LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jun 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski
THEME: Meta-morphic … each of today’s themed answers ends with an anagram of META, i.e. META MORPHED:

55A. Like much rock .. and like the last words of 21-, 32- and 42-Across? METAMORPHIC

21A. Patient care group MEDICAL TEAM
32A. Political convention announcement RUNNING MATE
42A. Casing filler SAUSAGE MEAT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 55s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. The Olympic Australis and others OPALS
The Olympic Australis is the largest opal ever found, and the most valuable. It was found in South Australia in 1956. That same year, the Summer Olympics were being held in Melbourne so the newly discovered stone was given the name “Olympic Australis”.

14. Full range GAMUT
In medieval times, the musical scale was denoted by the notes “ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la”. The term “gamma ut”, shortened to “gamut”, was used to describe the whole scale. By the 1620s, “gamut” was being used to mean the entire range of anything, the whole gamut.

17. Video game brother LUIGI
Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

18. Hold ’em fee ANTE
The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas Hold ‘Em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas Hold ‘Em in the television line-up that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.

20. 2002 British Open champion ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012). He has a child who suffers from autism and so Els has been very effective in raising money for charities that focus on the condition.

24. Pay DISBURSE
“To disburse” is “to pay out”. The term comes from the old French terms “des” and “bourse” meaning “out of purse”.

26. “Frasier” role ROZ
Roz Doyle is a character in the wonderful sitcom “Frasier”. Roz is played, very ably, by the actress Peri Gilpin.

“Frasier” is a very successful sitcom that originally aired from 1993 to 2004, a spinoff of the equally successful show “Cheers”. Star of the show is Kelsey Grammer, who plays radio psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane. Grammer ties the record for the longest running portrayal of the same character on television with his portrayal of Frasier Crane. James Arness also played a character for twenty years, namely Marshall Dillon on the Western series “Gunsmoke”. That said, the voice actors on the “The Simpsons” have been at the job longer, but they’re in an animated show.

27. “Arabian Nights” name ALI
There is some controversy about the story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called “One Thousand and One Nights” (also “Arabian Nights”). The suggestion is that it was added by one of its European translators.

37. Novelist Tolstoy LEO
The Russian author Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. He also wrote the celebrated novellas “Hadji Murad” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”.

38. Rep on the street CRED
“Street cred” is slang for “street credibility”, of which I have none …

40. Jag, e.g. AUTO
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” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).

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

55. Like much rock .. and like the last words of 21-, 32- and 42-Across? METAMORPHIC
Metamorphic rocks have been transformed, metamorphosed from an existing rock type. The existing rock type could be sedimentary rock, igneous rock or an older metamorphic rock.

60. “Little Things Mean __”: 1954 #1 hit A LOT
Little Things Mean a Lot” was a hit for Kitty Kallen in 1954 that stayed in the number-one spot in the US charts for nine weeks.

61. Quaint “not” NARY
The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul”.

62. It’s usually not more than a foot TAP-IN
A “tap-in” in golf is a short putt.

65. Slush Puppie maker ICEE
Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

67. Enjoys a hero EATS
“Hero” is another name for a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.

Down
2. Eighth-century pope PAUL I
Pope Paul I headed up the Roman Catholic Church from 757 to 767. Paul I succeeded Pope Stephen II, who was Paul’s brother.

6. “Holy moly!” EGADS!
“Egad!” developed as a polite way of saying “oh God!” in the late 1600s and is an expression of fear or surprise somewhat like “good grief!”.

The mild expletive “holy moly!” is a euphemism for “holy Moses!”

7. Golf nickname ARNIE
Arnold Palmer is one of the greats of the world of golf. Palmer is very popular with many fans of the game, and his followers are usually referred to as “Arnie’s Army”.

8. Coll. drilling group ROTC
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

10. Aunt in “Nancy” FRITZI
“Fritzi Ritz” was a comic strip introduced by Larry Whittington in 1922. The title character was often described as frivolous woman, a flapper who was focused on cosmetics, money and romance. Fritzi’s niece Nancy first appeared in 1933, and was destined to take over the strip. Then drawn by Ernie Bushmiller, the strip was renamed to “Nancy” in 1933, and is still running today.

22. “Happy Days” actress Moran ERIN
Erin Moran is the lovely actress most famous for playing Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days” and the resulting (short-lived) spin-off sitcom called “Joanie Loves Chachi”. Long before she got her big break in “Happy Days”, Moran played Jenny Jones on the children’s drama “Daktari” from the late sixties.

25. Ratt or Poison BAND
Ratt is a rock band based in Los Angeles. Ratt was formed out of a San Diego group called Mickey Ratt.

Poison is a glam metal band from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania that was most successful in from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties.

