LA Times Crossword 18 Oct 19, Friday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): S Before C

Themed answers are common phrases ending with a word starting with “C”, but a letter S has been inserted before that C:

  • 17A Iranian vocal improvisation? : PERSIAN SCAT (from “Persian cat”)
  • 24A Household employee’s fraudulent ruse? : NANNY SCAM (from “nanny cam”)
  • 38A Nursery school air fresheners? : DAY-CARE SCENTERS (from “day-care centers”)
  • 50A Poem that seemed awfully profound at the bar last night? : PUB SCRAWL (from “pub crawl”)
  • 62A What optical character recognition software often produces? : GARBAGE SCAN (from “garbage can”)

Bill’s time: 7m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17 Iranian vocal improvisation? : PERSIAN SCAT (from “Persian cat”)

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

The Persian is that long-haired cat with a squashed muzzle. The breed takes its name from its place of origin, namely Persia (Iran).

21 Bar __ : CAR

That would be a bar car on a train. Choo choo …

23 Web address : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

24 Household employee’s fraudulent ruse? : NANNY SCAM (from “nanny cam”)

From what I’ve read, it is legal to record video with a hidden camera, at least to monitor the behavior of a caregiver in your home. Apparently there is also a law that prohibits the recording of audio. So, “nanny cams” are sold without audio capability. But (disclaimer) that’s just what I read, so don’t take my word for it!

30 Preface to a conviction : IMO …

In my opinion (IMO)

42 First name in black-and-white photos : ANSEL

As an avid amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

44 Cabinet dept. : AGR

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually dates back to 1862, when it was established by then-president Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln referred to the USDA as the “people’s department” as our economy had such a vast agrarian base back then.

45 Born, in Brussels : NEE

The Belgian capital of Brussels is famous for its food and drink. The list of goodies includes the city’s special waffles, chocolate, French fries and beer.

47 Smidge, to a laddie : WEE DROP

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”.

50 Poem that seemed awfully profound at the bar last night? : PUB SCRAWL (from “pub crawl”)

A pub crawl (not that I’ve ever been on one!) is a tour of a selection of local public houses. One usually takes one drink at each stop, which might perhaps explain the use of the word “crawl” …

55 Realtor’s unit : LOT

“Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as the trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.

57 Shad product : ROE

The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

58 Tabloid output : SLEAZE

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs Wellcome) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, which described newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

62 What optical character recognition software often produces? : GARBAGE SCAN (from “garbage can”)

Optical character recognition (OCR) is the conversion of scanned typewritten text into digital text. Basically, OCR is the conversion of an image into a text document.

67 Intl. Talk Like a Pirate Day month : SEP

International Talk Like a Pirate (TALP) Day is September 19th every year, a “holiday” that was created in 1995. The event started out as an inside joke between John Baur and Mark Summers of Albany, Oregon, but when they shared the notion with columnist Dave Barry, he promoted the idea and it took off.

Down

1 Plumbing item : PIPE

Plumbum is the Latin for “lead”, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of those pipes was leaking.

2 “So be it!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

3 Casual pants : CORDUROYS

There’s a myth that the name of textile known as “corduroy” comes from the French “corde du roi” (the cord of the king). It’s more likely that “corduroy” comes from a melding of “cord” and “duroy” (a coarse fabric that used to be made in England).

5 Decree : FIAT

A fiat is an arbitrary rule that is imposed, and is the Latin for “let it be done”.

7 Opera about an opera singer : TOSCA

Unlike so many operas, Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” was a big hit right from day one, when it was first performed in 1900 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Currently, “Tosca” is the eighth-most performed opera in America.

8 Peruvian of old : INCAN

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Tupac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

10 Summer CT clock setting : EDT

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

The official nickname of Connecticut (CT) is “Constitution State”, but can also be referred to as the Nutmeg State, the Provisions State, and the Land of Steady Habits.

12 Big wheel in delis : GOUDA

Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, which gives it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.

18 Hebrides unit : ISLE

The Hebrides is a group of islands just off the west coast of Scotland. The Hebrides are divided into two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

26 Opera about an African princess : AIDA

“Aida” is a celebrated opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then complications arise!

27 Gangster movie hero, perhaps : G-MAN

The nickname “G-men” is short for “government men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

28 Sailor : TAR

A jack tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.

36 Cogito __ sum : ERGO

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

37 Car sticker amt. : MSRP

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)

39 Perfume with myrrh, say : CENSE

To cense is to perfume with incense. Such a lovely word …

Frankincense and myrrh are both tree resins that are exuded when certain species of tree are damaged. The harvested resins are used to make essential oils for perfumes, and are also burned to give off a pleasant fragrance.

40 Actor Guinness : ALEC

Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”.

41 Lamb’s dam : EWE

A dam is a female parent, especially of four-footed domestic animals such as horses.

46 Roaming, like a knight : ERRANT

Someone described as “errant” is roving around, especially in search of adventure, as in “knight-errant”.

48 Palindromic Parisian pronoun : ELLE

In French, “elle” means “she” and “il” means he.

52 Jazz style : BEBOP

The jazz term “bebop” probably came from “Arriba! Arriba!”, which were words of encouragement uttered by Latin American bandleaders to their musicians.

53 Vital vessel : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

54 Barbecue brand : WEBER

In 1952, George Stephen was working for the Weber Brothers Metal works in Chicago. One of the company’s products was a line of half-spheres that were welded together to make buoys used in Lake Michigan. Stephens took two of these metal hemispheres and converted them into the original kettle grill. The Weber company set up a barbecue division that Stephens ran, and Stephen became so successful that he bought out the Weber Brothers factory and converted all production to the manufacture of grills.

