LA Times Crossword 7 May 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Blake Slonecker
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Mixed Greens

Themed answers include anagrams of GREENS hidden inside:

  • 53A Mesclun, and a hint to the circled squares : MIXED GREENS
  • 16A Casual appetizer : CHIPS AND DIP (hiding mixed “SPINACH“)
  • 23A Tool for flooring jobs : TILE CUTTER (hiding mixed “LETTUCE“)
  • 30A Designated spaces for some riders : BIKE LANES (hiding mixed “KALE“)
  • 38A Opening : INAUGURAL (hiding mixed “ARUGULA“)
  • 47A Rewards earner, perhaps : CARDHOLDER (hiding mixed “CHARD“)

Bill’s time: 9m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 __ de deux: ballet dance : PAS

In the world of ballet, a pas de deux is a duet in which the dancers dance together. A classic pas de deux has a particular structure. It starts with a short entree followed by an adagio and two variations, one for each dancer, and ends with a short coda. The term “pas de deux” is French for “step for two”, or I suppose “dance for two”.

10 Rite opener? : AMI-

“Amirite?” is an informal exclamation meaning “Am I right?”

14 Web banners : HEADERS

The header of a website resides at the top of the page. It often includes the website name, a logo and the main navigation. Also, the header is usually displayed throughout a website, at the top of every page.

15 Auerbach of the Black Keys : DAN

The Black Keys are a rock band, a duo from Akron, Ohio. Dan Auerbach on guitar, along with Patrick Carney on drums, formed the Black Keys in 2001.

18 Tap quaff : ALE

The many, many different styles of beer can generally be sorted into two groups: ales and lagers. Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for relatively short periods of time, and use top-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that float on top of the beer as it ferments. Lagers ferment at relatively low temperatures and for relatively long periods of time. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that fall to the bottom of the beer as it ferments.

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One “quaffs” (takes a hearty drink) of a “quaff” (a hearty drink).

19 Sunday cry : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

20 Sneaky critic : SNIPER

To snipe is to attack with snide criticism, especially from a safe distance. This usage of the term is an extension of the older meaning, to take a shot from a hidden position (as in “sniper”). Such a shot was originally taken when hunting the game birds called “snipes”.

27 Extra qtrs. : OTS

Overtime (OT)

28 Game fish : BONITO

Bonito is the name given to several species of fish, intermediate in size between mackerel and tuna. The name comes directly from the Spanish word for “pretty”. In some parts of Spain, tuna is known as “Bonito del Norte”.

29 __ boots : GO-GO

The original go-go boot from the sixties comes to the knee and has a low heel. Prior to the sixties, boots really weren’t worn much by women other than as protection against bad weather. Now they are a fashion statement.

33 Ruminant’s mouthful : CUD

Ruminants are animals that “chew the cud”. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work. We also use the verb “to ruminate” in a figurative sense, to mean “to muse, ponder, chew over”.

35 Concrete support rod : REBAR

A steel bar or mesh used to reinforce concrete is called “rebar”, which is short for “reinforcing bar”.

44 Qatari chief : EMIR

Qatar is a sovereign state in the Middle East occupying the Qatar Peninsula, itself located in the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies on the Persian Gulf and shares one land border, with Saudi Arabia to the south. Qatar has more oil and gas reserves per capita of population than any other country in the world. In 2010, Qatar had the fastest growing economy in the world, driven by the petrochemical industry. Qatar is scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, although the nation’s eligibility to do so is under question after a far-reaching bribery scandal was uncovered at the sport’s governing body.

46 Source of iron : ORE

Iron ore comes in a number of different forms, like magnetite (the most magnetic of all minerals) and hematite (the most commonly exploited iron ore).

52 Beaver creation : DAM

Beavers build dams so that they can live in and around the slower and deeper water that builds up above the dam. This deeper water provides more protection for the beavers from predators such as bears. Beavers are nocturnal animals and do all their construction work at night.

53 Mesclun, and a hint to the circled squares : MIXED GREENS

Mesclun is a mixture of young salad greens. The term “mesclun” comes from Provençal dialect, from the verb “mesclar” meaning “to mix thoroughly”. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), “mesclun” was coined as recently as the 1970s.

