LA Times Crossword 15 Sep 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Food Chain

Themed answers form a word ladder in the grid, going from BREAD to TOAST:

  • 37A Apt description of the sequence suggested by the answers to starred clues? : FOOD CHAIN
  • 1A *Dough (and start of a word ladder) : BREAD
  • 15A *Bit of luck : BREAK
  • 16A *Dismal : BLEAK
  • 22A *Sheepish remark? : BLEAT
  • 57A *Made holy : BLEST
  • 64A *Fabulous time : BLAST
  • 66A *Dispense with modesty : BOAST
  • 71A *Doomed, slangily (and end of the ladder) : TOAST

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 *Dough (and start of a word ladder) : BREAD

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, bread, scratch, cheddar, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.

13 Insurance giant : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

14 Paul Bunyan tool : AXE

Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth. He is a skilled lumberjack, and has a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.

18 Poetic feet : IAMBI

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” use five sequential iambs, e.g. “Shall I / compare / thee to / a sum- / -mer’s day?” With that sequence of five iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic pentameter.

19 __ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

20 Horse-and-buggy sect : AMISH

The Amish are members of a group of Christian churches, and a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

23 Interoffice PC connection : LAN

Local area network (LAN)

24 Carnival city : RIO

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil (after São Paulo). “Rio de Janeiro” translates as “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the bay on which Rio sits, on New Year’s Day in 1502.

The celebration of carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

27 “Seats all taken” sign : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

28 Abbr. on a B-52 : USAF

The US Air Force (USAF) is the youngest of the seven uniformed services in this country, having been formed in 1947. Today’s USAF was preceded by:

  • Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps (1907-1914)
  • Aviation Section, Signal Corps (1914-1918)
  • Division of Military Aeronautics (1918)
  • US Army Air Service (1918-1926)
  • US Army Air Corps (1926-1941)
  • US Army Air Forces (1941-1947)

The B-52 Stratofortress has been a mainstay of the USAF since its introduction in 1955. The stated intention is to keep the B-52 in service until 2045, which would give a remarkable length of service of over 90 years.

33 Author Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

37 Apt description of the sequence suggested by the answers to starred clues? : FOOD CHAIN

A food chain is a series of organisms, the smallest of which gets eaten by a larger one, which in turn feeds a still larger one, etc. Food chains are considered part of a food web.

43 Target’s target, say : LOGO

Target Corporation was founded by George Draper Dayton in 1902 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as Dayton Dry Goods Company. Dayton developed into a department store, and the company opened up a discount store chain in 1962, calling it Target. Today, Target is the second-largest discount retailer in the country, after Walmart.

46 Some August babies : LEOS

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

47 Third of eight : EARTH

There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets”, but that doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood” in 2006. The most oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.

54 What a suspect tries to beat, with “the” : … RAP

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

56 “That’s more than I need to know” : TMI

Too much information (TMI)

59 Musical set in Argentina : EVITA

“Evita” was the follow-up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). “Evita” was made into a film in 1996, with Madonna playing the title role and Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce playing her husband Juan Perón.

63 Bigwig : VIP

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

67 Uncommon sense : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

68 Justice Sotomayor : SONIA

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.

69 A.D. part : ANNO

The Latin word for year is “annus”. We often see it used in Latin phrases, but usually with a different spelling. In “anno Domini”, the “anno” is the ablative case of “annus” as the phrase means “in the year of the Lord”. Another example is “per annum”, in which “annum” is the accusative case as the literal translation of the phrase is “during the year”.

Down

1 Ricky’s signature song on “I Love Lucy” : BABALU

“Babalú” is a popular song from Cuba that was first published in the USA in 1939. It was used as the signature song of the character Ricky Ricardo, played by Desi Arnaz, on the TV show “I Love Lucy”.

4 Santa __ winds : ANA

The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

5 Senegal’s capital : DAKAR

The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar. Dakar is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, thus making it the westernmost capital on the African mainland.

9 Eurasian border river : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea. It is the third-longest river in Europe, after the Volga and Danube. The Ural is often cited as defining a long stretch of the border between Europe and Asia, although the exact position of that border is open to debate.

10 Usually successful opponent : NEMESIS

Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.

11 Musical set at the Kit Kat Klub : CABARET

The musical “Cabaret” is based on “I Am a Camera”, a 1951 play written by John Van Druten. In turn, the play was adapted from a novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The action in the musical takes place in the 1930s, in a seedy Berlin cabaret called the Kit Kat Club. “Cabaret” is a great stage musical, although the 1972 film of the musical isn’t one of my favorites.

