LA Times Crossword 13 Aug 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: E-I-E-I-O

Themed answers each include the vowels E, I, E, I and O, and only those vowels, in that order:

  • 34A Children’s song refrain featured in the four longest answers : E-I-E-I-O
  • 15A Good ideas that don’t always pan out : BEST INTENTIONS
  • 26A “Carpe diem!” : THE TIME IS NOW
  • 40A GPS suggestion to avoid a tie-up : NEW DIRECTION
  • 53A “Both options are practical” : EITHER WILL WORK

Bill’s time: 7m 15s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • DIO (deo!!)
  • MOIRE (moere!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Charity sale goods : RUMMAGE

The verb “to rummage”, meaning “to search thoroughly”, has an interesting history. Back in the 16th century, a “rummage” was the act of arranging cargo in a ship. In the early 17th century, the verb “to rummage” was introduced, originally meaning to search thoroughly (the hold of a ship). It should be noted that rummaging usually involves moving things around. The first “rummage sales” were used to sell off unclaimed goods at docks. Over time, rummage sales became opportunities to dispose of unwanted items, usually in aid of a charity.

13 Undefeated Ali : LAILA

Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

14 Cradle-rocking site of rhyme : TREE TOP

“Rock-a-Bye Baby” is a lullaby, the history of which is much debated. Some say it originated in England, and others claim that it was the first poem that was written on American soil.

Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

15 Good ideas that don’t always pan out : BEST INTENTIONS

When prospectors pan for gold, they do so by mixing soil and water in a pan. Because gold is very dense, gravel and soil can be washed over the side of the pan leaving the heavy precious metal at the bottom. The gold has been “panned out”, and so we often use “pan out” figuratively to mean “turn out, succeed”.

17 Eduardo’s east : ORIENTE

In Spanish, the sun rises in the “oriente” (east).

19 Gives the go-ahead : 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”.

20 Championship ice dancer __ Virtue : TESSA

Tessa Virtue is a Canadian ice dancer who won the 2010 and 2018 Olympic gold along with her partner Scott Moir. Virtue and Moir have been skating together since 1997, when they were seven and nine years old respectively. That makes them the longest-standing Canadian ice dance team in history.

26 “Carpe diem!” : THE TIME IS NOW

“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”. The satirical motto of a procrastinator is “carpe mañana”, “translating” as “seize tomorrow”.

32 Vatican’s higher authority : DIO

In Italian, “Dio” (God) is the enemy of the “Diavolo” (Devil).

34 Children’s song refrain featured in the four longest answers : E-I-E-I-O

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

36 Monsieur across the border : HERR

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

37 Land in la mer : ILE

In French, an “île” (island) is “terre dans la mer” (land in the sea).

39 Rams QB Goff : JARED

Quarterback Jared Goff was selected by the LA Rams as the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Jared is the son of former Major League Baseball player Jerry Goff.

40 GPS suggestion to avoid a tie-up : NEW DIRECTION

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

46 Nor. neighbor : SWE

The country of Sweden emerged during the Middle Ages, and became one of the great powers of Europe in the days of the Swedish Empire in 17th and early 18th century. Since then Sweden’s influence has waned. What was the eastern part of Sweden was lost to Russia in the early 1800s, and is now modern-day Finland. In the 20th century Sweden has adopted a very non-aggressive stance and was neutral in both World Wars. Sweden is not a member of NATO, but is a member of the European Union, although the country does not use the euro as its currency.

49 ’90s Polish president Walesa : LECH

Lech Walesa worked as an electrician in the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland. Walesa was active in the trade union movement in the days when unions were not welcome behind the Iron Curtain. His efforts resulted in the founding of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in Soviet-controlled territory. For his work, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and in 1990 he became the first democratically elected President of Poland. He has lost support in Poland in recent years, but he is a very popular booking on the international speaking circuit.

51 Group of groupies : RETINUE

A retinue is a body of aides who attend an important person. The term “retinue” comes from the Old French “retenue” that had the same meaning, although the literal translation is “that which is retained”. The idea is that the aides are retained to attend the VIP.

Down

1 Register user : CLERK

Our contemporary word “clerk” described a priest or ordained minister back in the 13th century, and so is related to our term “clerical”. So, our use of “clerk” to describe an office worker arose in the days when it was only the clergy who could read and write.

