LA Times Crossword 10 Jun 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Joe Schewe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Water Down

Themed answers are all in the DOWN-direction, and each includes the letter sequence “HHO” (H2O, WATER):

  • 31D With the answer below, dilute … and a hint to the four longest answers : WATER …
  • 59D See the answer above : … DOWN
  • 3D Mellophone’s orchestral cousin : FRENCH HORN
  • 9D Inn for traveling students : YOUTH HOSTEL
  • 25D Not being forthcoming about : WITHHOLDING
  • 33D Home on the range : RANCH HOUSE

Bill’s time: 4m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Tip politely : DOFF

One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”. The opposite of “doff” is “don”, meaning “to put on”.

10 Approved : OKED

Back in the late 1830s, there were some slang abbreviations coined mainly in Boston. The craze called for two-letter abbreviations of deliberately misspelled phrases. For example “no use” became “KY” from “know yuse”, and “enough said” became “NC” from “‘nuff ced”. Fortunately (I say!), the practice was short-lived. But, one of those abbreviations persists to this day. “All correct” was misspelled to give “oll korrect”, abbreviated to “OK”.

14 Taj Mahal locale : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

15 Longtime work animal : BURRO

Our word “burro”, meaning “donkey”, comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, namely “burrico”.

16 Michelin product : TIRE

Michelin is a manufacturer of tires that is based in France. The company was founded by brothers Édouard and André Michelin in 1888. The brothers were running a rubber factory at the time, and invented the world’s first removable pneumatic tire, an invention that they used to launch their new company. Michelin is also noted for rating restaurants and accommodation in its famous Michelin Travel Guides, awarding coveted Michelin “stars”.

18 It may be bid : ADIEU

“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

19 Target Field MLBer : TWIN

Target Field is a baseball park in Minneapolis, Minnesota that has been home to the Minnesota Twins since the stadium opening in 2010. Target Corporation, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, paid an undisclosed sum to get the naming rights of the park.

24 Talons : CLAWS

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

28 Rhine whine : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

The river running through Europe that we know in English as the Rhine, is called “Rhein” in German, “Rhin” in French and “Rijn” in Dutch.

32 Mass media magnate : HEARST

William Randolph Hearst got into publishing when he took over “The San Francisco Examiner” from his father George Hearst. Beyond his work in the newspaper business, William Randolph Hearst was also a politician and represented a district of New York in the US House. His life was the inspiration for the lead role in the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles playing the Hearst-like character. If you’re ever driving along the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’d recommend a stop at Hearst Castle, William Randolph’s magnificent estate located near San Simeon.

37 Gillette brand : 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.

39 Old Testament prophet : AMOS

Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament’s Book of Amos is attributed to him.

44 High-ranking angel : SERAPH

A seraph is a celestial being found in Hebrew and Christian writings. The word “seraph” (plural “seraphim”) literally translates as “burning one”. Seraphs are the highest-ranking angels in the Christian tradition, and the fifth-ranking of ten in the Jewish tradition.

46 Rebuke from Caesar : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

48 Only NFL team without a helmet logo, on scoreboards : CLE

The Cleveland Browns football team was a charter member of the All-American Football Conference, formed in 1946. Cleveland is the only NFL city that has never hosted nor sent a team to the Super Bowl. And, the Browns are the only NFL team without a logo on their helmets.

49 Big shot : HONCHO

“Honcho” is a slang term meaning “leader”. The word comes to us from Japanese military, in which language a “hancho” is a “squad” (han) “leader” (cho).

50 Snorkeling site : REEF

Our word “snorkel” comes from German navy slang “Schnorchel” meaning “nose, snout”. The German slang was applied to an air-shaft used for submarines, due to its resemblance to a nose, in that air passed through it and it made a “snoring” sound. “Schnorchel” comes from “Schnarchen”, the German for “snore”.

51 Half a bray : HEE-

Heehaw!

