LA Times Crossword 15 Aug 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Meet in the Middle

Themed answers each include a kind of “MEAT” somewhere IN THE MIDDLE as a hidden word:

  • 39A Come to a compromise … and a homophonic hint to what each of four long answers contains : MEET IN THE MIDDLE … and “MEAT” IN THE MIDDLE
  • 17A E-cig user’s package : VAPOR KIT (“pork” in the middle)
  • 24A Place for an apian colony : HONEY BEE FARM (“beef” in the middle)
  • 51A Self-arming protection system : PASSIVE ALARM (“veal” in the middle)
  • 64A Beach party with shellfish : CLAMBAKE (“lamb” in the middle)

Bill’s time: 6m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Cheers” cheer : NORM!

The character of Norm Peterson was the only customer of the bar to appear in every episode of “Cheers”, something that one couldn’t really call ironic since he loved that barstool! George Wendt played Norm. I suppose the fact the Wendt was expelled from Notre Dame after one semester with a 0.0 GPA, that might have helped him get the role!

5 Lyft or Uber : APP

Lyft is a ridesharing service that is based in San Francisco, as is Uber, Lyft’s biggest competitor.

13 Melville’s “Typee” sequel : OMOO

Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby-Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).

17 E-cig user’s package : VAPOR KIT (“pork” in the middle)

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

21 ER “Now!” : STAT!

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

24 Place for an apian colony : HONEY BEE FARM (“beef” in the middle)

Something described as apian is related to bees. “Apis” is Latin for “bee”.

31 Keats’ “Sylvan historian” : URN

Here’s the first verse of the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats:

THOU still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

32 Actor McShane and novelist McEwan : IANS

Ian McShane is an English actor who is famous in his homeland, and to PBS viewers in the US, for playing the title role in “Lovejoy”. In this country, he is perhaps better known for playing the conniving saloon owner on the HBO western drama “Deadwood”.

45 Alumna bio word : NEE

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

46 “Argo” setting : IRAN

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

48 One of the four Evangelists : ST MARK

Saint Mark the Evangelist was the author of the Gospel of Mark. He was also the founder of the Church of Alexandria in Egypt, the first bishop of Alexandria and the founder of Christianity in Africa.

“Gospel” is a term that came to us via Old English. The Old English term is “godspel” meaning “good story”, and referred to the glad tidings announced by Jesus. There are four Gospels in the Christian New Testament: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

51 Self-arming protection system : PASSIVE ALARM (“veal” in the middle)

There are two classes of car alarm, namely passive and active. A passive alarm turns on automatically when the vehicle’s doors are locked after the ignition is turned off. There is no need for the driver to set the alarm, hence the term “passive”. An active alarm requires the driver’s intervention for arming.

56 May, to Peter Parker : AUNT

Aunt May and Uncle Ben Parker are characters in the spider-Man universe created by Marvel Comics. The couple’s nephew is Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.

57 North-of-the-border brand : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

66 Inhumane one : SADIST

A sadist is someone who derives pleasure from inflicting pain, with that pleasure often being sexual in nature. The term “sadist” comes from the Marquis de Sade, who was known to exhibit such tendencies.

70 Chi follower : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

71 Gridiron play : PASS

That would be (American) football.

Down

1 Super star : NOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

2 “Rubáiyát” poet Khayyám : OMAR

Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam”. Here are some famous lines from that collection:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

4 Chinese dish with pancakes : MOO SHU

Moo shu pork (also “mu shu pork”) is a traditional dish from northern China, with the main ingredients being shredded pork and scrambled egg. In North America, the dish is served with tortilla-like wrappers that are sometimes referred to as “moo shu pancakes”.

5 Torah holder : ARK

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which are stored the Torah scrolls. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”, I am told.

7 Picayune : PETTY

Something or someone described as picayune is of little value or importance, or perhaps petty and small-minded. The original picayune was a Spanish coin worth half a real, which was not a lot of money.

8 Fisher-Price parent : MATTEL

Mattel is the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Mattel was founded by Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler in 1945, and they chose the company name by combining “Matt” with “El-liot” giving “Matt-el”.

