LA Times Crossword 5 Apr 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Sheryl Bartol
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Shaky Ground

Themed answers end with a possible consequence of walking on SHAKY GROUND:

  • 64A With “on,” not strong, as an argument … and what might cause the ends of answers to starred clues? : SHAKY GROUND
  • 17A *Bank form : DEPOSIT SLIP
  • 37A *Surprise inheritance : WINDFALL
  • 43A *Venue for a license plate game : ROAD TRIP
  • Read on, or jump to …
    … a complete list of answers

    Bill’s time: 5m 08s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    6 Overplay on stage : HAM UP

    The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

    14 Rent-a-car company : ALAMO

    The third-largest car rental company in recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

    16 Penn or Brown, e.g. : IVY

    The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

    19 Oz’s __ Woodman : TIN

    We tend to refer to the Tin “Man” when talking about the character in “The Wizard of Oz” movie. In L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the character is referred to as the Tin “Woodsman”.

    20 “Smell Ready” deodorant brand : AXE

    Axe is a brand of male grooming products. Axe is sold under the name Lynx in some parts of the world.

    22 Actress/inventor Lamarr : HEDY

    Hedy Lamarr was an American actress who was actually born in Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive …

    23 Like Hammett’s falcon : MALTESE

    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.

    Dashiell Hammett was an American author known for his detective fiction. Hammett was the creator of such enduring characters as Sam Spade from “The Maltese Falcon” as well as Nick and Nora Charles from “The Thin Man”. Outside of writing, Hammett was also politically active and served as the president of a group the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) after WWII. The CRC was deemed to be a Communist front group and was listed as a subversive organization by the US government. At one point, he even served time in jail for contempt of court, after refusing to answer some questions in a trial in which the CRC was involved.

    25 Jamaican music : SKA

    Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

    34 Spoke like Daffy : LISPED

    Daffy Duck first appeared on the screen in “Porky’s Duck Hunt” in 1937. In the original cartoon, Daffy was just meant to have a small role, but he was a big hit as he had so much sass. Even back then, Daffy was voiced by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc.

    37 *Surprise inheritance : WINDFALL

    A windfall is a piece of good fortune, like a piece of fruit that has fallen from the tree when the wind blows.

    42 __ Piper: rat-removal fellow : PIED

    The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory. The use of the word “pied” implies that the piper dressed in multi-colored clothing. Our contemporary idiom “to pay the piper” means “to bear the cost of a poor decision”. It is a reference to townsfolk of Hamelin who refused to pay the Pied Piper for ridding the town of rats. They ultimately paid the cost when the piper lured their children away.

    45 Political candidate lists : SLATES

    In an election, a slate is a group of candidates running on a common platform.

    48 Some green sauces : PESTOS

    Pesto sauce is more completely called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa. A traditional recipe calls for crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yum …

    50 Org. in Clancy novels : CIA

    Tom Clancy was an incredibly successful novelist who was noted for his technically-detailed military and espionage thrillers. Clancy’s first novel was “The Hunt for Red October”, published in 1984. Although “Red October” was to be his most successful work, I personally preferred his second book “Red Storm Rising”, published in 1986. Clancy passed away in 2013.

    52 Support pieces above doors : LINTELS

    A lintel is a structural beam that spans an opening in a wall, usually a door or a window.

    56 “Star __ III: The Search for Spock” : TREK

    “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” is a 1984 sci-fi film, and the third in the “Star Trek” franchise. The character Spock, played by Leaonard Nimoy, had been killed off in the prior film in the series. The “search” for Spock is actually the quest to reinstate Spock’s living spirit into a resurrected body. Not only did Nomoy feature in this film, he also directed.

    59 China’s __ Kai-shek : CHIANG

    Chiang Kai-shek was the leader of the Nationalist Movement in China right through to the end of WWII. The Nationalists lost out in a Civil War to the Communists backed by the Soviet Union after the war, and Chiang Kai-shek and his government were forced to flee to Taiwan. Chiang Kai-shek claimed rule over China from Taiwan until his death in 1975.

