LA Times Crossword 23 Apr 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Robert Fisher
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Four-in-Hand

Today’s FOUR themed answers each start with a part of the HAND:

  • 58A Popular necktie knot … and a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 33- and 51-Across : FOUR-IN-HAND
  • 17A Small plucked instrument : THUMB PIANO
  • 24A New York region, or its narrow bodies of water : FINGER LAKES
  • 33A Tropical tree leaf : PALM FROND
  • 51A Fluttering pitch : KNUCKLEBALL

Bill’s time: 6m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Barcelona buddy : AMIGO

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

10 Rifle filler : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

15 Fast-food legend Ray : KROC

The original McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant. The brothers then moved into fast food hamburgers, eventually selling out to one of their franchise agents, Ray Kroc. It was Ray Kroc who really led the company to its worldwide success. He was played by Michael Keaton in the movie about Ray Kroc’s business life called “The Founder”.

17 Small plucked instrument : THUMB PIANO

A mbira is a musical instrument from Africa. It consists of metal tines attached to a wooden board that are plucked using the thumbs. The mbira is sometimes referred to as the African thumb piano.

20 “__ Been Awhile”: Staind song : IT’S

Staind is a rock band that formed in Springfield. Massachusetts in 1995. The band’s 2001 song “It’s Been Awhile” proved to be their most successful release, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

21 Columnist Landers : ANN

“Ask Ann Landers” was an advice column written by Eppie Lederer from 1955 to 2002. Eppie was the twin sister to Pauline Phillips, the person behind “Dear Abby”. Eppie took over the “Ask Ann Landers” column from Ruth Crowley who started it in 1943.

22 Israeli president Shimon, 2007-2014 : PERES

Shimon Peres was an Israeli statesman who was born in Poland, in a township that is now part of Belarus. Peres served as President of the State of Israel from 2007 to 2014. Born Szymon Perski, Peres was the oldest head of state in the world while he served as president of Israel. While serving as foreign minister, he represented Israel in the secret negotiations that led to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. For that work, Peres was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

23 Blackjack card : 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”.

24 New York region, or its narrow bodies of water : FINGER LAKES

When I first moved to the US, I settled in Upstate New York and was lucky enough to live near the beautiful Finger Lakes. The largest of the eleven lakes is Seneca Lake, which is one of the deepest bodies of water in the United States.

27 Petit or grand crime : LARCENY

Larceny is the crime of taking personal property with the intent of permanently depriving the rightful owner. Larceny has been removed from the statute books in Britain and Ireland, where it has been replaced by the more specific crimes of burglary, robbery, fraud and theft. The crime of larceny still exists in the US, where it can be classified into petit larceny and grand larceny. The former is larceny of less significant amount than the latter, with the differentiating amount varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

32 Fisher-Price product : TOY

The toy company Fisher-Price was founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher and Irving Price, along with Margaret Evans Price and Helen Schelle. The company’s first toy was introduced the following year. It was a pull-along duck named Dr. Doodle.

38 Busy IRS month : APR

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

42 China’s Zhou __ : ENLAI

Zhou Enlai (also “Chou En-Lai”) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

49 Forbes publisher Forbes : MALCOLM

Malcolm Forbes is best remembered as the publisher of “Forbes”magazine, which was co-founded by his father B. C. Forbes. Malcolm was quite the playboy, and enjoyed using his fortune on luxurious homes, yachts, art and a collection of Fabergé eggs. His son, Malcolm S. “Steve” Forbes ran for US president in 1996.

51 Fluttering pitch : KNUCKLEBALL

A knuckleball is a baseball pitch that has minimal spin, and as such has a relatively erratic path towards the plate.

54 Gelatin dish : ASPIC

Aspic is a dish in which the main ingredients are served in a gelatin made from meat stock. “Aspic” is a French word meaning “jelly”.

