LA Times Crossword Answers 8 Dec 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Ed Sessa
THEME: GR and MA … each of today’s themed answers comprises two words, the first starting with GR and the second starting with MA:

40A. Artist Moses … and, when divided into three parts, a hint to the answers to starred clues GRANDMA (and “GR and MA”)

21A. *”I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member” speaker GROUCHO MARX
54A. *Score-settling competition GRUDGE MATCH
3D. *2005 documentary about a bear enthusiast GRIZZLY MAN
32D. *Brains, figuratively GRAY MATTER

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 29s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. __-Saxon ANGLO
Germanic tribes invaded Great Britain from the early 5th century and created the nation that we now call England. The Anglo-Saxons (sometimes simply “Saxons”), as these tribes came to be called, held sway in the country until 1066, the year of the Norman Conquest. The Anglo-Saxons were descendants of three Germanic tribes:

– The Angles, from Angeln in Northern Germany (and the tribe that gave the name “England”).
– The Saxons, from Lower Saxony and Holland.
– The Jutes, from the Jutland peninsula in Denmark.

6. Swedish quartet ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA’s music. ABBA was the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

14. Plain-paper copier pioneer XEROX
Xerox was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York and originally made photographic paper and equipment. Real success came for the company in 1959 when it introduced the first plain-paper photocopier. Xerox named Ursula Burns as CEO in 2009, the first African American woman to head up a S&P 100 company. Burn was also the first woman to succeed another female CEO (replacing Anne Mulcahy).

17. “Revenge” co-star VanCamp EMILY
Emily VanCamp is a Canadian actress who plays one of the leads on the TV series “Revenge”, which is loosely based on Dumas novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”. VanCamp has been romantically involved with her “Revenge” co-star Josh Bowman for several years.

18. Drug cop NARC
“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs.

19. Words to an old chap I SAY
“I say, old chap …”

20. Doughnut order: Abbr. DOZ
Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.

21. *”I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member” speaker GROUCHO MARX
Groucho Marx’s real name was Julius Henry Marx. By the time Groucho started his successful, post-Hollywood career hosting the quiz show “You Bet Your Life”, he was sporting a real mustache. For all his movies, his mustache had been painted on with greasepaint.

24. Potsdam pair ZWEI
The German for “one, two, three” is “eins, zwei, drei”.

Potsdam is a city in Germany that lies just on the outskirts of the nation’s capital of Berlin. Famously, Potsdam was the site of a conference between Stalin, Churchill and Truman after the end of WWII in Europe.

26. Bum kin HOBO
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

36. Slender woodwind OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

38. Loy of “The Thin Man” MYRNA
The beautiful Myrna Loy was one of my favorite actresses. Her career took off when she was paired up with William Powell in the fabulous “The Thin Man” series of films. Loy also appeared opposite Cary Grant in a couple of films that I like to watch every so often, namely “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” (1947) and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (1948).

“The Thin Man” is a detective novel written by Dashiell Hammett that was first published in the magazine “Redbook” in 1934. Hammett never wrote a sequel to his story, but it spawned a wonderful, wonderful series of “The Thin Man” films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. “The Thin Man” was the last novel that Hammett wrote.

40. Artist Moses … and, when divided into three parts, a hint to the answers to starred clues GRANDMA (and “GR and MA”)
Grandma Moses was the nickname of American folk artist Anna Moses. Anna’s moniker is perhaps particularly apt as she really only took up art as a career when she was 78 years old.

42. N.C. State’s conference ACC
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

The sports teams of North Carolina State are known as the Wolfpack, with the female teams called the Lady Wolfpack. The Wolfpack name was adopted in 1922 after it was coined by a fan who was actually disgruntled at the time. He described the fans at a sports event behaving “like a wolf pack”, and the name stuck.

45. Pitchers Darling and Guidry RONS
RonDarling is former Major League Baseball pitcher. Darling now works as a color commentator for TBS.

Ron Guidry is a former pitcher for the New York Yankees. Guidry’s number 49 was retired by the Yankees in 2003.

46. Singer Lovett LYLE
As well as being famous in his own right as a successful country singer, Lyle Lovett is known for his marriage to the actress Julia Roberts in 1993. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.

53. Cake served au rhum BABA
Rum baba (also “baba au rhum” in French) is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Rum baba is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The Polish words “baba” and “babka” mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!

59. Indent key TAB
Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

63. __ San Lucas: Baja resort CABO
Cabo San Lucas is a major tourist destination at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. “Cabo” is sometimes referred to as the “Fort Lauderdale of Mexico”.

