LA Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 16, Saturday




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Constructed by: Matt Skoczen

Edited by: Rich Norris

Quicklink to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

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Theme: None

Bill’s time: 19m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. It’s commonly read by waiters : TABLOID

Tabloids are commonly read by those waiting in a grocery store checkout line.

Tabloid is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

15. 1992 Mamet play : OLEANNA

I’ve never seen it, but “Oleanna” sounds like a powerful play to me. Written by David Mamet, it was first performed in 1992. It’s a two-person piece, the tale of a university professor and a female student who accuses him of sexual exploitation. Mimet got many of the themes of the play from the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in which Anita Hill accused the future Supreme Court justice of sexual harassment.

David Mamet is best known as a playwright, and indeed won a Pulitzer for his 1984 play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Mamet is also a successful screenwriter and received Oscar nominations for the films “The Verdict” (1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).

16. Cork holder : IRELAND

Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Cork has been a major port for many years, and was the last port of call for many, many Irish emigrants to America. When these Irish people reached the US it was common for them to give their point of origin as “Cork”, whereas they may have come from almost anywhere in Ireland. It’s because of this that many descendants of Irish immigrants who had been told they were from a Cork family often find out they were under a misapprehension as their ancestors just sailed from Cork.

17. Enterprise enterprise : RENTING

Enterprise Rent-A-Car was established in 1957 by Jack. C. Taylor in St. Louis, Missouri, where the company is still headquartered today. The company was originally called Executive Leasing Company. The name was changed in 1962 in honor of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on which Taylor served during WWII.

18. They’re usually kept : GIGOLOS

In French, a “gigole” is a “dancing girl, prostitute”. The male form of the word, “gigolo”, came into use in English in the 1920s.

19. 1976 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year awardee : EVERT

Chris Evert is a former professional tennis player from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Evert has the best winning percentage in professional tennis, man or woman worldwide, losing less than 10% of all her matches.

22. Hawthorne cover image : RED A

The main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” is Hester Prynne. When Prynne is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title, “The Scarlet Letter”.

24. Ben, to Jerry : SON

Ben Stiller is the son of comic actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Ben is perhaps as well-known as a director as he is an actor. He made his debut as a director in the film “Reality Bites” in 1994.

29. John Paul’s successor : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …

John Paul Stevens retired as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court in 2010 after having served for over 34 years. That made him the third longest serving justice in the history of the court. Stevens had been nominated by President Gerald Ford to replace Justice William O. Douglas, who had been the longest serving justice in the court (at over 36 years).

32. Pollutant banned by Cong. in 1979 : PCB

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

34. Sights from la mer : ILES

In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “la mer” (the sea).

41. __-Man : PAC

The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

43. Singer Lovato : DEMI

Pop and R&B singer Demi Lovato started her performing career as a child actress, playing Angela on the kids TV show “Barney & Friends” from 2002 to 2004. When she was all grown up, Levato served as a judge on “The X Factor” from 2012 to 2013, and soon after had the recurring role of Dani on “Glee”.

44. Renée Fleming et al. : DIVAS

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

Renée Fleming is a marvelous soprano from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Famous for her appearances in opera houses and concert halls all over the world, Fleming is also noted for her willingness to bring her craft to the masses. She was a guest on “Sesame Street”, singing “counting lyrics” to an aria from “Rigoletto”, and she has appeared a few times on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”.

50. Fed. assistance program : 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 SSI payments. SSI payments come out of general tax revenue.

53. Durango demonstrative : ESTA

In Spanish, the “otra” (other) is neither “esta” (this) nor “esa” (that).

Durango is one of the 31 states of Mexico. Durango is landlocked, and is located in the northwest of the country.

59. Rayed flowers : DAISIES

The flowers of the daisy plant close tightly at sunset and then open up again in the morning. It is this behavior that led to the name “daisy”, from the Old English for “day’s eye”. So, the daisy could be called a “well-rested” plant. And, someone who is well-rested attacks the day “fresh as a daisy”. Interesting, huh?

