LA Times Crossword 17 May 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Mike Peluso
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Chippers

Themed clues are all the same, namely “Chipper”:

  • 17A Chipper : JONES OF BASEBALL
  • 27A Chipper : GREEN-SIDE IRON
  • 46A Chipper : IN A JAUNTY MOOD
  • 56A Chipper : MULCH-MAKING TOOL

Bill’s time: 9m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 VMI program : 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.

The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is one of the six senior military colleges in the country, and is located in Lexington, Virginia. The sports teams of VMI are known as the Keydets, southern slang for “cadets”.

5 ’80s-’90s courtroom drama : LA LAW

“L.A. Law” ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network’s most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful “Hill Street Blues” in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, “E.R.” The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.

15 Three-time A.L. batting champ Tony : OLIVA

Tony Oliva is a former Major League Baseball player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins. Oliva suffered from severe knee problems due to multiple injuries, forcing him to play the last four years of his career as a designated hitter (DH). On the bright side, he went into the history books in 1973 when became the first DH to hit a MLB home run.

16 Pupil’s place : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

The pupil of the eye is the hole located in the center of the iris through which light enters the retina. The term “pupil” came into English via French from the latin “pupilla”, which is the diminutive form of “pupa” meaning “girl, doll”. The term came about due to the tiny doll-like image that one can see of oneself when looking into the center of another’s eyes.

17 Chipper : JONES OF BASEBALL

Former baseball star Chipper Jones was born Larry Jones, Jr. He earned the nickname “Chipper” as a child, because his family viewed the younger Larry as a “chip off the old block”.

25 Wrigley brand : ORBIT

Orbit is a sugarless gum made by Wrigley’s. Orbit was first introduced during WWII, but was taken off the shelves in the 1980s when there was a concern that the gum’s sweetener was carcinogenic. Orbit was relaunched in 2001.

27 Chipper : GREEN-SIDE IRON

A chip might follow a drive on a golf course.

31 Geological time span : EON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

32 Carpenter’s joint element : TENON

One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon. It is basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. In the related dovetail joint, the projecting tenon is not rectangular but is cut at a bias, so that when the dovetails are joined they resist being pulled apart. You’ll see dovetail joints in drawers around the house.

33 Hiccup cause : SPASM

Hiccups is a series of forced intakes of breath, caused by spasms in the muscles of the chest and throat. The most common cause of hiccups is some sort of irritation to the stomach or oesophagus, usually taking place while eating. Apparently, we don’t really understand the reason why we hiccup, but a favored suggestion is that it may be something that we inherited from our ancestors of long ago who didn’t stand up quite as straight as we do. Gravity helps us swallow our food, but animals who walk on all fours don’t have that advantage as the food moves horizontally down the throat and into the stomach. Such beasts are in greater need of an involuntary hiccup should some food get stuck. Just a theory …

36 Genesis voyager : NOAH

According to the Book of Genesis, Noah lived to a ripe old age. Noah fathered his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth when he was 500 years old, and the Great Flood took place when he was 600.

40 Mlle., across the Pyrenees : SRTA

“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish, and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French, for “Miss”.

The Pyrénées is a mountain range that runs along the border between Spain and France. Nestled between the two countries, high in the mountains, is the lovely country of Andorra, an old haunt of my family during skiing season …

41 God of Islam : ALLAH

The name “Allah” comes from the Arabic “al-” and “ilah”, meaning “the” and “deity”. So, “Allah” can be translated as “God”.

45 Bordeaux vineyard : CRU

“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below.

49 Rural wagons : DRAYS

A dray is a sideless 4-wheeled cart that is used for hauling goods.

56 Chipper : MULCH-MAKING TOOL

Mulch is a layer of material applied by gardeners over the top of soil. The intent can be to retain moisture, to add nutrients, to reduce weed growth, or just to improve the look of the garden.

62 Tierra en el mar : ISLA

In Spanish, an “isla” (island) is “tierra en el mar” (land in the sea).

64 Personification of victory : NIKE

Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, and was often referred to as “the Winged Goddess of Victory”. The athletic shoe company Nike uses the “Nike swoosh” as its logo, a logo that is inspired by the goddess’ wing.