64. Bandleader Shaw ARTIE
Artie Shaw was a composer, bandleader and a jazz clarinetist. Shaw’s real name was Arthur Jacob Arshawsky, born in New York City in 1910. One of his many claims to fame is that he (a white bandleader) hired Billie Holiday (a black vocalist) and toured the segregated South in the late thirties. Holiday chose to leave the band though, due to hostility from Southern audiences back then. Artie Shaw was married eight times in all. The list of his wives includes the actresses Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, as well as Betty Kern, daughter of songwriter Jerome Kern.

66. Cupid AMOR
Cupid, the Greek god of desire, was also known as Amor. “Cupido” is Latin for “desire” and “amor” is Latin for “love”.

69. With 11-Down, Louvre masterpiece MONA
(11D. See 69-Across LISA)
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

The Musée du Louvre has the distinction of being the most visited art museum in the whole world. The collection is housed in the magnificent Louvre Palace which used to be the seat of power in France, until 1682 when Louis XIV moved to Versailles.

71. Central Park’s 843 ACRES
The man most associated with the decision to develop Central Park in New York City was William Cullen Bryant, the editor of what today is the “New York Post”. He argued that the growing city needed a large, public open space, along the lines of Hyde Park in London and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Most of the park’s construction took place between 1860 and 1873. Much of the clearing work was accomplished using gunpowder, and it is often noted that more gunpowder was used in Central Park than in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Down
2. Jules Verne 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.

3. *2005 documentary about a bear enthusiast GRIZZLY MAN
“Grizzly Man” is a 2005 documentary about the life of bear enthusiast and naturalist Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell spent thirteen summers living with the grizzly bears of Alaska’s Katmai National Park. He and his girlfriend were killed by a brown bear in the park in 2003.

4. Cyberchuckle LOL
Laugh out loud (LOL, in text-speak)

5. Scuba gear element OXYGEN
The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

6. River of Pisa ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

7. Belle’s beloved BEAU
A “beau” is the boyfriend of a “belle”, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.

8. White state tree of New Hampshire BIRCH
The birch is a state tree of New Hampshire, and the national tree of both Finland and Russia.

10. Payment after a divorce ALIMONY
The word “alimony” derives from the Latin “alimonia”, meaning “nourishment, food, support”.

13. River of Hades STYX
The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

23. 44th president OBAMA
When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the US in January 2009, the ceremony was attended by more people than had ever attended any event in the nation’s capital. Famously, President-Elect Obama strayed slightly from the required wording of the oath of office, and so he had to be sworn in again the next day.

25. Director Craven WES
Wes Craven was a very successful film director and writer specializing in movies of the horror genre, which means I don’t watch them! He was responsible for “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Scream” films. Craven passed away in August 2015.

27. Ouzo flavoring ANISE
Ouzo is an aperitif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to pastis from France and also has a flavor like sambuca from Italy.

29. Vanishing ski resort apparatus T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift in which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

32. *Brains, figuratively GRAY MATTER
Grey matter and white matter are the two component of the central nervous system. Grey matter is mainly made up of neurons, and white matter is largely made of axons, the projections of the neurons that form nerve fibers.

33. Cry of surrender UNCLE!
To “say uncle” is an American expression meaning to submit or yield. Its usage dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

37. Poet __ St. Vincent Millay EDNA
Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

40. Norwegian composer Edvard GRIEG
Edvard Grieg is Norway’s best known composer, active in the Romantic Era. Grieg’s most famous works are the gorgeous “Piano Concerto in A minor:”, and his incidental music for the play “Peer Gynt” by Henrik Ibsen.

41. News network with a six-color logo MSNBC
MSNBC was founded in 1996 as a partnership between Microsoft (“MS”) and General Electric’s “NBC” broadcasting operation. Microsoft only owns a minority share in MSNBC today, but is still an equal partner in the separate company that runs msnbc.com.

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has had a number of different logos in its history, including the famous peacock with which we are familiar today. The first peacock logo was introduced in the early days of color television and was designed to illustrate how wonderful color television would be, so go buy one! (NBC was owned by RCA, and so had a vested interest in sales of color television sets).

44. Dancer Duncan ISADORA
Isadora Duncan was an American dancer, inventor of American modern dance. Duncan emphasised the torso in her moves, a break from the balletic tradition of moving from the feet. She left the US when she was 22 years old and moved to Europe around 1900, and from there emigrated to the Soviet Union. Duncan had a tragic passing. She loved to travel in open automobiles wearing a long, flowing scarf. One day her scarf got wrapped around the spokes and axle of the car in which she was travelling, and broke her neck.

46. Return from Venus? LOB
Venus Williams is the older of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. In 2002, Williams became the first black woman to earn the World No. 1 ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association.

50. North African expanse SAHARA
The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic and it is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

52. Nebraska city OMAHA
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

55. San __, Italy REMO
The Italian city of San Remo sits on the Mediterranean, right on the border with France. In Italian the city is named Sanremo, just one word, although the spelling of “San Remo” dates back to ancient times.

