LA Times Crossword 26 Aug 18, Sunday

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Constructed by: Robin Stears
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: AmazeBalls

Themed answers are each in two parts, with both parts often seen before the word BALL:

  • 23A. *Convenient carrier : HANDBASKET (from “handball” & “basketball”)
  • 25A. *Small, flat legume : BUTTER BEAN (from “Butterball” & “beanball”)
  • 44A. *Octal system : BASE EIGHT (from “baseball” & “eight-ball”)
  • 47A. *Item found in a parlor : CUE STICK (from “cue ball” & “stickball”)
  • 64A. *Pneumatic silo declogger : AIR CANNON (giving “air ball” & “cannonball”)
  • 74A. *Fund for fun : PIN MONEY (giving “pinball” & “Moneyball”)
  • 77A. *Path for a promising young exec : FAST TRACK (giving “fastball” & “trackball”)
  • 99A. *It covers the Batmobile : BLACK PAINT (giving “blackball” & “paintball”)
  • 101A. *Brie, e.g. : SOFT CHEESE (giving “softball” & “cheese ball”)

Bill’s time: 18m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

20. 1988 Summer Olympics site : KOREA

The 1988 Summer Olympic Games were held in Seoul, South Korea. They were the first Summer Olympics held in South Korea, and the second held in Asia (after Tokyo in 1964).

21. From C to C : OCTAVE

I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way … don’t shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”). These are all white keys. Most of these “white notes” are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a “semitone” in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term “octave” because we often add an eighth note on the end “to bring us back to do” as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do … or … C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.

22. __ Victor : RCA

The Victrola was a phonograph in which the turntable and horn could be hidden away in a wooden cabinet. The “Victrola” name was used as the phonograph was manufactured by the Victor Talking Machine Company. The Victor Talking Machine Company was sold to RCA, leading to the creation of RCA Victor.

25. *Small, flat legume : BUTTER BEAN (from “Butterball” & “beanball”)

The lima bean is also known as the butter bean. The lima bean was introduced to Europe from the area around Lima, Peru, hence the name.

Butterball is a brand of poultry products. One of Butterball’s unfortunate claims to fame is that an employee was convicted of felony cruelty to animals in 2012, marking the first felony conviction in the US for cruelty to factory-farmed birds. More convictions followed …

A beanball is a baseball pitch deliberately thrown at a batter’s head.

27. Braille bits : DOTS

The Braille system of reading and writing was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, who was himself afflicted with blindness. Braille characters are composed of six positions or dots, each arranged in two columns of three dots each. Every dot can be raised or not raised, given a total of 64 possible characters.

28. Poet Pablo Neruda, e.g. : CHILEAN

“Pablo Neruda” was the pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Basoalto chose the name as a homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.

31. Distinctive Rolls Royce feature : GRILLE

Henry Royce founded the Rolls-Royce company in 1904 with his partner, Charles Rolls. Royce died at 70 years of age in 1933. His last words were, reportedly, “I wish I had spent more time in the office …”

Charles Rolls founded the Rolls-Royce auto manufacturing company along with his partner Henry Royce in 1906. Sadly, Rolls died just a few years later in a plane crash. Rolls was a pioneering aviator. He became the first Briton to die in a powered aircraft crash when the tail of his plane broke off during a flying display.

36. Hikes from the center : SNAPS

That would be football.

37. Wilson of “Pitch Perfect” movies : REBEL

Rebel Wilson is an Australian comedic actress whose big break in the US came with a role in the 2011 film “Bridesmaids”. I’ve heard her interviewed several times on TV, and would have to say that she is “a hoot” …

“Pitch Perfect” is an entertaining musical comedy film released in 2012. It’s all about an all-female college a cappella group competing to win a national competition.

38. Heinz Field player : STEELER

The Pittsburgh Steelers football team were founded in 1933, making them the oldest franchise in the AFC. Back in 1933, the team was known as the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates name was chosen as the Pittsburgh baseball team was the Pirates. The name was changed to the Steelers in 1940, and then the Steagles in 1943 when the team merged with the Philadelphia Eagles. There was a further merger in 1944, with the Chicago Cardinal to form Card-Pitt. From 1945, the Steelers name was resurrected.

