LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jul 15, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gail Grabowski
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 12m 46s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. WWII support gp. WAAC
The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

15. Linchpin location AXLE
A linchpin is a clip or fastener that is used on the end of an axle to prevent a wheel from sliding off. The term is also used figuratively to describe anything that is a vital element in a system.

16. Wedding to-do list item ORDER A LIMO
The word “limousine” actually derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes anyway …

17. 2007 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee GILL
Vince Gill is a country music singer-songwriter. Gill has been honored with 20 Grammy Awards, which is more than any other male country singer.

19. Jargon ending -ESE
“Jargon” can mean nonsensical and meaningless talk, or the specialized language of a particular group, trade or profession. The term is Old French, with the more usual meaning of “a chattering”. How apt …

20. Buffs FANS
A “buff” or a “nut” is one who is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subject.

24. Actor/director with two Emmys and two Razzies SHATNER
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, famous for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series. Shatner was trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, and appeared on stage in many of the Bard’s works early in his career. While playing the Kirk character, he developed a reputation for over-acting, really emphasizing some words in a speech and using an excessive number of pauses. He gave his name to a word “shatneresque”, which describes such a style.

Razzie is the familiar name for the Golden Raspberry Award, an award presented annually for the worst in the world of film. The Razzies have been presented on the day before the Oscars since 1981.

27. Winter warmers COCOAS
The beverages hot cocoa and hot chocolate differ from each other in that the latter contains cocoa butter, whereas the former does not.

28. Thirteenth Amendment beneficiary SLAVE
The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is the amendment outlawing slavery that was adopted in 1865, soon after the Civil War. That said, the Thirteenth Amendment does allow “slavery and involuntary servitude” as “punishment for a crime”.

30. 1935 FDR dedication HOOVER DAM
When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world’s largest concrete structure. The dam is named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. There was a formal dedication ceremony held in September 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the area, when only work on the powerhouse was incomplete. President Roosevelt managed to make his dedication speech without once referring to the name of his former opponent President Hoover. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days …

34. Net grazer LET
In tennis, a service that grazes the net is judged to be a “let”, and is retaken.

35. Body style COUPE
The type of car known as a “coupe” or “coupé” is a closed automobile with two doors. The name comes from the French word “couper” meaning “to cut”. In most parts of the English-speaking world the pronunciation adheres to the original French, but here in most of North America we go with “coop”. The original coupé was a horse-drawn carriage that was cut (coupé) to eliminate the rear-facing passenger seats. That left just a driver and two front-facing passengers. If the driver was left without a roof and out in the open, then the carriage was known as a “coupé de-ville”.

36. Raised-barn connection IN A
Were you raised in a barn? That would have been luxury for me! 🙂

37. Former ERSTWHILE
Erstwhile means “in the past” or “once upon a time”.

40. Member of a strict Jewish sect HASID
The Hasidic Jewish movement was founded in the 18th century by Baal Shem Tov, a mystical rabbi from Eastern Europe.

44. Grotte de Cussac attraction CAVE ART
The Grotte de Cussac is a cave in Aquitaine, France that contains many examples of Paleolithic art. The cave was discovered relatively recently, in 2000, and is closed to the public while it undergoes scientific study. The Grotte de Cussac is also home to human remains that date back 25,000 years.

47. Xenon, e.g. RARE GAS
The “rare gases” are better known as the noble gases, but neither term is really very accurate. Noble gas might be a better choice though, as they are all relatively nonreactive. But rare they are not. Argon, for example, is a major constituent (1%) of the air that we breathe.

Xenon was the first of the noble gases to be made into a compound, which was somewhat remarkable in that the noble gases were thought by many to be completely inert, nonreactive.

48. Urgent letters ASAP
As soon as possible (ASAP)

49. Overthrow COUP
A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.

50. Scoreboard letters RHE
On baseball scoreboards we see the letters RHE, standing for Runs, Hits and Errors.

51. Anticipatory reaction SALIVATING
Ivan Pavlov was studying gastric function in dogs in the 1890s when he observed that his subject dogs started to salivate before he even presented food to them. This “psychic secretion”, as he called it, interested him so much that he changed the direction of his research and studied the reactions of dogs to various stimuli that were associated with the presentation of food. Famously, he discovered that a dog could be conditioned to respond as though he was about to be fed, just by sensing some stimulus that he had come to associate with food. This might be a bell ringing, an electric shock (poor dog!) or perhaps the waving of a hand. Nowadays we might describe someone as “Pavlov’s Dog” if that person responds just the way he/she has been conditioned to respond, rather than applying critical thinking.

