LA Times Crossword 27 Jul 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Matt McKinley
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): “Ordinally” Even

Themed answers each start with an ordinal numeral, going from SECOND to TENTH as we progress down the grid:

  • 17A Chicago-based improv group, with “The” : … SECOND CITY
  • 23A Imagined barrier between actor and audience : FOURTH WALL
  • 34A Beethoven’s “Pastoral” or Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” : SIXTH SYMPHONY
  • 45A Musical symbol also called a quaver : EIGHTH NOTE
  • 56A When Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, in a classic 1990 bout : TENTH ROUND

Bill’s time: 4m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Really easy task : CINCH

The term “cinch” was absorbed into American English from Spanish in the mid-1800s, when it was used to mean a “saddle-girth”. “Cincha” is the Spanish for “girdle”. In the late 1800s, “cinch” came to mean a ‘sure thing”, in the sense that a saddle-girth can provide a “sure hold”.

16 Dodgers or Cubs : TEAM

The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team were known as the Brooklyn Dodgers before the franchise moved to California. Before being called the Dodgers, the team was known in Brooklyn as the Robins, the Superbas, the Trolley Dodgers, the Bridegrooms/Grooms, the Grays and the Atlantics.

The Chicago Cubs are one of only two charter members of the baseball’s National League who are still playing, the other being the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 for the first time since 1908, which is a long time ago. In fact, the Cubs had the longest championship drought of any professional sports team in North America.

17 Chicago-based improv group, with “The” : … SECOND CITY

The Second City Theatre specializes in improv comedy, and is based in Chicago, the nation’s “second city”. The theater opened in 1959, and gave its start to an impressive lineup of comedy stars including Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

19 Semester : TERM

“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester-system has three parts, and a quarter-system has four.

22 Camera type, for short : SLR

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

23 Imagined barrier between actor and audience : FOURTH WALL

In the theater world, the fourth wall is an imaginary plane at the front of the stage through which the audience experiences the action. When a character acknowledges the existence of the audience, perhaps by addressing them, he or she is said to have broken the fourth wall.

28 Old fast fliers : SSTS

The first supersonic transport (SST) to fly was the Tupolev Tu-144, which was constructed in the Soviet Union. The Tu-144 first flew in 1968, but did not carry passengers until 1977. The aircraft was permanently grounded as a passenger craft in 1978 due to concerns about safety (there had been two Tu-144 crashes). The second SST to fly was the Anglo-French Concorde, which operated at a profit for over 27 years until it was withdrawn from service in 2003. There was one Concorde crash, in Paris in July 2000. Since then, there have been no commercial SST services.

30 Dallas region inset on a Texas atlas page, e.g. : AREA MAP

The settlement that was to become the Texas city of Dallas was established in 1841. The settlement became a city in 1856, and owed its early growth to the construction of railroads starting in 1873.

33 Fingers in a lineup : IDS

Identity document (ID)

34 Beethoven’s “Pastoral” or Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” : SIXTH SYMPHONY

Ludwig van Beethoven completed his magnificent “Symphony No. 6” (The Pastoral) in 1808. He composed the Pastoral at the same time that he was working on his iconic “Fifth Symphony”. Both symphonies premiered on the same night, at a lengthy concert in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna.

Tchaikovsky’s popular “Symphony No. 6” is commonly referred to as “The Pathétique”. There is a bass clarinet part in the first movement that is required to be played very, very, very, very, very softly. That means the score uses the instruction “pppppp”, an extreme and unusual version of “pianissimo”.

38 Philip of “Kung Fu” : AHN

Actor Philip Ahn is perhaps best known for playing Master Kahn, one of Caine’s teachers on the television show “Kung Fu”. Ahn was the first Asian-American actor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

43 Lat. and Ukr., formerly : SSRS

Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.

Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe that was a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English, we often call the country “the Ukraine”, but I am told that we should say just “Ukraine”.

47 Hoopla : ADO

The word “hoopla” means “boisterous excitement”. The term probably comes from “houp-là”, something the French say instead of “upsy-daisy”. Then again, “upsy-daisy” probably isn’t something said very often here in the US …

50 Fairway position : LIE

That would be golf.

