LA Times Crossword 7 Aug 19, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Plumbers

Themed answers start with an item associated with PLUMBERS:

  • 60A ’70s covert White House intelligence group … and, in a more conventional sense, a hint to the starts of the answers to starred clues : PLUMBERS
  • 17A *Secret stage exit : TRAPDOOR
  • 25A *Forte of Savion Glover and Gregory Hines : TAP DANCING
  • 35A *Impractical hope : PIPE DREAM
  • 51A *Pass/fail metaphor : SINK OR SWIM

Bill’s time: 5m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Many 4WD autos : SUVS

“SUV” is an initialism standing for “sports utility vehicle”, and is a term that was introduced by our marketing friends. Using the phrase “sports utility vehicle” was a very clever way to get us to pay a lot of money for what was essentially a station wagon on a truck chassis, or at least it was back then.

Four-wheel drive (4WD)

16 100-lawmaker group : SENATE

The US Senate comprises 100 senators, with each of the fifty states being represented by two popularly elected senators. US senators were appointed by their state legislators from 1798 until 1913, until the Seventeenth Amendment called for popular elections.

19 Gets ready to drive : TEES UP

In the game of golf, a “tee” is a wooden or plastic peg on which one can place a ball when “teeing off”. Also, the “teeing ground” (sometimes “tee” or “tee box”) is the area at the beginning of the hole from which the first stroke is taken, from where one tees off.

20 Tempe sch. : ASU

Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, and was founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.

Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.

21 Out of the wind : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

23 A, in many orgs. : ASSN

Association (assn.)

25 *Forte of Savion Glover and Gregory Hines : TAP DANCING

Savion Glover is a professional tap dancer and actor from Newark, New Jersey.

Maurice and Gregory Hines are a pair of brothers who are famous for starting out their show business careers as tap dancers. Maurice made one film appearance, in 1984’s “The Cotton Club”. The younger brother, Gregory, has been more visible in front of the camera. Gregory was one of the leads in the movie “The Cotton Club”, and hosted “The Gregory Hines Show” on television.

31 Northern Iraqi city : MOSUL

Mosul is located in northern Iraq and is the third largest city in the country, after Baghdad and Basra. It is located on the west bank of the Tigris river, opposite the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh in the east bank. Mosul was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014. Those residents of Mosul who did not escape suffered under the rule of ISIL until the city’s liberation following the Battle of Mosul in 2016/2017.

32 Indian flatbread : NAAN

Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.

35 *Impractical hope : PIPE DREAM

In common parlance, a “pipe dream” is a vain hope for something that is unlikely to take place. The original pipe dreams were visions that were experienced after taking opiates.

39 Brief writer, briefly : ATT

Attorney (att.)

43 Pick up the tab : TREAT

When we run a tab at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

47 Low-cost product : CHEAPIE

A cheapie is something that is cheap, and particularly applies to a low-budget movie.

50 Midsize Chevy : IMPALA

The Chevrolet Impala was introduced in 1957. “Impala” is the Zulu word for “gazelle”.

55 Night in Paris : NUIT

The French capital of Paris is named for the Parisii, a Celtic Iron-Age people that lived in the area on the banks of the River Seine.

56 Array in a British pantry : TINS

The word “pantry” dates back to 1300 when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.

57 Lobster dinner accessory : BIB

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

60 ’70s covert White House intelligence group … and, in a more conventional sense, a hint to the starts of the answers to starred clues : PLUMBERS

G. Gordon Liddy serving in various positions in the Nixon administration. In 1971, Liddy was moved into a unit tasked with managing leaks of information from the White House. As the group was working on “leaks”, it was known as the White House “Plumbers” unit. Over time, the Plumbers moved from plugging leaks to actively plotting to embarrass the Democratic opposition during President Nixon’s re-election campaign. Ultimately, Liddy led the group of five men who famously broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Campaign in the Watergate Complex. Liddy was sentenced to a 20-year prison term, although he only served four and half years following a commutation to his sentence by President Jimmy Carter. Years later, Liddy became quite successful as a nationally syndicated talk show host.

