LA Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 16, Wednesday




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Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

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Theme: Strings Attached

Today’s themed answer each start with an item that usually has STRINGS ATTACHED:

  • 61A. Proposal conditions … and what the first parts of the answers to starred clues all can have : STRINGS ATTACHED
  • 17A. *Reasons for refinancing : BALLOON PAYMENTS
  • 23A. *Inconsistent nutrition plan : YO-YO DIETING
  • 38A. *With 41-Across, “How to Get Away With Murder” Emmy winner : VIOLA
  • 41A. *See 38-Across : … DAVIS
  • 51A. *Marshall Islands nuclear test site : BIKINI ATOLL

Bill’s time: 9m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Specially formed : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.

15. Western wine region : NAPA

The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.

21. Iris layer : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The iris is the colored part of the eye with an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

22. Syst. with a Buffalo campus : SUNY

The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest system of third-level colleges and universities in the world, with almost 500,00 students attending over 60 campuses across the state.

Buffalo is the second most-populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.

29. “Top Gun” org. : USN

“Top Gun” is an entertaining action movie released in 1986 starring Tom Cruise and the lovely Kelly McGillis. The movie is all about pilots training at the US Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. A lot of footage was shot on board the Navy’s carrier the USS Enterprise during flight operations. At one point in a day’s shooting, the commander of the Enterprise changed course as needed for normal operations, but this altered the light for the cameras that were filming at the time. Director Tony Scott asked for the course to be changed back, but was informed that a course change would cost the Navy $25,000. Scott wrote out a check there and then, and he got another five minutes of filming with the light he needed.

30. Iditarod racer : DOGSLED

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers a massive 1,161 miles, from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. The fastest finishing time was set in 2002 at just under 9 days. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!

32. Colo. setting : MST

Mountain Standard Time (MST)

34. Scat legend, familiarly : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

37. Crème de la crème : ELITE

The “crème de la crème” is the elite, the best of the best. The term is French and translates as “cream of the cream”.

38. *With 41-Across, “How to Get Away With Murder” Emmy winner : VIOLA …
41. *See 38-Across : … DAVIS

Actress Viola Davis is probably best known on the small screen for playing the lead in the drama “How to Get Away with Murder”. On the big screen, I’d say that her most famous role is the starring role in the 2011 film “The Help”.

43. Support during exercise : SPOT

People at the gym who are doing weight training will often “spot” for each other. This means that the person who is spotting assists in the lift, allowing the “lifter” to work with more weight than usual.

46. Asian noodle dish : PAD THAI

The delicious dish called Pad Thai is a meld of stir-fried rice noodles with tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a mix of vegetables and possibly tofu, meat or fish. It is usually topped with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime. The name “Pad Thai” translates as “fried Thai-style”.

50. Govt. aid for the disabled : 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.

51. *Marshall Islands nuclear test site : BIKINI ATOLL

The testing of US nuclear weapons by the US at Bikini Atoll in the middle of 1946 went by the codename “Operation Crossroads”. The tests used A-bombs and were designed to measure the effect of blasts on navy vessels. There were three tests planned, but the third had to be cancelled as the Navy couldn’t decontaminate the ships used in the second test.

57. Arab bigwig : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

60. GM’s Mary Barra, for one : CEO

Mary Barra is the chief executive officer of General Motors (GM). Barra is the first woman to hold the top position in a global automotive manufacturing company.

65. It comes before one : NOON

Our word “noon”, meaning “midday”, comes from the Latin “nona hora” that translates as “ninth hour”. Back in Ancient Rome, the “ninth hour” was three in the afternoon. Over the centuries, traditions such as church prayers and “midday” meals shifted from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m., and so “noon” became understood as 12 noon.

66. Big name in beauty products : ULTA

Ulta Beauty is an American chain of beauty stores that was founded in 1990 and headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois. I am not part of the company’s target demographic …

67. Demi of “A Few Good Men” : MOORE

Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. Moore’s second husband was Bruce Willis. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her third husband, Ashton Kutcher. But, Kutcher and Moore split in 2013.

The marvelous 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” was adapted for the big screen by Aaron Sorkin, from his own play of the same name. Sorkin is also the man behind “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” on television, two great shows. Stars of the movie version “A Few Good Men” are Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.