41. Nickname for young Skywalker : ANI

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

42. Ramshackle shelters : LEAN-TOS

By definition, a lean-to is a building in which the rafters lean against the wall of another building. A lean-to shelter has a similar appearance, although it is free-standing. The shelter has a single-pitched roof and only three walls.

44. *Octal system : BASE EIGHT (from “baseball” & “eight-ball”)

Eight-ball and nine-ball are arguably the most popular variants of pool played in North America. In eight-ball, one player sinks the striped balls and the other the solid balls. The first to sink all his or her balls and then the black 8-ball, without fouling, wins the game. In nine-ball, each player must hit the lowest numbered ball on the table first with the cue ball. The first player to sink the 9-ball wins. Sinking the nine ball can happen when first hitting the lowest bowl on the table, or possibly when balls numbered 1-8 have been sunk.

51. Like Fran Drescher’s voice : NASAL

Fran Drescher’s real name is Francine Jane Drescher, a comedian and comic actress best known for playing Fran Fine on the sitcom “The Nanny”. Fran was born in Queens, New York (go figure!). Her big break came with a small role, but in a huge movie. You might recall in “Saturday Night Fever” that John Travolta was asked by a pretty dancer, “Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?” Well, that young lady was Fran Drescher.

52. Cheerleaders’ handfuls : POMPOMS

The French call a ball made of tufted wool a “pompon”, a word that we imported into English directly as “pompon”. We use “pompon” to describe perhaps bobbles on some hats, or the tufted balls that are shaken by cheerleaders at sports events. Over time, the spelling “pompom” has become common in English, probably due to mishearing. To confuse matters a little, we also use the word “pom-pom”, which is a nickname for a British autocannon used mainly as an anti-aircraft weapon, particularly during WWII.

57. Plague critter : LOCUST

Some species of grasshoppers are known as locusts. The main characteristic defining a locust species is the tendency to swarm under certain circumstances. Those circumstances are usually drought conditions followed by rapid growth of vegetation.

60. Pudding starch : TAPIOCA

The cassava plant is a woody shrub native to South America grown largely for its carbohydrate-rich tubers. In fact, the cassava is the third largest food source of carbohydrates (for humans) in the world. Ordinarily, that carbohydrate is extracted from the plant and dried as flour, and is known as tapioca.

61. Carne __ : ASADA

The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.

63. Subject of a Dean Martin classic : AMORE

“That’s Amore” is a pop standard written by Harry Warren and Jack Brooks in 1952. “That’s Amore” became the signature song for Dean Martin after he sang it (with some help from Jerry Lewis) in the 1953 comedy film “The Caddy”. “When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore …”

Dean Martin was the stage name of singer and actor Dino Crocetti. Martin was famous for his numerous hit songs such as “That’s Amore”, “Volare” and Everybody Loves Somebody”, as well as his film career with Jerry Lewis. Off screen, Martin was a member of the famous “Rat Pack” as he was a great friend of Frank Sinatra. Martin was always associated with Las Vegas and when he passed away in 1995 the lights on the strip were dimmed in his honor.

66. “Your table’s ready” gizmo : PAGER

The word “gizmo” (also “gismo”), meaning something the name of which is unknown or forgotten, was originally slang used by both the US Navy and the Marine Corps. The exact origin seems unknown.

67. Chekov on “Star Trek” : PAVEL

Walter Koenig played Pavel Chekov in the original “Star Trek” series. Mr Chekov was a Russian character although Koenig himself was born in Chicago, the son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania.

70. French article : UNE

“Une” is the French word for “a”, but only when used with a feminine noun (like “une dame” meaning “a lady”).

74. *Fund for fun : PIN MONEY (giving “pinball” & “Moneyball”)

“Pin money” is a small amount set aside for minor expenditures or for some fun activity. Back in the 14th century, the tradition in England was that pins were only offered for sale on January 1st and 2nd. Generous husbands (!) would provide their wives with “pin money” to purchase these luxury items. The allowance given to wives was later used for other fun items, but the phrase “pin money” persisted.

