LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Mar 16, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Warren Stabler
THEME: PR Is M … each of today’s themed answers is a well-known phrase, but with the letters PR replaced by the letter M:

68A. Solid that, when divided in three parts, describes this puzzle’s theme PRISM (or “PR is M”)
17A. Songs without words? MIME NUMBERS (from “prime numbers”)
27A. Earthquake consequence? MOVING GROUND (from “proving ground”)
46A. House cat’s challenge? MICE INCREASE (from “price increase”)
61A. Money-making fiasco? MINTING MESS (from “printing press”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 16m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. “Dancing With the Stars” network ABC TV
When I was growing up in the British Isles, there was a surprisingly popular BBC television show featuring professional ballroom dancing called “Come Dancing”. It ran almost every year from 1949 to 1998, and in 2004 the BBC resurrected it with a new twist, adding celebrities to dance with the professionals. The new show, called “Strictly Come Dancing”, is a huge success and has become a worldwide franchise. Over here we watch the American version called “Dancing with the Stars”. It really is fun television …

6. Early sign of spring ARIES
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

16. King of ancient Rome REX
“Rex” is Latin for king.

17. Songs without words? MIME NUMBERS (from “prime numbers”)
A prime number is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided evenly by 1 and itself. There are still some unanswered questions involving prime numbers, perhaps most notably Goldbach’s Conjecture. This conjecture dates back to the 1740s and is assumed to be true, but has never been proven. It states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

19. Celebrity known for wearing gold jewelry MR T
Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

22. Corner of a diamond BASE
That would be a baseball diamond …

23. Place name derived from a Koyukon word for “tall” DENALI
Denali means “the high one” in the native Athabaskan language, and is now the name used for Mount McKinley. Denali’s summit stands at 20,237 feet, making it the highest mountain peak in North America. I was surprised to learn that there is a Denali State Park, as well as the Denali National Park. The two are located adjacent to each other (which makes sense!). The State Park is undeveloped for all practical purposes, with just a few campgrounds and trailheads.

The Koyukon are an Athabaskan-speaking people who traditionally lived along the Koyukuk and Yukon rivers in modern-day Alaska.

31. Span. title SRA
The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame) and in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora).

34. Pasta sauce flavoring BASIL
Traditionally, basil is considered “the king of herbs”. In fact, the herb’s name comes from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king”.

35. Jane __, only female Chicago mayor BYRNE
Jane Byrne was the Mayor of Chicago from 1979 to 1983. Byrne was the city’s first and only female mayor.

38. Dog or fox CANID
A canid is a carnivorous mammal of the family Canidae, which includes foxes, wolves, dogs, jackals and coyotes.

41. Autobahn autos OPELS
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

43. Dreaded mosquito AEDES
The Aedes genus of mosquito is the most invasive mosquito in the world. The word “aedes” is an Ancient Greek term meaning “unpleasant, odious”, which I think it very apt …

45. Mercedes roadsters SLS
The Mercedes-Benz SL was first manufactured in 1954. The “SL” stands for Sport Leicht, or “Sport Light” in English.

54. Corporate money mgrs. CFOS
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

55. Hustler’s genre DISCO
Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.

59. Dollar alternative AVIS
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

Dollar Rent A Car was founded in 1965. Chrysler acquired the company in 1990 and merged it with Thrifty Car Rental, which Chrysler had purchased a year earlier.

61. Money-making fiasco? MINTING MESS (from “printing press”)
Back in the mid-1800s, “fiasco” was theater slang meaning “failure in performance”. The meaning morphed soon after into any kind of failure or flop. The term evolved from the Italian “far fiasco”, a phrase that the same meaning in Italian theater, but translated literally as “make a bottle”. It turns out that “fiasco” and “flask” both derive from the Latin “flasco” meaning “bottle”.

65. Main artery AORTA
The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

66. __ Taco DEL
The Del Taco chain of fast food restaurants opened for business in 1964, with the first restaurant called “Casa Del Taco” located in Yermo, California. Del Taco serves American-style Mexican cuisine as well as the typical collection of hamburgers, fries and shakes.

68. Solid that, when divided into three parts, describes this puzzle’s theme PRISM (or “PR is M”)
When light passes through a prism, it is split up (“disperses”) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as beautiful spectra.

Down
1. Sportscaster Rashad AHMAD
Ahmad Rashād is a former football player who now works with NBC as a sportscaster. Ahmad proposed marriage to actress Phylicia Ayers-Allen on national television in 1985. Phylicia, who played Bill Cosby’s wife on “The Cosby Show”, accepted the proposal and became Rashād’s third wife.

2. Capital on its own river BOISE
Boise, Idaho is the largest metropolitan area in the state by far. There are a number of stories pertaining to the etymology of the name “Boise”. One is that French trappers named the tree-lined river that ran through the area “la rivière boisée”, meaning “the wooded river”.

