LA Times Crossword 13 Sep 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Steve Faiella
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: First Dance

Today’s themed answers sound like common phrases, and each starts with a DANCE:

  • 56A Wedding reception highlight … and a feature of four puzzle answers : FIRST DANCE
  • 15A Time for an Oktoberfest tradition? : POLKA NIGHT (sounds like “poker night”)
  • 23A Movie about a Jewish wedding staple? : HORA FILM (sounds like “horror film”)
  • 33A Festive Brazilian gathering? : SAMBA OCCASION (sounds like “somber occasion”)
  • 48A One in a line of frolicking sea creatures? : CONGA EEL (sounds like “conger eel”)

Bill’s time: 8m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 “Isn’t __ Lovely”: Stevie Wonder hit : SHE

“Isn’t She Lovely” is a Stevie Wonder song that he released in 1976. The song refers to Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris, who was born in the prior year.

The great musician Stevie Wonder signed up with Motown Records when he was just 11-years-old. He has been remarkably loyal to the label and is still recording with Motown some 50 years later. The level of Stevie Wonder’s success is illustrated by his 22 Grammy Awards, the most Grammys awarded to a male solo artist. Wonder was born 6 weeks prematurely, and incomplete development of blood vessels in his eyes caused the retinas to detach leaving him blind soon after birth. His mother, Lula Mae Hardaway, co-wrote many of Stevie’s songs when he was a teenager, including “I Was Made to Love Her”, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “I Don’t Know Why I Love You”.

13 Toyota until 2006 : CELICA

The badge name “Celica” used by Toyota comes from the Latin “coelica” meaning “heavenly”.

15 Time for an Oktoberfest tradition? : POLKA NIGHT (sounds like “poker night”)

The polka is a dance from central Europe, one that originated in Bohemia in the mid-1800s. It’s thought that “polka” comes from a Czech word meaning “little half”, reflecting the little half-steps included in the basic dance.

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …

19 Where to find letters on tracks : MAIL CAR

A railroad car used to sort mail en route was referred to as a railway post office in the US. The equivalent “railway carriage” was referred to as a travelling post office in Britain and Ireland. Almost all railway post offices were incorporated into passenger trains, and so the US Postal Service (USPS) became a substantial source of revenue for rail companies running passenger services. The USPS cancelled all of its mail by rail contracts in 1967, a move that caused many passenger rail routes to shut down because of the loss of income.

21 Medical events in a 1977 Robin Cook thriller : COMAS

Robin Cook is a novelist from New York who writes thrillers dealing with medical situations. Cook’s first major novel “Coma” was made into a 1978 feature film directed by Michael Crichton and starring Geneviève Bujold and Michael Douglas. Cook is himself a physician and is currently on leave with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

23 Movie about a Jewish wedding staple? : HORA FILM (sounds like “horror film”)

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

24 Celebrity chef Garten : INA

Ina Garten is an author as well as the host of a cooking show on the Food Network called “Barefoot Contessa”. Garten has no formal training as a chef, and indeed used to work as a nuclear policy analyst at the White House!

31 Paramedic letters : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

32 Old brew revived in the 2000s : PBR

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

33 Festive Brazilian gathering? : SAMBA OCCASION (sounds like “somber occasion”)

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

38 Rapper will.__ : I.AM

“Will.i.am” is the stage name of rap artist and singer William Adams Jr. who is famous as the lead member of the Black Eyed Peas.

39 Stick in a lock : OAR

Oarlocks are swivelling braces on the sides of a rowing boat that hold the oars as the boat is being propelled. Back in Ireland, we call them “rowlocks” (pronounced “rollox”).

40 Jazz vocalist Laine : CLEO

Cleo Laine is a jazz singer from England who is noted for her remarkable range of nearly four octaves. Laine is the only female performer to have received Grammy nominations in each of the classical, jazz and popular music categories. My favorite of her recordings is “He Was Beautiful”, which is also known as “Cavatina” and is a version of the theme from the film “The Deer Hunter”.

