LA Times Crossword 31 May 20, Sunday

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Constructed by: MaryEllen Uthlaut
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: I Had a Bad Day

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as the things going wrong with “my stuff”:

  • 23A My crayon __ : DREW A BLANK
  • 28A My ruler __ : FAILED TO MEASURE UP
  • 56A My needle __ : DIDN’T COME THROUGH
  • 70A My belt __ : BUCKLED UNDER THE STRAIN
  • 93A My cake __ : FELL DOWN ON THE JOB
  • 117A My knife __ : COULDN’T MAKE THE CUT
  • 128A And my champagne __ : FIZZLED OUT

Bill’s time: 13m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Swahili boss : BWANA

“Bwana” is a Swahili word meaning “important person” or “leader of a safari”.

6 Canasta combination : MELD

The card game canasta originated in Uruguay apparently, with “canasta” being the Spanish word for “basket”. In the rummy-like game, a meld of seven cards or more is called a canasta.

10 Cockatoo feature : CREST

Cockatoos are birds closely related to the true parrots. The name “cockatoo” probably comes from the Malay “kaka” (parrot) and “tuwah” (older sibling).

19 Many a surfer : AOLER

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”.

20 Others, in Latin : ALII

“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.

23 My crayon __ : DREW A BLANK

We use the word “crayon” for a stick of colored wax used for drawing. The term was imported in the 16th century from French, in which language it means “pencil”.

27 Four-wheeler, briefly : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

33 Carnival city : RIO

The celebration of carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

34 Applies henna to, say : DYES

Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, for leather and wool as well as hair and skin. In modern days, henna is often used for temporary tattoos.

35 Mink cousin : OTTER

The fur of the sea otter is exceptionally thick. It is the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom.

There are two species of mink extant: the European Mink and the American Mink. There used to be a Sea Mink which was much larger than its two cousins, but it was hunted to extinction (for its fur) in the late 1800s. American Minks are farmed over in Europe for fur, and animal rights activists have released many of these animals into the wild when raiding mink farms. As a result the European Mink population has declined due to the presence of its larger and more adaptable American cousin.

38 Sack lead-in : KNAP-

“Knapsack” is a Low German word describing a bag with straps designed to be carried on the back. The word “knapsack” probably comes from the German verb “knappen” meaning “to eat”.

41 Mount north of Redding, California : SHASTA

Mount Shasta is in northern California. The origin of the name “Shasta” seems to be unclear. It may have come from the Russian “tchastal” meaning “white, clean, pure”, a name given to the volcanic peak by early Russian immigrants.

The California city of Redding lies on the Sacramento River in the northern part of the state. Before becoming “Redding” in 1868, the settlement in the area had the somewhat ignominious name of “Poverty Flats”. The “Redding” name is in honor of Benjamin Bernard Redding, a politician and land agent for the Central Pacific Railroad.

49 Blunted sword : EPEE

The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

51 Text sent with x’s and o’s : I LUV U

In the sequence letter sequence “XOX”, the X represents a kiss, and the O a hug. “OOO” is a string of hugs, and “XXX” a string of kisses. Hugs and kisses …

59 Quacked company name : AFLAC

In 1999, Aflac (American Family Life Assurance Company) was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn’t a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency’s art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with “Aflac”, and that duck has been “Aflacking” ever since …

64 Mediterranean capital : BEIRUT

Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon. After WWI, Lebanon was placed under administrative control of the French and Beirut flourished as a financial center in the Middle East and as a major world tourist destination. The city was devastated in the Lebanese Civil War that raged from 1975 to 1990, but reconstruction has restored the city to much of its former glory, making it a major cultural center once again.

66 Tats : INK

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

79 Ground cover : TARP

Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.

86 Native New Zealander : MAORI

The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing mortal humans from spiritual entities. The Māori refer to New Zealand as “Aotearoa”.

89 Fix, as a toy : SPAY

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

92 Sleep disorder : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

98 South Pacific island group : SAMOA

The official name for the South Pacific nation formerly known as Western Samoa is the Independent State of Samoa. Samoa is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of the native Samoans.

101 Cookie with a Red Velvet variety : OREO

Red Velvet Oreo cookies were introduced in 2015 and red cookies sandwiching a cream cheese-flavored cream filling.

