LA Times Crossword 1 Jul 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Bill Zagozewski
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: RR Xing

Themed answers are in pairs, and comprise two words starting with the letter R. Each element of the pair CROSSES at one of those letters R:

  • 65A Intersection with flashing lights and bells, for short, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : RR XING
  • 30A Extreme reaction to traffic : ROAD RAGE
  • 10D Volunteer with Teddy Roosevelt : ROUGH RIDER
  • 45A “Standing” entrée : RIB ROAST
  • 29D “And away go troubles down the drain” company : ROTO-ROOTER

Bill’s time: 5m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Spotted wildcat : OCELOT

The ocelot is a wildcat found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

15 Brussels-based gp. : NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international military alliance that was established in 1949. NATO headquarters was initially set up in London, moved to Paris in 1952, and then to Brussels 1967.

16 Chapel bench : PEW

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

17 Sorbetto alternative : GELATO

Gelato (plural “gelati”) is the Italian version of American ice cream, differing in that it has a lower butterfat content than its US counterpart.

“Sorbetto” is the Italian name for sorbet or sherbet.

18 Hall of Fame guest of honor : INDUCTEE

The first Hall of Fame (HOF) established in the US was the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, an outdoor sculpture gallery located in the grounds of Bronx Community College in New York City. Completed in 1900, it is an open-air colonnade featuring the bronze busts of renowned Americans such as President George Washington, author Henry David Thoreau, musician John Philip Sousa and baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The Hall of Fame of Great Americans was inspired by the Ruhmeshalle (“Hall of Fame” in German) located in Munich, Germany that exhibits busts of important people from Bavaria.

20 House speaker after Ryan : PELOSI

Nancy Pelosi first became Speaker of the House in 2007, and was the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She was the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker of the House is second-in-line to the presidency, after the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking female politician in US history.

26 Like many flights to LAX : INTL

Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.

27 Skating legend Sonja : HENIE

Sonja Henie was a World and Olympic Champion figure skater from Oslo, Norway who competed in the days when “amateur” sports stars were not paid. Henie made up for her lack of income from competing by developing a career in Hollywood. She was one of the highest-paid film stars at the height of her movie career.

28 More aloof : ICIER

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that it has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

30 Extreme reaction to traffic : ROAD RAGE

The term “road rage” dates back to a specific time and place. The phrase was used by newscasters on Los Angeles TV station KTLA in 1988 to describe a rash of freeway shootings in the area on interstates 405, 110 and 10, many sparked by incidents in heavy traffic.

32 ’50s prez : IKE

When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhowers used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

35 Grafton’s “__ for Evidence” : E IS

Sue Grafton wrote detective novels, and her “alphabet series” feature the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with “’A’ Is for Alibi” in 1982 and worked her way up to “‘Y’ is for Yesterday” before she passed away in 2017.

44 Brian of rock : ENO

Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.

45 “Standing” entrée : RIB ROAST

“Standing rib roast” is another name for “prime rib”. The use of the term “standing” is a reference to the practice of standing the cut on the rib bones when roasting, so that the meat does not touch the pan.

50 Simply not done : TABOO

The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

51 All-purpose vehicles, for short : UTES

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

53 Sugar source : CANE

When sugar cane is processed to extract sugar, it is crushed and mashed to produce a juice. The juice is boiled to make a sugary concentrate called cane syrup, from which sugar crystals are extracted. A second boiling of the leftover syrup produces second molasses, from which more sugar crystals can be extracted. A third boiling results in what is called blackstrap molasses.

54 In __: unborn : UTERO

“In utero” is a Latin term meaning “in the uterus”. The Latin “uterus” (plural “uteri”) translates as both “womb” and “belly”. “Uterys” comes from the Greek “hystera” that also means “womb”, which gives us the words “hysterectomy”, and “hysterical”.

59 Jalopy : BEATER

“Beater” is slang describing an old car that is in poor condition, and is a term that dates back only to the 1980s.

The origins of our word “jalopy”, meaning “dilapidated, old motor car”, seem to have been lost in time, but the word has been around since the 1920s. One credible suggestion is that it comes from Xalapa, Mexico as the Xalapa scrap yards were the destination for many discarded American automobiles.

63 Vous, less formally : TOI

In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.

64 Pair on a Disney World hat : EARS

The Magic Kingdom in Disney World, Florida receives more visitors annually than any other theme park in the whole world. The Magic Kingdom alone received about 17½ million visitors in 2012, and that’s not including the visitors to nearby Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

65 Intersection with flashing lights and bells, for short, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : RR XING

Railroad Crossing (RR Xing).

