LA Times Crossword Answers 12 May 15, Tuesday

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

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

CROSSWORD SETTER: Bruce Haight
THEME: Berries … each of today’s themed answers starts with a type of BERRY:

39A. Word that can follow the starts of 17-, 26-, 50- and 58-Across BERRIES

17A. Scary R.L. Stine series for kids GOOSEBUMPS (giving “gooseberries”)
26A. Panamas, e.g. STRAW HATS (giving “strawberries”)
50A. Witchcraft and such BLACK ARTS (giving “blackberries”)
58A. Symbols of Democratic victories BLUE STATES (giving “blueberries”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 48s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Diving duck SMEW
The smew is a beautiful-looking species of duck found right across northern Europe and Asia. The smew requires trees to complete its breeding cycle as it nests in tree holes, such as old woodpecker nests.

14. Woodwind with nearly a three-octave range OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

15. Popeye’s nemesis BLUTO
Bluto is the villain in the Popeye cartoon strip, a character who has been around since 1932. Sometimes you will see Bluto go by the name Brutus, depending on the date of the publication. This “confusion” arose because there was an unfounded concern that the name “Bluto” was owned by someone else. Bluto, Brutus … it’s the same guy.

17. Scary R.L. Stine series for kids GOOSEBUMPS (giving “gooseberries”)
“Goosebumps” is a series of children’s horror novels written by author R. L. Stine. The novels have been adapted into a television series shown on Canadian TV.

The author R. L. Stine is sometimes referred to as the Stephen King of children’s literature as he writes horror stories for young people.

The terms “goosebumps” and “goose flesh” come from the fact that skin which is cold can look like the flesh of a plucked goose.

You don’t see gooseberries very much over here in the US, but they grew wild in the British Isles when I was growing up. Gooseberry pies and jams were very popular.

26. Panamas, e.g. STRAW HATS (giving “strawberries”)
Panama hats are also known as Jipijapas, named for a town in Ecuador (and not Panama, surprisingly) that was a major player in the hat trade.

31. “Fiddlesticks!” OH DARN!
We’ve been using “fiddlesticks” to mean “nonsense” since the early 17th century. Prior to that time, “fiddlestick” referred to the bow of a fiddle.

32. Small boys TADS
A tad is a small boy, with the term possibly coming from the word “tadpole”.

33. Scoundrel ROUE
“Roue” is a lovely word, I think, describing a less than lovely man. A roue could otherwise be described as a cad, someone of loose morals. “Roue” comes from the French word “rouer” meaning “to break on a wheel”. This describes the ancient form of capital punishment where a poor soul was lashed to a wheel and then beaten to death with cudgels and bars. I guess the suggestion is that a roue, with his loose morals, deserves such a punishment.

35. New York governor before Pataki CUOMO
Mario Cuomo was Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994. I well remember Mario Cuomo’s keynote address to the 1984 Democratic National Convention soon after I moved to America. For a new immigrant it was an interesting glimpse into American politics. Here’s a little bit of trivia about Mario Cuomo: he was the first ever guest for Larry King on his CNN talk show “Larry King Live”, back in 1985. Cuomo passed away in January 2015 at the age of 82.

George Pataki is a member of the Republican Party who served as Governor of New York from 1995 to 2006. I happen to know that Pataki’s maternal grandmother is from a village close to where I lived in Ireland. When Pataki was first running for Governor, I met someone in Ireland who was researching Pataki’s Irish roots for him. My guess is that the Irish vote is important in New York State …

38. Hosp. heart test EKG
An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

42. R&B singer __ Marie TEENA
Teena Marie is a very successful R&B singer, born Mary Christine Brockert.

44. Toon Snorkasaurus DINO
In the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “The Flintstones”, Dino the pet dinosaur (actually a “snorkasaurus”) was voiced by the famous Mel Blanc, until Blanc passed away in 1989.

46. Magazine with an annual list of the world’s 2,000 biggest public companies FORBES
“Forbes” is a business magazine that has been published since 1917, when it was founded by B. C. Forbes and Walter Drey. The full name of the original publication was “Forbes: Devoted to Doers and Doings”. “Forbes” is noted for publishing lists of the biggest and richest in the world of business. In 2014, “Forbes” listed the 2000 largest public companies in the world and showed for the first time that the three biggest companies are based in China.

