LA Times Crossword 29 Jul 19, Monday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: First String

Themed answers each comprise two words, the FIRST of which is sometimes preceded by “STRING”:

  • 62A Like the starting team, and a hint to the answers to starred clues : FIRST STRING
  • 17A *Music course for budding composers : THEORY CLASS (giving “string theory”)
  • 24A *Meatless taqueria item : BEAN BURRITO (giving “string bean”)
  • 39A *Closet accessory for neckwear : TIE RACK (giving “string tie”)
  • 51A *Marshall Islands site of nuclear testing : BIKINI ATOLL (giving “string bikini”)

Bill’s time: 4m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Polio vaccine pioneer : SABIN

Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine. Sabin’s vaccine was a “live” controlled vaccine. The equally famous Salk vaccine was a “killed” vaccine.

In the fifties, especially after the 1952 epidemic, polio was the biggest health fear in the US. It killed thousands and left even more with disabilities, and most of the victims were children. The situation was dire and the authorities immediately quarantined the family of any polio victim. That quarantine was so strict that in many cases the families were not even permitted to attend the funeral of a family member who died from the disease.

6 Bacteria in undercooked meat : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

15 Gas in flashtubes : XENON

Metal halide lamps that are called xenons don’t actually rely on the incorporated xenon gas to generate light. The xenon gas is added so that the lamp comes on “instantly”. Without the xenon, the lamp would start up rather like an older streetlamp, flickering and sputtering for a while before staying alight.

16 Pitcher’s stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

17 *Music course for budding composers : THEORY CLASS (giving “string theory”)

There has always been a conflict between the theory of relativity and quantum theory. Basically, the theory of relativity works for “big stuff” but breaks down when applied to minute things like subatomic particles. On the other hand, quantum theory was developed to explain behavior at the subatomic level, and just doesn’t work on the larger scale. One of the reasons physicists are so excited about string theory is that it works at both the macro and micro levels. According to string theory, all particles in the universe are really little “strings”, as opposed to the points or ball-shaped entities assumed by the other theories.

19 Animation frame : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

20 Mannheim mister : HERR

Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. The city is a little unusual in that it has streets and avenues laid out in a grid pattern, rather like an American city. For this reason, Mannheim has the nickname “die Quadratestadt” (city of the squares).

21 Non-discrimination want-ad letters : EOE

Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE)

24 *Meatless taqueria item : BEAN BURRITO (giving “string bean”)

A burrito is a common dish served in Mexican cuisine. It is a flour tortilla filled with all sorts of good stuff. The term “burrito” is Spanish for “little donkey”, the diminutive of “burro” meaning “donkey”. It’s thought that the name was applied as a burrito looks like a bedroll or pack that might be carried by a donkey.

Snap beans are also known as green beans or string beans.

28 Castilian hero : EL CID

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as “The Champion” or perhaps “The Lord, Master of Military Arts”. El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). However, he was sent into exile by the King in 1080, after acting beyond his authorization in battle. El Cid then offered his services to his former foes, the Moorish kings, After a number of years building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. By this time El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso, he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast in 1094, making it his headquarters and home. He died in Valencia, quite peacefully, in 1099.

The Kingdom of Castile was one seven medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. The name “Castile” comes from the large number of castles that were built across the kingdom.

34 AT&T news channel : CNN

CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980 by the Turner Broadcasting System, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.

35 Entrepreneur Musk : ELON

Elon Musk is a successful businessman who has founded or led some very high-profile companies, namely PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Musk received a lot of publicity in early 2018 during a test launch by SpaceX of the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. A Tesla Roadster belonging to Musk was carried into space as a dummy payload.

An entrepreneur is someone takes on most aspects of a business venture, from the original idea to the execution. The term is imported from French, with “entreprendre” meaning “to undertake”. The original usage in English dates back to the early 1800s, when it applied to a manager and promoter of a theatrical production.

42 Señora Perón : EVA

Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” is also the title of a tremendously successful musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that is based on the life of Eva Perón.

43 Washington MLB team : NATS

The Washington Nationals (“Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.

50 Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

51 *Marshall Islands site of nuclear testing : BIKINI ATOLL (giving “string bikini”)

The name of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands comes from the Marshallese name “Pikinni”, meaning “coconut place”. Famously, Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 nuclear detonations by the US from 1946 to 1958.

