LA Times Crossword 27 Apr 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 7m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Venue for seven Verdi premieres : LA SCALA

La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its Italian name “Teatro alla Scala”.

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer, mainly of operas, who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”. Verdi was a big fan of William Shakespeare and wrote three operas based on the Bard’s plays: “Macbeth”, “Otello” and “Falstaff”.

8 Savannah grazer : ORIBI

Oribi are small antelope that inhabit the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa.

A savanna (also “savannah”) is a grassland. If there are any trees in a savanna, by definition they are small and widely spaced so that light can get to the grasses allowing them to grow unhindered.

13 Mesmerize : ENTHRALL

To enthrall is to enchant. An obsolete meaning of the term is “to enslave, to hold as a thrall”. “Thrall” is an old word meaning “serf, slave”. So, to enthrall someone is to make them a slave to one’s charm. Quaint …

Franz Mesmer was a German physician, and the person who coined the phrase “animal magnetism”. Back then the term described a purported magnetic field that resided in the bodies of animate beings. Mesmer also lent his name to our term “mesmerize”.

15 Sudoku skill : LOGIC

Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …

16 1982 bestseller using Milne characters, with “The” : TAO OF POOH

The author Benjamin Hoff is best known for his 1982 book “The Tao of Pooh”, and a successor title published in 1992 called “The Te of Piglet”. Both books use the “Winnie the Pooh” stories to illustrate Taoist beliefs.

18 Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum town : STOWE

Stowe ski resort is located on the slopes of Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, near the town of Stowe, Vermont. Alpine skiing was brought first to Mount Mansfield, after the Civilian Conservation Corps cut trails back in 1933. The following year, Mount Mansfield was home to the first ski patrol in the nation, which became the model for the National Ski Patrol.

22 Will of “Blue Bloods” : ESTES

Actor Will Estes played JJ Pryor on the TV drama “American Dreams”, and then Jamie Reagan on the police drama “Blue Bloods”.

“Blue Bloods” is a police drama series about a family of police officers led by Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, played by Tom Selleck. The show first aired in 2010.

24 Tide may wash it away : STAIN

Tide is a laundry detergent that has been made by Procter & Gamble since 1946. Back then, Tide was marketed as “America’s Washday Favorite”.

25 When one might eat bánh chung : TET

Bánh chu’ng is a steamed cake mainly made from glutinous rice, mung bean and pork. The eating of bánh chu’ng is an important part of the Tet holiday in Vietnam.

30 1987 film loosely based on “Cyrano de Bergerac” : ROXANNE

Edmond Rostand wrote the famous play “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1897. There have been a few interesting film adaptations. Perhaps the most famous is 1950’s Hollywood “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring José Ferrer. 1987’s “Roxanne” is a modern-day resetting of the play starring Steve Martin, and 1990’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” (in French) starring Gérard Depardieu was nominated for several Oscars, winning for Best Costume Design.

32 Gugino of “Wayward Pines” : CARLA

Carla Gugino is an actress from Sarasota, Florida. One of Gugino’s television roles was Michael J. Fox’s love interest, Ashley Schaeffer, in the sitcom “Spin City”.

“Wayward Pines” is a Fox television show that is based on a series of novels by Blake Crouch. Star of the show (for the first season) is actor Matt Dillon, who plays US Secret Service agent Ethan Burke.

35 Daughter of Billy Ray : MILEY

Miley Cyrus became famous playing the Disney Channel character “Hannah Montana”. Miley is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. When she was born, Billy Ray and his wife named their daughter “Destiny Hope”, but soon they themselves calling her “Smiley” as she was always smiling as a baby, and this got shortened to Miley over time. Cute …

39 Sea follower? : -TAC

SeaTac is a suburb of Seattle, Washington and is a city that surrounds the Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-Tac), hence the city’s name.

40 Small amount : TAD

Back in the 1800s, “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this extended into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.

43 Low-pay position : MCJOB

“McJob” is a slang term for a low-paying position that offers little chance for advancement. The term of course comes from front-line jobs at a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant.

47 Antic : SHENANIGAN

I suppose one might be forgiven for thinking that “shenanigan” is an Irish term, as it certainly sounds Irish. Usually written in the plural, shenanigans are acts of mischief, pranks. Apparently the word is of uncertain derivation, but was coined in San Francisco and Sacramento, California in the mid-1800s.

