LA Times Crossword Answers 26 May 17, Friday










Constructed by: Samuel A. Donaldson

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

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Theme: Number One

Today’s themed answers need the words NUMBER ONE added in order to make sense:

  • 35A. Words needed to complete four puzzle answers : NUMBER ONE
  • 17A. Prioritizes self-interest : LOOKS OUT FOR (number one)
  • 34A. Championship team cheer : WE’RE (number one!)
  • 38A. “Let’s Make a Deal” choice : DOOR (number one)
  • 58A. Object of a serious hunt : PUBLIC ENEMY (number one)

Bill’s time: 8m 15s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • AVISO (eviso)
  • SAL SODA (sel soda)



Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Smelling __ : SALTS

The active ingredient in smelling salts is usually ammonium carbonate, which releases ammonia gas when mixed with alcohol. When the activated salts are held under the nose, the ammonia irritates the mucous membranes causing an inhalation reflex action.

6. Olympic racers : LUGES

A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!

11. Paving goo : TAR

The terms “Tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call Tarmac.

14. Dispatch boat : AVISO

A dispatch boat is a military vessel designed to carry dispatches to and from ships. In the French navy, a dispatch boat is called an aviso. Nowadays of course, the need for dispatch boats has disappeared, but avisos still exist and are a class of combat vessel usually used in the defense of a coast against encroachment by enemies.

16. Missile from Venus? : ACE

Venus Williams is the older of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. In 2002, Williams became the first African-American woman to earn the World No. 1 ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association in the Open Era.

24. Nicholas and Peter : TSARS

The term “czar” (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

26. Buck : CLAM

“Buck” and “clam” are both slang terms for “a dollar”. The term “buck” has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days. It has been suggested that “clam” has a similar derivation, a throwback to the supposed use of clams as units of currency in ancient cultures.

38. “Let’s Make a Deal” choice : DOOR (number one)

The game show “Let’s Make a Deal” first aired way back in 1963. For many years the show was hosted by Monty Hall, from 1963 until 1986, and again briefly in 1991. In more recent years, Wayne Brady took over as host in 2009.

40. Square placed on a square board : TILE

Scrabble, perhaps.

50. Bygone “SNL” rival : MADTV

“MADtv” is a television sketch show that ran for fourteen seasons starting in 1995. The show had nothing to do with the famous “Mad” magazine, although it did license the name and logo from the publication.

52. “At Last” singer James : ETTA

Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

53. “Timecop” star : VAN DAMME

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a Belgian actor and expert in martial arts. Given his background, he is referred to by the nickname “The Muscles from Brussels”.

“Timecop” is an entertaining sci-fi movie released in 1994, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as US federal agent who tracks down criminals with the aid of time travel.

55. Diamond mine? : I GOT IT!

That would be a call made on a baseball diamond.

60. “Evil Woman” band : ELO

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) recorded the song “Evil Woman” in 1975. “Evil Woman” was written by the band’s lead vocalist Jeff Lynne, in just thirty minutes!

61. __ Gay : ENOLA

The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

65. Vermouth bottle name : ROSSI

The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams. And yes, the famous cocktail is probably named for Mr. Martini.

Down

1. Grill-cleaning solution : SAL SODA

Sodium carbonate is a well known as a water softener sold for use in laundry, and is variously described as Sal Soda, Washing Soda and Soda Crystals.

3. Nala, notably : LIONESS

In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba. By the end of the story, Nala and Simba become wedded. “The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, with Simba representing the title character, and Nala representing Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia.

5. McGwire’s 1998 rival : SOSA

Sammy Sosa was firmly in the public eye in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire were vying to be the first to surpass the home run record held by Roger Maris. McGwire fell out of public favor due to stories of steroid abuse (stories which he later admitted were true) while Sosa fell out of favor when he was found to be using a corked bat in a 2003 game.

6. Sch. with a live tiger mascot : LSU

The LSU Tigers are the sports teams of Louisiana State University (LSU). They are officially known as the Fightin’ Tigers, and the school mascot is “Mike the Tiger”. The name comes from the days of the Civil War, when two Louisiana brigades earned the nickname the “Louisiana Tigers”. Given the French/Cajun history of Louisiana, the LSU fans use the cheer “Geaux Tigers” instead of “Go Tigers”.

