LA Times Crossword 25 Sep 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): St. Tot’s?

Themed answers are common phrases with an ST at the end switched to TS:

  • 18A Frenetic drummer’s output? : SAVAGE BEATS (from “savage beast”)
  • 25A Like a professional gambler’s life? : ALL FOR THE BETS (from “all for the best”)
  • 39A Consistently wins prizes for carrots, turnips, etc.? : RULES THE ROOTS (from “rules the roost”)
  • 50A Specially designed Valentine’s Day burgers? : PATTY HEARTS (from “Patty Hearst”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Word with a wave : BYE

Our salutation “good-bye” started out as a contraction of “God be with ye”, which was a more common phrase in the 14th century. The structure of the contraction was influenced by the existing phrases good day, good evening, etc.

10 Big name in Norwegian history : OLAV

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made the patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

14 Political scientist Bremmer : IAN

Ian Bremmer is a political scientist who founded the political risk research firm Eurasia Group in New York City in 1998.

16 Fountain with a wind : PETE

Pete Fountain was a New Orleans clarinetist. For four years Fountain played with the Lawrence Welk orchestra, but left when he and Welk had artistic differences.

17 According to : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

20 Literally, half-year periods : SEMESTERS

“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester-system has three parts, and a quarter-system has four.

23 Cast doubt upon : BELIE

The verbs “to confute” and “to belie” both mean “to show to be false”.

31 Marine bird : TERN

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but are more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

38 Debate fixtures : PODIA

“Podium” (plural “podia”) is the Latin word for “raised platform”.

42 Butter source : PEANUT

I have to say it, but it drives me crazy. Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes, a plant in the bean and pea family. The flowers of the peanut plant last only one day and then wither. The fertilized ovary develops an elongated “peg” that grows downwards, pushing the ovary down into the soil. The ovary develops underground into a mature peanut pod containing between one and four seeds, which we call “nuts”. But they aren’t nuts. Did I say that already …?

45 Golf nickname : ARNIE

Arnold Palmer was one of the greats of the world of golf. He was very popular with many fans of the game, and his followers were usually referred to as “Arnie’s Army”. Off the course, Palmer was an avid pilot until his latter years. He resided in Latrobe, Pennsylvania for much of the year and the local airport is named in his honor: Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

46 Flat out? : SPARE TIRE

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

50 Specially designed Valentine’s Day burgers? : PATTY HEARTS (from “Patty Hearst”)

The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was founded in 1973 by an escapee from the prison system, Donald DeFreeze. The group’s manifesto promoted the rights of African Americans although, in the 2-3 year life of the group, DeFreeze was the only black member. Famously, the SLA kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. Hearst apparently fell victim to what is called the Stockholm syndrome and became sympathetic to her captors’ cause. She joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”.

53 Like Magellan, for long periods : ASEA

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who was hired by King Charles I of Spain to find a westward route to the Spice Islands, now known as the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. Magellan headed west through the Atlantic starting out in 1519. He passed south of the Americas through what is now called the Strait of Magellan. He gave the name “Peaceful Sea” to the body of water that he encountered west of the Americas, which we now know as the Pacific Ocean. He and his expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521, and returned home via the Indian Ocean. This voyage was the first circumnavigation of the globe in history.

55 ORD posting : ETA

The IATA airport code for O’Hare International in Chicago is ORD, which comes from Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field (OR-D).

56 Jumbotron displays, briefly : LEDS

A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs were used in early digital watches, and are getting more and more popular even though their use in electronic equipment is fading away. LEDs are used as replacements for the much less-efficient tungsten light bulbs. I replaced all of my tungsten Xmas lights a few years ago and saved a lot on my electricity bill.

A Jumbotron is a big-screen television system that is often seen in sports stadiums. The brand name “JumboTron” was introduced by Sony in 1985. “Jumbotron” is used pretty generically now for any big-screen system in such venues as Sony exited the business in 2001.

