LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Jan 16, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mark McClain
THEME: Banes of a Vampire’s Existence … each of today’s themed answers starts with an item that is said to ward off or be fatal to a VAMPIRE:

39D. Folklore creature traditionally averse to the starts of the answers to starred clues VAMPIRE

17A. *Trattoria basket filler GARLIC BREAD
33A. *Railroad track piece CROSSTIE
42A. *Police surveillance STAKE-OUT
58A. *Reversed counterpart MIRROR IMAGE
13D. *Daytime observatory sighting SUNSPOT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … AUGER (auger!!!), DUANE (Deane)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Yin Yang portrayer in “The Expendables” film series JET LI
The actor Jet Li’s real name is Li Jian Jie. Jet Li is a martial artist and international film star from Beijing, China. Li played a villain in “Lethal Weapon 4”, and had a leading role in the 2000 movie “Romeo Must Die”.

“The Expendables” is an action movie released in 2010 that was co-written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also stars. The cast of the film includes an impressive array of action actors including Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite the cast, I found this movie to be pretty boring. That said, a sequel was released and there is another in the works, so what do I know …?

11. Covers with Quilted Northern, briefly TPS
TP’ing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota, that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.

Quilted Northern is a toilet paper brand owned by the Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper company.

15. Portend AUGUR
The verb “to augur” means “to bode”, to serve as an omen. The term comes from the name of religious officials in Ancient Rome called augurs whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

16. Christian sch. in Tulsa ORU
Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

17. *Trattoria basket filler GARLIC BREAD
A trattoria is an Italian restaurant. In Italian, a “trattore” is the keeper of an eating house.

19. Cartoon Chihuahua REN
“The Ren and Stimpy Show” is an animated television show that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

20. Lad of La Mancha NINO
In Spanish, a “niño” (boy) is a young “hombre” (man).

29. Karachi language URDU
Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.

Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. Karachi was the country’s capital when Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947. The capital was moved to Rawalpindi in 1958, and then to the newly built city of Islamabad in 1960.

33. *Railroad track piece CROSSTIE
The rectangular supports under rails in railroad tracks are known as railroad ties or crossties here in North America. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, we call them railway sleepers.

36. Deck honcho, informally BO’S’N
A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. A boatswain is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel. He or she has charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. Boatswain is pronounced “bosun” and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with “boatswain”. The contraction “bo’s’n” is also very popular.

“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a “hancho” is a squad (han) leader (cho).

37. Recital highlights SOLI
“Soli” (the plural of “solo”) are pieces of music performed by one artist, whereas “tutti” are pieces performed by all of the artists.

39. Thomas, Dick and Harry VEEPS
The list of US vice presidents includes:

– Thomas Jefferson (under President John Adams)
– Thomas A. Hendricks (under President Grover Cleveland)
– Thomas R. Marshall (under President Woodrow Wilson)
– Dick Cheney (under President George W. Bush)
– Harry S. Truman (under President Franklin D. Roosevelt)

46. Rations for Rover ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

48. Black Hills st. SDAK
The Black Hills are a mountain range in South Dakota and Wyoming. The Black Hills are home to some celebrated locations including Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial and the historic city of Deadwood.

49. Israel’s Golda MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.

50. Unimportant TWO-BIT
The American quarter is a little unusual in the world of decimal currency if you think about it. Usually there is produced a “20-cent” coin, easier to work with mathematically. The US went for the quarter in deference to the practice of dividing Spanish Milled Dollars in eight wedge-shaped “bits”. That’s also why the quarter is sometimes referred to as “two bits”. We’ve been using the adjective “two-bit” to mean cheap and tawdry at least since 1929.

52. __ gratias: thanks to God DEO
The phrase “Deo gratias”, meaning “Thanks be to God”, is heard repeatedly during the Latin Mass in the Roman Catholic faith.

55. Son of Aphrodite EROS
As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male. The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite was Venus, and the equivalent of Eros was Cupid.

67. Gobs SLEWS
Ahh … here’s an Irish word! Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew”. The noun “slew” come into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

“Gobs” is an informal term meaning “a large amount”.

68. El Día de Los Reyes month ENERO
In Spanish, “el año” (the year) starts in “enero” (January) and ends in “diciembre” (December).

The holiday in the Christian tradition known as the Epiphany falls on January 6th. The Epiphany marks the visit of the Magi, the Three Kings, to the Baby Jesus. In many Spanish-speaking countries, the Epiphany is called “El Día de los Reyes” (The Day of the Kings).

Down
1. Upscale British wheels JAG
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).

2. Actress Longoria EVA
Eva Longoria is a fashion model and an actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis.

4. Caron title role LILI
“Lili” is 1953 musical film starring Leslie Caron in the title role, a naive French orphan girl. A famous song from the movie is “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo”.

5. Picking out of an LAPD lineup IDING
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the third largest local law enforcement agency in the country, after New York PD and Chicago PD. Among other things, LAPD is famous for creating the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the US, in 1965.