63 Day when 46-Across was spoken : IDES

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

64 Key material : IVORY

The traditional materials used for the manufacture of piano keys were ebony (black) and ivory (white). Ebony is still used, but now for both white and black keys. The white keys are made by covering ebony with white plastic.

67 Subtle glow : AURA

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

70 Bygone despot : TSAR

A despot is a ruler with absolute power, and often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century that is ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

72 Blokes : GENTS

“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

Down

1 Like many a cellar : DAMP

Our word “cellar” comes from the Latin “cellarium”, meaning “pantry, storeroom”. The literal translation of the Latin is “group of cells”.

2 Fancy molding : OGEE

An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).

3 Mellophone’s orchestral cousin : FRENCH HORN

The brass instrument known as a “horn” is sometimes informally called a “French horn”. But, the French horn isn’t French at all, and instead originated in Germany. Very confusing …

A mellophone is a brass instrument that is also known as an alto horn. The mellophone often replaces horns in marching bands.

5 Lawyer’s org. : ABA

American Bar Association (ABA)

6 Wasp nest component : MUD

While the wasp is considered to be a nuisance by many, the insect is very important to the agricultural industry. Wasps prey on many pest insects, while having very little impact on crops.

7 Pupil’s place : IRIS

The pupil of the eye is the hole located in the center of the iris through which light enters the retina. The term “pupil” came into English via French from the latin “pupilla”, which is the diminutive form of “pupa” meaning “girl, doll”. The term came about due to the tiny doll-like image that one can see of oneself when looking into the center of another’s eyes.

8 Beech and birch : TREES

Beech wood is prized as firewood as it burns for many hours with a bright flame and is easily split.

Birch is a hardwood tree. The smooth bark of the birch has eye-like features, leading to the tree’s nickname of “the Watchful Tree”.

10 Hassock cousins : OTTOMANS

The piece of furniture known as an ottoman can be a couch, usually one with a head but no back or sides. Here in the US, the term more commonly applies to a padded and upholstered seat or bench that can also be used as a footrest. The original ottoman couch came from the Ottoman Empire, hence the name.

A hassock is an item of furniture that is covered in cloth and used as a low seat or footstool. The term “hassock” comes from the Old English “hassuc” meaning “clump of grass”. “Hassock” was first used to describe a kneeling cushion, a usage that persists in churches to this day.

11 Fuzzy fruit : KIWI

What we call kiwifruit today (and sometimes just “kiwi”) used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, and then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.

12 “__ go bragh!” : ERIN

“Erin go bragh!” is an anglicization of the Irish phrase “Éirinn go Brách!”, which translates as “Ireland Forever!”

21 Soap brand : LAVA

Lava is a brand of soap that was introduced as a heavy-duty cleanser in 1893. Unlike like soaps that are marketed using a “soft” image, Lava touts the inclusion of ground pumice that is intended to abrade grime off the skin. Pumice is found in certain types of lava ejected from a volcano, hence the name of the soap.

23 Embarkation location : PIER

In getting on and off a seagoing vessel, one embarks and debarks. The terms come from the name of the small ship known as a barque.

26 Antitoxins : SERA

Blood serum (plural “sera”) is the clear, yellowish part of blood i.e. that part which is neither a blood cell nor a clotting factor. Included in blood serum are antibodies, the proteins that are central to our immune system. Blood serum from animals that have immunity to a particular disease can be transferred to another individual, hence providing that second individual with some level of immunity. Blood serum used to pass on immunity can be called “antiserum”.

29 Hitchcock film trademark : CAMEO

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to play himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

Alfred Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance in 39 of his 52 movies. My favorite, and perhaps the most innovative, is in the movie “Lifeboat”. In the film, there is a limited cast, just the people in a lifeboat and no extras. Hitchcock managed to make his appearance in a print ad in a newspaper read by one of the survivors in the boat.

