LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Mar 17, Tuesday










Constructed by: Ray Hedrick & Mark McClain

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Take a Break

Today’s themed answers each end with a word can TAKE A BREAK, that is often followed by the word BREAK:

  • 61A. Rest .. or, literally, what the last word of the answers to starred clues can do : TAKE A BREAK
  • 17A. Source of money for Medicare : PAYROLL TAX (giving “tax break”)
  • 24A. Serving-mom-breakfast-in-bed occasion : MOTHER’S DAY (giving “daybreak”)
  • 37A. Asian plant named for the shape of its pink and white flowers : BLEEDING-HEART (giving “heartbreak”)
  • 50A. Local hoosegow : COUNTY JAIL (giving “jailbreak”)

Bill’s time: 4m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Concrete support rod : REBAR

A steel bar or mesh that is used to reinforce concrete is called “rebar”, short for “reinforcing bar”.

6. Aptly named Olympic sprinter Usain __ : BOLT

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

10. 1980s model that saved Chrysler from financial ruin : K-CAR

Chrysler introduced K-cars in the early 1980s at a time when demand for large cars with V8 engines was plummeting. Post-oil crisis consumers were seeking low-cost, fuel-efficient vehicles, which brought Chrysler to the brink of bankruptcy. It was the economical 4-cylinder, front-wheel drive platform that singlehandedly delivered the company into the profitability within a couple of years. K-cars were designed to carry 6 passengers, on two bench seats. Remember taking a corner a little too fast on those seats, in the days when no one wore seat belts?

17. Source of money for Medicare : PAYROLL TAX (giving “tax break”)

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) was introduced in the 1930s as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. FICA payments are made by both employees and employers in order to fund Social Security and Medicare.

Medicare is a the national medical insurance program administered by the US government. The term “Medicare” originally applied to a government program introduced in 1956 that provided coverage for families of those serving in the military. The current Medicare program was introduced by the Johnson administration in 1966, to provide health insurance to anyone aged 65 years or older.

20. River to the Seine : OISE

The River Oise rises in Belgium and joins up with the River Seine just outside Paris.

21. Five-spots : ABES

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

24. Serving-mom-breakfast-in-bed occasion : MOTHER’S DAY (giving “daybreak”)

Note the official punctuation in “Mother’s Day”, even though one might think it should be “Mothers’ Day”. President Wilson and Anna Jarvis, who created the tradition, specifically wanted Mother’s Day to honor the mothers within each family and not just “mothers” in general, so they went with the “Mother’s Day” punctuation.

30. Land bordering Suisse : ITALIE

In French, “Italie” (Italy) borders “la Suisse” (Switzerland).

31. Rodeo skill : ROPING

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated as “round up”.

37. Asian plant named for the shape of its pink and white flowers : BLEEDING-HEART (giving “heartbreak”)

Asian bleeding-heart is a plant in the poppy family with heart-shaped pink and white flowers. It is sometimes called lyre flower or lady-in-a-bath. What imaginative names …!

50. Local hoosegow : COUNTY JAIL (giving “jailbreak”)

“Hoosegow” is a slang term for “jail”. “Hoosegow” is a mispronunciation of the Mexican-Spanish word “juzgao” meaning “court, tribunal”.

55. Russian river : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.

57. This, in Tijuana : ESTO

Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.

58. Fey of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” : TINA

Comic actress Tina Fey has a scar on her face a few inches long on her left cheek, which I was shocked to learn was caused by a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old and playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How despicable!

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a 2016 film based on a memoir called “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Kim Barker. Tina Fey stars as a TV journalist on assignment as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. Despite the somber setting, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a comedy-drama. The title is the initialism WTF spelled out using the NATO phonetic alphabet. WTF stands for “what the fudge?!”, or similar …

63. Ice formation : FLOE

An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

64. E pluribus __ : UNUM

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

66. Snorkeling gear : FINS

Our word “snorkel” comes from German navy slang “Schnorchel” meaning “nose, snout”. The German slang was applied to an airshaft used for submarines, due to its resemblance to a nose, in that air passed through it and it made a “snoring” sound. “Schnorchel” comes from “Schnarchen”, the German for “snore”.

67. Dosage amts. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

Down

2. “Seinfeld” regular : ELAINE

The character called Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

5. Old Olds creation : REO

The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.

6. “The Hobbit” hero : BILBO

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel “The Hobbit”, the title character is Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who stumbles across a magical ring and then embarks on a series of adventures.

10. “Seven Samurai” director Akira : KUROSAWA

Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be “The Seven Samurai”, the inspiration for “The Magnificent Seven” starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.

11. L.A. Times publishing family name : CHANDLER

Otis Chandler took over as publisher of the “Los Angeles Times” in 1960 from his father Norman Chandler. Otis retired from his position in 1980.