15 Tots’ spill catchers : BIBS

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

21 Karaoke singer’s tool : MIC

A microphone is sometimes referred to as a “mike” or “mic”.

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

26 Isle of Napoleon’s exile : ELBA

I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on the island of Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is also overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day and we won’t be going back again …

Napoléon Bonaparte was a military professional from Corsica who rose to prominence after the French Revolution during the French First Republic. He took over the country in 1799 in a coup d’état and installed himself as First Consul. Soon after, he led France in the Napoleonic Wars, conflicts between the growing French Empire and a series of opposing coalitions. He was eventually defeated at the Battle of Leipzig and was forced into exile on the Italian island of Elba off the Tuscan coast. Napoleon escaped in 1815 and regained power, only to be finally defeated a few months later at the Battle of Waterloo. The British dispatched him to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic where he lived out the last six years of his life as a prisoner.

29 Piccolo relatives : FIFES

A fife is a small flute that is often used in military and marching bands. The name “fife” comes from the German “Pfeife” meaning “pipe”.

The piccolo is a woodwind instrument that looks like a small flute. Piccolos play one octave higher than flutes, and so the instrument is known by Italian musicians as an “ottavino”, Italian for “little octave”. “Piccolo” is Italian for “small”.

31 Gastric woe : ULCER

Until fairly recently, a peptic ulcer was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in fact associated with a particular bacterium.

32 Cobra’s weapon : VENOM

“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different families. The term is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.

34 Long, long time : EON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

38 Pigged out (on), briefly : ODED

Overdose (OD)

40 Storied cave opener : ALI BABA

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic phrase “open sesame” that opens the thieves’ den.

42 Holy city resident? : TOLEDAN

The origin of the term “Holy Toledo!” is much debated. My favorite story is that it comes from the days of Vaudeville. Back then, the week before Easter (Holy Week) was the worst week at the box office. Old Vaudeville entertainers used to quip that any week in Toledo was Holy Week, that ticket sales were always bad there. They referred to the city as “Holy Toledo”.

Toledo, Ohio lies in the northwest of the state, at the western end of Lake Erie. Toledo was founded as a result of the prosperity that hit the area when the Miami and Erie Canal was constructed in the 19th century connecting Cincinnati to the Great Lakes. Toledo is known as the Glass City as several glass companies originated there, including Owens Corning and Pilkington North America. There is a large exhibition of glass art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

45 Absorption process : OSMOSIS

Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often water) across a semipermeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of absorbing water effortlessly gives rise to the expression “learning by osmosis”.

48 Psychedelic : TRIPPY

The term “psychedelic” was coined in 1956 by British-born psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. He proposed the term to describe the effects of taking the drugs LSD and mescaline. He suggested that “psychedelic” be defined as “mind-manifesting”, from the Greek “psyche” (mind) and “delos” (manifest).

49 Fez or fedora : HAT

A fez is a red, cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. The fez used to be a very popular hat across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of “fez” is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …

55 Brewery that co-distributes Not Your Father’s Root Beer : PABST

Frederick Pabst was a brewer from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area who had immigrated to the US from Prussia with his parents. Pabst bought himself into his father-in-law’s small brewery and over the years grew the enterprise into a public company. The most famous beer from Pabst is of course Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer was the first beverage introduced by Small Town Brewery in Wauconda, Illinois. It really is “not your father’s root beer” in that it is an alcoholic drink.

60 Mastercard rival : VISA

VISA doesn’t actually issue any credit or debit cards. VISA just sells the electronic systems and infrastructure to banks who then put the VISA logo on their own cards. Seeing the logo, both customer and merchant know to use the VISA system when making a transaction.

Mastercard is a financial services company that is headquartered in Harrison, New York. The company was originally called Master Charge and was set up by a group of California banks to compete with BankAmericard (which later became Visa).

