LA Times Crossword 12 Sep 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Chutes and Ladders

Today’s grid includes circled letters that spell out three CHUTES and three LADDERS. We go down the chutes and up the ladders from left to right. The circled letters spell out:

  • TRASH (chute)
  • LAUNDRY (chute)
  • MAIL (chute)
  • ROPE (ladder)
  • FIRE (ladder)
  • STEP (ladder)
  • 40A Classic American board game symbolized by this puzzle’s circles : CHUTES AND LADDERS

Bill’s time: 8m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Are you getting 100%?” cereal : TOTAL

General Mills produces a range of breakfast cereals using the “Total” name. The marketing message for the brand is that one serving provides the total daily allowance of several vitamins and minerals.

16 Gulf of Oman vessel : OILER

An oiler is an oil tanker, an ocean-going vessel used to transport crude oil.

The Gulf of Oman isn’t actually a gulf, and rather is a strait. It connects the Arabian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz and hence to the Persian Gulf.

17 Neutral tone : ECRU

The color ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

18 Charcuterie fare : MEATS

In French, a “charcutier” is a pork butcher, although the term “charcuterie” has come to describe a genre of cooking focused on prepared meats such as bacon, ham, sausage and pâté. Although these meats often feature pork, it is not exclusively so. The word “charcuterie” comes from the French “chair” meaning “flesh” and “cuit” meaning “cooked”.

19 Quaint sleeping coach : PULLMAN CAR

Pullman cars were sleeping cars used by railroads in days gone by. They were so called because they were manufactured by the Pullman Company. Over in Europe, the Pullman Company made dining cars and lounge cars as well, and so the term is used more broadly over there.

23 “Moonlight Sonata” opening movement, e.g. : ADAGIO

An adagio is a piece of music with a slow tempo. The “adagio” marking on the score is an instruction to play the piece slowly and in a stately manner. The word “adagio” is Latin for “at ease”.

Beethoven subtitled his “Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2” as “Quasi una fantasia”, or “sonata in the manner of a fantasy” in English. Five years after Beethoven died, a music critic wrote that the (superb!) first movement of the piece had an effect like that of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Since then, the work has been known as the “Moonlight Sonata”.

24 Stand buy : ADE

That would be a lemonade stand.

25 Dromedary feature : HUMP

The dromedary, also known as the Arabian or Indian camel, is the camel that has only one hump. The other species of camel is the Bactrian, which has two humps. The hump of a dromedary contains up to 80 pounds of fat, which can be broken down into water and energy if no food or water is available.

28 Hybrid fruits : UGLIS

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

33 Top __ : BANANA

The expression “top banana” is used to mean “the main man” or “the main woman”. The first person to use “top banana” was supposedly Vaudeville performer Harry Steppe in 1927, who applied the term to the top comic on the bill. The phrase comes from a comedy routine in which three comics struggle to share two bananas.

34 “Garfield: __ of Two Kitties” : A TAIL

“Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties” is a 2006 sequel to 2004’s “Garfield: The Movie”. It is a combined animated and live-action feature. The cast of live-action actors includes Jennifer Love Hewitt and Billy Connolly. The voice cast includes Bill Murray and Bob Hoskins.

39 __ Plaines : DES

Des Plaines is a suburb of Chicago that is located next to O’Hare International Airport. The city is named for the Des Plaines river that runs through the area.

40 Classic American board game symbolized by this puzzle’s circles : CHUTES AND LADDERS

The game of “Snakes and Ladders” is usually sold as “Chutes and Ladders” in the US. Milton Bradley introduced “chutes” instead of “snakes” in 1943 as children weren’t too fond of snakes back then. Snakes/Chutes and Ladders is based on an ancient Indian game.

44 Fish often fried : COD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

45 Famille member : ONCLE

In French, an “oncle” (uncle) is married to a “tante” (aunt), and both are members of the “famille” (family).

53 Classic movie theaters : RKOS

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

54 Maple yield : SAP

About 75% of the world’s maple syrup comes from the province of Quebec. The US’s biggest producer is the state of Vermont, which produces 5-6% of the world’s supply.