The toy company Fisher-Price was founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher and Irving Price, along with Margaret Evans Price and Helen Schelle. The company’s first toy was introduced the following year. It was a pull-along duck named Dr. Doodle.

10 “Mommie Dearest” mommie : CRAWFORD

“Mommie Dearest” is a 1978 memoir written by Christian Crawford, the daughter of actress Joan Crawford. The book did not paint Joan in a good light, with claims of alcoholism and neglect of her four children.

11 Buckwheat dish : KASHA

Kasha is a type of porridge made from roasted whole-grain buckwheat. The dish is most popular in the Russian and Jewish cultures.

18 Outback hoppers : ROOS

In Australia, the land outside of urban area is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

25 Teutonic turndown : NEIN

“Nein” is the German for “no”, and “ja” translates as “yes”.

The Germanic peoples of Northern Europe are often called “Teutonic”, a term which originated with the Teutons, one of the Germanic tribes that lived in the region in the days of ancient Greece and Rome.

26 Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI

The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

27 Basic math homework : SUMS

Arithmetic is the most elementary branch of mathematics. It is concerned with the effect of basic operations on numbers, and especially the effect of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

29 Draft card designation : ONE-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).

34 Org. with Canadiens and Canucks : NHL

The Montreal Canadiens hockey team is known by the nickname “Habs”, which is short for “Les Habitants”. “Les habitants” were the original French settlers in Quebec.

The Canucks are Vancouver’s professional hockey team, a franchise that joined the National Hockey League in 1970 as an expansion team. “Canuck” is a slang term for “Canadian”.

36 Poet St. Vincent Millay : EDNA

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, and the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon, for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

37 Astro or Angel : AL’ER

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

The Anaheim Angels baseball team are today more correctly called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LAA). The “Angels” name dates back to 1961 when the team was founded in the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles. When the franchise moved to Anaheim in 1965 they were known as the California Angels, then the Anaheim Angels, and most recently the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels are also known as “the Halos”.

41 Crucifix letters : INRI

The letters written on the cross on which Jesus died were INRI. “INRI” is an initialism standing for the Latin “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum”, which translates into English as “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”.

In many of the Christian traditions, a crucifix is a representation of Jesus on the cross. The term “crucifix” comes from the Latin “cruci fixus” meaning “fixed to a cross”.

42 Painted Desert landform : MESA

The Painted Desert in Arizona is a beautiful badlands area noted for colorful rock formations. The name was given way back in 1540 by the Spanish, and is an English translation of the Spanish name “El Desierto Pintado”.

50 1997 chart-topper for Hanson : MMMBOP

Hanson is a pop rock boy band from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hanson’s biggest hit is the 1997 song “MMMBop”.

54 Music licensing fee-collecting org. : ASCAP

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) collects licence fees for musicians and distributes royalties to composers whose works have been performed. BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) provides the same service.

59 Nickname for Haydn : PAPA

Josef Haydn was an Austrian composer, often called the “Father of the Symphony” due to his prolific output of symphonies that helped define the form. This is one of the reasons that he was known, even in his own lifetime, as “Papa Haydn”. Haydn was also the father figure among “the big three” composers of the Classical Period: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn was a good friend to Mozart, and a teacher of Beethoven.

60 Hawaiian strings : UKES

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

61 Rollerball items : PENS

Rollerball pens differ from ballpoint pens in the type of ink that is delivered to the paper. Ballpoint pens use oil-based inks, and rollerball pens use water-based inks. Water-based inks tend to soak into the paper more easily and deeply, which gives the rollerball its distinctive writing quality.

63 Ability to pick things up? : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

65 Boxing legend : ALI

The boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta?

