LA Times Crossword Answers 28 Jul 2017, Friday










Constructed by: Mike Buckley

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Five-Pointed Star

The letters V in today’s grid can be joined together with lines to create a FIVE-POINTED STAR. There are also a few clues/answers that relate to said shape:

  • 7D. What can be drawn using the only V’s, representing vertices, in this puzzle’s grid : FIVE-POINTED STAR
  • 19D. See 7-Down : PENTAGRAM
  • 25D. Like a flag featuring a 19-Down : ETHIOPIAN

Bill’s time: 10m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Render inconceivable? : SPAY

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

5. Carl who composed “Carmina Burana” : ORFF

“Carmina Burana” is a cantata by Carl Orff based on a collection of medieval poems that go by the same name. The name translates as “Songs from Beuern”. The best known movement of the cantata by far is the dramatic “O Fortuna” used at the opening and closing of the piece. One study placed “O Fortuna” as the most often played piece of classical music in the UK over the past 75 years, largely due to its use in television commercials. Famously, the piece appeared in the US in ads for Gatorade and Old Spice aftershave.

9. Itching for action : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

14. Hamlet’s first choice : TO BE

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

16. River of Champagne : MARNE

The River Marne runs roughly northwestward for over 300 miles, running into the River Seine just outside Paris. The Marne was the site of two major battles in WWI, one fought in 1914, and one in 1918.

Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, famous of course for its sparkling white wine.

20. One-named singer with the #1 hit “Royals” : LORDE

Lorde is a stage name of the singer-songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor from New Zealand. Lorde’s cover version of the great Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was used in the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013). Her song “Yellow Flicker Beat” is included in the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”.

23. “Frontline” airer : PBS

“Frontline” is a much-acclaimed PBS documentary program that has been airing since 1983. The show is a creation of WGBH-TV in Boston.

26. Big wheel : NABOB

A nabob is a person of wealth and prominence. “Nabob” comes from the title of a governor in India.

28. Scholar : SAVANT

A “savant” is a learned person. The term “savant” can also be short for “idiot savant”, the outdated name for someone with a mental disability but who has above-normal capabilities in perhaps calculation or musical expression.

33. Draft letters : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

34. Despot who raced in the 67 Olympics : NERO

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and towards the end of his reign participated in the Olympic Games in the year 67. The Roman leader raced in a ten-horse chariot, of which he lost control and nearly perished after being thrown from the vehicle. Acting and singing were Olympic events back then, and Nero also took part in those competitions. By all accounts, Nero performed badly in every event in which he vied, and yet somehow still managed to win Olympic crowns that he paraded around Rome on his return from Greece.

A “despot” is a ruler with absolute power, often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century, ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

42. PDQ : ASAP

As soon as possible (ASAP)

Pretty darn quick (PDQ)

45. Prescribed meds : RXS

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

47. “Rigoletto” composer Verdi : GIUSEPPE

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer, mainly of operas, who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”.

“Rigoletto” is one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous and oft-performed operas. The storyline comes from a Victor Hugo play called “Le roi s’amuse” (usually translated as “The King’s Fool”). Rigoletto is the king’s fool, the jester.

49. 86 and 99 : AGENTS

The satirical comedy series called “Get Smart” was the creation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and starred Don Adams as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. Agent 86 worked for the spy agency CONTROL, alongside the lovely Agent 99. CONTROL’s sworn enemy was the criminal organization called KAOS. Smart’s shoe phone was a hilarious prop used in almost every episode. When Smart dialed the number 117, the shoe converted into a gun. Cool stuff …

53. Turntable needles : STYLI

The needle of a record player is referred to as a stylus (plural “styli”).

54. Wells islander played by Brando : DR MOREAU

“The Island of Doctor Moreau” is an 1896 novel penned by H. G. Wells. The book tells the story of a shipwrecked man who ends up on the island of Doctor Moreau. Moreau engages in vivisection and creates new beasts (the “Beast Folk”) by combining different species. The novel was adapted into at least two films of the same name: in 1977 with Burt Lancaster and Michael York, and in 1996 with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer.

56. Creator of Finch and Radley : LEE

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name. That is a “To Kill a Mockingbird”, a contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually a first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

Atticus Finch is the protagonist in Harper Lee’s great novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Atticus is the father of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the narrator of the piece, and of Scout’s younger brother Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch.

In Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Boo Radley is the reclusive neighbor living next door to the children Jem and Scout. The kids are both afraid of and at the same time fascinated by Boo.

57. France dance : VALSE

In French, a triple-meter dance might be a “valse” (waltz).

60. Boundary between the illuminated and darkened part of the moon, in astronomy : TERMINATOR

The division between the illuminated and dark parts of the moon is known as the Lunar terminator. It is the moon’s equivalent of the dividing line between night and day on the Earth.

