LA Times Crossword 11 Jun 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Paul Coulter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Fail to Find the Answers

Themed answers are different idiomatic phrases meaning “FAIL”:

  • 17A Fail at a barbecue? : FLAME OUT
  • 23A Fail on a field? : DROP THE BALL
  • 36A Fail in a ring? : TAKE IT ON THE CHIN
  • 46A Fail at a dock? : MISS THE BOAT
  • 58A Fail on a dance floor? : FALL FLAT

Bill’s time: 7m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Color similar to sand : ECRU

The color ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

5 NBC show since 1975 : SNL

NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.

8 Instrument played with a plectrum : GUITAR

A plectrum (also “pick”) is a flat tool, usually held in the fingers, that is used to strum or pluck a stringed instrument. “Plectrum” (plural “plectra”) is the Latin name for the device.

14 Lorelei Lee’s creator : LOOS

Anita Loos was an American screenwriter and author who was most famous for her novel “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” that was first published in 1925. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was originally published as a series of short stories in “Harper’s Bazaar”. The heroine of the story was Lorelei Lee, a “flapper” who was less interested in marriage than she was in collecting expensive gifts from her many gentleman admirers.

17 Fail at a barbecue? : FLAME OUT

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

19 One of the lesser apes : GIBBON

Gibbons are referred to as lesser apes as they differ in size and behavior from the great apes e.g. chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans.

20 Star in the Plowman constellation : ARCTURUS

Arcturus is a star in the northern celestial hemisphere. It is the fourth brightest star in the sky, after Sirius, Canopus and Alpha Centauri. The name “Arcturus” comes from the Greek for “Guardian of the Bear”, as it lies in a constellation that is close to the Greater and Lesser Bears (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor).

Boötes is a constellation that includes the orange giant Arcturus, the fourth-brightest star in the night sky. . The name “Boötes” is Greek for “plowman”, or more literally “ox-driver”).

29 Simple partner? : PURE

Pure and simple.

30 OPEC member : IRAN

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrest control of oil prices from the oil companies and put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.

33 Pop duo __ & Him : SHE

She & Him is a musical duo comprising guitarist M. Ward and vocalist Zooey Deschanel, the noted actress. Ward and Deschanel met on the film set for “The Go-Getter” in 2007, and got together to sing over the film’s end credits.

56 Big name in sports caps : NEW ERA

The New Era Cap Company is a headwear manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York. It is New Era that supplies all the official baseball caps used by the Major League teams.

60 Competed on TV’s “Ink Master” : TATTED

“Ink Master” is a reality television show that first aired in 2012. The show is a competition between tattoo artists. I don’t think I would like to get a tattoo as part of a competition …

61 Quaint word of disapproval : FIE

“Fie” and “ptui” are both exclamations of disgust.

62 Game for which Wyatt Earp was once a dealer : FARO

Faro is a card game somewhat akin to Baccarat that was popular in England and France in the 18th century. Faro made it to the Old West, where it became a favorite of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. The origin of the name “Faro” is unclear. One popular theory is that Faro is a contraction of ‘pharaoh’ given that Egyptian motifs used to be common on playing cards of the period. There’s another theory involving the usual suspects: Irish immigrants and famines …

Wyatt Earp is famous as one of the participants in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Earp was a city policeman in Wichita, Kansas and also in Dodge City, Kansas. Earp was also deputy sheriff in Tombstone, Arizona where the O.K. Corral gunfight took place. Years later, Earp joined the Alaska Gold Rush and with a partner built and operated the Dexter Saloon in Nome.

63 “In the Land of Israel” author : AMOS OZ

Amos Oz is an Israeli writer. Oz has written 18 books in Hebrew and his works have been translated into 30 languages, including Arabic.

65 Triathlon part : SWIM

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked in the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finishes first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

Down

1 “The Lord of the Rings” figure : ELF

J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is the second best-selling novel ever written, with only “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens having sold more copies around the world. Remarkably I think, the third best-selling novel is “The Hobbit”, which was also written by Tolkien.

2 Roy Rogers ingredient : COLA

A Roy Rogers is a mocktail comprising grenadine syrup added to cola, and usually garnished with a maraschino cherry.

4 Letters at Camp Lejeune : USMC

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The 246-square mile facility includes 14 miles of beaches, making Camp Lejeune important for amphibious assault training. Built in 1941, the base was named for the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps John A. Lejeune, who served in the USMC for nearly forty years, and who is often referred to as the “greatest of Leathernecks”.

8 Band booking : GIG

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.

