LA Times Crossword 11 Sep 19, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: I Am a Rock

Themed answers each start with a ROCK, including ROCK HUDSON!

  • 57A Simon & Garfunkel hit, and hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 48- … and 35-Across, too! : I AM A ROCK
  • 17A Psychedelic decorative light : LAVA LAMP
  • 24A Not even a little high : STONE SOBER
  • 35A New York waterway : HUDSON RIVER
  • 48A Structure renamed for a president in 1947 : BOULDER DAM

Bill’s time: 6m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 “Diamonds & Rust” folk singer Joan : BAEZ

Joan Baez is an American folk singer and a prominent activist in the fields of non-violence, civil rights, human rights and environmental protection. Baez has dated some high-profile figures in her life including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs (of Apple) and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.

“Diamonds & Rust” is a 1975 song written and recorded by Joan Baez. The song tells of an unexpected phone call from an old lover, and the memories evoked. Baez tells us that the call really happened, and that the lover was Bob Dylan.

14 Where lowers lie : LEA

The cattle are lowing …

15 Ready and willing partner : ABLE

Ready, willing and able …

16 “Booksmart” director Wilde : OLIVIA

Actress Olivia Wilde’s break came with the role of “Thirteen” on the medical drama “House”. Olivia’s birth name is Cockburn, and she chose her stage name in honor of Irish author Oscar Wilde.

“Booksmart” is a 2019 comedy film about two high school students breaking out of there relatively bookish ways just prior to graduation. The movie was actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, and apparently, the critics loved this film.

17 Psychedelic decorative light : LAVA LAMP

The lava lamp was invented in 1960 by a British man, Edward Craven-Walker. The “lava” is a mixture of wax and carbon tetrachloride, floating in a water/glycerol mix. The wax reduces in density as it picks up heat from the incandescent bulb in the lamp’s base. The wax rises, cools, and then sinks to the bottom of the liquid only to be heated again.

19 Beaus : ROMEOS

A beau (plural “beaux”) is the boyfriend of a belle, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.

20 Savory taste : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

23 University of Nevada city : RENO

The State University of Nevada was established in 1874, and was located in the city of Elko. Seven years later, the school was renamed to Nevada State University, and in 1885 moved from Elko to Reno. The name “University of Nevada” was given in 1906.

29 Chinese “way” : TAO

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

30 Aqua in Aquitaine : EAU

Aquitaine is a historical region in the southwest of France that is part of the modern administrative region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Aquitaine was an English possession for almost three hundred years after the duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Henry II in 1154. During that period, the English king’s made more money from exporting wine from Aquitaine than from any other single source.

31 Whoopi’s Oscar role in “Ghost” : ODA MAE

Oda Mae Brown is the psychic medium in the movie “Ghost”, and is played by Whoopi Goldberg.

The fabulous film “Ghost” was the highest-grossing movie at the box office in 1990, bringing in over $500 million, despite only costing $21 million to make. Stars of the film are Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. You might want to check out the stage musical adaptation “Ghost The Musical”, which debuted in 2011 and is touring the UK and US.

34 Palm fruit : DATE

Date palms can be either male or female. Only the female tree bears fruit (dates).

35 New York waterway : HUDSON RIVER

The Hudson River flows through eastern New York State from Henderson Lake in the Adirondacks to the Port of New York and New Jersey. The river is named for the English explorer Henry Hudson, who navigated the waterway in 1609.

Leading man Rock Hudson was born Roy Scherer, Jr. in 1925. Hudson’s Hollywood career really started with dramatic roles in films like “Giant” (1954), and then continued with romantic leads in comedy hits such as “Pillow Talk” (1959). He played in action and suspense movies in the sixties, such as “Tobruk” (1967) and “Ice Station Zebra” (1968). Hudson then moved to the small screen and spent years on the mystery show “McMillan & Wife” and the primetime soap “Dynasty”. Sadly, Hudson is also remembered as the first big star to die from AIDS.

40 OTC antacid brand : ZANTAC

“Zantac” is a brand name for the drug ranitidine, which is used to inhibit the production of stomach acid. Ranitidine was introduced in 1981, and by 1988 was the biggest-selling, prescription drug in the world.

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs don’t need a prescription (Rx).

