LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Jan 16, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke
THEME: Seatbacks … each of today’s themed answers starts with a word that is often followed (i.e. BACKED) by the word SEAT:

56A. Spots for airline magazines … and, literally, what the first words of the answers to starred clues can all have SEATBACKS

20A. *Mattress support BOX SPRING (giving “box seat”)
39A. *Light, friendly punch LOVE TAP (giving “love seat”)
11D. *Wishful lifetime agenda BUCKET LIST (giving “bucket seat”)
27D. *Slapstick slipping cause BANANA PEEL (giving “banana seat”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 37s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Macaroni shape ELBOW
In many cases, the name given to a type of pasta comes from its shape. However, the name macaroni comes from the type of dough used to make the noodle. Here in the US macaroni is usually elbow-shaped tubes, but it doesn’t have to be.

14. Vintage soda NEHI
The brand of Nehi cola has a name that sounds like “knee-high”, a measure of a small stature. Back in the mid-1900’s the Chero-Cola company, which owned the brand, went for a slightly different twist on “knee-high” in advertising. The logo for Nehi was an image of a seated woman’s stockinged legs, with her skirt pulled up to her knees, to hint at “knee-high”.

15. Chisholm Trail city WACO
The Chisholm Trail was used in the late 1800s by ranchers driving their cattle from Texas to the stockyards and railroad termini in Kansas. The trail was named for Jesse Chisholm who operated trading posts along much of the route.

16. Red, in roulette ROUGE
In French, “rouge” (red) is a “couleur” (color).

18. Club used for chipping IRON
A chip might follow a drive on a golf course.

19. Capital of Ghana ACCRA
Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

25. Blue Ribbon beer PABST
Pabst Blue Ribbon is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

28. Palm Pilot, e.g., briefly PDA
The Palm Pilot was one of the most successful PDAs (personal digital assistants) in its day.

33. Attributive menu words A LA
The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

34. Parisian partings ADIEUS
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

38. Sermon topic SIN
Our word “sermon” comes from the Latin “sermonem” meaning “discourse, talk”. The literal translation of “sermonem” is “a stringing together of words”, from the Latin “serere” meaning “to join”, as in the related word “series”.

39. *Light, friendly punch LOVE TAP (giving “love seat”)
A “love seat” is a sofa made for two people.

44. Stevenson title doctor JEKYLL
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was first published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

46. Gothic fiction author Rice ANNE
Anne Rice is an American author of erotic and Gothic novels. She was born Howard Allen O’Brien (no wonder she changed her name!). Her famous series of novels “The Vampire Chronicles” centers on her character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century. One of the stories, “Interview with the Vampire”, was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and features Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others in a star-studded cast. Not my kind of movie though, as I don’t do vampires …

47. WWII espionage gp. OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

48. Bugs and Jags AUTOS
VW stands for Volkswagen, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).

50. “Fire” bugs ANTS
Fire ants are stinging ants, many species of which are called red ants. Most stinging ants bite their prey and then spray acid on the wound. The fire ant however, bites to hold on and then injects an alkaloid venom from its abdomen, creating a burning sensation in humans that have been nipped.

52. Bourgogne and Chablis VINS
“Vin” is French for “wine”.

The Burgundy region of France is famous for its wine production. If you’re looking at a label that isn’t translated into English though, you’ll see Burgundy written in French, namely “Bourgogne”.

Chablis wine comes from the Chablis region that is the most northerly wine district in the Burgundy region of France. Chablis is a dry white wine made mainly from Chardonnay grapes.

54. Longstocking of kiddie lit PIPPI
Pippi Longstocking appears as the heroine in a series of books written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Lindgren was quite the activist, very well known in the circles working for children’s and animal rights, In particular, Lindgren campaigned heavily against corporal punishment.

61. NBA great Shaquille O’NEAL
Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality show: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

64. Modern mil. treaty violation N-TEST
Nuclear test (N-test)

66. Humdinger LULU
We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, a stage magician active in the 1880s who was also known as the Georgia Wonder.

A “humdinger” or a “pip” is someone or something outstanding. Humdinger is American slang dating back to the early 1900s, originally used to describe a particularly attractive woman.

69. Marked, as a ballot EXED
Today a “ballot” is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

Down
1. Stereotypical “Dahling!” speaker SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

3. General Mills brand CHEX
The original Chex cereal was introduced in 1937 by Ralston Purina, although it is now produced by General Mills. Ralston Purina had a logo with a checkerboard square on it, which gave the pattern to the cereal as well as its name. Chex used characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip in its advertising for many years.

