LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Sep 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Amy Johnson
THEME: Jokes at a Convention … each of today’s themed answers is a “punny” ending to a sentence that starts with “The joke at the xxx convention …”, where the ending plays on the profession “xxx”.

20A. The joke at the audiologists’ convention __ FELL ON DEAF EARS
26A. The joke at the chemists’ convention __ GOT NO REACTION
44A. The joke at the firefighters’ convention __ WENT UP IN SMOKE
52A. The joke at the cashiers’ convention __ DID NOT REGISTER

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 29m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. “Poppycock!” PISH!
It is thought that the relatively gentle term “poppycock”, meaning “nonsense”, comes from a Dutch word for “dung” combined with a Latin word for “excrete”. Not so gentle after all …

10. Badlands Natl. Park site SDAK
Badlands may be “bad lands” for agriculture, but they can be beautiful. A badlands is an extensive area from which the topsoil has been eroded by wind and water, leaving exposed rock and very little vegetation. One of the most beautiful badlands areas in the US is preserved for the nation as South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

16. Pup follower? TENT
A pup tent is a small ridge tent, meant for use by 2-3 people. The term “pup tent” has been around since the mid-1800s. A pup tent was sometimes called a dog tent.

18. Lit. intro PREF
A “preface” is a book’s introduction that is written by the author himself or herself. A “foreword” is an introduction written by a different person, and precedes the author’s preface.

19. “Willard” antagonists RATS
“Willard” is an “icky” horror movie from 1971. The title character is a loner who develops a relationship with rats, and of course they get way out of control. One of Willard’s rats is named Ben, and Ben rates his own sequel that was released the next year. The most memorable thing about the sequel is the title song by Michael Jackson.

24. Indian author Santha Rama __ RAU
Santha Rama Rau was a travel writer from India who lived much of her life in the US. As well as writing her own books, Rau also adapted for the stage the E. M. Forster novel “A Passage to India”.

34. Normandy river ORNE
Orne is a department and river in the northwest of France. Perhaps one of the most famous locations in Orne is the village of Camembert, the home of the famous (and delicious!) cheese.

35. “Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future” org. NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

37. “POV” airer PBS
“POV” is a PBS television series that showcases independent documentary films. “POV” has been on the air since 1988.

39. “The Trumpet of the Swan” monogram EBW
Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White was an American writer. His most famous creations were the children’s stories “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little”, but he also co-authored the writing guide “The Elements of Style” (usually referred to as “Strunk & White”).

42. Vail topper SKI HAT
The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

47. Part of a friskiness metaphor OATS
Traditionally, wild oats was a crop that one would regret sowing instead of “good grain”. Young and tempestuous people were rash enough to sow their wild oats, and had yet to comprehend their folly. Over time, to “feel one’s oats” came to mean “be lively and confident”.

48. Jersey’s chew CUD
Ruminants are animals that “chew the cud”. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work.

Jersey cattle were originally bred on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands, off the coast of France. If you’ve seen Elsie the Cow, the mascot of Borden in the US, then you’ve seen a Jersey cow.

49. “The Simpsons” leisure suit wearer STU
On television’s “The Simpsons”, the character of Disco Stu is voiced by Hank Azaria, although Stu was voiced for a while by the late Phil Hartman. Disco Stu is described as “a black, wrinkly John Travolta”.

57. Lightest meson PION
A meson is an unstable subatomic particle, made up of one quark and one antiquark.

“Pion” is short for “pi meson”, and “kaon” is short for “K meson”.

58. Ex-TV host Stewart ALANA
Alana Stewart is a former model and actress. She had two famous husbands, but both marriages ended in divorce. Her first husband was actor George Hamilton, and her second was rock star Rod Stewart.

61. “R.U.R.” writer Capek KAREL
Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

62. Language that gave us “bard” ERSE
There are three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

Our word “bard” comes from the Old Celtic word “bardos”, which means “poet, singer”.

63. Old Royale 8’s REOS
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom E. Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.

64. Gambling aids: Abbr. SYSTS
Systems (systs.)

Down
2. Journey frontman Pineda ARNEL
Journey is a San Francisco band that got together back in 1973. Journey’s biggest hits are probably “Who’s Crying Now” (1981), “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981) and “Open Arms” (1982).

4. Henry James biographer EDEL
Leon Edel wrote a highly respected biography of author Henry James, for which Edel won a Pulitzer Prize. Leon’s younger brother Abraham was a noted philosopher and ethicist.

