LA Times Crossword 27 Aug 18, Monday

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Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): ROFT

Themed answers are all phrases in the format “R-word of T-word”:

  • 17A. Sam Houston served twice as its president : REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
  • 28A. General guideline : RULE OF THUMB
  • 47A. Credible quality : RING OF TRUTH
  • 59A. Hint that a storm is approaching : RUMBLE OF THUNDER

Bill’s time: 5m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Picket line crosser : SCAB

We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

16. Snake River state : IDAHO

The Snake River in the US northwest is the largest tributary of the Columbia River.

17. Sam Houston served twice as its president : REPUBLIC OF TEXAS

Sam Houston was the first President of the Republic of Texas, a US Senator for Texas, and governor of the state. Houston was also Governor of Tennessee in his earlier life and is the only person in US history to have been governor of two different states. The city of Houston is named for Sam, and the nearby city of Huntsville boasts a statue of Houston that’s the largest freestanding statue of any American.

20. Rapper Dr. __ : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

21. Shade tree subject to blight : ELM

Dutch elm disease is a fungus devastating to all species of elm trees that is transmitted by the elm bark beetle. The disease is thought to have originated in Asia and is now rampant in Europe and North America. Even though there is a hybrid of elm known as the Dutch elm, the disease isn’t named after the tree. Rather, the disease is called “Dutch” as it was identified in 1921 by a phytopathologist (plant pathologist) in the Netherlands.

23. Black __ : covert missions : OPS

“Black ops” is the name given to covert operations, activities that are usually outside of standard military protocol and may even be against the law. Funding for black ops is usually provided by a secret “black budget”.

28. General guideline : RULE OF THUMB

The exact origin of the phrase “rule of thumb” appears to be unclear. However, the expression does exist in languages other than English, although the wording can vary. In Finnish and German the equivalent is “rule of fist”, and in Hebrew the phrase is “rule of finger”.

31. Safari automaker : GMC

GMC is a division of General Motors (GM) established in 1901 that started out as GMC Truck.

The Chevrolet Astro is a minivan that GM made from 1985 to 2005. The same vehicle was also sold as the GMC Safari.

38. Geronimo’s tribe : APACHE

Cochise and Geronimo were perhaps the two most famous Apache leaders to resist intrusions by the European Americans in 1800s. Both lived lives full of conflict, but both also lived relatively long lives. Cochise eventually entered into a treaty putting an end to the fighting, and retired onto a new reservation. Cochise died of natural causes in 1874, at the age of 69. Geronimo surrendered, and spent years as a prisoner of war. He spent his last years as a celebrity, and even rode in the inaugural parade for President Theodore Roosevelt. Geronimo died of pneumonia in 1909 at the age of 79.

40. Board meeting outline : AGENDA

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

41. Motherless calf : DOGIE

“Dogie” (sometimes “dogy”) is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

45. Actresses Long and Vardalos : NIAS

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

Nia Vardalos is an actress and screenwriter whose biggest break came with the 2002 film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, which she wrote and in which she starred. The film tells the story of a Greek-American woman marrying a non-Greek Caucasian American who converts to the Greek Orthodox Church to facilitate the marriage. The storyline reflects the actual experiences of Vardalos and her husband, actor Ian Gomez. Vardalos and Gomez appeared together as hosts for two seasons of the reality competition “The Great American Baking Show”.

46. Jeanne d’Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE

Joan of Arc (also “Jeanne d’Arc”, her birth name) led the French Army successfully into battle a number of times during the Hundred Years War with England. When she was eventually captured, Joan was tried in Rouen, the seat of the occupying English government in France at that time. There she was burned at the stake having been found guilty of heresy. In fact, after the fire died down, the executioner raked the coals to display the charred body, proving Joan had died, and then burned the corpse again, twice, so that relics could not be collected. The remaining ashes were then cast into the Seine River. Joan of Arc was canonized some 600 years later, in 1920, and is now one of the patron saints of France.

51. “To each __ own” : HIS

“Chacun à son goût” is a French phrase that we sometimes cite in English to mean “to each his own”. A more literal translation is “everyone to his taste”.