2 Spring for a drink? : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

3 Somewhat, with “a” : … MITE

A mite is a small amount, as in “The Widow’s Mite”, a story from the Bible.

4 Architectural column bases : PLINTHS

A plinth is a block on which something is placed, especially a column. The Greek word “plinthos” means “squared stone”.

5 South Carolina river to the Atlantic : SANTEE

South Carolina’s Santee River was named by English settlers for the Santee tribe that lived along its banks. The Santee River was dammed in the late 1930s and early 1940s to form Lake Marion reservoir as part of a WPA project.

8 Team whose mascot’s head is a ball : METS

Mr. Met is the mascot of the New York Mets. He is a guy with a large baseball as a head. There’s also a Mrs. Met, a mascot who was previously known as Lady Met.

9 Cell division that produces gametes : MEIOSIS

Mitosis is the process by which the complement of chromosomes in a cell nucleus replicates and then divides into two identical sets of new chromosomes. Mitosis is followed by division of the cell itself, resulting in two identical cells. Meiosis is a special type of cell division that results in reproductive cells that have half the full complement of chromosomes. The reproductive cells join together, with one cell coming from each parent, to form a new cell with a full complement of chromosomes. That new cell develops into offspring that have characteristics of both parents.

A gamete is a reproductive cell that has half the full complement of genes needed to make a normal cell. In sexual reproduction, it takes two gametes, one from each parent, to fuse into one cell which then develops into a new organism. The female gamete is the ovum, and the male the sperm.

10 Common Pacific groupings : ATOLLS

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring that encloses a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside inside the circling coral reef.

12 Four-song discs, briefly : EPS

An extended-play (EP) record, CD or download contains more music than a single, but less than an LP.

22 Madame’s mine : A MOI

“À moi” (literally “to me”) is French for “mine”.

24 Optically active pattern : MOIRE

A moiré pattern is a phenomenon in physics, a so-called interference pattern. If you lay two sheets of mesh over each other for example, slightly offset, then what you see is a moiré pattern. “Moiré” is the French name for a textile that we know simply as “moire”. The rippled pattern of the textile resembles that of the interference pattern.

25 Excalibur, for one : SWORD

Excalibur is the legendary sword of the legendary King Arthur of Great Britain. In some accounts, Arthur was given the sword by the Lady of the Lake. There is sometimes confusion about the origin of Excalibur, as Arthur famously is said to have pulled a sword from a stone, hence proving him to be a true king. The Sword in the Stone is a different sword, and not Excalibur.

26 Prof’s helpers : TAS

Teaching assistant (TA)

29 Gulf of Oman vessel : OILER

The Gulf of Oman isn’t actually a gulf, and rather is a strait. It connects the Arabian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz and hence to the Persian Gulf.

36 Solo in space : 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.

38 First group seen in “Macbeth” : WITCHES

The three witches in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” have some lovely lines as they boil up and evil brew and cast a spell:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

42 Polo usually not on horseback : TERI

Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.

43 Former Filipino first lady Marcos : IMELDA

Ferdinand Marcos served as President of the Philippines from 1965 until 1986, when he was forced to flee the country in the face of a popular revolt. Marcos, and his infamous wife Imelda, were known for their excesses and corruption. Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Honolulu in 1989.

47 Hot dog, to a Hamburger : WURST

“Wurst” is simply a German word meaning “sausage”.

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany (after Berlin), and the third largest port in Europe (after Rotterdam and Antwerp).

50 Often-shared sandwich : HERO

A hero is a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.

52 “Methought __ enamour’d of an ass”: Titania : I WAS

Oberon and Titania are the King and Queen of the fairies in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

