LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Nov 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: C.C. Burnikel
THEME: Starting with the Opposition … Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Each of today’s themed answer starts with two words that have opposite meanings:

18A. Present to a large degree OUT IN FORCE (out & in)
23A. “Pontoon” Grammy-winning country group LITTLE BIG TOWN (little & big)
50A. Digressing OFF ON A TANGENT (off & on)
57A. City in a classic Sinatra song OLD NEW YORK (old & new)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 49s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Letters before Choice, Prime or Select USDA
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies meat into eight different grades:

– Prime
– Choice
– Select
– Standard
– Commercial
– Utility
– Cutter
– Canner

5. Filter target SPAM
Apparently the term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

9. Hockey legend Phil, to fans ESPO
Phil “Espo” Esposito is a former professional hockey player who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.

14. “Meet John Doe” director CAPRA
Frank Capra’s delightful comedy-drama “Meet John Doe” stars Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Gary Cooper agreed to the role without even reading the script, as he had such respect for Capra after working with him on “Mr Deeds Goes to Town”.

I can’t tell you how many of Frank Capra’s movies are on my list of all-time favorites. He directed such classics as “It Happened One Night”, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”, “Lost Horizon”, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “Meet John Doe”, “Arsenic and Old Lace” and the holiday favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Capra was the first person to win three directorial Oscars: for “It Happened One Night”, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” and “You Can’t Take It With You”. Capra also did his bit during WWII, enlisting just a few days after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Given his great talent, and the fact that he enlisted at the relatively advanced age of 44, the US Army put him to work directing 11 documentary war films in the “Why We Fight” series, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

16. Kept in the email thread CCED
I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle?

17. Folk singer Guthrie ARLO
Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.

22. Trojan who survived the fall of Troy AENEAS
In Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor Romulus and Remus, and thus the ancestor of all Romans. Aeneas’s story is told in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid”.

23. “Pontoon” Grammy-winning country group LITTLE BIG TOWN (little & big)
Little Big Town is a country music group comprising four vocalists: Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet. They formed in 1998 in Nashville.

30. Mother of the Titans GAEA
The Greek goddess personifying the earth was Gaea (meaning “land” or “earth” in Greek). The Roman equivalent goddess was Terra Mater, “Mother Earth”.

31. When said thrice, “and so on” YADA
“The Yada Yada Yada” is actually the name of the 153rd episode of “Seinfeld”. Before “Seinfeld” made “yada yada yada” famous, we were more likely to hear the phrase “yadda yadda”, often used by comedian Lenny Bruce, for example.

35. Sleep stage REM
REM is an acronym standing for Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

36. Civil War nickname ABE
There is a story that just before Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, he received a letter from a 12-year-old girl who criticized Lincoln’s appearance and his pock-marked, gaunt face. The little girl, Grace Bedell from New York, promised to get her brothers to vote for Lincoln if he would just grow a beard. However, Lincoln waited until after the election to grow his famous whiskers, a distinctive look that would forever be associated with his presidency.

38. “Unbelievable” rock band EMF
EMF is an alternative rock dance band from England. EMF’s biggest hit was 1990’s “Unbelievable” that made it to the number one spot here in the US. The initialism EMF supposedly stands for “Epsom Mad Funkers”.

41. Thin nail BRAD
“Brad” is a name given to the brass fastener that is used to hold sheets of paper together. The brad is used by inserting it through holes punched in the paper, and then spreading out the two legs of the fastener.

45. Peel and Stone EMMAS
“The Avengers” was must-see television when I was growing up. “The Avengers” was a sixties comedy spy series set in England during the days of the Cold War. The hero was John Steed, played ably by Patrick MacNee. Steed had various female partners as the series progressed, the first of which was Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman (who also played Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”). Following Ms. Gale was Emma Peel played by the wonderful Diana Rigg. Finally there was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.

The actress Emma Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. My favorite film in which Stone appears is 2011’s “The Help”.

47. Ill-fated energy company ENRON
After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

49. Tough as nails, e.g. SIMILE
A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.

57. City in a classic Sinatra song OLD NEW YORK (old & new)
The classic Frank Sinatra hit “New York, New York” is actually the theme song from the 1977 Martin Scorsese film of the same name. Liza Minnelli performed the song for the movie.

These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York

Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Like so many of our heroes, Sinatra had a rough upbringing. His mother was arrested several times and convicted of running an illegal abortion business in the family home. Sinatra never finished high school, as he was expelled for rowdy conduct. He was later arrested as a youth on a morals charge for carrying on with a married woman, which was an offence back then. But Sinatra straightened himself out by the time he was twenty and started singing professionally.

62. Flood deterrent LEVEE
A levee is an artificial bank usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. A levee is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

64. Youngest Brontë ANNE
Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

Down
1. River through Kazakhstan URAL
The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

3. “My religion is kindness” speaker DALAI LAMA
The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.

