LA Times Crossword 22 May 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Letter You Overlap

Themed answers comprise two overlapping terms, with the overlap being a word that sounds like a letter:

  • 17A One studying the waters near England? : IRISH SEA STUDENT (C-student)
  • 27A Communication device with a fancy patterned case? : TIGEREYE PHONE (iPhone)
  • 47A Part of a Chinese restaurant’s expenses? : OOLONG TEA BILL (T-bill)
  • 62A Nutrition for a leading insect? : QUEEN BEE VITAMIN (B-vitamin)

Bill’s time: 8m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Conference giveaways : SWAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

5 Tampa NFLers : BUCS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the Bucs) joined the NFL in 1976, along with the Seattle Seahawks, as an expansion team. The Bucs had a tough start in the NFL, losing their first 26 games. Things went better in the early eighties, but then the team went through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Their luck changed again though, and they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.

9 Place for a phone no. : ID TAG

Identity document (ID)

14 Capital of Cuba : PESO

Cuba is the only country in the world that has two official currencies. The Cuban peso (CUP) is referred to as the “national currency”. Government workers are paid in CUPs, and CUPs can be used to pay for government-provided services and price-controlled items such as fruit and vegetables. There is also the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) that was introduced in 1994, when its value was pegged to the US dollar. Most products available in stores are imported, and have to be purchased with CUCs. Cubans with access to CUCs, like hotel workers interfacing with tourists, tend to have better lifestyles than government workers in general.

15 Drama honor : OBIE

The Obies are the Off-Broadway Theater Awards. The Obies have been presented annually since 1956. The recipients used to be chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper, but now are jointly administered with the American Theatre Wing.

16 “Odyssey” enchantress : CIRCE

Circe was a minor goddess in Greek mythology. The goddess of magic, she was fond of transforming those who did not please her into animals by using magical potions. In Homer’s “Odyssey”, Odysseus was given the herb called “moly” to protect him from the magical powers of Circe.

17 One studying the waters near England? : IRISH SEA STUDENT (C-student)

The Irish Sea is the stretch of water separating the island of Ireland from the island of Great Britain. More than 12 million ferry passengers cross the Irish Sea annually between Ireland and Great Britain. I’ve been one such passenger on more occasions than I can remember …

23 Jackson of country : ALAN

Alan Jackson is a country music singer, and a bit of an author too. Jackson married his high school sweetheart in 1979, but they had a parting of the ways about twenty years later due to the pressures on the marriage from Jackson’s career. The pair reconciled, and Jackson wrote a book describing the relationship he has with his wife and his commitment to Christianity. The book is called “It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life”, and it topped the New York Times Bestseller List.

25 Namesake of a speed ratio : MACH

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is its speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term “Mach” takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the “sonic boom”.

27 Communication device with a fancy patterned case? : TIGEREYE PHONE (iPhone)

Tiger’s eye (also “tigereye”) is a reddish-gold colored gemstone made mainly from quartz that is colored by iron oxide.

34 People pairs, say : ITEMS

An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

36 Dinner party insert : LEAF

A leaf is a movable part of a table that is used to expand or contract the area available for dining.

38 There are two pennies in a classic one : ADAGE

If one only has two pennies to rub together, one has very little money to live on.

47 Part of a Chinese restaurant’s expenses? : OOLONG TEA BILL (T-bill)

The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon”.

A Treasury note (T-note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A Treasury bill (T-bill) is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-bond matures in 20-30 years.

53 Radio switch : AM/FM

Amplitude modulation/frequency modulation (AM/FM)

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (“amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (“frequency modulation”).

56 Lush : WINO

“Lush” is a slang term for a heavy drinker. Back in the 1700s, “lush” was slang for “liquor”.

58 Swindles : REAMS

To ream someone is to swindle him or her.

62 Nutrition for a leading insect? : QUEEN BEE VITAMIN (B-vitamin)

A queen bee has a stinger, just like worker bees. When a worker bee stings, it leaves its stinger in its victim. The worker bee dies after losing its stinger as the loss rips out part of its insides. However, a queen bee can sting with impunity as her stinger’s anatomy is different.

The B vitamins were originally thought to be just one vitamin, which was labeled vitamin B. It was then discovered vitamin B was in fact made up of eight distinct vitamins, which today are given distinct numbers (B1, B6, B12 etc). Supplements often contain a mixture of all eight, a combination known as vitamin B complex.

65 Old Northwest competitor : USAIR

From 1953, what we recently referred to as US Airways was called Allegheny Airlines. In the seventies, customers became very dissatisfied with the company’s service levels as it struggled to manage a rapid expansion in its number of flights. These problems earned the airline the nickname “Agony Air”. Allegheny tried to leave the “agony” behind in 1979 and changed its name to USAir, but commuters then just used the nickname “Unfortunately Still Allegheny”. The name was changed again, in 1997, to US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the “US Airways” brand name was gradually replaced with “American Airlines”.

