LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jan 16, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mary Lou Guizzo
THEME: S&P … each of today’s themed answers comprises two words beginning with the letters S and P:

68A. “500” Wall St. index … and a hint to the answers to starred clues S AND P

17A. *Game where one might have an ace in the hole STUD POKER
36A. *Financial page listing STOCK PRICE
43A. *Only woman ever elected governor of Alaska SARAH PALIN
61A. *Stack of unsolicited manuscripts SLUSH PILE
11D. *Informal surveys STRAW POLLS
29D. *Touchy topics SORE POINTS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 4m 54s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. ’90s game disc POG
The game of pogs was originally played with bottle caps from POG fruit juice. The juice was named for its constituents, passion fruit, orange and guava.

4. Infield fly POP-UP
In a baseball game, a pop-up arcs across the infield.

14. 007 creator Fleming IAN
James Bond is the creation of the writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”.

16. Unable to sit still ANTSY
The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

17. *Game where one might have an ace in the hole STUD POKER
Stud poker is the name given to many variants of poker, all characterized by the dealer giving each player a mix of cards face-down and face-up. The cards facing downwards are called “hole cards”, cards only visible to the individual who holds that particular hand. This gives rise to the phrase “ace in the hole”, a valuable holding that only the player with the ace is aware of.

19. Actor __ Elba of “The Wire” IDRIS
The English actor Idris Elba is probably best known in North America for playing the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba works as a disk jockey using the name DJ Big Driis.

23. Young Simpson BART
Bart Simpson is the main character in television’s “The Simpsons”. Bart’s name was chosen by the writers as it is an anagram of “brat”. Bart is voiced by actress and comedian Nancy Cartwright.

33. __-12 conference PAC
Pac-12 is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

38. “__ creature was stirring … ” NOT A
The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. a poet from Upstate New York.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash …

39. Team in 40-Across CARDS
(40A. Arch city: Abbr. STL)
The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

42. Iowa State city AMES
The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.

43. *Only woman ever elected governor of Alaska SARAH PALIN
Famously, Sarah Palin was the Governor of Alaska from 2006 until 2009, and had been the Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska from 1996 until 2002. Palin was the state’s first female governor, as well as the youngest. However, she is not a native Alaskan. Palin was born Sarah Heath in 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho. Her father was a science teacher and took a position in Skagway, Alaska when Palin was just a few months old.

45. Very quietly, in music PPP
The musical term “pianissimo” is abbreviated to “pp”, and is an instruction to the performer to sing or play very softly. The concept can be extended to “ppp”, short for “pianississimo”, an instruction of play even more softly. The opposite instructions are fortissimo (ff) and fortississimo (fff), instructions to perform very loudly, and even more loudly.

50. Payroll IDs SSNS
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”.

60. Ed with seven Emmys ASNER
Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Asner has won seven Emmy Awards in all, five for playing Lou Grant. That’s the most Emmy Awards won by any male actor. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also cancelled … on the very same day.

61. *Stack of unsolicited manuscripts SLUSH PILE
In the world of publishing, the slush pile is the collection of unsolicited manuscripts that have been submitted by hopeful authors.

65. Gum treatment, briefly PERIO
Periodontics (perio.)

Periodontics is that branch of dentistry dealing with the gums and the tissue supporting a tooth. The word “periodontal” was coined in the mid-19th century. The term comes from the Greek for “around the tooth”.

66. Former president of Pakistan ZIA
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq was the President of Pakistan from 1978 until he died in 1988. Zia died in a plane crash along with US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel and several other VIPs. The official Pakistani investigation into the cause of the crash concluded that the plane was likely brought down by sabotage. The official US investigation concluded that the crash was an accident.

68. “500” Wall St. index … and a hint to the answers to starred clues S AND P
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a financial services company, famous for its stock market indices, especially the S&P 500. The company also publishes credit ratings for sovereign governments, and in 2011 famously lowered the rating of the US federal government from AAA to to AA+.

