LA Times Crossword 5 Jun 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Notch

Themed answers are each common phrases, but with the letter sequence “CH” removed from the end:

  • 45D V-shaped cut … or, in two parts, a hint to four long puzzle answers : NOTCH
  • 18A Result of severe yoga class over-registration? : THREE ON A MAT (from “three on a match”)
  • 30A Jeweler’s assurance about mounting one flashy gem? : IT’LL DO IN A PIN (from “it’ll do in a pinch”)
  • 36A Show whose wit is quicker? : BEAT TO THE PUN (from “beat to the punch”)
  • 52A Dander-sensitive visitor’s query at the doorway? : IS THERE A CAT? (from “Is there a catch”)

Bill’s time: 8m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Texter’s “Holy moly!” : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

14 Batman after Michael : VAL

Michael Keaton is an actor from Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Keaton is perhaps best known for roles he played in Tim Burton films. Keaton had the title role in “Beetlejuice” in 1988, and the title role in “Batman” in 1989 and “Batman Returns” in 1992.

Val Kilmer’s first big leading role in a movie was playing Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic “The Doors”. A few years later, Kilmer was chosen for the lead in another big production, “Batman Forever”. Things haven’t really gone as well for Kilmer since then, I’d say. Off the screen, he flirted with the idea of running for Governor of New Mexico in 2010. A Hollywood actor as a governor? Would never happen …

15 Liszt creation : ETUDE

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

Franz Liszt was the original creator of the single-movement work known as a symphonic or tone poem. A symphonic poem is a musical piece usually based on another work, perhaps a play, story or poem. Liszt wrote the tone poem “Hamlet” in 1858, which was intended to be an introduction to Shakespeare’s play.

16 Sister of Thalia : ERATO

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:

  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

17 Brown URL suffix : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. gave a substantial gift to the school. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Brown Bears, and their mascot is Bruno.

18 Result of severe yoga class over-registration? : THREE ON A MAT (from “three on a match”)

Three on a match is a superstition, one apparently dating back to the Crimean War. If three people light their cigarettes from the same match, then supposedly one of the soldiers would be killed. A further superstition, called “third on a match” was that the third soldier who gets the light would be killed. The rationale was that if an enemy sniper saw the light of a match, he would take aim as the first person takes the light, determine whether he was seeing friend or foe with the second lighting, and then shoot at the third lighting.

20 Like many SSA payment recipients : RET

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

22 Zion National Park sight : BUTTE

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, and taller than it is wide.

To me, the most spectacular feature of southwestern Utah’s Zion National Park is the magnificent Zion Canyon. The canyon cuts through red Navajo sandstone and truly is a beautiful sight.

23 Thin man of rhyme : SPRAT

“Jack Sprat” is a nickname given in the 16th century to people of small stature. Jack featured in a proverb of the day:

Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane. Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane.

Over time, this mutated into a nursery rhyme that is still recited in England:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean.

25 Automaker whose Rambler sales were likely aided by the 1958 hit “Beep Beep” : NASH

“Beep Beep” is a 1958 song recorded by the Playmates. It is a novelty number about a Nash Rambler beeping away, trying to pass a Cadillac whose driver increases its speed as he is too proud to let a compact car overtake his luxury vehicle.

The Nash Rambler is credited with establishing a new segment in the North American auto market. It is often cited as the first successful American compact car.

29 Part of RNA : RIBO-

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

33 Dallas suburb : PLANO

Plano, Texas is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Settlers chose the name “Plano” in the 1840s. “Plano” is Spanish for “flat”, a reference to the terrain in the area.

40 Words 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.

41 Whale’s mouthful : KRILL

Krill are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the oceans. Krill feed on plankton, and in turn, krill are the main part of the diet of larger animals such as whales, seals and penguins. There’s an awful lot of krill in the world, an estimated 500,000,000 tonnes of it. That’s about twice the biomass of humans on the planet!

