LA Times Crossword 1 Sep 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Catherine Cetta
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Data Backup

Themed answers each include the letter string D-A-T-A written BACKWARDS:

  • 63A System administrator’s task … and a hint to what can be found in 17-, 30- and 47-Across : DATA BACKUP
  • 17A Topper for a toreador : MATADOR HAT
  • 30A How sale items are priced : AT A DISCOUNT
  • 47A “I’m so disappointed!” : WHAT A DOWNER!

Bill’s time: 4m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Remove politely, as a hat : DOFF

One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”. The opposite of “doff” is “don”, meaning “to put on”.

15 One with dreads : RASTA

Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair that are usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.

16 Out of the wind : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

17 Topper for a toreador : MATADOR HAT

The term “torero” is used to describe all bullfighters. The term “matador” is reserved for the bullfighter whose job is to make the final kill. Aptly enough, “matador” is Spanish for “killer”.

19 On cloud __ : NINE

I don’t think that anyone is really certain of the etymology of the term “on cloud nine” meaning “elated”, but I do like the following explanation. The 1896 “International Cloud-Atlas” was a long-standing reference used to define cloud shapes that was based on a classification created by amateur meteorologist Luke Howard some decades earlier. The biggest and fluffiest of all cloud shapes (and most comfortable-looking to lie on) is cumulonimbus. And you guessed it, of the ten cloud shapes defined in the atlas, cumulonimbus was cloud nine …

23 On __: sans contract : SPEC

Something that is created on spec is done so without having a specific buyer or consumer in mind. Many crosswords are constructed on spec, and then submitted to the likes of the “New York Times” or “Los Angeles Times” in the hope of publication.

27 Indy 500 letters : STP

STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

37 Pseudonymous punk rock surname : RAMONE

The Ramones were an American punk rock band. The group formed in Forest Hills, New York in the mid-seventies. The band members took on the stage names Dee Dee, Joey, and Johnny Ramone, even though they were not related. The “Ramone” name was imitative of the pseudonym used by Paul McCartney when he booked into hotels anonymously, namely “Paul Ramon”. Arguably, the Ramones were the first punk rock group, defining the genre. Something else that’s not my cup of tea …

41 Picnic pest : ANT

Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable potluck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.

42 Step between landings : STAIR

A “landing” is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one flies between landings! Can that be true?

49 Corrosive solution : LYE

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

50 PBS “Science Kid” : SID

“Sid the Science Kid” is a children’s show aired by PBS. “Sid the Science Kid” is made using CGI technology, and is a production of the Jim Henson Company that was founded on the success of “The Muppets”.

53 Previews that sound like they belong after the film : TRAILERS

The term “trailer” was originally used in the film industry to describe advertisements for upcoming features. These trailers were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened, hence the name. This practice quickly fell out of favor as theater patrons usually left at the end of the movie without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, but the term “trailer” persisted.

62 Little Boy Blue’s instrument : HORN

Here’s another English nursery rhyme:

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haycock,
Fast asleep.
Will you wake him?
No, not I,
For if I do,
He’s sure to cry.

66 “In memoriam” piece : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

“In memoriam” is a Latin phrase that we use in English to mean “in memory of” when referring to a person that is deceased.

68 River of Pisa : ARNO

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

70 Gall : NERVE

Today, we use the verb “to gall” to mean “to vex, irritate”. This is a figurative usage of the same verb that arose mid-1400s, when it meant “to make sore by chafing”. Back then, a gall was a sore on the skin caused by rubbing or chafing.

71 Like the 10th frame in bowling : LAST

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

Down

1 Title for Maggie Smith : DAME

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 …

3 Greek cheese : FETA

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

5 Full house letters : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

6 It may be two on a minigolf hole : PAR

Apparently, the first minigolf course in the world was built in St. Andrews in Scotland, and you can still play that course today. Back in 1867, about 100 years after the Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded, the Ladies’ Putting Club was constructed by some of the golf clubs members so that the ladies could “have a go” at the sport. Back then it was believed that the energetic swing required to hit a ball on a full-size course was far from ladylike, so a small, 18-hole course of putting greens was deemed to be more acceptable. Different times …

7 US Open stadium namesake : ASHE

Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997 and for years was the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

8 Pringles rival : STAX

Stax is a brand of potato snack made by Lay’s. Stax are similar to the brand’s famous competitor Pringles.

Pringles snack chips were introduced in 1967 by Procter & Gamble and were first sold as “Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips”.

9 French painter Henri : MATISSE

Henri Matisse was a French artist renowned for his contribution to modern art. In his early career, Matisse was classed as a “fauve”, one of the group of artists known as the “wild beasts” who emphasized strong color over realism in their works. He was a lifelong friend of Pablo Picasso, and the two were considered to be good-natured rivals so their works are often compared. One major difference between their individual portfolios is that Picasso tended to paint from his imagination, whereas Matisse tended to use nature as his inspiration.

