LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Dec 16, Monday




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Constructed by: Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Classy Start

Today’s themed answer each start with a synonym of “classy”.

  • 20A. Fabric with a slight sheen : POLISHED COTTON
  • 25A. Sophisticated-sounding hair treatment product : SUAVE SHAMPOO
  • 46A. Coffee sweetener : REFINED SUGAR
  • 55A. Plowed ground for crop-raising : CULTIVATED LAND

Bill’s time: 6m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Sultan’s group : HAREM

“Harem” is a Turkish word, derived from the Arabic for “forbidden place”. Traditionally a harem was the female quarters in a household in which a man had more than one wife. Not only wives (and concubines) would use the harem, but also young children and other female relatives. The main point was that no men were allowed in the area.

16. Carrier to Tel Aviv : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv.

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

18. BP merger partner : AMOCO

“Amoco” is an abbreviation for “American Oil Company”, an oil company that merged with BP in 1998. Amoco had been the first oil company to introduce gasoline tanker trucks and drive-through filling stations. I wonder did they know what they were starting …?

BP is an oil and gas company headquartered in London, UK. BP started out as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909 with the remit of exploiting oil discovered in Iran. The company name was changed to British Petroleum in 1954, and today the name used is simply “BP”.

19. Longfellow’s “The Bell of __” : ATRI

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Sicilian’s Tale; The Bell of Atri”, a narrative poem set in the small town of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

20. Fabric with a slight sheen : POLISHED COTTON

The fabric known as “polished cotton” is a plain weave cotton with a smooth and shiny surface. That sheen is often achieved by passing the fabric between heated rollers under pressure, a process known as “calendering”. The sheen is sometimes enhanced by adding a resin treatment.

23. Clay pigeon sport : SKEET

There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

  • Skeet shooting
  • Trap shooting
  • Sporting clays

24. Tee shots into the hole : ACES

That would be golf.

25. Sophisticated-sounding hair treatment product : SUAVE SHAMPOO

Suave is a line of personal care products from Unilever. The original Suave product was a hair tonic that was introduced in 1937.

32. Slacks holder-upper : BELT

The term “slacks” was introduced in the early 1800s with the the meaning “loose trousers”. Those early slacks were part of a military uniform.

36. Like old apples : MEALY

Something described as “mealy” resembles meal in texture, and so is granular in consistency.

37. “Norma __” : RAE

“Norma Rae” is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called “Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance”.

41. Word in a bride’s bio : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.

42. The three monkeys’ taboos : EVILS

The old adage “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” originated in the 17th century. The phrase comes as an interpretation of a wood carving over a door in a shrine in Nikko, Japan. The carving depicts the “Three Wise Monkeys”:

  • Mizaru, covering his eyes
  • Kikazaru, covering his ears
  • Iwazaru, covering his mouth

44. Guernsey greeting : MOO

Guernsey cattle were originally bred on Guernsey in the British-owned Channel Islands. Guernsey cows are famous for the rich flavor of their milk.

50. Apple or pear : POME

The Latin word for “fruit” is “pomum”, which gives us the botanical term “pome” that is used for a group of fleshy fruits, including apples and pears.

51. “Spider-Man” actor Willem : DAFOE

Willem Dafoe is an American actor, from Wisconsin. He was born just plain William Dafoe, but didn’t like being called “Billy”. So, he changed his name to Willem, which was the pronunciation of his name by his Scottish babysitter. Those Scots …

The Green Goblin is a supervillain from Marvel Comics who generally is pitted against Spider-Man. The Green Goblin is the antagonist in the 2002 movie “Spider-Man”, and is played by Willem Dafoe.

60. Classic clown : BOZO

Bozo the Clown is a character created in 1946 by Alan Livingston. Bozo was introduced in the first ever “record reader”, a children’s illustrated read-along book that came with a vinyl recording of the story. The book/record was so successful that Bozo moved to television, and he has been around ever since.

61. African country whose name is contained in the name of its southern neighbor : NIGER

Niger shares a border with Nigeria in the south.

The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.