42 Gemini, e.g. : SIGN

“Gemini” is the Latin word for “twins”.

46 Musical with the song “Endgame” : CHESS

The musical “Chess” is a very enjoyable show, with music written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame) and lyrics by Tim Rice (of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita” fame). The story is about two chess masters, one American and one Russian, who face off against each other during the Cold War. Much of the action takes place in Bangkok at a World Championship Tournament, and there’s a woman, and a love triangle. I saw the show decades ago in the north of England, and recommend it …

50 God in the Vatican : DIO

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

52 Dander-sensitive visitor’s query at the doorway? : IS THERE A CAT? (from “Is there a catch”)

Dander is microscopic material shed from an animal’s body. It is small enough to travel through the air, and becomes part of house dust. It is usually when traveling through the air that it can be breathed in by humans, and cause an allergic reaction. Dandruff is similar to dander, except that the skin that is shed comes from the scalp instead of the main body, and the flakes are larger in size.

55 U.K. singer Rita : ORA

Rita Ora is a British singer who was born Rita Sahatçiu in Pristina, Yugoslavia to Albanian parents. The family name “Sahatçiu” comes from a Turkish word meaning “watchmaker”. Rita’s parents changed their name to make it easier to pronounce. So, the family name morphed from “watchmaker” to “time”, which is “ora” in Albanian.

56 Volga-Ural ethnic group member : TATAR

Tatars (sometimes “Tartars”) are an ethnic group of people who mainly reside in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

57 Alpine mont : BLANC

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

58 Enterprise letters : USS

The USS Enterprise was Vice Admiral William Halsey’s flagship. She was also the ship that he was aboard in the Pacific when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Apparently, Halsey remarked right after the attack, “Before we’re through with ’em, the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell.”

61 __ Moines : DES

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

62 Rockefeller Center muralist : SERT

Catalan artist Josep Maria Sert was commissioned to paint a large mural for the west wall of the Grand Lobby of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The work is titled “American Progress”, and features likenesses of Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

63 Tupperware parts : LIDS

Back in the 1930s, Earl Tupper was working at the DuPont Chemical Company, and from DuPont obtained inflexible pieces of polyethylene slag. Tupper purified the slag and shaped it into unbreakable containers. He added airtight lids with a “burping seal” that provided tight seals similar to that provided by the lids on paint cans. He called his new product Tupperware.

Down

1 Flying foe of Godzilla : MOTHRA

Mothra is a giant moth-like monster that made its big-screen debut in the 1961 film “Mothra”. Mothra turns up quite often in “Godzilla” movies.

3 21-Across bonanza : LODE
(21A Natural resource : ORE)

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The mother lode is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

A bonanza is a mine with a rich pocket of ore that can be exploited. “Bonanza” is the Spanish word for a rich lode, and we imported the term into English. “Bonanza” originally meant “fair weather at sea”, and from that came to mean “prosperity, good fortune”. Ultimately, “bonanza” comes from the Latin “bonus” meaning “good”.

4 Socially inept sort : DWEEB

“Dweeb” is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd; they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing, i.e. someone excessively studious and socially inept.

8 Vegas array : SLOTS

Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

9 Like bananas used for bread, often : OVERRIPE

The banana is actually a berry, botanically speaking. And, bananas don’t really grow on trees. The “trunk” of the banana plant is in fact a pseudostem. The pseudostem is a false stem comprising rolled bases of leaves, and it can grow to 2 or 3 meters tall.

11 Insatiable sort : GLUTTON

A glutton is a person who eats and drinks to excess, with the term “glutton” deriving from the Latin “gluttire” meaning “to swallow”.

12 Wyoming’s __ Range : TETON

Grand Teton National Park (NP) is located just south of Yellowstone NP, and a must-see if you are visiting the latter. The park is named after the tallest peak in the magnificent Teton Range known as Grand Teton. The origins of the name “Teton” is not very clear, although my one story is that it was named by French trappers, as the word “tetons” in French is a slang term meaning “breasts”.