9 TV’s “Fringe” involved a parallel one : UNIVERSE

“Fringe” is a sci-fi TV show that originally aired from 2008 to 2013. The show is about a team of FBI agents (in the Fringe Division) that use “fringe science” to solve mysterious occurrences related to a parallel universe.

10 Drink : IMBIBE

To imbibe is a drink or take in. The verb “to imbibe” ultimately comes from the Latin “in-” (into, in) and “bibere” (to drink).

11 Indian drum : TABLA

A tabla is a percussion instrument used mainly in the Indian subcontinent. The tabla consists of a pair of hand drums and is similar to bongos.

12 Bikini, for one : ATOLL

The name of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands comes from the Marshallese name “Pikinni”, meaning “coconut place”. Famously, Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 nuclear detonations by the US from 1946 to 1958.

13 Kidney-related : RENAL

Something described as renal is related to the kidneys. “Ren” is the Latin word for “kidney”.

18 LAX listings : ETDS

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

21 City WNW of Boca : ST PETE

Saint Petersburg, Florida is often referred to as “St. Pete” by locals and visitors alike. Located on a peninsula lying between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete was founded in 1888 and named for Saint Petersburg in Russia. The co-founders were Russian immigrant Peter Demens and Detroit native John C. Williams. The pair tossed a coin for the privilege of naming the new city, and Demens won. Williams lost, but did get to name the city’s first hostelry “The Detroit Hotel”.

The name of the city of Boca Raton in Florida translates from Spanish as “Mouse Mouth”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology of the name but one plausible explanation is a nautical one. “Boca”, as well as meaning “mouth” can mean “inlet”. “Ratón”, as well as meaning “mouse” was also used to describe rocks that chewed away at a ship’s anchor cable. So possibly Boca Raton was named for a rocky inlet.

26 Cafeteria item : TRAY

“Cafeteria” is a Mexican-Spanish word meaning “coffee store” that we imported into American English around 1840. Somehow, that coffee store became a self-service dining establishment in the 1890s.

28 Charlotte-to-Raleigh dir. : ENE

Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina. The area was settled in 1755, and incorporated in 1768. The city was named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, then queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland, and wife of King George III. As a result, Charlotte has the nickname “Queen City”. Charlotte also earned the nickname “the Hornet’s Nest”. During the Revolutionary War, British forces led by General Charles Cornwallis were driven out of the city by residents, prompting Cornwallis to describe Charlotte as “a hornet’s nest of rebellion”.

Raleigh is North Carolina’s second largest city (behind Charlotte), but it is the state’s capital. Chartered in 1792, the city is named for Sir Walter Raleigh, the Elizabethan explorer who founded the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

31 Rich desserts : TORTES

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

32 ER staffers : RNS

One might find a registered nurse (RN) and a medical doctor (MD) in an emergency room (ER).

33 Catch during practice : SHAG

To shag (I am reliably informed, never having played a game of baseball in my life!) is to chase and catch a fly ball.

35 Dept. formed under Carter : ENER

The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features a lightning bolt and symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.

37 Like much FM radio : IN STEREO

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (“amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (“frequency modulation”).

38 Brit’s “Baloney!” : TOSH!

“Tosh” is British slang for “foolish nonsense”, and is likely a combination of “trash” and “bosh”.

39 100 yrs. : CEN

Century (cen.)

44 Hawthorne title septet : GABLES

I had the pleasure of visiting the charming House of Seven Gables a few years ago in Salem, Massachusetts. The core of the house was built in 1668, for one Captain John Turner, and overlooks Salem Harbor. After a couple of generations, the house had to be sold by the Turners and it was purchased by the Ingersoll family. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne was a relative of the Ingersolls and often visited the house growing up. It was this house that gave Hawthorn the title for his famous Gothic novel “The House of the Seven Gables”.

46 Reef denizen : MANTA

The manta ray is the largest species of ray, with the largest one recorded at over 25 feet across and weighing 5,100 pounds. It is sometimes referred to as the sea devil.

49 Role for Kristy and Sarah : BUFFY

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a TV series that originally aired from 1997 to 2003. “Buffy …” was incredibly successful, especially given that it wasn’t aired on one of the big four networks. The show was created by Joss Whedon and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role.

Before the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” launched in 1997, there was a 1992 “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie. The film starred Kristy Swanson as Buffy Summers. Joss Whedon wrote the movie’s screenplay, before creating the TV show.