Down

2 Official school color since 1894 : YALE BLUE

The dark azure color known as “Yale Blue” was adopted by the university in 1894. Prior to that year, Yale had been associated with a green color.

7 Month between Shevat and Nisan : ADAR

Adar is the twelfth month of the Hebrew ecclesiastical calendar. Adar is equivalent to February-March in the Gregorian calendar.

9 Montpelier-to-Providence dir. : SSE

Montpelier is the capital of the state of Vermont, the smallest state in the Union in terms of population. The city was named for the French city of Montpelier in the days when there was great enthusiasm for things French after the aid received during the American Revolution.

Providence is the capital of the state of Rhode Island. The city was founded way back in 1636 by a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony called Roger Williams. Williams believed that it was “God’s merciful providence” that revealed the location of today’s city as a haven for him and his followers, and so gave the new settlement the name “Providence”.

19 “Greatest gymnast ever,” per Retton : BILES

Simone Biles holds the record for the most gold medals won by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games. She achieved the feat at the 2016 games held in Rio.

Mary Lou Retton is an Olympic champion gymnast from Fairmont, West Virginia. Retton won Olympic Individual All-Around gold in the 1984 games, making her the first female athlete to do so who wasn’t from Eastern Europe.

21 Like storied North Pole workers : ELFIN

If you want to send a note to Santa from Canada, he has his own special postal code: “North Pole, HOH OHO”. The US Postal Service suggests that we send mail for Santa to zip code 99705, which directs it to the city of North Pole, Alaska.

25 Home security giant : ADT

ADT is a home and small-business security company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company was founded back in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Calahan invented the stock ticker several years earlier, and ran the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company. Calahan was awoken one morning by the sound of a burglar in his house, and so he decided to develop a telegraph-based security alarm system. The success of the system led to the founding of American District Telegraph, later known as ADT.

26 Tundra’s lack, usually : TREES

Tundra is an ecosystem that is treeless, or very nearly so. There are three types of tundra. Arctic and Antarctic tundra can’t support the growth of trees as the ground is pretty much frozen. Alpine tundra cannot support tree-growth due to high altitude.

28 Bunker of note : EDITH

Archie Bunker’s wife Edith was played by Jean Stapleton on the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family”. By 1980, Stapleton was growing tired of playing the role and appeared in fewer and fewer episodes. When the show’s spin-off series “Archie Bunker’s Place” premiered, the storyline revealed that Archie Bunker had just lost his wife, setting the tone for the new show.

35 Ones who do things by the book? : LITERATI

Literati are men and women of letters, learned people. The Latin “literatus” means “lettered”.

36 __ Cruces : LAS

Las Cruces (Spanish for “the crosses”) is the second largest city in the state of New Mexico, and is the home of New Mexico State University.

38 Aaron and Eli, in the Old Testament : PRIESTS

In the Bible and the Qur’an, Aaron was the older brother of Moses and was a prophet. Aaron became the first High Priest of the Israelites.

In the Bible, Eli is a High Priest of Shiloh and the teacher of Samuel. As such, his story is told in the Book of Samuel. Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, both of whom are described as wicked. As a result of their wayward lifestyle, it is prophesied that all of Eli’s male descendents will die before reaching old age.

40 “The Golden Arm” of the Baltimore Colts : UNITAS

Footballer Johnny Unitas was nicknamed “the Golden Arm” as well as “Johnny U”. Unitas played in the fifties through the seventies, mainly for the Baltimore Colts. He held the record for throwing touchdown passes in consecutive games (47 games) for 52 years, until it was surpassed in 2012 by Drew Brees.

41 “At the __ Core”: Burroughs novel : EARTH’S

“At the Earth’s Core” is a 1914 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who is more renowned as the author of “Tarzan of the Apes”. “At the Earth’s Core” was filmed under the same title in 1976, with Doug McLure and Peter Cushing starring.

