LA Times Crossword 13 Mar 19, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Tom, Dick and Harry

Themed answers come in pairs, with the name of a “generic guy” crossing the name of a famous person. Together, the paired answers comprise the overlapping names of two famous people:

  • 18D. Generic guy : TOM (ARNOLD)
  • 20A. After 18-Down, actor/golfer combo : ARNOLD PALMER
  • 34D. Generic guy : DICK (FRANCIS)
  • 37A. After 34-Down, crime writer/poet combo : FRANCIS SCOTT KEY
  • 50D. Generic guy : HARRY (TRUMAN)
  • 55A. After 50-Down, president/novelist combo : TRUMAN CAPOTE

Bill’s time: 6m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Cascades peak : SHASTA

Mount Shasta is in northern California. The origin of the name “Shasta” seems to be unclear. It may have come from the Russian “tchastal” meaning “white, clean, pure”, a name given to the volcanic peak by early Russian immigrants.

7. Cap’n’s aide : BO’S’N

A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. He or she is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel, and instead is in charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. “Boatswain” is pronounced “bosun” and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with “boatswain”. The contraction “bo’s’n” is also very popular.

11. Classic British sports cars : MGS

My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget roadster in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by the MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979, with the MG initialism standing for “Morris Garages”.

15. __ Domini : ANNO

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

19. __ drop : MIC

A mic drop takes place when a performer has done particularly well and decides to celebrate by throwing or dropping the microphone to the floor. That doesn’t seem to happen at the performances I tend to frequent …

26. Charlottesville sch. : UVA

The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who then sat on the original Board of Visitors alongside former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land near Charlottesville that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.

35. Sunlit lobbies : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

42. Worthy of a standing O : SOCKO

“Socko” is a slang term meaning “impressive”.

44. Suisse peak : ALPE

“Suisse” is the French word for “Swiss”, and “la Suisse” is French for “Switzerland”.

48. Spam holder : TIN

Spam is a precooked meat product that is sold in cans. It was introduced by Hormel Foods in 1937. The main meat ingredients are pork shoulder meat and ham. The name “Spam” was chosen as the result of a competition at Hormel, with the winner earning himself a hundred dollars. According to the company, the derivation of the name “Spam” is a secret known by only a few former executives, but the speculation is that it stands for “spiced ham” or “shoulders of pork and ham”. Spam is particularly popular in Hawaii, so popular that it is sometimes referred to as “the Hawaiian steak”.

49. “American Horror Story” actress Paulson : SARAH

Sarah Paulson is an actress from Tampa, Florida and New York City. I mostly remember her for playing political commentator Nicolle Wallace in the excellent HBO drama “Game Change”.

“American Horror Story” is a horror television show … I don’t do horror.

59. TV buying channel : HSN

The Home Shopping Network (HSN) was the first national shopping network, and was launched locally as the Home Shopping Club in Florida in 1982.

60. Host of a Friars Club event : ROASTMASTER

The Friars Club is a private show-business club in New York City that has roots dating back to 1904. Back then the club was called the Press Agents Association. Within a few years the name was changed to reflect its broadening membership of actors and musicians. The name “Friar” was chosen as it comes from the Latin for “brother”, deemed to a good name for a fraternal organization. Famously, the Friars Club hosts events in which a celebrity is “roasted” by a panel of comedians and show business VIPs.

64. One of a comic trio : MOE

“Moe Howard” was the stage name of Moses Harry Horwitz. Howard was one of the Three Stooges. In 1925, he married Helen Schonberger, who was a cousin of Harry Houdini.

65. Invite feedback? : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

66. Nissan sedan : ALTIMA

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

69. Oppressive ruler : DESPOT

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

Down

4. Little pig : SHOAT

“Shoat” is a name given to a young hog after it has been weaned.

5. Yankee manager before Girardi : TORRE

As a manager, Joe Torre was part of four World Series wins, all of them with the New York Yankees baseball team. Torre is an Italian American who was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the run up (pun intended!) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torre carried the Olympic flame part of the way through Florence in Italy, handing it over to the next runner at the famous Ponte Vecchio. I’d guess that was quite a thrill for him …

Joe Girardi is the manager of the New York Yankees baseball team, having taken over from Joe Torre in 2007. Girardi opted to wear the number 27 on his uniform, a visible reminder of his plan to lead the Yankees to their 27th World Series win, a feat that was achieved in 2009.

