LA Times Crossword 8 Oct 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Debra Hamel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pencil Me In

Themed answers each start with a type of PENCIL:

  • 65A Tentative “It’s a date” … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 26-, and 48-Across : PENCIL ME IN
  • 17A Ocular arch-shaping cosmetic : EYEBROW WAX (giving “eyebrow pencil”)
  • 26A Robby the Robot, e.g. : MECHANICAL MAN (giving “mechanical pencil”)
  • 48A Backyard cooker : CHARCOAL GRILL (giving “charcoal pencil”)

Bill’s time: 6m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 How headless chickens may run : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

5 Argo and Titanic : SHIPS

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

10 Email asking for money, perhaps : SCAM

The slang term “scam”, meaning a swindle, may come from the British slang “scamp”.

14 Pedi partner : MANI

Manicure & pedicure (mani-pedi)

15 “A Confederacy of Dunces” author John Kennedy __ : TOOLE

John Kennedy Toole was an author whose most famous work is his 1980 novel “A Confederacy of Dunces”. Toole had committed suicide eleven years before publication, when he was just 31 years old. The author’s mother found a smudged carbon copy of the book’s manuscript after her son had passed, and she persisted in her efforts to get the novel published. She was finally successful in 1980, and the following year “A Confederacy of Dunces” won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Well done, Mom …

16 Gyro bread : PITA

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

19 Like Felix Unger, e.g. : 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 …

“The Odd Couple” is a play by the wonderfully talented Neil Simon that was first performed on Broadway, in 1965. This great play was adapted for the big screen in 1968, famously starring Jack Lemmon (as Felix Unger) and Walter Matthau (as Oscar Madison). The success of the play and the film gave rise to an excellent television sitcom that ran from 1970-1975, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. In 1985, Neil Simon even went so far as to adapt the play for an all-female cast, renaming it “The Female Odd Couple”. I’d like to see that one …

21 Mom’s brother : UNCLE

Our word “uncle” comes into English via French from the Latin “avunculus”, which means “mother’s brother”. The Latin for “father’s brother” is “patruus”. “Avunculus” can also be translated as “little grandfather”, as it is a diminutive of “avus” meaning “grandfather”.

22 __ Lanka : SRI

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

23 1/60 of an hr. : MIN

The hour is subdivided into 60 parts, each of which was known as a “pars minuta prima” in Medieval Latin, translating as “first small part”. This phrase “pars minuta prima” evolved into our word “minute”. The “pars minuta prima” (minute) was further divided into 60 parts, each called a “secunda pars minuta”, meaning “second small part”. “Secunda pars minuta” evolved into our term “second”.

25 “The cow is of the bovine __; / One end is moo, the other, milk”: Ogden Nash : ILK

Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

26 Robby the Robot, e.g. : MECHANICAL MAN (giving “mechanical pencil”)

“Forbidden Planet” is a 1956 sci-fi movie starring Walter Pidgeon that bears some resemblance to William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. “Forbidden Planet” is notable for several reasons, including the fact that it was the first film showing humans traveling in a starship, and the first set entirely on another planet. It was also the first film to feature a robot that had a personality. That was Robby the Robot.

32 Miss. neighbor : ALA

Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer State, in honor of the state bird. Alabama is also called the “Heart of Dixie”.

33 High school stat : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

34 Loewe’s lyricist : LERNER

Alan Jay Lerner was a lyricist from New York City who was known for his collaboration with Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane. Lerner was also known for his colorful private life. He was left with a persistent amphetamine addiction after being treated with “vitamins with enzymes” in the sixties, that were actually hypodermic shots laced with amphetamines. He also married eight times, and was often in dire financial straits due to the heavy load of alimony payments.

45 Article in Die Zeit : DER

The definite article in German is der, die or das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The indefinite article is ein, eine or ein, again depending on the gender of the noun. A further complication, relative to English, is that the masculine form (and only the masculine form) of the article changes when used in the accusative case, when used with the object of a sentence. The accusative forms are “den” and “einen”.

“Die Zeit” is the most widely read, weekly newspaper in Germany. It was first published soon after the end of WWII, in February of 1946. “Zeit” is the German word for “time”.

52 N, E, S or W : DIR

Direction (dir.)