69. December number : NOEL

“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

Down

2. Harsh Athenian lawmaker : DRACO

Constitutional law was brought to Athens and Ancient Greece by a legislator called Draco. The legal code that Draco developed was relatively harsh, which is why we use the term “draconian” to describe unforgiving rules.

3. “Roots” writer : HALEY

Not only did Alex Haley author the magnificent novel “Roots”, but he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and he claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who was kidnapped in the Gambia in 1767. If you remember the original television adaptation of “Roots”, you might recall that Kunta Kinte was played by LeVar Burton, who later went on to play another famous role, Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: the Next Generation”.

6. A year in Provence : ANNEE

Provence is a geographical region in France, in the south of the country. The region was once a Roman province called Provincia Romana, and was the first Roman province beyond the Alps. It is this Roman name “Provincia Romana” that gives Provence its name.

8. Busy pro in tax season : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

11. Twins legend who was the first DH to hit a home run : TONY OLIVA

Tony Oliva is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins. Oliva suffered from severe knee problems due to multiple injuries, forcing him to play the last four years of his career as a designated hitter (DH). On the bright side, he went into the history books in 1973 when became the first DH to hit a MLB home run.

13. Appt. book slots : HRS

Hours (hrs.)

18. Like a lamb : OVINE

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine”, meaning “like a sheep”.

19. Made faces : MUGGED

The verb “to mug” means to make an exaggerated facial expression. The term comes from mugs used to drink beer (called Toby mugs) that are the made in the shape of heads with grotesque expressions. “Mug” can also be a noun meaning “face”.

24. Juice provider : OUTLET

That would be juice (electricity) provided by a power outlet.

25. Home of most of Sawtooth National Forest : IDAHO

Sawtooth National Forest is located almost completely in Idaho, with a $% of its area spilling over into Utah. Named for the Sawtooth Mountains that cross it, the area was set aside for the nation in a proclamation signed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1905.

31. Try to hit, as a mosquito : SLAP AT

Mosquito is the Spanish for “little fly”. The female mosquito actually has to have a “blood meal” before she is able to lay her eggs.

32. King who turned his daughter into gold : MIDAS

King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. Of course the power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink and even his children.

35. Vision-correcting surgery : LASIK

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

47. BB shooter : AIRGUN

A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.

49. Teahouse mat : TATAMI

A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.

53. Birth-related : NATAL

Our word “natal” comes from the Latin “natalis” meaning “pertaining to birth”.

54. Former #1 LPGA golfer Lorena : OCHOA

Lorena Ochoa is a retired professional golfer from Mexico who was ranked as the number one female golfer in the world from 2007 to 2010.

56. Veinlike deposits : LODES

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

61. Show with “Weekend Update” skits, initially : SNL

“Weekend Update” is the longest-running of any recurring sketch on “Saturday Night Live”. In fact, the segment made its debut on the very first show, back in 1975. The first “anchor” at the “Weekend Update” was Chevy Chase.

62. Tip of a wingtip : TOE

A brogue is more commonly called a wingtip here in the US, I think. The shoe design originated in Ireland and Scotland, and “brog” the Irish word (and similar Scottish word) for shoe gives rise to the name. The brogue/wingtip design includes decorative perforations in the leather uppers. The toe cap of a brogue curves back in a shape that suggest the tip of a bird’s wing, hence the alternative name.

63. Pavement warning : SLO

Back in Ireland, the “pavement” is what we call the “footpath” (because the footpath is “paved”, often with “paving” stones!). It’s very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught from a young age to “walk on the pavement” …

