LA Times Crossword 9 Aug 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Alicia Bachman & Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Suits Up

Themed answers are all in the down-direction, but are read in the UP-direction. And, each includes the name of a SUIT in a deck of cards:

  • 25D Gets ready for the big game … and a hint to four puzzle answers : SUITS UP
  • 5D Preliminary drudgery : KROWEDAPS (SPADEWORK)
  • 10D Layered lunch order : HCIWDNASBULC (CLUB SANDWICH)
  • 21D Regal headpiece : ARAITDNOMAID (DIAMOND TIARA)
  • 37D EKG reading : TAEBTRAEH (HEARTBEAT)

Bill’s time: 9m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 i follower : -POD

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

15 Cry from a toon sombrero wearer : ARRIBA!

“Arriba” is Spanish for “above”. Speedy Gonzales used to yell out “Arriba!” a lot, meaning “get up!”.

In English we think of a sombrero as a wide-brimmed hat, but in Spanish “sombrero” is the word for any hat. “Sombrero” is derived from “sombra” meaning “shade”.

17 Dog star’s first name? : RIN

The original Rin Tin Tin was a real-life dog, a puppy discovered by a GI in a bombed-out kennel in France during WWI. The soldier named the pup Rin Tin Tin, the same name as a puppet given to American soldiers for luck. On returning to the US, “Rinty” was trained by his owner and was spotted doing tricks by a film producer. Rinty featured in some films, eventually getting his first starring role in 1923 in the silent movie “Where the North Begins”. Legend has it that this first Rin Tin Tin died in the arms of actress Jean Harlow. Not a bad way to go …

19 Hebrides isle : IONA

Although the small island of Iona lies just off the west coast of Scotland, it was the site of a monastery built in the Middle Ages by a monk from Ireland names Colm Cille (also known as Columba). Colm Cille and his followers were sent into exile from the Irish mainland and settled in Iona, as at that time the island was part of an Irish kingdom. This monastery in Iona expanded its influence over the decades and founded other institutions all over Ireland and Great Britain. It is believed that the famous Book of Kells may have been written, or at least started, at the monastery on Iona. Iona is also the burial site for Macbeth, King of Scotland who was immortalized in Shakespeare’s fictional account of the king’s life.

The Hebrides is a group of islands just off the west coast of Scotland. The Hebrides are divided into two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

20 King’s self-allusion : ROYAL WE

The “royal we” is more correctly called the “majestic plural”, and is the use of a plural pronoun to describe a single person in a high office. I suppose the most often quoted phrase that uses the majestic plural is “We are not amused”, which is often attributed to Queen Victoria. The editorial we is a similar concept, in which a newspaper editor or columnist refers to himself or herself as “we” when giving an opinion.

24 Westchester County city known for its Playland : RYE

The New York city of Rye is the youngest in the state, having received its charter in 1942. Rye is home to the historic amusement park called Playland, which in 1987 was designated a National Historic Landmark. Opened in 1928, today’s Playland is actually owned and operated by Westchester County, making it one of the only government-operated amusement parks in the whole country.

25 Pricey strings : STRAD

Generations of the Stradivari family produced violins and other stringed instruments, the most famous of which were constructed by Antonio Stradivari.

26 Civil rights icon Parks : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

29 Roman god : DEUS

“Deus” (plural “dei”) is Latin for “god”.

35 Others, to Ovid : ALII

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus, although what led to this disfavor isn’t truly understood.

36 “Exodus” hero : ARI

“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris that was first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, a character played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

39 Two-time Wimbledon champ Kvitová : PETRA

Petra Kvitová is a professional tennis player from the Czech Republic who earned herself the number-two world ranking in 2011. Kvitová’s playing career went on hold for several months starting in December 2016 when her apartment was robbed and she was attacked with a knife. She suffered slashed tendons and nerves in her left hand (she is a left-handed player). The attacker was caught some time later, and was sentenced to eight years in jail in 2019.

41 Ward of “Sisters” : SELA

Actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. Ward played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently, Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast. And, Ward played Dr. Richard Kimble’s murdered wife in the 1993 film version of “The Fugitive”.

45 Take off : BOLT

To bolt is to move suddenly, and especially to run away. The verb derives from the fast-moving bolt (the arrow) shot by a crossbow.

46 November 1 honoree : SAINT

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

51 __ Aviv : TEL

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, and is a name that was chosen in 1910.

53 Melville narrator : ISHMAEL

Ishmael is the narrator and protagonist in the Herman Melville novel “Moby-Dick”.