48 One in a line of frolicking sea creatures? : CONGA EEL (sounds like “conger eel”)

The conga line is a dance that originated as a Cuban carnival march. It became popular in the US starting in the thirties. The dance is apparently named after the Congo region of Africa, and it was originated by slaves who were brought from there to Cuba.

Conger eels can grow to be very, very large, perhaps up to 10 feet in length.

52 Creator of a sci-fi “Traveller” : HG WELLS

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells titled “The Time Machine”, the author never actually names the antagonist, and refers to him as “the Time Traveller”. In the famous 1960 movie adaption, also called “The Time Machine”, Rod Taylor plays the Time Traveller, and is given the name “George”. Perceptive viewers of the movie might catch sight of a plaque on the side of the time machine that elaborates on the Time Traveller’s name, naming him “H. George Wells”, a homage to the author.

53 Schroeder’s toy : PIANO

Schroeder is a favorite character of mine in the comic strip “Peanuts”. He is young boy who constantly plays on a toy piano, especially pieces by Beethoven. Schroeder is also the subject of an extreme infatuation by young Lucy van Pelt, who often leans on his piano and looks at him adoringly as he plays.

60 Rolled __ : OATS

Oat cereals all start out as “groats”, toasted oat grains with the hull still intact:

  • Steel-cut oats, sometimes called “Irish oats”, are groats that have been chopped into chunks about the size of sesame seeds.
  • Stone-ground oats, sometimes called “Scottish oats”, have been ground into smaller pieces, about the size of poppy seeds.
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats are made by first steaming the toasted groats, and then rolling them into flakes.
  • Quick-cooking oats are similar to rolled oats, but thinner flakes.
  • Instant oats have been chopped, rolled, pre-cooked, dehydrated and often have salt and sugar added.

63 MIT, for one : SCH

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.

65 Yang’s opposite : YIN

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

Down

1 Nile danger : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

2 John of “Star Trek” (2009) : CHO

John Cho is an actor and musician who was born in Seoul, South Korea but who has lived in the US since he was a young boy. Cho’s break in movies came in playing Harold Lee in the ”Harold & Kumar” films. He is now making a name for himself playing Mr. Sulu in the latest “Star Trek” movies.

The 2009 movie “Star Trek” is in effect a prequel to the original “Star Trek” series. The film features a young James T. Kirk (played by Chris Pine) and a young Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) battling Romulan named Nero (played by Eric Bana) who comes back in time. There’s an appearance by the original Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) who does a bit of time travel himself.

3 1967 Etta James hit : TELL MAMA

“Tell Mama” is a 1967 song recorded by Etta James that was written by singer Clarence Carter. Carter had released 1966 version of the song himself, under the original title “Tell Daddy”.

4 Target section : MEN’S

Target Corporation was founded by George Draper Dayton in 1902 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as Dayton Dry Goods Company. Dayton developed into a department store, and the company opened up a discount store chain in 1962, calling it Target. Today, Target is the second-largest discount retailer in the country, after Walmart.

5 Nastase on the court : ILIE

I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to share a joke with the crowd. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Romanian Senate though, and was elected senator in 2014.

6 Archaeological site : DIG

“Archaeology” is a word that looks like it’s British English, and one might be forgiven for using the spelling “archeology” in American English. Even though the latter spelling has been around for a couple of hundred years, the former is the standard spelling on both sides of the Atlantic.

7 Jerks : SCHMOS

“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, and comes from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

8 Member of Genghis Khan’s horde : TATAR

Tatars (sometimes “Tartars”) are an ethnic group of people who mainly reside in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire that was destined to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. He first built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At its height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.

14 With 42-Across, corrosive substances : SULFURIC …
(42A See 14-Down : … ACIDS)

Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is extremely corrosive. Sulfuric acid was called “oil of vitriol” by the medieval alchemists of Europe.

