LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Jan 16, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Danny Reichert
THEME: It’s All in the Name … each of today’s themed answers is the name of an actress. That actress is clued (cleverly) with reference to a film suggested by a word hidden in her name, a film in which the actress actually appeared:

35A. Director’s explanation as to why this puzzle’s actresses were well-cast? IT’S ALL IN THE NAME

17A. Well-cast “Into the Woods” actress? MERYL STREEP (hiding “TREE”)
23A. Well-cast “An Education” actress? EMMA THOMPSON (hiding “MATH”)
47A. Well-cast “Duplicity” actress? JULIA ROBERTS (hiding “LIAR”)
57A. Well-cast “Birds of America” actress? HILARY SWANK (hiding “SWAN”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 10s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Home of the Great Sphinx EGYPT
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a huge limestone statue of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. It is the largest monolithic statue in the world. Famously, the Great Sphinx is missing its nose and beard.

6. French thinkers? TETES
In French, one’s head (tête) might produce an idea (idée).

11. Priestly garb ALB
An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

14. Charter LEASE
A plane, for example, might be chartered, leased. The term “charter” comes from the Latin “chartula” meaning “little paper”.

16. __ chi TAI
More correctly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

17. Well-cast “Into the Woods” actress? MERYL STREEP
Meryl Streep has had more nominations for an Academy Award than any other actor, a tribute to her talent and the respect she has earned in the industry. I am not a huge fan of her earlier works but some of her recent movies are now on my list of all-time favorites. I recommend “Mamma Mia!” (you’ll either love it or hate it!), “Julie & Julia”, “It’s Complicated” and ”Hope Springs”.

“Into the Woods” is 2014 big screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim stage musical of the same name. The film has a great ensemble cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Tracey Ullman, Johnny Depp and James Corden.

The Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” was inspired by a book called “The Uses of Enchantment” by Bruno Bettelheim. The musical is a montage of several fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm collection, further developing the characters and situations in the original stories. For example, the song “Agony” is sung by two princes, one from the “Cinderella” story, and the other from “Rapunzel”. The two princes sing about the “agony” they feel in pursuing the women of their dreams. Interesting, huh?

19. It’s used for some trips LSD
LSD (colloquially known as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

20. Bank customer acct. datum SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an “identity number” to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.

21. Tackle box items LURES
That would be fishing tackle.

22. It may have a nice bouquet VASE
“Bouquet” comes from the French word for a “bunch” in the sense of bunch of flowers. In French the term was derived from an older word describing a little wood, or a small grove of trees.

23. Well-cast “An Education” actress? EMMA THOMPSON
Emma Thompson is one of my favorite English actresses, someone who has appeared in many of my favorite films. She probably first came to attention in the US when she won an Oscar for her role in “Howards End”, which she followed up with “Remains of the Day” and “In the Name of the Father”. Perhaps my favorite production of hers is her own adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility”, which won her Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress. Emma Thompson went to Cambridge University and was good friends with a host of successful British actors and entertainers, including her ex-boyfriend Hugh Laurie who is famous in the US for playing the title role in television’s “House”.

“An Education” is an interesting 2009 film based on a memoir of the same by Lynn Barber. It tells of a 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1960s London who falls under the spell of an older man who is a con artist. Carey Mulligan plays the schoolgirl, and Peter Sarsgaard plays the con man.

26. Like the Detroit Lions in 2008 WINLESS
The Detroit Lions are the NFL team that plays home games at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The team was founded way back in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans from Portsmouth, Ohio. The Spartans joined the NFL during the Great Depression as other franchises collapsed. However, the Spartans couldn’t command a large enough gate in Portsmouth so the team was sold and relocated to Detroit in 1934.

29. Financial pg. topics IPOS
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

40. Familiar saint? PAT
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as St. Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

43. Cable service extras DVRS
DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

44. “Spoon River Anthology” poet MASTERS
Edgar Lee Masters was a poet and biographer from Kansas. His best known collection of poems is “Spoon River Anthology”, which was first published in 1915. He also wrote biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman.