8. Sports doc’s order MRI
MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

11. Bakery nut PECAN
The pecan is the state nut of which state in the Union? Nope, it’s not Georgia, it’s Alabama …

12. Some Ben Jonson poems ODES
Ben Jonson was a contemporary of William Shakespeare and just like Shakespeare, Jonson was a dramatist, poet and actor. Jonson is buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey in London. The inscription on the slab covering his grave reads ” O Rare Ben Jonson”. There is much debate over the meaning of the inscription. Does it mean what it says, “Oh, you rare one, Ben Jonson!”, or should the inscription really be “Orare Ben Jonson”, translating from Latin into “Pray for Ben Jonson”. A conundrum indeed …

15. No more stars, to astronomers ANAGRAM
“No more stars” is a rather humorous anagram for “astronomers”, as is “moon starers”.

19. Greek pizza topping FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

21. Well-lit courts ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

24. “Bad as Me” singer Waits TOM
Tom Waits is a singer-songwriter from Pomona, California. Waits is noted for his growling, rasping voice.

25. Troop gp. BSA
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.

26. Frozen treats ICEES
Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

27. Paleo diet no-no CARB
The paleolithic or caveman diet is a fad diet that became popular in the 2000s. The idea is to eat wild plants and animals that would have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (roughly the Stone Age). This period precedes the introduction of agriculture and domestication of animals. As a result, someone on the diet avoids consuming grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. The diet consists mainly of lean meat (about 45-65% of the total calorie intake), non-starchy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.

30. Piazza de Ferrari city GENOA
Genoa is a seaport in the very north of Italy, in the region known as Liguria. One of Genoa’s most famous sons was Christopher Columbus.

The main square in the Italian city of Genoa is called the Piazza de Ferrari. The piazza features a magnificent circular fountain at its center.

34. Church niche APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

37. White-faced predator BARN OWL
The Barn Owl is the most common species of owl. The Barn Owl is found everywhere in the world, except in desert and polar regions.

42. Department created during the Truman administration DEFENSE
The largest government department in cabinet is the Department of Defense (DOD), with a permanent staff of over 600 thousand. The smallest department, by far, is the Department of Education, with a mere four or five thousand employees.

44. Big bang cause 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.

46. Fr. title MME
The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame) and in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora).

49. Ladders’ counterparts SNAKES
The game of “Snakes and Ladders” is usually sold as “Chutes and Ladders” in the US. Milton Bradley introduced “chutes” instead of “snakes” in 1943 as children weren’t too fond of snakes back then. Snakes/Chutes and Ladders is based on a an ancient Indian game.

50. DuPont acrylic ORLON
Orlon is the brand name used by the DuPont Corporation for the acrylic fibers the company developed in 1941.

53. __-Cola COCA
The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That first Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years. The original alcoholic version actually contained a small concentration of cocaine.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Letters before Choice, Prime or Select USDA
5. Filter target SPAM
9. Hockey legend Phil, to fans ESPO
13. Fork locale ROAD
14. “Meet John Doe” director CAPRA
16. Kept in the email thread CCED
17. Folk singer Guthrie ARLO
18. Present to a large degree OUT IN FORCE (out & in)
20. Farm kids’ hangout LEA
21. “Very cute!” sounds AWS
22. Trojan who survived the fall of Troy AENEAS
23. “Pontoon” Grammy-winning country group LITTLE BIG TOWN (little & big)
27. Dyes COLORS
28. Head for the hills SCRAM
29. “Same here” AS AM I
30. Mother of the Titans GAEA
31. When said thrice, “and so on” YADA
35. Sleep stage REM
36. Civil War nickname ABE
38. “Unbelievable” rock band EMF
40. Bit of advice TIP
41. Thin nail BRAD
43. Tiny army members ANTS
45. Peel and Stone EMMAS
47. Ill-fated energy company ENRON
49. Tough as nails, e.g. SIMILE
50. Digressing OFF ON A TANGENT (off & on)
53. Obnoxious type, in slang CREEPO
54. Recycled container CAN
55. Blubber SOB
57. City in a classic Sinatra song OLD NEW YORK (old & new)
60. Cellar dweller? WINE
61. Loving murmurs COOS
62. Flood deterrent LEVEE
63. Birth of an invention IDEA
64. Youngest Brontë ANNE
65. Complimentary ticket PASS
66. Class struggle? TEST

Down
1. River through Kazakhstan URAL
2. Poor sport SORE LOSER
3. “My religion is kindness” speaker DALAI LAMA
4. Rumpus ADO
5. Displeased looks SCOWLS
6. Short stop PAUSE
7. Well-suited APT
8. Sports doc’s order MRI
9. Thrifty management ECONOMY
10. Common fastener SCREW
11. Bakery nut PECAN
12. Some Ben Jonson poems ODES
15. No more stars, to astronomers ANAGRAM
19. Greek pizza topping FETA
21. Well-lit courts ATRIA
24. “Bad as Me” singer Waits TOM
25. Troop gp. BSA
26. Frozen treats ICEES
27. Paleo diet no-no CARB
30. Piazza de Ferrari city GENOA
32. Sign appealing to short people? ATM INSIDE
33. Land line signals DIAL TONES
34. Church niche APSE
37. White-faced predator BARN OWL
39. Make a false show of FEIGN
42. Department created during the Truman administration DEFENSE
44. Big bang cause TNT
46. Fr. title MME
48. “Uh-uh!” NOPE!
49. Ladders’ counterparts SNAKES
50. DuPont acrylic ORLON
51. Was nourished by FED ON
52. Lots and lots ACRES
53. __-Cola COCA
56. Exhausted BEAT
58. “Uh-huh!” YEP!
59. Lab eggs OVA
60. Clever one WIT

