LA Times Crossword 13 May 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Steve Mossberg
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Split Wood

Themed answers each include circled letters that spell out a type of WOOD. That WOOD is SPLIT between the start and end of its answer:

  • 54A Do a campground chore, and a hint to the circled letters : SPLIT WOOD
  • 18A Words of deferential obedience : AS YOU WISH (hiding split AS-H)
  • 24A Trendy coffee additive : OAT MILK (hiding split OA-K)
  • 31A It helps achieve a crispier pie crust : PIZZA STONE (hiding split PI-NE)
  • 39A One way to find a website : BING SEARCH (hiding split BI-RCH)
  • 47A Pyromaniac : FIREBUG (hiding split FI-G)

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

Bill’s time: 11m 20s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • CBGB (CBKB)
  • GAY (Kay)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Longtime Manhattan punk rock venue : CBGB

The music club known as CBGB opened in 1973 intending to feature country, bluegrass and blues music (hence the name “CBGB”, Country, BlueGrass and Blues). The club developed an association in the eighties with New York’s underground hardcore punk music.

10 Uno más de siete : OCHO

In Spanish, “ocho” (eight) is “uno más de siete” (one more than seven).

14 Some area factors : RADII

The ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is often referred to as Archimedes’ constant, which we denote with the Greek letter pi (π). The ratio pi can be used to calculate the area of a disk, by multiplying the constant by the square of the radius (πr²).

15 Warning from a king : ROAR

That would be the king of the beasts, the lion.

16 “The Daily Show” host Trevor __ : NOAH

Trevor Noah is a comedian from Johannesburg, South Africa. Noah took over as host of the Comedy Channel’s “The Daily Show” after Jon Stewart retired. Noah can speak several languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, and German.

17 Medicine cabinet brand : ORAL-B

The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first “model” was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

18 Words of deferential obedience : AS YOU WISH (hiding split AS-H)

The wood of the ash tree is a hardwood, although it is relatively elastic. Famously, ash is the wood of choice for baseball bats. It is also the wood of choice for hurleys, the wooden sticks used in the Irish sport of hurling.

24 Trendy coffee additive : OAT MILK (hiding split OA-K)

Oat milk is one of the alternatives to cow’s milk, and is lactose free. I’m a big fan …

The oak was named the official National Tree of the US in 2004. It is also the national tree of many countries around the world, including England, France, Germany, Jordan, Poland, Serbia and Wales.

27 Bodega cash source : ATM

“Bodega” is a Spanish term describing a winery, or these days a grocery store.

31 It helps achieve a crispier pie crust : PIZZA STONE (hiding split PI-NE)

There are many species of pine tree (well over 100). The smallest is probably the Siberain dwarf pine, which usually grows to less than 10-feet tall. The tallest is the ponderosa pine, which regularly grows to over 200-feet tall.

34 Dude : GUY

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

35 Tunneling critter : MOLE

One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country (outside of politics, that is). A less known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …

36 Singer/songwriter Janis : IAN

Janis Ian is a singer-songwriter, mainly of folk music, who was most successful in the sixties and seventies. Her most famous song by far is the 1975 recording “At Seventeen”. In more recent years, Ian has been published several times as a science-fiction author.

37 Nosh : BITE

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

38 Silent communication syst. : ASL

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

39 One way to find a website : BING SEARCH (hiding split BI-RCH)

Bing is the search engine from Microsoft. Bing is the latest name for an engine that Microsoft used to call Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

Birch is a hardwood tree. The smooth bark of the birch has eye-like features, leading to the tree’s nickname of “the Watchful Tree”.

43 Wrangler relative : CHEROKEE

The Jeep Cherokee is an SUV with some legs. The original SJ series Jeep Cherokee was produced from 1974 until 1983, and derivative models are very much alive today.

Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler is a direct descendent of the military “Jeep” vehicle that the US military relied on heavily during WWII.

The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.

45 Customizable Nintendo avatar : MII

Nintendo introduced customizable avatars for the company’s video game consoles starting in 1997. The first customizable avatars for the Wii system were introduced in 2006, and were given the inventive name “Miis”.

