LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Sep 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Frank Virzi
THEME: M O Town … each of today’s themed answers starts with the letters MO:

62A. Record label founded in Detroit … and, when divided into three words, where to find the answers to starred clues? MOTOWN (or “M-O-TOWN”)

17A. *Six-time ’30s-’40s N.L. home run champ MEL OTT
25A. *Donny’s ’70s TV co-host MARIE OSMOND
39A. *Sense of duty, per one’s personal ethics MORAL OBLIGATION
49A. *It’s often “burned” during exam week MIDNIGHT OIL

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Where to find screwdrivers? BAR TAB
The cocktail called a screwdriver is a mix of fresh orange juice with vodka. Apparently the drink originated with a group of engineers in the late forties who used to spike small cans of orange juice with vodka, and then stir it in with their screwdrivers.

7. Buddhist teacher LAMA
“Lama” is a Tibetan word, meaning “chief” or “high priest”.

14. Bold & Crispy Fries maker ORE-IDA
Ore-Ida frozen foods are all made with potatoes. The company is located in Oregon, just across the border from Idaho. “Ore-Ida” is a melding of the two state names.

16. Sea, in Marseille MER
Marseille (often written “Marseilles” in English) is the second largest city in France, after Paris. Marseille is also the largest commercial port in the country. I used to live nearby, and it’s a lovely, lovely place.

17. *Six-time ’30s-’40s N.L. home run champ MEL OTT
At 5′ 9″, Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.

18. Zippo NADA
The word “nothing” translates to “nada” in Spanish.

The use of the words “zip” and “zippo” to mean “nothing” dates back to the early 1900s when it was student slang for being graded zero on a test.

21. MD-to-be’s exam MCAT
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

25. *Donny’s ’70s TV co-host MARIE OSMOND
The former teen idol Donny Osmond was a member of the Osmond Brothers singing group that appeared for years on the “The Andy Williams Show”. At the height of his solo career, Donny teamed up with his younger sister Marie Osmond in their own variety show called “Donny & Marie”. The pair have been working together ever since and have been appearing at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas since 2008.

27. Nickname for Ruth, with “The” BAMBINO
Baseball legend George Herman Ruth, Jr. had several nicknames, the best known being “Babe”. He was also called “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat”.

31. Strahan co-host RIPA
When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting job.

When Regis Philbin retired from his famous morning talk show with Kelly Ripa, he was eventually replaced by former NFL player Michael Strahan. Apparently Strahan’s addition to the show has been extremely well received by audiences.

32. Coral island ATOLL
An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.

33. One-named Nigerian singer SADE
Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

36. Bruins’ sch. UCLA
The UCLA Bruins mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.

43. Caustic cleaners LYES
What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

44. __-wip: dessert topping REDDI
Reddi-Wip is a brand of sweetened whip cream that comes out of a pressurized can. The propellant used in the can is nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas”, which is the same gas used by dentists as an anesthetic.

45. Swiss river AARE
The Aar (also called the “Aare” in German) is the longest river entirely in Switzerland. A famous spot along the Aar is the Reichenbach Falls in the center of the country, actually a series of waterfalls near the city of Meiringen. These falls are renowned in the world of literature as it was here that Sherlock Holmes fell to his supposed doom with his nemesis Professor Moriarty (in “The Adventure of the Final Problem”).

53. Cases the joint for, say ABETS
The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

The term “case the joint” is American slang dating back at least to 1915, meaning to examine a location with the intent of robbing it. The origins of the phrase are apparently unknown.

55. Ingrid’s “Casablanca” role ILSA
Ilsa Lund was played by Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie “Casablanca”. I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: “she paints his face with her eyes”. Wow …

59. Fashion initials YSL
Yves Saint-Laurent was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

60. Apple computer IMAC
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such strawberry, blueberry and lime.

62. Record label founded in Detroit … and, when divided into three words, where to find the answers to starred clues? MOTOWN (or “M-O-TOWN”)
Motown Records is a record label that was founded in 1959 in Detroit (aka “Motor City” or “Motown”). The founder of Motown records was Berry Gordy, Jr.

64. Where Antwerp is: Abbr. BEL
The port city of Antwerp is the second most populous urban area in Belgium after the capital Brussels. To most of the French-speaking population of the country, Antwerp is known as Anvers.

67. “Bambi” doe ENA
Ena is Bambi’s aunt in the 1942 Disney film “Bambi”. The movie is based on the novel “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” written by Austrian author Felix Salten and first published in 1923. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.

