LA Times Crossword Answers 19 Sep 2017, Tuesday










Constructed by: Matthew Sewell

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Four-F

Each of today’s themed clues contains exactly FOUR letters F:

  • 40A. Not suitable for military service … or an apt description of 17-, 27-, 49- and 64-Across : FOUR-F
  • 17A. Extemporaneous, as a speech : OFF THE CUFF
  • 27A. Appointed White House overseer : CHIEF OF STAFF
  • 49A. Laundry service option : FLUFF AND FOLD
  • 64A. Beanstalk giant’s chant : FEE-FI-FO-FUM

Bill’s time: 5m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Tax pros : CPAS

Certified public accountant (CPA)

14. Cohort of Larry and Curly : MOE

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you’ll have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

15. Not widely understood : ARCANE

Something that is “arcane” is something that is understood by only a few, something that might be described as mysterious.

16. Boffo review : RAVE

“Boffo” is show biz slang for “very successful”, and is a term that dates back to the early sixties.

17. Extemporaneous, as a speech : OFF THE CUFF

To speak “off the cuff” is to speak extemporaneously. The idea is that someone doing so would not be using learned lines, but rather is speaking with the use of a few notes that have been jotted on his cuffs or shirtsleeves.

19. Theater honor : OBIE

The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. The Obies are presented annually and the recipients are chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper.

20. “Firework” singer Perry : KATY

Katy Perry is an American singer who grew up listening to and singing gospel music, as she was the daughter of two Christian pastors. In fact, her first musical release was a gospel album in 2001. She has branched out since then. Her first successful single was “Ur so Gay”, followed by “I Kissed A Girl”. She was married (for only a year) to the British comedian Russell Brand, until 2012.

21. Near-perfect bridge feat : SMALL SLAM

A grand slam in bridge is the winning of all thirteen tricks by one player. If the player wins twelve tricks, the achievement is called a small slam.

26. Liam of “Michael Collins” : NEESON

Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic, “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news some years ago when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.

Michael Collins was one of the most famous leaders of the revolutionary war that led to an independent Irish state after the British withdrew. There is an excellent Neil Jordan biopic called “Michael Collins” that was released in 1996 with Liam Neeson in the title role. British actor Alan Rickman does a great job playing Éamon de Valera, the man who opposed Collins in the Irish Civil War that followed independence.

27. Appointed White House overseer : CHIEF OF STAFF

The position of White House Chief of Staff is regarded as the most senior post at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The designation “White House Chief of Staff” was introduced in 1953 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. From 1946 to 1953, the Chief of Staff’s responsibilities were carried out by the Assistant to the President of the United States.

32. __ Vegas : LAS

Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

34. Dalai Lama’s homeland : TIBET

Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

40. Not suitable for military service … or an apt description of 17-, 27-, 49- and 64-Across : FOUR-F

The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

43. Thick book : TOME

“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century “tome” had come to mean “a large book”.

44. Salami type : GENOA

Genoa salami is made using preservation techniques that originated in Ancient Rome.

“Salame” (note the letter E at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for as long as ten years. The name “salame” comes from “sale”, the Italian word for salt, and “-ame”, a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word “salami” is actually the Italian plural for “salame”.

46. Nevada senator Harry : REID

Democrat Harry Reid was the Senate Majority leader from 2007 until 2015. Reid had a big day in the Senate from a Democratic perspective with the successful passage of the so-called ObamaCare Bill. Paradoxically, Harry Reid’s wife was in hospital at the time, having broken her back in a car accident. Reid took over as Senate Majority leader from Republican Bill Frist who retired from politics in 2007. Reid was replaced in 2015 by Republican Mitch McConnell.

48. Red wine choice, for short : ZIN

Zinfandel is one of my favorite red wine varietals. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.

53. ’60s dance craze : WATUSI

The dance called the Watusi was almost as popular as the twist in the early sixties. The Watusi took its name from the Batutsi tribe in Rwanda.