66 Federal retirement org. : SSA

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.

67 Actress Russo : RENE

The talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to high school (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting.

68 Corrects, as text : EMENDS

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

Down

1 Dress (up) : TOG

The verb “to tog up”, meaning “to dress up”, comes from the Latin “toga” describing the garment worn in ancient Rome. “Tog” can also be used as an informal word for a coat or a cloak. Back in Ireland, togs are what we call swimming shorts.

2 Opening day pitcher, typically : ACE

That would be baseball.

3 “Coca Cola Cowboy” singer Tillis : MEL

Mel Tillis is a country singer who had most of his hits in the seventies. Notably, Tillis has a speech impediment, but this does not affect his singing at all.

“Coca Cola Cowboy” is a song recorded by Mel Tillis that featured in the 1978 movie “Every Which Way but Loose”. The single released in 1979 features the original line “You’ve got an Eastwood smile and Robert Redford hair”. That line was changed for the film to “You’ve got a sexist smile and Robert Redford hair”, which makes sense as Clint Eastwood played the lead character in “Every Which Way but Loose”.

6 Vodka with Razberi and Ohranj flavors : STOLI

Stolichnaya is a brand of “Russian” vodka made from wheat and rye grain. “Stoli” originated in Russia, but now it’s made in Latvia. Latvia is of course a completely different country, so you won’t see the word “Russian” on the label anymore.

7 Jennifer of “The Good Girl” : ANISTON

Jennifer Aniston won a 2002 Emmy for playing Rachel on the great sitcom “Friends”. Jennifer’s parents are both actors, and her godfather was the actor Telly Savalas.

“The Good Girl” is a 2002 comedy drama about a married woman and single man who meet, and eventually have an affair. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the male lead, and Jennifer Aniston the female. By all accounts, this is one of Aniston’s best performances on the big screen.

8 Capital on Luzon : MANILA

Many moons ago, I spent a couple of very happy years living in Manila in the Philippines. I had an apartment there, and residing in the apartment building next door was Imelda Marcos, along with all of her shoes I assume …

Luzon is the largest of the Philippine Islands, and home to the capital city of Manila.

9 Boarding pass info : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

10 Volunteer with Teddy Roosevelt : ROUGH RIDER

The regiment known formally as the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry is more familiarly known as the Rough Riders. When Theodore Roosevelt was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the unit, it became known as “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders”.

President Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win a Nobel Prize in any field. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role in negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War.

12 Frank on the grill : WEENIE

What we call a wiener in this country is known as a Vienna sausage in Germany. It was first produced by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna, hence the name “Wiener”, which is German for “of Vienna”. Paradoxically, the same sausage is called a Frankfurter in Vienna, as it was created by someone from Frankfurt. It’s all very confusing …

13 Stockholm native : SWEDE

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the country. Over one fifth of all Swedish residents live in Stockholm.

21 When rights are sometimes permitted : ON RED

If you’re sitting behind a car that doesn’t make a right on red, it may just be a rental car driven by someone from Europe. Speaking as someone who learned to drive over there, I must admit I held up a few people at red lights when I first visited this country. That’s because in Europe we aren’t allowed to make any move past a red light, unless there is an accompanying green arrow. So, if you’re driving overseas, take care …

23 “The Martian” actress Kristen : WIIG

Kristen Wiig is a comic actress who appears on “Saturday Night Live”. She also made an appearance on the first season of Spike TV’s quirky “The Joe Schmo Show”, playing “Dr. Pat”. More recently, she co-wrote and starred in the 2011 hit film “Bridesmaids”, and co-starred in the 2016 reboot of “Ghostbusters”.

“The Martian” is an intriguing 2015 science fiction film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut who is accidentally stranded on Mars. The movie is based on a 2011 novel of the same name by Andrew Weir. One thing that I liked about the film is that the science cited is fairly realistic. In fact, NASA collaborated with the filmmakers extensively from script development to principal casting.

