LA Times Crossword Answers 13 Feb 16, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mark Bickham
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 19m 41s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … LAHTI (Lehti), ATACAMA (Etacama!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Candy in a strawlike container PIXY STIX
Pixy Stix is powdered candy that’s packaged in what looks like a straw. The “candy” was sold back in the thirties as a drink mix, but when kids were found to be eating the sweet & sour-tasting mix directly from packets, the producers began to packaging it as candy.

9. “The Great Santini” Oscar nominee Michael O’KEEFE
Michael O’Keefe played Danny Noonan in the film “Caddyshack” (I’m not a big fan of that movie). I saw O’Keefe at the cinema not too long ago in the George Clooney film “Michael Clayton”.

“The Great Santini” is a 1979 film adaptation of a novel of the same name by Pat Conroy. The film stars Robert Duvall as a Marine officer in the early days of the Vietnam War.

15. Do-it-yourself style HOME 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 …

18. He broke Walter’s NFL career rushing record EMMITT
Emmitt Smith is a retired football player who turned out for the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals. Smith was on three Super Bowl-winning teams with the Cowboys. Smith is also quite a dancer and won the “Dancing with the Stars” mirror ball trophy in 2006.

Walter Payton was a running back who played for the Chicago Bears. Sadly, Payton passed away in 1999 at only 45 years of age.

20. Adopted great-nephew of Claudius NERO
The Roman emperor Nero had quite the family life. When Nero was just 16-years-old he married his stepsister, Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

I find Claudius to be the most fascinating of all the Roman Emperors. Claudius had a lot going against him as he walked with a limp and was slightly deaf. He was put in office by the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s bodyguards) after Caligula was assassinated. Claudius had very little political experience and yet proved to be very forward-thinking and capable.

22. Everyday list ender ZEE
The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of “zee” used in America today first popped up in the 1670s.

24. Composer/conductor Boulanger NADIA
Nadia Boulanger was a composer and music teacher from Paris. Included in her impressive list of students were Aaron Copland, Quincy Jones and Philip Glass. Boulanger was also the first woman to conduct some respected orchestras including the BBC Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Hallé, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia.

26. Philosophers in the news since 1985 CALVIN AND HOBBES
The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” was introduced in 1985 and is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes a 17th century English political philosopher.

33. Like many fliers AVIAN
Avian flu (also “bird flu”) is caused by influenza viruses that are particularly adapted to birds. While birds are the animals primarily affected, human deaths have been recorded, as have deaths of seals and cats, would you believe?

34. Fictional place near Atlanta TARA
Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation, in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland.

35. Internet __ MEME
A “meme” (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

37. What smart alecks do GET CUTE
A smart Alec or wise guy might be called “Wisenheimer”. The term is mock German or Yiddish and dates back to the very early 1900s.

40. Swift of fiction TOM
Tom Swift is the title character in a series of adventure stories for young people that were introduced in 1910. The books were authored by a succession of ghost writers, although all were credited to “Victor Appleton”. As an aside, the the trade name TASER, used for an electroshock weapon, is supposedly an acronym standing for Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

41. Binged (on) ODED
Overdose (OD)

44. “Running on Empty” (1988) actress LAHTI
Christine Lahti is an actress probably best known for playing Dr. Kate Austen on the TV medical drama “Chicago Hope”. If you read “The Huffington Post” you might run across her as well, as Lahti is a contributing blogger.

49. Ruin partner WRACK
The phrase “rack and ruin” (also “wrack and ruin”), meaning “complete destruction”, is a derivative of “wreck and ruin”.

51. Dept. in a “Law & Order” spin-off SVU
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly, since 2007 there has been a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

63. Beckett genre, with “the” ABSURD
“Theater of the Absurd” was a literary movement popular mainly in Europe from the forties through the eighties. Adherents to the style were inspired by Albert Camus’ Philosophy of the Absurd, which stated that the search for meaning and truth was absurd. Playwrights associated with the movement were Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Edward Albee. I am not a big fan, not a fan at all …

64. Whirlpool protection, perhaps OVEN MITT
Whirlpool is a manufacturer of home appliances that was founded as the Upton Machine Company in 1911. Whirlpool is now the largest manufacturer of home appliances in the world.

65. Designer Johnson BETSEY
Betsey Johnson is an American fashion designer. She sounds like quite a character, and apparently is known for doing a cartwheel on the catwalk at the end of her fashion shows. She even made it onto the reality show “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.

66. 2003 film with the tagline “He doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice” BAD SANTA
“Bad Santa” is a black comedy, not one I really enjoyed, starring Billy Bob Thornton as the not-so-nice Santa Claus. If you want to see an unrated version of the film, you can just buy the DVD and watch the special feature called “Badder Santa”.

Down
1. Dr. __ PHIL
Dr. Phil (McGraw) met Oprah Winfrey when he was hired to work with her as a legal consultant during the Amarillo Texas beef trial (when the industry sued Oprah for libel over “Mad Cow Disease” statements). Oprah was impressed with Dr. Phil and invited him onto her show, and we haven’t stopped seeing him since!