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Nov 15, Thursday”

  1. Zero errors. Some hitches on two or three spots, but still relatively quick compared to the usual. Hardest puzzle of the week so far, though, just edging out the Tuesday grid. But not by incredibly much.

    Going to be an easy week compared to the usual, for sure.

  2. After I filled in 32 Down (the clue for which was "Sign appealing to short people?") I kept looking at it and trying to figure out what was wrong with some of the across answers, which all looked right, for a long, long, loooooong time. Until suddenly the ATM part of the answer jumped out at me like one of the optical art pieces. Man was I ever glad to finally see I'd gotten that right!

    Have a great Turkey (or Tofurkey if that's what you are into) day all.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving all…or as they say on all the hockey telecasts Happy "U.S" Thanksgiving…. my personal favorite holiday of the year. For me it's a 5 day holiday where I do nothing but take it easy. I've intentionally done this every year since 1988 so I guess it's a tradition by now. Plus it's uniquely American (nevermind Canadian Thanksgiving) and the entire holiday centers around food, sports and beer. Heaven.

    I had the same experience as Glenn this week. This and Tuesday were about the same time, but even today's puzzle took me about what an average Tuesday time is for me. Maybe they took it easy on us for the holiday.

    Had to just hope GAEA was correct. I got it entirely on crosses but it just didn't look right. Given its unusual spelling, I'm surprised we don't see it more often.

    "No more stars" as an ANAGRAM of "astronomers" definitely wins the prize today.

    Best –

  4. Found it difficult. Had to Google for EMF. Had Chutes before SNAKES and never heard of the original game.

    Was afraid of what the short people thing was. Never forgave Randy Newman for the song.
    So, what the heck does ATMINSIDE mean? Apparently, we're supposed to see ATM INSIDE. But I still don't get it. Maybe it's lame.

    But did like the ANAGRAM.

  5. Very nice puzzle – though it took me an inordinate amount of time. I had a tough time with ANAGRAM ( thats a good one ! ) and SIMILE. Also Aeneas and Gaea – quite unfamiliar with the names. But I did like and appreciate the puzzle, tough but very educative ( is that a word ?).

    Aahhh, Thanksgiving – I don't do football, allergic (?) to Beer, and am eating with an afro-american family who don't like indian food. Aah, well. There is always salad.

    ATM machines, except at your own bank, are very expensive in their fees. About 18% average. Credit cards are best, Debit cards are next and if not, go without. Early this year, I stood for 10 minutes infront of an ATM machine, in Dubai, trying to comprehend its symbols, until a kind Arab sheikh came and told me that the machine was just to pay off your traffic fines – nothing else.

    Have a grreat Thanksgiving all, and drive safely and slowly.

  6. Had everything but the last letter of ANAGRAM and STILL couldn't comprehend the answer.
    Never heard of EMF.
    Didn't even see SNAKES.
    Have a great day, everyone. Time to start cooking.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. EMF is a one-hit wonder. Listen to Unbelievable and you'll probably go "oh yeah".

    Aeneas: Barring knowing Greek legends, most will catch it from the quite good movie Troy. If you've seen Gladiator it has the same kind of tone.

    Gaea – most know the word as "Gaia". Greek goddess of the Earth.

    @Jeff
    "I had the same experience as Glenn this week"

    Yeah, it's weird that I'm actually looking at the WSJ Wed grid and the Thursday Newsday grid, which is turning out to be not so this time (*) and working them. Slowly but surely the latter is falling, and still handling the Wed grid. Both longer than any LAT grid so far this week. Though Friday and Saturday will be sure to be much harder.

    Not sure if there will be a Thursday WSJ grid this week. Still not seeing one posted over there.

    (*) – mainly because of a lot of multiple word answers and strange words I haven't seen in quite a long while.

  8. Yay! Finished! This seemed easy for a Thursday, but I'm still proud of myself. I got the theme answers easily, EXCEPT OUT IN FORCE, for which I initially had "out in front." Duh! Like Tony, I had to stare for awhile at ATMINSIDE before it clicked. Overall a fun puzzle.
    Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was lovely! Went to a classic old restaurant for the standard turkey fare, altho one in my party ordered prime rib, extra rare. I haven't eaten red meat in years, and that bloody slab sure looked mean!
    On that note…
    Be well~~™

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