LA Times Crossword 6 Oct 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Falling Leaves

Themed answers are each in the down-direction, and each starts with a type of leaf:

  • 19D Autumn occurrence, and a hint to the start of the other four longest Down answers : FALLING LEAVES
  • 5D Sherlock Holmes portrayer in 15 movies : BASIL RATHBONE (giving “basil leaves”)
  • 11D Wise counsel : SAGE ADVICE (giving “sage leaves”)
  • 24D Silicon Valley region : BAY AREA (giving “bay leaves”)
  • 28D Interpreter of lines : PALM READER (giving “palm leaves”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Meat on a skewer : KABOB

The term “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.

6 Better mtge. deal : REFI

Refinance (refi)

Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.

14 Gulf of __: Red Sea inlet : AQABA

The coastal city of Aqaba is the only seaport in the country of Jordan. The city lies at the very northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, which is off the Red Sea.

15 Horror movie helper : IGOR

In the world of movies, Igor has been the assistant to Dracula, Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein among others. Igor is almost invariably portrayed as a hunchback.

16 Healthy : HALE

“Hale” is an adjective meaning “healthy”. Both the words “hale” and “healthy” derive from the Old English “hal” that has the same meaning.

17 Albacore and yellowfin : TUNAS

Skipjack tuna would be called medium-sized, growing to about three feet long. Albacore tuna is a little larger.

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

18 “Darn it!” : SON OF A GUN!

The term “son of a gun” is used to describe a rogue, a scamp. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, and it may simply be a euphemism for a more offensive expression. Given that disclaimer, it is widely reported that “son of a gun” originated as “son of a military man”. In days of yore, the British Navy turned a blind eye and allowed some women to live on board their vessels. Any child born on board would be listed in the ship’s log as “son of a gun”.

20 Ingredient in some Tibetan cheese : YAK MILK

The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

22 Genealogy aid : DNA TEST

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relatives.

23 Pie-mode link : A LA

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

24 Cut out early : BAIL

The phrase “to bail out” (sometimes just “to bail”) means to leave suddenly. We’ve been using the term since the early thirties when it originated with airline pilots. To bail out is to make a parachute jump.

26 Mont Blanc, e.g. : ALP

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

29 Beatles’ meter maid : RITA

“Lovely Rita” is a Beatles song on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. When the album was released in 1967, the term “meter maid” wasn’t used in the UK, although it was a slang term used in the US. The song helped spread the usage of “meter maid” all around the English-speaking world. Apparently the inspiration for the song was McCartney getting a parking ticket one day outside the Abbey Road Studios. He accepted the ticket with good grace, from a warden named Meta Davis. McCartney felt that Meta “looked like a ‘Rita’”, so that was the name she was given in the song.

33 Lea plea : MAA!

“Maa” is the call of a goat.

34 Fast-food chain named for its founders, the Raffel Brothers : ARBY’S

The Arby’s chain of fast food restaurants was founded in 1964 by two brothers, Forrest and Leroy Raffel. The name “Arby’s” is a homonym of “RB’s”, standing for “Raffel Brothers”. There is a rumor out there that the initials “RB” were chosen for “roast beef”, but that’s not true.

36 Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael : IRVIN

Michael Irvin played football for the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t follow American Football (forgive me!) but did see Irvin on “Dancing with the Stars” on television, and I thought that he acquitted himself quite well …

39 Splendor : ECLAT

“Éclat” can describe a brilliant show of success, as well as the applause or accolade that one receives for that success. The word “éclat” derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

41 Maple extract : SAP

About 75% of the world’s maple syrup comes from the province of Quebec. The US’s biggest producer is the state of Vermont, which produces 5-6% of the world’s supply.

43 Female folklore deity : NYMPH

In Greek and Roman mythology, nymphs were divine female spirits associated with a particular location or landform in nature.

47 First name in country : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007. She is sometimes referred to as “The Queen of Country”.

53 Legendary Greek mount : OSSA

Mount Ossa in Greece is located between Mount Pelion in the south, and the famed Mount Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.

