LA Times Crossword 28 Aug 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: It Was This Big!

Themed answers each include the two letter pairs FI and SH, which together spell FISH. The gap between FI and SH gets BIGGER and BIGGER as we progress down the grid:

  • 55A. Phrase including hand gestures symbolized by the puzzle circles : IT WAS THIS BIG!
  • 20A. Place at the track? : FINISH SECOND
  • 28A. Hard-to-fold bed linens : FITTED SHEETS
  • 44A. Senior British military rank : FIELD MARSHAL

Bill’s time: 6m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Recreation in which players become characters, for short : RPGS

Role-playing game (RPG)

15. Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity chain : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!

17. Figure skating leap : AXEL

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

20. Place at the track? : FINISH SECOND

In a horse race, the first-place finisher is said to “win”. The second-place finisher “places” and the third-place finisher “shows”.

23. Stuntman Knievel : EVEL

Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.

24. Lioness of film : ELSA

The life story of Elsa the lion was told by game warden Joy Adamson, who had a very close relationship with the lioness from when Elsa was orphaned as a young cub. Adamson wrote the book “Born Free” about Elsa, and then “Living Free” which tells the story of Elsa and her three lion cubs. In the 1966 film based on “Born Free”, Adamson is played by the talented actress Virginia McKenna.

35. Mexican pyramid builder : AZTEC

The Aztec people of Central America dominated the region in the 14th – 16th centuries. Two traits of the Aztec people are oft cited today. They built some magnificent pyramids, and they also engaged in human sacrifice. The two traits were linked in a way … for the consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, 84,400 prisoners were sacrificed over a period of four days.

36. Herb in Italian seasoning : OREGANO

Oregano is a perennial herb that is in the mint family. Also known as wild marjoram, oregano is very much associated with the cuisine of southern Italy. Oregano’s popularity surged in the US when soldiers returning from WWII in Europe brought with them an affinity for what they called “the pizza herb”.

Italian seasoning is a blend of mainly basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Despite the name, we are unlikely to find any Italian seasoning being sold in Italy.

42. No. on a grad’s résumé : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

43. Va. winter hours : EST

Eastern standard time (EST)

44. Senior British military rank : FIELD MARSHAL

The rank of field marshal is usually the highest in an army. The equivalent rank in an air force is usually marshal of the air force, and in a navy is admiral of the fleet.

50. Yale students : ELIS

Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.

51. “Better in Time” singer Lewis : LEONA

Leona Lewis rocketed to fame after winning the British TV show called “The X Factor” (the show that spawned the UK’s “Pop Idol” and America’s “American Idol”).

55. Phrase including hand gestures symbolized by the puzzle circles : IT WAS THIS BIG!

I tell a lie, it was THIS big..!

58. Russian ballet company, familiarly : THE BOLSHOI

The Bolshoi Ballet company is based in Moscow, Russia. The Bolshoi company has over 200 dancers, making it by far the biggest ballet company in the world. I have very fond memories of attending a performance in the beautiful Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia in the late nineties …

61. Deadly shark : MAKO

The shortfin mako shark can appear on restaurant menus, and as a result the species is dying out in some parts of the world. The mako gets its own back sometimes though, as attacks on humans are not unknown. It is the fastest-swimming shark, and has been clocked at speeds of over 40 miles/hour. And the shark in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, that’s a mako. “Mako” is the Maori word for “shark” or “shark tooth”.

62. Bad-tempered : SURLY

Someone described as surly is menacing or threatening in appearance. This meaning of “surly” has existed since the 1600s. An earlier definition was “haughty, imperious” from the Middle English “sirly”, which literally meant “like a sir”.

63. Mario __: Nintendo racing game series : KART

“Mario Kart” is a go-kart racing video game series from Nintendo.

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

66. Iowa State city : AMES

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

67. Screwball : ZANY

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

The original screwball was a delivery in the sport of cricket. That term was imported into baseball in the 1920s, and applied to an erratic baseball pitch. By the 1930s, a screwball was an eccentric and erratic person.

