LA Times Crossword 26 Jun 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Get Straight Fs

Themed answers are common phrases with an extra letter F added after the word “of”:

  • 57A Flunk out … and what three long answers do? : GET STRAIGHT FS
  • 20A Avian athletic contest? : GAME OF FINCHES (from “game of inches”)
  • 28A Advanced degree for a gemologist? : DOCTOR OF FLAWS (from “Doctor of Laws”)
  • 47A Metropolis, thanks to Superman? : CITY OF FLIGHTS (from “City of Lights”)

Bill’s time: 7m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 President before Wilson : TAFT

William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

Woodrow Wilson was a professor at Princeton from 1890 to 1902 at which time he was promoted to president of the university. Professor Wilson had earned his PhD. at John Hopkins University in 1886, so that when he was elected 28th President of the United States in 1912, he became the only US President to hold a PhD.

9 Classical inspiration for the 2004 film “Troy” : ILIAD

“Troy” is a 2004 epic movie based on Homer’s “Iliad” that tells the story of the Trojan War. “Troy” has quite the cast, including Brad Pitt as Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector and Diane Kruger as Helen. Most of the filming was done on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. It was an expensive film to make, with costs running at about $175 million. The film did well at the box office though, with most of the profits being made outside of the US.

16 Chip in a bowl : NACHO

The dish known as “nachos” was supposedly created by the maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The name of the maître d’ was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya.

18 Long vehicle : LIMO

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

20 Avian athletic contest? : GAME OF FINCHES (from “game of inches”)

I guess that the term “game of inches” has been applied to a few sports, most notably American football and baseball.

24 Torque symbol, in mechanics : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

Torque can be thought of as a turning force, say the force needed to tighten a bolt or a nut. In physics, torque is represented by the Greek letter tau.

25 RV chain : KOA

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was founded in 1962 by Montana businessman Dave Drum, who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. His strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, which he hoped would attract people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

Recreational vehicle (RV)

28 Advanced degree for a gemologist? : DOCTOR OF FLAWS (from “Doctor of Laws”)

The honorary degree of Legum Doctor (LL.D.) translates from the Latin as Doctor of Laws, a plural. This practice of using the plural originated in Cambridge University in England, as one was awarded an LL.D. after having been taught both Canon Law and Civil Law.

35 Push-up targets : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

45 Brewpub array : ALES

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.

47 Metropolis, thanks to Superman? : CITY OF FLIGHTS (from “City of Lights”)

In the world of DC Comics, Metropolis is a city-state in America that is inspired by real-life New York City that is home to Superman, the Man of Steel. And, while New York City is nicknamed “the Big Apple”, fictional Metropolis is nicknamed “the Big Apricot”.

The moniker “City of Lights” has been applied to many cities around the world, including Aurora, Illinois and Karachi, Pakistan. The most famous “City of Light” (singular) is Paris, France.

52 Corrida cheer : OLE!

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

53 Waze suggestion: Abbr. : RTE

Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze was developed in Israel, and was acquired by Google in 2013.

54 Estée Lauder subsidiary : AVEDA

Horst Rechelbacher was travelling in India in 1970 when he was introduced to the Hindu science of longevity called Ayurveda, which inspired him to set up his own company of skin and hair care products that he called Aveda. The company opened its doors in 1978 and is based in Blaine, Minnesota.

62 Problematic bacterium : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

64 The Mississippi forms its eastern border : IOWA

The Mississippi River runs right through the Midwest. It originates in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and flows into the Gulf of Mexico about a hundred miles below New Orleans. The name Mississippi is a corruption of a Native American name “misi-ziibi”, meaning “Great River”.

65 Northern European capital : OSLO

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

66 Singer nicknamed “The Velvet Fog” : TORME

Mel Tormé was a jazz singer, with a quality of voice that earned him the nickname “The Velvet Fog”. Tormé also wrote a few books, and did a lot of acting. He was the co-author of the Christmas classic known as “The Christmas Song”, which starts out with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …”

67 Visible pollution : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

68 Comics icon Lee : STAN

Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he had a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

70 Sun dog, e.g. : HALO

A sun dog (aslo “mock sun”) is a bright spot seen at one or both sides of the Sun when certain atmospheric conditions prevail. Sun dogs are usually caused by the scattering of light by ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.

Down

1 Kitchen picker-uppers : TONGS

A pair of tongs is a tool with a scissor-like hinge used to pick up things, like meat cooking on a barbecue grill or ice from an ice bucket. The verb “to tong” means “to handle with tongs”.

