LA Times Crossword 31 Oct 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Halloween Feelings

Themed answers are common, two-word phrases with a letter inserted at the start of the second word. Each answer is linked to Halloween:

  • 18A Halloween feeling in a warren? : RABBIT FEARS (from “rabbit ears”)
  • 24A Halloween feeling near a water supply? : WELL DREAD (from “well read”)
  • 39A Halloween feeling in the office? : CLERICAL TERRORS (from “clerical errors”)
  • 54A Halloween feeling in the yard? : LAWN SCARE (from “lawn care”)
  • 62A Halloween feeling in the loo? : FLUSH FRIGHT (from “flush right“)

Bill’s time: 6m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Aromatic evergreen : BALSAM

The Balsam fir is an evergreen tree that is native to eastern and central North America. The Balsam is commonly used as a Christmas tree, especially in the northeastern US.

10 Wind with nearly a three-octave range : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

15 Collection of hives : APIARY

An apiary is an area where bees are kept, apiculture is beekeeping, and an apiphobe has a fear of bees. The Latin word for “bee” is “apis”.

18 Halloween feeling in a warren? : RABBIT FEARS (from “rabbit ears”)

We tend to think today of a warren as a place where rabbits are bred, or where rabbits are found in abundance in the wild. Back in the 1300s, a warren was a more general term for an enclosed piece of land used for breeding any domestic animals. We also use “warren” figuratively now, to describe a cluster of densely populated living spaces.

20 Buffalo lake : ERIE

Buffalo is the second-most populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.

22 Like the vb. “go” : IRR

Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)

31 “Take Care” Grammy winner : DRAKE

Drake is the stage name of rapper Aubrey Graham from Toronto.

34 Bebe’s “Frasier” role : LILITH

Bebe Neuwirth is a wonderful actress and dancer who famously played Dr. Lilith Sternin, the wife of Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” and “Frasier”. Neuwirth is a fabulous dancer, having studied ballet at Juilliard. In more recent years she has had starring roles on Broadway, and in 2010 played opposite Nathan Lane in “The Addams Family”. Neuwirth also played a leading role on the show “Madam Secretary”.

“Frasier” is a very successful sitcom that originally ran for eleven season from 1993 to 2004. Kelsey Grammer plays the title character, psychiatrist Frasier Crane. The show is a spinoff of the equally successful sitcom “Cheers” that ended its original run just a few months before “Frasier” premiered. By the time “Frasier” aired its last show, Grammer’s portrayal of Crane tied the record for the longest-running character on primetime TV. As an aside, that tie was with James Arness’ portrayal of Matt Dillon on “Gunsmoke”. As a further aside, the record was later broken by Richard Belzer’s portrayal of Detective John Munch on the shows “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: SVU”.

45 Poise : APLOMB

“Aplomb” is such a lovely word, one meaning “confidence, assurance”. It is a French word that literally means “perpendicularity”, or “on the plumb line”. The idea is that someone with aplomb is poised, upright, balanced.

48 Trio in “To be, or not to be” : 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.

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

53 “Borstal Boy” author Brendan : BEHAN

Brendan Behan was an Irish writer and playwright. His most famous work is probably “Borstal Boy”, which is an autobiographical novel. “Borstal” is a term used in Britain for juvenile detention. Behan was quite a character, famous for being a heavy drinker (“a drinker with a writing problem”, as he described himself). The drink eventually put him in an early grave, at 41 years old. I used to walk to school in Dublin right past the pub where he spent many hours every day.

58 Angel dust, initially : PCP

Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as “PCP” or “angel dust”.

67 Summer hrs. in Denver : MDT

Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)

Denver, Colorado is nicknamed the “Mile-High City” because its official elevation is listed as exactly one mile. Denver City was founded in 1858 as a mining town. The name was chosen in honor of the Kansas Territorial Governor at the time, James W. Denver.

69 Paparazzo’s gear : CAMERA

The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film “La Dolce Vita” translates from Italian as “The Good Life”. There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character who gives us our word “Paparazzi”, a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

73 Finch family creator : LEE

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name, i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually a first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

Atticus Finch is the protagonist in Harper Lee’s great novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Atticus is the father of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the narrator of the piece, and of Scout’s younger brother Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch.

