LA Times Crossword 14 Aug 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Jerry Edelstein
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Listen!

Themed answers each comprise two words, and sound like a common phrase:

  • 17A Drove by the campsite? : PASSED TENTS (sounds like “past tense”)
  • 25A Johann Sebastian and Johann Christian? : MALE BACHS (sounds like “mailbox”)
  • 35A Carpenter’s work station? : PLANE SITE (sounds like “plain sight”)
  • 49A Bird popularity surveys? : FOWL POLLS (sounds like “foul poles”)
  • 58A Wildebeests coming to a screeching halt? : BRAKING GNUS (sounds like “breaking news”)

Bill’s time: 8m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Peak on the 1,000-yen note : FUJI

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest and most famous mountain. Located just west of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is an active volcano, although its last eruption took place in 1707/1708.

11 __ bod : DAD

A “dad bod” is a man’s body that is softly rounded. Well, that’s the description I like to use …

15 “Sanford and Son” son : LAMONT

“Sanford and Son” is an American version of a celebrated hit BBC sitcom that I grew up with in Ireland, called “Steptoe and Son”. Redd Foxx played Fred G. Sanford, and Demond Wilson played Fred’s son Lamont Sandford.

19 Hist. majors’ degrees : BAS

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

20 Half a cocktail hour pair : TONG

A pair of tongs is a tool with a scissor-like hinge used to pick up things, like meat cooking on a barbecue grill or ice from an ice bucket. The verb “to tong” means “to handle with tongs”.

21 Needlefish : GAR

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

25 Johann Sebastian and Johann Christian? : MALE BACHS (sounds like “mailbox”)

Johann Sebastian Bach raised a very large family. He had seven children with his first wife, who died suddenly. He had a further thirteen children with his second wife. Of his twenty youngsters, there were four sons who became famous musicians in their own right:

  • Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (aka “the Halle Bach”)
  • Carl Philipp Bach (aka “the Hamburg Bach”)
  • Johann Christoph Bach (aka “the Buckeburg Bach”)
  • Johann Christian Bach (aka “the London Bach”)

29 Kemper who plays Kimmy Schmidt : ELLIE

Actress Ellie Kemper’s big break came with the role of Erin Hannon, a receptionist on the sitcom “The Office”. More recently, Kemper played the title role in the Netflix comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.

30 Car stat : MPG

Miles per gallon (mpg)

38 Scotch-Brite cleaning product : DOBIE

Scotch-Brite Dobie is a scouring pad.

41 9, at times: Abbr. : SEPT

The month of September is the ninth month in our year, although the name “September” comes from the Latin word “septum” meaning “seventh”. September was the seventh month in the Roman calendar until the year 46 BC when Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar. The Julian system moved the start of the year from March 1st to January 1st, and shifted September to the ninth month. The Gregorian calendar that we use today was introduced in 1582.

45 First name on a 1945 bomber : ENOLA

The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

49 Bird popularity surveys? : FOWL POLLS (sounds like “foul poles”)

Foul poles are present in most professional baseball stadiums, where they help umpires determine if fly balls are fair or foul.

56 “Picnic” dramatist : INGE

Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time is the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

58 Wildebeests coming to a screeching halt? : BRAKING GNUS (sounds like “breaking news”)

The gnu is also known as the wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is a Dutch meaning “wild beast”.

62 Get ready to drive, with “up” : TEE …

That would be golf.

65 Surg. facilities : ORS

Surgery (surg.) is usually performed in an operating room (OR).

Down

1 Dandy : FOP

A dandy is a man who is overly fastidious with regard to his personal appearance. There’s a suggestion that the term originated in Scotland, where “Dandy” is a diminutive of the name “Andrew”. Back in the early 1800s, when the use of “dandy” was at its height, the female equivalent was a dandizette.

2 Thurman of the 2005 film “Prime” : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

“Prime” is a 2005 romcom starring Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg. Thurman and Greenberg play a couple who are involved romantically. Streep plays the mother of Greenberg’s character, and the therapist of the character played by Thurman!