63 Living labyrinth : HEDGE MAZE

A labyrinth is a maze, and is named after the maze in which the Minotaur was confined in Greek mythology.

65 Time off, informally : VACAY

A vacation (“vacay”) might provide some rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R).

66 “The Clan of the Cave Bear” author Jean : AUEL

Ayla is a little Cro-Magnon girl who is orphaned and then adopted by a Neanderthal tribe, as told in “The Clan of the Cave Bear”, the first of a series of novels written by Jean Auel that set in prehistoric times. I haven’t read any of Auel’s books myself, but they are on my reading to-do list as my wife recommends them. They sound interesting …

Down

1 Pop singer Perry : KATY

Katy Perry is an American singer who grew up listening to and singing gospel music, as she was the daughter of two Christian pastors. In fact, her first musical release was a gospel album in 2001. She has branched out since then. Her first successful single was “Ur so Gay”, followed by “I Kissed A Girl”. She was married (for only a year) to the British comedian Russell Brand, until 2012.

4 Hawaiian-born president : OBAMA

Despite rumors to the contrary, Barack Hussein Obama II was indeed born in Hawaii. Future US President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

5 Sherlock Holmes portrayer in 15 movies : BASIL RATHBONE (giving “basil leaves”)

South African-born English actor Basil Rathbone is best remembered for portraying Sherlock Holmes in 14 Hollywood films and a successful radio series in the 1930s and 1940s. Rathbone has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for film, one for radio, and one for television.

Traditionally, basil is considered “the king of herbs”. In fact, the herb’s name comes from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king”.

8 “On Golden Pond” actor or actress : FONDA

Actor Henry Fonda had already started his Hollywood career when along came WWII. Fonda enlisted in the Navy, and served for three years on the destroyer USS Satterlee. Then he served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in Air Combat Intelligence in the Pacific, earning the Bronze Star.

Jane Fonda is the daughter of Henry Fonda, sister of Peter Fonda, and aunt of Bridget Fonda, making the Fondas quite the acting family. Jane Fonda had many memorable screen performances, but is equally memorable for her anti-war activism. Most famously she was outspoken against the Vietnam War, going so far as to visit North Vietnam during the height of the conflict in 1972, posing for photographs and making radio broadcasts denouncing American leaders as “war criminals”. For her stance, Fonda was nicknamed “Hanoi Jane”.

“On Golden Pond” was originally a play, one written by Ernest Thompson. It was adapted into the famous movie of the same name in 1981, with Henry Fonda playing Norman Thayer, and Katherine Hepburn as his wife Ethel, and Henry’s real-life daughter Jane Fonda playing the screen couple’s daughter. There was also a television adaptation of the play released in 2001, with another distinguished cast that included Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer as the leads.

10 Awesome, in ’90s slang : PHAT

In hip-hop circles, the term “phat” means “excellent, first-rate”.

11 Wise counsel : SAGE ADVICE (giving “sage leaves”)

In Britain, sage is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

12 Blizzard remains : SLUSH

Slush is a mixture of partially melted solid, a mixture of liquid and solid. The classic example is partly melted snow.

13 Grade for a soph : TENTH

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

21 Bandit’s hideout : LAIR

Our word “bandit”, meaning “lawless robber”, dates back to the late 1500s. We imported the term from the Italian “bandito”, which has the same meaning.

24 Silicon Valley region : BAY AREA (giving “bay leaves”)

The San Francisco Bay Area comprises the nine counties that impinge on the San Francisco Bay itself: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. The region also includes the major cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

The Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

The seasoning known as bay leaf is the aromatic leaf of the bay laurel tree or shrub. Fresh bay leaves aren’t very flavorful and need to be dried and aged a few weeks before use in the kitchen.

26 “You got that right!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

27 Like many doilies : LACY

There was a draper in London in the seventeenth century named Doiley, and he gave his name to the lace fabric that he sold, which in turn gave its name to the ornamental mat that we call a “doily”. I can’t stand doilies …

28 Interpreter of lines : PALM READER (giving “palm leaves”)

The practice of telling fortunes by studying palms is known as palmistry, palm reading, chiromancy or chirology. The term “chiromancy” comes from the Greek “kheir” (hand) and “mateia” (divination).