Gelatin is a foodstuff that is used as a gelling agent in cooking, and for the shells of pharmaceutical capsules. Over 800 million pounds of gelatin are produced every year worldwide. It is produced from by-products of the meat and leather industries. Gelatin is basically modified collagen derived from pork skins and the bones of cattle, pigs and horses. So, vegans usually avoid things like gummy bears and marshmallows.

55 Slugging legend Mel : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

56 Canonized Fr. female : STE

The act of creating a saint is known as “canonization”. The term derives from the process of placing someone in the canon (or “calendar”) of saints.

57 Slimming surg. : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

58 Popular necktie knot … and a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 33- and 51-Across : FOUR-IN-HAND

A four-in-hand is a knot used in tying a necktie. It is perhaps the simplest and most common knot used in such an application, and is also referred to as a simple knot or schoolboy knot. I don’t wear ties very often anymore, and when I do I favor the half-Windsor or full-Windsor knot, depending on the width of the tie.

64 Vital heart line : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

65 “Bill & __ Excellent Adventure” : TED’S

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted. It’s about two lazy students traveling through time in preparation for a history assignment, with a lot of “Dude!” and “Excellent!” scattered throughout the dialog. Reading the plot, this isn’t a movie that I’d normally go for, but somehow, I enjoyed it …

66 Cap’n’s underling : 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.

67 Wyoming’s __ Range : TETON

Grand Teton National Park (NP) is located just south of Yellowstone NP, and a must-see if you are visiting the latter. The park is named after the tallest peak in the magnificent Teton Range known as Grand Teton. The origins of the name “Teton” is not very clear, although my one story is that it was named by French trappers, as the word “tetons” in French is a slang term meaning “breasts”.

Down

1 Ten-percenter: Abbr. : AGT

Agent (agt.)

2 Native American in a Cooper title : MOHICAN

“The Last of the Mohicans” is an 1826 novel by James Fenimore Cooper. It is the second in a series of five novels that comprise the “Leatherstocking Tales”. All five titles are:

  • “The Deerslayer” (1841)
  • “The Last of the Mohicans” (1826)
  • “The Pathfinder” (1840)
  • “The Pioneers” (1823)
  • “The Prairie” (1827)

3 Not yet born : IN UTERO

“In utero” is a Latin term meaning “in the uterus”. The Latin “uterus” (plural “uteri”) translates as both “womb” and “belly”. The Latin word comes from the Greek “hystera” that also means “womb”, which gives us the words “hysterectomy”, and “hysterical”.

5 Mars or Venus : ORB

Because Mars is a greater distance from the Sun, the Martian year is about two Earth years long.

The planet Venus rotates very slowly. As each rotation is equivalent to one day, a day on Venus lasts about 243 Earth days. Also, Venus orbits the sun relatively quickly, taking about 225 Earth days. So, a day on Venus is longer than a year!

6 Like teenagers in the comic strip “Zits” : SKINNY

“Zits” is a popular cartoon strip written by Jerry Scott and illustrated by Jim Borgman. The strip debuted in 1997, and features a teenage boy called Jeremy Duncan as the main character.

7 Chimp kin : ORANG

Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and live in the rainforests. Like most species in rainforests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.

The common chimpanzee is a species of great ape, i.e. a member of the Hominidae family (along with gorillas, humans and orangutans). The human and chimpanzee branches of the Hominidae family tree diverged 4-6 million years ago, making the chimp our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom.

9 Sgt. or cpl. : NCO

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) might be a sergeant (sgt.) or a corporal (cpl.).

11 Kalahari mongoose : MEERKAT

The meerkat (also called “suricate”) is a mongoose-like mammal that is native to parts of Africa including the Kalahari and Namib Deserts

The Kalahari is a vast desert region in southern Africa that covers much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa. The desert is located within a larger lowland known as the Kalahari Basin, which covers almost a million square miles. The name “Kalahari” comes from one of two Tswana words, meaning either “the great thirst” or “a waterless place”.

