.
    @Sfingi, ain't that the truth, using Shakespeare to give us WORD! I'll remember that mean trick for future obfuscations.
    I think I hated YOUDAMAN most here.
    Voting is still open! What is your favorite sport? The score is Baseball 3, Hockey 1.
    Happy weekend!

  9. Bill seemed appalled at his time but it still looked impressive to me. Took me two days and I still couldn't finish without help. 🙁

    Carrie – I've been trying to figure out my favorite sport. I've been trying to decide between baseball and basketball. I think I'll lean toward baseball. Definitely not hockey. 🙂

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