LA Times Crossword 2 May 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Hoang-Kim Vu
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Nash ‘n Al’s Puzzle

Themed answers are include a nationality, and are homophones of common phrases:

  • 20A San Sebastian beachgoer? : BASQUE IN THE SUN (sounds like “bask in the sun”)
  • 34A Really cranky folks in Prague? : CROSS CZECHS (sounds like “cross-checks”)
  • 43A Majestic Nairobi native? : GRAND KENYAN (sounds like “Grand Canyon”)
  • 59A End of a Helsinki marathon? : THE FINNISH LINE (sounds like “the finish line”)

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ERICA (Erika!)
  • WICCA (Wicka!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Radio letters : AM/FM

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (“amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (“frequency modulation”).

14 Composer Schifrin : LALO

Lalo Schifrin is an Argentine pianist and composer best-known for writing film and television scores. Famously, Schifrin wrote the theme for “Mission: Impossible”, but also for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “Mannix” and “Starsky and Hutch”.

15 Where one might find shade on a 16-Across : LANAI

16 Tropical spot : ISLE

A lanai is a type of veranda, and a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.

19 Bread with vindaloo : NAAN

Vindaloo is a very spicy Indian curry dish, and one of my favorites. The dish’s name comes from the Portuguese dish “Carne de vinha d’alhos”, which translates as “meat with wine and garlic”. Vindaloo originated in the Indian state of Goa, which was once a Portuguese province.

20 San Sebastián beachgoer? : BASQUE IN THE SUN (sounds like “bask in the sun”)

Basque Country is an area that covers north-central Spain and southwestern France, and is home to the Basque people.

San Sebastián is a coastal city on the Bay of Biscay, in Basque Country in the north of Spain. Also known as Donostia, San Sebastián lies just 12 miles from the border with France.

24 Joshua tree habitat : DESERT

“Joshua tree” is the common name for the plant species more correctly called Yucca brevifolia. One of the best places to see Joshua trees is in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The plant was named by Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s. The name was chosen as the shape of the tree reminded the settlers of Joshua reaching his hands to the sky in prayer.

25 CPR specialist : EMT

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

31 “Blue Bloods” network : CBS

“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 has been on the air since 2010.

34 Really cranky folks in Prague? : CROSS CZECHS (sounds like “cross-checks”)

The beautiful city of Prague is today the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague’s prominence in Europe has come and gone over the centuries. For many years, it was the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire.

39 Only state whose entire east and west borders are rivers : IOWA

The state of Iowa is bordered to the east by the Mississippi River, and to the west by the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River. Iowa is the only US state that has borders defined by two parallel rivers.

41 “Mythology” author Hamilton : EDITH

Edith Hamilton was an educator and author who is perhaps best remembered for her writings on ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Prior to becoming an author, Hamilton served as head administrator at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.

42 Word with day or year : LEAP …

Leap day is February 29th in a leap year, which is usually a year that is divisible by 4. My baby brother was born on February 29th, in 1968. A woman in Utah gave birth on February 29th in 2004, on February 29th in 2008, and once more on February 29th, 2012. That’s in the Guinness Book of World Records …

43 Majestic Nairobi native? : GRAND KENYAN (sounds like “Grand Canyon”)

Nairobi is the capital and largest city in the African nation of Kenya. The city is named for the Nairobi River, which in turn takes its name from the Maasai “Enkare Nairobi” meaning “Cool Water”. Nairobi was founded in 1899 as a stop on the Kenya-Uganda railroad, at a time when the country was a British colony.

46 Like many Pinterest projects, for short : DIY

Pinterest is a free website which can be used to save and manage images (called “pins”) and other media. For some reason, the vast majority of Pinterest users are women.

47 Inkling : SENSE

Our word “inkling” apparently comes from the Middle English word “inclen” meaning “to hint”.

48 Young Dickens hero : PIP

Abel Magwitch is an important character in the Charles Dickens novel “Great Expectations”. The protagonist in the tale is Pip, who runs into the escaped convict Magwitch when Pip is about six years old. Pip helps Magwitch, although the convict is eventually recaptured. Years later, Pip discovers that the Magwitch has been his anonymous benefactor, as the old convict had been touched by Pip’s kindness.

