LA Times Crossword 12 May 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Seth Geltman & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Where Are the Animals?

Themed answers are idioms in the format “(animal) IN THE (location)”:

  • 18A Animal kingdom predator : FOX IN THE HENHOUSE
  • 29A Animal kingdom traitor : SNAKE IN THE GRASS
  • 49A Animal kingdom eccentricity : BATS IN THE BELFRY
  • 62A Animal kingdom complication : FLY IN THE OINTMENT

Bill’s time: 6m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 HIV-treating drug : AZT

“AZT” is the abbreviated name for the drug azidothymidine, which is used extensively in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. AZT was originally developed in the seventies as a potential treatment for retroviruses (cancer-causing viruses), although it was never approved for use in treatment. In 1984, it was confirmed that AIDS was caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), so scientists turned to known antiviral drugs in the search for a viable treatment. Burroughs-Wellcome came up with a treatment regime using AZT, and filed a patent in 1985. The patent was challenged in court but the patent expired anyway in 2005 without any decision being made. There are now at least four generic forms of AZT approved for sale in the US.

15 Mauna __ : LOA

Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

17 Big blood vessels : AORTAE

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

21 Car radio letters : AM/FM

Amplitude modulation/frequency modulation (AM/FM)

22 Genius 8000 toothbrushes, e.g. : ORAL-BS

The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first “model” was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

23 Flanders of Springfield : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

“The Simpsons” television show is meant to be set in “Anytown, USA”. The creators chose the name “Springfield”, as it is one of most common town and city names in the country.

27 Most populous continent : ASIA

Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.

28 Road Runner stills, e.g. : CELS

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; it’s definitely one of the best …

32 Lucy of “Elementary” : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

If you’ve seen the American television show “Elementary”, you will know that it is an adaptation of the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that are set in the present day. “Elementary” is similar in look and feel to the excellent BBC series “Sherlock”, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day Holmes. We can pick up “Sherlock” in some parts of the country as part of “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS.

35 Speeder’s undoing : RADAR

Radar speed guns were first used to monitor traffic by Connecticut State Police in the town of Glastonbury, way back in 1947!

37 Igor, to Dr. Frankenstein : ASST

In the world of movies, Igor has been the assistant to Dracula, Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein among others. Igor is almost invariably portrayed as a hunchback.

40 Like Redbox films : ON DVD

Redbox is known for renting DVDs from automated retail kiosks placed in locations such as grocery stores and fast food restaurants. Perhaps in an obvious move, Redbox now offers a video streaming service called “Redbox Instant”, a joint-venture with Verizon.

49 Animal kingdom eccentricity : BATS IN THE BELFRY

The expression “bats in the belfry” meaning “mad, crazy” conjures up images of bats flying around Gothic bell towers, but actually it’s a relatively recent addition to our vernacular. The term is American in origin, and dates back only to the early 1900s. The concept is that someone who is “crazy”, with wild ideas flying around his or her head, can be described as having bats (wild ideas) flying around the belfry (head). The terms “bats” and “batty” originated at the same time, and are clearly derivative.

57 Nonprofit URL ending : ORG

The .org domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

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

58 Sheena who collaborated with Prince : EASTON

Sheena Easton is a Scottish singer. She was big in the eighties with songs like “9 to 5” (released as “Morning Train” in the US) and “For Your Eyes Only”, which is the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name. Easton collaborated with American singer Prince on many projects. She recorded the 1984 song “Sugar Walls” that was composed for her by Prince under the pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind”.

62 Animal kingdom complication : FLY IN THE OINTMENT

Our expression “a fly in the ointment” is used when we come across some relatively minor snag that is a hindrance to completing something. We started using the expression in the 1700’s, and it refers to some lines in the Bible; Ecclesiastes 10:1:

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour

66 1927 movie innovation : TALKIE

The Silent Era of filmmaking is generally said to have started in 1894 with the shooting of a very simple film by Auguste and Louis Lumière called “La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon” (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon). The famous talkie “The Jazz Singer” was released in 1927, and it was a commercial success. However, the end of the Silent Era is often cited as 1929, when “talkies” really began to dominate in movie theaters.