16 Camping letters : KOA

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was founded in 1962 by Montana businessman Dave Drum, who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. His strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, which he hoped would attract people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

20 Shakespeare’s plays are full of them : IAMBS

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” use five sequential iambs, e.g. “Shall I / compare / thee to / a sum- / -mer’s day?” With that sequence of five iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic pentameter.

26 Orioles, e.g. : TEAM

The Baltimore Orioles (the “O’s”) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

27 Medical care gp. : HMO

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

30 Bits : SMIDGENS

Our word “smidgen” (sometimes shortened to “smidge”) is used to describe a small amount. The term might come from the Scots word “smitch” that means the same thing or “a small insignificant person”.

32 Prefix with sail : PARA-

Parasailing is hanging below a tethered parachute that is towed by a boat.

34 __ metabolism : BASAL

One’s basal metabolism comprises just the basic processes of the body, the one’s essential to maintain life. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories needed to maintain that basal metabolism, sufficient energy to maintain function of the vital organs such as heart, lungs, kidneys. Excluded is the energy needed to move around, eat, or absorb food.

37 Tide table term : NEAP

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

41 Sounds heard at an ashram : OMS

“Om” is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. “Om” is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

“Ashram” is a term used in the Hindu tradition to describe a place of spiritual retreat, one that is typically located in a remote location conducive to spiritual instruction and meditation.

43 Colombard grapes product : COGNAC

Cognac is a famous variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac in the very west of France. To be called cognac, the brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in very specific French oak barrels.

Colombard (sometimes “French Colombard”) is a variety of wine grape. Colombard is a grape traditionally used to make the wine that is distilled into cognac and armagnac.

49 Like the Hollow Tree Factory bakers : ELFIN

The famous Keebler Elves have been appearing in ads for Keebler since 1968. The original head of the elves was J. J. Keebler, but he was toppled from power by Ernest J. Keebler in 1970. The Keebler Elves bake their cookies in the Hollow Tree Factory.

51 Santa __ : ANA

Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.

53 Exam for jrs. : PSAT

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

57 Stephen of “The Crying Game” : REA

Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

“The Crying Game” is a fascinating film that made quite a splash when it was released in 1992. Although it was set in Ireland and the UK, it didn’t do well in cinemas in either country yet made a lot of money over here in the US. I think the politics of the movie were a bit raw for Irish and UK audiences back then. It’s an unusual plot, blending Irish political issues with some raw sexuality questions. I won’t tell you about the “surprise scene”, just in case you haven’t seen it and want to do so.

58 Movie SFX : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

The abbreviation “FX” stands for “effects” as in “special effects”. “Special effects” can also be shortened to “SFX”.

59 DMV wait time, seemingly : EON

In most states, the government agency responsible for vehicle registration and the issuing of driver’s licenses is called the DMV. This initialism usually stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles, but there are “variations on the theme”. For example, in Arizona the responsible agency is called the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and in Colorado the familiar abbreviation “DMV” stands for Division of Motor Vehicles.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Pretend to be : ACT
4 Center : MIDST
9 Foot, in zoology : PES
12 “Isn’t __ Lovely”: Stevie Wonder hit : SHE
13 Toyota until 2006 : CELICA
14 Posted : SENT
15 Time for an Oktoberfest tradition? : POLKA NIGHT (sounds like “poker night”)
17 Erase : UNDO
18 Deplorable sort : LOUSE
19 Where to find letters on tracks : MAIL CAR
21 Medical events in a 1977 Robin Cook thriller : COMAS
23 Movie about a Jewish wedding staple? : HORA FILM (sounds like “horror film”)
24 Celebrity chef Garten : INA
25 Set of values : ETHOS
28 Thinks intently (over) : MULLS
29 Impedes, with “up” : GUMS
31 Paramedic letters : EMT
32 Old brew revived in the 2000s : PBR
33 Festive Brazilian gathering? : SAMBA OCCASION (sounds like “somber occasion”)
38 Rapper will.__ : I.AM
39 Stick in a lock : OAR
40 Jazz vocalist Laine : CLEO
42 See 14-Down : … ACIDS
45 Charged : RAN AT
47 Reservoir creator : DAM
48 One in a line of frolicking sea creatures? : CONGA EEL (sounds like “conger eel”)
50 Increases, with “up” : RAMPS
52 Creator of a sci-fi “Traveller” : HG WELLS
53 Schroeder’s toy : PIANO
55 Getting __ years : ON IN
56 Wedding reception highlight … and a feature of four puzzle answers : FIRST DANCE
60 Rolled __ : OATS
61 Conceptualize : IDEATE
62 One may be bruised : EGO
63 MIT, for one : SCH
64 “Cool!” : NEATO!
65 Yang’s opposite : YIN

