LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Aug 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gareth Bain
THEME: Wow Factor … each of today’s themed answers is a three-word phrase with the initials WOW:

35A. Extremely impressive quality, informally … or, when read differently, what the four longest puzzle answers all have WOW FACTOR

17A. Argument WAR OF WORDS
24A. 1960 hit for Dion and the Belmonts WHERE OR WHEN
49A. Do the seemingly impossible, à la Jesus WALK ON WATER
59A. 1937 Laurel and Hardy film involving a prospector’s daughter and a gold mine WAY OUT WEST

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Lute-like Indian instrument SITAR
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

6. Genesis brother ABEL
In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

14. Technique-sharpening Chopin piece ETUDE
An étude is a SHORT instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer who spent most of his life in France. He was most famous for his piano works in the Romantic style. Chopin was a sickly man and died quite young, at 39. For many of his final years he had a celebrated and tempestuous relationship with the French author George Sand (the nom de plume of the Baroness Dudevant). Those years with Sand may have been turbulent, but they were very productive in terms of musical composition.

15. __ fide BONA
“Bona fide(s)” translates from the Latin as “in good faith”, and is used to indicate honest intentions. It can also mean that something is authentic, like a piece of art that is represented in good faith as being genuine.

19. Response to “Marco!” in a pool game POLO!
Marco Polo is a game of tag similar to blind man’s bluff that is played in a swimming pool. No one really seems to know for sure how the game got its distinctive name. One suggestion is that the explorer Marco Polo supposedly had no idea where he was going for much of his travels, and this trait is similar to person with his or her eyes closed in the pool.

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

21. Chicago’s Michigan, e.g.: Abbr. AVE
Chicago’s Michigan Avenue is home to many of the city’s landmarks, including the Chicago Water Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and the Magnificent Mile shopping district.

22. Hibachi spot PATIO
The traditional hibachi in Japan is a heating device, often a ceramic bowl or box that holds burning charcoal. This native type of hibachi isn’t used for cooking, but rather as a space heater (a brazier). Here in the US we use the term hibachi to refer to a charcoal grill used as a small cooking stove, which in Japanese would be called a “shichirin”. “Hibachi” is Japanese for “firepot” coming from “hi” meaning “fire”, and “bachi” meaning “bowl, pot”.

23. __ de Janeiro RIO
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil (after São Paulo). “Rio de Janeiro” translates as “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the bay on which Rio sits, on New Years Day in 1502.

24. 1960 hit for Dion and the Belmonts WHERE OR WHEN
“Where or When” is a Rodgers and Hart song from their 1937 musical “Babes in Arms”. Over twenty years later, Dio and the Belmonts recorded a cover version that made it to number 3 in the US charts.

Dion and the Belmonts were a vocal group from the fifties who had success in the late fifties. The four singers were from the Bronx in New York, with two living on Belmont Avenue, hence the name that was chosen. Perhaps the biggest hits for Dion and the Belmonts were “A Teenager in Love” and “Where or When”.

27. H.G. Wells genre SCI-FI
The full name of the English author known as H. G. Wells was Herbert George Wells. Wells is particularly well known for his works of science fiction, including “The War of the Worlds”, “The Time Machine”, “The Invisible Man” and “The Island of Doctor Moreau”. He was a prolific author, and a prolific lover as well. While married to one of his former students with whom he had two sons, he also had a child with writer Amber Reeves, and another child with author Rebecca West.

30. Genesis mother EVE
The Book of Genesis is the first book in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. Some of the principal figures in the book are Adam and Eve, Moses, Abraham and Jacob/Israel. “Genesis” is a Greek word meaning “origin, creation”.

33. Skin blemish ZIT
The slang term “zit”, meaning “a pimple”, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.

41. Many a mountain whose name ends in “horn” ALP
Many Alpine mountains have German names that end with “-horn”. Examples are Weisshorn and Matterhorn. “Horn” is German for “peak”.

45. Bauxite, e.g. ORE
Bauxite is an aluminum ore. It takes its name from the absolutely beautiful village of Les Baux in southern France, the home of the geologist who first recognized that the mineral was a useful source of the metal.

46. Michelle of the LPGA WIE
Michelle Wie is an American golfer on the LPGA Tour. Wie began playing golf at the age of four and was the youngest player ever to qualify for an LPGA tour event. She turned pro just before her 16th birthday …

47. Scarfed down ATE UP
“To scarf down” is teenage slang from the sixties meaning “to wolf down, to eat hastily”. The term is probably imitative of “to scoff”.

49. Do the seemingly impossible, à la Jesus WALK ON WATER
The miracle of Jesus walking on water is recounted in three of the Gospels in the Christian New Testament. The “water” on which the apostles witness this feat was the Sea of Galilee.

56. Bikini top BRA
The origin of the name “bikini”, a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name “bikini” was chosen for the swim-wear because of the “explosive” effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!

57. Skin art, for short TAT
The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”.

58. Pueblo-dwelling people HOPI
Many of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

A pueblo is a Native American village, a term used in the American Southwest. The buildings in a pueblo are usually made of stone and adobe mud.

