LA Times Crossword 17 Sep 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Evan Mahnken
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Easy on the Eyes

Themed answers each include the letter sequence “EZ”, which sounds like “EASY”, and sits over a letter I in the grid:

  • 33A Pleasing to look at … or a phonetic hint to a two-letter sequence in 16-, 20-, 51- and 56-Across : EASY ON THE EYES
  • 16A Amazon founder : JEFF BEZOS
  • 20A Very focused, as an athlete : IN THE ZONE
  • 51A Expatriate American poet arrested for treason in 1945 : EZRA POUND
  • 56A Aztec emperor : MONTEZUMA

Bill’s time: 4m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Activist Parks : ROSA

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

5 First bird to attack in “The Birds” : GULL

“The Birds” is a 1963 film made by Alfred Hitchcock based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. I’ve read the story and seen the film and find them both strangely disturbing (it’s probably just me!). I can’t stand the ending of either version, as nothing resolves itself!

9 “¿Qué __?” : PASA

In Spanish, ¿Qué pasa? translates literally as “what’s happening?” It is used to mean “how are things going for you?”.

13 Overly neat, say : ANAL

The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

14 Irish New Ager : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

New-Age music is created to provide a relaxing and stress-free atmosphere. The New Age movement is often said to have begun with the release of an album called “Spectrum Suite” by Steven Halpern in 1975.

15 Deep sleep : SOPOR

“Sopor” is a Latin word that we’ve absorbed into English. “Sopor” translates as “deep sleep” or “lethargy”.

16 Amazon founder : JEFF BEZOS

Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, a company that he set up in his garage in 1994. Bezos used some of the fortune that he made with Amazon to purchase “The Washington Post” in 2013.

18 2001 bankruptcy headliner : ENRON

After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

24 Some dadaist art : ARPS

Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

29 Clear dirty dishes from : BUS

A busboy is a person who assists a waiter, mainly by clearing tables. The verb “to bus” arose in the early 1900s and is probably a reference to the wheeled cart that was used to carry dishes.

40 Rapscallions : KNAVES

We’ve been using “knave” to mean a cad since about 1200, and as an alternative name for the jack in a deck of cards since the mid-1500s. “Knave” comes from the Old English word “cnafa”, a “boy, male servant”.

We might call a little imp a “rapscallion”, an evolution from “rascallion” that in turn comes from “rascal”.

45 Halves of qts. : PTS

A US pint is made from 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass that marked a full measure of ale.

47 Like Goldilocks’ first bowl of porridge : TOO HOT

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837 in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

49 Send to the canvas : KAYO

A kayo is a knockout (KO).

50 Code-breaking org. : NSA

National Security Agency (NSA)

51 Expatriate American poet arrested for treason in 1945 : EZRA POUND

Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, and spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

56 Aztec emperor : MONTEZUMA

Montezuma I and Montezuma II were Aztec emperors. Montezuma II was the ninth Aztec emperor and ruled from 1502 until 1520. He was the leader of the Aztec Empire when the Spanish first made contact and started the conquest of Mexico. Montezuma II was killed in a battle with the Spanish, although the details of his demise are not clear.

60 One-eyed “Futurama” character : LEELA

“Futurama” is an animated sci-fi show that airs on Fox. It was co-created by cartoonist Matt Groening, who also created “The Simpsons”. I simply don’t understand either show …

62 Dog food brand : IAMS

Iams dog food was introduced by animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

63 LAX landing list : ARRS

Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.

64 Some 35mm cameras : SLRS

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

Down

1 Koothrappali on “The Big Bang Theory” : RAJ

Raj Koothrappali is a character on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” who is played by British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. Nayyar is married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India.

2 Common bill : ONE

The nation’s first president, George Washington, is on the US one-dollar bills produced today. When the original one-dollar bill was issued in 1863, it featured a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury.

4 __ Romeo: sports car : ALFA

The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, one standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

6 Opens, as a parka : UNZIPS

A parka is a hooded jacket that is often lined with fur, and that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment, and it was absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.

7 Rhone cathedral city : LYONS

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.