55. It pulls a bit REIN
The type of horse tack known as a “bit” is placed in a horse’s mouth and is used to aid communication of instruction from rider to mount. The bit is held in place by means of a bridle around the head, and is controlled by the rider using the attached reins.

Down
2. WWII fighter AXIS POWER
Before WWII, Hungary’s prime minister was lobbying for an alliance between Germany, Hungary and Italy and worked towards such a relationship that he called an “axis”. The main Axis powers during the war were Germany, Italy and Japan. However, also included in the relationship were Romania, Bulgaria and the aforementioned Hungary.

4. “Snow White” collectible CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

“Snow White” is a traditional German fairy tale that was published in 1812 in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. There is also a second, very different Grimms’ Fairy Tale called “Snow-White and Rose-Red”, not to be confused with its more famous cousin.

6. Malaysian native ORANG
Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, in fact the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, living in the rain forests. Like most species in rain forests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.

7. Short and sweet, e.g.: Abbr. ADJS
“Short” and “sweet” are adjectives (adjs.).

8. River to Aberdeen DEE
The Scottish city of Aberdeen is located amidst plentiful supplies of granite, which were actively quarried until the 1970s. Many local buildings incorporate the granite in their structure. Aberdeen granite is especially prized for its high levels of mica, which can cause the stone to sparkle like silver.

12. Costa __ RICAN
Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua in the north, and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

14. __ year SOLAR
A solar calendar is based on the 365 1/4 days it takes for the earth to orbit the sun. A lunar calendar is based on the moon’s phases (not the 28 days it takes the moon to orbit the earth) and has 12 lunar months of 29-30 days, with the “lunar year” ending eleven days earlier than the “solar year”. So, solar and lunar calendars are always out of sync.

20. Royal decree FIAT
A “fiat” is an arbitrary rule that is imposed, and is the Latin for “let it be done”.

23. French royal ROI
“La reine” (the queen) is the wife of “le roi” (the king), in French.

26. Boston’s Mass __ AVE
Massachusetts Avenue in Boston (and beyond) is known to locals simply as Mass Ave. It was along part of Mass Ave. (then called the Great Road) that Paul Revere made his famous ride in 1775.

32. Witness in 1991 Senate hearings ANITA HILL
Anita Hill is an attorney who is currently a professor at Brandeis University. Hill gained a lot of attention in 1991 when she accused US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Judge Thomas was confirmed anyway. Many say that Hill’s testimony during the confirmation hearings launched public awareness of the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Within a year, complaints of harassment were up by fifty percent.

38. Haberdashery supply TIEPINS
Back in the 14th century a haberdasher was a dealer in small wares. By the late 1800s, the term had evolved to mean a purveyor of menswear, and in particular was associated with the sale of hats.

39. Employment org. created in 1935 WPA
The Work Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest of the New Deal agencies. The WPA employed millions of people during the Depression, putting them to work on various public works projects. The total spending through the WPA from 1936 to 1939 was nearly $7 billion. We have to give the federal government credit for taking an enlightened view of what types of project qualified for financial support, so artists who could not get commissions privately were hired by the government itself. The result is a collection of “New Deal Art”, including a series of murals that can be found in post offices around the country to this day.

40. Dwell (on) HARP
“To harp on” something is to talk too much about it. The original expression with the same meaning was “to harp on the same string”, a reference to the musical instrument.

41. It’s not returned ACE
In tennis, an ace is a serve that an opponent fails to hit.

43. Orchestra leader Billy VAUGHN
Billy Vaughn was a singer, musician and orchestra leader from Glasgow, Kentucky. Vaughn’s biggest hit was probably his first, 1954’s “Melody of Love”.

44. “Speak, hands, for me!” speaker CASCA
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”

45. Japanese beer brand ASAHI
Asahi is a beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

47. “But wait! There’s more!” company RONCO
Ronco is a company the builds and sells products mainly for the kitchen. Over the years the company has been closely associated with the “-O-Matic” suffix, especially the “Veg-O-Matic” vegetable slicer.

49. Bank opening? CITI-
During the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the US government rescued Citibank by providing loan guarantees and two payments of $25 billion each. It turns out that the government made a tidy profit on that deal, as Citibank has since repaid the loans in full, along with interest.

