LA Times Crossword 16 Apr 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Lee Taylor
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Bird Stuff

Themed answers are two-word phrases starting with a bird:

  • 20A Farewell performance : SWAN SONG
  • 26A Squinter’s wrinkles : CROW’S FEET
  • 44A Hidden danger : BOOBY TRAP
  • 56A Easy-peasy task : DUCK SOUP

Bill’s time: 6m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “The Big Bang Theory” network : CBS

“The Big Bang Theory” is very clever sitcom that first aired in 2007. “The Big Bang Theory” theme song was specially commissioned for the show, and was composed and is sung by Canadian band Barenaked Ladies. The theme song was released in 2007 as a single and is featured on a Barenaked Ladies greatest hits album.

13 River to the Caspian : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea. It is the third-longest river in Europe, after the Volga and Danube. The Ural is often cited as defining a long stretch of the border between Europe and Asia, although the exact position of that border is open to debate.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in South Caucasus.

15 Where to find a hero : DELI

The word “delicatessen” (or “deli” for short) came into English from the German “Delikatessen”. The Germans borrowed the word from French, in which language “délicatesse” means “delicious things (to eat)”. The term’s ultimate root is “delicatus”, the Latin for “giving pleasure, delightful”.

17 Opera songs for one : SOLI

“Soli” (the plural of “solo”) are pieces of music performed by one artist, whereas “tutti” are pieces performed by all of the artists.

20 Farewell performance : SWAN SONG

The phrase “swan song” is used for a final gesture, a last performance. The expression derives from an ancient belief that swans are silent for most of their lives, but sing a beautiful song just before they die.

22 Award-winning sci-fi author __ Ellison : HARLAN

Harlan Ellison was an author, mainly of speculative fiction and science fiction. He was famous, or perhaps infamous, for his abrasive and argumentative personality. Apparently, he was proud of reputation, and indeed the dust jacket of one of Ellison’s own books described him as “possibly the most contentious person on Earth.”

24 Summer camp craft : CANOE

The boat know as a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.

30 Done with employment: Abbr. : RET

Retired (“ret.” or “retd.”)

32 Cathedral recess : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

34 Lively Irish dances : JIGS

The dance known as a “jig” is most associated with Ireland and Scotland. In traditional Irish dancing, the jig is second in popularity only to the reel. The most famous Irish jig is probably “The Irish Washerwoman”. I may not dance a jig, but I sure do know the tune of “The Irish Washerwoman” …

37 “Steppenwolf” writer Hermann : HESSE

“Steppenwolf” is a 1927 novel by German-Swiss author Hermann House. The title translates from German as “Steppe Wolf”, referring to a wolf found primarily in the steppes of Europe and Asia.

39 Lyre-playing emperor : NERO

The Great Fire of Rome raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Of the fourteen districts of Rome, three were completely destroyed and seven more suffered serious damage. The emperor at the time was Nero, although reports that he fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started and rushed home on hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.

40 “Much __ About Nothing” : ADO

“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, and a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

41 Broadway partner of Rodgers : HART

Lorenz Hart was the lyricist in the songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart. The long list of hits with lyrics from Hart includes such classics as “Blue Moon”, “The Lady Is a Tramp”, “My Funny Valentine” and “Isn’t It Romantic?”

42 Reuben bread : RYE

There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One such story is that it was invented around 1914 by Arnold Reuben, an immigrant from Germany who owned Reuben’s Deli in New York.

44 Hidden danger : BOOBY TRAP

The word “booby” has described a silly person since the late 1500s, with the term coming from the Spanish “bobo” meaning “stupid person. By the mid 1800s, schoolboys were pranking each other by setting “booby traps”. The latter innocent term took on a lethal meaning during WWI when it described a device designed to kill someone who triggered it unwittingly.

Boobies are seabirds. There is a suggestion that the name “booby” comes from the Spanish slang “bobo” meaning “stupid”. Boobies were said to be stupid as they were known to land on sailing ships and were easily captured and eaten.

51 Big rigs : SEMIS

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

54 Songs of praise : PAEANS

A paean is a poem or song that expresses triumph or thanksgiving. “Paean” comes from the ancient Greek “paian” meaning “song of triumph”.

56 Easy-peasy task : DUCK SOUP

The origins of the phrase “duck soup”, meaning anything easily done, aren’t very clear. However, the expression does at least date back to 1908.

58 Jellystone Park bear : YOGI

Yogi Bear made his debut for Hanna-Barbera in 1958, on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” before he was given his own series. Do you remember that collar that Yogi wore around his neck? That was a little trick from the animators. By using the collar, for many frames all they had to do was redraw everything from the collar up, saving them lots and lots of time. Yogi and Boo Boo lived in Jellystone Park, and made Ranger Smith’s life a misery.