56 UPS driver’s assignment : ROUTE

United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.

58 Not one to pass up a porterhouse : MEAT LOVER

The T-bone and porterhouse are related cuts of meat, with the latter being a larger version of the former, and both being cut from the short loin.

64 King of Siam’s Broadway dance partner : ANNA

“Anna and the King of Siam” is a semi-biographical novel written by Margaret Landon and first published in 1944. The book tells the largely true story of Anna Leonowens who spent five years in Siam teaching English to the children and wives of King Mongkut. The novel was adapted as a 1946 movie of the same name starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. Then followed a 1951 stage musical titled “The King and I”. The musical was written as a vehicle for Gertrude Lawrence, who played Anna. Rex Harrison was asked to play the King, but he turned it down and Yul Brynner was cast instead. A movie version of the stage musical was released in 1956, famously starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.

66 The Stones’ Jagger : MICK

Sir Mick Jagger met up with Keith Richards at school when Jagger was only 7-years-old. They were to become one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time, rivaling Lennon and McCartney (some say!).

70 Pro bono promise : NO FEE

The Latin term “pro bono publico” means “for the public good”, and is usually shortened to “pro bono”. The term applies to professional work that is done for free or at a reduced fee as a service to the public.

71 Boats like Noah’s : ARKS

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Noah was instructed to build his ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. That’s about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

Down

1 Last word before digging in? : AMEN

A grace is a short prayer recited before or after a meal.

2 BLT condiment : MAYO

Mayonnaise originated in the town of Mahon in Menorca, a Mediterranean island belonging to Spain. The Spanish called the sauce “salsa mahonesa” after the town, and this morphed into the French word “mayonnaise” that we use in English today.

3 10 C-notes : ONE G

One G, one grand, one thousand dollars.

“C-note” and “C-spot” are slang terms for “$100 bill”.

4 Put the __ on: squelch : KIBOSH

A kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.

5 Attic function : STORING

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

6 Sewing machine inventor Elias : HOWE

Elias Howe was an American inventor. Howe wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of a sewing machine, but he was the first to develop one that was functional.

7 Corn Belt state : IOWA

The Corn Belt (sometimes “Grain Belt”) is a region in the Midwest where, since the mid-1800s, corn has been the major crop. Geographically, the Corn Belt covers Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and parts of Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. About 40% of the world’s corn production comes from the region, and most of that production is used for the feeding of livestock.

8 Outmoded TV type : PLASMA

Plasma televisions are so called because the screen is made up of tiny cells containing electrically charged ionized gases (plasmas). Each of the cells is effectively a tiny fluorescent lamp.

11 Where Reds play : CINCINNATI

Cincinnati, Ohio was the first major city to be founded after the American Revolution, and indeed was the first major inland city to be founded in the whole country. Cincinnati was a boomtown in the 1800s, but it’s growth slowed as the railroads displaced the steamboats as the major form of transportation. The city was founded in 1788, and was named “Cincinnati” two years later. It was named for the Society of Cincinnati, an organization with a mission to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the officers of the Revolutionary War. The society was in turn named for Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. Cincinnatus was a farmer in ancient Rome who left his land to serve as Consul and then lawful dictator of Rome during a war emergency, before happily handing back power to the Senate after the war was won.

13 2018 Best Actor Rami __ : MALEK

Actor Rami Malek’s big break came with the leading role in the television series “Mr. Robot”. In 2018, Malik gave an Oscar-winning performance playing Freddie Mercury in the hit biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. That marked the first time that an actor of Egyptian descent won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

18 Hard to find, to Caesar : RARA

“Rara” is Latin for “rare”.

27 “Enchanted” film title girl : ELLA

“Ella Enchanted” is a fantasy novel written by Gail Carson Levine, and published in 1997. It is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, with lots of mythical creatures added. A film adaptation was released in 2004 that features Anne Hathaway in the title role.

28 Naval officer on a cereal box : CAP’N CRUNCH

The first Cap’n Crunch commercials aired in 1963, at the time the product line was launched. The Cap’n’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch, would you believe? Crunch’s voice was provided for many years by Daws Butler, the same voice actor who gave us Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. Cap’n Crunch is commander of the S.S. Guppy.