125 Genetic material : DNA

DNA was first isolated in 1869 by Swiss physician and biologist Friedrich Miescher. The molecular structure of DNA was identified in 1953, by the American and British team of James Watson and Francis Crick.

127 Fluffy-eared marsupial : KOALA

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch. Better-known marsupials are kangaroos, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. As you can probably tell from this list, most marsupials are native to the Southern Hemisphere.

128 And my champagne __ : FIZZLED OUT

Champagne is made primarily using Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier grapes (both of which are mainly used to make red wine), as well as white Chardonnay grapes. Rosé Champagne is made from a blend of all three grapes, Blanc de noir Champagne from solely Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, and Blanc de blanc from 100% Chardonnay.

130 Crossword-solving Simpson : LISA

Lisa Simpson is Bart’s brainy younger sister on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Lisa is voiced by actress Yeardley Smith. In a 2008 episode of the show, Lisa enters a crossword tournament. Crossword celebrities Merl Reagle and Will Shortz make appearances in that episode, basically playing cartoon versions of themselves.

131 Celtic language : IRISH

The Celts are a very broad group of people across Europe who are linked by common languages. The original Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in Britain and Ireland. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France.

132 Trac II cousin : 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.

133 Walt Whitman volunteered as one during the Civil War : NURSE

Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the greatest American poets. He was born in 1819 on Long Island, and lived through the American Civil War. Whitman was a controversial character, even during his own lifetime. One view held by him was that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were not actually written by Shakespeare, but rather by someone else, or perhaps a group of people.

134 Title for fictional detective Peter Wimsey : LORD

Lord Peter Wimsey is a delightful character created by Dorothy L. Sayers in a series of detective novels. Wimsey is a gentleman sleuth living in Britain in the twenties and thirties, and a man who loves the good life. The “Lord Peter Wimsey” stories are favorites for adaptation by the BBC into radio and television series. An excellent TV version was aired by the BBC in the seventies, starring Ian Carmichael as the lead (available on DVD, and often shown in PBS). I also listen to Ian Carmichael portraying Wimsey in BBC radio episodes that air quite regularly …

135 Parachute fabric : NYLON

The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application for the new product was as bristles in toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous. The first stockings made from nylon were produced in 1940, and since then stockings have been known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was in short supply during WWII.

The term “parachute” was coined by Frenchman François Blanchard, from “para-” meaning “defense against” and “chute” meaning “a fall”.

137 Printer cartridge contents : TONER

The key features of a laser printer (or copier) are that it uses plain paper and produces quality text at high speed. Laser printers work by projecting a laser image of the printed page onto a rotating drum that is coated with photoconductors (material that becomes conductive when exposed to light). The areas of the drum exposed to the laser carry a different charge than the unexposed areas. Dry ink (toner) sticks to the exposed areas due to electrostatic charge. The toner is then transferred to paper by contact and is fused into the paper by the application of heat. So, that explains why paper coming out of a laser printer is warm, and sometimes powdery.

Down

3 “All Day Strong” brand : ALEVE

“Aleve” is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

5 Longtime PLO chairman : ARAFAT

Yasser (also “Yasir”) Arafat was born in Cairo in 1929, the son of two Palestinians and the second-youngest of seven children. Arafat was beaten by his father as a child and so did not have a good relationship with him. Arafat did not attend his father’s funeral, nor did he visit his grave. The beatings were apparently administered because the young Arafat was repeatedly attending religious services in the Jewish quarter of Cairo. Arafat’s explanation was that he wanted to “study the mentality” of the Jewish people.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964. The PLO’s early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations back in 1923. The PLO was granted observer status (i.e. no voting rights) at the United Nations in 1974.

6 Mauritania neighbor : MALI

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa located south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a country in North Africa on the Atlantic coast. The country is named after the old Roman province of Mauretania, although the ancient province was located further north in what is now Morocco and part of Algeria.

7 Airline to Israel : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

8 Hard-hit batted ball : LINER

In baseball, a line drive (“liner”) is a ball that is hit low, hard and straight.

9 Small antelope with an echoic name : DIK-DIK

Dik-diks are a species of small antelopes that are native to eastern and southern Africa. They are usually less than 15 inches tall at the shoulder. The name “dik-dik” is onomatopoeic, and mimics the sound made by the female of the species when they feel threatened.

