LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Nov 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke
THEME: Stranded in the End … each of today’s themed answers ends with a “strand-like” word:

21A. Close to defeat ON THE ROPES
32A. “Cool duds!” NICE THREADS!
41A. Use one’s influence PULL STRINGS
53A. Membranes that vibrate VOCAL CORDS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 05s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Long and lean LANK
The term “lank” can describe something that is straight and flat, particularly hair. The usage was extended in the early 1800s (especially in the form “lanky”) to mean “awkwardly tall and thin”.

14. Easily tipped boat CANOE
The boat called a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.

16. Building toy with theme parks LEGO
There are currently six Legoland theme parks in the world, with two here in North America. One of the US parks is in Winter Haven, Florida and the other is in Carlsbad, California (which is the one that I’ve visited … a fun place).

Lego is manufactured by Lego Group, a privately held company headquartered in Billund, Denmark. The company was founded by a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1934 and the now-famous plastic interlocking blocks were introduced in 1949. The blocks were originally sold under the name “Automatic Binding Bricks” but I think “Lego” is easier to remember! The name “Lego” comes from the Danish term “leg godt” meaning “play well”.

17. Western crooner Gene AUTRY
Gene Autry was a so-called singing cowboy who had an incredibly successful career on radio, television and in films starting in the thirties. Autry’s signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again”, and his biggest hit was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. He also had a hit with his own Christmas song called “Here Comes Santa Claus”. There’s even a town in Oklahoma called Gene Autry, named in his honor. Famously, Autry owned the Los Angeles Angels (now the Anaheim Angels) for many years, from 1961 to 1997.

18. Sanctuary recess 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.

A “sanctuary” is a sacred or holy place, the term coming from the Latin “sanctus” meaning “holy”. Some Christian traditions use the word “sanctuary” to describe the area in a church that houses the main altar.

20. Compressed video file format MPEG
The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) was established in 1988 to set standards for audio and video compression. The standards they’ve come up with use the acronym MPEG.

21. Close to defeat ON THE ROPES
Someone who is “on the ropes” is in a desperate situation and close to defeat. The phrase probably comes from the world of boxing. A boxer who is backed up against the rope hasn’t much room to maneuver and is at a distinct disadvantage.

23. The brown one is Louisiana’s state bird PELICAN
The Seal of Louisiana features a mother brown pelican, and three chicks. The mother is portrayed wounding her breast so that she can feed her young from her own blood.

25. Mae West’s “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted” is one PUN
Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:

• When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
• When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
• I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
• Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
• I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
• Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
• It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
• To err is human, but it feels divine.
• I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
• I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
• Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

26. Sonoma Valley vessel VAT
Did you know that there are far more wine grapes produced in Sonoma than Napa? Within Sonoma County some of the more well-known appellations are Chalk Hill, Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley. Personally, when I want to visit the wine country, I head for the Russian River Valley as it’s far less crowded and much more fun than Napa Valley.

27. Start of an envelope address MR AND MRS
Mr. is the abbreviation for “master”, and Mrs. is the abbreviation for “mistress”. The term “mister” is a derivative variant of “master”.

32. “Cool duds!” NICE THREADS!
“Duds” is an informal word for clothing, coming from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

36. Covert org. in “Argo” CIA
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …

37. Dashing style ELAN
Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style” or “flair”.

38. Granola grain OAT
The name “Granola” (and “Granula”) were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

39. Citrus drink used by NASA TANG
Tang is a fruity drink that is sold in powdered form. The sales of Tang “took off” when John Glenn took Tang on his Mercury flight. However, it is a common misconception that Tang was invented for the space program. That’s not true, although it was included in the payload of many missions.

41. Use one’s influence PULL STRINGS
I suppose the phrase “pull strings”, meaning “use influence, manipulate”, is a reference to a puppeteer operating a puppet.

45. Where soldiers go? LATRINES
A “latrine” is communal toilet, often one in an army camp.

48. Manning of the Giants ELI
Eli Manning plays as quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning is quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback.

