LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Apr 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: Mike McHugh
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Reveal Answer: In Reverse

Themed clues are in the format “xxxx back”, where “xxxx” is the real clue written IN REVERSE:

  • 64A. One way to drive … and what the last word of each starred clue really means : IN REVERSE
  • 17A. *Pay back : PRATTLE ON (“pay” back = YAP)
  • 28A. *Step back : DOMESTIC ANIMALS (“step” back = PETS)
  • 48A. *Snap back : GIVES A BAD REVIEW (“snap” back = PANS)

Bill’s time: 10m 34s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • SHIN (chin)
  • SAPP (Capp)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. American sports org. : USOC

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has a federal charter but it doesn’t receive any funds from the US government. As such, it has to engage in fundraising just like any other charitable organization. The USOC was founded in 1894, and is headquartered in Colorado Springs.

15. Actor who’s played a doctor and senator on TV : ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, especially of course as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He won his most recent Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

20. Basil sauce : PESTO

The term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as pesto sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, pesto from Genoa in northern Italy. I love, love pesto sauce …

21. Teed off : DROVE

That would be golf.

23. __ Friday’s : TGI

T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain that was founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.

32. She played Mia in “Pulp Fiction” : UMA

Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

I’m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence, it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly received performances.

35. “Puss in Boots” baddie : OGRE

“Puss in Boots” is a fairy tale from Europe, the earliest recording of which is in a collection of stories by Giovanni Francesco Straparola that dates back to the 1550s. The title character has been used in subsequent works; he makes an appearance in Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Sleeping Beauty”, and more recently in the “Shrek” series of animated films.

37. Brown in a Croce title : LEROY

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is a song written and first performed by Jim Croce. It was a number-one hit for him in 1973. The song was inspired by a real-life Leroy Brown, who was someone that Croce met while serving in the US Army.

39. Houston suburb named for initials from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad : KATY

The city of Katy, Texas is in the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Back in the early 1800s, the original settlement in the area was known as Cane Island. The name “Katy” was applied in 1896, and was a reference to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company that built a station in the area. The railroad used the name “MKT”, which led to the nicknames “the K-T” and “the Katy”.

43. 2018 Super Bowl designation : LII

Super Bowl LII was played at the end of the 2017 season, with the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the defending champions, the New England Patriots. That result marked the first ever Super Bowl victory for the Eagles.

48. *Snap back : GIVES A BAD REVIEW (“snap” back = PANS)

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

53. Buttercup family member : ANEMONE

The name “anemone” means “daughter of the wind” in Greek, and at one time it was believed that the wind was what actually caused the flower to bloom. The sea anemone is named for the terrestrial plant even though it isn’t a plant at all. The sea anemone is a predatory animal found on the ocean floor.

55. Benching units: Abbr. : LBS

The unit of mass that we know today as a pound is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a libra. That libra connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” though comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

56. Big name in little trucks : TONKA

The toy manufacturer today known as Tonka started out as a manufacturer of garden implements in Mound, Minnesota in 1946. By 1955, toys had become the main product line for the company. At that time the owners decided to change the company name and opted for “Tonka”, a Dakota Sioux word meaning “great, big”.

58. Many a UAE resident : EXPAT

An expatriate (often “expat”) is someone who has chosen to live outside of his or her homeland, away from their “fatherland”.

62. Chain with a dog-and-cat logo : PETCO

Petco is a chain of retail stores that sells live animals and pet supplies. The Petco logo includes the two company mascots, Red Ruff the dog and Blue Mews the cat.

69. Gumbo server : LADLE

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

71. PR firm’s forte : SPIN

Public relations (PR)

Down

1. ’90s-’00s NFL Pro Bowler Warren : SAPP

Warren Sapp is a former NFL player from Orlando, Florida. Sapp was noted for his hard-hitting style and explosive outbursts.

4. Prickly plant : NETTLE

Most nettle species have stinging hairs that secrete formic acid. This formic acid is the same chemical that is found in the venom injected with a bee or ant sting. The Latin word for ant is “formica”, which gives its name to the acid.

5. Chi.-based flier : UAL

United Airlines (UAL) has a complicated history, but can trace its roots back to Aviation Enterprises, founded in 1944 and later called Texas International. The first use of the “United” name in the company’s history was when airplane pioneer William Boeing merged his Boeing Air Transport with Pratt & Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC) in 1929. The Air Mail Act of 1934 required that UATC be broken up into United Aircraft (which became United Technologies), the Boeing Aircraft Company and United Air Lines.