6. The Carpenters, e.g. POP DUO
Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time and toured as the Carpenters. Sadly, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.

9. “Meet the Fockers” co-star HOFFMAN
“Meet the Fockers” is a 2004 comedy, a sequel to the 2000 hit called “Meet the Parents”. And then in 2010, along came the third film in the series, “Little Fockers”. That last one I haven’t seen …

11. Word John doesn’t want to see? DEAR
Apparently the term “Dear John letter” originated in WWII among American troops who were serving abroad. The servicemen highly valued letters from girlfriends and wives back home, and almost invariably those missives started out with “Dearest”, or “My Darling” or some other expression of affection. A curt, “Dear John” set the tone for a letter which was likely to contain news of a new love interest in the life of the girlfriend or wife.

13. Lapidary’s meas. KTS
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

A lapidary is an artist who works with gemstones to make decorative jewelry items. The term ultimately derives from the Latin “lapis” meaning “stone”.

21. Some flatbreads NANS
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.

22. Nero’s “Behold!” ECCE!
The Roman emperor Nero had quite the family life. When Nero was just 16-years-old he married his stepsister, Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

27. Ref. shelf filler OED
The “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) contains over 300,000 “main” entries and 59 million words in total. It is said it would take a single person 120 years to type it out in full. The longest entry for one word in the second edition of the OED is the verb “set”. When the third edition was published in 2007, the longest entry for a single word became the verb “put”. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most-quoted author in the OED is William Shakespeare, with his most quoted work being “Hamlet”. The most-quoted female author is George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans).

28. Singer Rihanna’s first name ROBYN
The singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. “Rihanna” is her stage name, as she was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”.

30. Workers’ rights org. OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

31. Tweed lampooner NAST
Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. Nast was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party’s donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today. Thomas Nast drew some famous cartoons in which he depicted the Tammany Society as a vicious tiger that was killing democracy. Nast’s use of the tiger symbology caught on and was used by other cartoonists to harp at the society.

William Magear Tweed was known as “Boss” Tweed. He was a 19th-century, American politician who led the Democratic Party machine in New York, headquartered in Tammany Hall. He was one of the most successful of the corrupt politicians of the day, siphoning from taxpayers (in today’s money) billions of dollars. In 1871 he was arrested, and served time in jail. He was then rearrested on civil charges and served time in debtor’s prison. He managed to escape to Spain, but was arrested once more and extradited to the United States. He died in jail in 1878.

32. Drake, maybe SMEW
The smew is a beautiful-looking species of duck found right across northern Europe and Asia. The smew requires trees to complete its breeding cycle as it nests in tree holes, such as old woodpecker nests.

A male duck is called a “drake” and a female duck is called a “duck”, or sometimes a “hen”.

33. Start of a dramatic question TO BE …

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

37. Like new snow PRISTINE
Something described as “pristine” has its original purity, is uncorrupted.

40. Evita’s man JUAN
Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” was also the follow-up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and was based on the life of Eva Perón.

43. Grizzly Alaskans? KODIAKS
Brown bears are found over much of northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The biggest subspecies of brown bear is the Kodiak Bear, the largest land-based predator in the world. The Kodiak grows to about the same size as the enormous polar bear.

45. Walk wearing Luvs TODDLE
“Huggies” and “Luvs” are brands of disposable diapers.

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term diaper was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, diaper was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

50. Principle TENET
A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

51. Dividing range URALS
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

54. Till opener ROTO-
Rototill is a brand name of a small rotary hoe used in domestic gardens.

56. NFL team with a home field bleachers section called the Dawg Pound CLE
There’s a section of the bleachers in the Cleveland Browns Stadium where many of the most ardent fans hang out, a section called the Dawg Pound.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Better protected SAFER
6. “Poppycock!” PISH!
10. Badlands Natl. Park site SDAK
14. Coarse CRUDE
15. Suspicious of ONTO
16. Pup follower? TENT
17. Up for grabs, in a way UNLET
18. Lit. intro PREF
19. “Willard” antagonists RATS
20. The joke at the audiologists’ convention __ FELL ON DEAF EARS
23. Solo, say FLY
24. Indian author Santha Rama __ RAU
25. Century-starting year MMCI
26. The joke at the chemists’ convention __ GOT NO REACTION
32. Not treat lightly STRESS
34. Normandy river ORNE
35. “Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future” org. NSA
36. __ swings MOOD
37. “POV” airer PBS
38. Extreme degrees NTHS
39. “The Trumpet of the Swan” monogram EBW
40. Boxed dozen JURY
42. Vail topper SKI HAT
44. The joke at the firefighters’ convention __ WENT UP IN SMOKE
47. Part of a friskiness metaphor OATS
48. Jersey’s chew CUD
49. “The Simpsons” leisure suit wearer STU
52. The joke at the cashiers’ convention __ DID NOT REGISTER
56. Not even close COLD
57. Lightest meson PION
58. Ex-TV host Stewart ALANA
59. Kick back LOLL
60. Required bet ANTE
61. “R.U.R.” writer Capek KAREL
62. Language that gave us “bard” ERSE
63. Old Royale 8’s REOS
64. Gambling aids: Abbr. SYSTS

