LA Times Crossword Answers 10 Dec 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jerome Gunderson
THEME: SM to Start … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase, but with the letters SM added at the start:

17A. Airline seating for Mensa members? SMART CLASS (SM + art class)
65A. Mickey Rooney and Danny DeVito? SMALL STARS (SM + all-stars)
10D. Overly ingratiating little devils? SMARMY BRATS (SM + army brats)
25D. “Hee Haw” humor, but just a touch? SMEAR OF CORN (SM + ear of corn)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 32s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Mennonite sect AMISH
The Amish are a group of Christian churches, a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

The Mennonites are a group of religious sects that originated in the Friesland region of the Low Countries. The various denominations are named for Menno Simons who was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers who followed Martin Luther.

6. Nasty bit of trickery SCAM
The slang term “scam” meaning a swindle may come from the British slang “scamp”.

10. Chopped side SLAW
The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.

14. Trunk full of organs? TORSO
“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.

15. “Casablanca” heroine 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 …

16. Speck MOTE
“Mote” is another word for a speck of dust.

17. Airline seating for Mensa members? SMART CLASS
If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first-declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

19. Milne’s Hundred __ Wood ACRE
Hundred Acre Wood is where Winnie the Pooh lives with his friends. According to a map illustrating the books by A. A. Milne, Hundred Acre Wood is part of a larger forest, with Owl’s house sitting right at the center.

20. Fire dept. employee EMT
Emergency medical technician (EMT)

21. Many ages AEON
Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

– supereon
– eon (also “aeon”)
– era
– period
– epoch
– age

26. Jewish folklore creature GOLEM
Golem is Yiddish slang for “dimwit”. In Jewish folklore a golem is an anthropomorphic being made out of inanimate matter, somewhat like an unintelligent robot.

28. He’s a horse, of course MR ED
The opening lines of the theme song to the sitcom “Mister Ed” are:
A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

The sitcom “Mister Ed” first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed’s “voice” was that of actor Allan “Rocky” Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later made frequent appearances on the show “Green Acres”.

39. Justice Kagan appointer OBAMA
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice.

40. WWII threat U-BOAT
U-boat stands for the German “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). Notably, a U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania in 1915, an event that helped propel the US into WWI.

42. Andy Capp’s spouse FLO
“Andy Capp” is a comic strip from Britain that is syndicated internationally. The strip was created by Reg Smythe in 1957 and is still going strong, despite the fact that Smythe passed away in 1998. Andy Capp and his wife Florrie (also “Flo”) are working class characters who live in the northeast of England. Andy is unemployed and Flo works as a charwoman. “Andy Capp” was my favorite comic strip growing up …

44. Mulligan, for one RETRY
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive account for the origin of the term “Mulligan”, most often used for a shot do-over in golf. There are lots of stories about golfers named Mulligan though, and I suspect one of them may be true.

45. Counting-out word EENY
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

47. Natural balm ALOE
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.

50. Antihero? GOAT
A fall guy or victim of a plot is a scapegoat, or simply “goat”.

54. Like Yogi or Smokey URSINE
The Latin word for a bear is “ursus”.

Yogi Bear made his debut for Hanna-Barbera in 1958, on the Huckleberry Hound Show before he was given his own series. Do you remember that collar that Yogi wore around his neck? That was a little trick from the animators. By using the collar, for many frames all they had to do was redraw everything from the collar up, saving them lots and lots of time. Yogi and Boo Boo lived in Jellystone Park, and made Ranger Smith’s life a misery.

Smokey Bear is the mascot of the US Forest Service. Smokey first appeared in 1944, in an advertising campaign directed towards preventing forest fires.

64. Empty auditorium effect ECHO
“Auditorium” (plural “auditoria”) is the Latin word for a lecture room, literally meaning a “place where something is heard”. “Auditorium” is derived from “audire” the Latin for “to hear”.