13 Felt-tip marker pioneer : PENTEL

Pentel is Japanese company that is known for manufacturing pens and markers. Notably, Pentel invented the felt-tip pen in 1963.

19 Microsoft Office component : OUTLOOK

Microsoft Office is a suite of applications that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook,

24 Shellfish entrée : PRAWNS

The terms “prawn” and “shrimp” are often used interchangeably on menus. Over in the UK, the term “prawn” is most common, while “shrimp” is seen more often here in North America. Sometimes there is a differentiation from a food standpoint, with “prawn” being used for larger species and “shrimp” for smaller species. As a result, “jumbo prawns” seems to be an acceptable descriptor for a dish, whereas “jumbo shrimp” seems to be an oxymoron.

26 Break : HIATUS

A hiatus is a break or opening in a material object, or an interruption in time. “Hiatus” is Latin for “opening”.

31 Boomer? : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

32 Fresh, to a Fräulein : NEU

In German, a “Fräulein” is an unmarried woman.

33 Lucy, a Clydesdale, in the comic “Non Sequitur,” for one : PET HORSE

“Non Sequitur” is an entertaining comic strip by Wiley Miller that has been published since 1992. The strip lost some of its publication outlets in 2019 when one of Miller’s panels included a hidden message aimed at President Trump that was far from respectful.

37 Harness racer : TROTTER

In harness racing, the horses race using one of two specific gaits, i.e. trotting or pacing.

39 Logical Queen : ELLERY

The Ellery Queen series of detective novels was somewhat unique in that Ellery Queen was the hero of the tales, and was also the pen name of the author. Actually, the “author” was a pair of writers; two cousins from Brooklyn, New York.

43 Security desk request : ID CARD

Identity document (ID)

44 NFL team that doesn’t play home games in the state it’s named for : GIANTS

The New York Giants (NYG) football team plays home games in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a stadium shared with the New York Jets (NYJ). The Giants are the only team remaining from a group of five that joined the league in 1925. For many years, the Giants shared team names with the New York Giants MLB team, before the baseball franchise moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season.

49 Rise up : REBEL

To rebel is to rise up. The term “rebel” comes from the Lating verb “rebellare” meaning “to revolt”. “Rebellare” comes from the prefix “re-” (against, opposite) and “bellare” (wage war).

54 Court game word : ALAI

Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Italian sausage choice : MILD
5 Small amounts : BITS
9 Texter’s “Holy moly!” : OMG!
12 As of today : TO NOW
13 Code type : PENAL
14 Batman after Michael : VAL
15 Liszt creation : ETUDE
16 Sister of Thalia : ERATO
17 Brown URL suffix : EDU
18 Result of severe yoga class over-registration? : THREE ON A MAT (from “three on a match”)
20 Like many SSA payment recipients : RET
21 Natural resource : ORE
22 Zion National Park sight : BUTTE
23 Thin man of rhyme : SPRAT
25 Automaker whose Rambler sales were likely aided by the 1958 hit “Beep Beep” : NASH
27 Swarms (with) : TEEMS
29 Part of RNA : RIBO-
30 Jeweler’s assurance about mounting one flashy gem? : IT’LL DO IN A PIN (from “it’ll do in a pinch”)
33 Dallas suburb : PLANO
35 Asked for milk, maybe : MEWED
36 Show whose wit is quicker? : BEAT TO THE PUN (from “beat to the punch”)
40 Words from Caesar : ET TU
41 Whale’s mouthful : KRILL
42 Gemini, e.g. : SIGN
46 Musical with the song “Endgame” : CHESS
48 Obvious flirt : OGLER
50 God in the Vatican : DIO
51 Slice (off) : LOP
52 Dander-sensitive visitor’s query at the doorway? : IS THERE A CAT? (from “Is there a catch”)
55 U.K. singer Rita : ORA
56 Volga-Ural ethnic group member : TATAR
57 Alpine mont : BLANC
58 Enterprise letters : USS
59 Word before now and then : EVERY …
60 Heaven partner : EARTH
61 __ Moines : DES
62 Rockefeller Center muralist : SERT
63 Tupperware parts : LIDS

