LA Times Crossword 26 Mar 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): “A Bug’s Life”

Themed answers are common phrases clued as if they are featured in the movie “A Bug’s Life”:

  • 17A Nightspot in “A Bug’s Life”? : CRICKET CLUB
  • 27A Purse in “A Bug’s Life”? : FLEA BAG
  • 37A Fancy dance in “A Bug’s Life”? : FLY BALL
  • 50A Queue in “A Bug’s Life”? : BEE LINE
  • 58A Fruity beverage in “A Bug’s Life”? : BEETLE JUICE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Merged thespian union : AFTRA

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) was founded in 1937 as AFRA. AFTRA merged with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2012, forming SAG-AFTRA.

11 Sault __ Marie : STE

Sault Ste. Marie is the name of two cities on either side of the Canada-US border, one in Ontario and the other in Michigan. The two cities were originally one settlement in the 17th century, established by Jesuit Missionaries. The missionaries gave the settlement the name “Sault Sainte Marie”, which can be translated as “Saint Mary’s Falls”. The city was one community until 1817, when a US-UK Joint Boundary Commission set the border along the St. Mary’s River.

17 Nightspot in “A Bug’s Life”? : CRICKET CLUB

“A Bug’s Life” is a 1998 animated feature film from Pixar. The storyline is based on the film “The Seven Samurai” and the fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

20 Meditation sounds : OMS

“Om” is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. “Om” is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

21 “__ Alyscamps”: van Gogh work : LES

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who seems to have had a very tortured existence. Van Gogh only painted for the last ten years of his life, and enjoyed very little celebrity while alive. Today many of his works are easily recognized, and fetch staggering sums in auction houses. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression for many of his final years. When he was only 37, he walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He managed to drag himself back to the inn where he was staying but died there two days later.

22 Canon competitor : LEICA

Leica is a German optics company that is famous for production of lenses and cameras. The 1913 Leica was the first practical camera that could use 35mm film, a size chosen because it was already the standard for film used in motion pictures.

29 “Star Wars” droid : ARTOO

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.

30 Normandy battle town : ST-LO

Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.

32 “Raising Buchanan” star Auberjonois : RENE

René Auberjonois is an American actor. Auberjonois’ most famous role on the big screen was Father Mulcahy in the movie “M*A*S*H”.

34 Garlicky sauces : AIOLIS

To the purist, especially in Provence in the South of France, aioli is prepared just by grinding garlic with olive oil. However, other ingredients are often added to the mix, particularly egg yolks.

42 Skeleton’s place? : CLOSET

The idiom “skeleton in the closet” means “secret to hide”. On the other side of the Atlantic, the concept is more likely to be expressed as “skeleton in the cupboard”.

45 Mythological ship : 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.

49 Frozen custard chain in 14 states : ANDY’S

Andy’s is a chain of restaurants specializing in frozen custard desserts. The company was founded in 1986 by John and Carol Kuntz, and named for their son Andy.

63 Day before Thanksgiving, e.g. : EVE

Thanksgiving Day was observed on different dates in different states for many years, until Abraham Lincoln fixed the date for the whole country in 1863. Lincoln’s presidential proclamation set that date as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, arguing that the earlier date would give the economy a much-needed boost.

64 Woolly, say : OVINE

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

65 Ancient Peruvians : INCAS

The Inca Empire was known as the Tawantinsuyu, which translates as “land of the four quarters”. The Inca Empire was a federal organization having a central government that sat above four “suyu” or “quarters”, four administrative regions.

66 Actor Benicio __ Toro : DEL

Benicio Del Toro is an actor from Puerto Rico. He is an Academy Award winner, for the role he played in “Traffic”, released in 2000. He also played the title role in the 2008 movie “Che”.

67 Alprazolam brand : XANAX

Xanax is a brand of the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam. Xanax is one of the most commonly misused prescription drugs in the US, with wide acceptance in the illegal recreational drug market.

Down

5 Ancient sanctuary : ARK

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

6 Box office take : GATE

The term “box office” may date back to Shakespearean times. In those days long past, patrons would deposit fees for seeing theater performances in boxes. The full boxes would be collected and placed in an office called, imaginatively enough, the “box office”.