65 WC : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

When I was growing up in Ireland, a bathroom was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called the toilet or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term “closet” was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes and linens in a closet, as a closet was the right size to take the commode.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 *Dough (and start of a word ladder) : BREAD
6 “__ it ain’t so!” : SAY
9 Pop’s bros : UNCS
13 Insurance giant : AETNA
14 Paul Bunyan tool : AXE
15 *Bit of luck : BREAK
16 *Dismal : BLEAK
17 Itinerary word : VIA
18 Poetic feet : IAMBI
19 __ Lingus : AER
20 Horse-and-buggy sect : AMISH
22 *Sheepish remark? : BLEAT
23 Interoffice PC connection : LAN
24 Carnival city : RIO
25 “You bet!” : YES!
27 “Seats all taken” sign : SRO
28 Abbr. on a B-52 : USAF
30 Not nice at all : CRUEL
32 Hillside home asset : VIEW
33 Author Wiesel : ELIE
35 Blood work and such : LAB TESTS
37 Apt description of the sequence suggested by the answers to starred clues? : FOOD CHAIN
40 Partygoer, say : ATTENDEE
43 Target’s target, say : LOGO
46 Some August babies : LEOS
47 Third of eight : EARTH
50 Intertwine : MESH
52 Under the weather : ILL
53 Also say : ADD
54 What a suspect tries to beat, with “the” : … RAP
56 “That’s more than I need to know” : TMI
57 *Made holy : BLEST
59 Musical set in Argentina : EVITA
61 Family guy : SON
62 “Me too!” : AS DO I!
63 Bigwig : VIP
64 *Fabulous time : BLAST
66 *Dispense with modesty : BOAST
67 Uncommon sense : ESP
68 Justice Sotomayor : SONIA
69 A.D. part : ANNO
70 Vote against : NAY
71 *Doomed, slangily (and end of the ladder) : TOAST

Down

1 Ricky’s signature song on “I Love Lucy” : BABALU
2 Word after news or press : … RELEASE
3 Everlasting : ETERNAL
4 Santa __ winds : ANA
5 Senegal’s capital : DAKAR
6 Rescuer : SAVIOR
7 x or y, on graphs : AXIS
8 “Sure, sure” : YEAH, YEAH
9 Eurasian border river : URAL
10 Usually successful opponent : NEMESIS
11 Musical set at the Kit Kat Klub : CABARET
12 Winter lifts : SKI TOWS
15 Tots’ spill catchers : BIBS
21 Karaoke singer’s tool : MIC
26 Isle of Napoleon’s exile : ELBA
29 Piccolo relatives : FIFES
31 Gastric woe : ULCER
32 Cobra’s weapon : VENOM
34 Long, long time : EON
36 “Open __ 9 p.m.”: store sign : ‘TIL
38 Pigged out (on), briefly : ODED
39 All square : DEAD EVEN
40 Storied cave opener : ALI BABA
41 Exposes : TELLS ON
42 Holy city resident? : TOLEDAN
44 Nails the test : GETS AN A
45 Absorption process : OSMOSIS
48 Psychedelic : TRIPPY
49 Fez or fedora : HAT
51 Suggest : HINT AT
53 Go __: fight : AT IT
55 Brewery that co-distributes Not Your Father’s Root Beer : PABST
58 Just passable : SO-SO
60 Mastercard rival : VISA
65 WC : LOO

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Sep 20, Tuesday”

  1. Kinda like the word ladder. It’s different.
    Also liked “Toledan.” I’m not much for overly clever puns (though it seems to be what some crossword aficionados on other sites live for), but that one made me chuckle.

  2. No Googles or errors. Mr. Haight doesn’t believe in indicating abbrevs, as such: SRO, TMI, VIP, ESP.

    Desi Arnaz was a practitioner of Santeria, an Afro-Cuban syncretic of Christianity and Yoruban gods, not unlike what the Greeks did to make the new religion more palatable. Babalu’ Aye’, Desi’s oriche, represents St. Lazarus. One’s oriche or spirit, is determined before birth. One has to wonder if Desi wasn’t delighted in having the whole country sing along with him not knowing he was hailing his oriche.

    1. @Susie-

      Starting with bread, the next word in the ladder has one different letter until becoming the last word which is toast. See the words in the ladder in bill’s explanation. So from bread to toast is the food chain.

  3. 19:13 no errors…I fill in clues like42D & 65D via crosses, shake my head, and move on…if WC is a good clue then here’s one for you setters…JTS and the answer is MDER … JTS are my initials and I live in Maryland ergo JTS= MDER.
    Stay safe😀

    1. @jack

      I get your frustration with certain clues…. some are too easy, some
      are too obsolete… some are foreign words etc. But if you think WC is an eye-roller, how about this clue that I saw for LOO in a previous puzzle?

      John… to Ringo, Paul and George

      Actually after I finally got it I thought it was a pretty good clue!

  4. 7:20 no errors

    I loved this one! Especially since I managed to get the word ladder in order on the second pass through the acrosses.

  5. Made a mess of this one: 10 minutes, 49 seconds and 2 errors: VIEW just would not come to me for 32A, and SKITOWS is just not a word in my “view”. Just another contributor to a frustrating day….

  6. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    Good puzzle!! Always like this setter. I filled in the word ladder first. Very clever!!🤗

    No errors, altho I did initially write ELENA instead of SONIA!!! That’s embarrassing to admit…..Jeez 🙁

    Jane, great story about Desi Arnaz. Interesting!

    Be well~~⚾️

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