49. “Storage Wars” sales event AUCTION
“Storage Wars” is a reality TV show about buyers looking for great deals when storage lockers are opened due to non-payment of rent.

53. Membranes that vibrate VOCAL CORDS
The vocal cords are also known as the vocal folds. The vocal cords are two folds of mucous membrane that project into the larynx. The folds vibrate when air passes through the larynx, allowing sounds to be made.

58. Napoleon’s exile isle ELBA
I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is also overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day and we won’t be going back again …

60. Mishmash OLIO
“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

61. French-__ potatoes FRIED
“French fries” are called “chips” back in the British Isles where I grew up. In France, they’re called “pommes frites” (“fried potatoes”).

65. Former trans-Atl. fliers SSTS
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Famously, the Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.

66. Kremlin rejection NYET
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

I was lucky enough to visit the Moscow Kremlin as a tourist a few decades ago. The Kremlin sits right on Red Square, along with Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the famed GUM department store. “Kremlin” is a Russian word for “fortress”.

Down
2. Brownish gray TAUPE
Taupe is a dark, gray-brown color. The word “taupe” comes from the Latin name of the European Mole, which has skin with the same color.

5. “Saturday Night Live” alumna Tina FEY
Tina Fey’s 2011 humorous autobiography “Bossypants” topped the New York Times Best Seller list for five weeks.

6. Blonde comic strip teenager LUANN
“Luann” is a newspaper comic strip written and drawn by Greg Evans. The strip centers on the suburban adventures of teenager Luann DeGroot.

8. Quick bite NOSH
Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”.

11. Show for which Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won four consecutive acting Emmys VEEP
“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the more edgy British show called “The Thick of It”. “Veep” is set in the office of a fictional Vice President of the United States played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

12. S-shaped molding OGEE
An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S). An ogee arch is composed of two ogees, with one being the mirror of the other and meeting at the arch’s apex.

13. Bowl-shaped pans WOKS
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

24. Jazz aficionado CAT
An “aficionado” is an enthusiast, a word that came to us from Spanish. “Aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

29. Shoe brand Thom __ MCAN
Thom McAn footwear was introduced in 1922 by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Caremark). The brand was named after a Scottish golfer called Thomas McCann. The Thom McAn line is epitomized by the comfortable leather casual and dress shoe, so sales have really been hurt in recent decades by the growing popularity of sneakers.

32. “Hud” Oscar winner Patricia NEAL
Patricia Neal won her Best Actress Oscar relatively late in her career, for playing the middle-aged housekeeper in 1963’s “Hud”. A few years’ later she was offered the role of Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” but turned it down. Famously, Neal had an affair with Gary Cooper who was married at the time. She became pregnant with his child, but he persuaded her to have an abortion. Not long afterwards Neal married British writer Roald Dahl (of “Willy Wonka” fame) and the couple had five children together before divorcing in 1983.

The modern-day, western movie called “Hud” was released in 1963 and has become a classic. “Hud” stars Paul Newman (in the title role) and Patricia Neal and is an adaptation of a novel by Larry McMurtry called “Horseman, Pass By”. Patricia Neal’s role in the film was relatively small, yet her performance was enough to earn her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

33. “Casablanca” heroine ILSA
The movie “Casablanca” was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn’t a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song “As Time Goes By” was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called “Everybody’s Welcome”, and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson (who played “Sam” in the film). Poor Dooley didn’t get to record it as a single, due to a musician’s strike in 1943, so the 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.

42. Mythical horse with a horn UNICORN
A unicorn is a mythical creature that resembles a horse with horn projecting from its forehead. The term “unicorn” comes from the Latin “uni-” (one) and “cornus” (horn).

44. Rocker Ocasek RIC
Ric Ocasek is an American musician of Czech heritage, and was the lead vocalist of the rock band known as the Cars.

