LA Times Crossword 7 Jul 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Evan Kalish
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Starting Gates

Themed answers each START with a kind of GATE:

  • 55A Where horse races begin … and where the beginning of 19-, 30- and 40-Across might be seen : STARTING GATES
  • 19A Outdoor security illumination : FLOODLIGHTING (giving “floodgates”)
  • 30A Teeth : PEARLY WHITES (giving “pearly gates”)
  • 40A First ten U.S. constitutional amendments : BILL OF RIGHTS (giving “Bill Gates”)

Bill’s time: 5m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Baroque composer of many fugues : BACH

Johann Sebastian Bach died when he was 65-years-old, in 1750. He was buried in Old St. John’s Cemetery in Leipzig, and his grave went unmarked until 1894. At that time his coffin was located, removed and buried in a vault within the church. The church was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid during WWII, and so after the war the remains had to be recovered and taken to the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig.

A fugue is similar to a round in that it is a piece, written for two or more voices, with themes that are introduced and taken up by different voices at different pitches. The most famous composer of fugues has to be Bach.

9 Pageant adornment : SASH

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

15 Stage in an insect’s life cycle : PUPA

A pupa is a stage in the life of some insects. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Pupae can look like little dolls, hence the name. “Pupa” is the Latin for “doll”.

16 Stiletto __: shoe part : HEEL

The stiletto knife was developed in Italy, and is a knife intended for thrusting and stabbing as opposed to slashing and cutting. The term “stiletto” comes from the Latin “stilus”, which was a thin pointed writing instrument used in ancient Rome to engrave wax or clay tablets. And, there are also stiletto heels on some women’s shoes, heels that are long and thin.

17 Waze suggestion : ROUTE

Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze was developed in Israel, and was acquired by Google in 2013.

18 Chief Norse deity : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. He is usually depicted as having one eye, reflecting the story of how he gave one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom.

22 Tennis toppers : VISORS

Nowadays, we tend to think of a “visor” as the front brim of a hat, or a shade for the eyes. The original “viser” was the front part of a helmet, back in the 14th century. The term comes from the Old French “vis” meaning “face”.

24 Shucked shellfish : OYSTER

A group of oysters is commonly referred to as a “bed”, and oysters can be farmed in man-made beds. The largest body of water producing oysters in the US today is Chesapeake Bay, although the number of beds continues to dwindle due to pollution and overfishing. Back in the 1800s, most of the world’s oysters came from New York Harbor.

To shuck is to remove the husk from (say an ear of corn) or to remove the shell from (say an oyster).

25 German cry : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

26 Tummy muscles : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

28 Election night graphic : MAP

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

30 Teeth : PEARLY WHITES (giving “pearly gates”)

“Pearly gates” is a term used for the gates of Heaven. The term comes from a description of “Heavenly Jerusalem’ in the Book of Revelations in which the walls of the city had twelve gates, each made from a single pearl.

34 Caesar’s last gasp : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

36 __ na tigela: Brazilian berry dish in a bowl : ACAI

Açaí na tigela is a dish made from the frozen, mashed fruit of the açaí palm and served as a smoothie. Often topped with granola, banana, other berries and syrup, the dish is a specialty in much of Brazil. There’s even a savory version of açaí na tigela (“açaí in the bowl”) that includes shrimp or dried fish and tapioca. Açaí bowls are becoming very popular in North America, especially as a health food.

40 First ten U.S. constitutional amendments : BILL OF RIGHTS (giving “Bill Gates”)

The Constitution of the United States was adopted on September 17, 1787. There have been 27 amendments to the constitution, the first ten of which are collectively called the Bill of Rights. In essence the Bill of Rights limits the power of the Federal Government and protects the rights of individuals. For example, the First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen met and became friends in high school. The Gates was three years younger than Allen, but the pair gravitated towards each other due to a shared interest in computers. One of their first programming projects was to create a computerized version of tic-tac-toe, which they did together on a time-shared computer that was donated to the school by the Mothers’ Association. The two parted company when they graduated and went to different colleges, Allen to Washington State and Gates to Harvard. Allen dropped out of school to start work as a programmer, and he later convinced Gates to drop out of Harvard so that they could create Microsoft.

45 “Fill ‘er up” fluid : GAS

We pay about 50 cents a gallon in federal and state taxes of gasoline. I’ve always considered ourselves very lucky as to me this a low tax rate. We pay about $3.50 a US gallon in taxes in Ireland. Yep, $3.50 a gallon in tax alone …

48 Michelle Obama __ Robinson : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, and Melania Trump née Knavs.

53 Flat renter : TENANT

“Flat”, in the sense of an apartment or condominium, is a word more commonly used in Britain and Ireland than on this side of the pond. The term “flat” is Scottish in origin, in which language it used to mean “floor in a house”.

