LA Times Crossword 16 Apr 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Mark MacLachlan
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Shifty Eyes

Themed answers are common phrases with a letter I SHIFTED one place to the right or left:

  • 56A Sign of deceit, and a phonetic hint to four puzzle answers : SHIFTY EYES
  • 16A Cycling route for Broom Hilda? : WITCH TRAIL (from “witch trial”)
  • 23A Romantic locales for Miss Piggy? : DATING STIES (from “dating sites”)
  • 32A Place to harvest your deepest secrets? : DIARY FARM (from “dairy farm”)
  • 48A Equipment for identifying genuine island wreaths? : LEI DETECTOR (from “lie detector”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Annie Lennox, e.g. : SCOT

Annie Lennox is a Scottish singer who rose to fame as half of the duo Eurythmics with David A. Stewart in the 1980s. Lennox went solo in 1992, and has been riding high ever since.

5 Phishing, say : SCAM

Phishing is the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PINs, etc.”

9 Start of many a “Jeopardy!” answer : WHO …

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.

12 College fund-raising targets : ALUMS

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

15 Crack from the wind, perhaps : CHAP

The verb “to chap” means “to crack”, and has been used to describe a crack in the skin since way back in the 14th century.

16 Cycling route for Broom Hilda? : WITCH TRAIL (from “witch trial”)

“Broom-Hilda” is a comic strip created by Russell Myers that has been running since 1970. The idea for the title character came from Myers’s business manager, Elliot Caplin (brother of Al Capp, the creator of “Li’l Abner”). Broom-Hilda is a beer-drinking, cigar-smoking witch.

18 Instrument featured in “Waltz of the Flowers” : HARP

“The Waltz of the Flowers”, from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker”, features one of the most famous harp solos in the classical repertoire.

19 Old DJ’s array : LPS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

20 Taper off : ABATE

I used to think that the word “taper” was used for a slender candle because said candle was “tapered” in shape, but it’s exactly the opposite. It turns out that our word “tapered” comes from the candle. “Taper” and “tapur” are Old English words meaning “candle”. From these nouns arose the verb “to taper” meaning “shoot up like flame”. This meaning evolved into “become slender” from the idea that a candle’s flame has such a shape.

23 Romantic locales for Miss Piggy? : DATING STIES (from “dating sites”)

The Muppet named Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

25 Maker of a fine cheddar? : GRATER

Cheddar cheese takes its name from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Over 50% of the cheese sold in the UK is cheddar. Here in the US, cheddar is the second-most popular cheese sold, behind mozzarella.

28 Eye affliction : STYE

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

29 Sheer linen fabric : TOILE

Toile fabric can be used as upholstery, as wallpaper, or even as a fabric for clothing. The name “toile” comes from the French word for “canvas, linen cloth”.

31 Pre-1991 map letters : SSR

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” or “USSR”) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

36 Part of a Braille character : DOT

The Braille system of reading and writing was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, who was himself afflicted with blindness. Braille characters are composed of six positions or dots, each arranged in two columns of three dots each. Every dot can be raised or not raised, given a total of 64 possible characters.

39 Like many dad jokes : STALE

I tell dad jokes all the time, just to annoy the kids …

  • I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down!
  • If you see a robbery at an Apple Store, does that make you an iWitness?
  • A termite walks into a bar and asks, “Is the bar tender here?”
  • Two guys walk into a bar, the third one ducks.
  • What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.

40 Italian wine hub : ASTI

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, and is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

48 Equipment for identifying genuine island wreaths? : LEI DETECTOR (from “lie detector”)

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

We are most familiar with the word “polygraph” as the generic name for a lie detector instrument. This usage began in 1921, although the term had been around since the end of the 18th century. Back then, a polygraph was a mechanical device used to make multiple copies as something was written or drawn. Famously, Thomas Jefferson used a polygraph to preserve copies of letters that he wrote to correspondents.

51 Dungeons & Dragons genre, briefly : RPG

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

52 Hungarian mathematician Paul : ERDOS

Paul Erdős was a famous Hungarian mathematician, and a very prolific writer. Erdős published more papers than any other mathematician in history.

53 Frodo’s home, with “the” : … SHIRE

The Shire is a region in Middle-earth appearing in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” series of novels.

