LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Sep 2017, Thursday










Constructed by: Clive Probert

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Tin Answers

Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase, but with a letter T inserted at the start of the last word:

  • 20A. Place to mingle on the slopes? : SINGLES T-BAR (T in “singles bar”)
  • 34A. Misplace a casual top? : LOSE YOUR T-SHIRT (T in “lose your shirt”)
  • 39A. Take Rover to Ruth’s Chris? : GIVE A DOG A T-BONE (T in “give a dog a bone”)
  • 53A. Dinosaur family drama? : OEDIPUS T. REX (T in “Oedipus Rex”)

Bill’s time: 10m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Six-footers at parties : SUBS

Submarine sandwich (sub)

9. Parakeet quarters : CAGES

Parakeets are a group of bird species that are small parrots. The most common type of parakeet that we see in pet stores is the budgerigar.

We use the term “quarters” for a place of abode, especially housing for military personnel. Back in the late 16th century, quarters were a portion (quarter) of a town reserved for a military force.

15. St. Paul’s architect : WREN

The famous and very beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. St. Paul’s was completed in 1708 and was constructed as part of a rebuilding program necessary after the devastation of the Great Fire of London of 1666. St. Paul’s is the second largest church building in the country, after Liverpool Cathedral.

16. Important fruit in the Mediterranean diet : OLIVE

The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional regime that is based on the traditional diets consumed in Greece, and the southern parts of Italy, France and Spain. Central to the Mediterranean diet are relatively high proportions of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables. Oh, and the odd glass of red wine.

17. Novelist Morrison : TONI

The writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase, “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

18. Zaragoza’s river : EBRO

The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the “Iber” river that gives the “Iberian” Peninsula its name.

Zaragoza is the capital city of the autonomous community of Aragon in Spain. The city’s name evolved from the name used by the ancient Romans: Caesaraugusta.

20. Place to mingle on the slopes? : SINGLES T-BAR (T in “singles bar”)

A T-bar is a type of ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

23. Legal deg. : LLB

Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is a an undergraduate degree in law. The abbreviation “LLB” stands for Legum (“LL”, for the plural “laws”) Baccalaureus (B, for Bachelor).

25. Gobble (up) : SNARF

To snarf down is to gobble up, to eat voraciously. “Snarf” is a slang term that is probably related to “scarf”, which has the same meaning.

27. Octet since 2006 : PLANETS

There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets” which doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood”. The most oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.

31. Shakespearean call to arms : ALARUM

“Alarum” is an archaic spelling of our contemporary “alarm”, and a spelling oft used by William Shakespeare in his plays.

36. “I saw the opening __ of hell”: “Moby-Dick” : MAW

“Maw” is a term used to describe the mouth or stomach of a carnivorous animal. “Maw” is also used as slang for the mouth or stomach of a greedy person.

The full title of Herman Melville’s novel is “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”. Note that the convention is to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” in the title, as that was how the book was first published, in 1851. However, there is no hyphen in the name of the whale “Moby Dick” as reproduced throughout the text.

37. “Straight Outta Compton” role, familiarly : DRE

NWA was a hip hop group from Compton, California. The original five group members included rappers who have made a name for themselves as solo acts, including: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The story of NWA is told in a 2015 film, also called “Straight Outta Compton”. I hear that the movie was well received, although hip hop is not my cup of tea …

39. Take Rover to Ruth’s Chris? : GIVE A DOG A T-BONE (T in “give a dog a bone”)

“This Old Man” is an English nursery rhyme that dates back at least as far as the 1870s.

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on his drum;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a huge chain of fine-dining restaurants, with well over 100 establishments. The company was started by a single mother of two called Ruth Fertel. In 1965 Fertel bought the Chris Steak House in New Orleans, and under the agreement governing the purchase, she had to retain the name “Chris”. So Fertel added her own name in front of the existing name, and Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses were born.