59 State with a greeting in its name : OHIO

Question: What’s round on the sides (the letters “O”) and high in the middle (HI)?
Answer: Ohio

61 Hoops officials : REFS

Basketball is truly a North American sport. It was created in 1891 by Canadian James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first “hoops” were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the “net”, someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

65 Egg producer : OVARY

The ovaries are the female reproductive organs. Most female vertebrates have two ovaries. However, only the left ovary develops in female birds, with the right remaining vestigial.

67 Approximately : OR SO

Something approximate is nearly correct, but not precisely. “Approximate” comes into English from Latin “ad” meaning “to” and “proximare” meaning “to come near”.

Down

1 Scroogean scoff : BAH!

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” to describe a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

2 Versatile blackjack card : ACE

In the card game blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

3 Culinary topper : CHEF’S HAT

A toque was a brimless style of hat that was very fashionable in Europe in the 13th to 16th centuries. Nowadays we associate toques with chefs, as it is the name given to a chef’s hat (called a “toque blanche” in French, a “white hat”). A chef’s toque is quite interesting. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats, often said to signify the number of ways that an egg can be cooked.

8 One blamed for losing a game : THE GOAT

The Chicago Cubs baseball team was supposedly subject to the “Curse of the Billy Goat” from 1945 until 2016. Billy Sianis, the owner of a Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, took his pet goat with him to a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field. Fans sitting nearby didn’t like the smell of the goat, and so the owner was asked to leave. As he left, Sianis yelled out, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” And that is how a curse is born …

9 Unchangeable leopard markings, in Jeremiah : SPOTS

The idiom “a leopard cannot change its spots” is often used to imply that a person who has done bad things in the past, will always be a bad person. The phrase comes from the Bible’s Book of Jeremiah “Can … the leopard [change] his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to evil.”

10 IRS-conducted ordeals : AUDITS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

11 Small piano : SPINET

“Spinet” is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as a small harpsichord, piano or organ. Spinets are still made today, as cheaper versions of full-size instruments.

12 Irritably needing food : HANGRY

“Hangry” is an informal term meaning “irritable because of hunger”. It is a portmanteau of “hungry” and “angry”.

14 Bing who teamed with Hope in “Road to …” films : CROSBY

Singer Bing Crosby was a great lover of the game of golf. Crosby had just finished up 18 holes on a course in Spain in 1977 when he suffered a massive heart attack on the final green. Crosby’s last words were “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

The trio of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour made seven “Road” films in all:

  1. Road to Singapore (1940)
  2. Road to Zanzibar (1941)
  3. Road to Morocco (1942)
  4. Road to Utopia (1946)
  5. Road to Rio (1947)
  6. Road to Bali (1952)
  7. The Road to Hong Kong (1962)

There was an eighth “Road” movie planned for 1977 titled “Road to the Fountain of Youth”, but Crosby died that year from a heart attack.

22 Enjoy an e-cig : VAPE

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

23 Very cool rapper? : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

27 Extremely muscular, in modern parlance : SWOLE

I know, I know. “Swole” means nothing to me either …

28 Annoys : MIFFS

To miff is to put out, to tee off. “To miff” is a verb that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That should get him a slap, I’d say …

32 Owl’s sound : HOO!

Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote a 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

37 Smoothie additive also used to sprout “hair” on terracotta “pets” : CHIA SEED

Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terra-cotta figurines to which are applied moistened chia seeds. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.

The tem “terra-cotta” comes to us from Latin via Italian and means “baked earth”. Terra-cotta is a ceramic made from clay which is left unglazed. Maybe the most famous work in terra-cotta is the Terracotta Army, the enormous collection of life-size figures that was buried with Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China around 210 BC. I had the privilege of seeing some of this collection when it toured the US a few years ago, and even the few pieces on display were very impressive.

38 Lots and lots : A TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

41 Playing an extra NBA period : IN OT

In overtime (in OT)

42 Dictionary : LEXICON

A lexicon was originally just a dictionary, but we tend nowadays to use the term more to mean a vocabulary that relates to some specific area of activity.

43 Traffic circle : ROTARY

There are more traffic circles in France than in any other country in the world. However, the UK has more traffic circles per mile of road than any other nation. The term “traffic circle” is generally used in the US, while “roundabout” is commonly used in Britain and Ireland.

46 Novelist, e.g. : AUTHOR

Our word “novel”, used for a lengthy work of fiction, comes from the Latin “novella” meaning “new things”.

52 Hobbit on a quest : FRODO

Frodo Baggins is a principal character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo is a Hobbit, and is charged with the quest of destroying Sauron’s Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Frodo is portrayed by American actor Elijah Wood in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of the novels.