55 The “HD” in HDTV, briefly : HI-DEF

High-definition television (HDTV)

56 “Wayne’s World” catchword : NOT!

“Wayne’s World” was originally a “Saturday Night Live” sketch starring Mike Myers (as Wayne Campbell) and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar. The sketch was so successful that it was parlayed into two hit movies, released in 1992 and 1993. Not my cup of tea though …

57 Director Kazan : ELIA

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

61 Incubation target : EGG

To incubate eggs is to sit on them so that they hatch with the help of body warmth. We can also incubate ideas, help them to develop. The term “incubate” comes from the Latin “incubare” meaning “to lie on”, from “-in” (on) and “cubare” (to lie).

62 Like the starting team, and a hint to the answers to starred clues : FIRST STRING

We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first broke.

66 “The Simpsons” bartender : MOE

Moe Szyslak is the surly bartender and owner of Moe’s Tavern in “The Simpsons” animated TV show. I don’t really care for “The Simpsons”, but Hank Azaria who supplies the voice for the Moe character … him I like …

67 Host onstage : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

68 Banded marble : AGATE

A playing marble made from agate is called just that, an agate. Steelies on the other hand, are made from solid steel.

70 Author Dahl : ROALD

Roald Dahl’s name is Norwegian. Dahl’s parents were from Norway, although Dahl himself was Welsh. Dahl became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Two of his most famous titles are “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

71 Sandwiches on pita : GYROS

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

Down

1 Eve’s third son : SETH

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.

3 Dutch South African : BOER

“Boer” is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer”, a word that was used to describe the Dutch-speaking people who settled parts of South Africa during the 1700s.

5 Oslo’s land: Abbr. : NOR

Oslo is the capital of Norway. The city of Oslo burns trash to fuel half of its buildings, including all of its schools. The problem faced by the city is that it doesn’t generate enough trash. So, Oslo imports trash from Sweden, England and Ireland, and is now looking to import some American trash too.

7 Tabloid figure, for short : CELEB

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, which described newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

8 Words before whim or hunch : ON A …

“Whim”, meaning “sudden fancy”, is such a lovely word, and one that we’ve been using in English since the 1640s. “Whim” is actually a shortened form of “whimwham”, which has a similar meaning and has been around since the early 1500s.

9 __ Angeles : LOS

The California city of Los Angeles (L.A.) is the second most populous city in the country, after New York. L.A. was established in 1781 as a pueblo named “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula”, which translates as “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River”. This name evolved into “Los Angeles”, and the Porciúncula River is now called the Los Angeles River.

11 Track-and-field competitor in 10 events : DECATHLETE

The decathlon event is a track and field competition, with the name “decathlon” coming from the Greek “deka” (ten) and “athlos” (contest). The ten events in the men’s decathlon are:

  • 100 meters
  • Long jump
  • Shot put
  • High jump
  • 400 meters
  • 110 meters hurdles
  • Discus throw
  • Pole vault
  • Javelin throw
  • 1500 meters

23 Uncle Ben’s boxful : RICE

Uncle Ben’s is a famous brand of rice that was introduced in 1943. It was the biggest selling brand of rice in the US from the fifties through the nineties. As one might imagine, the name “Uncle Ben” is pretty offensive and Mars, who owns the brand now, have tried to distance themselves from the African-American slave/domestic servant image. In 2007 there was a TV campaign showing “Uncle Ben” as Chairman of the Board of the company. But, he is still called Uncle Ben …

26 Wrist-to-elbow bone : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

28 Abba of Israel : EBAN

Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban in Cape Town, South Africa. While working at the United Nations after WWII, Eban changed his given name to “Abba”, the Hebrew word for “father”. He made this change as reportedly as he could see himself as the father of the nation of Israel.

29 “Star Wars” heroine : LEIA

Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …

30 Printer toner containers : CARTRIDGES

The key features of a laser printer (or copier) are that it uses plain paper and produces quality text at high speed. Laser printers work by projecting a laser image of the printed page onto a rotating drum that is coated with photoconductors (material that becomes conductive when exposed to light). The areas of the drum exposed to the laser carry a different charge than the unexposed areas. Dry ink (toner) sticks to the exposed areas due to electrostatic charge. The toner is then transferred to paper by contact and is fused into the paper by the application of heat. So, that explains why paper coming out of a laser printer is warm, and sometimes powdery.

