LA Times Crossword 3 May 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Top of the Morning!

Themed answers are written in the down-direction. Each is a common phrase, but with AM added to the start (TOP):

  • 11D Supposedly Irish greeting … or a hint to four long answers : TOP OF THE MORNING
  • 3A Chronicles of Sodom and Gomorrah? : AMORAL HISTORIES (AM + ORAL HISTORIES)
  • 4A Group of stealthy attackers? : AMBUSH LEAGUE (AM + BUSH LEAGUE)
  • 7A Act like a court jester? : AMUSE AS DIRECTED (AM + USE AS DIRECTED)
  • 23D Flashy jewelry for a stroll in the park? : AMBLING BLING (AM + BLING BLING)

Bill’s time: 8m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Org. monitoring wetlands : EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

14 Like the dawn’s early light : DIM

“O say can you see by the dawn’s early light” is the opening line of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. The song was adopted as the US national anthem in 1931, although it had been used officially by the US Navy since 1889, played when raising the flag.

15 “Old MacDonald” sound : MOO MOO

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

17 Year, in Seville : ANO

The city of Seville (“Sevilla” in Spanish) is the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Seville is a favored setting for many operas including “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Fidelio” by Beethoven and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro”.

18 Caviar fish : BELUGA

Caviar is the roe of a large fish that has been salted and seasoned, and especially the roe of a sturgeon. Beluga caviar comes from the beluga sturgeon, which is found primarily in the Caspian Sea. It is the most expensive type of caviar in the world. 8 ounces of US-farmed beluga caviar can be purchased through Amazon.com for just over $850, in case you’re feeling peckish …

19 Capital of Samoa : APIA

Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely. Apia is also known as the home of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, for the last four years of his life.

20 Debussy’s “La __” : MER

“La Mer” is a lovely group of three symphonic sketches for orchestra by the French composer Claude Debussy. Listen to it, and you can feel yourself at the ocean. “La Mer” is French for “The Sea”.

22 July 4th or December 25th, for many : DAY OFF

On 11 June 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five people to draft a declaration of independence. Included in the five were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams persuaded the other committee members to give Jefferson the task of writing the first draft. A resolution of independence was passed by the Congress on 2 July 1776. The final draft of the declaration was approved by the Congress two days later, on July 4th. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that included an assertion that July 2nd (the date of the resolution of independence) would become a great American holiday. Of course Adams was wrong, and it was actually the date the Declaration of Independence was finalized that came to be celebrated annually.

Several factors contributed to the selection of December 25th as the day of the birth of Jesus. One factor is that it was the date of the winter solstice in the Roman calendar, and tradition had it that Jesus chose to be born on the shortest day of the year. It was also nine months after the vernal equinox (March 25th) in the same calendar, which was a date linked to the conception of Jesus.

24 With 64-Across, “Henry and June” author : ANAIS …
(64A See 24-Across : … NIN)

The 1990 movie “Henry & June” is loosely adapted from the book of the same name by Anaïs Nin. The book is based on diaries written by Nin telling of her part in a love triangle with American author Henry Miller and his wife June. June Miller was played by Uma Thurman in the movie.

29 Gardener’s supply : MULCH

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.

30 Many a southwestern Asian : ARAB

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.

32 Lucy’s TV pal : ETHEL

In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertz’s are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

33 Move using eBay : SELL

There have been some notable things sold on eBay over the years. For example:

  • Ad space on a guy’s forehead, in the form of a temporary tattoo – $37,375
  • William Shatner’s kidney stone – $25,000
  • A cornflake shaped like Illinois – $1,350
  • A single corn flake – $1.63
  • A box of 10 Twinkies – $59.99
  • The original Hollywood sign – $450,400
  • The meaning of life – $3.26

36 ’60s campus org. : SDS

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.

37 Chem. class suffix : -IDE

In chemistry, when a metal combines with a nonmetal, the nonmetal is often given the suffix “-ide”. One example would be iron sulfide, made from iron (a metal) and sulfur (a nonmetal).