9 Swindler with a scheme named for him : PONZI

Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. Ponzi devised a scheme to buy what were known as “international reply coupons” through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an “illegal” transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it’s what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme. He couldn’t redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. Many people wanted to get in on the scheme seeing that Ponzi was able to make the new investors a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn’t double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.

10 Cooks’ wear : APRONS

In Old French, a “naperon” was “small table-cloth”. The term was absorbed into English as “napron”, describing a cloth used to cover the front of a person at work. Over time, “a napron” was heard as “an apron”, giving us our contemporary noun “apron”.

12 “Gunsmoke” actor James : ARNESS

James Arness played the role of Matt Dillon, Marshal of Dodge City, on “Gunsmoke” for twenty years. If you count the occasions when he reprised the role for specials, he actually performed as Matt Dillon over five decades. Did you know that the real name of Peter Graves, the actor who played Jim Phelps on “Mission: Impossible”, was Peter Arness, as he and James were brothers.

22 “Grey’s Anatomy” network : ABC

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

29 Scroogean scoff : BAH!

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” to describe a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

32 20s dispenser : ATM

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

34 “Old Town Road” rapper Lil __ X : NAS

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name for rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

35 Cry after a stunning performance : ENCORE!

“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request perhaps another song. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”

41 Caribbean music : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

42 __ Artois: Belgian beer : STELLA

The Belgian beer Stella Artois is named for the brewer Sebastianus Artois. Artois was the master brewer at the Den Hoorn Brewery in Leuven, Belgium in the early 1700s. The Den Hoorn Brewery has been around at least since 1366 … yes, 1366!

44 Stout relative : PORTER

Porter is a dark beer that originated in London in the 1700s. It is named for the street and river porters with whom it was very popular. Porter is a well-hopped beer made using brown malt, which gives it the dark color.

46 Original “SNL” cast member Gilda : RADNER

Gilda Radner was a comedian and actress, and one of the original cast members of the hit television show “Saturday Night Live”. Radner left her first husband to marry comedic actor Gene Wilder, whom she met while they were both filming the Sidney Poitier movie “Hanky Panky”.

52 Baseball’s “men in blue” : UMPS

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

54 Guns from Israel : UZIS

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

57 Univ. aides : TAS

Teaching assistant (TA)

58 UFC fighting style : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest promoter in the world of mixed martial arts competitions. I think the idea is that competitors fight each other in various disciplines to see who is the “best of the best” …

59 Egyptian snake : ASP

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Activist Parks : ROSA
5 First bird to attack in “The Birds” : GULL
9 “¿Qué __?” : PASA
13 Overly neat, say : ANAL
14 Irish New Ager : ENYA
15 Deep sleep : SOPOR
16 Amazon founder : JEFF BEZOS
18 2001 bankruptcy headliner : ENRON
19 Corn serving : EAR
20 Very focused, as an athlete : IN THE ZONE
22 “Of course!” : AHA!
24 Some dadaist art : ARPS
26 Voices one’s view : OPINES
27 Scolds : BERATES
29 Clear dirty dishes from : BUS
30 HS promgoers : SRS
31 Tops of waves : CRESTS
32 Small batteries : AAS
33 Pleasing to look at … or a phonetic hint to a two-letter sequence in 16-, 20-, 51- and 56-Across : EASY ON THE EYES
39 Bash into : RAM
40 Rapscallions : KNAVES
42 Soak (up), as gravy : SOP
45 Halves of qts. : PTS
46 Look over again : RECHECK
47 Like Goldilocks’ first bowl of porridge : TOO HOT
49 Send to the canvas : KAYO
50 Code-breaking org. : NSA
51 Expatriate American poet arrested for treason in 1945 : EZRA POUND
53 Tiresome grind : RUT
55 Had a smoke : LIT UP
56 Aztec emperor : MONTEZUMA
60 One-eyed “Futurama” character : LEELA
61 Earnest request : PLEA
62 Dog food brand : IAMS
63 LAX landing list : ARRS
64 Some 35mm cameras : SLRS
65 Open-handed hit : SLAP