29 “And away go troubles down the drain” company : ROTO-ROOTER

The Roto-Rooter is an invention of Samuel Oscar Blanc. Blanc came up with the idea in 1933 after having to deal with a sewer line in his son’s apartment that was blocked with roots from a tree, a common problem. He put together his first version of the device using a washing machine motor, roller skate wheels and a steel cable. The “rotating rooter” snaked down the sewer line, and rotating blades at the tip of the cable cut through the troublesome roots. Blanc sold his machine for decades to people who set up their own drain clearing businesses. In 1980 the Blanc family sold the Roto-Rooter company to a Cincinnati concern that started buying up independent franchises that used the Roto-Rooter and created the national service with which we are familiar today. Oh, and my advice is, save yourself the cost of the service call and just rent a machine. That’s what I do …

31 Antelope playmates : DEER

“Where the deer and the antelope play” is a line from the classic western song “Home on the Range”. There aren’t any antelopes native to North America, so the reference in the song is to the pronghorn, which is sometimes referred to as the pronghorn antelope and is actually related to the horse.

34 Reject, presidentially : VETO

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

39 1970s Chevy subcompact : VEGA

The Chevrolet Vega is a small car that was produced by GM in the seventies. The Vega was much lauded at its launch but was plagued by problems with its engineering, reliability and safety.

46 Spain and Portugal comprise most of it : IBERIA

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

47 The Tigers of the SEC : AUBURN

Auburn University in Alabama was chartered in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. The school was renamed when it was granted university status in 1960. Auburn’s sports teams are known as the Tigers, for which supporters use the battle cry “War Eagle!”

52 Buffalo NHLer : SABRE

The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” as the result of a fan contest.

58 “Norma __” : RAE

“Norma Rae” is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called “Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance”.

60 Bronze component : TIN

The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”. One of the ores used as a source of tin is “stannite”.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Compare this with bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. Brass and bronze are often mistaken for each other.

62 Some NFL blockers : RGS

Right guard (RG)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lion controllers : TAMERS
7 From the U.S. : AMER
11 Pained cries : OWS
14 Spotted wildcat : OCELOT
15 Brussels-based gp. : NATO
16 Chapel bench : PEW
17 Sorbetto alternative : GELATO
18 Hall of Fame guest of honor : INDUCTEE
20 House speaker after Ryan : PELOSI
22 Coffee machine setting : GRIND
23 “I’m at my __ end!” : WITS’
26 Like many flights to LAX : INTL
27 Skating legend Sonja : HENIE
28 More aloof : ICIER
30 Extreme reaction to traffic : ROAD RAGE
32 ’50s prez : IKE
33 Place to use a mitt : OVEN
35 Grafton’s “__ for Evidence” : E IS
36 Went around in circles : GYRATED
38 Confound : BEDEVIL
42 Decompose : ROT
43 Suffix with gazillion : -AIRE
44 Brian of rock : ENO
45 “Standing” entrée : RIB ROAST
48 Strict precision : RIGOR
50 Simply not done : TABOO
51 All-purpose vehicles, for short : UTES
53 Sugar source : CANE
54 In __: unborn : UTERO
55 Dress down : BERATE
57 New in theaters : FIRST RUN
59 Jalopy : BEATER
63 Vous, less formally : TOI
64 Pair on a Disney World hat : EARS
65 Intersection with flashing lights and bells, for short, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : RR XING
66 Federal retirement org. : SSA
67 Actress Russo : RENE
68 Corrects, as text : EMENDS

Down

1 Dress (up) : TOG
2 Opening day pitcher, typically : ACE
3 “Coca Cola Cowboy” singer Tillis : MEL
4 Slip by, as time : ELAPSE
5 Repetitive learning : ROTE
6 Vodka with Razberi and Ohranj flavors : STOLI
7 Jennifer of “The Good Girl” : ANISTON
8 Capital on Luzon : MANILA
9 Boarding pass info : ETD
10 Volunteer with Teddy Roosevelt : ROUGH RIDER
11 Going (for) : OPTING
12 Frank on the grill : WEENIE
13 Stockholm native : SWEDE
19 Pressed-pants feature : CREASE
21 When rights are sometimes permitted : ON RED
23 “The Martian” actress Kristen : WIIG
24 Eww-inspiring : ICKY
25 Concert level : TIER
29 “And away go troubles down the drain” company : ROTO-ROOTER
31 Antelope playmates : DEER
34 Reject, presidentially : VETO
37 Shady alcoves : ARBORS
38 Dog to avoid : BITER
39 1970s Chevy subcompact : VEGA
40 A party to : IN ON
41 Passed-down history : LORE
43 Equally strained : AS TENSE
45 Proportions : RATIOS
46 Spain and Portugal comprise most of it : IBERIA
47 The Tigers of the SEC : AUBURN
49 Climber’s tool : ICE AXE
50 Clumps of hair : TUFTS
52 Buffalo NHLer : SABRE
56 Time in office : TERM
58 “Norma __” : RAE
60 Bronze component : TIN
61 Terminate : END
62 Some NFL blockers : RGS

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Jul 20, Wednesday”

  1. 6:34, no errors. Straightforward.

