LA Times Crossword 30 May 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Changing Diapers

Themed answers each include an anagram of the word “DIAPERS”:

  • 52A New father’s task, maybe … and what the three other longest puzzle answers have in common? : CHANGING DIAPERS
  • 17A Dreamed of a career in politics : ASPIRED TO OFFICE
  • 26A Took part in a revival : PRAISED THE LORD
  • 42A “We can’t win!” and “It’s useless!” : CRIES OF DESPAIR

Bill’s time: 6m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Blue semiprecious stone : AZURITE

Azurite is a copper mineral that is deep blue in color (i.e. “azure”). That color can fade when the mineral is exposed to heat, and indeed air. The lightening of the color limits the use of azurite as a pigment and in jewelry.

11 Vainglory : EGO

Vainglory is a undue pomp, “vain glory”.

14 “Blue Bloods” actor Selleck : TOM

Tom Selleck’s big break as an actor came with the title role in the 1980s crime show “Magnum, P.I.” Prior to that breakthrough, Selleck had appeared twice on TV’s “The Dating Game” in the 1960s, and also turned up in commercials for products such as Pepsi-Cola. One role that Selleck missed out on was Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Selleck had to pass on that one because of his contract to play Thomas Magnum. Selleck and his family live on a 60-acre avocado ranch in Hidden Valley, California that was once owned by Dean Martin.

“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.

15 Joint Chiefs member : GENERAL

In the US Military, the Joint Chiefs of Staff is comprised of:

  • Chief of Staff of the Army
  • Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • Chief of Naval Operations
  • Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • Chief of the National Guard Bureau

16 Bubbly title : DOM

Dom Pérignon is the name given to the prestige label of champagne from Moët et Chandon, the French winery. The label’s name honors the Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, who helped to improve the quality and production of champagne in the early 18th century. Although Dom Pérignon made major contributions to champagne production, many of the stories in which he figures are just myths. He did not “invent” champagne, nor sparkling wine in general. Nor did he say the famous words, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”. That lovely line first appeared in a print advertisement in the late 1800s!

20 Mythical hunter : DIANA

Diana was the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing. The Greek equivalent of Diana was the goddess Artemis. According to Roman mythology, Diana was the twin sister of Apollo, and the daughter of Jupiter and Latona.

22 Thames academy : ETON

The world-famous Eton College is located just outside London. It lies between the River Thames, and the Jubilee River. The Jubilee is a 7-mile stretch of man-made waterway that was built in the late 1990s to take overflow from the Thames and reduce flooding around the nearby towns.

23 Old Opry network : TNN

The Nashville Network (TNN) was a country music cable channel that operated from 1983 to 2003. When TNN closed down it was relaunched with a completely different format as Spike, which was marketed as “the first television channel for men”.

24 Nice picnic spot? : PARC

In France, one might have a “pique-nique” (picnic) in the “parc” (park).

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

30 Atomic number of nitrogen : SEVEN

The chemical element nitrogen was first isolated and discovered by Scottish physician and chemist Daniel Rutherford in 1772. Rutherford did not identify nitrogen as an element, but isolated it as a gaseous component of air that did not support combustion, and that he called “noxious air”.

31 TV commentator Navarro : ANA

Ana Navarro is a Nicaraguan-born American political strategist and commentator. Navarro is a lifelong Republican who worked for Governor Jeb Bush and for Senator John McCain. However, she was very critical of presidential candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. She was so vehement in her anti-Trump views that she ended up voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the election.

32 Fort Collins sch. : CSU

Colorado State University (CSU) was founded in Fort Collins in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Colorado State Rams, although back in the days of the Colorado Agricultural College, the teams were referred to as the Aggies.

The origins of the Colorado city of Fort Collins go back to Camp Collins, which was erected in the mid-1860s to protect the overland mail route passing through the area. The US Army then founded Fort Collins as a military outpost in 1864. The Collins name comes from army officer Lieutenant William O. Collins, who was in charge of Fort Laramie located 150 miles to the north. It was Collins who authorized the establishment of both Camp Collins and Fort Collins.

35 “Amscray!” : GIT!

