LA Times Crossword 21 Jul 19, Sunday

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Constructed by: Alex Vratsanos
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: Touchdown

Themed clues are planets in the Solar System. Each themed answer is a MOON orbiting the planet named in that clue:

  • 111A Arrive as astronauts did 7/20/69 … and what’s literally seen in seven pairs of puzzle answers : LAND ON THE MOON
  • 29A EARTH : LUNA
  • 34A MARS : DEIMOS
  • 56A JUPITER : EUROPA
  • 73A SATURN : TITAN
  • 89A URANUS : MIRANDA
  • 109A NEPTUNE : TRITON
  • 116A PLUTO : CHARON

Bill’s time: 20m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 One of the Magi : CASPAR

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

7 Exotic pet : IGUANA

Iguanas have what is known as a “third eye” on their heads. Known as the parietal eye, it can sense levels of light, although it cannot make out details.

13 Bushel quartet : PECKS

In the imperial system of weights and measures, a bushel is a unit of dry volume made up of 4 pecks. In the US system, a bushel is a dry volume of 8 gallons. We have used the term “bushel” to mean “large quantity” since the 14th century.

18 Largest of the British Virgin Islands : TORTOLA

Tortola is one of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean located to the east of Puerto Rico. Tortola is the largest and most populated of the BVI, and is home to the territory’s capital Road Town.

19 Future looie, perhaps : NONCOM

An NCO or “noncom” is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant major (sgt. maj.).

Lieutenant (lt., and “looie” in slang).

20 Hot wings did him in : ICARUS

Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

22 Pass receiver somewhat separated from the offensive line : WIDEOUT

In American football, a wide receiver is sometimes referred to as a wideout, or simply a receiver.

23 Male reproductive system part : PROSTATE GLAND

The function of the male’s prostate gland is to secrete a fluid that helps to prolong the lifespan of spermatozoa in the vaginal tract.

25 Antique clock molding : OGEE

An ogee clock is a 19th-century design of pendulum clock that became popular in the US. The pendulum weights are hidden within the ogee molding that surrounds the clock, hence the name.

26 Brawls : MELEES

Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

28 Nautica competitor : IZOD

Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the Royal Family. As Izod was about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.

Nautica is a brand of apparel that was co-founded in 1983 by designer David Chu.

29 EARTH : LUNA

“Luna” is the Latin word for “moon”, and is the name given to the Roman moon goddess. “Luna” is also the name of the Earth’s moon, although we usually refer to it simply as “the moon”.

30 Advice pseudonym for 56 years : ANN LANDERS

“Ask Ann Landers” was an advice column written by Eppie Lederer from 1955 to 2002. Eppie was the twin sister to Pauline Phillips, the person behind “Dear Abby”. Eppie took over the “Ask Ann Landers” column from Ruth Crowley who started it in 1943.

32 Bouncing baby? : JOEY

A male kangaroo is known as a buck, jack or boomer. A female is called a jill flier or doe. A young kangaroo is a joey, and a group of kangaroos is a mob or troop.

33 Cloth-dyeing craft : BATIK

Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in a solvent that dissolves the wax. Although wax-resist dyeing of fabric has existed in various parts of the world for centuries, it is most closely associated historically with the island of Java in Indonesia.

34 MARS : DEIMOS

Mars has two moons, the larger of which is Phobos and the smaller Deimos. “Phobos” is the Greek word for “fear”, and “Deimos” is Greek for “dread”.

35 Venice vessel : GONDOLA

The word “gondola” was originally limited to the famous boats that travel along the canals of Venice. When man started to fly through the air in hot air balloons, “gondola” was used for the basket in which the passenger(s) traveled. By extension, the structure carrying passengers and crew under an airship is also called a gondola, as are the cars suspended from a cable at a ski resort.

37 Big name in Scotch : DEWAR

Dewar’s is a blended Scotch whisky introduced to the market in 1846 by John Dewar. Dewar’s White Label is the company’s most popular Scotch. It was first sold in 1899, and with a taste that is described as “heather and honey”. Dewar’s also make some single malts, under the labels Aberfeldy 12 and Aberfeldy 21. Today, Dewar’s is owned by Bacardi.

40 Chuck who wrote “Black Belt Patriotism” : NORRIS

Chuck Norris is a martial artist and an actor from Ryan, Oklahoma. Norris’s first real exposure to martial arts was in the US Air Force when he was serving in South Korea. When he left the service Norris opened up a chain of karate schools, and among his clients were Steve McQueen and his son, as well as Donny and Marie Osmond.