6. Bar charges TAB
When we “run a tab” at a bar say, we are “running a tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

7. Play with robots RUR
Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

9. One of the Allman Brothers DUANE
The Allman Brothers Band has to be one of the most unlucky bands in the business. Soon after the group had its big break with the 1971 album “At Fillmore East”, one of the two Allman brothers, Duane, was killed in a motorcycle accident. One year later, bassist Berry Oakley was killed, also in a motorcycle accident.

10. Earth, to Mahler ERDE
In German, “Erde” (Earth) is one of “die Planeten” (the planets).

11. Corrida stars TOREROS
“Toreador” is an old Spanish word for a bullfighter, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

13. *Daytime observatory sighting SUNSPOT
Sunspots are dark patches observed on the surface of the sun. They are temporary, and are associated with intense magnetic activity. The darkness is indicative of a localized reduction in temperature. Sunspots tend to occur in pairs, with each spot having opposite magnetic poles. Also, solar flares tend to originate from sunspots.

23. Jean-__ Picard: “Star Trek: TNG” captain LUC
When Gene Roddenberry was creating the “Star Trek” spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, I think he chose a quite magnificent name for the new starship captain. The name “Jean-Luc Picard” is imitative of one or both of the twin-brother Swiss scientists Auguste and Jean Felix Piccard. The role of Picard was of course played by the wonderful Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart.

26. Chow __ MEIN
“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, “basic” chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as Hong Kong style chow mein.

27. Quilting gathering BEE
Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a “bee”. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a “quilting bee”, or even a “spelling bee”.

30. Laptop connection USB PORT
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.

34. “Mamma Mia!” song SOS
The ABBA song “S.O.S.” was originally titled “Turn Me On”. In the movie “Mama Mia!”, it is performed by Meryl Streep (brilliantly) and by Pierce Brosnan (terribly).

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

38. More like Cheerios OATIER
Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, “Cheerios” were known as CheeriOats.

39. Folklore creature traditionally averse to the starts of the answers to starred clues VAMPIRE
“Dracula” is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker, and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn’t the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can’t stand vampire fiction …

40. First lady between Lou and Bess ELEANOR
Eleanor Roosevelt was the daughter of Elliot, brother to President Theodore Roosevelt. Eleanor met Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was her father’s fifth cousin, in 1902, and the two started “walking out together” the following year after they both attended a White House dinner with President Roosevelt.

Lou Henry met her future husband Herbert Hoover while studying at Stanford University. The couple traveled extensively in their lives, even before Herbert became US president. In fact, when Herbert proposed to Lou, he was living in Australia while Lou was in the US. He proposed by cable, and she accepted by with a return telegraph. The day after their marriage in Monterey, California, the Hoovers left for Shanghai, where they lived for a couple of years while Herbert pursued his career in mining. While there, Lou became proficient in Chinese. As such, Lou Hoover was to become the only First Lady of the US to have spoken an Asian language.

Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

42. “Homeland” sta. SHO
“Homeland” is a psychological drama shown on Showtime about a CIA officer who is convinced that a certain US Marine is a threat to the security of the United States. The show is based on a series from Israeli television called “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War”). I saw the first series of this show and highly recommend it …

44. Dubai’s fed. UAE
Dubai is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy.

45. “Thrilla in Manila” ruling, for short TKO
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had three memorable fights. The first was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and took place in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. It was a fight between two great boxers, both of whom were undefeated up till that point. Frazier won in a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. A couple of years later, in 1973, Frazier lost his title to George Foreman. Ali and Frazier had a non-title rematch in 1974, with Ali coming out ahead this time, also in a unanimous decision. Later that year, Ali grabbed back the World Heavyweight Title in “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous “rope-a-dope” fight against George Foreman. That set the stage for the third and final fight between Ali and Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali won the early rounds, but Frazier made a comeback in the middle of the fight. Ali took control at the end of the bout, so much so that Frazier wasn’t able to come out of his corner for the 15th and final round. He couldn’t come out of his corner because both of his eyes were swollen shut, giving Ali a victory due to a technical knockout (TKO).

50. “The Good Wife” event TRIAL
“The Good Wife” is a legal drama showing on CBS starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a litigator who returns to practicing the law after spending 13 years as a stay-at-home mom. I haven’t seen the show, but I hear good things …