50 Birthplace of Marie Curie : WARSAW

Warsaw is the capital of Poland. The city’s name translates into English as “belonging to Warsz”. Legend has it that Warsz was a fisherman who fell in love with a mermaid called Sawa. It’s a nice story, but actually Warsz was a nobleman from the 12th or 13th century who owned a local village.

Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in Physics in 1903, and in Chemistry in 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.

55 PlayStation player : GAMER

Sony introduced the PlayStation line of video game consoles in 1994.

59 End of a Helsinki marathon? : THE FINNISH LINE (sounds like “the finish line”)

Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, and is by far the country’s biggest urban area. In English we tend to stress the “-sink-” in “Helsinki”, whereas the Finns stress the “Hel-”.

62 Wielder of the hammer Mjölnir : THOR

The hammer associated with the Norse god Thor is known as Mjölnir. The name “Mjölnir” translates as “crusher”.

65 See 66-Across : … KANE

66 With 65-Across, Susan Lucci role : ERICA ….

Susan Lucci is perhaps the most famous actor associated with daytime soap operas, and was the highest paid actor in daytime television. Lucci was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series an incredible 21 times for her portrayal of Erica Kane, the vixen in “All My Children”.

68 Was in the red : OWED

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.

Down

1 Cover story? : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

3 Dentist’s advice : FLOSS

Dental floss has been around a long time, with the term “dental floss” being introduced in the early 1800s. Anyone fond of the writings of James Joyce (that wouldn’t be me!) might recall a character using dental floss in his famous novel “Ulysses” that was published between 1918 and 1920.

4 The Hagia Sophia, once : MOSQUE

Hagia Sophia is an incredibly beautiful church that was built as a Christian basilica, was converted to an imperial mosque, and then converted to a museum in Istanbul. It has a massive dome and was the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was finished in 1520.

5 Dresden’s river : ELBE

The River Elbe rises in the Czech Republic and travels over a thousand kilometers before emptying into the North Sea near the port of Hamburg in Germany.

The German city of Dresden was almost completely destroyed during WWII, especially as a result of the famous firebombing of the city in 1945. Restoration work in the inner city in recent decades led to it being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, in 2006 when the city built a highway bridge close to the city center, UNESCO took Dresden off the list. This marked the only time a European location has lost World Heritage status.

6 Still in effect : VALID

Something valid is legally enforceable, or more generally, relevant and meaningful. The term “valid” ultimately comes from the Latin “valere” meaning “to be strong”. The idea is that something valid is strongly supported by the facts.

7 Cockamamie : INANE

“Cockamamy” (sometimes “cockamamie”) is a slang term meaning “ridiculous, incredible”. The term goes back at least to 1946, but may have originated as an informal term used by children in New York City in 1920s.

9 Church donation : TITHE

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

11 First son of Isaac : ESAU

Esau, was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

12 Lust for life : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

13 “Inception” actor Watanabe : KEN

Ken Watanabe is an actor from Japan known mainly for his roles in the films “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “The Last Samurai”. My favorite of Watanabe’s movies though, is “Inception”. Great film …

“Inception” is perhaps my favorite science-fiction movie. Star of the film is Leona thief who steals information by entering the subconscious of his victims. I find that the storyline is very demanding, requiring complete attention to follow everything that’s going on. But, it’s well worth the effort.

21 “Semper Fi” org. : USMC

“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “semper fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

22 Tight end Zach who scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Eagles’ only Super Bowl victory (2018) : ERTZ

Zach Ertz is an NFL player who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, having played college football at Stanford. In 2017, Ertz married Julie Johnston. Johnston played soccer for the US national team that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

29 Indian spiced tea : CHAI

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

30 Best Breakthrough Athlete Award, for one : ESPY

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

33 Ugly duckling, as it turns out : SWAN

Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Ugly Duckling” has to be one of the most endearing ever written. Unlike so many fairy tales, “The Ugly Duckling” isn’t based on any folklore and is simply a product of Andersen’s imagination. It is speculated that Andersen was the illegitimate son of the Crown Prince of Denmark, and that he wrote the story of the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan as a metaphor for the secret royal lineage that was within Andersen himself.

