LA Times Crossword Answers 4 Feb 17, Saturday










Constructed by: David C. Duncan Dekker

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Runway covering : TARMACADAM

The terms “Tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call Tarmac.

17. Source of sweet-scented spice : NUTMEG TREE

The fruit of the nutmeg tree yields two very different spices. What we call “nutmeg” comes from the seed of the tree. “Mace” is the dried covering of the seed.

19. What suspects may be charged with : TASERS

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

22. Something else : LULU

We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder, who was a stage magician active in the 1880s.

23. First name in legal fiction : ERLE

I must have read all of the “Perry Mason” books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

32. Pan Am competitor : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

Pan American World Airways (usually just “Pan Am”) started out as a mail and passenger service between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba in 1927. From very early in the company’s life it was the de facto representative air carrier of the United States. For many years Pan Am’s fleet was built around the Boeing 314 Clipper, a long-range flying boat that was one of the largest aircraft around at the time. Pan Am adopted the Clipper as part of its image, even using “clipper” as the call sign for its flights.

34. Darken, in a way : TAN

Leather is of course made from animal skins. When the flesh, fat and hair is removed from the skin and it is dried, the resulting product is called “rawhide”. Further treatment of the skin with chemicals that permanently alter the protein structure of the skin is called “tanning”, and the resulting product is “leather”.

38. Leftover bit : ORT

Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.

42. Like some horses : PIED

Something described as “pied” is patchy or blotchy in color, piebald. The term comes from the Middle English “pie”, an old name for the magpie, and is a reference to the bird’s black and white plumage.

44. Hunting dogs : COONHOUNDS

Coonhounds are American hunting dogs. The breed was originally developed for hunting raccoons, hence the name.

48. Depict artistically : LIMN

“To limn” is to describe, or portray in a painting or a drawing. “Limn” has the same root as “illuminate”, in the sense of illuminating a manuscript.

49. Certain game extensions, briefly : OTS

In overtime (OT)

50. Force user : OBI-WAN

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

56. Hand or foot : UNIT

A hand is a 4-inch unit of measure used primarily for giving the height of a horse. The original “hand” was the width of the hand, held without splaying the thumb or fingers. The height of a horse is measure from the ground to the withers, the ridge between the shoulder blades.

57. Flipper, for one : BOTTLENOSE

Bottlenose dolphins have a very large brain to body mass ratio, second only to humans among mammals in general. Along with the brain-size comes high intelligence. Many dolphins have been trained to carry out military tasks. And then there is their acting ability, as exemplified by “Flipper”.

59. “Constant Craving” singer : LANG

k.d. lang is the stage name of Kathryn Dawn Lang, a Canadian singer and songwriter. Beyond her performing career, lang is a noted activist focused on animal rights, gay rights, and human rights in Tibet.

61. Gucci or Rossi : ALDO

Gucci was founded in Rome in 1921, by Guccio Gucci. Guccio’s son Aldo took over the company after his father’s death in 1953. It was Aldo who established the international presence for the brand and opened the company’s first overseas store, in New York City.

Aldo Rossi was an architect from Milan, Italy, where much of his work can be seen.

Down

8. War-torn Sudanese region : DARFUR

In response to a 2003 rebellion in the Darfur region of Sudan, the Sudanese government embarked on a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the non-Arab population in the region. Hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths ensued, and eventually Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir was indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. al Bashir is still in office.

22. Flat-panel TV component : LCD

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

24. 1956 rockabilly hit : BE-BOP-A-LULA

“Be-Bop-A-Lula” is an early rock and roll song, recorded in 1956 by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. The unusual name is probably related to the song “Be-Baba-Leba” recorded just over ten years earlier, in 1945 by Helen Humes. Both these titles derive from a similar sounding phrase common in jazz circles in the forties, which gave the name to the “bebop” style of music. And the original jazz term “bebop” probably came from “Arriba! Arriba!”, words of encouragement from Latin American bandleaders to their musicians.

26. Code-breaking game with colored pegs : MASTERMIND

Mastermind is a code breaking game that uses colored pegs on decoding board. The “codemaker” sets a hidden “code” of four colored pegs into one end of the board, and then the “codebreaker” guesses the sequence of colors by laying four pegs into the decoding section of the same board. The codemaker responds by revealing how many pegs are guessed correctly and in the right position, and how many are guessed correctly and in the wrong position. The codebreaker uses this information to break the code within a specified number of guesses.