69. Reheat quickly ZAP
The first household microwave oven was introduced to the market in 1955, a Tappan microwave.

Down
1. Leaning Tower of __ PISA
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 …

3. Bearded antelopes GNUS
The gnu is also known as the wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.

5. Losing tic-tac-toe string O-X-O
When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

6. Water__: dental brand PIK
Waterpik is a brand name of oral irrigator, a device that uses a stream of water to remove food debris and dental plaque from the teeth. There are claims made that water irrigators are more effective than dental floss.

7. Title beekeeper played by Peter Fonda ULEE
“Ulee’s Gold” is a highly respected film from 1997 in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee’s “gold” is the honey that Ulee produces. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda and he has shared that playing Ulee brought to mind his father Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold” you’re witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.

8. Make waves? PERM
“Perm” is the name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls. I don’t worry about such things, as it’s a number-one all over for me …

9. San Francisco street that crosses Ashbury HAIGHT
Haight-Ashbury is a neighborhood in San Francisco that is centered on the intersection of Haight Street and Ashbury Street. The district was one of the epicenters of hippie life in the sixties, and was home to psychedelic rock performers of the day including Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin.

10. Netman Agassi ANDRE
Renowned tennis professional Andre Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

13. Financial page abbr. NYSE
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

18. Budding socialite DEB
“Deb” is short for “debutante”, which translates from French as “female beginner”.

22. __ dixit: assertion without proof IPSE
“Ipse dixit” is Latin, meaning “he himself said it”. The term is used in contemporary English to describe an unsupported assertion, usually by someone in authority.

25. Like ankle bones TARSAL
The tarsals are the ankle bones, equivalent to the carpals in the wrist.

27. Songwriters’ org. ASCAP
ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) collects licence fees for musicians and distributes royalties to composers whose works have been performed. BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) provides the same service.

31. Saltpeter, to a Brit NITRE
The chemical name for saltpeter (also called “niter, nitre”) is potassium nitrate. The exact origin of the name “saltpeter” isn’t clear, but it may have come from the Latin “sal petrae” meaning “stone salt”. The main use for potassium nitrate is as a fertilizer, a source of potassium and nitrogen. As it is a powerful oxidizing agent, it is also used in amateur rocket propellants. Anyone who has ignited one of those “engines” would have noticed the lilac-colored flame, indicating the presence of potassium.

32. Flashy displays ECLATS
“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

35. Sideshow barker CARNY
“Carny” is American slang, and is short for “carnival worker”.

38. Actress Peeples NIA
Actress Nia Peeples played the character Nicole Chapman in the TV series “Fame”.

43. DWI-fighting org. SADD
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) was founded in Massachusetts in 1981. SADD’s aim is to prevent road traffic accidents by urging students to avoid potentially destructive decisions (such as driving under the influence of alcohol).

In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.

44. Growth chart nos. HTS
Height (ht.)

49. Krispy __ doughnuts KREME
The Krispy Kreme chain of doughnut stores was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company introduced the Whole Wheat Glazed doughnut in 2007, great for folks looking to eat a healthy diet, I am sure …

54. Snail-mail delivery org. USPS
The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

57. Antacid jingle word repeated after “plop, plop” FIZZ
The antacid known as Alka-Seltzer used an animated character called Speedy in its adverts from 1951 to 1964. Speedy had an Alka-Seltzer tablet as a body and another as a hat, and sang a jingle with the words “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz”. Speedy’s job was to get out the message that Alka-Seltzer provided speedy relief.

62. Barista’s vessel URN
The person who serves coffee in a coffee shop is often called a “barista”. “Barista” is the Italian for “bartender”.