57 Martial arts teacher : SENSEI

“Sensei” is a Japanese form of address used for figures of authority, from lawyers to martial arts instructors.

61 Knesset country : ISRAEL

The Knesset is the legislative branch of the Israeli government, and does its business in the Givat Ram neighborhood of central Jerusalem.

63 Brit’s afternoon drink : A SPOT OF TEA

I guess the reference here is to the oft-quoted English phrase “a spot of tea”. Mind you, I’ve only ever heard that said in jest …

67 Raised landform : BUTTE

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, and taller than it is wide.

68 Stable baby : FOAL

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

69 Befuddled : AT SEA

To be befuddled is to be confused. Originally, back in the late 1800s, that confusion was specifically caused by liquor or opium.

70 It was originally a sitting meditation pose : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

71 Capital on the Tiber : ROME

The Tiber is the principal river in Italy in that it runs through the capital of Rome. It is also the third longest river in the country.

Down

1 __ Bay Rays : TAMPA

The Tampa Bay Rays are a relatively young franchise, having been formed in 1998. The initial name of the franchise was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While known as the Devil Rays, the team finished last in the league in almost every year. The name was changed to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and I am told the Rays started into a streak of winning seasons soon after.

2 Nymph associated with Artemis : OREAD

The Oreads were the mountain nymphs that accompanied the ancient Greek goddess Artemis on her hunting expeditions. Each Oread dwelled on a different mountain, for example:

  • Daphnis (on Mount Parnassos)
  • Echo (on Mount Cithaeron)
  • Ida (on Mount Ida)

5 Eighteenth, usually : LAST HOLE

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

6 Clotheshorse : FOP

“Clotheshorse” is an informal term used for a person who is into dressing fashionably. Not a term ever used to describe me, I must say …

7 Sch. with a Brooklyn campus : LIU

Long Island University (LIU) in Brooklyn, New York is a private school that was chartered in 1926. LIU’s focus has always been on providing moderately-priced, effective education to people from all walks in life. To that end, LIU opened a second campus in 1951 in Brookville in the suburbs of New York City, recognizing the need to serve families that were living outside of the metropolis. The athletic teams of LIU’s Brooklyn campus are known as the Brooklyn Blackbirds, and the teams of the Brookville campus are called the Post Pioneers.

8 Penne __ vodka : ALLA

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

10 Writer Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

12 Praise : ACCOLADES

An accolade is an expression of praise. The term “accolade” originally applied to the ceremony of conferring knighthood. Said ceremony involved an embrace around the neck followed by a tapping of a sword on the shoulders. The embrace was called an accolade, from Latin “ad” meaning “to” and “collum” meaning “neck”.

13 New Deal agcy. : NRA

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.

14 __ La Table: cookware shop : SUR

Sur La Table is a chain of retail stores selling high-end kitchenware products. The company name translates from French as “on the table”. The first Sur La Table store opened in 1972 in Seattle’s celebrated Pike Place Market. Today, Sur La Table is the main competitor to Williams-Sonoma.

20 Bonn : Wasser :: Barcelona : __ : AGUA

The English word “water” translates into “Wasser” in German, and “agua” in Spanish.

26 Soccer star Rapinoe : MEGAN

Megan Rapinoe is a professional soccer player and a star on the US national team. One of Rapinoe’s many claims to fame is that she is the only player, male or female, to score a goal directly from a corner kick in an Olympic Games.

31 “Scram, varmints!” : GIT!

“Varmint” is an informal variant of “vermin”, a term describing something or someone that is undesirable or obnoxious.

32 2017 “Hello, Dolly!” Tony winner : MIDLER

One of my favorite singers, and indeed all-round entertainers, is Bette Midler. If you’ve ever seen her live show you’ll know that “camp” is a good word to describe it, as her humor is definitely “out there” and quite bawdy. Early in her career, Midler spent years singing in the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in New York City. There she became very close friends with her piano accompanist, Barry Manilow. While singing in the bathhouse, Bette only wore a white towel, just like the members of her audience. It was in those days that she created her famous character “the Divine Miss M” and also earned herself the nickname “Bathhouse Betty”.