47 In opposition to : ATHWART

Something going “athwart” goes transversely, crosswise. In fact, a thwart is a seat that stretches from one side of a small boat to the other.

50 Easily seen sign : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

51 Christmas tree decorations : GARLANDS

The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

52 Plainsong singers : CHANTERS

Plainsong is a type of music used in several Western Christian traditions. Plainsong has a single, unaccompanied melody that is chanted. The most famous variety of plainsong is Gregorian chant, which is named for Pope Gregory I.

54 Bat used in practice : FUNGO

A fungo bat is lighter and shorter than a regular baseball bat, and tends to be used by coaches during practices. The lighter bat allows for more hits without tiring out the poor coach!

56 JUPITER : EUROPA

As are many celestial bodies, the moon of Jupiter called Europa was named after a figure in Greek mythology. Europa was a Phoenician woman who was abducted by Zeus. Europa also gave her name to the continent of Europe.

58 Afro-Asian land : EGYPT

The nation of Egypt straddles the geographical border between Asia and Africa. That land border is the 75-mile-wide Isthmus of Suez, which is crossed by the Suez Canal. The bulk of Egyptian territory is in Africa. The part of Egypt that is in Asia is the Sinai Peninsula.

60 Grieg’s language : NORSK

“Norsk” is the Norwegian word for “Norwegian”.

Edvard Grieg is Norway’s best-known composer, and one who was active in the Romantic Era. Grieg’s most famous works are the gorgeous “Piano Concerto in A minor”, and his incidental music for the play “Peer Gynt” by Henrik Ibsen.

63 Hitchcock’s wife and collaborator : ALMA

Alma Reville was a film director and screenwriter, and the wife of famed director Alfred Hitchcock. Reville appeared as a major character in the 2012 movie “Hitchcock”, in which she was played by the very capable Helen Mirren.

65 Immiscible combo : OIL AND WATER

Things that can be mixed are “miscible”. Those that cannot mix are “immiscible”. “Miscere” is Latin for “to mix”.

73 SATURN : 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.

74 Clog cousin : SABOT

There is a story that disgruntled textile workers would kick their wooden shoes, called sabots, into the looms in order to disable them so that they didn’t have to work. This act of vandalism was named for the shoe, an act of … sabotage.

76 1972 host to Nixon : MAO

President Richard Nixon made a famous visit to China in 1972 that marked a thawing in the relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It was the first time that a US president had visited the PRC, and followed several secret diplomatic missions to Beijing by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. During the week-long visit, President Nixon had talks with Chairman Mao Zedong, and First Lady Pat Nixon was very visible as she toured schools, hospitals and factories.

80 Cosmonaut Vladimir : TITOV

82 Hunter’s quarry : GAME BIRD

We’ve been using the noun “quarry” to mean “anything chased in a hunt” since the early 17th century. The term derives from the earlier term “”quirre”, which were the entrails of a deer that were given to dogs as a reward after a successful kill.

84 Orally defames : SLANDERS

The word “libel” describes a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation. It comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s. The related concept of slander is defamation in a transient form, such as speech, sign language or gestures.

86 Greeting from Kermit : HI-HO!

Kermit has to be the most readily recognized puppet character created by the late great Jim Henson. Henson came up with Kermit way back in 1955 when he appeared on a puppet show called “Sam and Friends” that aired in Washington, D.C. Kermit is loved so much that he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

88 Neckwear in some Native American traditions : BOLO TIE

I’ve never worn a bolo tie, and was surprised to discover that it is a relatively recent invention. The first bolo tie was apparently produced in Wickenburg, Arizona in the late 1940s by a silversmith. The bolo takes its name from the boleadora, an Argentine lariat.

89 URANUS : MIRANDA

All of the twenty-seven moons of the planet Uranus are named for characters from literature, with each being characters created by William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. The five major moons are so large that they would be considered planets in their own right if they were orbiting the sun directly. The names of these five moons are:

  • Miranda (from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”)
  • Ariel (from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”)
  • Umbriel (from Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”)
  • Titania (from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)
  • Oberon (from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)

93 Hammer or stirrup : EAR BONE

The middle ear is the portion of the ear immediately behind the eardrum. The middle ear contains three small bones called the ossicles, the three smallest bones in the human body. The ossicles’ job is to transmit sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The shape of the bones gives rise to their names: the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes).