    @John Daigle (and @Anonymous) … GolfCross balls are football-shaped and bear the GolfCross name; there’s a lot of information about them on the internet. The golf ball I found is egg-shaped and bears the Wilson name; I have yet to find any information about it. The Wilson rep (in Spain!) that I talked to last night promised to do what he could to get their “golf department” to respond to my query … but I’m certainly not holding my breath … 😜.

    1. @A Nonny Muss: When I awoke this morning, I realized that the name Wilson was
      on the oval ball that you found. Sorry I spouted off; had a somewhat poor day yesterday.
      I would think that Wilson should reply to you.

      I was about to declare a DNF day for all of my puzzles today, but I gave them one
      last try and got them all. I found today’s LAT very interesting and I feel good about
      solving it.

      Be safe and well, everybody.

    1. No errors.. I see TOG made it in again.. I have never heard or seen it used.. Another one of those convenient “never used but appears in some dictionary” word to drop in when you need it.
      But Bill likes it.. Who knew TOGS are swimming shorts in Ireland!

      Be safe

  2. Tolkien fans will spot a missed opportunity in 38D BITER and 59A BEATER, the nicknames of two swords, Orcrist and Glamdring, that featured prominently in his book “The Hobbit.” Admittedly clues based on this fact might have been too obscure for a Wednesday puzzle.

  3. As a child in the Deep South, I heard “togs” and “duds” both used for clothing.
    “Togs” usually referred to best clothes or getting dressed up; “duds” meant
    clothes in general.

  4. In the Deep South no one calls their suburban utility vehicle a “UTE”. It must be a Yankee thing. We call them SUVs. Same with “BEATER”. Maybe a rattle trap or ,if you are a GA Tech fan, a rambling wreck.

      1. I know what it’s short for, I learned the word from the crossword puzzle. But this puzzle does run every day in Atlanta. Can’t we have SUV just once?

  5. My take on the “Theme”… 28 across (icieR / end) and 48 across (Rigor / start) both have an “R” — if you add a “circle” to each of these “Rs” and connect them with a thick line (along with Roast and Rage) you get a LARGE “X” — a RR Xing (as it were). At least that was the “Theme” I imagined — wrong, but right in a way…

  6. I am familiar with TOG because I read old English novels. Someone who is all togged up has put on their best bib and tucker…only the best butter.
    Yes? Bill?

  7. 5:59 no errors

    A little disappointed that the theme only asked for two circled letters.

    @Robert, LOL at the idea of crossing Biter and Beater. There must be a full-on Tolkien-themed crossword out there somewhere.

    I learned the term “beater” from Car Talk (with “Click and Clack”). I always thought it was a Boston term. No idea what region uses the term “ute”. All I know is clues for it in crosswords always make me think ATV first.

    1. @Pam in MA

      I’m with you: it’s ATV or maybe SUV. And crossing swords — literally crossing them throughout the “crossword” — might make for an interesting if obscure puzzle theme. Where’s Brendan Emmett Quigley when you need him?

  8. 8 mins 45 sec, no errors. “Theme” is about as forced and stretched as it can get. The mental gyrations you have to make to make sense of these “conditions” necessary to “get” these themes is unseemly.

  9. I temporarily lived in a country that drove on the left side. Being use to right on red, I would go left on red. Never gave it a thought about it being illegal. Lucky I never got caught.

  10. The Southeast corner slayed me. To begin with. there were 2 sports clues I had to Google -SABRE (and I live in Upstate NY!), and RGS. One site gave 3 answers for an NFL blocker: TE, RT, RG. And to make it worse was the word for jalopy I never heard in my 75 years: BEATER.
    I do know TOG, maybe from my Baltimore g’ma. My mother, very NE, used the expression “to get gussied up,” when dressing for meetings. Both would be old-fashioned. I don’t hear UTE around here. Oh – and before it was a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech, and a heck of an engineer, the song was stolen from RPI.
    Had DDE before IKE.

  11. Fairly easy Wednesday, albeit with one teeny error after 12 minutes: WEiNIE, which I really should have seen….sigh. I’d already fixed WEiNer to WEiNIE to make HENIE and ROADRAGE work and left well enough alone.

    re UTEs – Outside of crosswords, I’ve only ever heard the term in Australia when I visited a while ago. Looong plane trip.

    @Carrie – I hope everything went well for you at the hospital. And yes, I’m wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

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