7 Rainbows, say : ARCS

Sunlight reflected by airborne water droplets can produce rainbows. The water droplets act as little prisms, dispersing the white light into its constituent colors. Sometimes we see double rainbows. If we look carefully, we can see that the order of the colors in the first and second arcs is reversed.

8 Party pro : POL

Politician (pol)

9 Earthbound bird : EMU

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

10 Valuable fur : SABLE

Sables are small mammals, about two feet long, that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s black pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

12 Colorful bird : TOUCAN

The toucan is a brightly-marked bird with a large, colorful bill. The name “toucan” comes into English via Portuguese from the Tupi name “tukana”. The Tupi were an indigenous people of Brazil.

18 Tarzan player Ron : ELY

Ron Ely is most famous for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series in the sixties. Years later, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 “Miss America” pageants right after longtime host Bert Parks retired, before the job was taken over by Gary Collins. And Ely is a successful mystery novelist. He wrote “Night Shadows” and “East Beach” in the mid-nineties, both of which featured his private eye Jake Sands.

26 Cracking-up letters : ROTFL

Rolling on the floor, laughing (ROTFL)

31 Land with yaks : TIBET

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.

35 Like a pelvic artery : ILIAC

The ilium (plural “ilia”) is the upper portion of the hipbone.

42 Tab, e.g. : COLA

Tab was the first diet cola introduced by the Coca-Cola company, in 1963. It was produced as a competitor to the very successful Diet Rite cola that was made by RC Cola. The name “Tab” was used as the beverage was aimed at people who wanted “to keep tabs” on their weight.

44 Org. with an elephant in its logo : RNC

National leadership of the Republican Party is provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC). Only one former chairperson of the RNC has been elected to the office of US president, and that was George H. W. Bush.

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

47 Dr. Seuss’ real last name : GEISEL

“Dr. Seuss” was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel first used the pen name while studying at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford. Back then, he pronounced “Seuss” as it would be in German, i.e. rhyming with “voice”. After his books found success in the US, he went with the pronunciation being used widely by the public, quite happy to have a name that rhymes with “Mother Goose”.

54 Italian hot spot : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

55 “Jeopardy!” name for 36 years : ALEX

The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But, it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek was host from 1984 until his sad passing in 2020.

59 Actress Longoria : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis.

61 Brand “choosy moms choose,” in ads : JIF

Jif is the leading brand of peanut butter in the US, and has been since 1981. Introduced in 1958, Jif is now produced by Smuckers.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Merged thespian union : AFTRA
6 Stares : GAPES
11 Sault __ Marie : STE
14 Show fear : COWER
15 Draw in the air : AROMA
16 Disadvantage : CON
17 Nightspot in “A Bug’s Life”? : CRICKET CLUB
19 Throw __ : RUG
20 Meditation sounds : OMS
21 “__ Alyscamps”: van Gogh work : LES
22 Canon competitor : LEICA
24 Hang out in the sun : LET DRY
27 Purse in “A Bug’s Life”? : FLEA BAG
29 “Star Wars” droid : ARTOO
30 Normandy battle town : ST-LO
32 “Raising Buchanan” star Auberjonois : RENE
33 Not-so-VIP group : D-LIST
34 Garlicky sauces : AIOLIS
36 Private __ : EYE
37 Fancy dance in “A Bug’s Life”? : FLY BALL
39 Disfigure : MAR
42 Skeleton’s place? : CLOSET
43 Hopping mad : IRATE
45 Mythological ship : ARGO
48 Recipe info: Abbr. : AMTS
49 Frozen custard chain in 14 states : ANDY’S
50 Queue in “A Bug’s Life”? : BEE LINE
52 Swallow : ACCEPT
53 Winged, perhaps : AVIAN
54 Down : EAT
56 Zip : NIL
57 Member of the fam : SIS
58 Fruity beverage in “A Bug’s Life”? : BEETLE JUICE
63 Day before Thanksgiving, e.g. : EVE
64 Woolly, say : OVINE
65 Ancient Peruvians : INCAS
66 Actor Benicio __ Toro : DEL
67 Alprazolam brand : XANAX
68 Believes : FEELS

