LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Apr 16, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeff Stillman
THEME: PMs … each of the themed answers starts with the name of one of the last four British prime ministers. As we progress down the grid, the prime ministers appear in chronological order in terms of dates in office:

65A. Brit. leaders, the last four of whom begin the answers to starred clues PMS

17A. *Big-time MAJOR-LEAGUE (giving “John Major”)
30A. *Local legend sought in a 1999 horror film BLAIR WITCH (giving “Tony Blair”)
44A. *Oatmeal sweetener BROWN SUGAR (giving “Gordon Brown”)
58A. *She voiced Princess Fiona in “Shrek” movies CAMERON DIAZ (giving “David Cameron”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 00s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

7. Mass robes ALBS
An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

11. __ time TEE
A “tee time” is a reservation made at a golf course to start a round of golf (“tee off”) at a particular time.

14. Madrid-based airline IBERIA
The airline called Iberia is the flag carrier for Spain and is based in the country’s capital city at Madrid-Barajas Airport.

15. Bantu language ZULU
There are hundreds of Bantu languages, mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

16. Keats’ “still unravish’d bride of quietness” URN
Here’s the first verse of the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats:

THOU still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

17. *Big-time MAJOR-LEAGUE (giving “John Major”)
Sir John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher as Conservative Party leader in 1990 and was Prime Minister of Britain until 1997. 1997 was the year that Tony Blair swept to power as leader of the Labour Party.

20. Topeka-to-Peoria dir. ENE
Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and is located on the Kansas River in the northeast of the state. The name “Topeka” was chosen in 1855 and translates from the Kansa and the Ioway languages as “to dig good potatoes”. The reference isn’t to the common potato but rather to the herb known as the prairie potato (also “prairie turnip”), which was an important food for many Native Americans.

Peoria is the oldest European settlement in the state of Illinois, having been settled by the French in 1680. The city is famous for being cited as “the average American city”. The phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” is used to mean, “Will it appeal to the mainstream?” It is believed the expression originated as a corruption of, “We shall play in Peoria”, a line used by some actors in the 1890 novel “Five Hundred Dollars” by Horatio Alger, Jr.

22. Rwandan ethnic group HUTU
The Tutsi are the second largest population of people in Rwanda, with the Hutu being the largest group. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.

23. Reporter’s query HOW?
The Five Ws (or “Five Ws and one H”) is a journalistic concept used for gathering information. For a story to be complete, six questions need to be answered:

– Who is it about?
– What happened?
– Where did it take place?
– When did it take place?
– Why did it happen?
– How did it happen?

25. Pundits SAGES
A pundit is a learned person who one might turn to for an opinion. “Pundit” is derived from the Hindi word “payndit” meaning “learned man”.

27. Baseball commissioner before Manfred SELIG
Bud Selig was the Commissioner of Baseball for Major League Baseball from 1998 to 2015. Selig became acting commissioner in 1992 after the resignation of Fay Vincent. The team owners searched for a new commissioner for six years, and finally gave the permanent job to Selig in 1998.

30. *Local legend sought in a 1999 horror film BLAIR WITCH (giving “Tony Blair”)
“The Blair Witch Project” is a 1999 horror film with an unusual twist in terms of structure. It’s about three young filmmakers who hike into the Black Hills in Maryland looking for the legendary Blair Witch. The three disappear, with only the disturbing footage they recorded being left behind. It is this “real footage” that is used to make the film.

Tony Blair was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for ten years, from 1997 to 2007. Blair led his Labour Party from the left towards the center, helped along by the phrase “New Labour”. Under his leadership, Labour won a landslide victory in 1997, and was comfortably elected into power again in 2001 and 2005. Blair stepped down in 2007 and Gordon Blair took over as prime minister. Labour was soundly defeated at the polls in the next general election, in 2010.

32. Round building SILO
“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept corn.

35. Most swanky POSHEST
No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that POSH stands for “Port Out, Starboard Home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

41. __ card ATM
ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)

42. Ancient greeting AVE
“Ave” is a Latin word meaning “hail” as in “Ave Maria”, which translates as “Hail Mary”. “Ave” can also be used to mean “goodbye”.