“Hello, Dolly!” is a Broadway musical that was first produced in 1964, and adapted into a hugely successful movie in 1969. The title role of Dolly Levi was played by Barbra Streisand in the film, with Gene Kelly directing and a leading part for a young Michael Crawford. The stage show was revived on Broadway in 2017, with Bette Midler in the title role.

33 TV’s Arthur : BEA

Actress Bea Arthur’s most famous roles were on television, as the lead in the “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude” and as Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls”. Arthur also won a Tony for playing Vera Charles on stage in the original cast of “Mame” in 1966, two years after she played Yente the matchmaker in the original cast of “Fiddler on the Roof”.

34 Billing nos. : ACCTS

Account (acct.)

35 “This __ / Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong” (Shakespeare) : THORN

“This thorn/ Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong” comes from William Shakespeare’s play “All’s Well That Ends Well”.

“All’s Well That Ends Well” is a play by William Shakespeare, one with elements of both tragedy and comedy. As such, “All’s Well That Ends Well” is classified as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”, plays of his that cannot be neatly classified as either tragedy or comedy.

36 Intrusive MP3 files : AUDIO SPAM

Audio spam (sometimes “MP3 spam”) is a spam message that is transmitted as a small audio file. Audio spam can be included in an email as an audio file with an innocuous title such as “weddingsong.mp3” and “oursong.mp3”. Click on the file, and you get a short, unsolicited message.

41 __ sauce : SOY

Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with a mold in the presence of water and salt. Charming …

48 Big Easy cuisine : CREOLE

In the US, the term “Creole” is usually a reference to the people descended from the colonial French and colonial Spanish people who settled in the Louisiana region before it became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA).

49 Co-worker of Lane and Olsen : KENT

Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. One has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

In the “Superman” stories, Jimmy Olsen is a cub photographer who works on the “Daily Planet” newspaper with Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

55 Insurance giant : 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.

58 Dove, e.g. : SOAP

Dove is a brand of personal care products made by Unilever. The brand originated in the UK, back in 1955.

59 Young salamanders : EFTS

Salamanders are lizard-like amphibians found all across the northern hemisphere. They are the only vertebrate animals that can regenerate lost limbs.

63 Egypt’s cont. : AFR

The Carthaginian Republic was centered on the city of Carthage, the ruins of which are located on the coast of modern-day Tunisia. The Latin name for the people of Carthage was “Afri”. When the Romans took over Carthage, they created a province they called “Africa”. That name extended over time to include the whole continent.

64 Jack of “Barney Miller” : SOO

Jack Soo was a Japanese-American actor noted for playing Detective Nick Yemana on the sitcom “Barney Miller” in the seventies and eighties.

65 Common Market letters : EEC

The European Economic Community (EEC) was also known as the Common Market. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union (EU).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Are you getting 100%?” cereal : TOTAL
6 Lover : FLAME
11 Excludes : BANS
15 Place to play : ARENA
16 Gulf of Oman vessel : OILER
17 Neutral tone : ECRU
18 Charcuterie fare : MEATS
19 Quaint sleeping coach : PULLMAN CAR
21 Target, as a receiver : PASS TO
23 “Moonlight Sonata” opening movement, e.g. : ADAGIO
24 Stand buy : ADE
25 Dromedary feature : HUMP
28 Hybrid fruits : UGLIS
31 Cheerleader’s cry : GO TEAM!
33 Top __ : BANANA
34 “Garfield: __ of Two Kitties” : A TAIL
37 Deceptive appearance : GUISE
39 __ Plaines : DES
40 Classic American board game symbolized by this puzzle’s circles : CHUTES AND LADDERS
44 Fish often fried : COD
45 Famille member : ONCLE
46 Out of practice : RUSTY
47 Deceptive : TRICKY
50 Took to heart : HEEDED
52 Sleep soundly? : SNORE
53 Classic movie theaters : RKOS
54 Maple yield : SAP
57 Martial arts teacher : SENSEI
61 Knesset country : ISRAEL
63 Brit’s afternoon drink : A SPOT OF TEA
67 Raised landform : BUTTE
68 Stable baby : FOAL
69 Befuddled : AT SEA
70 It was originally a sitting meditation pose : ASANA
71 Capital on the Tiber : ROME
72 With 22-Down, intimidate : PSYCH …
73 Reach : GET AT

