LA Times Crossword 2 Jul 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Paul Coulter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): No Idea

Themed answers each have the same clue, i.e. “No idea”:

  • 16A “No idea” : HOW SHOULD I KNOW?
  • 26A “No idea” : I’M STUMPED
  • 38A [No idea] : [SHRUG]
  • 51A “No idea” : IT BEATS ME
  • 60A “No idea” : I DON’T HAVE A CLUE

Bill’s time: 5m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Indian noblewoman : RANI

A ranee (also “rani”) is an Indian queen or princess, and the female equivalent of a raja.

5 Pressure meas. : PSI

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.

12 Like port, usually : AGED

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

13 W. alliance since 1948 : OAS

The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948, and has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Not all of the independent states in the Americas are members. Cuba was barred from participation in the organization after a vote in 1962. Honduras had her membership suspended after the country’s 2009 coup.

14 Southwestern grassy plain : LLANO

“Llano” is the Spanish word for “plain”.

20 Soft drink nut : KOLA

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

31 Protein-rich bean : SOYA

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

32 Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo __ : EPSTEIN

In 2002, Theo Epstein was hired as General Manager by the Boston Red Sox. Epstein was only 28 years at the time, making him the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball.

37 Blueprint detail, for short : SPEC

Blueprints are reproductions of technical or architectural drawings that are contact prints made on light-sensitive sheets. Blueprints were introduced in the 1800s and the technology available dictated that the drawings were reproduced with white lines on a blue background, hence the name “blue-print”.

45 Greek earth goddess : GAIA

In ancient Greek religion, Gaia was the Earth goddess, the mother of everything. The Roman equivalent was the goddess Terra.

46 Autocrats of old Russia : TSARS

The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

49 100 agorot, in Israel : SHEKEL

The shekel is the currency used today in Israel. The first use of the word “shekel” was in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE when it probably referred to a specific weight of barley. Each shekel is worth 100 agorot (singular “agora”).

56 Dancer Castle : IRENE

Vernon and Irene Castle were a husband-wife team of ballroom dancers who regularly performed on Broadway at the start of the 20th century. The Castles have been credited with creating or at least popularizing the dance called the “foxtrot”.

57 Strait-laced : PRIM

Our term “strait-laced” is used to describe someone who is “excessively inflexible in matters of conduct”. Note the spelling “strait” (and not “straight”), which in this case means “tight”, and is a reference to the laces of a woman’s corset. A woman with a strait-laced (tightly-laced) corset would have a rigid posture. This usage was extended to the figurative meaning of “rigid in conduct”.

58 Storywriter known for irony : O HENRY

“O. Henry” was the pen name of writer William Sydney Porter from Greensboro, North Carolina. O. Henry is famous for his witty short stories that have a clever twist in the tail.

66 Pasta often served alla vodka : PENNE

Penne alla vodka is a pasta dish with a sauce made of vodka, cream, tomatoes, onions and sausage or bacon.

67 Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI

Louis XIV is perhaps the most famous of the kings (“rois”) of France and was known as the Sun King (“le Roi Soleil”). Louis XIV was king from 1638 to 1715. That reign of over 72 years is the longest reign of any European monarch.

70 “Atlas Shrugged” writer Rand : AYN

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.

Down

4 Fake __ : IDS

Identity document (ID)

5 Not up to snuff : POOR

The term “up to snuff” today means “up to standard”. It was introduced to us for the first time in 1811 in a play called “Hamlet Travestie” by Englishman John Poole. He used the phrase to mean “in the know”. It was perhaps a reference to the habit of taking powdered tobacco, a practice back then that was associated with the upper classes, the educated, those in the know.

6 Mecca native : SAUDI
7 Religion of Mecca : ISLAM

Mecca is in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia. It was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the holiest city in Islam. Every year several million Muslims perform the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

8 Low-tech fire starter : FLINT

Flint is a form of the mineral quartz. Flint can be used to start a fire. The hard edge of flint when struck against steel can shave off a particle of the metal. The particle of steel contains exposed iron that reacts with oxygen in the air creating a spark that can light dry tinder.

15 Young hooter : OWLET

A baby owl is an owlet. The term “owlet” can also be used for the adults of the smaller species of owls.

18 Bad-mouth : DIS

“Dis” (also “diss”) is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

24 Largest of the Inner Hebrides : SKYE

The Isle of Skye is off the northwest coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebrides. It is the second largest island in the country, and has been linked to the mainland by a road bridge since 1995. I’ve never been there, but I hear the views are spectacular.

25 Japanese ritual with an iron pot : TEA CEREMONY

The Japanese tea ceremony is called “chanoyu” in Japanese, and involves the preparation and presentation of powdered green tea. When leaf tea is used, the ceremony is called “senchado”.

27 Org. with an Odd News web page : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a fraction of that workforce.

29 Baja bread : PESO

The peso is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.