28. Taberna snack TAPA
“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

“Taberna” is Spanish for “tavern”. Our lovely word “tavern” comes into English via Old French, from the Latin “taberna”, the word for a “shop, inn, alehouse”.

29. Drawing passage FLUE
The flue in a chimney is a duct that conveys exhaust gases from a fire to the outdoors. An important feature of a flue is that it is adjustable. When starting a fire, the flue should be wide open, maximizing airflow to get help ignition. When the fire is burning, flow through the flue should be more restricted. The flue needs to be open sufficiently to allow smoke and exhaust gases exit, but not too wide so that too much hot air escapes, dragging cold air into the house from elsewhere.

30. Crumbly salad topper FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

34. Reason for glowing letters NEON
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

36. Humanities degs. MAS
The academic studies of human culture are collectively called the humanities. Subjects included in the humanities are languages, literature, philosophy, religion and music.

40. City north of Des Moines AMES
The city of Ames, Iowa is famous for holding the Ames Straw Poll in advance of most presidential elections. The poll in question is used to gauge the level of support for two or more Republican candidates, although non-Republicans are allowed to cast a vote. To vote one has to be an Iowa resident and one must buy a ticket to the fundraising dinner at which the vote is taken. The event gets a lot of coverage, so it boosts the local economy as journalists hit the town. It is a very successful fundraiser for the Republican Party in Iowa as well, but the usefulness of the straw poll in predicting the eventual winner of the nomination is less clear. There have been six straw polls since 1979, and just 2 out of 6 times the poll winner went on to capture the party’s nomination.

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others do contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

42. Rama VII’s kingdom SIAM
Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and from 1945 to 1949).

Rama VII was the King of Siam from 1925 until 1935. He was on the throne during turbulent times and was the nation’s last absolute monarch and first constitutional monarch, a change brought about by the Siamese Revolution of 1932.

43. “Mary Queen of Scots” biographer Fraser ANTONIA
Antonia Fraser is an author from England who is best known for her biographies and detective fiction. Fraser is the widow of the Nobel Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter.

44. One of the Spice Girls GERI
Geri Halliwell was called Ginger Spice because of her red hair when she was with the Spice Girls. Halliwell was quite a bit older than the rest of the group and so sometimes she was less charitably referred to as “Old Spice”.

47. Winter Olympics equipment SKATES
Figure skating started out as a sport in which a skater demonstrated skill at carving out specific patterns into the ice (a figure-8, for example). Over time, the sport placed greater influence on free skating. Compulsory figures were dropped completely from most international competitions in the 1990, but the name “figure skating” has been retained.

55. Nutmeg spice MACE
The fruit of the nutmeg tree yields two very different spices. What we call “nutmeg” comes from the seed of the tree. “Mace” is the dried covering of the seed.

56. Scat legend, familiarly ELLA
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

63. Co-star of Richard in “The Night of the Iguana” AVA
Ava Gardner is noted for her association with some big movies, but also for her association with some big names when it came to the men in her life. In the world of film, she appeared in the likes of “Mogambo” (1953), “On the Beach” (1959), “The Night of the Iguana” (1964) and “Earthquake” (1974). The men in her life included husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. After her marriages had failed (and perhaps before!) she had long term relationships with Howard Hughes and bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin whom she met through her friend Ernest Hemingway.

The actor Richard Burton was born in South Wales, as Richard Jenkins. The actor took “Burton” as a stage name in honor of his schoolmaster and mentor Philip Burton. Famously, Burton was married (twice) to actress Liz Taylor.

“The Night of the Iguana” is a play by Tennessee Williams, based on a short story that he wrote in 1948. Famously, the play was adapted for the screen in a 1964 movie of the same name, with powerful performances by Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. The Olympic Australis and others OPALS
6. Sound detectors EARS
10. Move lightly FLIT
14. Full range GAMUT
15. Produce on a farm GROW
16. Biked it RODE
17. Video game brother LUIGI
18. Hold ’em fee ANTE
19. “That makes sense” I SEE
20. 2002 British Open champion ELS
21. Patient care group MEDICAL TEAM
24. Pay DISBURSE
26. “Frasier” role ROZ
27. “Arabian Nights” name ALI
28. Duties TARIFFS
32. Political convention announcement RUNNING MATE
37. Novelist Tolstoy LEO
38. Rep on the street CRED
39. Place for a small pet LAP
40. Jag, e.g. AUTO
41. Had-at link A GO
42. Casing filler SAUSAGE MEAT
46. Picking up, in a way SENSING
48. Quaint preposition ERE
49. Dennings of “2 Broke Girls” KAT
50. The “it” in “I don’t want to talk about it” SORE SPOT
55. Like much rock .. and like the last words of 21-, 32- and 42-Across? METAMORPHIC
59. Wild way to go APE
60. “Little Things Mean __”: 1954 #1 hit A LOT
61. Quaint “not” NARY
62. It’s usually not more than a foot TAP-IN
64. Lead CLUE
65. Slush Puppie maker ICEE
66. Part of a meet EVENT
67. Enjoys a hero EATS
68. Agreeing words AYES
69. Takes chances DARES