50 Merrie Monarch Festival celebration : HULA

The Merrie Monarch Festival has been held annually since 1963, in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a week-long festival observed during the week following Easter. It is named for the “Merrie Monarch”, King David Kalākaua, the last king of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

51 Cunning canines : FOXES

Foxes are often described as cunning or sly. This is a reference to their reputation for eluding hunters.

52 “Glass” director : SHYAMALAN

M. Night Shyamalan is an Indian-American screenwriter and film producer. Shyamalan has written and directed some great films, with my favorites being “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Signs” (2002) and “The Village” (2004).

“Glass” is a 2019 film directed by M. Night Shyamalan. “Glass” is a superhero movie, and is the last installment in Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” trilogy (following 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split”).

54 Soccer Hall of Famer __ Lalas : ALEXI

Alexi Lalas is a former international soccer player from Birmingham, Michigan. Lalas appeared for the US national team in the 1994 FIFA World Cup that was hosted by the United States.

56 Emulates a matryoshka doll, save one : NESTS

Matryoshka dolls are those wooden nesting dolls that are on sale at every tourist trap across Russia. “Matryoshka” is Russian for “little matron”.

57 Rx’s from vets : PET MEDS

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

Down

2 With 26-Across, “Delta of Venus” author : ANAIS …
(26A See 2-Down : … NIN)

“Delta of Venus” is a collection of short stories by Anais Nin that was published in 1977, not long after the author’s passing. The stories were originally written on commission for a private collector in the 1940s.

3 Short-tailed weasel : STOAT

The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

4 Slayers, in the Buffyverse : CHOSEN ONES

The fictional universe in which the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” are set is known as the Buffyverse or the Slayerverse.

5 Husky’s hello : ARF!

The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in northern Asia. Siberian Huskies were imported into Alaska in great numbers in the early 1900s for use as sled dogs during the gold rush.

6 “Training Day” law org. : LAPD

“Training Day” is a 2001 crime movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as two narcotics officers in Los Angeles. The film was well received and merited a TV spin off. The small-screen version was canceled after one season following the death of lead actor Bill Paxton.

8 Fictional photojournalist : OLSEN

In the “Superman” stories, Jimmy Olsen is a cub photographer who works on the “Daily Planet” newspaper with Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

9 Drilling org. : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

11 100 times a year, roughly : BIWEEKLY

The term “biweekly” can be used with two very different meanings, i.e. occurring every two weeks, and occurring twice a week.

17 No-nonsense dismissal : HEAVE-HO

“Heave-ho” is a nautical term that was used as a chant when sailors were hoisting a sail, for example. The term has come to mean “dismissal”, as in “give him the old heave-ho”.

23 It’s often done on highways : SIXTY

The first speed limit introduced on a road system was in 1861 in the UK. The limit back then was 10 mph, and this was reduced a few years later to 4 mph in the country, and 2 mph in towns. The highest speed limit ever posted was in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates from 2005 to 2010, a maximum of 160 km/hr (99 mph). Famously, the autobahns of Germany have no speed limit in rural uncongested areas.

29 Fetish : MAGIC CHARM

At the beginning of the 19th century, fetishism was the worship of “fetishes”. Back then, a fetish was an object that was revered and considered to have mysterious powers. A few decades later, the usage of the term “fetish” was extended, probably by New England Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, to describe an object of blind devotion. The concept of sexual fetishism arose at the end of the 19th century.

30 Obsolete organizers : ROLODEXES

The brand name “Rolodex” is short for “rolling index”, and applies to a device that was invented back in 1956. Even in today’s world that is run by computers, I hear that Rolodexes are still quite popular.

31 Highly populated people? : NEPALIS

Nepal lies to the northeast of India. Today, the state is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country’s general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.

32 Third-stringers : C-TEAM

We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first bowstring broke.

34 Hill worker : ANT

Anthills are actually underground nests. The ants in the colony excavate below ground, resulting in a pile of sand or soil above ground.

35 Often not a Yankee supporter : METS FAN

The New York Mets baseball team was founded in 1962 as a replacement for two teams that the city had lost, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. For several years the Mets played very poorly, finishing no better than second-to-last in their division. Then along came the “Miracle Mets” (aka “Amazin’ Mets”) who beat the Baltimore Orioles in 1969 to claim the World Series in a huge upset.

41 Spot for a drink : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

44 Andrews with an Oscar, two Emmys and three Grammys : JULIE

Actress and singer Julie Andrews was made a dame in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II. The most famous roles played by Andrews were probably the leads in “Mary Poppins” (1964) and “The Sound of Music” (1965). More recently she has had a recurring role in “The Princess Diaries” (2001) and the film’s 2004 sequel. A favorite Julie Andrews film of mine is a comedy drama set in WWII called “The Americanization of Emily”, which was released in 1964.