59. 1937 Laurel and Hardy film involving a prospector’s daughter and a gold mine WAY OUT WEST
“Way Out West” is a 1937 Laurel and Hardy comedy. The film’s soundtrack includes the song “Trail of the Lonesome Pine”, famously performed by the Laurel and Hardy themselves. Their rendition of the song was released as a single in the UK in 1975 and actually made it to number two in the charts.

65. Eagle’s home AERIE
An aerie is the nest of an eagle, and is also known as an “eyrie”.

68. Actor Romero CESAR
Cesar Romero was an American actor of Cuban descent from New York. He played a wide variety of roles on the big screen, but is remembered by many for playing the Joker on the “Batman” television show in the sixties.

Down
2. Slanted letters ITALICS
Italic type leans to the right. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

4. “Much __ About Nothing” ADO
“Much Ado About Nothing” is a favorite of mine, a play by William Shakespeare. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast! Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

7. Destructive beetle BORER
“Borer” is a name given to various species of insect that bore into the woody parts of plants.

9. __ Vegas LAS
Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

10. Large edible fruit PAPAW
The papaw (also “pawpaw”) tree is native to North America and has a fruit that looks similar to a papaya. Papaw probably gets its name from the word papaya, but papaw and papaya are two distinct species.

25. Idle of Monty Python ERIC
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.

28. Baby deer FAWN
A fawn is a young deer, usually less than a year old.

32. Creator of Finn and Sawyer TWAIN
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain was first published in 1884, not here in the US but rather in England. The original launch planned for the US had to be delayed until the following year because some rascal had defaced the plate for one of the illustrations, making an obscene joke. Once the problem was spotted a new plate had to be made, and 30,000 copies already printed had to be reworked to cover up the obscenity.

Tom Sawyer is a favorite character created by Mark Twain. He turns up in four of Twain’s books:

– “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
– “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
– “Tom Sawyer Abroad”
– “Tom Sawyer, Detective”

But that’s not all, as he appears in at least three works that Twain left unfinished:

– “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians” (a sequel to “Huckleberry Finn”)
– “Schoolhouse Hill”
– “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy” (a sequel to “Tom Sawyer, Detective”)

34. Very dry, as Champagne BRUT
Sparkling wines can be classified according to sweetness. These classifications are, from driest to sweetest:

– Brut Nature
– Extra Brut
– Brut
– Extra Dry
– Dry
– Semi-Dry
– Sweet

37. Poet Khayyám OMAR
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”. Here are some lines from “Rubaiyat” …

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’t we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help–for it
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

39. Cicero’s skill ORATORY
Cicero was a very influential senator in Ancient Rome, in part due to his renowned ability to deliver a persuasive speech. His full name was Marcus Tullius Cicero.

43. Hunting dogs SETTERS
The setter breeds are hunting dogs. When the the dog encounters a prey, it freezes rather than gives chase. The distinctive crouch adopted is a called its “set”, giving the breed its name.

44. Landmass divided by the Urals EURASIA
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

46. Stir-fry pan WOK
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

53. __ de Cologne EAU
Back in 1709, an Italian perfume-maker moved to Cologne in Germany. There he invented a new fragrance that he named Eau de Cologne after his newly adopted town. The fragrance is still produced in Cologne, using a secret formulation. However, the terms “Eau de Cologne” and “cologne”, are now used generically.

61. Tic-toe filler TAC
When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Lute-like Indian instrument SITAR
6. Genesis brother ABEL
10. Golfers’ goals PARS
14. Technique-sharpening Chopin piece ETUDE
15. __ fide BONA
16. From scratch ANEW
17. Argument WAR OF WORDS
19. Response to “Marco!” in a pool game POLO!
20. Spreading tree ELM
21. Chicago’s Michigan, e.g.: Abbr. AVE
22. Hibachi spot PATIO
23. __ de Janeiro RIO
24. 1960 hit for Dion and the Belmonts WHERE OR WHEN
27. H.G. Wells genre SCI-FI
29. Have regrets about RUE
30. Genesis mother EVE
31. Bias SLANT
33. Skin blemish ZIT
34. Raised, as horses BRED
35. Extremely impressive quality, informally … or, when read differently, what the four longest puzzle answers all have WOW FACTOR
38. Cooking oil source CORN
41. Many a mountain whose name ends in “horn” ALP
42. Tickle AMUSE
45. Bauxite, e.g. ORE
46. Michelle of the LPGA WIE
47. Scarfed down ATE UP
49. Do the seemingly impossible, à la Jesus WALK ON WATER
54. Uni- + bi- TRI-
55. Smelled a lot STANK
56. Bikini top BRA
57. Skin art, for short TAT
58. Pueblo-dwelling people HOPI
59. 1937 Laurel and Hardy film involving a prospector’s daughter and a gold mine WAY OUT WEST
63. Old-style “once” ERST
64. Sunup direction EAST
65. Eagle’s home AERIE
66. Tinting agents DYES
67. Jazz group instrument BASS
68. Actor Romero CESAR