47. Well-cast “Duplicity” actress? JULIA ROBERTS
The Hollywood actress Julia Roberts is from Smyrna, Georgia. Roberts got her big break after starring opposite Richard Gere in the hit 1990 romantic comedy “Pretty Woman”. She was paid $300,000 for her performance in “Pretty Woman”, a little less than the $25 million paycheck she was to earn for appearing in 2003’s “Mona Lisa Smile”. Roberts was married for a couple of years to country singer Lyle Lovett, and her older brother is actor Eric Roberts.

“Duplicity” is a 2009 film starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts as corporate spies. I haven’t seen this one, but I hear it’s smart and funny, with a complicated plot that keeps the audience awake …

51. Fissionable particle ATOM
By some definitions, New Zealand-born physicist and chemist Ernest Rutherford was the first person to “split the atom”. Rutherford bombarded nitrogen with alpha particles and thereby forced neutrons out of the nucleus of the nitrogen atom. The first intentional nuclear “fission” came decades later in the 1930s, with experiments in which larger nuclei were split into smaller nuclei.

53. Whale watcher’s dream POD
A group of whales is referred to as a pod, or a gam.

56. Software issue BUG
Back in 1947, the famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so she has been given credit for popularizing the term.

57. Well-cast “Birds of America” actress? HILARY SWANK
The actress Hilary Swank had her first major role in “The Next Karate Kid” released in 1994, in which she played the first female student of the sensei Mr. Miyagi.

“Birds of America” is a 2008 comedy-drama film starring Matthew Perry as an uptight husband who has to cope with two reckless siblings who show up at his home.

62. Quad Cities resident, maybe IOWAN
The Quad Cities are a group of five cities located on the Iowa-Illinois border and on either side of the Mississippi River. The Iowa cities are Davenport and Bettendorf, and the Illinois cities are Rock Island, Moline and East Moline. The grouping was originally just three cities (Davenport, Rock Island and Moline) and used the name “Tri-Cities”. This changed to “Quad Cities” as East Moline grew to a size comparable to the original three cities. With the growth of Bettendorf, the list of linked cities became five. There has been talk of changing the name to “Quint Cities”, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on.

63. Rule of crime writing ANN
Ann Rule is a true-crime writer, who comes from a crime-fighting family with sheriffs, a medical examiner and a prosecutor around her as she grew up. She started off writing with a male pen name (Andy Stack) as it was perceived that she would have more success in the genre, after a virtual “sex change”.

64. Actresses Diane and Cheryl LADDS
Diane Ladd is an American actress who was nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the 1990 film “Wild at Heart”. The lead roles in the movie were played by Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern. Laura Dern is Diane Ladd’s daughter in real life, as she was once married to actor Bruce Dern.

Cheryl Ladd’s most famous role was Kris Munroe in television’s “Charlie’s Angels”. Ladd replaced Farrah Fawcett-Majors when the latter opted out of the show. Cheryl Ladd was the daughter-in-law of famed Hollywood actor Alan Ladd, as she was married to Ladd’s son, David. After the couple divorced, Cheryl retained the Ladd name.

Down
1. O’Neill’s “Desire Under the __” ELMS
“Desire Under the Elms” is a classic American play written by Eugene O’Neill and published in 1924. It is basically a retelling of a Greek tragedy, but set in contemporary New England. Sophia Loren stars in a movie version released in 1958.

2. Heist units GEES
Gs, gees, grands, thousands …

6. Aquarium fish TETRAS
The neon tetra is a freshwater fish, native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.

7. Wetlands wader EGRET
At one time the egret species of bird was in danger of extinction due to hunting driven by the demand for plumes for women’s hats.

10. Brake fluid brand STP
STP is a brand name for automotive lubricants and additives. The name STP comes from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

11. Low-tech GPS? ATLAS
The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas”.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

12. Stock holder? LASSO
Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

13. Former senator known as “Amtrak Joe” BIDEN
Vice President Joe Biden was a US Senator representing the state of Delaware from 1973 until he joined the Obama administration. While he was a senator, Vice President Biden commuted to Washington from Wilmington, Delaware almost every working day. He was such an active customer and supporter of Amtrak that the Wilmington Station was renamed as the Joseph R. Biden Railroad Station in 2011. Biden has made over 7,000 trips from that station, and the Amtrak crews were known to even hold the last train for a few minutes so that he could catch it. Biden earned himself the nickname “Amtrak Joe”.

