LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Dec 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jerry Edelstein
THEME: A Spot of Tea … each of today’s themed answers has A SPOT for TEA, as TEA is a hidden word:

58A. Warm cupful … and, literally, what’s hidden in the answers to 17-, 23-, 37- and 45-Across A SPOT OF TEA

17A. “Calm down” TAKE IT EASY
23A. BBC nature series with the episodes “Jungles” and “Mountains” PLANET EARTH
37A. Adorable AS CUTE AS A BUTTON
45A. Delayed flight, e.g. LATE ARRIVAL

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 43s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Workers who cross picket lines SCABS
We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

10. Con game SCAM
The slang term “scam” meaning a swindle may come from the British slang “scamp”.

16. Thomas __ Edison ALVA
Thomas Edison was a very successful inventor. He held over a thousand US patents in his name. Included in the list of Edison’s inventions is the phonograph, the movie camera and the long-lasting light bulb. He passed away in 1931. There is a test tube at the Henry Ford Museum that supposedly holds Edison’s last breath. Ford convinced Thomas’s son Charles to seal up a tube of air in the room just after the inventor died, as a memento.

21. Pint or pixel UNIT
A US pint is made from 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass, marking a full measure of ale.

A pixel is a dot, the base element that goes to make up a digital image. The term “pixel” comes from “pix” (i.e. pics) and the first syllable of “element”.

22. Former Russian rulers TSARS
The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

23. BBC nature series with the episodes “Jungles” and “Mountains” PLANET EARTH
“Planet Earth” is a spectacular nature documentary first aired in 2006 by the BBC. It was also shown in the US on the Discovery Channel in 2007. The eleven episodes of “Planet Earth” are not only fascinating because of the content, but are also a visual delight as the marvelous cinematography used high-definition technology. Well worth a rental …

29. CVS pickups RXS
There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

The name of the drugstore chain CVS once stood for Consumer Value Stores, although these days the company uses the acronym to denote Convenience, Value and Service.

30. Inventor Howe ELIAS
Elias Howe was an American inventor. Howe wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of a sewing machine, but he was the first to develop one that was functional.

31. Ark measurement CUBIT
The ancient unit of length called a cubit was chosen as the length of the forearm. In some cultures a cubit was divided into 7 palms, the width of the hand excluding the thumb.

34. “Dexter” network, briefly SHO
“Dexter” is a crime show that airs on Showtime. The title character works for the Miami Police Department as an expert in blood spatter patterns by day, but is a serial killer by night. The original series was based on the “Dexter” novels written by Jeff Lindsay. I haven’t seen this show myself, but my eldest son really enjoys it …

37. Adorable AS CUTE AS A BUTTON
We use the phrase “cute as a button” over here in North America. When I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic, we said “bright as a button”. I believe both phrases have the same meaning.

41. Greek sandwiches GYROS
A gyro is a traditional Greek sandwich made with pita bread and containing meat, tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce). The meat for gyros is usually roasted on a tall vertical spit and is sliced from the spit as required. The name “gyro” comes from the modern Greek word “gyros” meaning “circle”, a reference to the meat turning as it is grilled in a rotating circular motion.

43. Rapper Dr. __ DRE
Dr. Dre is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

44. Riviera film festival site CANNES
Cannes is a city on the French Riviera, noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The idea of the annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.

“Riviera” is an Italian word meaning “coastline”. The term is often applied to a coastline that is sunny and popular with tourists. The term “the Riviera” is usually reserved for the French Riviera (the Mediterranean coastline in southeastern France), and the Italian Riviera (the Mediterranean coastline centered on Genoa).

58. Warm cupful … and, literally, what’s hidden in the answers to 17-, 23-, 37- and 45-Across A SPOT OF TEA
The reference here is to the oft-quoted English phrase “a spot of tea”. Mind you, I’ve only ever heard that said in jest …

61. Ancient France GAUL
The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

65. Thin nails BRADS
A “brad” is a lender wire nail with a relatively small head that is typically used to “tack” pieces of wood together, to fasten either temporarily or with minimal damage to the wood. Nowadays, brads are commonly applied using a nail gun.

Down
1. They’re way more than social drinkers SOTS
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

2. “Later, dahling!” CIAO!
“Ciao” is the Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

3. __-Seltzer ALKA
Alka-Seltzer is a brand of fizzy antacid that has been marketed since 1931. In terms of ingredients, it is a mix of sodium bicarbonate, aspirin and anhydrous citric acid.