Northwest Airlines (NWA) was founded in 1926 in Detroit, and took its name from the Northwest Territory. The airline’s original mission was to transport mail for the US Post office, but Northwest branched out in 1927 into passenger transportation. Northwest merged with Delta in 2008-2010, resulting in the world’s largest airline at that time. However, it was the Northwest name that was retired.

66 Nixon or Agnew, once : VEEP

Journalist Jeffrey Frank published what looks like an interesting book called “Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage”. Frank makes the case that Eisenhower really didn’t choose Nixon as a running mate in 1952, but that Nixon was chosen for him in some smoke-filled back room in the way that such decisions were made back then. Eisenhower was a national war hero, and Nixon was noted back then as being an active and successful anti-Communist. The party elders thought that they would make a perfect ticket.

Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.

67 Storage structure : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

68 Insurance giant : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

Down

1 Public relations specialty : SPIN

“Spin doctor” is a slang term describing a professional in the field of public relations (PR).

3 “Heat of the Moment” band : ASIA

Asia is a British supergroup, a group comprising four members from four other rock bands. The original lineup was:

  • John Wetton (formerly of Roxy Music)
  • Stephen Howe (from Yes)
  • Geoff Downes (from the Buggles, and from Yes)
  • Carl Palmer (from Emerson, Lake and Palmer)

5 Only 21st-century four-time World Series champs, on scoreboards : BOS

The Boston Red Sox are one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so command a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell-out from May of 2003 to April 2013. I recently had the pleasure of touring Fenway Park. It’s quite a place …

7 “Buh-bye!” : CIAO!

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

8 Street on TV since 1969 : SESAME

Back in 1966, the Carnegie Institute allocated money to study the use of television to help young children prepare for school. The institute gave an $8million grant to set up the Children’s Television Workshop with the task of creating an educational TV program for young people. The program began to come together, especially after Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) got involved. The name “Sesame Street” was chosen simply because it was the “least disliked” of all names proposed just before the program went on the air.

9 IV site : ICU

One might see an intravenous drip (IV) in an intensive care unit (ICU), operating room (OR) or emergency room (ER).

10 Imbibed in small doses : DID SHOTS

To imbibe is a drink or take in. The verb “to imbibe” ultimately comes from the Latin “in-” (into, in) and “bibere” (to drink).

19 Speed __ : TRAP

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

24 “Nessun dorma,” e.g. : ARIA

“Nessun dorma” has to be the tenor aria that most tugs at the heartstrings. It is taken from the last act of Puccini’s opera “Turandot”, and translates as “None shall sleep”. Back in my part of the world, “Nessun dorma” became a hit in the popular music charts, with a version by Pavarotti being used as the theme song to the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. No other classical recording has ever done better in the charts.

26 Antepenultimate Greek letter : CHI

The Greek letter chi is the one that looks like our letter X.

28 State with a Sawtooth Range : IDAHO

The Sawtooth Range is part of the Rocky Mountains that is located in central Idaho. Most of the range lies within the federally-protected Sawtooth Wilderness.

29 Beer-making ingredient : YEAST

Yeasts are unicellular microorganisms in the kingdom Fungi. The species of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used for centuries in the making of wine and beer, and in breadmaking. Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and alcohol in the process of fermentation. When making beer and wine, the carbon dioxide and alcohol may be captured by the liquid. When making bread, the carbon dioxide and alcohol is driven off by heat.

30 Country between China and India : NEPAL

Nepal lies to the northeast of India. Today, the state is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country’s general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.

32 Newcastle Brown __ : ALE

Newcastle Brown Ale is an English beer that was launched in 1927. In the late nineties, it was the most-widely distributed beer in the UK. Its popularity has waned somewhat in its homeland, and now most sales of Newcastle Brown are in the US.

35 NBC show with many Second City alumni : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

The Second City Theatre specializes in improv comedy, and is based in Chicago, the nation’s “second city”. The theater opened in 1959, and gave its start to an impressive lineup of comedy stars including Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

40 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

43 Iowa campus : COE

Coe College is a private school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that was founded in 1851. Coe is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

45 Roeper’s former partner : EBERT

Roger Ebert was a film critic for “The Chicago Sun-Times” for 50 years. He also co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, which he did in 1975. He was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in 2002, and finally succumbed to a recurrence of the disease in April 2013.

Richard Roeper is columnist and film critic for “The Chicago Sun-Times”, and came to national attention when he replaced Gene Siskel as co-host with Roger Ebert on the famous film review TV show. Roeper started work with Ebert in 2000, after Siskel died in 1999. Roeper stayed with the show right through 2008, even though Ebert had to bow out in 2006 as he recovered from cancer surgery.

