LA Times Crossword 9 Jan 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Christopher Adams
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Showstopper

Themed answers are titles of musical SHOWS, all of which end with an EXCLAMATION MARK!

  • 19A Big musical number … or what 60-Across is to four puzzle answers? : SHOWSTOPPER
  • 60A Decisive ending : EXCLAMATION MARK
  • 16D Musical revue performed in the nude : OH! CALCUTTA!
  • 18D Musical whose first run won 10 Tony Awards : HELLO, DOLLY!
  • 38D Musical featuring ABBA songs : MAMMA MIA!
  • 39D Musical awarded a special Pulitzer in 1944 : OKLAHOMA!

Bill’s time: 8m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 “Top Chef” host Lakshmi : PADMA

Padma Lakshmi is a model from India. She is very much into cooking and has published an award-winning cookbook. She became host of the American TV show “Top Chef” in 2006.

14 T’ai __ : CHI

More correctly called “t‘ai chi ch‘uan”, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

15 Club 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.

The club sandwich is a double-decker affair with three layers of bread and two layers of filling. This style of sandwich has been around since the end of the 19th century, and some say it was invented at an exclusive gambling “club” in Saratoga Springs, New York.

17 “Fiddler” meddler : YENTE

In the stage musical “Fiddler on the Roof”, the village matchmaker Yente tries to bring together 19-year-old Tzeitel with the local butcher named Lazar Wolf.

The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye, a milkman living in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.

18 Chemistry Nobelist Otto : HAHN

Otto Hahn was a German chemist, someone who vigorously opposed the anti-Jewish policies of Nazi Germany. Hahn was one of a small group of scientists who discovered nuclear fission, pointing out that uranium atoms could be split into barium atoms when bombarded with neutrons. Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for this discovery, although he probably got the credit for work that was actually shared with others.

22 “My Friend” title horse : FLICKA

“My Friend Flicka” is a 1943 screen adaptation of the children’s novel of the same name by Mary O’Hara. The film stars a young Roddy McDowall in the lead role. Flicka is a horse …

24 Coral creatures : POLYPS

Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.

27 “A Legacy of Spies” author : LE CARRE

“A Legacy of Spies” is a 2017 spy novel penned by John le Carré. The 2017 novel serves as both a prequel and a sequel to le Carré’s best-selling 1963 work “The Spy Who Came In from the Cold”. It just went onto my Christmas list …

30 St. Teresa’s town : AVILA

Ávila is famous for the walled defenses around the old city that date back to 1090. They were constructed out of brown granite, and are still in excellent repair. There are nine gateways and eighty-towers in all. Even the cathedral built between the 12th and 14th centuries is part of the city’s defenses, so it looks like an imposing fortress.

St. Teresa of Ávila (also known as St. Teresa of Jesus) was a Carmelite nun living in Spain in the 1500s. She is particularly noted for her writings on Christian meditation and mental prayer.

31 VII x XIII : XCI

In Roman numerals, VII x XIII = XCI (7 x 13 = 91)

33 Rodeo performer : ROPER

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated into English as “round up”.

34 Catchall abbr. : MISC

Out terms “miscellany” and “miscellaneous” ultimately come from the Latin verb “miscere” meaning “to mix”.

37 Dramatic accusation : ET TU

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

38 Paris transit : METRO

The Paris Métro is the busiest underground transportation system in western Europe. The network carries about 4.5 million passengers a day, which is about the same ridership as the New York City Subway. The system took its name from the company that originally operated it, namely “La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”, which was shortened to “Métro”. The term “Metro” was then adopted for similar systems in cities all over the world.

41 GPS part: Abbr. : SYST

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

42 Smart __ : ALECK

Apparently the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was one Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

43 Eco-friendly certification letters : LEED

LEED is a green building certification program. The acronym stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

44 Tablet named for an organ : TUMS

The main ingredient in Tums antacid, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is calcium carbonate. Tums have been on the market since 1930. If you want to save a few pennies, Target brand antacid is identical to Tums, or so I hear …

46 Kosher food carrier : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

51 “The Joy Luck Club” novelist : AMY TAN

Amy Tan lives not too far from here, in Sausalito just north of San Francisco. Tan is an American writer of Chinese descent whose most successful work is “The Joy Luck Club”. “The Joy Luck Club” was made into a movie produced by Oliver Stone in 1993. The novel and movie tell of four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco who start the Joy Luck Club, a group playing Mahjong for money and eating delicious food.