33 Scholar’s deg. : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

34 __ Lanka : SRI

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

35 Winery cask : TUN

A tun is a barrel, often a large barrel used in winemaking. The term “tun” came to be a measure of volume, originally 252 gallons of wine. The weight of such a volume of wine was referred to as a “tun”, which evolved into our contemporary unit “ton”.

36 French toast maker’s need : EGGS

The dish made from bread soaked in milk with beaten eggs and then fried is usually called French toast in the US, but it also goes by the names German toast and Spanish toast. In France, the dish is known as “pain perdu”, which translates as “lost bread”. This name is a reference to the fact that “lost” or “stale” bread can be reclaimed by dipping it in a mixture of milk and eggs and then frying it.

40 Victoria, for one : LAKE

Lake Victoria is the largest lake by surface area on the continent of Africa. It was named by English explorer John Hanning Speke in honor of Queen Victoria of the UK. Speke was the first European to set eyes on the lake.

41 Appearance : MIEN

One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. “Mien” shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.

42 BOGO event : SALE

Buy one, get one (BOGO) or buy one, get one free (BOGOF).

44 Cape Town’s country: Abbr. : RSA

Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa (RSA), and one of three capital cities in the country. Pretoria is the executive capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.

52 Big name in raingear : TOTES

Totes Isotoner is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company is the world’s largest supplier of umbrellas and other rainwear items. Isotoner is also famous for its lines of gloves and slippers.

54 Comedian featured in Jerry Stiller’s “Married to Laughter” : MEARA

Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spin-off from “All in the Family”.

Comedian Jerry Stiller wrote a 2000 memoir titled “Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara”. Stiller married Anne Meara in 1954, and was married to him until her passing in 2015.

55 Official representative : ENVOY

An envoy works at an embassy and is a representative of a government, and someone ranking below an ambassador. The name comes from the concept of the envoy being a “messenger” from his or her government. “Envoyer” is the French word for “to send”.

61 Shreveport-to-Little Rock dir. : NNE

The Louisiana city of Shreveport was founded in 1836 on the west bank of the Red River. The river had been cleared of a 180-mile long log jam by the US Army Corps of Engineers, making the river navigable. The work was led by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, for whom the city was named.

62 Ozone-depleting chemical : CFC

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used to be widely used as propellants in aerosols, and as refrigerants in cooling systems. CFCs make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). That conversion creates “holes” in the ozone layer. Regular O2 is good stuff, but we need O3 to absorb harmful UV radiation raining down on us. CFC is not good stuff …

63 Language of Southeast Asia : LAO

Lao, the language of Laos, does not use spaces between words (or periods!), although this is apparently changing. Spaces are used between sentences and clauses.

64 Special forces weapon : UZI

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Indian noblewoman : RANI
5 Pressure meas. : PSI
8 Little lies : FIBS
12 Like port, usually : AGED
13 W. alliance since 1948 : OAS
14 Southwestern grassy plain : LLANO
16 “No idea” : HOW SHOULD I KNOW?
19 Make a minister : ORDAIN
20 Soft drink nut : KOLA
22 Flings : CASTS
26 “No idea” : I’M STUMPED
28 Cost of preventing deterioration : UPKEEP
30 Adhesive : PASTE
31 Protein-rich bean : SOYA
32 Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo __ : EPSTEIN
37 Blueprint detail, for short : SPEC
38 [No idea] : [SHRUG]
39 Charity : ALMS
43 Wearing away gradually : ERODING
45 Greek earth goddess : GAIA
46 Autocrats of old Russia : TSARS
49 100 agorot, in Israel : SHEKEL
51 “No idea” : IT BEATS ME
56 Dancer Castle : IRENE
57 Strait-laced : PRIM
58 Storywriter known for irony : O HENRY
60 “No idea” : I DON’T HAVE A CLUE
66 Pasta often served alla vodka : PENNE
67 Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI
68 Unnerve : FAZE
69 Hides the gray, maybe : DYES
70 “Atlas Shrugged” writer Rand : AYN
71 Mattress spring : COIL