Down

1 Nile danger : ASP
2 John of “Star Trek” (2009) : CHO
3 1967 Etta James hit : TELL MAMA
4 Target section : MEN’S
5 Nastase on the court : ILIE
6 Archaeological site : DIG
7 Jerks : SCHMOS
8 Member of Genghis Khan’s horde : TATAR
9 Write (in) tentatively : PENCIL
10 Ultimate objective : END ALL
11 Weather headliners : STORMS
13 Reason : CAUSE
14 With 42-Across, corrosive substances : SULFURIC …
16 Camping letters : KOA
20 Shakespeare’s plays are full of them : IAMBS
21 Slangy smoke : CIG
22 Heavy weight : ONUS
23 Glowing barbecue bit : HOT COAL
26 Orioles, e.g. : TEAM
27 Medical care gp. : HMO
30 Bits : SMIDGENS
32 Prefix with sail : PARA-
34 __ metabolism : BASAL
35 Recyclable item : CAN
36 Source of status : OLD MONEY
37 Tide table term : NEAP
41 Sounds heard at an ashram : OMS
42 Blessing evokers : ACHOOS
43 Colombard grapes product : COGNAC
44 Part of, as a gang : IN WITH
45 Live : RESIDE
46 Sports news : TRADE
49 Like the Hollow Tree Factory bakers : ELFIN
51 Santa __ : ANA
53 Exam for jrs. : PSAT
54 “Leave __ me” : IT TO
57 Stephen of “The Crying Game” : REA
58 Movie SFX : CGI
59 DMV wait time, seemingly : EON

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Sep 19, Friday”

  1. LAT: 14:14, no errors. Newsday: 14:20, with a one-square error due to haste and inattention. WSJ: 19:03, no errors; got the meta. New Yorker: 12:20, no errors. Croce later, if I have time (after playing hooky again today … 😜).

    1. Today’s Croce is a non-crossword that I’m disinclined to do – which is good, since I spent the entire day wandering about in the mountains (mostly, unfortunately, by car).

  2. I did not do great. But for me, for a Friday, I did pretty well. Instead of pes, I had ped, then pod, and that slowed things down.
    — Old Man in Minnesota

  3. 0 errors/1 erasure. Able to complete in order by acrosses, so found it a bit easier than yesterday’s. Enjoyed the theme.
    40A: Love Cleo’s singing! I especially like “Empty Arms and Empty Heart,” that she sang on the soundtrack to “The Idol.” Her husband, John Dankworth, a premier composer and arranger, did the excellent music for that and other British films. I play his albums frequently. I especially recommend “The Sophisticated John Dankworth.” He employed the best musicians, too.
    3D: “Tell Daddy” was actually a riff on the famous phrase “tell mama” from the film “A Place in the Sun,” said by Elizabeth Taylor’s to Montgomery Clift’s character. So it was cool for it to be turned back into “tell mama” when the song was covered by a female vocalist. No one sang it like Janis Joplin, who turned it into a performance piece. When I listen to it, what she evokes when she puts that idea across, invoking the line from the film, delivered the way only she could, I can’t describe. There will never be another Janis Joplin.