29 Beer initialism : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

31 “We __ Farmers”: insurance slogan : ARE

Farmers Insurance was set up in 1928 as Farmers Automobile Inter-Insurance Exchange in Los Angeles. The intent was to provide cheaper insurance to farmers and ranchers, a group that the Farmers’ founders believed to be safer drivers.

35 Pianist Gilels : EMIL

Emil Gilels was a pianist from the Soviet Union who was born in Odessa (now part of Ukraine). Gilels was one of the first musicians allowed to perform concerts outside of the Eastern Bloc. His debut appearance in Philadelphia with Eugene Ormandy was a resounding success.

44 Do something human? : ERR

According to the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, “Errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum”. This translates literally as “To err is human, to persist (in committing such errors) is of the devil”.

46 Stephen King’s kid lit counterpart : RL STINE

Author R. L. Stine is sometimes referred to as the Stephen King of children’s literature, as he writes horror stories for young people.

50 Sometimes it’s unmitigated : GALL

Today, we use the verb “to gall” to mean “to vex, irritate”. This is a figurative usage of the same verb that arose mid-1400s, when it meant “to make sore by chafing”. Back then, a gall was a sore on the skin caused by rubbing or chafing.

51 Self-moving vacuum : ROOMBA

The Roomba vacuum cleaner is a cool-looking device that navigates its way around a room by itself, picking up dirt as it goes. Like I said, it’s cool-looking but I am not sure how effective it is …

52 Certain queen’s bailiwick : DRAMA

That would be a “drama queen”.

“Bailiwick” is a word dating back to the mid-1600s. The term originally meant “district of a bailiff”.

53 Greek column type : IONIC

The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.

60 “Back forty” unit : ACRE

In the Public Land Survey System, land right across the country is divided into townships and sections. A section is roughly equivalent to a square mile, 640 acres. It became the practice to refer to quarter-quarter divisions of a section, with a quarter of a quarter of a section being equal to 40 acres (check the math!). From this sprung phrases like “lower 40” (nominally the lowest elevation 40 acres on a property) and the “back 40” (nominally a 40 acre parcel that was undeveloped on a property, “out the back”).

62 Kindle technology : E INK

E Ink Corporation manufactures what is known as “electronic paper”, a material that is integrated into electronic displays used mainly in e-readers and smartphones. An example is the excellent display that comes with the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

65 “The lowest form of humor—when you don’t think of it first”: Oscar Levant : PUN

Oscar Levant was a multi-talented Hollywood personality. He was a classical pianist, and a friend of George Gershwin. Levant wrote music for over twenty films, and also appeared as a supporting actor in several hit movies, often playing a pianist or composer. He was also a regular panelist on the radio quiz show “Information Please” in the 1930s and 1940s, and on the game show “Who Said That” in the 1950s.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 How headless chickens may run : AMOK
5 Argo and Titanic : SHIPS
10 Email asking for money, perhaps : SCAM
14 Pedi partner : MANI
15 “A Confederacy of Dunces” author John Kennedy __ : TOOLE
16 Gyro bread : PITA
17 Ocular arch-shaping cosmetic : EYEBROW WAX (giving “eyebrow pencil”)
19 Like Felix Unger, e.g. : ANAL
20 Forbidden regions : NO-GO AREAS
21 Mom’s brother : UNCLE
22 __ Lanka : SRI
23 1/60 of an hr. : MIN
25 “The cow is of the bovine __; / One end is moo, the other, milk”: Ogden Nash : ILK
26 Robby the Robot, e.g. : MECHANICAL MAN (giving “mechanical pencil”)
32 Miss. neighbor : ALA
33 High school stat : GPA
34 Loewe’s lyricist : LERNER
37 Dog pack leader : ALPHA
40 One or more : ANY
42 Spanish “I love you” : TE AMO
43 Get by : MANAGE
45 Article in Die Zeit : DER
47 Up to, briefly : ‘TIL
48 Backyard cooker : CHARCOAL GRILL (giving “charcoal pencil”)
52 N, E, S or W : DIR
54 Golf teacher : PRO
55 Portuguese saint : SAO
56 UPS driver’s assignment : ROUTE
58 Not one to pass up a porterhouse : MEAT LOVER
64 King of Siam’s Broadway dance partner : ANNA
65 Tentative “It’s a date” … or a hint to the starts of 17-, 26-, and 48-Across : PENCIL ME IN
66 The Stones’ Jagger : MICK
67 One-eighty : U-TURN
68 Distort, as rules : BEND
69 Throbbing pain : ACHE
70 Pro bono promise : NO FEE
71 Boats like Noah’s : ARKS