48. Doone of fiction : LORNA

The novel “Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.

50. NBA tiebreakers : OTS

In overtime (in OT)

51. Balderdash : ROT

“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids, like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!

53. Dinosaur family drama? : OEDIPUS T. REX (T in “Oedipus Rex”)

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

59. Major mess : SNAFU

SNAFU is an acronym standing for Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (well, that’s the “polite” version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

61. Universal donor’s type, briefly : O-NEG

The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.

63. One with a strict diet : VEGAN

A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

68. Singer James : ETTA

Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

Down

2. Mine, in Marseille : A MOI

Marseille (often written “Marseilles” in English) is the second largest city in France, after Paris. Marseille is also the largest commercial port in the country. I used to live nearby, and can attest that Marseille and environs is a great place to visit …

3. The Quakers of the Ivy League : PENN

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) was founded in 1740 by by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, or sometimes the Red & Blue.

4. Conundrums : ENIGMAS

Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.

“Conundrum” is a relatively new word, even though it sounds like Latin. It was coined in the late 16th century in Oxford University, England as a slang, pseudo-Latin word meaning “pedant”. Somehow, this meaning evolved into “riddle, puzzle” in the late 18th century.

5. “American Gods” leprechaun Mad __ : SWEENEY

“American Gods” is a 2001 fantasy novel by English author Neil Gaiman. The book has been adapted into a TV series, with the first season airing on Starz in 2017. It’s all about gods and mythological creatures in contemporary America. Not my cup of tea, although there is a leprechaun named Mad Sweeney in the mix …

7. Muppet with a unibrow : BERT

The muppet character named Bert usually plays the straight man to his partner character Ernie. Bert has a unibrow, while Ernie has no brows at all.

8. Elitists : SNOBS

Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

9. Western pens : CORRALS

“Corral” is the Spanish word for an enclosure for livestock, and is a word we’ve imported into English. Ultimately, the term comes from the Vulgar Latin “currale” meaning “enclosure for carts”, itself coming from “currus”, the Latin for “cart”.

12. Robbie’s daredevil father : EVEL

Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.

Robbie Knievel is a stunt performer, and a son of the famed Robert “Evel” Knievel. Robbie first performed with his dad when he was only 8 years old.

13. Many a Montenegro resident : SERB

Montenegro is a country in Southeastern Europe that once was part of Yugoslavia. “Montenegro” is a historical Italianate translation of “black mountain”.

21. One-fifth of a limerick : LINE

No one knows for sure how the limerick got its name, although there does seem to be agreement the name does indeed come from the city or county of Limerick in Ireland. Try this one for size:

There was a young lady named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way,
and came back the previous night.

22. Art school subj. : ANAT

Anatomy (anat.)

36. British racing cars : MGS

My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget roadster in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by the MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979, with the MG abbreviation standing for “Morris Garages”.

40. Old name of Tokyo : EDO

Edo is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.

42. Unit of force : DYNE

A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning “power, force”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy needed to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.

44. Cricket clubs : BATS

Cricket is the national game of England. The term “cricket” apparently comes from the Old French word “criquet” meaning “goalpost, stick”.

49. Southwestern brick : ADOBE

The building material known as adobe has been around a long time, and has been used in dry climates all over the world. The original form of the word “adobe” dates back to Middle Egyptian times, about 2000 BC. The original spelling is “dj-b-t”, and translates as mud (sun-dried) brick.

51. Invitation letters : RSVP

RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer please”.

52. Scott Turow memoir : ONE L

Scott Turow is an author and lawyer from Chicago. Turow has had several bestselling novels including “Presumed Innocent”, “The Burden of Proof” and “Reversible Errors”, all three of which were made into films. He also wrote the autobiographical book “One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School”.