55. Opus __: “The Da Vinci Code” sect : DEI

Opus Dei is Roman Catholic institution that was founded in Spain in 1928, and officially approved by the church in 1950. In 2010, Opus Dei had over 90,000 members, mostly lay people. The institution’s mission is to promote certain aspects of the Roman Catholic doctrine. Opus Dei was portrayed as a sinister organization by Dan Brown in his novel “The Da Vinci Code”.

56. DJ known for playing novelty tunes : DR DEMENTO

Dr. Demento is the persona used on radio by broadcaster Barry Hansen. Dr. Demento is best known for bringing “Weird Al” Yankovic to national attention. Yankovic has returned the favor since achieving his fame and has given Dr. Demento spots in his music video’s and in his movie “UHF”.

59. Surrealist Salvador : DALI

The famous surrealist painter Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Spain. I had the privilege of visiting the Dalí Museum in Figueres some years ago, just north of Barcelona. If you ever get the chance, it’s a “must see” as it really is a quite magnificent building with a fascinating collection.

63. Geological age : AEON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

64. Beanstalk giant’s chant : FEE-FI-FO-FUM

The line “fee-fi-fo-fum” (with various spellings) comes from the famous English fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”. Within the story, the giant at the top of the beanstalk utters a little poem when he detects the presence of Jack:

Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

68. Like bears : URSINE

The Latin word for a bear is “ursus”.

69. Alias, on police blotters : AKA

Also known as (aka)

A police blotter is (or used to be) a daily record of arrests made.

70. List of appts. : SKED

Schedule (sked)

71. English writer Edward Bulwer-__ : LYTTON

Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an English politician and writer. Among his writings, Bulwer-Lytton came up with some phrases that have endured, such as:

  • “the great unwashed”
  • “pursuit of the almighty dollar”
  • “the pen is mightier than the sword”
  • “It was a dark and stormy night …”

72. “Oedipus __” : REX

“Oedipus Rex” (also “Oedipus the King”) is a tragedy penned by the Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles. The play tells the story of Oedipus, a man who becomes king of Thebes. Famously, Oedipus was destined from birth to murder his father and marry his mother.

Down

2. Living room seat : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

4. Scoff from Scrooge : BAH!

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

6. Covertly sends an email dupe to : BCCS

A blind carbon copy (bcc) is a copy of a document or message that is sent to someone without other recipients of the message knowing about that extra copy.

7. “The Wizard of Oz” author : BAUM

L. Frank Baum (the “L” is for Lyman) is of course famous for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Writing early in the 20th century, Baum actually described in his books things that had yet to be invented, like television, laptop computers and wireless telephones.

8. __ terrible: difficult child, in French : ENFANT

An “enfant terrible”, French for “terrible child”, is one who embarrasses his or her parents with untimely candid remarks.

9. Rid of parasites, as a dog : DEFLEA

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.

10. Multi-discipline strength-training program : CROSSFIT

CrossFit is a trademarked fitness, strength and conditioning program that was introduced in 2000.

11. Painter Picasso : PABLO

The artist Pablo Picasso’s full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, a name he was given right from birth. Got that?

12. Like many nest-builders : AVIAN

“Avis” is the Latin word for “bird”, giving rise to our adjective “avian” meaning “relating to birds”.

24. N.Y. Jets’ org. : AFC

American Football Conference (AFC)

Just like the New York Giants, the New York Jets are based in New Jersey, headquartered in Florham Park. The Jets and the Giants have a unique arrangement in the NFL in that the two teams share Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets were an AFL charter team, formed in 1959 as the Titans of New York. The Titans changed their name to the Jets in 1963.

28. Cocksure Aesopian racer : HARE

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

To be “cocksure” is to be confident, “as assured as a cock”. English author D. H. Lawrence introduced us to a female version of the term: “hensure”.

29. Library ID : ISBN

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who was a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a barcode) for each publication.

30. Mel’s Diner waitress : FLO

Florence Jean “Flo” Castleberry was a waitress in the sitcom “Alice” which aired on CBS in the 70s and 80s. Flo got her own sitcom (called “Flo”) which had a brief run in the early 80s. I saw a few episodes of “Alice”, but that’s about it. Flo was played by Polly Holliday.

The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.