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

38 Singer Lopez : TRINI

Trini Lopez is a noted singer and guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He is perhaps best known for his international hit “If I Had a Hammer” from 1963, as well as “Lemon Tree” from 1965. Lopez had a bit of an acting career as well, most famously appearing as one of “The Dirty Dozen” in the 1967 hit movie.

40 Name on a “Little Women” book jacket : LOUISA

“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.

45 “Something to Talk About” singer : RAITT

Bonnie Raitt is a blues singer who is originally from Burbank, California. Raitt has won nine Grammys for her work, but she is perhaps as well known for her political activism as she is for her music. She was no fan of President George W. Bush while he was in office, and she sure did show it.

47 Mining supply : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

48 Subject of the documentary “Blackfish” : ORCA

“Blackfish” is a 2013 documentary film that examines the dangers of keeping orca in captivity. ”Star” of the movie is a killer whale (orca) named Tilikum who was responsible in whole or in part for the deaths of three people. Tilikum was captured in 1983 and has been a “guest” of SeaWorld since 1992. Most recently, Tilikum killed a 40-year old trainer named Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

49 __-g : ZERO

The force of gravity (g-force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is a actually an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, and outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.

50 Terra __ : COTTA

The tem “terra cotta” comes to us from Latin via Italian and means “baked earth”. Terra cotta is a ceramic made from clay which is left unglazed. Maybe the most famous work in terra cotta is the Terracotta Army, the enormous collection of life-size figures that was buried with the Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China around 210 BC. I had the privilege of seeing some of this collection when it toured the US a few years ago, and just the few pieces on display were so very impressive.

52 New father’s task, maybe … and what the three other longest puzzle answers have in common? : CHANGING DIAPERS

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term “diaper” was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, “diaper” was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

56 Candy bowl holder’s rule on Halloween : ONE EACH

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

57 __ generis : SUI

“Sui generis” is a Latin expression meaning “of its own kind”. The term can be used in a number of fields, and in philosophy it refers to an idea which cannot be included in a wider concept, and idea of its own kind.

58 Short albums, for short : EPS

An extended-play (EP) record, CD or download contains more music than a single, but less than an LP.

60 Word before cow, dog or lion : SEA-

Manatees, also known as “sea cows”, are very large marine mammals that can grow to 12 feet in length. The manatee is believed to have evolved from four-legged land mammals and probably shares a common ancestor with the elephant.

“Sea dog” and “old salt” are familiar terms for a sailor, especially one that has lots of experience.

There are three families of seals. The first is the walrus family, the second the eared seals (like sea lions), and thirdly the earless seals (like elephant seals).

Down

2 Physics particle : POSITRON

The positron is the antimatter counterpart of the electron. So, the positron has the same mass as an electron, but a +1 electric charge. The discovery of the positron in 1929 marked the first evidence of antimatter, the corresponding particles of ordinary matter.

3 Spanish stuffed pastry : EMPANADA

An empanada is a dish made by folding pastry around cooked meat and vegetables. To me an empanada looks very similar to a dish I grew up with called a Cornish pasty.

4 Taj Mahal city : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

5 Zombiepocalypse start? : ZEE

The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s. The spelling and pronunciation “zed” is still used in Britain and Ireland.

6 Like a zombie : UNDEAD

A zombie is a corpse that has been brought back to life by some mystical means. Our modern use of the term largely stems from the undead creatures featured in the 1968 horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. Now that film I haven’t seen, and probably never will …

8 Japanese show set in a kitchen : IRON CHEF

“Iron Chef” is a Japanese cooking show that has been broadcast since 1993. The original Japanese show was dubbed for airing in English-speaking countries and became a surprising hit around the world. There are now spin-off shows around the world including “Iron Chef America” and “Iron Chef UK”.

9 New Mexico resort : TAOS

Taos Ski Valley is a resort village in New Mexico, founded in 1955. About twelve families live there, making up thirty or so households and a population of about 60 people. It is said to very much resemble a Swiss village, and even includes an elected village council.

13 Fodder for soothsayers : OMENS

A soothsayer is someone who claims to have the ability to predict the future. The term comes from “sooth”, an archaic word for “truth”. So a soothsayer was supposedly one who told the “truth” (about the future).