63. Ballet move : PLIE

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.

64. T. rex et al. : DINOS

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

65. Wrapped garment : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

67. __ Curry, first unanimous NBA MVP : STEPH

Steph Curry is a professional basketball player who was named the league’s MVP in 2015, the same season that he led the Golden State Warriors to their first NBA championship since 1975. Steph’s father is former NBA player Dell Curry, and the older brother of current NBA player Seth Curry.

68. “By that reasoning … ” : ERGO …

“Ergo” is the Latin word for “hence, therefore”.

69. Rectangular paving stone : SETT

A sett is a small rectangular paving stone with a rounded top used to make a road surface. It’s like a cobblestone, I think …

Down

2. Cal Poly city : POMONA

Cal Poly is more familiar name for California Polytechnic State University. There are actually two Cal Poly institutions, one in San Luis Obispo (the most famous) and one in Pomona.

5. Hogwarts mail carrier : OWL

In the “Harry Potter” universe, messages are sent by owl post, which uses owls as mail carriers.

In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by the four most brilliant witches and wizards of their time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of the founders lent their name to a House in the school, i.e. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

6. __ Island : RHODE

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, but is the second most densely populated. (after New Jersey). Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State, largely because about 14% of the state’s area is made up of ocean bays and inlets. Exactly how Rhode Island got its name is a little unclear. What is known is that way back in 1524, long before the Pilgrims came to New England, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano likened an island in the area to the Island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean. There were subsequent references to “Rhode Island” in English publications, before the colonists arrived.

10. “Unforgettable” Cole : NAT

Nat King Cole’s real name was Nathaniel Adams Coles. Cole made television history in 1956 when his own show debuted on NBC, a first for an African-American. Cole couldn’t pick up a national sponsor, so in order to save money and possibly save the show, many guest artists worked for no fee at all – the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte and Peggy Lee. The show survived for a year, but eventually Nat King Cole had to pull the plug on it himself.

Natalie Cole is the daughter of Nat King Cole. Natalie’s mother was Maria Cole, a singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The most famous version of the hit song “Unforgettable” was released in 1951 by Nat King Cole. In 1991, Natalie Cole recorded a version that was mixed with an earlier 1961 version sung by her father, creating an “unforgettable” father-daughter duet that was made 26 years after Nat King Cole had passed away.

12. Condescension : SNOBBERY

Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

13. Pines : YENS

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!

19. See 7-Down : PENTAGRAM
(7D. What can be drawn using the only V’s, representing vertices, in this puzzle’s grid : FIVE-POINTED STAR)

A pentagram is a star-shape with five points that has been drawn using five straight lines. The name “pentagram” comes from the Greek for “five line”. The shape is sometimes also called a “pentacle”, “pentalpha” or “pentangle”. The pentagram is used as a prominent symbol in several religions and movements, notably in modern occultism.

21. Ferber and a Dame : EDNAS

Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman. Ferber also wrote “Show Boat”, “Cimarron” and “Giant”, which were adapted successful for the stage and/or big screen.

Dame Edna Everage is the outrageous character created and played by Australian comedian Barry Humphries. I saw him/her perform live in a San Francisco theater, and what a great show it was …

25. Like a flag featuring a 19-Down : ETHIOPIAN

The background of the flag of Ethiopia consists of a horizontal tricolor of green, yellow and red. The center of the flag consists of the national emblem, comprising a yellow pentagram radiating rays of light within a circular blue disc.

27. Arabic “son of” : BIN

In Arabic names, “ibn” is a word meaning “son of”. The words “bin” and “ben” are also used for “son of”. The word “bint” means “daughter of”. Similarly, in Hebrew “ben” is used to mean “son of”, and “bat” is used to mean “daughter of”.

31. Unknown John : DOE

Though the English court system does not use the term today, John Doe first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with another unknown, Richard Roe. An unknown female is referred to as Jane Doe. Variants of “John Doe” are “Joe Blow” and “John Q. Public”.

37. Semisweet American white wine : SAUTERNE

Sauternes is a sweet wine from the Sauternais region in Bordeaux. Production of Sauternes calls for the grapes used to become infected with a fungus known as noble rot. The infection can be somewhat unpredictable, resulting in high prices for the wine as supply can be limited and quality can vary. There is a semi-generic wine produced in the US known as “Sauterne”, which has a deliberately misspelled name.

39. Alibi problem : GAP

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

40. Sarah Palin, e.g., briefly : EX-GOV

Famously, Sarah Palin was the Governor of Alaska from 2006 until 2009, and had been the Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska from 1996 until 2002. However, Palin is not a native Alaskan. She was born Sarah Heath in 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho. Her father was a science teacher and took a position in Skagway, Alaska when Palin was just a few months old.