6. __ rock: Queen genre : ARENA

Arena rock (also “stadium rock” and “dad rock”) is a rock music played in large arenas. It is a phenomenon that dates back to the British Invasion when successful bands like the Beatles played to large audiences in places such as Shea Stadium in New York.

Queen is an English rock band that formed back in 1970. With the help of lead singer Freddie Mercury (now deceased), Queen has a long list of great hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” spent a total of nine weeks at number one in the UK. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is also the title of an outstanding 2018 biographical film about the band.

10. “The Dark Knight Trilogy” director Christopher : NOLAN

British director Christopher Nolan is best known for “rescuing” the floundering Batman movie franchise. In that series, Nolan directed “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”. He was also at the helm of a couple of sci-fi movies that I really enjoyed, namely “Inception” (2010) and “Interstellar” (2014).

18. Generic guy : TOM (ARNOLD)
(20A. After 18-Down, actor/golfer combo : ARNOLD PALMER)

Comedian and actor Tom Arnold met his future wife Roseanne Barr when she hired him as a writer for her sitcom “Roseanne”. The couple soon garnered a lot of media attention, largely due to some outrageous behavior. Arnold was then labeled as a second-rate performer. That said, I think that he played a great character in the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “True Lies”.

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.

21. Canadian brewery : LABATT

The Labatt Brewing Company is the largest brewery in Canada. The company was founded by John K. Labatt in London, Ontario in 1847.

29. Jab to keep them dogies rollin’ : PROD

“Dogie” (sometimes “dogy”) is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

32. Slacks measure : INSEAM

The term “slacks” was introduced in the early 1800s with the the meaning “loose trousers”. Those early slacks were part of a military uniform.

34. Generic guy : DICK (FRANCIS)
(37A. After 34-Down, crime writer/poet combo : FRANCIS SCOTT KEY)

Dick Francis was a very successful crime writer whose stories always revolved around horse racing in England. Francis was himself a very successful jockey and for four years was the jockey to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written first as a poem by Francis Scott Key. Key’s inspiration was the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry that he witnessed during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called “The Anacreontic Song”, with the Anacreontic Society being a men’s club in London.

38. Maneuver through moguls : SKI

Moguls are the series of bumps in the surface of snow that arise naturally as a succession of skiers make turns on a slope.

40. Mideast mogul : EMIR

A mogul is a person with power. The term comes from the Mughal emperors of India and South Asia.

41. Strong desires : 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.

44. Bronchial disorder : ASTHMA

In the human body, the windpipe (trachea) divides into the left and right bronchi, which enter the lungs. Inflammation of the bronchi can cause the airways to contract and narrow, leading to the condition known as asthma.

45. “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary : LARSON

“The Far Side” is a cartoon series drawn by Gary Larson. It ran from 1980 to 1995, and continues today in reruns in many papers. A lot of “The Far Side” cartoons feature animals, often in outrageous, human-like situations. Larson was so popular with people working with animals that in 1989 a newly discovered insect species was named Strigiphilus garylarsoni. How cool is that?

46. Tended to topiary : PRUNED

Topiary is the practice of training and clipping perennial plants into clearly defined shapes.

50. Generic guy : HARRY (TRUMAN)
(55A. After 50-Down, president/novelist combo : TRUMAN CAPOTE)

Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn’t get in because of his poor eyesight. Young Truman didn’t have the money to pay for college anywhere else. He did manage to study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but he never finished his schooling. So, Harry S. Truman was the last US President (out of a list of ten) who did not have a college degree.

The larger-than-life Truman “Tru” Capote was a celebrated author and comedian. Capote is perhaps most associated with his novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and his true crime novel “In Cold Blood”. Truman Capote grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. There he met, and became lifelong friends with, fellow novelist Harper Lee. Capote was the inspiration for the character “Dill” in Lee’s celebrated work “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In turn, Harper Lee was the inspiration for the character “Idabel” in Capote’s “Other Voices, Other Rooms”.

