LA Times Crossword 26 Sep 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 11m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 It’s often served in a narrow dish : OLEO

Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. A French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine in 1869, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”. The name “oleomargarine” also gives us our generic term “oleo”.

5 1996 romcom titled after a 1963 hit song : ONE FINE DAY

“One Fine Day” is a 1996 film starring George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s a romantic comedy, with Clooney and Pfeiffer playing two single working parents. The film’s title comes from the 1963 hit song of the same name recorded by the Chiffons, which in turn comes from the aria “Un bel di” (“One Fine Day”) from Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly”.

“One Fine Day” is a song written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin that was a 1963 hit for the Chiffons. The title of the song was inspired by the famous aria “Un bel di” (“One Fine Day”) from Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly”.

17 River near Rugby : AVON

There are actually four rivers called the Avon in England, but “Shakespeare’s Avon” lies mainly in Warwickshire, and so is sometimes known as the Warwickshire Avon. The name “Avon” comes from the Old English word “abona” meaning “river”. Stratford-upon-Avon was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

Rugby is a town in County Warwickshire, England. It is a market town, and is also home to the famous Rugby School, one of the oldest private schools in the country. The school gave its name to the sport of rugby, as the laws of the game were first published by three boys at Rugby School in 1845.

18 Elemental measurement : ATOMIC MASS

The atomic mass of an atom is simply that atom’s mass. As some elements have isotopes, then the atomic mass of one isotope is different from another. For example. The atomic mass of chlorine 35 is 35 AMU (atomic mass units), and the atomic mass of chlorine 37 is 37 AMU. The related atomic weight is the average weight of an atom of a naturally occurring element. About ¾ of the world’s chlorine is chlorine 35, and ¼ is chlorine 37. On average, an atom of chlorine then weighs 35.5 AMU. The atomic weight of chlorine is 35.5 AMU, i.e. nearer to the atomic mass of the more abundant chlorine 35.

19 Gossips : YENTAS

“Yenta” (also “Yente”) is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater “yenta” came to mean a busybody, a gossip.

Our word “gossip” comes from the Old English “godsibb” meaning “godparent”. Back then, the term was used for female friends who attended a birth, and later for anyone engaging in idle talk.

21 House VIP : SEN

The US Senate comprises 100 senators, with each of the fifty states being represented by two popularly elected senators. US senators were appointed by their state legislators from 1798 through 1913, until the Seventeenth Amendment called for popular elections.

22 Thought from Descartes : IDEE

In French, a “penseur” (thinker) might use his or her “tête” (head) to produce an “idée” (idea).

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

23 Hand-played drum : TOM-TOM

A tom-tom is a drum without snares. The name “tom-tom” came from the Hindi name “tam-tam”, which in turn was likely imitative of the sound made by the instrument.

27 Post-9/11 musical about the diversion of flights to Newfoundland : COME FROM AWAY

“Come from Away” is a 2013 musical that is based on the true story of what happened when 38 planes were ordered to land on the island of Newfoundland following the 9/11 attacks in the US. After the planes landed at Gander airport, the small town of Gander had to cope with almost 7,000 stranded passengers, a number that was about double the town’s population.

31 Joe, commercially : TRADER

Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain based in Monrovia, California that was founded in 1979 by Joe Coulombe. Trader Joe’s is very popular where I live, even though it stocks less than 10% of the items found in a typical grocery store. 80% of the items on the shelves are sold under a Trader Joe’s brand name, and are obviously chosen well. One of the more successful items is Charles Shaw wine, known as “Two Buck Chuck” here in California as it sold for many years at a price of $1.99.

35 Linguine sauce : PESTO

Pesto sauce is more completely called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa. A traditional recipe calls for crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yum …

Linguine is a type of pasta that is similar to spaghetti, except that in cross-section linguine is elliptical whereas spaghetti is round. The correct name for the dish is “linguine” meaning “little tongues” in Italian. That said, the misspelling “linguini” is given in some dictionaries as an acceptable Americanized variant..