7. UHF component : ULTRA

The radio spectrum is divided into bands based on frequency. “High band” is composed of relatively high frequency values, and “low band” is composed of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency, or VHF. Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF). AM radio uses lower frequencies that fall into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF).

9. Altruist’s opposite : EGOIST

An egoist (also “egotist”) is a selfish and conceited person. The opposite would be an altruist.

10. Ukr. and Lith., formerly : SSRS

Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the” Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say “Ukraine”.

The nation of Lithuania is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) sitting on the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, and 16 miles north of Vilnius is a point that is officially recognized as the Geographic Center of Europe.

13. Name for a help file : README

A readme (or “read me”) file is usually a simple text file that is issued with software when it is distributed. It often contains the latest information about the application, including bugs that were found at the last minute just before release.

22. Slope of loose stones : SCREE

When a rock face erodes, lumps of rock and dust fall to the ground. The pile of rocks gathered around the rock face is called scree, a word derived from the old Norwegian term for a landslide.

28. Blue character : SMURF

The Smurfs are little blue people created in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist who went by the pen name Peyo. The Smurfs became famous in the US when Hanna-Barbera used them in a children’s cartoon series. The characters are largely a group of males. The original lineup included just one “Smurfette”, who is wooed by almost all of the boy Smurfs. Later, another female was introduced into the mix called Sassette, and still later along came Granny Smurf.

37. It was originally established as the Royal Coburg Theatre : OLD VIC

The Old Vic is a very famous theater (or I should I say “theatre”?) in London, previously known as the Royal Coburg Theatre and then the Royal Victorian Theatre (giving it the current name “The Old Vic”). The theater owes a lot of its fame and standing to the fact that it housed the National Theater of Great Britain after it was founded in 1963 by Sir Laurence Olivier. Today the National Theater has new, modern premises, but the Old Vic Theatre Company stills garners a lot of attention. The current, and very energetic, artistic director of the company is American actor, Kevin Spacey.

39. Showing off a pedi, perhaps : OPEN-TOE

Pedicure (pedi)

42. Nissan models : ALTIMAS

Nissan has been making the Altima since 1993. In 2007 the company started to produce a hybrid version, Nissan’s first foray into the hybrid market and a successful one by all accounts. Altima hybrids are even used as police cruisers by the New York Police Department.

43. Duck-billed mammals : PLATYPI

The platypus (plural “platypuses” or “platypi”) is one of only five mammalian species that we know of that lay eggs rather than give birth to live young. The platypus is a native of Eastern Australia, and it is a weird creature to say the least. It’s appearance is bizarre enough, with it’s bill that resembles that of a duck, but it is also poisonous. The platypus has a spur on it hind foot that can inject venom and cause severe pain in humans.

44. Julie who voices Marge Simpson : KAVNER

Julie Kavner is an actress whose big break came playing the role of Brenda Morgenstern on the sitcom “Rhoda” in the 1070s. Nowadays, she is known for voicing Marge Simpson on “The Simpsons”. Kavener leads a very, very private life. She even has a clause in contract with the producers of “The Simpsons” that she never has to promote the show on video.

46. Emmy winner Jeffrey of “Transparent” : TAMBOR

Jeffrey Tambor is an actor who achieved the big time playing Hank Kingsley, the talk show sidekick on “The Larry Sanders Show”. Tambor is now making a name for himself playing the transgender central character on the Amazon show “Transparent”.

51. Street of mystery : DELLA

Della Street was Perry Mason’s very capable secretary in the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. Street was played in the TV show by the lovely Barbara Hale.

59. Creator of Q and M : IAN

In military circles a quartermaster is an officer responsible for supplying equipment and supplies to troops. The term “quartermaster” comes from “quartier-maître”, a ship’s officer in the French navy who was responsible for stowing cargo and supplies in the hold. In the James Bond stories, the character called “Q” is named for “quartermaster”.