12. Just fine : A-OK

Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.

13. Baseball scoreboard letters : RHE

On baseball scoreboards we see the letters RHE, standing for Runs, Hits and Errors.

18. Flee : LAM

To be “on the lam” is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

22. Dated PC monitor : CRT

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

26. “It __ over till it’s over”: Berra : AIN’T

Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

  • It ain’t over till it’s over.
  • 90% of the game is half mental.
  • Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • It’s déjà vu all over again.
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

37. U2 lead singer : BONO

Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner, born Paul David Hewson. As a youth, Hewson was given the nickname “Bono Vox” by a friend, a Latin expression meaning “good voice”, and so the singer has been known as Bono since the late seventies. His band’s first name was “Feedback”, later changed to “The Hype”. The band members searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least …

40. Sushi fish : EEL

Anyone going to a sushi restaurant can order all types of raw fish (known collectively as “sashimi”). However, eel is always served cooked, and that’s because the blood of eels contains a protein that cramps muscles if eaten. If the heart muscle “cramps”, the result can be death. The protein is easily rendered harmless by applying heat, i.e. cooking.

44. Inc., in the U.K. : LTD

In Britain and Ireland the most common type of business (my perception anyway) is one that has private shareholders whose liability is limited to the value of their investment. Such a company is known as a private limited company, and has the letters “Ltd” after the name. If the shares are publicly traded, then the company is a public limited company, and has the letters “plc” after the name.

A company that has incorporated uses the abbreviation “Inc.” after its name. By incorporating, a company forms a corporation, which is a legal entity that has legal rights similar to those of an individual. For example, a corporation can sue another corporation or individual. However, a corporation does not have all the rights of citizens. A corporation does not have the Fifth Amendment right of protections against self-incrimination, for example. It is perhaps understandable that the concept of “corporations as persons” is a frequent subject for debate.

47. “Murder on the __ Express” : ORIENT

“Murder on the Orient Express” is perhaps the most famous detective novel penned by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot has to determine which of the passengers on the Orient Express train committed a murder. Spoiler alert: they all did!

49. Quenches : SLAKES

“To slake” is to satisfy a craving, as in slaking one’s thirst.

51. Denim trousers : JEANS

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

52. Invite to the penthouse : ASK UP

Originally, the term “penthouse” was used to describe a modest building attached to a main structure. In fact, in centuries past, the manger in which Jesus was born was often referred to as a penthouse. The modern, more luxurious connotation dates back to the early twenties.

54. Mauna __ : LOA

Mauna Loa on the “big island” of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

59. Favorite pal, in texts : BFF

Best friend forever (BFF)

60. __ Baba : ALI

There is some controversy about the story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called “One Thousand and One Nights”. The suggestion is that the Ali Baba tale was added by one of the European translators of the collection.

61. Preteen king : TUT

“King Tut” is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamun’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

62. Bikini half : BRA

The origin of the word “bikini”, a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name “bikini” was chosen for the swim-wear because of the “explosive” effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Concrete support rod : REBAR

