LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Oct 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mark Bickham
THEME: Diminutive Beginnings … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase, starting with a synonym of “diminutive, tiny”. And, the clue refers to an unexpected meaning of that common phrase:

17A. Hummingbird feature? SMALL BILL
26A. Foothills? SHORT-RANGE
37A. Hot Wheels Volkswagen? MINIATURE GOLF
50A. Potty-training tool? LITTLE JOHN
60A. Mouthpiece for a Lilliputian horse? TEENSY BIT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 29m 59s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … SKYY (Skye!), TOY (toe!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Type of hippo PYGMY
There are only two extant species in the Hippopotamidae family, one being the common hippopotamus and the other being the smaller cousin, the pygmy hippopotamus.

14. Child on TV for decades JULIA
Julia Child was an American chef who is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public. During WWII, Julia Child joined the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services), the predecessor to the CIA. She worked for the OSS in Washington, Ceylon and China. While in the OSS, she met her husband Paul Child who was also an OSS employee. Paul joined the Foreign Service after the war, and it was his posting to France that created the opportunity for Julie to learn about French cuisine. If you haven’t seen it, I highly, highly recommend the movie “Julie & Julia”, one of the best films of 2009. Meryl Streep does a fabulous job playing the larger-than-life Julia Child.

15. Virgo preceder LEO
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

The astrological sign of Virgo is associated with the constellation of the same name. The Virgo constellation is related to maidens (virgins), purity and fertility.

17. Hummingbird feature? SMALL BILL
Hummingbirds are the smallest of all the birds. The species known as the Bee Hummingbird is native to Cuba and weighs less than a tenth of an ounce and is about two inches in length!

19. Enjoyed Vegas GAMED
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).

24. Purported ancestor of Ragnar Lothbrok on TV’s “Vikings” ODIN
“Vikings” is an entertaining historical drama that first aired in 2013. The storyline is based on the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok who led many devastating raids on England and France. The show features some remarkable cinematography, which I particularly appreciate as it is filmed in Ireland.

34. Stain IMBRUE
To imbrue something is to stain it, especially with blood.

37. Hot Wheels Volkswagen? MINIATURE GOLF
The Volkswagen Rabbit is a small, front-wheel drive car that is sold as the Volkswagen Golf outside of North America.

The Hot Wheels brand of toy car was introduced by Mattel in 1968.

41. Hoedown move DO-SI-DO
The term “do-si-do” is actually a corruption of a French phrase “dos-à-dos”, meaning back-to-back. And parenthetically, this is just the opposite to the familiar French term “vis-à-vis”, meaning face-to-face. In the do-si-do dance move, the partners start facing each other and then advance past each other’s right shoulder, and then move to the right without turning so that they are now facing away from each other (back-to-back). They complete the move facing in the same direction, passing each other’s left shoulders by moving backwards until they return to the starting position. Did you get that …?

49. Maker of the GreenSaver Produce Keeper OXO
The OXO line of kitchen utensils is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average kitchen too. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

50. Potty-training tool? LITTLE JOHN
In the legend of Robin Hood, Little John is Robin’s second-in-command of his band of Merry Men. Little John was a giant of man standing at over seven feet tall, with an original name of John Little.

Sir John Harington was an author and a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, Harington is perhaps best remembered as the inventor of the flush toilet. Our slang term “john” meaning “toilet”, is thought to be a reference to John Harington.

53. Absolut rival SKYY
Skyy Vodka is produced in the US, although the operation is owned by the Campari Group headquartered in Italy. Skyy first hit the shelves in 1992 when it was created by an entrepreneur from San Francisco, California.

54. Explosive letters TNT
TNT is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

60. Mouthpiece for a Lilliputian horse? TEENSY BIT
The word “lilliputian” meaning “wee” or “very small”, comes from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. In Swift’s tale, Lilliput and Blefuscu are two island nations that are inhabited by tiny people who are under six inches tall.

64. Nursery supply MULCH
Mulch is a layer of material applied by gardeners over the top of soil. The intent can be to retain moisture, to add nutrients, to reduce weed growth, or just to improve the look of the garden.

65. Psyche component EGO
Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The super-ego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.

67. No longer an item APART
An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

Down
1. Jams PJS
Our word “pajamas” (“PJs” for short) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.

3. Plants with sword-shaped leaves GLADIOLI
I usually refer the flower in the singular as “gladiolus” and in the plural as “gladioli”. Apparently the singular can also be “gladiola”.

4. Lombardy’s capital MILAN
There are twenty administrative regions of Italy, on of which is Lombardy, which is in the very north of the country. Lombardy’s capital is the city of Milan.