60 Classic role for Carrie : 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 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 …

Actress Carrie Fisher was best known for playing Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” series of films. Fisher was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Fisher fell seriously ill on a transatlantic flight at the end of 2016, and then died of cardiac arrest four days later. Famously, her mother and next-door neighbor in Beverly Hills, passed away following a stroke, just one day after her daughter died.

61 Antique photos : SEPIAS

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as ancient Rome and ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

63 Supermarket chain : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

64 Four Tops frontman Stubbs : LEVI

Levi Stubbs was the lead vocalist of the Four Tops. Stubbs also landed a pretty famous voice-acting role, providing the voice of the carnivorous plant Audrey II in the 1986 musical movie “Little Shop of Horrors”.

The original lineup of the Four Tops agreed to form a vocal quartet when they were high school students together in Detroit. The group started out using the name “The Four Aims”, but changed it to Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers.

65 Seat of County Kerry : TRALEE

Tralee is the county town of Kerry in Ireland. Tralee is home to the famed “Rose of Tralee” Festival that is so well attended by representatives from North America.

68 Vinny famously called them “utes” in a “My Cousin Vinny” courtroom scene : YOUTHS

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

Down

1 Henry VIII’s last wife : PARR

Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry, she had been widowed twice. After Henry died, she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.

2 Assortment : OLIO

“Olio” is a term meaning “hodgepodge, mixture” that comes from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

4 Magnetic Field? : SALLY

Actress Sally Field first came to the public’s attention in the sixties with title roles in the TV shows “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun”. She has two Best Actress Oscars: one for “Norma Rae” (1979) and one for “Places in the Heart” (1984).

6 Ashtabula’s lake : ERIE

Ashtabula is a city in Ohio that is located on the Ashtabula River, right where it flows into Lake Erie. The name “Ashtabula” comes from the Lenape word “ashtepihəle” that translates as “always enough fish to be shared around”.

8 “Roger __ Book of Film”: 1996 publication : EBERT’S

Roger Ebert was a film critic for “The Chicago Sun-Times” for 50 years. He also co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, which he did in 1975. He was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in 2002, and finally succumbed to a recurrence of the disease in April 2013.

10 Layered lunch order : HCIWDNASBULC (CLUB SANDWICH)

The club sandwich is a double-decker affair with three layers of bread and two layers of filling. This style of sandwich has been around since the end of the 19th century, and some say it was invented at an exclusive gambling “club” in Saratoga Springs, New York.

11 Cream additive : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

27 ’60s-’70s Twins star Tony : OLIVA

Tony Oliva is a former Major League Baseball player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins. Oliva suffered from severe knee problems due to multiple injuries, forcing him to play the last four years of his career as a designated hitter (DH). On the bright side, he went into the history books in 1973 when became the first DH to hit a MLB home run.

28 Scene of frequent Middle East unrest : SINAI

The Sinai Peninsula is in the eastern part of Egypt, and is a triangular peninsula bounded by the Mediterranean to the north and the Red Sea to the south. It is the only part of Egypt that lies in Asia as opposed to Africa. The eastern land border of the peninsula is shared with Israel, and Israel occupied the Sinai during the 1956 Suez Crisis and the Six Day War of 1967.

33 “The Most Happy __”: 1956 musical : FELLA

“The Most Happy Fella” is a 1956 Broadway musical with words and music by Frank Loesser. The show is based on a play titled “They Knew What They Wanted” by Sidney Howard, and is a love story about an older man and a younger woman. “The Most Happy Fella” is described by many as very “operatic”, and indeed it has been performed by several operatic companies.

34 Toga party places : FRATS

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

37 EKG reading : TAEBTRAEH (HEARTBEAT)

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.

40 Robot play : RUR

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

43 Peak seen from Messina : ETNA

Messina is a port, and the third largest city, on the Italian island of Sicily. The city’s natural harbor has a curved shape like that of a scythe. When founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, the settlements first name was “Zancle”, from the Greek word for “scythe”. The port gives its name the Strait of Messina, the narrow passage between the island of Sicily and the Italian mainland.

47 Ravel work immortalized in “10” : BOLERO

Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro” is a remarkable piece of music that has a very insistent theme that just builds and builds, with instruments being added to the mix as the piece develops. Famously, “Boléro” played a significant role in the 1979 film “10” starring Bo Derek, Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews. Not a bad movie …

“10” is a fun romantic comedy released in 1979 starring Dudley Moore, Bo Derek and Julie Andrews. Famously, the movie made stars of Moore and Derek, as well as popularizing Maurice Ravel’s marvelous piece of music called “Boléro”.

50 Cantankerous : TESTY

Somebody described as testy is touchy, irritably impatient. The term “testy” comes into English from Old French, ultimately deriving from “testu” meaning “stubborn, headstrong”, literally “heady”. So, our word “testy” comes from the same root as the French word “tête” meaning “head”.