59. Button with left-pointing arrows: Abbr. REW
Rewind (REW)

60. Gorges oneself (on) ODS
Overdoses (ODs)

61. Belg. neighbor GER
Belgium (Belg.) and Germany (Ger.) share a border.

62. Ike’s wartime command ETO
General Dwight D. Eisenhower (“Ike”) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Yin Yang portrayer in “The Expendables” film series JET LI
6. Business TRADE
11. Covers with Quilted Northern, briefly TPS
14. Shun AVOID
15. Portend AUGUR
16. Christian sch. in Tulsa ORU
17. *Trattoria basket filler GARLIC BREAD
19. Cartoon Chihuahua REN
20. Lad of La Mancha NINO
21. Union ONENESS
23. Rural expanse LEA
25. Make a bet GAMBLE
28. “I don’t give __!” A RAP
29. Karachi language URDU
31. Nursery purchase SEED
32. Scrapped, at NASA NO-GO
33. *Railroad track piece CROSSTIE
35. Atlas enlargement INSET
36. Deck honcho, informally BO’S’N
37. Recital highlights SOLI
39. Thomas, Dick and Harry VEEPS
42. *Police surveillance STAKEOUT
46. Rations for Rover ALPO
47. Sealed SHUT
48. Black Hills st. SDAK
49. Israel’s Golda MEIR
50. Unimportant TWO-BIT
52. __ gratias: thanks to God DEO
53. Rural expanse PASTURE
55. Son of Aphrodite EROS
57. Diminutive Italian suffix -INO
58. *Reversed counterpart MIRROR IMAGE
63. Towel holder ROD
64. No longer dirt PAVED
65. Artist’s headgear BERET
66. Prior to, in verse ERE
67. Gobs SLEWS
68. El Día de Los Reyes month ENERO

Down
1. Upscale British wheels JAG
2. Actress Longoria EVA
3. Twister TORNADO
4. Caron title role LILI
5. Picking out of an LAPD lineup IDING
6. Bar charges TAB
7. Play with robots RUR
8. Ancient AGE-OLD
9. One of the Allman Brothers DUANE
10. Earth, to Mahler ERDE
11. Corrida stars TOREROS
12. Portend PRESAGE
13. *Daytime observatory sighting SUNSPOT
18. Moves effortlessly COASTS
22. Kid watchers NANNIES
23. Jean-__ Picard: “Star Trek: TNG” captain LUC
24. Make a wrong turn, say ERR
26. Chow __ MEIN
27. Quilting gathering BEE
30. Laptop connection USB PORT
34. “Mamma Mia!” song SOS
35. Kind ILK
37. Incomplete Wikipedia entry STUB
38. More like Cheerios OATIER
39. Folklore creature traditionally averse to the starts of the answers to starred clues VAMPIRE
40. First lady between Lou and Bess ELEANOR
41. Series installment EPISODE
42. “Homeland” sta. SHO
43. “Most likely … ” ODDS ARE …
44. Dubai’s fed. UAE
45. “Thrilla in Manila” ruling, for short TKO
47. Change direction abruptly SWERVE
50. “The Good Wife” event TRIAL
51. Extended family TRIBE
54. Ballpark figures UMPS
56. Portent OMEN
59. Button with left-pointing arrows: Abbr. REW
60. Gorges oneself (on) ODS
61. Belg. neighbor GER
62. Ike’s wartime command ETO

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7 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Jan 16, Wednesday”

  1. 4 errors, mainly due to the upper right corner and not knowing what "corrida" is. Good interesting grid otherwise with not too much that's patently objectionable.

  2. Trickier than a usual Wednesday. Either that or my brain hasn't recovered yet. In a 4 day span I went from Houston to Chicago to Milwaukee to Chicago to Houston to Dallas and back to Houston last night. That's enough running around for a while.

    I kept trying to spell it Dwayne Allman. Once I figured out DUANE, I finally finished, but it was more like my Thursday time.

    "I don't give A RAP!"…People say that?

    Best-

  3. They don't llke mirrors either? Some folks are just too hard to please.

    Quit w/ a big hole in the south center. Time to move on

    Bella

  4. @Carrie
    Just catching up and read your post from yesterday. Nice obscure Seinfeld reference. Impressive. Only an avid fan would have caught that one.

    Best –

  5. Carrie, I always read all the past day's blogs before I start reading the current day's blog. I was quite amazed about the words you said about how the word,'meme', had depreciated.

    Computer still acting up, but the puzzle was, by itself, quite challenging. I am surprised Bill had a mistake on augur. I worked for a big Auger Piling company, many years ago. ( They drill a hole in the ground with a large Auger and then fill the hole with concrete gout, through a central tube, and gently remove the drill, leaving a pillar of cement insitu in the ground. Used for skyscrapers and such sorts of big buildings).

    The only Allman Ive heard of was Greg Allman who married Cher.(?) I had Gigi, as the Leslie Caron role. Finally tried Lili. which I had never heard of.

    Urdu is an indo-aryan lang., based on Sanskrit ( per O.E.D. !) and mutually intelligible with Hindi, but uses the pseudo arabic script. Now, even indian urdu, and Pakistani urdu are not quite mutually intelligible because in Pakistan they tend to use extensive arabic vocabulary, even though the grammar and prepositions are the same.

    Its kinda late, have a good night, all.

  6. @Bella, you R so funny! Vampires–there's no pleasing 'em.
    @Jeff, thanks! I reckon I could watch about 20 seconds of any Seinfeld episode and know which one it is and what will happen next…but no one should think I've got a lotta time on my hands … LOL
    Thanks @Macaroni for yesterday's note:-D
    And thanks @Vidwan for reading my diatribe 🙂 Depreciated–exactly the word.
    Meanwhile, I liked today's puzzle; it was challenging but not overwhelming. Kinda had a mini-theme, what with AUGUR, PRESAGE, & OMEN.
    Anyhoo, I will see you fine folks tomorrow! To sleep, perchance to dream…or something like that there!
    Be well~~™

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