Nigeria is in West Africa, and it takes its name from the Niger River which flows through the country. Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent, with over 170 million inhabitants. It is also the most populous member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

64. Porthole view : OCEAN

A porthole is a circular window in the side of a ship that provides light and air. As it penetrates the hull of the ship, the porthole cover provides a strong, watertight seal. The name “porthole” has nothing to do with the port side of a ship, and rather is derived from the French word “porte” meaning “door”. Henry VI of England hired a French shipbuilder to come up with a way mount large guns on his warships, below the upper deck. The design called for holes in the hull, and “doors” (“portes”) to be fitted for use in heavy weather.

65. Flair : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style” or “flair”.

68. Once-sacred snakes : ASPS

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

Down

4. Most stylish : TONIEST

Something described as “tony” is elegant or exclusive. “Tony” is derived from the word “tone”.

5. Former Iranian despot : SHAH

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

7. Ex-slugger and Fox Sports analyst, familiarly : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

8. Major tourist draws : MECCAS

We’ve been using “mecca” to mean “a place one holds sacred” since the 1850s, and have since extended the usage to include any center of activity. The term derives from the sacred city of Islam, the birthplace of Muhammad.

11. Voice above tenor : ALTO

In choral music, an alto (plural “alti”) is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus made up of soprano, contr(alto), tenor and bass. The word “alto” describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing-voice, whereas the term “contralto” describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male’s voice (not a boy’s) with the same range as an alto is called a “countertenor”.

13. With 10-Across, “Open sesame” sayer : ALI …
(10. See 13-Down : … BABA)

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “open sesame” that open the thieves’ den.

21. Early Beatle Sutcliffe : STU

Stu Sutcliffe was one of the original four members of The Silver Beatles (as The Beatles were known in their early days), along with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Sutcliffe apparently came up with name “Beatles” along with John Lennon, as a homage to their hero Buddy Holly who was backed by the “Crickets”. By all reports, Sutcliffe wasn’t a very talented musician and was more interested in painting. He went with the group to Hamburg, more than once, but he eventually left the Beatles and went back to art school, actually studying for a while at the Hamburg College of Art. In 1962 in Hamburg, Sutcliffe collapsed with blinding headaches. He died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, his death attributed to cerebral paralysis.

22. Bears and Grizzlies : TEAMS

The Chicago Bears were founded in Decatur, Illinois in 1919 and moved to Chicago in 1921. The Bears are one of only two franchises in the NFL that were around at the time of the NFL’s founding (the other is the Arizona Cardinals, who were also based in Chicago in 1921).

The Grizzlies are the NBA team based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001, having been founded as the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1995. As a result of the move, the Grizzlies became the only team from the “big four” professional sports based in Memphis, and the Toronto Raptors were left as the only Canadian team in the NBA.

27. Bigwig : VIP

A “bigwig” is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore big wigs.

30. Butterlike spread : OLEO

Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. A French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine in 1869, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”. The name “oleomargarine” also gives us our generic term “oleo”.

31. Command from a bailiff : OYEZ!

“Oyez” is an Anglo-French word traditionally called out three times, meaning “hear ye!”

32. Uncle Remus rabbit’s title : BR’ER

Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.

34. Mariner Ericson : LEIF

According to Icelandic tradition, Erik the Red was the man responsible for founding the first Nordic settlement in Greenland. Erik had a famous son: the explorer Leif Ericson.

39. Singer Rawls : LOU

Lou Rawls was an American soul and blues singer known for his smooth vocal style. With his singing career well on the way, Rawls was asked to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” in 1977 at a Muhammad Ali fight in Madison Square Garden. This performance led to him being asked to sing the anthem many, many times in the coming years with his last rendition being at a World Series game in 2005. Rawls passed away in January of the following year.

40. Nautical journal : LOG

The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

45. Shrinking Asian lake : ARAL SEA

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 …

56. Commando weapons : UZIS

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

57. “A Death in the Family” author James : AGEE

James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Furtive summons : PSST!