59 GPS calculation : ETA

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

61 Conk out : DIE

The phrase “conk out” was coined by airmen during WWI, and was used to describe the stalling of an engine.

64 LG rival : RCA

During WWI, the US government actively discouraged the loss of certain technologies to other countries, including allies. The developing wireless technologies were considered to be particularly important by the army and navy. The government prevented the General Electric Company from selling equipment to the British Marconi Company, and instead facilitated the purchase by GE of the American Marconi subsidiary. This purchase led to GE forming the Radio Corporation of America that we know today as RCA.

LG is a very large South Korean manufacturer of electronics, chemicals and telecom products. The company used to be known as Lucky-Goldstar, whence the initialism “LG”.

Down

1 D.C. funding group : PAC

A political action committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.

2 Her 2002 self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 : ASHANTI

Ashanti Douglas is an American R&B singer who uses just “Ashanti” as her stage name.

7 Former Royals manager Yost : NED

Ned Yost is the manager of the Kansas City Royals, and a former Major League Baseball catcher. Yost played baseball at high school in Dublin, California, just a few miles from where I am now right now.

8 Shortening brand : CRISCO

The Crisco brand of shortening was the first shortening to be made entirely from vegetable oil. Although that sounds like a good thing, it’s actually made by hydrogenating vegetable oil so that it has physical properties similar to the animal shortening it was designed to replace. This hydrogenation turns good fats into bad fats, so medical professionals suggest limited intake.

9 College sports channel : ESPNU

ESPNU (short for “ESPN Universities”) is a sports channel focused on college athletics.

14 Channel that can be costly to watch : HSN

The Home Shopping Network (HSN) was the first national shopping network, and was launched locally as the Home Shopping Club in Florida in 1982.

17 Cribbage piece : PEG

Cribbage is one of my favorite card games. Cribbage always had a certain mystique to me as I was growing up as I’d see folks playing it in local pubs, sitting with cards and the fascinating cribbage board with its pegs as score markers. Apparently, cribbage was invented in the early 1600s by an English poet called John Suckling, who based it on a long-gone game called Noddy. Cribbage is often referred to simply as “crib”, and the name “cribbage” probably comes from this term. The “crib” is a set of cards that features in the game.

21 Geek Squad employee, for short : IT GURU

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.

23 Creep : TOAD

A toady is someone who is very servile, and somewhat of a parasite. Derived from “toad-eater” the term originally applied to the assistant of a quack, a seller of useless potions that had no actual benefit to health. The toady would eat an apparently poisonous toad in front of an audience, so that the charlatan could “cure” him or her with one of the potions for sale.

25 Shakira’s “Hips Don’t __” : LIE

Shakira’s 2006 song “Hips Don’t Lie” broke a record soon after it was released. It became the most-played pop song in a single week in American radio history.

26 Aliens, briefly : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

32 Dances for leprechauns : JIGS

The jig is a dance most associated with Ireland and Scotland. In traditional Irish dancing, the jig is second in popularity only to the reel. The most famous Irish jig is probably “The Irish Washerwoman”. I may not dance a jig, but I sure do know the tune of “The Irish Washerwoman” …

34 Violinist Leopold : AUER

Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. Auer wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the “Rhapsodie Hongroise” written for violin and piano.

37 2014 Best Picture : BIRDMAN

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” is a 2014 film that was an incredible critical success. The title character was played by Michael Keaton. I know I am in the minority, but I really did not enjoy “Birdman” …

38 Like offline interaction, initially : IRL

In real life (IRL)

41 Burrito feature? : ROLLED R

A burrito is a common dish served in Mexican cuisine. It is a flour tortilla filled with all sorts of good stuff. The term “burrito” is Spanish for “little donkey”, the diminutive of “burro” meaning “donkey”. It’s thought that the name was applied as a burrito looks like a bedroll or pack that might be carried by a donkey.