68. Daring exploit GEST
Our word “gest” meaning a great deed or an exploit has been around since about 1300, and comes from the Old French word “geste” meaning the same thing. These days “geste” can also mean “gesture”.

Down
4. Hombres en la familia TIOS
In Spanish, uncles (tios) are men in the family (hombres en la familia).

5. Home alarm co. ADT
ADT is a home and small-business security company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company was founded in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Calahan had invented the stock ticker several years earlier, and ran the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company. Calahan was awoken one morning by the sound of a burglar in his house, and so he decided to develop a telegraph-based security alarm system. The success of the system led to the founding of American District Telegraph, later known as ADT.

6. Bruce Wayne’s alter ego BATMAN
Bruce Wayne is the secret identity of Batman in the comic series created by DC Comics. The first name of Bruce was chosen as a homage to the Scottish king and heroic figure, Robert the Bruce. The family name was a nod to “Mad Anthony” Wayne, the US Army general and statesman who rose to prominence in the Revolutionary War.

7. Island veranda LANAI
A lanai is a type of veranda, a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.

8. Striped quartz AGATE
Agate is a micro-crystalline form of quartz (so is related to sand/silica). Some agate samples have deposited layers that give a striped appearance, and these are called “banded agate”.

9. Trendy, ’60s-style MOD
“Mod” is short for “modernist”, and describes a subculture that originated in London in the late fifties. Young men who called themselves mods tended to wear tailored suits, listen to pop music and drive around on Italian motor scooters. Mods came into conflict with another subculture that emerged at the same time in the UK called the rockers. Rockers were into rock and roll music, and drove motorcycles I remember as a young kid in school having to declare myself as either a mod or a rocker. I don’t think our “gangs” back then were quite the same as they are today though …

10. Andre of tennis AGASSI
Renowned tennis professional Andre Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on? Agassi married former tennis champion Steffi Graf in 2001.

11. Protein building blocks AMINO ACIDS
Amino acids are essential to life in many ways, not least of which is their use as the building blocks of proteins.

22. Trio member with Stills and Nash CROSBY
The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.

27. When doubled, playmate of Pebbles BAMM
In the classic cartoon show “The Flintstones”, Pebbles is the red-haired daughter of Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Pebbles’ best friend Bamm-Bamm lives next door, the adopted son of Barney and Betty Rubble. As the franchise developed, so did the two youngsters, and eventually were married.

28. Yours, to Yves A TOI
“À toi” is the French term for “yours”, when talking to someone with whom one is familiar. “À toi” literally means “to you”.

29. Italian pork sausage MORTADELLA
Mortadella is a pork sausage from the Italian city of Bologna. The American meat called “Bologna sausage” or “bologna” is so called because it resembles mortadella from Bologna.

34. Ingredient in a black and tan ALE
The alcoholic drink known as a “half-and-half” is 50-50 mix of two different types of beer. Back in Ireland a half-and-half is made from an Irish ale on the bottom with Guinness floated on top. Over here you might see that combination referred to as a “Black and Tan”, but we tend to avoid that reference in my homeland. The Black and Tans were British paramilitary units deployed in Ireland in the early 1920s to suppress the movement for independence. They weren’t very good guys …

35. ’70s clubs DISCOS
Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

37. Ore deposit LODE
A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

38. Spanish cordial ANIS
Anis is a Spanish liqueur, equivalent to what’s called anisette in other countries (in France, for example). It has a licorice taste as it is produced by distilling the seeds of the anis plant. Like all anis-type drinks, it is usually mixed with water and turns a milky white color when the water is added.

40. Cassini of fashion OLEG
Oleg Cassini, the French-born American fashion designer, had two big names particularly associated with his designs. In the sixties he produced the state wardrobe for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and he was also the exclusive designer for Hollywood’s Gene Tierney, who was Cassini’s second wife.

41. Sea divided by shrinkage ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

48. Acid or base indicator LITMUS
Litmus is a mixture of naturally-occurring dyes that responds to acidity by changing color. Litmus was probably first used around 1300 by the Spanish alchemist Arnaldus de Villa Nova, who extracted the blue dye from lichens. One suggestion is that the term “litmus” comes from the Old Norse “litmose” meaning “lichen for dyeing”.

50. “A Doll’s House” playwright IBSEN
“A Doll’s House” is probably the most famous play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play deals with the feminist awakening of the lead character, Nora Helmer. “A Doll’s House” is sometimes referred to as the “first true feminist play”.

