LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Mar 16, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeffrey Wechsler
THEME: Pigs … today is NATIONAL PIG DAY, and so our grid is replete with famous PIGS:

65A. With 67-Across, annual March 1 event celebrated in the answers to starred clues NATIONAL
67A. See 65-Across PIG DAY

17A. *Whom Charlotte saved, in an E.B. White classic WILBUR
18A. *”Animal Farm” tyrant NAPOLEON
23A. *GEICO spokescritter who squeals, “Wee wee wee!” MAXWELL
39A. *”Toy Story” toy bank HAMM
40A. *Stutterer in Looney Tunes sign-offs PORKY
43A. *Unlikely title shepherd in a 1995 film BABE
53A. *40-Across’ gal PETUNIA

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 26s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Human rights advocate Jagger BIANCA
Bianca Jagger is a human rights activist. She was also the first wife of Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones.

17. *Whom Charlotte saved, in an E.B. White classic WILBUR
“Charlotte’s Web” is a children’s novel by author E. B. White. Charlotte is a barn spider, who manages to save the life of a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is a pet pig, owned by the farmer’s daughter, Fern Arable. The story also includes a gluttonous rat named Templeton who provides some light and comical moments.

18. *”Animal Farm” tyrant NAPOLEON
In George Orwell’s 1945 novella “Animal Farm”, the fierce-looking boar named Napoleon is an allegory of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

“Animal Farm” is the 1945 novella written by George Orwell, a satire of life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Orwell had trouble getting his novel published in his homeland of the UK during WWII, as anti-Soviet literature wasn’t a good thing to publish while the UK and USSR were on the same side of a World War. In fact, one publisher who was willing to distribute the book changed his mind after being warned off by the British Ministry of Information. Given his experiences, I find it interesting that Orwell should write “Nineteen Eighty-Four” a few years later, and introduce the world to Big Brother.

19. Reason-based faith DEISM
Deism (from the Latin “deus” meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention and rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to it own devices.

21. One-__ jack EYED
In a deck of cards, both the jack of spades and the jack of hearts are “one-eyed jacks”.

22. QB’s gains YDS
In football, a goal of the quarterback (QB) is to gain yards (yds.).

23. *GEICO spokescritter who squeals, “Wee wee wee!” MAXWELL
Maxwell is the little piggy in GEICO ads that cries “wee, wee, wee” all the way home.

GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families, hence the name Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO). GEICO is a private company, despite the word “government” in its name. The founders’ idea was focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays anyone can go with GEICO, which is 100% owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s investment firm.

33. Mets’ former stadium SHEA
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

36. Singer Yoko ONO
Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

38. “Ninotchka” star Greta GARBO
“Ninotchka” is a 1939 movie starring Greta Garbo in the title role. The film is a comedy, and was the second-to-last film in which Garbo appeared. “Ninotchka” was the only full comedy that Garbo made in her career, and was marketed with the line “Garbo Laughs!”

39. *”Toy Story” toy bank HAMM
In the movie “Toy Story”, Hamm is a sassy piggy bank toy. Hamm is voiced by actor John Ratzenberger (who also played Cliff Clavin on “Cheers”).

40. *Stutterer in Looney Tunes sign-offs PORKY
Porky Pig was the first of the characters created by Warner Bros. to become a hit with audiences. Porky Pig is the guy with the line at the end of each cartoon, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” If you don’t mind a little adult language, there’s a very funny 11-second Porky Pig clip that the studio released on a blooper reel in 1938. Porky Pig stutters out “Son of g-g-gun”, only he doesn’t say “gun” …

43. *Unlikely title shepherd in a 1995 film BABE
The hit 1995 film “Babe” was produced and filmed in Australia. The movie is an adaptation of a 1983 novel called “The Sheep-Pig” written by Dick King-Smith. “Babe” was a smash hit at the box office and was extremely well received by the critics. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but lost out to “Braveheart”. However, it did win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects by beating out “Apollo 13”, which was an amazing feat, I’d say…

44. Reputed UFO pilot ALIEN
In 1952, the USAF revived its studies of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in a program called Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book ran from 1952 until it was shut down in 1969 with the conclusion that there was no threat to national security and that there were no sightings that could not be explained within the bounds of modern scientific knowledge.

47. “Great Taste…__ Filling”: Miller Lite slogan LESS
“Great Taste … Less Filling” is an advertising campaign for Miller Lite beer.