42 “__ and Old Lace” : ARSENIC

“Arsenic and Old Lace” is a Frank Capra film released in 1944. The movie is based on a 1939 stage play by Joseph Kesselring. The film stars Cary Grant as a completely madcap and frantic Mortimer Brewster. Grant was only the fourth choice for the role, after Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan. That’s quite an eclectic mix of actors …

43 Celestial feline : LEO

The constellation named Leo can be said to resemble a lion. Others say that it resembles a bent coat hanger. “Leo” is the Latin for “lion”, but I’m not sure how to translate “coat hanger” into Latin …

51 MGM motto word : ARS

It seems that the phrase “art for art’s sake” has its origins in France in the nineteenth century, where the slogan is expressed as “l’art pour l’art”. The Latin version “Ars gratia artis” came much later, in 1924. That’s when MGM’s publicist chose it for the studio’s logo, sitting under Leo the lion. Who’d a thunk it?

55 New Haven alum : ELI

The city of New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1638 by Puritan immigrants from England. New Haven is home to Yale University. The city also initiated the first public tree planting program in the country. The large elms included in the program led to New Haven being called “the Elm City”.

56 Present mo. : DEC

December is the twelfth month in our calendar but was the tenth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the name (“decem” is Latin for “ten”). Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” (February) were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

57 Classic muscle cars : GTS

In the automotive world, “GT” stands for “Grand Touring” or “Gran Turismo”.

58 __ salt : SEA

The lobbyists have done their job when it comes to the labelling of “sea salt”. In the US, sea salt doesn’t even have to come from the sea. The argument is that all salt came from the sea if you look back far enough. The politics of food; don’t get me started …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 __ de deux: ballet dance : PAS
4 Spell : TRANCE
10 Rite opener? : AMI-
13 “Fire away!” : ASK!
14 Web banners : HEADERS
15 Auerbach of the Black Keys : DAN
16 Casual appetizer : CHIPS AND DIP
18 Tap quaff : ALE
19 Sunday cry : AMEN!
20 Sneaky critic : SNIPER
22 Sweater mishap : SNAG
23 Tool for flooring jobs : TILE CUTTER
27 Extra qtrs. : OTS
28 Game fish : BONITO
29 __ boots : GO-GO
30 Designated spaces for some riders : BIKE LANES
32 One of 12, usually : JUROR
33 Ruminant’s mouthful : CUD
34 Natural drier : AIR
35 Concrete support rod : REBAR
38 Opening : INAUGURAL
44 Qatari chief : EMIR
45 Masses : DROVES
46 Source of iron : ORE
47 Rewards earner, perhaps : CARDHOLDER
49 “And another thing … ” : ALSO ..
50 Breaks up : ENDS IT
51 Wheel connector : AXLE
52 Beaver creation : DAM
53 Mesclun, and a hint to the circled squares : MIXED GREENS
59 GPS calculation : ETA
60 Folded breakfast fare : OMELETS
61 Conk out : DIE
62 Place to relax : DEN
63 War zone lifesavers : MEDICS
64 LG rival : RCA

Down

1 D.C. funding group : PAC
2 Her 2002 self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 : ASHANTI
3 Protection on the slopes : SKI MASK
4 Afternoon brew : TEA
5 Sought office : RAN
6 Total : ADD
7 Former Royals manager Yost : NED
8 Shortening brand : CRISCO
9 College sports channel : ESPNU
10 Charger accessory : ADAPTOR
11 Cause of some tough-guy behavior : MALE EGO
12 Mistakenly : IN ERROR
14 Channel that can be costly to watch : HSN
17 Cribbage piece : PEG
21 Geek Squad employee, for short : IT GURU
22 __ story : SOB
23 Creep : TOAD
24 Cozy stopover : INN
25 Shakira’s “Hips Don’t __” : LIE
26 Aliens, briefly : ETS
28 Make unclear : BLUR
31 Some last-minute birthday greetings : E-CARDS
32 Dances for leprechauns : JIGS
34 Violinist Leopold : AUER
35 Drew back : RECEDED
36 Exude (from) : EMANATE
37 2014 Best Picture : BIRDMAN
38 Like offline interaction, initially : IRL
39 Doze : NOD
40 Urban way: Abbr. : AVE
41 Burrito feature? : ROLLED R
42 “__ and Old Lace” : ARSENIC
43 Celestial feline : LEO
45 Complete a sentence : DO TIME
48 Mouthed sideline greeting : HI MOM!
49 Log splitter : AXE
51 MGM motto word : ARS
54 Chose on a form, with “in” : XED
55 New Haven alum : ELI
56 Present mo. : DEC
57 Classic muscle cars : GTS
58 __ salt : SEA

34 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 May 20, Thursday”

  1. @Bill

    I am with you on Birdman the movie. I tried to watch it but couldn’t even make it through the first third. I thought it was awful.