10 First name in design : COCO

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer. I’m no fashionista, but if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that look so elegant on a woman.

12 Reporter at the front : EMBED

Although journalists have been directly reporting from the front lines in military conflicts for some time, the term “embedded journalism” only came into fashion during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. A formal arrangement was made between the US Military and hundreds of reporters allowing journalists to travel with military units and, under pre-ordained conditions, report directly from those units. Some say that the arrangement was mutually beneficial. On the one hand the journalists had relatively little to worry about in terms of transportation and travel through combat zones. On the other hand, the military had better control over what did and did not get reported.

15 Jellylike alga extract : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

17 Stead : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

29 Bar mixer : TONIC

The original tonic water was a fairly strong solution of the drug quinine dissolved in carbonated water. It was used in tropical areas in South Asia and Africa where malaria is rampant. The quinine has a prophylactic effect against the disease, and was formulated as “tonic water” so that it could be easily distributed. In British colonial India, the colonial types got into the habit of mixing in gin with the tonic water to make it more palatable by hiding the bitter taste of quinine. Nowadays, the level of quinine in tonic water has been dropped, and sugar has been added.

36 “Iliad,” for one : EPIC

“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer that tells the story of the ten-year siege of “Ilium” (i.e. “Troy”) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “Iliad”.

39 Leaning to one side : ALOP

I had to go to one of my two huge volumes of the OED to find the definition of “alop”. It means “lopsided”. A lovely word …

40 Reebok rival : PUMA

Puma is a German company that sells athletic shoes worldwide. The company is most famous for its line of soccer boots.

43 Jewish assembly site : SHUL

“Shul” is another name for a synagogue. “Shul” is the term mostly used in Orthodox Judaism, “synagogue” in Conservative Judaism, and “temple” in Reform Judaism.

44 Roman garment : TOGA

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

46 19th-century diarist Henry __ Robinson : CRABB

Henry Crabb Robinson was a lawyer and diarist from England who was a cofounder of University College London (then “London University”). After Robinson died in 1869, his “Diary, Reminiscences and Correspondence” was published. The work includes valuable accounts of the lives of authors of the period, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Lamb, William Blake and William Wordsworth.

47 Pot-__: “on the fire” French stew : AU-FEU

Pot-au-feu is a French stew made with beef and is similar to many stews made around the world, containing cheap cuts of meat with mainly root vegetables and spices. The name “pot-au-feu” means “pot on the fire”, and used to apply to a pot that was kept on the fire during cold weather, with ingredients being added when they became available, and stew doled out when needed.

52 Twining plant : VETCH

Vetches are flowering plants in the legume family that are closely related to lentils and peas. Today, common vetch is mainly used as fodder for ruminant animals such as cattle.

58 Legislative body : HOUSE

The US Congress is described as “bicameral” in that it is divided into two separate assemblies, namely the Senate and the House of Representatives. The term “bicameral” comes from the prefix “bi-” meaning “two”, and the Latin “camera” meaning “chamber”.

65 Spanish 51-Across : TE AMO
(51A Text sent with x’s and o’s : I LUV U)

“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, and into “je t’aime” in French.

67 Tab, say : KEY

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.

69 European erupter : 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”.

74 Personality categories : TYPES

The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so-called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.

76 Baseball’s Doubleday : ABNER

Abner Doubleday was a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. Some say that Doubleday fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter in the first battle of the war. After the Civil War, while stationed in San Francisco, Doubleday took out a patent for the cable car system that still runs in the city. Claims have been made that Doubleday also invented baseball, with the first game being played in Elihu Phinney’s cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York.

77 __ Woods, original voice of Disney’s Cinderella : ILENE

Ilene Woods was an actress and singer who is best remembered for voicing the title character in Walt Disney’s 1950 classic “Cinderella”. For many years, Woods’ husband was Ed Shaughnessy, the drummer with Doc Severinsen’s “The Tonight Show Band”.

83 Basketball Hall of Fame coach Smith : DEAN

Dean Smith was a college basketball coach who is best remembered for the 36 years he spent with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

85 Cream additive : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

87 Small deer : ROES

Roe deer are found mainly in Europe. They would be the deer shown on television and in movies when Robin Hood was out hunting in Sherwood Forest.