55. Fictional reporter Lane LOIS
Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. But never mind all that – one has to wonder how good the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

58. Symbols of Democratic victories BLUE STATES (giving “blueberries”)
On political maps, red states are Republican and blue states Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

65. Grimm brutes OGRES
The Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) were two German academics noted for collecting and publishing folk tales. Among the tales in their marvelous collection are “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella”.

68. Meddlesome sort YENTA
Yenta (also “Yente”) is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater “yenta” came to mean a busybody.

Down
1. Shipboard diary LOG
The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

2. Blood typing system ABO
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”.

5. “Take a Chance on Me” group ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA’s music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

8. “The Racer’s Edge” STP
STP is a brand name for automotive lubricants and additives. The name STP comes from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

9. Steel-wool scrubber SOS PAD
S.O.S is a brand name of scouring pads made from steel wool impregnated with soap. The product was invented as a giveaway by an aluminum pot salesman in San Francisco called Ed Cox. His wife gave it the name “S.O.S” as an acronym for “Save Our Saucepans”. Note the punctuation! There is no period after the last S, and that is deliberate. When Cox went to register the trademark, he found that “S.O.S.” could not be a trademark because it was used as an international distress signal. So he dropped the period after the last S, and I hope made a lot of money for himself and his wife.

13. Adam and Mae WESTS
Adam West is the actor who played the title role in the sixties TV series “Batman”. These days you might hear West as the voice of a character called “Adam West” on the animated show “Family Guy”. Back in 1970, West was offered the role of James Bond in the movie “Diamonds are Forever”, but he turned it down!

Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:

• When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
• When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
• I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
• Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
• I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
• Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
• When women go wrong, men go right after them.
• To err is human, but it feels divine.
• I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
• I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
• Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

18. “… the __ blackness of the floors”: Poe EBON
“… the ebon blackness of the floors …” is a phrase from the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe.

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is perhaps the most famous short story by Edgar Allen Poe, first published in 1839. The story is a Gothic tale, an interview with Robert Usher in his house which literally “falls”, breaks into two and is swallowed up by a lake. Some believe that the story was inspired by events at a real Usher House that once stood on Boston’s Lewis Wharf. When the Usher House was torn down, the bodies of a man and woman were found embracing in a cavity in the cellar, a fact reflected in the story as Robert Usher’s sister is supposedly buried alive in the crypt.

22. Gulf War defense acronym AWACS
When the British developed radar in WWII, they also came up with an airborne system that they actually deployed during the war. In 1944 the US Navy commissioned a similar system, and so launched the first American Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system, also before the war was over. The more modern term for the technology is Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS for short.

28. Germany’s longest river, to Germans RHEIN
The river running through Europe that we know in English as the Rhine, is called “Rhein” in German, “Rhin” in French and “Rijn” in Dutch.

30. Univ. senior’s exam GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

40. Daybreak goddess EOS
In Greek mythology, Eos is 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 is Aurora.

51. River in Hades LETHE
The Lethe is one of the five rivers of Hades in Greek mythology. All the souls who drank from the river Lethe experienced complete forgetfulness. The Greek word “lethe” means “oblivion, forgetfulness”.

Hades was the god of the underworld to the ancient Greeks. Over time, Hades gave his name to the underworld itself, the place where the dead reside. The term “Hades” was also adopted into the Christian tradition, as an alternative name for hell. But, the concept of hell in Christianity is more akin to the Greek “Tartarus”, which is a dark and gloomy dungeon located in Hades, a place of suffering and torment.

52. Wintry precipitation SLEET
Apparently “sleet” is a term used to describe two weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets, smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls. It’s the second definition that I have always used …

56. Peak of Greek myth OSSA
Mount Ossa in Greece is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Like a sluggard LAZY
5. Bottomless pit ABYSS
10. Diving duck SMEW
14. Woodwind with nearly a three-octave range OBOE
15. Popeye’s nemesis BLUTO
16. Water-draining aid EAVE
17. Scary R.L. Stine series for kids GOOSEBUMPS (giving “gooseberries”)
19. Barely makes, with “out” EKES
20. Construction beam I-BAR
21. Invention protection PATENT
23. __ the races OFF TO
26. Panamas, e.g. STRAW HATS (giving “strawberries”)
29. Crossword constructor’s chore CLUING
31. “Fiddlesticks!” OH DARN!
32. Small boys TADS
33. Scoundrel ROUE
35. New York governor before Pataki CUOMO
38. Hosp. heart test EKG
39. Word that can follow the starts of 17-, 26-, 50- and 58-Across BERRIES
41. Squishy lowland FEN
42. R&B singer __ Marie TEENA
44. Toon Snorkasaurus DINO
45. Way off in the distance AFAR
46. Magazine with an annual list of the world’s 2,000 biggest public companies FORBES
48. In a wise way SAGELY
50. Witchcraft and such BLACK ARTS (giving “blackberries”)
53. Succinct TERSE
54. Get a new actor for RECAST
55. Fictional reporter Lane LOIS
57. Memo abbr. ATTN
58. Symbols of Democratic victories BLUE STATES (giving “blueberries”)
64. Like racehorses SHOD
65. Grimm brutes OGRES
66. Smitten to the max GAGA
67. Parade honoree HERO
68. Meddlesome sort YENTA
69. Unrestrained indulgence ORGY