34 Clichéd : STALE

“Cliché” is a word that comes from the world of printing. In the days when type was added as individual letters into a printing plate, for efficiency some oft-used phrases and words were created as one single slug of metal. The word “cliché” was used for such a grouping of letters. It’s easy to see how the same word would become a term to describe any overused phrase. Supposedly, “cliché” comes from French, from the verb “clicher” meaning “to click”. The idea is that when a matrix of letters was dropped in molten metal to make a cliché, it made a clicking sound.

35 Home on the range : TEPEE

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

40 Room for vestments : SACRISTY

A “sacristy” is a place where “sacred” things are stored. It is usually a room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are stored.

42 Nice saisons : ETES

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

47 Alien craft : UFOS

Unidentified flying object (UFO)

53 Flood deterrent : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

58 City near Phoenix : MESA

The city of Mesa, Arizona is in effect a suburb of Phoenix. The original settlement of non-Native Americans was founded by Daniel Webster Jones who led a Mormon group from St. George, Utah. The settlement was first called Jonesville, then Fort Utah and eventually Lehi. A second group of Mormons arrived and formed a settlement on top of a nearby mesa. It was this use of a mesa that eventually gave the city its current name.

61 Like some vaccines : ORAL

A vaccine is a modified virus that is administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity. British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.

62 Oater bro : PARD

The term “oater” that is used for a Western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!

65 No longer working: Abbr. : RET

Retired (ret.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tip politely : DOFF
5 Friendship : AMITY
10 Approved : OKED
14 Taj Mahal locale : AGRA
15 Longtime work animal : BURRO
16 Michelin product : TIRE
17 Competition with runners : MEET
18 It may be bid : ADIEU
19 Target Field MLBer : TWIN
20 Kind of code : PENAL
22 Tense tennis situation : SET POINT
24 Talons : CLAWS
27 Leveling wedge : SHIM
28 Rhine whine : ACH!
30 Opinion : VIEW
32 Mass media magnate : HEARST
36 “Harrumph!” : BAH!
37 Gillette brand : ATRA
38 Showy : ORNATE
39 Old Testament prophet : AMOS
41 Strong aversions : HATES
43 Clothes closer : SNAP
44 High-ranking angel : SERAPH
46 Rebuke from Caesar : ET TU?
48 Only NFL team without a helmet logo, on scoreboards : CLE
49 Big shot : HONCHO
50 Snorkeling site : REEF
51 Half a bray : HEE-
52 Rock’s mate? : ROLL
54 Splatter in a puddle : SLOSH
56 Helped remember : REMINDED
60 Diving action : SWOOP
63 Day when 46-Across was spoken : IDES
64 Key material : IVORY
67 Subtle glow : AURA
68 Essence : GIST
69 More contemporary : NEWER
70 Bygone despot : TSAR
71 Night at an inn, e.g. : STAY
72 Blokes : GENTS
73 Conducted, as a meeting : HELD

Down

1 Like many a cellar : DAMP
2 Fancy molding : OGEE
3 Mellophone’s orchestral cousin : FRENCH HORN
4 Like the most serious error : FATAL
5 Lawyer’s org. : ABA
6 Wasp nest component : MUD
7 Pupil’s place : IRIS
8 Beech and birch : TREES
9 Inn for traveling students : YOUTH HOSTEL
10 Hassock cousins : OTTOMANS
11 Fuzzy fruit : KIWI
12 “__ go bragh!” : ERIN
13 Bad impression : DENT
21 Soap brand : LAVA
23 Embarkation location : PIER
25 Not being forthcoming about : WITHHOLDING
26 Antitoxins : SERA
28 Embarrass : ABASH
29 Hitchcock film trademark : CAMEO
31 With the answer below, dilute … and a hint to the four longest answers : WATER …
33 Home on the range : RANCH HOUSE
34 Clichéd : STALE
35 Home on the range : TEPEE
40 Room for vestments : SACRISTY
42 Nice saisons : ETES
45 Sound prefix : PHON-
47 Alien craft : UFOS
53 Flood deterrent : LEVEE
55 Mower’s path : SWATH
56 Readies for sailing : RIGS
57 Cut text, e.g. : EDIT
58 City near Phoenix : MESA
59 See the answer above : … DOWN
61 Like some vaccines : ORAL
62 Oater bro : PARD
65 No longer working: Abbr. : RET
66 Mos. and mos. : YRS

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 10 Jun 20, Wednesday”

  1. No errors; easy going this morning. I didn’t realize the theme,
    although I realized the long answers had HHO in them and I had
    the “water down” answer, I didn’t connect the two clues. Pretty
    clever of the puzzle maker, pretty dense for me. But then, it’s
    early in the morning.