43. 1986 #1 hit for Starship SARA
The sixties folk group called Jefferson Airplane gave rise to two spin-off groups that were founded by former Jefferson Airplane band members. The first was Jefferson Starship, and the second was Starship. Confusing, huh?

44. *Oatmeal sweetener BROWN SUGAR (giving “Gordon Brown”)
Gordon Brown took over as prime minister of Britain after his Tony Blair stepped down from office in 2007. Scotsman Brown has served as Chancellor of the Exchequer for the whole of Blair’s ten-year term. Brown served as PM until 2010 when the Labour Party lost a huge number of seats, allowing a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition come to power.

48. Bamboozle SNOW
It’s thought that the lovely word “bamboozle” came into English from the Scottish “bombaze” meaning “perplex”. We’ve been using “bamboozle” since the very early 1700s.

49. Sri __ LANKA
The name Sri Lanka translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

52. MD for women GYN
Gynecologist (gyn.)

53. Old French coins ECUS
The ecu is an Old French coin. When introduced in 1640, the ecu was worth three livres (an older coin, called a “pound” in English). The word “ecu” comes from the Latin “scutum” meaning “shield”. The original ecu had a coat of arms on it, a shield.

54. Cantina crock OLLA
An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in Ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.

57. St. whose motto is “Forward” WIS
Wisconsin’s state motto was chosen in an 1848 conversation between Governor Nelson Dewey and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Edward Ryan. The pair considered copying New York State’s “Excelsior”, before ruminating on “Upward” and “Onward”. They finally settled on “Forward”, and it has endured to this day.

58. *She voiced Princess Fiona in “Shrek” movies CAMERON DIAZ (giving “David Cameron”)
The Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz started out her professional life as a model. Diaz’s first acting role was in the 1994 film “The Mask”, starring alongside Jim Carrey.

Princess Fiona is the love interest in the “Shrek” series of films. Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

David Cameron is the Prime Minister of the UK, after a cliffhanger of a general election in May of 2010. The Labor Party, led for so many years by Tony Blair and then by Gordon Brown after Blair stepped down, lost the majority of seats in Parliament and the Conservatives emerged with the most seats. However, the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg, had enough seats to hold the balance of power. Cameron had to agree to form a coalition government in order to rule, with Nick Clegg holding the office of Deputy Prime Minister.

64. Very cold period ICE AGE
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

65. Brit. leaders, the last four of whom begin the answers to starred clues PMS
The Prime Minister (PM) of the UK has powers equivalent to the US President, but with major differences. The office of prime minister exists by convention and not by any constitution. The convention is that the King or Queen of England appoints as PM the person most likely to have the confidence of the House of Commons, and that person is usually the leader of the party with the most seats in the Commons. There is no term limit and the PM serves “at his/her majesty’s pleasure”. The first UK PM wasn’t actually called “Prime Minister” and the person first attributed with the equivalent powers was Sir Robert Walpole, the First Lord of the Treasury in 1721. The incumbent PM is David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party.

67. Parable feature LESSON
A “parable” is story told to illustrate a lesson or principle. It is similar to a fable, differing in that a fable uses mainly animals as characters, and a parable uses humans.

Down
2. Its first champion was the Pitt. Pipers ABA
The American Basketball Association (ABA) merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976. The ABA used a ball with the colors red, white and blue. The NBA uses a more traditional orange ball.

The Pittsburgh Pipers were a charter team in the American Basketball Association (ABA). The Pipers emerged as the ABA’s first champion, at the end of the 1967-1968 season. The following year, the Pipers moved to Minnesota but returned to Pittsburgh after only one season. A change of ownership in 1970 led to a name change to the Pittsburgh Condors. The Condors folded in 1972.

4. Waffle __ IRON
You can’t get a Belgian waffle in Belgium, and the nearest thing is probably a Brussels waffle. Brussels waffles were introduced to the world in 1958, and arrived in the US in 1962 at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle. The name “Brussels” was changed to “Bel-Gem” for the US market, which evolved into “Belgian”.