30 Recipe amt. : TBSP

Tablespoon (tbsp.)

37 Lendl of tennis : IVAN

Ivan Lendl is a former professional tennis player from Czechoslovakia. Lendl appeared in eight consecutive US Open finals in the eighties, a record that stands to this day.

45 Kid-lit’s __ the Great : NATE

The “Nate the Great” series of children’s novels was written (mainly) by Marjorie Sharmat. Nate is like a young Sherlock Holmes, with a dog for a sidekick called Sludge. Some of the books have been adapted for television.

48 “I, Robot” author : ASIMOV

Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”, although Asimov’s most famous work is probably his “Foundation” trilogy of novels. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote a marvelous collection of short stories titled “I, Robot” that were first published together in 1950. In the stories, he makes repeated reference to the Three Laws of Robotics, which he introduced in the story “Runaround”, first published in 1942. The three laws are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

54 Ward (off) : STAVE

The word “stave” was originally the plural of “staff”, a word describing a wooden rod. To “stave off” originated with the concept of holding off with a staff. In the world of barrel-making, a stave is a narrow strip of wood that forms part of a barrel’s side.

56 Gaming giant : ATARI

Founded in 1972, electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was once the fastest-growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

60 MRI image : SCAN

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

64 Buddhist sect : ZEN

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Meat on a skewer : KABOB
6 Better mtge. deal : REFI
10 Subtle “Look this way” : PSST!
14 Gulf of __: Red Sea inlet : AQABA
15 Horror movie helper : IGOR
16 Healthy : HALE
17 Albacore and yellowfin : TUNAS
18 “Darn it!” : SON OF A GUN!
20 Ingredient in some Tibetan cheese : YAK MILK
22 Genealogy aid : DNA TEST
23 Pie-mode link : A LA
24 Cut out early : BAIL
25 “Heavenly!” : AHH!
26 Mont Blanc, e.g. : ALP
29 Beatles’ meter maid : RITA
31 Hunk of dirt : CLOD
33 Lea plea : MAA!
34 Fast-food chain named for its founders, the Raffel Brothers : ARBY’S
36 Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael : IRVIN
39 Splendor : ECLAT
41 Maple extract : SAP
42 Born yesterday, so to speak : NAIVE
43 Female folklore deity : NYMPH
44 Part of a plug : PRONG
46 Word with pool or park : CAR …
47 First name in country : REBA
49 List-ending abbr. : ET AL
50 Finish : END
51 Crayon shade : HUE
53 Legendary Greek mount : OSSA
55 Drink with scones : TEA
57 Ideal way to work, teamwise : AS A UNIT
59 “No idea” : BEATS ME
63 Living labyrinth : HEDGE MAZE
65 Time off, informally : VACAY
66 “The Clan of the Cave Bear” author Jean : AUEL
67 Kitchen cooker : OVEN
68 Clear the board : ERASE
69 Nimble : SPRY
70 Let off steam : VENT
71 Drops below the horizon : SINKS

Down

1 Pop singer Perry : KATY
2 Water color : AQUA
3 River border : BANK
4 Hawaiian-born president : OBAMA
5 Sherlock Holmes portrayer in 15 movies : BASIL RATHBONE (giving “basil leaves”)
6 Gamble : RISK
7 __ trip : EGO
8 “On Golden Pond” actor or actress : FONDA
9 Dramatically twisty : IRONIC
10 Awesome, in ’90s slang : PHAT
11 Wise counsel : SAGE ADVICE (giving “sage leaves”)
12 Blizzard remains : SLUSH
13 Grade for a soph : TENTH
19 Autumn occurrence, and a hint to the start of the other four longest Down answers : FALLING LEAVES
21 Bandit’s hideout : LAIR
24 Silicon Valley region : BAY AREA (giving “bay leaves”)
26 “You got that right!” : AMEN!
27 Like many doilies : LACY
28 Interpreter of lines : PALM READER (giving “palm leaves”)
30 Recipe amt. : TBSP
32 “… boy __ girl?” : OR A
35 Predicament : SPOT
37 Lendl of tennis : IVAN
38 Uncool one : NERD
40 Copy : APE
45 Kid-lit’s __ the Great : NATE
48 “I, Robot” author : ASIMOV
51 Comedy club sounds : HA HAS
52 Exhaust : USE UP
54 Ward (off) : STAVE
56 Gaming giant : ATARI
58 Hideous : UGLY
59 Like knees during a squat : BENT
60 MRI image : SCAN
61 Face concealer : MASK
62 Focus group? : EYES
64 Buddhist sect : ZEN