54 Fellow, to a Brit : CHAP

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

56 When Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, in a classic 1990 bout : TENTH ROUND

Buster Douglas is a former professional boxer who briefly held the title of World Heavyweight Champion after upsetting Mike Tyson with a knock-out punch in a 1990 bout. Douglas was a 42-1 underdog in that fight. He lost the title in his next bout later that same year, to Evander Holyfield.

Boxer Mike Tyson, nicknamed “Iron Mike”, has said some pretty graphic things about his opponents. For example:

  • About Lennox Lewis: “My main objective is to be professional but to kill him.”
  • To Razor Ruddock: “I’m gonna make you my girlfriend.”
  • About Tyrell Biggs: “He was screaming like my wife.”

59 “Not a __”: “No idea” : CLUE

Me neither …

60 Pasta sauce herb : BASIL

Traditionally, basil is considered “the king of herbs”. And in fact, the herb’s name comes from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king”.

61 Online craft shop : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

Down

6 Lizards like the Geico mascot : GECKOS

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

7 French farewell : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

8 Cpl.’s superior : SGT

Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

10 Canada’s capital : OTTAWA

Ottawa is the second-largest city in the Province of Ontario (after Toronto) and is the capital city of Canada. The name “Ottawa” comes from an Algonquin word “adawe”, which means “to trade”.

18 Bonkers : DAFT

The word “bonkers” meaning “crazy” originated in the fifties. The term might come from navy slang meaning “slightly drunk”, behaving as though one received a “bonk” on the head.

24 Obama chief of staff Emanuel : RAHM

Rahm Emanuel was an Illinois representative in the US House before resigning in 2009 to take up President Obama’s offer to become the White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel moved on from the White House the following year in order to run as a candidate in Chicago’s mayoral election in 2011. He won the 2011 race, and was re-elected in 2015.

25 Stadium in St. Pete, with “The” : … TROP

Tropicana Field (“The Trop”) in St. Petersburg, Florida is home to the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. It is a domed stadium, with four catwalks hanging from the roof. Those catwalks can interfere with the flight of a well-hit ball, and I’m told that upsets a lot of people …

26 Gaga or Godiva : LADY

“Lady Gaga” is the stage name of Stefani Germanotta. Germanotta is a big fan of the band Queen, and she took her stage name from the marvelous Queen song titled “Radio Ga Ga”.

In the legend of Lady Godiva, the noblewoman rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England, basically as a dare from her husband in return for relieving the taxes of his tenants. Lady Godiva issued instructions that all the town’s inhabitants should stay indoors while she made her journey. However, a tailor in the town named Tom disobeyed the instructions by boring holes in the shutters on his windows, and “peeped”. As a result, Peeping Tom was struck blind, and the term “peeping Tom” has been in our language ever since.

27 Record albums, briefly : LPS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

28 Census datum : SEX

The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by federal marshals.

31 Cabernet holder : WINEGLASS

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

32 NES part: Abbr. : SYS

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.

34 Feng __ : SHUI

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese tradition of arranging objects, buildings and other structures in a manner that is said to improve the lives of the individuals living in or using the space. “Feng shui” translates as “wind-water”, a reference to the belief that positive and negative life forces ride the wind and scatter, but are retained when they encounter water.

37 Approves : OKS

Back in the late 1830s, there were some slang abbreviations coined mainly in Boston. The craze called for two-letter abbreviations of deliberately misspelled phrases. For example “no use” became “KY” from “know yuse”, and “enough said” became “NC” from “‘nuff ced”. Fortunately (I say!), the practice was short-lived. But, one of those abbreviations persists to this day. “All correct” was misspelled to give “oll korrect”, abbreviated to “OK”.

38 Royal flush card : ACE

The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, jack, queen, king and ace, with all in the same suit.

43 Idaho and Iowa : STATES

Idaho has the nickname “Gem State”, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state. I’d go for the potatoes over the gems, but that’s probably just me …

What is now the state of Iowa was part of the French colony known as New France, until it was acquired by the US in the Louisiana Purchase. The state’s name comes from the Ioway Native American people who lived there at the time Europeans started exploring the area.

