LA Times Crossword 7 Oct 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Breaking the Bank

Themed answers each include the letter sequence B-A-N-K BROKEN up between the start and the finish:

  • 63A Making a killing in Vegas … or what happens in 17-, 28- and 47-Across : BREAKING THE BANK
  • 17A Substantial return : BANG FOR ONE’S BUCK
  • 28A Color named for a dancer : BALLERINA PINK
  • 47A Bleeping : BLANKETY BLANK

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

Bill’s time: 7m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Lawn game : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

14 Fir fellers : AXES

Firs are evergreen coniferous trees, with several species being popular as Christmas trees. The most commonly used species during the holidays are the Nordmann fir, noble fir, Fraser fir and balsam fir. We also see a lot of Douglas fir trees at Christmas, but they’re not actually true firs.

16 Weasley family owl : ERROL

Errol is one of the magical creatures from the “Harry Potter” series of books by J. K. Rowling. Errol is a Great Grey Owl that delivers the mail for the Weasley family. He is old and prone to accidents, and so often needs help from other owls.

17 Substantial return : BANG FOR ONE’S BUCK

“Buck” is a slang term for “dollar”. The term has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days.

20 Popeye’s nemesis : BLUTO

Bluto is the villain in the Popeye cartoon strip, a character who has been around since 1932. Sometimes you will see Bluto go by the name Brutus, depending on the date of the publication. This “confusion” arose because there was an unfounded concern that the name “Bluto” was owned by someone else. Bluto, Brutus … it’s the same guy.

21 Zagreb native : CROAT

Zagreb is the capital city of the Republic of Croatia. Zagreb has been around a long, long time, and dates back to the diocese of Zagreb that was founded at the end of the 11th century.

23 NCR product : ATM

NCR is an American company that has been in business since 1884 and was originally called the National Cash Register Company. The company has done well in a market where new technologies seem to be constantly disrupting the status quo. NCR is a leading supplier of automated teller machines (ATMs) and barcode scanners.

26 Mohel’s rite : BRIS

A mohel is a man who has been trained in the practice of brit milah (circumcision). Brit milah is known as “bris” in Yiddish. The brit milah ceremony is performed on male infants when they are 8 days old.

34 Dodger who befriended Jackie Robinson : REESE

Pee Wee Reese was a shortstop who played his professional career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers. Reese is remembered not only for his skill on the field, but for his very visible support for teammate Jackie Robinson, who famously struggled to be accepted as the first African-American player in the majors. As he was an outstanding marbles player as a child, Reese was given the nickname “pee wee” after the name for a small marble.

The great Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in baseball’s Major League. When Robinson made his first MLB appearance, for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he did so in front of over 26,000 spectators. Well over half the crowd that day were African-Americans, there to witness the event. Major League Baseball universally retired Robinson’s number 42 in 1997. However, on the annual Jackie Robinson Day, all MLB players on all teams wear #42 in his honor.

35 Peter of “The Maltese Falcon” : LORRE

The marvelous actor Peter Lorre was born in what is now modern-day Slovakia. Lorre’s real name was Laszlo Lowenstein. He started acting in Vienna when he was quite young, only 17 years old. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish Lowenstein headed to Paris and then London, eventually ending up in Hollywood. Lorre found himself typecast as the wicked foreigner in American movies, but I think he sneered and snarled his way to the bank.

The classic detective novel “The Maltese Falcon” was written by Dashiell Hammett and first published in 1930. The main character is Sam Spade, a character played by Humphrey Bogart in the third movie adaptation of the book, a film of the same name and released in 1941.

39 Sudden burst : SALVO

A salvo is a simultaneous discharge of guns. Ironically, “salvo” comes from the Latin “salve” meaning “be in good health”. Salvo was originally the name given to the firing of guns in the air as a sign of respect or greeting for an important visitor. Good health!

42 9/11 Commission chair Tom : KEAN

Thomas Kean served as Governor of New Jersey for two terms before taking a job in the private sector as President of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Kean returned to the public eye in 2002 when he was asked by President George W. Bush to succeed Henry Kissinger as Chair of the 9/11 Commission.

43 Star transports : LIMOS

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

45 Emulated Van Winkle, after 20 years : AWOKE

“Rip Van Winkle” is a short story written by Washington Irving. The story was an instant hit, and was adapted for the stage just a few years after its first publication in 1819. Since then “Rip” has featured on the small screen, big screen and even in an operetta.