54. Getting pictures of the Hollywood sign, say : IN LA

The iconic HOLLYWOOD sign located in the hills overlooking the Los Angeles district of Hollywood was erected in 1923. The sign originally read “HOLLYWOODLAND” and was placed as an advertisement for a new housing development with that name. The plan was for the sign to stay in place for 18 months, but as it became associated with the growing film industry, it was left in place. The sign was refurbished in 1949 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, with the stipulation that the “LAND” be dropped. A new version of the sign using more permanent materials was unveiled in 1978.

58. “Hercules” character who got her own show : XENA

The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.

60. Drone regulator: Abbr. : FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was set up in 1958 (as the Federal Aviation Agency). The agency was established at that particular time largely in response to an increasing number of midair collisions. The worst of these disasters had taken place two years earlier over the Grand Canyon, a crash between two commercial passenger airplanes that resulted in 128 fatalities.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Superhero attire : CAPE

5. Six-footers at parties : SUBS

9. Parakeet quarters : CAGES

14. “You can say that again!” : AMEN!

15. St. Paul’s architect : WREN

16. Important fruit in the Mediterranean diet : OLIVE

17. Novelist Morrison : TONI

18. Zaragoza’s river : EBRO

19. Harder to come by : RARER

20. Place to mingle on the slopes? : SINGLES T-BAR (T in “singles bar”)

23. Legal deg. : LLB

24. Big hand measurement: Abbr. : MIN

25. Gobble (up) : SNARF

27. Octet since 2006 : PLANETS

31. Shakespearean call to arms : ALARUM

34. Misplace a casual top? : LOSE YOUR T-SHIRT (T in “lose your shirt”)

36. “I saw the opening __ of hell”: “Moby-Dick” : MAW

37. “Straight Outta Compton” role, familiarly : DRE

38. Word with head or roll : EGG

39. Take Rover to Ruth’s Chris? : GIVE A DOG A T-BONE (T in “give a dog a bone”)

46. Dull : STODGY

47. Run things? : ERRANDS

48. Doone of fiction : LORNA

50. NBA tiebreakers : OTS

51. Balderdash : ROT

53. Dinosaur family drama? : OEDIPUS T. REX (T in “Oedipus Rex”)

59. Major mess : SNAFU

61. Universal donor’s type, briefly : O-NEG

62. Support person : AIDE

63. One with a strict diet : VEGAN

64. Boring : BLAH

65. Pass the bouncer : GO IN

66. Respond to a charge : PLEAD

67. Hearing things : EARS

68. Singer James : ETTA

Down

1. Subjects of many viral online videos : CATS

2. Mine, in Marseille : A MOI

3. The Quakers of the Ivy League : PENN

4. Conundrums : ENIGMAS

5. “American Gods” leprechaun Mad __ : SWEENEY

6. Metro areas : URBS

7. Muppet with a unibrow : BERT

8. Elitists : SNOBS

9. Western pens : CORRALS

10. In the style of : A LA

11. Sweetheart : GIRLFRIEND

12. Robbie’s daredevil father : EVEL

13. Many a Montenegro resident : SERB

21. One-fifth of a limerick : LINE

22. Art school subj. : ANAT

26. Cheering sound : RAH!

27. Hair piece : PLAIT

28. Relatively safe, as electricity : LOW VOLTAGE

29. Flap : TO-DO

30. Tidal peril during a storm : SURGE

32. More than asks : URGES

33. Board rm. session : MTG

35. Bring up : REAR

36. British racing cars : MGS

40. Old name of Tokyo : EDO

41. Bad way to run a ship : AGROUND

42. Unit of force : DYNE

43. Low-pressure systems : TROUGHS

44. Cricket clubs : BATS

45. Performing : ON STAGE

49. Southwestern brick : ADOBE

51. Invitation letters : RSVP

52. Scott Turow memoir : ONE L

54. Getting pictures of the Hollywood sign, say : IN LA

55. Nectar flavor : PEAR

56. Sidesplitter : RIOT

57. Menu including Cut and Paste : EDIT

58. “Hercules” character who got her own show : XENA

60. Drone regulator: Abbr. : FAA

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18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 14 Sep 2017, Thursday”

  1. The ‘urbs’? Really? I must have been in a coma when that particular term got coined. No errors or even any strike overs, which for a Thursday is somewhat of a rarity. On to the WSJ.