The mongoose has no relationship with the “goose” as such, as “mongoose” is derived from “mangus”, an Indian name for the beast. The mongoose does indeed eat snakes as part of its diet, along with other small creatures. However, it usually avoids the dangerous cobra, although humans have used the mongoose to fight cobras for sport and entertainment. The mongoose fares well against poisonous snakes because the it is agile and wily, and has a thick skin, literally.

12 Source of machismo, perhaps : MALE EGO

“Machismo” is an American-Spanish word meaning “virility, masculine pride”. The term comes from the Spanish “macho” meaning “male”.

13 Epic journey : ODYSSEY

“Odyssey” is one of two epic poems from ancient Greece that is attributed to Homer. “Odyssey” is largely a sequel to Homer’s other epic “Iliad”. “Odyssey” centers on the heroic figure Odysseus, and his adventures on his journey home to Greece following the fall of Troy. We now use the term “odyssey” to describe any long series of adventures.

18 Tylenol target : PAIN

Tylenol is pain relieving drug with the active ingredient acetaminophen (which is known as “paracetamol” outside of the US).

22 Gaza Strip gp. : PLO

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964. The PLO’s early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations back in 1923. The PLO was granted observer status (i.e. no voting rights) at the United Nations in 1974.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the boundaries of the strip of land on the Mediterranean around Gaza were fixed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. The boundaries were specifically defined but were not to be recognized as an international border. From 1948, the Gaza Strip was occupied and administered by Egypt, until 1967 when Israel took over occupation following the Six-Day War. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which handed over administration to the Palestinian Authority, but with Israel retaining control of the Gaza Strip’s airspace, some land borders and its territorial waters. The intent was to further this agreement, but discussions between the parties broke down. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

23 Capp and Capone : ALS

Al Capp was a cartoonist from New Haven, Connecticut who is best remembered for cartoon strip “Li’l Abner”. Capp created “Li’l Abner” in 1934 and drew it himself until 1977. Capp passed away two years after “Li’l Abner” was retired.

When Al Capone was a young man, he worked as a bouncer in nightclubs and saloons. He was working the door of a Brooklyn night spot one evening when he apparently insulted a woman, sparking off a fight with her brother. In the tussle, Capone’s face was slashed three times. Capone wasn’t too proud of the incident, nor the “Scarface” moniker that he was given as a result. He always hid the scars as best he could when being photographed, and was also fond of telling people that the scars were from old war wounds.

24 Greek cheese : FETA

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

25 Mideast ruler : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

26 NFL analyst Tony : ROMO

Tony Romo is a former quarterback who spent his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. Romo is also an avid amateur golfer and has even tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to qualify for the US Open golf championship.

31 Toward the tiller : AFT

A rudder is usually a flat sheet of wood or metal located at the stern of a boat, and under the waterline. The rudder is attached to a rudder post, which rotates to change the orientation of the rudder hence steering the boat. That rotation of the rudder post can be achieved by pulling or pushing a lever called a tiller, which is located at the top of the post.

35 Grand Canyon animal : MULE

The wild donkey that we know as a burro was introduced into the Grand Canyon in the late 1800s, where they used the animal to help pack out mined copper, asbestos and lead. When the miners moved on, they left the burros to roam free. Feral burros essentially overran the Grand Canyon in subsequent years, leading to the forced removal of 500 of them in the early eighties by the National Park Service. Burros wreak havoc on the canyon’s ecosystem, and in particular compete with native bighorn sheep. The bighorn sheep population has rebounded since the number of wild donkeys has dropped.

36 “Little” Dickens girl : NELL

“The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens tells the story of 14-year-old “Little Nell” Trent and her grandfather who live in the Old Curiosity Shop in London. If you visit London, there actually is an “Old Curiosity Shop”, in Westminster. It is an establishment selling odds and ends, old curiosities, and is believed to have been the inspiration for the shop in the Dickens story. The building has been around since the 1500s, but the name “The Old Curiosity Shop” was added after the book was published.

