LA Times Crossword 24 Aug 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Jerome Gunderson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Avian

Themed answers each end with a type of bird:

  • 38A Bird-related … four of them have landed at the ends of the answers to starred clues : AVIAN
  • 17A *A total failure “goes over like” one : LEAD BALLOON (giving “loon”)
  • 57A *Hotel chain with a geographical name : BEST WESTERN (giving “tern”)
  • 3D *Last Supper cup : HOLY GRAIL (giving “rail”)
  • 34D *Monastic hood : MONK’S COWL (giving “owl”)

Bill’s time: 5m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 LBJ’s vice president : HHH

Hubert Horatio Humphrey (HHH) was the running mate of President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) in the 1964 presidential campaign. Humphrey was sworn in as Vice President in 1965, the 38th person to hold the office. Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president in the 1968 election, but lost to Richard Nixon.

8 Dracula stabber : STAKE

Legends about vampires were particularly common in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans in particular. The superstition was that vampires could be killed using a wooden stake, with the preferred type of wood varying from place to place. Superstition also defines where the body should be pierced. Most often, the stake was driven through the heart, but Russians and northern Germans went for the mouth, and northeastern Serbs for the stomach.

“Dracula” is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn’t the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can’t stand vampire fiction …

13 Tic-tac-toe winner : O-O-O

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

16 Fifth scale note : SOL

The sol-fa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

17 *A total failure “goes over like” one : LEAD BALLOON (giving “loon”)

The common loon (also “great northern diver”) is the provincial bird of Ontario, and the state bird of Minnesota. The loon once appeared on Canadian $20 bills and also appears on the Canadian one-dollar coin, giving the coin the nickname “the loonie”.

19 Arena overhead view provider : SKYCAM

“Skycam” is a brand name that now tends to be used generically. “Skycam” refers to that TV camera mounted on cables over say a football field that allows for some very cool shots as the camera seems to swoop down to the play to follow the action, almost like it’s part of a video game.

21 Cowpoke’s “okay” : YUP

“Cowpoke” is a term used nowadays for any cowboy, but it was originally limited to the cowboys who prodded cattle onto railroad cars using long poles.

27 Eaten away by rust, say : CORRODED

Rust is iron oxide. Rust forms when iron oxidizes, reacts with oxygen.

32 Weather guy Al : ROKER

Al Roker is best known as the weatherman on the “Today” show on NBC. He has successfully branched out from that platform though, and even co-wrote a novel called “The Morning Show Murders”, about a celebrity chef and TV host who gets entangled in mystery. Topical stuff …

34 __ and cheese : MAC

Thomas Jefferson’s name is associated with the dish we know today as “mac ‘n’ cheese”. The future president discovered baked macaroni with Parmesan cheese while in Paris and in northern Italy. He started serving the dish to guests in the US, and even had a machine imported to make the macaroni locally. Whether or not Jefferson was the first to bring mac ‘n’ cheese to America isn’t entirely clear, but it has been popular ever since.

38 Bird-related … four of them have landed at the ends of the answers to starred clues : AVIAN

“Avis” is the Latin word for “bird”, giving rise to our adjective “avian” meaning “relating to birds”.

39 April 1 “honoree” : FOOL

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the Western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants, but in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

42 Joltless java brand : SANKA

The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene (a potent carcinogen) as a solvent. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let’s hope they are safer …

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the usage of the term spread from then.

46 Type of pub named for its unglamorous appearance : DIVE BAR

We’ve been using the word “dive” in American English for a run-down bar since the latter half of the 19th century. The term comes from the fact that disreputable taverns were usually located in basements, so one had to literally and figuratively dive into them.

51 Greek goddess of discord : ERIS

According to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris tossed the Golden Apple of Discord into the middle of the table during the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. The Golden Apple bore the words “to the fairest”, and the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite succumbed to their vanity and fought for the title of most fair. This dispute eventually led to the Trojan War.

52 Greek T : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter that gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

54 Financial word before year or policy : FISCAL …

Publicly-traded companies are required to issue an annual set of financial statements summarizing the company’s performance for the year. This period of reporting, the fiscal year, need not coincide with a calendar year, so the books may not close on December 31st. A fiscal year might close on the last Friday every June for example.

