LA Times Crossword 15 Jan 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Jay Toch’s Puzzle

Themed answers sound like common phrases, with a J-sound changed to CH-sound:

  • 16A Levi’s alternatives in the bargain bin? : CHEAP WRANGLERS (from “Jeep Wranglers”)
  • 23A Bright red semi? : CHERRY RIG (from “jerry-rig”)
  • 36A Dog collar for obedience school? : PRACTICAL CHOKER (from “practical joker”)
  • 48A Kibbles ‘n Bits? : CHUNK FOOD (from “junk food”)
  • 57A Inept patsy on water skis? : CHUMP IN THE LAKE (from “jump in the lake”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Lord with a namesake sports trophy : STANLEY

The Stanley Cup is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. Lord Stanley’s sons became avid fans of ice hockey while in Canada, and so he donated the trophy in 1909, originally as a challenge cup for the country’s best amateur club.

14 Showy bloom : DAHLIA

The dahlia is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America. It was named the national flower of Mexico relatively recently, in 1963. The plant was given the name dahlia in 1791, in honor of Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.

15 “The Miser” playwright : MOLIERE

“Molière” was the stage name of French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. It is amazing how well the comedies of Molière, written in the 1600s, entertain us on stage today. Among his best-known plays are “The Misanthrope”, “The School for Wives” and “Tartuffe or the Hypocrite”.

16 Levi’s alternatives in the bargain bin? : CHEAP WRANGLERS (from “Jeep Wranglers”)

Wrangler is a manufacturer of jeans headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina. Wrangler jeans were first made in the mid-1940s and were designed specifically for use by cowboys in rodeos.

Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler is a direct descendent of the military “Jeep” vehicle that the US military relied on heavily during WWII.

18 Rial spenders : OMANIS

The rial is the currency of Oman (as well as Yemen, Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.

21 Humdinger : PIP

A humdinger or pip is someone or something outstanding. “Humdinger” is American slang dating back to the early 1900s, and was originally used to describe a particularly attractive woman.

23 Bright red semi? : CHERRY RIG (from “jerry-rig”)

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

“To jury-rig” (sometimes “jerry-rig”) is to execute a makeshift repair or to manufacture a temporary contrivance. The term comes from sailing ships in which a jury rig is an improvised mast and yards that are erected as a replacement when the original mast is damaged or lost.

27 Song heard in the film “Marley & Me” : ONE LOVE

“One Love” is a classic reggae song from 1977 recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers. A ska version of “One Love” had been released by the Wailers as early as 1965, but it is the 1977 release that we all remember, I am sure.

“Marley & Me” is a 2008 film adaptation of a memoir of the same name by John Grogan. Owen Wilson plays the author in the movie, which tells the story of Grogan and his energetic dog called Marley. The film was released on December 25, 2008 and held the record for biggest Christmas Day box office ever.

31 Sign of success : VEE

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

32 Sign of success : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

33 Arte who co-owns MLB’s Angels : MORENO

Billionaire businessman Arte Moreno bought the Anaheim Angels baseball team in 2003. In doing so, he became the first Mexican-American to own a major US sports team.

42 Steamed cantina dish : TAMALE

A tamale is a traditional dish from Central America composed of a starchy dough that is steamed or boiled in a wrapper made from a corn husk or banana leaf. The dough is called masa, and can include many different ingredients including meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables.

43 I in Innsbruck : ICH

Innsbruck is the capital city of the Austrian state of Tyrol. Located in the Alps, Innsbruck is a famous center for winter sports and has hosted two Winter Olympic Games, in 1964 and 1976. The name “Innsbruck” translates as “Inn bridge”, with the Inn being the river on which the city is built.

46 Mogadishu is its cap. : SOM

Mogadishu is a major port city on the west coast of Africa, and is the capital of Somalia. The city is known locally as “Xamar”.

47 Getty of “The Golden Girls” : ESTELLE

Actress Estelle Getty was best known for playing Sophia Petrillo on “The Golden Girls”. Bea Arthur played Sophia’s daughter on the show, even though Estelle was actually a year younger than Bea in real life!

48 Kibbles ‘n Bits? : CHUNK FOOD (from “junk food”)

Kibbles ‘n Bits is a dog food first produced by Del Monte Foods that was introduced in 1981. The original selling feature of the product was that it contained both chewy and hard crunchy pieces.

57 Inept patsy on water skis? : CHUMP IN THE LAKE (from “jump in the lake”)

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

63 Captain Marvel, for one : HEROINE

“Captain Marvel” is a superhero movie released in 2019. It was the first film in the Marvel franchise of films to feature a female lead. The title character, Carol Danvers (aka “Captain Marvel”) is played by Brie Larson.

66 Parlor pieces : DIVANS

Divans are essentially couches without backs or arms. The design originated in the Middle East, where the couches were commonly found lining the walls of an office that was known as a “divan” or “diwan” meaning “government office”.

Divans are essentially couches without backs or arms. The design originated in the Middle East, where the couches were commonly found lining the walls of an office that was known as a “divan” or “diwan” meaning “government office”.