54 Optic __ : NERVE

The optic nerve enters the eyeball at a location on the retina called the optic disc. Because there are no light-sensitive cells at the optic disc, there is a “hole” in our visual field that is called the blind spot. People with normal vision don’t usually notice this blind spot as the brain “fills in” the blind spot with information from the other eye.

56 Starburst? : NOVA

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

58 Roberts’ “Pretty Woman” co-star : GERE

Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet. Gere has been married twice; to supermodel Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995, and to model/actress Carey Lowell from 2002 until 2016. Gere’s breakthrough role was as the male lead in the 1980 film “American Gigolo”.

Hollywood actress Julia Roberts is from Smyrna, Georgia. Roberts got her big break after starring opposite Richard Gere in the hit 1990 romantic comedy “Pretty Woman”. She was paid $300,000 for her performance in “Pretty Woman”, a little less than the $25 million paycheck she was to earn for appearing in 2003’s “Mona Lisa Smile”. Roberts was married for a couple of years to country singer Lyle Lovett, and her older brother is actor Eric Roberts.

“Pretty Woman” is a great movie; a 1990 romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. The film was originally written as a very dark story, with the female lead not only a prostitute, but also a drug addict, The Disney studio took up the project and demanded that it be rewritten as a modern-day fairy tale, and what a good decision that was …

62 Newton fruit : FIG

The Fig Newton cookie is based on what is actually a very old recipe that dates back to ancient Egypt. Whereas we grew up with “Fig Rolls” in Ireland, here in America the brand name “Fig Newton” was used, as the cookies were originally produced in Newton, Massachusetts.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Baroque composer of many fugues : BACH
5 “__ did you say?” : WHAT
9 Pageant adornment : SASH
13 Workout reminder : ACHE
14 Team instructor : COACH
15 Stage in an insect’s life cycle : PUPA
16 Stiletto __: shoe part : HEEL
17 Waze suggestion : ROUTE
18 Chief Norse deity : ODIN
19 Outdoor security illumination : FLOODLIGHTING (giving “floodgates”)
22 Tennis toppers : VISORS
24 Shucked shellfish : OYSTER
25 German cry : ACH!
26 Tummy muscles : ABS
28 Election night graphic : MAP
29 Sloppy room metaphor : STY
30 Teeth : PEARLY WHITES (giving “pearly gates”)
34 Caesar’s last gasp : ET TU?
35 Gut punch reaction : OOF!
36 __ na tigela: Brazilian berry dish in a bowl : ACAI
40 First ten U.S. constitutional amendments : BILL OF RIGHTS (giving “Bill Gates”)
45 “Fill ‘er up” fluid : GAS
48 Michelle Obama __ Robinson : NEE
49 Turn on the waterworks : SOB
50 Charged particle : ION
51 Defeat cunningly : OUTFOX
53 Flat renter : TENANT
55 Where horse races begin … and where the beginning of 19-, 30- and 40-Across might be seen : STARTING GATES
59 State with a greeting in its name : OHIO
60 Apple pie-making tool : CORER
61 Hoops officials : REFS
64 Lady’s man : LORD
65 Egg producer : OVARY
66 Bridal accessory : VEIL
67 Approximately : OR SO
68 Word after user or stage : … NAME
69 Provocative, as humor : EDGY

Down

1 Scroogean scoff : BAH!
2 Versatile blackjack card : ACE
3 Culinary topper : CHEF’S HAT
4 Word of greeting : HELLO
5 Stove fuel : WOOD
6 In it for the long __ : HAUL
7 Play opening : ACT I
8 One blamed for losing a game : THE GOAT
9 Unchangeable leopard markings, in Jeremiah : SPOTS
10 IRS-conducted ordeals : AUDITS
11 Small piano : SPINET
12 Irritably needing food : HANGRY
14 Bing who teamed with Hope in “Road to …” films : CROSBY
20 Like much lore : ORAL
21 Pre-release buzz : HYPE
22 Enjoy an e-cig : VAPE
23 Very cool rapper? : ICE-T
27 Extremely muscular, in modern parlance : SWOLE
28 Annoys : MIFFS
31 Massage : RUB
32 Owl’s sound : HOO!
33 Mattress problem : SAG
37 Smoothie additive also used to sprout “hair” on terracotta “pets” : CHIA SEED
38 Lots and lots : A TON
39 “__ it obvious?” : ISN’T
41 Playing an extra NBA period : IN OT
42 Dictionary : LEXICON
43 Traffic circle : ROTARY
44 “Su-u-ure” : I BET
45 Split with the band, maybe : GO SOLO
46 Novelist, e.g. : AUTHOR
47 Alternative to a crowded elevator : STAIRS
52 Hobbit on a quest : FRODO
54 Optic __ : NERVE
56 Starburst? : NOVA
57 Ma’s ma : GRAM
58 Roberts’ “Pretty Woman” co-star : GERE
62 Newton fruit : FIG
63 Sneaky : SLY

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Jul 20, Tuesday”

  1. Filled in the ‘U’ for hUngry before immediately (and irritably) changing it to an ‘A’ as I did not like looking at pupU. So technically not a write-over, but definitely a cross word.

