LA Times Crossword Answers 25 May 17, Thursday










Constructed by: Victor Barocas

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

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Theme: Complementary Names

Today’s themed answers are people who can be paired by family name. One family name in the pair is an occupation, and the other is a material used in that occupation:

  • 18A. Virginia politician for whom a university is named : GEORGE MASON
  • 60A. “Basic Instinct” star (who complements 18-Across?) : SHARON STONE
  • 24A. Magical literary orphan : HARRY POTTER
  • 47A. 1960 Olympic boxing gold medalist (who complements 24-Across?) : CASSIUS CLAY
  • 33A. “Close to You” singer : KAREN CARPENTER
  • 42A. “Westworld” actress (who complements 33-Across?) : EVAN RACHEL WOOD

Bill’s time: 8m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Reggae relative : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

15. Vital supply line : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

16. Throat dangler : UVULA

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

18. Virginia politician for whom a university is named : GEORGE MASON

George Mason was a Virginia politician who served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Mason was one of only three delegates who refused to sign the resulting constitution, citing that the document did not establish a “wise and just government”. Mason was also the first delegate to propose that the nation’s seat of government not be located in a state capital.

22. __ Testamento : NUEVO

In Spanish, the first book in the “Nuevo Testamento” (New Testament) is the Gospel of “Mateo” (Matthew).

23. Custard base : EGG

Our word “custard” evolved from the Middle French “croustade” meaning “meat or fruit pie (with a “”crust”). Over time the letter R fell away leading to “custard”, possibly due to the influence of the other food item “mustard”.

24. Magical literary orphan : HARRY POTTER

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling.

33. “Close to You” singer : KAREN CARPENTER

Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time and toured as the Carpenters. Sadly, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.

“(They Long to Be) Close to You” is a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song that was most famously recorded by the Carpenters in 1970. I was surprised to learn that the first recording was by Richard Chamberlain (who played Dr. Kildare on TV).

39. Old World Style sauce : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

40. Formal orders : DICTA

“Dictum” (plural “dicta”) is a legal term describing a statement by a court as part of a judgment.

41. Pet peeve? : FLEA

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

42. “Westworld” actress (who complements 33-Across?) : EVAN RACHEL WOOD

Actress Evan Rachel Wood’s most famous role to date is playing one of the leads in the 2003 movie “Thirteen”. Wood appears regularly on the small screen, for example playing a sentient android on the HBO series “Westworld”.

“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.

45. Analyze, in a way : PARSE

The verb “to parse” means “to state the parts of speech in a sentence”. “Parse” comes from the Latin word “pars” meaning “part”.

46. __ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline called Ryanair.

47. 1960 Olympic boxing gold medalist (who complements 24-Across?) : CASSIUS CLAY

The boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta?

59. If-then-__: programmer’s flow : ELSE

In the world of computer programming, an “if-then-else” construct is a type of conditional statement. The idea is that IF a particular condition is met THEN a particular action is executed. The additional ELSE statement can be used to define an alternative action.

60. “Basic Instinct” star (who complements 18-Across?) : SHARON STONE

Actress Sharon Stone’s big break came with her appearance in the erotic thriller “Basic Instinct” released in 1992. Stone really hasn’t landed huge roles in big movies since then, other than the role of Ginger in “Casino”, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Personally I enjoyed her performance in 1994’s “The Specialist”, an entertaining action film in which she played opposite Sylvester Stallone and James Woods.

“Basic Instinct” is a 1992 erotic thriller movie starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. The film was deemed controversial in many sectors of society at the time of its release, but I will say that I like the movie. To me, “Basic Instinct” epitomizes the neo-noir genre …

64. Letters between names : AKA

Also known as (aka)

65. Where “Ratatouille” was cooked up : PIXAR

“Ratatouille” is a 2007 animated film produced by Pixar. The hero of the piece is Remy, a rat whose ambition is to become a chef. Remy was voiced by stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. The veteran actor Peter O’Toole voiced the character Anton Ego, a restaurant critic.