63 Singer who was 15 in 2009 when his debut EP “My World” was released : BIEBER

Justin Bieber is a young pop singer from London, Ontario. Bieber was actually discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Brown. Fans of Bieber call themselves “Beliebers”. Personally, I’m no believer in Bieber …

64 “Downton Abbey” title : EARL

In the incredibly successful period drama “Downton Abbey”, the patriarch of the family living at Downton is Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham or Lord Grantham. The character is played by Hugh Bonneville. Lord Grantham married American Cora Levinson (played by Elizabeth McGovern). Lord and Lady Grantham had three daughters, and no son. The lack of a male heir implied that the Grantham estate would pass to a male cousin, and out of the immediate family. The Grantham daughters are Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (played by Laura Carmichael) and Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). Lady Sybil had the audacity to marry the family chauffeur, who was an Irish nationalist. The shame of it all …

68 “Inside the NBA” network : TNT

“TNT” stands for Turner Network Television. The TNT cable channel made a big splash in the eighties when it started to broadcast old MGM movies that had been “colorized”, not something that was a big hit with the public. In recent years, the TNT programming lineup is touted with the tagline “We Know Drama”, and includes shows like “Judging Amy”, “ER” and “Cold Case”.

Down

1 Sotheby’s showing : ART

Sotheby’s is one of the world’s oldest auction houses, having opened its doors for business in 1744 in London. However, the company is now headquartered in New York City. The ticker symbol for Sotheby’s on the New York Stock Exchange is quite apt, i.e. “BID”.

2 Liqueur named for an island : CURACAO

The liqueur known as Curaçao comes from the island of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. The liqueur is usually given artificial coloring to make it suitable for use in exotic cocktails. The common colors used are blue and orange.

5 WWII subs : U-BOATS

The term “U-boat” comes from the German word “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

6 It’s tuned an octave higher than a cello : VIOLA

The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, between the violin and the cello.

7 Penicillin target : STREP

Streptococcus bacteria multiply and divide along a single axis so that they form linked chains. That behavior gives the genus of bacteria its name, as “streptos” is Greek for “easily twisted, like a chain”. I had to battle with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) twice in the past few years and it was not at all pleasant, I must say. Another species of streptococcus is responsible for that terrible “flesh-eating” infection that makes the news from time to time.

The antibiotic called penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. He noted that a blue-green mold growing in a Petri dish produced a substance that inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus bacteria, which was growing on the same substrate. The mold was Penicillium notatum, and Fleming named the antibiotic penicillin after the mold.

8 Omaha winter hrs. : CST

Central Standard Time (CST)

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.

9 Womack of country : LEE ANN

Lee Ann Womack is a country music singer and songwriter from Jacksonville, Texas.

10 Worldwide cultural org. : UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is better known by the acronym “UNESCO”. UNESCO’s mission is help build peace in the world using programs focused on education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. The organization’s work is aimed in particular at Africa, and gender equalization. UNESCO also administers a World Heritage Site program that designates and helps conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to humanity across the world.

18 Pecs builder : PUSHUP

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

22 Name of eight English kings : EDWARD

There have been eight kings of England named Edward. Edward I was on the throne from 1272 to 1307 and was also known as Edward Longshanks. The “Longshanks” name came from Edward’s exceptional height. Edward VIII was on the British throne for less than a year. Famously, Edward abdicated in 1936 in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

24 PC pioneer : IBM

Tech giant IBM was founded as the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. The company changed its name to the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) in 1911 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. The name “International Business Machines” (IBM) was given first to the company’s Canadian subsidiary, and then to its South American subsidiary. In 1924, it was decided to adopt the International Business Machines name for the whole company. Good choice …

29 New Haven collegian : ELI

The city of New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1638 by Puritan immigrants from England. New Haven is home to Yale University. The city also initiated the first public tree planting program in the country. The large elms included in the program led to New Haven being called “the Elm City”.

36 Pliers unit : PAIR

The verb “to ply” can mean “to twist together”, and used to mean “to bend”. A pair of “pliers” can be used to bend something, hence the tool’s name.

38 Onetime Dr Pepper rival : MR PIBB

The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

39 Apt. coolers : ACS

Air conditioner (AC)

41 Like many veteran professors : TENURED

A job in a university that is described as “tenure-track” is one that can lead to a tenured position. A tenured position is a “job for life”. A person with tenure can only be dismissed for cause.

