LA Times Crossword Answers 5 May 17, Friday










Constructed by: Jeff Chen & Seth Geltman

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

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Theme: Fuzzy Math

Today’s themed answers are terms from the world of MATH. The twist is that we have some FUZZY, pun-like clues pointing to each term:

  • 61A. It doesn’t add up … except as a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 49-Across : FUZZY MATH
  • 17A. Bizarre entr’acte? : ODD NUMBER
  • 25A. Cue from the wings? : LINE SEGMENT
  • 37A. L.A. or N.Y. publishing equipment? : TIMES TABLES
  • 49A. Upbringing involving unhip oldies? : SQUARE ROOTS

Bill’s time: 13m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Ike, in the ’50s : PREZ

When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

5. Suffix for “leader” : -ARCH

In our Irish clan, that would be the matriarch …

14. First female attorney general : RENO

Janet Reno was Attorney General of the US from 1993 to 2001. Reno was the person to hold the office second longest, and was our first female Attorney General. In 2002, Reno ran for Governor of Florida but failed to win the Democratic nomination. Thereafter she retired from public life, passing away at the end of 2016.

15. Animal in una arena : TORO

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

16. Fester, e.g. : UNCLE

In the original television version of “The Addams Family”, the character called Uncle Fester was played by Jackie Coogan. In the first two adaptations for the big screen, Uncle Fester was portrayed by the talented Christopher Lloyd.

17. Bizarre entr’acte? : ODD NUMBER

The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “between two acts” (“entre deux actes”) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

19. Historic name in India : MAHAL

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

20. “Millennium” trilogy author Larsson : STIEG

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist and writer, and indeed one of his main characters in his “Millennium” series of novels is a journalist as well. The first two titles in the series are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire”. The last of the three titles in the Millennium series is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, which was the most-sold book in the US in 2010. All of the books in the series were published after Larsson’s death. He passed away from a heart attack while climbing several flights of stairs, when he was just 50 years old.

40. Apt : GERMANE

Something that is “germane” is relevant. “Germane” originally meant “having the same parents”, but it was used more figuratively as “on topic” by William Shakespeare in “Hamlet”. And that’s the way we’ve been using it ever since “Hamlet” was first performed in the 1600s.

54. Land of Freud: Abbr. : AUS

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, and founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry. One of Freud’s tenets was that our dreams are a necessary part of sleep as they prevent the dreamer from awakening due to desire for unfulfilled wishes. The dream’s content represents those unfulfilled wishes and satisfies the desire.

55. Flush, in Tijuana : RICO

“Rico” is Spanish for “rich”.

61. It doesn’t add up … except as a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 49-Across : FUZZY MATH

The derogatory phrase “fuzzy math” was first used in the debates leading up the 2000 presidential election. Future president George W. Bush used the term to describe figures presented by his opponent Al Gore.

63. Muse of memory : MNEME

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:

  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

65. Limo destination : PROM

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

The word “limousine” derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes anyway …

66. Accord, for one : SEDAN

The American “sedan” car is the equivalent of the British “saloon” car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

Honda started manufacturing its Accord model in Marysville, Ohio in 1982, making the Accord the first Japanese car to be produced in the US. The Accord was the best-selling Japanese car in America from 1982 to 1997, and 1989 was the first import to become the best-selling car in the US.

68. Figs. that are never intentionally reused : SSNS

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot, as since 2011 SSN’s are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

Down

2. Destructive algal bloom : RED TIDE

An algal bloom that takes on a red or brown color is commonly referred to as “red tide”. The algae causing the bloom are phytoplankton containing photosynthetic pigments that give the red/brown color. Some red tides are extremely harmful to marine life as there can be a depletion of oxygen dissolved in the seawater. The algae can also contain natural toxins that can kill those creatures that eat it.

3. Writing a “Dear John” letter, say : ENDING IT

The expression “Dear John letter” originated in WWII among American troops who were serving abroad. The servicemen highly valued letters from girlfriends and wives back home, and almost invariably those missives started out with “Dearest”, or “My Darling” or some other expression of affection. A curt, “Dear John” set the tone for a letter which was likely to contain news of a new love interest in the life of the girlfriend or wife. The contemporary equivalent missive from a male to a female is a “Dear Jane letter”.