85. “The Crow” actress Ling : BAI

Bai Ling is a Chinese actress who moved to the US in 1994. Apparently she claims she is from the moon, and her grandmother still lives there …

“The Crow” is another one of those action movies that is based on a comic book. The film was released in 1994 and stars Brandon Lee. Sadly, this was Lee’s last movie as he was accidentally shot on set with a dummy bullet in the stomach, which then lodged in his spine. Lee died eight days later.

86. “The Star-Spangled Banner” quartet : STANZAS

“Stanza” is an Italian word meaning “verse of a poem”.

Here are the words and punctuation of the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner” penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814.

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

89. “Les Misérables” girl : COSETTE

Victor Hugo’s famous 1862 novel “Les Misérables”, has been translated into English several times. However, the title is usually left in the original French as a successful translation of “les misérables” seems to be elusive. Some suggestions for an English title are “The Wretched”, “The Victims” and “The Dispossessed”. The novel follows the lives of several characters including an ex-convict Jean Valjean, a fanatic police inspector Javert, a beautiful prostitute Fantine, and Fantine’s illegitimate daughter Cosette.

90. __ Ste. Marie : SAULT

Sault Ste. Marie is the name of two cities on either side of the Canada-US border, one in Ontario and the other in Michigan. The two cities were originally one settlement in the 17th century, established by Jesuit Missionaries. The missionaries gave the settlement the name “Sault Sainte Marie”, which can be translated as “Saint Mary’s Falls”. The city was one community until 1817, when a US-UK Joint Boundary Commission set the border along the St. Mary’s River.

92. Prefix with centric : HELIO-

Heliocentrism is the astronomical model that has the Earth and other planets revolving the Sun at the center of the Solar System. The geocentric model holds that the Earth is the center of the Universe.

95. Teatro __ Scala : ALLA

La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its Italian name “Teatro alla Scala”.

99. *It covers the Batmobile : BLACK PAINT (giving “blackball” & “paintball”)

The Batmobile was introduced in the world of comic books in 1939. It started out as a simple, red convertible, with nothing special to recommend it. Over the years though, the car evolved and became more and more sophisticated. The Batmobile always had pride of place in the Batman tales, but once in a while Batman would take the Batplane, Batboat and Batcycle out for a spin.

There is a traditional type of secret ballot in which a voter selects a white wall to indicate support and a black ball indicates opposition. This voting method led to the use of the term “blackball” to mean to shun or to vote against.

The “paint” in paintball isn’t actually paint, but rather a mix of gelatin and food coloring.

101. *Brie, e.g. : SOFT CHEESE (giving “softball” & “cheese ball”)

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert.

107. Ottoman bigwig : BEY

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, the term “bey” was used for many different officials, but traditionally it referred to the leader of a small tribal group. Today “bey” is used very much like “mister”.

108. Cooling-off period? : ICE AGE

Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

109. City of NE Italy : UDINE

Udine is a city in the very northeast of Italy located about 25 miles from the nation’s border with Slovenia.

110. Garbage hauler : SCOW

A scow is a flat-bottomed boat with squared-off ends that’s often used for transportation, usually pushed or pulled by a barge. Often a scow can be seen carrying junk or garbage.

111. B-day numbers : YRS

Birthday (b-day)

112. “Full House” surname : TANNER

“Full House” is a sitcom that originally aired from the late eighties through the mid-nineties. It’s all about two men helping a third man raise his three young daughters after his wife is killed by a drunk driver. Bob Saget plays the widowed father, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen play the youngest daughter. A sequel titled “Fuller House” started airing on Netflix in 2016.

113. Award for “Mr. Mercedes” : EDGAR

“Mr. Mercedes” is a 2014 Stephen King novel, and an unusual one for him, I’d say. It’s a detective novel. No horror …

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the Edgars) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America. There are several categories of awards. For example, the Ellery Queen Award honors “writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry”. The Raven Award is presented to non-writers, who contribute to the mystery genre.

114. Lift one’s spirits? : TOPE

To tope is to drink alcohol excessively and habitually.

Down

3. Bronze component : TIN

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

4. Tack room item : SADDLE

“Tack” is the term used for equipment used in riding or working horses. Examples of tack are saddles, stirrups, bridles, reins, bits and halters.

