LA Times Crossword 14 May 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian & Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Meta Exclamations

Themed answers are each clued by an exclamation spelled out in circled letters within that same answer:

  • 16A Exclamation clued by its circled letters : AIN‘T GONNA HAPPEN! (hiding “NAH!”)
  • 27A Exclamation clued by its circled letters : HOLD EVERYTHING! (hiding “HEY!”)
  • 47A Exclamation clued by its circled letters : LOOK WHAT I FOUND! (hiding “OHO!”)
  • 57A Exclamation clued by its circled letters : THAT HITS THE SPOT! (hiding “AHH!”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Captain Kirk’s home state : IOWA

According to the storyline in “Star Trek”, Captain James Tiberius Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa on March 22, 2233. The town of Riverside displays a plaque, noting Riverside as the “future birthplace of James T. Kirk.”

14 Mila of “Bad Moms” : KUNIS

Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years, but married Ashton Kutcher, her co-star from “That 70s Show”, in 2015.

“Bad Moms” is a 2016 comedy movie about three stressed-out mothers who go on a fling, shirking their maternal responsibilities for a few days. Those “bad moms” are played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn.

15 Unhappy look : MOUE

The term “moue” comes from French, and means “small grimace, pout”.

19 __ the line : TOES

The idiomatic expression “to toe the line” means “to obey”. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, although it is likely to come from the Royal Navy. Barefooted sailors were required to stand to attention for inspection lined up along the seams for the wooden deck, hence “toeing the line”.

20 Tag sale reminder : AS IS

A tag sale is a sale of household belongings, so called because the prices are usually marked on tags attached to the items for sale.

22 Monte Carlo attractions : CASINOS

The term “casino” originated in the 1700s, then describing a public room for music or dancing. “Casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.

Monte Carlo is an administrative area in the Principality of Monaco that covers just under a quarter of a square mile. The area is known in particular as the location of the famous Monte Carlo Casino. “Monte Carlo” translates as “Mount Charles”, and was named in 1866 for Charles III of Monaco who was ruling the principality at the time.

25 Nutty confection : PRALINE

A praline is a candy made out of nuts and sugar syrup. The first pralines were made in France in the 17th century for an industrialist named Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, who gave his name to the confection.

29 Game with Reverse cards : UNO

UNO is a card game that was developed in the early seventies and that has been sold by Mattel since 1992. UNO falls into the shedding family of card games, meaning that the goal is to get rid of all your cards while preventing opponents from doing the same.

30 Amos who covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” : TORI

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. She started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. Amos was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …

Nirvana was a rock band that was formed in Washington in 1987 by Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. The band effectively disbanded in 1994 after Cobain committed suicide.

31 Singer whose “Breathe Me” was part of the “Six Feet Under” series finale : SIA

“Sia” is the stage name of Australian singer Sia Furler from Adelaide. Sia is a cousin of Australian Christian Rock musician Peter Furler.

“Six Feet Under” is reportedly a great TV drama aired by HBO, and one that I fully intend to take a look at one day. The “six feet under” is a reference to the show’s storyline that features a family funeral business.

36 Cougar maker, for short : MERC

1967 was a big year or American muscle cars. The Pontiac Firebird was introduced that year, as was the Chevrolet Camaro that shared the same platform as the Firebird. At the same time, Ford introduced the Mercury Cougar, which was built on the same platform as the Ford Mustang that went into production just three years earlier.

40 Chicken general : TSO

General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

43 Normandy beach : JUNO

The Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944 took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The worst fighting by far took place on Omaha Beach, a sector assigned to the US Army that was transported by elements of the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

Normandy is a region in northern France that is named for the Normans, a people descended from Norse Vikings who arrived from Denmark, Iceland and Norway. The term “Norman” comes from “Norsemen, men from the north”.

46 Me. neighbor : QUE

The name of the province Québec comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.