64. Booking agent? : COP

“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Specially formed : AD HOC

6. Circle components : ARCS

10. Set in stone, say : ETCH

14. Hiking map line : TRAIL

15. Western wine region : NAPA

16. Melancholic : DOUR

17. *Reasons for refinancing : BALLOON PAYMENTS

20. Top card : ACE

21. Iris layer : UVEA

22. Syst. with a Buffalo campus : SUNY

23. *Inconsistent nutrition plan : YO-YO DIETING

26. Spanish bear : OSO

29. “Top Gun” org. : USN

30. Iditarod racer : DOGSLED

32. Colo. setting : MST

34. Scat legend, familiarly : ELLA

37. Crème de la crème : ELITE

38. *With 41-Across, “How to Get Away With Murder” Emmy winner : VIOLA …

40. “That feels amazing” : AAH

41. *See 38-Across : … DAVIS

42. Waits in traffic : IDLES

43. Support during exercise : SPOT

45. Give no stars to : PAN

46. Asian noodle dish : PAD THAI

48. One step __ time : AT A

50. Govt. aid for the disabled : SSI

51. *Marshall Islands nuclear test site : BIKINI ATOLL

57. Arab bigwig : EMIR

59. Wild speech : RANT

60. GM’s Mary Barra, for one : CEO

61. Proposal conditions … and what the first parts of the answers to starred clues all can have : STRINGS ATTACHED

65. It comes before one : NOON

66. Big name in beauty products : ULTA

67. Demi of “A Few Good Men” : MOORE

68. Give for a while : LEND

69. December number : NOEL

70. “None for me, thanks” : I PASS

Down

1. On the defensive : AT BAY

2. Harsh Athenian lawmaker : DRACO

3. “Roots” writer : HALEY

4. It may be crude : OIL

5. Sun blockers : CLOUDS

6. A year in Provence : ANNEE

7. Knock on : RAP AT

8. Busy pro in tax season : CPA

9. Doesn’t go along : SAYS NO

10. Steinbeck’s “East of __” : EDEN

11. Twins legend who was the first DH to hit a home run : TONY OLIVA

12. Director’s shout : CUT!

13. Appt. book slots : HRS

18. Like a lamb : OVINE

19. Made faces : MUGGED

24. Juice provider : OUTLET

25. Home of most of Sawtooth National Forest : IDAHO

27. Become established : SET IN

28. Some flowery works : ODES

31. Try to hit, as a mosquito : SLAP AT

32. King who turned his daughter into gold : MIDAS

33. Persevere : SOLDIER ON

35. Vision-correcting surgery : LASIK

36. Computer support? : LAP

38. Big shots : VIPS

39. Rubbish holder : ASH BIN

44. Contaminate : TAINT

47. BB shooter : AIRGUN

49. Teahouse mat : TATAMI

52. Hot under the collar : IRATE

53. Birth-related : NATAL

54. Former #1 LPGA golfer Lorena : OCHOA

55. Wolfish stares : LEERS

56. Veinlike deposits : LODES

58. Look after : MIND

61. Show with “Weekend Update” skits, initially : SNL

62. Tip of a wingtip : TOE

63. Pavement warning : SLO

64. Booking agent? : COP

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16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 16, Wednesday”

  1. Seemed awfully hard for a Wed. DNF even after 9 Googles, incl 2 sports.
    Had SwAt AT, and never changed that. Had only one of the 3 theme clues to use the theme. Not fun.

  2. 10:01, no errors. Started at the top and left a lot of holes that I didn’t fill in until I got about 3/4 of the way to the bottom, at which point the theme became clear and helped me out. Never heard of ULTA; apparently their target demographic doesn’t include me, either … 🙂

  3. I found this rather easy for a Wednesday. It’s probably just a matter of how much of the puzzle is in or out of one’s wheelhouse.

    I did have one error. I put SnO for “Pavement warning” which led to the well known beauty products company, UnTA…. Oh well…

    Best –

  4. @Carrie
    From what I know, they’re generally pretty rare, and usually when done as part of an intended theme. I think that’s why that particular grid got the traction that it did. The whole gimmick was something new…

  5. Just a few glitches that had to be erased today.
    MST or MDT? OSO or OSA?
    I actually put in NOne for “it comes before one” 🙂
    Liked the theme.

  6. 41A: Davis: I don’t think that this clue should have been starred because it was not part of the actual theme answers. Only the individual’s first name, Viola, was part of the theme and that was a different clue number.

    1. But each of the theme answers is in two parts, the first of which can be thought of as having strings attached. It just happens that one of these answers is split across two puzzle entries. So it makes sense to me that the clues for both entries should be starred …

  7. @Vidwan
    From yesterday – your mention of liquid nitrogen reminded me that NASA actually uses liquid nitorgen to get spaces into -300 degree F (ish) temps to test equipment for use in space (pardon the pun). It’s interesting stuff at that temperature. It boils at (I think) -320 degrees F . Strangely, the boiling process actually makes it turn into a solid when in a vacuum. As counterintuitive as that is, boiling is an exothermic reaction so it’s losing heat as the process continues. Eventually it loses enough heat so that the remaining liquid turns into a solid that looks like a piece of decorative glass. As the molecules seek stability, the crystal like substance actually then “explodes” (breaks apart violently) . It’s quite something to see. I believe there is a youtube video of this very phenomenon. I’ll try to find it and link it.