2. New York school IONA
Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name Killian.

3. 66-Across setting, briefly XMAS
(66A. 2003 film with the tagline “He doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice” BAD SANTA)
The abbreviation “Xmas” that is used for “Christmas” comes from the Greek letter chi (X), which is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ” (Χριστός).

4. New York school YESHIVA
Yeshiva University is a private school in New York City that was founded in 1886 as the Etz Chaim Yeshiva. In the Jewish tradition a yeshiva is an educational institution focusing on the study of sacred texts.

6. Body stretcher? TENDON
Tendons (also called “sinews”) are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle. We also use the term “sinew” to mean muscular power.

7. Agcy. with complicated schedules IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

8. Colossus and Cyclops, e.g. X-MEN
X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains that X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellan.

9. Collapsible topper OPERA HAT
An opera hat is a spring-loaded, collapsible top hat. Doesn’t that sound cool …?

10. Dragon habitat KOMODO
The large lizard called a Komodo dragon is so named because it is found on the island of Komodo (and others) in Indonesia. It can grow to a length of over 9 1/2 feet, so I guess that explains the dragon part of the name …

11. Tree that can form natural tunnels ELM
Elm tree planted along both sides of a street can form a natural tunnel as the foliage from the trees on either side of the thoroughfare grow and meet high above the road surface.

12. Daughter of Anne Boleyn ELIZABETH I
The Elizabethan Era, the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, is considered by many to be the golden age of English history, the age of Shakespeare and the English Renaissance. Elizabeth I was the last sovereign of the House of Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII of England. Anne was found guilty of high treason after about a thousand days of marriage to Henry, accused of adultery and incest (probably trumped-up charges). She was executed, but perhaps her legacy lived on in her only child, as her daughter reigned for 45 very prosperous years as Queen Elizabeth I.

14. Deco pseudonym ERTE
Erté was the pseudonym of French artist (Russian born) Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.”

21. Sweeps on a gridiron END RUNS
We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

25. Watson’s creator IBM
Watson is a program still in development at IBM. Watson is designed to answer questions that are posed in natural language, so that it should be able to interpret questions just as you and I would, no matter how the question is phrased. The program is named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J. Watson. Today’s Watson competed in a few memorable episodes of “Jeopardy!” in 2011 taking out two of the best players of the quiz show. That made for fun television …

26. Evergreen with edible pods CAROB
The carob is a tree or shrub in the pea family, mainly grown for its seed pods. The carob seeds are dried or roasted, and when powdered or chipped make a good substitute for chocolate.

27. Estée Lauder subsidiary AVEDA
Horst Rechelbacher was travelling in India in 1970 when he was introduced to the Hindu science of longevity called Ayurveda, which inspired him to set up his own company of skin and hair care products that he called Aveda. The company opened its doors in 1978 and is based in Blaine, Minnesota.

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

28. Spreadable sausage LIVERWURST
The liver sausage that we know in English as “liverwurst” is known as “leberwurst” in German. “Leber” translates as “liver”, and “wurst” as “sausage”.

30. Pearly coating NACRE
The strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells is called “nacre”, and nacre is also the material that makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that’s how a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are made by inserting a tissue graft from a donor oyster, around which nacre is laid down.

39. Colloquial language features ELISIONS
“Elision” is a linguistic term describing the omission of a sound or sounds in a word or phrase. Examples of elisions are found in “bo’s’n”, “Will-o’-the-wisp” and “‘Enry” (Eliza Dolittle’s “Henry”).

42. __ Spiegel: German magazine DER
“Der Spiegel” is a very successful German magazine found on newsstands all over Europe. The name “Der Spiegel” translates from German into “the Mirror”.

45. South American desert ATACAMA
Even deserts get rain at some point in the year, with very few exceptions. One of those exceptions is the Atacama Desert in South America, which receives no rain at all.

51. Scandinavian import SAAB
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. SAAB was, and still is, mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

56. Land near Albion ERIN
“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

“Albion” is an old name for the island of Great Britain, in fact its oldest known name.

57. Paving stone SETT
A sett is a small rectangular paving stone with a rounded top used to make a road surface. It’s like a cobblestone, I think …

60. The Theatre Cat in “Cats” GUS
“Gus: The Theatre Cat” is a poem by T. S. Eliot that is included in the “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Magic”. The collection is the source material for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats”. Gus is the cat’s nickname, short for “Asparagus”.