37 Old California fort : ORD

Fort Ord was an army post on Monterey Bay in California named after a General Ord. It was established in 1917, and closed in 1994. The fort was in a spectacular location with miles of beachfront, and it also had that lovely California weather. The old fort’s land is now managed as the Fort Ord National Monument.

40 Fantasy creature from the Old English for “giant” : ENT

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”.

45 “Blue Sky” Best Actress Oscar winner : JESSICA LANGE

Actress Jessica Lange is also an accomplished and published photographer. She was married for ten years to Spanish photographer Paco Grande. After separating from Grande, Lange was partnered with the great Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, with whom she had her first child.

“Blue Sky” is a film that was released in 1994, starring Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones and a couple having marital difficulties. The film was actually completed three years earlier but sat on the shelf distribution company, Orion Pictures, went bankrupt. Despite the delay, Lange won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance.

47 He debuted at La Scala 12/26/1900 : CARUSO

Enrico Caruso was an Italian tenor from Naples, famous as one of the first opera singers to embrace the phonograph technology of the early 1900s. He made 290 recordings that were released between 1902 and 1920, and today they’re all available on CD or as digital downloads.

La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its Italian name “Teatro alla Scala”.

57 Keeping tabs on : MONITORING

To keep tabs on someone is to watch him or her carefully. Back in the late 1800s, the phrase was written as “keep a tab on”, with “tab” being short for “tablet”, in the sense of a writing tablet.

61 Witness to Padmé and Anakin’s wedding : ARTOO-DETOO

Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2 (also “Artoo-Detoo”). R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 ft 8 ins tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.

In the “Star Wars” universe, Padmé Amidala is the Queen of the planet Naboo. Played very ably by Natalie Portman, Padmé becomes the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker, later revealed to be Darth Vader. As such, Padmé is also the mother of Luke Skywalker and his sister, Princess Leia Organa.

62 Fever with chills : AGUE

An ague is a fever, one usually associated with malaria.

Down

1 Skin care brand : OLAY

Oil of Olay was developed in South Africa in 1949. When Oil of Olay was introduced internationally, it was given slightly different brand names designed to appeal in the different geographies. In Ireland we know it as Oil of Ulay, for example, and in France it is Oil of Olaz.

3 Janet Yellen, e.g. : ECONOMIST

The economist Janet Yellen was appointed Chair of the Federal Reserve in 2014 by President Obama. When her appointment was confirmed by the US Senate, Yellen became the first woman to hold the position.

7 Piccadilly Circus statue : EROS

London’s Piccadilly Circus is a major road junction in the West End of London. The junction is at one end of the thoroughfare called Piccadilly, hence the first part of the name. The junction’s shape is roughly circular, hence the use of “circus”, a Latin word meaning “circle”. Famously, there is a statue of Eros at the center of the junction.

8 1980 teen musical : FAME

“Fame” is a 1980 musical film that follows students at New York’s High School of Performing Arts. Irene Cara sings the hugely successful theme song “Fame”, and stars as one of the students. Cara had in fact attended the High School of Performing Arts in real life. The movie “Fame” was so successful that it led to a spinoff TV series, stage shows and a 2009 remake.

10 Peabody Award-winning Robertson : NIC

Nic Robertson joined CNN in 1990, and since them has reported mainly on armed conflicts and terrorism all over the world.

The Peabody Awards have been presented annually since 1941 to individuals and organizations for excellence in broadcasting. They are named for businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, who provided the funds to establish the awards program.

12 Couples : DUADS

A duad is a pair, with “duad” coming from the Greek “duo” meaning “two”.

13 Discombobulated : AT SEA

To discombobulate is to faze, disconcert, to confuse.

20 Org. involved in the Waco Siege : ATF

In recent years, Waco is perhaps most famous as the site of a siege and shootout between ATF agents and members of the Protestant sect known as the Branch Davidians. Shortly after ATF agents tried to execute a search warrant, shots were fired and at the end of the fight six people inside the Branch Davidian compound were dead, as were four agents. A fifty-day siege ensued at the end of which a final assault resulted in members of the community setting fire to the compound. Only nine people walked away from that fire. 50 adults and 25 children perished.