3 Like many museum paintings : FRAMED

The term “museum” comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” that denoted a temple dedicated to the “Muses”. The Muses were the patrons of the arts in Greek mythology.

4 Corrida star : TORERO

“Toreador” is an old Spanish word meaning “bullfighter”, but it’s a term not used any more in Spain nor in Latin America. In English we use the term “toreador”, but in Spanish a bullfighter is a “torero”. A female bullfighter in a “torera”.

7 Big rig : SEMI

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

8 Stat relative : PRONTO

The Spanish and Italian (and now English) word “pronto” is derived from the Latin “promptus” meaning “ready, quick”.

13 Champagne title : DOM

The honorific “Dom” is used in English for monks of certain orders, such as Benedictines and Carthusians. The term is a shortened form of the Latin “dominus” meaning “master, owner”.

Dom Pérignon is a prestige label of champagne from Moët et Chandon, the French winery. The label’s name honors the Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, who helped to improve the quality and production of champagne in the early 18th century. Although Dom Pérignon made major contributions to champagne production, many of the stories in which he figures are just myths. He did not “invent” champagne, nor sparkling wine in general. Nor did he say the famous words, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”. That lovely line first appeared in a print advertisement in the late 1800s!

21 Like much ’80s-’90s music : ON CD

The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.

22 Half-__: coffee order : CAF

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

26 Wilson who voiced Lightning McQueen in “Cars” films : OWEN

Actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.

“Cars” is a 2006 animated feature from Pixar. The great cast of voice actors includes Paul Newman in his last movie role before he passed away in 2008.

30 Hematite, for one : 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).

32 Yellow __ : LAB

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

35 Somewhat, to Schubert : POCO

“Poco” is an Italian word for “little”, and is used in musical notation to mean “a little, slightly”.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer who was particularly noted for his large portfolio of lieder (songs). Schubert is also famous for his “Unfinished Symphony”. Schubert’s “Symphony No. 7” was left as a draft after he passed away, and as such was “unfinished”. However, it was more complete than his “Symphony No. 8”, which is the one we know as “The Unfinished”.

37 One in a Trivial Pursuit sextet : CATEGORY

Trivial Pursuit was invented in 1979 by two Canadians from Montreal. The pair decided to come up with their own game after they discovered that there were pieces missing from the game of Scrabble that they wanted to play. There was a full blown launch of a commercial version of the game in 1982. In 2008, Hasbro bought the complete rights to Trivial Pursuit, for US$80 million! On a personal note, I met my lovely wife while playing a game of Trivial Pursuit …

40 Big name in Islam : ALI

The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favored the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

41 KFC selection : LEG

The famous “Colonel” of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame was Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur from Henryville, Indiana. Although not really a “Colonel”, Sanders did indeed serve in the military. He enlisted in the Army as a private in 1906 at the age of 16, lying about his age. He spent the whole of his time in the Army as a soldier in Cuba. It was much later, in the 1930s, that Sanders went into the restaurant business making his specialty deep-fried chicken. By 1935 his reputation as a “character” had grown, so much so that Governor Ruby Laffoon of Kentucky gave Sanders the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel”. Later in the fifties, Sanders developed his trademark look with the white suit, string tie, mustache and goatee. When Sanders was 65 however, his business failed and in stepped Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s. Thomas simplified the Sanders menu, cutting it back from over a hundred items to just fried chicken and salads. That was enough to launch KFC into the fast food business. Sanders sold the US franchise in 1964 for just $2 million and moved to Canada to grow KFC north of the border. He died in 1980 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky. The Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is indeed a trade secret. Apparently there is only one copy of the recipe, a handwritten piece of paper, written in pencil and signed by Colonel Sanders. Since 2009, the piece of paper has been locked in a computerized vault surrounded with motion detectors and security cameras.

44 Military pilot’s missions : SORTIES

A sortie is an attack by an armed unit, and usually a breakout by forces that are besieged, The term “sortie” comes directly from French and means “a going out”. “Sortie” is also used for a mission by a combat aircraft.

46 Heavy carpet : SHAG

Shag carpet is one with a deep pile, one with a “shaggy” appearance.

48 NBA foul shots : FTS

Free throws (FTs)

49 Magic charm : FETISH

At the beginning of the 19th century, fetishism was the worship of “fetishes”. Back then, a fetish was an object that was revered and considered to have mysterious powers. A few decades later, the usage of the term “fetish” was extended, probably by New England Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, to describe an object of blind devotion. The concept of sexual fetishism arose at the end of the 19th century.

