LA Times Crossword Answers 6 Apr 16, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gareth Bain
THEME: Ring Cycle … we CYCLE through the letters of the word RING in today’s grid, in a progression shown by the circled letters. We start with the arrangement INGR, and then move the front letter to the end, progressing through NGRI and GRIN, and ending with RING:

18A. Burn unit procedure SKIN GRAFT
26A. “Rogue Lawyer” novelist JOHN GRISHAM
44A. Rockefeller Center centerpiece SKATING RINK
56A. Quartet of Wagnerian operas, and a hint to the progression in this puzzle’s circled letters RING CYCLE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 32s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Fabric mimicked by jeggings DENIM
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (from Nimes) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (blue of Genoa) gives us our word “jeans”.

Jeggings are a special type of leggings, ones made from a denim/spandex blend. In effect, jeggings have a denim look, but with the elasticity of leggings.

6. Dallas NBA team MAVS
The Mavericks are the NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was prompted by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and Garner of course played the title role in the “Maverick” television series.

10. Indian mausoleum city AGRA
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child.

17. Midler’s “Divine” nickname MISS M
One of my favorite singers, and indeed all-round entertainers, is Bette Midler. If you’ve ever seen her live show you’ll know that “camp” is a good word to describe it, as her humor is definitely “out there” and quite bawdy. Early in her career, Midler spent years singing in the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in New York City. There she became very close friends with her piano accompanist, Barry Manilow. While singing in the bathhouse, Bette only wore a white towel, just like the members of her audience. It was in those days that she created her famous character “the Divine Miss M” and also earned herself the nickname “Bathhouse Betty”.

22. Big name in auto racing ANDRETTI
Mario Andretti is a retired Italian American racing driver who was named US Driver of the Year in 1967, 1978 and 1984. Both of Mario’s sons, Michael and Jeff are successful auto racers, as well as Mario’s nephews, John and Adam Andretti. John and Adam are sons of Mario’s brother Aldo Andretti. Aldo also raced cars, but quit after a crash in 1969 that severely damaged his face. Aldo is Mario’s identical twin brother, but there is no resemblance after the reconstructive surgery necessitated by the accident.

23. Kerfuffles ADOS
“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

25. Advanced degs. MAS
Master of Arts (MA)

26. “Rogue Lawyer” novelist JOHN GRISHAM
“The Firm” is the book that brought John Grisham his first success, although it was the second novel that he wrote. The first was “A Time to Kill”, which garnered a lot more attention after “The Firm” took off. Personally, my favorite of his novels is “Runaway Jury”.

31. Whiskas eater CAT
The brand name “Whiskas” has been used for cat food since 1988, but the product itself has been made in McLean, Virginia since 1936. For decades it was sold under the name “Kal Kan”.

34. Pulitzer winner Walker ALICE
Alice Walker is an author and poet. Walker’s best known work is the novel “The Color Purple”, which earned her the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. “The Color Purple” was adapted into a very successful film of the same name, directed by Steven Spielberg.

35. Actor McGregor EWAN
Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

36. Dance in a pit MOSH
Moshing (also “slam dancing”) is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually a punk or heavy metal concert). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a “stage dive” it is into (or I suppose “onto”) the mosh pit. It doesn’t sound like fun to me. Injuries are commonplace in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.

39. Mazda MX-5, familiarly MIATA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

43. __ Plaines DES
Des Plaines, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago that is located next to O’Hare International Airport. The city is named for the Des Plaines river that runs through the suburb.

44. Rockefeller Center centerpiece SKATING RINK
Rockefeller Center is actually made of nineteen buildings in Midtown Manhattan. The site was developed by John D. Rockefeller, who first leased the 22-acre lot back in 1928. The original plan was to build a new opera house for the Metropolitan Opera, but the stock market crash of 1929 led to those plans being canceled. Because of the Great Depression, Rockefeller was forced to fund the whole development project himself, a huge undertaking, but a very successful one.

53. Disney character with a white tail BAMBI
The 1942 Disney classic “Bambi” is based on a book written by Felix Salten called “Bambi, A Life in the Woods”. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.