27. __ Kids: “Sesame Street” brand : PBS

Children’s programming on the Public Broadcasting Service has gone by the name “PBS Kids” since 1994.

Back in 1966, the Carnegie Institute allocated money to study the use of television to help young children prepare for school. The institute gave an $8million grant to set up the Children’s Television Workshop with the task of creating an educational TV program for young people. The program began to come together, especially after Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) got involved. The name “Sesame Street” was chosen simply because it was the “least disliked” of all names proposed just before the program went on the air.

28. Am or Fm : ELEM

“Am” is the symbol for the element Americium. Americium was first produced during WWII at the University of California in Berkeley. The discovery was related to the Manhattan Project and so was kept secret from the public until after the war.

“Fm” is the symbol for the element Fermium. Fermium was discovered as a result of the first hydrogen bomb explosion, in 1952. It is named for Enrico Fermi, a leading Italian nuclear physicist of the day. Fermium is the element with the atomic number of 100.

29. Fictional Soviet sub : RED OCTOBER

“The Hunt for Red October” was the first novel published by Tom Clancy, and one of his best in my humble opinion. The story is centered on the defection of the captain of a top-secret Soviet submarine, who attempts to surrender his vessel to the Americans without the knowledge of his crew. The gripping storyline is actually inspired by real events, the failed mutiny on board the Soviet submarine Storozhevoy in 1975. Unusually, the novel was published by the United States Naval Institute, marking the first time it had ever published a fictional work. To this day, “The Hunt for Red October” is the Institutes’s most successful title.

37. Voice of Master Viper in “Kung Fu Panda” films : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

“Kung Fu Panda” is a 2008 animated film from DreamWorks. It’s all about a panda who is expert in kung fu, as one might guess …

40. Flamenco guitarist Carlos : MONTOYA

Carlos Montoya was a renowned flamenco guitarist from Madrid, Spain. Montoya brought his music to much of the world while touring during the 1920s and 1930s. He was touring America when WWII broke out in Europe, an event that led to his settling in the US.

50. A little of this, a little of that : OLIO

“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

51. One of the March sisters : BETH

“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.

55. Headland : NESS

A “ness” is a headland or promontory. The term comes from Old Norse and has the same roots as our word “nose”.

58. Light head? : TWI-

“Twilight” is the light experienced when the sun is below the horizon, both in the morning and the evening. The prefix “twi-” seems to come from the sense of “half”, and in “half light”. There appears to be no connection to the word “twice”, despite twilight occurring twice each day.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Runway covering : TARMACADAM

