LA Times Crossword 9 Apr 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Elementary

Themed answers each include a hidden element in the final letters:

  • 59A Holmes’ comment about the ends of the four other longest Across answers? : ELEMENTARY
  • 17A Getting on in years : GROWING OLD (hiding “gold”)
  • 25A Gets plastered : TIES ONE ON (hiding “neon”)
  • 38A Owns part of : HAS AN INTEREST IN (hiding “tin”)
  • 47A Classified item : FOR SALE AD (hiding “lead”)

Bill’s time: 5m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Old lemon : EDSEL

The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel Ford, son of Henry. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

Long before we associated the term “lemon” with a defective car, it was used to describe defective items in general.

10 What’s under a beret : TETE

In French, one wears a “chapeau” (hat), a “béret” (beret) perhaps, on one’s “tête” (head).

14 Oxford tightener : LACE

An oxford is a type of lace-up shoe that originated not in Oxford, but actually in Scotland and/or Ireland.

16 YouTube journal : VLOG

A video blog is perhaps what one might expect, a blog that is essentially a series of video posts. The phrase “video logging” is often shortened to “vlogging”.

17 Getting on in years : GROWING OLD (hiding “gold”)

Gold is a metallic chemical element with the symbol Au. Gold is extremely unreactive. Silver and other base metals dissolve in nitric acid, and so testing an unknown sample with nitric acid can confirm the presence of gold. This assaying practise gave rise to the figurative use of the term “acid test” to describe any definitive test.

20 Web pioneer : AOL

Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the “America-centric” sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL’s success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That’s when users referred to AOL as “Always Off-Line”.

25 Gets plastered : TIES ONE ON (hiding “neon”)

Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid. They then warmed that liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.

“Plastered” and “lit” are slang terms meaning “drunk”.

28 “See You on the Radio” essayist Charles : OSGOOD

Retired radio and television commentator Charles Osgood is from New York City. On the radio, Osgood is known for his daily show called “The Osgood Files”, and on television is known as the host for “CBS News Sunday Morning”, a role that he took over from Charles Kuralt.

38 Owns part of : HAS AN INTEREST IN (hiding “tin”)

The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”. One of the ores used as a source of tin is “stannite”.

43 Ronnie in the Pro Football Hall of Fame : LOTT

Ronnie Lott is a former NFL footballer who played most of his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers. After Lott retired, he co-founded the investment firm HRJ Capital with Harris Barton and Joe Montana (the H and J in “HRJ”). HRJ was in business for nine years, but collapsed in 2009.

45 Pack animals : LLAMAS

The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.

47 Classified item : FOR SALE AD (hiding “lead”)

Lead is a heavy metallic element with the symbol Pb (standing for “plumbum”, Latin for “lead”). Although lead proves to be a very useful metal, it is very toxic and is poisonous if absorbed into the body.

53 European toast : SKOAL

“Skoal” is a Scandinavian toast that has roots in the old Norse word “skaal” meaning “cup”.

54 Chucklehead : BOZO

A bozo is a person with a low IQ, and someone who is usually quite muscular. We’ve been using the term since the early 1900s and it possibly comes from the Spanish “bozal” that was used to describe someone who spoke Spanish poorly.

56 Atlanta-based health agcy. : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

58 Document settings : TABS

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

59 Holmes’ comment about the ends of the four other longest Across answers? : ELEMENTARY

The celebrated phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” has firmly established itself in our psyche it seems, and is a relatively common “quotation”. However, the line does not appear in any of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That said, the line does appear in the 1929 screenplay for the film “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” starring Basil Rathbone in the title role.

62 “Return to Mayberry” grown-up : OPIE

Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

“Return to Mayberry” is a reunion television movie that was first aired in 1986. “Return to Mayberry” brought back together most of the original casts of “The Andy Griffith Show” and ”Mayberry R.F.D.”

63 Frost-resistant flower : ASTER

Apparently, most aster species and cultivars bloom relatively late in the year, usually in the fall. The name “aster” comes into English via Latin from the Greek word “astéri” meaning “star”, a reference to the arrangement of the petals of the flower.