8. Rapeseed oil : CANOLA

Canola is a type of rapeseed, and Canola oil is made from the seeds. The particular cultivar used in oil production was developed in Canada, and the name Canola in fact comes from “CANadian Oil, Low Acid”.

11. 2003 self-titled folk album : ODETTA

Odetta Holmes (or just “Odetta”) was a singer and a human rights activist. She has been cited as an influence by such singers as Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Carly Simon.

12. Superman co-creator Jerry : SIEGEL

Superman’s origins can be traced back to an illustrated short story titled “The Reign of the Superman” created by high school classmates Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933. That first “Superman” wasn’t a very glamorous character. He was a vagrant who gained psychic powers and used them for nefarious purposes. By the time that Siegel and Shuster put together a comic strip called “The Superman”, the title character had evolved into a superhero. The pair sold all rights to “The Superman” character to Detective Comics in 1938 for the princely sum of $130.

22. Resort near Cape Cod, with “the” : VINEYARD

Martha’s Vineyard is a relatively large island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. “Martha’s Vineyard” was originally the name of a smaller island to the south, named by English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602. The name was eventually transferred to the main island, and is now the eighth-oldest English place-name still used in the US. It is likely that the Gosnold named the island for his daughter Martha.

Cape Cod is indeed named after the fish. It was first called Cape Cod by English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602 as his men caught so many fish there.

25. Napoli native : ITALIANO

Naples (“Napoli” in Italian) is the third largest city in Italy. The name “Napoli” comes from the city’s Ancient Greek name, which translates as “New City”. That’s a bit of a paradox as today Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

28. Outkast, for one : DUO

OutKast is a hip hop duo consisting of rappers André 3000 and Big Boi.

29. Texter’s “Shocking!” : OMG

OMG is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might think of …

31. Magna __ : CARTA

The Magna Carta is a landmark document issued in England in 1215. It represents the first time that an English king had to submit to the will of his subjects, a group of barons who sought to limit the powers of the monarchy. In particular the Magna Carta calls out that no freeman could be punished except through the law of the land. And famously, the Magna Carta was an inspiration for the United States Constitution.

36. I, O or U : ELEM

Here is a list of all the single-letter chemical symbols:

  • B = boron
  • C = carbon
  • F = fluorine
  • H = hydrogen
  • I = Iodine
  • K = potassium
  • N = nitrogen
  • O = oxygen
  • P = phosphorus
  • S = sulfur
  • U = uranium
  • V = vanadium
  • W = tungsten
  • Y = yttrium

40. Rarely served fish? : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

42. Archery wood : YEW

Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

44. Uranium-238, e.g. : ISOTOPE

The isotope of uranium that is mostly found in nature in uranium-238. Natural uranium also contains a small amount (less than 1%) of uranium-235. When uranium is “enriched”, the percentage of uranium-235 is increased. Uranium containing 80% or more uranium-235 is known as “weapons grade”.

46. Beersheba’s locale : NEGEV

Beersheba is the largest city in the desert region in southern Israel called the Negev. Beersheba is home to many Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who brought with them many aspects of the culture of their former homeland. For example, the Beersheba now has more chess grandmasters per capita than any other city in the world.

49. Still being tested, as software : IN BETA

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

57. Polk’s middle name : KNOX

James Knox Polk was the 11th US President. Polk is known as a president who delivered on promises that he made during his election campaign. He left office after serving only one term, as he had promised the voters, and then contracted cholera on a goodwill tour of the South. Polk died at only 53 years of age, the youngest age for any president to die in retirement. He also enjoyed the shortest retirement of any president, at only 103 days.

60. Product of white Muscat grapes : ASTI

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, and is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

Muscat grapes are used to make wine, and are also grown for raisins and as table grapes. Muscat is used a lot in Chilean table wines, and relatively rarely in Italian or Californian table wines. However, muscat is used extensively in fortified wines in all wine-growing regions of the world. The sweet dessert wine made from muscat in Spain is called muscatel.

63. __-de-sac : CUL

Even though “cul-de-sac” can indeed mean “bottom of the bag” in French, the term cul-de-sac is of English origin (the use of “cul” in French is actually quite rude). The term was introduced in aristocratic circles at a time when it was considered very fashionable to speak French. Dead-end streets in France are usually signposted with just a symbol and no accompanying words, but if words are included they are “voie sans issue”, meaning “way without exit”.

65. Continental trade gp. : EEC

The European Economic Community (EEC) was also known as the “Common Market”. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union (EU).