Down
1. Shining target SCUFF
2. Journey frontman Pineda ARNEL
3. Mature FULLY GROWN
4. Henry James biographer EDEL
5. Backtalk RETORTS
6. The Carpenters, e.g. POP DUO
7. Regarding IN RE
8. Mississippi travelers STEAMERS
9. “Meet the Fockers” co-star HOFFMAN
10. Channel relative STRAIT
11. Word John doesn’t want to see? DEAR
12. They’re seen in columns ANTS
13. Lapidary’s meas. KTS
21. Some flatbreads NANS
22. Nero’s “Behold!” ECCE!
27. Ref. shelf filler OED
28. Singer Rihanna’s first name ROBYN
29. Where a love story may be written IN THE STARS
30. Workers’ rights org. OSHA
31. Tweed lampooner NAST
32. Drake, maybe SMEW
33. Start of a dramatic question TO BE …
37. Like new snow PRISTINE
38. End to peace? -NIK
40. Evita’s man JUAN
41. As expected UP TO PAR
42. Complacent SMUG
43. Grizzly Alaskans? KODIAKS
45. Walk wearing Luvs TODDLE
46. Dramatic units SCENES
50. Principle TENET
51. Dividing range URALS
52. When one __ closes … DOOR
53. Hardly blessed events ILLS
54. Till opener ROTO-
55. Crack up SLAY
56. NFL team with a home field bleachers section called the Dawg Pound CLE

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14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Sep 15, Friday”

  1. DNF for not being able to even get started. I have another word or three in mind, but I'll refrain. I almost have to echo what another commenter said over on the NYT blog: I have to wonder if there's grid makers that just shop for things to fill out grids that they themselves don't even know just to try to make the grids as impossible as they can make them, rather than focus on them being possible.

  2. There was nothing SMUG about how I felt after that puzzle. I got clobbered. I'll just say I needed "several" googles on that one. The theme definitely helped but not enough. I had STATS instead of SYSTS so that messed up the entire SE corner. But can you mess up a puzzle that was already messed up??

    I think it's fairer to just say sometimes the setters throw a bone to the truly accomplished solvers. Or maybe I'm being too kind to them?? We don't think about it, but solvers like Bill get challenged so rarely that I suspect he relishes puzzles like these. I, on the other hand, get challenged by pretty much anything.

    Mesons are very interesting things made up of quarks and antiquarks (essentially quarks with antimatter). Pi meson neutral (PIONs) quarks have one up, one down and one strange quark as well as one up one down and one strange antiquarks…for whatever that's worth. Stange is just a quality that I won't bother to go into here (your welcome). There are also positive and negative PIONs.

    Quarks can be up or down. Ups have a +2/3 charge, downs a -1/3 charge so a proton is an up-up-down which adds up to a plus 1 charge (neutron an up-down-down 0 charge). Everything we know of occurs in nature in an integer plus or minus charge so quarks are never alone. Apparently the universe doesn't like fractions anymore than school kids. Elegant stuff really.

    All matter we know of is made up of quarks and electrons. So all this other stuff is the result of creating matter artificially via high energy collisions at super colliders that Vidwan loves so much. It's basically opened up an entire new world beyond protons and neutrons…and of course the possibility that another form of matter actually turns the energy into mass during these collisions…..ie the Higgs Boson particle we talk about here….if it exists.

    Sorry for the rant, but this stuff is near and dear to me and I find it absolutely fascinating. It reminds me of the question- if you ate pasta and then antipasta, would you still be hungry afterwards?? THAT is the question all physicists ponder daily…

    Best –

  3. Continuing on my saga of eye problems, I had to make a trip to my eye doctor – by myself, since my wife was otherwise occupied. What, with the anesthesia drops lidocaine HCl to measure eye pressure and the Atropine and other eye dilators … i was pretty much blind in both eyes. so, it was a miracle that I could drive home – 24 miles on the freeway, all by myself. thankfully, nobody honked, but about 4 drivers were kind enough to slow down, and yell out directions, all the while pointing at the sky …. maybe they thought the sky was falling ?

