LA Times Crossword 20 May 19, Monday

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Constructed by: Robert E. Lee Morris
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Obie

Themed answers are common two-word phrases starting with the letters OB:

  • 56D Theater award … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : OBIE … and OB
  • 17A *Bread with a schmear : ONION BAGEL
  • 61A *Annual Florida football game : ORANGE BOWL
  • 11D *Coastal North Carolina resort area : OUTER BANKS
  • 24D *Source of free drinks : OPEN BAR
  • 29D *Séance prop : OUIJA BOARD

Bill’s time: 5m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Second-year student : SOPH

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

14 Ex-Yankee manager Joe : TORRE

As a manager, Joe Torre was part of four World Series wins, all of them with the New York Yankees baseball team. Torre is an Italian American who was born in Brooklyn, New York. During the run up (pun intended!) to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torre carried the Olympic flame part of the way through Florence in Italy, handing it over to the next runner at the famous Ponte Vecchio. I’d guess that was quite a thrill for him …

15 Goldberg who drew complex “machines” : RUBE

Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, engineer and inventor who became famous for designing overly-complicated gadgets to perform the simplest of tasks. Goldberg produced a famous series of cartoons depicting such designs. Such was the success of his work, the Merriam-Webster dictionary accepted the phrase “Rube Goldberg” as an adjective in 1931, an adjective meaning “accomplishing something simple through complicated means”.

17 *Bread with a schmear : ONION BAGEL

The bagel was invented in the Polish city of Kraków in the 16th century. Bagels were brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Poland who mainly established homes in and around New York City.

The word “schmear” comes from the Yiddish word “shmir” meaning “spread”. The phrase “the whole schmear” is a relatively recent one, dating back to around 1969 and coming from the world of business.

19 __ Ant: tiny toon superhero : ATOM

Atom Ant is a cartoon character introduced by Hanna-Barbera in 1965. He is a tiny superhero who fights villains such as Ferocious Flea and a mad scientist named Professor Von Gimmick.

21 “Honor Thy Father” author Gay : TALESE

Gay Talese is an American author, one famous as a journalist in the sixties at “The New York Times”. His 1971 book “Honor Thy Father” is a tale about the Bonanno crime family.

27 “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” singer Jim : CROCE

Jim Croce’s most successful songs were “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle”. Like so many great singers it seems, Croce died in a plane crash. He was killed along with five others just after takeoff when the small commercial plane in which he was traveling hit a tree, possibly because the pilot had a heart attack. Croce died just a few days before the release of his album “I Got a Name”.

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is a song written and first performed by Jim Croce. It was a number-one hit for him in 1973. The song was inspired by a real-life Leroy Brown, who was someone that Croce met while serving in the US Army.

31 Can opener : POP TAB

The oldest method of opening a can with a device included in the can’s design is the pull-tab or ring pull, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to fewer injuries and eliminated all those used pull-tabs that littered the streets.

33 Chief Greek god : ZEUS

Accounting to mythology, Zeus was born in a cave at Mount Ida, the highest peak on the island of Crete.

34 Mono successor : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

36 __ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

41 Escape key function : UNDO

The escape key (Esc) was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

42 Friend of TV’s Sheldon and Leonard : 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.

45 “Lawrence of __” : ARABIA

“Lawrence of Arabia” is a 1962 movie that recounts the real life story of T. E. Lawrence, a British army officer famous for his role in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. The title role in the film is played by Irish actor Peter O’Toole. The role of Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish is played by Omar Sharif.

47 “Beau __” : GESTE

“Beau geste” (plural “beaux gestes”) is a French term meaning “noble deed”, or literally “beautiful gesture”.

48 Scheming group : CABAL

A cabal is a small group of plotters acting in secret, perhaps scheming against a government or an individual.

53 Roberto or Sandy of baseball : ALOMAR

Roberto Alomar is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, considered by many to be the greatest ever second baseman. Alomar won 10 Gold Glove awards in his career, which is more than any other second baseman in history. Roberto is the son of MLB second baseman Sandy Alomar Sr., and the younger brother of MLB catcher and base coach Sandy Alomar Jr.

60 Line through the middle of a circle: Abbr. : DIAM

Diameter (diam.)

61 *Annual Florida football game : ORANGE BOWL

The Orange Bowl is an annual college football game played in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Rose Bowl is the oldest of the bowl games (inaugurated in 1902), but the Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl come in second. The first Orange Bowl was played on New Year’s Day 1935.

64 To be, to Balzac : ETRE

Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright from the 19th century. Balzac wrote a huge collection of related novels called “La Comédie humaine” (The Human Comedy). The work includes 91 stories, novels and essays, written from 1815 to 1848. Balzac also left 46 unfinished works as part of the collection.

65 Mexican’s zilch : NADA

“Nada” is the Spanish word for “nothing”.

We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.