67 Turkic language : UZBEK

The Turkic language family comprises over 30 languages spoken mainly across Eurasia. The most common Turkic language is Turkish, followed by Uzbek and Azerbaijani.

68 The Bosporus, e.g.: Abbr. : STR

A strait (str.) is a narrow waterway connecting two large bodies of water. A strait might be considered the opposite of an isthmus, which is a narrow strip of land connecting two large land masses. Straits often have significant economic and geopolitical significance, as they can form choke points for maritime traffic. Examples are the Strait of Hormuz (connecting the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman) and the Strait of Gibraltar (connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea).

The Bosphorus (also “Bosporus”) is one of the two Turkish Straits, the other being the Dardanelles. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles lie either side of the Sea of Marmara, allowing continuous navigation from the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea. The Turkish Straits also form the boundary between Europe and Asia.

70 Sauce made with pine nuts : PESTO

Pesto sauce is more completely called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa. A traditional recipe calls for crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yum …

71 PreCheck org. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration operates its precheck program known as “TSA Pre✓” or “TSA PreCheck”). Members of the program receive expedited screening at airports at most airports. In order to become a member, a traveler must apply online, appear in person at a designated office for a background check and fingerprinting, and pay a fee for a 5-year membership.

Down

1 Two before Charlie : ALFA

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

4 Super Bowl IV MVP Dawson : LEN

Len Dawson is a retired AFL-NFL quarterback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs (originally the Dallas Texans). Dawson played for the Chiefs in the first ever Super Bowl, losing badly to the Green Bay Packers. However, he was on the winning team in Super Bowl IV, when the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings. Quarterback Dawson was named the MVP that day.

5 PC shortcut key : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

6 __-chic: hippie-influenced fashion style : BOHO

Boho-chic is a style of fashion that grew out of the bohemian and hippie looks.

9 Guys’ attaché alternatives : MAN BAGS

“Attaché” is a French term which literally means “attached”, and is used for a person who is assigned to the administrative staff of some agency or other service. The term is most recognized as it applies to someone assigned to an Ambassador’s staff at an embassy. The word was extended to “attaché case” at the beginning of the twentieth century, meaning a leather case used for carrying papers. I guess that an attaché case might be “attached” to an attaché at an embassy …

12 Apple music app : ITUNES

iTunes is a very successful software application from Apple. It’s basically a media player that works on platforms like the iPad, iPhone and iPod. It connects seamlessly to the iTunes store, where you can spend all kinds of money. Plans are afoot to break up iTunes into separate applications focused on music, podcasts and TV.

13 Stands for oils : EASELS

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey”, would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

14 Clarinets, e.g. : REEDS

The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn’t it? The name “clarinet” comes from the Italian word “clarino” meaning “trumpet”, with the “-et” suffix indicating “small”.

20 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

25 Some undergrounds : METROS

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.

28 Crunch’s rank : CAP’N

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 35mm camera type : SLR

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

30 Cultural funding gp. : NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …

31 Swindled : ROOKED

To rook is to cheat. The earlier use of “rook” as a noun was as a disparaging term for a swindler or cheat. Somehow, it was insulting to refer to a person as a rook, as in the type of bird.

36 Entr’__ : ACTE

The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “entre deux actes” (between two acts) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

38 Work a crowd : SCHMOOZE

To schmooze is to chat intimately. “Schmooze” is a word that comes from the Yiddish “schmusen” meaning “to chat” .

42 Pesky critters : VARMINTS

“Varmint” is an informal variant of “vermin”, a term describing something or someone that is undesirable or obnoxious.

45 Pittsburgh team : PIRATES

The Pittsburgh Pirates (nicknamed the Bucs or Buccos) joined baseball’s National League in 1887 just six years after the league was formed. The Pirates played in the first ever World Series in 1903, and won their first World Series in 1909.

47 Stat for the 45-Down : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

49 Gunny sack fabric : BURLAP

Burlap, also called “hessian”, is a coarse woven fabric made from fibers taken from jute, sisal or hemp plants.