48 Rookie, briefly : NEWB

The term “rookie”, used for a raw recruit, first appeared in Rudyard Kipling’s collection of songs and poems called the “Barrack-Room Ballads”, which was originally published in 1892.

54 Erato, for one : MUSE

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry. She is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and playing a lyre.

59 Parisian friend : AMIE

A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.

60 “The Phantom Tollbooth” protagonist : MILO

“The Phantom Tollbooth” is described as a modern fairy tale, and is a children’s adventure novel by Norton Juster, first published in 1961. The novel tells of a young boy called Milo who drives through a magic tollbooth in his toy car, after which he experiences many adventures.

61 “The Hunger Games” president : SNOW

“The Hunger Games” is a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins, and the first in a series of titles that also includes “Catching Fire” (2009) and “Mockingjay” (2010). “The Hunger Games” was adapted into a very successful movie released in 2012, with the sequels following soon after. Amazon.com reports more sales of “The Hunger Games” series books than even the “Harry Potter” series.

63 FDR “fair practices” agency : NRA

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.

64 URL addresses : IPS

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical label assigned to every device on a computer network. The device that you’re using to read this blog post on has been assigned a unique IP address, as has the computer I’m using to make this post …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Conference giveaways : SWAG
5 Tampa NFLers : BUCS
9 Place for a phone no. : ID TAG
14 Capital of Cuba : PESO
15 Drama honor : OBIE
16 “Odyssey” enchantress : CIRCE
17 One studying the waters near England? : IRISH SEA STUDENT (C-student)
20 Cool kin : NEATO
21 Loud sound : ROAR
22 Comprehends : SEES
23 Jackson of country : ALAN
25 Namesake of a speed ratio : MACH
27 Communication device with a fancy patterned case? : TIGEREYE PHONE (iPhone)
32 Benefit : AID
33 Equine parent : SIRE
34 People pairs, say : ITEMS
36 Dinner party insert : LEAF
38 There are two pennies in a classic one : ADAGE
41 Word with wing or life : -SPAN
42 Value system : ETHIC
44 Irritated : SORE
46 Be indisposed : AIL
47 Part of a Chinese restaurant’s expenses? : OOLONG TEA BILL (T-bill)
51 Unpleasant look : LEER
52 Bloom support : STEM
53 Radio switch : AM/FM
56 Lush : WINO
58 Swindles : REAMS
62 Nutrition for a leading insect? : QUEEN BEE VITAMIN (B-vitamin)
65 Old Northwest competitor : USAIR
66 Nixon or Agnew, once : VEEP
67 Storage structure : SILO
68 Insurance giant : AETNA
69 Misses the mark : ERRS
70 “That hurts!” : YEOW!

Down

1 Public relations specialty : SPIN
2 Are in the past? : WERE
3 “Heat of the Moment” band : ASIA
4 Attend alone : GO STAG
5 Only 21st-century four-time World Series champs, on scoreboards : BOS
6 Geekiest of geeks : UBER NERD
7 “Buh-bye!” : CIAO!
8 Street on TV since 1969 : SESAME
9 IV site : ICU
10 Imbibed in small doses : DID SHOTS
11 Playhouse locale, perhaps : TREE
12 Unwanted spots : ACNE
13 Comprehends : GETS
18 Donut features : HOLES
19 Speed __ : TRAP
24 “Nessun dorma,” e.g. : ARIA
26 Antepenultimate Greek letter : CHI
27 Connect with : TIE TO
28 State with a Sawtooth Range : IDAHO
29 Beer-making ingredient : YEAST
30 Country between China and India : NEPAL
31 Office chore : EMAIL
32 Newcastle Brown __ : ALE
35 NBC show with many Second City alumni : SNL
37 “I’d like to know more” : FILL ME IN
39 Peruses : GOES OVER
40 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT
43 Iowa campus : COE
45 Roeper’s former partner : EBERT
48 Rookie, briefly : NEWB
49 Lament : GRIEVE
50 “Whatevs” : I’M EASY
53 Ocean shade : AQUA
54 Erato, for one : MUSE
55 Exploit : FEAT
57 “In thy dreams!” : NE’ER!
59 Parisian friend : AMIE
60 “The Phantom Tollbooth” protagonist : MILO
61 “The Hunger Games” president : SNOW
63 FDR “fair practices” agency : NRA
64 URL addresses : IPS

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 22 May 20, Friday”

  1. No errors. I thought 58A REAMS was a bit of a stretch but after I thought about it more., it has so many different meanings depending on context.. You can REAM someone out, buy a REAM of paper, REAM out a hole,… never heard you could swindle someone with it… Meh.