90 “When it’s __”: answer to a classic riddle : AJAR

Here are a few riddles:

  1. Imagine you are in a dark room. How do you get out?
  2. What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?
  3. There is a word and six letters it contains. Take one away and twelve is what remains. What word is it?
  4. Two girls were born to the same mother, on the same day, at the same time, in the same month and year and yet they’re not twins. How can this be?
  5. What is so delicate that even saying its name will break it?
  6. What word in the English Language is always spelled incorrectly?

And the answers:

  1. Stop imagining.
  2. A stamp
  3. Dozens
  4. They’re in a set of triplets
  5. Silence
  6. Incorrectly

91 Symbol of bondage : YOKE

A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of animals so that they are forced to work together.

95 “To __ own self be true”: “Hamlet” : THINE

Polonius is an important character in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Polonius is eventually killed by Hamlet, albeit in a case of mistaken identity. Polonius has several memorable lines in the play that are oft-quoted today, including “To thine own self be true”, “Brevity is the soul of wit”, and “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”.

117 Honeycomb compartment : CELL

Honeybees create a structure within their nests called a honeycomb that is used to contain their larvae and also to store honey and pollen. The honeycomb comprises hexagonal cells made from wax.

118 Miscellany : OLIO

“Olio” is a term meaning “hodgepodge, mixture” that comes from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

119 Cold War initials : USSR

The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

122 Madeline of “Blazing Saddles” : KAHN

Madeline Kahn was an actress best known for her comedic roles, especially those directed by Mel Brooks. Kahn also had her own TV sitcom, called “Oh Madeline”. But, it only lasted one season, in 1983.

“Blazing Saddles” is a 1974 Mel Brooks movie that has become a modern-day classic. I really only enjoy one Mel Brooks film, and “Blazing Saddles” isn’t it. Just in case you’re interested, I very much enjoy “Young Frankenstein” …

123 Poet Pound : EZRA

Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, and spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

124 Old Russian autocrat : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

129 Sonny and Cher, for one : DUO

Singing duo Sonny & Cher started out in the mid-1960s as backing singers working with Phil Spector. The couple married in 1964, and the next year released their breakthrough numbers “Baby Don’t Go” and “I Got You Babe”. Sonny and Cher divorced in 1975, and dissolved their act that same year. Cher moved onto a successful solo career that continues to this day. Sonny Bono was elected as a US Congressman for California in 1995. Sadly, he didn’t finish his term in the House as he died from injuries sustained in a skiing accident in 1998.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Swahili boss : BWANA
6 Canasta combination : MELD
10 Cockatoo feature : CREST
15 Boring tools : AWLS
19 Many a surfer : AOLER
20 Others, in Latin : ALII
21 Vigor : OOMPH
22 Acquire, as an advantage : GAIN
23 My crayon __ : DREW A BLANK
25 Pay television : CABLE
26 Designated space : AREA
27 Four-wheeler, briefly : ATV
28 My ruler __ : FAILED TO MEASURE UP
31 Step on it when you need to step on it : THE GAS
33 Carnival city : RIO
34 Applies henna to, say : DYES
35 Mink cousin : OTTER
38 Sack lead-in : KNAP-
41 Mount north of Redding, California : SHASTA
46 Golf course rental : CART
49 Blunted sword : EPEE
51 Text sent with x’s and o’s : I LUV U
54 Cultural character : ETHOS
55 Felt remorse for : RUED
56 My needle __ : DIDN’T COME THROUGH
59 Quacked company name : AFLAC
61 Computer instructions : CODE
62 Courtyard : PATIO
63 Dramatic offering : PLAY
64 Mediterranean capital : BEIRUT
66 Tats : INK
68 One of this puzzle’s 144 : CLUE
70 My belt __ : BUCKLED UNDER THE STRAIN
79 Ground cover : TARP
80 “Yess!” : YAY!
81 Empower : ENABLE
82 What may come to mind : IDEA
86 Native New Zealander : MAORI
89 Fix, as a toy : SPAY
92 Sleep disorder : APNEA
93 My cake __ : FELL DOWN ON THE JOB
97 Shut (up) : PENT
98 South Pacific island group : SAMOA
99 Parasite : LEECH
100 Benefit : SAKE
101 Cookie with a Red Velvet variety : OREO
102 Attacks : ONSETS
104 Climb, in a way : SHIN
106 Direct attention : REFER
108 Soften : EASE
111 As we speak : NOW
113 Beefy soup ingredient : OXTAIL
117 My knife __ : COULDN’T MAKE THE CUT
125 Genetic material : DNA
126 “Need anything __?” : ELSE
127 Fluffy-eared marsupial : KOALA
128 And my champagne __ : FIZZLED OUT
130 Crossword-solving Simpson : LISA
131 Celtic language : IRISH
132 Trac II cousin : ATRA
133 Walt Whitman volunteered as one during the Civil War : NURSE
134 Title for fictional detective Peter Wimsey : LORD
135 Parachute fabric : NYLON
136 Help grow up : REAR
137 Printer cartridge contents : TONER