50 Jay Leno, for many years : TV HOST

Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

55 Key of Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” : D-FLAT

Frédéric Chopin’s famous “Minute Waltz” was composed in 1847. That title is quite misleading, indicating that the piece should be played in just 60 seconds, whereas it takes about twice that time when played at the appropriate tempo. The nickname “Minute” came about because the waltz is short (minute). Prior to acquiring the “Minute” moniker, it was known as the “Valse du petit chien” (Waltz of the Little Dog).

58 “Slippery” trees : ELMS

The slippery elm is a species of elm native to North America that is also known as the Red Elm. The inner bark of the slippery elm can be used in a medicinal tea. Elm bark tea is said to ease a sore throat or irritated stomach.

59 Capital SSE of Firenze : ROMA

In Italian, “Roma” (Rome) and “Firenze” (Florence) are cities in “Italia” (Italy).

60 Nowhere to be found : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

61 “Aladdin” parrot : IAGO

In the 1992 Disney feature “Aladdin”, there is a parrot called Iago. Iago is voiced by the comic Gilbert Gottfried.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 President before Wilson : TAFT
5 Sign of shock : GASP
9 Classical inspiration for the 2004 film “Troy” : ILIAD
14 Another, in Mexico : OTRO
15 __ ID : USER
16 Chip in a bowl : NACHO
17 Almost at : NEAR
18 Long vehicle : LIMO
19 It has no subs : A-TEAM
20 Avian athletic contest? : GAME OF FINCHES (from “game of inches”)
23 Like a disciplinarian : STERN
24 Torque symbol, in mechanics : TAU
25 RV chain : KOA
28 Advanced degree for a gemologist? : DOCTOR OF FLAWS (from “Doctor of Laws”)
33 Ominous : DIRE
34 Destinies : FATES
35 Push-up targets : PECS
39 Not against the rules : LEGAL
42 Like a hairpin : BENT
43 Stretched circles? : OVALS
45 Brewpub array : ALES
47 Metropolis, thanks to Superman? : CITY OF FLIGHTS (from “City of Lights”)
52 Corrida cheer : OLE!
53 Waze suggestion: Abbr. : RTE
54 Estée Lauder subsidiary : AVEDA
57 Flunk out … and what three long answers do? : GET STRAIGHT FS
62 Problematic bacterium : E COLI
64 The Mississippi forms its eastern border : IOWA
65 Northern European capital : OSLO
66 Singer nicknamed “The Velvet Fog” : TORME
67 Visible pollution : SMOG
68 Comics icon Lee : STAN
69 Vast chasm : ABYSS
70 Sun dog, e.g. : HALO
71 Carry : TOTE

Down

1 Kitchen picker-uppers : TONGS
2 Patronized, as a diner : ATE AT
3 Like many museum paintings : FRAMED
4 Corrida star : TORERO
5 Wide gap : GULF
6 “Dream on!” : AS IF!
7 Big rig : SEMI
8 Stat relative : PRONTO
9 Highly annoyed : IN A HUFF
10 Having missed the deadline : LATE
11 Item of hockey equipment : ICE SKATE
12 Cry of discovery : AHA!
13 Champagne title : DOM
21 Like much ’80s-’90s music : ON CD
22 Half-__: coffee order : CAF
26 Wilson who voiced Lightning McQueen in “Cars” films : OWEN
27 A new exec may hire one : ASST
29 Shop __ you drop : ‘TIL
30 Hematite, for one : ORE
31 Fit for a queen : REGAL
32 Yellow __ : LAB
35 Somewhat, to Schubert : POCO
36 Villainous : EVIL
37 One in a Trivial Pursuit sextet : CATEGORY
38 Slick : SLY
40 Big name in Islam : ALI
41 KFC selection : LEG
44 Military pilot’s missions : SORTIES
46 Heavy carpet : SHAG
48 NBA foul shots : FTS
49 Magic charm : FETISH
50 Jay Leno, for many years : TV HOST
51 Starts : SETS TO
55 Key of Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” : D-FLAT
56 In concert : AS ONE
58 “Slippery” trees : ELMS
59 Capital SSE of Firenze : ROMA
60 Nowhere to be found : AWOL
61 “Aladdin” parrot : IAGO
62 Pilot’s approx. : ETA
63 Corn discard : COB

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Jun 20, Friday”

  1. Pam in MA from yesterday– I’m glad you found this site too! Happy to have (relatively) new people here.🤗 Thought I’d comment early, since I’m usually here very late.