Down

1. Major mess : SNAFU

SNAFU is an acronym standing for “situation normal: all fouled up” (well, that’s the polite version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

2. No. on an IRS form : TAX ID

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

3. Make changes to : AMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

10. Portmanteau brand for flu symptoms : COLD-EEZE

The active ingredient in the Cold-EEZE range of products is zinc gluconate.

Zinc gluconate is the zinc salt of gluconic acid. It is often used as the active ingredient in lozenges for treating the common cold. It is also with arginine to chemically castrate dogs. Yikes!

12. Blackjack half : ACE

The card game known as “twenty-one” was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “ventiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

13. Scholar’s deg. : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

19. Campaign pros : POLS

Politician (pol)

21. __ Lanka : SRI

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

27. Fancy necktie : ASCOT

An Ascot is a horrible-looking (I think!), wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.

29. Truck weight unit : TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton or sometimes a “long ton”. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a “short ton”. To further complicate matters, there is also a “metric ton” or “tonne”, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

30. Fedora, e.g. : HAT

A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …

31. Elaborate dos : COIFS

A coif is a hairdo. The term “coif” comes from an old French term “coife” describing a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

32. Golfer Palmer, to fans : ARNIE

Arnold Palmer was one of the greats of the world of golf. He was very popular with many fans of the game, and his followers were usually referred to as “Arnie’s Army”. Off the course, Palmer was an avid pilot, until his latter years. He resided in Latrobe, Pennsylvania for much of the year and the local airport is named in his honor: Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

33. Billy Idol’s “__ Yell” : REBEL

Billy Idol is an English rock musician, whose real name is William Broad. He started out with the punk band Generation X before making it big as a solo artist. Idol’s career was helped along by some well-received MTV music videos in the early days of the genre. His stage name was inspired by a school teacher who described young Billy as “idle”. He decide to avoid the “Billy Idle” spelling so as to avoid confusion with the “Monty Python” star Eric Idle.

37. Easily fooled : GULLIBLE

A gull is someone easily cheated, a dupe. The term “gull” gave rise to the word “gullible”, which is in common use today. Did you know that the word “gullible” has been removed from all online dictionaries?

38. Use an abacus : ADD

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

39. FedEx Office alternative : UPS STORE

The franchised UPS Stores make up the world’s largest network of retail shipping, printing and business service centers. The first such outlets were branded and owned by Mail Boxes Etc., starting in 1980. UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc. in 2001, and introduced the UPS Store brand in 2003. I’m a big fan …

42. “A Time to Kill” novelist John : GRISHAM

John Grisham is a lawyer and an incredibly successful author best known for his legal thrillers. After graduating from law school, Grisham practiced law for about ten years and then went into politics. He served in the Mississippi House of Representatives for six years, during which time he wrote his first novel, “A Time to Kill”.

“A Time to Kill” is an excellent thriller written by John Grisham. It was adapted for the big screen using the same title, and stars Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey. This was Grisham’s first novel and it was rejected by many publishers. In the end was only given a print run of 5,000 copies by Wynwood Press. Then Grisham made it big with a succession of great novels, namely “The Firm”, “The Pelican Brief” and “The Client”, so Doubleday republished “A Time to Kill” and it became a bestseller.

46. “North to the Future” state : ALASKA

The motto of the state of Alaska is “North to the Future”. The motto was chosen after a competition held in 1967 on the occasion of the centennial of the Alaska Purchase.

47. Actor Mahershala of Netflix’s “Luke Cage” : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies.

“Luke Cage” is a Netflix TV show based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name. The title character is a reformed convict with superhuman strength, and is portrayed by Mike Colter. Nope …

48. B’way show with the song “Valjean’s Confession” : LES MIZ

The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London many years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

52. 44th president : OBAMA

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the US in January 2009, the ceremony was attended by more people than had ever attended any event in the nation’s capital. Famously, President-Elect Obama strayed slightly from the required wording of the oath of office, and so he had to be sworn in again the next day.