In the “James Bond” series of novels, author Ian Fleming used the name “M” for the head of MI6. Fleming himself worked in the British Intelligence services during WWII, and he was well aware that actual leaders of the MI6 used single letters as signatures, a tradition that started just prior to WWI with Captain Mansfield Smith-Cumming, who signed documents with a letter C.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Smelling __ : SALTS

6. Olympic racers : LUGES

11. Paving goo : TAR

14. Dispatch boat : AVISO

15. Unpleasant chores : SLOGS

16. Missile from Venus? : ACE

17. Prioritizes self-interest : LOOKS OUT FOR (number one)

19. Sports __ : BRA

20. Levy on liquor : SIN TAX

21. Printed again : REISSUED

23. Dedicated works : ODES

24. Nicholas and Peter : TSARS

26. Buck : CLAM

27. Matched office accessories : DESK SET

29. Alternative to throwing out : STORAGE

31. Spots : ADS

32. Treat roughly : MAUL

34. Championship team cheer : WE’RE (number one!)

35. Words needed to complete four puzzle answers : NUMBER ONE

38. “Let’s Make a Deal” choice : DOOR (number one)

40. Square placed on a square board : TILE

41. Scaled diagram : MAP

44. Stayed in shape : KEPT FIT

47. Eccentric : ODDBALL

49. Not free, with “for” : … A FEE

50. Bygone “SNL” rival : MADTV

52. “At Last” singer James : ETTA

53. “Timecop” star : VAN DAMME

55. Diamond mine? : I GOT IT!

57. Fanatic : NUT

58. Object of a serious hunt : PUBLIC ENEMY (number one)

60. “Evil Woman” band : ELO

61. __ Gay : ENOLA

62. “It’s __!”: “We’ve been tricked” : A TRAP

63. Numbered rd. : RTE

64. Aired anew : RERAN

65. Vermouth bottle name : ROSSI

Down

1. Grill-cleaning solution : SAL SODA

2. Ducked : AVOIDED

3. Nala, notably : LIONESS

4. “Shame!” : TSK TSK!

5. McGwire’s 1998 rival : SOSA

6. Sch. with a live tiger mascot : LSU

7. UHF component : ULTRA

8. Fetching employees? : GOFERS

9. Altruist’s opposite : EGOIST

10. Ukr. and Lith., formerly : SSRS

11. Like spreadsheets : TABULAR

12. Plot : ACREAGE

13. Name for a help file : README

18. Ones working together on a farm : OX TEAM

22. Slope of loose stones : SCREE

25. Concert souvenir : STUB

28. Blue character : SMURF

30. Possessed : OWNED

33. Umpire’s call : LET!

35. Famous : NOTED

36. Laugh-a-minute sort : RIOT

37. It was originally established as the Royal Coburg Theatre : OLD VIC

38. Fallback provision : DEFAULT

39. Showing off a pedi, perhaps : OPEN-TOE

41. Shouldn’t be ignored : MATTERS

42. Nissan models : ALTIMAS

43. Duck-billed mammals : PLATYPI

44. Julie who voices Marge Simpson : KAVNER

45. Not susceptible : IMMUNE

46. Emmy winner Jeffrey of “Transparent” : TAMBOR

48. Suspect : BE ONTO

51. Street of mystery : DELLA

54. Mimic : APER

56. Reverse, e.g. : GEAR

59. Creator of Q and M : IAN

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 26 May 17, Friday”

  1. Althea Gibson, not Venus Williams, was the first African-American to be ranked #1 in the world of women’s tennis.
    Ms. Gibson was ranked #1 in 1957 and also in 1958

    1. Thanks, Patrick. I should have added “… in the Open Era”, and have just done so. I appreciate the help.

  2. 0 errors, 16 minutes. Friday theme (which revealed itself quickly), felt like a Wednesday grid.

    Think I got the WSJ meta, but I’ll have to wait to be sure.

  3. 9:30, no errors. Haven’t seen AVISO in a crossword for some time now, but I remembered it. Had a little trouble in the middle of the grid, but skipped to the bottom and then made my way back up. Good puzzle …

    I did today’s WSJ last night and it took me 20:17, with no errors that I know of, but I fell asleep working on the meta (which is good, actually, because I had a serious case of insomnia the previous night). Later …

  4. Even after filling in all if the NE corner I still wasn’t sure that “read me” was correct for 13 Down. No final errors but back and forth a few times getting “storage” rather than storing, or store up for 29 Across.

    On to the WSJ in a couple of hours.