44 EPA mandates, taken together : ECOLAW

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

48 Structure renamed for a president in 1947 : BOULDER DAM

When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936, it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world’s largest concrete structure. The edifice was originally known as Boulder Dam, due to its location near Boulder City, Nevada. The dam was eventually named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. There was a formal dedication ceremony held in September 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the area, when only work on the powerhouse was incomplete. President Roosevelt managed to make his dedication speech without once referring to the name of his former opponent President Hoover. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days …

52 Arp contemporary : DALI

Artist Salvador Dalí liked to make a splash in public. He was known to walk an anteater on a lead around Paris. He also brought an anteater on stage to an interview on “The Dick Cavett Show” in 1970.

53 Behind : KEISTER

Back in the early 1900s a keister was a safe or a strongbox. It has been suggested that “keister” was then used as slang by pickpockets for the rear trouser pocket in which one might keep a wallet. From this usage, “keister” appeared as a slang term for the buttocks in the early 1930s.

57 Simon & Garfunkel hit, and hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 48- … and 35-Across, too! : I AM A ROCK

“I Am a Rock” is a lovely song written by Paul Simon that was recorded most famously by Simon & Garfunkel on their 1965 album “Sounds of Silence”. The song made its first appearance as the opening track on Simon’s solo album “The Paul Simon Songbook” that he released earlier the same year.

59 Gobsmacked : AMAZED

“Gobsmack” is slang from Britain and Ireland. “Gob” is also slang, for a mouth. So someone who is gobsmacked has received a smack in the “mouth”, is stunned.

60 Story of life after death? : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

62 Zealous crusades : JIHADS

In the Islamic tradition, jihad is a duty, and either an inner spiritual struggle to fulfill religious obligations or an outward physical struggle to defend the faith. Someone engaged in jihad is called a “mujahid” with the plural being “mujahideen”.

63 Letters on Broadway-bound letters : NY, NY

Broadway really is, and always has been, the Main Street of New York City. It started out as the Wickquasgeck Trail that was trampled into the Manhattan brush land by the Native Americans of the area. In the days of the Dutch, the trail became the man road though the island of Manhattan, down to the New Amsterdam settlement in the south. The Dutch described it as a “Breede weg”, a broad street or broad way. The name Broadway was adopted as the official name for the whole thoroughfare in 1899 … on Valentine’s Day.

Down

3 Eminent scholar : SAVANT

A savant is a learned person. The term “savant” can also be short for “idiot savant”, the outdated name for someone with a mental disability but who has above-normal capabilities in perhaps calculation or musical expression.

4 Lingerie brand : BALI

Bali is an American lingerie company that has been around since 1927.

5 Justice league?: Abbr. : ABA

American Bar Association (ABA)

6 Nightmare loc. of film : ELM ST

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is a Wes Craven slasher-horror film that was released in 1984. As I don’t do “slasher” or “horror”, I was surprised to learn that Johnny Depp was in the movie, making his feature film debut.

7 Youngest Marx brother : ZEPPO

“Zeppo” was the stage name of Herbert, the youngest of the five Marx Brothers. Zeppo appeared in the first five Marx Brothers movies, always playing the straight man and the romantic lead. After he quit acting, Zeppo owned a company called Marman Products, and developed what’s known today as the Marman Clamp. Marman clamps were used to secure the first atomic bombs used by the US military. They are still used today in spaceflight systems.

8 Eye part : CORNEA

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the eye’s lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is in effect a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

9 Mets slugger Pete who won the 2019 Home Run Derby : ALONSO

Pete Alonso is professional first baseman who made his Major League debut in 2019 with the New York Mets.

10 Video-sharing site : VIMEO

Video is a competing video-sharing platform to YouTube. The name “Vimeo” comes from “video” and “me”, and it also happens to be an anagram of “movie”.

12 Brazilian vacay destination : RIO

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil (after São Paulo). “Rio de Janeiro” translates as “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the bay on which Rio sits, on New Year’s Day in 1502.

A vacation (“vacay”) might provide some rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R).

13 Prof’s helpers : TAS

Teaching assistant (TA)

25 “Mangia!” : EAT!

“Mangia!” is Italian for “Eat!” and is often used in the names of Italian restaurants or in brand names of Italian foods.

