LA Times Crossword 12 Jul 20, Sunday

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Constructed by: MaryEllen Uthlaut
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: Uncertain Endings

Themed answers are common phrases with “ER” added to the END:

  • 23A Dressed like the winning coach after the traditional ice bath? : IN A COLD SWEATER (from “in a cold sweat”)
  • 32A Pantry nook for chewy candies? : CARAMEL CORNER (from “caramel corn”)
  • 52A Fudd, when being elusive? : SLIPPERY ELMER (from “slippery elm”)
  • 69A Shoe that’s really not better-than-none? : HALF A LOAFER (from “half a loaf”)
  • 92A Regret losing one’s straw hat? : MISS THE BOATER (from “miss the boat”)
  • 103A Got a Mini airborne? : FLEW THE COOPER (from “flew the coop”)
  • 121A Life-size cutout to promote “Rocky”? : CARDBOARD BOXER (from “cardboard”)

Bill’s time: 15m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Human embodiment : AVATAR

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of online presences one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

7 Prefix with -mance : BRO

“Bromance” is the name given these days to a close relationship between two straight males.

10 Hat often with a pompon : TAM

A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

The French call a ball made of tufted wool a “pompon”, a word that we imported into English directly as “pompon”. We use “pompon” to describe perhaps bobbles on some hats, or the tufted balls that are shaken by cheerleaders at sports events. Over time, the spelling “pompom” has become common in English, probably due to mishearing. To confuse matters a little, we also use the word “pom-pom”, which is a nickname for a British autocannon used mainly as an anti-aircraft weapon, particularly during WWII.

13 45-Across landing site : ARARAT
(45 13-Across lander : ARK)

Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or Ara the Handsome). According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the Great Flood subsided.

19 Chef’s asset : PALATE

The roof of the mouth is known as the palate. The anterior part of the palate is very bony, and is called the hard palate. The posterior part is very fleshy and is called the soft palate. The soft palate is muscular and moves to close off the nasal passages while swallowing. We often use the term “palate” figuratively, to describe the sense of taste.

21 Command for DDE : ETO

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII.

22 Caviar choice : BELUGA

Caviar is the roe of a large fish that has been salted and seasoned, and especially the roe of a sturgeon. Beluga caviar comes from the beluga sturgeon, which is found primarily in the Caspian Sea. It is the most expensive type of caviar in the world. 8 ounces of US-farmed beluga caviar can be purchased through Amazon.com for just over $850, in case you’re feeling peckish …

27 Balloon operator : AERONAUT

An aeronaut is the pilot of a craft that is lighter than air, like a hot air balloon for example.

32 Pantry nook for chewy candies? : CARAMEL CORNER (from “caramel corn”)

The confectionery product known as caramel is made by heating sugar. The process of caramelization requires slow heating of the sugar to about 170 °C. The heating causes the sugar molecules to break down and convert into the compounds that provide the characteristic color and flavor of caramel.

41 Forsaken : LORN

To be lorn is to be bereft, forsaken. “Lorn” is an archaic term meaning “lost”. A lovely word, I think …

42 Quenya and Sindarin are forms of it : ELVISH

In Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”, Elves are an immortal race that inhabit Middle-earth and Valinor.

52 Fudd, when being elusive? : SLIPPERY ELMER (from “slippery elm”)

Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous Looney Tunes cartoon characters, and is the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …

55 Café haunter, say : HABITUE

A “habitué” is someone who frequents a particular spot. “Habituer” is the French word for “to accustom”.

60 Watchword : MANTRA

A mantra is a word that is used as a focus for the mind while meditating. The term is Sanskrit in origin, and is now used figuratively in English to describe any oft-repeated word or phrase.

61 Popular video-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

63 Diamond smash : LINER

That would be baseball.

69 Shoe that’s really not better-than-none? : HALF A LOAFER (from “half a loaf”)

The loafer slip-on shoe dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by Fortnum and Mason’s store in London. The derivative term “penny loafer” arose in the late fifties or early sixties, although the exact etymology seems unclear.

73 Cover-crop grass : RYE

Cover crops are planted by farmers to help manage the soil, rather than being harvested as a cash crop. Soil management includes prevention of soil erosion, improvement of soil fertility, retention of water and control of weeds. Examples of commonly used cover crops are annual ryegrass, buckwheat and red clover.

77 Heath growth also called furze : GORSE

Gorse (also “furze”) can be a lovely plant to view, largely because of its showy yellow flower. However, gorse took over my front yard so I was glad to see the back of it when I relandscaped a while back, going instead with a drought-tolerant design.