53 Debatable ability : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

55 Lb. and oz. : WTS

Our term “ounce” comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a “libra”, the Roman “pound”. “Uncia” is also the derivation of our word “inch”, 1/12 of a foot.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Freebies : COMPS
6 Charity sale goods : RUMMAGE
13 Undefeated Ali : LAILA
14 Cradle-rocking site of rhyme : TREE TOP
15 Good ideas that don’t always pan out : BEST INTENTIONS
17 Eduardo’s east : ORIENTE
18 Only : SOLE
19 Gives the go-ahead : OKS
20 Championship ice dancer __ Virtue : TESSA
23 Depressed areas : SLUMS
26 “Carpe diem!” : THE TIME IS NOW
28 Fountain output : SODAS
31 Fuel for a fire : LOGS
32 Vatican’s higher authority : DIO
33 Puts on TV : AIRS
34 Children’s song refrain featured in the four longest answers : E-I-E-I-O
36 Monsieur across the border : HERR
37 Land in la mer : ILE
38 Give a heads-up : WARN
39 Rams QB Goff : JARED
40 GPS suggestion to avoid a tie-up : NEW DIRECTION
44 Characteristic : TRAIT
45 Looks : SEEMS
46 Nor. neighbor : SWE
49 ’90s Polish president Walesa : LECH
51 Group of groupies : RETINUE
53 “Both options are practical” : EITHER WILL WORK
56 Show contempt for : SNEER AT
57 Objects of fondness : DEARS
58 Ones of interest, perhaps : PERSONS
59 Thing of worth : ASSET

Down

1 Register user : CLERK
2 Spring for a drink? : OASIS
3 Somewhat, with “a” : … MITE
4 Architectural column bases : PLINTHS
5 South Carolina river to the Atlantic : SANTEE
6 GPS datum : RTE
7 Decorative container : URN
8 Team whose mascot’s head is a ball : METS
9 Cell division that produces gametes : MEIOSIS
10 Common Pacific groupings : ATOLLS
11 Failed, as a business : GONE UNDER
12 Four-song discs, briefly : EPS
15 Frightening word : BOO!
16 Trial : TEST
21 Library ambience : SILENCE
22 Madame’s mine : A MOI
24 Optically active pattern : MOIRE
25 Excalibur, for one : SWORD
26 Prof’s helpers : TAS
27 A star may have a big one : EGO
28 Venerated figure : SAINT
29 Gulf of Oman vessel : OILER
30 Set boundaries : DREW A LINE
34 Protuberant organ : EAR
35 Elicits a “Grrr!” from : IRES
36 Solo in space : HAN
38 First group seen in “Macbeth” : WITCHES
39 Fights (through), as a crowd : JOSTLES
41 One with something to lose : DIETER
42 Polo usually not on horseback : TERI
43 Former Filipino first lady Marcos : IMELDA
46 Sleep soundly? : SNORE
47 Hot dog, to a Hamburger : WURST
48 “That scared me!” : EEK!
50 Often-shared sandwich : HERO
52 “Methought __ enamour’d of an ass”: Titania : I WAS
53 Debatable ability : ESP
54 Headed for the hills : RAN
55 Lb. and oz. : WTS

27 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Aug 20, Thursday”

  1. 8:55, no errors. It seems to me that I saw this exact theme in another puzzle a few days ago, but I don’t have time to go look it up.

    NYT (Bill’s NYT blog isn’t accepting comments): 12:46, no errors, clever theme.

    Off to the dentist (35 miles away … gotta do something about that … but I’ve had bad experiences with new dentists, and I trust the one I have now) … 🙂.

    1. Nonny – I also recalled the EIEIO. It was the NYT puzzle, just two days ago on Aug 11. EIEIO was also the centerpiece there as well. Who knew there were so many EIEIO expressions that neatly fit into a X-word puzzle?? I managed to solve the NYT one almost 3 min. faster than today’s LAT puzzle. Must be Tues vs. Thurs difficulties.

  2. Got the theme pretty quickly. Not only did it help me get the longest answers by positioning the vowels…. it helped me get meiosis and moire, which I have never heard of. I have also seen this theme before.

  3. No errors But what a slog for me in NE corner. RTS instead of RTE for a long time. I knew I needed EIEIO up there for 15A but man it didn’t come to me. Certainly didn’t know MEIOSIS so that was no help. Them there was MOIRE.. OMG!!!!! How many odd words can you cram into one corner… ZOWIE ZONKS!!!! Over 30 minutes!!!

    Be safe and good luck with all that dentistry work.

    1. >How many odd words can you cram into one corner
      That was kind of the premium of a “good construction” back in the day. How many Scrabble points could the constructor go for in a grid? You’ll see this especially in a lot of older constructors, and in pre-2010 or so grids – moreso themeless stuff (LAT Sat, NYT Fri, NYT Sat).

      Thankfully it’s a bit different by today’s standards.

