LA Times Crossword 24 Apr 19, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: A Leg Up

Themed answers are all in the down-direction, and each includes a LEG standing UP within as a hidden word:

  • 66A Competitive edge, as illustrated in the answers to starred clues from left to right : A LEG UP
  • 9D *Telegraphed message : CABLEGRAM
  • 10D *346-piece Big Ben, e.g. : LEGO SET
  • 30D *Gray wrote one in a country churchyard : ELEGY
  • 37D *Post-apocalyptic Will Smith film : I AM LEGEND
  • 45D *What makes Guy a guy? : LITTLE G

Bill’s time: 6m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Santa __ winds : ANA

The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

16 Singer Adams : EDIE

Edie Adams was an all-round entertainer. She worked for many years on television with Ernie Kovacs and Jack Paar, marrying Ernie Kovacs in 1954. On the big screen she had a major supporting role in “The Apartment”, and was one of the stars of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”.

17 World’s largest peninsula : ARABIA

The Arabian Peninsula (also “Arabia”) is part of Western Asia that is located just north-east of Africa. The peninsula is bordered to the west by the Red Sea, to the northeast by the Persian Gulf, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Most of the Arabian Peninsula is taken up by Saudi Arabia, but also included are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. And, it’s the largest peninsula in the world, covering about 1¼ million square miles.

18 Antagonist in many le Carré novels : KGB AGENT

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

“John le Carré” is the pen name of David Cornwell, an English author who is famous for his spy novels. Cornwell worked for British Intelligence during the fifties and sixties, even as he was writing his spy thrillers. He left MI6 soon after his most famous 1963 novel “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, became such a great success.

20 Nemesis : BANE

Today, we tend to use the word “bane” to mean anathema, a source of persistent annoyance. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

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.

23 “Better Call Saul” actress Seehorn : RHEA

Rhea Seehorn is an actress best known for playing lawyer Kim Wexler in the TV crime drama “Better Call Saul”.

25 Wrigglers sought by snigglers : EELS

A sniggler is a person who angles for eels (also called an “eeler”). The term “sniggler” comes from “snig”, a young eel, which in turn is probably related to Old English “snegge” meaning “snail”.

29 Floating ice hazard : BERG

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken away from a glacier or ice shelf. Out use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

36 Remote precursor : DIAL

Don’t touch that dial, I mean, remote …

38 Hooch : ROTGUT

In the Klondike gold rush, a favorite tipple of the miners was “Hoochinoo”, a liquor made by the native Alaskans. Soon after “hooch” (also “hootch”) was adopted as a word for cheap whiskey.

40 Sport-__ : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

43 12 meses : ANO

In Spanish, there are 12 “meses” (months) in an “año” (year).

44 Uproarious confusion : BEDLAM

Bethlem Royal Hospital is a facility in London in the UK for treating mental illness. The original facility was a hospital way back in the 1300s, and had the name “Bedlam”. In the 1700s and 1800s the hospital actually made money out of its patients as it charged a penny to members of the public allowing them to visit the hospital and view the unfortunate inmates in their cells. Tens of thousands of such paid visits were made each year. Our word “bedlam”, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from the hospital’s name, and it reflects the cruel and inhumane treatment endured by the inmates in days gone by.

46 Places to shoot hoops : GYMS

Basketball is truly a North American sport. It was created in 1891 by Canadian James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first “hoops” were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the “net”, someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

47 Big kahuna : VIP

Like many words in Hawaiian, “kahuna” has several English translations, everything from a priest to an expert in some profession. The expression “the Big Kahuna” comes from the 1959 movie “Gidget”. The Big Kahuna was the leader of one of the surfing gangs in the film, and was played by Cliff Robertson.

48 Jai __ : ALAI

Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …

55 Counting-out word : EENY

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

61 Saintly glow : HALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

65 “Madame Bovary” subject : ADULTERY

“Madame Bovary” is the most famous novel written by Gustave Flaubert. The title character is a doctor’s wife named Emma Bovary, who lives a luxurious life beyond her means and has many adulterous affairs. The novel had a rousing reception, including an attack by public prosecutors who labeled is as obscene, which I am sure later helped “Madame Bovary” to become a bestseller.

69 Bridal bio word : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.

71 Layer over some cities : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

72 Mar.-to-Nov. hrs. : DST

Daylight saving time (DST)

73 Genesis follower : EXODUS

The Book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible, and deals with Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. The name “Exodus” comes from the Greek “exodos” meaning “departure”.

Down

1 __ bisque : CRAB

A traditional bisque is a creamy soup made from crustaceans such as lobster, crab or shrimp. The term “bisque” probably comes from the Bay of “Biscay” off the west coast of France, a nod to the French origin of the soup and its seafood content. So, if you see a vegetable “bisque” in a restaurant, you’ll know that the term is being misused …

2 Mount Olympus queen : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

Mount Olympus is the highest peak in Greece. In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was home to the gods, and in particular home to the principal gods known as the Twelve Olympians.

