LA Times Crossword 17 Apr 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 14m 49s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • SLAP BASS (slapbash!)
  • SEE (hee!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Technique providing percussion with a string note : SLAP BASS

Stringed instruments are sometimes used to make a percussive sound, by using the techniques of popping and slapping. Popping involves pulling a string away from the instrument and then releasing it so that it “pops” back onto the fretboard. Slapping required the player to strike the string against the fretboard using a knuckle, thumb, index finger or edge of the hand, depending on which instrument is being played.

9 Character in “The Iliad” but not “The Odyssey”? : ALPHA

“Alpha” is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and gave rise to our Latin letter “A”. In turn, alpha is derived from the Phoenician letter “aleph”.

“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer that tells the story of the ten-year siege of “Ilium” (i.e. “Troy”) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “Iliad”.

“Odyssey” is one of two epic poems from ancient Greece that is attributed to Homer. “Odyssey” is largely a sequel to Homer’s other epic “Iliad”. “Odyssey” centers on the heroic figure Odysseus, and his adventures on his journey home to Greece following the fall of Troy. We now use the term “odyssey” to describe any long series of adventures.

14 Summer pick-me-up : ICED LATTE

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

16 Spicy Mexican food : HOT 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. A hot tamale is a kind of tamale that originated in the Mississippi Delta. It is particularly spicy, and the masa is replaced with corn meal.

17 Extract metal from : SMELT

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

19 Ivy near an Acela stop : YALE

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, as it gets up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

20 Ado : HOOPLA

The word “hoopla” means “boisterous excitement”. The term probably comes from “houp-là”, something the French say instead of “upsy-daisy”. Then again, “upsy-daisy” probably isn’t something said very often here in the US …

23 NBA writer Zach : LOWE

Zach Lowe is a sportswriter who focuses on basketball, and the NBA in particular. Prior to turning to sports, Lowe worked as a journalist covering criminal justice in Connecticut, his home state.

26 Durango, por ejemplo : ESTADO

Durango is one of Mexico’s 31 “estados” (states). It is landlocked, and is located in the northwest of the country.

31 Many of today’s pro athletes : MILLENNIALS

Millennials are sometimes referred to as “echo boomers”, as millennials are often the children of “baby boomers”.

34 Total area? : CEREAL AISLE

General Mills produces a range of breakfast cereals using the “Total” name. The marketing message for the brand is that one serving provides the total daily allowance of several vitamins and minerals.

36 Gum with Ice and Fire varieties : DENTYNE

Dentyne chewing gum was formulated back in 1899 by a druggist in New York called Franklin Canning. He came up with the name of his new gum by combining the words “dental” and “hygiene”.

41 B. A. Baracus portrayer : MR T

Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

“The A-Team” is an action television series that originally ran in the eighties. The A-Team was a group of ex-US special forces personnel who became mercenaries. Star of the show was Hollywood actor George Peppard (as “Hannibal” Smith), ably assisted by Mr. T (as “B.A.” Baracus) and Robert Vaughn (as Hunt Stockwell).

42 Warning accompanying a link : NSFW

The abbreviation “NSFW” stands for “not safe/suitable for work”. It’s Internet slang used to describe online content that is best not viewed at work.

46 Doomed 16th-century force : ARMADA

The Spanish Armada sailed from Spain with an invasion force intent on overthrowing Queen Elizabeth I of England. The fleet was repulsed by the English, who launched an effective fireship attack on the Spanish. After smaller engagements with the English, the Spanish Armada suffered its greatest losses in severe storms in the North Atlantic that left many vessels wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Of the 130 vessels in the original invading force, only two thirds returned to Spain. The storms that help save Queen Elizabeth I’s throne are often referred to collectively as “the Protestant Wind”.

49 Criminal charges : RAPS

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

51 Bon __ : MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

52 Pressly of “Mom” : JAIME

Jaime Pressly is an actress from Kinston, North Carolina who is best known for playing the female lead in the sitcom “My Name is Earl”. More recently, she has been seen on TV in a supporting role in the sitcom “Mom”. Before turning to acting, Pressly worked as a model. She dropped out of school at 15 and traveled to Japan on a modeling contract. In order to do that, she had to legally emancipate herself from her parents.

55 Jeanette’s “Macbeth” (1948) co-star : ORSON

The 1948 film “Macbeth” is an adaptation of the William Shakespeare play of the same name by Orson Welles. Welles directed the movie, and took on the title role. Lady Macbeth was played by Jeanette Nolan in her debut film role.