6. Hood of folklore : ROBIN

Robin Hood is a figure from English folklore, celebrated in story and song. Some stories suggest that Robin Hood the outlaw was actually a real nobleman, the Earl of Huntington. Robin Hood’s famous companion was Maid Marian. Interestingly, the legend of Maid Marian (full name Lady Marian of Leaford) had been around for centuries before she became associated with Robin Hood starting in the 1700s.

7. Eclair filling : CREME

The name for the pastry known as an “éclair” is clearly French in origin. The French word for lightning is “éclair”, but no one seems to be too sure how it came to be used for the rather delicious bakery item.

8. Egyptian sky god : HORUS

Horus was one of the oldest gods in Ancient Egyptian religion. Most often, Horus was depicted as a falcon or a man with a falcon head. The Eye of Horus was a common symbol used in Ancient Egypt, a symbol of protection and royal power.

9. Quiet : MUM

The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.

11. Haul : SCHLEP

Our word “schlep” means “to carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

12. Sitcom character who dated baseball’s Keith Hernandez : ELAINE

Keith Hernandez is a former professional first baseman who played Major League Baseball mainly with the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. After retiring in 1990, Hernandez became a television broadcaster for Mets games. He also appeared in three episodes of the sitcom “Seinfeld”, including the last episode, playing himself. In the show, Hernandez dated Elaine, and became the object of Jerry’s “male crush”.

18. Wrinkly hybrid : UGLI

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine, first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

22. Beatle for two years : PETE BEST

Musician Pete Best is most famous as the first drummer with the Beatles. Famously, Best was sacked from the band by manager Brian Epstein. However, Epstein took this step reluctantly, and at the request of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. Several stories have emerged about why the decision was made, but it seems that record producers at Parlophone were insisting that a session drummer be used in the band’s first recordings, and things snowballed from there. Best was soon replaced by Ringo Starr.

26. DC-to-AC electronic device : INVERTER

A power inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

30. Baffler : ENIGMA

Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.

35. Fundraising sch. group : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

38. Milwaukee schoolteacher who went on to lead Israel : MEIR

Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.

39. Typically five-armed marine invertebrates : SEA STARS

Starfish (sometimes “sea stars”) come in many shapes and sizes, but commonly have “pentaradial symmetry”, meaning they have symmetric body-shapes with five points. Most starfish are predators, mainly living on a diet of mollusks such as clams and oysters.

42. Go whole hog on Thanksgiving : EAT A TON

Thanksgiving Day was observed on different dates in different states for many years, until Abraham Lincoln fixed the date for the whole country in 1863. Lincoln’s presidential proclamation set that date as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, arguing that the earlier date would give the economy a much-needed boost.

44. Biblical collection : PSALMS

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

50. Jazz improvisations : RIFFS

A riff is a short rhythmic phrase in music, especially one improvised on a guitar.

51. Eyelike openings : OCULI

Oculus (plural “oculi”) is the Latin word for “eye”.

59. She played Mia in “Pulp Fiction” : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s “moll” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dog’s”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from 1998 until 2002, doing very little work in favor of motherhood. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

62. Part of a dazzling duo? : ZEE

There is a duo of letters Z (zee) in the word “dazzling”.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Ike, in the ’50s : PREZ

5. Suffix for “leader” : -ARCH

9. Stopped to think : MUSED

14. First female attorney general : RENO

15. Animal in una arena : TORO

16. Fester, e.g. : UNCLE

17. Bizarre entr’acte? : ODD NUMBER

19. Historic name in India : MAHAL

20. “Millennium” trilogy author Larsson : STIEG

21. “It’s go time” : I’M UP

23. It’s little when it’s white : LIE

24. See 5-Down : PIN

25. Cue from the wings? : LINE SEGMENT

29. Enter furtively : EDGE IN

31. Locks removed at night? : TOUPEE

32. Curb : REIN

33. Reserved box, maybe : VIP SEAT

37. L.A. or N.Y. publishing equipment? : TIMES TABLES

40. Apt : GERMANE

41. Sleazy gaze : LEER

44. Sanction : PERMIT

47. “Open wide!” : SAY “AAH”!