55 Queen’s home : HIVE

A queen bee has a stinger, just like worker bees. When a worker bee stings, it leaves it stinger in its victim. The worker bee dies after losing its stinger as the loss rips out part of its insides. However, a queen bee can sting with impunity as her stinger’s anatomy is different.

56 Tower of Pisa feature : TILT

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 …

59 Madcap Martha : RAYE

Martha Raye was a comic actress as well as a singer. Raye was famous for the size of her mouth, something that she used to her own advantage. As her nickname was “The Big Mouth”, she made a little money appearing in commercials for the Polident denture cleaner in the eighties. Her line was, “So take it from the Big Mouth: new Polident Green gets tough stains clean!”

62 Six-time NBA All-Star __ Gasol : PAU

Pau Gasol is a Spanish basketball player who started his professional career with FC Barcelona Bàsquet. He started playing in the NBA in 2001, turning out for the Memphis Grizzlies. Pau’s younger brother Marc also signed up with the Memphis Grizzlies, in 2008.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 i follower : -POD
4 Cookout aid : SKEWER
10 Butcher’s assortment : HAMS
14 Blond one in a bar : ALE
15 Cry from a toon sombrero wearer : ARRIBA!
16 Scratcher : CLAW
17 Dog star’s first name? : RIN
18 Hang around : LOITER
19 Hebrides isle : IONA
20 King’s self-allusion : ROYAL WE
22 Share with followers, in a way : RETWEET
24 Westchester County city known for its Playland : RYE
25 Pricey strings : STRAD
26 Civil rights icon Parks : ROSA
29 Roman god : DEUS
31 Put (out) : SNUFF
35 Others, to Ovid : ALII
36 “Exodus” hero : ARI
37 Ad to lure you in : TEASER
38 Windshield option : TINT
39 Two-time Wimbledon champ Kvitová : PETRA
41 Ward of “Sisters” : SELA
42 Sidesteps : EVADES
44 Formally seek justice : SUE
45 Take off : BOLT
46 November 1 honoree : SAINT
47 24-Across, briefly : BURB
48 Señor’s “some” : UNAS
49 Leading : ON TOP
51 __ Aviv : TEL
53 Melville narrator : ISHMAEL
56 County fair sight : TRACTOR
60 Classic role for Carrie : LEIA
61 Antique photos : SEPIAS
63 Supermarket chain : IGA
64 Four Tops frontman Stubbs : LEVI
65 Seat of County Kerry : TRALEE
66 Swelter : FRY
67 Didn’t dillydally : SPED
68 Vinny famously called them “utes” in a “My Cousin Vinny” courtroom scene : YOUTHS
69 Amount to pay : FEE

Down

1 Henry VIII’s last wife : PARR
2 Assortment : OLIO
3 Reject : DENY
4 Magnetic Field? : SALLY
5 Preliminary drudgery : KROWEDAPS (SPADEWORK)
6 Ashtabula’s lake : ERIE
7 Joker : WIT
8 “Roger __ Book of Film”: 1996 publication : EBERT’S
9 Harder to find : RARER
10 Layered lunch order : HCIWDNASBULC (CLUB SANDWICH)
11 Cream additive : ALOE
12 Locks in a barn : MANE
13 Whack : SWAT
21 Regal headpiece : ARAITDNOMAID (DIAMOND TIARA)
23 Zap : TASE
25 Gets ready for the big game … and a hint to four puzzle answers : SUITS UP
26 Utility company listing : RATES
27 ’60s-’70s Twins star Tony : OLIVA
28 Scene of frequent Middle East unrest : SINAI
30 Before, before : ERE
32 Apply to : USE ON
33 “The Most Happy __”: 1956 musical : FELLA
34 Toga party places : FRATS
37 EKG reading : TAEBTRAEH (HEARTBEAT)
40 Robot play : RUR
43 Peak seen from Messina : ETNA
47 Ravel work immortalized in “10” : BOLERO
50 Cantankerous : TESTY
52 Facilitates : EASES
53 Misfortunes : ILLS
54 Flow slowly : SEEP
55 Queen’s home : HIVE
56 Tower of Pisa feature : TILT
57 Bit of bickering : TIFF
58 Fairy tale baddie : OGRE
59 Madcap Martha : RAYE
62 Six-time NBA All-Star __ Gasol : PAU

29 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Aug 19, Friday”

  1. Great puzzle. Too bad I really goofed on one letter. Made
    “arriba” “arriva” and so misspelled Roger Ebert’s name. Phooey.

  2. LAT: 25:20, 6 errors. Another one of “those” puzzles. WSJ: 29:20, 1 error. Meta solved. Nice good difficult puzzle. Newsday: 17:28, no errors. New Yorker later sometime.