3. “__ Thro’ the Rye”: Burns COMIN’
“Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” is a 1782 poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns. The words are used in a traditional children’s song, which uses a variant of the tune for “Auld Lang Syne”. Here’s the chorus:

Comin thro’ the rye, poor body,
Comin thro’ the rye,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin thro’ the rye!

6. Sphere opening ATMO-
An atmosphere is the layer of gases surrounding a body, usually a planet. The word “atmosphere” comes from the Greek “atmos” meaning “vapor, steam”. The term was first applied to the Moon, which is a real paradox as the Moon doesn’t have any atmosphere.

7. Lynda Bird’s married name ROBB
Linda Byrd Johnson Robb is the eldest of President Johnson’s two daughters. While living in the White House, Lynda dated the actor George Hamilton. The pair became one of the first couples outside of the President and First Lady to be afforded Secret Service protection, largely due to concerns following the assassination of President Kennedy.

Chuck Robb is a former Governor of Virginia and former US Senator. Robb is married to Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, the daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The couple were married in the White House in December 1967.

8. Auteur’s starting point IDEE
In French, an “auteur” (author) might start a book with an “idée” (idea).

9. Stock tracking device EAR TAG
A cow might have an ear tag for the purpose of identification.

10. Part of PBS: Abbr. SYS
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was founded in 1970, and is my favorite of the broadcast networks. I love PBS’s drama and science shows in particular, and always watch the election results coming in with the NewsHour team.

11. Current-carrying components ARMATURES
In an electric generator, the armature includes many windings of wire through which most the current flows. The armature interacts with a magnetic field, causing current to flow.

13. Substances that add protein to meat EXTENDERS
A “meat extender” is a non-meat source of protein that can be added to a meat product. The original use of extenders was to reduce cost, as in the use of rolled oats in sausage meat. Later usage focused on the addition of dietary fiber. One of the main meat extenders in use today is soy protein.

18. Pioneer mainframe UNIVAC
UNIVAC I was the first commercial computer made in the US. It was designed by the inventors of ENIAC, the first electronic computer built for the US government. The first UNIVAC sold went to the US Census Bureau in 1951. UNIVAC was used in 1951 to predict the outcome of the US presidential election scheduled for the following year. The traditional pollsters were predicting a win for Adlai Stevenson, but UNIVAC forecast a landslide win for Eisenhower. UNIVAC proved to be correct.

22. Depth indicators, at times BUOYS
I guess that one example of the use of buoys to indicate depth is surrounding the swimming area at a beach.

26. Texter’s “Gimme a sec” BRB
Be right back (brb)

28. Son of Abraham ISAAC
According to the Hebrew Bible, Isaac was the only son of Abraham, born to his wife Sarah when she was beyond her childbearing years and when Abraham was 100 years old. Isaac himself lived until he was 180 years old. When Isaac was just a youth, Abraham was tested by Yahweh (God) and told to build an altar on which he was to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute an angel appeared and stopped Abraham, telling him to sacrifice a ram instead.

29. Levi’s Stadium player, familiarly NINER
The San Francisco 49ers of the NFL have been playing their home games in the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara since 2014. The team moved from the famous Candlestick Park, which they had been using since 1971. Levi’s Stadium, the team’s new home, got a big boost in January 2016 when it was the venue for the Super Bowl.

33. Like some speech components ANECDOTAL
An anecdote is a short account of an event, usually something amusing. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “anekdota” meaning “things unpublished”, or more literally “things not given out”.

37. “Cagney & Lacey” co-star GLESS
Sharon Gless is best known for playing Christine Cagney on the police drama “Cagney & Lacey” in the eighties. A few years after “Cagney & Lacey” ended its run, Gless married the show’s executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig. More recently, Gless had a recurring role playing Madeline Westen on the TV show “Burn Notice”.

44. Govt. stipend provider SSI
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is federal program that provides financial relief to persons with low incomes who are 65 or older, or who are blind or disabled. The SSI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) even though the the Social Security trust fund is not used for the SSI payments. The SSI payments come out of general tax revenue.

47. “Fat chance” NO DICE
Fat chance, you’ve only got a slim chance, somewhat paradoxically …

51. “If __ Would Leave You” EVER I
“If Ever I Would Leave You” is a romantic ballad from the Lerner and Loewe musical “Camelot”.

53. State in northeast India ASSAM
Assam is a state in the very northeast of India, just south of the Himalayas. Assam is noted for its tea as well as its silk.