6. Aptly named Olympic sprinter Usain __ : BOLT

10. 1980s model that saved Chrysler from financial ruin : K-CAR

14. Outwit, as a police tail : ELUDE

15. Slushy drink brand : ICEE

16. “Here comes trouble!” : UH-OH

17. Source of money for Medicare : PAYROLL TAX (giving “tax break”)

19. Garden tool : RAKE

20. River to the Seine : OISE

21. Five-spots : ABES

22. Pull a fast one on : CON

23. Cut with scissors : SNIP

24. Serving-mom-breakfast-in-bed occasion : MOTHER’S DAY (giving “daybreak”)

28. Tied up in knots : TENSE

30. Land bordering Suisse : ITALIE

31. Rodeo skill : ROPING

36. Exited, with “out” : WENT

37. Asian plant named for the shape of its pink and white flowers : BLEEDING-HEART (giving “heartbreak”)

41. Tragic fate : DOOM

42. Signify : DENOTE

43. Ready if needed : ON CALL

45. Rises dramatically : LOOMS

50. Local hoosegow : COUNTY JAIL (giving “jailbreak”)

55. Russian river : URAL

56. Wee bit : TAD

57. This, in Tijuana : ESTO

58. Fey of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” : TINA

59. Fishing supply : BAIT

61. Rest .. or, literally, what the last word of the answers to starred clues can do : TAKE A BREAK

63. Ice formation : FLOE

64. E pluribus __ : UNUM

65. Archery practice facility : RANGE

66. Snorkeling gear : FINS

67. Dosage amts. : TSPS

68. Joins a poker game : ANTES

Down

1. Share on Facebook, as a friend’s picture : REPOST

2. “Seinfeld” regular : ELAINE

3. Joins a poker game : BUYS IN

4. TV spot sellers : AD REPS

5. Old Olds creation : REO

6. “The Hobbit” hero : BILBO

7. Four pairs : OCTET

8. Dog lead : LEASH

9. __-Mex cuisine : TEX

10. “Seven Samurai” director Akira : KUROSAWA

11. L.A. Times publishing family name : CHANDLER

12. Just fine : A-OK

13. Baseball scoreboard letters : RHE

18. Flee : LAM

22. Dated PC monitor : CRT

25. Four pairs : EIGHT

26. “It __ over till it’s over”: Berra : AIN’T

27. Up to now : YET

29. Before, in odes : ERE

32. “Hard to believe, but … ” : ODDLY …

33. Baked dessert : PIE

34. Homey lodging : INN

35. Park __: airport facility : ‘N GO

37. U2 lead singer : BONO

38. Phrasing style : LOCUTION

39. Issues (from) : EMANATES

40. Sushi fish : EEL

41. Medic : DOC

44. Inc., in the U.K. : LTD

46. Beat to the finish line : OUTRAN

47. “Murder on the __ Express” : ORIENT

48. Get by : MANAGE

49. Quenches : SLAKES

51. Denim trousers : JEANS

52. Invite to the penthouse : ASK UP

53. To-do list bullets : ITEMS

54. Mauna __ : LOA

59. Favorite pal, in texts : BFF

60. __ Baba : ALI

61. Preteen king : TUT

62. Bikini half : BRA

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17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Mar 17, Tuesday”

  1. 6:19, no errors, online. Done same time as the one I did Monday…

    Went ahead and pulled the CHE @David mentioned and did it too. 35 min, DNF. I won’t spoil the gimmick on this one (it is), but I have to wonder if doing something that “out there” is the norm on any other grid. Anyhow, I found it very strange compared to other like gimmicks, and that’s where the DNF came from – you really had to know all the clues involved or it didn’t work.

    Anyhow good to know (now) that CHE runs gimmick grids.

    1. @Carrie
      The Olympics have been a steady money loser for quite some time, even to the point of bankruptcy. Hosting the Olympics was most of Greece’s economic problem. You’ll find things about Rio getting slammed hard too. There’s lots of articles on it. I’ve read that even some of the venues of the 70’s – one article saying that it took 30 years to pay off the debt after Montreal in 1976. One article says that it’s so bad all the democratic parties have pulled out of the running for 2022 (Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan left). Point being, the Olympics is very far from being a money-maker in any regard.

      (large number of links left out for obvious reasons, though I found all of this very easily on Google search)

  2. Well I’m back in Houston, but I’m not back to reality yet. I always plan a buffer day when planning vacations so no work today. I just try to unpack and recover, then I just have a 3 day week to deal with.

    I felt very off balance and rusty with this one, but my time was not too bad. I don’t know if the puzzle was tough for a Tuesday or it was just me being slow.

    Vidwan/Carrie – The U.S. customs/immigration facility in the Dominican Republic is not functional yet, but it’s supposed to be some time this year. I can’t tell you how nice that will be to not have to deal with customs in Miami. I tried Charlotte this time, but it was also a zoo. I’ve noticed people’s whining is more related to the speed of the line than the actual wait time. Charlotte moved slowly, but it was only 25 minutes from the start of the immigration line, through immigration, grabbing your bags and through customs. I’ll take that any day, but people were acting like they were on the Bataan Death March due to the slowness of the movement of the line.

    Btw – Canada also has U.S. Customs at their airports so none of those issues when re-entering the country from there either.

    Most of the Punta Cana pix that were taken were taken by the girlfriend’s phone so I need to wait until I get those before posting again – probably in a day or two.

    I suspect Bill can appreciate this story: There was some large worldwide convention where I was staying – 400 or more people from some insulation company from all over the world. I was at the bar when a group of 6 Irishmen came up and started ordering drinks. After a few, I started talking with them and asking about the country (one place I have not been but would like to go) etc. After a while they started asking me about the resort, other bars and such. I was puzzled and finally asked them if they had even seen any of the place yet. They told me they had not – after a flying from Dublin to Paris then to Punta Cana (12+ hours?), they went right to the bar and started drinking – even before they had gone to their rooms. I then saw their luggage still sitting there with them. Fun fun group I must say. I have all of their contacts for when I go there some day.

    How many ABES would it take to bribe someone to do my laundry today??

    Best –

  3. 10:23, with one error that I fixed after getting the silent treatment. I had filled in ITALIA (the Italian spelling) rather than ITALIE (the French spelling) and neglected to check the crossing entry, where I had YAT instead of YET.

    @Glenn … The puzzle with the odd gimmick came from the WSJ site, rather than the CHE site. And I would say that you don’t necessarily have to know all the clues (but it’s true that, for some squares, only one clue is of use).