44 Actor Rogen : SETH

Seth Rogen is a Canadian comedian who got a lot of credit for his supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. That led to him being cast as the lead in the 1970 film “Knocked Up”. Rogen also co-directed and co-starred in the movie “The Interview”, which created a huge ruckus in North Korea.

48 Dungarees fabric : DENIM

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

“Dungarees” is an alternative name for “overalls”. Dungaree was a cheap and poorly woven fabric used by the lower classes. Dungaree originated in the port city of Dongri near Mumbai, India, hence the name.

52 Kathryn of “Law & Order: C.I.” : ERBE

Actress Kathryn Erbe is best known for playing Det. Alexandra Eames on the TV show “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”. Paradoxically perhaps, Erbe’s other noted role is Shirley Bellinger in the HBO series “Oz”, in which she plays a death row inmate.

53 Equine hue : ROAN

A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

54 Michael of “SNL” : CHE

Michael Che is a standup comedian from New York City. Che had worked as a writer for “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), and then started to appear in front of SNL cameras in September 2014. One of his roles was co-anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment of the show.

55 Stetson __ : HAT

Stetson is a brand of hats manufactured by John B. Stetson Company of St. Joseph, Missouri. The so-called “cowboy hat” that Stetson pioneered was such a success that the company became the largest hat maker in the world, producing over 3.3 million hats per year.

56 Getting the job done, initially : TCB

Taking care of business (TCB)

57 “Xanadu” rock gp. : ELO

The title song of the 1980 movie “Xanadu” was performed by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John (who starred in the film). Despite the popularity of ELO around the world, the song “Xanadu” was the band’s only number one hit back in their homeland of the UK.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Really easy task : CINCH
6 Serious cut : GASH
10 Sect. on a concert ticket : ORCH
14 In flames : AFIRE
15 Brink : EDGE
16 Dodgers or Cubs : TEAM
17 Chicago-based improv group, with “The” : … SECOND CITY
19 Semester : TERM
20 Bit of memorabilia : KEEPSAKE
21 Bee secretion : WAX
22 Camera type, for short : SLR
23 Imagined barrier between actor and audience : FOURTH WALL
28 Old fast fliers : SSTS
30 Dallas region inset on a Texas atlas page, e.g. : AREA MAP
31 Really tiny : WEE
32 Photographed : SHOT
33 Fingers in a lineup : IDS
34 Beethoven’s “Pastoral” or Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” : SIXTH SYMPHONY
38 Philip of “Kung Fu” : AHN
39 Regrets : RUES
40 Barely make, with “out” : EKE …
41 Pool stick protector : CUE CASE
43 Lat. and Ukr., formerly : SSRS
45 Musical symbol also called a quaver : EIGHTH NOTE
47 Hoopla : ADO
50 Fairway position : LIE
51 Mattress you can “float” on : WATERBED
54 Fellow, to a Brit : CHAP
56 When Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, in a classic 1990 bout : TENTH ROUND
58 Fastening device : HASP
59 “Not a __”: “No idea” : CLUE
60 Pasta sauce herb : BASIL
61 Online craft shop : ETSY
62 Conks on the head : BOPS
63 Outlaw, to a sheriff : ENEMY

Down

1 Oak containers : CASKS
2 “It’s my opinion … ” : I FEEL …
3 More kind : NICER
4 Farm yield : CROP
5 Farm cluckers : HENS
6 Lizards like the Geico mascot : GECKOS
7 French farewell : ADIEU
8 Cpl.’s superior : SGT
9 “Psst!” : HEY!
10 Canada’s capital : OTTAWA
11 Check out again, as a patient : RE-EXAMINE
12 Train unit : CAR
13 “I’m thinking” : HMM
18 Bonkers : DAFT
21 If : WHETHER
24 Obama chief of staff Emanuel : RAHM
25 Stadium in St. Pete, with “The” : … TROP
26 Gaga or Godiva : LADY
27 Record albums, briefly : LPS
28 Census datum : SEX
29 Unvarying fee : SET RATE
31 Cabernet holder : WINEGLASS
32 NES part: Abbr. : SYS
34 Feng __ : SHUI
35 “Quiet!” : HUSH!
36 Observed : SEEN
37 Approves : OKS
38 Royal flush card : ACE
42 Marked by contentiousness, as a game : CHIPPY
43 Idaho and Iowa : STATES
44 Actor Rogen : SETH
46 Admit (to) : OWN UP
47 Seriously overdo, as a privilege : ABUSE
48 Dungarees fabric : DENIM
49 “Strange to say … ” : ODDLY …
52 Kathryn of “Law & Order: C.I.” : ERBE
53 Equine hue : ROAN
54 Michael of “SNL” : CHE
55 Stetson __ : HAT
56 Getting the job done, initially : TCB
57 “Xanadu” rock gp. : ELO