56. How ties may be broken, briefly IN OT
Overtime (OT)

61. Stir-fry additive MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “Dancing With the Stars” network ABC TV
6. Early sign of spring ARIES
11. Big, uncouth guy APE
14. Flap HOO-HA
15. Now TODAY
16. King of ancient Rome REX
17. Songs without words? MIME NUMBERS (from “prime numbers”)
19. Celebrity known for wearing gold jewelry MR T
20. Like AS IF
21. Check for a poker player? NO BET
22. Corner of a diamond BASE
23. Place name derived from a Koyukon word for “tall” DENALI
25. Touch ABUT ON
27. Earthquake consequence? MOVING GROUND (from “proving ground”)
31. Span. title SRA
34. Pasta sauce flavoring BASIL
35. Jane __, only female Chicago mayor BYRNE
36. Strong flavor TANG
38. Dog or fox CANID
40. One looking ahead SEER
41. Autobahn autos OPELS
43. Dreaded mosquito AEDES
45. Mercedes roadsters SLS
46. House cat’s challenge? MICE INCREASE (from “price increase”)
49. Supplements ADDS TO
50. Date night destination CINEMA
54. Corporate money mgrs. CFOS
55. Hustler’s genre DISCO
59. Dollar alternative AVIS
60. Pop __ HIT
61. Money-making fiasco? MINTING MESS (from “printing press”)
63. Important time ERA
64. Leader of the pack? SCOUT
65. Main artery AORTA
66. __ Taco DEL
67. Manage GET BY
68. Solid that, when divided into three parts, describes this puzzle’s theme PRISM (or “PR is M”)

Down
1. Sportscaster Rashad AHMAD
2. Capital on its own river BOISE
3. “__ Thro’ the Rye”: Burns COMIN’
4. Kin, informally THE FAM
5. Soccer practice transport VAN
6. Sphere opening ATMO-
7. Lynda Bird’s married name ROBB
8. Auteur’s starting point IDEE
9. Stock tracking device EAR TAG
10. Part of PBS: Abbr. SYS
11. Current-carrying components ARMATURES
12. Staff PERSONNEL
13. Substances that add protein to meat EXTENDERS
18. Pioneer mainframe UNIVAC
22. Depth indicators, at times BUOYS
24. Court ploy LOB
26. Texter’s “Gimme a sec” BRB
28. Son of Abraham ISAAC
29. Levi’s Stadium player, familiarly NINER
30. Skate GLIDE
31. Stood STOMACHED
32. In quick succession RAPID-FIRE
33. Like some speech components ANECDOTAL
37. “Cagney & Lacey” co-star GLESS
39. Church VIP DEACON
42. Rest SIT
44. Govt. stipend provider SSI
47. “Fat chance” NO DICE
48. Charm ENAMOR
51. “If __ Would Leave You” EVER I
52. Perfume applications MISTS
53. State in northeast India ASSAM
56. How ties may be broken, briefly IN OT
57. Re-entry need STUB
58. Word in many place names CITY
61. Stir-fry additive MSG
62. Opening GAP

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Mar 16, Friday”

  1. 5 errors. Mostly good grid of a decent challenge, as I would expect for a Friday. Mostly, the errors involved screwy cluing or old-fogey answers (7D, 9D, 56A) that produced alternative answers. Wanted variations of MATING????S for 17A for so long based on the other long clues that I had to look that up (along with the other mentioned ones). Then there's always the inevitable tense issue (33-D).

    Add ASSAM to the list of evidence for The Conspiracy of Grid Setters.

  2. I came up ROBB and BYRNE short of finishing this one. I had to cheat on those unfortunately, but it was a very challenging and fun puzzle. Didn't get MINTING MESS as a double substitution until I saw the blog. Good one. I wish every day of the week was like this. Love the Friday puzzle more than any others.

    The history of the study of light is a fascinating subject. Even something as simple as color was not well understood for centuries – e.g where does the red come from in an apple? The fact that the apple was not red when in total darkness was not even understood at first. I've plugged this before, but there is a superb documentary series available on Netflix called The Physics of Light. It was originally made by the Korean Public broadcasting system. It's the best presentation of relativity, quantum mechanics, light..etc I've ever seen. I highly recommend it, but if you're not already familiar with those subjects, be prepared to rewind a few times to get the gist of some of it.

    Bill's comment on food additives reminds me of the Jack Lalanne diet: Never eat anything man made, and if it tastes good spit it out. I think I've violated that diet every day (meal?) of my life.

    @Glenn
    I think you've thrown down the gauntlet. What age constitutes an old fogey? Careful – I have a birthday coming up 🙂

    Best

  3. Greetings from Taiwan!
    I loved this puzzle! Worked out PRISM before I had any of the theme answers, and that saved me. Sadly, I came up two boxes short on 6A: had A_I_S, and went with "AKISS"…..still can't see why the clue needed "early"!
    The more it drives me crazy while I'm doing it, the more I like the puzzle.
    Have a great day, all!

