LA Times Crossword 16 Sep 19, Monday

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Constructed by: Paul Coulter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Start of Play

Themed answers each comprise two words, both of which are often seen STARTING a phrase ending in PLAY:

  • 63A Opening kickoff, say, and what both parts of 17-, 30- and 47-Across can be : START OF PLAY
  • 17A Football non-passing offense : RUNNING GAME (giving “running play” & “game play”)
  • 30A Get one more card for twice the bet, in blackjack : DOUBLE DOWN (giving “double play” & “downplay”)
  • 47A Car engine measure : HORSEPOWER (giving “horseplay” & “power play”)

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 W.C. Fields persona : SOUSE

The verb “to souse” dates back to the 14th century and means “to pickle, steep in vinegar”. In the early 1600s, the usage was applied to someone pickled in booze, a drunkard.

W.C. Fields worked hard to develop the on-screen image of a pretty grumpy old man. In his real life he was fairly grumpy too, and fond of protecting his privacy. He was famous for hiding in the shrubs around his house in Los Angeles and firing a BB gun at the legs of tourists who intruded on his property. Also Fields often played the drunk on-screen. In real life, Fields didn’t touch alcohol at all when he was younger, partly because he didn’t want to do anything to impair his skill as a juggler. But later in life he took to heavy drinking, so much so that it affected his health and interfered with his ability to perform.

14 Strand during a sleet storm, say : ICE IN

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

21 MBA or MFA: Abbr. : DEG

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

24 Farm song refrain : E-I-E-I-O

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

26 Hasenpfeffer, e.g. : STEW

“Hasenpfeffer” is a rabbit or hare stew from Germany. The meat in the stew is braised with wine and the sauce thickened with the animal’s blood. The name “Hasenpfeffer” comes from the German “Hase” meaning “hare” and “Pfeffer” meaning “pepper”.

30 Get one more card for twice the bet, in blackjack : DOUBLE DOWN (giving “double play” & “downplay”)

The card game known as “twenty-one” was first referred to in print in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “ventiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

34 36-Across skunk Pepé : LE PEW

Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe accidentally painted down her back.

36 Warner Bros. creation : TOON

The Warner Bros. film studio was founded by four Warner brothers, although their original family name was Wonskolaser. The brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack emigrated from Poland as children with their parents, and changed their name when they landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1889.

37 Author Tolstoy : LEO

The Russian author Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. He also wrote the much-respected novellas “Hadji Murad” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”.

38 European peak : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

43 You, to Goethe : SIE

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer (among many other things). Goethe’s most famous work is probably his play “Faust”. This epic work was published in parts, starting in 1808. The work was only published in toto after his death in 1832.

44 “Peter Pan” dog : NANA

In J.M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Peter takes Wendy Darling and her two brothers on adventures on the island of Neverland. Back in the real world, the Darling children are taken care of by a nanny, a Newfoundland dog called Nana. It is Nana who takes Peter Pan’s shadow away from him as he tries to escape from the Darling house one night.

45 Sediment : DREGS

The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), are also called “lees”.

47 Car engine measure : HORSEPOWER (giving “horseplay” & “power play”)

The unit of horsepower was introduced along with the steam engine, where the output of the engine was compared with the power of draft horses. Largely, this comparison with the horse was a marketing ploy, as the intent was to demonstrate that one steam engine could negate the need for a number of draft horses used for work.

51 Arthur of tennis : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

52 “Unforgettable” singer : COLE

Natalie Cole is the daughter of Nat King Cole. Natalie’s mother was Maria Cole, a singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The most famous version of the hit song “Unforgettable” was released in 1951 by Nat King Cole. In 1991, Natalie Cole recorded a version that was mixed with an earlier 1961 version sung by her father, creating an “unforgettable” father-daughter duet that was made 26 years after Nat King Cole had passed away.

53 Peter, Paul or Mary : SAINT

Simon Peter (often “Peter” or “Saint Peter”) was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The Christian tradition holds that Peter founded the Roman Church, and the Roman Catholic tradition names Peter as the first pope.

According to the Bible, Saint Paul was an apostle, although he was not one of the original Twelve Apostles. Paul is said to have written 14 of the 27 books in the Christian New Testament.

According to the Christian New Testament and the Quran, the mother of Jesus was a woman from Nazareth named Mary (“Maryam” in the Islamic account),.

55 Philosophy school with no classes? : MARXISM

Marxism is the political and economic philosophy espoused by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-to-late 1800s. The main tenet of Marxism is that bourgeois suppression of lower classes in a capitalistic society inevitably leads to a socialist and ultimately classless society.

58 Biol. or geol. : SCI

Geology (geol.) and biology (biol.) are sciences (scis.).

59 “Bingo!” : AHA!

Our game called “Bingo” is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

62 Australian bird : EMU

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

66 Sailor’s “Help!” : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

70 Bldg. with a pool : YMCA

The YMCA (“the Y”) is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of “a healthy spirit, mind and body”. The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

71 “I Am of Ireland” poet : YEATS

Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.

