LA Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 16, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeffrey Wechsler
THEME: Touch of Evil … each of today’s themed answer is a common phrase, but with EVIL inserted:

57A. 1958 Orson Welles film noir … and a hint to 17-, 27- and 43-Across TOUCH OF EVIL

17A. Threat to the queen’s cotton? ROYAL WEEVIL (“royal ‘we’” + “evil”)
27A. Satan’s broadcaster? DEVILISH NETWORK (“Dish Network” + “evil”)
43A. Really unpopular fish? REVILED SNAPPERS (“red snappers” + “evil”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 20s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. Potassium hydroxide, e.g. ALKALI
The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are the alkalis, the hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.

16. Siete menos seis UNO
In Spanish, “siete menos seis” (seven minus six) equals “uno” (one).

17. Threat to the queen’s cotton? ROYAL WEEVIL (“royal ‘we’” + “evil”)
A weevil is a small beetle, known for the damage that it can do to crops. The boll weevil damages cotton plants by laying eggs inside cotton bolls. The young weevils then eat their way out. Some weevils have snouts that are as long as their body.

The royal “we” is more correctly called the majestic plural, and is the use of a plural pronoun to describe a single person in a high office. I suppose the most often quoted phrase that uses the majestic plural is, “We are not amused”, often attributed to Queen Victoria.

20. Hersey’s “A Bell for __” ADANO
“A Bell for Adano” is a novel written by John Hersey. Hersey’s story is about an Italian-American US Army officer, Major Joppolo, who found a replacement for a town’s bell stolen by fascists. “A Bell for Adano” was made into a film in 1945, the same year the novel won a Pulitzer.

24. Help for a sad BFF TLC
Tender loving care (TLC)

Best friend forever (BFF)

26. Subject of the first picture in Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” GNOME
“Pictures at an Exhibition” is one of my favorite pieces of music. It is a suite of twelve movements originally created for the piano by Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. The piece is often performed as an arrangement for orchestra, with Maurice Ravel’s arrangement being the most famous. Most of the movements represent individual paintings (and vividly so!), works by Mussorgsky’s friend, the architect and artist Viktor Hartmann. Hartmann died unexpectedly at only 39, and soon after there was an exhibition of 400 of his paintings in St. Petersburg. Mussorgsky was inspired to write his “Pictures at an Exhibition” after having viewed the show.

38. Repeating rhythmic pattern used in Cuban music CLAVE
The five-stroke clave is a rhythmic pattern used in Afro-Cuban music, including conga, mambo and salsa. The term “claves” is also used for two hardwood sticks used as an instrument in some Afro-Cuban bands.

39. Balderdash JIVE
“Jive” is a slang term meaning “nonsensical talk”.

“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids, like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!

40. 39-Down carrier ANA
(39D. About 125 million people JAPANESE)
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Japanese airline, second in size only to Japan Airlines (JAL).

42. Protected at sea ALEE
“Alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing “aweather”.

43. Really unpopular fish? REVILED SNAPPERS (“red snappers” + “evil”)
The red snapper that we get in restaurants is often not the true “red snapper” species (Lutjanus campechanus). Frequently we are served other species of snapper or rockfish, in order to meet the high demand.

47. Mauna __ LOA
Mauna Loa on the “big island” of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

48. Expert MAVEN
I’ve always loved the word “maven”, another word for an expert. Maven comes into English from the Yiddish “meyvn” meaning someone who appreciates and is a connoisseur.

49. “__ Kapital” DAS
“Das Kapital” (entitled “Capital” in English versions) is a book about political economy written by Karl Marx, first published in 1867. The book is in effect an analysis of capitalism, and proffers the opinion that capitalism relies on the exploitation of workers. Marx concludes that the profits from capitalist concerns come from the underpaying of labor.

56. First woman to land a triple axel in competition ITO
Midori Ito is a Japanese figure skater. Ito was the first woman to land a triple/triple jump and a triple axel in competition. In fact she landed her first triple jump in training when she was only 8 years old …

57. 1958 Orson Welles film noir … and a hint to 17-, 27- and 43-Across TOUCH OF EVIL
“Touch of Evil” is a 1958 film noir that is very much Orson Welles project. Welles wrote the screenplay, directed the film and co-starred. Other stars are Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, with Marlene Dietrich supporting. Apparently Welles got the directing job at the behest of Heston (Be-hest … Heston … laugh, everyone!).

