LA Times Crossword 6 Aug 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Tham to Thym

Themed answers start with the letters THxM-, where x represents a vowel progression from A through Y:

  • 18A MI5 headquarters named for a London river : THAMES HOUSE
  • 23A TV show intro tune : THEME SONG
  • 33A Amount defined by a small sewing gadget : THIMBLEFUL
  • 42A Boss Tweed’s caricaturist : THOMAS NAST
  • 53A Pushed-in bulletin board hardware : THUMBTACK
  • 61A Bouquet garni bunch : THYME SPRIGS
  • Bill’s time: 4m 55s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    1 Cuba, por ejemplo : ISLA

    In Spanish, Cuba “por ejemplo” (for example), is an “isla” (island).

    14 Évian evening : SOIR

    Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

    18 MI5 headquarters named for a London river : THAMES HOUSE

    Thames House is a large office building located on the north bank of the River Thames in London. Built in 1930, and renovated in the early nineties, Thames House has served as the headquarters of MI5 since 1994.

    The UK government gets its foreign intelligence through the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6. The moniker “MI6” arose during WWII, and stands for “Military Intelligence, Section 6”. “MI5” is the common name for the UK’s Security Service, the UK’s counter-intelligence and security agency.

    20 From Canada’s capital : OTTAWAN

    Ottawa is the second-largest city in the Province of Ontario (after Toronto) and is the capital city of Canada. The name “Ottawa” comes from an Algonquin word “adawe”, which means “to trade”.

    26 Asian kebab : SATAY

    The dish known as “satay” originated in Java, Indonesia and is marinated pieces of meat served on a skewer in a sauce, often a spicy peanut sauce. “Satay” is the Indonesian spelling, and “sate” is the Malay spelling.

    27 “Who wants my jellyfish? / I’m not sellyfish!” poet : NASH

    Ogden Nash the poet was well known for his light and humorous verse, such as:

    Who wants my jellyfish?
    I’m not sellyfish

    28 Seeker of “the way” : TAOIST

    The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Taoism signifies the true nature of the world.

    33 Amount defined by a small sewing gadget : THIMBLEFUL

    The original thimbles were leather pouches that covered the thumb. The word “thimble” comes from the word “thumb” with an “-le” suffix. A word with a similar etymology is “handle” from “hand” plus “-le”.

    38 Boardroom VIP : CEO

    Chief executive officer (CEO)

    40 The Beatles’ “__ Mine” : I ME

    “I Me Mine” is one of the relatively few Beatles songs to have been written by George Harrison (and indeed performed by him). Harrison chose the same title for his autobiography, which was published in 1980, just a few weeks before John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.

    41 Santa __ winds : ANA

    The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

    42 Boss Tweed’s caricaturist : THOMAS NAST

    William Magear Tweed was known as “Boss” Tweed. He was a 19th-century, American politician who led the Democratic Party machine in New York, headquartered in Tammany Hall. He was one of the most successful of the corrupt politicians of the day, siphoning from taxpayers (in today’s money) billions of dollars. In 1871 he was arrested, and served time in jail. He was then rearrested on civil charges and served time in debtor’s prison. He managed to escape to Spain, but was arrested again and extradited to the United States. He died in jail in 1878.

    Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. Nast was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today. Thomas Nast drew some famous cartoons in which he depicted the Tammany Society as a vicious tiger that was killing democracy. Nast’s use of the tiger symbology caught on and was used by other cartoonists to harp at the society.

    48 Meticulous to a fault : ANAL

    The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

    50 Humana rival : 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.

    Humana is a health insurance company based in Louisville, and is the largest company in the state of Kentucky.

    57 Stars and __ : STRIPES

    Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first Stars and Stripes.

    60 Dragster, e.g. : RACE CAR

    Back in the 18th century “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted “drag” as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

    61 Bouquet garni bunch : THYME SPRIGS

    “Bouquet garni” is French for “garnished bouquet”, and is the name given to a bundle of herbs often tied together and added to soups, stocks and stews. The bouquet garni adds flavor, but is removed prior to serving. The list of herbs included in the “bundle” varies, but thyme and bay leaf are often the base ingredients.

    64 Maggie Simpson’s sister : LISA

    Lisa Simpson is Bart’s brainy younger sister on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Lisa is voiced by actress Yeardley Smith. In a 2008 episode of the show, Lisa enters a crossword tournament. Crossword celebrities Merl Reagle and Will Shortz make appearances in that episode, basically playing cartoon versions of themselves.