95 What Dorothy did, for most of the “Wizard of Oz” movie : DREAMT

The famous line “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” from 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” was ranked no. 5 in a list of top movie quotes compiled by “The Hollywood Reporter”. The top of the list makes interesting reading, with the following comprising the top five:

  1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” from “Gone With the Wind” (1939)
  2. “Here’s looking at you, kid.” from “Casablanca” (1942)
  3. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” from “Jaws” (1975)
  4. “May the Force be with you.” from “Star Wars” (1977)
  5. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)

102 Uber __: food delivery service : EATS

Uber Eats is a food-delivery platform offered by ride-sharing service Uber. For a delivery fee of a few bucks, users can order food from local restaurants using an app. That food might delivered by car, bike or foot, depending on the city and courier.

103 Architect’s task : PLAN DESIGN

An architect is responsible for designing buildings and providing advice during their construction. The term “architect” comes from the Greek “archi-” meaning “chief” and “tekton” meaning “builder, carpenter”.

107 Grace conclusion : AMEN

A grace is a short prayer recited before or after a meal.

108 Started, as a co. : ESTD

Established (“est.” or “estd.”)

109 NEPTUNE : TRITON

Triton is the largest moon of Neptune, and is named after the Greek sea god (Neptune is the Roman sea god). Triton is unique in our solar system in that it has a “retrograde orbit”, meaning that it orbits Neptune in the opposite direction to the planet’s rotation.

111 Arrive as astronauts did 7/20/69 … and what’s literally seen in seven pairs of puzzle answers : LAND ON THE MOON

We always seem to remember the phrase “The Eagle has landed”, historic words spoken by Neil Armstrong when he put down Apollo 11’s Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) on the surface of the moon. Looking back I have to say that the words preceding “The Eagle has landed” seem to have even more impact. During the descent to the moon’s surface Armstrong used the call sign “Eagle”, indicating that he was communicating from the LEM. After he killed the engines on touching down, Armstrong’s first words home to Earth were “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” That switch of call sign from “Eagle” to “Tranquility Base” always sends shivers down my spine …

116 PLUTO : CHARON

The dwarf planet Pluto has five moons, that we know of. The first of these, Charon, was discovered as recently as 1978. The five moons are named Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra.

117 Become absorbed : OSMOSE

Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often water) across a semipermeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of absorbing water effortlessly gives rise to the expression “learning by osmosis”.

118 Longtime host of “The Newlywed Game” Bob : EUBANKS

Bob Eubanks is a disk jockey who is best known for hosting “The Newlywed Game” for decades, since he was 28-years old. Eubanks had a second career off-screen for many years. He served as manager of country music artists such as Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell and Marty Robbins.

119 Lanai hi : ALOHA

Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai and turned most of it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as “The Pineapple Island”. Today, 98% of the island is owned by Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, and 2% is owned by the State of Hawaii.

120 Winter Olympics competitor : SKATER

Figure skating started out as a sport in which a skater demonstrated skill at carving out specific patterns into the ice (a figure-8, for example). Over time, the sport placed greater influence on free skating. Compulsory figures were dropped completely from most international competitions in the 1990s, but the name “figure skating” has been retained.

121 Takes verbal potshots : SNIPES

To snipe is to attack with snide criticism, especially from a safe distance. This usage of the term is an extension of the older meaning, to take a shot from a hidden position (as in “sniper”). Such a shot was originally taken when hunting the game birds called “snipes”.

When firing a gun, a potshot is a “shot” taken purely to get the prey into the “pot” for cooking. The term “potshot” was coined in the 1830s, hence distinguishing between a shot taken for sport or marksmanship and a shot taken while hunting for game.

Down

1 __ of vantage: favorable position : COIGN

A “quoin” (also “coign”) is an exterior angle of a wall, a projecting corner. “Coign of vantage” is a phrase meaning “favorable position for observation”.

2 “I met a fool i’ the forest” forest : ARDEN

Here are some lines from Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”:

A fool, a fool! I met a fool i’ the forest,
A motley fool; a miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool
Who laid him down and bask’d him in the sun,
And rail’d on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms and yet a motley fool.