62. Bear’s cry SELL
The terms “bull” and “bear” markets come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an “up” market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a “down” market).

65. Town near Padua ESTE
Este is a town in the Province of Padua in the north of Italy. The town gave its name to the House of Este, a European princely dynasty. The House of Hanover that ruled Britain from 1714 to 1901, when Queen Victoria died, was perhaps the most notable branch of the House of Este.

The city of Padua is in northern Italy, not far from Venice. Padua has many claims to fame. Galileo was one of the lecturers at the University of Padua, for example. And, William Shakespeare chose the city as the setting for his play “The Taming of the Shrew”.

Down
1. Indian district with three World Heritage Sites AGRA
The Indian city of Agra is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

– The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
– Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
– Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal

3. Irish musician with four Grammys ENYA
Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

7. Oahu entertainers UKES
The ukulele (“uke”) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

9. Manning taking a hike ELI
Eli Manning plays as quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning is quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback.

10. 26-Across feature SILENT G
(26A. Subject of the first picture in Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” GNOME)
The letter G in the word “gnome” is silent.

12. Part of Oregon’s border SNAKE RIVER
The Snake River in the US northwest is the largest tributary of the Columbia River.

13. Last thing in Pandora’s box HOPE
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Pandora was created by the gods, with each god bestowing on her a gift. Her name can be translated from Greek as “all-gifted”. Pandora is famous for the story of “Pandora’s Box”. In actual fact, the story should be about Pandora’s “Jar” as a 16th-century error in translation created a “box” out of the “jar”. In the story of Pandora’s Box, curiosity got the better of her and she opened up a box she was meant to leave alone. As a result she released all the evils of mankind, just closing it in time to trap hope inside.

25. Round ornament CIRCLET
A “circlet” is a ring-shaped ornament, especially one that adorns the head.

27. John of Scotch fame DEWAR
Dewar’s is a blended Scotch whisky introduced in 1846 by John Dewar. Dewar’s White Label is the company’s most popular Scotch, first created in 1899, with a taste that is described as “heather and honey”. Dewar’s also make some single malts, under the labels Aberfeldy 12 and Aberfeldy 21. Today, Dewar’s is owned by Bacardi.

29. Ed Norton catchphrase on “The Honeymooners” VA-VA-VA-VOOM!
Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are two characters in “The Honeymooners”, played by Jackie Gleason and Art Carney. Kramden is a bus driver, and Norton works with the New York City sewer department.

31. Climate control systs. HVACS
The heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) company called Trane was formed in 1913 by father and son James and Reuben Trane. James was a Norwegian immigrant, and Reuben earned his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Wisconsin.

32. Jewel thief portrayer in “The Pink Panther” NIVEN
The great British actor David Niven is perhaps best known for playing Phileas Fogg in “Around the World in 80 Days” and Sir Charles Litton in “The Pink Panther”. I enjoy so many Niven movies, but my favorite has to “Separate Tables” from 1958, for which he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar. Niven even played the iconic role of James Bond, in the 007 spoof film “Casino Royale” released in 1967.

44. Halogen suffix -INE
The halogens are a group of elements in the periodic table consisting of fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine. The term “halogen” was the name that was originally proposed for chlorine when it was first discovered. When it was passed over in favor of chlorine, the name “halogen” was given to the group of elements to which chlorine belonged.

45. High hair style POUF
The “pouf” is an “updo” type of hairstyle that was popularized in the 18th-century France by Marie Antoinette. The French queen first sported the pouf at the coronation of her husband, Louis XVI. Ladies of the day would often wear many ornaments and decorations in their hair set in a pouf, such as pearls, feathers and even ships.

49. Household glue brand DUCO
Duco is a brand of household cement that was developed by DuPont.

51. __ butter SHEA
“Shea butter” is a common moisturizer or lotion used as a cosmetic. It is a fat that is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There is evidence that shea butter was used back in Cleopatra’s Egypt.