40 H.G. Wells race : ELOI

In the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounter in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a domineering race living underground who use the Eloi as food.

41 Fall (over) : KEEL

To keel over is to capsize, to turn a boat over so that her keel lies up from the surface. We also use the phrase “keel over” figuratively to mean “collapse, faint”.

44 “For Pete’s __!” : SAKE

“For Pete’s sake” is a minced oath, meaning it’s a milder version of a less pleasant expression. “For Pete’s sake” probably came from “for God’s sake”, and maybe even refers to St. Peter.

47 Reaction to pollen, e.g. : ALLERGY

The pollen of ragweed is the greatest allergen of all pollens. It seems that the pollen season has been lengthening in recent years, probably due to global warming.

51 Archie Bunker type : BIGOT

“Bigot” is a French word that back in the late 1500s meant “sanctimonious person, religious hypocrite”. We use the term today to describe someone who is biased towards his or her own group, and who is intolerant of those outside of that group.

“All in the Family” is an American sitcom, and a remake of the incredibly successful BBC show called “Till Death Us Do Part”. Both the UK and US versions of the sitcom were groundbreaking in that the storyline brought into focus topics previously considered unsuitable for a television comedy, including racism, homosexuality, women’s liberation, menopause and impotence. “All in the Family” is one of only three TV shows that has topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive seasons (the other two are “The Cosby Show” and “American Idol”). Stars of the show are:

  • Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker
  • Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker
  • Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic née Bunker
  • Rob Reiner as Michael Stivic

52 Adams with a camera : ANSEL

As an avid amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

54 Extra NBA periods : OTS

Overtime (OT)

55 Prefix with sphere meaning “half” : HEMI-

Ever wonder what the difference is between the prefixes “hemi-”, “demi-” and “semi-”, all of which mean “half”? Well, the general observation is that words using the “demi-” prefix date back to the days of Norman influence over the English language. As a result, “demi-” turns up in the world of period costume and coats of arms. Words using “hemi-” tend to have Greek roots, and are prevalent in the world of the sciences and the medical field. Words with “semi-” tend to have Latin roots, and are most often found in music and the arts, and mathematics.

63 Texter’s “I think” : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

64 Color TV pioneer : RCA

The RCA logo features a dog name Nipper. Nipper was a real dog from England whose owner, Francis Barraud, made a painting of Nipper listening to a gramophone. Barraud then approached several gramophone manufacturers in the hope they would be interested in using the image for advertising. Nipper’s likeness was indeed picked up, and around that time it was Barraud himself who came up with the slogan “His Master’s Voice”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Polio vaccine pioneer : SABIN
6 Bacteria in undercooked meat : E COLI
11 Blot gently : DAB
14 Budget prefix : ECONO-
15 Gas in flashtubes : XENON
16 Pitcher’s stat : ERA
17 *Music course for budding composers : THEORY CLASS (giving “string theory”)
19 Animation frame : CEL
20 Mannheim mister : HERR
21 Non-discrimination want-ad letters : EOE
22 Rub out a pencil mark : ERASE
24 *Meatless taqueria item : BEAN BURRITO (giving “string bean”)
28 Castilian hero : EL CID
31 Gate securer : LATCH
32 “Get lost!” : BEAT IT!
34 AT&T news channel : CNN
35 Entrepreneur Musk : ELON
38 Tire inflator : AIR
39 *Closet accessory for neckwear : TIE RACK (giving “string tie”)
42 Señora Perón : EVA
43 Washington MLB team : NATS
45 Bath tissue layer : PLY
46 Like contentious discussions : HEATED
48 Car music source : RADIO
50 Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA
51 *Marshall Islands site of nuclear testing : BIKINI ATOLL (giving “string bikini”)
55 The “HD” in HDTV, briefly : HI-DEF
56 “Wayne’s World” catchword : NOT!
57 Director Kazan : ELIA
61 Incubation target : EGG
62 Like the starting team, and a hint to the answers to starred clues : FIRST STRING
66 “The Simpsons” bartender : MOE
67 Host onstage : EMCEE
68 Banded marble : AGATE
69 “__ now or never” : IT’S
70 Author Dahl : ROALD
71 Sandwiches on pita : GYROS