Down

3 Big letters in security services : ADT

ADT is a home and small-business security company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company was founded back in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Calahan invented the stock ticker several years earlier, and ran the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company. Calahan was awoken one morning by the sound of a burglar in his house, and so he decided to develop a telegraph-based security alarm system. The success of the system led to the founding of American District Telegraph, later known as ADT.

5 Perennial #1 NCAA football team since 2008 : BAMA

The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, which is a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.

7 Fifth-cen. pope called “The Great” : ST LEO

The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

8 Monkey’s do partner? : SEE

“Monkey see, monkey do” is a saying that refers to learning something as a copycat, without necessarily understanding how the process works.

10 Long way to go? : LIMO

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 …

13 __ Jamison, one of two NBA players with 20,000+ points who’s not in the Hall of Fame : ANTAWN

Antawn Jamison is a former NBA player who retired from the sport in 2014. Jamison’s unusual given name was the result of an error on his birth certificate. His parents actually named their child “Antwan”. Regardless, the pronunciation “Antoine” is the same.

20 Rears : HEINIES

The slang term “heinie”, meaning “rear end”, is probably a contraction of “hind end”.

27 1992 Mamet drama : OLEANNA

I’ve never seen it, but “Oleanna” sounds like a powerful play to me. Written by David Mamet, it was first performed in 1992. It’s a two-person piece, the tale of a university professor and a female student who accuses him of sexual exploitation. Mamet got many of the themes of the play from the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in which Anita Hill accused the future Supreme Court justice of sexual harassment.

29 Three-time WNBA MVP : LISA LESLIE

Lisa Leslie is a former professional basketball player who played in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks. Leslie is rather tall, and was the first player to dunk the ball in a WNBA game.

30 Synagogue text : TALMUD

The Talmud is a collection of writings by thousands of rabbis and is a central text in Rabbinic Judaism, second only to the Torah.

32 Performs surgery on, in a way : LASES

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

33 Cambridgeshire cathedral city : ELY

Ely Cathedral is a famous and beautiful church in the city of Ely in the English county of Cambridgeshire. There is a Gothic door on the north face of the cathedral that was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the man famous as the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Christopher Wren had a personal link to the church, as his uncle was the Bishop of Ely.

35 Company founded in 1939 as Auto Avio Costruzioni : FERRARI

The Italian sports car company Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939. Ferrari built the most expensive car ever sold: a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that exchanged hands for over $38 million in 2012.

36 Key of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto : D MAJOR

Beethoven wrote only one violin concerto, “Violin Concerto in D major”, which he completed in 1806. The work was not a success during Beethoven’s lifetime, but has been a favorite since it was revived in 1844 with a performance by 12-year old Joseph Joachim in London, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn.

39 Garden guardians : GNOMES

In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Although the charastics of gnomes vary in folklore, typically they are described as diminutive humanoids who live underground. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable. We now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.

40 Will of “Blue Bloods” : ESTES

Actor Will Estes played JJ Pryor on the TV drama “American Dreams”, and then Jamie Reagan on the police drama “Blue Bloods”.

“Blue Bloods” is a police drama series about a family of police officers led by Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, played by Tom Selleck. The show first aired in 2010.

43 Ice cream alternative, casually : FROYO

Frozen yogurt (“froyo” or “fro-yo”)

47 Berserk : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

Our word “berserk” meaning “deranged” comes from the “Berserkers”, Norse warriors described in Old Norse literature. Berserkers were renowned for going into battle in a fury, and some believe that they consumed drugged food to get themselves worked up for the fighting ahead.

53 Once-big storage unit that’s now quite small : MEG

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, and so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and gigabyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Technique providing percussion with a string note : SLAP BASS
9 Character in “The Iliad” but not “The Odyssey”? : ALPHA
14 Summer pick-me-up : ICED LATTE
15 Use as a bed : LIE ON
16 Spicy Mexican food : HOT TAMALE
17 Extract metal from : SMELT
18 Surg. sites : ORS
19 Ivy near an Acela stop : YALE
20 Ado : HOOPLA
21 Big rings : PEALS
23 NBA writer Zach : LOWE
25 Question of method : HOW?
26 Durango, por ejemplo : ESTADO
28 Crudely built city? : OIL TOWN
31 Many of today’s pro athletes : MILLENNIALS
34 Total area? : CEREAL AISLE
35 Result of an imagined draft : FANTASY TEAM
36 Gum with Ice and Fire varieties : DENTYNE
37 Riverbed deposit : SLUDGE
41 B. A. Baracus portrayer : MR T
42 Warning accompanying a link : NSFW
45 Ideal spots : EDENS
46 Doomed 16th-century force : ARMADA
49 Criminal charges : RAPS
51 Bon __ : MOT
52 Pressly of “Mom” : JAIME
53 Subdivision showcase : MODEL HOME
55 Jeanette’s “Macbeth” (1948) co-star : ORSON
56 Lenses : EYEPIECES
57 Touch-and-go : RISKY
58 Blessings : GODSENDS