67 Lincoln in-law : TODD

Mary Todd moved in the best of the social circles in Springfield, Illinois and there met the successful lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. The path to their marriage wasn’t exactly smooth, as the engagement was broken once but reinstated, with the couple eventually marrying in 1842.

Down

1 Classic Pontiac muscle cars : GTOS

The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later founded the DeLorean Motor Company.

3 “Divergent” films heroine : TRIS

Beatrice “Tris” Prior is the protagonist in the “Divergent” series of movies, and is played by actress Shailene Woodley.

The “Divergent” series of movies is based on the “Divergent” novels written by Veronica Roth. The movies and novels are set in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago called the Divergent Universe. The story is about a citizenry that is divided into five different factions based on personality traits. The critics weren’t crazy about the first movie in the series, but I really enjoyed it …

4 Greek god of love : EROS

The name of “Eros”, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both Amor (meaning “love”) and Cupid (meaning “desire”).

5 Actress Richards : DENISE

Denise Richards is an actress from Downers Grove, Illinois. Richards was a Bond girl opposite Pierce Brosnan in “The World Is Not Enough”. Famously, Richards was married to actor Charlie Sheen, a fact that was very much on display in her reality TV show “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated”.

6 Clog-busting brand : DRANO

To clean out drains we might buy Crystal Drano, which is sodium hydroxide (lye) mixed with sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The contents of Drano work in concert to clear the clog. The lye reacts with any fats creating soap which may be enough to break up the clog. Also, the finely-divided aluminum reacts with the lye generating hydrogen gas that churns the mixture. Any hair or fibers are cut by the sharp edges of the nitrate and chloride crystals. Having said all that, I find that boiling water poured down the drain quite often does the job …

8 Prez on a fiver : ABE

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

9 Pants holder-upper : BELT

The term “pants”, meaning “trousers”, is an abbreviated form of “pantaloons” and first appeared in the 1840s. Pantaloons were a kind of tights named for a silly old male character in Italian comedy named “Pantaloun” who always wore tight trousers over skinny legs.

10 Justice replaced by Gorsuch : SCALIA

Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and was the longest-serving member of the court on the occasion of his passing in 2016. Justice Scalia’s minority opinions were known for the scathing language that he used to criticize the Court’s majority.

Neil Gorsuch was nominated to the Supreme court by the Trump administration, and assumed office in 2017. Gorsuch took the seat on the court that was left vacant with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Gorsuch is the first Supreme Court justice to serve alongside another justice for whom he once clerked, doing so for Anthony Kennedy from 1993 to 1994.

11 *Coastal North Carolina resort area : OUTER BANKS

The Outer Banks are a 200-mile long chain of barrier islands lying just off the coast of North Carolina (and a small section of Virginia). The seas of the Outer Banks have a reputation as being very treacherous and so are nicknamed the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

13 Macho guys : HE-MEN

A macho man is one showing pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

18 Jazz genre : BOP

“Bop” is a shortened form of “bebop”, a jazz style that dates back to the early 1940s.

25 Valley __, Pa. : FORGE

The village of Valley Forge is in Pennsylvania, and about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Famously, the village hosted George Washington’s Continental Army during the 1777-1778 winter.

27 Business magnate : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

28 Country star McEntire : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.

29 *Séance prop : OUIJA BOARD

The Ouija board was introduced to America as a harmless parlor game at the end of the 19th century, although variations of the board date back to 1100 BC in China, where it was apparently used to “contact” the spirit world. The name “Ouija” is relatively recent, and is probably just a combination of the French and German words for “yes” … “oui” and “ja”.

“Séance” is a French word meaning “sitting”. We use the term in English for a sitting in which a spiritualist tries to communicate with the spirits of the dead.

30 Ill. winter hours : CST

Central Standard Time (CST)

38 Dogie catcher : ROPE

“Dogie” is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

43 Simba’s mate : NALA

In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba. By the end of the story, Nala and Simba become wedded. “The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, with Simba representing the title character, and Nala representing Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia.

49 Samuel of the Supreme Court : ALITO

Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.

51 Desi of “I Love Lucy” : ARNAZ

Desi Arnaz has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One was placed to mark his contribution motion pictures, and the other for his work in television.

52 Bit of computer RAM : MEG

Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer storage.

54 Gossip columnist Barrett : RONA

Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out as with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.

56 Theater award … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : OBIE … and OB

The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. The Obies have been presented annually since 1956. The recipients used to be chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper, but now are jointly administered with the American Theatre Wing.

59 Cockney greeting : ‘ELLO

A Cockney is someone who, according to tradition, is born within the sound of Bow Bells in the center of London. The Cockney accent is usually considered “working class”. Cockney speakers often use a wonderful form of speech called rhyming slang. So, Cockney’s drink a lot of “Rosie Lea” (tea), and climb the “apples and pears” (stairs) using their “plates of meat” (feet). Cockneys also tend to “drop their aitches”, so “home” becomes “‘ome” and “horse” becomes “‘orse”.

