LA Times Crossword Answers 10 May 16, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Janice Luttrell
THEME: TGIF … each of today’s themed answers starts with a word that often precedes FRIDAY:

67A. Pre-weekend shout … and a hint to the first word of 17-, 26-, 45- and 60-Across TGIF!

17A. “Peanuts” outburst GOOD GRIEF! (giving “Good Friday”)
26A. Distress call at sea MAN OVERBOARD! (giving “Man Friday”)
45A. Off-the-cuff comment CASUAL REMARK (giving “casual Friday”)
60A. Oil metaphor BLACK GOLD (giving “Black Friday”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Paper size LEGAL
Our paper sizes here in the US don’t conform with the standards in the rest of the world. ISO standard sizes used elsewhere have some logic behind them in that the ratio of width to length is usually one to the square root of two. This mathematical relationship means that when you cut a piece of paper in two each half preserves the aspect ratio of the original, which can be useful in making reduced or enlarged copies of documents. Our standard size of “letter” (8.5 x 11 inches) was determined in 1980 by the Reagan administration to be the official paper size for the US government. Prior to this, the “legal” size (8.5 x 14 inches) had been the standard, since 1921.

14. Village People song with arm motions YMCA
“YMCA” was released in 1978 by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics are extolling the virtues of the “YMCA” as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that …

15. Samoan capital APIA
Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.

17. “Peanuts” outburst GOOD GRIEF! (giving “Good Friday”)
The characters in the cartoon series “Peanuts” were largely drawn from Charles Schultz’s own life, with shy and withdrawn Charlie Brown representing Schultz himself.

Good Friday is a holiday observed by Christians that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is part of Holy Week, which is the last week of Lent and which starts with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday. The term “Good Friday” might be a corruption of “God Friday”, but this etymology is contested.

19. Towel material TERRY
Terry cloth is a fabric designed to absorb lots of liquid. The fabric has relatively large loops of thread that improve the absorption properties. The larger the loop, the more thread, the better the absorption.

20. Arg. neighbor URU
The official name of Uruguay is the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, reflecting the nation’s location on the eastern coast of South America. It is a relatively small country, the second-smallest on the continent, after Suriname. In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide a free laptop and Internet access to every child. Now there’s a thought …

26. Distress call at sea MAN OVERBOARD! (giving “Man Friday”)
In Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe”, the castaway encounters a companion that Crusoe calls “Friday”, because the two first met on that day. Friday soon becomes his willing servant. This character is the source of our terms “Man Friday” and “Girl Friday”, which are used to describe a particularly competent and loyal assistant.

35. Two-handed hammer SLEDGE
A sledgehammer is a big hammer, used to apply a lot of force. The word “sledgehammer” comes from the Anglo Saxon “Slaegan” meaning “to strike violently”. “Slaegan” is also the root of the words “slag”, “slay” and “slog”.

36. __ Claire, Wisconsin EAU
Eau Claire, Wisconsin is named for the Eau Claire River, which in turn was named by French explorers. The explorers had been travelling down the muddy Chippewa River and diverted into the clear water of what is now called the Eau Claire River. They exclaimed “Voici l’eau claire!” meaning “Here is clear water!” The French phrase “Voici l’eau claire” is now the city’s motto that appears on the city seal.

39. Dry as the Mojave ARID
The Mojave Desert in the southwest is named after the Native American Mohave tribe. Famous locations within the boundaries of the desert, are Death Valley, Las Vegas, Nevada and the ghost town of Calico, California.

40. Tax-auditing org. IRS
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

41. Maritime measure LEAGUE
A “league” is a unit of distance that dates back to the Middle Ages. No longer used, it was originally defined as the distance that a person could walk in an hour. In the English-speaking world, a league was equal to three miles on land, or three nautical miles at sea.

44. Zippo NONE
The use of the words “zip” and “zippo” to mean “nothing” dates back to the early 1900s when it was student slang for being graded zero on a test.

56. Slope overlooking a loch BRAE
“Brae” is a lowland Scots word for the slope or brow of a hill.

“Loch” is the Scottish Gaelic word for “lake”. The Irish Gaelic word is “lough”.

58. “Who, me?” MOI?
“Moi” is the French word for “me”.

60. Oil metaphor BLACK GOLD (giving “Black Friday”)
In the world of retail, “Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving in the US. Black Friday is when many stores start the holiday shopping season, and so offer deep discounts to get ahead of the competition.

65. Rodeo rope REATA
“Reata” is the Spanish word for “lasso”. We tend to use the spelling “riata” in English, but sometimes can use the original Spanish word.