81 Part of LPGA : LADIES

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 lady golfers, and today it is the oldest ongoing women’s sports professional organization in the US.

83 Rowland Macy’s inspiration for the red star logo : TATTOO

The original Macy’s store was opened by Rowland Hussey Macy in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1851. This store, and several others that Macy opened, all failed. Macy picked himself up though, and started over again in New York City. Those early New York stores all focused on the sale of dry goods, but added departments quickly as the clientele grew. The Macy’s red star logo has been around since the company was first established. Macy chose the star because it mimicked the star tattoo that he got as a teenager when he was working on a whaling ship out of Nantucket.

90 Bridge framework : TRESTLE

A trestle is a frame that is used as a support, particularly a support forming part of a bridge.

92 Regret losing one’s straw hat? : MISS THE BOATER (from “miss the boat”)

A boater is a straw hat often associated with boating, hence the name.

99 On the main : ASEA

When one thinks of the word “main”, in the context of the sea, the Spanish Main usually comes to mind. Indeed, the use of the more general term “main” to mean “sea”, originates from the more specific “Spanish Main”. “Spanish Main” originally referred to land and not water, as it was the name given to the mainland coast around the Caribbean Sea in the days of Spanish domination of the region.

103 Got a Mini airborne? : FLEW THE COOPER (from “flew the coop”)

The original mini was a fabulous car, one that I drove all over Ireland in my youth. It had a unique front-wheel-drive layout that took up very little space, allowing for a lot of room (relatively speaking) for passengers and baggage. One space-saving trick was to mount the engine transversely, so it sits rotated 90 degrees from the norm. That engine had a capacity of only 848cc. In 1961, a Mini Cooper model was introduced, which was a sporty version. The Mini Cooper was a phenomenal hit, especially after repeated wins in the Monte Carlo Rally. The Mini marque has been owned by BMW since 1994.

112 Emmy-winning legal drama : LA LAW

“L.A. Law” ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network’s most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful “Hill Street Blues” in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, “E.R.” The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.

113 Military uniform material : SERGE

Serge is a type of twill fabric with diagonal ridges on both sides. The name “serge” comes from the Greek word for “silken”.

114 Wide view : PANORAMA

Panoramic paintings have existed for centuries, but the word “panorama” was coined around 1790 to describe an invention by the artist Robert Barker. He created an apparatus for exhibiting pictures on the inside of a cylindrical surface, allowing the viewer to stand in the middle with access to a 360-degree vista. The term comes from Greek “pan-” meaning “all” and “horama” meaning “sight, spectacle”.

119 Fashion photographer Richard : AVEDON

Richard Avedon was an American photographer. Avedon was the inspiration for the character “Dick Avery” played by Fred Astaire in the wonderful film “Funny Face” starring Audrey Hepburn. Avedon’s most famous portrait is a close-up of Audrey Hepburn, whom Avedon referred to as his muse.

121 Life-size cutout to promote “Rocky”? : CARDBOARD BOXER (from “cardboard”)

If ever there was a movie that defines a career breakthrough for an actor, it would have to be “Rocky” for Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was a struggling actor in 1975 when a Muhammad Ali fight inspired Stallone to write a screenplay for a boxing movie, which he did in just three days. His efforts to sell the script went well but for the fact that the interested studios wanted a big name for the lead role, and Stallone was determined to be the star himself. Stallone persevered and “Rocky” was eventually made with him playing the title role of Rocky Balboa. The movie won three Oscars, and “Sly” Stallone had arrived …

128 Impertinent in tone : SNARKY

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

130 First word of Burns’ “To a Mouse” : WEE

The famous Robert Burns poem “To a Mouse” describes the little creature as a “wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie” (Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast). There’s another oft-quoted line later in the poem, i.e. “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley” (The best-laid schemes of mice and men, go often awry). John Steinbeck used this line as inspiration for the title of his 1937 novel “Of Mice and Men”.

Down

1 Samoan capital : APIA

Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely. Apia is also known as the home of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, for the last four years of his life.

3 Banned apple spray : ALAR

The chemical name for Alar, a plant growth regulator and color enhancer, is “daminozide”. Alar was primarily used on apples but was withdrawn from the market when it was linked to cancer.

4 Tuesday special, in many eateries : TACO

Taco Tuesday is a promotion run by many American restaurants, especially in Southern California. Participating establishments offer deals on tacos, and perhaps other Mexican dishes served in tortillas. Apparently, “Taco Tuesday” is a trademark owned by Wyoming-based fast-food restaurant Taco John’s.