Down

1 Four-star review, e.g. : ACCOLADE
2 At one time : FORMERLY
3 Flexible fastener : TWIST TIE
4 __ hall : REC
5 Ancient sanctuary : ARK
6 Box office take : GATE
7 Rainbows, say : ARCS
8 Party pro : POL
9 Earthbound bird : EMU
10 Valuable fur : SABLE
11 Professional copyist : SCRIBE
12 Colorful bird : TOUCAN
13 Occupy : ENGAGE
18 Tarzan player Ron : ELY
23 Good listeners? : EARS
25 They’re allowed : DOS
26 Cracking-up letters : ROTFL
27 Fountain orders : FLOATS
28 Veg out : LOLL
30 Bully’s reply : SAYS ME!
31 Land with yaks : TIBET
35 Like a pelvic artery : ILIAC
38 Advance : LOAN
39 Tried to get along : MADE NICE
40 Irregular : ATYPICAL
41 Fidgety : RESTLESS
42 Tab, e.g. : COLA
44 Org. with an elephant in its logo : RNC
45 Put down : ABASED
46 Bring back : REVIVE
47 Dr. Seuss’ real last name : GEISEL
51 Mail collector : INBOX
52 Had a bite : ATE
54 Italian hot spot : ETNA
55 “Jeopardy!” name for 36 years : ALEX
59 Actress Longoria : EVA
60 German article : EIN
61 Brand “choosy moms choose,” in ads : JIF
62 French article : UNE

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Mar 21, Friday”

  1. No errors. NW corner was last to fall. As much as I loved “A BUGS LIFE” I couldn’t remember the name CRICKET CLUB. I could see it, just couldn’t remember it. Didn’t help that I didn’t AFTRA right off.

    Happy Friday

  2. Never saw the movie, so slightly tough sledding on the top one. Thinking nightspot ended in PUB originally. Bogged me down for that top/middle portion. Otherwise, no particular issues, though I’m unfamiliar with ANDY’S.
    Enjoy your weekend, all. Sunny ☀️ and in the 70s here in Terp land today and tomorrow.

  3. 15A, 63A, 68A and 25D are far-fetched (or even worse). It often seems as though Larson is much too clever for his own self.

  4. 26:28 with two dumb errors.
    I got a phone call in the middle of this one that went something like this.
    “Hello grandpa this is your grandson, I was in a car accident and I was arrested and need bail money to get out of jail.”…I asked if this was Pete or Joe and he said Joe…after a 2 minute conversation I finally told him I didn’t have a Grandson named Joe and guess what?…He hung up…surprise surprise.
    Stay safe😀
    Play ball!!!

    1. I have a son in law who is an investment rep. He has an elderly client who was recently scammed for $80,000. I think it was the IRS version. She wanted my son in law to “fix it” so her daughter wouldn’t find out. It’s hard to believe there are still people out there who will fall for things, but there are. It’s so sad.

  5. 12:48 3 errors, none of which were the square I was sure was the one keeping me from getting that puzzle complete message.

    @Jack, what a smart way to defuse the “grandchild” scam! I’m so glad you caught them out. Of all the insidious ways to con seniors, that’s one of the worst.

  6. 9 minutes, 29 seconds, 2 errors where XANE[x]/ALE[x] cross, and proper names are always acceptable “typos” in my opinion … but really bad form for a veteran constructor such as we have today. Otherwise, a pretty easy, breezy solve.

  7. I had one of those “grandson” calls a couple of years ago. The guy
    was supposedly sick and coughing to disguise his voice, but I had heard
    of those scams before so I just hung up on him.

  8. Tricky Friday for me; took 26:18 with one dumb error. I had ABASEs/sEL instead of the desired “D.” Since I hadn’t seen the movie, I was a little worried, but the answers were mostly intuitive. Had the most trouble in the SW and NW.

    I’ve just been letting my calls go to machine lately. If I ever do pick, I wait to listen for a delay, which is their autodialer, and then I just hang up before they click through to me.

  9. well, this took me a while! I had never heard of andy’s so kept trying to make “tnbys” work — ha ha ha…but it was a nice challenge! Loved the puns tho never saw A bug’s life (it worked for me without seeing the movie)…

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