Down

1 Flying foe of Godzilla : MOTHRA
2 Accustoms (to) : INURES
3 21-Across bonanza : LODE
4 Socially inept sort : DWEEB
5 Dressed down : BERATED
6 How office directives may be relayed : IN A MEMO
7 Leaving word : TA-TA
8 Vegas array : SLOTS
9 Like bananas used for bread, often : OVERRIPE
10 Raised one’s auction paddle, say : MADE A BID
11 Insatiable sort : GLUTTON
12 Wyoming’s __ Range : TETON
13 Felt-tip marker pioneer : PENTEL
19 Microsoft Office component : OUTLOOK
24 Shellfish entrée : PRAWNS
26 Break : HIATUS
28 Requiring less effort : SIMPLER
31 Boomer? : TNT
32 Fresh, to a Fräulein : NEU
33 Lucy, a Clydesdale, in the comic “Non Sequitur,” for one : PET HORSE
34 Tardy student’s admission slip : LATE PASS
36 Muddle, as one’s judgment : BECLOUD
37 Harness racer : TROTTER
38 Sophisticated paintings, say : HIGH ART
39 Logical Queen : ELLERY
43 Security desk request : ID CARD
44 NFL team that doesn’t play home games in the state it’s named for : GIANTS
45 V-shaped cut … or, in two parts, a hint to four long puzzle answers : NOTCH
47 Locations : SITES
49 Rise up : REBEL
53 Store for future use : SAVE
54 Court game word : ALAI

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Jun 20, Friday”

  1. 12:57, no errors. Usual Wechsler quality, which isn’t saying much. But not as traumatic as a few of his other outings or Chen’s outing last week.

    @Lawrence
    The file was simple HTML. When you put something like that up on a file sharing service, it’s going to be hard to serve it up as a regular web page. Hence, what you got. Glad you got it figured out.

    @ANonnyMuss
    Mainly I wanted to read what Rex and the commenters had to say and know which puzzles it was. As I recall, the AVCX stuff was average and nothing particularly spectacular – especially when the prospect of paying for the content is at issue. If I got to legit pay for something, it needs to be better than what I’m going to find for free in other outlets, so I was going to be harder in evaluating that. A comment on that Rex blog post pretty much sums up my thoughts on AVCX, too.

    But when I saw that NYT puzzle, I remembered it immediately as being “legendarily bad” (after 8 months, that should tell you something!). While I can’t say I would rave over that specific puzzle of Sid’s like Rex did, I can note in reading the comments that a large number posted and agreed with him in panning that particular NYT puzzle. If Rex is so “negative”, that should tell you something.

    Your observation leads into something you wrote two weeks ago. The NY Times is indeed in trouble, but as big as it is, it’s more like 90’s Sears trouble. Basically then, Sears had the infrastructure out there, and a few loyal buyers, but are showing bad numbers in the financials and so on and the average shopper wasn’t going to know anything was wrong unless they paid attention. And the management wasn’t seeing the problem and trying to affect a turn-around.

    To take it to the NYT’s situation (and to a certain extent this applies to the LAT too), they’re hemorrhaging constructors to the point that all they are essentially getting (mostly) is third-rate efforts for various reasons. Sivakumar is active enough, and a good illustration that a lot of constructors frankly don’t see a *need* for the NYT – this is a sea change view from 10 years ago. And others that regularly appeared in the past are gone to their own online efforts (often subscription, but boutique efforts too like the New Yorker). The NYT has the infrastructure in terms of syndication in newspapers and those that aren’t up on online venues are just going to do the puzzle and go on – and most newspaper editors won’t care themselves (they put the puzzle in because they need to “increase reader engagement” or some such thing, but likely don’t know what’s going on).

