LA Times Crossword 6 May 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian & Mangesh “Mumbaikar” Ghogre
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Codebreaker

Four rows in the grid include a hidden word that is a type of CODE, one that has been BROKEN by a black square. They are:

  • PENAL (code)
  • AREA (code)
  • SECRET (code)
  • FIRE (code)
  • 64A Intelligence agency employee, and what a black square acts as in rows 3, 5, 8 and 11 : CODEBREAKER

Bill’s time: 5m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 Kissing on a crowded sidewalk, for short : PDA

Public display of affection (PDA)

14 Dyed fabric : BATIK

Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in a solvent that dissolves the wax. Although wax-resist dyeing of fabric has existed in various parts of the world for centuries, it is most closely associated historically with the island of Java in Indonesia.

15 __ Mesa, Calif. : COSTA

Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, California. The city used to be called Harper, and changed its name in 1920 to Costa Mesa, the Spanish for “coastal plateau”.

17 World’s oldest golf tournament : BRITISH OPEN

The golf tournament that we usually refer to as “the British Open” here in North America, is more correctly known as “The Open Championship”. The tournament has earned its somewhat haughty title as it is the oldest golf tournament in the world. The Open was first played in 1860, at Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Club. That first tournament attracted a grand field of eight professional golfers, with Scotsman Willie Park, Sr. emerging victorious.

22 Country’s Lovett : LYLE

As well as being famous in his own right, country singer Lyle Lovett is known for his 1993 marriage to actress Julia Roberts. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage itself was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.

26 McKellen of “Vicious” : IAN

Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, one who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK, Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

“Vicious” is a sitcom made in the UK that first aired from 2013-2016. It stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as an elderly couple who have endured a love/hate relationship for over 50 years. Personally, I think that this one is a hidden gem …

29 Stout servers : PUBS

The term “stout” was first used for a type of beer in the 1600s when it was used to describe a “strong, stout” brew, and not necessarily a dark beer as it is today.

31 Peddled : SOLD

In its purest sense, a peddler is someone who sells his or her wares on the street or from door to door. The term probably comes from the Latin “pedarius” meaning “one who goes on foot”.

32 Febreze target : ODOR

The odor-eliminating product we know today as Febreze was developed in England in the early nineties. Febreze is now produced by Procter & Gamble.

34 App’s early version : BETA

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

36 Talus neighbor : TIBIA

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called the ankle bone. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

41 Some Greek islanders : CRETANS

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands. Crete figures heavily in Greek mythology. Zeus was born in a cave at Mount Ida, the highest peak on the island. Crete was also home to the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus. Icarus and Daedalus, after having crafted the Labyrinth, escaped from the island using wings that they crafted.

44 Vivacity : BRIO

“Brio” is borrowed from Italian, in which language the term means “vigor and vivacity”. “Con brio” is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing the musicians to play “with energy, vigor”.

46 Letter before bravo : ALFA

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

49 “Marriage Story” Oscar nominee Driver : ADAM

Adam Driver is an actor best known to TV audiences for playing Adam Sackler on the show “Girls” that airs on HBO. Driver’s movie career got a huge boost in 2015 when he played villain Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

“Marriage Story” is a 2019 movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a couple going through a messy divorce. The critics loved this one. Me, not so much …

52 Starbucks amenity : FREE WI-FI

“Wi-Fi” is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with “Wi-Fi” has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other. The name “Wi-Fi” suggests “Wireless Fidelity”, although apparently the term was never intended to mean anything at all.

Starbucks is a coffee company based in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest coffeehouse company in the world and has over 19,000 stores. In the 1990s, Starbucks was opening one new store every single day! Starbucks is named after the chief mate on the Pequod in Herman Melville’s book “Moby Dick”.

55 Short agent? : REP

Representative (rep.)

57 Bonny gal : LASS

“Bonny” is a Scottish term meaning “pleasing, good-looking”. The exact etymology of the term is unclear, although the assumption is that it comes from the Old French “bon, bone” meaning “good”.