Down

1 Makes a point? : SCORES
2 Unleashes on : LETS AT
3 Big letters in security services : ADT
4 Is far from a good sport : PLAYS DIRTY
5 Perennial #1 NCAA football team since 2008 : BAMA
6 Even slightly : AT ALL
7 Fifth-cen. pope called “The Great” : ST LEO
8 Monkey’s do partner? : SEE
9 As well : ALSO
10 Long way to go? : LIMO
11 Look here! : PEEPHOLE
12 Depressions : HOLLOWS
13 __ Jamison, one of two NBA players with 20,000+ points who’s not in the Hall of Fame : ANTAWN
14 “From your mouth to God’s ears” : I HOPE
20 Rears : HEINIES
22 Feel bad about : LAMENT
24 Succeeded in : WON AT
27 1992 Mamet drama : OLEANNA
29 Three-time WNBA MVP : LISA LESLIE
30 Synagogue text : TALMUD
32 Performs surgery on, in a way : LASES
33 Cambridgeshire cathedral city : ELY
34 Like a sure thing : CAN’T MISS
35 Company founded in 1939 as Auto Avio Costruzioni : FERRARI
36 Key of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto : D MAJOR
38 Submission to a radio station, briefly : DEMO CD
39 Garden guardians : GNOMES
40 Will of “Blue Bloods” : ESTES
43 Ice cream alternative, casually : FROYO
44 Moved between banks, maybe : WADED
47 Berserk : AMOK
48 Refuse : DENY
50 Amps (up) : PEPS
53 Once-big storage unit that’s now quite small : MEG
54 Farm female : HEN

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Apr 21, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 30 minutes with one incorrect letter, the o in estado and oleanna. Puzzle had many clever clues and an abundance of sports-related items. Very enjoyable.

  2. No errors. Started awfully slow. Couldn’t get a start from 1A so I had to let the crosses fill in. Didn’t know what a SLAPBASS was. The last to fall was right smack dam in the middle and I laughed out loud when it final fell. CEREAL ?? what goes with cereal??? Didn’t know LISA LESLIE but when I guessed at LISA, CEREAL AISLE?? surely not. What is a CEREAL AISLE in computing Total Area?? Pi r squared???? No— it’s the TOTAL cereal!!!! I’m still laughing.

  3. Another puzzle that required many lookups, so
    Google really did this one…and not without some
    dumb errors on my part. Not my favorite Saturday
    puzzle. Oh, well.

  4. Related to Bill’s comment on 46A ARMADA the Japanese too felt their island was protected by a “divine” wind. When Genghis Khan attempted an invasion a huge storm blew his armada to pieces and the same thing happened years later when Ghengis’s son Kublai tried to avenge his father’s failure. The Japanese term for this, kamikaze (“god wind”), would be used again during the waning days of the second world war.

  5. 42:19 no errors…a lot of help from crosses and lucky guesses…my hat is off to anyone who knew some of the obscure answers in this one👎
    Stay safe😀

  6. @Dirk (yesterday, WSJ question)
    It’s not LEO or LAR, it’s LAHR. That particular WSJ was a rebus puzzle that had “HR” rebuses in four spots, that was one of them. Bert Lahr played the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz which was a MGM film, hence he would be a “noted MGM lion”.

  7. Hard but finished with no lookups. 1 error because I put Estade but should have reread the down and may have remembered Oleanna.

  8. 24:57

    Bit of a grind but I managed to fill in the people I’ve never seen with crosses and guesses.

    Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is one of my favorite pieces of music. I also love the VCs by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius. So now that I’ve got them playing on the brain radio, I rather like this puzzle after all.

  9. According to a CNN article updated June 7th 2018, David MacNeil founder and CEO of WeatherTech paid a reported $70 million for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO making it the most expensive car ever sold.

  10. Too tough for me today; took 1:12:36 with numerous “check grids” to help move things along.

    I did have quite a few seemingly tough answers (ARMADA, FERRARI, MODELHOME, JAIME, ORSON, etc) but struggled with a lot of other stuff.

    @Glenn – Thanks, that makes sense now. I appreciate it.

    re Ferrari 250 GTO – Wow, checked into this and that was a private sale. There was a more recent auction in Monterey where another one sold for $48 million…wheew! I guess when there’s only 36 exemplars available for a desirable model, that prices like these can happen. According to comments on YouTube videos, it costs $150K/yr to insure one of these cars.

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