The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

48. Carter’s vice president MONDALE
Walter Mondale served as US Vice president under President Jimmy Carter. Mondale was also the Democratic candidate who lost to President Ronald Reagan in 1984, losing in the biggest landslide in the country’s history. Mondale only won electoral votes in his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

53. *40-Across’ gal PETUNIA
Petunia Pig is a cartoon character in the “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” universes. Petunia is the girlfriend of Porky Pig and has been around since 1937.

55. __ Grande RIO
The Rio Grande is a river forming part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Rio Bravo or Rio Bravo del Norte.

65. With 67-Across, annual March 1 event celebrated in the answers to starred clues NATIONAL
67. See 65-Across PIG DAY
We’ve been celebrating National Pig Day since 1972. The pig doesn’t do too well out of the celebration though, as there is a lot of pork served at “pig parties”.

68. Biological order including eight-armed creatures OCTOPODA
The most famous octopod (“eight-footed” mollusc) is the octopus.

71. FBI operatives AGENTS
What we know today as the FBI was set up in 1908 as the BOI, the Bureau of Investigation. The name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. The Bureau was set up at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was largely moved to do so after the 1901 assassination of President McKinley, as there was a perception that anarchists were threatening law and order. The FBI’s motto uses the organization’s initialism, and is “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity”.

Down
3. “Silent Night” words before calm and bright ALL IS
The beautiful Christmas Carol “Silent Night” was first performed in Austria in 1818, with words by a priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and melody by an Austrian headmaster, Franz Xaver Gruber. The carol was in German and called “Stille Nacht”. The English translation that we use today was provided to us by an American bishop in 1859, John Freeman Young from Florida.

4. Used-up pencils NUBS
A much-used pencil might be worn down to a nub.

6. __ Lingus AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline called Ryanair.

7. Take more Time? RENEW
“Time” magazine has a readership of about 25 million, making it the largest circulation weekly news magazine in the world.

8. Maxims ADAGES
Our word “maxim” meaning “precept, principle” has been around since the early 1600s. It ultimately derives from the Latin phrase “maxima propositio”, which translates as “greatest premise”.

9. Domelike building top CUPOLA
A cupola is a small domelike structure on the top of a building. “Cupola” comes from the Latin “cupula” meaning “small cup”.

11. Mall event SALE
Surprisingly, our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

13. Arctic chunk FLOE
An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

25. Strange: Pref. XENO-
The Greek combining form “xeno-” means “strange, foreign”, as in xenophobia, a fear of foreigners.

30. “Dies __”: Latin hymn IRAE
“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

32. Some reddish deer ROES
Roe deer are found mainly in Europe. They would be the deer shown on television and in movies when Robin Hood was out hunting in Sherwood Forest.

33. Bedding accessory SHAM
A “sham” is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens a sham is also imitation and fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.

37. Nonprofit URL ending ORG
Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

42. Bigfoot kin YETI
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

50. Online investment service E*TRADE
E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade produces those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.

55. “The Thinker” sculptor RODIN
Rodin’s famous sculpture known as “The Thinker” has been reproduced many times. Rodin’s original version of “The Thinker” is actually a detail in a much larger work known as “The Gates of Hell”. The original plaster version of “The Gates of Hell” can be seen at the magnificent Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

67. Actress Zadora PIA
Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Zadora’s most famous role was in the 1982 film “Butterfly” in which she worked with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel “The Butterfly” by James M. Cain and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Human rights advocate Jagger BIANCA
7. Leaves in a big hurry RACES OFF
15. Seductive quality ALLURE
16. Having the capacity for learning EDUCABLE
17. *Whom Charlotte saved, in an E.B. White classic WILBUR
18. *”Animal Farm” tyrant NAPOLEON
19. Reason-based faith DEISM
20. Self-regard EGO
21. One-__ jack EYED
22. QB’s gains YDS
23. *GEICO spokescritter who squeals, “Wee wee wee!” MAXWELL
27. Variety TYPE
28. More pert SAUCIER
33. Mets’ former stadium SHEA
36. Singer Yoko ONO
38. “Ninotchka” star Greta GARBO
39. *”Toy Story” toy bank HAMM
40. *Stutterer in Looney Tunes sign-offs PORKY
43. *Unlikely title shepherd in a 1995 film BABE
44. Reputed UFO pilot ALIEN
46. “Golly!” GEE!
47. “Great Taste…__ Filling”: Miller Lite slogan LESS
48. Carter’s vice president MONDALE
51. Suffix with novel -ETTE
53. *40-Across’ gal PETUNIA
55. __ Grande RIO
58. Burn slightly SEAR
62. Latin art ARS
63. Doggie POOCH
65. With 67-Across, annual March 1 event celebrated in the answers to starred clues NATIONAL
67. See 65-Across PIG DAY
68. Biological order including eight-armed creatures OCTOPODA
69. Waiting one’s turn IN LINE
70. Catching-up query WHAT’S NEW?
71. FBI operatives AGENTS