  2. Easy Wednesday. Didn’t notice the theme. Didn’t know CLE or SWOOP (sports).
    OTTOMeN passed through my brain til I realized the OTTOMAN was not a man, but an empire.

    1. Well, to be even nit-pickier, it isn’t written as “H2O”, either: the “2” should be written as a subscript. Crossword puzzle themes are often interpreted loosely and playfully.

  3. Struggled a bit with this one. However, LAVA soap was introduced in 1893, not 1983, as I remember using it when I was a kid (way before 1983!)

    1. That would be an “oops”. Thanks for catching it, and for taking the time to tell me about it. All fixed now. The help is much appreciated.

  4. Not very challenging, but the theme elicited a nice groan from me when I figured it out, and I appreciated that, as I love puns, especially bad ones.

    1. @Lawrence – Bad puns you say? Okay then…

      A group of Irish Monks needs to make payments on their belfry, so they decide to sell flowers to make money. For weeks they sell flowers, and it’s going well. Too well in fact, they’ve begun to run the local florist, Patty O’Flannigan out of town. Well, a bit cheesed at the monks jumping in on his territory, he decides to confront them. He asks them to step off, politely, but they simply respond that, “That’s no way to talk to men of God!”, and throw him out of their monastery. For weeks this goes on, the monks selling flowers, and the florist getting more and more desperate to make them stop. Finally, he goes to Hugh Mactaggart, the biggest, baddest man in town — he could get anyone to leave town — so Patty decides he’s the best way to get rid of the monks, gives him the rest of the money, and retires to bed, wary of the results. In the morning, a knock on his door reveals Mactaggart, offering a firm handshake and saying, “They shan’t be botherin’ ya again Patty.” The moral of the story is, Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.

  5. I was just super proud that we got it until I read the comments and saw
    the solving times of Glenn and Bill. Good to be the company of super
    puzzlers. You other guys and gals are super good, too.

    I have seen water written as HOH (hydrogen hydroxide).

    I played the mellophone, French horn and cornet (short trumpet) in my high-school
    band. The mellophone has valves for the notes, while the French horn and cornet
    have valves. Fingering for the notes is the same on all three instruments.

  6. Ok puzzle, theme is kinda weird. HHO, I must be on another plant today. Doesn’t click in for me, but that’s nothing new.

  7. Correction. The French horn has three long, horizontal or semi-vertical levers
    for the notes, while the mellophone and cornet have three vertical valves. The
    fingerings are the same for the notes from all three instruments.

  8. Nice easy Wednesday; took me 16 minutes with no errors. Didn’t know SERAPH and SACRISTY directly, mostly knew them from crosswords. Also, didn’t make the connection of the reveal to the theme clues until I got here.

    @Carrie – What’s going on with you? Are you still in and out of the hospital? I hope you’re all right; haven’t seen your byline on a regular basis. Stay healthy!

    1. Hi Dirk! Thanks so much for asking! I’m okay– I STILL don’t have a diagnosis as to why I was so dangerously anemic but they’ve eliminated the worst case scenarios with a slew of tests. Another abdominal CT scan coming up next week. At least I’m less frantic than I was for a few weeks tho….doctors are optimistic. I actually became hooked on solitaire during all the waiting, whether in hospitals or while waiting for test results. So, I’ve been playing solitaire more and doing puzzles less. Don’t have to think as much with solitaire!! Weird all this during a pandemic. I’m still around and will keep puzzling. 🤗

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