7 Breitling competitor : OMEGA

Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon, Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that James Bond has been wearing an Omega watch in the movies since 1995.

Breitling is a Swiss watchmaker that was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling. Breitling specializes in making precision chronometers for aviators. In the 1965 Bond movie “Thunderball”, the hero was issued a Breitling watch that included a Geiger counter. Cool!

9 Between, in Brest : ENTRE

Brest is a port city in northwest France, and is the second largest military port in the country. Brest was an important base for German U-boats during WWII when France was occupied by the Nazis. Brest is the most westerly city in the whole country.

10 Drying-out hurdle : DTS

The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called delirium tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is “trembling madness”.

11 Total disaster : DEBACLE

“Debacle” means “disaster”, and is a French word with the same meaning. In French, the term originally was used for the breaking up of ice on a river.

18 Tolkien creatures : ENTS

Ents are tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

23 School of whales : GAM

A group of whales can be called a gam, as well as a pod.

28 Food chain letters : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

32 Flying formation : VEE

Apparently, birds that fly in a V-formation do so for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to “slipstream” a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It’s also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.

33 Athletic awards : ESPYS

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

36 It may be quantum : LEAP

In the world of quantum theory, a quantum jump is the abrupt transition, of say an atom, from one quantum state to another. The concept was introduced by Niels Bohr, and the term “quantum jump” was coined around 1920. The use of “quantum leap” appears around 1930, in the same context of quantum theory. Today, “quantum jump” is used exclusively in the world of physics, whereas “quantum leap” is used figuratively to describe any abrupt change.

38 In reality : DE FACTO

Conceptually, “de jure” and “de facto” are related terms, one meaning “concerning, according to law”, and the other meaning “concerning, according to fact”. There is an example of the use of the two terms together from my homeland of Ireland. According to our constitution, Irish is the first language of the country, and yet almost everyone in the country uses English as his or her first language. One might say that Irish is the de jure first language, but English is the first language de facto.

40 Donald Duck and Winston Churchill wear them : BOW TIES

Donald Duck was created in 1934 by Walt Disney Productions, and first appeared in “The Wise Little Hen” in 1934. Donald’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

Soon after Winston Churchill took over as Prime Minister of the UK in 1940, he delivered some stirring speeches that rallied the country in the face of German victories right across Europe. The first of these was his “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech as he reported the formation of a new coalition government designed to unite the country in time of war. The second was his “We shall fight on the beaches” speech, as he reported the successful evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. The third speech concluded with, “This was their finest hour”, words delivered to Parliament just as France fell, and Churchill pledged that the British Commonwealth would fight on, alone if necessary. The last lines of this third speech, from this magnificent orator, were:

… But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.

42 Bulbs’ pre-bloom condition : LATENCY

Something is said to be latent if it is present, but not active.

44 U.K. leaders : PMS

The Prime Minister (PM) of the UK has powers equivalent to the US President, but with major differences. The office of prime minister exists by convention and not by any constitution. The convention is that the King or Queen of England appoints as PM the person most likely to have the confidence of the House of Commons, and that person is usually the leader of the party with the most seats in the Commons. There is no term limit and the PM serves “at His/Her Majesty’s pleasure”. The first UK PM wasn’t actually called “Prime Minister”, and the person first attributed with the equivalent powers was Sir Robert Walpole, the First Lord of the Treasury in 1721.

48 Smith who played Violet on “Downton Abbey” : MAGGIE

Dame Maggie Smith is a wonderful, wonderful actress from England. Although Smith has had an extensive stage career, she is perhaps best known outside of Britain as a film and television actress. She has won two Oscars, including Best Actress for playing the title character in 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. TV audiences today know her best as the Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey”. I saw her recently in the movie “The Second Best Marigold Hotel”, a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend …

Violet Crawley, Countess of Grantham is a marvelous character on the PBS hit show “Downton Abbey”. Lady Violet is played superbly by the great Dame Maggie Smith.

