LA Times Crossword 10 May 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: The Four Tops

The FOUR themed answers each start with a word that often follows “TOP”:

  • 62A “I Can’t Help Myself” Motown group … and what’s comprised by 18-, 24-, 39- and 52-Across’ starting words? : THE FOUR TOPS
  • 18A Cloak-and-dagger spy : SECRET AGENT (giving “top secret”)
  • 24A Typically yellow tangy fruit : BANANA PEPPER (giving “top banana”)
  • 39A *Accessory metaphor for an accomplishment : NOTCH ON ONE’S BELT (giving “top notch”)
  • 52A Spaghetti-in-a-can icon : CHEF BOYARDEE (giving “Top Chef”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Prefix with bar : ISO-

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

4 Purple color named for a flower : LILAC

The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family.

15 “Mutiny on the Bounty” captain : BLIGH

William Bligh was a senior officer in the Royal Navy who was famously captain of the HMS Bounty when her crew mutinied. As I found out in my last trip back to Ireland, late in his life Bligh charted and mapped Dublin Bay and designed the important North Bull Wall that sits at the mouth of the River Liffey and entrance to Dublin Port.

Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall wrote “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, based on a true story. They followed up their successful novel with two more works, creating what is now called the “Bounty Trilogy”. The three books are:

  1. “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, the tale of the mutiny against Captain Bligh.
  2. “Men Against the Sea”, the story of Captain Bligh and the eighteen men set adrift in an open boat by the mutineers.
  3. “Pitcairn’s Island”, a narrative about the lives of the mutineers on South Sea islands after the mutiny.

16 “Star Wars” director George : LUCAS

Producer and director George Lucas has amassed an incredibly large fortune, primarily due to the phenomenal success of his movie franchises “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. Worth about $3 billion, Lucas has gone the way of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, agreeing to give half of his fortune to charity as part of “The Giving Pledge”.

17 Two-base hit: Abbr. : DBL

Double (dbl.)

24 Typically yellow tangy fruit : BANANA PEPPER (giving “top banana”)

The banana pepper is a very mild chili pepper. The pepper gets its name from its curved shape and yellow color that might remind one of a banana. I’m a big fan of banana peppers …

34 Of an arterial trunk : AORTAL

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

38 Belle’s suitor : 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”.

44 Gas leak giveaway : ODOR

Natural gas that is piped into our homes is naturally odorless. A tiny amount of odorant is added to assist in the detection of leaks. A common additive is tert-butylthiol, which is said to impart the smell of rotten eggs.

46 City near Tahoe : RENO

Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

52 Spaghetti-in-a-can icon : CHEF BOYARDEE (giving “Top Chef”)

The Chef Boyardee brand of canned food products was named after Ettore Boiardi who introduced the product line in the twenties. Boiardi was an Italian immigrant who owned an Italian restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. He started the line of canned recipes based on the demand for samples of his dishes from satisfied customers at his restaurant.

“Top Chef” is a reality television show on the Bravo channel. It’s basically a cooking competition.

57 Emails a dupe to : CCS

I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

60 Goddess for whom a month is named : MAIA

Maia is one of the Pleiades of Greek mythology, and is the eldest of the Seven Sisters. The month of May is named for Maia.

62 “I Can’t Help Myself” Motown group … and what’s comprised by 18-, 24-, 39- and 52-Across’ starting words? : THE FOUR TOPS

The original lineup of the Four Tops agreed to form a vocal quartet when they were high school students together in Detroit. The group started out using the name “The Four Aims”, but changed it to Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers.

67 Frito-__ : LAY

The manufacturers of Frito and Lay potato chips merged to form Frito-Lay in 1961. Frito-Lay then merged with Pepsi-Cola in 1965 to form PepsiCo.

68 Old toga wearer : ROMAN

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

71 Pinocchio’s problem : LYING

“The Adventures of Pinocchio” is an 1883 children’s novel by Carlo Collodi. It is all about an animated puppet named Pinocchio and Geppetto, his poor woodcarver father. Pinocchio is prone to telling lies, the stress of which causes his short nose to become longer.