The Forest of Arden is the setting for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. Even though there is a Forest of Arden surrounding Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-on-Avon, as the play is set in France one has to assume that the “As You Like It” Arden is an anglicization of the forested “Ardennes” region that stretches from Belgium into France.

3 Post-apocalyptic 1987 Patrick Swayze film : STEEL DAWN

“Steel Dawn” is a 1987 sci-fi action film starring husband and wife actors Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi.

I think Patrick Swayze’s greatest role was the dance instructor in the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing”. Swayze (and Jennifer Grey who played opposite Swayze) were chosen for the starring roles because of their dancing ability. He had a fair amount of acting experience, and his dancing experience was with the Joffrey Ballet. Sadly, Swayze passed away at age 57 in 2009, from pancreatic cancer.

4 Suffix with malti- and cocka- : -POO

Poodle hybrids are sometimes described as “designer dogs”. Examples are the Labradoodle (Labrador retriever and poodle cross), cockapoo (cocker-spaniel and poodle cross), maltipoo (Maltese and poodle cross) and Jack-A-Poo (Jack Russell and poodle cross).

5 Boosters, often : ALUMNI

A booster is an enthusiastic supporter, often a person supporting a school team.

8 ’90s second family : GORES

Al Gore was born in Washington DC, and is the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.

Tipper Gore is the wife of former Vice President Al Gore, although the couple have been separated since 2010. Ms. Gore was born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson. The “Tipper” nickname comes from one of her favorite nursery rhymes, called “Tippy, Tippy, Tin”.

10 Rm. coolers : ACS

The modern form of air conditioning (AC) that is still used today was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. He co-founded the Carrier Engineering Corporation in New York in 1915. The Carrier Corporation eventually moved to Syracuse, New York in 1937. Beyond the world of air conditioning, the Carrier name has been associated with Syracuse University’s famous Carrier Dome since it opened in 1980. The Carrier Dome is the largest on-campus basketball stadium in the country.

13 Like some horses : PIED

Something described as pied is patchy or blotchy in color, piebald. The term comes from the Middle English “pie”, an old name for the magpie, and is a reference to the bird’s black and white plumage.

14 Common ER test : ECG

An EKG measures the electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

15 __ lily : CALLA

“Calla lily” is a common name for a lily of the genus Zantedeschia. There is a lily genus called calla, but the calla lily isn’t in it. Now that, that is confusing …

16 Wurst topping : KRAUT

“Sauerkraut” translates from German as “sour herb” or “sour cabbage”. During WWI, sauerkraut producers changes its name in order to distance their product from the “enemy”. They called it “Liberty cabbage”.

“Wurst” is simply a German word meaning “sausage”.

17 Branch of Islam : SUNNI

The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

18 Old draft deferment : TWO-A

The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

21 St. with the second-smallest capital : SDAK

Pierre, South Dakota is the second-least populous state capital in the US, with a population of about 14,000. The least populous state capital is Montpelier, Vermont with a population of about 8,000.

24 Nikkei index giant : TOYOTA

The Nikkei is a stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange that has been published by the “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” newspaper since 1950. The “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” has the largest circulation of any financial newspaper in the world, and is read by over 3 million people daily.

27 Former secretary of defense Panetta : LEON

Leon Panetta was Chief of Staff under President Clinton, and took over as CIA Director in 2009 in the Obama administration. From 2011 to 2013 he also served as Secretary of Defense. Panetta has long been interested in protecting the world’s oceans. As an example, he wrote the legislation that created the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

35 Source of electrical interference : GROUND NOISE

If two parts of a circuit intended to be at ground do in fact have a potential difference, then there is said to be a ground loop. A ground loop can cause ground noise, which often manifests itself as an unwanted buzz or hum in audio equipment.

36 Old Pisa dough : LIRE

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

37 Russian retreat : DACHA

Dachas are usually second homes in Russia and the former Soviet Union that are located outside the city limits in rural areas. Residents/tenants of dachas are often called “dachniks”.

38 “I Love Lucy” role : 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 Mertzes are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

39 Electric guitar vibrato producer : WHAMMY BAR

You know that lever that electric guitar players “wiggle” to produce a vibrating sound? Well, it’s called a “whammy bar”. Movement of the bar changes the tension of the strings, resulting in a change of pitch that the player can use to create a number of different effects.