26 Poe’s “The Murders in the __ Morgue” : RUE

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, and is recognized as the first “detective story” ever written. The murder is solved when it is determined that the murderer was actually an orangutan.

32 “Amadeus” subject : MOZART

The magnificent 1984 film “Amadeus” is an adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 stage play of the same name. Tom Hulce played Mozart, and F. Murray Abraham played Mozart’s rival, Antonio Salieri. Both Hulce and Abraham were nominated for that season’s Best Actor Oscar, with the award going to the latter. There hasn’t been a movie since “Amadeus” that garnered two Best Actor nominations.

33 Actress Gasteyer : ANA

Ana Gasteyer is an actress best known for being a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1996 to 2002. Gasteyer was famous on SNL for playing Martha Stewart … topless!

35 Jewish Festival of Lights : HANUKKAH

The term “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew for “to dedicate”. Hanukkah is a holiday lasting eight days that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after successful Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the 2nd-century BCE. The story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days.

37 Shark or Dyson, briefly : VAC

Vacuum (vac.)

38 Short cut : BOB

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

39 __ Jima : IWO

Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.

46 Pianist de Larrocha : ALICIA

Alicia de Larrocha was a classical pianist from Barcelona in Spain who grew up as a child prodigy. She gave her first concert at the age of six, and made her orchestral debut at the age of 11. De Larrocha was also a composer, starting when she was eight years old. However, she never publicly performed her own pieces, and indeed it was only after her death in 2009 that the public got to see and hear them.

49 Gibbons of TV talk : LEEZA

Leeza Gibbons has her own radio show called “Hollywood Confidential”, and used to have her own talk show on NBC television that aired from 1994 to 2000. Gibbons is the founder of a nonprofit group called Leeza’s Place which supports people giving care to patients with memory disorders. Since 2007 she has been a board member of California’s stem cell research agency, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

50 __ Sanders, only athlete to play in both the Super Bowl and World Series : DEION

Deion Sanders is a former NFL footballer, and a former Major League Baseball player. He is the only person to play in a Super Bowl and in a World Series. And, in the 1989 season Sanders became the only person to hit a major league home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week. While playing, he earned the nicknames “Neon Deion” and “Prime Time Sanders”.

51 Sheikdom of song : ARABY

“The Sheik of Araby” is a song that dates back to 1921, when it was a Tin Pan Alley hit. It was soon absorbed into the jazz standard repertoire. The inspiration of the song was Rudolph Valentino’s performance in the 1921 movie “The Sheik”.

54 “Roar” singer Perry : KATY

Katy Perry is an American singer who grew up listening to and singing gospel music, as she was the daughter of two Christian pastors. In fact, her first musical release was a gospel album in 2001. She has branched out since then. Her first successful single was “Ur so Gay”, followed by “I Kissed A Girl”. She was married (for only a year) to the British comedian Russell Brand, until 2012.

55 __ Mahal : TAJ

The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.

56 Mate, across the Channel : AMI

A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.

58 60 secs. : MIN

The hour is subdivided into 60 parts, each of which was known as a “pars minuta prima” in Medieval Latin, translating as “first small part”. This phrase “pars minuta prima” evolved into our word “minute”. The “pars minuta prima” (minute) was further divided into 60 parts, each called a “secunda pars minuta”, meaning “second small part”. “Secunda pars minuta” evolved into our term “second”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Braying beast : ASS
4 “Diamonds & Rust” folk singer Joan : BAEZ
8 Hop, skip and jump : CAVORT
14 Where lowers lie : LEA
15 Ready and willing partner : ABLE
16 “Booksmart” director Wilde : OLIVIA
17 Psychedelic decorative light : LAVA LAMP
19 Beaus : ROMEOS
20 Savory taste : UMAMI
21 Board game gadget : SPINNER
23 University of Nevada city : RENO
24 Not even a little high : STONE SOBER
27 Set up : ENTRAP
29 Chinese “way” : TAO
30 Aqua in Aquitaine : EAU
31 Whoopi’s Oscar role in “Ghost” : ODA MAE
34 Palm fruit : DATE
35 New York waterway : HUDSON RIVER
38 Leaning : BIAS
40 OTC antacid brand : ZANTAC
41 Possess : OWN
42 Notable time span : ERA
44 EPA mandates, taken together : ECOLAW
48 Structure renamed for a president in 1947 : BOULDER DAM
52 Arp contemporary : DALI
53 Behind : KEISTER
54 Type, as data : KEY IN
55 Develop a liking for : TAKE TO
57 Simon & Garfunkel hit, and hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 48- … and 35-Across, too! : I AM A ROCK
59 Gobsmacked : AMAZED
60 Story of life after death? : OBIT
61 Quaint “Tsk!” : FIE!
62 Zealous crusades : JIHADS
63 Letters on Broadway-bound letters : NY, NY
64 Craze : FAD