39 Small shot : BBS

A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.

41 When “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” is spoken in “Macbeth” : ACT I

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” is a line intoned by the three witches at the beginning of William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”.

46 PC key : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

47 __ gum: thickening agent : GUAR

Guar gum is a powder that is extracted from guar beans. About 80% of the world’s supply of guar gum comes from India. It is used mainly in the food industry, often as a substitute for gluten in gluten-free recipes and products.

48 Tile space-filler : GROUT

Grout is a thin mortar used to fill the joints between ceramic tiles. The name “grout” comes from the Old English word “gruta”, the word for a “coarse porridge” (due to the similarity in appearance of the two). Interestingly, the word “grits” comes from the same root. Grout … grits … makes sense …

49 Friend of Tigger : ROO

Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”, the kangaroo named “Roo” was inspired by a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

Tigger is a character in the “Winnie-the-Pooh” stories by A. A. Milne. He is a tiger with a springy tail and just loves to bounce around. Tigger will tell you himself that “bouncing is what tiggers do best.”

52 “I didn’t really say everything I said” speaker : BERRA

Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

  • It ain’t over till it’s over.
  • 90% of the game is half mental.
  • Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • It’s déjà vu all over again.
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

53 Pupil covering : CORNEA

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is in effect a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

57 “Platoon” setting, briefly : NAM

“Platoon” is a 1986 movie written and directed by Oliver Stone. The storyline comes out of Stone’s own experiences in Vietnam as an infantryman. It is gritty stuff, and is Stone’s response to the more “glamorous” movie “Green Berets” starring John Wayne. And that famous piece of classical music included the soundtrack, that is “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber.

58 Ronny Howard role : OPIE

Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

59 Teahouse mat : TATAMI

A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.

62 Divided trio? : DEES

There is a trio of letters D (dees) in the word “divided”.

Down

1 Sushi bar side dish : EDAMAME

Edamame is a simple dish made of immature soybeans still in the pod. The pods are boiled and then salted before serving, usually as a snack or side dish. The name “edamame” translates as “twig bean”.

2 Pesto morsel : PINE NUT

The Italian term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as pesto sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, pesto from Genoa in northern Italy. I love, love pesto sauce …

3 Chronicles of Sodom and Gomorrah? : AMORAL HISTORIES (AM + ORAL HISTORIES)

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by God for the sins of their inhabitants, according to the Bible. The name Sodom has become a metaphor for vice and homosexuality, and gives us our word “sodomy”.

4 Group of stealthy attackers? : AMBUSH LEAGUE (AM + BUSH LEAGUE)

“Bush league” is baseball slang for “minor league” or “unprofessional”. The idea is that a minor league team might be based in “the sticks” or “the bushes”, in a small town.

6 Tiger’s targets : HOLES

Golfer Tiger Woods’ real name is Eldrick Tont Woods. “Tont” is a traditional Thai name. Tiger’s father Earl Woods met his second wife Kultida Punsawad in 1966 while on a tour of duty with the US Army in Thailand.

8 Seasonal quaff : NOG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One “quaffs” (takes a hearty drink) of a “quaff” (a hearty drink).

11 Supposedly Irish greeting … or a hint to four long answers : TOP OF THE MORNING

Supposedly …

23 Flashy jewelry for a stroll in the park? : AMBLING BLING (AM + BLING BLING)

Bling-bling (often simply “bling”) is the name given to all the shiny stuff sported by rap stars in particular i.e. the jewelry, watches, metallic cell phones, even gold caps on the teeth. The term comes from the supposed “bling” sound caused by light striking a shiny metal surface.

27 Chic modifier : TRES

“Très chic” is a French term meaning “very stylish”.

36 Buck : STAG

A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to as a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and females cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …

39 Checkout facilitator : BARCODE

The initialism “UPC” stands for Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code. The first ever UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

42 Museum manager : CURATOR

The term “curator” is Latin and applies to a manager, guardian or overseer. In English, the original curators were the guardians and overseers of minors and those with mental disease.