3 McGregor of “Christopher Robin” : EWAN

Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

“Christopher Robin” is a 2018 film inspired by the “Winnie-the-Pooh” books by A. A. Milne. Ewan McGregor plays an adult Christopher Robin. Sadly, the older Christopher Robin has lost his imagination, and the story is about him rekindling that imagination as he is reunited with his old friend Winnie-the-Pooh.

7 H.H. Munro’s pseudonym : SAKI

Hector Hugh Munro was a British writer who actually was born in Burma. He was most famous for his short stories, which he published using the pen name “Saki”. “The Square Egg and Other Sketches” was a collection of short stories published in 1924, nine years after his death.

10 *346-piece Big Ben, e.g. : LEGO SET

Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:

  • The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
  • The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
  • The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
  • Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
  • The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)

13 Meyers of “Late Night” : SETH

Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he served as head writer. Meyers now hosts his own late night talk show on NBC.

22 Moroccan capital : RABAT

Rabat is the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco. After WWII, the United States maintained a major Air Force Base in Rabat, part of Strategic Air Command (SAC). Responding to pressure from the Moroccan government of King Mohammed V, the USAF pulled out in 1963.

24 Gossip columnist Hopper : HEDDA

Hedda Hopper was a gossip columnist who was famous for her long-running feud with her rival gossip columnist Louella Parsons.

26 Dutch-speaking Caribbean island : ARUBA

Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

27 Asian palm nut : BETEL

The betel nut is something that is chewed, especially in parts of Asia. “Betel nut” is a bit of misnomer, as the nut in question is actually an Areca nut from the Areca palm. For chewing, the Areca nut is wrapped in betel leaves and the whole thing is called a “betel nut”.

28 “Plant-powered” hair care brand : AVEDA

Horst Rechelbacher was travelling in India in 1970 when he was introduced to the Hindu science of longevity called Ayurveda, which inspired him to set up his own company of skin and hair care products that he called Aveda. The company opened its doors in 1978 and is based in Blaine, Minnesota.

30 *Gray wrote one in a country churchyard : ELEGY

Perhaps the most famous elegy in the English language is that written by Thomas Gray, which he completed in 1750. His “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is the source of many oft-quoted phrases, including:

  • Celestial fire
  • Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Kindred spirit

32 Tequila source : AGAVE

The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus, and isn’t related to the aloe plant either. The blue agave is used in the production of tequila.

37 *Post-apocalyptic Will Smith film : I AM LEGEND

“I Am Legend” is a 1955 science fiction novel by Richard Matheson that tells of an apparent sole survivor of a pandemic. The survivor has to fight off zombie-like vampires who come out at night. “I Am Legend” was famously adapted into a 1971 movie called “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston, and then into a 2007 film using the same title as the novel that stars Will Smith.

39 Welles who played Kane : ORSON

1941’s “Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, and considered by many to be the finest movie ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

42 What “two” meant to Paul Revere : BY SEA

“One if by land, and two if by sea” is the famous signal code used by Paul Revere to warn the people of Charlestown when the British army was approaching. The words “one if by land, and two if by sea”, are immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride”.

50 Ovid collection : AMORES

Ovid wrote a book of poems called “Amores”, as did English writer D. H. Lawrence.

57 Fairy tale crones : HAGS

“Hag” is a shortened form of the Old English word “haegtesse” meaning “witch”.

58 Paraffin-coated cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

59 “The Godfather” novelist : PUZO

The novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, that latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).

60 Nureyev’s no : NYET

Ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s most famous partnership was with Dame Margot Fonteyn. Nureyev and Fonteyn had their last professional performance together when Nureyev was 50-years-old, and Fonteyn an impressive 69 years. One of Nureyev’s claims to fame is that he was the first Soviet artist to defect to the West during the Cold War, doing so in Paris in 1961 while touring with the Mariinsky Ballet.

63 Tropical party : LUAU

The Hawaiian party or feast known as a “luau” really dates back to 1819, when King Kamehameha II removed religious laws that governed the eating of meals. These laws called for women and men to eat separately. At the same time as he changed the laws, the king initiated the luau tradition by symbolically eating with the women who moved in his circle.