Down

1 Lat. and Est., once : SSRS

Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.

Estonia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) and is located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea due south of Finland. Estonia has been overrun and ruled by various empires over the centuries. The country did enjoy a few years of freedom at the beginning of the 20th century after a war of independence against the Russian Empire. However, Estonia was occupied again during WWII, first by the Russians and then by the Germans, and then reoccupied by the Soviets in 1944. Estonia has flourished as an independent country again since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

2 Grimace : MOUE

The term “moue” comes from French, and means “small grimace, pout”.

3 Em, to Dorothy : AUNT

In the children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Gale lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

4 Nine-digit ID : SSN

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011 SSNs are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

5 Alpine heroine : HEIDI

“Heidi” is a children’s book written by Swiss author Johanna Spyri and published in two parts. The first is “Heidi’s years of learning and travel”, and the second “Heidi makes use of what she has learned”. The books tells the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The most famous film adaptation of the story is the 1937 movie of the same name starring Shirley Temple in the title role.

6 Astros Hall of Famer Craig __ : BIGGIO

Craig Biggio is a retired Major League Baseball player who played his entire career with the Houston Astros, retiring in 2007. A little trivia: Biggio bats and throws with his right hand, but he writes with his left …

7 Cardio readout : ECG

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.

10 Human/canine shape-shifters : WEREWOLVES

The prefix “were-” as in “werewolf” derives from an old word “wer” meaning “man”. Hence a werewolf is a “man-wolf”.

23 Cabernet color : RED

The cabernet sauvignon grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

24 Summer in Lyon : ETE

The city of Lyon in France, is also known as “Lyons” in English. Lyon is the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, after Paris. It is located just to the north of the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers.

28 Prefix for “sun” : HELIO-

Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology, and is the reason that we use the prefix “helio-” to mean “sun”. He was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night be travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.

35 Sommelier’s menu : WINE LIST

“Sommelier” is the French word for “wine steward”. If that steward is a female, then the term used in French is “sommelière”.

41 __-Caps: candy : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

48 Fenway team, familiarly : SOX

The Fens is a picturesque parkland in Boston. Once a saltwater marshland, urban development since the late 1800s has turned the area into what is essentially a freshwater lagoon. The Fens (sometimes “Back Bay Fens”) gave its name to the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, and ultimately to the famous Fenway Park baseball stadium.

49 SoCal Latinx neighborhood : EAST LA

East Los Angeles (usually “East LA”) is the most populous “census-designated place” in California, and is home to over 125,000 people.

“Latinx” is a gender-neutral term that can be used in place of “Latino” and “Latina”. It is a neologism that was started to first appear online around 2004.

50 Puerto __ : RICO

Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.

55 Big butte : MESA

“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.

56 Love, in Lima : AMOR

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem.

59 Opposite of baja : ALTA

In Spanish, “baja” is “low” and “alta” is “high”.

64 Rocker Ocasek : RIC

Ric Ocasek is an American musician of Czech heritage. He was the lead vocalist of the rock band known as the Cars.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Really big hit : SMASH
6 Numero uno, with “the” : … BEST
10 One always ready with quick comebacks : WIT
13 W.C. Fields persona : SOUSE
14 Strand during a sleet storm, say : ICE IN
16 Green prefix : ECO-
17 Football non-passing offense : RUNNING GAME (giving “running play” & “game play”)
19 Fish eggs : ROE
20 __ the table: arrange silverware and such : SET
21 MBA or MFA: Abbr. : DEG
22 Behind, or hit from behind : REAR END
24 Farm song refrain : E-I-E-I-O
26 Hasenpfeffer, e.g. : STEW
27 Open-and-__ case : SHUT
30 Get one more card for twice the bet, in blackjack : DOUBLE DOWN (giving “double play” & “downplay”)
34 36-Across skunk Pepé : LE PEW
36 Warner Bros. creation : TOON
37 Author Tolstoy : LEO
38 European peak : ALP
39 “Gosh, look at the time” : IT’S LATE
42 Sundial seven : VII
43 You, to Goethe : SIE
44 “Peter Pan” dog : NANA
45 Sediment : DREGS
47 Car engine measure : HORSEPOWER (giving “horseplay” & “power play”)
51 Arthur of tennis : ASHE
52 “Unforgettable” singer : COLE
53 Peter, Paul or Mary : SAINT
55 Philosophy school with no classes? : MARXISM
58 Biol. or geol. : SCI
59 “Bingo!” : AHA!
62 Australian bird : EMU
63 Opening kickoff, say, and what both parts of 17-, 30- and 47-Across can be : START OF PLAY
66 Sailor’s “Help!” : SOS
67 Woodsy path : TRAIL
68 Deed : TITLE
69 Gallery hangings : ART
70 Bldg. with a pool : YMCA
71 “I Am of Ireland” poet : YEATS