42 Authoritative type of bull : PAPAL

A bulla (also “bull”) is a type of seal impression. A papal bull is a formal document from the Vatican that has such a seal attached, hence the name of the document.

46 Hematology prefix : SERO-

The prefix “sero-” represents the word “serum” in a compound word.

Blood serum (plural “sera”) is the clear, yellowish part of blood i.e. that part which is neither a blood cell nor a clotting factor. Included in blood serum are antibodies, the proteins that are central to our immune system. Blood serum from animals that have immunity to a particular disease can be transferred to another individual, hence providing that second individual with some level of immunity. Blood serum used to pass on immunity can be called “antiserum”.

48 Ship that sailed from Iolcus : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts set sail on the Argo from the city of Iolcos in search of the Golden Fleece. Jason’s vessel was called the “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

51 Luke’s pilot pal : 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.

When the character Luke Skywalker was created for “Star Wars”, he was named “Annikin Starkiller”. Conceptually, he was a 60-year-old war veteran for a while, and also a female at one point. Luke is played by actor Mark Hamill in the “Star Wars” films.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Word with a wave : BYE
4 Table __ : SCRAPS
10 Big name in Norwegian history : OLAV
14 Political scientist Bremmer : IAN
15 Undermines : ERODES
16 Fountain with a wind : PETE
17 According to : A LA
18 Frenetic drummer’s output? : SAVAGE BEATS (from “savage beast”)
20 Literally, half-year periods : SEMESTERS
22 Hawaii, on many maps : INSET
23 Cast doubt upon : BELIE
24 They’re not from around here : ALIENS
25 Like a professional gambler’s life? : ALL FOR THE BETS (from “all for the best”)
29 Expected : DUE IN
30 Theme park array : RIDES
31 Marine bird : TERN
32 Stinky : FETID
33 Legislative creation : BILL
37 “Wonderful!” : GREAT!
38 Debate fixtures : PODIA
39 Consistently wins prizes for carrots, turnips, etc.? : RULES THE ROOTS (from “rules the roost”)
42 Butter source : PEANUT
44 Row divider : AISLE
45 Golf nickname : ARNIE
46 Flat out? : SPARE TIRE
50 Specially designed Valentine’s Day burgers? : PATTY HEARTS (from “Patty Hearst”)
52 Veer sharply : ZAG
53 Like Magellan, for long periods : ASEA
54 Correctly, old-style : ARIGHT
55 ORD posting : ETA
56 Jumbotron displays, briefly : LEDS
57 “Good riddance” : NO LOSS
58 Worked on : DID

Down

1 Prejudice : BIAS
2 Official school color since 1894 : YALE BLUE
3 Jewelry artisan : ENAMELER
4 Stretch in therapy, say : SESSION
5 Evidence of a large impact : CRATER
6 Wander : ROVE
7 Month between Shevat and Nisan : ADAR
8 Hat-hanging aids : PEGS
9 Montpelier-to-Providence dir. : SSE
10 Christmas morning cry : OPEN IT!
11 Auto options : LEASES
12 When some local news is broadcast : AT TEN
13 Road workers’ garb : VESTS
19 “Greatest gymnast ever,” per Retton : BILES
21 Like storied North Pole workers : ELFIN
24 Not up : ABED
25 Home security giant : ADT
26 Tundra’s lack, usually : TREES
27 Try to strike : HIT AT
28 Bunker of note : EDITH
32 Stew : FRET
33 Helping hand : BOOST
34 Worshipped : IDOLIZED
35 Ones who do things by the book? : LITERATI
36 __ Cruces : LAS
37 Sticky : GLUEY
38 Aaron and Eli, in the Old Testament : PRIESTS
39 Carried on : RANTED
40 “The Golden Arm” of the Baltimore Colts : UNITAS
41 “At the __ Core”: Burroughs novel : EARTH’S
42 Authoritative type of bull : PAPAL
43 Wipe out : ERASE
46 Hematology prefix : SERO-
47 Traditional dairy farm item : PAIL
48 Ship that sailed from Iolcus : ARGO
49 “Zounds!” : EGAD!
51 Luke’s pilot pal : HAN