Down

1 Lacking talent for : BAD AT
2 Deserving of : WORTH
3 “All Day Strong” brand : ALEVE
4 Not seen before : NEW
5 Longtime PLO chairman : ARAFAT
6 Mauritania neighbor : MALI
7 Airline to Israel : EL AL
8 Hard-hit batted ball : LINER
9 Small antelope with an echoic name : DIK-DIK
10 First name in design : COCO
11 Wander aimlessly : ROAM
12 Reporter at the front : EMBED
13 Spread outward : SPLAY
14 Academic research papers : THESES
15 Jellylike alga extract : AGAR
16 Goods suffix : -WARE
17 Stead : LIEU
18 Start of a football play : SNAP
24 Poured juices over : BASTED
29 Bar mixer : TONIC
30 Director in the theater? : USHER
32 Approached nightfall : GOT DARK
36 “Iliad,” for one : EPIC
37 Second chance : REDO
39 Leaning to one side : ALOP
40 Reebok rival : PUMA
42 Resting upon : ATOP
43 Jewish assembly site : SHUL
44 Roman garment : TOGA
45 Grayish : ASHY
46 19th-century diarist Henry __ Robinson : CRABB
47 Pot-__: “on the fire” French stew : AU-FEU
48 Thing of the past : RELIC
50 Lead to : END IN
52 Twining plant : VETCH
53 Functional : UTILE
57 Look after : TEND
58 Legislative body : HOUSE
60 Snake worshippers, e.g. : CULT
65 Spanish 51-Across : TE AMO
67 Tab, say : KEY
69 European erupter : ETNA
71 Slow way of speaking : DRAWL
72 Barely ahead : UP ONE
73 Reckless : RASH
74 Personality categories : TYPES
75 Bond that promotes easy communication : RAPPORT
76 Baseball’s Doubleday : ABNER
77 __ Woods, original voice of Disney’s Cinderella : ILENE
78 “Groovy!” : NEATO!
82 In that case : IF SO
83 Basketball Hall of Fame coach Smith : DEAN
84 Stately trees : ELMS
85 Cream additive : ALOE
87 Small deer : ROES
88 Move bit by bit : INCH
90 “When it’s __”: answer to a classic riddle : AJAR
91 Symbol of bondage : YOKE
94 So last year : DATED
95 “To __ own self be true”: “Hamlet” : THINE
96 Soil : BEFOUL
103 Finally registered : SANK IN
105 A stone’s throw : NOT FAR
107 Degree : EXTENT
109 Apartment building unit : STORY
110 Web message : EMAIL
112 Harmless, as a lie : WHITE
114 Add splendor to : ADORN
115 Occupied : IN USE
116 “See ya” : LATER
117 Honeycomb compartment : CELL
118 Miscellany : OLIO
119 Cold War initials : USSR
120 Play the first card : LEAD
121 Besides that : ALSO
122 Madeline of “Blazing Saddles” : KAHN
123 Poet Pound : EZRA
124 Old Russian autocrat : CZAR
129 Sonny and Cher, for one : DUO

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 31 May 20, Sunday”

  1. Two errors (or 3 depending on the methodology), didn’t know DIKDIK. Put in ALIA for the Latin phrase and A NAP instead of KNAP. Thought My gun ___ would be a better clue for 23A (draw a gun and blank ammunition). Wonder if it got edited in crossword post-production?

  2. No errors; for once I tumbled to the theme almost immediately, which
    made the rest of the puzzle easier. I thought it was a great theme and
    fun to do. Happy Sunday everybody and continue to stay safe.