    Thats it. Ive decided that at the next monthly appointment, I am just going to check myself in into the adjacent Ronald McDonald house – and order myself a half dozen of happy meals, until the effect wears off.

  4. @Vidwan The doctor and staff LET you drive home alone???? Yikes, couldn't they just let you sit around for a few hours in the waiting room?
    That's scary.
    Finished (finally) the puzzle only to discover ECCO/ARNO were incorrect.
    I was thinking of Ecco Domani wines.
    Darn those European 4-letter rivers!!!
    Got the long answers with not much problem.
    Fun puzzle, even though I got 2 wrong.

  5. My second post.
    Thank you Jeff, for your kind and illuminating post. BTW, I am not that smart, and way more stupider than I appear… I am SO glad, I am no longer required to study atomic physics – what with the huge number of additional particles ( and anti-particles ) that have been discovered and invented ( so cavalierly – ) since I studies the simple Bohr modelof the atom…. When will this manufactory process ever end ?

    I had a problem reading the clues today, so I just read the answers – they were in bigger block letters, hence legible – thats my story, and I am sticking to it.

    I recognised PISH, – that's the command word my darling jewish neighbor uses for her lovable yellow lab, when she takes Sophie for a walk, on a leash. I'm relieved to know that it is a legitimate word. I thought she just made it up.

    Joke at an Opthalmologists conv. – Failed to see the punch line.
    Joke at an CPA's conv. – the narrative was too taxing.
    Joke at an Atomic physicists conv. – An anti-joke is never funny.
    joke at a crossword conv. – was lost in a natick.
    joke at a political conv. – fell off the platform.

    Enough groans. Have a happy day, all.

  6. The whole puzzle failed to register. There were only abt 3 answers I was sure of, and that's not much of a start.

    Tony, loved the Yogi-isms!

    Physics is not my thing, but I thought when pasta met anti-pasta they exploded?
    That's the impression I got from Star Trek.

    Bella

  7. Could not get the NW corner to fall into line no matter how hard I stared at it or how long a break I took from that staring. Doh! For instance I put in "to let" for 17 Across and 1 Down just never came close to being figured out. That was a toughie, no doubt.

    See you all tomorrow for what may be a second day of getting beat on by the crossword constructors fresh from their efforts in the Spanish Inquisition.

    Have a great weekend all.

  8. abbreviations, foreign words, overseas rivers, and unknown celebrities–if she had added a Sanskrit derivation abbreviation I possibly would not have cleared a single sector

  9. Hardest ever. Oh, I finished with the help of 16 Googles. Seven were abbrevs., which I don't respect greatly: EBW CLE PBS NSA KTS SDAK REOS.
    Didn't know RATS, since I thought Willard was one. Don't watch horror.
    STU – I should watch that show; Abu isn't always the answer.
    ROBYN – again, no interest.
    ARNEL – again.
    JUAN – knew the last name.
    KAREL – knew the last name.
    HOFFMAN – Hubster won't watch stuff with cats in it.
    Leon EDEL – if it were about his brother, I'd know, with my B.A. in Philo.
    PION – shame on me.

    Only got ALANA from crosses.
    I did get the theme.

    Also, think I'll read The Trumpet of the Swan; went way off on a tangent reading about the illustrator.
    Think I'll check out POV on PBS – it's on tonight at 10. So – educational gets 2 stars.

    Jeff and Vidwan – thanx for the back and forth.

  10. WEB, I love your explanations – so much better and more comprehensive than the other sites. No nonsense, just the facts, maam. They really educate me on the myriad ( I just used a crossword) of details of knowledge.

    On 13 Down – Lapidiary's meas. – KTS. I really think the constr. is looking for Karats as a measure of the weight of a precious or semi-precious gemstone as opposed to the purity of a precious metal, which an L may or may not be working with. most lapidiarys cut and polish stones, and are not necessarily jewellers or goldsmiths.

    Thus Karats as equal to one-fifth of a gram, or 0.2 grms.? tis a pity that the two Karats/Carats should sound alike and are sometimes used interchangeably – even tho' they are two entirely different concepts.

  11. I saw it as scruff at first too, but it's scuff, as in polishing scuffed shoes.

    I had bosh for pish. I had a great-aunt who used to say bosh!
    this was a hugely discouraging puzzle.
    Matt

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