Frodo Baggins is a principal character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo is a Hobbit, and is charged with the quest of destroying Sauron’s Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Frodo is portrayed by American actor Elijah Wood in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of the novels.

55 Baskerville Hall setting : MOOR

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” is one of four “Sherlock Holmes” novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, regarded by many fans as the best of the series. “The Hound …” tells of a murder attempt on Dartmoor in Devon, England that is disguised as the act of a legendary supernatural hound. The novel also marks Doyle’s revival of his Sherlock Holmes character after he “killed him off” eight years earlier in a story called “The Final Solution”.

58 Beast of burden : MULE

A hinny is the offspring of a male horse (the “h-” from h-orse) and a female donkey/ass (the “-nny” from je-nny). A mule is more common, and is the offspring of a female horse and male donkey/ass.

59 Massage deeply : ROLF

Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties.

Down

1 Snooze loudly : SAW LOGS

To saw logs is to snore, to make a sound like the sawing of logs.

2 Some website images : CLIP ART

Clip art is a collection of ready-made images that can be cut and paste as perhaps an illustration. The original clip art was “clipped”, i.e. cut, from existing printed works for use in some other published works.

4 Film buff’s choice : TMC

The Movie Channel is owned by Showtime, which in turn is a subsidiary of CBS. The channel’s name is often abbreviated to “TMC”, although this is informal usage.

A buff or nut is someone who is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subject. For example, one might be a movie buff, or perhaps a baseball nut.

5 Jack in a rhyme : SPRAT

“Jack Sprat” is a nickname given in the 16th century to people of small stature. Jack featured in a proverb of the day:

Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane. Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane.

Over time, this mutated into a nursery rhyme that is still recited in England:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean.

6 Kinkajou cousin : COATI

A coati is a member of the raccoon family and is also known as the Brazilian aardvark, or the snookum bear. The coati is native to Central and South America, but can also be found in the southwest of the United States.

A kinkajou is a mammal found in tropical rainforests in Central and South America. Related to the raccoon, the kinkajou is also known as the honey bear, night ape and night walker.

8 First name of two Spice Girls : MEL

Melanie C is a member of the English girl band the Spice Girls, with whom she has the nickname “Sporty Spice”. “Mel C” got the gig with the Spice Girls by replying to an ad in “The Stage” magazine, and auditioning alongside about 40 women who responded to the same ad. Sporty Spice really is quite sporty, and has completed the London Triathlon, twice.

“Mel B” is the stage name of Melanie Brown, who came to fame as a member of the Spice Girls musical group. She took the name Mel B to distinguish herself from fellow band member Melanie Chisholm (Melanie C). Mel B was also known as “Scary Spice”, a nickname given to her by the media. American viewers saw Mel B on the TV show “America’s Got Talent” from 2013 through 2019, on which show she served as a judge.

10 Monster Angus Thickburger seller : HARDEE’S

Hardee’s is a chain of fast-food restaurants that was founded in 1960. The first restaurant was opened in Greenville, North Carolina by Wilber Hardee. Hardee’s is now owned by CKE Restaurants, which also owns the Carl’s Jr. chain.

15 Certain jumper’s need : CHUTE

The term “parachute” was coined by Frenchman François Blanchard, from “para-” meaning “defense against” and “chute” meaning “a fall”.

17 Way up the slope : T-BAR

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, which is a similar device but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

21 KitchenAid competitor : OSTER

The Oster brand of small appliances was introduced in 1924 by John Oster. He started out by making manually-powered hair clippers designed for cutting women’s hair, and followed up with a motorized version in 1928. The clippers kept the company in business until 1946 when Oster diversified, buying a manufacturer of liquefying blenders in 1946. The blender was renamed to “Osterizer” and was a big hit. Oster was bought by Sunbeam, which has owned the brand since 1960.

The KitchenAid brand of home appliances were introduced in 1919 by the Hobart Corporation. The first product produced was the famous KitchenAid line of stand mixers.

24 Apple variety : GALA

Gala is the second-most popular cultivar of apple in the US, after Red Delicious. The Gals apple tree originated in New Zealand in 1930, and is a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd’s Orange Red.