66 Shemar’s longtime “Criminal Minds” role : DEREK

Shemar Moore is an actor and former fashion model. Moore played Malcolm Winters on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” for many years. More recently, he took on the lead role of Sergeant Hondo Harrelson on the TV show “S.W.A.T”.

“Criminal Minds” is a police drama that has aired on CBS since 2005. The stories revolve around the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia.

Down

1 One of five characters on “The Big Bang Theory” to appear in every episode : RAJ

Raj Koothrappali is a character on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” who is played by British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. Nayyar is married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India.

2 Ab __: from the start : OVO

“Ab ovo” translates literally from Latin as “from the egg”, and is used in English to mean “from the beginning”.

3 Cube root of 1,000 : TEN

10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000

4 Spicy cuisine : CREOLE

In the US, the term “Creole” is most usually a reference to the people descended from the colonial French and colonial Spanish people who settled in the Louisiana region before it became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

The great explorer Verrazzano gave the name “Arcadia” to the coastal land that stretched from north of present day Virginia right up the North American continent to Nova Scotia. The name Arcadia was chosen as it was also the name for a part of Greece that had been viewed as idyllic from the days of classical antiquity. The “Arcadia” name quickly evolved into the word “Acadia” that was used locally here in North America. Much of Acadia was settled by the French in the 1600s, and then in 1710 Acadia was conquered by the British. There followed the French and Indian War after which there was a mass migration of French Acadians, often via the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) to the French colony of Louisiana. The local dialectic pronunciation of the word “Acadian” was “Cajun”, giving the name to the ethnic group for which Louisiana has been home for about 300 years.

6 Italian wheels, briefly : ALFA

The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, one standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

7 Ad-__ : LIB

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

8 Director DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

9 Horseradish relative : WASABI

Sometimes called “Japanese horseradish”, wasabi is a root used as a condiment in Japanese cooking. The taste of wasabi is more like mustard than a hot pepper in that the vapors that create the “hotness” stimulate the nasal passages rather than the tongue. Personally, I love the stuff …

11 Former Indiana governor Bayh : EVAN

Evan Bayh is the son of Birch Bayh, and like his father was US Senator for the state of Indiana. Prior to serving in the Senate, Evan Bayh was State Governor.

12 Amalgamate : MELD

Amalgam is an alloy of mercury with some other metal. Many dental fillings are made of an amalgam of silver and mercury. We started using “amalgam” to mean “blend of different things” around 1790.

13 Chums : PALS

A chum is a friend. The term “chum” originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn, “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.

19 Arab bigwigs : EMIRS

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

22 Gemini rocket stage : AGENA

The RM-81 Agena was an upper-stage rocket designed and built by Lockheed, and first used in 1959. After 365 launches, it was retired in 1987.

President Kennedy famously launched the Apollo space program in 1961. The Mercury program had been the project that put Americans into space, and NASA decided that more development work was need to bridge the gap in capabilities needed between what was known from Mercury and what was needed to land a man on the moon, the objective of the Apollo program. So, the Gemini program was born, in which astronauts learned to spend extended periods in orbit, rendezvous and dock spacecraft, walk in space, and improve the reentry and landing stage of a space flight.

23 Eagerly anticipate, with “over” : DROOL

24 North America’s highest peak : DENALI

“Denali” means “the high one” in the native Athabaskan language, and is now the name used for Mount McKinley. Denali’s summit stands at 20,237 feet, making it the highest mountain peak in North America. I was surprised to learn that there is a Denali State Park, as well as the Denali National Park. The two are located adjacent to each other (which makes sense!). The State Park is undeveloped for all practical purposes, with just a few campgrounds and trailheads.

30 Busters : NARCOS

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

34 Four-decades-plus first name in the Senate : STROM

Strom Thurmond was a US Senator for the state of South Carolina for 48 years, until he stepped down in 2003. Thurmond was the oldest-serving senator in US history (a record later surpassed). He retired from his office at the age of 100-years-old, and passed away just a few months after leaving Washington.

35 Title role for Bea : MAUDE

The seventies sitcom “Maude” stars Bea Arthur as the title character Maude Findlay. “Maude” is a spin-off of “All in the Family”, as Findlay is a cousin of Edith Bunker.

37 Links equalizer : HANDICAP

The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.