6. Big ring name ALI
Muhammad Ali won 56 professional fights, 37 of which were knockouts. He lost 5 fights, 4 being decisions and one being a technical knockout (TKO). The TKO-loss was Ali’s second-last fight, against Larry Holmes. By the time Ali took on Holmes, he was already showing signs of Parkinson’s Syndrome, although the diagnosis would not come until four years later. Ali turned out for his last two fights largely because he needed the money. A sad end to a career, I’d say …

7. AT&T, for short TELCO
A “telco” is a telecommunications company.

8. Grinder MOLAR
Molars are grinding teeth. The term “molar” comes from the Latin “mola” meaning “millstone”.

9. 1969 hit with the line “You are my candy girl” SUGAR, SUGAR
“Sugar, Sugar” is a hit song that topped the charts in 1969. What’s unusual about the recording is that is performed by a band of fictional cartoon teenagers called the Archies. A group of studio musicians provided the actual soundtrack, while the video uses characters from the Saturday-morning animated series “The Archie Show”. Post Cereal distributed millions of the records on the back of Super Sugar Crisp cereal boxes, and as a result, “Sugar, Sugar” is now considered the most produced recording in history.

10. Botanist Gray ASA
Asa Gray was an important American botanist in the nineteenth century. He was a lifelong friend of Charles Darwin, albeit mainly through correspondence. Darwin’s book “Forms of Flowers”, was dedicated to Gray.

11. Candy heart words BE MINE
The forerunner to Sweethearts candy was introduced in 1866, with the famous sayings written on the candy tailored for use at weddings. One of the original expressions was, “Married in pink, he will take a drink”. The original candy was a lot bigger, to fit all those words! The smaller, heart-shaped candy hit the shelves in 1901. We’ve been able to buy Sweethearts with the words “Text me” since 2010.

22. Volume measure STERE
“Stere” is a metric measure, although it is not part of the modern metric system. Nowadays the stere is used as a measure for firewood, and is equal to one cubic meter.

24. Abbr. on some cans OZS
Our term “ounce” comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a “libra”, the Roman “pound”.

27. Where the Santa Maria sank, nowadays HAITI
When Columbus made his famous voyage of discovery, the largest of his three ships was the Santa Maria. The Santa Maria ran aground on the coast of Hispaniola on Christmas Day in 1492 and was lost. 39 of Columbus’s men were left behind with the permission of the locals. These men stripped the timbers from the Santa Maria and used them to build a settlement they called La Navidad (Spanish for “Christmas”). La Navidad is now the modern town of Môle-Saint-Nicolas in the Republic of Haiti.

30. Dash warning IDIOT LIGHT
The instrument panel in a car is referred to as the “dashboard”. Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a “board” placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

35. Pie makeup? MUD
The chocolate-based dessert called Mississippi mud pie probably originated in the state for which it is named. It is said that the gooey mass resembles the banks of the Mississippi River.

43. One under a tree, maybe TOY
The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

44. Nissan sedan ALTIMA
Nissan has been making the Altima since 1993. In 2007 the company started to produce a hybrid version, Nissan’s first foray into the hybrid market and a successful one by all accounts. Altima hybrids are even used as police cruisers by the New York Police Department.

46. Fifth-century Roman Empire enemy ATTILA
In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

48. In a little while ANON
“Anon” originally meant “at once” and evolved into today’s meaning of “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

51. 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year JETER
Derek Jeter played his entire professional baseball career with the New York Yankees, and was the team’s captain. Jeter is the all-time career leader for the Yankees in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats. He is also the all-time leader in hits by a shortstop in the whole of professional baseball. Jeter’s performances in the postseason earned him the nicknames “Captain Clutch” and “Mr. November”. Jeter retired from the game in 2014.

52. Psi follower OMEGA
Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and is the one that looks like a horseshoe. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron meaning “little O” (O-micron).

53. Needles STYLI
The needle of a record player is referred to as a stylus (plural “styli”).

57. Org. whose logo features an eagle head USPS
The US Post Office Department was founded in 1792, and was transformed into the independent agency known as the US Postal Service (USPS) in 1971. The USPS used a logo featuring a full eagle until 1993, when a more contemporary eagle head logo was introduced. The Post Office Department had used a logo featuring a running pony.

59. 6-Across maker NCR
(6A. 59-Down product ATM)
NCR is an American company that has been in business since 1884, originally called the National Cash Register Company. The company has done well in a market where new technologies seem to be constantly disrupting the status quo.