10 Brightly colored fish : TETRA

The neon tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.

18 Gradually become narrower : TAPER

I used to think that the word “taper” was used for a slender candle because said candle was “tapered” in shape, but it’s exactly the opposite. It turns out that our word “tapered” comes from the candle. “Taper” and “tapur” are Old English words meaning “candle”. From these nouns arose the verb “to taper” meaning “shoot up like flame”. This meaning evolved into “become slender” from the idea that a candle’s flame has such a shape.

25 160 square rods : ACRE

At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. Then, an acre was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one chain wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. An area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

29 One just hanging in the forest : SLOTH

All four of the extant species of three-toed sloths are native to South and Central America. Cousins of the three-toed sloths are the two-toed sloths, of which there are two species still living.

36 Cockney greeting : ‘ELLO

A Cockney is someone who, according to tradition, is born within the sound of Bow Bells in the center of London. The Cockney accent is usually considered “working class”. Cockney speakers often use a wonderful form of speech called rhyming slang. So, Cockney’s drink a lot of “Rosie Lea” (tea), and climb the “apples and pears” (stairs) using their “plates of meat” (feet). Cockneys also tend to “drop their aitches”, so “home” becomes “‘ome” and “horse” becomes “‘orse”.

37 “It’s Your Space” sloganeer : AVIS

Rental car company Avis used the tagline “We Try Harder” for five decades, starting in the early 1960s. The slogan had its roots in a 1962 ad campaign in which the company made brilliant use of its position behind market leader Hertz. The first rendition of the new tagline was “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else”. Within a year, Avis turned its first profit in over a decade, and within three years, increased the company’s market share from 29% to 36%. Avis eventually moved on to the slogan “It’s Your Space” in 2012.

38 Hedren of “The Birds” : TIPPI

Tippi Hedren is an actress from New Ulm, Minnesota who is best known for her starring roles in two Alfred Hitchcock classics: “The Birds” (1963) and “Marnie” (1964). Famously, Hedren claimed that Hitchcock destroyed her movie career because she would not succumb to his sexual advances, a charge that has been denied. Hedren’s daughter is actress Melanie Griffith.

“The Birds” is a 1963 film made by Alfred Hitchcock based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. I’ve read the story and seen the film and find them both strangely disturbing (it’s probably just me!). I can’t stand the ending of either version, as nothing resolves itself!

40 Something to make on a sunny day? : HAY

Make hay while the sun shines … seize the opportunity.

43 Nine-inch measure : SPAN

A span is a unit of measure equivalent to the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger on a splayed human hand. A span has been standardized at 9 inches.

44 Investigative journalist Seymour : HERSH

Seymour Hersh is an investigative journalist based in Washington D.C. Hersh was awarded the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his 1969 exposé of the My Lai Massacre.

46 Sun: Pref. : HELIO-

Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology, and is the reason that we use the prefix “helio-” to mean “sun”. He was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night by travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.

49 Rose petal perfume : ATTAR

Attar of rose is also known as rose oil, and is an essential oil extracted from the petals of various types of rose.

51 Play an April Fool’s joke on, say : TEASE

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the Western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants. But in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

54 Polo clubs : MALLETS

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back then primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

59 Whistle blowers : REFS

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is a derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

64 Two-time Oscar winner Zellweger : RENEE

Renée Zellweger’s big break came in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”. A few years later, Zellweger followed that up with a string of successes in “Bridget Jones’ Diary” (2001), “Chicago” (2002) and “Cold Mountain” (2003). My wife and I love watching her play Bridget Jones, and as someone coming from Britain and Ireland, I have to say that Zellweger does a remarkable job with the accent. She worked hard to perfect that accent, and of course she had a voice coach. She also went “undercover” and worked as a temp in an office for three weeks fine-tuning her skills.

66 Shoemaker’s strips : WELTS

The welt of a shoe is a strip, often made of leather, that runs along the perimeter of the outsole. It is used to attach the shoe’s upper to the outsole.

68 Meal involving charoseth, a symbolic fruit paste : SEDER

Charoset (also “charoseth”) is a sweet paste made from fruit and nuts that is served at a Passover Seder.

70 Set up for the fall : FRAME

To frame a person is to blame that person despite his or her innocence.