11. Border : ABUT

15. Hedge : EQUIVOCATE

16. Mellow, with “down” : TONE

17. Source of sweet-scented spice : NUTMEG TREE

18. Car alarm : HORN

19. What suspects may be charged with : TASERS

20. Grease, often : FAT

21. Squeezed (out) : EKED

22. Something else : LULU

23. First name in legal fiction : ERLE

24. Good yield : BUMPER CROP

30. Not a good look : LEER

31. Made possible : ENABLED

32. Pan Am competitor : TWA

34. Darken, in a way : TAN

35. Ordered : BOSSED

36. Manage poorly : ILL-USE

38. Leftover bit : ORT

39. Kid’s cry : MOM!

41. Dresses : ATTIRES

42. Like some horses : PIED

44. Hunting dogs : COONHOUNDS

46. Business opening : AGRO-

47. Letter-shaped fastener : T-NUT

48. Depict artistically : LIMN

49. Certain game extensions, briefly : OTS

50. Force user : OBI-WAN

56. Hand or foot : UNIT

57. Flipper, for one : BOTTLENOSE

59. “Constant Craving” singer : LANG

60. Police may look for one : EYEWITNESS

61. Gucci or Rossi : ALDO

62. Some talk show personalities : RADIO HOSTS

Down

1. Big top, e.g. : TENT

2. Water color : AQUA

3. Groovy things : RUTS

4. Street performer : MIME

5. Claim : AVER

6. Minor players : COGS

7. Perform : ACT

8. War-torn Sudanese region : DARFUR

9. Got stuffed : ATE A LOT

10. Join for a drink, say : MEET UP WITH

11. Close behind : AT HEEL

12. Library feature : BOOK RETURN

13. Not yet on the shelves : UNRELEASED

14. Gentle quality : TENDERNESS

22. Flat-panel TV component : LCD

24. 1956 rockabilly hit : BE-BOP-A-LULA

25. Hardly fresh : UNORIGINAL

26. Code-breaking game with colored pegs : MASTERMIND

27. __ Kids: “Sesame Street” brand : PBS

28. Am or Fm : ELEM

29. Fictional Soviet sub : RED OCTOBER

33. Chorus line? : ALTO

37. Voice of Master Viper in “Kung Fu Panda” films : LIU

40. Flamenco guitarist Carlos : MONTOYA

41. Social worker? : ANT

43. “What’s the rush?” : DON’T GO

45. Kicked to the curb : OUSTED

50. A little of this, a little of that : OLIO

51. One of the March sisters : BETH

52. __ time : IN NO

53. Tribulations : WOES

54. No. 2 : ASST

55. Headland : NESS

58. Light head? : TWI-

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 4 Feb 17, Saturday”

  1. Zero errors, 42 minutes, yesterday.

    @Dirk
    I don’t have any nut allergies, and don’t have any problems eating nuts since the gout got brought under control (it may not be now, after not being able to afford the checkups and meds).

    By “nut kick”, I mean I got into eating one of those big tins of nuts about every two weeks. With anything and everything we consume, there’s certain levels of consumption that turn into toxicity either at one time or over a period of time – either there’s something in the item that in itself is toxic or the body can’t handle digesting that much and starts developing problems.

  2. Did about 75% of this puzzle pretty easily, but I came to a screeching halt in the SW. LIMN, PIED, BEBOPALULA, LANG, ALDO, no idea “hand” was a UNIT, and I’d never even heard of MASTERMIND. Just too much for me to overcome in that section. Cheating got me through it.

    That said, Mastermind sounds like an interesting game. I wonder if there is a way to play it with more than 4 pegs.

    Best –

  3. 14:16, no errors. One of those odd solves when a lot of answers that I think are probably wrong turn out to be correct. My only missteps (apart from a couple of clumsy-fingered typos) were DNUT => TNUT and EDGE => ABUT.

  4. Took a long time to even start. “Lang” was the only thing I was sure of. Then I got “equivocate” by guessing some of the short words going down. I thought it was pretty easy after that but got stuck at the end because I put “shod” in instead of “pied”. Had to look at Bill’s grid to get “Bebopalula” and now I remember it, and it’s playing in my end in an endless loop.

  5. With @Jeff in the SW, where I didn’t fare much better, although I remembered BE BOP A LULA right off. AgrO instead of AgrI, combined with LIMN and those two proper nouns did me in. When I couldn’t get DON’T GO, I went.
    @Glenn — Thanks for the explanation, but seeing or hearing the term “nut kick” in any context gives me the yips?.

  6. The entire western edge almost made me DNF this grid, but it finally fell after I got Be Bop a lula and then began to slowly get the crossing clues. Bill’s solve time is astounding (once again!).

  7. 38 minutes, 2 squares I simply forgot to fill in (that I would have got) and didn’t until I got to that point in checking. Wonder if there’s a category for that – still can’t count it right, though.

    An odd thought in general, relating to the NYT conversation: I’ve done grids when I’ve watched TV and had answers staring back at me. The best has to be ESAI Morales emceeing something just as I was about to fill that in on a grid. Wonder if that counts as “cheating”? Heh.

    @Joe
    It (kick) is just an expression for “a strong, temporary interest” (in the dictionary, even). Probably a bad one paired with either peanuts or mixed nuts.

  8. Fizzled out quickly and didn’t have the time/energy to persist. Came here for explanations and the “kick” info. Besides, I got yesterday.

    I was eating a large handful of almonds, walnuts and peanuts along with dried mangoes and dried cranberries at least once or twice a day. One day I just started developing an itch. Took me awhile to make the connection.

  9. Hi all!
    Success! Finished without major grief, tho there was a lot here I didn’t know. Never heard of TARMACADAM!! Didn’t know there was such a thing as a NUTMEG TREE. I guess I was saved by the little things that I did know, like PIED and ERLE.
    BEBOPALULA!!! I covered that song many years ago, with this garage band I belonged to. My version was a twist on the original: more bluesy, with minor chords. I confess that I borrowed the idea from another local band….Good times. I oughta play that thing again.
    Forgot to ask y’all: which team should I root for in the Superbowl?
    Saw an interesting segment on Spanish language news: apparently several Superbowl commercials make reference to immigrants or refugees. For example, one for Budweiser portrays the company’s founder, a German immigrant back in the 1920s. I imagine this story appeared on English language news shows, but I only saw it on Telemundo.
    See you folks mañana!
    Be well~~™??

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