    The canary in the coal mine so to speak is how much direct positive engagement they’re getting from solvers (they’re getting more protests, but that’s another topic altogether) instead of doing it in the paper just because that’s what happens to be there. I can only speak for myself in this matter, but despite my money troubles and dire need for employment at the moment, I’ve still had several opportunities to subscribe and haven’t – yet have been a consistent subscriber to Fireball Crosswords for some time. Frankly, about the only reason I’ve been doing the New York Times is that I’ve been finding free sources. If I had to pay to do them, I wouldn’t do them and wouldn’t miss them – and if I get less time to do crosswords, I probably would drop doing the NYT.

    And no, quality isn’t about difficulty. I liked Greg Johnson’s Saturday Stumper last week a lot more than the Thu-Fri LAT. Just was a lot more well-made puzzle.

  2. 2 dumb errors.. Embarrassing. Stumped myself on 1A and went for a type of pig. GILD.. wait is that GILT or GILD?? That left me with GOTHRA for 1D. Don’t know Godzilla foes. Oh well, lots of fun stuff here.. And it was Weschler.. He used to scare me. I’m a big boy now. (:

    @glenn.. Didn’t realize there was such a history with Rex Parker. I went to him years ago but found his site a little over the top. Also found it too hard to get around his site. I enjoy Bills site.. No opinions, just solving with some informational delights.

    Be safe

  3. Got the theme quite early but forgot to fill in 1A first two letters…
    so the rest of the grid was fine, but what a dumb thing to do. I
    didn’t know Mothra and couldn’t decide whether 2d was inures
    or enures so blew it.

  4. Took me 32 minutes to crank this out. Wonder how long it would have taken me if I figured out the theme in a timely manner.

  5. Loved the mention of Ellery Queen; enjoyed the theme but 12A “to now” leaves me a bit puzzled
    Stay safe everyone!

  6. Had difficulty with 59A because I thought I was looking for “$word now” and “$word then” instead of “$word now and then”.
    @Jack – Ditto with me for Fine vs High Art.
    I also got the —HORSE and –CLOUD parts of 33 and 36D respectively, but weren’t quite sure of the prefixes until late. Got the theme as soon as I had ‘NOTCH’, so that was just a matter of figuring out which phrase the setter was riffing from.