    65 Avatar of Vishnu : RAMA

    In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has seven different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.

    68 What “lama” has, as opposed to “llama” : ONE L

    “Lama” is a Tibetan word meaning “chief” or “high priest”.

    The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.

    Down

    2 Truth, to Shakespeare : SOOTH

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

    5 Prefix with centric : ETHNO-

    To be ethnocentric is to believe in the superiority of one’s own race, or to have an obsessive concern with race.

    7 Los Angeles NFLer : 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.

    8 Old Roman road : ITER

    “Iter” is Latin for “road”.

    11 Aleut relative : INUIT

    The Inuit people live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

    The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

    12 __ nova: Brazilian dance : BOSSA

    Bossa nova is a style of music from Brazil that evolved from samba. The most famous piece of bossa nova is the song “The Girl from Ipanema”.

    19 Red tape, e.g. : HASSLE

    Back in the days of yore in England, official documents were bound in bundles with red ribbon. So, getting through all the paperwork required “cutting through the red tape”.

    21 Director Craven : WES

    Wes Craven was a very successful film director and writer specializing in movies of the horror genre, which means that I don’t watch them! He was responsible for “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Scream” films. Craven passed away in August 2015.

    25 Moo goo __ pan : GAI

    Moo goo gai pan is the American version of a traditional Cantonese dish. In Cantonese, “moo goo” means “button mushroom”, “gai” is “chicken” and “pan” is “slices”.

    30 “Big Blue” : IBM

    The origin of the IBM nickname “Big Blue” seems to have been lost in the mists of time. That said, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the IBM logo is blue, and almost every mainframe they produced was painted blue. I remember visiting IBM on business a few times in my career, and back then we were encouraged to wear white shirts and blue suits “to fit in” with our client’s culture.

    31 Bowler or derby : HAT

    I think that a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

    32 Otto’s “Oh!” : ACH!

    The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

    33 Theater award named after Antoinette Perry : TONY

    The Tony Awards are more completely referred to as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Broadway Theatre. The awards are named for Mary Antoinette “Tony” Perry, who was a co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

    35 Game with Wild Draw Four cards : UNO

    In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that UNO is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

    38 Savory finger food : CANAPE

    A canapé is a finger food, something small enough to eat in just one bite. In French, “canapé” is actually the word for a couch or a sofa. The name was given to the snack as the original canapés were savories served on toasted or stale bread that supposedly resembled a tiny couch.

    39 Wits’ end? : ESS

    The ending letter in the word “wits” is a letter S (ess).

    44 Tiny army crawler : ANT

    Army ants are a collection of over two hundred different species of ants. Each species is known for aggressively raiding a certain area en masse, foraging for food. Army ants also stay on the move, never building permanent nests.

    46 Kneecap : PATELLA

    The patella is the kneecap. The bone’s Latin name is “patella”, which is a diminutive form of “patina”, the word for “pan”. The idea is that the kneecap is pan-shaped.

    49 “Will & Grace” network : NBC

    I’ve always thought the real stars of “Will & Grace” were not the title characters, but rather the supporting characters Jack (played by Sean Hayes) and Karen (played by Megan Mullally).

    50 The Jetsons’ dog : ASTRO

    “The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it debuted in 1963 on ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” is like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family in Orbit City are Rosie the household robot and Astro the pet dog.

    51 Wharton’s “__ Frome” : ETHAN

    “Ethan Frome” is a novel by New York and Massachusetts author Edith Wharton, first published in 1911. Wharton started “Ethan Frome” as a composition in French that she wrote while studying the language in Paris. The novel was adapted into a 1993 film of the same name starring Liam Neeson in the title role, opposite Patricia Arquette.

    Edith Wharton was a novelist and designer from New York City. Wharton was a wealthy woman and built her own estate in Lenox, Massachusetts called the Mount. My wife and I had the privilege of touring the Mount a few years ago, and there we saw evidence of what design meant to Wharton.

    55 Barcelona abodes : CASAS

    Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

    56 Cheez Whiz maker : KRAFT

    The processed cheese spread called Cheez Whiz was introduced by Kraft in 1952. Believe it or not, it’s still around …

    58 In __: existing : ESSE

    The Latin term “in esse” is used to mean “actually existing”, and translates literally as “in being”.