45 High-fiber Kellogg’s cereal : ALL-BRAN

“All-Bran” is a breakfast cereal that has been produced by Kellogg’s since 1916. Kellogg’s Bran Flakes had been introduced a year earlier.

46 __ kwon do : TAE

Tae kwon do is the national sport of Korea. “Tae” means “to strike or break with foot”; “kwon” means “to strike or break with fist”; “do” means “way” or “art”. Along with judo, tae kwon do is one of only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.

48 With hands on hips : AKIMBO

“Akimbo” is such a lovely word, I think (as in “arms akimbo”). I failed to dig up anything too exciting about the term’s etymology. It seems to stem from Middle English, “in kekbowe” or “on kenbow” meaning “bend in a curve”. When the arms are held akimbo, the hands are on the hips and the elbows are pointed outward.

49 Wizard with a scar : POTTER

Author J. K.Rowling’s famous character Harry Potter has a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, the result of an attack on his life as a baby by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.

58 Fighters’ org. : WBA

World Boxing Association (WBA)

59 “Grey’s Anatomy” sets, briefly : ORS

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

61 D.C. United org. : MLS

D.C. United is a professional soccer team based in the nation’s capital. The team competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) and plays home games at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.

62 Police dept. rank : SGT

The rank of lieutenant (lt.) is superior to the rank of sergeant (sgt.).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “__ your age!” : ACT
4 Many 4WD autos : SUVS
8 Oafish : CLUMSY
14 Feel badly about : RUE
15 Slightly : A BIT
16 100-lawmaker group : SENATE
17 *Secret stage exit : TRAPDOOR
19 Gets ready to drive : TEES UP
20 Tempe sch. : ASU
21 Out of the wind : ALEE
23 A, in many orgs. : ASSN
24 Frosts, as cupcakes : ICES
25 *Forte of Savion Glover and Gregory Hines : TAP DANCING
28 Comes clean? : BATHES
30 Persuaded : WON OVER
31 Northern Iraqi city : MOSUL
32 Indian flatbread : NAAN
34 Botch the job : ERR
35 *Impractical hope : PIPE DREAM
39 Brief writer, briefly : ATT
42 Blew away : AWED
43 Pick up the tab : TREAT
47 Low-cost product : CHEAPIE
50 Midsize Chevy : IMPALA
51 *Pass/fail metaphor : SINK OR SWIM
54 Cruise stopover : ISLE
55 Night in Paris : NUIT
56 Array in a British pantry : TINS
57 Lobster dinner accessory : BIB
58 Become fond of : WARM TO
60 ’70s covert White House intelligence group … and, in a more conventional sense, a hint to the starts of the answers to starred clues : PLUMBERS
63 Singer who was 15 in 2009 when his debut EP “My World” was released : BIEBER
64 “Downton Abbey” title : EARL
65 Droop : SAG
66 Passions : ARDORS
67 Salon colors : DYES
68 “Inside the NBA” network : TNT

Down

1 Sotheby’s showing : ART
2 Liqueur named for an island : CURACAO
3 Dollhouse dishes : TEA SETS
4 Downcast : SAD
5 WWII subs : U-BOATS
6 It’s tuned an octave higher than a cello : VIOLA
7 Penicillin target : STREP
8 Omaha winter hrs. : CST
9 Womack of country : LEE ANN
10 Worldwide cultural org. : UNESCO
11 Enormous : MASSIVE
12 Major upset, say : STUNNER
13 Slangy “Sure” : YEP
18 Pecs builder : PUSHUP
22 Name of eight English kings : EDWARD
24 PC pioneer : IBM
26 Tops : A-ONE
27 Watchdog warning : GRR!
29 New Haven collegian : ELI
32 Most recent : NEWEST
33 Fruit drink suffix : -ADE
36 Pliers unit : PAIR
37 Bill-filled device : ATM
38 Onetime Dr Pepper rival : MR PIBB
39 Apt. coolers : ACS
40 Vanishing point? : THIN AIR
41 Like many veteran professors : TENURED
44 Least challenging : EASIEST
45 High-fiber Kellogg’s cereal : ALL-BRAN
46 __ kwon do : TAE
48 With hands on hips : AKIMBO
49 Wizard with a scar : POTTER
50 Confident reply : I’M SURE
52 Cleaned with a cloth : WIPED
53 Woodwork pattern : INLAY
58 Fighters’ org. : WBA
59 “Grey’s Anatomy” sets, briefly : ORS
61 D.C. United org. : MLS
62 Police dept. rank : SGT