  3. LAT: 13;20, no errors; not too difficult (if you got the gimmick early on). Newsday: 10:11, no errors. WSJ: 26:06, no errors; harder than usual; got the meta. New Yorker: 10:42, no errors. Croce later, as time permits. (My ex called last night to say that the old cottonwood in her back yard has lost another giant branch, so I’m going up to help with cleanup and may not have much time for anything else.)

    1. Tim Croce’s latest: 55:49, no errors; a little easier than usual, I think, but a mental block cost me about ten minutes at the end. And there was nothing I could do to help with that tree but watch as a crew went to work on it (for a modest $5600!). It wasn’t just that another branch came off the thing: the whole giant organism just collapsed! I’ve never seen the like. (And I shudder to think that my grandkids were recently playing under it … 😳.)

  4. 42:46 no errors….after picking up the theme I was happy to learn that I didn’t have multiple errors with the “bottoms up” clues.
    I don’t get what is magnetic about Sally Fields
    NYT 0705 30:51 no errors….a good Friday for me

  5. Had to guess the vowel at intersection of 65A and 62D. Turned out correct.

    Never knew aloe could be an additive. Always thought of it as the primary ingredient. The web confirms its role as additive in a variety of products, including beverages. Maybe instead of Angostura bitters in a Manhattan. Yum!

    Puzzle was sufficiently challenging and theme was well done.

  6. Something was going on, but I was in the weeds until pretty late when I saw club sandwich for 10 down (or should that be 10 up?) after I figured out molt was not the right answer for 45 across “take off” and I got bolt and then it all clicked. Whew!

    1. Just finished the WSJ and actually had a (I hope) pretty good idea of the answer to the win a WSJ mug contest and submitted it. Once in a blue moon, June! ;-D>

  7. Had to Google for PAU, LEVI, PETRA. Is TRALEE a real place? Once I figured the backwards thing, all else fell in. SUITS UP didn’t help me, though. Not a bad puzzle, and not bad for me on a Friday.

  8. 24:15. Once you get the theme it’s pretty easy to get the theme answers…..how’s that for in-depth expert analysis?!! So once you get the theme it’s easy to get the theme??

    Some good guesses – e.g. for 6D I had no idea about Ashtabula, but I guessed ERIE because it’s always ERIE. Had to get TRALEE entirely by crosses.

    Best –

  9. You people are so lame – can’t even come up with a challenging puzzle without having upside down answers. You might want to consider another occupation.

    1. @Anon – We the People of Bill’s X-word blog, in disorder to form a more perfect lameness, establish just itch, insure domestic anxiety, provide for the common challenge, promote the general wailing, and secure gnashing of teeth to ourselves and our anonymous critics, do ordain and establish this riposte!

    2. Very good, Tony! … 😜.

      In defense of “Anonymous”, though, I would speculate that his/her comment was meant for the constructors of today’s puzzle, so that he/she was merely uninformed about the nature of this blog, rather than just rude. Well … I mean … the comment was rude, too, but at least it wasn’t aimed at us … 😜

  10. Seems like we haven’t had one of these in a while, so I’m one of the dumb ones who didn’t see/get the theme. Total mess, BUT I’ll remember the next time. This really messed up my Friday, for sure!

  11. Not only DNF, just barely started. Got maybe half of it. I knew a lot of the
    words, after seeing the finished product, just not at the time we were trying
    to solve the puzzle. I am not quite as adamant about it as “Anonymous” was,
    but I just didn’t click or latch on.

    You guys did well, anyway.

    See you Monday.

    Jeff, I have only played golf 3 times this summer. Just too hot, plus I had skin-
    cancer surgery (healing well). Drop me a note at my e-mail address.

  12. 21:50 and 7 errors sprinkled throughout.

    HORRIBLE puzzle, so full of obscure names as to be impossible to complete without making at least one spelling error. I suppose the gag theme fills make up for the absence of such chicanery yesterday?

    This was right out of the Will Shortz prankster playbook, and stinks to high heaven.

  13. Re “LYONS” (from yesterday)- ’tis how it is spelt by British-type people. My French-English dictionary, which references English English, instead of American English, confirms this.

  14. In general, I rather dislike so-called “themed” puzzles to begin with, but this one is just silly! This business of deliberate mis-spellings, VERY loose definitions, and dreadful pins, along with other “tricks” does not enhance a puzzle in any way! The best crossword puzzles are, IMHO, the ones that utilize infrequently spoken, REAL words, correct, traditional spellings and if needed, careful definitions. OK – bitch has been pitched – moving on to the next puzzle! Overall – a happy puzzler!

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