41 Ringmaster? : REF

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is a derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

43 Calif. NFLer : LA RAM

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

44 Witness protection plan? : ANONYMITY

The US Witness Protection Program was set up in 1970 under the Organized Crime Control Act. Most witnesses are protected by the Marshals Service.

45 Econ. measure : GDP

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

46 Pueblo pronoun : ESA

“Pueblo” is a Spanish word meaning “village”.

48 __ Park: Queens area : REGO

Rego Park in Queens was farmland up to the early 1900s. Then along came a developer called the Real Good Construction Company, and building started. Rego Park takes its name from “Real Good”. Creative …

55 Mardi __ : GRAS

“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

59 Filmmaker Jacques : TATI

Jacques Tati was a very famous filmmaker and comic actor in his homeland of France. Even though he only directed six feature-length movies, Tati is often cited by insiders as one of the greatest movie directors of all time.

61 Barbecue fare : KEBAB

The term “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.

64 Big name in insurance : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

The name of the drugstore chain CVS once stood for “Consumer Value Stores”, although these days the company uses the initialism to denote “Convenience, Value and Service”.

66 “Famous” Coney Island contest sponsor : NATHAN’S

Nathan’s Famous has held a Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4th since 1916, and always at the same location on Coney Island.

67 Ex-Cowboy quarterback Tony : ROMO

Tony Romo is a former quarterback who spent his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. Romo is also an avid amateur golfer and has even tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to qualify for the US Open golf championship.

69 Renata Tebaldi contemporary Callas : MARIA

Although Maria Callas was born in New York City, she was educated in music in Greece, and launched her career in Italy. Her marvelous performances earned her the nickname “La Davina”, and she was described by Leonard Bernstein as “the Bible of opera …”

Renata Tebaldi was an Italian soprano, who was at the height of her popularity just after the end of WWII. Tebaldi had a much talked about rivalry with Maria Callas, one that was perhaps blown out of proportion in the press. Tebaldi and Callas ending up singing together in a touring company in 1951 and when asked by a reporter about the differences between the two singing voices, Callas said it was like comparing “champagne and cognac”, to which a bystander remarked, “no, with Coca Cola”. The “champagne and Coca Cola” comparison was quoted in the paper, and attributed to Callas. That didn’t help the situation …

70 Swiss Roll-like snack : YODEL

Yodels are snack cakes made by the Drake’s baking company. They are similar to Hostess Ho Hos and Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls.

72 Comic Dangerfield : RODNEY

Rodney Dangerfield was a stand-up comedian and actor who was known for telling one-liners, and for his catchphrase “I don’t get no respect!”. Famously, Dangerfild played the obnoxious, nouveau-riche golf club member Al Czervik in the 1980 movie “Caddyshack”.

77 Mil. award : DSM

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is the highest non-valorous decoration awarded for services to the US military.

78 Skull and Bones member : ELI

Skull and Bones is a secret society at Yale University, founded in 1832. The society is well-funded, and even owns a 40-acre island in Upstate New York that members and alumni use as a retreat. Noted members of Skull and Bones included William F. Buckley, Jr., President Bush (both father and son) and Senator John Kerry. And President William Howard Taft was the son of one of the society’s founders. “Bones” was a male-only society right up until 1991, when alumni voted to accept female members.

79 Prynne’s stigma : RED A

The main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” is Hester Prynne. After the birth of her illegitimate daughter Pearl, she is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title “The Scarlet Letter”.

81 Old tape initials : VHS

The video standard known as VHS is more fully referred to as the Video Home System. VHS was one of many standards touted by various manufacturers in the seventies. The biggest rival to VHS was Betamax, but we all knew which of the two standards won the final round in that fight.

83 Metaphorical self-help aid : BOOTSTRAP

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

91 Middle proof word : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

94 Sentimentalism : BATHOS

Bathos is a descent from the sublime to the ridiculous, and a play on the word “pathos”. The term comes from the Greek “bathos” meaning “depth”, and was coined by Alexander Pope in his 1727 essay “Peri Bathous”. So, bathos is an amusingly failed attempt at pathos.