53. Canon competitor : NIKON

The Japanese company Nikon was founded in 1917 with the merger of three manufacturers of various optical devices. After the merger, Nikon’s main output was lenses (including the first lenses for Canon cameras, before Canon made its own). During the war, Nikon sales grew rapidly as the company focused on (pun!) equipment for the military including periscopes and bomb sights.

56. Hasbro specialty : TOYS

The Hasbro toy company was founded in 1923, to sell textile remnants. The founders were Herman, Hillel and Henry Hassenfeld, three brothers and hence the name “Hasbro”. The company diversified into toys in the early forties, with the first real market success being Mr. Potato Head.

59. Attila the __ : HUN

In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

60. Bard’s “before” : ERE

The original bards were storytellers, poets and composers of music in medieval Britain and Ireland, with the term coming from the Old Celtic word “bardos” that described a poet or singer. I guess the most famous bard was William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Uneducated guess : STAB
5. Recreation in which players become characters, for short : RPGS
9. Get rid of : SCRAP
14. Word before or after brand : NAME
15. Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity chain : IHOP
16. Pup : POOCH
17. Figure skating leap : AXEL
18. Launched at great speed : CATAPULTED
20. Place at the track? : FINISH SECOND
22. Calf’s suckling spot : UDDER
23. Stuntman Knievel : EVEL
24. Lioness of film : ELSA
28. Hard-to-fold bed linens : FITTED SHEETS
31. Airport rental : CAR
34. Have title to : OWN
35. Mexican pyramid builder : AZTEC
36. Herb in Italian seasoning : OREGANO
39. Lively, musically : UP-TEMPO
41. Ready to bloom : IN BUD
42. No. on a grad’s résumé : GPA
43. Va. winter hours : EST
44. Senior British military rank : FIELD MARSHAL
49. Unload for cash : SELL
50. Yale students : ELIS
51. “Better in Time” singer Lewis : LEONA
55. Phrase including hand gestures symbolized by the puzzle circles : IT WAS THIS BIG!
58. Russian ballet company, familiarly : THE BOLSHOI
61. Deadly shark : MAKO
62. Bad-tempered : SURLY
63. Mario __: Nintendo racing game series : KART
64. “It’s my time to shine!” : I’M ON!
65. Leg joints : KNEES
66. Iowa State city : AMES
67. Screwball : ZANY

Down

1. Major mess : SNAFU
2. No. on an IRS form : TAX ID
3. Make changes to : AMEND
4. “You are beyond __!”: “Incredible!” : BELIEF
5. High in calories : RICH
6. Early stage of a clinical trial : PHASE TWO
7. Avenged a wrong : GOT EVEN
8. Completely forgot, in slang : SPACED
9. Created, as a web : SPUN
10. Portmanteau brand for flu symptoms : COLD-EEZE
11. Nonsense : ROT
12. Blackjack half : ACE
13. Scholar’s deg. : PHD
19. Campaign pros : POLS
21. __ Lanka : SRI
25. “I got this” : LET ME
26. Dance moves : STEPS
27. Fancy necktie : ASCOT
29. Truck weight unit : TON
30. Fedora, e.g. : HAT
31. Elaborate dos : COIFS
32. Golfer Palmer, to fans : ARNIE
33. Billy Idol’s “__ Yell” : REBEL
37. Easily fooled : GULLIBLE
38. Use an abacus : ADD
39. FedEx Office alternative : UPS STORE
40. Dismissive sound : PAH!
42. “A Time to Kill” novelist John : GRISHAM
45. Kitten cry : MEWL
46. “North to the Future” state : ALASKA
47. Actor Mahershala of Netflix’s “Luke Cage” : ALI
48. B’way show with the song “Valjean’s Confession” : LES MIZ
52. 44th president : OBAMA
53. Canon competitor : NIKON
54. Terrible pain : AGONY
56. Hasbro specialty : TOYS
57. Oldies, in their day : HITS
58. “Shame on you!” : TSK!
59. Attila the __ : HUN
60. Bard’s “before” : ERE

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12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 28 Aug 18, Tuesday”

  1. What was Heidi thinking about? Over an hour, as usual, 2 misspells and 2 omissions for 98% success. Harder than Monday and some just did not make
    any sense to me, no sour grapes intended. Our other puzzle solvers are really good. I could not write down the known answers in those times.