59 Digital brokerage pioneer : E*TRADE

E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade used to produce those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.

63 Angsty 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 …

66 Monkey in “Aladdin” : ABU

Abu is a monkey in the Disney production of “Aladdin”. The character is based on Abu, a thief in the 1940 film “The Thief of Baghdad”.

The Disney animated feature “Aladdin” was released in 1992. It is one of the best movies to come out of the studio, in my opinion, largely due to the great performance by Robin Williams who voiced the Genie. “Aladdin” was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $500 million worldwide, an unusual feat for an animated movie.

68 Having too much : OD’ING

Overdose (OD)

Down

1 “Fernando” band : ABBA

“Fernando” was a 1976 hit for ABBA, and a followup to their smash hit “Dancing Queen”. “Fernando” was originally released as a solo single by one the ABBA band members: Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

2 Singer Bruno who won six 2017 Grammy Awards : MARS

Bruno Mars is a singer-songwriter from Honolulu who has been active in the music business since 2006. “Bruno Mars” is a stage name, as Mars was born Peter Hernandez.

3 Words before and after “what” : IT IS

It is what it is.

6 Berlin cry : ACH!

The German exclamation “Ach du lieber” translates as “Oh dear”.

7 Most like s’mores : GOOIEST

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

8 Shelter org. : ASPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

10 Rave’s opposite : PAN

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

12 With 70-Across, “Touched by an Angel” star : DELLA …
(70D See 12-Down : … REESE)

Della Reese is the stage name of actress, singer and all-round entertainer Deloreese Patricia Early. Her career started as a singer in the fifties and was revived in the nineties when she played the lead character in the TV show “Touched by an Angel”.

13 Stella __ Studio of Acting : ADLER

Stella Adler was an actress turned acting teacher. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s list of graduates includes the likes of Marlon Brando, Robert De Nero and Harvey Keitel. Adler has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that is located in front of the Stella Adler Theater.

22 Title girl whose given name is Dolores : LOLITA

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” has a famously controversial storyline, dealing with a middle-aged man’s obsession and sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze. 38-year-old professor Humbert Humbert privately refers to Dolores as “Lolita”. Although “Lolita” is considered a classic today, after Nabokov finished it in 1953 the edgy subject matter made it impossible for him to find a publisher in the US (where Nabokov lived). In 1955, he resorted to publishing it in English at a printing house in Paris. Publication was followed by bans and seizures all over Europe. A US printing house finally took on the project in 1958, by which time the title had such a reputation that it sold exceptionally quickly. “Lolita” became the first book since “Gone with the Wind” to sell over 100,000 copies in its first three weeks in stores.

26 Hawkeye State : IOWA

Iowa is nicknamed the Hawkeye State in honor of Chief Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk people during the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War.

27 Ritalin target, briefly : ADHD

The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).

Ritalin is a trade name for the drug methylphenidate that is used for treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Methylphenidate has a similar structure and similar properties to the drug cocaine, although it is less potent.

28 Ramen restaurant offering : NOODLE SOUP

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

30 U.K. network, with “the” : BEEB

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as “the Beeb”, a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers on the classic British radio comedy called “The Goon Show”. The BBC was founded in 1922, and was the world’s first national broadcasting organization.

35 Part of DNA : ACID

The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein “generators” called ribosomes.

37 Recon details : INFO

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

38 PDQ : ASAP

Pretty darn quick (PDQ)

40 Big name in movie theaters : LOEW

Marcus Loew was a New Yorker born into a poor Jewish family. He started out in a penny arcade business and used its profits to buy into a nickelodeon. He built a whole chain of movie theaters, and then moved into the production of films so that he could guarantee supply of features that he could show in his theaters. Eventually he pulled together the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film production company, and sadly passed away just three years after he inked the deal.