63. Rocker Vicious SID
Sid Vicious was a famous English musician, the best-known member of the seventies punk rock group called the Sex Pistols. In 1978, Vicious woke up out of a drugged stupor in his hotel room in New York, to find his girlfriend stabbed to death in the bathroom. Vicious was charged with the murder, and ten days later sliced his wrist in a suicide attempt. Vicious made bail a few months later and at a celebratory party his own mother supplied him with heroin on which Vicious overdosed and died, at the age of 21.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. ’90s game disc POG
4. Infield fly POP-UP
9. Invites home for dinner, say HAS IN
14. 007 creator Fleming IAN
15. Banish EXILE
16. Unable to sit still ANTSY
17. *Game where one might have an ace in the hole STUD POKER
19. Actor __ Elba of “The Wire” IDRIS
20. Liability offset ASSET
21. Settle in a new country EMIGRATE
23. Young Simpson BART
26. “Coulda been worse!” PHEW!
27. Biblical beast ASS
30. Least fatty LEANEST
33. __-12 conference PAC
36. *Financial page listing STOCK PRICE
38. “__ creature was stirring … ” NOT A
39. Team in 40-Across CARDS
40. Arch city: Abbr. STL
41. Ship carrying fuel OILER
42. Iowa State city AMES
43. *Only woman ever elected governor of Alaska SARAH PALIN
45. Very quietly, in music PPP
46. Artist’s paint holder PALETTE
47. Farm pen STY
48. Gave the nod to OKED
50. Payroll IDs SSNS
52. Became partners PAIRED UP
56. To date SO FAR
60. Ed with seven Emmys ASNER
61. *Stack of unsolicited manuscripts SLUSH PILE
64. “I’ll do it” LET ME
65. Gum treatment, briefly PERIO
66. Former president of Pakistan ZIA
67. Relaxed EASED
68. “500” Wall St. index … and a hint to the answers to starred clues S AND P
69. Reheat quickly ZAP

Down
1. Leaning Tower of __ PISA
2. Stable diet OATS
3. Bearded antelopes GNUS
4. Coaches’ speeches PEP TALKS
5. Losing tic-tac-toe string O-X-O
6. Water__: dental brand PIK
7. Title beekeeper played by Peter Fonda ULEE
8. Make waves? PERM
9. San Francisco street that crosses Ashbury HAIGHT
10. Netman Agassi ANDRE
11. *Informal surveys STRAW POLLS
12. “__ just me?” IS IT
13. Financial page abbr. NYSE
18. Budding socialite DEB
22. __ dixit: assertion without proof IPSE
24. Sales agent REP
25. Like ankle bones TARSAL
27. Songwriters’ org. ASCAP
28. “Put __ here”: envelope corner reminder STAMP
29. *Touchy topics SORE POINTS
31. Saltpeter, to a Brit NITRE
32. Flashy displays ECLATS
34. Took the loss, financially ATE IT
35. Sideshow barker CARNY
37. Music store buys CDS
38. Actress Peeples NIA
41. Workplace where union membership is optional OPEN SHOP
43. DWI-fighting org. SADD
44. Growth chart nos. HTS
46. Looked carefully PEERED
49. Krispy __ doughnuts KREME
51. Soak (up) SOP
52. Hardly healthy-looking PALE
53. Out of port ASEA
54. Snail-mail delivery org. USPS
55. Formal petition PLEA
57. Antacid jingle word repeated after “plop, plop” FIZZ
58. Et __: and others ALIA
59. Harvest REAP
62. Barista’s vessel URN
63. Rocker Vicious SID

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12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jan 16, Monday”

  1. Though it went fast, there were some words that I really didn't know and would expect later in the week. (IDRIS, ZIA, IPSE). Checked out the theme at the end, so at least I looked at it.
    By the way, ZIA is Italian for "aunt," but it seems like crossword builders only consider French or Spanish.

  2. Sfingi, I think the word for 'aunt' in italian, is Tia. ( If I remember my xwords right – ). No, sorry, you are right – I was thinking of spanish. sheesh.