31. Blue toon : 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.

35. Memorable clown : BOZO

Bozo the Clown is a character created in 1946 by Alan Livingston. Bozo was introduced in the first ever “record reader”, a children’s illustrated read-along book that came with a vinyl recording of the story. The book/record was so successful that Bozo moved to television, and he has been around ever since.

36. Disney’s “__ and the Detectives” : EMIL

“Emil and the Detectives” is a novel first published in 1929. It was originally written in German and was titled “Emil und die Detektive”. The Disney company released a screen adaptation in 1964.

41. Stephen of “Michael Collins” : REA

Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

45. Grad : ALUM

An “alumnus” (plural … alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural … alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.

47. Pres. before JFK : DDE

Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE)

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK)

51. Fancy duds : FINERY

“Duds” is an informal word for clothing, coming from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

52. Pal of Rover : FIDO

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

53. Perpetrate, as havoc : WREAK

Havoc is a great damage or destruction. The term comes from the Anglo-French phrase “crier havok”, which was an order given in the late 1500s to soldiers, instructing them to seize plunder.

61. “Use the Force, __” : LUKE

The Force is a metaphysical power much cited in all of the “Star Wars” movies, and still today we may hear someone in real life say “May the Force be with you”.

62. Big-screen format : IMAX

The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

65. Masculine Italian suffix with bamb- : -INO

In Italian, a “bambino” (male child) might call his mother “Mamma”.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. “More or less” suffix : -ISH

4. Rose and fell on the waves : BOBBED

10. Tax pros : CPAS

14. Cohort of Larry and Curly : MOE

15. Not widely understood : ARCANE

16. Boffo review : RAVE

17. Extemporaneous, as a speech : OFF THE CUFF

19. Theater honor : OBIE

20. “Firework” singer Perry : KATY

21. Near-perfect bridge feat : SMALL SLAM

23. Amigo : PAL

26. Liam of “Michael Collins” : NEESON

27. Appointed White House overseer : CHIEF OF STAFF

32. __ Vegas : LAS

33. Peaceful : CALM

34. Dalai Lama’s homeland : TIBET

38. Planets, in poems : ORBS

40. Not suitable for military service … or an apt description of 17-, 27-, 49- and 64-Across : FOUR-F

43. Thick book : TOME

44. Salami type : GENOA

46. Nevada senator Harry : REID

48. Red wine choice, for short : ZIN

49. Laundry service option : FLUFF AND FOLD

53. ’60s dance craze : WATUSI

55. Opus __: “The Da Vinci Code” sect : DEI

56. DJ known for playing novelty tunes : DR DEMENTO

59. Surrealist Salvador : DALI

63. Geological age : AEON

64. Beanstalk giant’s chant : FEE-FI-FO-FUM

67. Unclothed : BARE

68. Like bears : URSINE

69. Alias, on police blotters : AKA

70. List of appts. : SKED

71. English writer Edward Bulwer-__ : LYTTON

72. “Oedipus __” : REX

Down

1. “Didn’t hurt a bit!” : I’M OK!

2. Living room seat : SOFA

3. Lift with effort : HEFT

4. Scoff from Scrooge : BAH!

5. Calif. neighbor : ORE

6. Covertly sends an email dupe to : BCCS

7. “The Wizard of Oz” author : BAUM

8. __ terrible: difficult child, in French : ENFANT

9. Rid of parasites, as a dog : DEFLEA

10. Multi-discipline strength-training program : CROSSFIT

11. Painter Picasso : PABLO

12. Like many nest-builders : AVIAN

13. Look (like) : SEEM

18. Tap out a text, say : TYPE

22. Departed : LEFT

24. N.Y. Jets’ org. : AFC

25. Bread shape : LOAF

27. Bathtub blockage : CLOG

28. Cocksure Aesopian racer : HARE

29. Library ID : ISBN

30. Mel’s Diner waitress : FLO

31. Blue toon : SMURF

35. Memorable clown : BOZO

36. Disney’s “__ and the Detectives” : EMIL

37. See to : TEND

39. Began to melt : SOFTENED

41. Stephen of “Michael Collins” : REA

42. Locate : FIND

45. Grad : ALUM

47. Pres. before JFK : DDE

50. Beneficial : USEFUL

51. Fancy duds : FINERY

52. Pal of Rover : FIDO

53. Perpetrate, as havoc : WREAK

54. Love to pieces : ADORE

56. Pats gently : DABS

57. Exam : TEST

58. “Think nothing __” : OF IT

60. Many miles off : AFAR

61. “Use the Force, __” : LUKE

62. Big-screen format : IMAX

65. Masculine Italian suffix with bamb- : -INO

66. Marshland : FEN

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11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 19 Sep 2017, Tuesday”