55. “Get outside yourself” company REI
REI is a sporting goods store, the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the American to climb Mount Everest.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. WWII support gp. WAAC
5. Driving hazard ROAD DEBRIS
15. Linchpin location AXLE
16. Wedding to-do list item ORDER A LIMO
17. 2007 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee GILL
18. Grand MAJESTICAL
19. Jargon ending -ESE
20. Buffs FANS
21. Complicated account SAGA
22. Group that might bug you SPY RING
24. Actor/director with two Emmys and two Razzies SHATNER
27. Winter warmers COCOAS
28. Thirteenth Amendment beneficiary SLAVE
29. Be ready for AWAIT
30. 1935 FDR dedication HOOVER DAM
34. Net grazer LET
35. Body style COUPE
36. Raised-barn connection IN A
37. Former ERSTWHILE
40. Member of a strict Jewish sect HASID
42. “Not interested” I PASS
43. Give up VACATE
44. Grotte de Cussac attraction CAVE ART
47. Xenon, e.g. RARE GAS
48. Urgent letters ASAP
49. Overthrow COUP
50. Scoreboard letters RHE
51. Anticipatory reaction SALIVATING
55. It pulls a bit REIN
56. Place for good dishes CHINA HUTCH
57. They’re trapped in pots EELS
58. Endurance event facility AID STATION
59. Unoccupied IDLE

Down
1. Union concern WAGE SCALE
2. WWII fighter AXIS POWER
3. Some strays ALLEY CATS
4. “Snow White” collectible CEL
5. Many Shakespearean characters ROMANS
6. Malaysian native ORANG
7. Short and sweet, e.g.: Abbr. ADJS
8. River to Aberdeen DEE
9. Their offices often have small rms. DRS
10. Down EAT
11. Marathoner’s misfortune BLISTER
12. Costa __ RICAN
13. Picture IMAGE
14. __ year SOLAR
20. Royal decree FIAT
23. French royal ROI
24. Skiing need SLOPE
25. Give birth to HAVE
26. Boston’s Mass __ AVE
28. People SOULS
30. Lift up HOIST
31. Differed DISAGREED
32. Witness in 1991 Senate hearings ANITA HILL
33. Added up MADE SENSE
35. Burn slightly CHAR
38. Haberdashery supply TIEPINS
39. Employment org. created in 1935 WPA
40. Dwell (on) HARP
41. It’s not returned ACE
43. Orchestra leader Billy VAUGHN
44. “Speak, hands, for me!” speaker CASCA
45. Japanese beer brand ASAHI
46. Legitimate VALID
47. “But wait! There’s more!” company RONCO
49. Bank opening? CITI-
52. Storage unit VAT
53. Triumphant reaction AHA!
54. Mild rebuke TUT
55. “Get outside yourself” company REI

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19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jul 15, Saturday”

  1. Glenn, I wouldn't personally call it a "Natick," but it sure fooled the heck out of me. Yes, another pre-coffee try that ended in failure. I had another five-letter answer in 28A, and I feel really, really bad about even trying it.

    At times I question my resolve in doing these things.

  2. Took forever but vini, vidi, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vici! One small complaint: maybe five of Shakespeare's 37 plays feature Romans. That's about 1/7 or 14%. Can Ms. Grabowski really call that "many"? Otherwise, great fun.

  3. I wanted to put RUN AWAY for 16A "Wedding to-do list item", but it didn't fit. Then it all went downhill after that. It took me forever and about a dozen look ups (some just because I was losing patience) for me to "finish" this grid.

    The extra "A" in WAAC threw me off as did the "N" in RICAN (talk about a careless error).

    Overall, nothing to be proud of with this effort other than I perservered….sort of.

    Best –

  4. @Willie D: I too had a wrong answer in 28A: WOMEN. I also had EDASNER for 24A, GEN in 26D, HATPINS in 38D, and — thinking I'm real clever — TON for 41D.
    @Glenn: Can you explain the Natick reference?

  5. A clean solve after that pesky NW corner finally fell (just like the Axis Powers did!) I really got hung up on trying to fit "pay" into 1 Down when "wage" scale was called for and the W in WAAC finally gave me the sudden inspiration that I needed to see "wage" and there it was.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend. See you all Monday.

  6. I have a headache.
    SEARS for CHARS
    SEDAN for COUPE
    Didn't even "get" Runs Hits Errors
    Wish ORDER A LIMO had been clued as a prom to-do list.
    I don't think many order a cake for a prom.
    Ah well, eddying down the drain here.

