LA Times Crossword 26 May 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Eight-Ball

Our four themed answers comprise two parts, with each being a kind of BALL:

  • 62A “Magic” toys … or what the answers to starred clues add up to? : EIGHT-BALLS
  • 17A *Usual burger component : GROUND MEAT (“ground ball” & “meatball”)
  • 39A *British afternoon tradition : HIGH TEA (“highball” & “tea ball”)
  • 11D *Military might : FIREPOWER (“fireball” & “Powerball”)
  • 33D *Monarch or viceroy : BUTTERFLY (“butterball” & “fly ball”)

Bill’s time: 5m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Happy Motoring” gas brand : ESSO

The Esso brand has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

20 Young insects : LARVAE

The larva is an intermediate stage in the development of an insect. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago.

22 Risqué message : SEXT

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

23 Board in a salon : EMERY

Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.

26 Morales of “Ozark” : ESAI

Actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

“Ozark” is an excellent TV crime show starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as a married couple who relocate from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks. The couple fall foul of Mexican drug lord after a money laundering scheme goes awry. The show is set at a lake resort in the Ozarks, although filming actually takes place at lakes in the Atlanta area in order to take advantage of tax breaks offered by the State of Georgia.

37 Ruby or emerald : JEWEL

Ruby is a precious stone made from the mineral corundum, also called aluminium oxide. The corundum includes some of the element chromium, which results in the red or pink color.

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl that is green in color due to traces of chromium. Beryl containing traces of vanadium are also considered to be emeralds, at least here in the US. “Vanadium emeralds” aren’t recognized as emeralds in Europe.

38 Big Aussie bird : EMU

Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs. It is the male emu that incubates the eggs. The incubation period lasts about 8 weeks, during which time the male neither eats nor drinks, just lapping up any morning dew that is nearby. While incubating a clutch of eggs, male emus lose about a third of their weight.

39 *British afternoon tradition : HIGH TEA (“highball” & “tea ball”)

Especially in the UK, high tea is a major meal served in the late afternoon or early evening. Said meal should of course include a pot of tea!

A highball is a mixed drink comprising a relatively small amount of alcoholic drink, mixed with a larger amount of non-alcoholic mixer. The origin of the term is disputed, but one suggestion is that it derives from the practice of serving highballs in tall glasses.

A tea ball or tea egg is a tea infuser. It is basically a ball, made of perforated metal or mesh, into which loose tea is placed. It has been superseded by the modern tea bag. I drink an awful lot of tea, and do have a tea ball here at the house. But, life is a lot easier using tea bags …

41 Broody music genre : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

42 Opel compact car whose name means “stars” in Latin : ASTRA

“Astrum” (plural “astra”) is a Latin word meaning “star”.

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

44 Literary governess Jane : EYRE

“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. The love story is perhaps represented by the oft-quoted opening lines of the last chapter, “Reader, I married him”. There is a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation made by the BBC that I highly recommend to fans of the novel …

50 Narcissist’s indulgence : EGO TRIP

Narcissus was a proud and vain hunter in Greek mythology. He earned himself a fatal punishment, being made fall in love with his own reflection in a pool. So, take was he by his own image, that he could not leave it and wasted away and died by the pool. Narcissus gives us our term “narcissism” meaning “excessive love of oneself”.

57 Poet Byron’s title : LORD

George Gordon Byron, known simply as “Lord Byron”, was an English poet active in the early 1800s. Byron was equally as famous for his poetry as he was for the wild excesses in his personal life. Byron lived much of that life outside of England, and fought for revolutionaries in both Italy and Greece. He died from a fever contracted while fighting for the Greeks against the Ottomans.

60 Black furs : SABLES

Sables are small mammals, about two feet long, that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s black pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

61 Recon target : INFO

A “recon” (reconnaissance) might provide “intel” (intelligence).

62 “Magic” toys … or what the answers to starred clues add up to? : EIGHT-BALLS

The Magic 8-Ball is a toy, and supposedly a fortune-telling device, introduced by Mattel in 1946. There are 20 answers that the Magic 8-Ball can provide, including:

  • Without a doubt
  • Ask again later
  • My sources say no
  • Outlook not so good
  • Signs point to yes

67 Texting farewell : TTYL

Talk to you later (ttyl)

Down

1 Philadelphia NFLer : EAGLE

The Philadelphia Eagles were established in 1933 and joined the National Football League as a replacement for the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, also from Philadelphia. The “Eagle” name was inspired by the Blue Eagle insignia that was used by companies who were in compliance with the National Industrial Recovery Act that was central to President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.

4 Bodies of work : OEUVRES

The sum of an artist’s work in his or her lifetime is known as his or her “oeuvre”.