55 Philosopher __-tzu : LAO

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

59 Hosp. area : ICU

Many a hospital (hosp.) includes an intensive care unit (ICU).

60 Decisive ending : EXCLAMATION MARK

An exclamation mark is sometimes referred to as a bang. The term “bang”, in this context, comes from printers’ jargon.

66 Great Lake city : ERIE

Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, sitting on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area. Erie is nicknamed the Gem City, a reference to the “sparkling” water of Lake Erie.

67 MC alternative : AMEX

“Amex” is short for “American Express”, the name of the financial services company that is best known for its credit card, charge card and traveler’s check businesses. The company name is indicative of its original business. American Express was founded in 1850 in Buffalo, New York as an express mail service.

Mastercard is a financial services company that is headquartered in Harrison, New York. The company was originally called Master Charge and was set up by a group of California banks to compete with BankAmericard (which later became Visa).

68 Yoga pose : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

Down

2 NATO founding member : USA

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded not long after WWII in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The first NATO Secretary General was Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill’s chief military assistant during WWII. Famously, Lord Ismay said the goal of NATO was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

3 The Curies, e.g. : PHYSICISTS

The Curies have won more Nobel Prizes than any other family. Marie Curie won twice, for Physics in 1903, and for Chemistry in 1911. Marie’s husband Pierre shared the 1903 prize with his wife. Marie and Pierre’s daughter Irène Joliot-Curie won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935, sharing it with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

4 Propaganda battle : PSYWAR

Psychological warfare (PSYWAR)

5 Tarzan raisers : APES

Kala is the fictional ape that rescues the infant Tarzan from the dangerous leader of the apes. In the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, Kala is killed a few years later by a hunter, for which Tarzan exacts the ultimate revenge. In the 1999 Disney adaptation of the story, Kala doesn’t die.

7 Con __: briskly : MOTO

The musical term “con moto” indicates that a passage should be played quickly, briskly, The term translates from Italian as “with motion”.

8 Syrian city : ALEPPO

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes it size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging from 2012 to 2016.

9 Member of a 1990s girl group : SCARY SPICE

“Mel B” is the stage name of Melanie Brown who came to fame as a member of the Spice Girls musical group. She took the name Mel B to distinguish herself from fellow band member Melanie Chisholm (Melanie C). Mel B was also known as “Scary Spice”, a nickname given to her by the media. American viewers can see Mel B on the TV show “America’s Got Talent”, as she replaced Sharon Osbourne as a judge in 2013.

11 Martini default : GIN

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”.

16 Musical revue performed in the nude : OH! CALCUTTA!

“Oh! Calcutta!” is a theatrical revue created by a drama critic from England called Kenneth Tynan. The show was considered very “out there” in its day as it featured lots and lots of nudity. The title comes from a painting of a nude by French artist Clovis Trouille called “Oh! Calcutta, Calcutta!” The painting’s title is a pun on the French for “Oh, what a lovely rear end you have!”

18 Musical whose first run won 10 Tony Awards : HELLO, DOLLY!

“Hello, Dolly!” is a Broadway musical that was first produced in 1964, and adapted into a hugely successful movie in 1969. The title role of Dolly Levi was played by Barbra Streisand in the film, with Gene Kelly directing and a leading part for a young Michael Crawford. The stage show was revived on Broadway in 2017, with Bette Midler in the title role.

20 Gumbo pod : OKRA

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

25 Mambo legend Tito : PUENTE

After serving in the Navy in WWII for three years, musician Tito Puente studied at Juilliard, where he got a great grounding in conducting, orchestration and theory. Puente parlayed this education into a career in Latin Jazz and Mambo. He was known as “El Rey” as well as “The King of Latin Music”.