55 Byron of “MythBusters” : KARI

Kari Byron is a female member of the team that presented the original version of the TV show “Mythbusters”. After “Mythbusters”, went on to co-host the Netflix show “White Rabbit Project”. She published a memoir titled “Crash Test Girl” in 2018.

“MythBusters” is an entertaining TV show that was originally hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage. Prior to the launch of “Mythbusters”, Hyneman and Savage had both developed careers in the world of special effects. In the show, the hosts test the validity of myths and assumptions used in famous movie scenes.

57 Cutting tool : ADZ

An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe blade is set in line with the shaft.

59 Brady of Tampa Bay, now : TOM

Quarterback Tom Brady signed up with the New England Patriots in 2000, and led the team to more Super Bowl appearances than any other player in history. Brady is from San Mateo, California, which isn’t very far from here. He dated actress Bridget Moynahan for a couple of years, and the pair have a child together. Brady has been married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen since 2009.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the Bucs) joined the NFL in 1976, along with the Seattle Seahawks, as an expansion team. The Bucs had a tough start in the NFL, losing their first 26 games. Things went better in the early eighties, but then the team went through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Their luck changed again though, and they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Color similar to sand : ECRU
5 NBC show since 1975 : SNL
8 Instrument played with a plectrum : GUITAR
14 Lorelei Lee’s creator : LOOS
15 Middling grade : CEE
16 Con : INMATE
17 Fail at a barbecue? : FLAME OUT
19 One of the lesser apes : GIBBON
20 Star in the Plowman constellation : ARCTURUS
22 Fancy home : VILLA
23 Fail on a field? : DROP THE BALL
25 Pressure : STRESS
29 Simple partner? : PURE
30 OPEC member : IRAN
31 Head lock : TRESS
33 Pop duo __ & Him : SHE
36 Fail in a ring? : TAKE IT ON THE CHIN
40 Artist’s skill : EYE
41 Like crook and creek, etymologically : NORSE
42 Nesting site : EAVE
43 One spelling a superior: Abbr. : ASST
44 Bread flavoring : GINGER
46 Fail at a dock? : MISS THE BOAT
51 Cheapen : ABASE
52 Beachgoer’s protection : SUNBLOCK
56 Big name in sports caps : NEW ERA
58 Fail on a dance floor? : FALL FLAT
60 Competed on TV’s “Ink Master” : TATTED
61 Quaint word of disapproval : FIE
62 Game for which Wyatt Earp was once a dealer : FARO
63 “In the Land of Israel” author : AMOS OZ
64 Age abbr. : YRS
65 Triathlon part : SWIM

Down

1 “The Lord of the Rings” figure : ELF
2 Roy Rogers ingredient : COLA
3 Big laugh : ROAR
4 Letters at Camp Lejeune : USMC
5 Scrubs : SCOURS
6 Introduction to chemistry? : NEURO-
7 Abate : LET UP
8 Band booking : GIG
9 TV’s “Fringe” involved a parallel one : UNIVERSE
10 Drink : IMBIBE
11 Indian drum : TABLA
12 Bikini, for one : ATOLL
13 Kidney-related : RENAL
18 LAX listings : ETDS
21 City WNW of Boca : ST PETE
24 “Pipe down!” : HUSH!
25 Place : SITE
26 Cafeteria item : TRAY
27 Autumn item : RAKE
28 Charlotte-to-Raleigh dir. : ENE
31 Rich desserts : TORTES
32 ER staffers : RNS
33 Catch during practice : SHAG
34 Busy place : HIVE
35 Dept. formed under Carter : ENER
37 Like much FM radio : IN STEREO
38 Brit’s “Baloney!” : TOSH!
39 100 yrs. : CEN
43 Holdings : ASSETS
44 Hawthorne title septet : GABLES
45 “__ take time” : IT’LL
46 Reef denizen : MANTA
47 Construction girder : I-BEAM
48 Took care of : SAW TO
49 Role for Kristy and Sarah : BUFFY
50 Live, TV-wise : ON AIR
53 Rubs out : OFFS
54 Cat’s scratcher : CLAW
55 Byron of “MythBusters” : KARI
57 Cutting tool : ADZ
59 Brady of Tampa Bay, now : TOM

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Jun 20, Thursday”

  1. No errors. A little astrology, a little british, throw in a few odd voweled authors,.. Bit of a mashup for a Thursday…. Shagged many a balls in my day.. Even when I was bat boy for the local team, coach would always ask ME to shag balls for him. Quite the honor at 10 or 11…. Then when I became coach, I selected my shagger. I could see the same eagerness in their eyes.. Good times..

    Be safe.