57 *Hotel chain with a geographical name : BEST WESTERN (giving “tern”)

Best Western is a very large hotel chain in the world, with over 4,000 locations. The chain is a little unusual in that all of its properties are independently-owned franchises, with none being company-owned. Best Western was founded in 1946 and grew out of a small network of independent hotel operators who informally agreed to make referrals to each other’s properties.

60 Beer named for Washington’s capital, briefly : OLY

The Olympia Brewing Company was founded in the town of Tumwater, Washington in 1896, by a German immigrant. Olympia (familiarly “Oly”) was acquired by Pabst in 1983.

Olympia is the capital of Washington State and is located in the Puget Sound region. The city’s name was chosen in 1852, and is a reference to the view of the Olympic Mountains to the northwest.

62 Covers with asphalt : PAVES

The asphalt surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete because asphalt itself (also known as “bitumen”) is just a sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. Asphalt is used as a binder with aggregate to form asphaltic concrete.

65 Roe source : SHAD

The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

66 __ Luthor, Superman nemesis : LEX

Lex Luthor is the nemesis of Superman in comics. Luthor has been portrayed in a number of guises in the comic world as well in movies and on the small screen. For example, he appeared as Atom Man in the 1950 film series “Atom Man vs. Superman”, and was played by actor Lyle Talbot, opposite Kirk Alyn’s Superman.

Down

1 Bulky “Bonanza” brother : HOSS

Dan Blocker was the actor who played Eric “Hoss” Cartwright in the Western TV series “Bonanza”. Hoss was the “slow” character on the show. Paradoxically, Dan Blocker was the most-educated member of the cast, having earned a master’s degree in the dramatic arts. Blocker passed away while “Bonanza” was still running. He was undergoing relatively routine gallbladder surgery and developed a pulmonary embolism which killed him. “Bonanza” ran for just one more season after Blocker passed away.

The TV show “Bonanza” ran from 1959 until 1973, making it the second-longest-running Western series on US television (after “Gunsmoke”). “Bonanza” told the story of the Cartwright family who lived on the Ponderosa ranch located in Nevada, on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. Ben Cartright, the father, was played by Lorne Green. Ben’s three sons were Adam (Pernell Roberts), Eric/Hoss (Dan Blocker) and Joseph/Little Joe (Michael Landon).

2 “Peter Pan” captain : HOOK

Captain Hook is the bad guy in “Peter Pan”, the famous play by J. M. Barrie. Hook is Peter Pan’s sworn enemy, as Pan had cut off Hook’s hand causing it to be replaced by a “hook”. It is implied in the play that Hook attended Eton College, just outside London. Hook’s last words are “Floreat Etona”, which is Eton College’s motto. Barrie openly acknowledged that the Hook character is based on Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab from the novel “Moby Dick”.

3 *Last Supper cup : HOLY GRAIL (giving “rail”)

The Holy Grail is a theme found throughout Arthurian legend. The grail itself is some vessel, with the term “grail” coming from the Old French “graal” meaning “cup or bowl made of earth, wood or metal”. Over time, the legend of the Holy Grail became mingled with stories of the Holy Chalice of the Christian tradition, the cup used to serve wine at the Last Supper. Over time, the term “grail” came to be used for any desired or sought-after object.

Rails are birds of the family Rallidae (hence their name). Outside of America, the name “rail” tends to be reserved for long-billed species and the term “crake” is used for short-billed species.

6 Artist Warhol : ANDY

American artist Andy Warhol was a leader in the pop art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s. Many of his works became the most expensive paintings ever sold. A 1963 Warhol canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” fetched over 100 million dollars in 2013.

8 Cards, in box scores : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

9 “Tiptoe Through the __” : TULIPS

“Tiptoe Through the Tulips” is a 1929 song that was popularized back then by jazz guitarist and singer Nick Lucas. More recently, the song became a 1968 novelty hit for ukulele player and singer Tiny Tim.

11 Goofballs : KOOKS

“Kooky” is a slang word meaning “out there, crazy”. The term has been around since the beatnik era, and it may be a shortened version of the word “cuckoo”.

12 Dadaist Max : ERNST

Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, and a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914”, which was a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

18 Theoretical missing links : APEMEN

The term “missing link” is usually applied to the concept that there existed some form of animal that is a hybrid between apes and humans. The idea that there was some “apeman” is discounted these days by the scientific community, who now favor the theory of evolution.