Down

1 Magnetism : ALLURE
2 Ship captains, e.g. : SEAMEN
3 Eminent scholar : SAVANT
4 Lingerie brand : BALI
5 Justice league?: Abbr. : ABA
6 Nightmare loc. of film : ELM ST
7 Youngest Marx brother : ZEPPO
8 Eye part : CORNEA
9 Mets slugger Pete who won the 2019 Home Run Derby : ALONSO
10 Video-sharing site : VIMEO
11 Dominate : OVERBEAR
12 Brazilian vacay destination : RIO
13 Prof’s helpers : TAS
18 Kissy-kissy : AMOROUS
22 Doctor in training : INTERN
24 Places for scrubs and wraps : SPAS
25 “Mangia!” : EAT!
26 Poe’s “The Murders in the __ Morgue” : RUE
28 Do the math : ADD
32 “Amadeus” subject : MOZART
33 Actress Gasteyer : ANA
34 Unscrambling device : DECODER
35 Jewish Festival of Lights : HANUKKAH
36 Checkout counter unit : ITEM
37 Shark or Dyson, briefly : VAC
38 Short cut : BOB
39 __ Jima : IWO
42 Worked on text : EDITED
43 Repairs, as infield grass : RESODS
45 Fire : LAY OFF
46 Pianist de Larrocha : ALICIA
47 Signaled slyly : WINKED
49 Gibbons of TV talk : LEEZA
50 __ Sanders, only athlete to play in both the Super Bowl and World Series : DEION
51 Sheikdom of song : ARABY
54 “Roar” singer Perry : KATY
55 __ Mahal : TAJ
56 Mate, across the Channel : AMI
58 60 secs. : MIN

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Sep 19, Wednesday”

  1. LAT: 10:48; some clever and amusing cluing in this one; I particularly like the concept of “lowers that lie in a lea”! Newsday: 5:24, no errors. WSJ: 12:53, no errors. Jones: 13:08, one silly error.

    I haven’t done yesterday’s Croce yet, as I spent seven hours working in my ex’s yard (a clear-cut case of elder abuse! 😜) and was simply too exhausted to think about a puzzle last night.

    1. Yesterday’s Tim Croce: 4:04:46, no errors. This one really wasn’t all that difficult, except for a couple of spots, but I had to walk away from it more than once (as reflected in my solve time). Uncharacteristically, I have to ding Croce a little for a couple of his clues (for entries that I got using crosses and a lot of risky guessing, and have since been unable to justify using Dr. Google): “Divine” for BODE, which seems totally wrong, and “Play strongly while facing the offense, in sports slang” for DUP. There were also a couple that seem pretty obscure, but are probably just from outside my sphere of familiarity: “Popular weekly hashtag accompanying vintage photos” for TBT (“ThrowBack To”) and “Making rash decisions due to a losing streak, in poker” for ON TILT. An enjoyable puzzle, but time-consuming. And now I really need a nap … 😜

  2. When I first saw this one, I thought it hopeless, But I finished with no Googles or errors, and didn’t notice the theme. Didn’t actually know OLIVIA, ODAMAE, or VIMEO, what I call “young pop.”
    Yes, Sessa is clever.