  1. @Tony … I think that little video pretty much captures what the Stooges were all about … though I did chuckle a little at the final scene … ?

    Today’s Newsday: 7:10, no errors. Today’s WSJ: 10:36, no errors.

  2. Interesting: I would have guessed “pen is mightier than the sword” came from Shakespeare. Who knew?

    The author Iris Murdoch was so in conflict with the social norms of her day that she was famously called “the enfant terrible” all over Europe. That’s where I first heard that term. BTW, a great writer 🙂

  3. I remember the Three Stooges quite well. I think it’s become a lot trite, so I don’t even see it anymore on any of the channels I have on my TV box that plays old things.

    On puzzle news, the Matt Jones grid was a themeless (or “freestyle” as he calls it) this week, so went ahead and did it: 39 minutes, no errors. It’s a good romp if anyone likes to play the Saturday LATs, as it’s pretty comparable. On to the CHE…

  4. @Glenn …

    Using a link on your site, I got to a site where I can do today’s Matt Jones puzzle (called “Grid Expectations”?) online, but I was unable to download it as either a “.puz” or a “.pdf”, so as to print it on my iMac. I did find a way to download it to AcrossLite on my iPad and used that tool to email myself a “.pdf” file, but the process is less than optimal. Suggestions welcome (but don’t spend a lot of time on it, as I will look at it further later on) …

    I have downloaded and printed the CHE; I forgot that it becomes available early in the week.

    In other news: I was about to leave for the high country again when I got caught up in another Tim Croce puzzle (#288). It took me the better part of an hour to finish it and I had a one-letter error – an “A” instead of an “O” at the intersection of 59D and 62A. I then spent another five or ten minutes justifying some of the more devious clues; in the end, I concluded that they all were defensible. Good puzzles, but very difficult.

    So now it’s a bit late to be heading up to the park … but maybe I will anyway … ?

    1. @Dave
      I usually use the PUZ link that I have on the site, more specifically this. The software he has isn’t too sharp, but thankfully the PUZ gets produced by someone else, with permission. As for his other puzzles, he usually does stuff pretty similar to most of the rest of the LAT, but tends to do themes that probably wouldn’t be taken anywhere else. Most of his puzzles can tend to be pretty mundane, which is why I usually just hit the themeless grids every 2 months or so when he does them.

      In other news, ended up DNFing the CHE (couldn’t spell 41-D, and then couldn’t sort out the rest of the Naticky stuff in that area for me) after 48 minutes. 2 errors otherwise (couldn’t spell 27-D either evidently).

      1. @Glenn …

        Aha! On my iPad, clicking on your PUZ link works okay (in that I know how to deal with it). On my iMac, it just downloads the file “jz170406.puz” (an old puzzle) to my desktop. What I have to do is CONTROL-click on the link, copy it, open a new tab, paste the link, edit it to put in the date that I want, and hit RETURN (basically what I have to do on the iPad, but more complicated). So, all is well on that front …

        I did the Matt Jones puzzle, with no errors, but my time is kind of meaningless because I was also getting myself something to eat. Same for the CHE.

        I was going to go to the park, but then I discovered some plants on my patio that needed watering and then it really was too late. Maybe Thursday … ?

  5. Hi folks!
    Fuzzle!! ? Fun and easy puzzle. Strange: this is the second time today I’ve heard mention of Dr. Demento. A real blast from the past. We listened to his show as kids. Show of hands: who remembers Vatican Rag? ?
    On a more somber note: I’ve been watching Ken Burn’s new documentary on the Vietnam War. Very well done with lots of interesting footage.
    Be well~~™ ???

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