LA Times Crossword 2 Jul 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Emily Ludolph & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Invisible Impediments

Themed clues are different kinds of INVISIBLE IMPEDIMENTS:

  • 18A Invisible impediment in the workplace : GLASS CEILING
  • 58A Invisible impediment in the sky : SOUND BARRIER
  • 12D Invisible impediment in the theater : FOURTH WALL
  • 29D Invisible impediment in science fiction : FORCE FIELD

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Former NFL running back Jennings who won “Dancing With the Stars” in 2017 : RASHAD

Rashad Jennings is a retired football running back who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raider and New York Giants. After a distinguished career on the field, Jennings showed off his talents in the ballroom when he won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017 while partnered with professional dancer Emma Slater.

7 Cuban dance : RUMBA

The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

12 Govt. Rx watchdog : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

16 Thorny plant : BRIAR

“Briar” is a generic name describing several plants that have thorns or prickles, including the rose. Famously, Br’er Rabbit lives in a briar patch.

18 Invisible impediment in the workplace : GLASS CEILING

We use the term “glass ceiling” as a metaphor for an unseen barrier preventing advancement of a particular group within society. The phrase was coined in the late 1970s to describe the practice of denying promotion to qualified women in the workplace.

20 The Pac-12’s Trojans : USC

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school in Los Angeles. Apart from its excellent academic record, USC is known the success of its athletic program. USC Trojans have won more Olympic medals than the students of any other university in the world. The USC marching band is very famous as well, and is known as the “Spirit of Troy”. The band has performed with many celebrities, and is the only college band to have two platinum records.

“Pac-12” is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

21 Solar phenomena : SUNSPOTS

Sunspots are temporary dark spots seen on our sun, the sites of intense magnetic activity accompanying a drop in surface temperature (hence the darkening in color).

27 Badly mistaken : OFF BASE

To be off base is to be mistaken. The phrase “off base” arose in the 1930s, and is a reference to a runner in baseball being out of position and in danger of being picked off while “off base”.

31 Average schlub : JOE SCHMO

“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, and comes from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

35 Not worth debating : MOOT

To moot is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able get that right, which drives me crazy …

36 Is in the red : OWES

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”.

37 Civil suit cause : TORT

“Tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

38 Predators in pool halls : SHARKS

A pool shark is a player who hustles others in a pool hall with the goal of making money unfairly in competition. The term “pool shark” used to be “pool sharp”.

40 Designer Jacobs : MARC

Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer from New York City with his own line of clothing. He is also the creative director for the French design house, Louis Vuitton.

43 Hägar’s wife : HELGA

“Hägar the Horrible” is a comic strip that was created by the late Dik Browne and is now drawn by his son, Chris Browne. “Hägar the Terrible” (not “Horrible”) was the nickname given to Dik by his sons. The strip’s title character is a red-bearded Viking living on the Norwegian coast during the Middle Ages. Hägar lives with his overbearing wife Helga, his sensitive son Hamlet, his pretty daughter Honi, and his clever dog Snert.

44 Paul Newman caper film : THE STING

“The Sting” is a marvelous 1973 film about two grifters pulling off a con on a mob boss. The con artists are played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and their target is played by Robert Shaw. The film is memorable for many reasons, one being the soundtrack featuring several Scott Joplin ragtime compositions. The movie also reunited director George Roy Hill with actors Newman and Redford. The trio had last worked together on the 1969 hit “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

46 Comedian Elayne : BOOSLER

Elayne Boosler is a stand-up comedian and was one of the first female comedians to have her act aired as a special on cable television. She does have some funny lines, and here’s one that I particularly like:

When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country.

48 Full of moxie : FEISTY

Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …

50 “Reservoir Dogs” co-star Harvey : KEITEL

Harvey Keitel is an actor from New York City who grew up in Brighton Beach. He is best known for playing “tough guy” roles, as he did in “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Taxi Driver”. Keitel was in a 12-year relationship with fellow actor Lorraine Bracco (who played psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on “The Sopranos”).

“Reservoir Dogs” was the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino and was released in 1992. I really don’t like Tarantino movies as I just cannot take all the violence. I checked the cast listing for “Reservoir Dogs” and it is a “men only” production. There are no named characters in the film played by women. All I can see is Linda Kaye who played “Shocked Woman”, and Suzanne Celeste who played “Shot Woman” …

57 Blackjack eleven : ACE

In the card game called Blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

58 Invisible impediment in the sky : SOUND BARRIER

When an aircraft or other object approaches the speed of sound, it experiences a dramatic increase in drag and other undesirable aerodynamic effects. Pilots of high-speed fighter aircraft during WWII became acutely aware of this phenomenon and coined the term “sound barrier” to describe the apparent inability of flying controllably beyond the speed of sound. In 1947, American pilot Chuck Yeager was the first to demonstrate that a purposely-designed aircraft could indeed fly through the sound barrier.