5. Closes with force : SLAMS

10. See 13-Down : … BABA

14. “It’s __ you”: “Your call” : UP TO

15. Sultan’s group : HAREM

16. Carrier to Tel Aviv : EL AL

17. React to a bad pun, perhaps : MOAN

18. BP merger partner : AMOCO

19. Longfellow’s “The Bell of __” : ATRI

20. Fabric with a slight sheen : POLISHED COTTON

23. Clay pigeon sport : SKEET

24. Tee shots into the hole : ACES

25. Sophisticated-sounding hair treatment product : SUAVE SHAMPOO

32. Slacks holder-upper : BELT

35. Baker’s verb : MIX

36. Like old apples : MEALY

37. “Norma __” : RAE

38. Fills with dismay : APPALLS

41. Word in a bride’s bio : NEE

42. The three monkeys’ taboos : EVILS

44. Guernsey greeting : MOO

45. Completely, after “from” : A TO Z

46. Coffee sweetener : REFINED SUGAR

50. Apple or pear : POME

51. “Spider-Man” actor Willem : DAFOE

55. Plowed ground for crop-raising : CULTIVATED LAND

60. Classic clown : BOZO

61. African country whose name is contained in the name of its southern neighbor : NIGER

62. Internet destination : SITE

63. It’s a long story : EPIC

64. Porthole view : OCEAN

65. Flair : ELAN

66. Cubicle furnishing : DESK

67. Smells awful : REEKS

68. Once-sacred snakes : ASPS

Down

1. Tire inflators : PUMPS

2. Frighten, as a horse : SPOOK

3. Like old bread : STALE

4. Most stylish : TONIEST

5. Former Iranian despot : SHAH

6. Unconvincing, excuse-wise : LAME

7. Ex-slugger and Fox Sports analyst, familiarly : A-ROD

8. Major tourist draws : MECCAS

9. Kiss : SMOOCH

10. “I have no clue” : BEATS ME

11. Voice above tenor : ALTO

12. Rural building with big doors : BARN

13. With 10-Across, “Open sesame” sayer : ALI …

21. Early Beatle Sutcliffe : STU

22. Bears and Grizzlies : TEAMS

26. Sound system part : AMP

27. Bigwig : VIP

28. Tests of knowledge : EXAMS

29. Huff and puff : PANT

30. Butterlike spread : OLEO

31. Command from a bailiff : OYEZ!

32. Uncle Remus rabbit’s title : BR’ER

33. Nesting site, perhaps : EAVE

34. Mariner Ericson : LEIF

38. Often ___: about half the time : AS NOT

39. Singer Rawls : LOU

40. Nautical journal : LOG

43. Long kiss : LIP LOCK

45. Shrinking Asian lake : ARAL SEA

47. Key with one sharp : E MINOR

48. Plot mechanism : DEVICE

49. Say further : ADD

52. Totally tanks : FAILS

53. Ready in the keg : ON TAP

54. Blissful regions : EDENS

55. Deal with adversity : COPE

56. Commando weapons : UZIS

57. “A Death in the Family” author James : AGEE

58. Tropical hardwood : TEAK

59. Sea eagles : ERNS

60. Crib or cot : BED

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8 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 26 Dec 16, Monday”

  1. Nice quick one after a weekend of not so quick ones here and over at the NYT.

    @Tony
    I’m still a Rice Owl at heart (undergrad), but it’s generally easier being a Longhorn fan in terms of sports teams…

    Best –

  2. Merry belated Christmas to you all.
    Played piano at the memory care facility on Sat. in the morning.
    Played Christmas Eve service Sat. night.
    One singer went home immediately with stomach pains.
    The other singer stayed home sick.
    Our bass had other plans.
    Out of seven choir members we had 4.
    Then at 5 a.m. Sunday I awoke with an awful gastro-intestinal virus.
    Went to play Sunday morning and made it 3/4 of the way through and at the Pastor’s wife’s prodding, the Pastor who didn’t know I was sick told me to go home, they could manage.
    Spent the day trying to get warm in bed, only to have to get out and visit the porcelain library. Constant cramping and pain.
    I think I picked up the bug at the memory care place.
    It happened before when my mom was in a facility. It’s very contagious and can hit you as soon as 12 hours.
    Slept all night and finally feel better today.
    Today’s puzzle was fun. Tried to do yesterday’s, but had no head for it.
    Reading Bill’s blog, it all made sense.
    Hope you all enjoyed Christmas.