  2. Two errors at 54A/55D; guess I’m not into beauty products and people have accused me of being tone deaf.
    19A – subs are a valued part of “a team”. If the answer was meant to be the TV series, then I have to say that that is a poor clue as the clue really has nothing to do with the show.

    1. A-Team as in the starters. No one acts as “sub” on the A-Team. That’s what the B-Team, etc (or 2’s and 3’s, the closer terms that actually get used) are for.

  3. 3 errors. Same as Chris on 54A. Didn’t know AVEDA . Had TSHOST (Tonight Show Host) and BFLAT for 55D.

    Besides the proverbial LARAMS we’ve had ALE or ALES a lot this week. Here and the NYTIMES.

    …. Magical charm and FETISH? Hmmmm.

    Be safe

  4. No errors today. Guessed at “D” flat because I never heard of Aveda for the across answer. . Had the “flat” part for down and figured it only could be one of seven letters to lead it off. Guessed right.

  5. No errors…same as Bob in Erie…I figured on D flat…guessed right.
    But checked it out first to make sure it was right.

  6. Like everyone else didn’t know aveda but got by guessing the cross. I mean, how many musical flats are there? Got the theme early on so that made the puzzle easier to do. As for fetish being a magic charm in the beginning of the 19th century…. totally irrelevant. Again… this is where the editor should step in and come up with a better clue…. unless he came up with that silliness.

  7. 10 minutes, 40 seconds, 2 errors where DFLAT meets AVEDA (a nonsense name if ever there was one). Otherwise an interesting theme, not as forced as some others this week.

  8. I wasn’t able to do yesterday’s because of a day of medicals. I read the comments about programming, though. I, too, was a programmer until all the companies closed down and I became a NYS prison teacher. It was so long ago that individuals didn’t own computers, only businesses did. There were mainframes that took up whole buildings and ran on vacuum tubes – the GE 635 and 645 each had a bldg at Griffiss AFB. I programmed in COBOL, FORTRAN, RPG, PDP, PASCAL; and Mohawk Data Sciences had their own -MOBOL.

    Today, I had the Natick at AVEDA crosses DFLAT. Also had to Google for TAU and IAGO. Didn’t know HALO. Not bad for me for Friday.

  9. Sailed along until the SE corner, whereupon my brain stopped working. The theme clue saved me, but I also guessed on DFLAT, picking D as the other letters available did not work nearly as well with AVE_A . At least this puzzle had some challenges, unlike this week’s previous ones. BTW, re: 35D, I know POCO is Spanish for “little” and know Schubert is of Austrian descent, so I did not understand that clue at all until I read Bob’s explanation. Thanks, Bob!

  10. 54A & 55D got me also . I’m not up on Estee Lauder products~~~Nevertheless an enjoyable puzzle
    Eddie

  11. Yet another DNF, but fairly strong at 75% solved. We have just not been
    competitive enough in the past couple of weeks. Hope for better days ahead
    and would not want to miss even one day.

    Stay safe and well, everybody. You know what to do, esp. with your hands.

  12. Even though I did this by accident yesterday on-line, I decided to do the paper version today, since they were delivered. I thought it was easy yesterday and of course it was today, but I forgot AVE_A/_FLAT again. This time I guessed right with D.

    So 10 minutes with no errors 🙂 I forget what yesterday was, but about 15 minutes.

    @Carrie – It’s quite an interview and makes me question his sanity a bit. I really liked that movie when it came out and remember thinking pizza slices and hot coffee is just the thing to take the edge off of freezing weather. Still, the “Captain Marvel” chase remake is very well done, and it has a twist – you can check it out on YouTube. One thing though, I think it’s supposed to take place in LA and I don’t think you guys have an els.

  13. Oh! My comment disappeared!! What was it I said…..🤔

    No errors; seemed easy-ish for a Friday. A FETISH is a magic charm, yes.

    For some reason I initially put GWEN Wilson instead of OWEN, which strikes me as funny….🤗

    Dirk– yep, Friedkin seems a little nuts, taking that joy ride and just handling that scene in the first place….he did say he wouldn’t do it again. (I guess the interview is from the 90s?) There’s a glimmer of sanity…

    Be well~~🍸

    1. Okay, so you guys convinced me to go back and look at that interview. Scary? You betcha. Irresponsible? Indubitably! Man was a nut case! … 😜.

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