61. Bond choice : MARTINI

Why have a vodka martini shaken and not stirred (as does James Bond, 007)? Well, for one thing the shaken drink tends to be colder. And with more melted ice in the drink, it isn’t as strong. These are my personal observations … no need to write in …

62. Charlie McCarthy feature : MONOCLE

Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s most famous character was Charlie McCarthy, but Bergen also worked with Mortimer Snerd.

63. Significant supply : ARSENAL

Our word “arsenal” comes from the Italian “arzenale”, a work adapted from the Arabic for “workshop”. There was a large wharf in Venice called the Arzenale that became associated with the storage of weapons and ammunition, and this led to our contemporary usage of “arsenal”.

64. Sounded like a flute duet? : CLINKED

The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.

Down

1. One facing charges? : TORERO

“Toreador” is an old Spanish word for a bullfighter, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

2. Two-part British academic exam : A LEVEL

The UK’s education system was reformed in the fifties with the introduction of the General Certificate of Education (GCE). There were two levels of certification that could be awarded in most subjects. The GCE Ordinary Level (O Level) was a much less rigorous standard of examination than the GCE Advanced Level (A Level). The O Levels have largely been replaced now, but students still sit A Level examinations.

3. Noted 2013 resignee : BENEDICT XVI

Did you know that the former Pope, Benedict XVI, released a music CD while in office? His Holiness is featured singing on an album released by the Vatican called “Alma Mater: Featuring The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI Deluxe Edition”, a collection of sacred music. All proceeds go to help underprivileged children around the world. Benedict XVI was also the first pope to have a Twitter account. His first tweet went out on 12 December 2012:

Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.

4. Opera originally titled “Violetta” : LA TRAVIATA

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata” was originally titled “Violetta” after the main character in the piece. The title “La Traviata” translates into “The Woman Gone Astray”, reflecting Violetta’s life as a courtesan.

7. Typographical symbol : DAGGER

A dagger (also called an obelisk, plural obeli) is a typographical symbol. The dagger is usually used to indicate a footnote.

10. 1852 literary villain : LEGREE

Simon Legree is the cruel slave owner in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

11. Turn preceder, in Texas Hold ’em : FLOP

In the card game called Texas hold ‘em, two hole cards are dealt to each player, and five community cards are dealt face up on the table. The community cards are dealt in the three stages. The first three cards are dealt in one stage (the flop), then the fourth card is shown (the turn), and finally the fifth card (the river).

12. Popular store opening? : WAL-

Walmart (previously “Wal-Mart”) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can actually go into the original store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor Center.

13. Periodo de tiempo : ANO

In Spanish, an “año” (year) is a “periodo de tiempo” (time frame, period of time).

23. Higher than you might have hoped : STEEP

That might be a steep price, higher than one might have hoped.

24. Phone accessory banned at Disney parks : SELFIE STICK

Selfie sticks, oh how I hate selfie sticks. A walk down the Strip in Vegas is an enlightening exercise in what’s wrong with contemporary photography …

26. Cartoon award eponym : NAST

The Thomas Nast Award has been presented annually since 1968 for the best cartoons on international affairs. There’s also a Thomas Nast Prize that has been awarded periodically since 1978 to one German cartoonist and one North American cartoonist. The celebrated cartoonist Thomas Nast was born in Landau, Germany and moved with his family to New York City when he was a child.

28. Sinusitis-treating MD : ENT

Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)

The suffix “-itis” is used to denote inflammation, as in laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), otitis (inflammation of the ear) and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).

30. 1993 “Ethan Frome” star : LIAM NEESON

Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news several years ago when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.

“Ethan Frome” is a novel by New York and Massachusetts author Edith Wharton, first published in 1911. Wharton started “Ethan Frome” as a composition in French that she wrote while studying the language in Paris. The novel was adapted into a 1993 film of the same name starring Liam Neeson in the title role, opposite Patricia Arquette.