49. Upbringing involving unhip oldies? : SQUARE ROOTS

53. It’s quite a mess : STY

54. Land of Freud: Abbr. : AUS

55. Flush, in Tijuana : RICO

56. Try to strike : HIT AT

58. Beamed : LIT UP

61. It doesn’t add up … except as a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 49-Across : FUZZY MATH

63. Muse of memory : MNEME

64. Hightail it : FLEE

65. Limo destination : PROM

66. Accord, for one : SEDAN

67. A or B, for the record : SIDE

68. Figs. that are never intentionally reused : SSNS

Down

1. Do quite well : PROSPER

2. Destructive algal bloom : RED TIDE

3. Writing a “Dear John” letter, say : ENDING IT

4. Lose focus, with “out” : ZONE

5. It requires a 24-Across : ATM

6. Hood of folklore : ROBIN

7. Eclair filling : CREME

8. Egyptian sky god : HORUS

9. Quiet : MUM

10. Feminine article in Italy : UNA

11. Haul : SCHLEP

12. Sitcom character who dated baseball’s Keith Hernandez : ELAINE

13. Insert neighbor, on PCs : DELETE

18. Wrinkly hybrid : UGLI

22. Beatle for two years : PETE BEST

26. DC-to-AC electronic device : INVERTER

27. “Scoooooooooore!” : GOAL!

28. Without a sound : MUTELY

30. Baffler : ENIGMA

34. Ending for many schools : -ISM

35. Fundraising sch. group : PTA

36. Franciscan leader? : SAN

38. Milwaukee schoolteacher who went on to lead Israel : MEIR

39. Typically five-armed marine invertebrates : SEA STARS

42. Go whole hog on Thanksgiving : EAT A TON

43. Beats : RHYTHMS

44. Biblical collection : PSALMS

45. Track runner : EQUINE

46. Suffered from neglect, in a way : RUSTED

48. Hardly hale : ASHY

50. Jazz improvisations : RIFFS

51. Eyelike openings : OCULI

52. Slowly exuded : OOZED

57. Cheeky tykes : IMPS

59. She played Mia in “Pulp Fiction” : UMA

60. __ name : PEN

62. Part of a dazzling duo? : ZEE

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9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 5 May 17, Friday”

  1. Once I got the theme, the rest of the grid filled in rather quickly. Problem is it seemed to take me forever to get the theme. 39 minutes in all to finish this one. No errors though. Another good effort by Jeff Chen and, in this case, Seth Geitman. I always wonder how the workload is split up in these dual efforts.

    Had to hold my nose to allow MNEME to stand, but I guess it was correct. Also kept thinking “Flush, in Tijuana” was somehow “bano” until I figured that out.

    Per yesterday – I never had any issues with my wisdom teeth. I had them out when I was 15 and they didn’t even have roots yet. My wisdom in general has always been much more problematic….

    Dave – Welcome back. Couldn’t remember how long you were gone. Feel free to divulge any details about the Canal cruise. If you were gone 2 weeks, then I have 28 puzzles to discuss with you. Better get crackin’ 🙂

    Best –

  2. Got stuck for awhile trying to figure out the NE corner, mostly because I put in a misspelling for toupee as “toupes” and that had me going in circles trying to get 13 down “insert neighbor on pc’s”. But finally that got straightened out and the grid was complete.

    Hope you all have a good lead in to the weekend. We are supposedly going to have rain and maybe thunder storms over night into Sunday. That will play havoc with my bike riding but I’ll just wait and see how accurate those forecasts are.

  3. 35 minutes, no errors, on this. 37 minutes, no errors, meta gotten, on the WSJ.

    @David
    Welcome back. Hope to hear about it. Last Saturday’s LAT is gonna be fun for you, for sure, if that involves part of your “catching up”.

    @Jeff
    There’s theme constitution and grid construction, and then clue writing. There is always possibility of co-op work on both, which usually dictates the order of credit. But one half can always be done by one person and then the other by another.

  4. @Bella Thanks for your answer last night. 🙂
    I’m sorry, I really don’t get the theme, very anticlimactic.
    Too much time trying to solve this one.