61 Twitter guffaw : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

63 Bit of ramen : NOODLE

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is a also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

66 “Communist Manifesto” co-author with Marx : ENGELS

Friedrich Engels was a German political theorist who worked closely with Karl Marx to develop what became known as Marxist Theory. Along with Marx, he also co-authored the “Communist Manifesto” in 1848, and later he supported Marx as he worked to publish “Das Kapital”.

The “Communist Manifesto” written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels contains the phrase “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” (“Proletarier aller Länder vereinigt Euch!” in German). This evolved into the English saying “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!” The words “Workers of all lands, unite“ are written on Karl Marx’s headstone in Highgate Cemetery in London.

Down

1 Garb for many a Dickens waif : RAGS

Charles Dickens was an English novelist who achieved great success in his own time, and is still regarded as perhaps the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. Many of his novels explored the plight of the poor in Victorian society, perhaps driven by his own experiences as a child. Dickens had to leave school to work in a factory after his father was thrown into a debtor’s prison. As a result, Dickens had to educate himself. He is said to have pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, with his first success coming with the 1835 serial publication of “Pickwick Papers”. And, everyone’s favorite has to be his 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol”.

2 Rights-defending org. : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

4 Gas brand with toy trucks : HESS

The Hess Corporation is an oil company based in New York City. In 1964, the company started selling toy trucks with the Hess logo on them, in Hess gas stations. The company has been selling them every since, bringing out new models just before Christmas. Hess toy trucks have become quite collectible and the old ones can fetch a pretty penny.

5 Marketing jargon : ADSPEAK

“Jargon” can mean nonsensical and meaningless talk, or the specialized language of a particular group, trade or profession. The term is Old French, with the more usual meaning of “a chattering”. How apt …

7 Grand slam quartet, in baseball shorthand : RBIS

Run batted in (RBI)

In baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with runners on all three bases, leading to a score of four runs.

8 Internet address letters : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

10 Regal meals : BANQUETS

A banquet is an elaborate feast. “Banquet” is a term that seems to have reversed in meaning over time. Coming into English via French from Old Italian, “banquet” is derived from “banco” meaning “bench”. The original “banco” meal was simply a snack eaten on a bench, rather than at a table. I guess we eat more these days …

12 Invisible impediment in the theater : FOURTH WALL

In the theater world, the fourth wall is an imaginary plane at the front of the stage through which the audience experiences the action. When a character acknowledges the existence of the audience, perhaps by addressing them, he or she is said to have broken the fourth wall.

25 Scandinavian cruise sight : FJORD

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, with both formed as sea level rises. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

Strictly speaking, Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe that covers the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The broader region that includes Finland and Iceland is referred to locally as the Nordic countries.

33 Basketball Hall of Famer Robertson : OSCAR

Oscar Robertson is a former professional basketball player who had the nickname “the Big O”. Robertson was named Player of the Century by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2000.

35 Like some stray mutts : MANGY

Mange is a skin disorder in animals caused by parasitic mites that embed themselves in the skin, perhaps living in hair follicles. The same disorder in humans is called scabies.

38 Slalom setting : SKI SLOPE

“Slalom” is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word “slalam” that translates as “skiing race”. There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom

47 Number on a pump : OCTANE

The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”

51 Micro or macro subj. : ECON

Macroeconomics is the study of economies as a whole, rather than individual markets. Microeconomics is focused on the actions of individual entities like companies or individuals, and how these actions impact specific markets.

55 Phone in a pocket : CELL

What we mostly know as a “cell phone” here in North America is more usually referred to as a “mobile phone” in Britain and Ireland. My favorite term for the device is used in Germany, where it is called a “Handy”.

56 “__ chic!” : TRES

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

59 Sporty truck, briefly : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

60 Nancy Drew’s beau : NED

I loved the “Nancy Drew” mysteries as a kid (I know, as a boy I “shouldn’t” have been reading girls’ books!). The “Nancy Drew stories” were written by a number of ghost writers, although the character was introduced by Edward Stratemeyer in 1930. Nancy Drew’s boyfriend was Ned Nickerson, a college student from Emerson.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Former NFL running back Jennings who won “Dancing With the Stars” in 2017 : RASHAD
7 Cuban dance : RUMBA
12 Govt. Rx watchdog : FDA
15 Give in (to) : ACCEDE
16 Thorny plant : BRIAR
17 Belonging to us : OUR
18 Invisible impediment in the workplace : GLASS CEILING
20 The Pac-12’s Trojans : USC
21 Solar phenomena : SUNSPOTS
22 Kooky traits : QUIRKS
24 Flub it : ERR
25 Able to speak easily, as a language : FLUENT
27 Badly mistaken : OFF BASE
31 Average schlub : JOE SCHMO
34 53-Down noise : CROAK
35 Not worth debating : MOOT
36 Is in the red : OWES
37 Civil suit cause : TORT
38 Predators in pool halls : SHARKS
40 Designer Jacobs : MARC
41 Set in stone, say : ETCH
42 Benevolent : KIND
43 Hägar’s wife : HELGA
44 Paul Newman caper film : THE STING
46 Comedian Elayne : BOOSLER
48 Full of moxie : FEISTY
49 Theater segment : ACT
50 “Reservoir Dogs” co-star Harvey : KEITEL
52 Find at a dig : ARTIFACT
57 Blackjack eleven : ACE
58 Invisible impediment in the sky : SOUND BARRIER
61 Twitter guffaw : LOL
62 Chose (to) : OPTED
63 Bit of ramen : NOODLE
64 Football lineman : END
65 Prerequisites : NEEDS
66 “Communist Manifesto” co-author with Marx : ENGELS