63. “Ideas worth spreading” acronym TED
The acronym TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Type of hippo PYGMY
6. 59-Down product ATM
9. Color guard accessory SABER
14. Child on TV for decades JULIA
15. Virgo preceder LEO
16. “I’m here” USE ME
17. Hummingbird feature? SMALL BILL
19. Enjoyed Vegas GAMED
20. Valley DALE
21. Place to live in Spain CASA
23. Sore feeling IRE
24. Purported ancestor of Ragnar Lothbrok on TV’s “Vikings” ODIN
26. Foothills? SHORT-RANGE
29. Crazy scene ZOO
30. Call-day link IT A
31. Value ESTEEM
32. Did a cobbler’s job SOLED
34. Stain IMBRUE
37. Hot Wheels Volkswagen? MINIATURE GOLF
41. Hoedown move DO-SI-DO
42. Taking place AFOOT
44. Is in store for AWAITS
47. Pine product TAR
49. Maker of the GreenSaver Produce Keeper OXO
50. Potty-training tool? LITTLE JOHN
53. Absolut rival SKYY
54. Explosive letters TNT
55. Collector’s __ ITEM
56. Reveals in an unwelcome way OUTS
58. Naming IDING
60. Mouthpiece for a Lilliputian horse? TEENSY BIT
64. Nursery supply MULCH
65. Psyche component EGO
66. Hiding __ PLACE
67. No longer an item APART
68. Oversaw RAN
69. Teamed (with) SIDED

Down
1. Jams PJS
2. Good remark? YUM
3. Plants with sword-shaped leaves GLADIOLI
4. Lombardy’s capital MILAN
5. Everyone in Mississippi? Y’ALL
6. Big ring name ALI
7. AT&T, for short TELCO
8. Grinder MOLAR
9. 1969 hit with the line “You are my candy girl” SUGAR, SUGAR
10. Botanist Gray ASA
11. Candy heart words BE MINE
12. Show one’s face EMERGE
13. Make amends for REDEEM
18. Outdo BEST
22. Volume measure STERE
24. Abbr. on some cans OZS
25. Hardly a happy ending DOOM
27. Where the Santa Maria sank, nowadays HAITI
28. Dined on, biblically ATE OF
30. Dash warning IDIOT LIGHT
33. “I suggest you move on” END IT
35. Pie makeup? MUD
36. Stock BROTH
38. Plus ASSET
39. Doesn’t exactly help one’s reputation LOOKS BAD
40. Stunning or cunning FOXY
43. One under a tree, maybe TOY
44. Nissan sedan ALTIMA
45. Start of a pitch WINDUP
46. Fifth-century Roman Empire enemy ATTILA
48. In a little while ANON
51. 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year JETER
52. Psi follower OMEGA
53. Needles STYLI
57. Org. whose logo features an eagle head USPS
59. 6-Across maker NCR
61. Awfully long time EON
62. Rocks in a bucket ICE
63. “Ideas worth spreading” acronym TED

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7 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Oct 15, Friday”

  1. This was really difficult – so it's no small consolation that even our blogneister had a diificult time. ( Its not just me …. )

    TISCO – Tata Iron and Steel Co. and TELCO – Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. now called Tata Motors, used to be the biggest companies in India.

    Ironically, I always thought hummingbirds had a very long bill for their size. Certain tits and small seed feeding birds have small bills.

    Have a happy day, and the weekend, guys.

  2. Successful solve without too much angst, although I did spend quite some time staring at the NE corner before it fell into place. Getting "Sugar Sugar" propelled me on my way to completing that corner and the final pieces fell into place.

    Let's see what tomorrow brings in the way of mental teeth gnashing.

    Hope you all have a Friday that serves as the gateway to a relaxing weekend.

  3. Very difficult puzzle which took me forever. No googles so I "finished" it but had errors – essentially the same as Bill's but I had OXI and TIE (which could be under the tree the same way a TOY could be….) as well as SKYE. If I were a vodka drinker, I might have solved this puzzle without errors.

    Due to this grid's degree of difficulty, I've decided to be smug today despite the errors….So Happy Smugday!

    Best –

  4. I really like these puzzles that appear to be hopeless at first, but after mulling over and over, suddenly the sun breaks through. Being retired gives the luxury of time needed on this one. Never would have solved it if I had to go to work in the morning 🙂

    I was sure that the first clue (type of hippo) referred to "Happy Hippos" but alas that was not to be.

  5. I had the Mini and the G, thought it must be minivanagons! Also wanted to fit in ITTYBITTY

    I didn't do very well, obviously, but I had a tiny amt of fun w/ it.

    Bella

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