6. Capital on the Seine PARIS
The French capital of Paris is named for the Parisii, a Celtic Iron Age people that lived in the area on the banks of the River Seine.

8. Grab from the grill, as a hot dog TONG
A pair of tongs is a tool with a scissor-like hinge used to pick up things, like meat cooking on a barbecue grill or ice from an ice bucket. The verb “to tong” means “to handle with tongs”.

9. Poetry Muse ERATO
In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of Lyric Poetry.

11. *Wishful lifetime agenda BUCKET LIST (giving “bucket seat”)
A “bucket list” is a list of things one wants to achieve before dying, before “kicking the bucket”. The expression hasn’t been used in this context for very long, only a decade or so, and was popularized by the 2007 film “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

21. “He loves me” piece PETAL
“He loves me, he loves me not” …

25. Old Turkish title PASHA
A “pasha” was a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, roughly equivalent to the English rank of “lord”.

27. *Slapstick slipping cause BANANA PEEL (giving “banana seat”)
A “banana seat” is a long saddle on bicycle, often seen on what are called wheelie bikes.

31. Typical Hitchcock role CAMEO
Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

Alfred Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance in 39 of his 52 movies. My favorite, and perhaps the most innovative, is in the movie “Lifeboat”. In the film, there is a limited cast, just the people in a lifeboat and no extras. Hitchcock managed to make his appearance in a print ad in a newspaper read by one of the survivors in the boat.

35. Martial arts schools DOJOS
The Japanese word “dojo” literally means “place of the way”. Originally the term applied to training halls that were found in or beside temples. The teaching in a dojo was not limited to the martial arts, but in the Western world we use the dojo as the name for a training facility for judo, karate and the like.

36. Currier’s colleague IVES
Currier and Ives was a printmaking concern in New York City, run by Nathaniel Currier and his partner James Merritt Ives from 1834 to 1907. The firm specialized in making affordable, hand-colored black and white lithographs.

53. Agenda bullets ITEMS
“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

54. Common koi habitat POND
Koi are also called Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

57. Nesting site, perhaps EAVE
The eaves are the overhanging edges of a roof that project beyond the supporting wall. The term “eaves” evolved from the Old English “efes” meaning “edge.

58. Essence CRUX
“Crux” is the Latin word for “cross”, and came into English meaning “a central difficulty” in the early 1700s.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Potato bag SACK
5. Rod in a grill SPIT
9. Macaroni shape ELBOW
14. Vintage soda NEHI
15. Chisholm Trail city WACO
16. Red, in roulette ROUGE
17. Mine extracts ORES
18. Club used for chipping IRON
19. Capital of Ghana ACCRA
20. *Mattress support BOX SPRING (giving “box seat”)
22. Spoken for TAKEN
23. Skinny fish EELS
24. Quick message NOTE
25. Blue Ribbon beer PABST
28. Palm Pilot, e.g., briefly PDA
30. Carve in stone ETCH
33. Attributive menu words A LA
34. Parisian partings ADIEUS
37. Leave rolling in the aisles SLAY
38. Sermon topic SIN
39. *Light, friendly punch LOVE TAP (giving “love seat”)
41. Sitter’s handful IMP
42. What some missiles seek HEAT
44. Stevenson title doctor JEKYLL
45. “I warned you!” SEE?!
46. Gothic fiction author Rice ANNE
47. WWII espionage gp. OSS
48. Bugs and Jags AUTOS
50. “Fire” bugs ANTS
52. Bourgogne and Chablis VINS
54. Longstocking of kiddie lit PIPPI
56. Spots for airline magazines … and, literally, what the first words of the answers to starred clues can all have SEATBACKS
61. NBA great Shaquille O’NEAL
62. Footnote “p” PAGE
63. Sitter’s handful BRAT
64. Modern mil. treaty violation N-TEST
65. Egg cell OVUM
66. Humdinger LULU
67. Knuckleheads DOLTS
68. Short- or long-sleeved tops TEES
69. Marked, as a ballot EXED