Down

1 Garb for many a Dickens waif : RAGS
2 Rights-defending org. : ACLU
3 Read quickly : SCAN
4 Gas brand with toy trucks : HESS
5 Marketing jargon : ADSPEAK
6 Interior designs : DECORS
7 Grand slam quartet, in baseball shorthand : RBIS
8 Internet address letters : URL
9 1002, in old Rome : MII
10 Regal meals : BANQUETS
11 Participates in a debate : ARGUES
12 Invisible impediment in the theater : FOURTH WALL
13 Nightfall : DUSK
14 Curved sections : ARCS
19 French “to be” : ETRE
23 Workers’ earnings : INCOMES
25 Scandinavian cruise sight : FJORD
26 “Please understand … ” : LOOK …
27 Eight-member ensemble : OCTET
28 Suds : FROTH
29 Invisible impediment in science fiction : FORCE FIELD
30 Packaged buy including shower curtain, towels, etc. : BATH SET
32 Join the flow of traffic : MERGE
33 Basketball Hall of Famer Robertson : OSCAR
35 Like some stray mutts : MANGY
38 Slalom setting : SKI SLOPE
39 Clue : HINT
43 Producer of curls : HOT IRON
45 Attaches with rope : TIES ON
46 Cutting remark : BARB
47 Number on a pump : OCTANE
50 Curly leafy green : KALE
51 Micro or macro subj. : ECON
52 Tacks on : ADDS
53 Pond critter : FROG
54 Staff helper : AIDE
55 Phone in a pocket : CELL
56 “__ chic!” : TRES
59 Sporty truck, briefly : UTE
60 Nancy Drew’s beau : NED

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 Jul 19, Tuesday”

  1. LAT: 6:39, no errors. WSJ: 6:02, no errors. Newsday: 6:14, no errors. Yesterday’s New Yorker: 34:37, 1 error (57A-23D, guessing). Yesterday’s BEQ: 29:56, no errors. Good stiff efforts on both of those.

    1. You are Mister Consistent, “Mr. No” – didn’t use James Bond’s
      “Dr. No”.

      We found today’s puzzle harder than yesterday’s, but got it in
      about an hour. Left it and came back to clean up the mess.

  2. LAT: 8:32, no errors. Newsday: 5:21, no errors. WSJ: 9:05, no errors. Jones: 10:23, no errors; had trouble getting it in my usual way (by editing a template URL), but it finally occurred to me that I could get it from “Crossword Fiend” (after which it mysteriously appeared in the expected place … weird 😳). Croce later (provided he doesn’t come up with another of his odd non-crossword puzzles 😜).

    Also completed a set of Miyamoto kenkens yesterday and they were actually “all-new” … no repeats! Maybe those folks are shaping up again! 😜

    1. Croce: 4:27:35 (total wall-clock time, includes a long nap and twenty minutes spent on another puzzle), with a one-square error at the intersection of a Greek “Titaness” I seem never to have heard of before and a slang football term that made immediate sense to me once I saw the correct answer, but not in time to save the solve. (Still, that’s only my third incorrect square on a Croce puzzle this year and, as usual, I spent a lot of time being afraid that I might have to abandon the puzzle completely, so I can’t complain too much … 😜.)

  3. 8:57. Never heard of the term FOURTH WALL before. It’s easy to get a sense of what it is. Now I have a name for it.

    Best –

  4. No errors, but didn’t know: OSCAR, RASHAD, MARC, or FOURTH WALL.
    Had SHARpS before SHARKS.

    Elayne BOOSLER dated the late Andy Kauffman.

  5. Easy enough for a Tues. puzzle. Think I needed that after trying to understand the Sunday NYT’s one. Why do I bother! Never get far on that one. Oh well, it’s just entertainment.

  6. Hello gang!!!🦆

    No errors. Cool theme! What a thing to come up with: invisible impediments. Didn’t know BOOSLER or RASHAD but they were easy to get via crosses. 👌

    Did anyone else notice how MANY “S”s appeared in this? A lot of plurals. 19 S’s!! That’s a lot.

    One of my fave sitcoms, “Community,” is notorious for breaking the 4th wall, and I love it. Characters say things like “That’s so last season!” and “We just did that two episodes ago!” 😁

    Jeff! Completely forgot to check out the link you shared yesterday– sounded interesting! Will click now.

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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