67. Pre-weekend shout … and a hint to the first word of 17-, 26-, 45- and 60-Across TGIF!
“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

Down
6. TV role for Ronny OPIE
Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

9. Beatles title after “Speaking words of wisdom” LET IT BE
“Let It Be” was the last album that the Beatles released as an active group playing together. The title song “Let It Be” was written by Paul McCartney, and it is clearly one of his own favorites. McCartney says that he was inspired to write the song after having had a dream about his mother (who had died some years earlier from cancer). In fact he refers to her (Mary McCartney) in the line “Mother Mary comes to me”. Paul’s first wife, Linda, is singing backing vocals on the song, the only time she is known to have done so in a Beatles recording. 18 years after that 1970 recording was made, Paul, George and Ringo sang “Let It Be” at a memorial service for Linda, who was also lost to cancer. Sad stuff, but a lovely song …

11. Encircle with a belt GIRD
The phrase “gird your loins” dates back to Ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting “one’s skirts” and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, “gird your loins” is a metaphor for “prepare yourself for the worst”.

13. Space travel dist. LT YR
A light-year (lt. yr.) is a measure of distance, not time. It is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year. The accepted abbreviation for a light-year is “ly”. A light-second is a lot shorter distance: about 186,282 miles.

18. Explorer Vasco da __ GAMA
Vasco da Gama left on his first voyage of discovery in 1497. da Gama journeyed around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, and across the Indian Ocean making landfall in India. Landing in India, his fleet became the first expedition to sail directly from Europe to the sub-continent. Vasco da Gama was well known for acts of cruelty, especially on local inhabitants. One of his milder atrocities was inflicted on a priest whom he labelled as a spy. He had the priest’s lips and ears cut off, and sent him on his way after having a pair of dog’s ears sewn onto his head.

22. Town BURG
“Burg” is an informal term used in the US for a smaller town, from the German word “burg” meaning a fortified city.

25. “The Shining” mantra REDRUM
In the 1980 movie “The Shining”, there is a young boy called Danny who has the gift of ESP and who has a bad feeling about the hotel where he and his family are to live. At one stage, Danny calls out the word “redrum” and then goes into a trance. “Redrum” is “murder” spelled backwards.

27. Chicago Fire Mrs. O’LEARY
The Great Chicago Fire blazed for almost three full days in October of 1871. By the time it was extinguished, hundreds of people had died and four square miles of the city had been destroyed. It is known that the fire started in or near a small barn owned by an Irish immigrant, a Mrs. Catherine O’Leary. A reporter called Michael Ahern wrote in the “Chicago Tribune” that the fire was ignited when a cow in the barn kicked over a lantern. Years later, Ahern admitted that he made up the story about the cow and the lantern, as he felt it made colorful copy. Supposedly Mrs. O’Leary died a heartbroken woman as she spent the rest of her life with the public blaming her on the tragic loss of life and property.

32. Stylish CHIC
“Chic” is a French word meaning “stylish”.

39. Pharaoh’s cross ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life”. The ankh wasn’t just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world). The ankh is also known as “the key of the Nile” and “crux ansata” (Latin for “cross with a handle”).

41. Hall of Fame manager Tony LA RUSSA
Tony La Russa is a former MLB player and manager. Off the field, La Russa is well known in this part of Northern California as the founder of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) headquartered in the city of Walnut Creek. The ARF is a “no-kill” animal shelter for abandoned dogs and cats. We rescued our pet dog from the ARF.

51. Conductor Sir Georg SOLTI
Sir Georg Solti was a great Hungarian-British conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony, one of many prestigious positions he held in the world of classical music and opera. Solti was awarded 31 Grammy Awards, the most won by any individual in any genre of music.

52. Part of HDTV, briefly HI-DEF
High-definition television (HDTV)

55. Land surrounded by agua ISLA
In Spanish, “tierra” (land) surrounded by “aqua” (water) is an “isla” (island).

61. Thug’s gun GAT
“Gat” is slang for “gun”. The term is derived from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Big celebration BASH
5. __ guy: dependable sort GO-TO
9. Paper size LEGAL
14. Village People song with arm motions YMCA
15. Samoan capital APIA
16. Send packing, as a delinquent tenant EVICT
17. “Peanuts” outburst GOOD GRIEF! (giving “Good Friday”)
19. Towel material TERRY
20. Arg. neighbor URU
21. Fruity soft drinks ADES
22. Student’s organizer BINDER
23. Self-indulgent period ME-TIME
25. Grooves from wagon wheels RUTS
26. Distress call at sea MAN OVERBOARD! (giving “Man Friday”)
32. Where many a lanyard is woven CAMP
35. Two-handed hammer SLEDGE
36. __ Claire, Wisconsin EAU
37. Spectral array HUES
38. Zig when you should have zagged, say ERR
39. Dry as the Mojave ARID
40. Tax-auditing org. IRS
41. Maritime measure LEAGUE
44. Zippo NONE
45. Off-the-cuff comment CASUAL REMARK (giving “casual Friday”)
48. Hunter’s target PREY
49. Discuss again and again REHASH
53. Regular on the slopes SKI BUM
56. Slope overlooking a loch BRAE
58. “Who, me?” MOI?
59. Makes less difficult EASES
60. Oil metaphor BLACK GOLD (giving “Black Friday”)
62. Those girls, in Spain ELLAS
63. Word of honor OATH
64. First chip in a pot ANTE
65. Rodeo rope REATA
66. Sledder’s cry WHEE!
67. Pre-weekend shout … and a hint to the first word of 17-, 26-, 45- and 60-Across TGIF!

