LA Times Crossword Answers 16 April 16, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Debbie Ellerin
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 06s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

16. Plant from the Greek for “flame” PHLOX
Phlox is a genus of flowering plants found mainly in North America. A common name for the plant is Jacob’s Ladder.

18. Garlicky sauce AIOLI
To the purist, especially in Provence in the South of France, the “home” of aioli, aioli is prepared just by grinding garlic with olive oil. However, other ingredients are often added to the mix, particularly egg yolks.

20. One to keep closer? ENEMY
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

22. Setting for a Det. Tigers game EDT
Eastern Daylight Time

The origins of the Detroit Tigers baseball team’s name seems a little unclear. One story is that it was taken from the Detroit Light Guard military unit who were known as “The Tigers”. The Light Guard fought with distinction during the Civil War and in the Spanish-American War. Sure enough, when the Detroit baseball team went into the Majors they were formally given permission to use “The Tigers” name by the Detroit Light Guard.

23. Designer of many Harper’s Bazaar covers ERTE
Erté was the pseudonym of French artist (Russian born) Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.”

“Harper’s Bazaar” was first published in 1867, making it the first women’s fashion magazine to hit the newsstands.

24. Golden Horde members TATARS
Tatars are an ethnic group of people, mainly residing in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

The Golden Horde was a group of Mongols who ruled over what is now Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and the Caucasus, from the 1240s until 1502. It has been suggested that the name of the group derives from the yellow tents used by the rulers of the Golden Horde. And, the Golden Horde’s influence and rule led to the term “horde” entering the English language, via many languages spoken in Slavic Eastern Europe.

25. Dancer Chmerkovskiy of “Dancing With the Stars” VAL
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy are two brothers who are professional dancers on the US version of the show “Dancing with the Stars”. Maks and Val were born in Odessa, Ukraine and emigrated with his family to Brooklyn, New York in 1994.

26. Rutabagas, e.g. TUBERS
The rutabaga is a root vegetable that we call a “swede” over in Ireland. It is actually a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. The name “rutabaga” comes from an old Swedish word “rotabagge” meaning “ram root”. Very tasty …

27. Chicago Cubs’ spring training city MESA
The city of Mesa, Arizona is in effect a suburb of Phoenix. The original settlement of non-Native Americans was founded by Daniel Webster Jones who led a Mormon group from St. George, Utah. The settlement was first called Jonesville, then Fort Utah and eventually Lehi. A second group of Mormons arrived and formed a settlement on top of a nearby mesa. It was this use of a mesa that eventually gave the city its current name.

The Chicago Cubs is one of only two charter members of the baseball’s National League who are still playing, the other being the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, which is a long time ago. In fact, the Cubs have the longest championship drought of any professional sports team in North America.

28. Squired ESCORTED
A squire can be an escort, say one attending to a woman. A squire is also a young nobleman who attended a knight in days of yore. A fun example would be Sancho Panza who accompanied the deluded Don Quixote.

32. Lethal phosphorus compound SARIN
Sarin is used as a chemical weapon. It was first discovered in Germany by scientists looking for stronger pesticides. The name Sarin was derived from the names of the discovering scientists: Schrader, Ambros, Rudiger and Van der Linde.

34. Grind RAT RACE
We use “rat race” figuratively to describe an endless, pointless pursuit. The term comes from the laboratory, where one might imagine rats racing around a maze in search of some cheese.

37. Epitome of slowness MOLASSES
When sugarcane is processed to extract sugar, it is crushed and mashed to produce a juice. The juice is boiled to make a sugary concentrate called cane syrup, from which sugar crystals are extracted. A second boiling of the leftover syrup produces second molasses, from which more sugar crystals can be extracted. A third boiling results in what is called blackstrap molasses.

The more common meaning of “epitome” is a perfect example of a group, quality, type etc. An “epitome” is also an abstract or summary of a book or article.

38. Parted sea ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

39. “Rent” Pulitzer-winning dramatist LARSON
The musical “Rent” by Jonathan Larson is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. “Rent” tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and we were very disappointed …

41. __ se PER
“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

42. Fortune KISMET
“Kismet” is a Turkish word, meaning fate or fortune, one’s lot.

43. Private dining room? MESS
“Mess” first came into English about 1300 and described the list of food needed for a meal, from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything from the concept of “mixed food”. At the same time, the original usage in the sense of a food for a meal surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.