64 Golfo contents : AGUA

In Spanish, a “golfo” (gulf) is full of “agua” (water).

65 Ice cream buy : PINT

A US pint is made from 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass that marked a full measure of ale.

66 __-Japanese War : RUSSO

The Russo-Japanese War was fought between the empires of Russia and Japan. The opening action was a surprise attack on the Russian Eastern Fleet by the Japanese Navy in 1904. After 19 months of fighting, hostilities ceased with the Treaty of Portsmouth that was brokered by President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was awarded the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for his success in negotiating a deal to end the war.

67 One of the Ivies : PENN

The University of Pennsylvania (also “Penn” and “UPenn”) was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, and sometimes the Red & Blue.

Down

1 “Quantum of Solace” actress Kurylenko : OLGA

Olga Kurylenko is a Ukrainian actress and model. Kurylenko played the Bond girl Camille Montes in the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”.

“Quantum of Solace” is a 2008 “James Bond” movie starring Daniel Craig as the celebrated spy. It is a direct sequel to Craig’s first Bond movie, “Casino Royale”. The film’s title is the name of a short story in the “For Your Eyes Only” collection by Ian Fleming.

3 EPA scientist : ECOLOGIST

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

4 Longbow wood : YEW

Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

5 Italian smoker : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

6 Slack off : DOG IT

To dog it is to not expend the effort necessary to accomplish a task. Folks tell me that the expression is quite common, but I must confess that I personally haven’t heard it used outside of crosswords. I’ll have to listen more carefully in the future …

7 Skyy shelfmate, familiarly : STOLI

Stolichnaya is a brand of “Russian” vodka made from wheat and rye grain. “Stoli” originated in Russia, but now it’s made in Latvia. Latvia is of course a completely different country, so you won’t see the word “Russian” on the label anymore.

Skyy Vodka is produced in the US, although the operation is owned by the Campari Group headquartered in Italy. Skyy first hit the shelves in 1992 when it was created by an entrepreneur from San Francisco, California.

9 Trippy ’60s drug : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

10 Cable network with classic sitcoms : TV LAND

TV Land is a cable television channel that debuted in 1996. “TV Land” is a name that was used by Nick at Nite in the eighties, and is a term originally coined by “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”.

12 Jay Silverheels role : TONTO

Tonto was played by the actor Jay Silverheels In the television version of “The Lone Ranger”. In the terrible 1981 movie “The Legend of the Lone Ranger”, Tonto was portrayed by Michael Horse. Tonto was then played by Johnny Depp In the 2013 movie “The Lone Ranger”. Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was called Silver and Tonto’s mount was named Scout. But, in the early TV shows, Tonto rode a horse called White Feller.

13 Prod : EGG ON

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”.

24 Mardi Gras acronym : NOLA

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA).

“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

26 Musical star Merman : ETHEL

Ethel Merman was an actress and singer, one noted for having a very powerful voice. Merman was married and divorced four times, the last time to the actor Ernest Borgnine, albeit for only 32 days in 1964.

27 Grammy winner Crow : SHERYL

Famously, Sheryl Crow dated cyclist Lance Armstrong from 2003-2006. Armstrong has stated publicly more than once that Crow’s music cured his cancer.

28 Hazmat monitor : OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

Dangerous goods are commonly referred to as hazardous materials, or Hazmat. People working with dangerous goods might wear a Hazmat suit.

33 Sambuca flavoring : ANISE

The essential oil in the anise plant is anethole. Anethole has a licorice-like flavor, and is used extensively in cooking and to flavor several distilled alcoholic drinks.

Sambuca is an Italian liqueur that is flavored with anise. Sambuca is often served straight up with three coffee beans floating on the surface. The beans are said to represent health, happiness and prosperity. A more “saucy” representation for the beans is the husband, wife and mistress.

34 Avg. : STD

Standard (std.)