51. Germane : APT

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

54. Bridge positions : WESTS

The four people playing a game of bridge are positioned around a table at seats called north, east, south and west. Each player belongs to a pair, with north playing with south, and east playing with west.

57. Vena __: major blood line : CAVA

The superior vena cava is a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood from the upper part of the body to the right atrium of the heart. The inferior vena cava does the same thing for the lower part of the body.

58. Sacred symbols on pyramid walls : ASPS

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

62. Confessional music genre : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Cascades peak : SHASTA
7. Cap’n’s aide : BO’S’N
11. Classic British sports cars : MGS
14. Character builder? : AUTHOR
15. __ Domini : ANNO
16. Vein contents : ORE
17. Not yet proven : THEORETICAL
19. __ drop : MIC
20. After 18-Down, actor/golfer combo : ARNOLD PALMER
22. Wrestling duo : TAG TEAM
25. Innocent : NAIVE
26. Charlottesville sch. : UVA
27. Like a cool cat : HEP
30. Edible root : BEET
31. Depended (on) : RELIED
35. Sunlit lobbies : ATRIA
37. After 34-Down, crime writer/poet combo : FRANCIS SCOTT KEY
42. Worthy of a standing O : SOCKO
43. Pay for one’s crime : DO TIME
44. Suisse peak : ALPE
47. Sisters, say : KIN
48. Spam holder : TIN
49. “American Horror Story” actress Paulson : SARAH
51. Contents of a teacher’s key : ANSWERS
55. After 50-Down, president/novelist combo : TRUMAN CAPOTE
59. TV buying channel : HSN
60. Host of a Friars Club event : ROASTMASTER
64. One of a comic trio : MOE
65. Invite feedback? : RSVP
66. Nissan sedan : ALTIMA
67. 18-, 34- __ 50-Down : AND
68. Votes for : YEAS
69. Oppressive ruler : DESPOT

Down

1. Minded the kids : SAT
2. “What the?!” : HUH?!
3. Pigged out, say : ATE
4. Little pig : SHOAT
5. Yankee manager before Girardi : TORRE
6. __ rock: Queen genre : ARENA
7. Attend to a leaking boat : BAIL
8. How some data is stored : ON CD
9. Sound made using two fingers : SNAP
10. “The Dark Knight Trilogy” director Christopher : NOLAN
11. Family nickname : MOMMIE
12. Mourn : GRIEVE
13. It’s not for everyone : SECRET
18. Generic guy : TOM (ARNOLD)
21. Canadian brewery : LABATT
22. Steak metaphor seen on menus : TURF
23. State with conviction : AVER
24. Charity event : GALA
27. Wears : HAS ON
28. “There’s more” letters : ETC
29. Jab to keep them dogies rollin’ : PROD
32. Slacks measure : INSEAM
33. Prefix with car : ECO-
34. Generic guy : DICK (FRANCIS)
36. “How was __ know?” : I TO
38. Maneuver through moguls : SKI
39. Flier on a string : KITE
40. Mideast mogul : EMIR
41. Strong desires : YENS
44. Bronchial disorder : ASTHMA
45. “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary : LARSON
46. Tended to topiary : PRUNED
50. Generic guy : HARRY (TRUMAN)
51. Germane : APT
52. Desert wanderer : NOMAD
53. Like many bad jokes : STALE
54. Bridge positions : WESTS
56. Bridge position : NOSE
57. Vena __: major blood line : CAVA
58. Sacred symbols on pyramid walls : ASPS
61. Reward for waiting : TIP
62. Confessional music genre : EMO
63. Maze scurrier : RAT

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Mar 19, Wednesday”

  1. It must be a slow day in crosswordville indeed … I am apparently the first one today.
    I found the puzzle relatively easy once I got hang of the theme. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
    Nothing much to comment at. Not familiar with some of the names Sarah, Tom Arnold ( tho I can imagine his face -) or Dick Francis.