48 Medit. tourist attraction : MT ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcano in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

51 Author Martin : AMIS

I suppose the successful English novelist Martin Amis must have writing in his blood. He is the son of the respected author Kingsley Amis, a Booker Prize winner. Martin Amis’s best-known novels comprise his so-called “London Trilogy” consisting of “Money” (1984), “London Fields” (1989) and “The Information” (1995).

53 Couture monthly : ELLE

“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

“Haute couture”, literally “high dressmaking” in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

55 Fraction of a meg : ONE K

In the world of computing, one kilobyte (“1k) is one thousandth of a megabyte (“a meg”).

57 Men’s grooming brand : AXE

Axe is a brand of male grooming products. Axe is sold under the name Lynx in some parts of the world.

58 Aperitif named for a former Dijon mayor : KIR

Kir is a French cocktail made by adding a teaspoon or so of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) to a glass, and then topping it off with white wine. The drink is named after Felix Kir, the Mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who used to offer the drink to his guests. My wife is particularly fond of a variant called a Kir Royale, in which the white wine is replaced with champagne.

61 Sign of summer : LEO

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 VMI program : ROTC
5 ’80s-’90s courtroom drama : LA LAW
10 On-call worker : TEMP
14 Assert as true : AVER
15 Three-time A.L. batting champ Tony : OLIVA
16 Pupil’s place : UVEA
17 Chipper : JONES OF BASEBALL
20 Tetra- doubled : OCTA-
21 Atonement : AMENDS
22 Confuse : ADDLE
25 Wrigley brand : ORBIT
27 Chipper : GREEN-SIDE IRON
31 Geological time span : EON
32 Carpenter’s joint element : TENON
33 Hiccup cause : SPASM
36 Genesis voyager : NOAH
38 Protector with strings : APRON
40 Mlle., across the Pyrenees : SRTA
41 God of Islam : ALLAH
43 Called from the field : LOWED
45 Bordeaux vineyard : CRU
46 Chipper : IN A JAUNTY MOOD
49 Rural wagons : DRAYS
50 Response at the door : IT’S ME
51 Fair-hiring problem : AGEISM
54 “I don’t like your __” : TONE
56 Chipper : MULCH-MAKING TOOL
62 Tierra en el mar : ISLA
63 Force to leave : EXILE
64 Personification of victory : NIKE
65 Dance basic : STEP
66 Shemar’s longtime “Criminal Minds” role : DEREK
67 Plus : ALSO

Down

1 One of five characters on “The Big Bang Theory” to appear in every episode : RAJ
2 Ab __: from the start : OVO
3 Cube root of 1,000 : TEN
4 Spicy cuisine : CREOLE
5 Plunder : LOOT
6 Italian wheels, briefly : ALFA
7 Ad-__ : LIB
8 Director DuVernay : AVA
9 Horseradish relative : WASABI
10 Casual summer garments : TUBE TOPS
11 Former Indiana governor Bayh : EVAN
12 Amalgamate : MELD
13 Chums : PALS
18 Crime scene clue, maybe : SCENT
19 Arab bigwigs : EMIRS
22 Gemini rocket stage : AGENA
23 Eagerly anticipate, with “over” : DROOL
24 North America’s highest peak : DENALI
25 Fragrant : ODOROUS
26 Fame : RENOWN
28 Large expanse : SEA
29 Part of the picture : IN PLAY
30 Busters : NARCOS
34 Four-decades-plus first name in the Senate : STROM
35 Title role for Bea : MAUDE
37 Links equalizer : HANDICAP
39 Take-home : NET
42 Tough to hear, as criticism : HARSH
44 Like embers : DYING
47 Stuck : JAMMED
48 Medit. tourist attraction : MT ETNA
51 Author Martin : AMIS
52 Unexpected blow : GUST
53 Couture monthly : ELLE
54 Roof piece : TILE
55 Fraction of a meg : ONE K
57 Men’s grooming brand : AXE
58 Aperitif named for a former Dijon mayor : KIR
59 Good thing to strike : OIL
60 Signs off on : OKS
61 Sign of summer : LEO

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 May 19, Friday”

  1. LAT: 15:28, no errors. A very good example of manufactured difficulty, given the nonsense phrases in it coupled with the nonsense cluing. WSJ: 20:16, 6 errors. Just a terrible puzzle overall in about every way I can think of. Haven’t looked at the meta yet. Newsday: 27:31, no errors. Incredibly difficult in that manufactured kind of way. New Yorker: 15:24, 1 error (Natick 40A-34D).