96 Website with study guides : ENOTES

eNotes is website founded in 1998 that provides lesson plans and study guides to help students complete homework assignments. eNotes is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

97 “Meek,” in “Blessed are the meek” : ADNOUN

An adnoun is an adjective that is being used as a noun, with the term “adnoun” being a portmanteau of “adjective” and “noun”. Examples are the last words in the following phrases:

  • Guide-dogs for the blind
  • Tax cuts for the wealthy
  • Blessed are the meek
  • Land of the free

98 Math subj. : CALC

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

99 Missouri River city : OMAHA

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

101 Gyneco-‘s opposite : ANDRO-

“Gyneco-” is a prefix meaning female, as in “gynecology”. “Andro-” is a prefix meaning male, as in “androgen”, a steroid hormone that controls the development of masculine characteristics.

104 Sherlock’s adversary Adler : IRENE

The character Irene Adler only appears in one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Holmes expresses remarkable admiration for Adler as a woman and as a foe. As a result, derivative works in the Holmes genre often feature Adler as something of a romantic interest for Sherlock.

106 Court pair : NETS

That would be basketball, I guess …

108 Sicily’s only landlocked province : ENNA

The city of Enna sits very high up in the hills of Sicily, overlooking the whole island below. Enna is the capital of the province that bears its name, which is the highest province in the whole of Italy. Some of the important buildings in and around the city are Lombardy Castle and the Duomo (cathedral).

113 Combat sport, briefly : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

115 Cody Bellinger stat : RBI

Cody Bellinger is a Major League Baseball player, and the son of Clay Bellinger, who also played in the Majors. Cody was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 2017.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 One of the Magi : CASPAR
7 Exotic pet : IGUANA
13 Bushel quartet : PECKS
18 Largest of the British Virgin Islands : TORTOLA
19 Future looie, perhaps : NONCOM
20 Hot wings did him in : ICARUS
22 Pass receiver somewhat separated from the offensive line : WIDEOUT
23 Male reproductive system part : PROSTATE GLAND
25 Antique clock molding : OGEE
26 Brawls : MELEES
28 Nautica competitor : IZOD
29 EARTH : LUNA
30 Advice pseudonym for 56 years : ANN LANDERS
32 Bouncing baby? : JOEY
33 Cloth-dyeing craft : BATIK
34 MARS : DEIMOS
35 Venice vessel : GONDOLA
37 Big name in Scotch : DEWAR
40 Chuck who wrote “Black Belt Patriotism” : NORRIS
42 Farmwork : TILLAGE
47 In opposition to : ATHWART
50 Easily seen sign : NEON
51 Christmas tree decorations : GARLANDS
52 Plainsong singers : CHANTERS
54 Bat used in practice : FUNGO
56 JUPITER : EUROPA
57 Tailor’s line : HEM
58 Afro-Asian land : EGYPT
60 Grieg’s language : NORSK
62 Bread holder : PAN
63 Hitchcock’s wife and collaborator : ALMA
65 Immiscible combo : OIL AND WATER
68 “Good golly!” : MY MY!
71 “__ durn tootin’!” : YER
73 SATURN : TITAN
74 Clog cousin : SABOT
76 1972 host to Nixon : MAO
77 Unsettled one? : DEBTOR
80 Cosmonaut Vladimir : TITOV
82 Hunter’s quarry : GAME BIRD
84 Orally defames : SLANDERS
86 Greeting from Kermit : HI-HO!
88 Neckwear in some Native American traditions : BOLO TIE
89 URANUS : MIRANDA
90 Pain : HASSLE
92 Devoted : LOYAL
93 Hammer or stirrup : EAR BONE
95 What Dorothy did, for most of the “Wizard of Oz” movie : DREAMT
98 Insurance card amount : COPAY
102 Uber __: food delivery service : EATS
103 Architect’s task : PLAN DESIGN
107 Grace conclusion : AMEN
108 Started, as a co. : ESTD
109 NEPTUNE : TRITON
110 Devoted : TRUE
111 Arrive as astronauts did 7/20/69 … and what’s literally seen in seven pairs of puzzle answers : LAND ON THE MOON
114 Inundation : TORRENT
116 PLUTO : CHARON
117 Become absorbed : OSMOSE
118 Longtime host of “The Newlywed Game” Bob : EUBANKS
119 Lanai hi : ALOHA
120 Winter Olympics competitor : SKATER
121 Takes verbal potshots : SNIPES