46 Hired muscle : GOONS

The term “goon” was coined by American humorist Frederick J. Allen in a 1921 “Harper’s” piece titled “The Goon and His Style”. The article defines a good as “a person with a heavy touch” someone lacking “a playful mind”. The term was popularized in the “Thimble Theater” comic strips featuring Popeye. The first use of “goon” to describe a hired thug was in 1938, with reference to strikebreakers.

47 Pyromaniac : FIREBUG (hiding split FI-G)

A firebug is a pyromaniac, a person with an irresistible impulse to start fires.

The third plant named in the Bible, after the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, is the fig tree. Adam and Eve used leaves from the fig tree to sew garments when they realized that they were naked.

51 Shot banned in some pool halls : MASSE

In billiards, a massé shot is one in which the cue ball makes an extreme curve due to the player imparting heavy spin on the ball with his or her cue held relatively vertically. Some pool halls don’t allow massé shots as there’s a risk of ripping the cloth covering the table.

53 Jewelry company Alex and __ : ANI

The jewelry retailer Alex and Ani was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island. The founder Carolyn Rafaelian named her business for her two daughters: Alex and Ani.

56 Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

58 “Stop right there!” : HALT!

Our word “halt” ultimately comes from the German word “Halt” meaning “hold”.

61 DaCosta of “Chicago Med” : YAYA

Yaya DaCosta got her career break in 2004 when she was named runner-up in the reality show “America’s Next Top Model”. That success led to work as an actress, mainly on TV shows such as “Ugly Betty” and “Chicago Med”. In 2015, DaCosta portrayed singer Whitney Houston in the Lifetime television movie “Whitney”.

62 Oolong and Pu’er : TEAS

The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon”.

Pu’er tea is a traditional Chinese beverage made with tea leaves that have been dried, rolled and allowed to ferment. Much of the world supply of pu’er tea is sourced from Pu’er City and the surrounding area in southern Yunnan Province. Notably, the city is named for the tea, and not the other way round.

63 Prepared to be knighted : KNELT

Kneel, and a monarch might “dub thee a knight” if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.

Down

1 BOGO, say : PROMO

Buy one, get one (BOGO) or buy one, get one free (BOGOF).

2 Early insect form : LARVA

The larva is an intermediate stage in the development of an insect. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. “Larva” is a Latin word that can translate as “mask”. The term is used in the context of insects as the larval stage can “mask” the appearance of the adult.

4 Soccer score word : NIL

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

5 Spectate intrusively : KIBBITZ

To kibitz (or less commonly “to kibbitz”) is to look on and offer unwanted advice. The term comes into English from German via Yiddish. “Kibitz” developed in German from the name of the bird “Kiebitz”, which had the reputation as a meddler.

8 “Hunger” memoirist Roxane __ : GAY

Roxane Gay is an author and contributing opinion writer for “The New York Times”. The list of her best-selling works includes the 2014 novel “An Untamed State”, the 2017 collection of short stories “Difficult Women”, and the 2017 memoir “Hunger”.

9 Bond before Craig : BROSNAN

Pierce Brosnan is an Irish actor from Drogheda, a town north of Dublin. Brosnan’s big break in the US came when he was given the title role in the eighties television show “Remington Steele”. Famously, he also played James Bond on the big screen. Brosnan’s first appearance as Bond was in 1995’s “GoldenEye”. He was asked to take the role much earlier, in 1987, but Brosnan couldn’t get out of his contract for “Remington Steele”. Brosnan was the fifth actor to play Bond, after Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion. And, Adele’s rendition of the title song is an added plus …

12 Popular avocado variety : HASS

The Hass avocado was named for amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass who developed the cultivar. The mother tree that Hass used was patented in 1935, marking the first time that a patent was issued on a tree in the US.

22 Michigan city or college : ALMA

The Michigan city of Alma was founded in 1853. It was home to the Republic Motor Truck Company that was one of the largest truck manufacturers in the world in 1918. Much of that production capacity was taken up by “Liberty trucks” used by the US Army.

Alma College in Alma, Michigan was founded by Michigan Presbyterians in 1886. The school has a Scottish heritage of which it is very proud. Alma has its own Scottish marching band, a Scottish dance troupe and even its own design of tartan.

26 Stiff collars : ETONS

An Eton collar is a wide, stiff, buttoned collar that is still part of the formal school uniform at Eton College near Windsor in England.