18 Navel variety : INNIE

The navel is basically the scar left behind when the umbilical cord is removed from a newborn baby. One interesting use of the umbilicus (navel, belly button) is to differentiate between identical twins, especially when they are very young.

19 Pen denizen : FELON

“Pen” is a slang term for “penitentiary”. Back in the early 1400s, a penitentiary was a place to do “penance”, a place of punishment for offences against the church.

Nowadays we use “denizen” to mean simply a resident, but historically a denizen was an immigrant to whom certain rights had been granted, somewhat like today’s “resident alien”.

24 Soft drink choices : PEPSIS

The Pepsi-Cola formulation was developed by one Caleb Bradham who made the drink at home and sold it as Brad’s Drink. Bradham’s aim was to provide a drink that was pleasant to taste, that would aid digestion and boost energy. Included in the formula were pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts. These two ingredients inspired the brand name we use today: Pepsi-Cola.

25 Last Olds models : ALEROS

The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made made by General Motors under the Oldsmobile brand. It was produced from 1999 to 2004.

26 Dustin Johnson’s org. : PGA

Dustin Johnson is a professional golfer who plays on the PGA circuit. Johnson won the US Open, his first major, in 2016. Johnson’s partner is Paulina Gretzky, the eldest child of NHL star Wayne Gretzky.

35 Garganta of “Femforce” comics, e.g. : GIANTESS

Garganta is a superhero in the AC Comics universe. She can change her size at will, and grows to a height of 50 feet. Garganta is the alter ego of research scientist Dr. Carol Heisler.

“Femforce” is a series of comic book published by AC Comics. As the name suggests, Femforce is a team of female superheroes. The team includes Miss Victory, She Cat, and the Blue Bulleteer.

37 Road gunk : TAR

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.

38 Saturn’s largest moon : TITAN

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. Titan is unusual in many ways, including the fact that it is the only known satellite in the solar system that is has its own atmosphere (our own moon does not, for example). Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system, after Ganymede that orbits Jupiter. Titan is so large that it has a greater volume than Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet.

41 “High five!” : UP TOP!

The celebratory gesture that we call a “high five” is said to have been invented by former baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke when they were both playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the later 1970s.

42 Drive-in server : CARHOP

Carhops are servers who bring food to customers in their cars at drive-in restaurants. The first carhops were seen at the Pig Stand restaurant in Dallas, Texas in 1921. These male employees would “hop” onto the running boards of cars as they entered the restaurant’s parking lot in order to quickly take the customer’s order, hence the name “carhop”.

43 Puerto __: San Juan natives : RICANS

San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico. The city was founded in 1521 by the Spanish, who called it “Ciudad de Puerto Rico” (Rich Port City).

44 “Camptown Races” refrain syllables : DOO-DAH

“Camptown Races” is a comic song written in African-American vernacular dialect. The song was composed by Stephen Foster in 1850, and was originally titled “Gwine to Run All Night”.

De Camptown ladies sing dis song—Doo-dah! doo-dah!
De Camp-town race-track five miles long—Oh! doo-dah day!
I come down dah wid my hat caved in—Doo-dah! doo-dah!
I go back home wid a pocket full of tin—Oh! doo-dah day!

Gwine to run all night!
Gwine to run all day!
I’ll bet my money on de bob-tail nag—
Somebody bet on de bay

45 Valium maker : ROCHE

The generic name for Valium is diazepam. The drug was developed by Dr. Leo Sternbach of Hoffman-La Roche, and approved for use in 1963. This was the second of Dr. Sternbach’s major developments, as he was responsible for the diazepam’s sister drug Librium, that went to market in 1960.

49 “A People’s History of the United States” writer Howard : ZINN

“A People’s History of the United States” is a 1980 bestselling non-fiction book by historian Howard Zinn. Zinn emphasises exploitation and manipulation of the majority in his account of US history. Zinn updated “A People’s History” several times, with the most recent edition covering the period through 2005.

50 “High Hopes” lyricist : CAHN

Sammy Cahn wrote for them all, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Doris Day. Cahn’s most famous song was probably “Three Coins in the Fountain”. He also wrote “All the Way”, made famous by Frank Sinatra.

