LA Times Crossword 6 Apr 21, Tuesday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Dead-end

Themed answers each start with a word that often follows “DEAD”:

  • 37A Like jobs with no future … and what the start of each answer to a starred clue can be? : DEAD-END
  • 15A *Instant in which emotional decisions are made : HEAT OF THE MOMENT (giving “DEAD HEAT”)
  • 61A *Defeat soundly : BEAT THE PANTS OFF (giving “DEADBEAT”)
  • 1D *Flaky type : SPACE CADET (giving “DEAD SPACE”)
  • 28D *Employment field : LINE OF WORK (giving “DEADLINE”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Shipwreck signal : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

4 Stan of Marvel Comics : LEE

Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he had a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 as Timely Comics, before becoming Atlas Comics in 1951 and eventually Marvel Comics in 1961. The “Marvel” brand had existed from day one, and Timely Comics’ first publication was “Marvel Comics #1” in October 1939. That first comic featured the superhero the Human Torch.

13 Off-roader’s purchase, for short : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

14 Quest for intel : RECON

A reconnaissance (recon) is a preliminary survey carried out to gather information. The term “reconnaissance” came into English in the early 19th century from French, from which language it translates literally as “recognition”.

15 *Instant in which emotional decisions are made : HEAT OF THE MOMENT (giving “DEAD HEAT”)

A race ending in a dead heat ends in a tie. A heat is one of a series of races, and it might be described as “dead” if there is no decisive outcome, if there is a tie.

The term “heat”, meaning “qualifying race”, dates back to the 1660s. Originally, a heat was a run given to a horse to prepare it for a race, to “heat” it up.

18 Middle-earth menace : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

19 Female surfer : WAHINE

“Wahine” is a word meaning “woman”, in both Hawaiian and Maori.

21 Got a lift, in a way : UBERED

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

23 Popular mints : CERTS

Certs were the first breath mints to be marketed nationally in the US, hitting the shelves in 1956. A Cert is called a mint, but it isn’t really as it contains no mint oil and instead has its famous ingredient named “Retsyn”. Retsyn is a mixture of copper gluconate (giving the green flecks), partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil (not healthy!) and flavoring (maybe mint?).

25 Tea container : CADDY

A caddy is a container used for tea. “Caddy” comes from the Malay word “kati”, a unit of weight used as a standard by British tea companies in the East Indies.

36 Verb in a recipe : ADD

The Latin “recipere” means “to take”, and the imperative form “recipe” was written at the top of medical prescriptions as an instruction, i.e. “take (the following)”. This use of “recipe” evolved into the instruction for preparing a dish of food in the mid-1700s.

40 Tennis court divider : NET

Our modern sport of tennis evolved from the much older racquet sport known as “real tennis”. Originally just called “tennis”, the older game was labeled “real tennis” when the modern version began to hold sway. Real tennis is played in a closed court, with the ball frequently bounced off the walls.

43 Pacific Coast st. : ORE

The Oregon Treaty of 1846 settled a dispute between the US and the UK over sovereignty of the Oregon Country. “The Oregon Country” was the name given by the Americans to a large swathe of land west of the Rocky Mountains. That same disputed land was known as the Columbia Department by the British. Oregon became a US state in 1859.

44 Loch with a legend : NESS

The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.

48 Rene of “Get Shorty” : RUSSO

The talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to high school (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting.

“Get Shorty” is a 1995 crime-comedy with a great cast that includes John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito. That said, the storyline is a little too zany for me so I didn’t really enjoy it …

55 Help in a bad way? : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

58 Coral named for its shape : SEA FAN

Sea fans are spectacular soft corals that form parts of coral reefs and resemble fans. They can be wonderfully bright in color, often red, yellow or purple. The fan is usually oriented across the prevailing current to maximize the flow of water, and hence maximize the coral’s food supply.

60 Wheaton who played himself on “The Big Bang Theory” : WIL

Wil Wheaton is the actor who grew up playing Ensign Wesley Crusher on the best of the “Star Trek” TV series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. In recent years Wheaton has become a de facto spokesman for the so-called “geek” or “nerd” community via a blog that he writes called “Wil Wheaton Dot Net”. He has been playing Dungeons & Dragons for years, and is also someone you’ll see at celebrity poker games on TV. Wheaton appeared regularly on “The Big Bang Theory” during its original run, playing himself.

65 Talk trash to : DIS

“Dis” (also “diss”) is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

66 Cork’s country : EIRE

Cork is the largest and most southerly county in Ireland. The county is named for the city of Cork, which is the second largest in the country. Cork is sometimes referred to as “the Rebel County”, which alludes to the region’s resistance to British rule. Tourists flock to Cork for several reasons, not least as it is home to the famous Blarney Stone as well as Cobh, the port from which so many Irish emigrants left for countries like Australia, Canada and the United States.