29 Gehrig teammate : RUTH

Jack Dunn was the owner/manager of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1913, when he signed on George Herman Ruth as a pitcher. The other players called Ruth “Jack’s newest babe”, and the name “Babe” stuck.

Baseball legend Lou Gehrig was known as a powerhouse. He was a big hitter and just kept on playing. Gehrig broke the record for the most consecutive number of games played, and he still holds the record for the most career grand slams. His durability earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse”. Sadly, he died in 1941 at 37-years-old suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an illness we now call “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. The New York Yankees retired the number four on 4th of July 1939 in his honor, making Lou Gehrig the first baseball player to have his number retired.

31 Suitable for the upper crust : POSH

No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that “posh” is actually an acronym standing for “port out, starboard home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

32 Risking a ticket : ILLEGALLY

That could be parking.

33 Trig ratios : SINES

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

37 Baguette spread : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry with fig jam.

“Baguette” is the French word for “wand, baton” as in “baguette magique” (magic wand). We’ve only been calling long, thin loaves of French bread “baguettes” since the late 1950s.

44 Bilingual Muppet : ROSITA

On the children’s television show Sesame Street, Rosita is a character who is fluent in both English and Spanish. Rosita is operated by Puppeteer Carmen Osbahr. Osbahr originally worked on “Plaza Sésamo”, which is the version of Sesame Street that is broadcast in Mexico.

47 Crew cut cousins : FADES

The term “crew cut” probably originated in Yale in the 1890s. The Yale football players were noted for wearing their hair relatively long, as it helped protect their heads inside the flimsy leather football helmets of the day. In contrast, the rowing team wore their hair relatively short, in a style that came to be known as the “crew cut”.

50 Top-of-the-beanstalk dweller : GIANT

“Jack and the Beanstalk” is a fairy tale from England. In the story, young Jack sells the family cow for some magic beans. He plants the beans and a massive beanstalk grows up into the sky. At the top of the beanstalk there lives an ogre. Jack climbs the beanstalk and adventures ensue …

51 Film-rating org. : MPAA

The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Core-strengthening exercise : PLANK
6 Longtime Manhattan punk rock venue : CBGB
10 Uno más de siete : OCHO
14 Some area factors : RADII
15 Warning from a king : ROAR
16 “The Daily Show” host Trevor __ : NOAH
17 Medicine cabinet brand : ORAL-B
18 Words of deferential obedience : AS YOU WISH (hiding split AS-H)
20 Super Bowl award : MVP
21 Outlaws : BANS
23 Runs across : SPANS
24 Trendy coffee additive : OAT MILK (hiding split OA-K)
26 Poetically huge : ENORM
27 Bodega cash source : ATM
28 Jazz classic, say : STANDARD
31 It helps achieve a crispier pie crust : PIZZA STONE (hiding split PI-NE)
34 Dude : GUY
35 Tunneling critter : MOLE
36 Singer/songwriter Janis : IAN
37 Nosh : BITE
38 Silent communication syst. : ASL
39 One way to find a website : BING SEARCH (hiding split BI-RCH)
43 Wrangler relative : CHEROKEE
45 Customizable Nintendo avatar : MII
46 Hired muscle : GOONS
47 Pyromaniac : FIREBUG (hiding split FI-G)
51 Shot banned in some pool halls : MASSE
52 Tree hangers, at times : HATS
53 Jewelry company Alex and __ : ANI
54 Do a campground chore, and a hint to the circled letters : SPLIT WOOD
56 Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA
58 “Stop right there!” : HALT!
59 Not doing much : IDLE
60 Replace a dancer, perhaps : CUT IN
61 DaCosta of “Chicago Med” : YAYA
62 Oolong and Pu’er : TEAS
63 Prepared to be knighted : KNELT