51 Wayne Manor feature : BATPOLE

Wayne Manor is the home of Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman. It is a huge manor that lies just outside Gotham City. Looking after the house is the Wayne family servant, Alfred. Beneath the grounds of the manor is an extensive cave system where Bruce Wayne put together his Batcave. Access to the cave is via a staircase behind a hidden door. The door is opened by moving the hands of a non-functioning grandfather clock to 10:47, the time at which Wayne’s parents were murdered. It is the murder of his parents that sets Bruce off on his journey of crime fighting.

53 QB stat : ATT

In football, one statistic (stat) used to track the performance of a quarterback (QB) is attempts (ATT).

56 Neutrogena shampoo brand : T/GEL

Neutrogena is a brand of skincare products that was founded in 1930 as a cosmetics company called Natone.

63 Some Sunnis : KURDS

Most of the Kurdish people live in a region known as Kurdistan, which stretches into parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey as well as northern Iraq.

The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favored the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

64 Wedding dress option : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that it is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

65 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

66 “House” actor : EPPS

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

Down

1 Civil rights pioneer __ B. Wells : IDA

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and leader of the civil rights movement. She published a pamphlet in 1892 called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases”, which publicized the horrors of lynching of African Americans by white mobs in the South.

2 All-vowel avowal : OUI

In French, an emphatic “oui” (yes) might be said as “certainement!” (certainly!).

4 Mint in a tin : ALTOID

Altoids breath mints have been around since 1780, when they were introduced in Britain. The famous tin in which Altoids are sold is often reused for other purposes. The most famous use is as a container to hold a mini-survival kit.

6 Chlumsky of “Veep” : ANNA

Anna Chlumsky launched her career as a child actress playing the title role in the films “My Girl” (1991) and “My Girl 2” (1994). After taking time out to attend college, Chlumsky resumed her run of success with a regular role in the political satire show “Veep”.

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of fictional US Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

14 Pristina’s country : KOSOVO

The country name “Kosovo” is an adjectival form of the Serbian word “kos” meaning “blackbird”. The name commemorates the “field of the blackbirds” the site of a 1389 battle between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. The dispute over Kosovo technically dates back to the implosion of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The capital of Kosovo is Pristina.

17 “The Maids” playwright Jean : GENET

Jean Genet was a French playwright and novelist. Before he turned to writing, Genet was a homeless person with a criminal record. His debut novel was 1943’s “Notre-Dame-des-Fleur” (Our Lady of the Flowers), which is largely autobiographical and tells of a man’s life in the underworld of Paris.

18 Japanese beer brand : ASAHI

Asahi is a Japanese beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

26 Actor Hemsworth : LIAM

Liam Hemsworth is an Australian actor who is best known these days for playing Gale Hawthorne in “The Hunger Games” series of films. Hemsworth met Miley Cyrus while working on the movie “The Last Song”, and the two actors were engaged for a while. Liam is a younger brother of actor Chris Hemsworth, who plays the superhero “Thor” on the big screen.

28 Spanish wine : RIOJA

Rioja wines come from the province of La Rioja in Northern Spain. In my days living back in Europe, Rioja wines were noted for their heavy oaky flavors and it wasn’t uncommon to order a “rough Rioja” when out for dinner of an evening.

38 Littlest in the litter : RUNT

Back around 1500, a runt was an old or decayed tree stump, and by the early 1600s “runt” was being used to describe animals that were similarly old and decayed. Ultimately “runt” came to mean the smallest and often sickest in a litter.

41 Smidgen : SKOSH

“Skosh” is a slang term meaning “a little bit”, and was originally military slang that came out of the Korean War. “Skosh” derives from the Japanese word “sukoshi” which translates as “few, little, some”.

42 Solemn and wise, supposedly : OWLLIKE

The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.

48 River to the St. Lawrence : OTTAWA

The Ottawa River takes its name from the Odawa people, an Algonquin nation. The city of Ottawa changed its name to that of the river, from Bytown, in 1855. The original townsite was called Bytown after Captain John By who completed the Rideau Canal that runs from Kingston on Lake Ontario to present-day Ottawa.

