LA Times Crossword 25 May 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Paul Coulter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Essay Test

Themed clues each comprise two words, starting with the letters SA:

  • 55A Exam answered in a blue book … and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23- and 44-Across : ESSAY TEST
  • 17A Old enough to start kindergarten : SCHOOL AGE
  • 23A Attend a foreign university, say : STUDY ABROAD
  • 44A Kind of exam with brief responses : SHORT-ANSWER

Bill’s time: 4m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Terrible reviews : PANS

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

5 Dots in the Seine : ILES

There are two famous “îles” (islands) in the middle of the River Seine in Paris, one being the Île de la Cité, and the other Île Saint-Louis. Île de la Cité is the most renowned of the two, as it is home to the cathedral of Notre Dame.

9 Shoelace tip : AGLET

An aglet is a plastic or metal sheath that is found on the end of a shoelace or perhaps a drawstring. The name “aglet” comes from the Old French word “aiguillette” meaning “needle”.

14 Baseball’s Hershiser : OREL

Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.

15 Pie à la __ : MODE

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

16 Singer Lopez : TRINI

Trini Lopez is a noted singer and guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He is perhaps best known for his international hit “If I Had a Hammer” from 1963, as well as “Lemon Tree” from 1965. Lopez had a bit of an acting career as well, most famously appearing as one of “The Dirty Dozen” in the 1967 hit movie.

17 Old enough to start kindergarten : SCHOOL AGE

“Kindergarten” is a German term, one translating as “children’s garden”. The term was coined by the German education authority Friedrich Fröbel in 1837, when he used it as the name for his play and activity institute that he created for young children to use before they headed off to school. His thought was that children should be nourished educationally, like plants in a garden.

19 Divided Southeast Asian island : TIMOR

Timor is an island in Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is politically divided into West Timor, belonging to Indonesia, and the independent state of East Timor. The name “Timor” comes from a Malay word for “east”, and is used as Timor lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.

20 Sing to romantically : SERENADE

A serenade is a musical performance in the open air, specifically at night. We tend to think of the term applying to a young man serenading his lover from below her window. We imported the word via French from the Italian “serenata” meaning “evening song”, influenced by the Italian “sera” meaning “evening”.

22 Academic URL ending : EDU

The .edu 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)

25 Way to get off base? : JEEP

The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.

26 Wind quintet wind : OBOE

A wind quintet is a group of five woodwind players, usually flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon.

27 Native Alaskan : ALEUT

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

34 Spill the beans : SING

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

35 Done to __: perfectly cooked : A TURN

The term “done to a turn” means nicely cooked. The phrase dates back to 1780 and relates to meat cooked on a spit.

38 Sonic, in gaming : HEDGEHOG

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot “Mario”.

40 Old photo tone : SEPIA

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as ancient Rome and ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

41 Dept. with a sun on its seal : ENER

The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features a lightning bolt and symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.

42 Carbon monoxide’s lack : ODOR

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless odorless gas that is slightly lighter than air and highly toxic. Its toxicity arises because it easily combines with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the sites that normally transport oxygen around the body.

51 Attached, as a corsage : PINNED

“Corsage” is a word that we imported from French in the late 15th century and meaning , believe it or not, “body size”. By the early 1800s, a corsage was a bodice, or the body of a woman’s dress. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French term “bouquet de corsage” was being used for a “bouquet worn on the bodice”, and this has been shortened simply to “corsage”.

54 Beelike : APIAN

Something described as apian is related to bees. “Apis” is Latin for “bee”.

55 Exam answered in a blue book … and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23- and 44-Across : ESSAY TEST

“Blue book exam” is a term used for a test given at many colleges in the US. Blue book exams usually involve the writing of essays. The first blue book exams were administered by Butler University in Indianapolis, and the “blue” was chosen because Butler’s school colors are blue and white. The color blue is still commonly used regardless of which school is giving the test, although other colors can be used.