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Place for a guard : SHIN
5. American sports org. : USOC
9. Walk or wind preceder : CROSS-
14. Suffix for the wealthy : -AIRE
15. Actor who’s played a doctor and senator on TV : ALDA
16. What captions can capture : AUDIO
17. *Pay back : PRATTLE ON (“pay” back = YAP)
19. Pay homage, in a way : KNEEL
20. Basil sauce : PESTO
21. Teed off : DROVE
23. __ Friday’s : TGI
24. Hideout : LAIR
26. Like some sale quantities : LIMITED
28. *Step back : DOMESTIC ANIMALS (“step” back = PETS)
32. She played Mia in “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
33. “I did it!” : TA-DA!
34. Prefix with thermal : EXO-
35. “Puss in Boots” baddie : OGRE
37. Brown in a Croce title : LEROY
39. Houston suburb named for initials from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad : KATY
43. 2018 Super Bowl designation : LII
45. Compared with : THAN
47. Tilling tool : HOE
48. *Snap back : GIVES A BAD REVIEW (“snap” back = PANS)
53. Buttercup family member : ANEMONE
54. Beat at the buzzer : EDGE
55. Benching units: Abbr. : LBS
56. Big name in little trucks : TONKA
58. Many a UAE resident : EXPAT
62. Chain with a dog-and-cat logo : PETCO
64. One way to drive … and what the last word of each starred clue really means : IN REVERSE
66. Really dug : ATE UP
67. Command to Rover : COME!
68. Mindless repetition : ROTE
69. Gumbo server : LADLE
70. Govt. branch : EXEC
71. PR firm’s forte : SPIN

Down

1. ’90s-’00s NFL Pro Bowler Warren : SAPP
2. Take on : HIRE
3. Accts. funded annually, perhaps : IRAS
4. Prickly plant : NETTLE
5. Chi.-based flier : UAL
6. Downhill excursion : SLED RIDE
7. Bleach feature : ODOR
8. Rapeseed oil : CANOLA
9. Baking convenience : CAKE MIX
10. Winning streak : RUN
11. 2003 self-titled folk album : ODETTA
12. Superman co-creator Jerry : SIEGEL
13. Cones and cubes : SOLIDS
18. Doomed, slangily : TOAST
22. Resort near Cape Cod, with “the” : VINEYARD
25. Napoli native : ITALIANO
27. “It’s just a scratch” : I’M OK
28. Outkast, for one : DUO
29. Texter’s “Shocking!” : OMG
30. Damage : MAR
31. Magna __ : CARTA
36. I, O or U : ELEM
38. “My goodness!” : OH DEAR ME!
40. Rarely served fish? : AHI
41. Low digit : TOE
42. Archery wood : YEW
44. Uranium-238, e.g. : ISOTOPE
46. Beersheba’s locale : NEGEV
48. Female bud : GAL PAL
49. Still being tested, as software : IN BETA
50. __ interest : VESTED
51. “Mind your manners” : BE NICE
52. Irritations : VEXERS
57. Polk’s middle name : KNOX
59. Support, with “up” : PROP
60. Product of white Muscat grapes : ASTI
61. New driver, usually : TEEN
63. __-de-sac : CUL
65. Continental trade gp. : EEC

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17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Apr 2018, Friday”

  1. LAT: 46 minutes, 2 errors. WSJ: 14 minutes, 1 error. Meta solved and entered, assuming the answer doesn’t end up being something ridiculous like last week. Newsday: 24 minutes, no errors.

    1. I think the CHE is on bi-weekly now for summer break.

      And in other news, I had a rethink and saw something in the WSJ puzzle that would be very clever that points directly at a solution. So resubmitted another answer. Don’t know if it turns out to be right, but it’d be fun if it did. And if that’s the case, there likely won’t be a whole lot of solutions.

  2. LAT: 17:01, no errors; I finally grokked the gimmick at the very end, so it came in handy for a final check, but I think I’d have been better off to spend a minute or two thinking about it early on. Newsday: 12:21, no errors; straightforward. WSJ: 11:54, no errors; meta solved and sent in, and I think there are going to be a lot of correct entries for this one (so … drat! … no damned mug … again! … ?).

    1. Tim Croce’s latest: 35-40 minutes, no errors. I finished about 85% of this one and then got interrupted by a 10-15 minute phone call, so it’s not quite clear what my time really was. (Actually, I think the call was a blessing: after it was over, I quickly corrected a couple of errors that were impeding further progress. Sometimes, walking away from a puzzle in the middle is exactly what I need to do.)

      @Glenn … I’ll be curious to hear (on Monday) what it is that you’ve seen in the WSJ puzzle with regard to the meta, but I dare not say anything more …

  3. DNF. Still don’t get the gimmick even with Bill’s explanation. But I’ll live to see tomorrow and attack the Sat. puzzle!