  2. Yes, this was a pleasant Tues. puzzle. Finished but didn’t know RPGS, mewl & Mario Kart. Also the Sunday NYT was quite fun for a change. Even I could do it! US Open theme.

  3. @Daigle – my times are bad. I had to Google once, for LEONA. Several are good guesses: ALI, MAKO, UPS STORE, FIELD MARSHALL, ACE, KART, SPACED. Some guesses are based on frequency of words in crossword puzzles, Also, depend on words heavy with vowels. Tuesday is supposed to be harder than Monday,of course.

    I’m 73 and don’t keep up with, nor am interested in pop singers (I don’t call them artists, either) or young actors. I do have the edge for oldies. I never cared for sports (and it never cared for me), but occasionally cheat by asking hubby about baseball. Certain sports names will occur frequently – ORR, OTT, ASHE, for instance. Keep truckin!

  4. 9:05. Fun one.

    I was at the Bolshoi Ballet in the late 90’s as well. Maybe Bill and I were at the same show? I was there in May. Moscow was having a very unusual heat wave with temps approaching 100 F. The place is not air conditioned and it was stifling in there. I have a few pix of the evening. In each one I look like an unmade bed I was sweating so much my shirt was all over the place.

    I wanted to use the GULLIBLE joke, but Bill beat me to it.

    Best –

  5. Hello all ….. late to the party, as usual. My excuse is, I’ve a lingering family problem that refuses to go away ….. and eating my head up. every hour on the hour.

    I had a fun solve today, and the long answers were still predictable for this day of the week..

    I HAD TO look for Bill’s gullible joke, after Jeff’s comment …. I think online dictionaries are used by scammers and charletons who don’t want people who happen to be gullible, to be aware of what they are reading …. no ? lol

    I don’t have a UPS store nearby, or I would use it more often.
    I once learnt how to use an abacus ,,, I have seven of them …. but its like typing and shorthand …. if you dont use it, ( the knowledge – ) …. you lose it.
    Its a lot of fun when you see people using the abacus, especially in the petit bourgeois shops. And you can bet they are very accurate ….

    I also have fifteen slide rules that I know how to use, but no opportunity presents itself …. no steam engines or gasoline engines to be designed or spanning bridges to be constructed. I picked up two more slide rules at a garage sale last week …. I just cant help it …. they were looking desolately for an owner ….

    Rule for a person who cannot resist a garage sale :
    A Bargain is something you do not need …. at a price you cannot resist…. !!!

    Finally, the name of the camera company Canon is not a misspelling of Cannon or any english word but an anglicization of a japanese-chinese- buddhist goddess Kwanon – japanese or Guan Yin – chinese …. Goddess of Mercy.
    I have a 28 inch porcelain statue of this goddess, that I bought as a work of art, that unfortunately, I have not yet figured out, how to upload the picture, here ….

    Have a nice day, and evening folks.

  6. Hello y’all!!🙃
    No errors. Some problems in the NE: I had ONE at first instead of ACE; then I thought it was SCRUB instead of SCRAP. Didn’t know RPGS — is that a thing? Is that a new abbreviation that’s now in use? Haven’t people played role-playing games for millennia??? 🤔

    Vidwan, love your comments as always. Interesting fact about the name Canon. 😊

    Be well~~🦉

  7. LAT: 9:21, no errors. Newsday: 5:52, no errors. WSJ: 11:44, no errors. Croce: ~45:00 (forgot to time it), no errors. And I also liked the “gullible” joke!

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