56 Pontificate : SPOUT

To pontificate is to issue dogmatic decrees with a pompous air. Back in 1818, the word had the more literal meaning, “to act as a pontiff, pope”.

57 Fab Four fellow : PAUL

The Beatles were described on the sleeve notes of their 1963 album “With the Beatles” as the “fabulous foursome”. The press picked up on the phrase and morphed it into “the Fab Four”.

59 Three-card con : MONTE

Three-card monte is a confidence trick in which someone is goaded into betting money on the assumption that he or she can find the “money card” (usually a queen) among three cards placed face down. The “mark” who is being duped has all sorts of ways to lose and there are usually several people in on the scam, including others playing who seem to be winning.

60 Heidi’s range : ALPS

“Heidi” is a children’s book written by Swiss author Johanna Spyri and published in two parts. The first is “Heidi’s years of learning and travel”, and the second “Heidi makes use of what she has learned”. The books tell the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The most famous film adaptation of the story is the 1937 movie of the same name starring Shirley Temple in the title role.

61 Jared of “Panic Room” : LETO

Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world, one of his most critically acclaimed roles was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club”, which he portraying a transgender woman.

“Panic Room” is an excellent 2002 thriller film starring Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker. Foster plays a mother who locks herself into a panic room in her apartment when a gang of thieves led by Forest Whitaker breaks in. Foster’s role was originally played by Nicole Kidman, but Kidman had to drop out of the project after two weeks of filming due to a flare-up of an old injury. Five weeks into filming after recasting, Foster found out that she was pregnant. After some wardrobe changes, Foster continued filming, with a stunt double taking over in scenes requiring excessive exertion.

Down

1 Rapper’s entourage : POSSE

Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”.

2 Rainbow-shaped : ARCED

Sunlight reflected by airborne water droplets can produce rainbows. The water droplets act as little prisms, dispersing the white light into its constituent colors. Sometimes we see double rainbows. If we look carefully, we can see that the order of the colors in the first and second arcs is reversed.

3 ’60s jacket style : NEHRU

A Nehru jacket is very like a regular suit jacket, except that the collar buttons at the neck. It was originally created in the 1940s in India, and then marketed as the Nehru jacket in the west in the sixties. The name Nehru was lifted from Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India from 1947 to 1964.

4 Gin flavor : SLOE

The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.

10 Scary scythe bearer : GRIM REAPER

The Grim Reaper is one of the personifications of death, along with the Hooded One and the Angel of Death. Death has been depicted since the 1400s as a skeleton in a hooded, black cloak and carrying a scythe. The name “Grim Reaper” only dates back to the mid-1800s.

11 Dance under a bar : LIMBO

The limbo dance originated on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. The name “limbo” is an alteration of our word “limber”, which isn’t surprising given what one has to do to get under that bar!

12 __ Gay: WWII bomber : ENOLA

The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

21 West African country : GABON

The nation of Gabon lies on the west coast of Central Africa. Since it became independent from France in 1960, Gabon has become one of the most prosperous countries on the continent, by making use of the abundant natural resources and willing foreign investment.

24 Part of BYO : YOUR

Bring Your Own Beer/Bottle/Booze (BYOB)

25 Inexorable force : JUGGERNAUT

For centuries, there has been a ceremonial procession of enormous chariots in Puri, on the east coast of India. The chariots carry large statues of the deities Jagannātha, Subhadrā, and Balabhadra. It is from the name “Jagannātha” that we get our word “juggernaut”, which first described this huge wagon bearing the image of the Hindu god.

30 Software glitch : BUG

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

32 Cinematic FX : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

39 Diplomatic accord : ENTENTE

An entente cordiale (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place 1904.

43 Car window stickers : DECALS

A decal is a decorative sticker. “Decal” is a shortening of “decalcomania”. The latter term is derived from the French “décalquer”, the practice of tracing a pattern from paper onto glass or perhaps porcelain.

45 Safari heavyweight : HIPPO

The name “hippopotamus” comes from the Greek for “river horse”. Hippos are the third-largest land mammals, after elephants and rhinos. The closest living relatives to hippos don’t even live on land. They are the whales and porpoises of the oceans.