  4. I also did not know the name of the bowler SAPP …. but Ifinally filled it in. A little easier than yesterdays – though the clues were confounding ! Well, thats a Friday, for you.

    Re: Uma Thurman …. Uma ( meaning ‘light’), is a name not only in Buddhism, but also in Hinduism and Jainism. Uma is the goddess of the dawn…. and of love, fertility and female divine strength – as an avatar of Parvati, wife and consort of Shiva. ….. It also has an advantage of being a short, and an easy-to-pronounce name !

    I have been to the UAE twice, as a visitor, and my experience has been this. An Ex-Pat is a worker from the western countries …. USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Europe. Three fourths of the workers in the UAE, are from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillipines …. but they are never referred to as Expats. Just an observation…..

    Formic acid, ( HCOOH ) although an irritant and a corrosive, is widely used in the food industry and for treating cattle food as a fungicide, preservative and as an antibacterial agent. It is very easy to make – just oxidation of sugar, with an acid. I have seen it being manufactured. It cannot however be made out of nettlesor their plants ….

    Regarding::: Canola oil – Wiki says the name comes from ‘Can’ ( Canada) and “-ola” meaning oil ( as in Mazola oils ).
    Canola, the name was chosen because the plant that yields the oil is the Rapeseed plant … and who would like to consume Rapeseed Oil !?!

    Both Rapeseed oils and Mustard Oils have a high % of Erusic Acid, ( > 9%) suspected in cardiovascular disease. However, in Canada and elsewhere, the Rapeseed plant has been suitably genetically modified to reduce the Erusic Acid content to less than 0.1% ….. so its safe to eat and consume. Also liquid Hexane is used to extract it, and with the double distillation. so the purity is even higher,
    The final marketing ploy is changing the name to Canola.

    Have a nice day and evening, all.
    Have a great weekend.

  5. Too tough for me; got the left two-thirds OK, but quite a bit of the right was only spottily filled in. The themed answers and Bill’s explanations are also not really clicking, but it’s been a long day and I didn’t get to this until the evening. Tired…

  6. Let me second the comments of Anonymous –

    I have had such a crazy day I never got to this nor the NYT puzzle. I’ll try to get to them tomorrow. But Vidwan’s bank of knowledge never ceases to amaze me.

    Interesting stuff, indeed –

    Best –

  7. Hello my peeps! ?
    DNF without peeking at Bill’s finished grid. I’m irritated by this puzzle!!! ?I saw PRATTLE ON; it didn’t make sense and I thought ICK!! Some overly tricky theme today!! I guess I shoulda tried to figure out the theme but if was too…. disenchanted. I did try to finish about half of it. I had EMIRI before EXPAT. For some weird reason I knew President Polk’s middle name right off.
    Vidwan! Thank you– that’s really interesting re. the use of EXPAT in the UAE. Talk about an elitist western bias! …. Those from poorer countries come to the UAE for much-needed jobs. And wealthy EXPATS come for the weather!!
    Dave, from yesterday: I’m very impressed that you completed that Croce, no matter how much time it took. I managed to get exactly TWO of the twenty anagrams on the “easy” version. Glad the answers came out today. I’ll still work on it, but I’m relieved to know that I can check the answers if I get desperately stuck.
    Be well~~???

    1. @Carrie … Thanks for the kind comment! And keep at it!

      FWIW: Even though I much prefer to do crosswords and I grumble about making myself do new kinds of word puzzles, I’m convinced that doing them (things like “Jumbles” and “Cryptoquotes” and even word searches) has helped to develop skills that are useful for crosswords as well. But … so many puzzles, so little time … ?

  8. For the record: Warren Sapp, while he did make the NFL Pro Bowl (essentially an all-star game for the sport of American football) roster 7 times, wouldn’t be referred to as a “bowler” unless in reference to his participating in a sport that involves rolling a ball towards pins with the intent of knocking them down or rolling a ball towards a target (e.g., bocce). Or perhaps cricket, the person throwing the ball towards the wicket is known as a bowler, right?

    1. @Bill J … I’m not much of a sports fan, but I’m quite sure I have often seen “Pro Bowlers” used to refer to participants in “Pro Bowl” games, as was done in the clue for 1D. (In much the same way, NFL and NBA players are often referred to as NFLers and NBAers, respectively).

      1. Agreed w.r.t. the clue. I was referring to the comments in which ‘bowler’, (lowercase b, no preceding pro), was used.

  9. friday april 20 puzzle
    some confusion here
    answer talks about last word of starred clues
    ie pay back yap
    step back pets
    snap back pans
    actually its the first word of the starred clues

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