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Jul 20, Monday”

    1. No errors. Didn’t know about SECOND CITY or the TROP catwalks. I looked up the rules on those catwalks. Sounded like rules you make up in sandlot. “If the ball hits the fire hydrant and veers off and hits the picket fence then it’s foul.”. I can Remember making rules as we went along depending on what odd thing happened. Good times.
      Be safe.

  1. Well, this was a fun easy puzzle and theme. Afew I didn’t know. 25d, never heard that stadium & I live here. 42d, chippy, I never heard that description used. Heard chippies used in reference to prostitutes in England, or fast women. Fun anyway, just worked around. Be safe.

  2. Ditto to just about everything written by Cathy. “Fourth wall” was the
    one I didn’t know but it fit the line and the theme. No errors, but a
    little head scratching. Did not know “chippy.”

    1. I see Bill didn’t explain chippy. It’s a sports term used mostly in basketball to describe a lot of fouls in the contest. The announcers will invariably say it’s a very chippy game.

  3. 8:29, no errors. “CHIPPY” and “TROP” were new to me, too. Hadn’t had a chance to look them up.

  4. Not much of a challenge, even for a Monday. The Trop has been around for years and the catwalks have been hit by baseballs numerous times. Mike Tyson just announced he’s attempting a comeback. Yikes!

  5. Had to Google on a Monday! A sports Natick – LIE crosses CHIPPY. Had fifTH before niNTHbefore TENTH before I figured there was a theme, ordinal numbers.
    Also, did not know FOURTH WALL, AHN, TROP, CHE, or TCB.

  6. Easy one today… FOURTH WALL example is when an actor looks right at the camera and comments. Just recently found that out – timing is everything!! Stay safe!

  7. 7 mins 21 sec electronically, no errors. Pretty easy, breezy Monday grid. Although I am noticing some oddly re-appearing fills from just a few days ago… (in this case, SET RATE and the oft-abused ETSY) makes me think that our constructors are making use of shared tools to help them build their grids.

    1. >making use of shared tools

      They do. They use either “Crossword Compiler” (the editor pushes this one) or “Crossfire” to construct grids. These have word lists that are pretty universal between all constructors, as well.

  8. I guessed 34 and 44 Down, but had Buster Douglas KO’ing Mike Tyson
    in the NINTH ROUND. I saw the fight on TV, but did not remember the
    round of the knockout. I know it was an uppercut that at least started
    the final fall; may have been the last punch. So, 99% with 2 errors is OK.

    Stay safe and well, everybody.

  9. Hi folks!!🦆

    One error on a Monday! Dang! Had an E where CHIPPYand LIE cross. Never heard of CHIPPY in that sense.

    I don’t know why anyone would complain about ETSY showing up in puzzles. The site has been around for more than a decade. I’ve bought some lovely things there.

    So, 11 Miami Marlins players tested positive for covid. This weird baseball season may crash before it’s a week in.

    Be well ~~⚾️

    1. @Carrie …

      I have a pretty good idea why “someone“ would complain about “ETSY” in a puzzle, but I’m trying to be a bit more tactful than I have sometimes been in the past, so … (darn it … 😳) … no comment … 😜.

    2. And (lest there be any misunderstanding), I’d give you the initials of the “someone” … but … AW, Darn … I seem to have forgotten them … 😜.

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