45 Warner __, ’20s-’30s portrayer of Dr. Fu Manchu : OLAND

Warner Oland was a Swedish actor who is best remembered for his portrayal of Charlie Chan in a series of 16 highly successful Hollywood movies. Before playing Charlie Chan, Oland made a name for himself in another Asian role on screen, playing Dr. Fu Manchu.

46 Forehead covering : BANGS

“Bangs” is another word that caught me out when I arrived in the US. “Bangs” back in Ireland are called “a fringe”. Apparently the US term is derived somehow from the hair on a horse’s head.

49 Silver of FiveThirtyEight : NATE

Nate Silver is a statistician who gained celebrity by developing a forecasting system that predicted the future performance of baseball players. He then made a name for himself in the world of politics by predicting the outcome of the 2008 US presidential race on his website FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver successfully predicted the outcome of the election in 49 of the 50 states, missing out on Indiana, which Barack Obama won by less than 1% of the vote. FiveThirtyEight was less successful in predicting the specifics of the 2012 presidential election, but came closer than almost all other pollsters. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight predicted a victory for Hillary Clinton, but with a much lower probability than other poll aggregators. And, they all got it wrong. Oh, and why the name FiveThirtyEight.com? Because there are 538 electors in the US electoral college.

53 Bon __ : MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Venue for seven Verdi premieres : LA SCALA
8 Savannah grazer : ORIBI
13 Mesmerize : ENTHRALL
15 Sudoku skill : LOGIC
16 1982 bestseller using Milne characters, with “The” : TAO OF POOH
18 Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum town : STOWE
19 Leaning : BIAS
20 Unchecked : DESELECTED
22 Will of “Blue Bloods” : ESTES
24 Tide may wash it away : STAIN
25 When one might eat bánh chung : TET
26 See 2-Down : … NIN
28 Act addition? : -IVE
29 Fashion : MAKE
30 1987 film loosely based on “Cyrano de Bergerac” : ROXANNE
32 Gugino of “Wayward Pines” : CARLA
33 “C’mon, man!” : DON’T BE THAT GUY!
35 Daughter of Billy Ray : MILEY
36 Respond to a pledge drive : PHONE IN
37 Star qualities : EGOS
38 Portuguese saint : SAO
39 Sea follower? : -TAC
40 Small amount : TAD
41 Get ready to compete, bodybuilder-style : OIL UP
43 Low-pay position : MCJOB
47 Antic : SHENANIGAN
50 Merrie Monarch Festival celebration : HULA
51 Cunning canines : FOXES
52 “Glass” director : SHYAMALAN
54 Soccer Hall of Famer __ Lalas : ALEXI
55 Teaching a lesson, perhaps : TUTORING
56 Emulates a matryoshka doll, save one : NESTS
57 Rx’s from vets : PET MEDS

Down

1 Do not disturb : LET BE
2 With 26-Across, “Delta of Venus” author : ANAIS …
3 Short-tailed weasel : STOAT
4 Slayers, in the Buffyverse : CHOSEN ONES
5 Husky’s hello : ARF!
6 “Training Day” law org. : LAPD
7 Soothing succulents : ALOES
8 Fictional photojournalist : OLSEN
9 Drilling org. : ROTC
10 “Later” : I GOTTA RUN
11 100 times a year, roughly : BIWEEKLY
12 Sipped cooler : ICED TEA
14 Daydreaming : LOST IN THOUGHT
17 No-nonsense dismissal : HEAVE-HO
21 Factor in golf club selection : LIE
23 It’s often done on highways : SIXTY
27 Pull in : NAB
29 Fetish : MAGIC CHARM
30 Obsolete organizers : ROLODEXES
31 Highly populated people? : NEPALIS
32 Third-stringers : C-TEAM
33 Excavate, with “in” : DIG A HOLE
34 Hill worker : ANT
35 Often not a Yankee supporter : METS FAN
38 Sunday subject : SIN
41 Spot for a drink : OASIS
42 Satisfy a debt : PAY UP
44 Andrews with an Oscar, two Emmys and three Grammys : JULIE
45 Warner __, ’20s-’30s portrayer of Dr. Fu Manchu : OLAND
46 Forehead covering : BANGS
48 “I’m done with this one” : NEXT
49 Silver of FiveThirtyEight : NATE
53 Bon __ : MOT

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Apr 19, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 22:24, no errors. WSJ: 25:17, no errors. Good puzzles both.