    62 __ v. Wade : ROE

    Roe v. Wade was decided in a US District Court in Texas in 1970, and reached the Supreme Court on appeal. The basic decision by the Supreme Court was that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy applied to an abortion, but that this right had to be balanced with a state’s interest in protecting an unborn child and a mother’s health. The Court further defined that the state’s interest became stronger with each trimester of a pregnancy. So, in the first trimester the woman’s right to privacy outweighed any state interest. In the second trimester the state’s interest in maternal health was deemed to be strong enough to allow state regulation of abortion for the sake of the mother. In the third trimester the viability of the fetus dictated that the state’s interest in the unborn child came into play, so states could regulate or prohibit abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. I’m no lawyer, but that’s my understanding of the initial Supreme Court decision …

    63 “Justice League” actress Gadot : GAL

    Gal Gadot is an actress and former Miss Israel. She played Gisele Yashar in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, and then began portraying Wonder Woman in superhero movies.

    “Justice League” is a 2017 superhero film that is a sequel to the 2016 movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. It was one of the most expensive films ever made, with a budget of $300 million. And, it bombed …

    66 ER fluid hookups : IVS

    One might see an intravenous drip (IV) in an intensive care unit (ICU), operating room (OR) or emergency room (ER).

    67 Soprano Fleming : RENEE

    Renée Fleming is a marvelous soprano from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Famous for her appearances in opera houses and concert halls all over the world, Fleming is also noted for her willingness to bring her craft to the masses. She was a guest on “Sesame Street” singing “counting lyrics” to an aria from “Rigoletto”, and she has appeared a few times on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”.

    68 Allow to fluctuate, as a currency : UNPEG

    When an exchange rate is unpegged, the currencies in question float freely on the market with the rate of exchange being determined by demand for one currency over another. A government might choose to peg its currency with another, fixing the exchange rate. The US dollar is often chosen as the currency to which others are pegged.

    70 Heroic Schindler : OSKAR

    Oskar Schindler is the protagonist in the Steven Spielberg movie “Schindler’s List”. Schindler was a real person who survived WWII. During the Holocaust, Schindler managed to save almost 1,200 Jews from perishing by employing them in his factories. After the war, Schindler and his wife were left penniless having used his assets to protect and feed his workers. For years the couple survived on the charity of Jewish groups. Schindler tried to make a go of it in business again but never had any real success. He died a pauper in 1974 in Hildesheim, not far from Hanover. His last wish was to be buried in Jerusalem. Schindler was the only former member of the Nazi Party to be buried on Mount Zion.

    71 __ Dame : NOTRE

    “Notre Dame” is French for “Our Lady”.

    Down

    1 “__ Secretary”: 2010s CBS drama : MADAM

    “Madam Secretary” is A TV show that first aired from 2014 to 2019. It is about an ex-CIA analyst who is appointed as US Secretary of State. Téa Leoni plays the title role, ably supported by a favorite actress of mine, Bebe Neuwirth. I like this show …

    2 Echo Dot assistant : ALEXA

    Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with Amazon Echo smart speakers. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

    4 Moody music genre : EMO

    The emo musical genre originated in Washington, D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

    6 Breeding environment : HOTBED

    In gardening terms, a hotbed is an area where decaying matter makes it warmer than its surroundings. The heat is generated by the activity of the organisms responsible for decomposition. The term “hotbed” is used figuratively in describing an environment that incubates some sort of growth or development, as in “a hotbed of activity”.

    7 Church niche : APSE

    The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

    12 “Metamorphoses” poet : OVID

    “Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem by Roman poet Ovid that deals with a lofty subject. It describes the history of the world from creation until the “present day”, that is Ovid’s “present day”, the era of Julius Caesar. A lot of the storyline makes use of Greek mythology (rather than Roman).

    13 Part of a Wall St. address : NY, NY

    New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch “de Waalstraat”.