7. What Indiana sought : ARK

According to the Book of Exodus, the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed were placed in a chest called the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built according to instructions given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is, in my humble opinion, the best of the Indiana Jones franchise of movies. This first Indiana Jones film was released in 1981, produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg. Harrison Ford was Spielberg’s first choice to play the lead, but Lucas resisted as he was concerned that he would be too closely associated with the actor (as Ford played Han Solo in “Star Wars”, and also appeared in Lucas’s “American Graffiti”). Tom Selleck was offered the role but he couldn’t get out of his commitments to “Magnum, P.I.” Eventually Spielberg got his way and Ford was hired, a good thing I say …

10. Calder pieces : MOBILES

Alexander Calder was an American sculptor and artist. Calder is famous for having invented the mobile sculpture, a work made up of several pieces hanging on a string in equilibrium. In effect they are what we might known as “mobiles”, operating on the same principle as mobiles that sit over cribs in a nursery. Calder refers to his large, stationary sculptures as “stabiles”.

11. Telescope eyepiece : OCULAR

The ocular lens is the eyepiece of many optical devices, e.g. telescopes and microscopes. In those same devices, light from the observed object is gathered by the objective lens.

12. Weasel relative : OTTER

Male and female otters are known as dogs and bitches, with the offspring called pups. Males and females are are sometimes referred to as boars and sows. A collection of otters is a bevy, family, lodge or perhaps a romp. When in water, a collection of otters can be called a raft.

Weasels are small mammals with long, thin bodies that are an advantage in chasing their prey into narrow burrows.

13. Pro follower : … RATA

“Pro rata” is a Latin phrase meaning “in proportion”.

15. “__ Rosenkavalier” : DER

“Der Rosenkavalier” is a comic opera composed by Richard Strauss, with the title translating as “The Knight of the Rose”.

17. Trattoria entrée : SCAMPI

The Italian dish known as “scampi” is a serving of shrimp in garlic butter and dry white wine.

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

24. Weevil’s target : BOLL

The boll is the seed-bearing capsule of some plants, particularly of flax and cotton.

A weevil is a small beetle, known for the damage that it can do to crops. The boll weevil damages cotton plants by laying eggs inside cotton bolls. The young weevils then eat their way out. Some weevils have snouts that are as long as their body.

32. Sofer of soaps : RENA

Rena Sofer came to prominence as an actor in daytime television, most notably playing Lois Cerullo on “General Hospital”. Sofer’s love interest on the show was played by Wally Kurth, and the online romance led to the pair walking down the aisle in real life in 1995 (although they divorced two years later).

33. Sacred Nile bird : IBIS

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

34. Longtime “60 Minutes” reporter : STAHL

Television journalist Lesley Stahl first appeared on “60 Minutes” in 1991, after serving as moderator on “Face the Nation” for almost 8 years starting in 1983. Stahl is married to author and journalist Aaron Latham. One of Latham’s claims to fame is that he wrote the article that inspired the movie “Urban Cowboy”.

38. Sonic the Hedgehog maker : SEGA

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot “Mario”.

39. “Mr. Citizen” autobiographer : TRUMAN

Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn’t get in because of his poor eyesight. Young Truman didn’t have the money to pay for college anywhere else. He did manage to study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but he never finished his schooling. So, Harry S. Truman was the last US President (out of a list of ten) who did not have a college degree.

45. Acclimatize : ENURE

“Enure” is a variant spelling of “inure”, which means “to harden oneself against the effects of, to accustom oneself to”.

46. Art supporter? : EASEL

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey” would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

47. Fashion first name : COCO

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer. I’m no fashionista, but if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that look so elegant on a woman.

48. Pixel pattern : IMAGE

A pixel is a dot, the base element that goes to make up a digital image.

50. Target rival : KMART

Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962, with the “K” standing for “Kresge”. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

52. Worrywart, at times : PACER

The term “worrywart”, meaning one who dwells unnecessarily on troubles, comes from a cartoon strip. Worry Wart was a character introduced in 1956 in the strip “Out Our Way” that was drawn by American cartoonist J.R. Williams. Worry Wart the character caused others to do the worrying, which is the opposite of the meaning we give the term “worrywart” today.

53. Eye-fooling genre : OP ART

Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.