    Just to clarify further, the vacuum decreases the boiling point of the liquid nitrogen so it boils faster and gives off more and more heat which causes it to turn to the glass like solid

    Best –

  8. That was great, Dave. There’s one out there where the nitrogen actually explodes. The solid CO2 show was a nice (Nice?) touch on this one though…

  9. Firstly, thank you Dave and Jeff, for your kind links and comments. ! I will definitely look at both of them – far into the night….

    Jeff, I would not have believed it …. so I stared at it 4 times. As above, you said , ‘…. boiling is an exothermic reaction, so its losing heat as the process continues …. ‘ – umm, would that not be an ENDOthermic reaction ?
    as like, the latent heat of boiling (vaporisation ) of water, at normal atm. pressure would be ~ 540 calories per gram.

    also, your entire second paragraph, wherein you say, the vacuum decreases the boiling point of the liquid nitrogen so it boils faster and gives off more and more heat which causes it to turn to the glass like solid.
    Should that not be ….”ABSORBS more and more heat – resulting in the cooling ( – to a solid state – ) of whatever’s left behind ?’
    Jeff, I’m sure you meant well, and your understanding of liquid nitrogen, is solid, ( pun ?) so this is only an attempt at a gentle nudge …..

    Secondly, thanks Pookie, from yesterday, about all the flim flam the movies have portrayed. Its experts like you that the movie directors and producers really fear.

    Have a nice evening, all.

    1. @Vidwan
      Technically you’re right…and wrong. I was trying to (as briefly as I could) illustrate how something could boil and wind up a solid.

      I wasn’t counting on being heckled from the front row (joke). Sooo

      The truth is it is both an endothermic as well as an exothermic reaction so I would consider it an open system. Initially, yes the system absorbs heat obviously to bring the liquid to a boil. However, it then also releases heat during the boiling and evaporation process like sweating releases heat for us mortals. That’s how the solid is formed and the only way a boiling liquid can get colder – ie to lose heat and freeze a.k.a. an exothermic reaction…..

      Truthfully calling it exothermic or endothermic ignores the other aspect of it..so we were both wrong…..and right….

      I feel like I’m doing a term paper at 11 at night local time. I think I need to recharge my batteries now – is that energy absorbing or energy producing?

      Edit – And yes it absorbs more and more heat…but it also gives off more and more heat so…..I’ll stop repeating myself

      So I’ll stand by my initial blurb. It was correct. Incomplete perhaps, but it wasn’t incorrect…

      Best –

  10. Now, onto to the puzzle, something, about the solving of which, I am much less confident of. (split infinitive ?)

    I had a good time with the puzzle, although the clues were not that easy. I had to work around some of them, but I finally managed to complete the whole square. It was very challenging never the less. Thank you, C.C.

    How’s this …. for ‘Ella’ …. How a Cockney in Cairo would call upon God ? (groan). … or how an italian in Chicago, would refer to the elevated trains.

    Reading about Mary Barra, nee’ Makela ( finnish) CEO GM is very interesting. She born in Detroit, raised there by her GM employee father, went to GM schools and univ. ( Kettering Univ.) and then to Stanford on a GM scholarship, and has always worked for GM…..

    Have a good night, all.

  11. Pretty easy Wednesday; finished in about 17 minutes, albeit with one error: DAnIS, which was a guess. Never heard of her or Tony Oliva. Also guessed on SLO and ULTA, with “N”, “R” and finally “L”, which made the most sense.

  12. Hi all!
    Good solid puzzle which, in my case, both absorbed and gave off heat.? Took me FOREVER to get AD HOC. That was a challenging clue to start things off. Didn’t help that I didn’t know DRACO, but it is interesting to see the etymology of “draconian.”
    And I took FOREVER to write in USN, because all I remember about Top Gun is planes!! I expected USAF…..never mind that it didn’t fit…?
    Be well~~™????

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