  3. Happy post Christmas wishes to all.
    Pookie, that is the longest post you’ve ever written. I am sure the bug was very potent and painful.
    I forgot it was post Xmas, as my wife was at home, ( it is a holiday, still – ) and as she ordered me around, I forgot it was still a Monday, and I just had to do the puzzle. I did it in record time, and enjoyed it very much. Thank you, Gail and Bruce.
    Met my new neighbors, once again – have become quite adept, thank you very much, in translating and comprehending chinese english. You just have to fill in, the missing consonants…. The wife is a mathematician, and has promised to explain to me, Fermat’s Last Theorem. Now, that is something to look forward to.

    Have a nice evening all. It is 69oF ( yaaaay !!) …. thank the Lord, there is some global warming taking place …..

  4. Happy Holidays to one and all! A nice easy Monday puzzle with a somewhat new word “Oyez” for me. Is this still used anywhere? I’m guessing not, but what do I know.

    @Bill In your excellent description of “porthole view”, you have a small typo in the line “…to come up with a way mount.”

  5. Hi gang!
    Pookie! So sorry you were sick!
    Very easy Monday–I wonder what it would be like actually to BE all those things in the themes: POLISHED, REFINED…. I’LL never know….
    Has anyone else heard of Schrodinger’s Puzzles? Saw a story about them on TV. Fascinating! The idea is that you can have more than one correct answer to the same clue, and it STILL WORKS in the grid! The most famous was in the NYT in 1996. Clue: “Headline in tomorrow’s papers.” Answer could be either CLINTON ELECTED or BOB DOLE ELECTED. Either way, the cross clues would work.
    Anyway it’s named for Schrodinger, as, like his cat, either answer could be alive or dead, so to speak.
    I realize most of y’all have already heard about this, so excuse the detail….It was new to me! ?
    I’m actually glad the holiday has ended and we’re back to situation normal. It’s kind of a relief!!! Stores are open; the gardener showed up today; it’s back to business. I’m no Scrooge, and I had a lovely Christmas, but it’s also busy and stressful. Maybe I prefer the usual everyday stress?
    Be well~~™????

  6. Hi all, hope you’re holiday is well. 🙂

    @all
    Did pretty well the rest of the week, relatively. Zero errors on Friday and Saturday. DNFed on Sunday. Cluing wasn’t too hard/confusing, but got long and sloggish again and got bored with it about 10 squares away.
    Did very well with the NYT again – zero errors on Fri and Sat. Oddly enough, I ended up better for the whole week on the NYT than the LAT (2 errors, plus a similar Sunday DNF). Funny, I suppose. But I think I see where some of my random “stupid” errors are coming from now.

    Carrie talked about keeping completed grids once upon a time…actually I ended up keeping my first unaided Sat NYT solve. Don’t know how others are, but I have to wonder what kind of mementos people do keep when they get into this hobby. I’m sure the ones that compete in contests definitely have something they’ve held onto akin to the proverbial “first dollar” that the businessman keeps in the frame on the wall.

    Anyway, I’ll hop over to Bill’s other blog and comment more about NYT world.

    @Tony Michaels (Saturday)
    I haven’t looked at WSJ grids in a little while since I got the puzzle book. I can definitely make a point to find that grid and see what’s going on with it.

    @derek (Saturday)
    With the way crossword grids work, they’re meant to be difficult (esoteric/arcane) on Saturdays. People out there do manage to solve them without cheating (including this one, myself).

    @Carrie (yesterday)
    Actually, what you described is rather famous. There’s a documentary called Wordplay that follows a number of things in crossword world (some ACPT contestants, a grid from Merl Reagle from conception to some guest celeb’s hands, and a few other related things). You learn very much from it if you want to know some things. One of the things they did was talk with the celebs about when they appeared in a grid as answers. Two of them they talked to: Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. So you can actually hear all about it from them. 🙂

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