72 Cuban dance : RUMBA

The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

76 Chess __ : SET

It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

  • Infantry (now “pawns”)
  • Cavalry (now “knights”)
  • Elephants (now “bishops”)
  • Chariots (now “rooks”)

80 Soliloquy site : STAGE

A soliloquy is an act of talking to oneself, with “soliloquy” coming from the Latin “solus” meaning “alone” and “loqui” meaning “to speak”. We mostly hear the term in the context of theater, where it is a monologue from a character that gives voice to otherwise unspoken thoughts.

84 “Middle Waters” tribe : OSAGE

The Osage Nation originated in the Ohio River valley in what we now call Kentucky. The name “Osage” was first used by French traders for the people who called themselves “Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska”, meaning “Children/People of the Middle Waters”.

88 Two-finger signs : VEES

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

89 Scots Gaelic : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

91 Fencing gear : EPEES

There are three fencing events in the modern Olympics, with each distinguished by the weapon used:

  • Foil
  • Épée
  • Sabre

93 Flying Solo? : HAN

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

96 Leader of the track : PACE CAR

In automobile racing, a pace car is used for safety when there is an obstruction on the track. The pace car enters the track in front of the leader and slows the racing cars to what is deemed to be a safe speed. While the pace car is on the track, the competitors cannot pass the pace car and nor can they pass each other. When the pace car exits the track, the race resumes.

101 Way up the slope : T-BAR

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, which is a similar device but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

104 Linda of “Alice” : LAVIN

Linda Lavin is a singer and actress who is probably best-known for her stage performances on Broadway, and for playing the title role in the seventies and eighties sitcom “Alice”.

The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.

105 2010 Barack appointee : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

110 Travel guide co-founder Michelin : ANDRE

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

115 Activist Parks : ROSA

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

117 Ancient Persian : MEDE

The Medes were an ancient people that lived in what is now northwestern Iran. The Medes held sway in the region only for about 60 years, until Cyrus the Great came along and defeated Astyages, the king of Media (not to be confused with Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media”!).

118 “Iliad” war god : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer that tells the story of the ten-year siege of “Ilium” (i.e. “Troy”) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “Iliad”.

120 Bronx Bombers, on scoreboards : NYY

The New York Yankees (NYY) baseball team has the nickname “the Bronx Bombers”. The nickname reflects where the team plays (the Bronx) and the team’s reputation for hitting (bombers). The Yankees were the first team to retire a uniform number, doing so on July 4, 1939. That day they retired the number 4 in honor of Lou Gehrig.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Human embodiment : AVATAR
7 Prefix with -mance : BRO
10 Hat often with a pompon : TAM
13 45-Across landing site : ARARAT
19 Chef’s asset : PALATE
20 Musician’s asset : EAR
21 Command for DDE : ETO
22 Caviar choice : BELUGA
23 Dressed like the winning coach after the traditional ice bath? : IN A COLD SWEATER (from “in a cold sweat”)
26 Short revitalizer : CATNAP
27 Balloon operator : AERONAUT
28 Boorish : CRASS
30 Take forcefully : SEIZE
31 Artist’s asset : EYE
32 Pantry nook for chewy candies? : CARAMEL CORNER (from “caramel corn”)
35 Remarkable deed : FEAT
39 Really stood out : SHONE
41 Forsaken : LORN
42 Quenya and Sindarin are forms of it : ELVISH
45 13-Across lander : ARK
46 Hurry-scurry : HASTE
48 Foolish : DAFT
52 Fudd, when being elusive? : SLIPPERY ELMER (from “slippery elm”)
55 Café haunter, say : HABITUE
57 In reserve : TO SPARE
58 One giving you a hand : DEALER
60 Watchword : MANTRA
61 Popular video-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA
63 Diamond smash : LINER
65 Salty drops : TEARS
66 “That __ fun!” : WAS
69 Shoe that’s really not better-than-none? : HALF A LOAFER (from “half a loaf”)
73 Cover-crop grass : RYE
74 Wide-mouthed pitchers : EWERS
77 Heath growth also called furze : GORSE
78 Treats with scorn : SNUBS
81 Part of LPGA : LADIES
83 Rowland Macy’s inspiration for the red star logo : TATTOO
86 Eliciting feeling : EMOTIVE
90 Bridge framework : TRESTLE
92 Regret losing one’s straw hat? : MISS THE BOATER (from “miss the boat”)
94 Dried-up : SERE
95 Word with cut or crust : UPPER-
97 Triumphant cry : AHA!
98 Matters of degrees : ANGLES
99 On the main : ASEA
100 Important figure in pro sports : AGENT
102 Otherwise : ELSE
103 Got a Mini airborne? : FLEW THE COOPER (from “flew the coop”)
109 Eng. majors’ degrees : BAS
112 Emmy-winning legal drama : LA LAW
113 Military uniform material : SERGE
114 Wide view : PANORAMA
119 Fashion photographer Richard : AVEDON
121 Life-size cutout to promote “Rocky”? : CARDBOARD BOXER (from “cardboard”)
124 Establishment with tastings : WINERY
125 Had a bite : ATE
126 Personal : OWN
127 Live : RESIDE
128 Impertinent in tone : SNARKY
129 High-__ monitor : RES
130 First word of Burns’ “To a Mouse” : WEE
131 Removes permanently : ERASES