Down

1 __ of vantage: favorable position : COIGN
2 “I met a fool i’ the forest” forest : ARDEN
3 Post-apocalyptic 1987 Patrick Swayze film : STEEL DAWN
4 Suffix with malti- and cocka- : -POO
5 Boosters, often : ALUMNI
6 Like entertainment software with a “17+” restriction : RATED M
7 Face-to-face : IN PERSON
8 ’90s second family : GORES
9 Juan’s “some” : UNOS
10 Rm. coolers : ACS
11 Whims : NOTIONS
12 Blew away : AMAZED
13 Like some horses : PIED
14 Common ER test : ECG
15 __ lily : CALLA
16 Wurst topping : KRAUT
17 Branch of Islam : SUNNI
18 Old draft deferment : TWO-A
21 St. with the second-smallest capital : SDAK
24 Nikkei index giant : TOYOTA
27 Former secretary of defense Panetta : LEON
31 Gas up? : AERATE
32 Icon after “Not a member?” : JOIN NOW
33 Shape, as dough : BALL UP
35 Source of electrical interference : GROUND NOISE
36 Old Pisa dough : LIRE
37 Russian retreat : DACHA
38 “I Love Lucy” role : ETHEL
39 Electric guitar vibrato producer : WHAMMY BAR
41 Ringmaster? : REF
43 Calif. NFLer : LA RAM
44 Witness protection plan? : ANONYMITY
45 Econ. measure : GDP
46 Pueblo pronoun : ESA
48 __ Park: Queens area : REGO
49 “Have a taste” : TRY IT
51 Attend by oneself : GO STAG
53 Leaves : SPLITS
55 Mardi __ : GRAS
59 Filmmaker Jacques : TATI
61 Barbecue fare : KEBAB
64 Big name in insurance : AETNA
66 “Famous” Coney Island contest sponsor : NATHAN’S
67 Ex-Cowboy quarterback Tony : ROMO
69 Renata Tebaldi contemporary Callas : MARIA
70 Swiss Roll-like snack : YODEL
72 Comic Dangerfield : RODNEY
75 “I’m listening” : TELL ME
77 Mil. award : DSM
78 Skull and Bones member : ELI
79 Prynne’s stigma : RED A
81 Old tape initials : VHS
83 Metaphorical self-help aid : BOOTSTRAP
85 Most endangered : RAREST
87 Traditionalist : OLD-LINER
90 Workstation shared by employees on different shifts : HOT DESK
91 Middle proof word : ERAT
94 Sentimentalism : BATHOS
96 Website with study guides : ENOTES
97 “Meek,” in “Blessed are the meek” : ADNOUN
98 Math subj. : CALC
99 Missouri River city : OMAHA
100 __ colony : PENAL
101 Gyneco-‘s opposite : ANDRO-
103 Verse alternative : PROSE
104 Sherlock’s adversary Adler : IRENE
105 Greases (up), as hair : GUNKS
106 Court pair : NETS
108 Sicily’s only landlocked province : ENNA
109 Friendly honk : TOOT
112 “Interesting!” : OOH!
113 Combat sport, briefly : MMA
115 Cody Bellinger stat : RBI

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Jul 19, Sunday”

  1. LAT: 30:08, 7 errors. Another horrible horrible puzzle, just like the Sat WSJ. Lots of brain deadedness in this one all over. Newsday: 21:18, no errors. WP: 37:54, 1 error. And I’m surprised I managed what I did on any of these given all the cynicalness that came out over the weekend in all the puzzles.

  2. LAT: 31:29, no errors; straightforward (once I understood the theme).

    Newsday: 15:06, no errors; another clever theme.

    Washington Post: 29:01, no errors; helpful theme (almost a meta!), once I saw what was going on with some of the entries; a revealer might have been more helpful (but would have ruined the fun!).

    Sunday (21×21) Universal: 26:34, no errors; something of a tour de force, with an unusual gimmick; Steinberg has been steadily flexing his muscles with these since he took over; given the venues in which that puzzle appears, one wonders if the letters to their editors have taken on a militant tone since he took over … 😜.

    All in all, a very thoughtful, but also very rewarding, set of puzzles for a Sunday outing.

  3. After spending an hour and 41 min on what I considered an extra tough puzzle I spent another hour going over my answers only to find 2 very stupid errors…..Its 101 degrees outside so I guess it was time well spent

  4. 35:56. The theme both helped and hindered me. I had to get some moons via crosses, but I always knew LAND…

    I like that they honor the moon landing in this puzzle. The NYT did it a little more overtly today. I have a nice rant over there regarding a quote from one of its setters, Jeff Chen, if anyone wants to go look at it. I normally like Jeff Chen, but today….not so much.