    1. From what I understand, a lot of “Best Picture” films are on the list more for political reasons than anything to do with their actual quality. For the Best Picture nominees I’ve seen lately (think since 2000), I would tend to agree with that…

  2. Difficult one today and I finally finished when I saw the theme;
    however I had “leader” instead of “header”, so that ruined the NW
    corner. However I still don’t understand the “rolledr” for the burrito
    answer unless it is a pronunciation issue such as rolling ones r’s.

  3. 12:14, no errors. Very clever. I unscrambled most of the words as I went along, but “ARUGULA” took me another minute or two. It seems like that was/is a fad thing I never really got into: give me plain old lettuce and I’m happy … 😜.

  4. Was RCA ever really a competitor with LG; wasn’t it gone before LG showed on the scene? We had a classic 13″ black and white RCA when I was growing up in the sixties. When my parents bought a 25″ color Zenith console it was like we crossed over into the Promised Land.

  5. 29:30 no errors…I got half way through the across clues before I got my first answer but then it opened up…I was looking for various shades of green rather than edible ones and gave up but the puzzle was done by then.
    Stay safe.

  6. No Errors today. Took some time though. My Dad used to eat endive with bacon grease poured over it!

    1. Wow! Weird (half-)memory: I was someplace in the southern US, in a restaurant, and was asked if I wanted … was it dressing? … on a salad? … or something else? Anyway, what it turned out to be was plain old bacon grease on … whatever it was. Maybe someone here will jog my memory a bit more … 🤨.

      1. There’s a tendency to follow old cuisine, which involved making use of everything, including the grease produced by cooking stuff. In one of my ancestor’s writings that I went through for editing a book (more interesting now since they lived through the Spanish flu and talk about what that was like – of course the problem with indie stuff is always promoting it), they mention using “every part of the pig but the squeal”. That’s weird to us, since food was rarer (and prepped personally) back in the early 20th century, but a few of the practices still survive in Southern cuisine like this one.

        I don’t do gravy generally because it’s made that way (sometimes mixed with milk and other stuff) and that was likely what you had. Something that would accept gravy like biscuits or southern fried chicken or something similar.

        1. That helps! I was asked if I wanted gravy on something! I said yes and the “gravy” turned out to be bacon grease. But I still can’t remember what the “something” was that they put it on. I think it was a side that I usually don’t have, but I can’t picture what it was. Maybe it’ll come to me overnight … 😜

          (Actually, I’m familiar with using “every part of the pig but the squeal” and I’m not opposed to bacon grease per se, but I feel that it needs to be used as an ingredient in gravy, not all by itself.)

    2. @Bob

      Your bacon grease comment made me laugh. It’s really Hot bacon dressing where the bacon is fried and the grease is drained and then you add in the other ingredients like vinegar, a little sugar, some corn starch, some water and seasonings etc. it is poured warm over whatever greens you happen to be eating.

  7. I had Techie 21-D instead of IT Guru…messed me up for awhile. Never used
    “IT Guru” in that kind of reference. Woz (from Apple) is an example of an IT Guru…not the Geek Squad…just sayin’

  8. Couldn’t get out of the NE for some reason until I got “go go” boots. How old is that? Decades!!! Got all except 38A. Just had a brain freeze thing happen I guess. Otherwise it was OK for a Thurs. It is Thurs. isn’t it?

    Re: RCA, I’ve noticed that it is used a lot even though it’s not really a competitor any more. I just know if 3 letters are needed they want RCA.

  9. Greetings!

    I am a casual solver, and stumbled here by accident.

    I am responsible for having one of the clues in the on-line versions changed.

    The clue, “2014 Best Picture”. If you Google that phrase, you get “12 Years a Slave.”