5. Flags TIRES
Our verb “to flag” meaning “to tire” was originally used in the sense of something flapping about lazily in the wind. From this it came to mean “to go limp, droop”, and then “to tire”.

6. Tessio in “The Godfather” SAL
Sal Tessio is a character in Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”. Tessio become a high-ranking confidante in Don Corleone’s crime organization. The character was played in the Francis Ford Coppola film by actor Abe Vigoda.

7. Rhododendron varieties AZALEAS
Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms.

Rhododendron is a genus of woody plants, usually with showy flowers. The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, where the bloom is also considered edible.

8. Star of “Dracula” (1931) LUGOSI
Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian stage and screen actor, best known for playing the title role in the 1931 film “Dracula” and for playing the same role on Broadway. Lugosi found himself typecast for the rest of his career and almost always played the role of the villain, often in horror movies. When he passed away in 1956, his wife had him buried in the costume he wore playing Count Dracula on Broadway.

9. Risqué BLUE
“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

11. Ruckus TUMULT
The word “ruckus” is used to mean a commotion, and has been around since the late 1800s. “Ruckus” is possibly a melding of the words “ruction” and “rumpus”.

18. Aerie fledgling EAGLET
An aerie is the nest of an eagle, and is also known as an “eyrie”.

22. Many a soap heroine HEIRESS
The original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at housewives working in the home. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that’s how the “soap” opera got its name …

24. Where Lima is OHIO
Lima is a city located in northwestern Ohio, about 70 miles north of Dayton. The city is home to the Lima Army Tank Plant, where the M1 Abrams battle tank is produced. Lima is also home to the fictional William McKinley High School that is the setting for the TV series “Glee”.

26. Deep gulfs ABYSMS
“Abysm” is an alternative word for “abyss”.

27. Adult cygnet SWAN
An adult male swan is called a “cob”, and an adult female is a “pen”. Young swans are called “swanlings” or “cygnets”.

29. Mostly-shaved-head hairstyles MOHAWKS
Here is another example of a difference in terminology on either side of the Atlantic. What we call the Mohawk hairstyle in the US is known as a “Mohican” in the British Isles. The Mohawk hairstyle is named after the Mohawk nation, who wore their hair in the same fashion. The Mohawk style has been around for a long time elsewhere in the world. There was a well-preserved male body found in a bog near Dublin in Ireland in 2003. The body is about 2,000 years old, and has the Mohawk haircut.

31. Classical guitar family name ROMERO
The Romeros are a classical and flamenco guitar quartet. The group was founded and led by Celedonio Romero in 1960, and originally included three of his sons: Ángel, Celin and Pepe.

36. Volcano near Catania ETNA
Catania is the second largest city on the island of Sicily (after Palermo). Catania has a long and rich cultural history, and today is best known as a center for technology industries earning it the nickname of the “European Silicon Valley”. The Catania skyline features a nice view of the nearby Mount Etna volcano.

37. Online icon AVATAR
The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of “online presences” one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

38. Fruity wine drinks SANGRIAS
Sangria is red wine punch, usually associated with Portugal and Spain. Recipes for sangria vary, but almost all include a robust red wine, sliced fruit, something sweet (e.g. orange juice, sugar), a spirit (e.g. brandy, triple sec), carbonated water or perhaps 7up, and ice. The drink is named for its color, as “sangre” is the Spanish for blood.

39. City fooled by a horse TROY
The story of the Wooden Horse of Troy is told in the Virgil’s poem “The Aeneid”. According to the tale, the city of Troy finally fell to Greeks after a siege that had lasted for ten years. In a ruse, the Greeks sailed away in apparent defeat, leaving behind a large wooden horse. Inside the horse were hidden 30 crack soldiers. When the horse was dragged into the city as a victory trophy, the soldiers sneaked out and opened the city’s gates. The Greeks returned under cover of night and entered the open city.

