LA Times Crossword 19 Sep 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Start with Dishwashing Liquid

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted with reference to the name of a dishwashing liquid:

  • 17A Tall display of dishwashing liquid? : IVORY TOWER
  • 27A Global donation of dishwashing liquid? : JOY TO THE WORLD
  • 42A Rock band’s preferred dishwashing liquid? : DAWN OF THE DEAD
  • 57A Using dishwashing liquid in the shower? : SUNBATHING

Bill’s time: 6m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Barista’s concoction : BLEND

A barista is a person who serves coffee in a coffee shop. “Barista” is Italian for “bartender”.

6 Domino dots : PIPS

A pip is a dot on a die or a domino, or a mark on a playing card.

White masks with black spots were commonly seen in the old Venetian Carnival. The masks were known as “domini”. The domini lent their name to the game of dominoes, due to the similarity in appearance between the mask and a domino tile.

14 Construction rod : REBAR

A steel bar or mesh used to reinforce concrete is called “rebar”, which is short for “reinforcing bar”.

16 Skirt with a flounce : TUTU

The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word meaning “bottom, backside”.

A flounce is a strip of fabric that has been gathered to create the appearance of fullness, like a wide ruffle. Flounces are usually sewn onto the edge of skirts.

17 Tall display of dishwashing liquid? : IVORY TOWER

Ivory soap is one of Procter & Gamble’s oldest products, introduced way back in 1879. Ivory soap is noted for its “purity” and also because of its property of floating in water. Despite urban myths to the contrary, the property of floating in water was developed deliberately by a chemist at the time Ivory was being formulated. The soap floats because the ingredients are mixed longer than necessary for homogenization, which introduces more air into the product.

In modern usage, an ivory tower is an environment focused on education and intellectual pursuits while isolated from the practicalities of everyday life. The term is often used to describe academia. “Ivory tower” originated in the Song of Solomon in the Bible with the line “Your neck is like an ivory tower”.

19 MiG developer : USSR

The Russian fighter jets that we know as “MiGs” are so called because they were designed by the Mikoyan-and-Gurevich Design Bureau, and MiG is an acronym for “Mikoyan-and-Gurevich” in Russian.

21 Soy sauce taste : UMAMI

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

22 Sleuth of radio, movies and TV : CHAN

Charlie Chan is the main character in a series of novels by Earl Derr Biggers. Chan is a Chinese-American detective working with the Honolulu police department. There have been almost 50 movies made featuring the Charlie Chan character.

23 Sitcom star from Melmac : ALF

“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. The title character is a hand-puppet, and supposedly an alien named Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. The alien crash-landed into the house of amateur radio enthusiast Willie Tanner. Tanner renamed the intruder “ALF”, standing for “alien life form”.

25 Sticker : DECAL

A decal is a decorative sticker. “Decal” is a shortening of “decalcomania”. The latter term is derived from the French “décalquer”, the practice of tracing a pattern from paper onto glass or perhaps porcelain.

27 Global donation of dishwashing liquid? : JOY TO THE WORLD

Joy is a brand of dishwashing liquid that was introduced in 1949. Joy was the first sponsor of the soap opera “Search for Tomorrow”.

“Joy to the World” is a very popular Christmas carol that dates back to the early 1700s. The hymn’s lyrics were written by Isaac Watts and are based on lines in the Bible’s Book of Psalms and Book of Genesis. The music for the version that we hear most often today was composed by Lowell Mason in the mid-1800s.

34 TV exec Arledge : ROONE

Roone Arledge was an executive at ABC. Arledge made a name for himself in sports broadcasting and then took over ABC News in 1977, a position he held until his death in 2002.

35 Barcelona bear : OSO

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

36 Short dog, for short : PEKE

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

38 1956 crisis site : SUEZ

The Suez Crisis of 1956 came about when President Nasser of Egypt decided to nationalize the Suez Canal, a response to a withdrawal of funds by Britain and the US for the building of the Aswan Dam. Egypt then refused to allow any Israeli shipping the use the canal. With British and French support, Israel invaded the Sinai in October 1956, starting the military conflict. Combined British, French and Israeli forces eventually took control of the Suez Canal, which was viewed as a military success but a political disaster. The United Nations, led by the US, pressured the British, French and Israelis to withdraw.