Down

1 __ Bay Rays : TAMPA
2 Nymph associated with Artemis : OREAD
3 Needle : TEASE
4 Tiny tunnelers : ANTS
5 Eighteenth, usually : LAST HOLE
6 Clotheshorse : FOP
7 Sch. with a Brooklyn campus : LIU
8 Penne __ vodka : ALLA
9 Fuse : MELD
10 Writer Bombeck : ERMA
11 Inoffensive : BENIGN
12 Praise : ACCOLADES
13 New Deal agcy. : NRA
14 __ La Table: cookware shop : SUR
20 Bonn : Wasser :: Barcelona : __ : AGUA
22 See 72-Across : … OUT
26 Soccer star Rapinoe : MEGAN
27 Beer belly : PAUNCH
29 Unlikely to react : INERT
30 Likely to react? : SASSY
31 “Scram, varmints!” : GIT!
32 2017 “Hello, Dolly!” Tony winner : MIDLER
33 TV’s Arthur : BEA
34 Billing nos. : ACCTS
35 “This __ / Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong” (Shakespeare) : THORN
36 Intrusive MP3 files : AUDIO SPAM
38 Aerodynamic : SLEEK
41 __ sauce : SOY
42 Bridal gown storage option : DRESS BAG
43 It’ll never work : DUD
48 Big Easy cuisine : CREOLE
49 Co-worker of Lane and Olsen : KENT
51 “Where __ sign?” : DO I
54 Pulled a chair up to : SAT AT
55 Insurance giant : AETNA
56 Skirt fold : PLEAT
58 Dove, e.g. : SOAP
59 Young salamanders : EFTS
60 Wee : ITSY
62 Sleight of hand : RUSE
63 Egypt’s cont. : AFR
64 Jack of “Barney Miller” : SOO
65 Common Market letters : EEC
66 Hot tub sigh : AAH!

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Sep 19, Thursday”

  1. 0 errors/erasures. Unable, however, to complete in order by acrosses.
    I love laundry chutes. A flaw in my current house is the lack of one.
    Another flaw regards the ladder, ironically, going to the attic. Some Einstein installed the spring hooks backwards, so that you can rip your shirt ascending and/or descending.
    My back outside stairs are upside down, concave side up, so water collects there, and freezes in winter.
    Other than those things, it’s perfect. Except for the way…
    Anyone looking to buy a house?
    Thanks, Carrie, for your correction. It is my goal to make less mistakes.

  2. I did not know Oread, so I put in Oreal, which gave me ale, which I thought made sense.
    Also did not know NRA, National Recovery Act.

  3. LAT: 14:54; I think I may have heard of “Chutes and Ladders”, but I’m quite sure I’ve never played the game. (On the other hand … these days, I’m sure of a lot of things that just ain’t so … 😜.)

    Newsday: 8:14, no errors.

    WSJ: 20:10, no errors; and, again, with a gimmick that neither the WSJ app nor the WSJ download site knows how to handle properly.

    BEQ: 11:32, no errors; and with a clue (for 2D) that seems quite wrong. If so, it adds support to my contention that BEQ’s puzzles could benefit from the attentions of an editor. If not, I wish someone would explain to me how the clue is to be interpreted. Glenn?

    Of course, people do sometimes say, sarcastically or ironically or disgustedly, the opposite of what they actually mean – like my dad, upon finding a flat tire on the car, saying, “Well, isn’t that the berries!” It took me most of my life to figure out what that phrase actually means (or should I say “meant”?).

    1. >If not, I wish someone would explain to me how the clue is to be interpreted. Glenn?

      Did come up with a thought. Maybe BEQ was considering “u-huh” which is a thing? Don’t know.

  4. I got “chutes and ladders” before most of the circles were filled. But not because of the pattern of them. (I remember that this phrase shows up several times a year.) BUT my hang up was that I misread 72A as “intimate” not “intimidate”!!! Duh. I’ve done that twice this week. Still, I did finish after I reread the clue. Just time wasted, I guess.