Down

1 Govt. agency in many 2020 headlines : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

3 Title Marx Brothers setting : THE OPERA

“A Night at the Opera” is a 1935 Marx Brothers film that was the first movie in which Chico, Harpo and Groucho appeared without their brother Zeppo. “A Night at the Opera” is really great entertainment!

4 Jack of “Rio Lobo” : ELAM

Jack Elam was a movie actor noted for playing the bad guy in Westerns. When Elam was a Boy Scout, he was accidentally stabbed in the eye with a pencil. The incident left him blind in that eye, and the iris remained skewed to the outside of his face. This gave him a crazed, wide-eyed look that helped add a sense of menace to the characters Elam played.

“Rio Lobo” is a Western movie that was released in 1970, starring John Wayne. “Rio Lobo” is the third film in a trilogy that was directed by Howard Hawks, the other two films being “Rio Bravo” (1959) and “El Dorado” (1966). “Rio Lobo” was the last film that Hawks directed.

5 Gifford’s “Live” successor : RIPA

When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting gig. Ripa has acted as spokeswoman for several brands over the years, including Electrolux and Rykä.

Kathie Lee Gifford is most famous for working alongside Regis Philbin on the talk show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee”, in a stint that lasted for about 15 years.

8 Passel : TON

A passel is a large group or quantity. “Passel” is a variant of the word “parcel”.

9 Niger neighbor: Abbr. : ALG

Algeria is a huge country, the largest in Africa, and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.

12 E on a scoreboard : ERRORS

In baseball, the line square is a summary set of statistics for the game. It is seen at every baseball stadium, and includes the number of runs (R) scored by each team per innings, as well as the total number of hits (H) and errors (E). The more comprehensive box score includes the line score, but also shows the individual performance of each player.

13 Private aye : YES, SIR

The lowest military rank of soldier is often called “private” (pvt.). The term comes from the Middle Ages when “private soldiers” were hired or conscripted by noblemen to form a private army. The more generic usage of “private” started in the 1700s.

24 First name in daredeviltry : EVEL

Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.

Yep. A daredevil engages in either “daredevilry” or “daredeviltry”.

26 Software subsidiary of IBM since 2019 : RED HAT

Red Hat was founded in 1993 to sell Linux and Unix software accessories. The company went public in 1999, and was purchased by IBM in 2019, for a whopping $34 billion.

28 Peace Nobelist Walesa : LECH

Lech Walesa worked as an electrician in the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland. Walesa was active in the trade union movement in the days when unions were not welcome behind the Iron Curtain. His efforts resulted in the founding of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in Soviet-controlled territory. For his work, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and in 1990 he became the first democratically elected President of Poland. He has lost support in Poland in recent years, but he is a very popular booking on the international speaking circuit.

37 Villa-studded Italian lake : COMO

Lake Como is a glacial lake in Lombardy in Italy. Lake Como has long been a retreat for the rich and famous. Lakeside homes there are owned by the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone and Richard Branson.

38 Greek city known for olives : KALAMATA

The kalamata olive is a large, dark purple, almond-shaped olive that is perhaps the most common table olive from Greece. It is named for the city of Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese, which is at the center of the region where the olive variety is grown. Even though the EU reserves the name “kalamata” for only those olives grown in the region, we can buy kalamata olives grown elsewhere, from California for example.

44 Onomatopoeic dance : CHA-CHA

The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

Onomatopoeia is the naming of something by vocally imitating the sound associated with it. Examples of onomatopoeia are “chirp”, “clash”, “click” and “hiccups”.

55 Where to find a hero : DELI

A hero is a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.

56 Norse patron : 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”.

60 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 __ minor : IN E

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of Russia’s most celebrated composers of the romantic period. Tchaikovsky was helped in his career by Russian businesswoman Nadezhda von Meck, who served as his patroness for 13 years. Famously, von Meck provided financial support so that he could devote himself to composition, but on condition that Tchaikovsky was never to meet her. The pair never did meet, but they did exchange over 1,200 letters.

61 First “Jeopardy!” guest host after Alex : KEN

Alex Trebek was the host of “Jeopardy!” from the launch of the syndicated version of the game show in 1984 until his passing in 2020. Trebek missed just one episode during that time, when he and host of “Wheel of Fortune” Pat Sajak swapped roles in 1997 as an April Fool’s joke. In 2014, Trebek picked up the Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a game show.

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. In 2020, Jennings was named as the first interim host of “Jeopardy!” following the passing of Alex Trebek.

62 Harris and a horse : EDS

Ed Harris is a very talented actor, one noted for two great performances in movies about the US Space Program. Harris played John Glenn in “The Right Stuff” in 1983, his “breakthrough” role. Twelve years later he had a “stellar” performance as flight director Gene Kranz in “Apollo 13”.