39 Chest-beating beast : APE

The tailless primates known as apes are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

41 Slow, to Ravel : LENTE

“Lente” is the French word for “slow”.

Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. Ravel’s most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he considered it a trivial work. Personally though, I love the minimalism and simplicity …

42 Rock band’s preferred dishwashing liquid? : DAWN OF THE DEAD

Procter & Gamble’s Dawn is the best-selling brand of dishwashing liquid in the US. Outside of the home, animal rescue crews routinely use a 10% solution of Dawn to clean animals that have been caught in oil spills.

“Dawn of the Dead” is a 1978 horror movie all about zombies going after some folks barricaded into a shopping mall. I really don’t do zombies, nor indeed horror films …

45 “Supergirl” actor Jon : CRYER

Actor Jon Cryer first came to public attention playing Duckie Dale in the 1986 John Hughes movie “Pretty in Pink”. Cryer’s most famous role was Alan Harper on the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”.

The television show “Supergirl” debuted in 2015. The title character is portrayed by Melissa Benoist, an actress who found fame playing Marley rose in the show “Glee”.

48 Goaded, with “on” : EGGED

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

52 Seed used in smoothies : CHIA

Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terracotta figurines to which are applied moistened chia seeds. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.

56 “O brawling love! O loving __!”: Romeo : HATE

In William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”, Romeo makes what is described as an oxymoronic speech in which he calls attention to the fine line between love and hate:

O me! What fray was here?
Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.
Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything of nothing first create
O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

57 Using dishwashing liquid in the shower? : SUNBATHING

Sun is a line of laundry and dishwashing soap.

60 One likely to snap : CRAB

A crab might snap at you with a claw.

64 Aconcagua’s range : ANDES

The Andes range is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world. It runs down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles, from Venezuela in the north to Chile in the south. The highest peak in the Andes is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

Down

1 Pram pusher : BRIT

Another word used in the UK that’s rarely used over here is “pram”, which in my day was the most common term for what is called a “baby carriage” in the US. “Pram” is short for “perambulator”.

2 Son of Leah : LEVI

According to the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the great-grandfather of Aaron and Moses.

3 Black, to a bard : EBON

Ebony is another word for the color black (and is often shortened to “ebon” in poetry). Ebony is a dark black wood that is very dense, one of the few types of wood that sinks in water. Ebony has been in high demand so the species of trees yielding the wood are now considered threatened. It is in such short supply that unscrupulous vendors have been known to darken lighter woods with shoe polish to look like ebony, so be warned …

4 Zero, quaintly : NARY A ONE

The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul” or even “nary a one”.

5 Martini specification : DRY

The term “martini” probably takes it name from the “Martini & Rossi” brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis, and the term “dry” has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noël Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. The German-American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken referred to the martini as “the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”.

6 Dance with a queen : PROM

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

7 Captain Kirk’s home state : IOWA

According to the storyline in “Star Trek”, Captain James Tiberius Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa. The town of Riverside displays a plaque, noting Riverside as the “future birthplace of James T. Kirk.”

10 Masonry finish : STUCCO

Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

24 Fleur-de-__ : LYS

“Lys” (sometimes “lis”) is the French word for “lily” as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

32 Tablet with Air, Pro and Mini models : IPAD

The iPad wasn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

37 Like some bistros : AL FRESCO

Our word “alfresco” means outdoors, in the fresh air. The term came into English from Italian.

38 1957 Coasters chart-topper with the refrain “Gonna find her” : SEARCHIN’

“Searchin”” was a hit for the Coasters in 1957. According to the lyrics, the singer is “searchin” for his love, and he compares himself with a long list of fictional and non-fictional sleuths, i.e. a Northwest Mountie, Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Sergeant Friday, Charlie Chan and Boston Blackie.

41 Fragrant chain : LEI

“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

43 MLB team with Mr. and Mrs. mascots : NY METS

Mr. Met is the mascot of the New York Mets. He is a guy with a large baseball as a head. There’s also a Mrs. Met, a mascot who was previously known as Lady Met.

44 Duchamp genre : DADA

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.

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated “works” is simply what he called “readymade” art, a urinal which he titled “Fountain”. Even though this work is considered to be “a major landmark in 20th century art”, the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around the world. I have no further comment …

47 __ Tzu : SHIH

The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and a breed that originated in China. Shih Tzus have long hairy coats but they don’t shed.