52. Bill Belichick, e.g. : COACH

Bill Belichick starting coaching professional football in 1975. His first head-coaching gig was with the Cleveland Browns, starting in 1991. He has won five Super Bowls as head coach, which is an NFL record.

59. Hint that a storm is approaching : RUMBLE OF THUNDER

The word “thunder” precedes the word “lightning” in the phrase “thunder and lightning”. However, thunder comes after lighting in reality, at least to the observer. The observer sees the flash of lightning and then seconds later hears the crash of thunder. That’s because light travels faster than sound.

64. Cookie in dirt pudding : OREO

Dirt cake (sometimes “dirt pie, dirt pudding”) is a dessert usually made by breaking up Oreo cookies and scattering the pieces over chocolate pudding, and then adding gummy worms on top. Sounds delicious …

67. Florist’s arrangement : POSY

“Poesy” was the name given to a line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring. The related word “posy”, for a bouquet of flowers, arose with the notion that giving a posy might be a message of love, just as a poesy inside a ring could have the same meaning.

68. Indy 500 racers : CARS

The Indianapolis 500 race is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race is run around a 2.5 mile oval, hence requiring 200 laps for completion. The first Indy 500 race was held on Memorial Day in 1911. The winner that day was one Ray Harroun. Harroun had seen someone using a rear view mirror on a horse-drawn vehicle, and decided to fit one on his Marmon “Wasp” motor car. Supposedly, that was the first ever use of a rear view mirror on a motor vehicle.

Down

4. Academic URL ender : EDU

An Internet address (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locators (URL).

7. “The Walking Dead” channel : AMC

“The Walking Dead” is a horror television show made by AMC that is based on a comic book series of the same name. There are lots of flesh-eating zombies featured, so I won’t be caught “dead” watching it …

9. Win the jackpot : HIT IT BIG

The term “jackpot” dates back to the 1800s and is from the game of poker. In some variants there are progressive antes. This means that players have to ante up, add to the “pot”, when no player has a pair of “jacks” or better. They build a “jackpot”.

10. One-named “Skyfall” singer : ADELE

I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion. And, Adele’s rendition of the title song is an added plus …

11. __-Coburg, Bavaria : SAXE

Saxony was the name given at different times in history to states along the Elbe river in central Europe. As the various states broke up, they spawned many duchies that retained the name “Saxe”. The most famous of these duchies was probably Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, two united duchies in Germany that ceased to exist after WWII. A notable branch of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House is the British Royal Family, as Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. King George V of the United Kingdom changed the name of the family to the House of Windsor in a politically sensible move during WWI.

12. Former Mississippi senator Cochran : THAD

Senator Thad Cochran was elected US Senator for the state of Mississippi in 1978, and served until he was forced to resign in 2018 due to health concerns. While earning his B.A. at the University of Mississippi, Cochran was on the cheerleading squad, with fellow senator Trent Lott.

13. Dawn goddess : EOS

In Greek mythology, Eos was the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos was Aurora. Rather delightfully, Homer referred to Eos as “rosy-fingered dawn” in both “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.

18. Kiss, in Cancún : BESO

Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.

24. Joe of “My Cousin Vinny” : PESCI

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in “Raging Bull” starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like Pesci’s comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinny”. Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

26. FedEx rival : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn).

27. Country with 11 time zones: Abbr. : RUS

Local solar time was replaced with standard time zones due to the increasing use of rail travel and telecommunications as the variations in local solar times became somewhat inconvenient. Time zones in the US vary in hourly increments, but in some parts of the world a 30-minute or even 15-minute difference can apply.

28. Curls up with a Kindle : READS

Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD a few years ago. I’ve started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device …

37. Painter Matisse : HENRI

Henri Matisse was a French artist renowned for his contribution to modern art. In his early career, Matisse was classed as a “fauve”, one of the group of artists known as the “wild beasts” who emphasized strong color over realism in their works. He was a lifelong friend of Pablo Picasso, and the two were considered to be good-natured rivals so their works are often compared. One major difference between their individual portfolios is that Picasso tended to paint from his imagination, whereas Matisse tended to use nature as his inspiration.