49. “Affliction” Oscar nominee NOLTE
The actor Nick Nolte got his big break playing opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in “The Deep”, released in 1976. Prior to that he had worked as a model, and in fact appeared in a magazine advertisement for Clairol in 1972 alongside fellow model Sigourney Weaver.

“Affliction” is a 1997 film starring Nick Nolte as a small-town policeman investigating a fatal hunting accident and its aftermath. The movie is based on a novel by Russell Banks.

54. Bean seen on-screen ORSON
Orson Bean is an actor, perhaps best known for his appearances on television game shows in the sixties, seventies and eighties. His most famous game show role was that of a panelist on “To Tell the Truth”. Interestingly, Bean (real name Dallas Burrows) is a first cousin, twice removed, of President Calvin Coolidge.

56. Many a combine model DEERE
John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”.

Down
1. Kind of buds? TASTE
There are 2,000 to 8,000 taste buds on the human tongue, and together they detect five different tastes: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami. Taste buds have a short lifetime, and are replaced about every ten days.

5. Title narrator in an 1847 novel EYRE
“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. Over the years, I’ve shared here on my blogs that the “Jane Eyre” story line is a little too dark and Gothic for my taste, but a very persuasive blog reader convinced me to look more at the romantic side of the story and give it a second chance. I watched a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation of the novel made by the BBC a while back and I have to say that because I was focused on the relationship between Jane and Rochester, I was able to push past the Gothic influences (that depress me) so I really enjoyed the story. I thoroughly recommend the 2006 BBC adaptation to fans of the novel.

9. Fixes SPAYS
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

10. Golden ratio symbol PHI
The golden ratio, sometimes called the “golden mean” and denoted by the Greek letter phi, is a mathematical constant that often turns up in the world of art. Phi is approximately equal to 1.61, and is represented by the two distances, a and b, where (a+b)/a = a/b. Somehow we perceive the ratio of 1.61 as “pleasing” so it appears in many works of art and in building design. For example, many aspects of the Parthenon in Athens have the ratio of 1.61 (width compared to height). Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man also illustrates the golden ratio in the proportions of the human body, where he shows that the distance from the foot to the navel, compared to the distance from the navel to the head, is 1.61.

11. Some succulents ALOE VERAS
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.

21. “__ Robinson” MRS
When Mike Nichols was making the 1967 film “The Graduate” he apparently became obsessed with the music of Simon and Garfunkel, who were just coming into the limelight. Nichols made a deal with Paul Simon to write three songs that he could use on the soundtrack of his new movie. Simon and Garfunkel were touring constantly around that time, so Nichols had to badger Simon to hold up his end of the bargain. When Nichols was ready to lay down the film’s soundtrack there was only one commissioned song available, so Nichols had to basically beg Paul Simon for anything. Simon mentioned that he was finishing up one new song, but it wasn’t written for the film. It was more a celebration of former times, with lyrics about baseball great Joe DiMaggio and former First Lady, Mrs. Roosevelt. Nichols informed Simon that the song was no longer about Mrs. Roosevelt, and instead it was about Mrs. Robinson …

24. Peace Nobelist of 1984 TUTU
Desmond Tutu is a South African, a former Anglican bishop who is an outspoken opponent of apartheid. Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, among other distinguished awards.

26. Metal-measure word TROY
The system of troy weights is now only used to measure the mass of precious metals and gemstones. The name “troy” like came from the French town of Troyes, which was famous for trading with the English as far back as the 9th century.

27. Men’s home? MARS
“Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” is a very popular 1993 book about male-female relationships by John Gray. Gray’s thesis is that relationships benefit from understanding that men and women are different, have different needs, communicate differently, are metaphorically from two different planets.

31. Law school newbie ONE L
“One L” is a name used in general for first year law students.

32. Kenton of jazz STAN
Stan Kenton was a pianist, composer and jazz orchestra leader from Wichita, Kansas. Kenton’s style of music was called “the Wall of Sound”, and that was back in the 1940s. Phil Spector used the same phrase decades later, in the early sixties.