Down
1. Underground waste conduits SEWERS
2. Slanted letters ITALICS
3. Confused state TURMOIL
4. “Much __ About Nothing” ADO
5. NFL official REF
6. Higher in rank than ABOVE
7. Destructive beetle BORER
8. Conclude END
9. __ Vegas LAS
10. Large edible fruit PAPAW
11. One more ANOTHER
12. Ease, as pain RELIEVE
13. Fainted SWOONED
18. Stroller cry WAH!
22. Lead-in for heat or cook PRE-
24. Derelict overdoing the grape WINO
25. Idle of Monty Python ERIC
26. “I’m __ here!”: “Bye!” OUTTA
28. Baby deer FAWN
32. Creator of Finn and Sawyer TWAIN
33. Microwave ZAP
34. Very dry, as Champagne BRUT
36. Aviated FLEW
37. Poet Khayyám OMAR
38. Bovine shelter COWSHED
39. Cicero’s skill ORATORY
40. Health setback RELAPSE
43. Hunting dogs SETTERS
44. Landmass divided by the Urals EURASIA
46. Stir-fry pan WOK
48. Half of a rain rhythm PITTER-
50. Gentle washer setting KNITS
51. Vast chasm ABYSS
52. Runs easily TROTS
53. __ de Cologne EAU
59. Spider’s creation WEB
60. Little battery size AAA
61. Tic-toe filler TAC
62. Very little, to a Scot WEE

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10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Aug 15, Tuesday”

  1. Wow, I think this grid may have set the record for the most crosswordese in a single dose. Whatever happened to Bain's snarky, sneaky late-week puzzles?

    BTW, happy birthday to Erwin Schrödinger. Hope the cat is well. 😀

  2. @Willie – maybe he wrote it a long time ago.

    I've heard 2 reports – the cat is both well and not well. He got plenty of sleep, but his allergies are acting up, since he's particularly allergic to other cats.

    The issue I had with this puzzle was to call a BASS an instrument. A BASS what?

  3. From last night, Thank you, Carrie, for your good wishes. The next generation of kids are getting smarter – in their own way. I bought a DVD called,'Cloudy with meatballs', and my 4 yr old g'kid was watching it. Midway through the movie, it started raining hamburgers. The kid goes, 'hey, its raining hamburgers – that's not meatballs. I want to watch the 'other, real' movie. Not this one'. I persuaded him to have some more patience. Then I thought about the incident. A 4 yr old can psycho-analyze a cartoon ?!?

    The puzzle today by the feared Mr. Bain, was simple enough, …. to go with the day of the week. I am not going to complain to this redoubtable and formidable master of construction. Merely say a silent prayer of gratitude. I had a great time and great timing on my score.

    Willie D. – Schrodinger's cat is well ….. provides it keeps suppressing its curiosity and its hunger. ;-D)

    Have a great day, and a great week, all.

  4. A little note;—– papaw is more commonly spelled as paw paw – or pawpaw .

    It is the "Official State Native fruit" of the (great – ) state of Ohio.

    Unfortunately, it is not often cultivated or available for sale, and I intend to buy one ( my first one, ever – ) sometime this fall.

    I've been told it tastes like a custard apple – Sugar Apple – which if true, would make it the nectar of the gods.

    Well, lets see…..

  5. I was over-thinking 6D "Higher in rank than" and put ABLER!
    WAR OF WORDS fixed that.
    Of course I immediately had to google PAPAW ^0^
    Good puzzle, went smoothly.
    I guess I don't have to cringe if Gareth shows up at the first of the week.

  6. Gareth took it very easy on us indeed today. Maybe he's growing soft.

    FWIW – I found Huck Finn a much more compelling character than Tom Sawyer. Tom was naive, and Huck had an edge to him. Just my humble opinion.

    The "Twain system" is so confusing I never found a rhyme or reason to it. We had to memorize it. Starting at a depth of 6 feet and going in 1.5 foot increments it goes Mark One, Quarter One, Half One, Quarter less Twain, Mark Twain, Quarter Twain, Half Twain, Quarter less Ta-Ree (THAT could have been a cooler name)……ultimately it finishes at Mark 4 (24 ft depth) and No Bottom. If there's a pnuemonic for that, I'd like to know it….

    Best

  7. ….sorry – mnemonic. I was just talking to a friend who came down with pnuemonia while writing that….Maybe I coined a new term – an infection of the lungs that helps you remember things..??

  8. Correction – Moses ("Moshe" in Hebrew) isn't mentioned in Genesis – he makes his first appearance in Exodus (Chapter 2) where he is named Moshe by the daughter of Pharaoh because she drew him (Hebrew root – "mashah") out of the water of the Nile where he had been floating in an ark of bulrushes which his mother had contrived to enable him to escape the Pharaonic decree that all male Israelite children were to be thrown into the river.
    PS My father liked pawpaw (that's the spelling I know) so much that he ate it for breakfast every day – so the saying was "Papa loves pawpaw.

  9. Hey @Jeff, I think the term you coined refers to that ill feeling one gets going into a test without having employed a system to remember the answers!
    Nice puzzle today, and it was a treat to read a bit of Khayyam (thanks, auto-correct, I would have misspelled that!)
    Let's see what Wednesday brings…

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