47 Bleeping : BLANKETY-BLANK

The terms “bleeping” and “blankety-blank” are sometimes substituted for profane intensifiers, e.g. “What a bleeping terrible clue!”, “What a blankety-blank fabulous puzzle!”

51 Toni Morrison novel : SULA

“Sula” is a 1973 novel by Toni Morrison. The title character is a young woman who returns to her hometown in Ohio. Sula’s return disrupts the community as she defies social norms.

59 Toon duck triplet : LOUIE

Donald Duck’s nephews are identical triplets called Huey, Dewey and Louie, and they first appeared on the screen in 1938. Once in a while, due to errors in production, a fourth duck can be seen in the background. This little “mistake” is affectionately called “Phooey Duck” by folks in the industry.

61 “Fame” singer Cara : IRENE

Irene Cara co-wrote and sang the Oscar-winning song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from the 1983 movie “Flashdance”. Cara also sang the title song for the 1980 movie “Fame”, and indeed played the lead role of student Coco Hernandez.

“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.

66 Do the Thanksgiving honors : CARVE

The tradition of the US President “pardoning” a Thanksgiving turkey was only formalized in 1989, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. The pardoned turkey is taken to a farm where it gets to live out its life. Prior to 1989, the tradition was more focused on the presentation of a turkey to the White House, and less on the fate of the bird. President Eisenhower was presented with a turkey in each year of his two terms, and he ate them all …

67 Start to scope : TELE-

The first patent application for a telescope was filed in 1608 in the Netherlands to eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey. However, research has shown that there is some evidence that telescopes were built before 1608, perhaps as early as the mid-1500s. But it is clear that reports of Lippershey’s design spread quickly around Europe. By 1609, Galileo had built his own telescope and started to explore the night sky.

68 __ fixe : IDEE

An “idée fixe” (a French term) is basically a fixed idea, an obsession

69 Pulled a fast one on : DUPED

A dupe is someone who is easily fooled, a “live one”, one who can fall victim to deception.

70 Beef bourguignonne, for one : STEW

Beef bourguignon (also “beef Burgundy”) is a stew made with beef braised in red wine. The dish probably doesn’t have roots in the Burgundy region of France, but instead is named for the traditional use of Burgundy wine as a key ingredient in the recipe.

71 Old geopolitical states: Abbr. : SSRS

Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR)

Down

1 Flintstone word : DABBA

“Yabba-dabba-doo!” is one of Fred Flintstone’s catchphrases.

4 Air Force NCO : TSGT

Technical Sergeant (TSgt)

5 __ Jima : IWO

Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.ese” is a

6 Italian noblewoman : MARCHESA

A marchesa is an Italian noblewoman who ranks below a princess and above a countess, and who is the wife of a marchese. “Marchese” and “marchesa” translate into English as “marquis” and “marchioness”.

8 Jedi Master Obi-Wan __ : KENOBI

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

10 Uranus, for one : ORB

One of the unique features of the planet Uranus is that its north and south poles lie where most other planets have their equators. That means that Uranus’ axis of rotation is almost in its solar orbit.

12 Gabrielle Chanel, familiarly : COCO

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer. I’m no fashionista, but if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that look so elegant on a woman.

13 Fraternal order : ELKS

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome. The list of US presidents that have been members of the BPOE includes Presidents Eisenhower, Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Ford.

18 British detective played by Michael Kitchen : FOYLE

“Foyle’s War” is an excellent detective series from the UK that is set during, and just after, WWII. Michael Kitchen plays the title character, ably assisted by actress Honeysuckle Weeks, who plays Foyle’s driver. The show was canceled after five seasons in 2008, and then promptly revived for three more seasons in 2009 due to a strong following.

English actor Michael Kitchen is best known for playing the Detective Christopher Foyle in the WWII detective show “Foyle’s War”. His acting reached a wider audience when he played M’s Chief of Staff Bill Tanner in two “James Bond” movies, i.e. “GoldenEye” and “The World Is Not Enough”.

25 Lager alternatives : ALES

Lager is so called because of the tradition of cold-storing the beer during fermentation. “Lager” is the German word for “storage”.

31 Dander : IRE

The phrases “to get one’s Irish up” and “to get one’s dander up” mean to get riled up, to get angry. I guess we are always picking on the poor Irish!

32 Gun lobby org. : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

33 “Jeopardy!” whiz Jennings : KEN

Ken Jennings is a remarkable man, the person who had the longest winning streak on television’s “Jeopardy!”. He has also won more game show money than any other person. He was defeated after 75 appearances on the show, after racking up over $2.5 million in the prior episodes.