57. “Down with,” in Paris A BAS
“À bas le roi” is French for, “Down with the king”, a phrase often heard during the French Revolution.

61. Porgy’s beloved BESS
“Porgy and Bess” is an opera with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and libretto by DuBose Heyward. The storyline of the opera is based on the novel “Porgy” written by DuBose Heyward and and wife Dorothy. “Porgy and Bess” was first performed in 1935, in New York City, but really wasn’t accepted as legitimate opera until 1976 after a landmark production by the Houston Grand Opera. The most famous song from the piece is probably the wonderful aria “Summertime”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. __-Saxon ANGLO
6. Swedish quartet ABBA
10. “Woe is me!” ALAS!
14. Plain-paper copier pioneer XEROX
15. Rider’s strap REIN
16. Hitchhiker’s ride LIFT
17. “Revenge” co-star VanCamp EMILY
18. Drug cop NARC
19. Words to an old chap I SAY
20. Doughnut order: Abbr. DOZ
21. *”I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member” speaker GROUCHO MARX
24. Potsdam pair ZWEI
26. Bum kin HOBO
27. In great detail AT LENGTH
31. Keyed into the register RANG UP
35. Votes against NAYS
36. Slender woodwind OBOE
38. Loy of “The Thin Man” MYRNA
39. Belief suffix -ISM
40. Artist Moses … and, when divided into three parts, a hint to the answers to starred clues GRANDMA (and “GR and MA”)
42. N.C. State’s conference ACC
43. Step STAIR
45. Pitchers Darling and Guidry RONS
46. Singer Lovett LYLE
47. __-weensie EENSIE
49. Paid for the release of RANSOMED
51. Dynamic opening? AERO-
53. Cake served au rhum BABA
54. *Score-settling competition GRUDGE MATCH
59. Indent key TAB
62. Forfeited auto REPO
63. __ San Lucas: Baja resort CABO
64. Bandleader Shaw ARTIE
66. Cupid AMOR
67. Gradual melting THAW
68. Marsh stalks REEDS
69. With 11-Down, Louvre masterpiece MONA
70. Get wise with SASS
71. Central Park’s 843 ACRES

Down
1. Gave the boot AXED
2. Jules Verne captain NEMO
3. *2005 documentary about a bear enthusiast GRIZZLY MAN
4. Cyberchuckle LOL
5. Scuba gear element OXYGEN
6. River of Pisa ARNO
7. Belle’s beloved BEAU
8. White state tree of New Hampshire BIRCH
9. News show VIP ANCHOR
10. Payment after a divorce ALIMONY
11. See 69-Across LISA
12. Quite a long distance away AFAR
13. River of Hades STYX
22. Harshness RIGOR
23. 44th president OBAMA
25. Director Craven WES
27. Ouzo flavoring ANISE
28. Aesthetic judgment TASTE
29. Vanishing ski resort apparatus T-BAR
30. Wedding vows word HONOR
32. *Brains, figuratively GRAY MATTER
33. Cry of surrender UNCLE!
34. Measured in steps PACED
37. Poet __ St. Vincent Millay EDNA
40. Norwegian composer Edvard GRIEG
41. News network with a six-color logo MSNBC
44. Dancer Duncan ISADORA
46. Return from Venus? LOB
48. Builds ERECTS
50. North African expanse SAHARA
52. Nebraska city OMAHA
54. Fat measure GRAM
55. San __, Italy REMO
56. In the know about UP ON
57. “Down with,” in Paris A BAS
58. Auto club services TOWS
60. Assistant AIDE
61. Porgy’s beloved BESS
65. Camcorder button REC

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16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 8 Dec 15, Tuesday”

  1. One stupid error, otherwise easy and smooth grid. Same thing with the Monday WSJ grid. How things are today I suppose.

  2. Nice puzzle to come home to. Completely whiffed on the theme until I looked at the blog.

    Got back from Puerto Vallarta last night. I'll have to wait until I look over the photos before I can comment on whether I had a good time or not 🙂 . Sunny and 90 when I got off the plane; I thought I was going to faint from the heat. Was 45 in Houston when I left. Great trip down there as always.

    I'm trying to catch up. I did yesterday's puzzle as well this morning. It will take me a while to get to the weekend puzzles.

    I believe when the Germanic tribes invaded Great Britain in the 400's it was essentially the birth of Old (Olde?) English. I'm no linguist but it's interesting that tribes from Germany, Holland and Denmark gave us such a Latin influenced language. I'm sure there is a reason for it, but I'm too exhausted to look it up.

    Oh well. Back to reality

    Best –

  3. I'm no linguist either, but I thought the Latin based words came through the Norman conquest (Normans speaking early French).