73 “__ the DJ, I’m the Rapper”: 1988 album : HE’S

“He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper” is a 1988 album recorded by the hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (aka Jeff Townes and Will Smith).

Down

2 Not up to snuff : SUBPAR

The term “up to snuff” today means “up to standard”. It was introduced to us for the first time in 1811 in a play called “Hamlet Travestie” by Englishman John Poole. He used the phrase to mean “in the know”. It was perhaps a reference to the habit of taking powdered tobacco, a practice back then that was associated with the upper classes, the educated, those in the know.

4 Scale units: Abbr. : LBS

The unit of mass that we know today as a pound is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a “libra”. That “libra” connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

5 Land in la mer : ILE

In French, an “île” (island) is “terre dans la mer” (land in the sea).

6 DMV certificate : LIC

It took me years, years to stop using the term “driving license” after I moved to the US. We call a driver’s license a “driving license” back in Ireland.

13 Punta del __, Uruguay : ESTE

Punta del Este is a resort city in southeastern Uruguay that is located about 85 miles east of Montevideo, the nation’s capital.

19 Recipe abbr. : TSP

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.

25 Ark builder : NOAH

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.

27 X-rated stuff : PORNO

The word “pornography” comes from the Greek “pornographos” meaning “writing of prostitutes”.

28 Lynda Bird’s married name : ROBB

Lynda Bird Johnson Robb is the eldest of President Johnson’s two daughters. While living in the White House, Lynda dated the actor George Hamilton. The pair became one of the first couples outside of the President and First Lady to be afforded Secret Service protection, largely due to concerns following the assassination of President Kennedy.

32 Actor Holbrook : HAL

Hal Holbrook was an actor from Cleveland, Ohio. Although Holbrook was well known for many roles on the big and small screens, he is best known for a series of plays that he developed called “Mark Twain Tonight!”. Holbrook depicted Twain on stage giving recitations from several of Twain’s writings, varying the script for each performance. “Mark Twain Tonight!” was first performed in 1959, and Holbrook last portrayed Twain in the work in 2017, just before he retired at the age of 92. With well over 2,000 appearances in 58 years, Holbrook portrayed Twain longer than Samuel Langhorne Clemens himself.

35 You, in French : TOI

In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.

40 Wordsworth’s “__ to Duty” : ODE

William Wordsworth wrote his poem “Ode to Duty” in 1805. In the poem, Wordsworth uses the term “duty” to mean a devotion to things such as childhood hope and an alignment with the natural world. I guess the message is “leave the rat race behind”.

41 Trucker’s unit : TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

42 Gator kin : CROC

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

49 Brewer Coors : ADOLPH

Adolph Coors founded the Coors brewing company in 1873, in Golden, Colorado. Coors was originally from the Rhine Province in Prussia, and worked in various brewers around what is today Germany before immigrating to the US in 1868. Despite all of his success as a brewer here in America, Coors ended up taking his own life in 1929, by jumping to his death out of a hotel window.

53 Chinese ethnic group : HMONG

The Hmong people are an ethnic group from the mountains of China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

54 Water, in Cannes : EAU

Cannes is a city on the French Riviera that is noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The decision to host an annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.

57 Bottom-corner PC key : CTRL

The Control (CTRL) key on a PC keyboard is used to modify the function of other keys. For example, pressing CTRL+C copies a selection to the clipboard, and CTRL+V pastes the contents of the clipboard to a location defined by the cursor. Control keys were introduced on teletypewriters to generate “control characters”, which are non-printing characters that instruct a computer to do something like print a page, ring a bell etc.

58 Bok __: Chinese cabbage : CHOY

Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage. “Bok choy” translates as “white vegetable”.

59 18-wheeler : SEMI

An 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck has eight wheels under the trailer, i.e. four on each of the two rear axles. There are 10 wheels under the tractor unit. Two of the ten wheels are on the front axle, and eight are on the rear two axles that sit under the front of the trailer.