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Cheers” cheer : NORM!
5 Lyft or Uber : APP
8 Makes fun of : MOCKS
13 Melville’s “Typee” sequel : OMOO
14 Seafood delicacy : ROE
15 “Oh, darn!” : AW, RATS!
17 E-cig user’s package : VAPOR KIT (“pork” in the middle)
19 Dollhouse accessory : TEA SET
20 Playground retort : ARE SO!
21 ER “Now!” : STAT!
23 “What fun!” : WHEE!
24 Place for an apian colony : HONEY BEE FARM (“beef” in the middle)
27 Married person : SPOUSE
30 “Furthermore … ” : ALSO …
31 Keats’ “Sylvan historian” : URN
32 Actor McShane and novelist McEwan : IANS
35 Fields of study : AREAS
39 Come to a compromise … and a homophonic hint to what each of four long answers contains : MEET IN THE MIDDLE … and “MEAT” IN THE MIDDLE
43 Offspring : SPAWN
44 Merrie __ England : OLDE
45 Alumna bio word : NEE
46 “Argo” setting : IRAN
48 One of the four Evangelists : ST MARK
51 Self-arming protection system : PASSIVE ALARM (“veal” in the middle)
56 May, to Peter Parker : AUNT
57 North-of-the-border brand : ESSO
58 Kick to the next level : AMP UP
62 Scribe : WRITER
64 Beach party with shellfish : CLAMBAKE (“lamb” in the middle)
66 Inhumane one : SADIST
67 The whole lot : ALL
68 Frank : OPEN
69 Flows slowly : SEEPS
70 Chi follower : PSI
71 Gridiron play : PASS

Down

1 Super star : NOVA
2 “Rubáiyát” poet Khayyám : OMAR
3 One may be tied around a saddle horn : ROPE
4 Chinese dish with pancakes : MOO SHU
5 Torah holder : ARK
6 Composure : POISE
7 Picayune : PETTY
8 Fisher-Price parent : MATTEL
9 Need to pay : OWE
10 “Mommie Dearest” mommie : CRAWFORD
11 Buckwheat dish : KASHA
12 Ranch critter : STEER
16 Goblet part : STEM
18 Outback hoppers : ROOS
22 Cut down to size : ABASED
25 Teutonic turndown : NEIN
26 Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI
27 Basic math homework : SUMS
28 Help the chef : PREP
29 Draft card designation : ONE-A
33 More than apologizes : ATONES
34 Org. with Canadiens and Canucks : NHL
36 Poet St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
37 Astro or Angel : AL’ER
38 Car radio button : SEEK
40 Drawstring alternative : TWIST TIE
41 Crucifix letters : INRI
42 Painted Desert landform : MESA
47 Heads off : AVERTS
49 Airport conveyance : TRAM
50 1997 chart-topper for Hanson : MMMBOP
51 Bear hands : PAWS
52 Mysterious glows : AURAS
53 Like some remarks : SNIDE
54 Music licensing fee-collecting org. : ASCAP
55 Takes it easy : LOLLS
59 Nickname for Haydn : PAPA
60 Hawaiian strings : UKES
61 Rollerball items : PENS
63 Ability to pick things up? : ESP
65 Boxing legend : ALI

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Aug 19, Thursday”

    1. BEQ: 33:10, no errors. Very much beyond “Medium” with too many missteps to count trying to interpret both his theme and a lot of his lame-brained cluing.

  1. LAT 16:56 no errors…my time was less than 3X Bills time which make it a win for me…NYT #0711 57:20 with 7 errors….this was one of those “pros only” puzzles IMO

  2. Finished it but didn’t know what “rollerball” was. All I could think of was an old movie called “Rollerball” with James Caan. It didn’t matter anyway as I got “pens” from the crosses.

  3. Had “hive” before FARM until I figured the theme.
    Like @Kay for PENS.
    Had to Google for MMMBOP. I was in my 50s when that came out, and it apparently wasn’t on my inmates list.

  4. I am as surprised as the next guy. No great shakes on time and as I was
    ready to give up, I kept looking at it with 28 omissions and they just started coming. 100% SOLVED. We found it very challenging, taking a lot of searching, changing, thinking, etc. and I am really glad that we got it. My mate and I don’t usually ace them on Thursdays.

    Would one of you guys or gals enlighten me on how to determine and then
    use the themes? I recall doing it one single time, but do not now remember
    what I did.

    Kudos to all.

    1. >how to determine and then use the themes?

      For most of the early week puzzles, the themes are pretty useless. Even today’s LAT was kinda useless (if you got stuck you could figure out some kind of meat product was in the middle). Or yesterday you know some part of the other theme entries are going to have the letters in DAILY so you can use those as test letters against the Down entries.