39. Performer of the 12 labors, to the Greeks : HERACLES

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles. The first of these labors was to slay the Nemean lion, a monster that lived in a cave near Nemea. Hercules had a tough job as the lion’s golden fur was impenetrable to normal weapons. One version of the story is that Hercules killed the lion by shooting an arrow into its mouth. Another version says that Hercules stunned the monster with a club and then strangled him with his bare hands.

40. Justice dept. division : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

42. Party gp. chaired by Tom Perez : DNC

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was set up way back in 1848, and governs the day-to-day affairs of the Democratic Party. Past chairpersons of the DNC include Howard Dean from Vermont, Chris Dodd from Connecticut and Tim Kaine from Virginia.

Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017, after having served as Secretary of Labor for four years in the Obama administration.

44. Prairie canines : COYOTES

The coyote is a canine found in most of Central and North America. The name “coyote” is Mexican Spanish, in which language it means “trickster”. Coyotes can sometimes mate with domestic dogs, creating hybrid animals known as “coydogs”. Coyotes can also mate with wolves, creating a “coywolf”. South Dakota named the coyote its state animal in 1949.

50. Blue Ribbon beer : PABST

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

52. 1962 Missile Crisis country : CUBA

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day standoff between the US and the USSR in 1962 concerning the deployment of ballistic missiles. The US had deployed ballistic missiles in Turkey in 1961, which had the capability of striking Moscow before the USSR had time to react. The crisis erupted when the US discovered preparations for the deployment of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba, which missiles could strike American cities before the US had time to react. The crisis was resolved when the USSR publicly stated that they would dismantle all offensive weapons in Cuba, and the US declared that it would never again attempt to invade Cuba (the Bay of Pigs Invasion had taken place in 1961). Secretly, the US also agreed to dismantle its ballistic missiles in Turkey, and did so almost immediately.

55. Sailor’s hail : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

60. Comics’ Alley __ : OOP

“Alley Oop” is a comic strip that ran for four decades starting in 1932. “Alley Oop” was drawn by V. T. Hamlin. The title character lived in the prehistoric kingdom of Moo, although for much of the strip’s life, Alley Oop had access to a time machine. Alley Oop also had a girlfriend called Ooola. I had assumed that Ooola’s name was a play on “hula hoop”, but that wasn’t invented until the 1950s (a kind blog reader informs me) …

62. Peacock logo network : NBC

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has had a number of different logos in its history, including the famous peacock with which we are familiar today. The first peacock logo was introduced in the early days of color television and was designed to illustrate how wonderful color television would be, so go buy one! (NBC was owned by RCA, and so had a vested interest in sales of color television sets).

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Apple remnant : CORE
5. Picket line crosser : SCAB
9. Proverbial waste maker : HASTE
14. Like die-hard fans : AVID
15. Furry red Muppet : ELMO
16. Snake River state : IDAHO
17. Sam Houston served twice as its president : REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
20. Rapper Dr. __ : DRE
21. Shade tree subject to blight : ELM
22. Lubricated : OILED
23. Black __ : covert missions : OPS
25. Cost for an online pop-up : AD RATE
28. General guideline : RULE OF THUMB
31. Safari automaker : GMC
34. Wraps up : ENDS
35. Fish trapped in pots : EELS
36. “Word is … ” : I HEAR …
38. Geronimo’s tribe : APACHE
40. Board meeting outline : AGENDA
41. Motherless calf : DOGIE
42. Tear canal : DUCT
45. Actresses Long and Vardalos : NIAS
46. Jeanne d’Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE
47. Credible quality : RING OF TRUTH
50. Intermittent, as fog : PATCHY
51. “To each __ own” : HIS
52. Bill Belichick, e.g. : COACH
54. Boathouse item : OAR
56. One __ million : IN A
59. Hint that a storm is approaching : RUMBLE OF THUNDER
63. Quite heavy : OBESE
64. Cookie in dirt pudding : OREO
65. Extremely tired : BEAT
66. Desires : WANTS
67. Florist’s arrangement : POSY
68. Indy 500 racers : CARS