The form of music and dance known as “mambo” developed in Cuba. “Mambo” means “conversation with the gods” in Kikongo, a language spoken by slaves taken to Cuba from Central Africa.

26 Nutella, e.g. : SPREAD

Nutella is a delicious hazelnut-chocolate spread made by Ferrero, a company based in Italy. Sadly, 70% of the Nutella recipe is saturated fat and processed sugar.

32 Meet-__: romcom device : CUTE

“Meet cute” is a term used since the 1930s or 1940s for a scene in a film or TV show in which a future couple have an amusing first encounter.

38 Musical featuring ABBA songs : MAMMA MIA!

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

39 Musical awarded a special Pulitzer in 1944 : OKLAHOMA!

“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by the great duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The storyline comes from a 1931 stage play called “Green Grow the Lilacs”.

45 Radius neighbor : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

47 “You said 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.

48 Justice Kagan : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

50 Lawn game : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

52 Wonder Woman topper : TIARA

Superhero Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named after the Greek mythological figure. Wonder Woman had several signature expressions, including “Merciful Minerva!”, “Suffering Sappho!” and “Great Hera!”. She also has several devices that she uses in her quest for justice, e.g. the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a deadly projectile. Wonder Woman uses the name “Diana Prince” when “out of uniform”.

58 “The Da Vinci Code” priory : SION

In the preface of Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code”, the Priory of Sion is presented as a secret society that does in fact exist. However, there is a lot of evidence that the priory was an invention, and created in forged documents in the sixties. Regardless, Dan Brown’s book is a really enjoyable read, in my humble opinion …

61 Supervillain Luthor : LEX

Lex Luthor is the arch-nemesis of Superman in comics. Luthor has been portrayed in a number of guises in the comic world as well in movies and on the small screen. For example, he appeared as Atom Man in the 1950 film series “Atom Man vs. Superman”, and was played by actor Lyle Talbot, opposite Kirk Alyn’s Superman.

62 Hermana de la madre : TIA

In Spanish, a “tia” (aunt) is the “hermana del padre o de la madre” (sister of the father or the mother).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Coffee holder : CUP
4 “Top Chef” host Lakshmi : PADMA
9 Droop : SAG
12 Tapped-off remnant : ASH
13 Thread holder : SPOOL
14 T’ai __ : CHI
15 Club condiment : MAYO
17 “Fiddler” meddler : YENTE
18 Chemistry Nobelist Otto : HAHN
19 Big musical number … or what 60-Across is to four puzzle answers? : SHOWSTOPPER
22 “My Friend” title horse : FLICKA
24 Coral creatures : POLYPS
27 “A Legacy of Spies” author : LE CARRE
29 Makes a mess of : FOULS UP
30 St. Teresa’s town : AVILA
31 VII x XIII : XCI
33 Rodeo performer : ROPER
34 Catchall abbr. : MISC
35 Pool tool : CUE
36 Eat in style : DINE
37 Dramatic accusation : ET TU
38 Paris transit : METRO
40 Deca- minus two : OCTA-
41 GPS part: Abbr. : SYST
42 Smart __ : ALECK
43 Eco-friendly certification letters : LEED
44 Tablet named for an organ : TUMS
46 Kosher food carrier : EL AL
48 Preserve, in a way : EMBALM
51 “The Joy Luck Club” novelist : AMY TAN
55 Philosopher __-tzu : LAO
56 Short rest : NAP
58 Word for a woman : SHE
59 Hosp. area : ICU
60 Decisive ending : EXCLAMATION MARK
64 “I like that” : NICE
65 Cool beans or warm fuzzies : IDIOM
66 Great Lake city : ERIE
67 MC alternative : AMEX
68 Yoga pose : ASANA
69 Word for men : LADS