Down

1 Eve’s third son : SETH
2 Tooth pain : ACHE
3 Dutch South African : BOER
4 Circling the sun, as a planet : IN ORBIT
5 Oslo’s land: Abbr. : NOR
6 Former inmate : EX-CON
7 Tabloid figure, for short : CELEB
8 Words before whim or hunch : ON A …
9 __ Angeles : LOS
10 Newspaper ad, often : INSERT
11 Track-and-field competitor in 10 events : DECATHLETE
12 Childish rebuttal : ARE SO!
13 Cotton unit : BALE
18 Vote for passage : YEA
23 Uncle Ben’s boxful : RICE
25 Fix, as text : EDIT
26 Wrist-to-elbow bone : ULNA
27 Big spread with cattle, say : RANCH
28 Abba of Israel : EBAN
29 “Star Wars” heroine : LEIA
30 Printer toner containers : CARTRIDGES
33 Second-chance basket : TIP-IN
34 Shed tears : CRY
36 Pizza parlor appliance : OVEN
37 Spanish “nothing” : NADA
40 H.G. Wells race : ELOI
41 Fall (over) : KEEL
44 “For Pete’s __!” : SAKE
47 Reaction to pollen, e.g. : ALLERGY
49 “I beg to __”: “I don’t agree” : DIFFER
51 Archie Bunker type : BIGOT
52 Adams with a camera : ANSEL
53 Hauled : TOTED
54 Extra NBA periods : OTS
55 Prefix with sphere meaning “half” : HEMI-
58 Tall story teller : LIAR
59 Whip __ shape : INTO
60 “For __ 3-5”: toy box spec : AGES
63 Texter’s “I think” : IMO
64 Color TV pioneer : RCA
65 “You’re it!” game : TAG

10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 29 Jul 19, Monday”

  1. 11:28 no errors….NYT 0624 12:36 no errors
    This date 58 years ago my wife and I walked down that aisle and said I do and have never looked back…I can’t imagine life any other way

    1. Good work, Jack, and Happy Anniversary. Our upcoming one is in less
      than a month. I had never seriously thought about marriage, but am glad
      I finally took the plunge. No real regrets.

      Good time of just under 30 minutes, but 1 error. Used SARIN instead of
      SABIN. Kudos to Bill for under 5 minutes and 0 errors.

  2. LAT: 3:27, no errors. WSJ: 4:06, no errors. Both not too stressful to do (see discussion of a couple of days ago). When a puzzle goes quicker like that, I tend to just not notice it as much and kind of want more for my puzzling sessions. But definitely more refreshing than stuff like the New Yorker or the very hard to get section of NYT 0622.

    Newsday: 7:38, no errors. CHE: 8:45, no errors.

    New Yorker: 56:57, 7 errors throughout the grid caused by where I had to guess a lot of the grid. Very rough with the foreign material coupled with some of the cluing. Definitely not up to editorial snuff. Though with the errors and what they were, I’m happy with this as I would have never gotten any of them without help.

    BEQ: 11:13, no errors. A rerun of his Boswords contest puzzle from last year. This would be the 3rd time I’ve done it (twice for Dave if he does it). I don’t know if repeating older grids you’ve done gives you an excuse to be better or not?

  3. Hello folks!!🦆

    No errors on an easy Monday. 😁
    I know of a string quartet that calls itself String Theory. 😯

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

  4. Spent yesterday in the mountains, did a bunch of puzzles before going to bed, but was too tired to post …

    LAT: 5:49, no errors; didn’t understand the theme until just now!

    Newsday: 6:06, no errors.

    WSJ: 8:11, no errors.

    BEQ: 13:39, no errors; did not remember the puzzle from last year (but it must have helped me to have done it before, because I shaved more than ten minutes off my previous time).

    New Yorker: 44:34, no errors; very difficult, but I managed to guess correctly a lot of things I didn’t know.

    CHE: 9:20, no errors; a relatively easy one.

    And … Matt Jones: 24:08, no errors; the hardest puzzle I did last night – not because it was especially clever, but because of a couple of personal Naticks that, by some miracle, I got right. They’re at the intersections of 51A with 53D and 59D with 63A. Unlike “Rex Parker”, I have neither the moxie nor the chops to unilaterally declare something a “Natick”, but I know what constitutes one for me! 😜 (And Matt Jones throws in more of them than most.)

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