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

46 Gibson garnish : ONION

A Gibson is simply a regular martini (gin and vermouth) with the traditional olive garnish replaced with a pickled onion.

47 Rope fiber : SISAL

The sisal plant is an agave, the flesh of which is not generally used in making tequila. Sisal is grown instead for the fibers that run the length of its leaves. The fiber is used extensively for twine, rope, carpeting, wall coverings etc. My favorite application though, is in the construction of dartboards. Sisal takes its name from the port of Sisal in Yucatan, Mexico that was a major shipping point for sisal plants.

48 “Circle of Friends” author Binchy : MAEVE

Maeve Binchy was a fabulous Irish novelist, and in my day a famous newspaper columnist whose column I would read daily. A few of her novels have made it to the big screen, including two I would recommend: “Circle of Friends” starring Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver, and “Tara Road” starring Andie MacDowell.

“Circle of Friends” is a 1990 Maeve Binchy that was adapted into a very successful 1995 feature film. The story revolves around two childhood friends and the life they lead while attending in their teens University College Dublin (my own alma mater). The film verison stars (American) actor Chris O’Donnell and (English) actress Minnie Driver.

49 Balance sheet item : ASSET

The balance sheet of a company is a snapshot (single point in time) view of a company’s financial position. The balance sheet lists all the company’s liabilities, all of its assets, and all of its ownership equity. The assets of a company, less its liabilities equals the ownership equity. The term “balance” is used because assets always balance out with the sum of liabilities and shareholder equity.

53 And others: Abbr. : ET AL

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names.

55 Org. concerned with PCB’s : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Terrible reviews : PANS
5 Dots in the Seine : ILES
9 Shoelace tip : AGLET
14 Baseball’s Hershiser : OREL
15 Pie à la __ : MODE
16 Singer Lopez : TRINI
17 Old enough to start kindergarten : SCHOOL AGE
19 Divided Southeast Asian island : TIMOR
20 Sing to romantically : SERENADE
21 Roll the dice : GAMBLE
22 Academic URL ending : EDU
23 Attend a foreign university, say : STUDY ABROAD
25 Way to get off base? : JEEP
26 Wind quintet wind : OBOE
27 Native Alaskan : ALEUT
30 Ability to float : BUOYANCY
34 Spill the beans : SING
35 Done to __: perfectly cooked : A TURN
37 Numbered book part : PAGE
38 Sonic, in gaming : HEDGEHOG
40 Old photo tone : SEPIA
41 Dept. with a sun on its seal : ENER
42 Carbon monoxide’s lack : ODOR
44 Kind of exam with brief responses : SHORT-ANSWER
48 Scratch the surface of : MAR
51 Attached, as a corsage : PINNED
52 Go up, as prices : INCREASE
54 Beelike : APIAN
55 Exam answered in a blue book … and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23- and 44-Across : ESSAY TEST
56 Pontificate : SPOUT
57 Fab Four fellow : PAUL
58 Assert as true : AVER
59 Three-card con : MONTE
60 Heidi’s range : ALPS
61 Jared of “Panic Room” : LETO

Down

1 Rapper’s entourage : POSSE
2 Rainbow-shaped : ARCED
3 ’60s jacket style : NEHRU
4 Gin flavor : SLOE
5 Behind-schedule comment : I’M LATE
6 Amass, with “on” : LOAD UP …
7 Barely defeated : EDGED
8 Observe : SEE
9 “Way to go, fella!” : ATTA BOY!
10 Scary scythe bearer : GRIM REAPER
11 Dance under a bar : LIMBO
12 __ Gay: WWII bomber : ENOLA
13 Out of gas : TIRED
18 Initial stage : ONSET
21 West African country : GABON
24 Part of BYO : YOUR
25 Inexorable force : JUGGERNAUT
27 Blond shade : ASH
28 Fish story, so to speak : LIE
29 Call off : END
30 Software glitch : BUG
31 Day break? : NAP
32 Cinematic FX : CGI
33 Vote for : YEA
35 Leading in the race : AHEAD
36 In tatters : TORN
39 Diplomatic accord : ENTENTE
40 “My bad!” : SORRY!
42 Says “My bad!” : OWNS UP
43 Car window stickers : DECALS
44 Involuntary jerk : SPASM
45 Safari heavyweight : HIPPO
46 Gibson garnish : ONION
47 Rope fiber : SISAL
48 “Circle of Friends” author Binchy : MAEVE
49 Balance sheet item : ASSET
50 Back in style : RETRO
53 And others: Abbr. : ET AL
55 Org. concerned with PCB’s : EPA