      But later in the week you can figure out the theme and use it as an extra edge in getting the rest of those entries. Like if you figure out the constructor is doing a particular thing with another phrase to come up with the phrases in the answer, you can work with that. Like a WSJ last week, the theme entries were HOUSEMEAT (House Mate), RUMMAGESEAL (Rummage Sale), BILLOFFEAR (Bill of Fare), CUSTOMMEAD (Custom Made), and RATTLESNEAK (Rattlesnake). On all of them the trailing E has been moved in 2 spots. If you know one of them or can figure out from the title, you can look for the common phrase that comes to mind with the revealed letters and then make the alteration if you’re unsure what the theme entry’s cluing is hinting at.

    2. Hi John!
      I think the easiest way to find the theme is to fill in the reveal answer first. I do this sometimes, starting therefore in the middle or near the end of the puzzle and trying to get some easy crosses to help. Then if the reveal answer doesn’t work, I do as Glenn does, finding similarities among theme-related answers. I agree with Glenn that with early-week puzzles the themes aren’t much help. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I rarely bother to look for the theme. Often the themes have letters in common so I treat that like anagrams. I doodle different combinations of letters till something seems to fit.

  5. You are right about lame brained cluing. Can’t this moron use real words instead of making stuff up? Astros and angels = aler. COME ON.
    And omoo? Really?

    1. I fail to understand the vitriol over the clueing. ALer and it’s counterpart NLer appear in dozens of crosswords. What’s wrong with them? As for Omoo, really what? A couple of years ago I put a complete anthology of Melville’s works on my Kindle, mainly to reread “Moby Dick,” which I found, for me, didn’t hold up. Having slogged through that, I found his prose to be an excellent soporific, and used “Typee” and “Omoo” and other tales to put me back to sleep in the middle of the night. For the record, I thought both of these awful, but they served my purpose. Again, I’ve seen both titles many times in other puzzles. That you may be unfamiliar with particular authors or works doesn’t make the setter a moron. Perhaps you should expand your horizons. — Jack2

  6. No errors or erasures.
    Re 66A: When the Marquise de Sade was asked what attracted her to the Marquis, she responded “Beats me.”
    Re 11D: I didn’t know Buckwheat was Jewish!
    The theme had me drooling, as I belong to the alternative PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals.

  7. LAT: 9:38, no errors. Newsday: 10:40, no errors. WSJ: 12:22, no errors.

    BEQ: 19:08, no errors. I got 1A through crosses, since I’d never heard of the two brands of shoes involved. I also thought the final theme answer (at 59A) was oddly out of sync with the others, as it really didn’t involve the same kind of play on words. So I scratched my head for a bit over those two entries. Otherwise, though, I would agree (for once) that it was a (BEQ-style 😜) “medium”.

    I was unable to access either of Bill’s blogs or BEQ’s blog until well past noon. I kept getting “cannot locate server” errors when I tried to access them (whereas other sites were just fine). Is anyone else here having similar problems?

  8. Did this puzzle at a leisurely pace, while selling my honey at market. Except for the NE corner I was able to get through any difficulties with crosses.

    Since I keep all my hives in different people’s backyards, I had trouble getting the …FARM part. Also didn’t remember KASHA and couldn’t think of TEASET and didn’t know MATTEL. Eventually just put in STEM and WHEE and since “dogie” didn’t fit, I tried STEER. At least I remembered MMMBOP from a week or so ago and after watching that awful video…kinda sticks in your mind.

    Didn’t bother with the theme, but it would’ve helped a little today.

  9. Salutations!🦆

    No errors. Took me forever to get SUMS, which is pretty silly on my part but I never was good at math!😁

    Never heard of PASSIVE ALARM, but I can extrapolate what it means — might Google anyway.

    Like Sfingi and Kay, I also didn’t think PENS for rollerballs. I thought it would be something like PEAS, the little BBs that roll around in roller skates….gosh! I wonder where my skates are? Wouldn’t mind lacing those up again! … I just won’t wear the tacky 80s clothes that went with them…😸

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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