11 Hodgepodge : OLIO

“Olio” is a term meaning “hodgepodge, mixture” that comes from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

“Hochepot” is an Old French word for stew or soup, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodgepodge” in the early 1400s.

12 Carson’s successor : LENO

“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:

  • Steve Allen (1954-57)
  • Jack Paar (1957-62)
  • Johnny Carson (1962–92)
  • Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
  • Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
  • Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)

13 Bambi and Ena : DEER

Ena is Bambi’s aunt in the 1942 Disney film “Bambi”. The movie is based on the novel “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” written by Austrian author Felix Salten and first published in 1923. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.

22 Idiosyncratic twitch : TIC

The prefix “idio-” indicates something peculiar, as in “idiosyncrasy”, a peculiarity exhibited by an individual or a group.

24 Greek vowel : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

25 Sporty Chevy : CAMARO

The Chevrolet Camaro is a car produced by General Motors from 1966 to 2002, and reintroduced in 2009. The Camaro shared much of its design with the Pontiac Firebird, and was introduced as a potential competitor to the Ford Mustang.

27 Proverbial camel’s backbreaker : STRAW

We use the idiom “the straw that broke the camel’s back” to refer to an seemingly inconsequential action that can cause a cataclysmic failure given the pressure on the situation that already exists. Our English idiom comes from an Arabic proverb with a similar wording and meaning.

28 Canines, e.g. : TEETH

The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The prefix “eye-” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.

29 Ziti or rigatoni : PASTA

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

Rigatoni is a tubular pasta that is relatively short, and with ridges along its length. The name “rigatoni” comes from the Italian “rigato” meaning “ridged, lined”.

31 Brief beginning-of-class activity : DO NOW

To a teacher, a “do now” is an activity that is often used to begin a lesson. It is a task that is usually accomplished quickly, and can act as a signal to the students that it’s time to get focused on learning.

33 DIY mover : U-HAUL

The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.

35 Stooge count : THREE

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you might have noticed that the line-up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946. Shemp stayed with the troupe until he himself died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine suffered a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

42 Sister of Venus : SERENA

Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

45 Census checkbox : 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.

52 Window sticker : DECAL

A decal is a decorative sticker. “Decal” is a shortening of “decalcomania”. The latter term is derived from the French “décalquer”, the practice of tracing a pattern from paper onto glass or perhaps porcelain.

53 Thunder god : THOR

In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

57 Betelgeuse is one : STAR

The very recognizable constellation of Orion is named for the Greek god Orion, the Hunter. If you take a look at the star in Orion’s “right shoulder”, the second brightest star in the constellation, you might notice that it is quite red in color. This is the famous star called Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, a huge star that is on its way out. Betelgeuse is expected to explode into a supernova within the next thousand years or so. You don’t want to miss that …

59 Gumbo ingredient : OKRA

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

61 Lady Macbeth’s “damned” tormenter : SPOT

Lady Macbeth is an evil and treacherous woman in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. The most famous line uttered by Lady Macbeth has to be:

Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

In this line, Lady Macbeth is frantically rubbing at her hand trying to get rid of an imaginary bloodstain left there after she committed four murders.

64 Off-road transp. : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

65 Spelling contest : BEE

Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a bee. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a quilting bee, or even a spelling bee.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Remove politely, as a hat : DOFF
5 Muscle cramp : SPASM
10 Hang onto : HOLD
14 Assert as true : AVER
15 One with dreads : RASTA
16 Out of the wind : ALEE
17 Topper for a toreador : MATADOR HAT
19 On cloud __ : NINE
20 Fill with joy : ELATE
21 Feature that results in extra legroom on a plane : EXIT DOOR
23 On __: sans contract : SPEC
26 Bro’s sib : SIS
27 Indy 500 letters : STP
30 How sale items are priced : AT A DISCOUNT
36 Brewed beverage : TEA
37 Pseudonymous punk rock surname : RAMONE
38 “This isn’t looking good” : UH-OH
39 Turn back to zero : RESET
41 Picnic pest : ANT
42 Step between landings : STAIR
43 “__ girl!” : ATTA
44 Stir up : AROUSE
46 Press into service : USE
47 “I’m so disappointed!” : WHAT A DOWNER!
49 Corrosive solution : LYE
50 PBS “Science Kid” : SID
51 Crossed (out) : EXED
53 Previews that sound like they belong after the film : TRAILERS
58 Eye-popping colors : NEONS
62 Little Boy Blue’s instrument : HORN
63 System administrator’s task … and a hint to what can be found in 17-, 30- and 47-Across : DATA BACKUP
66 “In memoriam” piece : OBIT
67 Speak from a platform : ORATE
68 River of Pisa : ARNO
69 Change the decor of : REDO
70 Gall : NERVE
71 Like the 10th frame in bowling : LAST