36. Paquete de __: cerveza purchase : SEIS

In Spanish, when buying “cerveza” (beer), one might purchase a “paquete de seis” (six-pack).

37. Iceberg topper : SALAD OIL

Iceberg lettuce is the most popular lettuce consumed in the US. Also known as “crisphead”, it is considered by many experts to be one of least flavorful varieties of lettuce available. I agree …

39. One of Donald’s pair : DEE

There are two letters D (dees) in the word “Donald”.

45. Tried to make it home : SLID IN

That would be baseball.

47. Hip-hop group at Live Aid’s 1985 Philadelphia concert : RUN-DMC

Run-DMC was a hip hop group from Queens, New York. The trio took its name from two of the group’s members: Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.

48. Holt’s detective partner in ’80s TV : STEELE

The eighties detective show “Remington Steele” stars Stephanie Zimbalist as a private detective Laura Holt, and Pierce Brosnan as the handsome bad boy Remington Steele, who’s really a good boy. The show successfully melds the detective genre with elements of romantic comedy.

52. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA

Edina, Minnesota lies just southwest of Minneapolis. The town takes its name from Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. It was suggested by a Scottish mill owner at the time a new village was being set up in 1888.

56. Chicago-based professional org. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

58. Board game spots with nine sqs. between them : RRS

The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:

  • Reading Railroad
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • B&O Railroad
  • Short Line

60. Moviefone owner : AOL

Moviefone is a movie listing service that is available by telephone in many parts of the country. Moviefone was launched in 1989, and purchased by AOL ten years later for $388 million.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. It’s commonly read by waiters : TABLOID

8. Place to meet : HALFWAY

15. 1992 Mamet play : OLEANNA

16. Cork holder : IRELAND

17. Enterprise enterprise : RENTING

18. They’re usually kept : GIGOLOS

19. 1976 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year awardee : EVERT

20. E major scale note : G-SHARP

22. Hawthorne cover image : RED A

23. Quiet : SETTLE

24. Ben, to Jerry : SON

27. Truce emblem source : OLIVE TREE

29. John Paul’s successor : ELENA

31. Movie : CINE

32. Pollutant banned by Cong. in 1979 : PCB

34. Sights from la mer : ILES

35. Subjects of family disputes : ESTATES

38. Erupted : HAD A FIT

40. Call to a line : NEXT!

41. __-Man : PAC

43. Singer Lovato : DEMI

44. Renée Fleming et al. : DIVAS

46. Great extent : LARGENESS

50. Fed. assistance program : SSI

51. Conniving, with “in” : LEAGUE

53. Durango demonstrative : ESTA

54. __ camera : HIDDEN

55. Shares, with “out” : METES

56. Where to hear a lot of talk : AM RADIO

59. Rayed flowers : DAISIES

61. Bond choice : MARTINI

62. Charlie McCarthy feature : MONOCLE

63. Significant supply : ARSENAL

64. Sounded like a flute duet? : CLINKED

Down

1. One facing charges? : TORERO

2. Two-part British academic exam : A LEVEL

3. Noted 2013 resignee : BENEDICT XVI

4. Opera originally titled “Violetta” : LA TRAVIATA

5. “Doing that right now!” : ON IT!