50 Part of OWN : OPRAH

Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

52 James, since 2018 : LAKER

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team started out in 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team chose the Lakers name in honor of the nickname of Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

Basketball player LeBron James (nicknamed “King James”) seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.

56 1,000+ Holidays : INNS

The first Holiday Inn hotel was opened in 1952. The name for the hotel chain was inspired by the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The Holiday Inn chain has been British-owned since 1988.

58 Texter’s “just so you know” : BTW

By the way (BTW)

60 Hawaiian strings : UKE

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

61 Barrett of Pink Floyd : SYD

Syd Barrett was the lead singer and a founding member of the English rock band Pink Floyd. Barrett was only active as a musician for just over ten years. He retired from the music scene in 1975 and spent the next 30 years living off Pink Floyd royalties until he passed away in 2006.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Peak on the 1,000-yen note : FUJI
5 Kicked : BOOTED
11 __ bod : DAD
14 Sign not always recognized : OMEN
15 “Sanford and Son” son : LAMONT
16 Wool coat wearer : EWE
17 Drove by the campsite? : PASSED TENTS (sounds like “past tense”)
19 Hist. majors’ degrees : BAS
20 Half a cocktail hour pair : TONG
21 Needlefish : GAR
22 Winery sight : CASK
23 It may be proven in court : GUILT
25 Johann Sebastian and Johann Christian? : MALE BACHS (sounds like “mailbox”)
27 Soap opera plot staple : AMNESIA
29 Kemper who plays Kimmy Schmidt : ELLIE
30 Car stat : MPG
31 Buckle : GIVE
34 Big game, say : EVENT
35 Carpenter’s work station? : PLANE SITE (sounds like “plain sight”)
38 Scotch-Brite cleaning product : DOBIE
41 9, at times: Abbr. : SEPT
42 Race unit : LAP
45 First name on a 1945 bomber : ENOLA
46 Polite response : YES, MA’AM
49 Bird popularity surveys? : FOWL POLLS (sounds like “foul poles”)
53 Presidents take them : OATHS
54 Song and dance : ARTS
55 Pod resident? : PEA
56 “Picnic” dramatist : INGE
57 Fifth-century date : CDI
58 Wildebeests coming to a screeching halt? : BRAKING GNUS (sounds like “breaking news”)
62 Get ready to drive, with “up” : TEE …
63 Place for a shot : TAVERN
64 Distasteful : ICKY
65 Surg. facilities : ORS
66 Location query opener : WHERE’S ….
67 Viewed warily : EYED

Down

1 Dandy : FOP
2 Thurman of the 2005 film “Prime” : UMA
3 Having fun : JESTING
4 Shoe part : INSOLE
5 Apt. house : BLDG
6 __ grass : OAT
7 Breitling competitor : OMEGA
8 Relating to pitches : TONAL
9 Between, in Brest : ENTRE
10 Drying-out hurdle : DTS
11 Total disaster : DEBACLE
12 Loaded with : AWASH IN
13 It might contain an inbox : DESK SET
18 Tolkien creatures : ENTS
22 Have a cow : CALVE
23 School of whales : GAM
24 Foul line watcher, at times : UMP
25 Water conduits : MAINS
26 Red-rooted plant, usually : BEET
28 Food chain letters : IGA
32 Flying formation : VEE
33 Athletic awards : ESPYS
35 Some tablets : PILLS
36 It may be quantum : LEAP
37 Resident’s suffix : -ITE
38 In reality : DE FACTO
39 Awaiting shipment : ON ORDER
40 Donald Duck and Winston Churchill wear them : BOW TIES
42 Bulbs’ pre-bloom condition : LATENCY
43 Sound of delight : AAH!
44 U.K. leaders : PMS
47 Musical number : SONG
48 Smith who played Violet on “Downton Abbey” : MAGGIE
50 Part of OWN : OPRAH
51 Go : LEAVE
52 James, since 2018 : LAKER
56 1,000+ Holidays : INNS
58 Texter’s “just so you know” : BTW
59 Wrath : IRE
60 Hawaiian strings : UKE
61 Barrett of Pink Floyd : SYD

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Aug 20, Friday”

  1. No errors But a thinker!! Liked the theme. I’ve watched some older movies with Maggie Smith ,.. Quite the minx in her day. But I’ve enjoyed her more recently.. Especially in the Harry Potter movie series.
    I’ve heard of scotch-Brite products.. But not DOBIE..
    About 30 minutes on this one.