Down

1 Title for Maggie Smith : DAME
2 Speed-skating rink shape : OVAL
3 Greek cheese : FETA
4 Houses with Greek letters : FRATS
5 Full house letters : SRO
6 It may be two on a minigolf hole : PAR
7 US Open stadium namesake : ASHE
8 Pringles rival : STAX
9 French painter Henri : MATISSE
10 Distributes : HANDS OUT
11 Hodgepodge : OLIO
12 Carson’s successor : LENO
13 Bambi and Ena : DEER
18 Leave : DEPART
22 Idiosyncratic twitch : TIC
24 Greek vowel : ETA
25 Sporty Chevy : CAMARO
27 Proverbial camel’s backbreaker : STRAW
28 Canines, e.g. : TEETH
29 Ziti or rigatoni : PASTA
31 Brief beginning-of-class activity : DO NOW
32 On key : IN TUNE
33 DIY mover : U-HAUL
34 Loud : NOISY
35 Stooge count : THREE
40 Erodes, as savings : EATS INTO
42 Sister of Venus : SERENA
44 Enlarged the house : ADDED ON
45 Census checkbox : SEX
48 Feel sick : AIL
52 Window sticker : DECAL
53 Thunder god : THOR
54 Courtroom garb : ROBE
55 Desertlike : ARID
56 Uncommon : RARE
57 Betelgeuse is one : STAR
59 Gumbo ingredient : OKRA
60 Sisters : NUNS
61 Lady Macbeth’s “damned” tormenter : SPOT
64 Off-road transp. : ATV
65 Spelling contest : BEE

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Sep 20, Tuesday”

  1. 42D was my downfall from a perfect grid. Was thinking mythology, not tennis. Not knowing the answer, I thought I was oh so clever putting in ‘Selene’ (moon) and it fitted. Felt less so after changing it to ‘Selena’ and then finally SERENA. UHOH!

    (Still didn’t get the reference until I read Bill’s blog.)

    1. Me neither . I think people make these things up. “Do now?” Never heard of it but I‘ve been out out of school 50 years or more.

  2. No errors; however I never heard the term “do now” but the words
    crossing it led me to the answer. Sounds like a contrived clue to me.

  3. 43A I wrote “THAT Girl” which was one of my favorite TV shows back in the day…. Quickly realized it didn’t work and put in ATTA Girl.
    Stay safe and happy (rainy) Tuesday here in NY! 😊

  4. No Googles, no errors. Never noticed theme.
    Had lAdy before DAME. Now I know that Lady is a title for the wife of a peer.
    Had DEseRT before DEPART. Also thought of SElENe before SERENA.
    @Christine – usually it’s a choice between ATTA girl and iTsA girl. Now I have 3 choices.
    Never heard of DO NOW, but I’ve been retired for 14 yrs. I did put an exercise on the board to do while I took attendance and handed out books or worksheets.
    FRAT, SIS, OBIT, SPEC should be indicated as abbrevs.
    Did not know STAX, SID.
    Still have no idea how and EXIT DOOR gives you more leg room.
    Anyone?

    1. On an Airplane – the exit doors over the wings usually have more distance to the row in front in order to have a “reasonable” amount of space to exit in an emergency

  5. 6:04, no errors. Paused over “DO NOW”, decided it had to be, looked it up after I was done, and … it’s a thing! How do they sneak these things past me? … 😜

  6. 15:09 no errors…ditto with the DO NOW but everything else fit so it had to be right…looks like Bill was the only one who ever heard of it.👎
    Serena was used before and this old guy actually remembered it😊
    Stay safe y’all 😀

  7. Two “no peeks” in a row, seems like I can do the Monday and Tuesday puzzles without looking at the “theme (long)” clues. The most fun is making up my clue for the long answer… then seeing how close I was. I’m sure I’ll never be a crossword constructor (sigh).

  8. 5:08 no errors

    The theme is cute. My first thought for a sys admin’s duty was “UPGRADES”, but that doesn’t fit. By the time I got DATABACKUP, I had already filled most of the long answers.

    I also don’t know what a “do now” activity is. A friend of mine is a teacher. I’m asking him.

  9. Thanx @Ron

    Is anybody else suddenly getting massive ads, even within the comments? Of course, we want this to continue if that’s the price of having the blog.

  10. A Do now is a short task written on the board when the students enter class to get them going. Usually a time for the teachers to take attendance.

  11. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    No errors. Glad so many of you hadn’t heard DO NOW either. I was a classroom teacher for 30 years and never heard the term! Like Jane, I always had something on the board to start us off. I just called it Intro (in my lesson plan.)

    Be well~~⚾️

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