43. Humanities subj. : PSY

The academic studies of human culture are collectively called the humanities. Subjects included in the humanities are languages, literature, philosophy, religion and music.

46. Six-winged angels, in Isaiah : SERAPHS

A seraph is a celestial being found in Hebrew and Christian writings. The word “seraph” (plural “seraphim”) literally translates as “burning one”. Seraphs are the highest-ranking angels in the Christian tradition, and the fifth-ranking of ten in the Jewish tradition.

48. Tolkien language : ELVISH

J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien was an English author, best known by far for his fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”. Although Tolkien lived in England and was a professor at Oxford, he served for many years as an external examiner at my old school, University College Dublin in Ireland.

50. Nervous one? : NELLIE

A nervous Nellie is someone easily upset and hesitant to act. The term comes from “Old Nell”, a name often used for a nag. “Nervous Nellie” was originally used to describe a highly-strung racehorse.

51. I Ching adherent, perhaps : TAOIST

The “I Ching” is an ancient Chinese text dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. The text deals with aspects of cosmology and divination, and perhaps served as a guide for making predictions of the future. The statements in the “I Ching” consist of 64 hexagrams, sets of six lines composed in horizontal stacks.

The Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.

56. Classic Fords : LTDS

There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation LTD stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for Luxury Trim Decor, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.

58. Emit coherent light : LASE

The term “laser” comes is an acronym standing for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER!

62. Carnival site : RIO

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil (after São Paulo). “Rio de Janeiro” translates as “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the bay on which Rio sits, on New Year’s Day in 1502.

The celebration of carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Render inconceivable? : SPAY

5. Carl who composed “Carmina Burana” : ORFF

9. Itching for action : ANTSY

14. Hamlet’s first choice : TO BE

15. Sound from a fan : WHIR

16. River of Champagne : MARNE

17. U.N. reps : AMBS

18. Purported passion promoter : LOVE POTION

20. One-named singer with the #1 hit “Royals” : LORDE

22. Prevent : DETER

23. “Frontline” airer : PBS

24. Seriously mired : KNEE-DEEP

26. Big wheel : NABOB

28. Scholar : SAVANT

29. Lasted longer than : OUTLIVED

32. Sound from a fan : RAH

33. Draft letters : IPA

34. Despot who raced in the 67 Olympics : NERO

35. __ station : GAS

38. Highway reading : SIGNAGE

41. Bread or liquor : RYE

42. PDQ : ASAP

44. Word with cake or flake : OAT

45. Prescribed meds : RXS

47. “Rigoletto” composer Verdi : GIUSEPPE

49. 86 and 99 : AGENTS

53. Turntable needles : STYLI

54. Wells islander played by Brando : DR MOREAU

56. Creator of Finch and Radley : LEE

57. France dance : VALSE

59. Medal-worthy quality : VALOR

60. Boundary between the illuminated and darkened part of the moon, in astronomy : TERMINATOR

63. Ballet move : PLIE

64. T. rex et al. : DINOS

65. Wrapped garment : SARI

66. Villain’s welcome : HISS

67. __ Curry, first unanimous NBA MVP : STEPH

68. “By that reasoning … ” : ERGO …

69. Rectangular paving stone : SETT

Down

1. Cornfield array : STALKS

2. Cal Poly city : POMONA

3. Shortened, shortened : ABBREV

4. Affectionate assent : YES, DEAR

5. Hogwarts mail carrier : OWL

6. __ Island : RHODE

7. What can be drawn using the only V’s, representing vertices, in this puzzle’s grid : FIVE-POINTED STAR

8. Worry : FRET

9. Not bothered by conscience : AMORAL

10. “Unforgettable” Cole : NAT

11. Stumble on : TRIP OVER

12. Condescension : SNOBBERY

13. Pines : YENS

19. See 7-Down : PENTAGRAM

21. Ferber and a Dame : EDNAS

25. Like a flag featuring a 19-Down : ETHIOPIAN

27. Arabic “son of” : BIN

30. Kick __ fuss : UP A

31. Unknown John : DOE

35. Order of silence : GAG

36. “In my view … ” : AS I SEE IT …

37. Semisweet American white wine : SAUTERNE

39. Alibi problem : GAP

40. Sarah Palin, e.g., briefly : EX-GOV

43. Humanities subj. : PSY

46. Six-winged angels, in Isaiah : SERAPHS

48. Tolkien language : ELVISH

50. Nervous one? : NELLIE

51. I Ching adherent, perhaps : TAOIST

52. Least tentative : SUREST

55. Corp. shuffle : REORG

56. Classic Fords : LTDS

58. Emit coherent light : LASE

61. Messy locks : MOP

62. Carnival site : RIO

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 28 Jul 2017, Friday”

  1. 13:02, no errors, but I had another of those irritating typos that seem to be characteristic of online solves.