  3. Excellent puzzle! One of the most enjoyable of recent weeks.
    No errors; 1 erasure. Completed in order with acrosses, but thinking 10D was going to be UTUBE, wrote U in #10 square. Was my face red when I had to erase it. Good thing nobody saw that.
    26D: One of the streets leading to Cimitiere Pere-Lachaise in Paris is rue de la Repose. When in Paris, we stay in the neighborhood to the southwest of that cemetery, called Saint-Blaise. As far from the “zone touristique” as you can get in Paris proper.
    Re comment from yesterday- That was a funny cartoon about Paris waiters. But there is a lack of understanding that leads to that impression. Affordable Paris “restos” are much more lightly staffed than comparable American places. That means the waiters just don’t have as much time for each customer. So when they have to take extra time with someone who hasn’t bothered to learn enough French to do basic business there, or who thinks they can make substitutions and otherwise customize their meal, or who thinks the waiter can also serve as a tourist guide and provide recommendations and directions, he gets behind with his other customers and they get frustrated, especially at lunch if they have to get back to work. A waiter cannot be expected to happily put up with the extra demands many tourists attempt to place upon him/her. Another thing is that tourists will expect to be prioritized so they can eat more quickly than a resto is set up for, so they can maximize museum time, etc. Same diff., as other customers inevitable suffer. How would you like it if you saw your waiter prioritize someone else at your expense? And, if you were the waiter, how happy would you be if expected to prioritize tourists at the expense of your loyal return customers? But in return for lighter staffing, you can get a great meal cheaper than what you’d pay in America, even with the exchange rate ding. I’m not talking Michelin places, nor traps in “le zone touristique.”
    36D: OK, it s/b “fewer items,” not “less items.” (at the checkout). I never have fewer than 15 items. I love items. And I never get out without paying fewer than fifty dollars.
    55D: I don’t get it- I thought Taj Mahal was a blues singer. I’m sure that’s what the constructor had in mind!
    Response to question- I was a competitive-level tennis player. The service motion kills the male player’s back, especially if one employs the kick serve, which was the bread in my bread-and-butter serve-and-volley style. But I am now paying the price.

  4. It took me a long time to finish the SE corner, but I made it. And I haven’t heard the word “cavort” used in ages. (8A) Had to work hard on getting that right. Phew. Made it one more day!

  5. 15:58. Agree with Dave, Jane, and Michael above – Ed Sessa puzzles are always good. I was so thrown by HUDSON having anything to do with a rock that Rock Hudson went right over my head. At first I even thought the mere mention of Rock Hudson in the write-up portion of HUDSON RIVER was a cut-and-paste error by Bill. Sorry, Bill, I shouldn’t have doubted you….

    I live in the far eastern portion of the Las Vegas area – about 25 miles from Hoover Dam. It’s a truly beautiful area. The site of the dam is so picturesque that the highway that crosses the lake has its guard rails built up much higher than normal so that you can’t see the dam from the highway. The reason is for safety – i.e. to keep people from constantly slowing down and rubbernecking on the freeway and to prevent accidents.

    Best –

  6. Very clever and enjoyable puzzle, but we only scored 90%. Best we could
    do at the time. Kinda had brain lock today, I suppose. Just didn’t quite
    tune in to it, no fault of the puzzle.

  7. 12:15, and no errors. I didn’t think the theme all THAT clever, but at least it didn’t underwhelm, or resort to the trickery that’s so common recently.

  8. Well after two easy puzzles to start the week, this one was way outside my wheelhouse. Took me 24:37 on-line with several peeks, mostly in the SW but in other areas as well. I did several puzzles before the LA and was starting to get bored by the time I got to this one, dozing off a few times.

    Never heard of OLIVIA, ALONSO, ODAMAE, ZANTAC, ALICIA and LEEZA. Also had trouble with VAC, the exact spelling of HANUKKAH, and even ECOLAW seemed kind of dodgy. Just not my day on this one.

  9. Greetings y’all!! 🦆

    No errors– I too like Sessa’s puzzles- it seems to me that we’ve had a lot of new (to me) constructors lately, and I’m glad to see an old favorite.

    Had MIRO before DALI…and I started writing HOOVER DAM before I realized it had too few letters– hmm– 🙄

    Dodger Joc Pederson came in second in this year’s home run derby, behind Pete ALONSO!! It was cool, cuz Joc was seeded in like the fourth round out of five.

    Michael! Agree re “fewer items.” The misuse of “less” that way is a pet peeve of mine. However, it is correct to say “less than fifty dollars.” Even though “dollars” are count nouns, when we refer to a sum of money it’s considered one sum: a non-count noun. We don’t think of it in terms of the individual dollars.

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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