The Saint Lawrence River (“Fleuve Saint-Laurent”) in French” rises as the principal outflow of Lake Ontario. It runs almost 2,000 miles before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, which is the largest estuary on the planet. The first European known to have navigated the river was Jacques Cartier, the Breton explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. Cartier arrived in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in 1534 on the feast day of Saint Lawrence, and so gave the estuary the saint’s name.

50 Ukrainian city : ODESSA

The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

55 Car ad fig. : MSRP

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)

58 Demo letters : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

Demolition (demo.)

59 QB stats : TDS

In American football, one “goal” of a quarterback (QB) is to score touchdowns (TDs).

61 “__ the season … ” : ‘TIS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Captain Kirk’s home state : IOWA
5 Court case determination : FACT
9 Rudiments : ABCS
13 Old-fashioned way to settle a dispute : DUEL
14 Mila of “Bad Moms” : KUNIS
15 Unhappy look : MOUE
16 Exclamation clued by its circled letters : AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN! (hiding “NAH!”)
19 __ the line : TOES
20 Tag sale reminder : AS IS
21 Certain sib : SIS
22 Monte Carlo attractions : CASINOS
25 Nutty confection : PRALINE
27 Exclamation clued by its circled letters : HOLD EVERYTHING! (hiding “HEY!”)
29 Game with Reverse cards : UNO
30 Amos who covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” : TORI
31 Singer whose “Breathe Me” was part of the “Six Feet Under” series finale : SIA
32 Litter peeps : MEWS
34 Campy wrap : BOA
36 Cougar maker, for short : MERC
40 Chicken general : TSO
43 Normandy beach : JUNO
46 Me. neighbor : QUE
47 Exclamation clued by its circled letters : LOOK WHAT I FOUND! (hiding “OHO!”)
51 Wayne Manor feature : BATPOLE
52 Out together : ON A DATE
53 QB stat : ATT
54 Go out with a bang : SLAM
56 Neutrogena shampoo brand : T/GEL
57 Exclamation clued by its circled letters : THAT HITS THE SPOT! (hiding “AHH!”)
62 Cut down : HEWN
63 Some Sunnis : KURDS
64 Wedding dress option : SARI
65 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT
66 “House” actor : EPPS
67 They have it when things pass : AYES

Down

1 Civil rights pioneer __ B. Wells : IDA
2 All-vowel avowal : OUI
3 Didn’t rush things : WENT SLOW
4 Mint in a tin : ALTOID
5 Party goal : FUN
6 Chlumsky of “Veep” : ANNA
7 Govt. agent : CIA SPY
8 Gift shop stock : T-SHIRTS
9 Jack (up) : AMP
10 Visits briefly : BOPS IN
11 Prompting : CUEING
12 Gut feeling : SENSE
14 Pristina’s country : KOSOVO
17 “The Maids” playwright Jean : GENET
18 Japanese beer brand : ASAHI
22 Pal : CHUM
23 Top-notch : A-ONE
24 14-Down native : SERB
26 Actor Hemsworth : LIAM
28 Spanish wine : RIOJA
33 “Enough!” : STOP!
35 Start to focus? : AUTO-
37 Workplace concern : EQUAL PAY
38 Littlest in the litter : RUNT
39 Give away : CEDE
41 Smidgen : SKOSH
42 Solemn and wise, supposedly : OWLLIKE
44 Often critical innings : NINTHS
45 Adult : OF AGE
47 Agitated state : LATHER
48 River to the St. Lawrence : OTTAWA
49 Intensify : HEAT UP
50 Ukrainian city : ODESSA
51 Immerse (in) : BATHE
55 Car ad fig. : MSRP
58 Demo letters : TNT
59 QB stats : TDS
60 Miner concern : ORE
61 “__ the season … ” : ‘TIS

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 May 21, Friday”

  1. No errors. Was stuck right in the center at 30A and 28D… TORI came to me After I worked around the crosses and I couldn’t remember how to spell the Spanish wine.. I had the OJA part. The top part of the grid wasn’t falling as fast as the lower half. Once I got HOLD EVERYTHING then things started to really come together. I got the theme early so I was trying to get the circled letters to sound like something…
    All good now.