42. Not ephemeral AGELESS
“Ephemera” was originally a medical term, used to describe a fever that only lasted a day. The use of the term was expanded in the 17th century to include insects that were “short-lived”, and by end of the 18th century “ephemera” were any things of transitory existence.

45. “To Kill a Mockingbird” theme RACISM
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world and is a great ambassador for American literature, I’d say.

47. Tracey of sketch comedy ULLMAN
Tracey Ullman is an outrageous comic actress from the UK. She moved to the US and brought out her own series in the late eighties called “The Tracey Ullman Show”. Famously, it was from “The Tracey Ullman Show” that “The Simpsons” was spun off in 1989.

51. ’30s V.P. John __ Garner NANCE
John Nance Garner was Speaker of the House when he ran against New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination for the presidential race in 1932. When it was clear that Roosevelt was to win the nomination, Garner cut a deal with FDR and joined the ticket as candidate for Vice President. When the two Democrats won, they were sworn into office on March 4, 1933. As he was still Speaker of the House at the time, Garner is the only person to have held the office of both Speaker and Vice President on the same day.

54. Pearl Harbor site OAHU
The US Navy’s presence in Pearl Harbor dates back to 1899.

56. March time? IDES
There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

59. Wildcatter’s find OIL
“Wildcatter” is a familiar term for someone who drills what are called “wildcat wells”, speculative wells in areas that are not previously known to yield oil.

61. __ master ZEN
Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Regular patterns HABITS
7. Mass robes ALBS
11. __ time TEE
14. Madrid-based airline IBERIA
15. Bantu language ZULU
16. Keats’ “still unravish’d bride of quietness” URN
17. *Big-time MAJOR-LEAGUE (giving “John Major”)
19. Barnyard noise MOO
20. Topeka-to-Peoria dir. ENE
21. Spiny houseplant ALOE
22. Rwandan ethnic group HUTU
23. Reporter’s query HOW?
25. Pundits SAGES
27. Baseball commissioner before Manfred SELIG
28. “May I get a word in?” AHEM
30. *Local legend sought in a 1999 horror film BLAIR WITCH (giving “Tony Blair”)
32. Round building SILO
33. Thumbs-up YES
34. Low-tech propeller OAR
35. Most swanky POSHEST
37. Whistleblower’s request AMNESTY
41. __ card ATM
42. Ancient greeting AVE
43. 1986 #1 hit for Starship SARA
44. *Oatmeal sweetener BROWN SUGAR (giving “Gordon Brown”)
48. Bamboozle SNOW
49. Sri __ LANKA
50. Pretend LET ON
52. MD for women GYN
53. Old French coins ECUS
54. Cantina crock OLLA
55. Something to come up for AIR
57. St. whose motto is “Forward” WIS
58. *She voiced Princess Fiona in “Shrek” movies CAMERON DIAZ (giving “David Cameron”)
62. Press into service USE
63. Cries of clarity AHAS
64. Very cold period ICE AGE
65. Brit. leaders, the last four of whom begin the answers to starred clues PMS
66. Bakery output BUNS
67. Parable feature LESSON

Down
1. Finger-pointing pronoun HIM
2. Its first champion was the Pitt. Pipers ABA
3. Decorates, as a royal crown BEJEWELS
4. Waffle __ IRON
5. Flags TIRES
6. Tessio in “The Godfather” SAL
7. Rhododendron varieties AZALEAS
8. Star of “Dracula” (1931) LUGOSI
9. Risqué BLUE
10. Seek damages SUE
11. Ruckus TUMULT
12. Hot EROTIC
13. Just the right amount ENOUGH
18. Aerie fledgling EAGLET
22. Many a soap heroine HEIRESS
23. Briefcase fastener HASP
24. Where Lima is OHIO
26. Deep gulfs ABYSMS
27. Adult cygnet SWAN
29. Mostly-shaved-head hairstyles MOHAWKS
31. Classical guitar family name ROMERO
36. Volcano near Catania ETNA
37. Online icon AVATAR
38. Fruity wine drinks SANGRIAS
39. City fooled by a horse TROY
40. Betray boredom YAWN
42. Not ephemeral AGELESS
44. Hit the roof BLEW UP
45. “To Kill a Mockingbird” theme RACISM
46. Burdens ONUSES
47. Tracey of sketch comedy ULLMAN
51. ’30s V.P. John __ Garner NANCE
54. Pearl Harbor site OAHU
56. March time? IDES
58. Hailed transport CAB
59. Wildcatter’s find OIL
60. In times past AGO
61. __ master ZEN

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Apr 16, Thursday”

  1. 2 errors. About as quick as yesterday. The Godfather is another nostalgia buy I'm going to have to dig out soon.