  4. 28:07 no errors…..on another topic I am as I have said before computer illiterate and have learned enough to post comments here and some other basic functions…..yesterday I went to a Wawa store to get a sub …I walked in and stood at the deli counter waiting for a “can I help you” which never came….another customer sensed that I was lost and came to my rescue…He took me to a computer touch screen and walked me through a rather lengthy process to order a sandwich and then it punched out a ticket that I took to the cashier and paid for…I then got the ticket back with a number on it and went to the deli where my order was ready…that might be my last visit to that store… Is that what everything is coming to?

  5. I hear you Jack. Sad commentary on today’s “help”…I’ve tried for literally
    hours to get some help and/or answers from my phone company…just
    waiting to talk to a human person instead of punching buttons.

    Anyway no errors for today’s puzzle.

  6. I didn’t care for the puzzle; answers too tangential. The real question is: why did I bother to do a Friday? Six Googles, three of them on the theme.
    Also, one of my pet peeves: PBR should have had some indication it was an abbrev.
    Can’t wait for Monday!

  7. 14:46. This should have been in the NYT. The theme answers make a lot more sense if you imagine a NY accent.

    JBat – From yesterday, 54 holes is a long day for anyone. When we played 55 holes in one day, we were racing the sunset at the end and kept doubling back onto various par 3’s to artificially increase our hole count. The guy I was with had a previous personal high of 54 holes and wanted to beat it.

    Best –

  8. LAT: 22:11, 2 errors. WSJ: 25:31, no errors. Absolutely no clue on the meta, the whole puzzle was entirely weird. Newsday: 28:37, no errors. New Yorker: 10:16, no errors. All psycho-hard puzzles b/c they were filled with gibbering nonsense, save the New Yorker.

    @Dirk (yesterday)
    The WSJ software is pretty messed up (including not supporting rebuses when puzzles involving them are published, but that’s another topic entirely). Namely, having non-standard features and such. Type “\” on the keyboard to change direction.

    @Jack
    Yep. Pretty much. It’s an issue the government needs to address post-haste (when the assumption is that everyone can find employment when it’s factually not accurate or possible for automation, population growth and other reasons), but won’t. Pretty much everything is moving towards automation in that light. There isn’t any profession anymore that isn’t due to go the way of the do-do bird directly.

    @all
    Thinking about recording some puzzle solves with a general educational purpose. Got everything lined up to do it except a place to post them, but when I do I can start, time permitting. Assuming there’s enough interest, of course.

  9. 13 mins 58 secs, no errors. Didn’t come easy, though. Fills like SCHMOS, MIDST and TATAR did not appear to me readily. Spent a lot of time in that area

  10. Well, made it through another Friday. Had a lot of cleanup to do before I finished. At least I didn’t misread anything for a change. “Ideate” was a new word for me, but make total sense of course. “Conga eel” through me off, as I had “….seal” in already, and that didn’t work. I found this puzzle a little “forced” as in, trying to work too hard. Wasn’t very clever in my book.

  11. Moderately difficult puzzle; took me 34:50 on-line with no peeking/errors. Spent about 8 minutes in the SW but finally managed to get it sorted out. I actually enjoyed the puzzle today, which had just the right amount of thinking involved.

    Hard for me to imagine a Conger Eel as frolicking. Interesting that Cognac is a town, and it’s also near Angoulême, which featured prominently in the Balzac novel “Lost Illusions”, one of my favorites.

    @Glenn – Thanks for that…hmm the \ character to switch directions…kinda odd.

  12. Greetings from the Night Watch!!🦆

    No errors on a nice Friday puzzle. For some reason I got POLKA NIGHT quickly, and without realizing it was a pun! You know, Polka Night!! It’s a thing, isn’t it? Figured out the pun after I got the second theme answer.

    I also struggled in the SW; finally COGNAC hit me (so to speak…)🍷

    Signed my closing refi papers today! Getting a little refund, so pretty soon I’ll be able to have the yard cleaned up and knocked into shape. I wanted to do it before summer, but hey, I’m in LA, where we can use the yard all year—

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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