25 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Oct 20, Tuesday”

  1. No errors. I saw I had some editing errors in yesterday’s entry. Since there is no edit opportunity, have to be careful in typing…

    Nice Haight puzzle. I enjoyed it.

  2. Trying to force in callreader & baa instead of PALMREADER & MAA destroyed what was otherwise an easy grid for me, I should of realized that a TTY teletypewriter for the hearing impaired (which is what I was thinking of) is the opposite of the clue in that it interprets words and makes lines.

    10D: Pretty sad when you realize that you are too old for 90s slang.

    I think I’m going to join Tony Michaels and hold off comments until the 3-hour delay is fixed, it’s too annoying. (I’ll still read the blog though.)

  3. No errors and no lookups. Being old enough to remember Basil Rathbone
    and his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes got me started on the right track.

  4. I knew vaca, never saw it spelled vacay. I only knew phat because a friend’s son once used it as part of his email address. Mostly a simple puzzle.

  5. No particular difficulty today, though 33A/MAA was a bit odd.

    Haven’t seen Jean AUEL/66A lately. My father read all of those books when I was a kid, around the same time I was reading lots of Isaac ASIMOV/48D, come to think of it.

    APE/40D was one of the first things I learned to recognize about crosswords when I started doing them a few years ago

    And 61D/MASK is the clue or answer of the year!

    I often wonder whether a puzzle writer has set out to use certain letters in greater frequency than average. For instance, today’s puzzle has many more occurrences of U and V than we’d typically see. Several Y’s and even a Z, too. Any thoughts — purposeful or just coincidence?

    Take care.

    1. Hi Clay! I notice that kind of thing too, and I saw all the Vs today! I think today’s was just a coincidence. Of course sometimes it happens when the themed answers use certain letters. Other times it seems they just want to see if we’re paying attention…?🤗

  6. 16:45 no errors.
    I was interrupted by a telemarketer who appeared to be speaking some language other than English…I began talking gibberish for about 2 minutes until he got the idea and hung up.
    I think it is our duty to answer these idiots and give them as hard a time as possible but that’s just me.
    Go Ravens😀
    Stay safe😀

  7. No errors or Googles.
    Had blUe before AQUA, “Como” before KATY.

    Didn’t notice the theme.
    Didn’t know IRVIN or OSSA.

  8. Like Mary, my age allowed me to enter Basel Rathbone right away and that made the puzzle relatively easy for me.
    One error – I didn’t know 66A so I guessed “Arel”, so 52D got past me as well.

  9. 6 minutes, 15 seconds, no issues or errors (although the deja vu I experience upon coming across the same fills as in other very recent puzzles is quite unpleasant).

    1. I think that’s one of the reasons why I tend to gravitate towards themeless stuff (think Fri/Sat NYT or Sat here). Lot less chance of repeated things, though it still happens due to the nature of American-style grids. While that makes a lot of the themed stuff easier, it definitely is boring to see the same things come up repeatedly, especially if you multiply it by a number of more puzzles each day.

  10. No errors but a pitiful time, I thought it was harder than the usual Tuesday but looking at the comments I guess it’s just me. Like others, I though the “Lea plea” was rather weak

  11. Dang!! One error. Went back and forth at IRVIN/IVAN – ended up with an E instead of the I. Didn’t know IVAN and was unsure how IRVIN was spelled. 🙁 Also had RANT before seeing ASIMOV and changing it to VENT. Nice Tuesday puzzle. 🤗

    Be well ~~⚾️

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