Down

3 Fifth-century conqueror : ATTILA

In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

4 Soap unit : BAR

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

6 Cuba __ : LIBRE

The cocktail known as a Cuba libre is basically a rum and Coke, although the traditional recipe also calls for a splash of lime juice.

7 Brand of hummus and guacamole : SABRA

Sabra Dipping is a company that specializes in the production of hummus and guacamole. If I can’t get homemade hummus or guacamole, then Sabra is the way to go …

8 Actor Millen of “Orphan Black” : ARI

Ari Millen is a Canadian actor who worked his way up to a regular role on the hit television show “Orphan Black”.

“Orphan Black” is a Canadian sci-fi TV show about several women who discover that they are in fact clones. Star of the show is Tatiana Maslany, who has what must be an exhausting job, playing all of the clones.

12 CSNY’s “__ House” : OUR

“Our House” is a wonderful 1970 song written by Graham Nash, and recorded by supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It describes the domestic situation enjoyed by Nash while he was living with fellow musician Joni Mitchell, and her two cats (who get a mention in the lyrics).

The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.

13 Many “Guardians of the Galaxy” characters : ETS

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a 2014 film based on a team of superheroes from the Marvel Comics universe. The movie’s cast is very impressive, including Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro. I don’t normally “do” superhero films, but I hear that this one is very entertaining.

21 Rockies bugler : ELK

Male elks are called bulls, and females are known as cows. Bull elks are known for their very loud screaming, which is called bugling. Cow elks are attracted to bulls that bugle more often and most loudly.

25 Sandwich source : DELI

The word “delicatessen” (or “deli” for short) came into English from the German “Delikatessen”. The Germans borrowed the word from French, in which language “délicatesse” means “delicious things (to eat)”. The term’s ultimate root is “delicatus”, the Latin for “giving pleasure, delightful”.

26 “Same here” : DITTO

The word “ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is just another wonderful import from that lovely land …

28 Vehicle with a partition : LIMO

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

29 Mideast potentate : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

43 Hitting stat : RBIS

Run batted in (RBI)

50 Koala, for example : MAMMAL

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

51 Game based on whist : BRIDGE

Whist is an English card game that involves the taking of tricks. Whist is a derivative of the earlier game of Trump or Ruff that was played in the 16th century. Back in Ireland, where I come from, whist tournaments are extremely popular and are known as “whist drives”.

52 Living room piece : SETTEE

“Settee” is another word for “couch”. The term comes from the Old English “setl”, which was a long bench with a high back and arms.

55 Japanese art genre : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese manga comic books.

57 Big name in Indian politics : NEHRU

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India, serving from 1947-64. Nehru was basically the heir to his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Nehru’s only daughter Indira, also became prime minister (known as Indira Gandhi through marriage, though she was no relation to Mahatma).

59 Some GIs : PFCS

Private First Class (PFC)

62 Monk’s address : FRA

The title “Fra” (brother) is used to address Italian monks.

63 Cured salmon : LOX

Lox is a brine-cured salmon fillet that is finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Spot for a salt scrub : SPA
4 Aromatic evergreen : BALSAM
10 Wind with nearly a three-octave range : OBOE
14 Fresh from the oven : HOT
15 Collection of hives : APIARY
16 Sullen look : POUT
17 Track : RUT
18 Halloween feeling in a warren? : RABBIT FEARS (from “rabbit ears”)
20 Buffalo lake : ERIE
22 Like the vb. “go” : IRR
23 Belly laugh syllable : HAR
24 Halloween feeling near a water supply? : WELL DREAD (from “well read”)
27 Valleys : DALES
31 “Take Care” Grammy winner : DRAKE
32 “We’ve waited long enough” : IT’S TIME
34 Bebe’s “Frasier” role : LILITH
38 Overlook : OMIT
39 Halloween feeling in the office? : CLERICAL TERRORS (from “clerical errors”)
44 Enjoy privileged status : RATE
45 Poise : APLOMB
46 It may get the ball rolling : INCLINE
48 Trio in “To be, or not to be” : IAMBS
53 “Borstal Boy” author Brendan : BEHAN
54 Halloween feeling in the yard? : LAWN SCARE (from “lawn care”)
58 Angel dust, initially : PCP
60 “You wish, laddie!” : NAE!
61 Put out : EMIT
62 Halloween feeling in the loo? : FLUSH FRIGHT (from “flush right’)
67 Summer hrs. in Denver : MDT
68 Stood : ROSE
69 Paparazzo’s gear : CAMERA
70 Mature : AGE
71 Lumberjacks’ tools : AXES
72 Gave it more gas : SPED UP
73 Finch family creator : LEE