37 Org. hacked at its Watergate offices : DNC

The Watergate scandal is so named because it involved a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The Watergate complex is made up of five units, three of which are apartment buildings, one an office building, and one a hotel-office building (which housed the DNC headquarters). Watergate led to the “-gate” suffix being used for many subsequent scandals, such as “Irangate”, “Bridgegate” and “Deflategate”.

47 Descendants : SCIONS

“Scion” comes from the old French word “sion” or “cion”, meaning “a shoot or a twig”. In botanical terms today, a scion is used in grafting two compatible plants together. In grafting, one plant is selected for its root system (the “rootstock”), and the other plant is selected for its stems, leaves and fruit (the “scion”). The term scion migrated naturally into the world of family history. A scion is simply a descendant, a son or a daughter and therefore a branching point in the family tree.

48 “Best in Show” org. : AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs The AKC also promotes dog shows around the country including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

“Best in Show” is comedy film released in 2000 that is in the mockumentary style. It follows five entrants to a big dog show. It is a Christopher Guest film, so I gave up after about 10 minutes of viewing …

49 __ of honor : MATRON

The members of the bride’s party in a wedding are called the bridesmaids. The principal bridesmaid is the maid of honor. The principal bridesmaid might be referred to as the matron of honor if she is married.

58 Innocuous falsehood : FIB

To fib is to to tell a lie. The verb likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

59 Musician Yoko : ONO

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

60 __ King 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.

61 “The Da Vinci Code” author Brown : DAN

Dan Brown is a somewhat controversial author, one best known for his 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code”. I’ve read all of Brown’s books and must say that his early ones were awful. Having said that I loved “Angels and Demons”, and found “The Da Vinci Code” to be a great read.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Barcelona buddy : AMIGO
6 Scattered, as seeds : SOWN
10 Rifle filler : AMMO
14 Hopeless case : GONER
15 Fast-food legend Ray : KROC
16 Enjoy a comic book, say : READ
17 Small plucked instrument : THUMB PIANO
19 Fall back (on) : RELY
20 “__ Been Awhile”: Staind song : IT’S
21 Columnist Landers : ANN
22 Israeli president Shimon, 2007-2014 : PERES
23 Blackjack card : ACE
24 New York region, or its narrow bodies of water : FINGER LAKES
27 Petit or grand crime : LARCENY
29 Docking fee : MOORAGE
30 Hog’s nose : SNOUT
31 Objective : AIM
32 Fisher-Price product : TOY
33 Tropical tree leaf : PALM FROND
38 Busy IRS month : APR
41 Not at home : OUT
42 China’s Zhou __ : ENLAI
46 Doesn’t miss a thing : SEES ALL
49 Forbes publisher Forbes : MALCOLM
51 Fluttering pitch : KNUCKLEBALL
53 Dainty taste : SIP
54 Gelatin dish : ASPIC
55 Slugging legend Mel : OTT
56 Canonized Fr. female : STE
57 Slimming surg. : LIPO
58 Popular necktie knot … and a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 33- and 51-Across : FOUR-IN-HAND
62 Cookie cooker : OVEN
63 Big on : INTO
64 Vital heart line : AORTA
65 “Bill & __ Excellent Adventure” : TED’S
66 Cap’n’s underling : BO’S’N
67 Wyoming’s __ Range : TETON