    I’ve heard the expression, ‘ pigs get fattened, hogs get slaughtered’ I have to look up what it means…

    Have s nice day folks

    1. Tom Arnold was Rosanne Barr’s husband for a while. Have seen him in
      some cameo roles on Hawaii Five-O since their show went off the air.

      Maybe when the pigs get fat enough to be slaughtered, they are called
      hogs, don’t really know about this one.

      I never caught on to the Tom, Dick and Harry theme, even though we got the three names. We were not so fast today; had 0 errors and 2 omissions.
      SOCKO was missed. Good for a Wednesday and a fun puzzle.

      Kudos to all.

  2. The theme had me scurrying to change “toastmaster” into “roastmaster”
    but it was fairly easy today. I have never heard of “mic drop” before
    though.

  3. LAT: 10:53, no errors. Newsday: 6:11, no errors. WSJ: 9:22, no errors. Still haven’t done yesterday’s Croce (due to a real-life intrusion 😜).

  4. @ Mary ….when a singer (or rapper) finishes a concert he or she holds the mic out at arms length and drops it) I guess that signifies the end).
    21:50 no errors.

  5. 18:00. Definitely challenging by Wednesday standards for me. Nice theme, but I totally whiffed on the Tom, Dick and Harry connection – probably because “Dick” was one of the last things I filled in. That whole HEP, SOCKO, DICK area held me up until the end.

    Bit of trivia about Batman – this week in 1968, ABC ran the final episode of the series “Batman” with Adam West and Burt Ward….the only REAL Batman as far as I’m concerned.

    Best –

  6. 8 mins 43 sec, no errors. Really take exception with ages-old, cornball “slang” like SOCKO, though. Nobody uses that term, and I doubt they ever did. HEP is almost as bad, although it was common vernacular at one time. Even worse, are grids that combine the most current slang with the corniest phrases imaginable.

  7. @Allen – I take exception with the use of MIC to be pronounced “mike,” but I’m and old fart – o, sorry, I’m old school. I never used the word SOCKO for the last 74 years, but did say HEP cat. Some day you’ll be old – or not.

    No errors, no Googles. Never heard of at least 2 youngsters in the grid. But then, young people don’t know what a silo is.
    Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered – be satisfied with what you have.
    I think it’s a little misinformed when people mourn over the treatment of farm animals. If they weren’t cared for on a farm, they could not exist in nature, as they’ve been bred for their unnaturally good taste or size. Cows would quickly get mastitis and die for lack of milking, for example. Not that they should be maltreated, which tends to happen on large, “industrial” farms. Don’t get me started!

    1. Well, “mike” is an incorrect spelling for *mic*rophone, but pronunciation-wise, they are the same, as in, if you will, “mike-ro-phone” or “mic-ro-phone”. We agree on “socko”. You’re older than I am (I’m in my late 50s), and you’ve not heard it used, either. Both “hep” and “hip” have had their day, so I have no quarrel with either of those.

  8. Fairly easy Wednesday puzzle – from Ed Sessa no less; took about 15 minutes with no errors. Started off slow but started picking up speed along the way. Saw the theme right away with TOM.

    Had to change MGb to MGS, LABATs and GReaVE (sigh).

    Definitely agree on SOCKO; according to Webster’s it was first used in 1938 and I guess there was a variant in the 60s, during Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in where they said “Sock-it-to-me.” I believe its pretty much a dead word, at least for now.

    @Jeff – Agree on Batman. When I saw the newer movies, I couldn’t believe how dark they were – not even a bit of subtle humor. Of course Michelle Pfeiffer helped ease the darkness a bit 🙂

  9. Aloha!!🐔

    No errors but I sure thought I wouldn’t make it when I got to RSVP!!! Didn’t know all the crosses and almost quit. 😯

    I don’t like the clue for SOCKO, and I don’t know that I could come up with a better one, but I don’t mind the word. I’m glad that puzzles mix it up in terms of era, genre, and subject matter! I’d find them boring were that not the case.

    Re Batman: a few weeks ago some retro TV station ran several episodes from season 1 of the original show! 😯 I recorded the first two episodes– haven’t watched them yet. That will be a trip–

    Be well ~~🎸

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