  4. @Jeff
    I'm not sure there is an age or a proper term for it, but that's just what I call it. Basically what I'm calling an "old fogey answer" is something (usually a pop culture item) that would only be known by someone of an advanced age. As Bill explains, ROBB refers to LBJ's eldest daughter. How many are going to be aware enough to actually know that one who were (like me) born after he was in office? Not too many. I sure wasn't, and I got educated in trying to explain it once I looked it up. Cluing someone like Monica Lewinsky will be the same to the young kids today, and will pass into "old-fogeyism" within about 5 or 10 years. Just like answers such as SASHA or MALIA will become stale given enough time.

    Of course, you can go the other direction to a certain extent, but less much so since we're all exposed to current pop culture enough through the media that we won't be too surprised in not knowing who a particular person is.

  5. @Anonymous 8:30AM
    6A – ARIES is a Zodiac sign, as Bill explains. More literally the clue is "Early Zodiac sign of spring" (note late week grids have more vague or nebulous clues). To use 2016 as an example, spring is from March 20 to June 19. Zodiac signs within that period are:

    Mar 20: Pisces
    Mar 21 – Apr 20: Aries
    Apr 21 – May 20: Taurus
    May 21 – Jun 21: Gemini

    So Aries qualifies as a sign occurring in the earlier part of the time period of "Spring".

  6. A few minor strike overs that got sorted out along the way. Fun but not the difficult when thinking back to some Friday "Silk" torture puzzles that tied my brain up in knots.

    Hope everyone has a good Friday (my Easter joke of the day). See you all tomorrow.

  7. @Jeff (and anyone else here who does the WSJ daily puzzle) – Today almost drove me "batty" (and that very bad pun will be clear to those who did the grid in the WSJ today).

  8. Filled in PRISM.
    Got MIME NUMBERS.
    "Songs without words?" How about Songs without words OR music?
    Mimes are silent. Period.
    So, I didn't grasp the theme.
    I could have sat here all day and never got PR IS M.
    Too clever for me.

  9. @Tony Michaels
    I forgot to mention how the WSJ grid went for me earlier. It was a good challenge at times but surmounted with one error. Shockingly, the meta was incredibly easy to get. Far as opposite from "batty" as it could get for me, unless you're counting the "egg" puns, which served to mark the meta parts, besides being painful groaners.

  10. @Tony
    I think it's Glenn who is your WSJ brethren. I never have time for them, but you guys make me wish I did. They always sound like a good challenge. And if we're doing easter humor – Since I live in Houston and most on this blog are in California, does that make me more easter than the rest of you??

    Best –

  11. @Glenn – (sorry Jeff, I forgot it wasn't you!) – Yeah I was going for at least a flying creature pun based on the "egg" pun theme, but I totally forgot that bats aren't even in the bird family since they are mammals and bear live young. Doh! What was the meta answer? I guessed Sea Gull, but that was probably not it (I don't play the game anyway…).

  12. WELCOME, Anonymous from TAIWAN. You can sign off the blog with some made-up name, so we know its you when you contribute again.

    I had a dreadful time with the puzzle – altho I should have known ROBB…. I think he was also Secy. of the Navy, or something like that .

    I got PRISM because that was the only geometrical object ( 3D ?) I could think of – that would fit in 5 letters, with a starting P, but I didnt realise why the puzzle was a prism. …. I couldn't see the light coming out of it, no matter how hard I tried.. I didn't know how to divide a prism three ways, …. without cutting it, across its horizontle axis, symetrically, but that was the least of my problems ….

    My argot Knowledge is poor, I dont know slang, and the theme made no sense. Atleast I had the sense to give up early. 🙂

    Thanks Jeff, I'll try to watch The Physics of Light, on Netflix, someday soon.

    Have a nice weekend all.

  13. @Jeff lol…That was probably one of the better puns I've read on this blog. Kudos, indeed. But as I'm from south of Baton Rouge, I'd say that makes me 4-5 hours (given traffic) more easter than even you.

    As far as the puzzle? This grid had my brain tied in thought demolishing knots. Warren Stabler, yours will be a name I will come to remember. This was a very trying grid.

  14. Hey Glenn, may I politely suggest a phrase other than Old Fogey? Some of us may take it personally…since the term refers to a person. How about "archaic and arcane" to describe it? I mean, the puzzle answers aren't ALL meant to be solved by ALL people! Especially late-week grids. And, we've seen pop culture references from the 1920s, when none of us was around.
    I manage answers like ADLAI and TVA because of my graduate studies in history. Of course, I'm sunk if a clue has to do with science or technology (as well as many other areas…) I bet you have a wealth of knowledge in some areas, going way back in time, and clues in these areas wouldn't seem old fogeyish to you!
    Forgive my remarks–just thought I'd offer my two cents…

    Be well~~™

  15. @Carrie
    Sure you can. It bothers me that I have no better way to put this particular frustration of mine. I'll refrain in the future.

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