5. 1980s missile prog. SDI
One of the positive outcomes of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, also “Star Wars”) was a change in US defense strategy. The new approach was to use missiles to destroy incoming hostile weapons, rather than using missiles to destroy the nation attacking the country. The former doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction went by the apt acronym of MAD …

6. Davis of “Commander in Chief” GEENA
As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …

The actress Geena Davis portrayed President Mackenzie Allen in the television show “Commander in Chief” on ABC. I thought “Commander in Chief” was a show with great potential, but sadly it was cancelled after just 18 episodes.

9. Ice cream maker Joseph EDY
Dreyers’ ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyers in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dryer and Joseph Edy.

10. Dips for tortilla chips SALSAS
“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

18. Rock’s Jethro __ TULL
Jethro Tull is a rock band from the UK, formed in 1967 and still going strong today. The band uses the name of a 18th-century, English agriculturist.

23. Ph.D. candidate, e.g. POSTGRAD
Ph.D. is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”.

24. Chicago daily, familiarly TRIB
“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

25. Austin __: Tennessee university PEAY
Austin Peay was the Governor of Tennessee from 1923 until 1927. It was Governor Peay who signed into law the Butler Act, which prevented public schools from teaching the Theory of Evolution. It was the Butler Act that precipitated the Scopes Monkey Trial.

26. Ingrid’s role in “Casablanca” 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.

28. Letter after sigma 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.

Sigma is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is the one used for an “ess” sound, equivalent to our letter S. Sigma is used in mathematics to represent a summation, the adding together of a sequence of numbers.

31. Sleeping or slot follower CAR
Slot cars are those motorized toy cars that run around on tracks picking up power from the slot in the racing surface. The first slot cars were made by the Lionel company, the manufacturer of toy trains sets. They first appeared in 1912.

32. GI show sponsor USO
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

The initials “G.I.” stand for “Government Issue” and not “General Infantry” as is often believed. GI was first used in the military to denote equipment made from Galvanized Iron and during WWI, incoming German shells were nicknamed “GI cans”. Soon after, the term GI came to be associated with “Government Issue” and eventually became an adjective to describe anything associated with the Army.

33. __-relief BAS
In bas-relief, an image projects just a little above the background, as in perhaps a head depicted on a coin.

39. Five-and-__ store TEN
A “five-and-ten” is a store that sells inexpensive items. “Five-and-ten” is an alternative name for “dime store”, “five-and-dime” and “ten-cent store”. The “five-and-ten” name is short for “five-and-ten cent store”.

44. “__ Buy Me Love”: Beatles hit CAN’T
“Can’t Buy Me Love” is a 1964 Beatles song. Paul McCartney composed it on an upright piano in a hotel room in the magnificent George V hotel in Paris.

45. Café lightener LECHE
In Spanish, one might have “café con leche” (coffee with milk).

47. Figure of speech TROPE
A “trope” is a figure of speech, from the Greek word “tropos” that has the same meaning.

48. Bouquet for a señorita ROSAS
In Spanish, a “señorita” (miss) might receive a bouquet of “rosas” (roses).

50. String quartet instrument VIOLA
A standard string quartet is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. A string quintet consists of a standard string quartet with the addition of a fifth instrument, usually a second viola or cello.

54. “At Last” singer James ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Workers who cross picket lines SCABS
6. Stare in disbelief GAPE
10. Con game SCAM
14. Kept from squeaking OILED
15. “Yikes!” EGAD!
16. Thomas __ Edison ALVA
17. “Calm down” TAKE IT EASY
19. Salacious look LEER
20. Bar in a bathtub SOAP
21. Pint or pixel UNIT
22. Former Russian rulers TSARS
23. BBC nature series with the episodes “Jungles” and “Mountains” PLANET EARTH
25. Starter’s gun PISTOL
29. CVS pickups RXS
30. Inventor Howe ELIAS
31. Ark measurement CUBIT
34. “Dexter” network, briefly SHO
37. Adorable AS CUTE AS A BUTTON
40. Chatter YAK
41. Greek sandwiches GYROS
42. Not throw out REUSE
43. Rapper Dr. __ DRE
44. Riviera film festival site CANNES
45. Delayed flight, e.g. LATE ARRIVAL
51. Dropped the ball ERRED
52. “You’re __ 30 seconds!”: backstage warning ON IN
53. Prefix with space AERO-
57. Trim, as a photo CROP
58. Warm cupful … and, literally, what’s hidden in the answers to 17-, 23-, 37- and 45-Across A SPOT OF TEA
60. Optimism HOPE
61. Ancient France GAUL
62. Film critic, at times RATER
63. Pitcher with a flared spout EWER
64. This, to Esteban ESTA
65. Thin nails BRADS