36 Priest’s white garment : ALB

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

37 Unlike Abner, really : LI’L

“Li’l Abner” was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he went so far as to apologize to his long-standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt that the quality of his work had gone down in those latter years. The title character’s full name is “Li’l Abner Yokum”.

38 Geriatrician’s gp. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

Gerontology is the study of all aspects of aging, including its biology, psychology and sociology. Geriatrics is the study of diseases encountered in older adults.

40 Bug on the road? : VW BEETLE

“VW” stands for “Volkswagen”, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. Hitler awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

41 Dancing girl in “Return of the Jedi” : OOLA

Oola was a slave-girl dancer who was eaten by a scary creature in the movie “Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi”. Oola was played by British actor Femi Taylor.

46 Journalist Couric : KATIE

Katie Couric left NBC’s “The Today Show” in 2006 and took over as news anchor for “CBS Evening News”. In doing so, she became the first solo female anchor of a broadcast network evening news program. Couric also has the honor of being the only person to guest-host on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. In fact she “swapped jobs” on that particular day, and Leno filled in for Couric on “The Today Show”.

48 Wells’ sci-fi race : ELOI

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounters in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a domineering race living underground who use the Eloi as food.

55 Some toys, briefly : PEKES

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

56 It’s sung to the same tune as “Twinkle, twinkle” : A B C D

“The Alphabet Song” was copyrighted in 1835 in the US. The tune that goes with the words is the French folk song “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman”, used by Mozart for a set of piano variations. The same tune is used for the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is an English nursery rhyme. The words for the rhyme are taken from a poem called “The Star” written by Jane Taylor, by far her most famous work (although she rarely gets the credit). The rhyme is sung to a French folk tune called “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman”, the same tune used by Mozart for a charming and famous set of variations.

57 Lady of the Haus : FRAU

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

58 Md. athlete : TERP

The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or “the Terps” for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was coined by the university’s president at the time, Curley Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

60 “__ a Kick Out of You”: Porter song : I GET

“I Get a Kick Out of You” is a Cole Porter song that was written for the 1934 musical “Anything Goes”. Ethel Merman performed the song in the show, and the most famous cover version was recorded by Frank Sinatra. The lyrics caused a few problems over the years. The original has a reference to the Lindberghs, which had to be removed in response to the Lindbergh kidnapping, so:

I shouldn’t care for those nights in the air
That the fair Mrs. Lindbergh goes through

became:

Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing to do

The original also has a reference to cocaine, which had to be taken out for the 1936 movie version of the show. The first line below:

Some get a kick from cocaine
I’m sure that if
I took even one sniff
That would bore me terrif-
ically, too

became:

Some like the perfume in Spain

62 Slugger’s stats : RBIS

Run batted in (RBI)

64 Latin greeting : AVE

“Ave” is a Latin word meaning “hail” as in “Ave Maria”, which translates as “Hail Mary”. “Ave” can also be used to mean “goodbye”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Something to pay : DEBT
5 “Nothing’s broken” : I’M OK
9 Lawn game : BOCCE
14 Fir fellers : AXES
15 Cool off in a shallow stream, say : WADE
16 Weasley family owl : ERROL
17 Substantial return : BANG FOR ONE’S BUCK
20 Popeye’s nemesis : BLUTO
21 Zagreb native : CROAT
22 Salon creations : DOS
23 NCR product : ATM
24 “You betcha” : YAH
26 Mohel’s rite : BRIS
28 Color named for a dancer : BALLERINA PINK
34 Dodger who befriended Jackie Robinson : REESE
35 Peter of “The Maltese Falcon” : LORRE
36 Word of regret : ALAS
39 Sudden burst : SALVO
42 9/11 Commission chair Tom : KEAN
43 Star transports : LIMOS
45 Emulated Van Winkle, after 20 years : AWOKE
47 Bleeping : BLANKETY-BLANK
51 Toni Morrison novel : SULA
52 Reluctantly absorb, as a loss : EAT
53 Little bite : NIP
56 Admiral’s rear : AFT
59 Toon duck triplet : LOUIE
61 “Fame” singer Cara : IRENE
63 Making a killing in Vegas … or what happens in 17-, 28- and 47-Across : BREAKING THE BANK
66 Do the Thanksgiving honors : CARVE
67 Start to scope : TELE-
68 __ fixe : IDEE
69 Pulled a fast one on : DUPED
70 Beef bourguignonne, for one : STEW
71 Old geopolitical states: Abbr. : SSRS