5 Hammurabi’s creation : CODE

The Code of Hammurabi is a code of laws that dates back to 1772 BCE, enacted by the Babylonian king Hammurabi. . Partial copies of the code have been found on stone steles and clay tablets. The most complete copy of the code can be found on a large stele that is on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

6 Cuba libre liquor : RUM

The cocktail known as a Cuba libre is basically a rum and Coke, although the traditional recipe also calls for a splash of lime juice.

7 Wombs : UTERI

“Uterus” (plural “uteri”) is the Latin word for “womb”.

8 What a Tide to Go pen can remove : STAIN

Tide is a laundry detergent that has been made by Procter & Gamble since 1946. Back then, Tide was marketed as “America’s Washday Favorite”.

9 Area of rapid growth : HOTBED

In gardening terms, a hotbed is an area where decaying matter makes it warmer than its surroundings. The heat is generated by the activity of the organisms responsible for decomposition. The term “hotbed” is used figuratively in describing an environment that incubates some sort of growth or development, as in “a hotbed of activity”.

11 *Military might : FIREPOWER (“fireball” & “Powerball”)

The Powerball lottery game is available in most states of the US, as is its major rival called Mega Millions.

12 Linen fiber source : FLAX

Flax is mainly grown for its seeds (to make oil) and for its fibers. Flax fibers have been used to make linen for centuries, certainly back as far as the days of the ancient Egyptians. Flax fibers are soft and shiny, resembling blonde hair, hence the term “flaxen hair”.

24 Respected feudal figure : LIEGE

A liege was a feudal lord, one to whom service or allegiance was owed under feudal law. “Liege” was also the term used for one who owed allegiance or service to a lord. Apparently the term is influenced by the Latin verb “ligare” meaning “to tie, bind”. So, I guess both lord and servant were “bound” to each other.

25 __ vu: familiar feeling : DEJA

“Déjà vu” is French for “already seen”.

27 Boxer Laila : ALI

Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

29 Lost fish in a Pixar film : NEMO

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

33 *Monarch or viceroy : BUTTERFLY (“butterball” & “fly ball”)

The monarch butterfly has very recognizable orange and black wings, and is often seen across North America. The monarch is the state insect of several US states and was even nominated as the national insect in 1990, but that legislation was not enacted.

The viceroy is a species of butterfly found in North America that has wings with an orange and black coloring. It looks very similar to the Monarch butterfly, but is a little smaller and has an extra black line running across the rear of its wings. The viceroy and monarch are thought to be Müllerian mimics, meaning that their appearance evolved to mimic each other. Such evolution benefits both, as predators learn to avoid both with negative experience of just one of the species.

35 Like a wallflower : SHY

The wallflower is a genus of flowering plants that usually have the ability to cling to loose mortar in walls, hence the name. We use the term “wallflower” to describe a shy person, evoking the image of that person sitting shyly by the wall at a party.

39 Ring of light : HALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

43 Hit for Aerosmith and The 4 Seasons (different songs, though) : RAG DOLL

Aerosmith is a hard rock band from Boston that formed in 1970. Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, and holds the record for most gold albums by any American group. The band’s lead singer is Steven Tyler, father of actress Liv Tyler.

The Four Seasons is one of only two bands, the other being the Beach Boys, that had major hits before, during and after the British Invasion of the mid-1960s. The “Four Seasons” name was lifted from a New Jersey bowling alley.

49 Former Swedish automaker : SAAB

“SAAB” stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. Although we usually think of SAAB as an auto manufacturer, it is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

51 Yogurt-based condiment served to cool hot curry dishes : RAITA

Raita is a condiment served in Indian restaurants that is made from yogurt flavored with coriander, cumin, mint and cayenne pepper.

52 Bar of gold : INGOT

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.

54 Kate’s TV sidekick : ALLIE

The sitcom “Kate & Allie” ran from 1984 to 1989, starring Susan Saint James as Kate, and Jane Curtin as Allie. Jane Curtin won two Emmy awards for her work on the series, while Susan Saint James … did not.