A gunny sack is a crude bag made from hessian fabric. The term “gunny” ultimately comes from the tulu (an Indian language) word “goni” meaning “thread, fiber”. Gunny sacks were commonly used for carrying potatoes, and were sized to hold about 100 pounds.

50 Socks pattern : ARGYLE

The argyle pattern is based on the Campbell tartan. The Campbell clan is based in the Argyll region (note the spelling) in the west of Scotland, giving the Argyle pattern its name.

51 Enjoy a bagel, say : NOSH

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

53 Actor Neeson : LIAM

Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic, “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news some years later when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.

58 City west of Tulsa : ENID

Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because it has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Loachapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

59 Pen points : NIBS

“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

61 First razor with a pivoting head : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

63 Pres. after Harry : IKE

When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhowers used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn’t get in because of his poor eyesight. Young Truman didn’t have the money to pay for college anywhere else. He did manage to study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but he never finished his schooling. So, Harry S. Truman was the last US President (out of a list of ten) who did not have a college degree.

64 Site-seeing place, with “the” : … NET

The Internet (uppercase letter I) is a system of interconnected networks that use the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to link devices around the world. In common usage, the word “internet” (lowercase letter I) is often used interchangeably with “World Wide Web”, although “the Web” is just one of many services and applications that uses the Internet.

65 Ring ref’s decision : TKO

Technical knockout (TKO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 HIV-treating drug : AZT
4 Word with contracts or contractions : LABOR …
9 More brooding : MOPIER
15 Mauna __ : LOA
16 Frugal way to wed : ELOPE
17 Big blood vessels : AORTAE
18 Animal kingdom predator : FOX IN THE HENHOUSE
21 Car radio letters : AM/FM
22 Genius 8000 toothbrushes, e.g. : ORAL-BS
23 Flanders of Springfield : NED
24 Bakery draw : AROMA
27 Most populous continent : ASIA
28 Road Runner stills, e.g. : CELS
29 Animal kingdom traitor : SNAKE IN THE GRASS
32 Lucy of “Elementary” : LIU
33 Bark holder : TREE
34 Absorb, with “up” : SOP …
35 Speeder’s undoing : RADAR
37 Igor, to Dr. Frankenstein : ASST
40 Like Redbox films : ON DVD
44 __ a plea : COP
46 One removed by a wine lover : CORK
48 Musical knack : EAR
49 Animal kingdom eccentricity : BATS IN THE BELFRY
54 Enticement : LURE
55 Space : ROOM
56 Figure of speech : IDIOM
57 Nonprofit URL ending : ORG
58 Sheena who collaborated with Prince : EASTON
60 It can end on a high note : ARIA
62 Animal kingdom complication : FLY IN THE OINTMENT
66 1927 movie innovation : TALKIE
67 Turkic language : UZBEK
68 The Bosporus, e.g.: Abbr. : STR
69 Zooms : SPEEDS
70 Sauce made with pine nuts : PESTO
71 PreCheck org. : TSA

Down

1 Two before Charlie : ALFA
2 Fanatic love of animals : ZOOMANIA
3 It may involve cooking the books : TAX FRAUD
4 Super Bowl IV MVP Dawson : LEN
5 PC shortcut key : ALT
6 __-chic: hippie-influenced fashion style : BOHO
7 Performs surgery : OPERATES
8 Go over again : REHASH
9 Guys’ attaché alternatives : MAN BAGS
10 Fireworks cries : OOHS
11 Golf expert : PRO
12 Apple music app : ITUNES
13 Stands for oils : EASELS
14 Clarinets, e.g. : REEDS
19 “It’s just a flesh wound” : I’M OK
20 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
25 Some undergrounds : METROS
26 It can be fresh but not insulting : AIR
28 Crunch’s rank : CAP’N
29 35mm camera type : SLR
30 Cultural funding gp. : NEA
31 Swindled : ROOKED
36 Entr’__ : ACTE
38 Work a crowd : SCHMOOZE
39 Digit for water testing? : TOE
41 Clear-cut, as for lumber : DEFOREST
42 Pesky critters : VARMINTS
43 Parched : DRY
45 Pittsburgh team : PIRATES
47 Stat for the 45-Down : RBI
49 Gunny sack fabric : BURLAP
50 Socks pattern : ARGYLE
51 Enjoy a bagel, say : NOSH
52 Add : TOTE UP
53 Actor Neeson : LIAM
54 Artists’ pads : LOFTS
58 City west of Tulsa : ENID
59 Pen points : NIBS
61 First razor with a pivoting head : ATRA
63 Pres. after Harry : IKE
64 Site-seeing place, with “the” : … NET
65 Ring ref’s decision : TKO