    Happy to be home after 9 days in Punta Cana, DR. Goodness what an exhausting trip. I liked the Atlanta jokes you guys threw in there. I had to go through Atlanta both going and coming. I was delayed about an hour each time, yet I feel I had a relatively fortunate experience there….the law of expectations.

    I’ve had flight delays for just about any reason imaginable. But going to Punta Cana we were told we were delayed because they couldn’t find a cleaning crew for the plane. Sheesh. Later I found out it was actually the security sweepers who were late. The aircraft was coming into Atlanta from Belize (international) so it had to be swept by a security crew before the flight attendants could even bring their bags aboard. We finally pulled away from the gate 10 minutes (!!!!) before the pilots would have timed out and had to deplane…..in which case I can’t imagine what my fate would have been. Glad I only go through Atlanta one time per year.

    Best –

  5. So … off the launch pad with CASPAR and TORTOLA, slog through the likes of ATHWART and MYMY, then end, mercifully, in the SE with GUNK like PLANDESIGN (?) and ADNOUN. Not a stellar puzzle by a long shot.

  6. Bad puzzle day for me. Made too many errors…some by just giving up.
    Got some obscure clues I didn’t think I’d get, but missed some “easy”
    ones. Didn’t know “Nathan’s” or Kermit’s “Hi-Ho”. And the most
    obscure “adnoun”….what is that? I did have it right because I knew
    Eubanks. Oh well, look forward to an easy Monday.

  7. 37 mins 18 sec, DNF ~20 left unfilled. Just too many out-of-ken fills here. And, with absolutely ZERO interest in anybody’s space program, the moons of planets was too much of an ask for most of them.

  8. I see we’re mostly in agreement that this one went the way of a meteor, making a burning streak in the sky, but mostly just fizzling out and going DOWN.

  9. Aaargh! After having gone three years without an error, now I’ve had two within the past three months. At intersection of 116A and 108D, I guessed S instead of N. I didn’t think an Italian name would have a double N. My error three months ago was at the intersection of a geographical answer and a current popular culture answer, neither of which are my strong suits.

    My other guess today turned out correct, at intersection of 18A and ID. I almost went with A, but thought it was too much like pie. Also, COIGN was close to the the French “coin” which means corner. So I made a semi-educated guess and it flew.

    At 43D, in progress, I had LA__M. Being a Chicagoan, I was tempted to fill in with BU!

    This puzzle certainly was challenging enough.

  10. Hardest LAT Sunday puzzle I can remember. Didn’t know so many answers: Coign, adnoun, hotdesk, etc. Managed to finish after well more than an hour with only a few mistakes because I got lucky. Liked doing it, however.

  11. Bill, I always end my evening with your answers and I’m so appreciative. One thing that I must question is that when you pluralize a family’s name (in this case, the Mertzes) you seem to resort to an apostrophe s. As a grammar snob this kills me, and is particularly troublesome when the holiday greeting cards arrive. Anyway, please consider refraining from using an apostrophe when a simple s or es will do.

  12. Once again, sooo many gripes about making a puzzle too hard. That’s the whole freakin’ point, people! If your objective is solving the puzzle in record time, rather than exercising your brain, then go do a simple puzzle.

    I thought 97D “adnoun” was deliciously devious (I guessed it … if there’s an adverb, why not an adnoun?) And I used to watch Sesame Street with my toddler baby sister back in 1969 when I was 12 (lots of grown-up humor in there). So I knew “hi-ho, Kermit thee frog here…” And I pity those who’ve never had a Nathan’s Famous.

    Stumbled on 1A, thought it was Gaspar (rusty Sunday-school memory), and “coign” was devilishly obscure. Don’t know all my moons, or my Shakespeare, so I had DSC/Ciranda, not DSM/Miranda. DSC is British, DSM is USA.

    Had “Red Dawn” in my head, never saw “Steel Dawn.” Got briefly stuck on cocka “too” (bird), not cocka “poo” (dog).

    “Plan Design” was a stretch, but forgivable.

    I do wish Bill would explain the actual answers. For example: What’s “Two-A”?

    Love the head-scratcher clues and super-obscure answers. I don’t track my time. The REAL time test would be pencil (or pen) on a folded newspaper. Doing crosswords online is such a cheat to begin with anyway. But I’m too lazy to do them old-school style.

    My two cents…

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