  4. 22:14 no errors…I didn’t look at the theme until I had finished the puzzle…two easy Thursday puzzles…what do the setter gods have up their sleeves.
    @Nonny…getting you off the blog for a bit is like pulling teeth.Good luck with your visit…I had a cleaning scheduled for last week but I opted out.
    Stay safe everyone😀

  5. 24D—“moire” was new to me. Then Bill notes that Tessa Virtue is partnered with Scott Moir. That was also new to me.
    Coincidence? I think not…..😀

  6. SO…the Wechsler emerges from his slumber to release onto us another janky grid. I haven’t seen this name in a long time. Figures they would slot him for a Thursday.

    Does this mean Julian Lim and Barry Silk are lurking in the shadows, waiting to infuriate us some more too? 😉

  7. 8:13 1 error. I found the theme a bit lame, though it did help me fill in a couple squares.

    Not only do I never remember the difference between meiosis and mitosis, they have the same length. Surprised not to see such trickery more often.

    Several new names. Today I met Tessa Virtue, Jared Goff, and Teri Polo.

  8. No real difficulties with the LAT’s grid. On the other hand I had many strike overs on the WSJ puzzle and one wrong letter for 5 Across: “Character who succeeds Lear as King of Britain” with “Esgar” instead of “Edgar” (which was really aggravating as the “d” in deer which is the start of the answer for 6 Down’s clue “Cupid e.g.” is a completely “D’oh!” moment if there ever was one.

  9. No errors, but I didn’t find it very easy.

    58A: Somehow I don’t think it would’ve sounded as good if Claude Rains had said “Round up the usual persons of interest”.

  10. Nearly 13 minutes, and most of the NW corner is one big Natick. DNF. Clues weren’t much help. A hindrance, in fact.

  11. It is grammatically unfair not to have the “freebies” clue without ‘abbr.’ next to it. And “groupings” is the wrong word to use for the clue to 10D. Let’s get that editor to work more energetically, please

  12. We left 4 empty squares and were very satisfied with that effort.
    I got mired in the NW quadrant and think if I could have gotten
    COMPS, we could have gotten 100%. Had to do some whiteovering –
    is that a word? in the top half, but had fun with this puzzle.

    A Nonny, good luck with your dentist. To me, trust is the name of the
    game with doctors and dentists.

    Stay safe and well, all.

    A Nonny, good luck with your dentist. To me,
    trust is the name of the game with doctors and dentists.

    1. >To me, trust is the name of the game with doctors and dentists.

      Definitely the name of the game. I liked the dentist that I had on that front, but unfortunately he passed (not COVID) so I’ve ended up with his son now that took over that business. Definitely not as passable, and annoying on a number of fronts since I can’t do everything they want me to do for finances. It’s rough when you find good service providers you can trust and work with, but you can’t deal with them anymore. One bad situation out of many for me, unfortunately.

      I definitely very much understand the 35 mile drive (I presume one way?), as I thought of doing a 90 mile drive one time when I moved away to see the dentist mentioned above.

  13. The format of your puzzle as pictured above does not match the one published in today’s The Oklahoman. The blacked out squares do not match yours. This puzzle as presented is impossible to work.

  14. I don’t know what’s wrong with me this week; two DNF puzzles already this week, after the easy early week puzzles. Finished with two look-ups at 29:46 on-line.

    I really have no excuse today with one of my favorite constructors, Wechsler, and with ME_OSIS being the way that honey bees reproduce. Also _I_E (mite) being the major pest to affect honey bees. New to me are Tessa Virtue – a real cutie, Teri Polo, Santee and Jared Goff. I also had LeILA, so all my troubles were in the NW.

    re Dentists – I intentionally picked my dentist for distance. Their office was 300 yards down the street, so I just walked in and signed up for an appointment. It worked out really well, although I’ve gone through 3 dentists there, with all of them being great. Same with my insurance agent – 200 yards down the street, although he ended up moving a mile or two away.

  15. Nothing matched on my puzzle, got the wrong set of clues for the board I have. My 1 down was 4 letters but the correct answer was CLERK, it also had a 10 across on the board but no clue. It was like that in more of the puzzle than it wasn’t. No puzzle today!

  16. Nothing matched on my puzzle, got the wrong set of clues for the board I have. My 1 down was 4 letters but the correct answer was CLERK, it also had a 10 across on the board but no clue. It was like that in more of the puzzle than it wasn’t. No puzzle today!

  17. Hi folks!! 🦆

    No errors. I’m surprised we don’t see MEIOSIS in puzzles more, with all those vowels.

    Nonny, hope your dental work went well! Let us know.

    Be well ~~⚾️

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