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Aug 19, Wednesday”

  1. LAT: 8:14, no errors. Newsday: 5:41, no errors. WSJ: 11:27, no errors.

    Yesterday, rather late, I posted a link to a wonderful video showing a sculptor named Phillipe Faraut creating a piece called “The Art Critic” that perfectly captures my mental image of critics in general. It’s well worth watching:

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

    I myself could have had a stellar career in the arts, had I not been robbed of it by a total lack of talent … 😳. Nevertheless, I feel that I can be part of an appreciative audience (especially when the artistry is expressed in the form of a crossword … 😜).

    1. @ Dave

      Watched the whole video. It was great. Such talent. I too wish I had it. I kept taking Art class in high school hoping for success until the art teacher suggested I look for another elected class!

  2. About an hour and 1 error, missing NUIT (55 Across) . Being from Louisiana
    and the ace French student at my high school, that makes me feel pretty dumb.
    So, I have joined the typo club with Mary. Very happy with the result; had the most trouble in the SW quadrant, plus did not know the word AKIMBO but fillers got it for us. Good for a Wednesday.

  3. 8:46. Missed the theme entirely.

    I went to Curacao one time. The water surrounding it might be the clearest water I’ve ever seen. They speak English, Spanish and Dutch on the island, but Papamiento is their native language. Aruba speaks the same language. I learned a few words while I was there. “Dushi” means “good” in just about any sense…good looking, good person, good tasting…just say “dushi”, and you’re all set. Bondia, bontardi, and bonochi is how you say “hello” – depending on the time of day. Those phrases are obviously taken from Spanish.

    “Beer” was “serbes”. I assume it’s short for “cerveza”. Thank you is “danki”…obviously from Dutch or German.

    I must be procrastinating. I’m way off on a tangent.

    Best –

  4. I take issue with the clueing for 50A. I quickly put in “Malibu” as that is Chevy’s midsized car. Ditched it when the crosses didn’t work. The Impala always has been Chevy’s full sized line back to its inception. — Jack2

  5. 7:54, no errors. Enjoyable, trick-free, non-stretch theme, what more can you ask for? Two thumbs up for Mark McClain!

    1. @Glenn … I need to read that article again when I am more nearly functional (I just got back from another long hike), but I think you’ve nailed it for me … so … thank you! … 😜.

  6. Re 60A: The Plumbers were recruited from among the guys that were involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and we all know how well that went!
    After that, but before Watergate, Liddy and Hunt tasked them with stealing Ellsberg’s psychiatric file. The story of their failure to do so, told by Liddy in his autobiography, is just hilarious.
    Why, then, did Liddy and Hunt then use these same guys to bug the DNC’s office? Or one could ask, why were Liddy and Hunt used to lead another operation?
    I recommend Liddy’s book- funny as hell.

    1. Michael –

      That’s some good stuff. Are you referring to Liddy’s autobiography? I might need to put that on my “to do” list.

  7. Sorry to be the bad fairy, but I have to make a complaint about an otherwise satisfactory puzzle.
    “Feel badly” is, simply, bad grammar. It should be “feel bad,” unless one is talking about, say, a sufferer of leprosy.

  8. Pretty easy Wednesday for me; took 17 minutes with no errors and just two missteps that needed to be fixed. Initially had NoIr before NUIT and, even though I knew better, put Msl before MLS.

  9. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    No errors. Jane, you’re right– adjective “bad” needed with stative verb “feel,” not adverb “badly”!!! Kind of a careless mistake for a crossword setter.🤔

    Nice puzzle otherwise! 😊

    Curaçao!! I just typed that out to see if my tablet had the “c” with the thingy on it! It does!! Jeff– very interesting stuff re the languages there.

    Be well ~~🚋⚾️

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