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 May 20, Monday”

  1. No errors, but some hesitation in places. Didn’t know MAEVE, GABON or the phrase A TURN.. Best surprise was TRINI LOPEZ. I love the movie THE DIRTY DOZEN. What a cast, Jim Brown, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Tony Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Clint Walker. Wow…. Trini even does a little singing in the show. ., and it’s memorial day weekend. All my favorite war movies will be on., My favorite is THE GREAT ESCAPE. Star studded cast in that one too!! Thanks to all those that served and the hero’s that didn’t come home.

  2. No errors and fast finish. Maeve Binchy is (was) one of my favorite
    authors and I think I’ve read all of her books. I didn’t know she was
    a columnist though. I was saddened to hear of her death.

    Have a safe and thoughtful Memorial Day.

  3. When you can work the answer juggernaut into a Monday puzzle you should be given a shout out. So, Paul Coulter these kudos are for you!

  4. 14:24 no errors…as usual the theme was about as far over my head as the penthouse of the Empire State Building.
    Stay safe and “never forget”.

  5. 6:17, no errors. Monday.

    Totally irrelevant comment: I did three crosswords before going to bed last night and my times were 5:16, 6:17, and 7:18. So, what numbers do I play in the lottery? … 😜

  6. @anon Mike, you got them all except it’s Telly Savalas, not Tony. Remember Kojak. I loved that movie also. And the Great Escape, two of the best war movies, and it is Memorial Day weekend. God bless them all and now. Good puzzle, fun, but the theme, meh?

    1. Yes, Telly.. I typed that in but it spell checked and changed it to Tony.. I didn’t catch it.. I remember Kojak. Who can forget the lollipop ‘baby’..

  7. No errors, no Googles. Very satisfying theme for a retired teacher. Never heard of the drink, Gibson, but I’m a tetotaler. Trini Lopez was one of my college friends favorite singer, and that was a long time ago.
    One little BUG: in my estimation, HIPPO is an abbrev. for a big guy.
    I wish I felt free enough to visit the grave of my g’g’gpa in Marlboro. He had to get permission from his parents to join the Civil War group in NYC, as he was underaged. He was on a buying trip for his father’s general store, and was very moved and hot to go. We have his letters.

  8. I learned a new word today, ENTENTE, so it’s a good puzzle. As it filled in, I figured I was messing up somehow (when I got to ENTENT), but then I realised it was another French word when it completed, similar to DETENTE. I must add “Von Ryan’s Express” to the list of war movies; I thoroughly enjoy Sinatra in that one (he later went on to perform what I adopted as my personal theme song, “My Way”).

  9. 7 mins 58 sec, no errors. Some unexpected fills here, making it an enjoyable challenge for a Monday. Theme was a total throwaway, though.

  10. Got it today, but not very fast. Enjoyed doing it.

    Stay safe, all.

    I didn’t have any heros from WWII, but read and saw a lot about it. “Midway” was a good
    war movie, the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The Japs were much tougher
    to finally beat than the Nazis were.

  11. Hello every buddy!!🦆

    No errors, but JUGGERNAUT took awhile to see. Agree with Tony – nice word for a Monday puzzle.

    My fave war movie is probably From Here to Eternity. Frank is also in that of course and gives a wonderful performance as poor Maggio. Also love Saving Private Ryan.

    Be safe~~🍸

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