The term “museum” comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” that denoted a temple dedicated to the “Muses”. The Muses were the patrons of the arts in Greek mythology.

44 It borders four oceans : EURASIA

Eurasia is the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia. It accounts for 36% of the total landmass on the planet, and is home to 71% of the Earth’s population.

45 Pollen producers : STAMENS

The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. The part of the stamen known as the anther sits on a stalk called the filament that carries the pollen. The pollen is picked up by insects, especially bees, who then transfer pollen from flower to flower. The pistil is the female reproductive organ, and it accepts the pollen.

51 “Ditto!” : SO AM I!

The word “ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is just another wonderful import from that lovely land …

54 Aerie, for one : NEST

An aerie is the nest of an eagle, and is also known as an “eyrie”.

56 Arabian Sea nation : OMAN

The Arabian Sea is an arm of the Indian Ocean that lies off the south coasts of Oman, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran. It is bounded in the west by Somalia, and in the east by India.

60 Darth, when he was young : ANI

Darth Vader is (to me) the most colorful antagonist in the “Star Wars” universe. Born as Anakin Skywalker, he was corrupted by the Emperor Palpatine, and turned to “the Dark Side”. In the original films, Darth Vader was portrayed by English bodybuilder David Prowse, and voiced by actor James Earl Jones. Jones asked that he go uncredited for the first two “Star Wars” films, feeling that his contributions were insufficient to warrant recognition. I disagree …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Org. monitoring wetlands : EPA
4 Reachable : AT HAND
10 Wall support : STUD
14 Like the dawn’s early light : DIM
15 “Old MacDonald” sound : MOO MOO
16 One might be commanding : TONE
17 Year, in Seville : ANO
18 Caviar fish : BELUGA
19 Capital of Samoa : APIA
20 Debussy’s “La __” : MER
21 Purposes : USES
22 July 4th or December 25th, for many : DAY OFF
24 With 64-Across, “Henry and June” author : ANAIS …
26 Request at the bar, with “up” : SET ‘EM …
28 Old-style “Tsk!” : FIE!
29 Gardener’s supply : MULCH
30 Many a southwestern Asian : ARAB
31 The “1” in 15, really : TEN
32 Lucy’s TV pal : ETHEL
33 Move using eBay : SELL
34 Shop sign nos. : HRS
35 Cause to boil : IRE
36 ’60s campus org. : SDS
37 Chem. class suffix : -IDE
39 Small shot : BBS
41 When “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” is spoken in “Macbeth” : ACT I
43 Identifies : NAMES
46 PC key : ALT
47 __ gum: thickening agent : GUAR
48 Tile space-filler : GROUT
49 Friend of Tigger : ROO
50 More than asks : URGES
52 “I didn’t really say everything I said” speaker : BERRA
53 Pupil covering : CORNEA
55 “Sweet!” : COOL!
57 “Platoon” setting, briefly : NAM
58 Ronny Howard role : OPIE
59 Teahouse mat : TATAMI
61 British suffix : -ISE
62 Divided trio? : DEES
63 Type of band : ONE-MAN
64 See 24-Across : … NIN
65 Once, quaintly : ERST
66 Equestrian’s forte : RIDING
67 Empty talk : GAS

Down

1 Sushi bar side dish : EDAMAME
2 Pesto morsel : PINE NUT
3 Chronicles of Sodom and Gomorrah? : AMORAL HISTORIES (AM + ORAL HISTORIES)
4 Group of stealthy attackers? : AMBUSH LEAGUE (AM + BUSH LEAGUE)
5 Ring holders : TOES
6 Tiger’s targets : HOLES
7 Act like a court jester? : AMUSE AS DIRECTED (AM + USE AS DIRECTED)
8 Seasonal quaff : NOG
9 Negotiate successfully : DO A DEAL
10 Obedience school word : STAY
11 Supposedly Irish greeting … or a hint to four long answers : TOP OF THE MORNING
12 One promoting togetherness : UNIFIER
13 Overwhelms with sound : DEAFENS
23 Flashy jewelry for a stroll in the park? : AMBLING BLING (AM + BLING BLING)
25 Writer of sweet words? : ICER
27 Chic modifier : TRES
36 Buck : STAG
38 Take the risk : DARE
39 Checkout facilitator : BARCODE
40 Outtake, often : BLOOPER
42 Museum manager : CURATOR
44 It borders four oceans : EURASIA
45 Pollen producers : STAMENS
51 “Ditto!” : SO AM I!
54 Aerie, for one : NEST
56 Arabian Sea nation : OMAN
60 Darth, when he was young : ANI