50. Homeric epic ILIAD
“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war.

51. Like Santa Claus OBESE
The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.

52. “Unsafe at Any Speed” author Ralph NADER
“Unsafe at Any Speed” is a 1965 book by consumer advocate Ralph Nader in which the author accuses car manufacturers of resisting the introduction of safety features in order to maximize profit.

53. November parade participants VETS
Veterans Day used to be known as Armistice Day, and is observed on November 11th each year. This particular date was chosen as the Armistice that ended WWI was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

55. Lincoln’s coin CENT
The US one-cent coin has borne the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of Lincoln’s birth. Fifty years later, a representation of the Lincoln Memorial was added to the reverse side.

56. Big name in skin care OLAY
Oil of Olay was developed in South Africa in 1949. When Oil of Olay was introduced internationally, it was given slightly different brand names designed to appeal in the different geographies. In Ireland we know it as Oil of Ulay, for example, and in France it is Oil of Olaz.

61. Winter illness FLU
Influenza (flu) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Not at all flexible STIFF
6. Long and lean LANK
10. Declare openly AVOW
14. Easily tipped boat CANOE
15. “__ further reflection …” UPON
16. Building toy with theme parks LEGO
17. Western crooner Gene AUTRY
18. Sanctuary recess APSE
19. Overly compliant MEEK
20. Compressed video file format MPEG
21. Close to defeat ON THE ROPES
23. The brown one is Louisiana’s state bird PELICAN
25. Mae West’s “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted” is one PUN
26. Sonoma Valley vessel VAT
27. Start of an envelope address MR AND MRS
32. “Cool duds!” NICE THREADS!
36. Covert org. in “Argo” CIA
37. Dashing style ELAN
38. Granola grain OAT
39. Citrus drink used by NASA TANG
40. Obstinate critter ASS
41. Use one’s influence PULL STRINGS
45. Where soldiers go? LATRINES
47. Swat HIT
48. Manning of the Giants ELI
49. “Storage Wars” sales event AUCTION
53. Membranes that vibrate VOCAL CORDS
58. Napoleon’s exile isle ELBA
59. Biz bigwig EXEC
60. Mishmash OLIO
61. French-__ potatoes FRIED
62. No-frills shelter TENT
63. Speak abrasively RASP
64. Apartment rental agreement LEASE
65. Former trans-Atl. fliers SSTS
66. Kremlin rejection NYET
67. Milk dispenser UDDER

Down
1. Mischief-maker SCAMP
2. Brownish gray TAUPE
3. Info from a spy drone INTEL
4. Pardoned FORGIVEN
5. “Saturday Night Live” alumna Tina FEY
6. Blonde comic strip teenager LUANN
7. Date bk. entry APPT
8. Quick bite NOSH
9. Skateboarder’s protective gear KNEEPAD
10. Energy bar nut ALMOND
11. Show for which Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won four consecutive acting Emmys VEEP
12. S-shaped molding OGEE
13. Bowl-shaped pans WOKS
21. Sworn statement OATH
22. Makes tracks RUNS
24. Jazz aficionado CAT
27. Breakfast and dinner MEALS
28. “Darn it!” RATS!
29. Shoe brand Thom __ MCAN
30. Line around a tub RING
31. Droops SAGS
32. “Hud” Oscar winner Patricia NEAL
33. “Casablanca” heroine ILSA
34. Play list CAST
35. Play part ROLE
39. Giggled nervously TITTERED
41. Medicinal dose PILL
42. Mythical horse with a horn UNICORN
43. In the manner indicated THUS
44. Rocker Ocasek RIC
46. Punches back, say REACTS
49. Bring home from the shelter ADOPT
50. Homeric epic ILIAD
51. Like Santa Claus OBESE
52. “Unsafe at Any Speed” author Ralph NADER
53. November parade participants VETS
54. Clumsy oafs OXES
55. Lincoln’s coin CENT
56. Big name in skin care OLAY
57. Get to one’s feet RISE
61. Winter illness FLU

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

  1. I guess it was on "okay" grid. Maybe a little more advanced for the Monday clues. OK, we're off and running. I had no idea they still made TANG.