45 Las Vegas NFL team : RAIDERS

The Oakland Raiders football team was founded in 1960, and was originally intended to play in Minnesota. Instead, the team played in Oakland from 1960 to 1981 and then spent 12 years in Los Angeles before returning to Oakland in 1995. In 2017, the Raiders announced their plan to relocate to Las Vegas starting in 2020.

48 Four-time Olympic gold medal winner Biles : SIMONE

Simone Biles holds the record for the most gold medals won by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games. She achieved the feat at the 2016 games held in Rio.

50 Celestial body : METEOR

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

52 Causes of scratching : FLEAS

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

53 Recurring Stallone role : RAMBO

“First Blood” was the original of the four “Rambo” films starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But, action all the way …

54 Sundae topping : FUDGE

There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.

56 Popular red-carpet fashion : PRADA

Prada started out in 1913 as a leather-goods shop in Milan, one established by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the company as he didn’t believe women should be involved in business (!). When the sexist brother died, his son had no interest in the business so it was his daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter. I’d say the devil loved that …

62 Cogito __ sum : ERGO

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

65 “Sayonara” : BYE

“Sayonara” means “farewell” in Japanese.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Out of whack : AMISS
6 Sounding shocked : AGASP
11 Kissing on a crowded sidewalk, for short : PDA
14 Dyed fabric : BATIK
15 __ Mesa, Calif. : COSTA
16 Acted as guide : LED
17 World’s oldest golf tournament : BRITISH OPEN
19 __-purpose flour : ALL
20 In itself : AS SUCH
21 Short-term sculpture material : ICE
22 Country’s Lovett : LYLE
23 Course standard : PAR
24 Like a big grin : EAR TO EAR
26 McKellen of “Vicious” : IAN
29 Stout servers : PUBS
31 Peddled : SOLD
32 Febreze target : ODOR
34 App’s early version : BETA
36 Talus neighbor : TIBIA
39 “Name another person” : WHO ELSE?
41 Some Greek islanders : CRETANS
43 Augment : ADD TO
44 Vivacity : BRIO
46 Letter before bravo : ALFA
47 Untruths : LIES
49 “Marriage Story” Oscar nominee Driver : ADAM
51 Prune : LOP
52 Starbucks amenity : FREE WI-FI
55 Short agent? : REP
57 Bonny gal : LASS
58 Spa bath choice : MUD
59 Digital brokerage pioneer : E*TRADE
63 Angsty music genre : EMO
64 Intelligence agency employee, and what a black square acts as in rows 3, 5, 8 and 11 : CODEBREAKER
66 Monkey in “Aladdin” : ABU
67 Seething : ANGRY
68 Having too much : OD’ING
69 Soak (up), as sauce : SOP
70 See 12-Down : … REESE
71 Wound up costing : RAN TO

Down

1 “Fernando” band : ABBA
2 Singer Bruno who won six 2017 Grammy Awards : MARS
3 Words before and after “what” : IT IS
4 Suddenly pay attention : SIT UP
5 Slopes headgear : SKI CAP
6 Berlin cry : ACH!
7 Most like s’mores : GOOIEST
8 Shelter org. : ASPCA
9 Heads (toward) : STEERS
10 Rave’s opposite : PAN
11 Cooperated : PLAYED BALL
12 With 70-Across, “Touched by an Angel” star : DELLA …
13 Stella __ Studio of Acting : ADLER
18 Bushes : SHRUBS
22 Title girl whose given name is Dolores : LOLITA
25 Subscriber’s bonus : TOTE
26 Hawkeye State : IOWA
27 Ritalin target, briefly : ADHD
28 Ramen restaurant offering : NOODLE SOUP
30 U.K. network, with “the” : BEEB
33 Laces again : RETIES
35 Part of DNA : ACID
37 Recon details : INFO
38 PDQ : ASAP
40 Big name in movie theaters : LOEW
42 Lion, at times : ROARER
45 Las Vegas NFL team : RAIDERS
48 Four-time Olympic gold medal winner Biles : SIMONE
50 Celestial body : METEOR
52 Causes of scratching : FLEAS
53 Recurring Stallone role : RAMBO
54 Sundae topping : FUDGE
56 Popular red-carpet fashion : PRADA
60 Like, with “to” : AKIN
61 64-Down blemish : DENT
62 Cogito __ sum : ERGO
64 Garage occupant : CAR
65 “Sayonara” : BYE

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 May 20, Wednesday”

    1. Me, too, Mike.

      Another DNF, 80% solved. Did not have the time to really pursue it; had to work
      on a grocery order and had even less luck there. Will have to try again tomorrow.