24 Turkeys : MORONS

The unsavory term “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

27 __ Spear, easternmost point in Canada : CAPE

Cape Spear is the easternmost point on the island of Newfoundland, and indeed the easternmost point in Canada. The name “Cape Spear” is a corruption of the former French name “Cap d’Espoir” meaning “Cape of Hope”.

28 Mercredi preceder : MARDI

In French, “lundi” (Monday) is the day before “mardi” (Tuesday), which is the day before “mercredi” (Wednesday).

29 Cite as proof : ADDUCE

To adduce is to cite as an example or as a means of proof.

34 Arch with a point : OGEE

An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically, it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).

42 Woodlice, e.g. : ISOPODS

Isopods are small crustaceans with seven pairs of legs. Examples would be woodlice and pill bugs. The name “isopod” comes from the Greek “iso” (same) and “pod” (foot). All isopods have seven pairs of jointed limbs.

43 Best thing since sliced bread, so to speak : PARAGON

A paragon is a model of excellence, a peerless example. Ultimately the term derives from the Greek “para-” meaning “on the side” and “akone” meaning “whetstone”. This derivation comes from the ancient practice of using a touchstone to test gold for its level of purity by drawing a line on the stone with the gold and comparing the resulting mark with samples of known purity.

Wonder Bread was introduced in 1921 by the Taggart Baking Company of Indianapolis. Wonder Bread was introduced as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”. The loaves were unsliced back then, with the sliced version being introduced nationally in the 1930s. It was the “wonder” of this sliced bread that eventually led to the idiom “the best thing since sliced bread”.

47 Medical events in a 1977 thriller : COMAS

“Coma” is a 1977 novel by Robin Cook, one that marked the author’s first commercial success. It was made into an entertaining 1978 feature film directed by Michael Crichton and starring Geneviève Bujold and Michael Douglas.

48 Captain’s direction : APORT

The left side of a ship used to be called the “larboard” side, but this was dropped in favor of “port” as the pronunciation of “larboard” was easily confused with “starboard”, the right side of the vessel. The term “port” was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.

49 Last name in fashion? : RENTA

Oscar de la Renta is a fashion designer who really came to prominence in the sixties when his designs were worn by Jacqueline Kennedy.

54 One of the Jacksons : TITO

The Jackson 5 singing group were originally made up of brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. The four eldest brothers continued to perform, using the name “The Jacksons”, after Michael went solo.

58 Big __ : TOE

The big toe is referred to anatomically as the hallux (plural “halluces”). The thumb is referred to as the pollex (plural “pollices”).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 It’s often served in a narrow dish : OLEO
5 1996 romcom titled after a 1963 hit song : ONE FINE DAY
15 Spots : LOCI
16 Briefly : FOR A MINUTE
17 River near Rugby : AVON
18 Elemental measurement : ATOMIC MASS
19 Gossips : YENTAS
21 House VIP : SEN
22 Thought from Descartes : IDEE
23 Hand-played drum : TOM-TOM
25 Steps in for : ACTS AS
27 Post-9/11 musical about the diversion of flights to Newfoundland : COME FROM AWAY
30 Comparable (to) : AKIN
31 Joe, commercially : TRADER
32 Partner of to : FRO
35 Linguine sauce : PESTO
37 Old California fort : ORD
38 Small shoot : SPRIG
40 Fantasy creature from the Old English for “giant” : ENT
41 Turn out to be : WIND UP
44 Single : LONE
45 “Blue Sky” Best Actress Oscar winner : JESSICA LANGE
47 He debuted at La Scala 12/26/1900 : CARUSO
50 Puts up : ERECTS
51 With 52-Across, type of barbecue : OPEN …
52 See 51-Across : … PIT
55 Crackerjacks : ADEPTS
57 Keeping tabs on : MONITORING
60 Store : MART
61 Witness to Padmé and Anakin’s wedding : ARTOO-DETOO
62 Fever with chills : AGUE
63 Intimidates : STARES DOWN
64 Swarm : TEEM