    The answer in today’s puzzle was “Birdman.”

    So, after sending off my email to the publisher, I did a bit more digging.

    Birdman was *released* in 2014, and won Best Picture in Jan ’15.

    So, now that it’s been changed in the WaPo and LA Times (and others), I’m now thinking I may have jumped the gun claiming the clue was “wrong”.

    Opinions?

    1. @Timbered
      This is a common enough question that Bill has actually FAQed this question on the site. Basically put, any ceremony honors the films released the previous year. So as lists such as this confirms, Birdman won the 2015 Best Picture. You are indeed correct.

      1. I disagree with this but it is probably a sign of the changing times versus anyone being right or wrong. I play a lot of trivia (online and in bars – before the Great Pandemic of 2020) and when someone references the 2014 Best Picture, they are referring to the Best Picture of 2014. If they want to refer to the film that won in 2014, they say 2014 Best Picture Winner or refer to the iteration of the awards show (86th Academy Awards). Crosswords may generally use a different style but the clue still works for us younger trivia nerds.

        1. Glenn- that link shows the years of the awards not the year the movie came out. Birdman won for best picture 2014- it has always been expressed that way and the link is an outlier. Aaron is right, although it has nothing to do with changing times.

  10. Finished with one error, “GEGO” boots with “ADAPTER”. GEGO boots exist; wire sculptures by the artist known as Gego. I should have known better, as I remember GoGo boots from my younger years; Nancy Sinatra sang about them, “These boots are made for walking… all over you”. Some of the clues were a stretch, and I have never heard of “amirite” either. Not entirely a fair word, IMHO. And a big “Thanks” to those who answered my question regarding case.

  11. Some very interesting comments. We could only get about 75% on this one. Too tricky,
    too hard and too many unknowns. Another poor two days after Tuesday.

    Glenn didn’t report a solving time?

    Stay safe, everybody.

  12. @Daigles – this’ll make you feel better: I had to Google for 4: MESCLUN,
    MALE EGO, AUER, BIRDMAN (which I looked up twice as per @Timbered.
    Also did not know IRL and DAN.

    When I was teaching in state prison, some of my class told me that one of my students has a speech impediment in Spanish. It turned out he tripped or had a catch in rolling his r’s.

    My father was from Baltimore and they ate the whole pig. Maybe not the bristles. There was fatback, scrapple and something called Poor Man’s Cake which consisted of a piece of bread spread thickly with fat or grease and sprinkled with sugar. those 3 items I thought were yucky, but I admit to liking fried dicedsalted fat, and from another animal, beef tongue. My mother created a breakfast consisting of deep fried balls of cornmeal mixed with corn kernels – with maple syrup poured over – her touch of New England.

  13. 13 minutes, 23 seconds, no errors, not even the absurd AMI (RITE). No excuse for that lame clue.

  14. Fairly tough Thursday for me; took me 50 minutes with 2, I guess, dumb errors. I decided to take “Rite opener?” literally and put Ar I. And, for “tough guy…” I decided roLE EGO fit since I didn’t know Dan Auerbach. Should have gotten MALE EGO, especially after struggling through the rest of this puzzle.

    I did use the theme, which helped me get lettuce and arugula, so that I could change techie to IT GURU. Mixed greens is my favorite salad; here they called Herb Salad Mix and the arugula is the best part. I also had to change may to DEC – clever little clue… Has anyone else noticed that there are omelets and omlets, depending on what they need?

    re bacon grease – I used to hang out at this one bar, where a patron described something called “fried lettuce”, which I thought sounded really strange, but apparently is a real thing as Google just showed me the recipe(s). One actually involves lightly frying the lettuce in bacon grease, along with vinegar, water, sugar, onions and S&P. He claimed it tasted great.

    @Carrie – Had to slip that in yesterday, since they used it in the puzzle 🙂 I did a little stumble over it when I wanted to put GASP in the space, until I realized it was a carrieword. ™

  15. Have done LA Times puzzle daily for years…and never came across an “error”.
    But, “Rite opener”? and AMI?
    I think that I am rite about this. After all, there is more that one right way to spell rite, but certainly not as a clue for AMI.
    Rite? Or wrong?

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