65. Mickey Rooney and Danny DeVito? SMALL STARS
The actor Mickey Rooney first appeared on stage in vaudeville, at the age of six. He was still performing regularly when in his nineties, before passing away at 93 years of age in 2014. Rooney made millions of dollars over his long career, but lost it all. He passed away with assets amounting to merely $18,000.

Danny DeVito’s big break as an actor came with the role of Louie De Palma on the sitcom “Taxi”. After parlaying his success on television into some major comic roles on the big screen, DeVito turned to producing. He co-founded the production company Jersey Films which made hit movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Garden State”. DeVito has been married to actress Rhea Perlman for over 30 years, recently reconciling with her after an announcement that they planned to divorce.

71. Shangri-la EDEN
Shangri-La is the earthly paradise in the mountains of Tibet described by James Hilton in his novel “Lost Horizon”. Shangri-La is “edenic” (perfect, like the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis). Frank Capra directed a wonderful screen adaptation of “Lost Horizon” in 1937 starring Ronald Colman.

72. Goddess of victory NIKE
Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, often referred to as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The athletic shoe company Nike uses the “Nike swoosh” as its logo, which is based on the goddess’s wing.

Down
1. On the main AT SEA
When one thinks of the word “main” in the context of the sea, the Spanish Main usually comes to mind. Indeed, the use of the more general term “main”, meaning the sea, originates from the more specific “Spanish Main”. “Spanish Main” originally referred to land and not water, as it was the name given to the mainland coast around the Caribbean Sea in the days of Spanish domination of the region.

4. Abbr. on old Eurasian maps SSR
The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and was comprised of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

6. Grain holder SILO
“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept corn.

9. Tandoori __: South Asian spice mix MASALA
Masala is the Hindi word for “mixture”, and describes a mixture of spices. A dish named “masala” uses the spices incorporated into a sauce that includes garlic, ginger, onions and chili paste. Who doesn’t love Indian food?

10. Overly ingratiating little devils? SMARMY BRATS
The term “smarm”, meaning insincere flattery, comes from a colloquial word “smalm” meaning to smear the hair with some sort of styling product.

11. Daft LOCO
In Spanish, if one isn’t sane (sano) one might be described as crazy (loco).

12. Gillette razor ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

13. Location-dependent plant designation WEED
By definition, a weed is a plant that grows profusely where it is not wanted. One man’s weed might be another man’s crop.

18. First known asteroid CERES
Ceres is the smallest dwarf planet in our solar system. Ceres was discovered in 1801 and is the largest body in the asteroid belt. For fifty years Ceres was classified as the eighth planet circling our sun. The Dawn space probe launched by NASA entered Ceres orbit in March 2015, becoming the first mission to study a dwarf planet at close range.

23. Coltrane genre BEBOP
The jazz term “bebop” probably came from “Arriba! Arriba!”, words of encouragement from Latin American bandleaders to their musicians.

John Coltrane was a jazz saxophonist who also went by the nickname “Trane”. John’s son Ravi Coltrane is also a noted jazz saxophonist.

25. “Hee Haw” humor, but just a touch? SMEAR OF CORN
The variety show “Hee Haw” aired on CBS from 1969-1971, and then had a 20-year run in syndication. The show was built around country music, although the format was inspired by “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In”.

27. Billiard table shape OBLONG
The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.

32. Big bang cause, sometimes AMMO
The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

34. Street border CURB
“Curb” is another of those words that I had to learn when I came to the US. We park by the “kerb” on the other side of the Atlantic. Oh, and the “pavement”, that’s what we call the “footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught to “walk on the pavement” …

35. Explorer Tasman ABEL
Tasmania is the large island lying off the southeast coast of Australia. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sail past the island, in 1642. Tasman named his discovery Van Dieman’s Land after the Governor of the Dutch East Indies, Anthony van Dieman. The name was officially changed to Tasmania, after the discoverer himself, in 1856. In Australia a more familiar name used is “Tassie”.

36. Japanese relative of the zither KOTO
The koto is a traditional stringed instrument, and the national musical instrument of Japan.

The zither is a stringed instrument, one in which the strings do not extend beyond the bounds of the sounding box. That means that the instrument has no neck, unlike a guitar say.