55. Golden or Walden : POND

“On Golden Pond” was originally a play, one written by Ernest Thompson. It was adapted into the famous movie of the same name in 1981, with Henry Fonda playing Norman Thayer, and Katherine Hepburn as his wife Ethel, and Henry’s real-life daughter Jane Fonda playing the screen couple’s daughter. There was also a television adaptation of the play released in 2001, with another distinguished cast that included Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer as the leads.

Henry David Thoreau is a personal hero of mine. Thoreau is best known for his book called “Walden” published in 1854. The book outlines his philosophy of life and details his experiences living in a cabin near Walden Pond just outside Concord, Massachusetts.

58. Spender of rials : OMANI

“Rial” is the name of the currency of Oman (as well as Yemen, Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.

59. Group of 13, traditionally : COVEN

“Coven” is an old Scottish word meaning simply “gathering”. The first known application of the word to witchcraft came during the trial of a Scotswoman in 1662 accused of being a witch. At that time, “coven” came to mean a group of 13 witches.

62. Lustful deity : SATYR

The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god, one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

71. “Frozen” princess : ANNA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

73. “Cast Away” setting : ISLE

“Cast Away” is a very entertaining adventure film released in 2000 starring Tom Hanks as a castaway on a South Pacific island. The Hanks character ends up on the island after a FedEx plane crashes, leaving him marooned there for four years before he manages to escape on a raft. The film had to be filmed in two sessions. For the first session, Hanks gained 50 pounds to make himself look pudgy for the early scenes. The crew had to wait a whole year for Hanks to lose the weight so that they could film the “cast away” scenes.

76. Anise liqueur : OUZO

Ouzo is an apéritif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to French pastis and Italian sambuca.

83. Italian noble family : ESTE

The House of Este is a princely dynasty in Europe. The House of Hanover that ruled Britain from 1714 to 1901 (when Queen Victoria died) was perhaps the most notable branch of the House of Este. The House takes its name from the town of Este in the province of Padua in northern Italy.

86. Ramshackle : SHABBY

Our adjective “ramshackle”, meaning “loosely held together, rickety”, seems to be an alteration of the verb “to ransack”, meaning “to search through vigorously, pillage”.

87. One taking a lot of notes : TELLER

“To tell” can mean “to count”, as in “telling one’s blessings” and “there are 16, all told”. This usage of the word “tell” gives us the term “bank teller”.

93. Queen lead guitarist __ May : BRIAN

Brian May is the lead guitarist of the English rock band Queen. As well as performing with the group, May composed some of Queen’s biggest hits, including “We Will Rock You” and “I Want It All”. May is also a qualified astrophysicist. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and worked several years towards a PhD at Imperial College London before abandoning his studies to pursue his career in music. May went back to his PhD studies some 32 years later, and graduated in 2008.

Queen is an English rock band that was formed back in 1970. With the help of lead singer Freddie Mercury (now deceased), Queen has a long list of great hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” spent a total of nine weeks at number one in the UK.

96. Animal lovers’ org. : SPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

97. French city where William the Conqueror is buried : CAEN

Caen, on the River Orne, lies in the Calvados department of France in the northwest of the country. Caen is famous for the WWII Battle of Caen that left the town practically destroyed. Caen is also the burial place of the Norman King William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

98. Italian smoker : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcano in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts.