22. LBJ and Nixon, e.g. VPS
Only four people have held all four elected federal offices, namely US Representative, US Senator, US Vice-President and US President:

– John Tyler
– Andrew Johnson
– Lyndon B. Johnson
– Richard Nixon

23. Einstein’s second wife ELSA
Einstein was Elsa’s family name after she married Einstein, and also beforehand. Elsa and Albert were first cousins.

24. Hawaiian food fish OPAH
Opah is the more correct name for the fish also known as the sunfish, moonfish or Jerusalem haddock. I’ve seen one in the Monterrey Aquarium. It is huge …

25. Lawn problem MOLE
One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country. A less known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …

27. Bit IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

32. Extreme road response RAGE
The term “road rage” dates back to a specific time and place. The phrase was used by newscasters on Los Angeles TV station KTLA in 1988 to describe a rash of freeway shootings in the area on interstates 405, 110 and 10, many sparked by incidents in heavy traffic.

33. “Rubáiyát” poet OMAR
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”. Here are some lines from that collection:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

36. California’s __ Beds National Monument LAVA
Lava Beds National Monument is located in northeastern California in the Cascade Range. I’ve visited the park several times and it is replete with lava tube caves. If you want to visit, bring a flashlight …

37. Way to get to N.Y.’s Citi Field LIRR
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is the commuter rail service that runs all over Long Island, New York with 124 stations and 700 miles of track. More people use the LIRR than any other commuter railroad in the US. It is also the only commuter railroad in the country that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Citi Field is the relatively new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets, and sits right next door to Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the name of course comes from sponsor Citigroup.

44. Scotland yards? METRES
The unit of length known as a yard is equal to 0.9144 meters.

47. “Star Wars” villain JABBA
Jabba the Hutt is the big blob of an alien that appears in the “Star Wars” movie “The Return of the Jedi”. Jabba’s claim to fame is that he enslaved Princess Leia and kitted her out in that celebrated metal bikini.

55. Designer label initials DKNY
Donna Karan is an American fashion designer, creator of the Donna Karan New York (DKNY) clothing label. Karan was very much raised in the fashion industry, as her mother was a model and her stepfather a tailor.

57. Evil computer of film HAL
In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. Even though, Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.

58. NW state IDA
Idaho has the nickname the Gem State, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Home of the Great Sphinx EGYPT
6. French thinkers? TETES
11. Priestly garb ALB
14. Charter LEASE
15. Discharge EGEST
16. __ chi TAI
17. Well-cast “Into the Woods” actress? MERYL STREEP
19. It’s used for some trips LSD
20. Bank customer acct. datum SSN
21. Tackle box items LURES
22. It may have a nice bouquet VASE
23. Well-cast “An Education” actress? EMMA THOMPSON
26. Like the Detroit Lions in 2008 WINLESS
29. Financial pg. topics IPOS
30. Clod breakers HOES
31. __ arguments ORAL
32. Spat ROW
35. Director’s explanation as to why this puzzle’s actresses were well-cast? IT’S ALL IN THE NAME
40. Familiar saint? PAT
41. Gets ready to fire AIMS
42. “Zounds!” EGAD!
43. Cable service extras DVRS
44. “Spoon River Anthology” poet MASTERS
47. Well-cast “Duplicity” actress? JULIA ROBERTS
51. Fissionable particle ATOM
52. “Sorry, __ go!” GOTTA
53. Whale watcher’s dream POD
56. Software issue BUG
57. Well-cast “Birds of America” actress? HILARY SWANK
60. Bud BRO
61. “Is that __?”: challenging words A DARE
62. Quad Cities resident, maybe IOWAN
63. Rule of crime writing ANN
64. Actresses Diane and Cheryl LADDS
65. Address to a boy SONNY