Down

1 “Go team!” : RAH!
2 Back in the day : AGO
3 Still in the package : NEW
4 Fake __ : IDS
5 Not up to snuff : POOR
6 Mecca native : SAUDI
7 Religion of Mecca : ISLAM
8 Low-tech fire starter : FLINT
9 Breed : ILK
10 Supervisor at a financial institution : BANK MANAGER
11 Busybodies : SNOOPS
15 Young hooter : OWLET
17 One may wind up on a fire truck : HOSE
18 Bad-mouth : DIS
21 Beverage suffix : -ADE
22 Use bad words : CUSS
23 Informal pricing words : A POP
24 Largest of the Inner Hebrides : SKYE
25 Japanese ritual with an iron pot : TEA CEREMONY
27 Org. with an Odd News web page : UPI
29 Baja bread : PESO
33 Scholar’s deg. : PHD
34 __ Lanka : SRI
35 Winery cask : TUN
36 French toast maker’s need : EGGS
40 Victoria, for one : LAKE
41 Appearance : MIEN
42 BOGO event : SALE
44 Cape Town’s country: Abbr. : RSA
46 Pointed end : TIP
47 Narrow piece : STRIP
48 Tolerated : ABIDED
50 Breezy greeting : HIYA
52 Big name in raingear : TOTES
53 “Use your inside voice” : SHH!
54 Comedian featured in Jerry Stiller’s “Married to Laughter” : MEARA
55 Official representative : ENVOY
59 Horse rider’s strap : REIN
61 Shreveport-to-Little Rock dir. : NNE
62 Ozone-depleting chemical : CFC
63 Language of Southeast Asia : LAO
64 Special forces weapon : UZI

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 Jul 20, Thursday”

  1. No errors. Quick solve.. At least for me.. About 10 minutes.

    Interesting read on Epstein. 28 and a General Manager. I did a WIKI read on him. Quite the storied life. Don’t know if it’s true, but when he resigned from the Red Sox as GM, he wore a gorilla costume as he left work that day so reporters wouldn’t recognize him. It was Halloween night. Stuff of movies.
    Thanks Bill for the initial write-up on Epstein.

    Be safe.

  2. Three consecutive write-overs over two consecutive answers (misspelled ORDAIN & KOLA) were my only problems.

    Along the theme of today’s puzzle, although unaccountably somehow for me, Epstein popped into my head for 32A, I can think of several less arcane Epsteins ranging from a very bad man recently in the news down to a ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ character as better clues.

  3. 7:14, no errors, and only one complaint. For 52-Down, the answer for which was “TOTES” (a type of rain gear totally unknown to me), the clue should have been the standard one: “___ adorbs” … 😜.

    1. BOGO is pretty BOGUS, isn’t it?

      The worst is when the setter has a mix of the latest slang and also reverts to some of the corniest, old phrases in (not-so) recent memory, all in the same grid.

  4. 12:17 and DNF: 10 unfilled entries spread all over the grid. Just some stuff I, to put paid to the theme, had no clue on. I don’t know from shekel, can’t place where the Hebrides are right now, and the crosses didn’t fall luckily for me. This one, plain and simple, whupped my behind.

  5. 2 incorrect postings for LAKE and 2 empty squares for SALE. Got all of the
    theme answers; just saw them for what they were. I will take 98% every day
    of every week. And it wasn’t all that easy.

    Stay well, everybody.

    @A Nonny Muss – I am researching further at Wilson Sporting Goods. I used to have some
    friends there that might be able toshed some light on your Wilson oval
    oval golf ball. Continuing the quest.

  6. Wha?
    The theme was good because it used expressions that are really common.

    I had one Google – EPSTEIN. Sports, naturally. There were 2 words I didn’t know: agorot, unagi,
    I had EROsIon before ERODING, dAZE before FAZE. And that’s it.

  7. Nice quick, perhaps a bit too quick, Thursday; took me 13 minutes with, alas, one error: PRIg instead of PRIM. I should have done a quick check on the cross of TEA CEREgONY.

    I successfully changed cOLA to KOLA and agent to ENVOY. Everything else was correct the first time, even if I had to wait for a few crosses here and there.

    Poor Theo, to be have to be tied to his namesake Jeffrey, with his accomplice being arrested today…

  8. HIYA folks!!🦆

    No errors. Well done theme. I also had COLA at first.

    Dirk from yesterday!! All went well and I finally got good news regarding my health. It appears that it was nothing serious (I don’t have cancer, which was a concern.) Took two and a half months and a LOT of gnarly tests to find out!! Color me relieved. 🙃

    One advantage of the Corona lockdown (speaking just for myself) has been the light traffic, as I’ve had to schlep all over town for tests and procedures and whatnot. Many doctor appointments have been via video, too. Not that I’d want this pandemic just to save some time. Heck no.

    Here in LA, restaurants are supposed to be closed again to indoor dining, but on an errand this evening I passed at least two restaurants with diners inside!! I wish people would be more careful —

    Be well~~🍸

    1. Thanks for the update, Carrie. I meant to post something yesterday, but got side-tracked.

      My ex and my son are moving to the LA area to be near my daughter and her youngsters. Don’t know what to think of that. Seems like a bad time to be moving. And I will miss having family close by.

      Difficult times … be well … 🙂.

      1. Nonny– sorry to hear that your family is moving away but hey, LA is great! I’m biased, having been born and raised here. May they have a safe move 🤗

  9. First time comment, although I’ve followed this blog for a number of years. The most amazing thing about Theo Epstein is that he led Boston to their first World Series win in 86 years and the Cubs to their first World Series win in over 100 years, breaking two of the best known baseball curses.

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