    1. @Thelma … Roman numerals: 100 (C) from 500 (D) plus 1 (I) = 401 (the first year of the fifth century). It’s Bill’s blog (with no official connection to the Los Angeles Times) and he tries to keep it from being cluttered with comments that most solvers will find unnecessary.

  2. Challenging, enjoyable puzzle. Clever theme answers. Loved the Donald Duck/Winston Churchill clue! Originally had ousted before booted and Ellen before Ellie. Never heard of that scotch brite product. Better clue would have been … friend of Maynard G in early 60’s sitcom!

  3. 10:51, no errors. Long pause over “DOBIE”.

    Dental episode: There’s an old saying: “Put your money where your mouth is!” ‘Nuff said? … 😜

    (Okay, okay … so there was a hole in the gold crown, allowing a cavity to form in the underlying tooth, making it necessary to create a whole new crown.)

    Sadly, I inherited my mother’s teeth and my father’s hairline … 😜.

  4. Easier than awful Wednesday. Had to Google LAMONT, ENTRE, DOBIE.
    Loved the punny funny theme. Very smart.
    Did not actually know ELLIE, GAM, OWN, or what the other foul pole was (sports).
    Two unspecified abbrevs: DTS, UKE.
    All-in-all,enjoyable.

  5. 31:25 no errors.
    @Nonny…been there done that with the crown, recrown…big expense and no fun at all.👎
    Stay safe😀

  6. 20:02 three lookups, including DOBIE even though Scotch-brite is my favorite brand of scrubbing sponge.

    @Nonny, sorry you have to go through all that with the crown. Hope the new crown gets the job done for good.

    Pod is a good word for a group of whales, but somehow in crosswords, it’s always GAM.

    Loved BRAKINGGNUS!

  7. Great theme. Plays-on-words are my favorite things. One mistake leading to MARGIE and INRE, as I refused to Google and don’t know these people. All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with this puzzle. And, DOBIE GILLIS would have been a lot easier.
    I watched Dr. Fauci yesterday, and his thoughts on a vaccine concerned me, as he expects the efficay to be somewhere between 50% – 70%. This means older folks, (like most of us?) can’t safely rely on protection from the vaccine directly, but should wait for the “all clear”, when herd immunity has wiped COVID-19 out of here.

  8. I found the LAT’s and the WSJ about equal in difficulty today. Both took some serious mulling time. Finally finished both without error, although I had more than a few strike overs on both as I noodled around with the answers. I always use pen to do the crossword and today it made a bigger mess than is typical.

  9. 19 minutes, 39 seconds, and needed to use Check to correct or figure out 10 fills. This puzzle was thoroughly unlikable, because I just felt like I was being had the whole time. I have no use for the lame puns that are so in vogue among the setters, either. Can’t we just get decent grids without the “I’m so clever” shenannigans?

  10. Very hard and only 75% solved. But, once I saw the plays on words,
    I really liked them. Too bad I didn’t get any of them. We still averaged
    over 90% for the week and are still contending for the Super Seniors
    Championship. I think we are a shoo-in, but so was President Trump
    before Corona paid the world a visit.

    A Nonny, at least you had the good sense to go see about the crown.
    Better than a lot of pain and worse conditions the longer you might
    have waited. Did you get fitted for the new one?

    Stay safe and well, everybody.

    Looking for Monday and Tuesday and hope they are hopelessly easy.

  11. Like quite a few of you, I had to lookup several (4-5) before I finally finished this one after about an hour.

    Never heard of DOBIE, OWN (a tad maybe), ELLIE and a few of the clues threw me for a loop.

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