      1. @Steve … (since I happen to be here) … The New Yorker puzzles can be downloaded from here:

        https://www.newyorker.com/crossword/puzzles-dept

        The Friday ones are usually pretty easy, the Monday ones not so easy. Over all, I’d say they’re harder than the Newsday puzzles (except for Newsday’s “Saturday Stumper”, which can be brutal) and a little harder than the WSJ puzzles (on Monday, at least).

        And downloads are subject to a monthly quota …

      2. The “where” was answered pretty well. The New Yorker publishes on Fridays and Mondays. The “yardstick” is the NYT for most cases, so it’ll be hard to describe in terms of Newsday or WSJ so I’ll try.

        The Friday one is pretty akin to a Wed/Thu WSJ or a Thu Newsday or a Tue/Wed NYT.

        The Monday one is a Sat NYT equivalent, so I can’t say there’s a WSJ/Newsday equivalent. The Saturday Stumper is probably the closest analog, but I would rate it much harder than the Mon New Yorker (I rarely finish the Sat Newsday, if at all).

    1. @Glenn … On April 6, you commented about a Rich Norris puzzle book that you found challenging. Do you happen to remember which of his books you were commenting about? I subsequently ordered his “Green Belt”, “Brown Belt”, and “Black Belt” books and they seem to contain reprints of puzzles from the LA Times. Perhaps they’ve been re-clued to make them more, uh, “interesting”? Or maybe you were talking about “Challenging 30-Minute Crosswords”?

      1. @Dave
        That would be this one. While I managed the 26 themed ones pretty readily (they played like Friday puzzles do here), I had trouble with completing the themeless ones (about 25-50% at minimum) to the point I stopped trying. I’m gathering as I’m now having similar troubles with a NYT book I’m going through now that it may be more due to my poor ability to do crosswords than it is anything challenging. But more or less, I’d concur with a lot of the lackluster reviews regarding the puzzles not being very polished and low-effort as I can definitely agree with that, especially on the themeless efforts.

        1. Thanks, Glenn. Looks somewhat interesting, so I ordered a copy.

          Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last five or six hours chopping up and throwing out a bunch of poorly-performing house plants, which will save me some time. (I think I’m having some kind of “fraction-of-life” crisis. It’s too late for a “mid-life” crisis, and I don’t know where I am on the timeline, but suddenly I’m feeling a great need to simplify things. I know … TMI … 😳 … sorry … 😜.)

          1. Hey Dave!! ~~ an interesting topic. I’ll bet that, with people living a bit longer, social scientists will soon come up with names for all kinds of stages after the midlife-crisis years. And I bet they create the names in our lifetimes! 😁

    1. A cow “lows” (another way to say it moos). If a cow were to call in from the pasture it, in the past tense, would have lowed.

  2. LAT: 10:16, no errors. Newsday: 12:45, no errors. WSJ: 18:53, with a really silly one-square error; meta solved and submitted. New Yorker: 11:59, no errors. All in all, a pretty easy Friday. Croce at four …

    @Steve … Cows low (moo) from the field.

  3. Hard one for me today. I struggled to fit answers around “ocho” and
    then realized the answer was “octa”. That helped. No errors at the end
    but had to look up TV names as usual. Not a TV watcher.

  4. I found this not particularly tough for a Friday. Now the WSJ beckons. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

  5. Had to claw my way again today with this one. But actually did better than Thurs. The long answers were tricky and didn’t know Jones or Derek, and for some reason I had Shasta in for Denali for the longest time. Dumb.

  6. 16 mins 36 sec, no errors. This one was pretty challenging, although I’m not convinced it was necessarily “cynically clued.” Didn’t enjoy it much, though. JONES OF BASEBALL was especially vexing, even for someone who knows about that particular Chipper. That’s just dirty pool right there. And MULCH MAKING TOOL is a clumsy way of expressing woodchipper, too. I’d say it was the way this theme was forced and shoe-horned into the grid is its main problem. I wouldn’t say it ever had any chance to be called “clever”.

  7. We got 92% on Thursday’s puzzle, but only 3/4 today. Just too hard. What is
    going on with Bill? His solving times have almost doubled in the past week
    or so. Granted, I think the puzzles have been harder.

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