35 Period spawned by the Manhattan Project : ATOMIC AGE

The Atomic Age began with the detonation of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico. The phrase “Atomic Age” was coined by William L. Laurence, the official journalist for the Manhattan Project. Laurence personally witnessed the Trinity Test, as well as the dropping of Fat Man on Nagasaki.

The Manhattan project was the joint US-Canada-UK project to develop an atomic bomb during WWII. Initially, the Army headquarters for the program was located on the 18th floor of a building on Broadway in New York City. Eventually, because of that first location, the project adopted the name “Manhattan”.

40 Bridge feat : SLAM

A grand slam in bridge is the winning of all thirteen tricks by one player. If the player wins twelve tricks, the achievement is called a small slam.

44 How china is sold : AS A SET

The ceramic known as “porcelain” can be referred to as “china” or “fine china”, as porcelain was developed in China.

46 Fuzzy film coward : LION

Zeke is the farmworker played by Bert Lahr in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz”. Zeke is the character who morphed into the Cowardly Lion in Dorothy’s dream.

47 Shooter’s setting : F-STOP

Varying the f-stop in a lens varies how big the lens opening (the aperture) is when a photograph is taken. Smaller apertures (higher f-stop values) admit less light, but result in a greater depth of field (more of the photograph is in focus).

48 Congo critter with striped legs : OKAPI

The okapi is closely related to the giraffe, although it does have markings on its legs and haunches that resemble those of a zebra. The okapi’s tongue is long enough to reach back and wash its eyeballs, and can go back even further to clean its ears inside and out.

49 Dick Grayson’s alter ego : ROBIN

Dick Grayson is taken in by Bruce Wayne as his legal ward in the “Batman” universe. Wayne fights crime as Batman, and Grayson assists him as Robin. Grayson’s backstory is that he is the youngest of a family of acrobats. Dick witnesses his whole family being murdered by a mafia boss who is extorting money from the circus where they performed.

50 Does some fencing, maybe : ABETS

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

57 Ink cartridge color : CYAN

“Cyan” is short for “cyan blue”. The term comes from the Greek word “kyanos” meaning “dark blue, the color of lapis lazuli”.

60 2020 NCAA FBS champs : LSU

LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, and is located in Baton Rouge. LSU was founded in 1860 as a military academy, with then-Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.

Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Mind : OBEY
5 Old lemon : EDSEL
10 What’s under a beret : TETE
14 Oxford tightener : LACE
15 Pledge drive gifts : TOTES
16 YouTube journal : VLOG
17 Getting on in years : GROWING OLD (hiding “gold”)
19 Lobed organ : LUNG
20 Web pioneer : AOL
21 Polish place : NAIL
22 Couldn’t help it : HAD TO
23 Document feature with size options : FONT
25 Gets plastered : TIES ONE ON (hiding “neon”)
28 “See You on the Radio” essayist Charles : OSGOOD
30 Dull sound : THUD
31 Transplanting need : SOIL
32 Some allergy symptoms : RASHES
35 “So that’s what’s going on here!” : AHA!
38 Owns part of : HAS AN INTEREST IN (hiding “tin”)
41 Well-suited : APT
42 With enthusiasm : AVIDLY
43 Ronnie in the Pro Football Hall of Fame : LOTT
44 Rtes. often numbered : AVES
45 Pack animals : LLAMAS
47 Classified item : FOR SALE AD (hiding “lead”)
52 “Let’s do it!” : I’M IN!
53 European toast : SKOAL
54 Chucklehead : BOZO
56 Atlanta-based health agcy. : CDC
58 Document settings : TABS
59 Holmes’ comment about the ends of the four other longest Across answers? : ELEMENTARY
62 “Return to Mayberry” grown-up : OPIE
63 Frost-resistant flower : ASTER
64 Golfo contents : AGUA
65 Ice cream buy : PINT
66 __-Japanese War : RUSSO
67 One of the Ivies : PENN