Down
1. Ribald BAWDY
2. Perjurer’s confession I LIED
3. “Silent Night” words before calm and bright ALL IS
4. Used-up pencils NUBS
5. Really bad CRUMMY
6. __ Lingus AER
7. Take more Time? RENEW
8. Maxims ADAGES
9. Domelike building top CUPOLA
10. Earth-friendly prefix ECO-
11. Mall event SALE
12. Do as told OBEY
13. Arctic chunk FLOE
14. Provide (for oneself) FEND
24. Per unit A POP
25. Strange: Pref. XENO-
26. Tote LUG
27. Domesticated TAMED
29. Pay television CABLE
30. “Dies __”: Latin hymn IRAE
31. Flows back EBBS
32. Some reddish deer ROES
33. Bedding accessory SHAM
34. Saintly glow HALO
35. Poker call I’M IN
35. Key with one sharp: Abbr. E MIN
37. Nonprofit URL ending ORG
41. Really eager KEEN
42. Bigfoot kin YETI
45. Rest of the afternoon NAP
49. Use as support LEAN ON
50. Online investment service E*TRADE
52. Music studio activity TAPING
54. Amer. attorney’s study US LAW
55. “The Thinker” sculptor RODIN
56. Words of refusal I CAN’T
57. “I remember now!” OH YES!
58. Skiing surface SNOW
59. Per unit EACH
60. “__ girl!” ATTA
61. Real hoot RIOT
64. Gawk at OGLE
66. Photo __: media events OPS
67. Actress Zadora PIA

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12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Mar 16, Tuesday”

  1. 4 errors, and very fortunate it's not more. More typical of a Wechsler puzzle of Thursday or Friday difficulty than something Tuesday related, though I get the feeling it's mostly the usual Wechsler but just a commemorative theme.

    Much of it though was my lack of literature knowledge (I know *of* Animal Farm, but not intimately) and lack of mainstream commercial knowledge (no I don't know the name of the GEICO pig). Main thing though that several of the crossings around 9-Down could be construed as Naticks if you're thinking "Tuesday level".

    Interesting grid fill overall, though.

  2. Not a very inspired grid. Wechsler is better left trying to confound us on the weekends. Plus, Fred Piscop did a similar puzzle for the NYT which was a lot moer amusing for "National Pig Day."

    My only contribution will be a cameo from George Costanza in a Miller Lite ad. LESS filling…tastes great…only if you're a Cubs fan #CardinalsSpringTraining.

    OK fine, Yogi Berra was also in an AFLAC ad…much funnier.

    BTW, Jeff, when do we have dinner @ Dominic's on The Hill?

    I miss you guys & gals.

  3. i had a strange feeling with the puzzle – lots of iconic (pun ?) cartoon characters – which I dont remember. I read Animal Farm, but thought it was a strange fairy tale. I guess I'm not cutout to be a commie – or maybe you just had to be there….

    Anyway, it slowly came together. Thanks guys, er, Willie D for the laughs.

    There's a Rodin, 'The Thinker' at the Cleveland Mus. of Art, across from the Case West Resv. Univ. campus. It's missing its legs – blown off during the Vietnam protest movement ( remember that ?) – the legs were never replaced. The only incomplete Rodin sculpture in the world. I wonder what he's thinking about now.

    On a happier note, have a nice day, all.

  4. The law of expectations. If this were a Friday puzzle, we'd be saying it was too easy. It's a Tuesday so we think it's too hard. I enjoyed it regardless. I finished error free. That's all that matters.

    Am I the only one who had never heard of National Pig Day?? Also – am I living in a parallel universe or something? Isn't Geico's mascot the little gecko? Do they have another?? Everything I watch except for live sporting events is on DVR so maybe I've fast forwarded the pig out of my life without realizing it.