56. Quartet of Wagnerian operas, and a hint to the progression in this puzzle’s circled letters RING CYCLE
Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” is more properly called “Der Ring des Nibelungen”, and is composed of four very, very long operas. The individual operas are:

– “Das Rheingold”
– “Die Walkure”
– “Siegfried”
– “Gotterdammerung”

60. Bordeaux brainstorm IDEE
In French, one’s head (tête) might produce an idea (idée).

Bordeaux is perhaps the wine-production capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the German’s took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.

62. 2001 scandal subject ENRON
After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

63. Boilermaker component BEER
A boilermaker is a beer cocktail, a serving of beer mixed with a shot of whiskey, or sometimes a shot of tequila or vodka. If the whiskey is still in a shot glass when it’s dropped into the beer, then it’s known as a depth charge.

64. Prohibitionists DRYS
There were concerted efforts to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages in the US from the 1840s right up until the lobbyists achieved success with ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1919. While there were several factors that influenced legislators at that time, one was the perceived need to take political power away from German-based brewing industry during WWI.

65. City near Florence SIENA
Siena is a beautiful city in the Tuscany region of Italy. In the center of Siena is the magnificent medieval square called Piazza del Campo, a paved sloping open area made up of nine triangular sections. The square has to be seen to be believed. Twice a year, the famous bareback horse-race called the Palio di Siena is held in the Piazza.

Down
2. German actor Jannings EMIL
Emil Jannings was an actor from Switzerland, who also held German and Austrian citizenship. Jannings was the first person to receive an Oscar, as the star of the 1928 silent movie called “The Last Command”. He also starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 classic “The Blue Angel”.

3. Sommelier’s asset NOSE
“Sommelier” is the French word for a wine steward. If that steward(ess) is a female, then the French term is “sommelière”.

5. Classic British two-seater MG MIDGET
My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget roadster in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979, with the MG acronym standing for “Morris Garages”.

6. Base cops, briefly MPS
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

7. __-Seltzer ALKA
Alka-Seltzer is a brand of fizzy antacid that has been marketed since 1931. In terms of ingredients, it is a mix of sodium bicarbonate, aspirin and anhydrous citric acid.

8. Corpuscle conduit VEIN
We usually think of a “corpuscle” as a blood cell, although the term actually applies to any free-floating biological cell. Coming from the Latin “corpusculum” meaning “puny, small body”, it ultimately derives from “corpus” meaning “body”.

9. Dreamy guy? SANDMAN
The sandman is a mythical character from folklore who is said to induce sleep and bring good dreams by sprinkling sand on the eyes of children.

11. Butter in a farmyard? GOAT
Males goats are called “bucks” or “billies”, although castrated males are known as “wethers”. Female goats are called “does” or “nannies”, and young goats are referred to as “kids”.

12. Africa’s Great __ Valley RIFT
The Great Rift Valley is an imprecise geographical term that describes a trench that runs from northern Syria to central Mozambique in Africa.

24. Afternoon break SIESTA
We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, taking the word from the Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at “the sixth hour” after dawn.

26. Actor/singer Leto JARED
Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world his most critically acclaimed role was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”.

31. Raccoon kin COATI
A coati is a member of the raccoon family and is also known as the Brazilian aardvark, or the snookum bear. The coati is native to Central and South America, but can also be found in the southwest of the United States.

32. __ Martin: 007’s car ASTON
Aston Martin is a British car manufacturer, founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin. The Aston part of the company name comes from Aston Hill, a famous site for hill-climbing cars that is nearby the original factory. Aston Martin cars are much loved by the British entertainment industry. James Bond was given one in “Goldfinger”, and Michael Caine drove one in the 1969 version of “The Italian Job”. Also, Roger Moore’s character drove a yellow Aston Martin in the seventies television show “The Persuaders!”.

James Bond is the creation of the writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”.

33. Acknowledge in an Oscar speech, say THANK
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that gives the annual Academy Awards also known as the “Oscars”. The root of the name “Oscar” is hotly debated, but what is agreed is that the award was officially named “Oscar” in 1939. The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929 with an audience of just 29 people. The Awards ceremony is a slightly bigger event these days …

41. Rock band Lynyrd __ SKYNYRD
Lynyrd Skynyrd is a southern rock band that formed in 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida as My Backyard. The name was changed to Leonard Skinnerd in 1969, and then to Lynyrd Skynyrd a few months later. The chosen name was a wry tribute to the member’s phys-ed teacher at high school, one Leonard Skinner. Lynyrd Skynyrd were most successful in the 1970s, when they recorded their two biggest hits: “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”. Sadly, three of the original band members were killed in a plane crash in 1977.