53. “Variations on ‘America'” composer IVES
“Variations on ‘America'” is a piece of organ music composed by Charles Ives in 1891, when he was just a teenager. It is an arrangement of the traditional tune “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”.

The patriotic song “America” is also known by its first line, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. The song was written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, and was the de facto national anthem of the country until “The Star-Spangled Banner” was declared the official anthem in 1931. The melody of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” is identical with the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”.

Charles Ives was one of the great classical composers, probably the first American to be so recognized. Sadly, his work largely went unsung (pun!) during his lifetime, and was really only accepted into the performed repertoire after his death in 1954.

55. How she looks in Paris? ELLE
“Elle” is the French word for “she”.

58. Good Grips kitchenware brand OXO
The OXO line of kitchen utensils is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average kitchen too. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

59. “They say there is divinity in __ numbers”: Falstaff ODD
In William Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, Falstaff has the lines:

This is the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd numbers. Away I go. They say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death. Away!

Sir John Falstaff is the lead character in Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and a supporting character in the two “Henry IV” plays. Falstaff is a self-promoting, obese and cowardly man. In “King Henry IV, part I”, Falstaff refers to his portly size, saying, “thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty.”

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “If I may interject … ” AHEM …
5. Stops to smell the roses PAUSES
11. Briquette’s fate ASH
14. Passed GONE
15. Potassium hydroxide, e.g. ALKALI
16. Siete menos seis UNO
17. Threat to the queen’s cotton? ROYAL WEEVIL (“royal ‘we’” + “evil”)
19. Water source TAP
20. Hersey’s “A Bell for __” ADANO
21. Wind dir. SSE
22. Call forth EVOKE
24. Help for a sad BFF TLC
26. Subject of the first picture in Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” GNOME
27. Satan’s broadcaster? DEVILISH NETWORK (“Dish Network” + “evil”)
34. Physical, e.g. EXAM
35. On the move ROVING
36. Plane compartment BIN
37. Told, as an elaborate tale WOVE
38. Repeating rhythmic pattern used in Cuban music CLAVE
39. Balderdash JIVE
40. 39-Down carrier ANA
41. Deli equipment SLICER
42. Protected at sea ALEE
43. Really unpopular fish? REVILED SNAPPERS (“red snappers” + “evil”)
46. Rushed RAN AT
47. Mauna __ LOA
48. Expert MAVEN
49. “__ Kapital” DAS
52. Make whole UNITE
56. First woman to land a triple axel in competition ITO
57. 1958 Orson Welles film noir … and a hint to 17-, 27- and 43-Across TOUCH OF EVIL
60. Revival prefix NEO-
61. Overshoot EXCEED
62. Bear’s cry SELL
63. Philosophy ISM
64. Trinket DOODAD
65. Town near Padua ESTE

Down
1. Indian district with three World Heritage Sites AGRA
2. Rain protection HOOD
3. Irish musician with four Grammys ENYA
4. Transitional period MEANTIME
5. Hand analog PAW
6. Pub array ALES
7. Oahu entertainers UKES
8. Keep SAVE
9. Manning taking a hike ELI
10. 26-Across feature SILENT G
11. Lot occupant AUTOMOBILE
12. Part of Oregon’s border SNAKE RIVER
13. Last thing in Pandora’s box HOPE
18. Relax LOLL
23. “Cross my heart,” e.g. VOW
25. Round ornament CIRCLET
26. Vague GENERAL
27. John of Scotch fame DEWAR
28. Clears EXONERATES
29. Ed Norton catchphrase on “The Honeymooners” VA-VA-VA-VOOM!
30. Firm SOLID
31. Climate control systs. HVACS
32. Jewel thief portrayer in “The Pink Panther” NIVEN
33. They’re often bent KNEES
39. About 125 million people JAPANESE
41. Not objective SLANTED
44. Halogen suffix -INE
45. High hair style POUF
48. Revealing apparel MINI
49. Household glue brand DUCO
50. Served very well ACED
51. __ butter SHEA
53. “Variations on ‘America'” composer IVES
54. List TILT
55. How she looks in Paris? ELLE
58. Good Grips kitchenware brand OXO
59. “They say there is divinity in __ numbers”: Falstaff ODD