    I've had the pleasure of speaking directly with a few Russians in their own living rooms who lived under Stalin's rule about their experiences. It is absolutely surreal to listen to them recall the fear that permeated the entire country. I heard more stories than I could possibly post here. But if anyone is interested, Edvard Radzinsky wrote a biography of Stalin (simply called Stalin) that is the best recount of his rule I have ever read. I highly highly recommend it.

    From yesterday's discussion – FWIW I've had 3 expat experiences in my life in Moscow, Mexico City and Singapore. Long story short, I wake up every morning and kiss the ground in celebration of living in the U.S. Not nearly enough people who live here appreciate what we have here. I'll stop pontificating now…

    Willie – love to go to the Hill again. I did not get a chance to go there my last trip home to St. Louis. Giovanni's is probably my favorite, but it's getting ridiculously pricey. Rigazzi's, Dominic's or any of the hundred others there are all good. I did make it to Lion's Choice and Imo's, however.

    Best –

  5. @Jeff
    > Isn't Geico's mascot the little gecko? Do they have another??

    Yes. I was aware of the pig but didn't pay attention to the commercials that close. They use the gecko much more lately than the pig.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MphLHyMpp4s

    Perhaps the pig was less successful, as I really don't get *why* the pig. I guess because they're pitching mobile features, they're trying to call back the old nursery rhyme like Bill says? Kind of dead oblivious though, and consequently not too interesting compared to the gecko.

  6. I always found it amusing (given today's theme of National Pig day) that when I worked in Saudi Arabia for ARAMCO they called the remote vehicles that were sent into pipelines to perform maintenance operations "pigs" (for a place that was pretty "anti" pig overall).

  7. Definitely didn't know a few of the clues on this one (like Greta GARBO), but fortunately knew enough of the rest to make the right educated guesses on these. Did not know it was National Pig Day, either!

  8. Gee, I don't even remember National Ice Cream Day, how would I remember Pig Day!?

    Thanks, Jeff, for the reminder-I'm glad this is home, too.

    Bella

  9. According to a website I found it's also
    Asiatic Fleet Memorial Day
    National Fruit Compote Day
    National Horse Protection Day
    National Peanut Butter Lover's Day
    National Sportsmanship Day
    Peace Corp Day
    Plan a Solo Vacation Day
    Refired Not Retired Day
    Self-injury Awareness Day
    Share a Smile Day
    World Compliment Day

    How 'bout a peanut butter puzzle? ^0^
    I was again stymied by 1A, but finished none the less.

  10. Despite the name Wechsler, I found the puzzle easy and cute, but I'm into animals.

    Also, ever heard of NATIONAL PIG DAY.

    @Andrew – GARBO is big for oldsters.

    @Jeff and Glenn – I knew MAXWELL, but found him less that charming. Now, PENELOPE – that's a sweety.

    @Vidwan Animal Farm used to be part of the curriculum before Communism fell. As a matter of fact I took a 3-credit in communism as part of my philo degree. Recently dumped all the books, all from the '60s. Animal Farm was a satire, pointing out "Some people are more equal than others."

    @Jeff – I heard Stalin would kill his dentists after they worked on him, and that he died when no one would come to his rescue when he was sick.

    @Vidwan, again – A great RODIN museum is at Williams College in MA. I didn't know about the Cleveland statue. Always a great tidbit from you.

  11. Just a note about "Ninotchka," starring Greta Garbo. It was the basis for the delightful musical "Silk Stockings" starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charrise. It was choreographed by Eugene Loring, a rather nasty old man, but very famous in the ballet world; he was the director of dance when I studied ballet at UCI, many many years ago. Of course, Astaire choreographed all of his own dance numbers…

  12. Hi y'all! One advantage to posting last is that I get to read all your comments, in order, and comment on the comments!!!
    @Vidwan, you're so funny — "guess you had to be there" and "wonder what he's thinking about now…"
    @Jeff, thanks for the tip on the Stalin biography. I will order it on Amazon. I spent much of my grad-student time studying the Soviet Union and the Cold War. Fascinating stuff.
    @Andrew, FWIW, I'll point out that the group members here are NOT quite old enough to have actually seen a Garbo film in its first release. That said, however, it IS impressive how much knowledge one can accumulate just by hanging around for several decades.
    Meanwhile, I can't believe I forgot National Fruit Compote Day! Shoulda put up a dozen jars of apricot preserves! (Or not.)
    Oh and I quite liked the puzzle. Seemed Wednesday-ish to me. A nice challenge.
    Sweet dreams~~™

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