Down

1 Astute : SHREWD
2 Bartender, often : POURER
3 Fifth-century conqueror : ATTILA
4 Soap unit : BAR
5 Two (of) : A PAIR
6 Cuba __ : LIBRE
7 Brand of hummus and guacamole : SABRA
8 Actor Millen of “Orphan Black” : ARI
9 Folk story : MYTH
10 Wheeler-dealer : OPERATOR
11 Feathery neckwear : BOA
12 CSNY’s “__ House” : OUR
13 Many “Guardians of the Galaxy” characters : ETS
19 Latest things : FADS
21 Rockies bugler : ELK
25 Sandwich source : DELI
26 “Same here” : DITTO
28 Vehicle with a partition : LIMO
29 Mideast potentate : EMIR
30 Slowly sinks from the sky : SETS
33 Those folks : THEM
35 Confident words : I CAN
36 Suit part sometimes grabbed : LAPEL
37 Unhealthy : ILL
39 Nursery piece : CRIB
40 Narrow way : LANE
41 Engrave : ETCH
42 Backslides : RELAPSES
43 Hitting stat : RBIS
47 Advance slowly : INCH
49 Big club : ACE
50 Koala, for example : MAMMAL
51 Game based on whist : BRIDGE
52 Living room piece : SETTEE
55 Japanese art genre : ANIME
56 Carried on : WAGED
57 Big name in Indian politics : NEHRU
59 Some GIs : PFCS
62 Monk’s address : FRA
63 Cured salmon : LOX
64 Employ : USE
65 31-Across genre : RAP
66 Covert information source : TAP

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 31 Oct 19, Thursday”

  1. Fourth day this week with no errors or Googles! There were three names I just guessed: DRAKE, LEE, ARI.
    @Anon – what is the definition of a genre? Google says a particular style, form, content, technique.

    1. I thought there were no Googles. Not an issue and not for me to say. Presume it was
      consulted afterward. Enjoy it any way you see fit. You are very good.

      We got 95% of it and I may have actually seen the theme for once. I was like a letter
      was inserted before the last word of a familiar saying.

      Had fun with it, but struggled at first before zeroing in a little better.

    1. Hi Mary – I believe flush right is referring to a page alignment that is even along the right margin. I’m willing to be corrected if that’s not it so anyone who has another idea go ahead and post it.

      I had a self induced error that I didn’t catch for sometime in which I spelled aplomb with an “e” on the end (simply not paying attention) and I kept looking at 43 Down “Hitting Stat” and couldn’t come up with RBI until I twigged to my error finally. D’oh!

  2. 34:24 no errors….the lower right corner slowed me down too…IMO mammal for koala was a little dicey…I also don’t know what flush right is.

  3. 17:09. Struggled with this one the entire time for some reason. As usual, the busier/more stressed I get the worse I get at solving.

    On a brighter note, I had someone give me tickets to go see John Cleese at the Wynn Casino on the strip tomorrow night. He’s 80 years old now, but I assume he’s still funny or they wouldn’t have booked him….I hope… If he does any Basil Fawlty material it will have been worth it.

    Best –

  4. LAT: 8:37, no errors. WSJ: 9:58, no errors. Newsday: 9:08, no errors. Fireball: 22:44, no errors I’m aware of. No idea on the meta per usual. BEQ: 22:05, no errors. Definitely “Hard”er, but a good nice grid.

  5. Did this one at a leisurely pace while selling my honey. It seemed pretty easy, save the SE corner, which I had to noodle around a bit and get with crosses. In the end no errors, on a mostly slow honey selling day.

    re flush right – I was thinking that when you flush it rotates right 🙂 although not for marsupials.

  6. Hello gang!!🐶

    WHY do I always get hungry when I do the puzzle in one sitting??!!

    No errors. Got hung up in the center left, mostly cuz I couldn’t come up with RATE. Good clue on that one, once I got it.

    Sfingi, you’re on a tear!!😊👍

    Be well~~🎸

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