Down

1 Koothrappali on “The Big Bang Theory” : RAJ
2 Common bill : ONE
3 Low-crime part of town : SAFE AREA
4 __ Romeo: sports car : ALFA
5 “Gosh!” : GEE!
6 Opens, as a parka : UNZIPS
7 Rhone cathedral city : LYONS
8 At the back of the pack : LAST
9 Swindler with a scheme named for him : PONZI
10 Cooks’ wear : APRONS
11 Earlier : SOONER
12 “Gunsmoke” actor James : ARNESS
15 Leaks slowly : SEEPS
17 Like an overtired child, perhaps : BRATTY
21 One may be hidden under a welcome mat : HOUSE KEY
22 “Grey’s Anatomy” network : ABC
23 “__ goes nothing!” : HERE
25 Fall back on : RESORT TO
28 Beast of burden : ASS
29 Scroogean scoff : BAH!
32 20s dispenser : ATM
34 “Old Town Road” rapper Lil __ X : NAS
35 Cry after a stunning performance : ENCORE!
36 Slangy assent : YAH
37 Happening later : EVENTUAL
38 Moments, briefly : SECS
41 Caribbean music : SKA
42 __ Artois: Belgian beer : STELLA
43 More slimy : OOZIER
44 Stout relative : PORTER
45 Dad : POPPA
46 Original “SNL” cast member Gilda : RADNER
48 Lugs : HAULS
49 Small hill : KNOLL
52 Baseball’s “men in blue” : UMPS
54 Guns from Israel : UZIS
57 Univ. aides : TAS
58 UFC fighting style : MMA
59 Egyptian snake : ASP

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Sep 19, Tuesday”

  1. No errors. I cringe when I see Enron come up as an answer because
    as a former employee and “stockholder”, they cost me a lot of money.
    Good eye “Anonymous”…I never would have tumbled to that!

  2. @Anon – come forth!

    No Googles, no errors. Never heard of LEELA. This one made up for yesterday’s overly sporty Monday.

  3. LAT: 7:41, no errors. Newsday: 5:25, no errors. WSJ: 11:01, no errors. Forgot to download the Jones puzzle. Croce later, if I have time.

  4. 0 errors nor erasures. Completed in order by acrosses.
    9A: I took French already having some Spanish fluency. French also has “que” but it’s pronounced kuh. It wasn’t until my third year of French grammar that I started to pronounce the French “que” properly, well after the teachers had given up on me. I told that to an acquaintance, who asked “So French people say ‘kuh pasa’?”
    18A: Jeffrey Skilling’s brother Tom is a weatherman on Chicago TV. Before that, in Milwaukee, he refused to work with Albert the Alley Cat, a puppet that helped deliver the forecast and told a joke. He said “Either the cat goes or I do.” Tom went, but landed on his feet in the larger market.
    I’m an economist, and in one of the talks I give, I allude to Enron. In my discussion about economic value, I ask the rhetorical question “Who provided more value: the janitor who maintained a clean, hygienic workspace for other Enron employees, or the executives who ran it into the ground?”

  5. 6:33. I’ve been so busy lately that while I was doing this puzzle I was thinking it was pretty easy for a Thursday puzzle….

    Best –

  6. Jeff, I know that feeling about the days. I found today’s harder than yesterday’s, but
    we got all but 1 letter in about the same time. Used P for B in BRATTY, so will have to
    “settle” for 99.5%. Not an unhappy feeling at all.

  7. Hello every buddy!!🦆

    No errors. Anon, glad you pointed out that the EZ s are over I s. I sure didn’t notice! Bill will appreciate, and it makes for a more interesting theme.

    I do NOT like seeing QUÉ PASA in puzzles! Sounds like something a gringo would say– Spanish speakers will more commonly say “¿Qué pasó?” even tho that’s past tense, unless the context really calls for present tense.

    Of course, in an English-language puzzle, most solvers couldn’t come up with “Qué pasó,” so I guess my point is moot….🤔

    Be well ~~🚋⚾️

  8. As a hippie chick , graduated high school in 1969,”Que pasa” was another way of saying “Hello, what’s up?” The really hip would answer “Everything’s copasetic” or just “Copasetic.” This brings back many fond memories.

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