Sammy Cahn wrote the lyrics for “High Hopes” for the 1959 film “A Hole in the Head”, and the song won an Oscar that year. Frank Sinatra was the star of the movie, and he recorded the most famous version of the song.

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes
He’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie
In the sky hopes

51 China setting : ASIA

The world’s most populous country is the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Republic of China (ROC) is the official name of the sovereign state that we usually call Taiwan.

53 Small Indian state : GOA

Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

54 Puck’s place : ICE

Before wooden and rubber pucks were introduced in the late 1800s, ice hockey was played balls. The first rubber pucks were made by cutting down rubber balls into the shape of discs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Hairy swinger : APE
4 Blue semiprecious stone : AZURITE
11 Vainglory : EGO
14 “Blue Bloods” actor Selleck : TOM
15 Joint Chiefs member : GENERAL
16 Bubbly title : DOM
17 Dreamed of a career in politics : ASPIRED TO OFFICE
20 Mythical hunter : DIANA
21 Considerable stretches : EONS
22 Thames academy : ETON
23 Old Opry network : TNN
24 Nice picnic spot? : PARC
25 Burn soothers : ALOES
26 Took part in a revival : PRAISED THE LORD
29 Hit one out, in baseball parlance : GO DEEP
30 Atomic number of nitrogen : SEVEN
31 TV commentator Navarro : ANA
32 Fort Collins sch. : CSU
34 Cone producer : FIR
35 “Amscray!” : GIT!
38 Singer Lopez : TRINI
40 Name on a “Little Women” book jacket : LOUISA
42 “We can’t win!” and “It’s useless!” : CRIES OF DESPAIR
45 “Something to Talk About” singer : RAITT
46 Low-quality : POOR
47 Mining supply : TNT
48 Subject of the documentary “Blackfish” : ORCA
49 __-g : ZERO
50 Terra __ : COTTA
52 New father’s task, maybe … and what the three other longest puzzle answers have in common? : CHANGING DIAPERS
55 Luv : HON
56 Candy bowl holder’s rule on Halloween : ONE EACH
57 __ generis : SUI
58 Short albums, for short : EPS
59 “Afterwards … ” : AND THEN …
60 Word before cow, dog or lion : SEA-

Down

1 Somewhat : A TAD
2 Physics particle : POSITRON
3 Spanish stuffed pastry : EMPANADA
4 Taj Mahal city : AGRA
5 Zombiepocalypse start? : ZEE
6 Like a zombie : UNDEAD
7 Snappy comebacks : RETORTS
8 Japanese show set in a kitchen : IRON CHEF
9 New Mexico resort : TAOS
10 Pixie : ELF
11 Publishing house hiree : EDITOR
12 Start admitting both men and women : GO COED
13 Fodder for soothsayers : OMENS
18 Navel variety : INNIE
19 Pen denizen : FELON
24 Soft drink choices : PEPSIS
25 Last Olds models : ALEROS
26 Dustin Johnson’s org. : PGA
27 Confidential : SECRET
28 More wicked : EVILER
33 Still wrapped : UNOPENED
35 Garganta of “Femforce” comics, e.g. : GIANTESS
36 “No kidding?” : IS IT TRUE?
37 Road gunk : TAR
38 Saturn’s largest moon : TITAN
39 “It’s not coming to me” : I FORGET
41 “High five!” : UP TOP!
42 Drive-in server : CARHOP
43 Puerto __: San Juan natives : RICANS
44 “Camptown Races” refrain syllables : DOO-DAH
45 Valium maker : ROCHE
49 “A People’s History of the United States” writer Howard : ZINN
50 “High Hopes” lyricist : CAHN
51 China setting : ASIA
53 Small Indian state : GOA
54 Puck’s place : ICE

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 May 19, Thursday”

  1. LAT: 11:08, no errors, and I got the theme 😳 (a streak in progress! 😜). Newsday: 11:48, no errors, got hung up in the lower right for a bit. WSJ: 11:11, no errors, straightforward; liked the clever interpretation of the title embedded in the theme. BEQ: 18:21, no errors; quarreled a bit with his characterization of the puzzle as “medium” until the very end, when I finally sorted out exactly what he did to form the theme answers. Good set of puzzles … 😜.