    59 Inbox annoyance : SPAM

    The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Cuba, por ejemplo : ISLA
    5 Uncanny : EERIE
    10 Hard-to-describe sensation : VIBE
    14 Évian evening : SOIR
    15 Levels of society : STRATA
    16 A party to : IN ON
    17 Facial feature with a bridge : NOSE
    18 MI5 headquarters named for a London river : THAMES HOUSE
    20 From Canada’s capital : OTTAWAN
    22 Genre that represents things as they are : REALISM
    23 TV show intro tune : THEME SONG
    26 Asian kebab : SATAY
    27 “Who wants my jellyfish? / I’m not sellyfish!” poet : NASH
    28 Seeker of “the way” : TAOIST
    31 Door hardware : HASP
    33 Amount defined by a small sewing gadget : THIMBLEFUL
    37 Play a part (in) : ACT
    38 Boardroom VIP : CEO
    40 The Beatles’ “__ Mine” : I ME
    41 Santa __ winds : ANA
    42 Boss Tweed’s caricaturist : THOMAS NAST
    46 Splash sound : PLOP!
    47 On the same wavelength : IN SYNC
    48 Meticulous to a fault : ANAL
    50 Humana rival : AETNA
    53 Pushed-in bulletin board hardware : THUMBTACK
    57 Stars and __ : STRIPES
    60 Dragster, e.g. : RACE CAR
    61 Bouquet garni bunch : THYME SPRIGS
    64 Maggie Simpson’s sister : LISA
    65 Avatar of Vishnu : RAMA
    66 Chef’s array : SAUCES
    67 Browse (through) : LEAF
    68 What “lama” has, as opposed to “llama” : ONE L
    69 Implant (in) : EMBED
    70 Type of prof. : ASST

    Down

    1 Childish comeback : IS NOT!
    2 Truth, to Shakespeare : SOOTH
    3 Hears out : LISTENS TO
    4 Tourist’s guide : AREA MAP
    5 Prefix with centric : ETHNO-
    6 Historic time span : ERA
    7 Los Angeles NFLer : RAM
    8 Old Roman road : ITER
    9 Let up : EASE
    10 Break, as laws : VIOLATE
    11 Aleut relative : INUIT
    12 __ nova: Brazilian dance : BOSSA
    13 Foe : ENEMY
    15 Hidden loot : STASH
    19 Red tape, e.g. : HASSLE
    21 Director Craven : WES
    24 Utmost degree : NTH
    25 Moo goo __ pan : GAI
    29 Fail to include : OMIT
    30 “Big Blue” : IBM
    31 Bowler or derby : HAT
    32 Otto’s “Oh!” : ACH!
    33 Theater award named after Antoinette Perry : TONY
    34 Misconceptions : FALLACIES
    35 Game with Wild Draw Four cards : UNO
    36 Drink like a cat : LAP
    38 Savory finger food : CANAPE
    39 Wits’ end? : ESS
    43 Least possible : MINIMAL
    44 Tiny army crawler : ANT
    45 It might be elementary: Abbr. : SCH
    46 Kneecap : PATELLA
    48 Stockpile : AMASS
    49 “Will & Grace” network : NBC
    50 The Jetsons’ dog : ASTRO
    51 Wharton’s “__ Frome” : ETHAN
    52 “I’m almost afraid to tell you” response : TRY ME
    54 Encouraged : URGED
    55 Barcelona abodes : CASAS
    56 Cheez Whiz maker : KRAFT
    58 In __: existing : ESSE
    59 Inbox annoyance : SPAM
    62 Spice mix for ribs : RUB
    63 Limited-life sculpture material : ICE

    18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Aug 19, Tuesday”

    1. LAT: 8:17, with two squares in error. I confidently (and stupidly 😜) wrote in “MAXIMUM” instead of “MAXIMAL” and never got around to checking the crossing entries. Newsday: 5:40, no errors. WSJ: 8:02, no errors. (Did these last night after a long off-trail hike, so I wasn’t at my best.)

      Jones: 13:47, no errors. Many sports- and music-related things I didn’t know that I either had to get from crosses or guess at. And I spent a minute or so deciding that the clue for 36A (“Workout unit” for “ERG”) is simply wrong: a “rep” is a “workout unit”, but an “erg” is a “unit of work”. If I had an email address for Jones, I’d ask him about this … 🤨.

      Croce at 4:00.