100. Many an IKEA buy : KIT

The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

103. Newton fruit : FIG

The Fig Newton cookie is based on what is actually a very old recipe that dates back to Ancient Egypt. Whereas we grew up with “Fig Rolls” in Ireland, here in America the brand name “Fig Newton” was used, named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts where they were first produced.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Takes the odds : BETS
5. Flop’s opposite : SMASH
10. Anchored : MOORED
16. Braying beast : ASS
19. Audition piece : ARIA
20. 1988 Summer Olympics site : KOREA
21. From C to C : OCTAVE
22. __ Victor : RCA
23. *Convenient carrier : HANDBASKET (from “handball” & “basketball”)
25. *Small, flat legume : BUTTER BEAN (from “Butterball” & “beanball”)
27. Braille bits : DOTS
28. Poet Pablo Neruda, e.g. : CHILEAN
30. “My treat” : ON ME
31. Distinctive Rolls Royce feature : GRILLE
34. Many a text writer : SCHOLAR
36. Hikes from the center : SNAPS
37. Wilson of “Pitch Perfect” movies : REBEL
38. Heinz Field player : STEELER
39. Rapid __ : TRANSIT
41. Nickname for young Skywalker : ANI
42. Ramshackle shelters : LEAN-TOS
43. One way to get you : RUSE
44. *Octal system : BASE EIGHT (from “baseball” & “eight-ball”)
47. *Item found in a parlor : CUE STICK (from “cue ball” & “stickball”)
51. Like Fran Drescher’s voice : NASAL
52. Cheerleaders’ handfuls : POMPOMS
56. Your cousin’s 81-Across, maybe : MOM
57. Plague critter : LOCUST
60. Pudding starch : TAPIOCA
61. Carne __ : ASADA
63. Subject of a Dean Martin classic : AMORE
64. *Pneumatic silo declogger : AIR CANNON (giving “air ball” & “cannonball”)
66. “Your table’s ready” gizmo : PAGER
67. Chekov on “Star Trek” : PAVEL
68. Directed : STEERED
69. Last to arrive : LATEST
70. French article : UNE
71. Proclaims : ASSERTS
72. Passionate : FIERY
74. *Fund for fun : PIN MONEY (giving “pinball” & “Moneyball”)
77. *Path for a promising young exec : FAST TRACK (giving “fastball” & “trackball”)
81. See 56-Across : AUNT
82. Fouls up, as plans : DERAILS
85. “The Crow” actress Ling : BAI
86. “The Star-Spangled Banner” quartet : STANZAS
89. “Les Misérables” girl : COSETTE
90. __ Ste. Marie : SAULT
92. Prefix with centric : HELIO-
93. Barbaric : BRUTISH
94. Worrisome engine sound : RATTLE
95. Teatro __ Scala : ALLA
96. Old copiers : SCRIBES
98. Right on the map : EAST
99. *It covers the Batmobile : BLACK PAINT (giving “blackball” & “paintball”)
101. *Brie, e.g. : SOFT CHEESE (giving “softball” & “cheese ball”)
107. Ottoman bigwig : BEY
108. Cooling-off period? : ICE AGE
109. City of NE Italy : UDINE
110. Garbage hauler : SCOW
111. B-day numbers : YRS
112. “Full House” surname : TANNER
113. Award for “Mr. Mercedes” : EDGAR
114. Lift one’s spirits? : TOPE

Down

1. “Phooey!” : BAH!
2. Significant time : ERA
3. Bronze component : TIN
4. Tack room item : SADDLE
5. Ice __ : SKATE
6. Shade of green : MOSS
7. What Indiana sought : ARK
8. “What did I tell you?” : SEE?
9. Chopper : HATCHET
10. Calder pieces : MOBILES
11. Telescope eyepiece : OCULAR
12. Weasel relative : OTTER
13. Pro follower : … RATA
14. 102-Down opposite : EVEN
15. “__ Rosenkavalier” : DER
16. Spots for sports : ARENAS
17. Trattoria entrée : SCAMPI
18. Least extreme : SANEST
24. Weevil’s target : BOLL
26. Tied-under-the-chin topper : BONNET
29. Prefix with gram : HOLO-
31. Take the wrong way? : GRAB
32. Sofer of soaps : RENA
33. Sacred Nile bird : IBIS
34. Longtime “60 Minutes” reporter : STAHL
35. Small price to pay : CENT
36. Backtalk : SASS
38. Sonic the Hedgehog maker : SEGA
39. “Mr. Citizen” autobiographer : TRUMAN
40. Regrets : RUES
42. Santa has a famous one : LIST
45. Acclimatize : ENURE
46. Art supporter? : EASEL
47. Fashion first name : COCO
48. Pixel pattern : IMAGE
49. Secret stuff : CODES
50. Target rival : KMART
52. Worrywart, at times : PACER
53. Eye-fooling genre : OP ART
54. Extraction sites : MINES
55. Golden or Walden : POND
57. Drink from a bowl : LAP UP
58. Spender of rials : OMANI
59. Group of 13, traditionally : COVEN
60. Genealogy chart : TREE
61. Spaced out : APART
62. Lustful deity : SATYR
64. Portfolio listings : ASSETS
65. Wee : ITSY
69. Rents : LETS
71. “Frozen” princess : ANNA
72. Conviction : FAITH
73. “Cast Away” setting : ISLE
75. Fanatic : MANIAC
76. Anise liqueur : OUZO
77. Dieter’s concern : FATS
78. Lie next to : ABUT
79. Birdsong : CALL
80. Toy with a tail : KITE
82. Skeptic : DOUBTER
83. Italian noble family : ESTE
84. Budget bin record : REISSUE
86. Ramshackle : SHABBY
87. One taking a lot of notes : TELLER
88. Soothes : ALLAYS
89. React to an awkward moment : CRINGE
90. Military band : SASH
91. Bear witness : ATTEST
93. Queen lead guitarist __ May : BRIAN
94. Track figure : RACER
96. Animal lovers’ org. : SPCA
97. French city where William the Conqueror is buried : CAEN
98. Italian smoker : ETNA
100. Many an IKEA buy : KIT
102. 14-Down opposite : ODD
103. Newton fruit : FIG
104. Green prefix : ECO-
105. Sponge (up) : SOP
106. Woolly mama : EWE

