LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Dec 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Kristian House
THEME: Headgear … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase that is clued as though it describes a piece of headgear suitable for certain people:

17A. Headgear not for amateurs? PRO BOWLER
27A. Headgear for a certain batting champ? TRIPLE CROWN
47A. Headgear for some skaters? ROLLER DERBY
64A. Headgear for contract negotiations? SALARY CAP

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 23s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Two of its members wrote the music for “Chess” ABBA
The musical “Chess” is a very enjoyable show, with music written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame) and lyrics by Tim Rice (of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita” fame). The story is about two chess masters, one American and one Russian, who face off against each other during the Cold War. Much of the action takes place in Bangkok at a World Championship Tournament, and there’s a woman, and a love triangle. I saw the show decades ago in the north of England, and recommend it …

5. Angling trophy BASS
We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” was an Old English word for a hook.

14. Chillax LOLL
“Chillax” is a slang term meaning “chill and relax”. Who’da thunk it …?

15. Horn accessory MUTE
A mute is a device used to reduce the volume and alter the sound of a musical instrument.

17. Headgear not for amateurs? PRO BOWLER
I think a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

20. Bunk HOKUM
“Hokum” was originally theater slang, meaning “melodramatic, exaggerated acting”. Now the term just means “empty talk”.

The word “bunk” is short for “bunkum”, the phonetic spelling of “Buncombe”, which is a county in North Carolina. Supposedly, a state representative made a dull and irrelevant speech that was directed to his home county of Buncombe, bringing the term “bunkum” into the language with the meaning of “nonsense”. The derivative word “debunk” first appeared in a novel by William Woodward in 1923, when he used it to describe “taking the bunk out of things”.

21. License-issuing org. DMV
In most states, the government agency responsible for vehicle registration and the issuing of driver’s licenses is called the DMV. This initialism usually stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles, but there are “variations on the theme”. For example, in Arizona the responsible agency is called the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and in Colorado the familiar abbreviation “DMV” stands for Division of Motor Vehicles.

23. Weak ANEMIC
The term “anemia” (or “anaemia” as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition. We use the derivative term “anemic” in a figurative sense, to mean “weak”.

25. Career grand slam leader A-ROD
Professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez earned more nicknames than just A-Rod. He has been called “the Cooler” by some players as there is a perception that teams go cold when he joins them and hot when he leaves. He has also been called “A-Fraud” by teammates because of another perception, that he is over-demanding. Rodriguez now seems to be in a world of hurt for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

27. Headgear for a certain batting champ? TRIPLE CROWN
In baseball, a player can earn the Triple Crown when he is the leader in three specific statistics. The pitching Triple Crown includes wins, strikeouts and earned run average (ERA). The batting Triple Crown includes home runs, runs batted in (RBI) and batting average.

33. Princess friend of Dorothy OZMA
L. Frank Baum wrote a whole series of books about the Land of Oz, and Princess Ozma appears in all of them except the one that’s most famous, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

The protagonist in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” is Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland. Apparently the name “Gale” wasn’t revealed in the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Baum first revealed Dorothy’s full name in the script he wrote for the 1902 stage version of “The Wizard of Oz”. Dorothy reveals that she is “one of the Kansas Gales”, to which the Scarecrow replies “That accounts for your breezy manner.” Hardy har …

37. Gibbon, for one APE
Gibbons are referred to as lesser apes as they differ in size and behavior from the great apes e.g. chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans.

38. Dr. Howser of ’80s-’90s TV DOOGIE
“Doogie Howser, M.D.” is the TV show that gave Neil Patrick Harris his big break. Harris played a teenager who worked as a physician.

40. Sierra follower, in the NATO alphabet TANGO
The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … Zulu.

45. Torque symbol, in mechanics TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

Torque can be thought of as a turning force, say the force needed to tighten a bolt or a nut.

46. Utah state flower SEGO
The Sego Lily is the state flower of Utah, and is a perennial plant found throughout the Western United States.