Down
1. They’re way more than social drinkers SOTS
2. “Later, dahling!” CIAO!
3. __-Seltzer ALKA
4. Driver’s warning BEEP!
5. 1980s missile prog. SDI
6. Davis of “Commander in Chief” GEENA
7. Another time AGAIN
8. Something to stick with? PASTE
9. Ice cream maker Joseph EDY
10. Dips for tortilla chips SALSAS
11. Simple to understand CLEAR
12. Sidestep AVERT
13. Bog MARSH
18. Rock’s Jethro __ TULL
22. Relating to roughness or smoothness, say TEXTURAL
23. Ph.D. candidate, e.g. POSTGRAD
24. Chicago daily, familiarly TRIB
25. Austin __: Tennessee university PEAY
26. Ingrid’s role in “Casablanca” ILSA
27. Under the weather SICK
28. Letter after sigma TAU
31. Sleeping or slot follower CAR
32. GI show sponsor USO
33. __-relief BAS
34. Shock STUN
35. Garden spigot attachment HOSE
36. Change for a five ONES
38. Spyglass user EYER
39. Five-and-__ store TEN
43. Not as simple to understand DEEPER
44. “__ Buy Me Love”: Beatles hit CAN’T
45. Café lightener LECHE
46. Traffic light symbol ARROW
47. Figure of speech TROPE
48. Bouquet for a señorita ROSAS
49. Computer fodder INPUT
50. String quartet instrument VIOLA
53. Many miles away AFAR
54. “At Last” singer James ETTA
55. Lakeside stalk REED
56. Rowboat pair OARS
58. Birthday number AGE
59. Eye, poetically ORB

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 22 Dec 15, Tuesday”

  1. I had a good time with the puzzle, which I enjoyed very much. I didn't concern myself with the theme, but rushed here to check on Bill's time…

    In my numerous projects involving fermentation of dough, in indian pancake recipes, I use ENO's fruit salt, which is ALKA Seltzer, without the Aspirin. Just plain baking soda and anyhydrous citric acid. Ofcourse, it would be cheaper to just buy the Arm and Hammer baking soda, and an ounce of citric acid, but the Eno comes in small packets / sachets, and I think it keeps fresher longer.

    I remember when the SDI was first proposed, by Reagan, in 1983, the media panned it as a Star Wars pie-in-the-sky boondoggle project. It was widely derided.

    Regarding Mr. Thomas A. Edison's last breath – I remember reading a scholarly book on the enormous power of instantaenous diffusion of gases ….. that what are the chances of you, breathing a molecule of Oxygen or nitrogen, IN YOUR NEXT BREATH, containing a molecule of O2 or N2, from the last breath of George Washington ?

    The answer, is one in two. Thats how quick and widespread gaseous diffusion occurs.

    So, in a broad sense, we are always breathing 'used, exhaled', air from the dying breaths of millions of dead people. All the time.

    On that happy note, I bid you all, a wonderful day.

  2. Definitely tougher than your normal Tuesday puzzle. CUBIT/BAS did me in. BAS-relief? Never heard of it. Sounds like a fishing addiction. Puzzle also had AFAR in honor of Carrie.

    I've never understood CUTE AS A BUTTON. Bright as a button doesn't make any sense either. I've never found buttons all that cute…or bright.

    I may go the rest of my life without using the word EYER.

    Best –

  3. Finally, RAIN!! Nice steady gentle rain all through the night.
    After putting the soggy newspaper in the oven I started on the puzzle. "Don't make any mistakes" I told myself, "if you have to erase there won't be any paper left".
    Sure enough, I put in GAWK for GAPE.
    I just could not see TAKE*TEASY until I ran the alphabet.
    @Jeff, agree on EYER.
    Will never remember PEAY if it comes up again.

  4. @RestMyCase!
    The paper WAS in a plastic bag….ONE plastic bag.
    My carrier usually double bags it when it rains, but not this morning…and I tip her $50 every Christmas!
    Hey, I'm still going to give her fifty bucks this year. I wouldn't want her job.She delivers 7 days L.A. Times and 4 days local paper and one other paper on Sundays.
    I'll take a wet paper once in a while, at least we're getting some much-needed rain. ^0^
    Are you in California too?

  5. @Vidwan re. Washington–really??! OMG that makes my head spin! (So I guess I need to take a breath…)
    Annnyway – I thought today's puzzle was easy, altho I did get tangled up in the SW for a bit. Had LATTE before LECHE…careless!
    Hey Pookie, I'm in LA myself, and I also had a soggy paper. This drizzly rain we're getting makes for some cool sun/shade lighting. Took a photo of my tree with a ribbon of sunlight right down the middle.
    See y'all mañana!
    Be well~~™

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