38. Sierra Nevada product ALE
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is powered almost exclusively by solar energy, and even has a charging station for electric vehicles at its brewery. The company also uses the cooking oil from its restaurant as biodiesel for its delivery trucks. Discarded yeast is used to make ethanol fuel, and spent grain is used as food for livestock. For its efforts to preserve the environment, Sierra Nevada won the EPA’s “Green Business of the Year” award for 2010.

41. Very ambitious sort TYPE A
The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.

51. Blue blood, for short ARISTO
“Aristo” is short for “aristocrat”.

The idiomatic phrase “blue blood” applies to someone of noble descent. The phrase is a translation from the Spanish “sangre azul”, which was applied to the royal family in Spain. The notion is that someone of noble birth does not have to work outdoors in the fields, and so has untanned skin. The veins showing in the skin had “blue blood”, whereas those veins were masked by the darker skin of the peasant classes.

56. Old language that gives us “berserk” NORSE
Our word “berserk” meaning “deranged” comes from the “Berserkers”, Norse warriors described in Old Norse literature. Berserkers were renowned for going into battle in a fury, and some believe that they consumed drugged food to get themselves worked up for the fighting ahead.

59. Battery fluid ACID
A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

60. Passé pronoun THEE
“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”.

66. Miss Piggy tagline MOI?
The Muppet called Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

67. Bigelow’s Sweet Dreams, e.g. TEA
The Bigelow Tea Company is a family-owned business that was founded in 1945 by Ruth C. Bigelow. The company is headquartered in in Fairfield, Connecticut, and owns America’s only tea plantation, which is located in Charleston, South Carolina.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Mennonite sect AMISH
6. Nasty bit of trickery SCAM
10. Chopped side SLAW
14. Trunk full of organs? TORSO
15. “Casablanca” heroine ILSA
16. Speck MOTE
17. Airline seating for Mensa members? SMART CLASS
19. Milne’s Hundred __ Wood ACRE
20. Fire dept. employee EMT
21. Many ages AEON
22. Out of the country ABROAD
24. Subordinate’s yes AYE, SIR
26. Jewish folklore creature GOLEM
28. He’s a horse, of course MR ED
30. Watched for the evening, say BABY-SAT
34. Bar in a shower CAKE
37. Mark of approval SEAL
39. Justice Kagan appointer OBAMA
40. WWII threat U-BOAT
42. Andy Capp’s spouse FLO
43. Preen PRIMP
44. Mulligan, for one RETRY
45. Counting-out word EENY
47. Natural balm ALOE
48. Embarrassing mistake BLOOPER
50. Antihero? GOAT
52. Big spread FEAST
54. Like Yogi or Smokey URSINE
58. One of the haves FAT CAT
61. Prefix with port HELI-
63. Constrictive creature BOA
64. Empty auditorium effect ECHO
65. Mickey Rooney and Danny DeVito? SMALL STARS
68. Management level TIER
69. Electrified atoms IONS
70. Like some reprimands TERSE
71. Shangri-la EDEN
72. Goddess of victory NIKE
73. Resting places OASES

Down
1. On the main AT SEA
2. Toddler’s gleeful shout MOMMY!
3. More than just annoyed IRATE
4. Abbr. on old Eurasian maps SSR
5. Windbag’s output HOT AIR
6. Grain holder SILO
7. Metallic sound CLANG
8. Donkey ASS
9. Tandoori __: South Asian spice mix MASALA
10. Overly ingratiating little devils? SMARMY BRATS
11. Daft LOCO
12. Gillette razor ATRA
13. Location-dependent plant designation WEED
18. First known asteroid CERES
23. Coltrane genre BEBOP
25. “Hee Haw” humor, but just a touch? SMEAR OF CORN
27. Billiard table shape OBLONG
29. Postpones DEFERS
31. Advance using wind SAIL
32. Big bang cause, sometimes AMMO
33. Sticky stuff TAPE
34. Street border CURB
35. Explorer Tasman ABEL
36. Japanese relative of the zither KOTO
38. Sierra Nevada product ALE
41. Very ambitious sort TYPE A
46. “__ be sorry!” YOU’LL
49. Cancels the reservation, maybe EATS IN
51. Blue blood, for short ARISTO
53. Express gratitude to THANK
55. Structural beams I-BARS
56. Old language that gives us “berserk” NORSE
57. Moves with care EASES
58. Big bash FETE
59. Battery fluid ACID
60. Passé pronoun THEE
62. Otherwise ELSE
66. Miss Piggy tagline MOI?
67. Bigelow’s Sweet Dreams, e.g. TEA