Down

1 Ten-percenter: Abbr. : AGT
2 Native American in a Cooper title : MOHICAN
3 Not yet born : IN UTERO
4 Precious stones : GEMS
5 Mars or Venus : ORB
6 Like teenagers in the comic strip “Zits” : SKINNY
7 Chimp kin : ORANG
8 Was victorious : WON
9 Sgt. or cpl. : NCO
10 Unpaid debt : ARREAR
11 Kalahari mongoose : MEERKAT
12 Source of machismo, perhaps : MALE EGO
13 Epic journey : ODYSSEY
18 Tylenol target : PAIN
22 Gaza Strip gp. : PLO
23 Capp and Capone : ALS
24 Greek cheese : FETA
25 Mideast ruler : EMIR
26 NFL analyst Tony : ROMO
28 Trophy shape : CUP
31 Toward the tiller : AFT
34 Hang around : LOLL
35 Grand Canyon animal : MULE
36 “Little” Dickens girl : NELL
37 Org. hacked at its Watergate offices : DNC
38 Require much (of) : ASK A LOT
39 Lost in thought : PENSIVE
40 Signed on for another tour : RE-UPPED
43 Skill rarely practiced now : LOST ART
44 Not aligned with : ALIEN TO
45 Little rascal : IMP
47 Descendants : SCIONS
48 “Best in Show” org. : AKC
49 __ of honor : MATRON
50 High: Pref. : ALTI-
52 Boxing matches : BOUTS
56 Horse’s footwear : SHOE
58 Innocuous falsehood : FIB
59 Musician Yoko : ONO
60 __ King Cole : NAT
61 “The Da Vinci Code” author Brown : DAN

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 23 Apr 19, Tuesday”

  1. LAT: 6:57, no errors. WSJ: 5:54, no errors. Newsday: 5:47, no errors. Jones: 8:07, 2 errors involving 3 words that I’ve never heard of/makes no sense. Yesterday’s BEQ: 57:40, 4 errors. Mainly involving a word BEQ made up (I find no reference to it). Very hard, but very tedious and not a lot of fun.

  2. Nice easy Tuesday puzzle. No crossout corrections. Our newspaper doesn’t publish the puzzle theme so I kind of guessed “four in hand” crossed with “alti” rather than “four On hand” crossed with “altO”….

    Put out deck furniture with snow gone and temperature in Central New York hitting a balmy 67. So….I expect it will snow again soon!!!

  3. Good time of 35 minutes, 1 error when I missed MOORAGE; used a T for the G.
    I knew the mooring part, just slipped up. Got hung up in the Southeast section,
    but the wife got LIPO and ASKALOT on her second pass.

    I have to apologize to Nolanski for yesterday. I had marked WALLEYE for a
    dictionary search, but the across words gave it up and I didn’t have to do it.
    It wasn’t in my dictionary, anyway.

    Nice, pretty easy Tuesday puzzle.

      1. This issue has arisen many times here. Many of us count squares in error, rather than entries in error. The practice is completely defensible. And you knew exactly what error John made, so why indulge in a cheap shot?

  4. Easy Tues., but thought that “thumb piano” was way out there. Never heard that term before, but had the answer right anyway. So no damage done!

  5. 7:31. I’m ready for some late week puzzles.

    BTW – Does anyone know where Vidwan has been? I don’t remember the last time he posted.

  6. Although Barcelona is in Spain, it is also in Catalonia. As any proud Catalonian living in Barcelona would tell you the Catalan-language word for buddy is amic. Catalan is an official language of Catalonia.

  7. I’m also missing Vidwan.

    @Ray-o: Don’t your puzzle clues include the main clue, which is usually the lowest, physically, in which the susidiary clues are listed? Today’s would be 58 a, which included references to 17, 24, 33, 51 a. The answer to the main clue is the theme.

    Had LOaf before LOLL. Never heard of MOORAGE. Otherwise, smooth and easy.

  8. Hola amics!😎

    (And that’s all the Catalan I know — good catch Brian!😊)

    No errors, fun solve. Looks like we’re back to normal after last early-week’s puzzles being so tough!🌻

    Why are MEERKATS always standing? They’re quite cute, IMO. 🐿

    Indeed, where IS Vidwan? It seems to me that he hasn’t posted for weeks….I hope he’s okay–🤨

    Be well ~~🐔

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