    Be safe

  2. Once again …I thought had no errors, but AGAIN forgot to fill in one
    box…the “r” in USAir. Maybe next time, I’ll remember to go over
    the grid before I check with Bill.

    1. Hi Rich. I think Bill’s explanation is the better answer as with your adage you are till only talking about one penny. I hope you don’t mind me putting my 2 cents in? ;-D>

  3. SE corner screwed me up. Did not know Milo nor Snow, thus did not have Yeow?? Had Yelp. Agree with others about ream; did not feel correct.

    Guess I need to add Hunger Games and Phantom Tollbooth to my Covid reading list.

  4. 11:32, no errors.

    I initially said this: “I may have heard Bill’s two-penny adage, but it’s not one that I’ve heard a lot. I have a feeling that there’s another, more familiar, phrase, but it won’t come to mind (and I’m probably fooling myself).”

    And then, after I posted it, I realized that Tony nailed it (above)! “My two cents’ worth!” Duh!

    Also, I had ROOK (which, of course, didn’t fit) before REAM.

    And … @Dirk (from yesterday) … I have an awful lot of weak areas, including sports, music, and movies, …, but I have a vast fund of half-remembered things in my head and a certain talent for seeing what will fit together in a puzzle. (Perhaps we should call it “semi-educated” guessing … 😜.) And yes, I enjoy looking things up after I finish a puzzle – partly, I guess, in hopes that some of it will stick. (Which reminds me of Vidwan … I always enjoyed his rambling posts.)

  5. 26:18 no errors…it seems you need to speak French, German, Spanish and Hebrew and be a Harry Potter and game of thrones fan to be a good crossword solver…I am none of the above.
    Stay safe y’all.

  6. This wasn’t easy for me but I finished it. Really had to rethink a lot of clues. Got the adage clue finally even though I was thinking “two pennies (cents) for your thoughts.” That’s not correct. I believe it’s “a penny for you thoughts.” Whatever, I got it correct anyway.

  7. Three straight DNF’s, but I was actually proud of the last two efforts. I found them
    all pretty far out of my area of knowledge. Wouldn’t take much.

    Will try again Monday.

    Stay well, guys. Don’t let up. If nothing else, wash your hands often with soap and water.
    I live with a woman who has been a registered dietitian for 50 years. We both wash our
    hands over 10 times a day.

  8. I had to go online this morning, as my paper chopped off the left side of the clues, ie “pital of Cuba”. Thus, I learned I finished with no errors in 29:01. This was a relatively hard one for me, as a number of clues misdirected me, (I am learning that is an aim of a good crossword puzzle). I liked the theme, and once I figured it out, the bottom half of the puzzle went faster than the top half. I thought this was a good puzzle.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to note that slip. I’ll update my database of “factoids”. I appreciate the help, as always.

  9. 15 minutes, 31 seconds, no errors.

    The theme fills made absolutely ZERO sense to me. As I see it, it doesn’t pass the “squint test”. If you have to narrow your eyes to slits and grimace before you can finally “get it”…. it’s probably too “cute and clever” for its own good.

  10. I thought this was so hard! Tons of lookups. Fortunately I remembered amie from yesterday’s puzzle. I need to start listening to some of these arias. Ciao 😉

  11. 5D explanation needs updating, the sellout streak of the Red Sox at Fenway ended in 2013 at 820 consecutive games.

    In other news, I thought the theme was very helpful. Had EYEPHONE then TIGEREYEPHONE and then the other three followed easily.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to point out that error in the Fenway Park comment, Bill J. I’m always behind the times when it comes to sports.

  12. Improper clue on 17A One studying the waters near England? : IRISH SEA STUDENT – “studying” in the clue and “student” in the answer. Too close to using the same word, a no-no. A better clue would be “one learning about the waters near England?”

  13. Moderately tough Friday for me; took me 34 minutes with no errors. Theme made no sense to me whatsoever, even though I kind of got it enough to fill them in.

    Had to change asif to NEER. Although I’m a big fan of (looking at) Jennifer Lawrence, I really didn’t like “The Hunger Games” at all and I groped my way through the SE to get SNOW and MILO. NEWB and WINO were the last to fall.

    @Nonny – Thanks, I’ll continue looking things up. I think I’m starting to get a feel for what fits. Sometimes though, I go through a whole bunch of things easily and then get stuck on some dumb thing forever. I’m going to be more selective on the movies/series that I watch. You don’t get those hours back!

  14. Too many “stretches” from clue to solving it for the spaces given. “Ream” is the biggest one. Why do Xword constructors have to go to “rare” when a more thoughtful clue would be so much better (not easier, just much better)?

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