59 Actor Miller of “Justice League” : EZRA

Ezra Miller is an actor and classical-trained singer who is best known for playing the Flash in a series of superhero movies, and Credence Barebone in the “Fantastic Beasts” films. As a singer, Miller has sung with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

“Justice League” is a 2017 superhero film that is a sequel to the 2016 movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. It was one of the most expensive films ever made, with a budget of $300 million. And, it bombed …

64 Ballpoints : PENS

The ballpoint pen was invented by László Bíró in the late thirties, a Hungarian newspaper editor. Over in Ireland we use the term “biro” as a generic word for “ballpoint pen”.

65 Banned insecticide : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

Down

2 “Doctor My Eyes” singer Jackson __ : BROWNE

American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne was actually born in Heidelberg, Germany. Browne’s father was stationed there with the US Army.

“Doctor My Eyes” is a 1972 song written by Jackson Browne that appeared on his debut album titled “Jackson Browne”. Backing vocals were provided by David Crosby and Graham Nash of the Crosby, Stills and Nash.

5 African desert fox : FENNEC

The fennec fox is a small fox found in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. It is a crepuscular animal, meaning that it is active around dawn and dusk. The name “fennec” comes from the Berber word “fanak” meaning “fox”. It is the national animal of Algeria, and in the Algerian national soccer team are nicknamed “Les Fennecs”.

7 Yang complement : YIN

The yin and the yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

12 Seagull kin : TERN

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but are more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

21 __-Coburg: former Bavarian duchy : SAXE

Saxony was the name given at different times in history to states along the Elbe river in central Europe. As the various states broke up, they spawned many duchies that retained the name “Saxe”. The most famous of these duchies was probably Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, two united duchies in Germany that ceased to exist after WWII. A notable branch of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House is the British Royal Family, as Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. King George V of the United Kingdom changed the name of the family to the House of Windsor in a politically sensible move during WWI.

Bavaria in southeast Germany is the largest state in the country. The capital and largest city in Bavaria is Munich.

22 Mooring rope : HAWSER

A hawser is a thick cable or rope that is used for mooring or towing a ship. The term “hawser” comes from he Old French word “haucier” meaning “hoister”.

24 Foes of robbers : COPS

“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”, and is still a slang term meaning “to get hold of, steal”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

27 Many a reggae artist : RASTA

I must admit that I don’t really know much about Rastafarianism. I do know that a “Rasta”, such as Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

36 Big fat zero : GOOSE EGG

The use of the phrase “goose egg” to mean “zero” is baseball slang that dates back to the 1860s. The etymology is as expected: the numeral zero and a goose egg are both large and round.

39 Formidable opponents : NEMESES

Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.

45 Small skullcap : BEANIE

A beanie is a knitted, close-fitting hat with no brim. The name probably comes from the slang term “bean” meaning “head”.

49 Hardened (to) : ENURED

“Enure” is a variant spelling of “inure”, which means “to harden oneself against the effects of, to accustom oneself to”.

50 Dinner, say : REPAST

Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

54 Cover with asphalt : PAVE

The asphalt surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete, because asphalt itself (also known as “bitumen”) is just a sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. Asphalt is used as a binder with aggregate to form asphaltic concrete.

55 Like the Mojave : ARID

The Mojave Desert in the southwest is named after the Native American Mohave tribe. Famous locations within the boundaries of the desert, are Death Valley, Las Vegas, Nevada and the ghost town of Calico, California.

56 Jackknifed into the pool, say : DOVE

A jack-knife is a pocket knife with a folding blade. The term “jack-knife” goes back at least to the early 1700s, and might possibly have referred to a knife used by sailors (i.e. jack tars). The use of “jack-knife” to describe a folding swimming dive dates back to 1922.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “The Big Bang Theory” network : CBS
4 Uncertain : IFFY
8 Peek at someone else’s test answers, say : CHEAT
13 River to the Caspian : URAL
15 Where to find a hero : DELI
16 Rental document : LEASE
17 Opera songs for one : SOLI
18 Part of : IN ON
19 Ready for action : EAGER
20 Farewell performance : SWAN SONG
22 Award-winning sci-fi author __ Ellison : HARLAN
23 Chess match finale : ENDGAME
24 Summer camp craft : CANOE
25 Neuter : DESEX
26 Squinter’s wrinkles : CROW’S FEET
30 Done with employment: Abbr. : RET
32 Cathedral recess : APSE
33 Go off course : YAW
34 Lively Irish dances : JIGS
37 “Steppenwolf” writer Hermann : HESSE
39 Lyre-playing emperor : NERO
40 “Much __ About Nothing” : ADO
41 Broadway partner of Rodgers : HART
42 Reuben bread : RYE
44 Hidden danger : BOOBY TRAP
47 Honey-colored : AMBER
51 Big rigs : SEMIS
52 Track’s inside track : LANE ONE
54 Songs of praise : PAEANS
56 Easy-peasy task : DUCK SOUP
57 Sports stadium : ARENA
58 Jellystone Park bear : YOGI
59 Actor Miller of “Justice League” : EZRA
60 Watchful period : VIGIL
61 Keen : AVID
62 Sets eyes on : SEES
63 Lawn-trimming targets : EDGES
64 Ballpoints : PENS
65 Banned insecticide : DDT