67 Cowboy singer Gene : AUTRY

Gene Autry was a so-called singing cowboy who had an incredibly successful career on radio, television and in films starting in the thirties. Autry’s signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again”, and his biggest hit was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. He also had a hit with his own Christmas song called “Here Comes Santa Claus”. There’s even a town in Oklahoma called Gene Autry, named in his honor. Famously, Autry owned the Los Angeles Angels baseball team for many years, from 1961 to 1997.

68 Uneaten morsel : ORT

Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.

69 Ship in Genesis : 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.

Down

1 *Flaky type : SPACE CADET (giving “DEAD SPACE”)

The expression “space cadet” is used to describe someone who is eccentric and disconnected from reality. It may even imply that the person is a user of hallucinogens. The phrase has been around since the sixties, and may be derived from the science fiction TV show “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” that aired in the fifties.

In physiological terms, dead space is that portion of the air taken in with a breath that is not used for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In other words, it is the air that enters our bodies but never makes it into the lungs. Rather, it is left in the conducting airways, and expelled at the start of the outbreath.

2 Cheerios grain : OAT

Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, Cheerios were known as CheeriOats.

4 Plastering strip : LATH

The words “lath” and “lattice” have the same root in Old French. Laths are thin strips of wood that are nailed across a frame forming a backing to which plaster can be applied to finish a wall. The term is also used for the main elements in a trellis, or the lengths of wood in a roof to which shingles are nailed.

7 “Seats all taken” sign : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

8 Archrivals : NEMESES

Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.

9 Asian laptop brand : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

10 Barrett of gossip : RONA

Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.

11 Tolkien tree race : ENTS

Ents are tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

12 Macedonian neighbor : SERB

Serbia is a landlocked country in southeast Europe. After WWII, Serbia became one of several states making up the nation called Yugoslavia. Serbia became independent again in 2006 as Yugoslavia broke up after the declaration of independence by Montenegro.

North Macedonia is one of the nations that emerged following the breakup of Yugoslavia from 1989 to 1992. It occupies the northern third of the geographic and historical region known as Macedonia, sharing the area with Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo. North Macedonia used the disputed name “Macedonia” after gaining independence in 1991, but agreed to change the name to “North Macedonia” starting in 2019.

15 MLB’s Astros, on scoreboards : HOU

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

28 *Employment field : LINE OF WORK (giving “DEADLINE”)

Our use of the term “deadline”, to mean “point in time before something must be done”, arose as jargon in the American newspaper industry in the 1920s. During the Civil War, a deadline was a do-not-cross line drawn on the ground in Confederate prisons.

29 Keats works : ODES

English poet John Keats died in Rome in 1821, and is buried there in the Protestant Cemetery. His last wish was that his grave be marked with a tombstone bearing just the words “”Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water”, and no name nor a date. Keats’ friends honored his request to some extent, as the words were included on the stone and no name is given. The full epitaph reads:

This Grave
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young English Poet
Who
on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
Desired
these Words to be
engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Name was writ in Water.
24 February 1821

30 Vets’ concerns : PETS

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treats animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

32 Dog in the comics : ODIE

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, and the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

34 Brouhaha : ADO

“Brouhaha”, meaning “ado, stir”, was a French word that back in the 1550s meant “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy” . Wow!

39 Mad Magazine mascot Alfred E. __ : NEUMAN

Alfred E. Neuman is the mascot of “Mad” magazine, although the image of the smiling, jug-eared youth had been around for decades before the magazine. “Mad” first used the likeness in 1955, and young Mr. Neuman has appeared on the cover of almost every issue of the magazine since then. Neuman’s name was inspired by American composer Alfred Newman, a prolific writer of film scores.

44 Bounced-check letters : NSF

Not sufficient funds (NSF)

47 Racer’s bathing suit : SPEEDO

Speedo brand swimwear was first produced in Australia in 1928, by a hosiery company that wanted to diversify. The brand name was chosen after a slogan competition among employees was won by “Speed on in your Speedos”. It was a long time ago, I guess …

49 Naturally brewed beverage : SUN TEA

Sun tea is tea that is made simply by dropping tea into water and letting it “brew” in the sun for a few hours, and then adding ice. A blog reader has kindly pointed out that he was told by a doctor that sun tea has the potential to be dangerous. The sun-heated brew is warm enough and sits long enough to incubate any bacterial contamination that may be present. I think I’ll stick to my regular iced tea that is speedily brewed at high temperature …

51 Animal with a snout : TAPIR

All four species of tapir are endangered. Even though the tapir looks much like a pig, it is more closely related to the horse and the rhinoceros.