  2. Re: yesterday – my football-following friends told me that SHOVEL PASS was acceptable for what they generally called a “lateral.”

    Today’s puzzle was surprisingly easy, at least compared to yesterday’s. No Googles; however, didn’t really know: ANA, CSU, EPS, PGA, GOA and never ever heard of UP TOP.

    1. @Jane – Your football friends don’t have it quite right. A lateral goes behind the person throwing it, making it a live ball if for some reason the person trying to catch it doesn’t hang on to it and it hits the ground making it fair game to be recovered by the defensive team.

      On the other hand a shovel pass is going forward toward the line of scrimmage, and if for some reason it gets deflected on to the ground it is a “dead” ball and cannot be recovered by the defensive team for a fumble.

    2. Your football friends are wrong, actually. What’s known as a “shovel pass” is by rule a “forward pass” that is propelled “underhand” rather than the more traditional, classic “spiral” type of pass … but FORWARD. A lateral is a “pass” that is propelled either parallel to the line of scrimmage, or backwards of that line. This difference is very significant because, in the case of a true lateral, if the ball is not caught by the intended offensive player, it becomes a “fumble” that the defense can recover. If a “forward pass” (shoveled or otherwise) hits the ground uncaught, it’s just another incomplete pass, and a play stoppage.

  3. 12:55. Clever to think of all those anagrams of “diaper”. It’s also clever to think of a way to drill holes through your toes without it hurting too much….(just kidding. I’m not a fan of anagrams as I am very bad at them).

    Never knew IRON CHEF was a Japanese show.

    Eddie – PARC is just French for “park”. The “Nice” in the clue is referring to the city in France; it is not an adjective.

    As per SHOVEL PASS yesterday since it hasn’t been beaten to death just yet: A SHOVEL PASS is actually just the QB gently pushing the ball to a (usually) RB or WR crossing in front of him, and it is a legal play. If it were truly thrown underhand as the clue states, it would be considered a forward lateral and would be illegal. So saying it’s “underhand” is false unless you really REALLY stretch your imagination and think that underhand means “sneaky” in that context.

    DJMW –
    From yesterday – crushed ice for cocktails is like money or oxygen – you only really appreciate them when you run out.

    Did I just compare crushed ice for cocktails to the life-supporting qualities of oxygen??

    Too chatty today. I must be avoiding something. I have an appointment at the dentist AND at the Nevada DMV today. What could I possibly want to avoid??

    Best –

    1. @Jeff – When you say “If it were truly thrown underhand as the clue states, it would be considered a forward lateral and would be illegal.” That’s only the case if it is done beyond the line of scrimmage. Behind the line of scrimmage it is perfectly legal to underhand shovel it, or any other way (sidearm or overhand or what have you).

  4. No posting errors and 3 omissions for 98.5% success. I found it much
    easier than yesterday and even improved on the solving time a little.
    Struggled some and had to make a few changes, but finally got what
    was felt to be a very good result for a Thursday.

  5. My, I was reading yesterdays comments. There were a lot of them! Everyone just take a breath and count to 10.

    Todays was a lot easier, although I had Alcott in before Louisa, so that slowed me down a little. Oh, and as usual I couldn’t figure out the theme and didn’t try. I’m with Jeff in that I don’t do well with anagrams either.

  6. 25:10 no errors….I also got the theme…..after a frustrating hour with NYT 0425 this was enjoyable

  7. 10:18 and no errors. I’ll resist the temptation to label this a “crappy puzzle” by virtue of its theme. I’ve certainly seen worse ones, and really, this one wasn’t that bad at all.
    🙂

  8. Fairly easy Thursday for me; took 15 minutes with no errors and only two re-writes: GeT and CoHN. Struggled a bit in the SE corner but propitious guesses and crosses came through.

    Didn’t bother with the theme today…although technically I should be pretty good at anagrams, since I do the Jumble puzzle everyday.

  9. Dirk! Thanks for your help yesterday on that vexing clue! 😯 Cry from a pro= AYE — I don’t like it, but at least now I understand it. I really don’t get how setters are using “pro” and “anti” as nouns in this context! Who said they could?! One can say “cry from a pro voter” or ” cry from a supporter.” Guess I should be used to this trend by now….🤔

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