Down

1 Lat. and Est., once : SSRS
2 Grimace : MOUE
3 Em, to Dorothy : AUNT
4 Nine-digit ID : SSN
5 Alpine heroine : HEIDI
6 Astros Hall of Famer Craig __ : BIGGIO
7 Cardio readout : ECG
8 Blacken : SEAR
9 Schedule opening : TIME SLOT
10 Human/canine shape-shifters : WEREWOLVES
11 Screen symbol to click on : ICON
12 Open-__ shoes : TOED
15 Tidied, as a room : NEATENED
18 Require : NEED
23 Cabernet color : RED
24 Summer in Lyon : ETE
25 Western bad guys : OUTLAWS
27 Cut drastically, as prices : SLASH
28 Prefix for “sun” : HELIO-
29 Elite group : UPPER CRUST
31 Fancy neckwear : BOA
32 Mull over : WEIGH
33 Bam, bang or boom : NOISE
35 Sommelier’s menu : WINE LIST
40 Complex woven textile : TAPESTRY
41 __-Caps: candy : SNO
46 Backstabber : RAT
48 Fenway team, familiarly : SOX
49 SoCal Latinx neighborhood : EAST LA
50 Puerto __ : RICO
54 Really cool : NIFTY
55 Big butte : MESA
56 Love, in Lima : AMOR
57 Hat-tipper’s word of address : MA’AM
59 Opposite of baja : ALTA
60 “Stop right there!” : HALT!
61 Shipboard yeses : AYES
64 Rocker Ocasek : RIC
65 Dessert pastry : PIE

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 16 Sep 19, Monday”

  1. Inked with no errors or crossouts. A thing of beauty. Great way to start the week. Sunny but in the 50s this AM in Central NYS.

  2. 0 errors. Completed in order by acrosses.
    34A: Reminds me of the 3 Stooges short where Shemp recounts meeting his Fifi at a cafe on the rue de LePew, which he pronounces rudy lepew. Fifi apologizes for her limited command of English, to which Shemp replies “Pshaw! Why, you talk English almost as good as me.”
    45A: Dregs- good name for a rock band, but there is a band called The Dixie Dregs. I think just plain The Dregs would have worked better.
    70A: There’s a “Jewish Y” in NYC, run by the YMHA- Young Men’s Hebrew Association. They do not exclude gentiles.
    64D: As I accessed the internet this morning to enter this site, my home page announced that Mr. Ocasek had passed away. The model for the Vargas girl on their famous album cover was the drummer’s then-girlfriend Candy Moore, who’d played the daughter on The Lucy Show.
    It is very humid in Chicago.
    “How humid is it?”
    It is so humid, my crossword pencil split open. I am not kidding. That’s what I get for not using AC.

  3. Not so good for me for a Monday. Sports. Guessed all the theme answers. Had to Google for Biggio, and spent an hour reading about him. Found out there was an National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago. Also, not actually familiar with SOX (more sports) or ICE IN. Hope Tuesday is more like a Monday should be for me.

  4. LAT: 8:36, no errors. Newsday: 5:28, no errors. CHE: 10:08, no errors. NYT: 7:04, no errors; posted here because Bill’s NYT blog hasn’t yet been updated to Monday (because he’s otherwise occupied, with a visiting brother from Ireland).

    WSJ: 9:40, no errors. Got Friday’s meta okay … and it was a rather odd construction: There really wasn’t any way to be sure of finishing with no errors without getting the meta! First time I’ve seen that … 😜.

    New Yorker: 23:58, no errors. A rather thoughtful solve.

    BEQ: 48:14, no errors. My time on this one is not very meaningful, as I did it with interruptions (and I neglected to note my actual finish time). That said, I will admit that I found it a significant challenge (though the real hurdle was a single square that I paused over for some time).

  5. LAT: 4:48, no errors. WSJ: 6:10, no errors. Friday’s meta was highly arbitrary, inane, and completely stupid. Can’t really come up with the right words that match the mess this thing is. Newsday: 5:07, no errors. CHE: 8:52, 2 errors. New Yorker: 37:02, 3 errors. A good illustration of “poor communication” at several points. BEQ: 32:14, no errors.

  6. I guess it would have to be considered easy, because we got it in like
    30 minutes. Only had to change KEATS to YEATS in order to make
    NIFTY work going down. Got a little help from the dictionary on a
    couple (NANA and SIE). A good and pleasant way to start the week.

  7. 6:57. No surprises except Michael’s news about RIC Ocasek dying. Seems to me something like that happened over at the NYT once – someone had died between the puzzle submission and the actual publication of it. Eerie. Fortunately, I doubt I’ll ever make it into a crossword…

    I’m not a fan or MARXISM, but a “classless society” could well describe what our keg parties looked like in college…I’ll refrain here from telling everyone what a Viking table was.

    9:24 for my NYT time (…Times time?). I thought it was tricky for a Monday.

    Best –

  8. Hello folks! 🦆

    Fun puzzle! No errors. Didn’t look for the theme till I’d finished. 🥂
    Didn’t know SIE, and I caused my own problems by putting AMOR in the wrong place…. story of my life. 😫 Fixed with lots of Wite Out.

    Be well ~~🚋⚾️

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