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 10 Dec 15, Thursday”

  1. "Bar in a shower" is a lame clue for "cake." There are scores of other clues that could have been used for "cake," and in fact, it could be argued that a "cake" and a "bar" are two different shapes

  2. I was slightly quicker than Bill today, which means either I got lucky, or Bill got distracted. 😉 OK grid, I guess. Definitely slanted away from the younger solvers with references to Andy Capp, Rooney, Milne, etc..

    Without drifting in Rated-R land, as a young kid I enjoyed Hee Haw very, and it had nothing to do with the humor or the country music.

    Vidwan, dragging our talk about Babu Bhatt into a 3rd day, I found a short interview Brian George gave about playing the part, and how the story is based on something one of the writers experienced in life. Here. (forward to 6:36).

  3. I thought this was moderate to easy. Not too much mulling over time and it was completed somewhere around Bill's time, but certainly not faster than Bill's time!

    Wrongly filling in "delays" for 29 Down's clue of "Postpone" had me going for a bit as well as my initial (wrong) guess of "iota" for the answer to the 16 Across clue of "speck" but when I couldn't get the answers surrounding those two I rethought my approach and came up with the correct answers.

    Hope everyone has a good Thursday and let's see what brain straining teasers tomorrow brings us.

  4. I'll say in general getting to do a number of grids this week (LAT, WSJ, NewsDay, one Gannett), as opposed to just one or two, that it's interesting to find the different assessments of difficulty that people make of grids when I look for them after doing the grids. Especially how non-uniform they can be from day to day and from person to person. I suppose the lack of knowledge in some grids that is present in other grids? Or cluing that is specious to one that isn't to another?

    FWIW, my errors on this one were 10-Down, 13-Down (straight error, WOOD), 35-Down, 36-Down. Mainly things I looked up due to lack of knowledge, though I really couldn't complain of Naticks simply because the rest of the grid around those fell once I looked them up. But by far the hardest grid of the day, for me.

  5. Again – my time was more similar to my own Friday time. Either I'm still out of sorts from the beach, or these puzzles just have too many clues outside my wheelhouse. I seem to be finding them much more difficult than those dastardly Willie and Tony types…. 🙂 All that said, I really enjoyed the challenge of the puzzle.

    I too was delayed by delays. It took me a long time to convince myself to change it to DEFERS. I also had EATS IT for 49D "Cancels the reservation, maybe" as in they had to eat their deposit or something. Makes sense to me, but I guess the goddess "Tike" never did much….

    @Conrad
    I was aggravated by the clue for CAKE as well. However, that's why these puzzles are fun. If he had clued "Birthday pastry", where would the fun be in that? So I tend to appreciate the cleverness of a clue like that even though there are, of course, many options the setter could have used that wouldn't have caused the groaning. As to your other point, I think a "bar" of soap is a generic enough expression now that it could apply to pretty much any shape of soap now so I'm ok with the bar/cake equivalence.

    @Pookie
    From yesterday – Nuc-U-lar and suppozaBly might might have to qualify for life without parole. Ouch!

    Best –

  6. I had a tough time with the puzzle and the theme, if any, was beyond my ken. I am no MENSA materiel or material.

    Justice Elena Kagan was also the first female dean of Harvard Law School – which impresses me far more than her later titles. Wow ! I have read her biography and am totally agog at her achievements. To realise that such people, as her, even walk this earth, today, even now.