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10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 16, Friday”

  1. DNF. Typical Friday grid I couldn't get far enough on to get started well.

    Speaking of "easy" grids, I'll tell the story I had in mind from a couple of days ago. In one of the papers I'm aware of, they actually had people complaining because the "easy" grid was too hard, so they ended up changing it. They actually did find something easier, ironically. Another piece of the puzzle (heh) in terms of figuring out the amount of demand behind those "easy" grids, I guess. Especially since the paper had enough complaints that they felt they needed to change it.

  2. EVIL things these crosswords. They make you feel smart all week, then something like this comes along. Finished, but with a couple of Googles. So technically I guess I DNF. I got the theme answers, but I had never heard of Touch of Evil (I have to start going to movies someday), and that was my undoing. But I came very close on a very tough puzzle.

    10 minutes, Bill? I'm not sure I had 10 letters filled in after 10 minutes…

    I actually got SILENT G for 10D; I usually miss those. "Bear's cry" for SELL was the best of the bunch today. Overall, a very fun and challenging puzzle.

    I heard this just a few days ago; I wish I could remember where. Anyway – In a large survey, a full 10% of all college graduates – GRADUATES – believe Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court of the United States. Sheeesh. I think that explains the phenomenon that Glenn cites above.

    With that cheery note, I'm ready for the weekend.

    Best –

  3. The last to fall for the successful solve was the "gnome" and "silent g" fills. Tricky, but fun. Also I was tripped up for awhile because of putting in "raced" for the 46 Across clue "Rushed" until I finally corrected it to the right answer "ran at".

    Have a great weekend all. See you tomorrow for more grid angst.

  4. @Jeff That would be here. The fact that most of the products of the American school system actually know frighteningly little is old hat by now, but it's always good to be reminded given the personal confirmation bias that almost everyone has with respect to intelligence (basically the smarter/higher IQ people generally assume everyone else is as smart as them).

    I'm almost tempted to post some clues from a few "easy" grids (sans letter clues/crosses) just to see how many in this crowd would get them right out of the gate. Some of them are really as easy as the "current President of the US" example, but we might be overshooting that too, since 41% couldn't identify the Vice President correctly here.

    Such are scary things when those of us who make a point to know things encounter them. Of course, such observations could be extrapolated to politics, but that's for another blog.

  5. To wit, I wonder with most papers that carry multiple daily grids that if they had to cut down to one, which one(s) would go. Grids like the NYT and LAT probably would be the ones, I have a feeling…

  6. Probably shouldn't have gone searching for stats like this, it's pretty depressing. I'll keep it short (mind you this was in 2003, it's probably worse now).


    Only 71% Americans can locate Pacific Ocean on a map. One in seven Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 could find Iraq [on a map]. Only 17% could find [Afghanistan] that country. When asked to find 10 specific states on a map of the U.S., only California and Texas could be located by a large majority. Only 51% could find New York. Americans could find on average only 7 of 16 countries in the quiz. Only 89% of the Americans surveyed could find their own country.

    There's much more out there to read like this, but it's indeed quite scary.

  7. Maybe smarter people don't waste their time on surveys? I've seen and heard so many surveys w/ obvious bias that I haven't answered one in decades.
    Matt

  8. To those who do the daily WSJ puzzle I thought the grid today was a pretty tough example. I finished, but it was a "fight to the finish" (g) without a doubt.

  9. This took forever. Spelling POOF messed me up. Changed to POUF, and UNITE let me finish the darned thing.
    I stopped to get a taco the other day and the girl actually
    COUNTED BACK my change instead of plopping the receipt, ones and coins into my palm. I told her that hasn't happened in 30 years. She looked perplexed, but smiled.

  10. @Tony Michaels
    Actually, I thought this grid to be much harder. I got about 85% of the WSJ grid okay before I started having to engage in library exercise. Of course, the crypto puzzle for the contest is as meandering and obtuse as they ever are, so I haven't really seen any relationships yet to exploit for an answer.

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