67 Bagel topper : LOX

Lox is brine-cured salmon fillet that is finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Keepsake containers : CHESTS
7 Biological pouch : SAC
10 “I’m up for it!” : LET’S!
14 Change in a big way : REWORK
15 Santa __ winds : ANA
16 Singer Adams : EDIE
17 World’s largest peninsula : ARABIA
18 Antagonist in many le Carré novels : KGB AGENT
20 Nemesis : BANE
21 Teeny-tiny fraction : TRILLIONTH
23 “Better Call Saul” actress Seehorn : RHEA
25 Wrigglers sought by snigglers : EELS
26 Demean : ABASE
29 Floating ice hazard : BERG
31 Hearing things? : EARS
35 Leader of a flock: Abbr. : REV
36 Remote precursor : DIAL
38 Hooch : ROTGUT
40 Sport-__ : UTE
41 Oatmeal-crusted treat : DATE BAR
43 12 meses : ANO
44 Uproarious confusion : BEDLAM
46 Places to shoot hoops : GYMS
47 Big kahuna : VIP
48 Jai __ : ALAI
49 Places, as a bet : LAYS
51 Signs of the future : OMENS
53 Those opposing us : THEM
55 Counting-out word : EENY
57 Seven-sided : HEPTAGONAL
61 Saintly glow : HALO
65 “Madame Bovary” subject : ADULTERY
66 Competitive edge, as illustrated in the answers to starred clues from left to right : A LEG UP
68 Steady look : GAZE
69 Bridal bio word : NEE
70 Excitedly unwrapped : TORE AT
71 Layer over some cities : SMOG
72 Mar.-to-Nov. hrs. : DST
73 Genesis follower : EXODUS

Down

1 __ bisque : CRAB
2 Mount Olympus queen : HERA
3 McGregor of “Christopher Robin” : EWAN
4 Sleeps it off, with “up” : SOBERS
5 Prefix with atomic : TRI-
6 Circle the rink : SKATE
7 H.H. Munro’s pseudonym : SAKI
8 One opening a can of worms? : ANGLER
9 *Telegraphed message : CABLEGRAM
10 *346-piece Big Ben, e.g. : LEGO SET
11 Paradise : EDEN
12 Salon treatment : TINT
13 Meyers of “Late Night” : SETH
19 Have a bug : AIL
22 Moroccan capital : RABAT
24 Gossip columnist Hopper : HEDDA
26 Dutch-speaking Caribbean island : ARUBA
27 Asian palm nut : BETEL
28 “Plant-powered” hair care brand : AVEDA
30 *Gray wrote one in a country churchyard : ELEGY
32 Tequila source : AGAVE
33 Scrap : RUN-IN
34 Puts an end to : STOPS
37 *Post-apocalyptic Will Smith film : I AM LEGEND
39 Welles who played Kane : ORSON
42 What “two” meant to Paul Revere : BY SEA
45 *What makes Guy a guy? : LITTLE G
50 Ovid collection : AMORES
52 “You saved me!” : MY HERO!
54 Tipped top : HAT
56 Make very happy : ELATE
57 Fairy tale crones : HAGS
58 Paraffin-coated cheese : EDAM
59 “The Godfather” novelist : PUZO
60 Nureyev’s no : NYET
62 On in years : AGED
63 Tropical party : LUAU
64 Chooses : OPTS
67 Bagel topper : LOX

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Apr 19, Wednesday”

  1. I think that, for a Wednesday there were a fair number of tricky clues or a demand for esoteric knowledge such as 50 Down. No final errors but a fun grid with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.

  2. 22:02 no errors…..I had no idea what meses were and I think 33 D should have been scrape rather than scrap for run in but I finally saw ano and the light came on..

  3. 14:19. Agree – a bit tricky for a Wednesday, but they should all be like this. Nice job as always by Ed Sessa. Didn’t get the theme until the end so it didn’t really help me.

    TRI-atomic just means a molecule with 3 atoms. Water and carbon dioxide are two pretty common examples. I thought it was a clever and original clue for something as common as TRI.

    Best –

  4. We got 3/4 of it on the first pass, then had to do some digging
    and thinking to end up with 4 errors. Missed UTE and THEM;
    used UTI and FOES. Found it pretty tough.

  5. Tricky. Had to Google for AVEDA. Never heard of AMORES or RHEA. (I thought Better Call Saul was a terrible show.) Had “sub” before TRI and foEs before THEM. But Sessa is a professional and problems are my weaknesses, not his.

  6. Pretty tricky but fun Wednesday; took about 30 minutes with no errors. Couldn’t figure out LITTLEG until I got here. I had a much more prurient answer which didn’t fit. Also, it took a second to get the V from AVEDA.

    The origin of BEDLAM is pretty sad. didn’t get the theme until I got here, as well.

  7. Guten Evening!!🌻

    No errors, but many twists and turns. Good Wednesday puzzle. I had CURIOS at first until I finally got CHESTS….and I thought that McGregor guy’s name was Ian. Took a minute to get out of that NW corner.

    The Santa Anas are unnerving!! I always think of the opening of that Raymond Chandler novel, which reads in part: “it was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that make your nerves twitch and your hair stand on end…Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.”

    Be well~~😎

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