    Regarding the UBoats and RMS Lusitania …. the analysis on her last voyage, by experts, is that she was infact, definitely carrying mutions and war material er, materiel …. and that Mr. Churchill had ordered the 'material' loaded, on board …. and let the info be leaked to the germans …. knowing full well that she would be attacked, and probably sunk …. to get the US into the war. See Wiki.

    On 'Blue Blood' …. I have always heard a theory, that the royalty in Europe, were married with very close consanguinity and in intimate endogamy, that resulted in non-eugenic hereditary diseases …. that a lot of their progeny suffered from hemophilia, a blood (non-) clotting syndrome …. like the russian royal house …. and this caused perpetual anemia …. and consequently, 'blue blood' …. because of low red blood cell count and low haemoglobin. Hence, 'blue blooded' ??

    Have a good day, all.

  7. @Carrie
    Just reading your post from yesterday. Agree on lie and lay. I was guilty of the nauseous and nauseated error for years. A couple of years ago the misuse was pointed out to me. However, as is so often the case, common usage (misusage) has caused even dictionaries to overlap the definitions. In fact, I just now looked up the words in 2 different sources, and they were polar opposites in terms of which was which – the internal feeling of queasiness, or the causing of it….or both. So I'll defer to you on that one until I can sort it out myself.

    Meanwhile, I'll add lie/lay to the database and turn myself into the police for nauseated and nauseous….

    Best –

  8. Inkblot! That's what my puzzle was.
    Holy smokes, I went so wrong in so many places.
    SMART CLASS was first. I thought we were adding CL. Uh, I guess that wouldn't pass the acceptable answer category.
    CURB was in, but was out because of that ?&#@! CAKE of soap.
    EDGES before EASES.DELAYS before DEFERS.
    Aware of Mulligan stew and something to do with golf, but didn't know it's a RETRY.
    ABEL was unknown, as was GOLEM.
    Metallic sound was CLINK, not CLANG.
    I actually entered SCARDY BRATS. !!!!!
    Honestly, could I have done any worse than
    today?

  9. @Glenn – I found (and fought) with the daily puzzle in the WSJ for a long time before finally finishing it successfully. The final "piece to the puzzle" (ha) was getting 63 and 70 Across filled in correctly as that finally! gave me 41 Down (Motor variety) which had me totally hung up for a long, long, long time.

    Let me know how you do, if you do!

  10. @Tony Michaels
    FWIW, I'm the "Glenn" that commented over there today.

    That's where the "difficulty" comment came from before. Got the Thursday grid very quickly (for me) and correctly, minus the Natick at 56A/52D, which is why the "all the time" comment in yesterday's post here. By contrast, the Wednesday WSJ grid was *nasty* for me. How things go, I suppose…

  11. @Glenn – Sorry for not reading your first post more carefully, otherwise I would have seen that you had quit with the Wednesday WSJ daily (and Wednesday was a pussycat of a puzzle – next to today's!).

  12. @Tony Michaels
    What grids I do depends on how much time I get, how discouraged I get from previous grids, and what else is going on at the time. Sometimes I get frustrated then decide to try the next day, too, when I'm getting bored, but not so bored to pull out the "easy" book. So a lot of it is "it depends".

    I guess like difficulty levels depending on people. What you wrote seems to illustrate that observation of mine in that there probably isn't an objective method to determine difficulty in grids, especially since assessments vary so much.

    I just printed the Friday WSJ, I'll see how that one goes.

  13. @Pookie~LOL! Add in the CL….!
    @Jeff, don't worry, I'll bail you out. Yes, something nauseous makes us feel nauseated. I'll bet good money that dictionaries now say that nauseous is acceptable as meaning nauseated. I just hope I don't see that happen with lie/lay. Not on my watch!!!
    This was a pretty good puzzle, I thought. I only peeked at 4 or 5 answers… but I really wanted to see FILM SHORTS instead of SMALLSTARS for that Rooney/De Vito thing!! 😀
    Enjoy your Friday, all!
    Be well~~™

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