Down
1. Old-fashioned “How about that!” BY GUM!
2. Love, to Luciano AMORE
3. Talent finder SCOUT
4. Consumed HAD
5. Flower exhibits GARDENS
6. TV role for Ronny OPIE
7. Garbage bag closers TIES
8. Bungler OAF
9. Beatles title after “Speaking words of wisdom” LET IT BE
10. Despite that EVEN SO
11. Encircle with a belt GIRD
12. Orchard measure ACRE
13. Space travel dist. LT YR
18. Explorer Vasco da __ GAMA
22. Town BURG
24. Little pranksters IMPS
25. “The Shining” mantra REDRUM
27. Chicago Fire Mrs. O’LEARY
28. Brink VERGE
29. Prefix with space AERO-
30. Picnic spoiler RAIN
31. “C’mon, bro!” DUDE!
32. Stylish CHIC
33. Otherworldly radiance AURA
34. Sticky situation MESS
39. Pharaoh’s cross ANKH
41. Hall of Fame manager Tony LA RUSSA
42. Grade sch. level ELEM
43. Common swimmer’s ailment EARACHE
46. In high spirits UPBEAT
47. Smell really bad REEK
50. Mixed in with AMONG
51. Conductor Sir Georg SOLTI
52. Part of HDTV, briefly HI-DEF
53. Visionary SEER
54. Curly cabbage KALE
55. Land surrounded by agua ISLA
56. Boring BLAH
57. Hourly charge, e.g. RATE
60. Present decoration BOW
61. Thug’s gun GAT

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8 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 10 May 16, Tuesday”

  1. Another early week grid with just enough trickery to make it fun. Really had to look at REDRUM and hope for the best. I never saw The Shining and had no idea what that was until I came to the blog.

    Carrie – yes the LA Times crossword appears at least as far east as Houston. The Houston Chronicle every Monday-Saturday. On Sundays I have to do it online. The Chronicle carries the NY Times puzzle on Sundays but from the previous week. I assume that's a cost cutting measure and/or they print that section of the Sunday paper before the Sunday puzzle is available for that week. The answer to all such questions is money so I'll bet on the former…

    Best –

  2. Zero errors on both the LAT and WSJ. Upper left of the WSJ was pretty tricky for a Tuesday but nothing insurmountable.

    As an origin explanation, the kid in the Shining actually wrote the word like that on a door with lipstick in such a way that it spelled "murder" when the mother looked through a mirror at it. Any more is NSFW, but there's a ready clip of it on Youtube if anyone wants to see it.

    @Jeff
    For the New York Times, their practice for syndication is this: Daily grids are 6 weeks old while the Sunday grids are a week old. Not "cost-cutting", but money is indeed behind it to try to get people to subscribe to either the crossword service or the main paper. Frustrating though, when you want to discuss on crossword blogs and your "current" NYT grid you just worked is 42 posts back.

  3. After recording the song, they discovered a flaw in the percussion portion of the recording. Therefore, afterwards the man had to go in and REDRUM the song….. 🙂

  4. Both the LAT's and the WSJ came together pretty quickly and without any errors. I did put in "damp" for one answer on the WSJ grid before I figured out the wanted "dank" instead, but that didn't take long to get to.

    Hope you all have a great day, wherever you are.

  5. Glenn, Bill's NYT blog covers that current and syndicated grids. Other bloggers do the same thing.

    This theme completely eluded me. I wouldn't have gotten it ever. Some of the answers are pretty suspect too. But then again, I'm ill right now, and haven't slept in a while. Ugh.

  6. Believe it or not, I could not get my head straight on
    "Present decoration".
    Seriously.
    Present as in NOW?
    Present as in GIVE TO?
    Duh, just a decoration ON a present.

    @Willie D- hope you feel better soon!

  7. Dull puzzle. Duzzle. Prefer fuzzles!
    @Jeff, I think REDRUM is what you drank last night that leaves you with bloodshot eyes in the morning…
    I also never saw The Shining, but I got it thru crosses.
    Just tonight we were watching Hitchcock's "Suspicion," and there's a scene where they're playing a Scrabble-type game. The woman's letters suddenly spell out MURDER.
    Be well~~™

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