      Stay safe and well, everybody.

  1. 9:56, no errors. Due to an outrageously long hike yesterday and too many hours in bed last night, I woke up with cotton between the ears, so … a slow solve … and I, too, was a bit puzzled by the theme, but I finally worked it out.

  2. 10:52, no errors. I didn’t catch the theme, and it was right there in front of me. BTW, this is the first time that I have ever timed myself. I’m not sure I care to do that again, as it turned a relaxing mental exercise into a stressing 11 minutes. However, it does raise the question of upper case vs lower case. I use upper case, and I’ve read that lower case reduces the overall time. Does anybody have any numbers to offer regarding the efficacy of lower case?

    1. FWIW, I take far more pleasure in finishing a really difficult puzzle than in whipping through an easier one in record time. (And yes, this is partly because, at 77, I don’t concentrate as well or multitask as well as I did when I was younger.) I have no idea whether using lower case instead of upper case, or using just the right kind of pen and paper, or using an on-line app instead, or attacking the clues in just the right order would result in a faster solve. What’s more, I don’t really care.

      I also very much enjoy, after I’m done with a puzzle, researching interesting things that I came across in it, and, for that reason, I tend to appreciate a lot of the “PPP’s” that others so often complain about.

      My two cents’ worth … 😜

    2. @Lawrence
      No real numbers, but most will swear by lowercase by experience. A thought experiment: See how many strokes it takes to make each letter. You’ll find it takes less to do lowercase letters.

      As for timing, it only gets stressful if you let it get that way. I can’t say I ever rush doing puzzles, but I don’t stop to navel gaze, either.

  3. No errors, no Googles. Never heard of ADAM Driver, or PDA.

    I never time my completion. I think there are people out there who are scared off by these rapid times. I also look things up after, like A Nonny Muss does. I keep an illustrated list of typical crossword puzzle words.

    To Bill from Erie yesterday: STOAT is a crossword word. One clue is it has at least 50% vowels. You’ll see it again. In this puzzle we find EMO, with 2/3 vowels, and a word that shows up so much you’ll curse it.

  4. 10 minutes, 31 seconds, and needed checker help to fix 2 errors on 4 fills. Once again, the theme was just unnoticeable, so “seeing it” didn’t help much. Grid was pretty much filled in by that point.

  5. Mostly easy Wednesday for me; took me 17 minutes, despite not having any real problems. Or perhaps: I’m a bit agasp at my time, despite nothing going amiss.

    Didn’t really notice the theme until I got here.

    @Lawrence – I adopted Glenn’s suggestion to use lower case and have indeed sped up my times by a minute or two. You do have to write the g, p and y more in the middle of the square to avoid having to guess what you wrote later.

  6. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    DIRK!! Darn you, using those words just to get my goat!!! (Cuz it’s always all about ME….🤗) Actually, AMISS doesn’t bother me as much as most “stick an A in front” words. Certainly AGASP is much worse….AMISS doesn’t seem so bad cuz it’s in such common use.

    No errors. Pretty good puzzle. Didn’t notice the theme till the grid was all filled in and I looked for it.

    Glad Bill didn’t like Marriage Story. I’m not the only one!😶

    Be safe ~~🍷

  7. This is a test. (I seem to have lost the ability to edit posts and I’m trying to figure out why.)

  8. This is a test. (I seem to have lost the ability to edit posts and I’m trying to figure out why.)

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