    The name of the General, who was the Pakistani president, by fiat, was Zia Ul-Haq ( or Ul-Haque or Ul-Huq ). Since most pakistani muslims have no last names, or even patronymics, Ul-Haq is a part of his name, although for obvious reasons, his wife and children have kept the last part of his name as their surname. His death, which was also jointly- investigated by the FBI, because of the american deaths involved, …. was determined by the FBI to have been an accident. Either poor maintainence of the C130 Hercules or pilot error. The 'sabotage' version is only resorted to, by some conspiracy theorists ….

    The word 'saltpeter or saltpetre' probably means, a nitrate. While saltpetre is commonly used for KNO3 – Potassium Nitrate, – chilean saltpetre is NaNO3 -Sodium Nitrate. I remember because I worked in a chemical company making fuming nitric acid, (100% nitric acid), and the main way to make it was by using sodium nitrate and oleum ( fuming sulfuric acid) and distillation. Although both KNO3 and NaNO3 are valuable fertilisers, Pot.nitrate is far more important as a component of gunpowder and inorganic explosives.

    TMI.

  3. I had a good walk through this easy puzzle. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you Mondays.

    Although, some words, like Sfingi noted, were unusual. Not familiar with Idris, although I think King Idris was the first and only King ( Khedive ?) of Libya, 1951-1969. While on a trip for medical treatment abroad, he was deposed by then Colonel, Muammar al-Ghaddafi ….

    Life goes on.

    Have a nice day, all.

  4. A little more challenging than most Mondays, but I was interrupted 3 times by phone calls so I'm not sure I had my head in the game while doing it.

    The biggest thing I learned from yesterday's puzzle is that I'm about the only person on the planet who doesn't know what coddled eggs are. I guess I do now.

    The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is currently closed for some renovations so anyone planning a trip there should wait until March when it re-opens.

    Best –

  5. 3 errors. Was kind of sloppy on this one with two of them, getting one letter off – kind of a trade-off for pushing through the grid as fast as I did. Then as for clues go, there's more junk fill here than what I like to see. Phonetic sounds usually are a train wreck, requiring crosses to solve, and 26-Across is a great example, especially with the Natick it effectively created with 22-Down.

    @Jeff Effectively, I never have heard of anywhere between 20% and 50% of the things they put in these grids towards the end of the week. Coddled eggs being one of them. To wit, I'm surprised that I do as well as I do with these grids since I effectively have to guess at so much of them.

  6. @Vidwan – interesting about Pakistani names. Heard of Muammar however you spell his last name

    My hubster, who's Sicilian, called aunts Zitzie, but that's not speaking the "good" Italian.

    I had one revolutionary ancestor who was considered a patriot because he supplied saltpeter to our side, not theirs. I have a dozen more, but it's a fact that one could join the DAR through his line alone. Hubster thought that was a riot. This fellow made money on the war, but another, a general, lost everything. So much fun to read about.

  7. IF you have a mother, named Molly, who coddled (her) eggs, would you be a 'mollycoddle' ?

    mollycoddle, OED, noun :- an effeminate or ineffectual man or boy, a milksop.

  8. Before the Haber-Bosch process (1909) of getting nitrogen (Ammonia) from the air, the only way of getting saltpeter was from horses' urine, from the soil or earth in the horse stables. The HB process lengthened the WW 1 by three years, since the Allied powers had effectively blockaded the export of Chilean saltpeter from the Axis powers. Ironically, both Haber (1918) and Bosch (1931) got Nobel Prizes, but not for Peace.

  9. Hi folks! Pretty easy grid, tho I also didn't know ZIA or IPSE.
    Isn't saltpeter the stuff they give certain convicts to lower their sex drives? Or psychiatric patients maybe? What am I thinking of?
    I'm reading Doctor Zhivago for my book club, and I'll wager I'm the only one in the group who has put a dent in it…I did find a fab chart online, which outlines all the related, non-related, and cameo appearance characters, like a giant family tree.
    I have my work cut out for me!
    Be well~~™

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