    We are going to a concert tonight at the Staple Center (Tears for Fears and Hall & Oats). My wife is a HUGE Darryl Hall fan so I’m sure she will have fun. I’m just her ‘arm candy’ (j/k).

    1. DNFed the WSJ after about 60 minutes or so. Too much nonsense in one section of the grid for me to grind out.

      Other than the contest grids I got on hand, I’ll probably call that a day for crosswords.

      1. I came within one lousy letter of finishing the WSJ correctly (what a bear of a puzzle). I had ‘revile twing’ for 18 Across instead of ‘revile twins’ and because the 13 Down clue “Sportin’ Life gives her a dose of happy dust” made absolutely no sense to be at all the fact that I had ‘begs’ going down for that instead of ‘Bess’ didn’t clue me in (ha) that I had it wrong.

  2. I had a challenging time, appropriate for a Thursday. The long answers were of some help = I detected a pattern but didn’t bother with the theme. I notice that Bill took a lot longer too.

    Not familiar with the word ‘alarum’ in a conventional sense.
    …. They have six footers (of subs ) at parties ??
    Btw, I was invited 6 times to a Ruth’s Chris House by our ‘personal financial advisor’ …. and this particular restaraunt was only 2 miles away. But, I never took up the offer, for various reasons, and now, I hear, the place has closed down. ( nothing to do with me – ). Oh well.

    ‘This old man ….’ was the only lullaby that I sang to both my kids, many moons ago.
    Balderdash is my favorite board/card game for all parties, …. mainly because I think I’m pretty good at it.

    Jeff, I have been reading your problems with some interest, and my prayers and thoughts are with you, as always. I have a collection of items of my life, all in my copious basement – and I don’t even carry flood insurance. I don’t know what I would do in case of a catastrophe. I hope God gives you the courage, will and determination to carry on. I do wish you have somebody with you. who you could share your troubles with, and commiserate.

    Have a nice day, folks.

  3. 7:30, no errors. I thought this one was pretty easy. I even understood the theme at first encounter. (Perhaps the crossword gods were trying to console me for my rather poor showing on the NYT … ?.) I haven’t gotten to any other puzzles yet … and maybe I’ll take the rest of the day off …

  4. As to limericks, here is my favorite non risque rhyme:

    There was a young man from Quebec
    Who was frozen in snow to his neck.
    When asked “Are you friz?”
    He replied “Yes, I is,
    but we don’t call this cold in Quebec.”

  5. Okay, so I couldn’t resist … 17:13 on the BEQ, 17:11 on the Newsday, and 22:40 on the WSJ, with no errors on any of them. All quite difficult, I thought … especially the WSJ, which had a theme you kind of had to get to understand the long entries and which I found a bit hard to grok. (Of course, as always, it’s possible I’m just having a bad day … ? )

    @Piano Man … Great limerick!

  6. Ah, the old T dropped into a phrase! Clever. I would’ve had more fun near the top had I known more about architecture, rivers in … somewhere, fictional leprechauns, and muppets not named Elmo — all in one tiny block of the grid. And I would’ve had an easier time if SCARF didn’t mean exactly what SNARF does, leaving one to wonder why artists study accounting. Great Thursday puz.

  7. 25 minutes…I think – can’t remember. Bill, Dave, Glenn, Nolanski et al are leaving me in their dust these days. I did this last night after doing the NYT Thursday and my mind was shot after yet another long day. Liked the theme, but I had LOSEonesTSHIRT first and that mess had to be cleaned up. Used a lot of crossword memories for EDO, ONE L, MAW, and XENA which I wouldn’t know were they not in crosswords so often.