44. Legato’s opp., in music STAC
Staccato is a musical direction signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, long and continuous notes played very smoothly.

45. San Francisco’s __ Hill NOB
Nob Hill is a very elevated and central location in the city of San Francisco. Because of its views of the surrounding city and environs, Nob Hill became a desirable place to live for the wealthy in the 1800s. The area is still one of San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods and is home to upscale hotels as well as the magnificent Grace Cathedral. The name “Nob Hill” comes from the slang term for someone who is well-to-do, a “nob”.

46. “Like a Rock” rocker SEGER
Bob Seger struggled as a performing artist right through the sixties and early seventies before becoming a commercial success in 1976 with the release of his album “Night Moves”. Since then, Seger has recorded songs that have become classics, such as “Like a Rock”, “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Old Time Rock & Roll”.

48. Chicago paper, for short TRIB
“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

49. __-de-camp AIDE
“Aide-de-camp” is a French term that we have imported into English. The phrase translates to “field assistant” and usually applies to the most senior personal aide to a high-ranking military officer or head of state.

50. Bermuda shorts endpoint KNEE
The short trousers that we now known as Bermuda shorts were introduced by the British Army for wear in tropical climes. When there was a shortage of clothing during WWII in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, some local banks supplied their male employees with pants using the British military design. The employees were also issued knee-length socks to wear with the shorts. To this day, a dress shirt, tie and blazer with Bermuda shorts and knee-length socks is considered as appropriate business attire on the island.

51. One with an untouchable service ACER
“Aces” in tennis are untouchable services, services that cannot be returned.

57. PGA star from South Africa ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

59. Santa __ Mountains ANA
Southern California’s Santa Ana Mountains run southeast of Los Angeles. The range was named by Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolà. Don Gaspar camped below the mountains in 1769 on July 26, the Feast of Saint Anne.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Fabric mimicked by jeggings DENIM
6. Dallas NBA team MAVS
10. Indian mausoleum city AGRA
14. In the company of AMONG
15. __ bargain PLEA
16. Fountain contribution COIN
17. Midler’s “Divine” nickname MISS M
18. Burn unit procedure SKIN GRAFT
20. Allow to enter LET IN
22. Big name in auto racing ANDRETTI
23. Kerfuffles ADOS
25. Advanced degs. MAS
26. “Rogue Lawyer” novelist JOHN GRISHAM
31. Whiskas eater CAT
34. Pulitzer winner Walker ALICE
35. Actor McGregor EWAN
36. Dance in a pit MOSH
37. Hull fastener RIVET
38. Group SET
39. Mazda MX-5, familiarly MIATA
40. Big nights EVES
41. How-to component STEP
42. Follow, as a hunch ACT ON
43. __ Plaines DES
44. Rockefeller Center centerpiece SKATING RINK
46. Farm enclosure STY
47. Bit of naughtiness NO-NO
48. Doze TAKE A NAP
53. Disney character with a white tail BAMBI
56. Quartet of Wagnerian operas, and a hint to the progression in this puzzle’s circled letters RING CYCLE
58. Regal headpiece TIARA
60. Bordeaux brainstorm IDEE
61. Down-to-earth REAL
62. 2001 scandal subject ENRON
63. Boilermaker component BEER
64. Prohibitionists DRYS
65. City near Florence SIENA