Down
1. Shipboard diary LOG
2. Blood typing system ABO
3. Field trip destination ZOO
4. Adamant affirmation YES IT IS!
5. “Take a Chance on Me” group ABBA
6. Makes fuzzy BLURS
7. “Delicious!” YUM!
8. “The Racer’s Edge” STP
9. Steel-wool scrubber SOS PAD
10. Sheer, informally SEE-THRU
11. Seller’s suggestion MAKE AN OFFER
12. Javelin throw, for one EVENT
13. Adam and Mae WESTS
18. “… the __ blackness of the floors”: Poe EBON
22. Gulf War defense acronym AWACS
23. Nonet minus one OCTET
24. Speck of snow FLAKE
25. Experimental margin of error FUDGE FACTOR
27. Trap victim? TOURIST
28. Germany’s longest river, to Germans RHEIN
30. Univ. senior’s exam GRE
34. Ham sandwich and a soda, e.g. ORDER
36. Lunch and dinner MEALS
37. How ham may be served ON RYE
39. Sounds from pounds BARKS
40. Daybreak goddess EOS
43. “Sorry, that’s impossible” NO CAN DO
45. In the distant past AGES AGO
47. Dugout assistant BAT BOY
49. Quarreling AT IT
50. In-your-face BRASH
51. River in Hades LETHE
52. Wintry precipitation SLEET
56. Peak of Greek myth OSSA
59. Shirt size abbr. LGE
60. Coffee dispenser URN
61. Roofing sealer TAR
62. __ on your face EGG
63. Put into words SAY

Return to top of page

9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 12 May 15, Tuesday”

  1. Some interesting cluing for a Tuesday. I guess TERSE and succinct are technically synonyms, but to me terse has some connotations of being impolitely succinct.

    I believe we refer to the forgetful waters of the river LETHE in modern times as "bourbon"….

    Best

  2. Criminy, Addict! You mean to say that fiddlesticks and oh darn are not what you shout when you stub your toe? (g)

  3. OHDARN, now I'm hungry. Perhaps a GOOSE-man HERE?

    BTW, if a crossword constructor thinks CLUING is a "chore," are his/her puzzles worth solving? Just a thought.

  4. Why can I never remember that Univ. senior's exam?
    Graduate RECORD Exam? I don't even know what that means.
    LUNCH for the sandwich and soda.
    Anyway, got the theme right away, but got stuck on a few unknowns, LETHE, SMEW (I know, we've seen it many times, but it doesn't stick)
    Not a clue as to FUDGE FACTOR.
    See you all later.

  5. Nice and relatively easy puzzle. Really enjoyed it.

    Pookie, you must be very young. I remember sitting for the GRE's way back when – the general GRE, the Engg. section, the math GRE, the GMAT, … even the TOEFL ( Test of english as a foreign language -) and the ATGSB Adv test for graduate study in business. I actually became pretty good at it, what with the Gestalt psychology involved (practice makes perfect – ). A decade ago, I helped my daughter with her MCAT and a nephew with his LSAT. Anybody need a free tutor ??

    I had forgotten SMEW and had STYXE for LETHE. As for the river, I'll worry about it, when I get there ….

    Have a nice day, all.

  6. Hi Vidwan!
    No, I'm not very young. Let's leave it at that. ^0^ I graduated with a B.A. in composition from a music school. We had "finals" and proficiency tests and for the performance majors, senior recitals. I had compositions to write and orchestrate. And yes, it does sound a lot more fun than what you went through.
    😉

  7. Y'all are so funny! I truly enjoy this blog and its witty comments:-D
    I got stuck on SMEW. We've had that before?? I was so sure it was wrong. Also had TAKE ANOTHER! for 11D — it worked for awhile there.
    Overall, nice challenge for a Tuesday.
    And I'll see you folks mañana:-) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.