Down

1 Skin care brand : OLAY
2 Romantic keepsake : LOVE TOKEN
3 Janet Yellen, e.g. : ECONOMIST
4 Soothing compound : OINTMENT
5 In certain respects : OF A SORT
6 With 59-Down, later : NOT …
7 Piccadilly Circus statue : EROS
8 1980 teen musical : FAME
9 “That. Is. Amazing.” : I’M IN AWE
10 Peabody Award-winning Robertson : NIC
11 Mutual ill will : ENMITY
12 Couples : DUADS
13 Discombobulated : AT SEA
14 Those in favor : YESES
20 Org. involved in the Waco Siege : ATF
24 Turkeys : MORONS
26 Lot fillers : CARS
27 __ Spear, easternmost point in Canada : CAPE
28 Mercredi preceder : MARDI
29 Cite as proof : ADDUCE
32 Place for big news : FRONT PAGE
33 Sounds about right : RINGS TRUE
34 Arch with a point : OGEE
36 Needs to remit : OWES
39 Menu venue, perhaps : PLACEMAT
42 Woodlice, e.g. : ISOPODS
43 Best thing since sliced bread, so to speak : PARAGON
45 Lower in rank : JUNIOR
46 Wasn’t behind anyone : LED
47 Medical events in a 1977 thriller : COMAS
48 Captain’s direction : APORT
49 Last name in fashion? : RENTA
53 Hardly happy : IRED
54 One of the Jacksons : TITO
56 Shoot : STEM
58 Big __ : TOE
59 See 6- Down : … NOW

34 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Sep 20, Saturday”

  1. They are a day late I’ve discovered for some.. Me too.
    This was a puzzle that I literally stared at for about ten minutes. Then, a word here and a word there and all of a sudden the flood gates opened up. Like a picture that was evolving.. Kind of refreshing.
    How about that Carol King gal, 1963 she wrote that song. I remember in the 70’s her name would show up on several albums of the oddest bands or people as a writer. I didn’t think much of it then. Recently, her and James Taylor did a get together on TV. Holy cow, the stories they shared. What a career for both of them. The people they wrote for!! Just amazing.. As 9D put it, “I’m in AWE”…

  2. One of the harder Saturday puzzles for me. Ended up with no
    errors after I finally figured out “open pit” for 51-52A. Had to look
    up the musical “Come From Away”. I looked at “trader” for Joe and
    then remembered I’ve shopped at Trader Joe’s a bit. Never know
    where a clue is going to lead.

  3. 1A, served in narrow dish? Worked out oleo, but Bill did not, in his excellent explanation of the origin of oleo, explain about the dish.

    Does anyone have further insight into the dishing of oleo?

    1. Think this refers to what a butter dish is shaped like, conforming to a stick of butter – long and narrow. Oleo is a substitute for butter.

  4. Typical Saturday themeless grind. Took me half an hour to complete. In my book a yenta is someone who gossips…. so the clue should have been gossipers. The last clue I solved…. 58D. It could have been anything…. Ben, Sur, Top, Boy. What a yawner.

  5. Wow, it ONLY took me 48 minutes. I never heard of Come From Away. I can’t believe I couldn’t get Fort Ord. I went to language school in Monterey right next door in the ’60s. I just forgot it had closed. Duh.

  6. 15:33, no errors, but three missteps: I had MOMENT before MINUTE, SOLE before LONE, and TOP before TOE. I also paused for a bit over SEN for “House VIP”, which would seem to be an error (but perhaps there is a legitimate interpretation of it); in any case, the crosses were solid.

    Today’s “Saturday Stumper”, from Newsday, continues the recovery from that trivial one of two weeks ago: 1:32:11, no errors, but I nearly gave up on it a couple of times. Yesterday’s Croce (59:49, no errors) also seemed a bit rough and I embarrassed myself with a couple of stupid errors on today’s (09/26) NYT, so maybe it’s just me.

    I just posted to Bill’s NYT blog and the post appeared immediately, so perhaps he’s found a cure for the posting woes. Go, Bill!

  7. One more comment: There are indeed two “houses” of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Duh. (Misleading, but that’s the name of the game on a Saturday … 😜.)