  2. Never heard of shag, but I didn’t play ball. Was a good puzzle and theme. Missed afew, the author, sports cap, & Indian drum but worked around to get it. Fun.

  3. Theme was nice. Some of the fill…. not so nice. Not sure how Arcturus made it into a puzzle but then I’m not an astronomer.

      1. @Rich … I’m afraid that “to tat” has taken on an additional meaning. Check out this Wiktionary entry (Etymology 4, verb):

        https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/tat

        The language moves on, leaving us in its wake … 😜.

        (And, since I’m posting another link, I have to disguise my “name” to defeat the spam filter.)

  4. No errors, some knowledge, but a bit more luck as I didn’t know
    Amos Oz. I wondered about 56A, but understand now when Bill
    broke it into two words….new era. Duh!

  5. 28:20 no errors…IMO a tattoo is about the ugliest thing a person can do to their body especially women…I hope I’m not offending any of you but it really turns me off.
    Stay safe

  6. rough Thursday. 4 Googles (LOOS, ARCTURUS, NEW ERA, TATTED), and an error: pRESS for TRESS. Thought it was a sports reference. Some more I didn’t know: FARO, COLA, USMC, NEURO, SHAG, KARI. To me, SHAG means to have sex.
    The theme was good.
    @Jack – Agree; also piercings anywhere but the ears, and smoking, though I indulged decades ago.
    Oh, and SHE and him are bad grammar.

    1. Re “She & Him”: Truly bad grammar, but that’s what the duo call themselves:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_%26_Him

      And, since I’m here:

      LAT: 12:05, no errors.

      Had a serious scare two days ago, when it was reported to me that my daughter, in LA, had had all the symptoms of Covid-19 for four days. Then, last night, I got word that a test came back negative and she is improving, so I at least managed to get some sleep.

      Since the test did not actually look for antibodies, it’s possible that she was exposed at some time in the past, had a mild case, recovered, and is now experiencing some of the weird aftereffects that have been reported in the literature.

      We live in strange times … and they’re not over … 😳.

      And I agree about tattoos and piercings … yucch! … (but I’m a certified old fart … 😜).

  7. I really got stuck on the “Roy Rogers ingredient”. I kept trying to think what they add to those roast beef sandwiches. Finally, I concluded it was “cola” but didn’t know why until I read Bill’s blog. My husband and I watch a lot of British TV (this doesn’t help me with the American TV clues). We never heard anyone say “tosh”.
    Jack: I also hate the site of tatoos and I actually feel bad when I see young, attractive people covered in them. I was surprised that they became so popular. Not a fan of most piercings either. I have to look away as fast as I can when I see one.

  8. No errors, but plenty of thinking time on 46 Down “Reef denizen” as Manta Rays are open ocean fish.

  9. Had to look up the constellation star spelling of Arcturus, the rest of the puzzle was enjoyable idle time. It sure beat watching the Stock Market free fall today.

    Eddie

  10. 15 minutes, 20 seconds, and needed a ton of help from the “Check” feature to complete. 10 – 12 affected entries, mostly in the NW quadrant. Just wasn’t in sync with this puzzle at all.

  11. @Tony Michaels. I had the same problem with mantas as reef dwellers, but looked it up and found there is indeed a species of reef manta. The larger ones are for the most part open ocean denizens. Live and learn.

  12. I remembered Arcturus from an astronomy class back in the dinosaur days. The prof taught “Arc to Arcturus”. You find the last star in the handle of the Big Dipper, and then jump (in an arc) to the brightest nearby star, and there it is.
    I once was asked to give a little talk abt finding constellations, at a girls’ summer camp. As I stood to speak, all the girls “ooohed” and “aahed” in unison. I didn’t expect such an enthusiastic welcome, and then one girl told me a shooting star had flown past in the sky behind me just as I stood up. I never did figure out if it was heavenly approbation or a dire omen.

  13. Too hard for us, but we got about 80%. I found BOSH in my ancient dictionary,
    did not see NOSH. Had some other errors and omissions. Tried hard, but just did
    not solve as much as we would have liked. Expect another DNF (Did Nothing Friday)
    tomorrow. Waiting for Monday.

    Be safe and well, everybody.

  14. Nice educational Thursday for me; took 26 minutes with no errors. So, after looking up the “Arcturus” and watching several “She & Him” videos – Zooey is a real cutie and finally reading a little bit about Anita Loos, I feel I’ve learned a bit today. Also, creek is only probably Norse but crook definitely is.

    @Catherine – Nice story! I saw the Arc to Arcturus in my quick research.

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