Down

1 Dash attachment : -CAM
2 NATO founding member : USA
3 The Curies, e.g. : PHYSICISTS
4 Propaganda battle : PSYWAR
5 Tarzan raisers : APES
6 “Cut it out!” : DON’T!
7 Con __: briskly : MOTO
8 Syrian city : ALEPPO
9 Member of a 1990s girl group : SCARY SPICE
10 Spa sigh : AHH
11 Martini default : GIN
16 Musical revue performed in the nude : OH! CALCUTTA!
18 Musical whose first run won 10 Tony Awards : HELLO, DOLLY!
20 Gumbo pod : OKRA
21 Refill a glass, say : POUR
22 Fire sign : FLAMES
23 Flippancy : LEVITY
25 Mambo legend Tito : PUENTE
26 Nutella, e.g. : SPREAD
28 Shines : EXCELS
29 Cutthroat, as competition : FIERCE
32 Meet-__: romcom device : CUTE
38 Musical featuring ABBA songs : MAMMA MIA!
39 Musical awarded a special Pulitzer in 1944 : OKLAHOMA!
45 Radius neighbor : ULNA
47 “You said it!” : AMEN!
48 Justice Kagan : ELENA
49 Pithy saying : MAXIM
50 Lawn game : BOCCE
52 Wonder Woman topper : TIARA
53 Pungent : ACRID
54 Zaps for dinner : NUKES
57 Sketchbooks : PADS
58 “The Da Vinci Code” priory : SION
61 Supervillain Luthor : LEX
62 Hermana de la madre : TIA
63 __ B: 9-Down’s professional name : MEL

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Jan 20, Thursday”

  1. 40:54 with one error in what seemed like 1:40:54…..I spelled Puente Puento…..this puzzle seemed to be all over the map and for me was no fun at all…..GO RAVENS

  2. At first glance, I had little hope of getting much of this puzzle at all. But, somehow, it slowly fell together starting at the bottom, working up this time, with a little help from the Internet. I am in awe of y’all who finish these puzzles in under ten minutes, as they usually take me at least 20 minutes, and sometimes twice that!
    GO NINERS!!!

  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! The arts, no sports. I enjoyed this one so much, despite it being a Thurs puzzle (where the downhill slide usually begins).

  4. Man, I’m in a real trough these days!! This one took more than 15 minutes to complete without error. (Not accurately timed because a rude co-worker decided to lurk right in front of my desk until I, on my lunch break, lifted my head from my work to acknowledge his presence. Why can’t people take a hint when it’s obvious you’re on a break and don’t wish to be disturbed??)

  5. 8:44 for me, a bit slow. I’m not sure why but the northwest really threw me for a loop for a long time, but now that I look at it in the solved puzzle it all seems really simple. I might have thought they were trying to be clever with the cluing and was overthinking things.

    A family friend was visiting London once and at a hotel bar ordered a “martini.” He was confused when presented with a sherry glass of dry vermouth. It took a while to explain to the bartender what he actually wanted, and then the bartender’s face lit up… “Ah, a Martini *cocktail*. Certainly sir, coming right up.” It made a cute story for him to tell when he got back home to the US.

  6. HAd to Google for PADMA, POLYPS, SYST, and LECARRE. Did not actually know CUTE, SCION, PSYWAR, SCARY(SPICE). I thought POLYPS grew on me!

  7. Just a quick question. Where do you do the LA Times puzzle online? can you please give me the website. I do them daily on paper. It’s fun to Read all your comments.

  8. Moderately difficult Thursday for me; took 35 minutes with 1 error. I put AMiX, thinking MC stood for Master of Ceremonies…so A Mix (tape) would be one alternative… 🙂

    Had to redo OH CALigulA 🙂 and peI to CHI, RidER to ROPER and MEn to MEL, when I finally figured out Scary Spice.

    re Martini default – I know purists would complain, but there do seem to be a lot of people who prefer vodka Martinis…at least among people I know.

  9. Hey y’all!!🦆

    No errors– didn’t know HAHN but got it via crosses. I know BOCCE just from previous puzzles. I actually tried to do the math for VII x XIII but got impatient with that simple equation and waited for the crosses instead!!!😊

    Here’s my fun idea! Make a musical out of a drama or non-musical film. You can do it just by adding an exclamation mark!!! FARGO! That’s a musical I’d see. Or how about SCARFACE!

    High Laurie takes Broadway by storm in SCARFACE!

    Ryan Gosling IS PATTON!

    Gosh I could do this all night so I’d best sign off….😁

    Be well~~🥂

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