47. Headgear for some skaters? ROLLER DERBY
The sport of roller derby has an international footprint, with almost half the world’s teams being located outside of the US. Most of the teams playing the sport are all-female.

50. Bologna bone OSSO
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone as in the name of the dish Osso Buco: braised veal shanks.

Bologna is a city in northern Italy. The city is home to the University of Bologna that was founded way back in 1088. The University of Bologna is the oldest existing university in the world.

56. Spy plane acronym AWACS
When the British developed radar in WWII, they also came up with an airborne system that they actually deployed during the war. In 1944 the US Navy commissioned a similar system, and so launched the first American Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system, also before the war was over. The more modern term for the technology is Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS for short.

59. Tolkien race member ELF
Elves are one of the races inhabiting Middle Earth, J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional land that appears in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.

J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien was an English author, best known by far for his fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”. Although Tolkien lived in England and was a professor at Oxford, he served for many years as an external examiner at my old school, University College Dublin in Ireland.

63. Breadcrumbs used in Asian cuisine PANKO
“Panko” is a breadcrumb used in some Japanese cuisine, primarily as a crunchy coating for fried foods.

67. Camera that uses 70mm film IMAX
The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

68. Junk, say SHIP
A junk is a sailing boat often seen in Chinese waters today, and as far back as 200 BC. The English word “junk” is just a phonetic spelling of a Chinese word for “ship”, although it would more correctly be pronounced “joong”.

70. A mullet covers it NAPE
A mullet haircut is one that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back.

71. Xperia manufacturer SONY
The Sony Xperia is a line of smartphones that Sony has been making since 2008. The company introduced Xperia tablets in 2012. The name “Xperia” is formed from the English word “experience”.

Down
1. __-Bits ALPHA
Alpha-Bits is a Post breakfast cereal that is made from bits of corn cereal in alphabet shapes.

2. Element between beryllium and carbon on the periodic table BORON
Boron is the chemical element with the atomic number of 5 and symbol B. It lies over to the right in Group 13 of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Uncombined, elemental boron is not found naturally on Earth. The boron that is mined is found in oxide form, not as uncombined boron.

3. Chap BLOKE
“Bloke” is British slang for a fellow. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

“Chap” is an informal term for “lad, fellow”, especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

4. “Help!” is one ALBUM
“Help!” is a 1965 movie, the second film released by the Beatles. The film’s soundtrack was released under the same title. Personally, I prefered the Beatles’ first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night” …

5. German import BMW
The abbreviation BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

6. Word sung in early January AULD
The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve, the words of which were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

7. Watch part STEM
The stem of a watch is the shaft that projects from the body and which is used to wind the mechanism. Prior to the introduction of stem watches, the timepieces were wound up using a key.

8. Spotted wildcat SERVAL
The serval is a wild cat found in sub-Saharan Africa. Servals have the longest legs of any species of cat relative to body size.

9. River under the Angostura Bridge ORINOCO
The Orinoco is a major river in South America, flowing through Venezuela and Colombia.

Angostura Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Orinoco River in the Venezuelan city of Ciudad Bolívar. Built in 1967, the Angostura was the one and only bridge over the Orinoco for almost forty years.

Ciudad Bolívar is the capital city of Bolivar State in southeastern Venezuela. Ciudad Bolivar used to be called Angostura, and gave its name to the Angostura tree and Angostura Bitters, which are used in many cocktails.

11. Dummy’s place KNEE
That would be a ventriloquist’s dummy.

13. Hankerings YENS
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!

18. Insult in an Oscar acceptance speech, perhaps OMIT
I’d like to thank my mother, my father, my cat, my dog, my butcher, my candlestickmaker. Oops, I omitted my baker. What an insult …

26. Defensive fortification REDOUBT
A redoubt is a system of fortifications that surround a larger fort. The redoubt is used to protect soldiers stationed outside the main fort, and to provide additional defenses. The term “redoubt” (originally “redout”) means “place of retreat”.