62. Tiny tube travelers OVA
The Fallopian tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals in the uterus. The tubes are named for the 16th-century Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio, who was the first to describe them.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Candy in a strawlike container PIXY STIX
9. “The Great Santini” Oscar nominee Michael O’KEEFE
15. Do-it-yourself style HOME PERM
16. One often checking boxes POLLER
17. Partly IN A SENSE
18. He broke Walter’s NFL career rushing record EMMITT
19. Was sharply critical, with “out” LASHED
20. Adopted great-nephew of Claudius NERO
22. Everyday list ender ZEE
23. Common pledge I DO
24. Composer/conductor Boulanger NADIA
26. Philosophers in the news since 1985 CALVIN AND HOBBES
33. Like many fliers AVIAN
34. Fictional place near Atlanta TARA
35. Internet __ MEME
36. Put one’s foot down? REV
37. What smart alecks do GET CUTE
40. Swift of fiction TOM
41. Binged (on) ODED
43. Fabrication YARN
44. “Running on Empty” (1988) actress LAHTI
46. Basics BARE NECESSITIES
49. Ruin partner WRACK
50. Metaphor words IS A
51. Dept. in a “Law & Order” spin-off SVU
53. Piece of work TASK
55. Like Miss Congeniality NICEST
59. Compression-utilizing weapon AIR GUN
61. Forbidden zone NO-GO AREA
63. Beckett genre, with “the” ABSURD
64. Whirlpool protection, perhaps OVEN MITT
65. Designer Johnson BETSEY
66. 2003 film with the tagline “He doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice” BAD SANTA

Down
1. Dr. __ PHIL
2. New York school IONA
3. 66-Across setting, briefly XMAS
4. New York school YESHIVA
5. Ticket generator SPEEDING
6. Body stretcher? TENDON
7. Agcy. with complicated schedules IRS
8. Colossus and Cyclops, e.g. X-MEN
9. Collapsible topper OPERA HAT
10. Dragon habitat KOMODO
11. Tree that can form natural tunnels ELM
12. Daughter of Anne Boleyn ELIZABETH I
13. Blowout FETE
14. Deco pseudonym ERTE
21. Sweeps on a gridiron END RUNS
25. Watson’s creator IBM
26. Evergreen with edible pods CAROB
27. Estée Lauder subsidiary AVEDA
28. Spreadable sausage LIVERWURST
29. Goes after ATTACKS
30. Pearly coating NACRE
31. Behave theatrically EMOTE
32. They come before finals SEMIS
38. Superficially attractive thing EYE CANDY
39. Colloquial language features ELISIONS
42. __ Spiegel: German magazine DER
45. South American desert ATACAMA
47. Human __ NATURE
48. Burned a little SINGED
51. Scandinavian import SAAB
52. Vague feeling VIBE
54. Turner of old TV? KNOB
56. Land near Albion ERIN
57. Paving stone SETT
58. Casual farewell TATA
60. The Theatre Cat in “Cats” GUS
62. Tiny tube travelers OVA

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 13 Feb 16, Saturday”

  1. 54 Down "Turner of old TV" was a nice touch. It provoked that little "aha" moment when a word that looked so familiar (Tina? Ike? Lana?) actually meant something completely different.

    Had PACE in for 2 Down which totally messed up that corner.

  2. A little too difficult for this solver, but Mark Bickham can do that every once in a while. I like these though. The humility serves me well.

    Agree that the clue for KNOB wins the day although "Put one's foot down?" for REV would be a close second.

    KOMODO dragons are fascinating creatures. Their bite does kill but not by venom. It kills via bacteria. They kind of infect their prey to death. They themselves are immune to the bacteria in their own saliva so some researchers are using them to research better ways to fight infections. I saw a special on them on the Discovery Channel once – ergo I'm an expert….

    I miss Calvin and Hobbes. I don't read the comics anymore in newspapers because none of the ones I liked are still in print. Anyone have a favorite they can recommend? It's like Saturday cartoons – just no good ones anymore.

    So let's see – Watson created IBM and IBM created Watson. Hmmm. I was actually thinking ACD (Arthur Conan Doyle – i.e. Dr. Watson) on that one so I was way off anyway.

    @Vidwan
    Thanks for the recommendation of the movie "Son of Saul" (not to be confused with "Better Call Saul"). They just did a very favorable write up on it in the Houston Chronicle a couple of days ago. It sounds quite compelling but also disturbing. I guess that's the point of it.

    Best –

  3. I actually successfully solved this puzzle. It was a "tortured letter by letter" experience in brain straining, but I did it (which makes up for my DNF yesterday a bit.

    I have to hand it to Bickham for some excellent and devious misdirection when it came to clues and answers. I guess I must have a twisted mind!

    Hope you all have a great weekend. See you tomorrow (or Monday for both the big grid and Monday's daily grid.

  4. Jeff, I generally do not do Saturdays. Equally, I generally do not read the Sat. blog posts. However, I'm glad I came, and saw, your 'thanks' note. I havent seen the movie myself, but do intend to.

    May I make a plug for 2 indian movies, that I've especially enjoyed, English, Vinglish (2012) and a very recent release, Katyar Kaljat Ghusali ( – the dagger entered the heart) 2015 .

    Both have english subtitles, are not violent, are not tragedies, and the latter is, in my opinion, an essence of indian classical music.

  5. DNF on this one. Got farther on this one than yesterday. There's always the big grid to take up which I will tonight (it's a V-Day theme, I can already see from pulling it out of my paper).

  6. Hey Bill, did you by chance change your write-up for TARA because of my past nitpicky gripes on the subject? !!
    Of course I DNF, but that's standard for me on a Saturday.
    @Jeff, I haven't bothered with the comics in about two decades. When I do glance at them I just don't find them funny. But that's me. I'm always glad, however, to pick up The New Yorker and flip through for the cartoons…
    Be well~~™

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