Down

1 “Quantum of Solace” actress Kurylenko : OLGA
2 Cake on a dish : BAR OF SOAP
3 EPA scientist : ECOLOGIST
4 Longbow wood : YEW
5 Italian smoker : ETNA
6 Slack off : DOG IT
7 Skyy shelfmate, familiarly : STOLI
8 __ sauce: sushi condiment : EEL
9 Trippy ’60s drug : LSD
10 Cable network with classic sitcoms : TV LAND
11 Get past : ELUDE
12 Jay Silverheels role : TONTO
13 Prod : EGG ON
18 “What have I gotten myself __?” : INTO
22 __ cat : HOUSE
24 Mardi Gras acronym : NOLA
26 Musical star Merman : ETHEL
27 Grammy winner Crow : SHERYL
28 Hazmat monitor : OSHA
29 Rot : DRIVEL
33 Sambuca flavoring : ANISE
34 Avg. : STD
35 Period spawned by the Manhattan Project : ATOMIC AGE
36 Baseball strategy for a contact hitter : HIT AND RUN
37 Little marchers : ANTS
39 Maritime : NAVAL
40 Bridge feat : SLAM
44 How china is sold : AS A SET
46 Fuzzy film coward : LION
47 Shooter’s setting : F-STOP
48 Congo critter with striped legs : OKAPI
49 Dick Grayson’s alter ego : ROBIN
50 Does some fencing, maybe : ABETS
51 Stadium toppers : DOMES
55 Terrible test score : ZERO
57 Ink cartridge color : CYAN
59 Corn serving : EAR
60 2020 NCAA FBS champs : LSU
61 Touch-screen touch : TAP

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

  1. Found the right side of the puzzle easier than the left so I had all the elements before I had the remaining parts of the theme answers.

  2. I braced myself for a Bruce Haight puzzle… But I came out practically unscathed. The NW corner I stumbled a bit. The worst was the reference to the wizard of oz… Traumatic childhood memory. “Oh no, not the flying monkeys again!!!”. .. Be safe.

  3. Thought I had it done right, but found two error boxes when I checked
    with Bill. Had “tokes” instead of totes and “blog” instead of vlog. Oh
    well, I didn’t know the answers and just guessed. And I didn’t tumble
    to the theme. Oh well, better next time.

  4. Had to Google for OLGA, OKAPI, ROBIN.
    Had itcHES before RASHES, prOst before SKOAL, coNe, before PINT.

    I also had “yale” before PENN, but that wasn’t fair because Mr. Haight failed to call it an abbrev.

  5. A very satisfying 97% solved today. Missed 6 letters out of the 191 total.
    The cutest miss was not getting NAIL, because I hung in on Polish as
    the country instead of a fingernail. A lower-case p would have solved it,
    but it was the first word of the clue. I found it pretty hard and tricky in
    spots, but still fun to struggle with.

    Stay well, everybody. Hard to really understand how well we are doing,
    but it is what it is. Stay home and wash your hands. We will get there,
    though a lot of lives are being lost. We know of one friend who tested
    positive and are praying hard for her.

  6. Did this on-line and ended up peeking twice, once in the NW and once in the SW.
    I should’ve done this one sooner, since I did three puzzles before it and was starting to get puzzled-out.

  7. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    Dirk, from yesterday– thanks indeed for the apology, tho I have no confidence you may try a trick like that AGAIN…..🤗

    No errors. Always enjoy a Bruce Haight. The crossword setter/ophthalmologist!! The NW corner was my only real trouble spot, so I moved on, and when I went back to it I saw OBEY and was okay.

    My hood raises a cheer for health care workers and EMTs every evening at 8:00 (not sure why we don’t do 7:00 as in New York.) Tonight for the first time I heard the cheers and clapping and ran to get my tambourine. It was a lovely experience. I’m in a hilly section of LA and the voices and noisemakers echoed.

    Be safe ~~🍸

  8. Glad to finally learn the origin ‘egg on.’ It’s always interesting to learn how a word begins and then gradually changes to something else.

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