Down

1 Used “colorful” language : CUSSED
2 “Doctor My Eyes” singer Jackson __ : BROWNE
3 Light lunches : SALADS
4 Strong suit or weak sauce : IDIOM
5 African desert fox : FENNEC
6 Criticize harshly : FLOG
7 Yang complement : YIN
8 Purify : CLEANSE
9 Find out about : HEAR OF
10 Keen-sighted sort : EAGLE EYE
11 Between ports : ASEA
12 Seagull kin : TERN
14 Won’t go away, as an odor : LINGERS
21 __-Coburg: former Bavarian duchy : SAXE
22 Mooring rope : HAWSER
24 Foes of robbers : COPS
27 Many a reggae artist : RASTA
28 Corn serving : EAR
29 Romantic dinner complement : TWO
31 “To clarify … ” : THAT IS …
34 Quick punch : JAB
35 Swearing-in words : I DO
36 Big fat zero : GOOSE EGG
38 Drops the ball : ERRS
39 Formidable opponents : NEMESES
41 Church books with many notes : HYMNALS
43 Sudden pull : YANK
45 Small skullcap : BEANIE
46 Connect to an outlet : PLUG IN
48 Drank to excess : BOOZED
49 Hardened (to) : ENURED
50 Dinner, say : REPAST
53 Corrosive compounds : ACIDS
54 Cover with asphalt : PAVE
55 Like the Mojave : ARID
56 Jackknifed into the pool, say : DOVE
58 Chatter : YAP

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 16 Apr 19, Tuesday”

  1. LAT: 5:14, no errors. WSJ: 5:56, no errors. Newsday: 6:50, no errors. Jones: 12:07, 1 error (Natick 47A-44D). Another example of a constructing feat (the use of 72 E’s) that made the puzzle terrible to solve by the fill required to pull it off. Yesterday’s BEQ: 46:08, 2 errors on random guesses. Harder than the New Yorker, I thought.

    A general thought: If Dave stops posting his other puzzles when he gets back, I will probably follow suit, simply because I started because he did. That said, hopefully there was something useful for others, at the very least awareness of everything that’s out there.

    1. @ Glenn
      Please don’t curb your conversations. I enjoy reading it all.

      Can you tell me the meaning of 4D? Answer idiom. Thanks.

  2. 0 errors on Monday’s puzzle; found it harder than Tuesday.

    I thought we had 100% on Tuesday and was feeling really gratified,
    because it was very hard. But, missed SOLI and I somehow knew
    we had it wrong ( R()LI); we didn’t use the slang for the “colorful
    language” going down.

    Dave and Glenn (I used to work with a guy named Dave Glenn), please
    don’t stop your comments. They are for the most part way over my head,
    but I really enjoy reading them and seeing why you guys are so good.

    Please don’t stop.

  3. This wasn’t easy either. Think “they” are messing with us this week for some reason. I did finish but the upper midwest was a struggle. Hawser, fennec, and the phrase “duck soup” were new to me.

    Dave, thanks for explaining the South Bend reference from yesterday, I was curious.

  4. Had to Google for FENNEC. The words around it were obtuse until I looked it up.
    There were others that I didn’t know but got by crosses: YAW, HAWSER, RUPERT. As far as IDIOM, never heard of “weak soup.” After, I couldn’t find any information on it.

    The only foreign country I’ve visited is Canada. Happily, my husband and son have been to many. My son speaks French and spent a month there. He told me he prefers Chartres to Notre Dame. I prefer the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. My husband speaks Italian and prefers visiting people than viewing art. One day, at the Metropolitan Museum in NYS, I went into the El Greco room and sat down on a bench. 3 hours later, I came to my senses. Later I was told this is called the Florentine effect, a sort of trance.

  5. 14:33. Agree that yesterday and today are harder than normal early week puzzles, but that’s a good thing. I got stuck for the longest time in the upper central. I couldn’t think of IFFY at first, didn’t know FENNEC, wasn’t thinking of IDIOM (I was actually thinking of a weak sauce…). I finally got it but spent an inordinate amount of time on that tiny area.

    Best –

  6. Salve y’all!!⚾️

    No errors, but I agree: this, and Monday’s, were tougher than usual. Both seemed like Wednesday-Thursday “tweeners.” 😯 Had many of the same issues as others!! IDIOM didn’t seem right, especially since I’ve never heard the expression “weak sauce.” Also never knew the meaning of DUCK SOUP; I just know the Marx Brothers film. 😄

    BTW and FWIW– I STILL don’t know why Saturday’s Dodger game relied on the bullpen for an entire game!! Can’t find answers online!! Six pitchers worked the game, and none pitched more than 2.2 innings. Anyone know?? 🤔⚾️

    I’ll have to tweet to the Dodgers and ask my question–🚋

    Be well ~~🦆

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