    @Dave
    Happened to think of it just now with time to explain it. On the Monday BEQ, the word was “cloud”, which was clued as a verb, e.g. “cloud a file onto Dropbox”. For working with the stuff and reading articles and stuff I have *never* encountered that word used in that way. I didn’t encounter a legit source that verified the use of “cloud” as a verb either when searching. You save a file to the cloud, you upload a file to the cloud, but you don’t cloud a file to the cloud.

    1. @Glenn … Aha! Well, I’ll grant you that it isn’t common to use “cloud” as a verb with that meaning, but … see the following (definition 4):

      https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cloud

      I think most setters are pretty careful about justifying the usage reflected in their clues …

      Back from a good trip, but still pretty jet-lagged (and with an awful lot of catching-up to do) … 😳.

      1. @Dave – Welcome back. How was Paree? I just finished the WSJ 21 X 21 and I thought the clue and answer for 73 Down was a hoot? (Maybe a small pun in the use of hoot?).

  2. Thought it was pretty easy for a Saturday puzzle. No errors, but as I
    am not a TV watcher, I will admit googling the “Blue Bloods” clue.

  3. LAT: 50 minutes. Had trouble in NW section but finally got it. A challenging puzzle, I thought, especially with so many people’s names I was unfamiliar with.

  4. Anyone, other than me, notice Bill’s solve time on this puzzle? Unreal! I had a fair amount of correction time built in on Lost in thought as I had started it with an “loo” combination and that really had me chasing my tail for awhile. Finally finished without any errors fini!

    On to the WSJ 21 X 21 next.

    1. That I did. But I can say at this point the Friday New Yorker is a good substitute for me, as doing one of these in 8 minutes can definitely be a scary feeling when…well (points above).

  5. 22 mins 36 sec, and 2 errors, where SHYA MALAN and OLAND cross.

    Difficult grid for me, too many proper names and specialized terms. A few, like the ANAIS NIN combo were inferred guesses. Puzzles like this both give and take: some days, the terms are in your ken, other days they’re not. Which day it is has everything to do with your enjoyment level of the grid. Didn’t much like this one.

  6. 17:58 with several missteps to overcome. I did notice that once you get a foothold in this one, it fills quickly. Same setter in today’s NYT puzzle as this one. More conspiracy?

    I didn’t know ORIBI or SHYAMALAN at all and had to rely on crosses and guesses. Had DONT BE THAT waY and opeC before getting ..GUY and ROTC.

    Best –

  7. 33:55 with no errors…..deselected is a new word for me and Google and my dictionary give definitions that don’t seem to mean unchecked. …..anybody?

    1. @Jack – I’ll always have a fondness for opt. You can opt in, or you can opt out. But I’m never going to deopt! ;-D>

    2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deselect
      ” to cause (something previously selected) to no longer be selected in a software interface”

      It’s a fairly common term in software which reflects a boolean state (meaning that either it is or isn’t) change. This can apply to a number of window controls, including check boxes. The clue specifically references check boxes, which can either be checked or unchecked. Select or deselect are simply more generic terms that are as equally applicable to check boxes as they are a number of other things.

  8. Was out of town and did not get to try Saturday’s puzzle. But, I always
    enjoy reading you guys’ comments. Go for Monday, everybody.

  9. Got most of the spanning answers and did better than I at first thought, but in the end fizzled on a few too many proper nouns, teevee stuff and other stuff I didn’t know. Good challenge…I guess I’m sprouting neurons as well.

    Never heard of ESTES, CARLA, SHYAMALAN, OLAND and CHOSENONES. Had ModE instead of MAKE, Net instead of NAB. Plus Sixty on the highway???

  10. Here’s to this old gang o’ mine!! 😎

    I also didn’t do the puzzle but wanted to read the blog and comments.😊 Puzzle looks hard but interesting. Just didn’t have time for it today. Picked up a HUGE lot of clothing to sell on Ebay– more than 300 pieces — and spent all day schlepping and loading and unloading and barely got a start on actual organizing!! 😯

    Glad you’re back, Dave! How was it seeing Notre Dame? Must have been disconcerting…

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

  11. Maybe in another universe biweekly can mean the same thing as semiweekly, but in the real world (payroll,) biweekly means every two weeks.
    Also, foxes are vulpine, not canine.

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