      1. Tim Croce: 1:15:19, no errors. Typical Croce (maybe a little more so). Very difficult and, for once, with an entry that I got from crosses and don’t really understand: The (rather lengthy) clue is “‘One. Hundred. Percent. Agree.’ (See, isn’t that one-word sentence thing annoying?)” and the entry is “SO MUCH THIS”. Perhaps someone younger (and/or smarter) than me can explain?

    2. 8:46. Kudos to the setter for coming up with a clue for ONE L that has nothing to do with the first year of law school.

      Dave – The answer was MINIMAL. You may have had more errors that you thought…..

      Best –

      1. Oops. I had “MINIMUM” instead of “MINIMAL”. So much for my short-term memory! … 😳. Did I mention that yesterday’s hike left me more than a little exhausted? … 😜.

        And … since I’m here … I just did today’s Universal Crossword in the local paper and I have to say that David Steinberg is really amping them up. Again, I have to wonder if the feedback is entirely positive, given the media in which that puzzle appears. I can only imagine the outrage some will have in response to the gimmick used in today’s puzzle.

    3. Almost 2 hours of searching, thinking and changing, but we finally ended
      with 0 errors and I feel a real sense of accomplishment, even though slow.
      I remain just astounded at the times you guys and gals post and tell how
      much fun it was. I must concede that it was fun in a challenging way. I took issue with the 48 Across word. This word is not needed in puzzles. Just my feeling.

    4. Easy for me today. I do find vowel progressions a giveaway.

      From yesterday and other days: I had wondered a long time why ETSY had not appeared in puzzles. Of course, it’s because omitting it is sexist. There, I said it. If you guys can have sports up the * then we can have ETSY.

    5. 7:38, no errors. Of course, then you have to come here and see another sub-5-minute finish time for Bill, and be put firmly in your place. Damn. 🙂

      And I have to ask: what is this fascination with word ladders? I just see nothing at all in them. It’s the most “so-what” feature in all of puzzledom. Not as bad a rebus, no, but of even less … I dunno, substance?

      1. @Allen
        I don’t get it, and really don’t get themes either. Someone decided sometime ago that puzzles had to have themes, so people do it. The thing with words and letters is you really can only do so many things like that before they get boring and repetitive. Not to mention, how many of them are actually noticeable as you solve the puzzle?

        That’s kind of one of the things that keeps me from turning out grids. I’m not going to try to submit stuff that doesn’t thrill me and since themes don’t thrill me, it’s hard to know what kind of theme/thing that would actually thrill an editor or someone else that actually does get a thrill out of finding the themes.

    6. About 8 minutes – nothing too exciting. I used to think that sub-5 minute times were impossible on a written puzzle but it makes perfect if one gets about 80% of the across clues without even blinking.

      That 48A clue should be changed to “relating to the area where feces are ejected in mammals”. That might be more palatable …. then again I am waiting for the day when SH!T, BULLSH!T, FELLATIO or any semi-risque word shows up in a puzzle – or maybe I missed it ??

      1. Oh, PLEASE! Like you’ve never described an overly fussy person as “anal”? Mayhap we shan’t ever see “nude” or “naked” or “erotic” or the like in a crossword. Oh merciful heavens! I feel the vapors coming on just typing those salacious epithets. I must retire to my fainting chaise…

    7. A couple of days ago, I came across an article about a sculptor and author named Philippe Faraut, one of whose pieces is called “The Art Critic”. I think it could just as easily be called “The Crossword Critic” (or even just “The Critic”). The following link will take you to an image of the piece, with a six-minute video that is well worth watching:

      http://morethanmudpies.com/art-tips/sculpting-the-art-critic

      Enjoy … 😜.

    8. Hey folks! 🦆

      No errors. I’d call the theme “AND SOMETIMES WHY??” 😁

      Dave’s comment had me searching the grid for MAXIMUM….then Jeff’s comment had me wondering where MINIMUM was! One of those you fill in via crosses without even noticing the word that is formed….

      Dave– re that vexing Croce entry — I sorta get what he’s saying…but it seems like the answer is a response to the clue, and of course that is not what is asked for in the clue. The clue is like
      “Response to ‘I totally agree. ‘” Entry = “What a crazy scene!”

      …. or I’m totally wrong….🤔

      Jane! Agree about ETSY!!👍

      Be well~~🚋⚾️

      1. Thanks, Carrie … I’ll think a bit more about that Croce clue, but I may have to consign it to the “I just don’t get this” bin!

        And I also agree about “ETSY” … but its absence might be due to sexism of the unconscious variety …

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