Down
1. Stereotypical “Dahling!” speaker SNOB
2. Flight-related prefix AERO-
3. General Mills brand CHEX
4. Affectionate greetings KISSES
5. Marble cake pattern SWIRL
6. Capital on the Seine PARIS
7. Pic to click ICON
8. Grab from the grill, as a hot dog TONG
9. Poetry Muse ERATO
10. Tracks down LOCATES
11. *Wishful lifetime agenda BUCKET LIST (giving “bucket seat”)
12. Storybook brute OGRE
13. Withdraw gradually WEAN
21. “He loves me” piece PETAL
24. Sounding like one has a cold NASAL
25. Old Turkish title PASHA
26. Otherworldly ALIEN
27. *Slapstick slipping cause BANANA PEEL (giving “banana seat”)
28. Sneaks a look PEEKS
29. Obligation DUTY
31. Typical Hitchcock role CAMEO
32. Publicizes aggressively HYPES
35. Martial arts schools DOJOS
36. Currier’s colleague IVES
40. Backup strategy PLAN B
43. When the big hand is on two TEN PAST
49. In working order USABLE
51. Leans slightly TILTS
52. Beating around the bush VAGUE
53. Agenda bullets ITEMS
54. Common koi habitat POND
55. Look __: investigate INTO
56. Washday woe SPOT
57. Nesting site, perhaps EAVE
58. Essence CRUX
59. Leafy veggie baked for chips KALE
60. Gym specimen STUD

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12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 11 Jan 16, Monday”

  1. Easy grid, as befits a Monday. Especially after some devilishly hard puzzles last week, it was welcomed. But "tong" as a verb? I have never in my 56 years heard it used that way! Who ever said "Hon, tong those hot dogs off the grill please???" Maybe it's a regional thing?

  2. Reasonable for a Monday. I agree abt TONG and VINS.
    TONG? Seriously, who says that?

    Have a good week, everyone
    Bella

  3. Relatively easy puzzle, as befits a Monday. Is TONG is a singular of tongs ?

    I was visiting a Lexus dealership and came across some unusual names for colors, ( somewhat metallic – ) Rouge for medium red, Nebulae for bright sea blue and Autumn for a shimmering reddish brown.

    I thought of 'Effendi' when Bill's comment mentioned Pasha, as a rank for lord. But the former is more a courtsy title, whereas Pasha was a rank conferred by a Sultan (?). Effendim, is also a polite manner of answering a phone call.

    have a nice day, all.

  4. I thought "tong" was a Chinese gang of some type that Jackie Chan is always fighting against in his movies?

  5. Hi everyone! Misspelled PIPPy, then changed it yo get TILTS.
    WINE before VINS. TREE before EAVE No idea about ACCRA.
    Loved, loved, loved NEHI Cream Soda when I was in Jr. High.
    They used to have at the dances in the gym. I think grape and
    other flavor too, but oh, that cream soda!
    Dad and brother never had Pabst. Hamm's then Coors later.
    FROM THE LAND OF SKY BLUE WATERS

  6. A little late today, but a typical Monday.

    Fire ants are such a nuisance here in Texas. When you kill a mound, it often just moves underground to some other place. In my neighborhood, we coordinate twice a year and exterminate them at the same time so they can't just relocate. Fertilizing your lawn really well can get rid of them too, surprisingly.

    So if you had an abnormal fear of Ghana, would they call it ACCRAphobia? I think that's taken…

    Tong as a verb is new to me as well. Maybe people just use it that way as a joke – kind of TONG in cheek…

    @Pookie
    Loved Hamms in college although that was probably because it was so cheap for us back then.

    Best –

  7. In the cameo from Lifeboat, the newspaper ad is for a weight reduction potion, and shows before-and-after pictures of Hitchcock who had just finished a real-life weight loss of over 100 pounds. Per the book Hitchcock à la Carte by Jan Olsson:

    The cameo in Lifeboat presents Hitchcock in a printed ad for a dietary potion, Reduco, “the obesity slayer,” which shows him before and after dieting, while Life highlighted the actual process in a series of snapshots (fig. 1.3). Reminiscing about his cameos, Hitchcock singled out the one in Lifeboat as his favorite. After he appeared in the ad for the fictive weight-loss drug, he said, “letters literally poured in from fat people, asking where they could buy Reduco, the miracle drug that had helped me lose 100 pounds. Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but I got a certain satisfaction from writing back that the drug didn’t exist, and adding smugly that the best way to lose weight was to go on a strenuous diet, as I had done.”

    Best to all,
    Mike

  8. @Mike, love that info about Lifeboat! I only have seen part of that movie, and I missed the Reduco image–must Google it!
    Here on the west coast, we never TONG hot dogs and never will. Lousy clue.
    Overall this was an easy puzzle, but I reeeeally got thrown at PAGE/VAGUE!! I had POST before PAGE–surely someone else did too?? Finally sorted it out.
    I'm saddened today by David Bowie's passing. What a creative genius. Have loved him since I was 14… That's 44 years now, but who's counting.
    Be well ~~™

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