36 Confession in confession : SIN

A member of the Roman Catholic church can participate in the sacrament of confession. A penitent confesses to a priest, starting with the words, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been [time period] since my last confession …”

38 “I say, old __” : CHAP

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

49 Royal home : PALACE

Our word “palace” ultimately comes from the name of Rome’s Palatine Hill, “Mons Palatinus” in Latin. The original “palace” was the house of Augustus Caesar, which stood on the Palatine Hill.

54 Neopagan practice : WICCA

Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a Neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. Typically, followers of Wicca worship one goddess and one god, namely the Moon Goddess and the Horned God. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.

56 Like the key of Beethoven’s Fifth : MINOR

If I had to name which of Beethoven’s symphonies I listen to most often, at the top of the list comes the 7th followed closely by the 9th, and then the 5th a little further down. But that four-note opening of the 5th; that is superb …

58 Some woodwinds : REEDS

Woodwind instruments are a subcategory of wind instruments that were traditionally made of wood, although some are now made from metal. There are two main classes of woodwind: flutes and reed instruments. Flutes produce sound by blowing air across the edge of a hole in a cylindrical tube. Reed instruments produce sounds by blowing into a mouthpiece, which then directs the air over a reed or reeds, causing them to vibrate.

59 Become less aloof : THAW

I suppose one might guess from the feel of the word “aloof” that is has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

61 Grammy-winning country duo Dan + __ : SHAY

“Dan + Shay” is the stage name used by country music duo Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney.

62 Fight-ending letters : TKO

In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Radio letters : AM/FM
5 Oust : EVICT
10 Overly submissive : MEEK
14 Composer Schifrin : LALO
15 Where one might find shade on a 16-Across : LANAI
16 Tropical spot : ISLE
17 Ceremonial promises : I DOS
18 Explosion : BLAST
19 Bread with vindaloo : NAAN
20 San Sebastián beachgoer? : BASQUE IN THE SUN (sounds like “bask in the sun”)
23 Doorbell ringers’ response : IT’S US
24 Joshua tree habitat : DESERT
25 CPR specialist : EMT
27 Copy, in a way : TRACE
31 “Blue Bloods” network : CBS
34 Really cranky folks in Prague? : CROSS CZECHS (sounds like “cross-checks”)
39 Only state whose entire east and west borders are rivers : IOWA
41 “Mythology” author Hamilton : EDITH
42 Word with day or year : LEAP …
43 Majestic Nairobi native? : GRAND KENYAN (sounds like “Grand Canyon”)
46 Like many Pinterest projects, for short : DIY
47 Inkling : SENSE
48 Young Dickens hero : PIP
50 Birthplace of Marie Curie : WARSAW
55 PlayStation player : GAMER
59 End of a Helsinki marathon? : THE FINNISH LINE (sounds like “the finish line”)
62 Wielder of the hammer Mjölnir : THOR
63 Gate fastener : LATCH
64 Chip in chips : ANTE
65 See 66-Across : … KANE
66 With 65-Across, Susan Lucci role : ERICA …
67 Like some dorms : COED
68 Was in the red : OWED
69 Disintegrate : DECAY
70 Blunders : ERRS

Down

1 Cover story? : ALIBI
2 Really upset with : MAD AT
3 Dentist’s advice : FLOSS
4 The Hagia Sophia, once : MOSQUE
5 Dresden’s river : ELBE
6 Still in effect : VALID
7 Cockamamie : INANE
8 Throws out a line : CASTS
9 Church donation : TITHE
10 Faire performer : MINSTREL
11 First son of Isaac : ESAU
12 Lust for life : ELAN
13 “Inception” actor Watanabe : KEN
21 “Semper Fi” org. : USMC
22 Tight end Zach who scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Eagles’ only Super Bowl victory (2018) : ERTZ
26 Tough journey : TREK
28 Cruised through : ACED
29 Indian spiced tea : CHAI
30 Best Breakthrough Athlete Award, for one : ESPY
31 Smokes, briefly : CIGS
32 Drag : BORE
33 Ugly duckling, as it turns out : SWAN
35 Tribute piece : ODE
36 Confession in confession : SIN
37 Hog heaven? : STY
38 “I say, old __” : CHAP
40 Got back to : ANSWERED
44 Unable to hear : DEAF
45 Approaching : NIGH
49 Royal home : PALACE
51 Irritated : RILED
52 It’s a trap! : SNARE
53 Caper : ANTIC
54 Neopagan practice : WICCA
56 Like the key of Beethoven’s Fifth : MINOR
57 Stage direction : ENTER
58 Some woodwinds : REEDS
59 Become less aloof : THAW
60 Give a fine edge to : HONE
61 Grammy-winning country duo Dan + __ : SHAY
62 Fight-ending letters : TKO