55 Video game princess : ZELDA

“The Legend of Zelda” is a video game. Apparently, it’s very successful …

56 German steel city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

60 Norms: Abbr. : STDS

Standard (std.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Happy Motoring” gas brand : ESSO
5 Puppy love : CRUSH
10 Contemptuous sound : PFFT!
14 Long (for) : ACHE
15 Hang __ dry : OUT TO
16 Make really upset : RILE
17 *Usual burger component : GROUND MEAT (“ground ball” & “meatball”)
19 Periods often named for presidents : ERAS
20 Young insects : LARVAE
21 “Baby back” morsel : RIB
22 Risqué message : SEXT
23 Board in a salon : EMERY
24 In a row : LINED UP
26 Morales of “Ozark” : ESAI
28 Metaphors for inner turmoil : DEMONS
31 Takes into custody : NABS
34 On sale, say : LESS
37 Ruby or emerald : JEWEL
38 Big Aussie bird : EMU
39 *British afternoon tradition : HIGH TEA (“highball” & “tea ball”)
41 Broody music genre : EMO
42 Opel compact car whose name means “stars” in Latin : ASTRA
44 Literary governess Jane : EYRE
45 Forehead : BROW
46 Bottom lines : TOTALS
48 In addition : ALSO
50 Narcissist’s indulgence : EGO TRIP
53 Blow away : AMAZE
57 Poet Byron’s title : LORD
59 Fled : RAN
60 Black furs : SABLES
61 Recon target : INFO
62 “Magic” toys … or what the answers to starred clues add up to? : EIGHT-BALLS
64 Leave no room in : FILL
65 Didn’t show for a date with, with “up” : STOOD …
66 Hitchhiker’s hope : RIDE
67 Texting farewell : TTYL
68 Satisfies : SATES
69 Faculty head : DEAN

Down

1 Philadelphia NFLer : EAGLE
2 “Get lost!” : SCRAM!
3 Jersey __: coastal vacation area : SHORE
4 Bodies of work : OEUVRES
5 Hammurabi’s creation : CODE
6 Cuba libre liquor : RUM
7 Wombs : UTERI
8 What a Tide to Go pen can remove : STAIN
9 Area of rapid growth : HOTBED
10 Take for granted : PRESUME
11 *Military might : FIREPOWER (“fireball” & “Powerball”)
12 Linen fiber source : FLAX
13 Word with sniff or taste : … TEST
18 Those opposed : NAYS
24 Respected feudal figure : LIEGE
25 __ vu: familiar feeling : DEJA
27 Boxer Laila : ALI
29 Lost fish in a Pixar film : NEMO
30 Sluggish : SLOW
31 “Fun!” : NEAT!
32 “I __ confused” : AM SO
33 *Monarch or viceroy : BUTTERFLY (“butterball” & “fly ball”)
35 Like a wallflower : SHY
36 Seat belt, e.g. : STRAP
39 Ring of light : HALO
40 Ribbonlike fish : EEL
43 Hit for Aerosmith and The 4 Seasons (different songs, though) : RAG DOLL
45 Overwhelm, as with questions : BOMBARD
47 Add emphasis to : STRESS
49 Former Swedish automaker : SAAB
51 Yogurt-based condiment served to cool hot curry dishes : RAITA
52 Bar of gold : INGOT
54 Kate’s TV sidekick : ALLIE
55 Video game princess : ZELDA
56 German steel city : ESSEN
57 Hitchhiker’s hope : LIFT
58 “Don’t count __!” : ON IT
60 Norms: Abbr. : STDS
63 Clod buster : HOE

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 May 20, Tuesday”

  1. No errors. Didn’t know HIGH TEA or TEA BALL. Never had or heard of RAITA. Thanks for your explanation Bill.

    Be safe.

  2. No errors. Fun puzzle. Not to be particular, but, I think tee ball is spelled tee, not tea. It’s a game for young children with the ball on a tee. Much like golf uses a tee.

  3. No errors, no Googles. Had baRD before LORD. didn’t know RAITA, ZELDA, TTYL, INFO. Didn’t notice theme.
    For TEABALL, maybe he meant a dance after a tea party?

  4. I finished the puzzle without getting the theme which is kind of disappointing. Never heard of raita either…. looks to me it was just put in to complete the fill. Tea ball is a strainer used instead of a tea bag… as bill explained.

  5. 7:44, no errors. A “TEA BALL” is a perforated metal ball in two halves that you fill with loose tea, put in a tea cup, and pour hot water over to brew yourself a cup of tea. It’s the only way to make a decent cup of tea … 😜!

    1. @Mr. Muss – So, does that mean after your cup is fully infused, you are “tea’d up” and ready to drink? ;-D>

  6. Nice, relatively easy puzzle with one of the most impressive themes that I can remember seeing. Four two-word / combined word answers where all eight words combine with one one. Wow. I can’t imagine trying to come up with something like that. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with two combinations if challenged. And yes, RAITA is another new word for me. Talk To You Later.

  7. I couldn’t figure out the significance of “eight balls” until I had completed the puzzle and stared at it. OK, I’m dense.

  8. We got it again today and I also got the Jumble and the Wonderword.

    Am I blind? I didn’t see any word with TEA and BALLS, just the one EIGHTBALLS.
    Why the discussion between TEE and TEA? Couldn’t get through my density.

    Pretty stress-free and fun puzzle.

    Has Glenn stopped playing and commenting?

    Stay safe, everyone.

  9. Hi John! The discussion came about because the themed answers are all types of balls. So, HIGH TEA gives you both “highball” and “tea ball.” Nonny Muss is right: a tea ball is a little round tea strainer. And yes, where’s Glenn?? 🤔

  10. Hopefully, Glenn will return in time. I disagree with him about some things, but he makes valuable contributions to the blog and I miss him.

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