Down
1. Looked like a wolf? OGLED
2. Eighth-century pope PAUL I
3. Not quite right AMISS
4. Haul LUG
5. Reaction causes STIMULI
6. “Holy moly!” EGADS!
7. Golf nickname ARNIE
8. Coll. drilling group ROTC
9. Curse SWEAR AT
10. Aunt in “Nancy” FRITZI
11. Come in too late? LOSE
12. Start of a solution IDEA
13. Abound (with) TEEM
22. “Happy Days” actress Moran ERIN
23. It’s retold often LORE
25. Ratt or Poison BAND
28. Taberna snack TAPA
29. Drawing passage FLUE
30. Crumbly salad topper FETA
31. 29-Down buildup SOOT
32. Some HDTVs RCAS
33. Push for URGE
34. Reason for glowing letters NEON
35. Water cooler sound GLUG
36. Humanities degs. MAS
40. City north of Des Moines AMES
42. Rama VII’s kingdom SIAM
43. “Mary Queen of Scots” biographer Fraser ANTONIA
44. One of the Spice Girls GERI
45. Built ERECTED
47. Winter Olympics equipment SKATES
50. Self-gratifying outing SPREE
51. “But of course!” OH YES!
52. Supermarket option PAPER
53. Speak one’s mind OPINE
54. Staked shelters TENTS
55. Nutmeg spice MACE
56. Scat legend, familiarly ELLA
57. Talk up TOUT
58. Suggestive RACY
63. Co-star of Richard in “The Night of the Iguana” AVA

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7 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jun 15, Thursday”

  1. Got through this Thursday like yesterday. 3 errors, 4 lookups of trivia I had no clue on.

    26-Across: Interesting that this was a clue of discussion not too long ago here. Pays to read the blog. 🙂

    65-Across: A confusing one to me, I guess by the meaning of "maker".

    22-Down: Odd, even more that I remembered this.

    25-Down: Notably, both are glam metal or "hair bands", the latter label from the band members growing their hair out and styling it, usually into "big hair". Also, notably, most of the glam metal bands never found any lasting fame out of that fad stage of music. Ratt is chiefly known for "Round and Round". Poison is much more famous, as anyone who followed music there can recognize at least one of the band members. This band is chiefly known for "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", "Unskinny Bop", and "Nothin' but a Good Time".

  2. Pretty sloppy in a couple of parts. MEDICAL TEAM crossing TEEM, and the inexcusable OHYES crossing AYES. People say "Ah, yes", but I've never heard anyone say "A, yes," because written like that, the "a" would have a completely different sound. Otherwise, the puzzle wasn't bad, and the cluing was appropriate for a Thursday.

  3. I may have approached Bill's solve time this morning. Really not too bad for a Thursday. The NW corner would have gone even faster had I not had "Pius" for the Pope in answer to 2 Down. I know as much about Pope's as I do about quantum mechanics. Can the Pope be both Pius and Paul simultaneously if I substitute it for Schrodinger's cat?

  4. I was a good guesser in this puzzle. I got AVA and ICEE simply by virtue of their prevalence in crosswords. ALOT just made sense in the context of the song title. FRITZI was my lone Google. I couldn't guess my way into that one..

    Henry I believe it's AYES…as in the plural of aye, a vote in favor of something…as in the AYES have it.

  5. Tough, but I managed to finish it ….. therefore, I enjoyed it.

    Yesterday we had 'para' and today 'meta' – reminds me of organic chemistry, benzene 'add ons' – ortho, meta, para – nitryls, phenols, methyl molecules, whatever.

    Is MAS ever clued in crosswords as the spanish conjunction, 'but' ?

    Jeff, from yesterday, 'the only intelligent dinosaur was the thesaurus' = very funny. Must remember that one !!

    Ratt or Poison ? I read it as Poisson – which is a statistical distribution. And I thought of Bonnie Ratt. Well, I finally got band.

    have a nice day, all.

  6. @Vidwan –

    "Is MAS ever clued in crosswords as the spanish conjunction,'but'?"…
    I seriously doubt it. MAS in Spanish means "more". "Pero" means "but"…. 🙂

  7. An easy Thursday often portends a difficult weekend, :10 for me. Kinda weak to have YES crossing itself in the S.

    All I will say about those two wretched bands is…well I just said it.

    One note on ERIN Moran: when they tried distributing "Joanie Loves Chachi" in Asia, they encountered ALOT of resistance. Especially in Korea, since "chachi" is Korean slang for a certain body part…quite RACY.

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