  5. Nit pickers gotta pick: TABLES as publishing “equipment” seems to be a reach (maybe “fixtures” woulda been better), and I think “haul” is weak for the great Yiddish word SCHLEP. (One would first *schlep* boxes to a truck, then *haul* them away, no?) Funny coincidence about “It’s go time” in a puzzle with a Seinfeld reference: Remember the aging Lloyd Bridges determined to whip Jerry into shape? I appreciate the dearth of PPPs, and the minimal three-letter crosswordese. Good job, Mr. Chen and Mr. Geltman. Have a nice weekend, all.
    PS — Smart money’s on Irish War Cry tomorrow … although no Derby horse has ever won from Post 17.

  6. Dave, get a lot of rest, and you’ll be back in form, in no time at all. Best wishes.

    I had a tough time with the puzzle, but enjoyed it, and more to the point, finished it, ….. scraped and bloodied. The math answers in the theme were very charming and certainly very interesting…. I just need to study them carefully, and find out how they apply. I still can’t understand ‘odd number’.

    Regarding yesterday, wisdom tooth (teeth), I found a line in an article about the 3 rd molar very interesting … the vestigal teeth were to help humans in their plant diet, and became somewhat superfluous because of the high carbohydrate diet rather than plant foliage consumption. This caused the jaw ( i.e. the mandible – ) not to grow or jut outwards, as normally it would have done, thus the crowding of the back teeth. Very significantly, but curiously, the last sentence is,’This is not an evolutionary change, but rather an environmental change’. I have thought about this statement, but I still fail to understand, why this should be determined to be so.

    In other information, surprise (!), the Taj Mahal, also holds the tomb of (the emperor -) Shah Jahan, himself, in addition to that of Mumtaz Mahal. There are 2 ‘fake’ tombs on the first floor, and the actual tombs, which can also be viewed, are in the basement. While the tomb of the wife is at the geometrical center of the dome, (actually, on the ground, an irregular octagon – ) , the tomb of the king is asymmetrically displaced to one side, parallel to the first. Although Shah Jahan probably wanted a black tomb palace, in onyx, for himself, for perfect symmetry, he was pretty much bankrupt, and under house arrest, by his youngest son, and died in penury. Thus no separate expensive tomb building, for him.

    Btw, whereas, the Taj Mahal, ( Light or Crown or Illumination, of the Palace) is the name of the building, itself ….. …. Mumtaz Mahal, ( the Distinguished One of the Palace ) is the name of the queen. A quirk of persian grammer. ….. the former Mahal, a noun, describes the building, the latter mahal, is a part of an adjective (?).
    Her given name was Arju-mand Banu, and she was persian, now called iranian, by race. The persian ‘anointed’ names tend to be very grandiloquent …. Shah Jahan means the Ruler of the Universe, his alternate name was, ‘Shadow of God, on this earth’.

    have a nice day, all.

  7. Very fun puzzle which took about an hour ending up with one teeny error, PEt/SEDAt. Pet seemed reasonable and “sedat” could have been a French word for accord….OK maybe not 🙂

    @Dave Welcome back and hope to hear about your trip. How was the “new and improved” Panama Canal?

    @Vidwan Thanks for all the extra info about the Taj Mahal. A while back I read through the wiki articles on the Muslim reign of the Indian sub-continent. I wonder now, with the nationalistic rule of the BJP in India, whether they and even more right-wing parties consider doing away with the Taj Mahal. Probably not, but they did raze the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya.

  8. Allô folks!
    Good challenge. Finally finished, after taking several opportunities to JUST WALK AWAY and come back to the puzzle.
    I also wrestled with that NE. Then, once I got MAHAL I didn’t quite recognize it, pronouncing in my head as “May-hal”!!!! Yikes.
    They wouldn’t really raze that magnificent structure??!
    @Dirk, I also had PET and changed it just in time to PEN.
    Hey Dave! Good to have you back!? Hope the trip was awesome.
    Book Club tomorrow, and I JUST finished the book: “One Good Turn” by Kate Atkinson. Anyone know her? Fantastic writer — once you get past all the run-on sentences.
    Be well~~™?✌

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