28. Bar brew, briefly IPA
India Pale Ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

29. Board game using stones PENTE
Pente is a strategy board game based on the Japanese game called “ninuki-renju”. The game was created in 1977 by a dishwasher at an eatery called Hideaway Pizza in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The game was, and apparently still is, played by customers at their tables while waiting for their pizza to be served.

31. “SNL” alum with Hader and Samberg WIIG
Kristen Wiig is a comic actress who appears on “Saturday Night Live”. She also made an appearance on the first season of Spike TV’s quirky “The Joe Schmo Show”, playing “Dr. Pat”. More recently she co-wrote and starred in the 2011 hit film “Bridesmaids”.

Bill Hader is an actor and comedian best known as a member of the cast of “Saturday Night Live”. Hader was introduced to Lorne Michaels (producer of “Saturday Night Live”) by Megan Mullally, co-star of the sitcom “Will & Grace”.

Andy Samberg is an actor and comedian who was a “Saturday Night Live” cast member from 2005 until 2012. Samberg also plays the lead on the police sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.

32. Fictional captain NEMO
In the 1954 movie version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’ Locker.

33. River through Frankfurt ODER
The Oder river rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland. Downstream, the Oder breaks into three branches that empty into the Gulf of Pomerania in the Baltic Sea.

Frankfurt an der Oder is a town in Brandenburg, Germany that is right on the border with Poland. The suffix “an der Oder” shows that it lies on the Oder River and also serves to differentiate the town from the larger and more famous city of Frankfurt am Main.

34. Philosopher known for his “Achilles and the Tortoise” paradox ZENO
Zeno of Elea was a Greek philosopher who lived in Elea, a Greek colony in Southern Italy. Zeno is famous for his “paradoxes”, a set of problems that really make you think! In the problem known as “Achilles and the Tortoise”, Zeno tells us that Achilles races a tortoise, giving the tortoise a head start (of say 100 meters). By the time Achilles reaches the starting point of the tortoise, the tortoise will have moved on, albeit only a small distance. Achilles then sets his sights on the tortoise’s new position and runs to it. Again the tortoise has moved ahead a little. Achilles keeps on moving to the tortoise’s new position but can never actually catch his slower rival. Or can he …?

41. Sharp-toothed fish GAR
The fish known as a gar is very unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What is interesting about gar is that their swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

49. Oenophile’s concern YEAR
In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oen-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.

54. Bolt like lightning? USAIN
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

56. Mil. mail drops APOS
Army Post Office (APO)

60. Dharma teacher LAMA
“Lama” is a Tibetan word, meaning “chief” or “high priest”.

In the context of Buddhism, “dharma” can mean the collection of teachings and doctrines of the faith. The term is also used to describe proper and correct behavior that maintains the natural order of things.

61. Door in the woods FLAP
The “door” of a tent is a “flap”.

65. Tin Man’s tool AXE
Actor Jack Haley played the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”. Haley was the second choice for the role, as it was originally given to Buddy Ebsen (who later played Jed Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies”). Ebsen was being “painted up” as the Tin Man when he had an extreme, near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup that was being used. When Haley took over, the makeup was changed to a paste, but it was still uncomfortable and caused him to miss the first four days of shooting due to a reaction in his eyes. During filming, Haley must have made good friends with the movie’s star, Judy Garland, as years later Jack’s son married Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Two of its members wrote the music for “Chess” ABBA
5. Angling trophy BASS
9. Not sour ON KEY
14. Chillax LOLL
15. Horn accessory MUTE
16. Kitchen feature RANGE
17. Headgear not for amateurs? PRO BOWLER
19. Qualifying words I MEAN …
20. Bunk HOKUM
21. License-issuing org. DMV
22. They’re not optional NEEDS
23. Weak ANEMIC
25. Career grand slam leader A-ROD
27. Headgear for a certain batting champ? TRIPLE CROWN
33. Princess friend of Dorothy OZMA
37. Gibbon, for one APE
38. Dr. Howser of ’80s-’90s TV DOOGIE
39. Done __ DEED
40. Sierra follower, in the NATO alphabet TANGO
42. Stiff PRIM
43. Facilitate ENABLE
45. Torque symbol, in mechanics TAU
46. Utah state flower SEGO
47. Headgear for some skaters? ROLLER DERBY
50. Bologna bone OSSO
51. Work together TEAM UP
56. Spy plane acronym AWACS
59. Tolkien race member ELF
62. Poor treatment ABUSE
63. Breadcrumbs used in Asian cuisine PANKO
64. Headgear for contract negotiations? SALARY CAP
66. A lot OFTEN
67. Camera that uses 70mm film IMAX
68. Junk, say SHIP
69. Shows signs of life STIRS
70. A mullet covers it NAPE
71. Xperia manufacturer SONY