62 Stool pigeon : RAT

Stoolies, also called “canaries”, will sing to the cops given the right incentive. “Stoolie” is short for “stool pigeon”. A stool pigeon was a decoy bird tied to a stool so as to lure other pigeons. Originally a stoolie was a decoy for the police, rather than an informer, hence the name.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Like some private communities : GATED
6 Really dull : DRAB
10 Second-year student : SOPH
14 Ex-Yankee manager Joe : TORRE
15 Goldberg who drew complex “machines” : RUBE
16 Make healthy : CURE
17 *Bread with a schmear : ONION BAGEL
19 __ Ant: tiny toon superhero : ATOM
20 Therapy visit : SESSION
21 “Honor Thy Father” author Gay : TALESE
23 Parody : SPOOF
26 Fire engine signal : SIREN
27 “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” singer Jim : CROCE
31 Can opener : POP TAB
33 Chief Greek god : ZEUS
34 Mono successor : STEREO
36 __ Lingus : AER
39 Somewhat : A BIT
40 Hint of color : TINGE
41 Escape key function : UNDO
42 Friend of TV’s Sheldon and Leonard : RAJ
43 “For my next __ … “: singer’s intro : NUMBER
44 Pass over : SKIP
45 “Lawrence of __” : ARABIA
47 “Beau __” : GESTE
48 Scheming group : CABAL
50 Serious play : DRAMA
53 Roberto or Sandy of baseball : ALOMAR
55 Deep regret : REMORSE
60 Line through the middle of a circle: Abbr. : DIAM
61 *Annual Florida football game : ORANGE BOWL
64 To be, to Balzac : ETRE
65 Mexican’s zilch : NADA
66 Primary foe : RIVAL
67 Lincoln in-law : TODD
68 From __: all-inclusive : A TO Z
69 Take care of : SEE TO

Down

1 Classic Pontiac muscle cars : GTOS
2 Top-notch : A-ONE
3 “Divergent” films heroine : TRIS
4 Greek god of love : EROS
5 Actress Richards : DENISE
6 Clog-busting brand : DRANO
7 “Area” floor covering : RUG
8 Prez on a fiver : ABE
9 Pants holder-upper : BELT
10 Justice replaced by Gorsuch : SCALIA
11 *Coastal North Carolina resort area : OUTER BANKS
12 It’s not poetry : PROSE
13 Macho guys : HE-MEN
18 Jazz genre : BOP
22 Regarding : AS TO
24 *Source of free drinks : OPEN BAR
25 Valley __, Pa. : FORGE
27 Business magnate : CZAR
28 Country star McEntire : REBA
29 *Séance prop : OUIJA BOARD
30 Ill. winter hours : CST
32 Equal : PEER
34 Ticket remnant : STUB
35 Shy : TIMID
37 Polish a manuscript : EDIT
38 Dogie catcher : ROPE
41 Take advantage of : USE
43 Simba’s mate : NALA
46 Smashed into : RAMMED
47 Online players : GAMERS
48 Military academy student : CADET
49 Samuel of the Supreme Court : ALITO
51 Desi of “I Love Lucy” : ARNAZ
52 Bit of computer RAM : MEG
54 Gossip columnist Barrett : RONA
56 Theater award … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : OBIE … and OB
57 Roam : ROVE
58 Smack, as a fly : SWAT
59 Cockney greeting : ‘ELLO
62 Stool pigeon : RAT
63 Big fuss : ADO

10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 May 19, Monday”

  1. LAT: 4:22, no errors. WSJ: 9:25, no errors. Much harder than normal. Newsday: 5:55, no errors. CHE: 6:56, no errors. BEQ and New Yorker will have to wait.

  2. LAT: 6:42, no errors. Newsday: 5:35, no errors. WSJ: 9:03, no errors; got Friday’s meta, but haven’t heard yet about my mug 😜. CHE: 11:01, no errors; paused over 15A for a while. BEQ: 22:14, no errors. New Yorker: 22:19, no errors. The BEQ and the New Yorker had some odd clues and references to things I’m not familiar with, but nothing I couldn’t make an educated guess at.

    And now I have housework to do … ugh … 😳.

  3. Hello gang!😎

    TGIM indeed! No errors. This one kinda filled itself in, except for one or two sticking points.

    Does anyone else pronounce OUIJA as “Wee-Gee?” I’ve said it that way since childhood and I wonder why.🤔

    Be well🚋⚾️

    1. @Carrie … “WEE-GEE” is the way I pronounced “OUIJA” as a kid, because everyone I knew pronounced it that way … and I never heard anything different (though, at some point, when I got older, I noticed the “OUI”/“JA” connection). There are various YouTube videos that give the pronunciation “WEE-JAH” (as opposed to “WEE-YAH”, which one might expect). Here’s one:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G8fnlotbLwk

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