55 Palindromic pop group : ABBA

The palindromic band ABBA recorded the palindromic song “SOS”. Crazy …

56 Steady guy : BEAU

A beau (plural “beaux”) is the boyfriend of a belle, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.

62 “Do or do not. There is no __”: Yoda : TRY

In the “Star Wars” series of films, the character named Yoda has a unique speech pattern. He often uses the word order object-subject-verb. For example:

  • Patience you must have …
  • Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
  • To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not.

63 Title for Paul or Ringo : SIR

The ex-Beatles bass player’s full name is Sir James Paul McCartney. “Paul” was knighted for his services to music in 1997. His fellow Beatle Ringo Starr was knighted for his services to music 2018.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Shipwreck signal : SOS
4 Stan of Marvel Comics : LEE
7 Catch in a trap : SNARE
12 Time period : SPAN
13 Off-roader’s purchase, for short : ATV
14 Quest for intel : RECON
15 *Instant in which emotional decisions are made : HEAT OF THE MOMENT (giving “DEAD HEAT”)
18 Middle-earth menace : ORC
19 Female surfer : WAHINE
20 Times to remember : ERAS
21 Got a lift, in a way : UBERED
23 Popular mints : CERTS
25 Tea container : CADDY
27 Gradually come to be : DEVELOP
31 Wander about : ROAM
33 Pasture : LEA
35 Where one may be taken to be reprimanded : ASIDE
36 Verb in a recipe : ADD
37 Like jobs with no future … and what the start of each answer to a starred clue can be? : DEAD-END
40 Tennis court divider : NET
41 Family gathering attendee : NIECE
43 Pacific Coast st. : ORE
44 Loch with a legend : NESS
45 Ties to a post : TETHERS
48 Rene of “Get Shorty” : RUSSO
50 Show flexibility : ADAPT
52 Dampen, as sound : MUFFLE
55 Help in a bad way? : ABET
58 Coral named for its shape : SEA FAN
60 Wheaton who played himself on “The Big Bang Theory” : WIL
61 *Defeat soundly : BEAT THE PANTS OFF (giving “DEADBEAT”)
64 More despicable : BASER
65 Talk trash to : DIS
66 Cork’s country : EIRE
67 Cowboy singer Gene : AUTRY
68 Uneaten morsel : ORT
69 Ship in Genesis : ARK

Down

1 *Flaky type : SPACE CADET (giving “DEAD SPACE”)
2 Cheerios grain : OAT
3 Came down in flakes : SNOWED
4 Plastering strip : LATH
5 Value system : ETHIC
6 Tied, as a score : EVENED
7 “Seats all taken” sign : SRO
8 Archrivals : NEMESES
9 Asian laptop brand : ACER
10 Barrett of gossip : RONA
11 Tolkien tree race : ENTS
12 Macedonian neighbor : SERB
15 MLB’s Astros, on scoreboards : HOU
16 “Fiddle-__!” : FADDLE
17 Trifling : MERE
22 Battering __ : RAM
24 Spot on the tube : TV AD
26 Vote of support : YEA
28 *Employment field : LINE OF WORK (giving “DEADLINE”)
29 Keats works : ODES
30 Vets’ concerns : PETS
31 Rave’s partner : RANT
32 Dog in the comics : ODIE
34 Brouhaha : ADO
37 Owner’s document : DEED
38 Blunder : ERR
39 Mad Magazine mascot Alfred E. __ : NEUMAN
42 Idle talk : CHATTER
44 Bounced-check letters : NSF
46 Reckless : RASH
47 Racer’s bathing suit : SPEEDO
49 Naturally brewed beverage : SUN TEA
51 Animal with a snout : TAPIR
53 Vitality : LIFE
54 Santa helper : ELF
55 Palindromic pop group : ABBA
56 Steady guy : BEAU
57 Toward sunrise : EAST
59 Speedy : FAST
62 “Do or do not. There is no __”: Yoda : TRY
63 Title for Paul or Ringo : SIR

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Apr 21, Tuesday”

  1. 6:39 Smooth solve

    @Bill – I think there are a few typos in your always wonderful explanations.
    1D – you have “ot sued” when I believe it should be “not used”
    12D – you have “from 1989 to 1982”. Perhaps it is 1992?

  2. Fairly easy Tuesday puzzle, but one spelling error that I should have caught with cross. That’s the result of quick solve and overconfidence. Enjoyed it!

  3. 6 minutes, 1 second, no errors. This one was super easy, although manipulating it in digital form doubtlessly cost me precious seconds. I can’t seem to find the near side of 5 minutes any more, even for Monday grids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.