Down
1. __-Bits ALPHA
2. Element between beryllium and carbon on the periodic table BORON
3. Chap BLOKE
4. “Help!” is one ALBUM
5. German import BMW
6. Word sung in early January AULD
7. Watch part STEM
8. Spotted wildcat SERVAL
9. River under the Angostura Bridge ORINOCO
10. Tries to impress, in a way NAME-DROPS
11. Dummy’s place KNEE
12. “Good heavens!” EGAD!
13. Hankerings YENS
18. Insult in an Oscar acceptance speech, perhaps OMIT
24. Significant depressions CRATERS
26. Defensive fortification REDOUBT
28. Bar brew, briefly IPA
29. Board game using stones PENTE
30. Fiend OGRE
31. “SNL” alum with Hader and Samberg WIIG
32. Fictional captain NEMO
33. River through Frankfurt ODER
34. Philosopher known for his “Achilles and the Tortoise” paradox ZENO
35. Ground grain MEAL
36. Pop-up prevention AD BLOCKER
41. Sharp-toothed fish GAR
44. Course components LESSONS
48. Rubs out DOES IN
49. Oenophile’s concern YEAR
52. Deep space ABYSS
53. Oodles of, in slang MUCHO
54. Bolt like lightning? USAIN
55. Raring to go PEPPY
56. Mil. mail drops APOS
57. Drift, as smoke WAFT
58. Fighting ANTI
60. Dharma teacher LAMA
61. Door in the woods FLAP
65. Tin Man’s tool AXE

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Dec 15, Friday”

  1. Fair effort for a Friday. 3 errors (33A, 50A, 61D, all lookups).

    61-Down is a strange clue, indeed, especially since "door" makes no sense to be used in that way at all.

    Door: "a movable, usually solid, barrier for opening and closing an entranceway, cupboard, cabinet, or the like, commonly turning on hinges or sliding in grooves."

    I guess it depends on what the meaning of the word "is", is…

  2. please never use this person who wrote this puzzle again. Worst I have ever seen
    nothing made sense — words placed just to fill in puzzle with no apparent meaning

  3. Difficult puzzle appropriate for a Friday. Fridays always have a few headscratchers for clues. The theme helped a lot but not quite enough. I had to look up OZMA and WIIG. Those plus the theme made everything else fall into place though.

    FWIW the Texas equivalent to the DMV is the DPS – the Department of Public Safety. I say they are being rather kind to themselves using that moniker.

    "Chess" sounds like it would make a better movie than a musical. Seinfeld reference regarding musicals: "Why sing? If you got something to say, say it"….

    ZENO's paradox reminds me that mathematically you can make the case it's impossible to throw a ball and hit a wall. It would first have to go half way there, then halfway from there, and halfway from there….infinitely. So it could never actually arrive.

    It's Friday so Angostura bitters reminds me how few bartenders can make a decent Manhattan anymore. There is one steakhouse near my house that makes an excellent one, but that is a rare case indeed. It's such a classic cocktail but no one seems to know how to make it anymore. Sad.