Down

1 Samoan capital : APIA
2 Spinner in the wind : VANE
3 Banned apple spray : ALAR
4 Tuesday special, in many eateries : TACO
5 Make amends : ATONE
6 __ race : RELAY
7 Correspondence sign-off : BEST
8 Untrained or undressed : RAW
9 Source of metal : ORE
10 Brightly colored fish : TETRA
11 Starters : A-TEAM
12 Juicy tidbits : MORSELS
13 Epitome of simplicity : ABC
14 Logician’s asset : REASON
15 Change : ALTER
16 Altercation : RUN-IN
17 Unblinking : AGAZE
18 Gradually become narrower : TAPER
24 Union __ : DUES
25 160 square rods : ACRE
29 One just hanging in the forest : SLOTH
32 Removed the center from : CORED
33 It’s not uncommon to twist it : ANKLE
34 Skincare aid : CREAM
35 Slug follower? : -FEST
36 Cockney greeting : ‘ELLO
37 “It’s Your Space” sloganeer : AVIS
38 Hedren of “The Birds” : TIPPI
40 Something to make on a sunny day? : HAY
43 Nine-inch measure : SPAN
44 Investigative journalist Seymour : HERSH
46 Sun: Pref. : HELIO-
47 Area of conflict : ARENA
48 Enjoy a meal : DINE
49 Rose petal perfume : ATTAR
50 Like some friends : FURRY
51 Play an April Fool’s joke on, say : TEASE
53 Attach a new label to : RETAG
54 Polo clubs : MALLETS
56 Baseball club : BAT
59 Whistle blowers : REFS
62 Tons : A LOT
64 Two-time Oscar winner Zellweger : RENEE
66 Shoemaker’s strips : WELTS
67 Up on the latest info : AWARE
68 Meal involving charoseth, a symbolic fruit paste : SEDER
70 Set up for the fall : FRAME
71 Moving about : ASTIR
72 Cuban dance : RUMBA
75 Become visible on the horizon : RISE
76 Chess __ : SET
79 Timely benefit : BOON
80 Soliloquy site : STAGE
82 Partly melted snow : SLUSH
84 “Middle Waters” tribe : OSAGE
85 Different : OTHER
87 “__ just take a minute” : IT’LL
88 Two-finger signs : VEES
89 Scots Gaelic : ERSE
91 Fencing gear : EPEES
93 Flying Solo? : HAN
96 Leader of the track : PACE CAR
99 Where time cards are punched : AT WORK
100 Copied : APED
101 Way up the slope : T-BAR
103 Defects : FLAWS
104 Linda of “Alice” : LAVIN
105 2010 Barack appointee : ELENA
106 Shorebird : WADER
107 Speak loftily : ORATE
108 Fairy tale beasts : OGRES
110 Travel guide co-founder Michelin : ANDRE
111 Not high : SOBER
114 Sheet in a window : PANE
115 Activist Parks : ROSA
116 Graph line : AXIS
117 Ancient Persian : MEDE
118 “Iliad” war god : ARES
120 Bronx Bombers, on scoreboards : NYY
122 Knot on a gift : BOW
123 “I __ you one!” : OWE

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Jul 20, Sunday”

    1. 2 errors. 104D LARIN and 119A AREDON. Don’t know my fashion photographers or last name of Alice characters…

      I had a real tough time in the NW corner for some reason. Maybe it was because it was too late at night??? Wasn’t until AVATAR fell, Did everything else come together. Then there was 57A. I could not come up with TO SPARE for a llllooonnnggg time. That and 42A .. I had ELVXXX for a long time.. And I didn’t know 44D HERSH .. And I had TIPPY for 38D for a long time.., just really stuck. Then I had AVIA for 37D..

      It was all quick until I hit the proverbial wall..