59 Wacko : ZANY

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

60 First chimp in orbit : ENOS

Enos was a chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit in 1961 by NASA on a Mercury Atlas 4 rocket. Enos’s flight was a rehearsal for the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. Enos returned from his mission safely, but died the following year from dysentery.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Show anxiety, in a way : PACE
5 No good : FUTILE
11 Prankster’s projectile : EGG
14 Excited response to a cue : I’M ON!
15 Pressed : IRONED
16 Also : TOO
17 Iranian vocal improvisation? : PERSIAN SCAT (from “Persian cat”)
19 Primitive dwelling : HUT
20 Furniture cleaning brand : ENDUST
21 Bar __ : CAR
22 Assistant : AIDE
23 Web address : URL
24 Household employee’s fraudulent ruse? : NANNY SCAM (from “nanny cam”)
26 Approve : AGREE TO
29 Put into words : SAY
30 Preface to a conviction : IMO …
31 Product warning : AS IS
34 Sew up again : REHEM
38 Nursery school air fresheners? : DAY-CARE SCENTERS (from “day-care centers”)
42 First name in black-and-white photos : ANSEL
43 Stash : STOW
44 Cabinet dept. : AGR
45 Born, in Brussels : NEE
47 Smidge, to a laddie : WEE DROP
50 Poem that seemed awfully profound at the bar last night? : PUB SCRAWL (from “pub crawl”)
55 Realtor’s unit : LOT
56 Words of understanding : I SEE
57 Shad product : ROE
58 Tabloid output : SLEAZE
61 Catch : NAB
62 What optical character recognition software often produces? : GARBAGE SCAN (from “garbage can”)
64 I problem? : EGO
65 Purpose : INTENT
66 “This is terrible!” : OH NO!
67 Intl. Talk Like a Pirate Day month : SEP
68 Sudden reactions : STARTS
69 Crucial things : KEYS

Down

1 Plumbing item : PIPE
2 “So be it!” : AMEN!
3 Casual pants : CORDUROYS
4 Make certain : ENSURE
5 Decree : FIAT
6 Item near a sugar bowl, perhaps : URN
7 Opera about an opera singer : TOSCA
8 Peruvian of old : INCAN
9 Comes to realize : LEARNS
10 Summer CT clock setting : EDT
11 Moral principle : ETHIC
12 Big wheel in delis : GOUDA
13 27-Down’s victorious words : GOT ‘EM!
18 Hebrides unit : ISLE
22 So far : AS YET
24 Pokes (around) : NOSES
25 Knitter’s need : YARN
26 Opera about an African princess : AIDA
27 Gangster movie hero, perhaps : G-MAN
28 Sailor : TAR
32 Follower’s suffix : -IST
33 Displeased look : SCOWL
35 Sad song subject : HEARTACHE
36 Cogito __ sum : ERGO
37 Car sticker amt. : MSRP
39 Perfume with myrrh, say : CENSE
40 Actor Guinness : ALEC
41 Lamb’s dam : EWE
46 Roaming, like a knight : ERRANT
48 Palindromic Parisian pronoun : ELLE
49 Performs adequately : DOES OK
50 Longs : PINES
51 Treatment : USAGE
52 Jazz style : BEBOP
53 Vital vessel : AORTA
54 Barbecue brand : WEBER
58 Some NCOs : SGTS
59 Wacko : ZANY
60 First chimp in orbit : ENOS
62 Base figs. : GIS
63 Small colonist : ANT

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Oct 19, Friday”

  1. LAT: 13:03, no errors. WSJ: 12:31, no errors. No idea on the meta. Newsday: 15:19, 1 error. New Yorker a bit later…

    (Bill, I hope this doesn’t ruffle too many feathers. If so, I apologize) Anyway, I thought I’d mention I’ve been doing videos to try to explain how to do crosswords on a beginner level. Mainly just explaining what I’m doing as I go through some to try to offer some help if people want it (the thought of doing it encouraged by some of the conversations on this very blog). Here’s the first one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIBU3QciqNg if people are interested. Gonna try to record another one or two later today.

  2. This was very slow going for me. Never heard of cense as a word of its own. I had “assure” instead of “ensure”, “and” instead of “too”, “get” instead of “nab”, etc. Then I misread “smidge” as “smudge”. I should wait until my second cup of coffee before I start.

    I will gladly look at Glenn’s video. I can use all the help I can get.

  3. This was easier today for me than Thurs. I always forget “tar” as sailor, but caught it in time. So a good day. Sure I’ll suffer tomorrow though.

  4. A good head scratcher puzzle today, almost as daunting as adjusting my TV to accept the new antenna station settings this morning!

    Eddie

  5. Finished late in a busy day but with no errors. I didn’t quite understand
    the answer for 62A either, but garbage in-garbage out seems to be the
    best explanation. And you can look at Persian scat in another way, too.

  6. This one threw me, esp since yesterday’s was so nice, and even though no sports, French or Spanish. Had to Google for 3 of the theme lines.

    GMEN and GOTEM were good.

  7. Pretty easy Friday for me; took about 15 minutes with no errors. Didn’t even have any rewrites, although I did have to wait for a few crosses. Got the theme almost right away at PERSIAN SCAT and that easily helped with the rest of the themed answers.

    Hopefully tomorrow (well, later today) goes as well as today.

  8. Greetings from the Night Watch!!🥂

    Fun theme! No errors, altho when I started the puzzle earlier today I was in a bad mood and so impatient with the NW that I almost cheated. Glad I didn’t– it’s always more satisfying to finish on my own when I can.😁 Got stuck in a few places — didn’t know CENSE.

    I also got the theme once I saw PERSIAN SCAT, and it helped.

    Be well~~🦆

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