69. Glacial ridge : ARETE

An arete is ridge of rock defining the border between two parallel valleys that have been formed by glaciation. If this ridge is rounded, it is called a “col”. However if it is “sharpened”, with rock falling way due to successive freezing and thawing, then it is called an “arete”. “Arête“ is the French word for “fish bone”.

Down

1. Walk through puddles : SLOSH

We’ve been using the word “puddle” to mean “small pool of muddy water” since the 15th century. The term ultimately comes from the the German “pudeln” meaning “to splash in water”. “Pudelm” is also the derivation of “poodle”, a breed of dog that was used in hunting waterfowl. So, “poodle” and “puddle” are cousins. Quite interesting …

2. It isn’t really a bear : KOALA

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

6. Home of Stephen King’s alma mater : ORONO

The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine, founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers. The town of Orono is named after Joseph Orono, a chief of the Penobscot Nation. The school’s athletic teams are named the Maine Black Bears.

8. “Full House” star Bob : SAGET

Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.

10. Oscar-nominated director DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma”, which was centered on the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

26. It is really a bear : PANDA

The giant panda is a bear, and so has the digestive system of a carnivore. However, the panda lives exclusively on bamboo, even though its gut is relatively poorly adapted to extract nutrients from plants per se. The panda relies on microbes in its gut to digest cellulose, and consumes 20-30 pounds of bamboo each day to gain enough nourishment.

30. D-Day city : ST LO

Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.

32. Mrs., in Madrid : SRA

Madrid is the largest city in Spain and the capital. Madrid is located very close to the geographical center of the country. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (after London and Paris). People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.

33. Polynesian intoxicant : KAVA

Kava is a plant found in the western Pacific. Its roots are used to make an intoxicating drink also called kava, which acts as a sedative.

34. Seaweed product : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

35. Pres. title : CIC

Commander in Chief (CIC)

36. Günther’s gripe : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

38. Micronesian republic : PALAU

Palau is a tiny island nation lying 500 miles east of the Philippines, and 2,000 miles south of Japan. Palau was once a Spanish possession and was sold by Spain to Germany in the late 19th century. During WWI, Japan invaded the islands (as Japan had declared war on Germany) and was awarded the islands as a territory by the League of Nations at the end of hostilities. In WWII the US took Palau from the Japanese in a bloody battle in 1944. Palau emerged from American administration in 1994 and is now a sovereign state.

Micronesia is one of the three island regions of Oceania, along with Polynesia and Melanesia. The sovereign nations included in the region are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau. Also in Micronesia are the US territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Wake Island.

44. Director Anderson : WES

Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums”, released in 2001, not my favorite film by any stretch. However, his 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.

48. Prince Valiant’s son : ARN

In the comic strip, Arn is the eldest son of Prince Valiant and Aleta is his wife. Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called the “Prince Valiant” comic strip the “greatest contribution to English Literature in the past one hundred years”. I’m not so sure …

49. Beyoncé’s “I Am… __ Fierce” : SASHA

Sasha Fierce is an alter-ego that Beyoncé Knowles has developed for her stage and recording work. Beyoncé describes Sasha as very sensual and aggressive. She released a studio album called “I Am… Sasha Fierce” in 2008.

50. Lute kin : SITAR

The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

51. “How do __ thee?” : I LOVE

Here is the beautiful “Sonnet 43” penned by English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

54. “I Am of Ireland” poet : YEATS

Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.

56. Knight who co-founded Nike : PHIL

Nike was founded in 1964 by entrepreneur Phil Knight and track and field coach Bill Bowerman as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). BRS started out by distributing athletic shoes made in Japan. The company started making its own shoes in 1971 and changed its name to Nike, after the Greek goddess of victory.

63. Chemical suffix : -ENE

An alkene is an organic compound made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. It differs from an alkane in that it has at least one C=C double bond. The simplest alkene is the gas ethylene, a major raw material used in the manufacture of plastics (like polyethylene).