20 West Indies native : CARIB

The Island Caribs are an American Indian people who are native to the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies. It is thought that the Island Caribs are possibly descended from the Kalina (also “Mainland Carib”) people who are native to the northern coastal areas of South America. The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Island Carib people.

The region of the Caribbean known as the West Indies was given the name after the first expedition taken by Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Really a misnomer, the “West Indies” were the territories claimed by Columbus for Spain in the Americas, with the name distinguishing the region from the “Indies” (today’s South Asia and Southeast Asia). When other nations started to claim territories in the area, the name proliferated, as in the British West Indies, the Danish West Indies and the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch West Indies).

26 St. Patrick’s mo. : MAR

There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

27 Zoo enclosure : CAGE

The world’s first zoo opened in Britain in 1820. Now known as “London Zoo”, the facility was referred to back then as the “Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London”. The term “zoo” is a shortening of “zoological”.

33 Bout-ending blows : KAYOS

A kayo is a knockout (KO).

34 *Monastic hood : MONK’S COWL (giving “owl”)

A cowl is a long garment with a hood that is primarily worn by monks in the Christian tradition. The term “cowl” can also describe the hood itself.

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”.

35 Golfer Isao : AOKI

Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers. Aoki’s best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.

41 Saloon bill : TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

45 Director Hitchcock : ALFRED

Alfred Hitchcock was an English film director from Leytonstone, just outside London. A very good friend of mine is a close friend of one of his granddaughters, and met “Hitch” many times in her youth. She tells a very nice story of sitting in a restaurant with the family when someone came over to the table to say “hi”. That was Jimmy Stewart …

47 Goodnight woman of song : IRENE

“Goodnight, Irene”, also known as “Irene, Goodnight”, is a lovely American folk song that was first recorded commercially back in 1932 by blues singer Lead Belly. The song made it to number one in the charts for the Weavers in 1950 and for Frank Sinatra in the same year.

53 Home of the Jazz : UTAH

The Utah Jazz professional basketball team moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. As one might guess from the name, the team originated in New Orleans, but only played there for five seasons. New Orleans was a tough place to be based because venues were hard to come by, and Mardi Gras forced the team to play on the road for a whole month.

55 Natural burn balm : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

56 Bobcat, e.g. : LYNX

The lynx is a wild cat, of which there are four species. These are:

  • The Eurasian lynx: the biggest of the four species.
  • The Canada lynx: well-adapted to life in cold environments.
  • The Iberian lynx: a native of the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and the most endangered cat species in the world.
  • The bobcat: our North American wildcat, the smallest of the four lynxes

59 Little __, singer of the #1 hit “The Loco-Motion” : EVA

Carole King and her longtime partner Gerry Goffin have been writing hit songs since the early sixties. Carole and Gerry had a babysitter, one Eva Narcissus Boyd, who was always bopping around the house in an unusual dance style. They wrote a song about her dance and they called it “The Loco-Motion”. Then they gave it to the babysitter to record. Ms. Boyd chose as a stage name a character in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” named Little Eva.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 LBJ’s vice president : HHH
4 Sponsor’s tube spot : TV AD
8 Dracula stabber : STAKE
13 Tic-tac-toe winner : O-O-O
14 Glow : SHINE
15 One-on-one teacher : TUTOR
16 Fifth scale note : SOL
17 *A total failure “goes over like” one : LEAD BALLOON (giving “loon”)
19 Arena overhead view provider : SKYCAM
21 Cowpoke’s “okay” : YUP
22 Tattoo artist’s array : INKS
23 Stares open-mouthed : GAPES
25 Violent storm : TEMPEST
27 Eaten away by rust, say : CORRODED
30 More, in Mexico : MAS
31 Once more : AGAIN
32 Weather guy Al : ROKER
34 __ and cheese : MAC
37 Smooth-tongued : GLIB
38 Bird-related … four of them have landed at the ends of the answers to starred clues : AVIAN
39 April 1 “honoree” : FOOL
40 Slim fish often smoked : EEL
41 Itty-bitty : TEENY
42 Joltless java brand : SANKA
43 Tips container : JAR
44 Leather bookbinding material : GOATSKIN
46 Type of pub named for its unglamorous appearance : DIVE BAR
50 Blind pieces : SLATS
51 Greek goddess of discord : ERIS
52 Greek T : TAU
54 Financial word before year or policy : FISCAL …
57 *Hotel chain with a geographical name : BEST WESTERN (giving “tern”)
60 Beer named for Washington’s capital, briefly : OLY
61 Prefix with national : INTER-
62 Covers with asphalt : PAVES
63 Was victorious : WON
64 Wet-eyed : TEARY
65 Roe source : SHAD
66 __ Luthor, Superman nemesis : LEX