34. Bruins’ home ROSE BOWL
The Rose Bowl is the stadium in Pasadena, California that is home to the UCLA football team and host to Rose Bowl football game held annually on New Year’s Day.

The UCLA Bruins mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.

35. Beaucoup, with “of” A LOT
“Beaucoup” is a French word that we’ve imported into English, meaning “a lot”. In French, “beaucoup” can be parsed into “beau coup” meaning “handsome stroke”.

37. Onetime Sterling Optical spokesman MR MAGOO
Sterling Optical is a chain of retail optical stores that opened its first store in New York City in 1914. Sterling started using the cartoon character Mr. Magoo in its advertising in 2005.

Mr. Quincy Magoo is a wonderful cartoon character voiced by Jim Backus. Backus is probably equally well-known for playing Mr. Magoo as well as Thurston Howell, III on “Gilligan’s Island”. Mr. Magoo first appeared on the screen in a short called “The Ragtime Bear” in 1949. His persona was at least in part based on the antics of W. C. Fields. Backus originally used a fake rubber nose that pinched his nostrils in order to create the distinctive voice, although in time he learned to do the voice without the prop. My absolute favorite appearance by Mr. Magoo is in “Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol”, a true classic from the sixties. There was a movie adaptation of “Mr Magoo” released in 1997, with Leslie Nielsen playing the title role.

42. Scandinavian capital KRONE
“Krone” translates into English as “crown”, and was the name given to coins that bore the image of the monarch in several countries. Today, the krone is the name given to the currency of Norway and of Denmark. Some of the Norwegian and Danish kroner have holes in the middle, giving them a “doughnut” or “torus” shape.

43. “Bouquet of Sunflowers” painter MONET
Claude Monet painted the harbor of Le Havre in the north of France in 1872, giving it the title “Impression, Sunrise”. The painting is not a “realistic” representation of the scene in front of him, hence the name “impression”. It was this very painting that gave rise to the name of the Impressionist movement.

53. Prefix with life or wife MID-
A midwife is someone trained to assist women in childbirth. The term comes from Middle English “mid wif” meaning “with woman”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Ring pairs TAG TEAMS
9. Result of hitting the bar? SPACE
14. Some strays ALLEY CATS
16. Plant from the Greek for “flame” PHLOX
17. Agitated STIRRED UP
18. Garlicky sauce AIOLI
19. Present, say TENSE
20. One to keep closer? ENEMY
22. Setting for a Det. Tigers game EDT
23. Designer of many Harper’s Bazaar covers ERTE
24. Golden Horde members TATARS
25. Dancer Chmerkovskiy of “Dancing With the Stars” VAL
26. Rutabagas, e.g. TUBERS
27. Chicago Cubs’ spring training city MESA
28. Squired ESCORTED
32. Lethal phosphorus compound SARIN
33. Lose control, in a way SPIN OUT
34. Grind RAT RACE
36. Evasive CAGEY
37. Epitome of slowness MOLASSES
38. Parted sea ARAL
39. “Rent” Pulitzer-winning dramatist LARSON
41. __ se PER
42. Fortune KISMET
43. Private dining room? MESS
47. “Yada yada yada” letters ETC
48. Place to get clean REHAB
49. “Affliction” Oscar nominee NOLTE
50. Key location PIANO
52. Vanity case? EGOMANIAC
54. Bean seen on-screen ORSON
55. “Aha!” NOW I GET IT!
56. Many a combine model DEERE
57. Some seniors OLDSTERS

Down
1. Kind of buds? TASTE
2. Size up, maybe? ALTER
3. Sparkle GLINT
4. Far from flowery TERSE
5. Title narrator in an 1847 novel EYRE
6. Deck top ACE
7. Entered the pool? MADE A BET
8. Hindered the development of STUNTED
9. Fixes SPAYS
10. Golden ratio symbol PHI
11. Some succulents ALOE VERAS
12. Frigid COLD AS ICE
13. They’re turnoffs EXIT LANES
15. Stick a fork in SPEAR
21. “__ Robinson” MRS
24. Peace Nobelist of 1984 TUTU
26. Metal-measure word TROY
27. Men’s home? MARS
28. Sci-fi emergency vehicle ESCAPE POD
29. Fifth wheel SPARE TIRE
30. Cuban home? CIGAR CASE
31. Law school newbie ONE L
32. Kenton of jazz STAN
34. Bruins’ home ROSE BOWL
35. Beaucoup, with “of” A LOT
37. Onetime Sterling Optical spokesman MR MAGOO
39. Piece of fiction LIE
40. Beyond the pale? ASHEN
42. Scandinavian capital KRONE
43. “Bouquet of Sunflowers” painter MONET
44. Choice ELITE
45. Flight segment STAIR
46. Splinter groups SECTS
49. Badgers or hounds NAGS
51. Negative link NOR
53. Prefix with life or wife MID-