      Be safe

  1. 52:31 with one error…I had Avadon for Avedon.
    Every setter seems to find a way to put “never heard of” clues together or in a crossing. Today it was 42 & 61A &44D…Before Nonny disagrees with me I’m talking about us mere mortals.
    Stay safe y’all

    1. I was wondering that as well. I worked at a university for many years and the Engineering Department didn’t hand out any BAs.

  2. Started out slow but once I figured out the theme I was home free. The clue for elvish was way out there. I think a better clue would have been…. like a Presley song! Nice Sunday puzzle though.

  3. 23:44, no errors.

    @Jack … I don’t recall ever having heard of Quenya or Sindarin, either, though I have read a lot of Tolkien’s stuff (and I have to assume that’s where the terms come from). I assume INSTA is short for “Instagram” (a youngster thing that I know about mostly from doing crosswords), and Seymour HERSH is only (very) vaguely familiar (as in, I know nothing about him). So I got the answers to all three of the clues you mention from crosses and/or guesses. Does that make me a “mere mortal”? 🙂

    (FWIW, at 77, I’ve become totally convinced I’m not immortal … 😜.

    1. No real problem with the grid. Just kind of a “grind it out” solve.

      @Mr. Muss – I thought your answer to Glenn yesterday was so spot on I had to take a moment and give you some kudos. To me the crossword is the inverse of “Think horses, not Zebras”, especially on a Friday or a Saturday because a good crossword creator is looking to lead you down the garden path and then pull the rug out from under you (to mix a shag-gy- metaphor with potting soil).

  4. No errors. I thought the theme was clever and helped me to get
    the rest of the answers. The southwest corner gave me some pause,
    but when I thought back to “Alice” I remembered Linda Lavin and
    that helped with Avedon and “LA Law”. I lucked out with Elvish by
    entering my guess of Avis, but Elvish was unknown to me.
    Obviously not a Tolkien reader.

  5. This was a fun one, loved the theme. All I needed was the P to get FLEW THE COOPER, which gave me a wonderful picture in my mind. We were once sitting in a line to board a ferry, and noticed many Minis also in line. We asked the nearest Coopster what was up, and it turned out to be a rally. He also mentioned his needed some work, but not to worry, Coopers could be repaired with duct tape and baling wire.

    I would not have gotten ELVISH if I hadn’t reread Tolkien early in the lockdown. I needed something uplifting that would last me awhile, and War and Peace wouldn’t do it.

  6. Wikipedia and YouTube contain a lot of information about Tolkien and the languages he created. Here’s a starter:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gFsLYzFJk-c

    As someone with little aptitude for learning foreign languages, I’ve always been fascinated by people like Tolkien.

    I just finished reading a sci-fi novel called “The Sparrow”, by Mary Doria Russell, in which the principal character, a Jesuit priest called Emilio Sandoz, has an astonishing talent for learning languages, an essential element in the story. (I’m still trying to decide if I liked the book, but it was certainly an interesting read.)

  7. I really liked this one. I figured a lot of folks would have trouble with Elvish but I was one of those nerds in high school who learned Tolkien’s alphabet and studied the linguistic history he created. I don’t remember much of it now but the clue sent me down memory lane for sure. Uthlaut had another Sunday LAX puzzle back in May that I really enjoyed as well. In that one, the theme answers made a story or at least a sentence. The theme was “I had a bad day” and the clues/answers were: My Crayon: DREW A BLANK, My ruler: FAILED TO MEASURE UP, My Needle: DIDN’T COME THROUGH, My Belt: BUCKLED UNDER THE STRAIN, My cake: FELL DOWN ON THE JOB, My Knife: COULDN’T MAKE THE CUT, And My Champagne: FIZZLED OUT.

    I’ll take more of her puzzles any time.

    Stay safe, everyone.

  8. 17:48 no errors.

    I liked the theme, but I don’t get why adding -ER makes an ending uncertain.

    @Kent, I remember that puzzle. It was great!

  9. No errors. Enjoyed the puzzle.
    I knew Richard Avedon for his psychedelic-style photographic portraits of The Beatles. I partly grew up on The Beatles, but hardly ever play their records any more. The Doors hold up much better, at least for me.
    What a coincidence- The Doors have just come up on FM88.5! Indian Summer.

  10. 32 mins 34 sec, no errors. Not really enjoyable. I was squinting at several of the clues, and was annoyed rather than having the “Aha!” moment when some of the fills “came to me” finally. Wasn’t in sync with this setter at all.

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