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 May 19, Thursday”

    1. I like Nolanski’s comments. The time and no errors. No ifs, ands or buts.

      I was hoping that we had lucked out and scored 100% with some pretty good guesses today. We found it easier and went faster, but had 3 errors. Did not know the football player and that cost the other two wrong letters. Still, very satisfied for a Thursday and really any other day.

  1. 12:44, but I had DECom instead of DECAY, and I was all ready to be chesty and bloviate about how it should be “decompose” and not some stupid abbreviation!! ok – who’s the stupid one now? I’ve seen WICCA more than once in NYT puzzles. Silly errors.

    I guess I was Russian to get this finished, or perhaps I was Hungary for something cooked in Greece….like Turkey. I should construct these themes…although I’ll admit the GRAND KENYAN was pretty clever. Not sure I would have come up with that one.

    Best –

    1. Your sense of humor in creating these “puns with a country” is better than that of the constructors, so take a bow!!!

  2. 8:04 and no errors (due to my sister’s rabid devotion to All My Children all those years ago, I could correctly spell Erica Kane!! 😀 ). So, while I didn’t beat Bill’s time, I still out-did him, as the puzzles say, “in a way”.

    The theme puns were all bearable today.

  3. LAT: 10:08, no error. Droll dumb theme. At least it was intelligible. WSJ: 22:04, 2 errors. Newsday: 13:41, 1 error. Fireball: 37:12, no errors. BEQ: 21:11, no errors. Unintelligible theme and a lot of nonsense out in the grid otherwise.

  4. So … When I first looked at BEQ’s puzzle of 04/25, I spent about a minute and half on it before deciding that there was really only one logical way to fill in the grid. And then I said to myself, “Surely, he wouldn’t do that!” (I really should know better than to address myself as Shirley. 😜) And I went on to say, “There’s got to be some logical way to infer actual clues from the ones he presents and fill in what looks like a perfectly normal grid!” And I’ve spent a total of fifteen or twenty minutes, spread out over several days, looking for that “logical way”, only to finally conclude that it doesn’t exist: my original reaction was the correct one. And, for once, I’m more than a bit peeved with a setter!

    (My mood is not improved by the fact that the “photodynamic therapy” I was subjected to on Monday seems to have resulted in an extreme reaction, accompanied by much pain, so I have to go back to the doctor and see what can be done to stop what’s going on. Grrrr … 😳)

  5. Easy Thursday; no Googles. And kind of humorous. Or is that humerus.
    Actually didn’t know SHAR, ERTZ or KEN, but they fell into place.
    Planted a Bleeding Heart (or Bleating Hart) today. Hope it really is a perrenial.

  6. Fairly easy Thursday done at a leisurely pace while selling my honey today. Had a little struggle with ERTZ, but that’s what it had to be. Also, had to change Near to NIGH. The one Dicken’s novel I wasn’t familiar with introduced PIP to me.

    Boy, back to back great honey sales – a sell out two weeks ago and near sell out today…awesome. @Carrie – including 4 Dodger fans, of which two were rather attractive young ladies. And, it looks like it’s no longer AT&T park, but now Oracle Park…it’s so hard to keep up.

  7. Hi all! 😎

    Is it fair of me to comment when I haven’t done the puzzle? Simply didn’t have time!!– but the theme looked cute, and good job on the additional PUNishment, Jeff!

    Dirk re. Oracle Park — I know! It’s weird. We now also are using Injured List instead of Disabled list…I think that’s new just this year, but I still say DL. Of course, I still am not used to the Brewers being in the National League!!! Anyhoo– you’ve got to come to Dodger Stadium and meet more lovely fans! You never know who’ll be next to you in the Dodger Dog line!! 😊⚾️

    Be well~~🐔

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