49 Trusted advisor : GURU

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

50 Pesky bug : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

54 “Picnic” playwright : INGE

Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

58 Placeholder abbr. : TBA

Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Barista’s concoction : BLEND
6 Domino dots : PIPS
10 Rotating rod : SPIT
14 Construction rod : REBAR
15 Square __ : ROOT
16 Skirt with a flounce : TUTU
17 Tall display of dishwashing liquid? : IVORY TOWER
19 MiG developer : USSR
20 Wee : TINY
21 Soy sauce taste : UMAMI
22 Sleuth of radio, movies and TV : CHAN
23 Sitcom star from Melmac : ALF
25 Sticker : DECAL
27 Global donation of dishwashing liquid? : JOY TO THE WORLD
32 Set in a golf bag : IRONS
34 TV exec Arledge : ROONE
35 Barcelona bear : OSO
36 Short dog, for short : PEKE
37 Or so : ABOUT
38 1956 crisis site : SUEZ
39 Chest-beating beast : APE
40 Darts : FLITS
41 Slow, to Ravel : LENTE
42 Rock band’s preferred dishwashing liquid? : DAWN OF THE DEAD
45 “Supergirl” actor Jon : CRYER
46 It can be thin but not fat : AIR
47 Glance through : SKIM
48 Goaded, with “on” : EGGED
52 Seed used in smoothies : CHIA
56 “O brawling love! O loving __!”: Romeo : HATE
57 Using dishwashing liquid in the shower? : SUNBATHING
59 “__ that a lot” : I GET
60 One likely to snap : CRAB
61 Spree : BINGE
62 Like everything in a she shed : HERS
63 Ballpark figure : OUTS
64 Aconcagua’s range : ANDES

Down

1 Pram pusher : BRIT
2 Son of Leah : LEVI
3 Black, to a bard : EBON
4 Zero, quaintly : NARY A ONE
5 Martini specification : DRY
6 Dance with a queen : PROM
7 Captain Kirk’s home state : IOWA
8 Common greeting card content : POEM
9 Far from soothing : STRIDENT
10 Masonry finish : STUCCO
11 Bully : PUSH AROUND
12 “Everything’s ready to go!” : IT’S ALL SET
13 Chance at the spinner : TURN
18 Clump of dune grass : TUFT
24 Fleur-de-__ : LYS
26 Baa ma : EWE
27 One whose work is laughable : JOKE WRITER
28 Heavenly path : ORBIT
29 Gear bit : TOOTH
30 Word with hot or dog : … HOUSE
31 Zonk out : DOZE
32 Tablet with Air, Pro and Mini models : IPAD
33 Update the look of, as a product : REPACKAGE
37 Like some bistros : AL FRESCO
38 1957 Coasters chart-topper with the refrain “Gonna find her” : SEARCHIN’
40 Opponent : FOE
41 Fragrant chain : LEI
43 MLB team with Mr. and Mrs. mascots : NY METS
44 Duchamp genre : DADA
47 __ Tzu : SHIH
49 Trusted advisor : GURU
50 Pesky bug : GNAT
51 Goes back : EBBS
53 Rear : HIND
54 “Picnic” playwright : INGE
55 Forever : AGES
58 Placeholder abbr. : TBA

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Sep 19, Thursday”

  1. I continued to ponder yesterday’s theme and it occurred to me that the four theme answers read from top to bottom like a report card. GREAT (A), GOOD (B), POOR(D) and BAD (F).

  2. For Michael D…in re yesterday’s puzzle: there is “best” right in the middle
    of the grid…starting the word “bestir”. Not intentional I’m sure.

  3. LAT: 12:19, no errors. Newsday: 10:27, no errors. WSJ: 13:16, no errors. BEQ: 27:31, no errors; extraordinarily clever (though a bit frustrating along the way 😜)!

  4. 11:42. I never realized I knew so many brands of dishwashing liquid. I guess Palmolive couldn’t fit in the theme anywhere. Never heard of SUN, however.

    I always thought soy sauce was salty until I started doing crosswords and learned the word UMAMI.