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 May 19, Friday”

  1. LAT: 18:38, no errors. WSJ: 26:26, no errors. Newsday: 24:53, no errors. New Yorker: 22:10, no errors. All much more difficult than usual.

  2. Only one Google – for me a great Friday; that was for EDAMAME.
    I’m improving as I’ve taken more chances at filling in words I’m unsure of.
    Did not know GUAR or APIA. Bill’s write up on the later was terrific.
    Love PINENUTs, but if you eat too many you can numb your tast buds.

    @Sallee – I have a whole book of them.
    @Mary – same here.

  3. LAT: 11:55, no errors. Newsday: 15:08, no errors. WSJ: 14:54, no errors. New Yorker: 15:46, no errors. Croce to come, if I survive what’s going on with my head … 😜 … (at least, I hope I’m joking 😳).

    1. And … I just got the WSJ meta (which kind of makes up for last week, when I think I should have gotten the meta, as I was on the right track, but was too distracted to put uno and dos together 😜).

  4. 15:43. I really AM in sync with Mr. Wechsler today. I got the reveal very early which helped all over the place given the theme.

    Dave – I had to Google photodynamic therapy. I don’t know how painful it is or isn’t, but it doesn’t sound like fun.

    Best –

    1. Jeff – I was led to believe the procedure was no big deal, but (as so often seems to be the case for me) I’m out on the wrong end of the spectrum. Murphy! Things are improving, however, and I’m about to check in with my doctor again, so I should stop being a drama queen: in a week or two, this will probably just be an unpleasant memory … and, in any case, I don’t have to be presentable for the Nobel Prize ceremony until next year, so what am I worried about? … 😜

  5. 18 mins 58 seconds and 4 errors, all centered around the cruel 7 Down fill. That, and having ORAN instead of OMAN. This one was a toughie.

  6. 3 errors and 8 omissions for a total of 11 misses and 94.5%. Not bad at all
    for a very hard Friday. Bill’s time reflected the difficulty. Overall, a very
    good week with 90% the low score.

    You guys are nothing but good, so kudos to you all and I really enjoy your
    comments.

  7. This wasn’t a hard Wechsler puzzle today. And I’m glad, as I was able to complete it! Wow. Can’t always do these Friday ones. It’s those long solves that scare me off but I got the “top of the morning” very early but never figured how the “am” thing worked but just kept at it.

  8. Kind of sleepy Friday Wechsler for me; took about 45 minutes with no errors. Had to change EDAMAnE, tut to FIE and ANa to ANI before things looked right. Not that hard, I was just sleepy today. It took me a while to get the theme, but then it all made sense.

    And the Giants win again…at the database?!… Now if the Sharks and Warriors can follow up tomorrow, oh and the Earthquakes…all will be well.

  9. Hello every buddy!!😎

    No errors, about 30 minutes– for once I can report my time, as I did this all in one sitting and happened to look at the clock. Seemed easy for a Friday…got the AM part of the theme early on.

    I’m grappling with more than 400 clothing items here!! Invested in two lots of clothing to sell on Ebay. Basically the items have crowded me out of my own home. My sister in law is here for two days to help me corral the stuff– insanity.

    One lot of clothes was from a woman whose weight fluctuated radically over 20 years, while she still maintained her clothes-horse habits, so I’ve got women’s items size 4 thru 18. !!! Great variety for Ebay.👌

    Be well~~🐔

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