Down

1 BOGO, say : PROMO
2 Early insect form : LARVA
3 Change as needed : ADAPT
4 Soccer score word : NIL
5 Spectate intrusively: Var. : KIBBITZ
6 Turn (up), as volume : CRANK
7 Meeting caller : BOSS
8 “Hunger” memoirist Roxane __ : GAY
9 Bond before Craig : BROSNAN
10 “Let’s keep going!” : ONWARD!
11 Cousin of card tricks : COIN MAGIC
12 Popular avocado variety : HASS
13 Cry with a head slap : OHH!
19 Leading by a bit : UP ONE
22 Michigan city or college : ALMA
25 Kid’s menu diversion : MAZE
26 Stiff collars : ETONS
28 Put on : STAGE
29 Gehrig teammate : RUTH
30 Easter supply : DYE
31 Suitable for the upper crust : POSH
32 Risking a ticket : ILLEGALLY
33 Trig ratios : SINES
35 Bub : MAC
37 Baguette spread : BRIE
39 Help for a parade-watching tot : BOOST
40 “You didn’t fool me!” : I KNEW IT!
41 Send forth : EMIT
42 Miserable in mid-flight, perhaps : AIRSICK
44 Bilingual Muppet : ROSITA
47 Crew cut cousins : FADES
48 Keep moist, in a way : BASTE
49 Ending at : UNTIL
50 Top-of-the-beanstalk dweller : GIANT
51 Film-rating org. : MPAA
52 44-Down’s “Hi” : HOLA
54 Unlikely to make the first move : SHY
55 Linguistic tribute : ODE
57 Vow taker : NUN

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 May 21, Thursday”

  1. 2 errors. Didn’t know 6A or 8D. Guessed CBRB and RAY. never heard of either one. Several words I never heard of. Tough puzzle for me. Theme helped once I figured it out. As I look back at the grid, the answers seem obvious but I certainly didn’t get there very easy.
    Didn’t know FIG was such a popular wood.

  2. No errors, but it was a slow go for me; getting the theme fairly
    early helped quite a bit. Had to change my mind a few times…
    i.e. I had “cowpokes” for awhile 43A, but I knew “Rosita” for 44D, so that
    didn’t work. Finally figured out Wrangler was a Jeep name, as is
    Cherokee so that helped get it all put together.

    Never heard of Yaya Da Costa so had to Google that one.

  3. 42:18 and I had RADIA for RADII…10A really?…32D is IMO a terrible clue.
    Not an enjoyable experience 👎👎
    Stay safe😀

  4. What editor let some of this obscurity prevail in the final product? 32D is the most egregious of these clue/answer combinations. Then there is the clue for Hired muscle (singular) and a plural answer. Not a fun puzzle at all even though I realize it’s Thursday.

    1. It would have been, for me, what I prefer to call a “personal Natick”, except that I’ve now seen “CBGB” often enough in crossword puzzles to (mostly) fix it in my head.

      I’m always reluctant to characterize anything as an unqualified Natick, since that seems to imply a judgement that I’m not egotistical enough to make: that I am somehow qualified to say that almost no one would know the two intersecting entries. (Rex Parker, who invented the term, does, in my opinion, have that kind of an ego.)

      BTW … I still hope, at some point, to answer your email, but I’ve been seriously distracted by personal issues. Perhaps next week … 😳.

    1. It’s a slab that can be made of a number of different materials, not necessarily “stone”. The idea is that it’ll hold a lot of heat (around 550-600F). The ultimate end is simulating a brick oven. As a result, it’s going to crisp up the crust sitting on it as opposed to the air temperature in the oven, which is going to cook the rest of the pizza’s toppings.

  5. 14:33

    A challenge despite considerable help from the theme. I was feeling so pleased with myself for remembering to look at the FIG in FIREBUG, then guessing all the trees in the other theme worlds. Except I initially guessed the tree in 39A as the LARCH. The … Larch.

    I would have clued 14A as “The other arm bones.”

  6. I was not on the same planet as Steve Mossberg. What a horrible crossword. Think I might be from a different generation and hence could not make much sense of these clues. Got the theme but the rest of it was…….not happening for me.

  7. I must have used up all my crossword abilities on the WSJ puzzle, cuz this one was a total loss for me. 45:19 with numerous “check-grids” and finally resorting to “reveal word” in several places…just to get it over with!!

    I did have CBGB though, along with about 20% of the puzzle on my own. But, I didn’t even enjoy reading about the things I missed…just no fun at all.

  8. I went to Wikipedia and read their list of every Muppet that ever existed and never found Rosita.
    I hated this one.

  9. 14:30, and needed Check Grid to fix two typos. Took me awhile to get the theme, which helped in solving. Several fills in here that were troublesome.

  10. Hi Bill,

    Actually CBGB’s switched to the punk scene in the mid- seventies….notably with the introduction of the highly influential Ramones!

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