    Best-

  4. @Glenn – The Door/Flap clue answer had the "in the woods" bit stuck on to allude (as Bill said above) to a tent. Friday's are tough because the clues are much harder to figure out/misdirection personified.

    At first I thought this was going to be a DNF Friday, but I kept chipping away until I suddenly realized the grid was filled in successfully. My "humble brag" of the day! I did get hung up for awhile when I put in "sweet" for 9 Across. I should have figured that was much too literal an answer for a Friday grid.

    Hope you all have a nice Friday. See you tomorrow.

  5. Tough, tough time with the puzzle. Plus some clues I just couldn't even understand. 'Door' par exemplo. Thanks to Bill, I can now pretend, I understood it.

    My bottle of Angostura Bitters has a prominent info box that says that the bitters contain no Angostura bark (!), the A. bark, is apparently poisonous. It however does hasve gentian violet, an innocuous vegetable dye. The name Angostura, comes from the original town of manufacture, not the bark of the A. tree. The town is now called Ciudad Bolivar. BTW, Bill already mentioned all this in his blog. Duh !

    Would OZMA be the wizard's mother ?

    Have a nice weekend, all.

  6. I gave up on it. The whole SE was blank
    TRIPLE CROWN was quite a stretch, especially the "certain" batting champ clue.
    For "Junk,say" I had SHI_ ……
    No they couldn't say THAT.
    Door in the woods….. Ptui!

  7. @Pookie – What do suppose the bear is doing behind that door in the woods?

    For those who like to do the WSJ daily I thought today was a magnitude easier than yesterday, at least for me. I tend to me my own worst enemy for crossword puzzles and this was one was no different when I stuck in "seed" for the answer to the 26 Across clue "poppy part" – doh! I somehow got it into my mind that they were asking about poppy seed muffins, when they were asking about the flower. Once I got stem in there the last part of the grid came together.

  8. I got FLAP, but not why that's what it was. Thought it might be a pet door in a wooden door. Too contorted for me.

    I also got triplecrown (just a lucky guess), but didn't know why for that one either.
    I was looking for something w/ Barry Bonds or Mark Mcguire, the only 2 "certain" batters I can name. Oh, and Michael Conforto. I watched him hit homers in college.

    Never heard of chillax. I guess someone from the "groovy" era can't complain abt current silliness!

    Keep warm and dry, everyone!

    Bella

  9. @Tony Michaels

    Yeah, the Friday one wasn't too bad. A little harder than Thursday, but not as hard as Wednesday. Couple of stupid mistakes and a couple of things I didn't know, but very smooth otherwise. Sub-theme gotten and contest entered, though I gather it may be higher odds than the lottery.

    Wednesday WSJ still the champion of difficulty for me for the week. Of course tomorrow's 15×15 grids will crush all the others, but hey, good for me that I actually managed to finish all the ones I've attempted so far.

  10. Difficult. Googled for ABBA, AROD (sports), PANKO, IMAX, SONY, SERVAL, PENTE, ORINOCO.

    The ones I actually never heard of were PANKO, SERVAL, PENTE. Many crosswords are the same 'ol; you just don't know everything about them.

    On the other hand, I put in FLAP, IPA, USAIN, but didn't know why!

    Had "sweet" before ONKEY; "wine" before year.

    Don't quit yet, Kristian House – I just got to get better for Fridays.

  11. Who the heck is OZMA??!
    And, humans are great apes?! I'd like to see a chimp try a crossword puzzle!
    I happen to know the term chillax, and in fact I spent most of today chillaxin' — until I attempted this puzzle. Didn't know about much else, I guess…
    I just adore the movie A Hard Day's Night (not to mention the tunes.) Help! was pretty ridiculous tho. Apparently they shot part of Help! in the Bahamas for tax reasons. Had nothing to do with the story line or scenery.
    Be well ~~™

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