    1. Your puzzles are not for the masses but for a small group of people. I have never heard of some of your answers. Ever. I’ve been doing the puzzle for years. That may be my problem. But you should think about all age groups who do the puzzle.

  2. 7:36, 3 errors off of typos. Get the feeling this one isn’t going to go over very well with most…

  3. This was SO much easier than yesterday. Putting batcave instead of batpole slowed things down, but not for too long.

  4. 10:52, a little slow for me, mostly out of frustration. Glenn nailed it… this was not a fun or, in my opinion, a very well-constructed puzzle. Far, far too many proper names for my taste, and I was just lucky I knew several of them and others became clear after a few crossings. The theme was unimaginative and none of the theme answers related to each other.

    I had no idea that a SARI is a wedding dress option (other than in India I suppose), and looking at my completed grid I _still_ refuse to believe that “Visits suddenly” isn’t POPS IN. They could have clued APCS somehow (armored personnel carriers?).

    1. BOPS IN is definitely highly questionable and the worst of many bad parts of this grid. As a good rule, if something doesn’t show up in several pages of Google results in the way the clue intended, that probably means the clue/word should have never been done.

  5. 26:30 no errors…I always thought the expression was “tows the line”and in my 79 years I have never bopped in on someone…I have popped in on many occasions…another example of “whatever it takes”
    Stay safe😀

  6. Glenn… Thanks for your answer yesterday about the pizza stone. I keep forgetting that pizzas are also pies. I couldn’t figure out what my dear Granny used to make her apple pie crusts so flaky.

  7. Couldn’t finish all squares (didn’t bother to look up proper names – just came here to find answers), but I liked the them answers once I figured out that they weren’t acronyms. (After I had HOLD, I thought it was going to be HOLD YOUR HORSES, but luckily wasn’t confident to fill that in, so didn’t go down the wrong path). 1st time in a very long time with multiple blanks.

  8. 15 mins 54 sec, 2 errors, where TOES crosses GENET; needed Check Grid and (too many) guesses to not mark it as a gaffe. Not an easy grid by any means.

  9. 15:01

    The theme was way too dependent on you getting just the right crosses for it to be of any help. I also had BATCAVE before BATPOLE and resisted the idea that anyone BOPSIN when they could POPSIN.

  10. No errors, but just lucky I guess. When I was younger, we used to bop around — maybe from the “bebop” days. You’re probably too young to remember.

  11. No errors; but didn’t get this one done until after supper as I was
    busy in the yard today, planting tomatoes and beans etc., first nice
    day we’ve had in seems like forever.

    I had to look up Neutrogena shampoo as I’d never been acquainted
    with Tgel. and made a lot of lucky guesses

  12. I have to add that “bops in” was a familiar phrase to me. Maybe it’s a
    regional expression but I got that one without trouble.

  13. I liked this — primarily because I could actually finish it (on Fridays and Saturdays, I usually give up). South west (is that how you say it? West-south? Or lower left?) gave me a lot of trouble — I had saws before hewn, demo letters I was sure had something to do with demonstrations, and QB stat — att — flummoxed me. Also, like many others, I had cave before pole.

  14. Not sure who to credit this limerick with, but it’s apropos for our owl-like clue today:

    Let’s face it, most owls in their fine feathered suit,
    Cause fans the world over to chorus, “you beaut”!
    And throughout our great land,
    There are few birds as grand
    As sage owls, that are cute and astute.

  15. Much easier than yesterday, but still had a bit of trouble; took 36:24 with a “check-grid” to get past a few log jams. Knew KUNIS, AMOS and LIAM. Got SIA with crosses. Heard of EPPS and “veep” but never saw or heard of “House” or GENET. Or T/GEL for that matter.

    At this rate I can only hope for tomorrow…

  16. Isn’t it quite easy to make a puzzle that’s stupidly hard with poor clues and a tortured theme? Why isn’t the goal to have helpful themes, clever clues and educational answers?

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