    Rest of the puzzle seemed very easy.

  2. 2 errors.. Dumb one. Didn’t remember SWOLE and didn’t know Michelle Obama’s middle name… Which wasn’t a middle name, I used NEL instead NEE as in ‘maiden name’. That gave me SWOLL for 27D … Aarrrgghhhh… Never heard SWOLE before and I see that’s not one of Bills favorite words.

    Never heard of HANGRY and Lady’s man is a LORD?

    So , I’ve been tricked and now I’m HANGRY !!

    Be safe..

  3. Swole, never heard that used in a muscular term or any other way. Hangry, new to me and Lord &Lady is usually a British title, if you are thinking that way. Still a fun easy puzzle & theme.

  4. Theme worked…. although it was a pretty easy puzzle. Never heard of swole and hangry. The latter was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in January 2018. Who knew?

  5. No errors; an easy puzzle, but I never heard of swole or hangry, but
    hangry seems apt for the clue. Swole not so much.

  6. 16:25 no errors…I think 12D was put there to trap someone who didn’t pay close attention …thankfully we all knew pupa rather that pupu .
    Stay safe.

  7. We got yesterday’s and today’s and are just glad to have them. I have the
    same comments as above.

    @A Nonny Muss – no word from Wilson yet. I can’t believe they are that busy.

    1. @John Daigle … I’m relieved to see your post. (When I didn’t see one yesterday, I was mildly worried.)

      I mailed you a letter on Saturday, but it probably didn’t go out until yesterday.

      Short version of my letter: Astonishingly, I actually found another deformed golf ball, which does appear to have been run over. It is definitely not egg-shaped, but finding it caused me to reexamine the Wilson ball, and I now think that it may have started out with a normal shape and been purposely deformed somehow. So … bottom line: Wilson may not be able to shed any light on it.

      In other news: the owner of the egg-shaped “Ram” ball (on eBay) finally contacted me. I haven’t had a chance to follow up on that lead. If I can figure out how to do it, I’ll probably just buy the thing, but I’m more interested in any information the owner can give me about it (and I want to do it in such a way as to be sure, if possible, that he hasn’t just made up some story about it 😜).

  8. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    No errors. I didn’t know SWOLE either, but I definitely know HANGRY and have used it a lot. 🤗

    I am not getting much done these days…..🤔

    Nonny and John — following with interest the egg shaped golf ball saga! I bet you’re right, Nonny– it was intentionally smashed into that weird shape.

    Weren’t the centers of golf balls once made of tightly wound lengths of rubber? I seem to remember that from childhood. I imagine they are different now.

    Be well~~🍸

  9. @Carrie …

    At one time, golf balls were indeed made using tightly wound rubber bands. I don’t think any company does that now, but there are some videos on YouTube in which a number of golf balls are cut open to reveal what’s inside and it appears that there have been (perhaps, still are) quite a few different ways of making them.

    Since I stopped climbing mountains and began doing what I would describe as long urban hikes, frequently combined with volunteer trash collecting, I have brought home at least 1500 golf balls (probably more – in preparation for my move, I finally threw out 985 of the best ones, that I had kept with some idea of finding someone to give them to – and they seem to be everywhere – in ditches, in farmers’ fields, in open space areas, etc.). In all that time, I have found only two that were not spherical. The badly misshapen one that I just found has a few slightly soft spots, indicating internal damage of some kind: the egg-shaped one does have such a spot, but you really have to search to find it and it could just be the result of having been hit with a golf club, rather than by any attempt to change its shape (as, for example, by putting it in a vise), so I think it’s still more likely that it was made in that shape from the beginning.

    I found an interesting item in a golfing magazine from the early 1900’s: apparently, at that time, golf balls in the US were kept on ice to keep them from becoming misshapen when they were driven off the tee. (I’m sure that current construction techniques make that unnecessary.)

    I probably now know an awful lot more about golf balls than the average non-golfer knows – or wants to know, for that matter. (It’s things like this that cause my SO to say that I need a job … 😜.)

  10. I really, REALLY wish the mutant golf ball discussion moved to some other forum.

    Maybe “swole” is a neologism for “swollen” – as in a muscle enlarged due to extra exercise.

    Re: 38 down, “Lots and lots: A TON”, I think the only people who ever voluntarily adopted the metric system – versus having it imposed upon them by government – are drug dealers.

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