Down
1. O’Neill’s “Desire Under the __” ELMS
2. Heist units GEES
3. Unlikely story YARN
4. Subj. involving cognitive development PSY
5. “Spill it!” TELL ME!
6. Aquarium fish TETRAS
7. Wetlands wader EGRET
8. Top choice TEE SHIRT
9. Legal conclusion? -ESE
10. Brake fluid brand STP
11. Low-tech GPS? ATLAS
12. Stock holder? LASSO
13. Former senator known as “Amtrak Joe” BIDEN
18. Totals SUMS
22. LBJ and Nixon, e.g. VPS
23. Einstein’s second wife ELSA
24. Hawaiian food fish OPAH
25. Lawn problem MOLE
26. Blender button WHIP
27. Bit IOTA
28. Brooding spot NEST
31. Iron-__ ONS
32. Extreme road response RAGE
33. “Rubáiyát” poet OMAR
34. Brings together WEDS
36. California’s __ Beds National Monument LAVA
37. Way to get to N.Y.’s Citi Field LIRR
38. Response to happy news I’M SO GLAD
39. Brings home NETS
43. Lacking luster DIM
44. Scotland yards? METRES
45. Pretentious ARTY
46. Balanced state STASIS
47. “Star Wars” villain JABBA
48. Reversal U-TURN
49. Start a telecommuting session LOG ON
50. Advisory body BOARD
53. Puppet PAWN
54. Put-act link … ON AN …
55. Designer label initials DKNY
57. Evil computer of film HAL
58. NW state IDA
59. Court WOO

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Jan 16, Thursday”

  1. Although this puzzle almost cleaned my clock with clusters of clever cluing (say that 3 times fast), I finally conquered it.

    The NW gave me fits. I had the RYL first and kept trying to force Daryl Hannah but nothing crossed. There is an actress named Anna Woods (anna would have been in the circles), but it still didn't make sense so I eventually wrote over and corrected it

    I thought the theme was "kinda clever" until I read the blog and found out that these were real movies that the actresses actually starred in. I'm not a big movie person so I haven't seen any of these, but I'll now give an A+ for creativity in the theme.

    My only disappoinment was that 1A wasn't the "Luxor" hotel or "Vegas" for "Home of the Great Sphinx"

    @Rita
    The 4 circled words relate to a word in the title of the movies the actresses were in – TREE for "..Woods", MATH for "An Education..", LIAR for "Duplicity"…and SWAN for "..Birds"

    I'm off to Chicago for a meeting tomorrow. I know I'm going to freeze while I'm there. Not looking forward to it….at all.

    Best

  2. hi guys, I'm italian and I'm doing this crossword. Anyone can explain to me why legal conclusion is -ese?
    thanks in advance.

  3. @Anonymous – Legalese as a slang term is a take off of foreign languages endings when spoken in English like "Chin(ese)" or "Japan(ese) or Portugu(ese).

    I thought this was actually pretty easy for a Thursday and I seem to be running counter to the prevailing sentiment on Bill's comment section this morning.

  4. For those who do the daily WSJ grid I thought today was a pretty tough puzzle. I did finish it successfully, but the NE corner and the SE corner both put my brain to work to finally "puzzle" out what they were looking for. If I may be allowed a pun about this grid (purely based on the theme) "This thing was for the birds!" (If anyone does it they'll get the pun).

  5. Been really busy last two days.
    Had to walk away and come back to the puzzle. Read Spoon river… in school, finally remembered MASTERS.
    No Star Wars in my brain, never saw any of them.
    DARTH? VADER? JABBA???!!!
    JULIA ROBERTS took forever to show up.
    Anyway, tough but fair puzzle. See you all tomorrow!

  6. Clever, but I don't think I've seen any of these films. :09 for me. GEES is weak, as is BRO.

    LSD is quickly becoming an anachronism. Over 10 years ago they discovered 90% of the acid was being made in a small lab somewhere in the Midwest, and arrested the culprits. Since then, LSD use has dropped to almost nothing.

  7. …and Alan Rickman died today. He was wonderful in Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility, and a most excellent villain in Harry Potter.

    The actress names came easily but TETES and EGEST killed it for me because I also didn't come up w/ ESE or TEESHIRT.

    Take Care-
    Bella

  8. Enjoyed this puzzle, no errors, but came nowhere near Bill's time. All of them seemed relatively simple, but LIRR threw me. Makes more sense now. Hope everyone is doing fine.

    @Vidwan827 what kind of computer problems are you having?

  9. Did well on this one, but if I'm being honest, I did peek for MERYL STREEP. I had to!! I was so sure GEES was GEMS, so I thought the theme must have had wacky spelling or something. Overall, a struggle, but I lived to tell.
    Can't say the same about our upcoming Fri and Sat bingles…
    Jeff, stay warm in Chi-town, and everybody: good weekend!
    Be well~~™

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