64 Sculler’s prop : OAR

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Prefix with bar : ISO-
4 Purple color named for a flower : LILAC
9 Kind of minister or suspect : PRIME …
14 Habit wearer : NUN
15 “Mutiny on the Bounty” captain : BLIGH
16 “Star Wars” director George : LUCAS
17 Two-base hit: Abbr. : DBL
18 Cloak-and-dagger spy : SECRET AGENT (giving “top secret”)
20 Heroic tale : EPIC
22 Direction of the dawn : EAST
23 Easter egg coloring : DYE
24 Typically yellow tangy fruit : BANANA PEPPER (giving “top banana”)
29 Quivery vocal effect : TREMOLO
30 Spanish eight : OCHO
34 Of an arterial trunk : AORTAL
38 Belle’s suitor : BEAU
39 *Accessory metaphor for an accomplishment : NOTCH ON ONE’S BELT (giving “top notch”)
44 Gas leak giveaway : ODOR
45 “I’m clueless” : NO IDEA
46 City near Tahoe : RENO
47 Whiner : CRYBABY
52 Spaghetti-in-a-can icon : CHEF BOYARDEE (giving “Top Chef”)
57 Emails a dupe to : CCS
60 Goddess for whom a month is named : MAIA
61 Theater segments : ROWS
62 “I Can’t Help Myself” Motown group … and what’s comprised by 18-, 24-, 39- and 52-Across’ starting words? : THE FOUR TOPS
67 Frito-__ : LAY
68 Old toga wearer : ROMAN
69 Frighten : SCARE
70 Start for fab or fix : PRE-
71 Pinocchio’s problem : LYING
72 Roll of the dice : THROW
73 “__ the DJ, I’m the Rapper”: 1988 album : HE’S

Down

1 Behind on bills : IN DEBT
2 Not up to snuff : SUBPAR
3 Browsing the Web, say : ONLINE
4 Scale units: Abbr. : LBS
5 Land in la mer : ILE
6 DMV certificate : LIC
7 Go along (with) : AGREE
8 Tightfisted : CHEAP
9 Table setting item : PLATE
10 Snug bug’s place? : RUG
11 Covered, as a cake : ICED
12 Numerous : MANY
13 Punta del __, Uruguay : ESTE
19 Recipe abbr. : TSP
21 Cell pic taker : CAM
25 Ark builder : NOAH
26 Crazy as __ : A LOON
27 X-rated stuff : PORNO
28 Lynda Bird’s married name : ROBB
31 Average grade : CEE
32 Actor Holbrook : HAL
33 Not in the office : OUT
35 You, in French : TOI
36 With unnamed partners, in bus. names : AND CO
37 Suspicious (of) : LEERY
39 Neither’s partner : NOR
40 Wordsworth’s “__ to Duty” : ODE
41 Trucker’s unit : TON
42 Gator kin : CROC
43 “Don’t __ word!”: “Shh!” : SAY A
48 “I’m freezing!” : BRR!
49 Brewer Coors : ADOLPH
50 Sign warning word about a watchdog : BEWARE
51 “Absolutely!” : YES YES!
53 Chinese ethnic group : HMONG
54 Water, in Cannes : EAU
55 At the head of the line : FIRST
56 Cookie baker’s lot : BATCH
57 Bottom-corner PC key : CTRL
58 Bok __: Chinese cabbage : CHOY
59 18-wheeler : SEMI
63 One cheering for the team : FAN
64 Sculler’s prop : OAR
65 Whiz : PRO
66 Stitch together : SEW

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 10 May 21, Monday”

  1. 22:20 no errors but I think if I see a puzzle by this setter on a Wednesday or Thursday I might just skip it.
    Stay safe😀

  2. Easy Monday, No Googles, no errors. Never heard of BANANA PEPPER.
    This puzzle was created by a fellow blogger!

    1. Hi Barbara! Probably the original plan was to put a star beside each themed answer, they decided to enumerate them instead, and someone forgot to edit out the asterisk!!🤔

  3. Greetings folks!!🤗

    Easy Monday. Didn’t even notice the theme. Never heard of a BANANA PEPPER, but now that I know what it is I’ve definitely seen them….

    In three days my two-week waiting period (after Shot #2) is over!!! 🙃 I will feel more relaxed but I don’t think I’ll let my guard down.

    Be well~~⚾️

  4. For 6 down, I suspect that back in Ireland you called it a “driving licence” not a “driving license”….

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