    26 Josh : KID

    When the verb “to josh”, meaning “to kid”, was coined in the 1840s as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

    29 __ for tat : TIT

    The phrase “tit for tat”, meaning some sort of retaliation, has been around for an awfully long time, since the mid-1500s. It might be derived from “tip for tap”, meaning “blow for blow”.

    31 Milk, in Marseille : LAIT

    Marseille (often written “Marseilles” in English) is the second largest city in France, after Paris. Marseille is also the largest commercial port in the country. I used to live nearby, and can attest that Marseille and environs is a great place to visit …

    32 TV show about a high school choir : GLEE

    The TV show “Glee” has proven to be very popular. The storyline focuses on a high school glee club in Lima, Ohio called New Directions.

    33 Cutlass automaker : OLDS

    Oldsmobile introduced the Cutlass in 1961, and used the name on a succession of models right up to 1999.

    36 Ella’s improv style : SCAT

    Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

    Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

    38 Like stored Russian dolls : NESTING

    Matryoshka dolls are those wooden nesting dolls that are on sale at every tourist trap across Russia. “Matryoshka” is Russian for “little matron”.

    41 Blistex target : LIP

    Blistex is a company that was founded in 1947 to produce and market lip care products. The company possibly put its foot in its mouth in 2001, when it purchased the Odor-Eaters product line …

    49 Vampire vanquisher : SLAYER

    Legends about vampires were particularly common in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans in particular. The superstition was that vampires could be killed using a wooden stake, with the preferred type of wood varying from place to place. Superstition also defines where the body should be pierced. Most often, the stake was driven through the heart, but Russians and northern Germans went for the mouth, and northeastern Serbs for the stomach.

    54 Introvert : LONER

    The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung popularized the terms “Introvert” and “extrovert”, although he believed that we all have introverted and extroverted sides to us. Nowadays we tend to think of extroversion and introversion as extremes on a continuum. We bloggers, sitting at home glued to our laptops, tend to the introverted end of the scale …

    55 Everglades plant : SEDGE

    Sedges are a family of plants that resemble grasses and rushes. Sedges are more properly called Cyperaceae.

    56 “The workweek’s almost over!” : TGIF!

    “Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote to me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

    60 Slugger Aaron : HANK

    The great Hank Aaron (“Hammerin’ Hank” or “the Hammer”) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.

    61 Swedish furniture chain : IKEA

    The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.

    64 Sign of a sellout : SRO

    Standing room only (SRO)

    65 Musician Yoko : ONO

    John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. The couple decided to use the inevitable publicity surrounding their wedding and honeymoon to promote peace in the world. They honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, inviting the world’s press to join them and to witness their “bed-in”. They spent the week talking about peace, and an end to war. The marriage and bed-in is chronicled by the Beatles in their song “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. A few weeks after the marriage, Lennon adopted the middle name “Ono” by deed poll.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Guys : MALES
    6 Overplay on stage : HAM UP
    11 Sting operation : CON
    14 Rent-a-car company : ALAMO
    15 State one’s views : OPINE
    16 Penn or Brown, e.g. : IVY
    17 *Bank form : DEPOSIT SLIP
    19 Oz’s __ Woodman : TIN
    20 “Smell Ready” deodorant brand : AXE
    21 Prepare to exit one’s car : UNBELT
    22 Actress/inventor Lamarr : HEDY
    23 Like Hammett’s falcon : MALTESE
    25 Jamaican music : SKA
    27 In the thick of : AMIDST
    30 “Let me run that errand” : I’LL GO
    34 Spoke like Daffy : LISPED
    37 *Surprise inheritance : WINDFALL
    39 At some prior time : ONCE
    40 Like A-listers : ELITE
    42 __ Piper: rat-removal fellow : PIED
    43 *Venue for a license plate game : ROAD TRIP
    45 Political candidate lists : SLATES
    47 Key above Shift : ENTER
    48 Some green sauces : PESTOS
    50 Org. in Clancy novels : CIA
    52 Support pieces above doors : LINTELS
    56 “Star __ III: The Search for Spock” : TREK
    59 China’s __ Kai-shek : CHIANG
    62 __ v. Wade : ROE
    63 “Justice League” actress Gadot : GAL
    64 With “on,” not strong, as an argument … and what might cause the ends of answers to starred clues? : … SHAKY GROUND
    66 ER fluid hookups : IVS
    67 Soprano Fleming : RENEE
    68 Allow to fluctuate, as a currency : UNPEG
    69 Service charge : FEE
    70 Heroic Schindler : OSKAR
    71 __ Dame : NOTRE