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Aug 18, Sunday”

  1. 65 min. And no errors but I had to look up 37 across (never heard of Rebel Wilson)
    I got 10 down but had no idea what it meant.
    I have come to the conclusion that you must be fluent in German, Spanish, French, Hebrew, and Italian to be a good crossword solver and I ain’t

  2. LAT: 20:51, no errors. Newsday: 19:49, no errors. Written. Washington Post: 33 minutes, no errors. Written. Got an interesting observation that continued with all 3 of these, but I’ll keep quiet.

    @Jack
    A lot of crosswords is simply learning the things they use in crosswords, especially since no one uses about 25-50% of the terminology that exists in them.

  3. 42:54 including a few minutes finding an error HOLi/LEANTiS. Did this one at 35,000 feet last night flying home – door to door a 14.5 hour trip. I’ve missed an entire week of puzzles, but I think I’ll just live with it rather than try to catch up.

    I had no idea BRIAN May was an astrophysicist.

    One more note about doing this puzzle. The second and final leg of my journey home was a 4 hour flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas. About 20 minutes before takeoff this guy starts bloviating (I’ll paraphrase) “How great I am and how important a person I am”…I put headphones on for the first hour thinking it would stop. 5 hours on that plane and that blowhard NEVER stopped talking. There must be something in the FAA statutes that justifies assault or homicide (joke) in those instances. I’ve been flying forever, and I have never endured a more annoying human being on any flight in my life.

    Point is I had to do this while Mr. Blowhard behind me was babbling on and on. It’s a miracle I finished at all.

    Great trip to Punta Cana. Happy to be home….and off that plane.

    Best –

    1. @Jeff….Re the “Enough about me. What do you think of me?” bloviating blow hard non stop braggart. Why wasn’t he flying on Air Force 1, as usual?

      1. @Tony … I know we’re supposed to steer clear of politics here, but I loved your post (and I had exactly the same reaction to Jeff’s report)! So … thank you! … 😜

  4. @Lulu –
    I didn’t really get that either other than I assume when they REISSUE an old album it’s cheaper than it was – kind of like a paperback version of a book except vinyl is vinyl…or at least it used to be like that when they sold albums.

  5. Somehow I got out of the boat on this one. I took too many wrong turns. Had Peta for Spca & Elsa for Anna, etc. Guess I just lost interest after awhile. Ho-hum. But football is coming as is the US Open! Yes, finally!

  6. Where is the crossword puzzle located
    in the Sunday, LA Times? I could not
    find it. August 26th, 2018
    Thanks, Mila

  7. Hi all!! 🙃
    DNF. Made some careless mistakes!! I had WELLES at first instead of TRUMAN. I know Calder’s work but I accidentally wrote MOBILES in the space for MOORED!! 😞 Finally quit when I realized I was running out of Wite-Out tape.

    Wow! Brian May an astrophysicist…he should do a cameo on The Big Bang Theory.

    Welcome home Jeff! That fellow on the plane sounds pretty horrible…😞

    Be well ~~⚾️

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