Down

1 Last word before digging in? : AMEN
2 BLT condiment : MAYO
3 10 C-notes : ONE G
4 Put the __ on: squelch : KIBOSH
5 Attic function : STORING
6 Sewing machine inventor Elias : HOWE
7 Corn Belt state : IOWA
8 Outmoded TV type : PLASMA
9 __ symbol : SEX
10 Wing measurement : SPAN
11 Where Reds play : CINCINNATI
12 In the least : AT ALL
13 2018 Best Actor Rami __ : MALEK
18 Hard to find, to Caesar : RARA
21 Like some expectations : UNMET
24 Feeling poorly : ILL
26 Palindromic address : MA’AM
27 “Enchanted” film title girl : ELLA
28 Naval officer on a cereal box : CAP’N CRUNCH
29 Beer initialism : IPA
30 “I’m on it!” : CAN DO!
31 “We __ Farmers”: insurance slogan : ARE
35 Pianist Gilels : EMIL
36 Winning streak : ROLL
38 “Yeah, right!” : HAH!
39 With jaw dropped : AGAPE
41 Affirmative vote : YEA
44 Do something human? : ERR
46 Stephen King’s kid lit counterpart : RL STINE
49 Awaken : COME TO
50 Sometimes it’s unmitigated : GALL
51 Self-moving vacuum : ROOMBA
52 Certain queen’s bailiwick : DRAMA
53 Greek column type : IONIC
57 Word before part or heart : TAKE …
59 Sufficient, in texts : ENUF
60 “Back forty” unit : ACRE
61 Swerve : VEER
62 Kindle technology : E INK
63 Gps. of drinks : RNDS
65 “The lowest form of humor—when you don’t think of it first”: Oscar Levant : PUN

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Oct 19, Tuesday”

  1. LAT: 5:40, no errors. WSJ: 4:45, no errors. Newsday: 6:41, no errors. Jones: DNF, 12:16, lookup for 2 spots. Yesterday’s New Yorker: DNF, 61:10, 4 squares short (just got tired of it). Yesterday’s BEQ: 24:24, 3 errors. One Natick, and two off of something that doesn’t make sense to me.

  2. No errors, no Googles. Didn’t notice the theme. This is the first time I’ve had to spell KIBOSH. Didn’t actually know ELLA or EINK. Must thank Bill for explanations in these instances.

  3. OMG. Where was my brain? For dog pack leader I put ASPCA. ?
    Of course that gave me Elsa and cah. hahaha
    Never heard of RL Stine.
    Tomorrow is another day.

  4. 9:53. Missed the theme entirely but never really looked for it either. Interesting tidbit on LERNER. My only knowledge of Rami MALEK is from his work in HBO’s “The Pacific” about the war in the Pacific in WWII. I think seeing him in anything else would be a letdown.

    Cardinals have one more win to go as do the Dodgers. We’ll see if either or both make it to the NLCS tomorrow.

    Best –

  5. We were on a trip and I didn’t take my dictionary. So, we only managed 95%.
    Acceptable. Harder than Monday and it took me a while to decipher RNDS
    as rounds of drinks. Pretty weak one here. But, I wouldn’t want to try to construct one.

  6. 9 mins 42 sec. I agree, nobody abbreviates rounds at a bar. A golf course maybe, or in military or gun circles. More sub-par editing at work here.

  7. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    No errors but some tricky things!! Wasn’t sure of the R at DER/RL STINE but got it right. 😊 And I’ve never heard of E INK. Stared at that one, sure it was wrong, but everything around it was right….such are puzzles 🤔

    Assuming the Dodgers win– I’d kinda rather they face the Braves, as it will be much more fun to root against the Braves than the Cardinals….!!!😍⚾️

    Be well~~🚋⚾️

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