Down
1. Reservoir creator DAM
2. German actor Jannings EMIL
3. Sommelier’s asset NOSE
4. Examples INSTANCES
5. Classic British two-seater MG MIDGET
6. Base cops, briefly MPS
7. __-Seltzer ALKA
8. Corpuscle conduit VEIN
9. Dreamy guy? SANDMAN
10. Lots of plots ACRES
11. Butter in a farmyard? GOAT
12. Africa’s Great __ Valley RIFT
13. Naysayer ANTI
19. Light weight GRAM
21. Hide-hair link NOR
24. Afternoon break SIESTA
26. Actor/singer Leto JARED
27. Green hue OLIVE
28. Homes with buzzers HIVES
29. “Ni-i-ice!” SWEET!
30. Quaint headpiece accessory HATPIN
31. Raccoon kin COATI
32. __ Martin: 007’s car ASTON
33. Acknowledge in an Oscar speech, say THANK
36. Barely-there dress MICROMINI
39. Powerful people MAGNATES
41. Rock band Lynyrd __ SKYNYRD
44. Legato’s opp., in music STAC
45. San Francisco’s __ Hill NOB
46. “Like a Rock” rocker SEGER
48. Chicago paper, for short TRIB
49. __-de-camp AIDE
50. Bermuda shorts endpoint KNEE
51. One with an untouchable service ACER
52. Word with fair or foul PLAY
54. Unadorned BARE
55. Fairway choice IRON
57. PGA star from South Africa ELS
59. Santa __ Mountains ANA

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 6 Apr 16, Wednesday”

  1. Not a very tough puzzle from my perspective. I will say I had no clue to the theme until I got to Bill's blog (I assumed it was going to be something having to do with skin – or skyn in the case of the band answer for 41 Down.

    Hope everyone has a great Hump Day and I'll be back tomorrow to see how things go in the daily grid world of the LA Times. I'll also probably add my two cents worth on the WSJ daily grid later today.

  2. Easier (meaning quicker) LAT grid than yesterday. Zero errors.

    The WSJ grid was about the same level as last week. Slow going, 2 errors when I couldn't take care of one of the corners (SW today).

    Probably will have something to say about the NYT grid later today…

  3. Hi Glenn. I Just finished the WSJ daily grid. Pretty straight forward. The only question I had on the SW corner was 50 Down "Schubert creation" which finally had to be "octet" if was going to work with all the cross answers: 49 Across "Lower the boom" 52 Across "acid" 57 Across "MTV" 62 Across "bee" and 65 Across "Sts" which was an abbreviation for Streets.

  4. Pookie used to despise Bain's puzzles. What a turnaround, I did this under :06 also. I enjoyed it.

    I have witnessed a four-day presentation of Wagner's Der Ring des Nieblungen. It is, depending on your tolerance for translating German into English while it's performed, either excruciating or transcendent. And how funny to also include Lynyrd SKYNYRD in the same grid. In fact, I'd like to know if any of the RINGCYCLE has ever been performed in the state which produced "Freebird" and "Sweet Home Alabama." 🙂

  5. @ Willie D We haven't heard much from Gareth in some time.
    This was pretty smooth, only hesitations were JOHN/JARED and ALICE.
    I believe Wechsler has replaced Bain on my groan-o-meter.

    @Carrie…..and anyone else whose puzzles turn into inkblots-
    Get a FriXion erasable pen from Pilot. You get the black ink that's easy to see and the option to erase (yes, it really works).

    @Butler Brothers…Party on!

  6. With midget, micro and mini, I thought that there might be some sort of small car theme going on, but I had to smile when I saw the real theme as I had been seeing "grin" I did like MG Midget as that was that was my first race car, lots of work, lots of fun.

  7. Pookie, great irish vis a vis bartender joke yesterday. I laughed out loud. ^O^

    Carrie, thanks for the girlfriend du jour, …. I hope girls do the same recycle, if only for the sense of equality. I am a t an age, when a girl friend a-la-carte would be too much.

    I had a nice time with the puzzle that I found easier than yesterday. And its Wednesday, already.

    Here's the Piazza del Campo, that Bill speaks so highly of …. Somehow, I just thought that the triangles would be equilaterals ….

    Did a great fire take place in Sienna, for 'burnt Sienna' to be so memorable, a color ?

    I loved the 'butter in the barnyard' clue, and also the 'house with buzzers'.

    Its kinda late, and all you all have a nice evening.

  8. Hey Vidwan, thanks for your link yesterday to that amazing and inspirational young rapper. Really cool.
    And I'm going to get me some of those FriXion pens — bet they sell them on Amazon.
    Easy puzzle today, and fun, with lotsa cute references. I did time in a few mosh pits back in the day. Amazing what you can put up with when you're 22…
    Sweet dreams~~™

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