    If “nary” means “not one”, wouldn’t NARY A ONE mean “not one a one”?? Getting precariously close to an “ATM machine” situation…

    Best –

  5. LAT: 10:34, no errors. WSJ: 11:11, no errors. Newsday: 9:39, no errors. BEQ: 30:13, 2 errors trying to guess 18D.

    Fireball: DNF, 44:13, about half-filled. It’s one of those similar situations to what Dave describes of the Croce where they go off and do something weird. This one is a “consonantless crossword”, where the crossword is regular but you only enter the vowels. You about got to know all the answers from the clues to complete them, as you really can’t use the crosses to pick up on anything.

    1. The BEQ? (As opposed to “the Croce”?) Or are you talking about last Friday’s Croce (which wasn’t even a crossword)?

      The Fireball puzzle sounds outrageous … 😜.

      1. Yeah, was referring to when the Croce wasn’t even a crossword. A crossword where you only fill in the vowels (or consonants) is kinda like that too. Just different, and not something I really wanted to get into. But I tried, so can’t say I didn’t.

        1. Ah. That thing. I’ve been busy with my other project. That Croce is still in my stack, but I had forgotten all about it … and I think I shall continue to forget all about it … 😜.

  6. 0 errors/erasures. Completed in order by acrosses.
    5D: What a coincidence! Yesterday, had a martini for the first time in at least a year. Took my 92-year-old uncle Sidney to current-affairs program at the sr. ctr., then to lunch. They were out of bitters to make a Rob Roy so I ordered said martini. Dry, of course.
    Me with my uncle reminds me of, in the film The Sunshine Boys, David Benjamin and Walter Matthau. But I’m retired, so I don’t get so frustrated. I think that’s my favorite Neil Simon work.

  7. Sorry to report only 75% solved. Still averaging close to 95% for the week.
    Have added Wonderword to my daily LAT and Jumble puzzles and it is a
    fun one. Would play on the computer, but it only changes like once per week.
    So, the old-fashioned way; line through the given words you find on the newspaper,
    then unscramble the letters remaining after all words are found to make the mystery
    word. Today’s was a Japanese word for Japanese slippers and I had EIQPLEOTE left over,
    the correct number of letters. Any suggestions? Only one that has stumped me so far.
    I don’t think that this one is pulling me away from my LAT puzzle, because I tried
    just as hard for just as long and simply could not wrap my brain around it. Not
    enough help from the fillers or the dictionary around the words we missed.

  8. This came together with very little trouble. Wednesday’s was too disjointed, but todays had a nice flow to it. That’s what Wechsler brings to the party!

  9. Wow!! 18:56, and no errors. But I struggled MIGHTILY with this one. The theme just would not occur to me on the long fills, and I overwrote probably a quarter of the spaces. Was just about to throw in the towel when, all of a suds-en (had to get that pun in there!) it began to gel.

  10. Nice Thursday Wechsler; took me 32 minutes with no errors, but a bit of struggling and waiting for crosses. Also did yesterday’s puzzle in, I think, 25 minutes with one error – fell for the “L” in millions trick and didn’t know the river.

    Had to change Scan to SKIM, acai to CHIA and ageE in INGE. Kind of embarrassing to struggle getting DAWN…, since that’s the dishwashing liquid I use. Sigh! Never heard of CRYER and struggled a bit with the SW corner in general. But it finally came together.

  11. Hiya folks!!🦆

    No errors. Kay, I agree with your analysis. There’s a flow to Weschler’s puzzles. I always like doing them.😍

    Didn’t know TUFT in this dunes context, but I bet I’ll still manage to work it into a conversation some time….even if I have to fabricate a story.

    John– do you mean that those leftover letters are supposed to spell out a Japanese word, or do I misunderstand? I googled for slipper in Japanese and could only find SURIPPA, which of course wouldn’t work and is an English cognate.

    Shout out to the Grateful Dead!! 😍 — and, TONY MICHAELS COME ON BACK!!

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

  12. Hey Carrie!

    Boy what a day. Did my market today and the paper hadn’t arrived yet in the morning so I was kinda forced to sell today without any diversions. Sales went well too 🙂 Too bad you’re not around here, the strawberry guy next to me gave me a big box to take home.

    Found the late arriving paper when I got home and, after a nap, it went pretty smoothly.

    I miss Tony as well. I’ve been watching some of those flight videos he mentioned. Really entertaining. Saw on the news today about the rains in Texas, I guess Jeff is glad he moved.

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