6. Where there may be no room : INN

7. Typographical symbol : DAGGER

8. Modern, in a way : HIGH-TECH

9. Font choice : ARIAL

10. 1852 literary villain : LEGREE

11. Turn preceder, in Texas Hold ’em : FLOP

12. Popular store opening? : WAL-

13. Periodo de tiempo : ANO

14. NFL stats : YDS

21. Small distance : STEP

23. Higher than you might have hoped : STEEP

24. Phone accessory banned at Disney parks : SELFIE STICK

25. “That’s __ haven’t heard” : ONE I

26. Cartoon award eponym : NAST

28. Sinusitis-treating MD : ENT

30. 1993 “Ethan Frome” star : LIAM NEESON

33. It can get you in : BADGE

35. Extreme pair : ENDS

36. Paquete de __: cerveza purchase : SEIS

37. Iceberg topper : SALAD OIL

39. One of Donald’s pair : DEE

42. Pen : CAGE

45. Tried to make it home : SLID IN

47. Hip-hop group at Live Aid’s 1985 Philadelphia concert : RUN-DMC

48. Holt’s detective partner in ’80s TV : STEELE

49. Mouthed off at : SASSED

52. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA

54. Execrate : HATE

55. Revealing garb : MINI

56. Chicago-based professional org. : AMA

57. Warp, e.g. : MAR

58. Board game spots with nine sqs. between them : RRS

60. Moviefone owner : AOL

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 16, Saturday”

  1. On my iPad: 41:06, no errors, but I had to cheat (oh, the horror!) to get the C of RUNDMC and CLINKED and I had a heck of a time in a couple of other areas, as well. Not an easy one for me …

  2. A common tale for me on really difficult grids like today’s. I won a few battles but ultimately lost the war. DNF. I just got stuck too many times and had to cheat to move forward. Interesting I did get CLINKED which stumped Dave.

    Disney moves up a notch in my book now that I know they ban SELFIE STICKS.

    Who knew you could Tweet back in the year 1012 ? I would think internet service would be dreadfully slow back then. Worse than dial up…:)

    I think I’ve posted this same thing here before, but according to all bartenders and real martini drinkers (of which I am neither) the only way to drink a martini is stirred not shaken. 007 supposedly got it wrong. The closest I ever come to drinking a martini is when I order a Manhattan, and I honestly don’t know whether they shake or stir those. It probably depends on the bartender.

    It’s Christmas eve so I am avoiding the stores and even the streets like the plague today. Good luck to those who must venture out.

    Best –

    1. I was wondering what you were talking about there, Jeff. Just noticed my typo (thanks!). I always knew that I was behind the times, just didn’t think that it was 1,000 years …

  3. I’m going to bask in finishing this grid for the remainder of the day. When I began I kept going from quadrant to quadrant thinking “Something has to come to mind to fill in some of these blanks, doesn’t it?” And round and round I went. But then I figured out “A level” for the 2 down (first having put in O level which would not work for 1 Across), and I was off and, if not running at least limping around the grid. Finally I looked and “WOW” it was filled in. Unbelievable!

  4. First time I ever saw a selfie stick was at Disneyland 2 yrs ago. I thought they looked silly; why would someone want a picture of oneself standing in line, which is what they were being used for? I am definitely in the curmudgeon stage of life.
    I’m going to have a merry Christmas, I hope good things for you all, too.

  5. Jeff – on making a martini, Ian Fleming had it wrong. I just get my drink, just poured on, and wait for the earthquake to do the job. If there is no seismic event, in the following five minutes, I gulp the drink and ask for another and wait, and so on, ad infinitum. Stirring is for the witches at the cauldron, and shaking is for teeny boppers and rock n rollers.

  6. For those who do the WSJ grid I’ll just say today was a bear and a half for me. I did finish and I think it’s right, but I’ll look next week and see if that feeling is accurate, or not. If anyone else tackles it today I’ll be interested in hearing their thoughts on how tough, or easy (ha) they found it.

    1. @Tony … I did that puzzle yesterday, when it first became available on the WSJ website, and I’ve done a lot of puzzles since then, so the edge is off my memory of it, but the time I recorded was just under half an hour (slightly faster than usual). As I recall, I was puzzled by the first theme entry I met, but when I saw that it was the name of a famous novel plus a “mur” sound, I had a flash of insight about the title “Gift Tags”, and the theme then became a big help in finishing. Without that insight, I would undoubtedly have taken longer.

  7. I’m thinking that Rich Norris is getting too esoteric or arcane. His clues are way too vague, and I don’t use any resources to solve puzzles (cheating?). But I really appreciate Bill Butler for taking the time to explain the answers to puzzles!

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