The sitcom “Mister Ed” first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed’s “voice” was that of actor Allan “Rocky” Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later made frequent appearances on the show “Green Acres”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Supplies food : CATERS
7 Lord with a namesake sports trophy : STANLEY
14 Showy bloom : DAHLIA
15 “The Miser” playwright : MOLIERE
16 Levi’s alternatives in the bargain bin? : CHEAP WRANGLERS (from “Jeep Wranglers”)
18 Rial spenders : OMANIS
19 Ascended : ROSE
21 Humdinger : PIP
23 Bright red semi? : CHERRY RIG (from “jerry-rig”)
27 Song heard in the film “Marley & Me” : ONE LOVE
31 Sign of success : VEE
32 Sign of success : SRO
33 Arte who co-owns MLB’s Angels : MORENO
34 Prayer __ : BEADS
36 Dog collar for obedience school? : PRACTICAL CHOKER (from “practical joker”)
41 Sported : HAD ON
42 Steamed cantina dish : TAMALE
43 I in Innsbruck : ICH
46 Mogadishu is its cap. : SOM
47 Getty of “The Golden Girls” : ESTELLE
48 Kibbles ‘n Bits? : CHUNK FOOD (from “junk food”)
51 Petition : ASK
52 Relaxation : EASE
53 Smarts : WISDOM
57 Inept patsy on water skis? : CHUMP IN THE LAKE (from “jump in the lake”)
63 Captain Marvel, for one : HEROINE
64 Walking on air : ELATED
65 Taken in : ADOPTED
66 Parlor pieces : DIVANS

Down

1 Govt. agency in many 2020 headlines : CDC
2 Spa emanation : AAH!
3 Title Marx Brothers setting : THE OPERA
4 Jack of “Rio Lobo” : ELAM
5 Gifford’s “Live” successor : RIPA
6 Like logs : SAWN
7 Huge hit : SMASH
8 Passel : TON
9 Niger neighbor: Abbr. : ALG
10 Nothing : NIL
11 Suspicious : LEERY
12 E on a scoreboard : ERRORS
13 Private aye : YES, SIR
17 Often-steamed serving : RICE
20 It may be inflated : EGO
21 Ceremonial display : POMP
22 “__ out?” : IN OR
24 First name in daredeviltry : EVEL
25 Takes the bait, say : REACTS
26 Software subsidiary of IBM since 2019 : RED HAT
28 Peace Nobelist Walesa : LECH
29 Focused, jobwise : ON TASK
30 Entirely without : VOID OF
34 Outlaw : BAN
35 To a degree : SOME
37 Villa-studded Italian lake : COMO
38 Greek city known for olives : KALAMATA
39 Building additions : ELLS
40 Strongly suggest, with “of” : REEK …
43 Bar staple : ICE
44 Onomatopoeic dance : CHA-CHA
45 Quieted : HUSHED
47 Touch up, perhaps : EDIT
49 Surgeon’s opening? : NEURO-
50 Dominated in competition : OWNED
54 Threw off : SHED
55 Where to find a hero : DELI
56 Norse patron : OLAV
58 Unruly head of hair : MOP
59 Trading place : PIT
60 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 __ minor : IN E
61 First “Jeopardy!” guest host after Alex : KEN
62 Harris and a horse : EDS

10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Jan 21, Friday”

  1. No errors.. got the theme very late.. I was on another track. But when 36A had the “CH” on the last part, then I had an AHA moment..

    I don’t buy that PIP is a humdinger.. I only got that through crosses.. caused a few iterations in that corner..

  2. 8:56, no errors, no complaints. Cute, funny, useful theme. Got it from “CHEAP WRANGLERS”, after which “PRACTICAL CHOKER” and “CHUMP IN THE LAKE” were almost “gimmes”.

    One quibble: I was a little bothered by “CHERRY-RIGGED”, as I would have said the generating phrase was “JURY-RIGGED”, rather than “JERRY-RIGGED”. And now … I just found this online:

    “Jury-rigged means something was assembled quickly with the materials on hand. Jerry-built means it was cheaply or poorly built. Jerry-rigged is a variant of jury-rigged, and it may have been influenced by jerry-built.”

    So apparently my instincts weren’t completely off-base … 😜.

  3. 63A: Captain Marvel a heroine? I’m a sexy senior citizen and I remember Captain Marvel being one of my comic book heros. If I recall right, he uttered “Shazam” to change from the meek to the powerful.

  4. 15:50, DNF, with 12 fills empty. I can see the constructors have begun a contest to see who can get the worst outrage published, while our indifferent editor fails to execute his duties.

    “____” out? is just NOT a clue. It is suggestive of precisely nothing. Then we have multiple abbreviations of nations, completely obscure names, and to top it off, the grid is built around a bunch of not funny, not witty, but stupid little puns. Give me a BREAK. This is not worth anyone’s time.

  5. Tricky but eventually solvable Friday; took me 22:44 with no peeks or errors. I did try three vowels before getting PIP, which was new to me and the last to fall.

    I had irANIS before OMANIS, when I finally remembered THE OPERA. Somewhat cute theme, which definitely helped the solve.

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