  8. Some really good (clever) ones in this puzzle along with some that are either incorrect (House VIP) or out in left field somewhere (Joe).

  9. 27:45 1 error, 1 lookup

    A lot of clues that made sense only in retrospect, after crosses helped fill in words. I join the chorus: The House is not the Senate!

    A fair amount of new things for me. Today I was reminded of the word “adduce”. My one lookup was the Picadilly statue, and I learned that it’s not Eros but his mature brother Anteros. I also learned of the role Fort Ord has played in conservation.

    Now to see how this takes to post…

  10. 20:28 with a couple of assists from the application’s “Check Grid”. Bit of a tough Sat.

    I think the postings are showing up about 3 hrs. later from when they are posted. At least on Bill’s NYT site. This started happening about a week ago.

  11. Apologies in advance if this is a double post.

    27:46 1 error, 1 lookup.

    Many of the clues made sense only in retrospect, after filling in the crosses. I join the chorus of complaints that if you’re going to capitalize the House, no one’s going to think right away of the Senate.

    My one lookup was the statue in Picadilly Circus. I learned that many call it Eros, but it’s supposed to be his more mature brother Anteros. I also learned about the role Fort Ord plays in nature conservation. And I was reminded of the meaning of the word “adduce”.

    By the way, I use Ad Block, and today several ads are breaking through. I often find that ads do nothing but slow things down. I’m certainly not clicking on the dang things!

  12. Got most of it… for a Saturday! 😂
    If you’ve not seen COME FROM AWAY, go see it when Broadway opens up again. It was one of the most moving plays I’ve ever seen!! Sets were very simple, and the emotion was powerful!
    Stay safe!

  13. First time through the puzzle I had about five answers (typical for me on Saturday). Ended up finishing lower right and working UP the grid — no mistakes, a few clues I’ve never heard of (“Come From Away”, Janet Yellen), but they are now in the memory banks (never to be forgotten… until next time).

  14. From “For a minute” to “For a moment” and then back again. Almost couldn’t read the last part of it due to all the ink I spilled. But that finished the grid without final error. I found this a fair challenge today.

  15. Fun was had, tho I have to quibble at Tom-tom being a hand played drum. Sticks are used. Hand drums are bongos, congas and the like.
    Still, thanks for a little diversion.

    1. Everyone else?! I do exist, Jack … 😜.

      Check out the following entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

      https://www.britannica.com/topic/Congress-of-the-United-States

      It says that the Congress of the United States “consists of two houses: the Senate, in which each state, regardless of its size, is represented by two senators, and the House of Representatives (see Representatives, House of), to which members are elected on the basis of population”.

      Of course, in the clue, the word “house” is capitalized, which is confusing, but that’s the crossword convention for the first word of a clue, and setters often make use of it to throw everyone a curve … 😜.

      1. Then ‘upper’ house would be fair. Again, just House not so much. And misleading being the name of the game mentioned elsewhere….makes me not want to play. Clever or punny is one thing, this was neither

  16. 20 minutes, 49 seconds, and needed Check help on the digital version to fix 4 errors. Didn’t think I’d finish this one after the first pass through.

  17. Fun tricky Saturday for me; took me 40 minutes on paper, with no errors. No rewrites either, just very careful stepping around until I got it all.

    It payed off to check out “Blue Sky” from the library, which is a very good movie, and helped instantly fill in 12 squares today!!

    Since there’s a Trader Joe’s just across the street, I tend to buy about 80-90% of my groceries there, but it took a long while to finally give up on some sort of coffee to the grocery store.

    I also agree with almost everyone on the “House VIP” clue…and disagree with Mr. Nonny’s pathetic justification 🙂

    Interesting that the Piccadilly Circus statue is Anteros – the god of requited love, rather than Eros. I’ve been there twice now, once at 19, when the food sucked and I almost starved to death, and then at maybe 40, when the food was much better. The first visit, I’d heard there was a McDonald’s that was opening, just around the corner from Piccadilly. I finally gave in to my hunger pangs and turned the corner to see a at least 40 person line…

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