    1. You’re not counting the clues; you’re adding the largest number in the “across” list to the largest number in the “down” list, which is not the same thing at all. Some clue numbers are only in one list or the other and some clue numbers are in both lists. Think about it … 🙂.

    2. To expand on this a little: The largest number appearing in the clue lists for this puzzle is the “137” in the “across” list, so we know that there are at least 137 clues (because each number occurs in at least one of the lists). To this we have to add a count of the numbers that appear in both lists and there are 7 of them: the “1” in the square containing the “B” of “BWANA” and “BAD AT”; the “6” in the square containing the “M” of “MELD” and “MALI”; the “10” in the square containing the “C” of “CREST” and “COCO”; the “15” in the square containing the “A” of “AWLS” and “AGAR”; the “46” in the square containing the “C” of “CART” and “CRABB”; the “82” in the square containing the “I” of “IDEA” and “IF SO”; and the “117” in the square containing the “C” of “COULDN’T MAKE THE CUT” and “CELL”. So … 137 + 7 = 144.

      (All of which is a lot easier to do than to describe in detail … 😜.)

    3. And, of course, one can always just count the clues: 1, 2, 3, … 89, 90, … 131, 132, 133, … 142, 143, 144. But, these days, given my diminishing ability to concentrate, I would probably have to do that several times and take an average … 😜

      1. Thank you. Properly humiliated. But the elaborated strategy still took me three readings. Not sure I could write it any more clearly, though: your comment is quite right.

        1. Not to worry, Russell … you are by no means the first person to fall into the trap of adding the final numbers in the two lists (but I shall resist the urge to name names … 😜). The trap somehow preys on an ingrained notion of what a numbered list is and seems perfectly logical until you think about it for a while.

        2. If it helps, you can locate the clue numbers in common a lot easier by the grid than by comparing the clue lists. More or less, count the number of grid items shared (they look like downward L’s), add that to the Across total and you got the total number of clues. Very easy to do once you practice a little bit.

          1. Well, not to be picky (he said, preparing to be picky 😜), but … that’s why I said it’s easier to do than to describe. Also, I don’t know what you mean by “grid items shared”; what you count is the number of places where the first square of an “across” entry is also the first square of a “down” entry. And, you don’t add that count to “the Across total” (whatever that means); you add it to the largest clue number you find in the clue lists (which is usually in the “across” list, but doesn’t have to be).

          2. And, now that I think about it, the largest clue number does have to be in the “across” list. In my haste, this morning, I fooled myself by thinking of the assertion, sometimes made, that there are always more “across” clues than “down” clues, which is not true. Enough … 😜!

  3. 27:26. Possibly my fastest ever for a Sunday. Got the theme early, though I Buckled under the WEIGHT, before I finally did MEASURE UP and did not let the STRAIN go unnoticed.

  4. No errors. Agree with Rich…. DIKDIK? AUFEU, then there is SHIN and SAKE… after 144 clues what’s a couple of ” What the what the”??

    Glen, nice to see you kickin’..

    Easy sunday, especially once the theme appeared early, everything went fast.
    Be safe.

  5. 19A – Ah, that’s why. I thought it might be some weird derivation of aeolian, referring to some kind of wind-surfing. (It also might’ve helped if I read 3D correctly and not wracked my brain for some band that had a song called “All Day Long”. *sigh*)
    89A – I think I had S-A- or SPA- and was thinking it had to be SPAY, but what does that have to do wit–oh, right, a toy poodle or suchlike.
    98A – had ATOLL originally, but had a niggling doubt because I didn’t think atolls were exclusive to the south Pacific. Eventually the crossers led me right.
    134A – Keep getting him confused with Sir Percy Blakeney, aka, the Scarlet Pimpernel. smh
    9D – I really suggest looking up dik-dik pictures. They’re tiny! There’s a photoset from the Chester Zoo featuring a newborn dik-dik standing on some guy’s computer desk as he tries to work. Like my cat does…
    65D – I maintain this answer should’ve been misspelled as 51A’s was, but I bet I’m alone in this :p
    74D – Was thinking of Myers-Briggs myself…

    Pretty easy for a Sunday. Those last two New Yorker cryptic clues make up for it…

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