26 Rocker Nugent : TED

Ted Nugent was the lead guitarist with the Amboy Dukes, and is now a successful solo artist. Off the stage, Nugent is noted for his conservative views, particularly when it comes to the Second Amendment. He serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association.

30 Olive __ : OYL

E. C. Segar’s cartoon character Olive Oyl had quite a large family. Her mother is Nana Oyl, and her father Cole Oyl. Olive’s brother is Castor Oyl, and she has uncles named Otto Oyl and Lubry Kent Oyl (my favorite!).

33 British __ : ISLES

The “British Isles” comprise over six thousand islands off the northwest coast of Europe, the two largest being the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. Back in my homeland of Ireland, we’re not too fond of the term “British Isles”, as it tends to awaken memories of the Norman invasion and the Tudor conquest. We tend to go instead with the term “Britain and Ireland”.

35 Astronaut Jemison : MAE

Mae Jemison was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a 1992 mission, and as such became the first African-American woman to travel in space. She is also a big fan of “Star Trek” and appeared on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. That made Jemison the first real astronaut to appear on any of the “Star Trek” shows.

36 Word from the Greek for “two assumptions” : DILEMMA

A lemma is a helping theorem, a subsidiary proposition that helps prove some other proposition. A problem offering two equally acceptable (or unacceptable) possibilities might be described as a “double lemma”, and hence our term “dilemma”.

38 Tube tops? : TV IDOLS

Television (TV, teevee, the tube, the boob tube)

47 Part of a full house, maybe : TREYS

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even for a three-point play in basketball.

49 Easter Island’s country : CHILE

“Rapa Nui” is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call “Easter Island”. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Chilean-owned Easter Island is inhabited and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1300 miles away.

56 Box office sign : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

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”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Annie Lennox, e.g. : SCOT
5 Phishing, say : SCAM
9 Start of many a “Jeopardy!” answer : WHO …
12 College fund-raising targets : ALUMS
14 Flag bearer : POLE
15 Crack from the wind, perhaps : CHAP
16 Cycling route for Broom Hilda? : WITCH TRAIL (from “witch trial”)
18 Instrument featured in “Waltz of the Flowers” : HARP
19 Old DJ’s array : LPS
20 Taper off : ABATE
21 One-up : OUTDO
22 Bread grain : OAT
23 Romantic locales for Miss Piggy? : DATING STIES (from “dating sites”)
25 Maker of a fine cheddar? : GRATER
27 Result of a missed deadline, maybe : LATE FEE
28 Eye affliction : STYE
29 Sheer linen fabric : TOILE
31 Pre-1991 map letters : SSR
32 Place to harvest your deepest secrets? : DIARY FARM (from “dairy farm”)
36 Part of a Braille character : DOT
39 Like many dad jokes : STALE
40 Italian wine hub : ASTI
44 Logically flawed : INVALID
46 Hit, as the gas : STEP ON
48 Equipment for identifying genuine island wreaths? : LEI DETECTOR (from “lie detector”)
51 Dungeons & Dragons genre, briefly : RPG
52 Hungarian mathematician Paul : ERDOS
53 Frodo’s home, with “the” : … SHIRE
54 Wine statistic : AGE
55 Baskerville Hall setting : MOOR
56 Sign of deceit, and a phonetic hint to four puzzle answers : SHIFTY EYES
58 Beast of burden : MULE
59 Massage deeply : ROLF
60 Workout output : SWEAT
61 Beast of burden : ASS
62 Needs to settle : OWES
63 Drops the ball : ERRS