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 16 April 16, Saturday”

  1. 3 lookups, mainly to move the grid along. Other than KISMET, nothing overtly strange to me. Easier than yesterday, IMO.

    The WSJ grid today is by far the hardest of the week. Still slowly putting a dent into that.

  2. This seemed like it was going to be difficult at first. But somehow my brain seems to start seeing answers and one thing leads to another and suddenly the grid was complete. I'm not sure how that happens, but I'm glad it did/does!

    Hope you all have a great weekend. Once again I have every intention of getting to the Sunday grid before Monday. Let's see how that goes!

  3. Not bad for a Saturday. It helped that I knew 3 or 4 answers right off the bat in the middle right portion so I got momentum early. I had to take on faith that PHLOX and ERTE were correct.

    Some very clever cluing in this one IMHO, but I might just be saying that because I finished.

    I was curious as to the origin of the phrase "keep your friends close..". Conventional wisdom says Sun-Tzu said it, but no one seems able to cite him. Others say Machiavelli first said it. I know "If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by" comes from Sun-Tzu. It was also in The Godfather. I can't remember if "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" was in The Godfather or not. Anyone remember?

    @Carrie
    Thanks – yes she cost an arm and a leg! haha.

    Best –

  4. Got the WSJ done, finally, with roughly the same error rate as the LAT tomorrow. Took too long, but with a surprising few number of gimmes (5 IIRC), I was kind of shocked I got through it that well.

  5. I finally finished the WSJ just now. I don't think I have the right answer for 87 Down or 114 Across, but those were the only issues that remained.

  6. @Tony (some hints)
    87-Down: Think on what the members of those bands are…

    I don't find a 114-Across on the grid…

  7. Sorry. Bad eyesight. 113 Across which I have as Pasta Roni And I've got "Brit" something going down, which I now see has to be Brit pop. Thanks for the help.

  8. I'm wondering what flame has to do w/ PHLOX. All the phlox I've seen has been blues, pinks and white. I have blue phlox blooming right now, and I can't see any connection w/ flame.
    I must be way out there, because the things I wonder abt the most hardly ever are explained in the blog!

    Bella

  9. Looked hopeless, but then got a small bit in the Southwest, which led to getting the whole West. Despite getting bits of the East, I finally got bored and gave up. Still, after seeing the answers, I should have persisted. Sigh. At least almost all of my guesses are right. Wish I remembered how to spell aioli.

    Did you guys that do the WSJ puzzle, notice a wedding proposal earlier this week. I saw an article in a German tabloid, that I read to keep tabs on my football (soccer) team, that the crossword author put the proposal in for this lady. She got the answer she wanted. Late last year there was another proposal in the London Times which also worked out good for the gent.

  10. Excellent! Completed another Saturday! I finished the one from two weeks ago, so this makes TWO Saturdays, and I'm tied with Dirk…unless he also finished this one.
    Omigash I am so proud. I really worked at it. That, of course, would be the key to any endeavor, and it's something that I should try more often, in everything.
    Have I learned something profound here??!!
    I am not crazy about calling seniors OLDSTERS. For awhile I thought (hoped) the answer would be OLD SOULS.
    It took forever to get SPACE, but I think it's a pretty clever clue.
    @Bella, you're not way out anywhere. It's my considered opinion that some things just don't make sense….(;
    @Jeff, I hope that your GF doesn't read this blog!
    See you all tomorrow
    Be well~~

  11. @Carrie That anonymous above you is me, I just forgot to sign it. And no, I didn't finish. I should have persisted but after about an hour I just had other things to do. So, congratulations to being tied with me. I notice that if you just go with your hunch it usually works out and before I just didn't have the confidence, although I do write lightly sometimes.

    -Dirk

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