    Down

    1 “__ Secretary”: 2010s CBS drama : MADAM
    2 Echo Dot assistant : ALEXA
    3 Flap for a mic : LAPEL
    4 Moody music genre : EMO
    5 Insincere “My bad” : SO SUE ME
    6 Breeding environment : HOTBED
    7 Church niche : APSE
    8 Paper factory : MILL
    9 Troop groups : UNITS
    10 Get-up-and-go : PEP
    11 Name, as sources : CITE
    12 “Metamorphoses” poet : OVID
    13 Part of a Wall St. address : NY, NY
    18 One with confidential info : INSIDER
    22 Thirty after the hour : HALF PAST
    24 Dated stereo component : TAPE DECK
    26 Josh : KID
    28 Credit card motion : SWIPE
    29 __ for tat : TIT
    31 Milk, in Marseille : LAIT
    32 TV show about a high school choir : GLEE
    33 Cutlass automaker : OLDS
    34 Myths, legends, etc. : LORE
    35 Informed of : IN ON
    36 Ella’s improv style : SCAT
    38 Like stored Russian dolls : NESTING
    41 Blistex target : LIP
    44 Bi- plus one : TRI-
    46 Extended period of time : LONG RUN
    49 Vampire vanquisher : SLAYER
    51 Partner of pains : ACHES
    53 Spew lava and ash : ERUPT
    54 Introvert : LONER
    55 Everglades plant : SEDGE
    56 “The workweek’s almost over!” : TGIF!
    57 Glowing review : RAVE
    58 Above all __: more than anything : ELSE
    60 Slugger Aaron : HANK
    61 Swedish furniture chain : IKEA
    64 Sign of a sellout : SRO
    65 Musician Yoko : ONO

    15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Apr 21, Monday”

    1. No errors. Did not know the term “unpeg” as it relates to currency,
      I got that correct answer through crossing words. Quick solve one,
      as is usual on Monday.

    2. Easy Monday. Didn’t notice theme. Had “emote” before HAM UP.
      Didn’t actually know AXE; Lynx would be a better name.
      TGIF should be indicated as an abbrev.

      1. I don’t think TGIF is an abbreviation. It is an acronym. One wouldn’t expect a clue for SCUBA to indicate it is an abbreviation.

    3. Fun Monday puzzle. @Jane, I only got 20A Axe on cross. Not sure if I never heard of it because I’m not male or because it goes by the other name on west coast. Didn’t know sedge, but lucked out even though unsure of unpeg. Got lucky. Got theme,which helped out a lot. Looking forward to Tuesday puzzle. Stay safe!

    4. 9 minutes, 21 seconds, no errors. Some of these were Monday easy, others not. Took awhile to get on the same page with this setter. Until then, I was on…. ah, the theme!

    5. I didn’t see Glenn’s time. Hope he is OK.

      The wife and I didn’t leave any squares blank, but missed three letters,
      the X in AXE and the LO in LONG RUN. Should have gotten this last one,
      did not know AXE.

    6. Hello folks!!🤗

      Dang!! One error that I shoulda caught. Blanked on SEDGE and put UNPER….had I given it a little more thought it would have hit me.

      I’m glad the setter mentions HEDY Lamaar as both actor and inventor. A lot of Hollywood women were accomplished. Ida Lupino was a director; 1920s Hollywood director Dorothy Arzner conceived an early prototype of the boom mike. 👍🏻

      GO DODGERS!!!⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️

      Be well~~🐧

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