    Vidwan – Thanks so much for your thoughts. It is an awful time, but I seek silver linings when I can. Even my contractors were marveling at how well the house was put together saying how difficult (physically) it was to destroy. They also commented on the kindness of the neighbors – most of whom I’ve known the full 15 years I’ve lived here. There are 23 houses in our gated community so we’re pretty close knit. Even the Texas State Troopers have taken a liking to our neighborhood – using my driveway to pass the time and scare away looters. I told them they could move in if they wished…

    Again – I wasn’t here so I was never in harm’s way, my car was safe in the airport parking garage, and everything – structure and contents – was fully insured. Indeed I’m much more fortunate than many others I’ve seen and spoken to.

    Dirk – Strangely enough through all of this craziness – my AC is still working! I had just replaced it about a month before the flood so we’re sealing up the house with the AC cranked (68 degrees), fans blowing and a dehumidifier dehumidifying…Ironically, my second story which was unaffected by the flood and has a separate unit does NOT have its AC working. Go figure.

    Long story short (if that’s still possible at this point) to answer your question, I’ve been staying in hotels now for 3 weeks straight. I’m here 2 more nights then I move into my rented house in Henderson, NV for 6 months. The house at this point is uninhabitable. Will take another 2 weeks just for all the studs to dry out. The carpet, flooring, appliances, cabinets, furniture, drywall (up to 8 feet) have all been taken out. Downstairs is nothing but wooden studs, wiring, concrete and air….

    Best –

  8. Dave – Was going to post over at NYT, but the site is down. I guess Bill is changing the format today to match over here at the LAT. 36 mins for that one last night. Theme was fun, but I thought the fill was tougher than usual. How’d you do on that one? You sound like you tripped over yourself over there..

    Best –

    1. I did the NYT puzzle this morning. Last night, I was up until almost midnight working on a 9×9 kenken that proved to be more difficult than I expected and, as a result, I didn’t get up until after 9. So maybe I still had cobwebs for brains, but yes, I thought it was a bit tougher than usual. My time was 17:16, including a minute or two looking for a typo: for 50A, my fingers had gone off on their own and typed EXULY instead of EXULT.

      There was an article in one of my local papers yesterday about the difficulty of finding workmen in Texas and Florida to do the kind of repair/rebuild work you’re having done. It sounds to me as if you did very much the right thing by getting home soonest and getting the job underway.

  9. Buzzed through this in about 25-30 minutes, no errors and just 4 rewrites: LLd to LLB and Opos to ONEG (don’t know how I forgot this.)

    Figured out the theme and, like Jeff, had to rely on frequent crosswordese as well as a lot of crosses to get this to the finish line. Urbs is a definite weird new one for me. Also, “Low Voltage” may sound safe but if the current is “High”, it definitely won’t be safe.

    On to Friday…

  10. Limerick cited by @Piano Man
    Ha Ha. Yes, they like to take a dig or two at the French, even if they are also North Americans.
    Can’t argue with Kipling’s repetition of “Quebec” in the limerick, but usually in order to enhance the punch, one might avoid it. How about:

    There was a young boy called Alec,
    Who was frozen in snow to his neck.
    When asked “Are you friz?”
    Smart Alec replied “Yes, I is,
    but we don’t call this cold in Quebec.”

  11. Hi all! ?
    Can someone please explain Big hand measurement = MIN ?? Filled it in okay but I don’t get it!!! ?
    Good puzzle; no errors. I got the theme right off, and that helped. Cute clue for PLANETS.
    GLENN, nice time on this one — you beat Bill!!! ?
    I always wondered why the strange name for “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.” Thanks for explaining, Bill!
    Hey Tony, how was the concert?
    Be well~~™?

    1. Carrie,
      The big (long) hand on an analog clock measures minutes while the small hand measures hours. Maybe Bill can tell us why they became called hands! I did not figure this one out in the puzzle either. Ken

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