  2. This one took longer for me than yesterday. I really needed that LESSON in British politics. 😉

    There's an apocryphal story that the creator of Barney Miller thought that Abe Vigoda (SAL Tssio) had voiced in the infamous "It's a Sicilian message. Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes." (watch) and gave Vigoda the nickname "Fish" on the TV show. It was actually Richard Castellano (as Clemenza).

  3. Didn't get habits or abysms (ate card? what do I know!)
    Still, a great result for me, for a Thursday. Usually I'm moaning!

    Take care,
    Bella

  4. Solved successfully but until I came to Bill's blog I wasn't sure about "let on" meaning pretend. I always thought that meant to divulge something that was being held back. Learned something new today so it's a good day!

    Hope everyone has a good day and I'm looking forward to seeing what Friday's grid brings in the way of teeth gnashing and mind bending…

  5. The WSJ daily grid was a real bear today. The S quadrant really gave me fits, but none of it was easy. I finished just now, and for the last few minutes I thought for sure I was going to DNF, but I had a sudden epiphany for the long answer to 57 Across and that finally allowed me to see what the answer to 58 Down was. Whew!

  6. Very difficult for my little brain …. squeaked in a little, here and there. Very crafty, but enjoyable puzzle.

    A little indian. Jawarharlal (Jawahar means diamonds or precious stones -) Nehru was the only person who, I know, was called a 'pundit' as a title. Nowadays, the word pundit is somewhat a pejorative, as in a talking-head. As regards JL Nehru, maybe the connotation applies to him, as well. He was an author, and somewhat a statesman, but his economic policies (mostly marxist-socialism -) were a disaster for the country.

    'Brown sugar' is also a slang for some sort of illicit drug. Probably cheap adulterated heroin, especially in India.

    The word 'Lanka' probably comes straight out the Ramayana. Thats the island, that the demon king Ravana kidnapped Sita, and took her to. But the island, in the epic / saga was inhabited by demons (Rakh-sha-sas – ) and such other ilk. So the 'human' inhabitants added 'Sri' …. to give themselves some modicum of respect. Thats my 2 cent theory.

    On Swans, I just read that all the swans in England, are considered the personal property of the royal family or the Queen. So killing a swan would be considered 'Lese majeste' ?

    Having chewed the fat and shot the breeze, may I wish all of you, a good evening.

  7. I was thinking how well I did for a Friday.

    Yeah, I know. It's only Thursday.

    At the medical center all day today while husband had a procedure to make sure everything is healed and OK after having Barrett's esophagus.

    @Vidwan, you must have told your kids some great bedtime stories from Indian lore. ^0^
    "Once upon a time there was demon king Ravana who kidnapped Sita……….."

  8. DANG! I'm such a geek. Thought I'd finished successfully, had TROPIC instead of EROTIC! So, I just figured that "TTE time" was something I'd never heard of and that HUPU was correct. Jehosaphat! (Mentally inserting stronger language here…)
    And here I was so proud to know things like SELIG and cygnet!
    Oh well…
    Speaking of swans, I recently made my first ever purchase on EBay: a pair of beautiful ceramic swan figurines, in perfect condition. 99¢ for the pair, PLUS $11 shipping. LOL…Well worth it.
    Must check out Willie's link. Haven't seen the Godfather in AGES.
    Sweet dreams~~™

  9. You must be on drugs if you think bamboozle is a good clue for snow, flags = tires or that anyone has heard of an olla.
    Give clues that match the answers please.
    And use words that people might actually know

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