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Reggae relative : SKA

4. Amount before deductions : GROSS

9. Unpleasant : HARSH

14. “U R funny!” : LOL

15. Vital supply line : AORTA

16. Throat dangler : UVULA

17. Bran source : OAT

18. Virginia politician for whom a university is named : GEORGE MASON

20. Ride on runners : SLED

22. __ Testamento : NUEVO

23. Custard base : EGG

24. Magical literary orphan : HARRY POTTER

27. Meeting vote : YEA

28. Falls phenomena : MISTS

33. “Close to You” singer : KAREN CARPENTER

39. Old World Style sauce : RAGU

40. Formal orders : DICTA

41. Pet peeve? : FLEA

42. “Westworld” actress (who complements 33-Across?) : EVAN RACHEL WOOD

45. Analyze, in a way : PARSE

46. __ Lingus : AER

47. 1960 Olympic boxing gold medalist (who complements 24-Across?) : CASSIUS CLAY

55. Like the name “Will,” for an estate lawyer : APT

58. Get behind : TRAIL

59. If-then-__: programmer’s flow : ELSE

60. “Basic Instinct” star (who complements 18-Across?) : SHARON STONE

64. Letters between names : AKA

65. Where “Ratatouille” was cooked up : PIXAR

66. Refuge : HAVEN

67. Came together : MET

68. Not at all trustworthy : SLIMY

69. Glacial ridge : ARETE

70. Agency creations : ADS

Down

1. Walk through puddles : SLOSH

2. It isn’t really a bear : KOALA

3. Make different : ALTER

4. __ order : GAG

5. Sushi topper : ROE

6. Home of Stephen King’s alma mater : ORONO

7. Structural support : STRUT

8. “Full House” star Bob : SAGET

9. “Think of it as an indulgence” : HUMOR ME

10. Oscar-nominated director DuVernay : AVA

11. Subterfuge : RUSE

12. Uphill climb : SLOG

13. Pal around (with) : HANG

19. Big night : EVE

21. Dress rehearsals : DRY RUNS

25. “__-haw!” : YEE

26. It is really a bear : PANDA

29. Effective, as a rule : IN FORCE

30. D-Day city : ST LO

31. Set up for a drive : TEED

32. Mrs., in Madrid : SRA

33. Polynesian intoxicant : KAVA

34. Seaweed product : AGAR

35. Pres. title : CIC

36. Günther’s gripe : ACH!

37. Hwy., e.g. : RTE

38. Micronesian republic : PALAU

39. Weightlifter’s unit : REP

43. Parish house : RECTORY

44. Director Anderson : WES

48. Prince Valiant’s son : ARN

49. Beyoncé’s “I Am… __ Fierce” : SASHA

50. Lute kin : SITAR

51. “How do __ thee?” : I LOVE

52. Camel relative : LLAMA

53. Sought answers : ASKED

54. “I Am of Ireland” poet : YEATS

55. Nile hazards : ASPS

56. Knight who co-founded Nike : PHIL

57. One in an airport line : TAXI

61. Bash : RAM

62. Amount after deductions : NET

63. Chemical suffix : -ENE

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17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 May 17, Thursday”

  1. Pretty easy Thursday puzzle although I kept thinkng Glenn Close was in Basic Instinct, but that was Fatal Attraction I guess.

    @Glenn –

    Thanks for the birth date link. I was born around 10 AM so I wonder if any relatives were doing that puzzle while waiting for me. Hmm

    A couple of interesting points: TAMPA was in both the puzzle on my birth date as well as 50th bday. The guy who constructed the puzzle on my 50th, did the NYT last Sunday. In that puzzle was the answer Lew HOAD (tennis player). It was the first time I’d ever heard of him. Lew HOAD was also in the puzzle on my birth date….Twilight Zone stuff. PNOM (Phnom) Penh was in there too. It was spelled differently at that time, and I wonder how well known it was in 1963. And lastly, AROAR was in the birth date puzzle so I was born to torment Carrie, I suppose 🙂

    Best –

    1. @Jeff
      The question I guess to me was whether I’d be able to do my birth date puzzle. I DNFed it after about 45 minutes (after giving it enough time to forget the answers after I copied all the clues and grid and printed it out), but got 3/4 of it done (lower left). It was surprisingly unstale, though, but required a pretty high vocabulary compared to what we use today. SALIENCE and RETICENT being stars of that corner though a reference to CRANSTON, R.I. reminds me of more of the local geography that always shows up in NYT grids.