    1. @David
      I know, the WSJ one you pointed out was a variety puzzle. Basically it’s anything that’s not a crossword or the math puzzle. You see all weird kinds of things on those puzzles.

      But I was referring to the 03/10 CHE as having one after doing it. Of course, those with more experience might have seen something like that done before, but for one like me that didn’t know any of the involved clues straight out, it was pretty hard to figure out what they were doing (though the title lampshades it – hindsight is always 20/20).

      1. @Glenn … Ah, so! My bad! I haven’t done the 03/10 CHE puzzle yet. I’ll probably try it later today, as my back is acting up and I can’t do a long walk (which would otherwise be my first choice). Thanks for the heads up …

        (And I remain astonished by the WSJ “variety puzzle” … 🙂 )

  4. Erase, erase, erase!
    Sheesh, Bill 4m 46s?????
    EvaDE before ELUDE. oH-OH instead of UH-OH. Dumb error.
    EEL was in, and then out and then in again.
    Why is 30A the French spelling of the Swiss clue about Italy ITALIE?
    Kind of frustrating for a Tuesday.
    @Jeff, glad you’re home safe!

  5. Never, in all of my many years, have I ever heard a $5.00 bill called an “Abe”; except of course, in the alternative world of crosswords.

  6. I found todays puzzle harder than most Tues. Finally got it all done, but it took a lot longer to finish. Oh, re: olympics. LA (my town) will probably end up with it. That will help to pay for the two football teams we now house. Yikes, time to move to the hills!

  7. @Glenn … I did the 3/10 CHE puzzle and I now see exactly what you mean. After 56 minutes and 15 seconds, I had filled in the entire grid exactly as it appears on the CHE answer page, I was absolutely sure how to interpret four out of the five “special” squares, and I was pretty sure how to interpret the fifth “special” square (the leftmost one), even though I had never heard of the particular thing it references. Since the correct interpretations are not even given on the answer page, I think I’m justified in declaring my solve a success … 🙂 … and I enjoyed the puzzle, but the gimmick strikes me as a bit inelegant; in particular, I don’t think Will Shortz would have used it.

    1. @David
      Yeah, you have to know the Down answers for certain, even if you know the proper across for those squares. FWIW, since I had to look them up earlier for myself (and if it helps others that might try this one, spoilery of course):

      All the Down answers are “kinds” of what the grid letter represents:
      4D – IMPEACHES
      15D – TIPPECANOE
      21D – RASPBERRY BERET (knew this, but filling in the bold didn’t help across – it’s the name of a Prince song)
      34D – ADAM’S APPLE
      52D – DON LEMON

      Inelegant indeed, really, since neither direction helps with the other.

      1. @Glenn … Okay, so one of my “absolutely sure” interpretations was different from yours: I thought the answer for 52D was Don CHERRY. But, as it turns out, both are correct: Don Lemon is the CNN guy and Don Cherry is the “Hockey Night” host. So … a clever idea and an enjoyable solve, but quite different from anything I have seen before.

  8. @Pookie … In the clue for 30A, the use of the French spelling “Suisse” was probably meant to signal that, in the answer, one should use the French spelling “Italie”. And, yes, it tripped me up … 🙂

  9. Thank you Jeff, …. and I’ll wait for your pictures.

    Thank you, Carrie, for responding. I keep worrying whether I’ve posted something inappropriate in this privileged blog …. As for Greece, I feel sorry for them – they are going to be in debt for the next 50 years. How can a people or a country keep any hope for the future, under such circumstances.

    The puzzle was very easy, though I had some rough spots. My mind seems to wander.

    I forgot to post this, this morning…
    Have a nice day, all.

  10. Jeff, I just read your post. Get your beauty rest and your beauty sleep. Atleast you dont have to worry about the jet lag, because you were on the same longitude ( or is it latitude … haha ) and time zone.

    Regarding people ordering drinks, …. drinks make great mixers and good casual friends. The only indian proverb I can think of, on drinking is ….. “A drunk person always tells the truth”. The point being, that when a person gets drunk, it lowers his inhibitions, so he is more loose in his talk, and ( more likely – ) will blurt out the unembellished truth …. because his mind is not working normally, in that he cannot be conniving enough to tell a lie. To tell a lie requires craftsmanship and mental alacrity. Anyway, so they say.

    Good day, and evening, all.

  11. My fave director appears in the good ol’ LAT grid!! Love KUROSAWA, and “The Seven Samurai” is my all-time favorite film. To add to Bill’s write-up : the first “Star Wars” was based on another Kurosawa masterpiece, “The Hidden Fortress.” Great stuff!!!

    Jeff, love that story about the Irish gentlemen. And, to answer your question: a thousand, PLUS my plane fare to Texas…?
    Be well~~™???

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