    Mr. Birnholz is gonna have one huge set of shoes to fill over there. I noticed the LA Times online version is still rolling with some of Merl's classic grids. I saw a copy of the WSJ crossword last week–the print version is so tiny, you have to put the sorry thing on a copier to enlarge it. The new BuzzFeed grid requires a subscription.

  2. Yeah, the TANG is a little different now than what I remembered 20 years ago, but it's still being made. Part of why it's less memorable now is the fact it has more competitors which tend to be doing better (like Sunny Delight or Gatorade). Then it's more bulky than something like Kool-Aid (a can makes 6 quarts instead of 8). Then with the unnatural part of it, I'm sure it's gotten a lot less popular with today's consumers. Then, something like that doesn't translate too well to a sugar-free variety (Crystal Light and generics have an orange drink but it's not the same), so they lose people that way too.

    FWIW, the WSJ is publishing grids online, including full-page PDFs. Upon initial inspection, it looks like they'll be challenging enough, especially since I see a few authors' names I'm familiar with from the New York grids (like Elizabeth Gorski, who did their last Sunday grid). Here's the submission guidelines, which will give an idea of what one should expect.

    I found that in trying to look around for other early week grids to do (and figure out who's putting them out), since the LA Times ones are getting knocked down pretty quick for me these days. I'll have to work a few of the unfamiliar ones to see where the difficulty level lies, as I'd like to weed out the "easy" ones. I'm on a CrosSynergy grid at the moment (what I found over on the Washington Post site), but I'll have to try Newsday and the before mentioned WSJ grids too. Haven't come across any others that seem promising that I'm not already aware of. Of course, there's always the possibility of bookmarking where ever Mr. Birnholz will be putting his grids, but we'll see how that goes.

    The only other thing is that I haven't identified the source of one of the 21×21 grids that show up in the Saturday paper (Reagle and LA Times being the other two, but this paper is pretty shoddy about that). But I'll say I'm compiling enough links that I'd have to have a bookmarked list now.

  3. This seemed like a fair challenge for a Monday. I also completed the LAT's Sunday puzzle right before it as I didn't even get to that section of the paper until this morning. I found Sunday to be sort of a middleweight in terms of difficulty.

    See you all back here tomorrow.

    @Glenn – I am enjoying the WSJ daily puzzles quite a bit since they added them to the paper. I've always liked their weekend grid and worked it without fail.

  4. I had a nice time with the puzzle, it being a Monday. Busy day today.

    Mae West's comments are really cute. Either she was very good with the language – or she had a great set of writers – as Bob Hope did.

    I did not know pelicans wound their breasts or chests to feed their young – or is it just mythical and folklore ?

    I am not totally familiar with the 'breakfast' rule – but I wondered whether the word 'latrines' was toeing the rule.

    I read Blonde as 'Blondie' comic strip …. so LUANN was very difficult to parse.

    Finally, I am grateful to Bill, for his dedicated blog ( aren't we all …. ) but I would respectfully diverge from his opinion on the movie 'Argo'. The thematic element and the hype are ridiculous. The religious fervor whilst true, just take over the entire movie, and the jeep trying to stop the plane during the takeoff is ridiculous. What the Iranians did, totally contrary to diplomatic law, was and is unforgivable and they have amply paid for it for the last 35 years – and will continue paying for, for the next 50.

    Have a nice day, all.

  5. >I am not totally familiar with the 'breakfast' rule – but I wondered whether the word 'latrines' was toeing the rule.

    I think that was a rule of the original New York Times editors, that I'm sure nobody follows to any significant degree today. LATRINES works certainly with Norris and very likely with Shortz too.

  6. Guys, WHAT'S THE BREAKFAST RULE??!
    Nice grid today, tho MRANDMRS gave me pause. I don't think many addresses begin that way any more~~sounds kinda stuffy.
    Hey @Glenn, you really know your TANG!!
    Be well~~™

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