    Last night, I used two different online tools to do the most recent Newsday and WSJ puzzles (which I usually do at home on paper) and found that, while the tools were basically familiar, they differed just enough from others to be very frustrating. Gotta start taking my ink jet printer with me on trips, I guess … no problem on a car trip, but it’s gonna be a bummer to have to buy it a seat on plane trips … and I’m sure TSA isn’t gonna like it … ??? … ?

  2. Challenging but finally got going after leaving the NW corner alone and just started filling in whatever I could figure out. That gave me traction and suddenly the longer clues made sense and the grid came together in a rush.

  3. Identical time as my NYT today – 26 minutes. One error at ELVISH and VALSE. I had “F” rather than “V”. Learned something new so I guess ELVISH has left the building….

    I’ve seen the 86/99 clue before, but I still appreciate it.

    Dave – your idea reminds me of one time in college when a group of us who had been consuming adult beverages attempted to bring a keg of beer into a movie theater showing of the then new film “Caligula”. We even bought it a ticket. We were absolutely incensed that we could not bring it in – we bought it a ticket after all. We even spoke to the manager. Seemed like a good argument at the time, but we were only 18 (the drinking age in Texas at the time – fyi).

    So good luck with the printer…

    Best –

  4. 17:01, 3 errors, caused by putting “danse” instead of “valse.” Should have lingered there a bit longer. Ah well, happy Friday!

  5. 21 minutes, 0 errors. The theme revealed itself rather easily and the rest slid from there, save a couple of spots I was stuck on because I was wanting something else.

  6. Finally finished the WSJ grid. Fairly tough, but again by staring and straining my not so quick brain I was able to get this one over the finish line intact. That said I haven’t the faintest idea of what the meta answer might be (with that really helpful clue of it being a “five letter word”. Gee, thanks ever so much!).

    1. @Tony
      FWIW, the WSJ was about like yesterday’s was for me. And staring at the meta myself. Something probably pretty obvious that will dawn upon me sometime in some way – usually when I finally look at the answer on Monday. lol

  7. I had a very tough time with the puzzle – it was so bad I couldn’t even understand some of the answers, even with all the letters filled in !!!

    Waay past my comprehension. I am humbled that most of you could do it, in low double digit times.

    Fwiw, without any inner V’s. the figure shuld have been a ballooned up into a regular pentagon instead of a skinny starry pentagram ….

    Most islamic countries have a 5 pointed star ( or two or more – ) in their flags, and so does the Theosophist society, ( as their logo – ) .

    Bill’s blog, as usual, is always very informative …..
    Have a nice day, all.

  8. Re “Get Smart”: And who could forget the famous “Cone of Silence”. It was lowered in the Chief’s office whenever secret information was to be discussed – whereupon Max was completely unable to hear what was being said to him. We have used the imaginary “Cone of Silence” at home for many years in order to conceal things that children and grandchildren are better off not hearing. Things in our Cone are spelled rather than said, like c-a-k-e etc. 🙂

  9. Agree with @Vidwan about the shape.

    Couldn’t get going until I Googled 6. One of these days I’ll read Harry Potter, or see the movie, though it doesn’t interest me.Had LOVEletter before LOVEPOTION, and firS before YENS. Learned TERMINATOR. SERAPHS confused me because I wanted SERAPHim.

  10. Pretty tough for me today; about 1 hr and 15 minutes mostly due the NW corner. I had adelE before LORDE, pedANT before SAVANT and earlier had mIleAGE before SIGNAGE. At least I saw YESDEAR right away, even though I couldn’t remember POMONA, until it was obvious.

    Re Get Smart: A yes the lovely Barbara Feldon, who besides Barbara Eden, were two favorite child-time actresses. And yes PianoMan, the cone-of-silence was hilarious. The Chief always hated using it but Max insisted he was passing on very secret information.

  11. Hi guys!! ?
    Finíshed successfully, and am rather surprised that I did, as I was stuck for a long time in the SE…. What’s a SETT??? I call mine “pavers.” REORG took awhile, and I had THUS before ERGO.

    Speaking of Get Smart: always fond memories, since my parents LOVED the show. Dad used to quote it all the time. ? In other news (mainly for Dirk): yesterday I saw an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which Barbara Eden plays a manicurist!! Gorgeous. She set up at Floyd’s Barber Shop, and suddenly all the men of Mayberry just HAD to get manicures!!—until the wives complained. ?

    Be well~~™???

  12. It’s a week later — in the words of Agent 86, I guess I “missed it by that much” —
    but it just dawned on me that the letter “V” is the roman numeral for 5.

    Given some of the answers (like “pentagram” and so forth), does that count as a meta-theme?

    -Mike

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