Down

1 Flintstone word : DABBA
2 Hold in awe : EXALT
3 Anesthetize : BENUMB
4 Air Force NCO : TSGT
5 __ Jima : IWO
6 Italian noblewoman : MARCHESA
7 Dump feature : ODOR
8 Jedi Master Obi-Wan __ : KENOBI
9 Brutish : BESTIAL
10 Uranus, for one : ORB
11 Scummy deposit : CRUD
12 Gabrielle Chanel, familiarly : COCO
13 Fraternal order : ELKS
18 British detective played by Michael Kitchen : FOYLE
19 Deserve : EARN
25 Lager alternatives : ALES
27 Like many addresses : SPOKEN
29 Incendiary acts : ARSONS
30 Race for four, commonly : RELAY
31 Dander : IRE
32 Gun lobby org. : NRA
33 “Jeopardy!” whiz Jennings : KEN
36 Priest’s white garment : ALB
37 Unlike Abner, really : LI’L
38 Geriatrician’s gp. : AMA
40 Bug on the road? : VW BEETLE
41 Dancing girl in “Return of the Jedi” : OOLA
44 Moved stealthily : SKULKED
46 Journalist Couric : KATIE
48 Wells’ sci-fi race : ELOI
49 Bully’s array : TAUNTS
50 Works with dough : KNEADS
54 Word with tube or circle : INNER …
55 Some toys, briefly : PEKES
56 It’s sung to the same tune as “Twinkle, twinkle” : A B C D
57 Lady of the Haus : FRAU
58 Md. athlete : TERP
60 “__ a Kick Out of You”: Porter song : I GET
62 Slugger’s stats : RBIS
64 Latin greeting : AVE
65 Fell, as firs : HEW

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Oct 20, Wednesday”

  1. Puzzle was fine except for several errors. Left two letters blank. Didn’t get British detective Foyle and the cross yah. Didn’t get pekes and the cross nip.

  2. One dumb error–spelled bestial wrong so that screwed up 17A…my biggest
    fault on doing these puzzles is not checking over my answers before I go
    to Bill’s blog. Will I never learn?

  3. 22:36 no errors…good Wednesday puzzle.
    Stay safe.
    Go Ravens😀
    The Baltimore County police just came by with a 2nd batch of items stolen from us 2 weeks ago…this idiot kept every kind of incriminating evidence that could not have been of any use to him except for possible relived excitement from the theft…It looks like he will be going away for some time.

  4. Misspellings were my downfall for this puzzle that resulted in 4 errors. I ended Kenobi with an ‘e’ and spelled bris with an ‘e’, so ballerinapink and bestial were also misspelled.
    Other than that, a very enjoyable puzzle.

  5. I forgot to mention… Bill didn’t address 44D, skulked. Does anybody have any idea where that term came from? I’ve never used it for sneaking around and, to me, it sounds weird to say.

  6. 7:09 no errors

    @Fitz, “skulk” can mean sneaking around, or lurking in the shadows

    As soon as I got BLANKETYBLANK, the theme fell into place. Nice! I have this sense that I’ve seen “breaking the bank” before, though.

    Someone needs to give the Morlocks equal time.

  7. @Jack – good.

    No errors, Googles. I actually used the theme to solve. Did not know ERROL, KEAN, SULA, FOYLE, TERP.
    I should read SULA. I like Morrison’s writing, and also found it useful as a source of monosyllabic sentences when I was teaching.

  8. 14 minutes, 44 seconds, no errors. Very choppy solve, not very enjoyable. Can’t really complain, but this one was not much fun.

  9. Fun fact or feeling I should say… during Last night’s Jeopardy and I could’ve sworn Alex Trebek intimated that Ken Jennings is in line to be his replacement…

  10. Flailed around on-line for 16:05 before I got the banner, without peeking. Lots of backtracking and checking for crosses. And, I’ve gotta say, I resent having to see “bris” so much. It’s a very private religious rite that I don’t particularly care to hear about.

    The rest of the puzzle was fair and challenging, if somewhat outside of my wheelhouse.

  11. Hi folks!!🦆

    I actually had to cheat in a few places, like the NW and part of BALLERINA PINK, more out of laziness than anything else. I should try harder!!! It’s only Wednesday!! This year has made me soporific. Wonder if I’m using that word correctly….🤔

    Good puzzle and fun solve despite (or because of) my cheating!!🤗

    Be well~~⚾️

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