Down

1 Bulky “Bonanza” brother : HOSS
2 “Peter Pan” captain : HOOK
3 *Last Supper cup : HOLY GRAIL (giving “rail”)
4 Focused on a subject, as a crossword : THEMED
5 By way of : VIA
6 Artist Warhol : ANDY
7 First appearance : DEBUT
8 Cards, in box scores : STL
9 “Tiptoe Through the __” : TULIPS
10 Make things right : ATONE
11 Goofballs : KOOKS
12 Dadaist Max : ERNST
14 Apply carelessly : SLAP ON
18 Theoretical missing links : APEMEN
20 West Indies native : CARIB
24 Dish up, as a dish : SERVE
26 St. Patrick’s mo. : MAR
27 Zoo enclosure : CAGE
28 Look at creepily : OGLE
29 Washing, as the dishes : DOING
33 Bout-ending blows : KAYOS
34 *Monastic hood : MONK’S COWL (giving “owl”)
35 Golfer Isao : AOKI
36 Scottish family : CLAN
38 Fizz up, as water : AERATE
39 Protests by not eating : FASTS
41 Saloon bill : TAB
42 Oil leak blemishes : STAINS
43 Court clown : JESTER
45 Director Hitchcock : ALFRED
46 Kind of bank card : DEBIT
47 Goodnight woman of song : IRENE
48 Panoramic view : VISTA
49 Carpenter’s files : RASPS
53 Home of the Jazz : UTAH
55 Natural burn balm : ALOE
56 Bobcat, e.g. : LYNX
58 Dryly humorous : WRY
59 Little __, singer of the #1 hit “The Loco-Motion” : EVA

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Aug 20, Monday”

  1. No errors.

    39D: I usually think of a protest by not eating as a ‘hunger strike’. Fasting I associate with not eating for religious or other non-protest (dieting) reasons.

  2. No errors.. Usual 10 minutes with pen and paper… When I see “holy grail” I always think of monte python.

  3. 6:19, no errors, no complaints (though I had HAM before MAC).

    Monty Python! Yes! Let’s hear it for migratory coconuts and the Knights Who Say Ni!

  4. No errors; easy Monday puzzle. I almost put in “ham” for 34A too, but
    36D was obviously “clan” so caught myself in time.

  5. When I hear Holy Grail, I think of Dr. Jones from the Raiders movies. No errors today, but I never heard of Rail birds.

    Bob in Erie

  6. Yes to @Chris and @Nonny.

    No errors, no Googles. Had GAwkS before GAPES. Did not know STL or OLY. At least 3 should have been indicated as abbrevs.

    1. Just sayin’ what? I haven’t watched TV for 25 years and don’t miss it a bit. I’m sure he’s a nice person, but I don’t know him.

  7. 14:27 no errors…as far as Monty Python my favorite is the catapaulted cows and the Knight who continued to fight with no arms or legs.
    Stay safe😊

  8. 4:17 no errors

    Finally a Monday puzzle that was easy for me, too! The birds even helped.

    Speaking of birds, what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

  9. Wow, those times you guys and gals make!

    We got 100% today, and found the puzzle to be easy and fun to do.

    We are hunkering down for the two storms and going to our oldest
    daughter’s tomorrow. No point in being in the middle of a Category 3
    hurricane. Or even a 1 or 2, for that matter.

    Stay safe and well, everybody.

  10. Greetings!!🦆

    Meh….not a great puzzle – HHH OOO?? No errors. Didn’t see the theme at all till the reveal answer.

    Supposedly, the beautiful white Barn OWL is found in my neighborhood (near Griffith Park) but I’ve never seen one. Occasionally I see lovely dark colored owls in my big trees. Beautiful creatures!!🦉

    Be well~~⚾️

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