52. “Be silent,” in music TACET
“Tacet” is a musical direction meaning “be silent”. It is typically written on a score to instruct a particular voice or instrument to remain silent for a whole movement. “Tacet” is Latin for “it is silent”.

55. “How sweet __!” IT IS
“How sweet it is!” was perhaps Jackie Gleason’s most famous catchphrase. Gleason grew up in Brooklyn, and drivers entering the borough today via the Brooklyn Bridge are greeted by a road sign announcing “How Sweet It Is!”

57. __’Pea SWEE
Originally Popeye used the nickname “Swee’pea” to address his girlfriend Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye’s doorstep. Popeye adopts the little guy and raises him, calling him “Swee’Pea”.

61. Stooge with bangs MOE
If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you’ll have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

63. “Cat __ Hot Tin Roof” ON A
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is the play that won Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. The play was adapted into a famous film version in 1958, with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman playing the leads.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Where to find screwdrivers? BAR TAB
7. Buddhist teacher LAMA
11. Circle segment ARC
14. Bold & Crispy Fries maker ORE-IDA
15. Eagerly interested AGOG
16. Sea, in Marseille MER
17. *Six-time ’30s-’40s N.L. home run champ MEL OTT
18. Zippo NADA
19. Square root of IX III
20. Relatives of gulfs BAYS
21. MD-to-be’s exam MCAT
23. Lightly burn SINGE
25. *Donny’s ’70s TV co-host MARIE OSMOND
27. Nickname for Ruth, with “The” BAMBINO
31. Strahan co-host RIPA
32. Coral island ATOLL
33. One-named Nigerian singer SADE
36. Bruins’ sch. UCLA
39. *Sense of duty, per one’s personal ethics MORAL OBLIGATION
42. Baseball glove MITT
43. Caustic cleaners LYES
44. __-wip: dessert topping REDDI
45. Swiss river AARE
47. School periods CLASSES
49. *It’s often “burned” during exam week MIDNIGHT OIL
53. Cases the joint for, say ABETS
54. Sunup point EAST
55. Ingrid’s “Casablanca” role ILSA
59. Fashion initials YSL
60. Apple computer IMAC
62. Record label founded in Detroit … and, when divided into three words, where to find the answers to starred clues? MOTOWN (or “M-O-TOWN”)
64. Where Antwerp is: Abbr. BEL
65. “Uh-uh” NOPE
66. Banded together UNITED
67. “Bambi” doe ENA
68. Daring exploit GEST
69. Gets wise with SASSES

Down
1. Lay an egg, so to speak BOMB
2. Neck of the woods AREA
3. Depend (on) RELY
4. Hombres en la familia TIOS
5. Home alarm co. ADT
6. Bruce Wayne’s alter ego BATMAN
7. Island veranda LANAI
8. Striped quartz AGATE
9. Trendy, ’60s-style MOD
10. Andre of tennis AGASSI
11. Protein building blocks AMINO ACIDS
12. Sit on the throne REIGN
13. Bawled CRIED
22. Trio member with Stills and Nash CROSBY
24. Ascribes IMPUTES
25. Pepper grinder MILL
26. Calif. neighbor OREG
27. When doubled, playmate of Pebbles BAMM
28. Yours, to Yves A TOI
29. Italian pork sausage MORTADELLA
30. Brazenly obvious BLATANT
34. Ingredient in a black and tan ALE
35. ’70s clubs DISCOS
37. Ore deposit LODE
38. Spanish cordial ANIS
40. Cassini of fashion OLEG
41. Sea divided by shrinkage ARAL
46. On the upswing RISING
48. Acid or base indicator LITMUS
49. Waffler’s word MAYBE
50. “A Doll’s House” playwright IBSEN
51. Oodles HEAPS
52. “Be silent,” in music TACET
55. “How sweet __!” IT IS
56. Oodles LOTS
57. __’Pea SWEE
58. Clause joiners ANDS
61. Stooge with bangs MOE
63. “Cat __ Hot Tin Roof” ON A

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Sep 15, Tuesday”

  1. More weirdness, and enough esoterica to give me 4 errors. 2 surrounding 29-Down, 1 (17-Across) partly due to confusion of the theme, and 1 ultimately stupid in hindsight (7-Across, I had RAGA).

    This must be a particularly hard week of grids (hate to see what late week's going to look like).