  5. 8 errors for 96%, letter-base. I just didn’t know quite enough and
    misread the intent on a couple of clues. Best we could do in 2 hours.

  6. 13:52. I remember playing Chutes and Ladders as a kid, but I remember nothing about it.

    I was very surprised when I read that it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. I read that on the back of a box of Maple Cheerios. There’s really no higher authority than that so it must be true.

    Who would be crazy enough to click on any link in a spam email – audio or any other file type?? That’s just begging to infect your machine.

    Barney Miller is one of my all time favorite shows, and Jack SOO was the best part of it. After he died, his character could never be replaced although the show was still good.

    J. Daigle – About 20 years ago, I played golf all day in Destin, FL so that my LAST HOLE was number 55. In fact, we played 111 holes starting Friday at noon and finishing Sunday around 3 PM. I’ve never been so exhausted from playing golf like that. What’s your all-time high in terms of number of holes played in one day?

    Best –

  7. LAT: 12:19, no errors. WSJ: 27:09, 1 error (Natick 16A-12D). Newsday: 9:37, 1 error. Fireball: 29:08, 6 errors. Couldn’t see through the theme for most part, which required repeated rebus entries and was interpreted differently in a way. BEQ: 17:04, no errors.

    @Dave
    I don’t get it, either. To be charitable with BEQ, maybe he’s imagining a response of disagreeing with someone in his mind, as opposed to the typical “parrot” entry.

    In other news, I got one of my crossword history books in of the two I ordered. Not too much different than Connor, but interestingly different enough so far. The guy, being a famous British setter, has managed to get hold of a lot of original debut puzzles from all over the world, so it’s been interesting to see those (have to hit the copier if I want to do them).

    1. Thanks, Glenn. I considered the “u-huh” explanation. There’s a song title spelled like that, but I don’t know what it means in the song (or if that’s relevant). Can’t wrap my head around your other possibility. I sent Quigley an e-mail asking about it, so perhaps he will explain himself in due course. (And I guess I should have told him my next deposit in his tip jar is riding on his answer … 😜)

      I’ve started doing the WSJ puzzles that I missed, starting with Monday, 09/14/2015. So far, I’ve done 30, including five Fridays with metas that were a lot easier than recent ones. (The Saturday puzzles, on the other hand, seemed harder to me than recent ones.) It’ll be interesting to see the progression in difficulty as I go through them.

  8. I got all the same errors that everyone else did. I started by entering AND LADDERS, but couldn’t remember the first part. Didn’t know it if was BANS or BArS, and left that letter blank. Also had OREAl instead of OREAD, so AlE rather that ADE. Had A TALE before A TAIL.
    I did Google for MEAT and TAMPA.

    Clever theme, Wechsler!

  9. 10:26 and two errors OREAD/ADE. For some dumb reason, all I could think of is ALE for a “stand buy”. The clue, as written, just didn’t register. Lemon ___ might have been a bit less obtuse.

  10. Very enjoyable Thursday Wechsler; took the same as yesterday: 25 minutes, but this time on paper. Didn’t know a few things, but the crosses and appropriate
    guesses got me through.

    Only rewrite was wELD to MELD.

    @Glen or Dave – Is there a way to change the direction on the WSJ on-line puzzle. It was driving me crazy yesterday, just before moving on to the LA puzzle. The space bar doesn’t work, just the mouse, that I could tell. If there
    isn’t I may have to down load it and do it on that app.

  11. Salutations y’all!!🦆

    No errors– very clever puzzle. I had a few missteps: LOTUS before ASANA; FILLE before ONCLE.

    I started using real maple syrup several years ago and can’t STAND the fake stuff!! I even bring my own syrup bottle to restaurants that don’t use it, and no I am not kidding. I bet I’m not the only one! It did happen on Seinfeld once. Good thing I’m not a wine connoisseur– that would cost a lot more. 😁

    Michael re: “less” — LOL!! and OUCH!! Painful!

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

  12. Of interest, perhaps, is that as a non-crossword question 20-Down “Bonn : Wasser :: Barcelona : __ : AGUA” could also be answered “AIGUA”, the Catalan word for water. Catalan is also an official language of Catalonia of which Barcelona is the capital

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