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 May 20, Tuesday”

    1. Thanks for posting this, Glenn! Truly eye-opening! My fingers have never been able to move that fast!

      I’m not sure how he’s repositioning the cursor. The few times I tried to do a puzzle on my iMac, it was fiddling with the mouse that took most of the time. (In any case, as I’ve said here before, fast solves are not my thing … 😜.)

  1. No errors. BOHO was new to me.

    There’s the misspelled ALFA again.. Guess the crossworders are trying to get a spark… For anyone that has been in the military and worked with NATO,.. knows ALFA is not used. Doesn’t matter, crossworders will use what will work.

    Be safe.

    1. @Mike …

      And, again, you’re ignoring this fact, which is easily found online:

      “The system is most commonly called the NATO phonetic alphabet. Notice that “Alpha” is written as “Alfa” and “Juliet” is written as “Juliett”, which are the spellings still in use in the international version of the alphabet (they are used to avoid possible critical mispronunciations by speakers of other languages).”

  2. No errors today. Took about 20 minutes, pretty good for me. I especially liked the clue for “labor”.

    1. @Cathy – We have two “hi tech” Toto Japanese toilets at our home, so to us toto up means when the lid doesn’t go down automatically as is supposed to… ;-D>

  3. 9:48, no errors. Distracted. Miserable.

    For 52-Down: I’m more familiar with “TOT UP”, which my dictionary describes as a Britishism, but I looked it up (as I am wont to do 😜) and “TOTE UP” is in there, so (like “ALFA”) it’s fair game for use in a crossword puzzle.

  4. Had an error – or 3, depending how you count. Didn’t know if it was bEN, kEN, or LEN (sports) and had sOHO, so I had ?AsOR for LABOR. So I waited til I came here, and found out there was a style called BOHO.

    Almost had ddE instead of IKE, but of course, it’s nickname in, nickname out.

    I’m not going to go into the 4 abbrevs that weren’t indicated as such.

    Love those pine nuts. They grow on evergreens around here. However, I’m one of those people who loses her sense of taste if she eats too many.

    I need a hair cut. What I have is a Covid mullet, since I can trim in the front.
    And without my gym, I’m gaining weight. Too windy and rainy here to go out.

  5. well, shucks folks, I can’t join in today because my newspaper printed
    an old crossword today instead of the one for 5/12, they printed the one
    that started 1d with “unmoving Calder work”. The date under the grid
    was 5/5/20. How depressing.

    I did it anyway for something to do…took me a couple of minutes. Shows
    you how bored I am these days.

  6. Just the degree of difficulty I needed to start the day. Misspelled Uzbeck nevertheless enjoyable!
    Eddie

  7. 9 minutes, 25 seconds, no errors.

    What’s this, an **enjoyable** Jeff Chen grid? With no despicable tricks?? What’s the world coming to??

    I also “cat-hissed” at ALFA, Anonymous’ explanation notwithstanding. It’s like LEDE for first line of a newspaper story. I don’t care what the etymology is, it’s just WRONG.

  8. One omission, the Z in the HIV drug, and 6 errors. Not overly great, but I really
    got a kick out of getting all the long answers. I didn’t mind the kinda poor score
    all that much and actually enjoyed trying this puzzle.

    Hang in, everybody.

  9. Well– 🦆

    No errors. Cute theme.

    Jane! I’ve been trimming my hair too, and it’s uneven, so I keep trimming off more, trying to even it up. 🤗 It actually doesn’t look too bad, but I’m the only one seeing it and maybe my perspective is off from extended cabin fever 🤔

    Be safe ~~🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

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