  2. The theme kinda fell flat for me. The cluing on AGOG and GEST seem off to me as well. And what, no love for Neil Young of CSNY? Also not a fan of clues totally in foreign languages (TIOS). If ya wanna write a Spanish crossword, go ahead. I'm sure they're out there.

    Now where's this rain they kept scaring me about?

  3. Nice grid except i got stuck on the MORTADELLA/AARE cross. It wouldn't have mattered if I had guessed the A anyway as I had misspelled BLATANT (BLATENT – duh) in the first place.

    Isn't a virgin screwdriver where you leave out the orange juice? 🙂

    @Carrie
    Did you sit in front of the puzzle aperturbed over AGOG? It's a little different in that GOG isn't a word….I don't think.

    @Willie
    You raise an interesting point about crosswords in other languages. I've googled a few in Spanish and some other languages just to see what they look like. They do exist, but they aren't the tight continous square grids like the English ones are. There are a lot of letters out in space left uncrossed.

    I suspect something about English being a not very inflected language lends itself more to crosswords than other languages with more uniform endings for every word. But it would be interesting to research such a thing……for someone else.

    Best –

  4. Finished w/ no errors, although the cross of gest(?) and tacet was a guess.
    I looked up gest. The definitions don't match the examples. If the wordsmiths don't know what it means, how is that not a natick?
    Matt

  5. Also finished w/ no errors, one of my faster efforts. Guessed on gest. Amazingly, I got Mel Ott, the Bambino and Agassi.

    Bella

  6. Well I got the puzzle OK, but I don't get the theme. I know all of the theme answers are M and O, but what does TOWN have to do with it?
    Does it mean I can find MARIE OSMOND and MEL OTT in M O town?
    Is there a lot of MORAL OBLIGATION and MIDNIGHT OIL there also?
    Meh for me.

  7. Too many references to names: 14A, 17A, 25A, 27A, 31A, 33A, 36A, 44A, 55A, 5D, 6D, 10D, 22D, 27D, 40D, 50D, 61D, 63D. That is a total of 18 clues involving names.

  8. Puzzle was interesting. didn't get the theme – couldn't even guess at it. Let it go. Don't sweat the small things – said he to himself.

    First thought that Antwerp was in the Neatherlands. Finally corrected it with perps.

    I put in 'lama' because thats the only tibetian I know. Worked ….

    I think I might have linked this before, Botswana banded Agate . I have a small, small bunch of these stones and they do relieve my worries ….. at times. At other times, not.

    Re; Reddi-whip. If you keep the Reddiwhip can right side up and press, only the nitrous oxide comes out. Some teens use this 'trick', to try out (sniff) the laughing gas. Told to us parents, by a 'drug expert', during a 'drug education' seminar at my daughters' high school many moons ago ….

    Bill, thanks for the info that Swee Pea was a boy. How did they know ?
    Mortadella sounds like 'the death of Della'. The only Della I knew was the secretary/ girlfriend of Perry Mason.

    Have a nice day, all.

  9. I've always thought "Reddi-whip" would be an excellent name for an instant (bondage &) discipline product. But maybe I'm beating a dead sundae here?

  10. Agreed on the foreign language clues. Not everyone is conversationally fluent in every common language on the earth.

    @Jeff From taking Spanish classes (long ago), I will note the problem with crossword creation in that language (and why the grids are so wonky as I've witnessed myself in looking) is that it (and all the other Romance languages) are very logically uniform. By contrast, English is not logically uniform (homophone words, things like parking on the driveway and driving on the parkway for example), and is considered one of the hardest languages on earth to learn.

    Anyway, in Spanish, most words have uniform endings to indicate the gender of a word (e.g. nino versus nina). As well, Spanish verbs have uniform endings to denote actors for that verb (e.g. hablo, habla, hablas, hablamos, hablan) – anything that is not an irregular verb will have the exact same letter endings.

    So imagine, if you're trying to create a grid with a language where so many of the letters are identical, it becomes a nightmare to cross them in the same way as grids like this one. You either would have to get very repetitive with certain words that contain those common endings (and make the challenge level exceedingly low), or you'd have to make the grid much sparser to accommodate crossing the common endings that exist in most all the words. Of course, you couldn't use too many of the same words with the same endings, or you couldn't form a cross with them at all. Or confine yourself to proper nouns which aren't uniformly lettered, which probably wouldn't make the grid too fun or possible for that matter.

    Anyway, I thought I'd explain that.

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