  5. I would call this an excellent Wednesday puzzle. It’s not the setter’s fault they published it on a Friday…. Yes – easy by Friday standards but still an entertaining theme and puzzle overall. 17 mins, no errors.

    I had I GeT IT/BEeN TO in the SE, and neither made any sense to me. I finally figured out BE ONTO for “Suspect”, and only at that point did I get the groaner of the day I GOT IT for “Diamond mine”. That clue goes in my hall of fame (if I had one).

    Lots of good stuff in the write up. I’ve never seen The Lion King (am I the only one in America??) but would be curious to see it now that I know it’s loosely based on Hamlet. Let’s Make a Deal is still on the air??!!

    My grill is in desperate need of cleaning. Maybe I’ll try SAL SODA now that I know what it is.

    @Carrie –
    I later noticed there was also the clue “Buzzing” for AHUM in the birth date puzzle. Ugh. AROAR and AHUM in the same grid. I guess that means to double the torment….. 🙂

    After a lull of a week or two, my busy busy times continue after this long weekend so I better enjoy it.

    Best –

  6. When I began, I thought the theme would be dUMB bunNy. Wish that it were. When I got NUMBER ONE, I could find only 2 that fit – the long ones. Had to Google for WERE, ACE and I GOT IT, all sports related. Had no idea why IAN was the answer or what O and M were. This puzzle was a perfect example of a puzzle I wouldn’t have had to Google if there were no sports clues.

    I can’t stand James Bond movies, and never watched the Lion King. But I’d watch the latter with the grandson. I don’t remember MADTV.

  7. @Bill — Thanks for the typo chuckle o’the day (on 14A: “… the need for dispatch bats has disappeared…”).
    Agree that Mr. Donaldson’s puzzle might be a bit on the easy side for a Friday, but no complaints here. Good theme, a few exceptionally good clues, and a couple of fun misdirects. Good start to a holiday weekend. Happy Friday, all.

    1. Thanks, Joe Bleaux. Let’s pretend that was my “deliberate” typo of the day, and that you win the prize for spotting it!

  8. EASY? Not for me!
    Took forever to get the NE corner.
    SAL SALT? Never heard of it either.
    Diamond “mine” I GOT IT was a real stumper.

  9. After finishing the WSJ grid just now I took a guess on the meta and sent it off to the Journal for the first time ever. I hope I don’t get bombarded with spam! Hope I win a mug! Heck, I just hope I got the meta answer right! (he exclaimed with abandon).

  10. “Diamond mine!” could be a call on the baseball diamond as stated – or, I thought, might be the cry of a newly engaged girl upon receiving a ring.

    Didn’t understand WERE until I got the theme – NUMBERONE. Good one 🙂

  11. Relatively easy for a Friday, but still way fun. Took about 45 minutes with one error IGeTIT/BEeNTO, which didn’t look right and didn’t make sense. I took the most time with the NE, which I aced, after a bit of thinking. I should have gone back, like Jeff, and fixed the odd answer.
    Really loved the “Missile from Venus?” clue.

    @Sfingi The other two “Number One” puzzle answers were “Championship Cheer” and ‘”Let’s Make a Deal” choice’, of which only one is sports related. I thought “Sports ___” was going to be bar instead of bra, but I guess both are pretty important.

    Also Ian Fleming created “Q” and “M” not “O” and “M”, which Bill explains very nicely. I haven’t seen all of James Bond films but the Roger Moore ones are, at least somewhat tongue in cheek.

    @Bill I’m pretty sure that channels 2-13 were VHF, back when they were still being broadcast.

  12. OMG I’m with Pookie — NOT easy!! Got the theme and most of the puzzle filled out, but I could NOT get that NE corner to fall!! Had to peek for ACE and CLAM. Had BAR instead of BRA!! And, didn’t realize that WE’RE was a theme answer and left two squares blank. ? What a mess after a good start. That I GOT IT clue — I’m sorry; it’s terrible!!
    @ Jeff– yikes!! AHUM?! That’s the worst of its ilk that I’ve seen…. worse than AROAR.
    One of my cats is hanging out on my printer, which keeps pinging. The display reads: “Scan unsuccessful.” What is that cat doing, exactly? ?
    Happy long weekend!
    Be well~~™?

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