Down

1. Birthday __ : CARD
2. Finished : OVER
3. One’s golden years : RIPE OLD AGE
4. Academic URL ender : EDU
5. Pitch successfully : SELL
6. Long-term weather conditions : CLIMATE
7. “The Walking Dead” channel : AMC
8. Unhappy fan’s shout : BOO!
9. Win the jackpot : HIT IT BIG
10. One-named “Skyfall” singer : ADELE
11. __-Coburg, Bavaria : SAXE
12. Former Mississippi senator Cochran : THAD
13. Dawn goddess : EOS
18. Kiss, in Cancún : BESO
19. Shaving lather : FOAM
24. Joe of “My Cousin Vinny” : PESCI
26. FedEx rival : DHL
27. Country with 11 time zones: Abbr. : RUS
28. Curls up with a Kindle : READS
29. Take out of its container, as a houseplant : UNPOT
30. Service charge : FEE
31. “That’s super-creative thinking!” : GENIUS IDEA!
32. Angry with : MAD AT
33. Wall Street disaster : CRASH
37. Painter Matisse : HENRI
39. Performer of the 12 labors, to the Greeks : HERACLES
40. Justice dept. division : ATF
42. Party gp. chaired by Tom Perez : DNC
43. “That’s gross!” : UGH!
44. Prairie canines : COYOTES
48. “Am __ only one?” : I THE
49. Drive-__ window : THRU
50. Blue Ribbon beer : PABST
52. 1962 Missile Crisis country : CUBA
53. Dark clouds, to some : OMEN
55. Sailor’s hail : AHOY!
57. Close by : NEAR
58. Creative pursuits : ARTS
59. Movie theater division : ROW
60. Comics’ Alley __ : OOP
61. To’s partner : FRO
62. Peacock logo network : NBC

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10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Aug 18, Monday”

  1. I think 10 abbreviations are too many.

    Had forgotten about the Greek pronunciation, HERAKLES. Hercules has certainly been adopted by the Italians. I know guys named Ercole.

    Jane Drees Blando

  2. 9:01. Above average Monday challenge.

    @Bill –
    I never realized ELMO was a SCAB….. 🙂 Copy and paste error, I assume.

    I wonder where “Judgement at Nuremberg” rates as a legal movie, if it can be classified as such.

    I’ve seen the statue of Sam Houston many times driving north out of Houston towards Dallas on I-45. I never knew it was the tallest anything, but it’s large enough that it doesn’t surprise me.

    Best –

  3. LAT: 6:38, no errors. WSJ: 8:08, no errors. Newsday: 5:29, no errors. BEQ: 44 minutes, no errors. Hard to break into, but after that and some weird crossings, managed it. All hand-written.

    New Yorker: 28 minutes, 1 iffy error. Hand-written. Without spoiling it, there was a term for notes that lovers exchange I never heard of crossing a clue with a reference to some literature I never heard. Debated between the right letter and a couple of other possibilities and selected the wrong one.

  4. Did not do a fast time, but no errors. A very enjoyable puzzle, with no tricks.
    I didn’t know all the words, but got fits around them.

  5. NYT – 9:34. For whatever reason Bill didn’t post for the NYT today. It was a surprisingly fun theme for a Monday.

    Best –

  6. Hey gang!! 🙃
    No errors. Easy stuff! …. I actually never knew that Hercules and HERACLES were the same mythical figure!!
    Also thought DOGIEs just meant cows.🐴 Poor little DOGIEs!! 🤐
    Be well ~~🍉

  7. For some reason I think the theme was “ROT”.

    But whatever C.C. Burnikel intended with this puzzle, I think it was a “ROT-ten” trick, lol!

    And I’m so grateful that Bill explains the answers and themes to all of us!

  8. LAT: 7:39, no errors. Newsday: 5:10, no errors. WSJ: 8:20, no errors. BEQ: 20:53, no errors. New Yorker: 20:34, no errors. All relatively easy.

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