    (Since folks seemed to like the factlets I’ve included previously, I didn’t hold back this time. Here goes:)
    18A – That saying is one of those thing I keep forgetting and being reminded it exists, like ‘ducking’ being an actual word, and that puffins exist
    25A – Never heard of a Nash automaker, so I couldn’t get my brain dislodged from ‘Dodge Rambler’ for a while
    29A – Wild biology fact: as you get to the molecular level, organic structures start looking mechanical. The ribosome looks like an assembly line run by computer tape. No wheels in nature? Check out ‘proton pump’ – the mechanism that powers ATP synthase, makes a bacterial flagellum turn, etc. I am not exaggerating by calling it a literal organic rotor.
    41A – Fun fact! Krill are (probably) bigger than you think! They’re about the size of a paperclip – about 2″, according to National Geographic. Not huge by any means, but not microscopic like some folks’ misconceptions
    42A – I have an app on my phone called SkyView, which does… something? with the phone’s sensors to identify the stars in the sky where you’re pointing it. As of this time and in my location, Gemini is (due?) east at about the height of the treeline according to this app. Also Mercury is hanging out at Castor’s belt right now apparently.
    46A – This was aired on TV a while ago (don’t remember which channel). The second-act opener “One Night in Bangkok” became a hit single, which is weird, because it’s just the singer complaining about how much Bangkok sucks. It fits in context, because the character is a jerk, but a very odd choice for a single. I personally enjoy “Embassy Lament”, a <2 minute ditty which features bureaucrats griping about all the incoming refugees making their job harder in (mostly) perfect chorus to a musical typewriter. Subtle as a brick to a head, but fun and catchy as heck.
    56A – 'Tatar' is the people; 'tartar' is the sauce, and that's about all I know
    58A – I, uh, got this one thanks to Star Trek. (-=-;)
    63A – 'Tupperware', like 'allen wrench', 'styrofoam', 'realtor', and 'photoshop' are still protected trademarks that the makers get tetchy about when you use it as a generic. Others, like 'dumpster', 'zipper', and 'escalator' are former brand names that are no longer protected (at least according to Wikipedia's list. I really don't want to try parsing legalese to double-check.)
    4D – …I did not know 'squarepants' was an actual term out side of the cartoon sponge
    8D – And they advertised the mushroom clouds from the nearby nuclear tests as a tourist attraction! You can learn more about that at the National Atomic Testing Museum, also in Vegas. Here's a Jul 17, 2011 article from your very own LAT about atomic tourism, then and now: https://www.latimes.com/world/la-xpm-2011-jul-17-la-na-nevada-test-site-20110717-story.html
    9D – Bananas, also, don't grow the way you think they do. They don't hang down; they grow pointing up! Bananas have a ton of interesting things about them, from the Gros Michel banana apocalypse, to how the brain-meltingly wild anatomy of the banana plant starts to make sense when you compare it to the well-known ornamental relatives Heliconia (false bird-of-paradise). Here's an image of a family tree of banana families: https://www.heliconia.org/the-plants. You can see how the inflorescence (flower cluster) of the representative Heliconia (middle) resembles the banana bunch of the Musaceae (far right).
    24D – As far as I'm concerned, 'prawns' are what Louisianans call 'shrimp' :p
    26D – 'Hiatus' is one of those words that you're so used to that it doesn't feel like a borrowing, but when you pause to actually look at it, you can clearly see its Latin ancestry. 'Bonus' is another example.

    1. Well, let’s try this again now that I got some free time. No one told me my comment was deleted for violating some guideline, so I’ll give it another shot with minimal altering. Since folks liked my factlets from last time, I didn’t hold back:

      15A – Franz Liszt was also the original pop star, more or less. Contemporaries coined the term ‘Lisztomania’ to describe his fangirls wearing accessories decorated with his portrait and fighting over his used handkerchiefs and broken violin strings.
      18A – “Three on a match” is one of those things I keep forgetting and being reminded it exists, like that ‘ducking’ is an actual word and that puffins exist
      25A – Never heard of the automaker Nash, so my brain got stuck on Dodge Rambler.
      29A – People make analogies to machinery for all sorts of biological processes, but it gets super-real at the molecular level. Ribosomes look like an assembly line with the RNA as some sort of conveyor belt/computer tape. Believe that nature hasn’t invented the wheel? Check out the ‘proton pump’ – the mechanism that generates ATP and powers bacterial flagella. I am not exaggerating when I call it a literal turbine. There are some great animations out there worth checking out.
      35A – I want to echo what @Lawrence said – don’t feed your kitties milk, as despite what media indicates, it’s not good for them. Originally had MOOED for this one for this exact reason and the crossers meant LOWED wouldn’t fit either.
      41A – More biology fun! Krill are bigger than you (probably) think they are! They average about 2″ long, according to National Geographic. Not huge by any means, but some folks have a misconception that krill are microscopic
      42A – I have an app called SkyView which uses your phone’s sensors to determine what the night sky around you looks like. While I was doing up this crossword in the morning, Gemini was apparently eastward, just above the treeline, and Mercury was hanging out near Castor’s belt for some reason.
      46A – This is also the musical where the hit single “One Night in Bangkok” comes from. Why this song got popular, I have no idea, since it consists of the singer whinging about how awful Bangkok is. It fits in context, because the character is a chauvinistic jerk, but makes it odd for a choice of single. (I personally enjoy “Embassy Lament” a <2min ditty featuring bureaucrats complaining about paperwork to a musical typewriter.)
      56A – "Tatar" is the ethnic group and "tartar" is the sauce, and that's all I know about this
      58A – I, uh, got this one thanks to Star Trek (-=-;)
      59A – Had some trouble here, as I was looking for a "$word now" and "$word then", not "$word now and then"
      63A – 'Tupperware', like 'photoshop', 'allen wrench', and 'realtor', is one of those brand names that the makers get techy about when you use it as a generic term because they don't want to lose their copyright. Former brand names that have lost their trademark status include 'dumpster', 'escalator', and 'zipper'.
      4D – Never heard of 'squarepants' outside of the cartoon sponge. Huh.
      8D – And they advertised the nearby atomic tests as a tourist attraction, complete with schedules of the test times and where was the best place to view the mushroom clouds! There's an exhibit on it in the National Atomic Testing Museum, also in Vegas.
      9D – Bananas get even weirder. For one, they grow with the bananas berries pointing up (rather than hanging down, which feels more logical), and there's a big honking flower hanging beneath the bunch that looks like a giant red corn husk. Banana tree anatomy starts making marginally more sense when you compare it to its ornamental relative, the false bird-of-paradise (Heliconaceae family) which you might have seen in some waiting rooms. There's a really good family tree of families related to the banana tree at this link: https://www.heliconia.org/the-plants. The Heliconaceae is in the middle and the banana family (Musaceae) is on the far right. And I haven't even touched on the Gros Michel banana apocalypse…
      24A – Far's I'm concerned, 'prawns' are what Louisianans call 'shrimp' :p
      26A – 'Hiatus' is one of those words that doesn't feel like it was borrowed in, but when you really take a break and look at it, it wears its Latin heritage on its sleeve. 'Bonus' is another.
      33D – Got —HORSE but couldn't get the prefix for ages; A similar thing happened with –CLOUD for 36D
      38D – Had FINE ART instead of HIGH ART, same as @Jack, above.
      45D – Got the theme once I solved this one. Got it fairly early on, too, so after that I solely had to figure out which phrase the setter was riffing from.

      @Allen W Dickerson – Isn't that the point of crosswords, though? Kind of like puns, the more you want to smack yourself when you finally get it, the better it is

  7. Figured the theme quickly, which helped. Learned that somebody made a musical about Chess… why? 35A escaped me, as I am a “cat person”, and milk is not recommended for cats (kittens lose the necessary enzyme to digest milk as they mature; I cringe every time I see someone pouring out milk for adult cats on the screen). The surrounding answers completed MEWED. I thought this was a decent puzzle with a catchy theme.
    @Glenn: If you don’t mind my asking, what salable skills do you have to earn money? Maybe some of us could hook you up with earnings???

  8. 21 minutes, 17 seconds, no errors. Didn’t enjoy this one at all. Felt I was being tricked the whole time with the “carefully edited” clues.

  9. Thank you, Mr. Wechsler, for another fine puzzle. I remember very well our family Rambler in the early 60s. I loved it because the front passenger seat reclined all the way down so you could actually sleep as if in a bed.

  10. Way easier than yesterday. Only 4 Googles (KRILL, CHESS, ORA, PENTEL). I actually made use of the theme to solve. Had “old” before RET. I’m both.

  11. I’m glad someone solved it and enjoyed it. I had fun trying, but did not do well.
    About 60%.

    Stay well, everybody.

  12. Pretty easy Friday; forgot to write down my start time, so about 20-25 minutes, with no errors. Seemed a lot easier than yesterday and after hop-skip-and-jumping down to the reveal, I figured out the theme pretty quickly, which made those a breeze. Just had to rewrite TRansom to TROTTER, where I got caught up with hansom cab.

    @Khitty – Nice little collection of observations. To get past having a hold put on your posts, just include one URL. Anymore and you go into Bill’s hold queue.

    1. @Dirk Gotcha. I had also included a link to an LAT article on atomic tourism originally. I cut it out in the re-write because I’ve had posts on other sites eternally in review due to links. Thanks!

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