Down

1 Snooze loudly : SAW LOGS
2 Some website images : CLIP ART
3 Linger longer than, as a welcome : OUTSTAY
4 Film buff’s choice : TMC
5 Jack in a rhyme : SPRAT
6 Kinkajou cousin : COATI
7 Sci-fi subject : ALIEN LIFE
8 First name of two Spice Girls : MEL
9 Hypotheticals : WHAT-IFS
10 Monster Angus Thickburger seller : HARDEE’S
11 Adversary : OPPOSER
13 Protect from light : SHADE
15 Certain jumper’s need : CHUTE
17 Way up the slope : T-BAR
21 KitchenAid competitor : OSTER
24 Apple variety : GALA
26 Rocker Nugent : TED
29 Convention center attraction : TRADE SHOW
30 Olive __ : OYL
33 British __ : ISLES
34 Fighting : AT IT
35 Astronaut Jemison : MAE
36 Word from the Greek for “two assumptions” : DILEMMA
37 Oppressive : ONEROUS
38 Tube tops? : TV IDOLS
41 Device that delivers a coat : SPRAYER
42 Fifth, often, for a manual transmission : TOP GEAR
43 Downs : INGESTS
45 Cherish : ADORE
46 Type : SORT
47 Part of a full house, maybe : TREYS
49 Easter Island’s country : CHILE
50 Little disputes : TIFFS
56 Box office sign : SRO
57 Female in a field : EWE

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 16 Apr 21, Friday”

  1. No errors. Didn’t enjoy this one. Got the theme early enough but some of the cluing was a bit too contrived for my taste. CERTAIN JUMPERS NEED? TUBE TOPS?

    Maybe SHIFTY is better than contrived??

  2. Once again I must point out that “toile” refers to the pattern on the fabric (usually a bucolic scene with animal and human figures in two colors, most often blue and white). Toile is most often a medium-to- heavyweight weave that is used for draperies or upholstery. “Voile” is a sheer fabric similar to but softer than organdy. Look for it in bridesmaid dresses.

  3. No errors, but can’t take much credit for it. Too many Googles to find
    names, etc. Finally tumbling to the theme helped finish without error.
    ‘Crack from the wind’ was my last obstacle, but getting the cross clues
    got me home.

  4. The SW corner had me going for awhile until I got invalid and that got me over the finish line. Not too overly difficult for a Friday.

  5. 24:37 no errors…I got and used the theme to help solve for a change.
    Stay safe😀
    Get your shot if you have not already.
    Did you ever listen to the disclaimers from some of the prescription medications advertised on TV…now that can be scary 👎

  6. 10:25

    The theme helped a little. I liked LEIDETECTOR.

    Very cool to see Paul Erdos in a puzzle. He co-authored so many papers that he is the Kevin Bacon of the mathematical world. Mathematicians today know their Erdos number, or the number of hops it takes to connect your papers with one published by Erdos.

  7. 13 mins 19 seconds, and 2 errors finally corrected with the help of Check Grid.

    I also thought this one was full of deceit and “manufactured difficulty”. Cynical in the extreme.

  8. Somewhat tricky Friday for me; took 32:08 with a “check-grid” at the end to reveal that I got SpAM/pOATI wrong with a bad guess. A lot of dancing around on this one, waiting for crosses and making educated guesses…

    It seems to be that Nell is right about toile vs voile – there is a second definition of toile being a sheer cotton or linen fabric, but the main definition is about a pattern on a canvas….I don’t know.

    I tried to post yesterday and got the “you are posting too fast” message and after trying again it just disappeared… So, I had a question – Did anyone do the WSJ puzzle yesterday? I still don’t get the LEO/LAR answer, even though I read the about the connection to the theme answers in the comments…can anyone explain this? Thanks in advance.

  9. @Nell — I knew toile was not sheer but it fit, so I went with it — but I’m with you in that I sense you are annoyed! Never heard of Erdos! Thought it was a good Friday, no pun intended!

  10. on the other hand, I just googled toile and was informed that it means a sheer linen fabric — go figure! Chalk this up to learning something new!

  11. Hi folks!!!🤗

    No errors. Not too difficult for a Friday, so it’s a good way for me to ease back in to doing late-week puzzles. Haven’t done a Friday in months.

    I don’t think the clues were overly contrived or clumsy. It’s a PUZZLE!! It’s supposed to be tricky. I found nothing to object to. Clever theme. 🙃

    I also had VOILE before TOILE — didn’t really know what specific fabric either was, but maybe over time the definition of TOILE has changed some.

    Dirk! All respect to your Giants but I’m more scared of those Padres!⚾️

    Be well~~⚾️

    1. I don’t think the clues were overly contrived or clumsy. It’s a PUZZLE!! It’s supposed to be tricky. I found nothing to object to. Clever theme.

      Precisely my thoughts! Well said!

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