      Contrast that with the very first published NYT. Had one read through the clues and was like “NOPE!” due to all the specific WWII theater references. Probably will be the same with most of these puzzles we do today in about 25-50 years or so when people look at them and have absolutely no clue who any of these pop culture items are, and criticize Will Shortz just like he and others criticize his predecessors. Of course, I keep saying that even the 2000-2003 models are much harder than the ones today.

      Anyhow, there’s a lot on that site I used, though it shut me down when I started trying to search/cross reference one of these puzzle books that didn’t date the puzzles. So don’t know how far you would get. Hopefully if I were to get a subscription there is a search function of some kind so I can track down book grids.

  2. I had a tough time with this puzzle ( what else is new … ?) …. but I also had a good time, and actually ‘found’ some part of the theme, which should have been obvious enough. Karen Carpenter, together with her brother, is still one of my most favorite singers of all time. Some of the others I had no knowledge of, Ms. Evan Wood and Mr. George Mason, I had never heard of – although Goerge Mason University seems vaguely familiar.

    I had a good time with the puzzle and enjoyed it immensely. Mr. Barocas, of course, I have tried his inventions before. The answers were punny, and charming.

    I always thought the custard base was made out of corn starch or finely ground corn flour. Although I like to eat eggs, as much as the next guy, and, ofcourse, ‘egg’ was the only possible answer, I have often made custard without any eggs at all – although, what was made, was probably not custard…

    Pet Peeve ? = flea, is a fantastic clue, imho. I first couldn’t understand it, even when I got it.
    Thanks to Bill’s blog, now, I now look at the Ragu’ logo very closely, whenever I buy the sauce … Talk about precision.
    Now to read up on George Mason.
    Have a nice day, all.
    Off to an extended trip, tomorrow.

    1. @Vidwan –

      FYI –

      I had the privilege of doing a project at George Mason U circa 2000-2002. It’s in Fairfax, VA about 20 miles west of D.C. It is an absolutely beautiful campus that feels like it was built in the middle of a forest. You have no real sense of being so close to the D.C./Baltimore area. I’ve been on hundreds of college campuses, but that is one that stands out. A very nice place indeed.

  3. Finished correctly, via some wild guesses.
    KAVA is unknown to me, as well as PALAU and Ms. WOOD.
    Fun time and a clever puzzle.

  4. Oh, wait. Can anyone explain 55A?
    Like the name “Will”for an estate lawyer.
    I don’t get it.
    Thanks.

  5. @Pookie

    Will is an APT (i.e. appropriate) name for an estate lawyer…because he works on wills and estates. Just like Stu is an APT name for a cook or Cone would be an APT surname for an ice cream man…etc. A little silliness in the puzzle

    Best –

  6. Pretty easy for Thursday. On the other hand the WSJ was quite a bit tougher and, while I finished, my “mulling over time” was quite a bit longer than typical.

    1. @Tony
      0 errors, 23 minutes for me on today’s WSJ. 0 errors, 41 minutes on tomorrow, haven’t looked at the meta yet.

  7. @Pookie – KAVA and WOODS also unknown to me. But I actually knew someone who lived in PALAU for a time.

  8. Somewhat slightly easy, except for the NE, Thursday; took about 35 minutes with no errors.

    Didn’t know GEORGEMASON and had to wait for crosses. First put in EGG and SLOG and then UVULA. Also had OReNO spelled wrong, but once I finally saw MASON, everything came together. I always thought it was in the Carolinas…so it’s in Virginia. It always comes up in the news with very conservative viewpoints.

    Yesterday was a little tougher, it seems to me. Well, on to Friday…

  9. Salve amicis!
    Jeff! Not to worry; I can take it!?
    That’s REALLY weird about that HOAD fellow…!!
    Nice Thursday puzzle, tho I ALMOST missed just ONE letter: the A at SASHA/ARETE. Total Natick for me but I guessed right!!
    I also love Karen Carpenter, and I actually (geek alert!!!) have pix of her on one of my Pinterest boards. Always glad, Bill, when you write about her drumming. Will try to post a link!
    Be well~~™???

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