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Sep 20, Friday”

  1. No errors. About 20 minutes. UNITAS clue brought back that memory of Super Bowl III. United was my idol when I was a kid. He was the backup QB at that super bowl. Joe Namath picked apart the Colt defense. It was 16 – 0 late in the game and Johnny U came in and spearheaded a late touchdown to make it 16-7. I cheered for him.

  2. The fill was harder than the theme. Yale blue drove me crazy…. actually thought it was pale blue! Had sera before sero…. elves before elfin….gooey before gluey….pagan before papal….Olaf before Olav. Lots of befores before finishing!

  3. 9:48, no errors. Had GOOEY before GLUEY and ERNIE before ARNIE.

    @Glenn … For whatever reason, I am reminded of a comment you made a week or so ago to which I never had a chance to respond. I remember my missteps on all puzzles except the NYTs because I do them using pen and paper, which essentially records them. Besides that, though, one of my goals (frequently, but not always, achieved) is to make no missteps, even though that leads to longer solve times (a performance measure I don’t care about so much … and, yes, YMMV … 😜).

  4. 38:03 no errors…the NW corner really slowed me down…for 14A I had Ira and for 17A I had per which didn’t work at all.
    When I saw 25D it reminded me of a story on Inside Edition last night…an ADT installer had wired over 200 homes so that he could sit at home and spy on those customers…he got away with it for years…how do you feel about you’re security system now?
    My home was broken into several days ago while we slept…it will take some time to feel safe again.
    The rest of you stay safe

  5. I guess my comment didn’t post the first time. I don’t see it. Anyway, what I said was essentially:

    I dated Joe Namath.
    I found this puzzle to be difficult but ultimately I completed it. Very clever. Mr. Wechsler never disappoints.

  6. 12:26 Also had a few early miscues. When I got Patty “Hearts” I was looking for anagrams. Didn’t take the time to realize that just the last two letters were transposed. I grew up in New Haven. Don’t ever recall hearing the term “Yale Blue”

  7. 9:45, no errors. Disappointing on several levels, more from a personal standpoint, but it is indeed typical Wechsler.

    @A Nonny Muss
    As I recall in making that little aside (not even sure when and where anymore but I remember making it), it was more a commentary on how much people remember in doing these things than anything I looked for a specific response. Especially with paper and pencil, the bulk of what I do, I still couldn’t tell you about all the missteps. I don’t use ink because I usually end up with a paper with a blob of ink when I get done almost always – and the ones I overwrite tend to be illegible after I do it. Mainly because there’s so many sometimes, but I tend to have a short memory on doing these and couldn’t even tell you what I thought about most of them without going back and looking at the solved grid. (When I mention a bad puzzle, that should tell you something, as it was bad enough to budge into my longer-term consciousness past the next puzzle.)

  8. 10:59 no errors

    When I filled in RULEDTHEROOTS, I finally clued in to the theme, such as it is. Of course, that was one of the last fills.

  9. @Lulu,
    Nice brush with fame!

    It does look like something is significantly slowing down the posts getting published. I wonder when and how many of my two comments will get published today.

  10. A bit tough today for me; took about an hour with no errors. Had a lot of trouble in the SW corner, which I finally untangled, although I still didn’t like A SEA until I got here. Apparently the strait is the sea…

    Had to change erne to TERN and GooEY to GLUEY.

    So is ARNIE really a nickname for ARNOLD?? Even if I did figure it out. I finally looked up Ian Bremmer, who I initially confused with Paul Bremer (from the Iraqi CPA.) Smart guy, who apparently coined the term “America First” to describe our fearless leader’s world outlook.

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