  7. Jack, the term "Natick" was coined by Will Shortz, editor of the NY Times crossword. It is a backhanded reference to Natick, MA: a small town that no one has heard of. Calling "Natick" on a grid means the constructor dredged up some hugely esoteric proper name, like "Grover Cleveland's mother's middle name" to fill in the grid, then crosses it with equally vague baloney like "235th theoretical element in ion form." Basically, if Mr. or Ms. Constructor is gonna dazzle us with so much BS, the crosses better be a little simpler. Notice that 43D VAUGHAN was crossed with generally straightforward answers–that would be a candidate.

    And one small note, Bill: I think your info on RONCO is amiss. I'm pretty sure RONCO refers to the kitchen gadget company founded by Ron Popeil. But just enjoy the vacation. Say hello to J.R. and Bobby Ewing for me. 😀

  8. Should have added PARKAS for COCOAS
    FERAL for ALLEY CATS
    GENeral Hosp. for MASS AVE.
    Yes Bill, I think you copied and pasted BRONCO for RONCO.;-)
    And Ron Popeil is 80 and still at it.
    He wants to give me $850 worth of knives for ONLY $39 plus S&H. But wait, there's more!

  9. @Willie D: Thanks for that info. My first reaction was, "What's the matter with Natick?" since I used to spend a lot of time in Ashland, Mass., which is not far from Natick. Natick was the home of the famous and now defunct Jordan Marsh department store (or as they said up there, Jordan Maaash).
    @Pookie: The S&H is the killer — and probably the secret of Ron's success.

  10. Pookie, I think Ron is mostly retired now. His daughter Robin does most of the spots now. Johnny Carson did a hilarious sendup of Ron as Art Fern. I recall someone once asked Ron what it felt like to be lampooned on The Tonight Show, and Ron responded, "Probably the biggest compliment I ever got."

  11. @WillieD Using the term was just a backhanded way of saying that I couldn't get any of the clues on the grid at all. I actually had a couple of the long answers out of thin air (56-Across, 32-Down), but with no crosses to confirm, it was kind of difficult to go with them. I was on the right track with 28-Across, but really nothing to confirm it was SLAVE as opposed to the three or four other things that came to my mind.

    @macaronijack WillieD explained it fairly well. More properly in crosswords, Natick has been adopted more in terms of clues than grids. Basically, when one calls "Natick", it means a clue/answer has been given that no average person will have the chance to get/know, crossed with another or enough similar clues that it can not be obtained on crosses.

    More or less, it's saying that a part of a crossword needs to be fairly possible, even if difficult. WillieD described the popular reference, but in terms of clues, it would be something like "Boston Marathon 8th Mile". The only way you'd know the answer to that is if you were intimately familiar with the Boston Marathon or the geography of Massachusetts (i.e. live there). Other examples: "Nevada county or its seat" (ELKO), or "Game point, in tennis" (AD IN).

    Of course, a lot of these things are crosswordese or things the setters habitually use because of the number of vowels/odd letter combinations – useful to help fill a grid out. While no one uses those words/terms in real life (making them Naticks), they get common enough that it requires a successful crossword solver to learn that list of words. This is generally accepted enough, though.

  12. @WillieD I will note though that I got the Sunday grid fairly quickly after I DNFed this one with a good number of errors for me in such grids (eight), so I don't feel too dejected after this one. I'll have the NYT Sunday grid to do if I want something tomorrow, so I'll at least have a grid to do if I want one.

  13. Some fun, since SHATNER got brought up.

    Shatneresque

    Then any reference to such thing is amiss without mentioning his infamous music career, which is famous enough that he's built a small discography. His "music" features the typical Shatneresque readings much more than any real musical talent.

    One of his more famous performances: Rocket Man

  14. Bill, regarding the loan that the US Govt. made to Citi-bank ( among many other banks and financial companies -) was not entirely altruistic or for liquidity or solvency purposes. …. unlike say, the Greek banks, which are bankrupt.

    As numerous lawsuits ( in the subsequent years – ),by Citibank and AIG against the US govt. have shown, the loans were politically motivated, and, in many cases, were not even necessary.

  15. As to the massive loans that the US Government made to prop up the teetering financial system during the crisis that we found ourselves in back in 2008/2009 all I can say is when the house is on fire and you're hoping to save it from being completely consumed it's difficult, without having the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, to say the fire department shouldn't have used so much water, so indiscriminately in the moment.

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