    Good Tues puzzle-

    Matt

  4. qUITE Easy and in my wheelhouse. I do love Tuesdays as well as Mondays. Thanks Ed Sessa.

    Natick at CABO and ABAS for me as well. Tried 6 other letters for pronunciation.

    Thank you Bill, for the quick 3 line history on the Anglo-Saxons – ….Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Very Interesting.

    Xerox moved its headquarters, out of Rochester NY, to Stamford Connecticut, in 1970, to protest the high state taxes of NY State. The state corporate taxes for Xerox went down from 16% to 2.2 %. The headquarters never returned to NY State. Xerox, through their research subsidiary PARC, invented the GUI, the mouse (!!!), window based icons, ethernet and the first personal computer – but never took advantage of any of them. Steve Jobs, of Apple, did.

    I am using some other computer, from a place, far, far, away … lol

    Have a nice day, all. (TM)

    Vidwan827

  5. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes attacking England and Ireland came mainly from Scandinavia, who speak North Germanic. French is a Romance language derived from Latin. That didn't hit Jolly Olde until 1066. I recall that the language most common to English is Flemish, the lingua france in parts of Belgium.

    Generally OK grid with a weak theme. Sessa writes ones for the NYT that are quite difficult, so I knew what to expect today.

  6. It might be interesting to note that "baba" (or more properly "babaa, with the accent on the second syllable") is a deregatory term for "old woman" in Japanese, derived from "obaa-san" the Japanese for "grandmother."

  7. Also interesting, in India,

    baba generally means man ( ~ 20 to 50% respectfully ) or a holy man, in context ( 100% respectfully)..
    .. or a boy, (kid) – very respectful, by a domestic servant.

    A 'babu', means a govt. clerk / sloucher, held in universal contempt.

  8. Yet to do the WSJ daily puzzle but this one went together very quickly and without much in the way of head scratching.

    Cabo San Lucas has changed so much over the years I doubt I would recognize it today. I sailed to Cabo in 1978 with two friends out of San Diego. I spent about a year in total in Mexico making it as far south as Acapulco (including long stops in Puerto Vallerta and Manzanillo/Las Hadas and even spent about a month living on shore in Yelapa) and then sailed all the way back up to San Diego (that was not as much fun as sailing down the coast of Mexico as the wind and waves and current are pretty much against you as you beat your way back up the Baja peninsula. I had a good while up in the Sea of Cortez. What a wonderful area if you like the ocean and the creatures in that area are really magnificent (and not only the sea life but critters like the "rattle less" rattlesnakes found on Isla Catalina are rarely seen outside of their natural habitat).

    Hope all my puzzle loving friends have a great Tuesday.

  9. I didn't know of a grizzly man, although I remember the news when he died. I kept thinking of gentle ben, even though I KNEW that was way off base!
    Easy puzzle, although as usual I didn't get the theme.

    Bella

  10. Kept looking at the clue.. N.C. State's conference for
    47A which started out EE…What?
    So EENSIE showed up and I finally got it straight. Sheesh.
    Went quickly today. Finally got the theme GR AND MA. Duh.
    Beautiful day here in SoCal!
    Have a good rest of the day, everyone.

  11. @Glenn – Just finished the daily WSJ puzzle and it seemed really easy today. The theme was very straight forward and it really didn't have any tricky bits today. Let me know what you think when you finish if you have time.

  12. @Tony Michaels I got it filled out smoothly enough. I'm reserving too much of what to say until I can see the answers, as I can only play with the PDF files (their Java setup is screwed up royally) – I presume if Java were to work that the answers are provided in the applet. I will say it was a nice theme, albeit predictable to a certain degree. A lot better than the cutesy garbage I'm used to seeing with a lot of these grids, though.

  13. @Tony Michaels
    Tues WSJ: One error, typical screw ball stuff that ends up being in a toss-up letter guess (got the Wed grid now I'll attempt shortly). FWIW, been looking at Newsday grids more to evaluate their difficulty. Pretty close to "easy" so far, though the late week ones I've encountered seem okay enough. Not sure I'd go as far as blog on them (they're actually looking for volunteer people for that), but they're an interesting diversion so far, about like the Gannett grids are.

  14. @Vidwan, LOL!! You trademarked your sign-off too!!
    @Jeff, are you aware that Vidwan borrowed your sign-off while you were gone? 😀
    Jeez, I panicked for a moment with this grid. I was sure I'd miss by one letter til I got the B for BABA/LOB. Nice puzzle.
    Fun fact: I used to carry a bottle of peppermint schnapps in the trunk of my car. I think it started as a way to save money on beer at Dodger games…!!! I happened to remember this when I saw Bill's discussion of ouzo. So it's true: crossword puzzles DO help with memory!!=-O
    LOL….
    Be well~~™

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