LA Times Crossword 17 May 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Forties

Themed answers each include FOUR Ts (sounds like “FORTIES”):

  • 39A Decade in which the Slinky debuted … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : FORTIES and FOUR Ts
  • 20A *Inside scoop : SCUTTLEBUTT
  • 55A *End-of-broadcasting image on old late-night TV : TEST PATTERN
  • 11D *Minor shoplifting crime, say : PETTY THEFT
  • 29D *Snitch : TATTLETALE

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

Bill’s time: 5m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Mineral used in much tailor’s chalk : TALC

Talc is a mineral, hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.

5 Bridge feat : SLAM

A grand slam in bridge is the winning of all thirteen tricks by one player. If the player wins twelve tricks, the achievement is called a small slam.

9 March parade VIP : ST PAT

The first Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in the US was held in 1600, in St. Augustine, Florida. There is some evidence that the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was held the following year, in the same locale. The annual parade in Boston dates back to 1737, in New York City dates back to 1762, and in Chicago dates back to 1843.

14 Hipbones : ILIA

The sacrum and the two ilia are three bones in the human pelvis.

18 “Terrible” Russian ruler : IVAN

The Grand Prince of Moscow, and first Tsar of Russia, Ivan IV became known as “Ivan the Terrible”. The name “terrible” is a translation from Russian, and perhaps creates the wrong impression about the man. The Russian word is “Grozny”, which is more akin to “strict” and “powerful” rather than “cruel” or “abominable”.

20 *Inside scoop : SCUTTLEBUTT

Just as modern day office workers gather around the water cooler to gossip, on board a ship back in the early 1800s the sailors would gather around the water barrel on the deck to shoot the breeze. That water barrel was called a “scuttlebutt”, from “scuttle” (opening in a ship’s deck) and “butt” (barrel). Quite interesting …

24 Civil rights leader Medgar : EVERS

Medgar Evers was an African-American civil rights activist from Mississippi who was assassinated by the Klu Klux Klan in 1963. A year after the murder, one Byron De La Beckwith was arrested and charged with the crime. Two trials failed to return a decision on Beckwith’s guilt as the juries, composed completely of white males, deadlocked both times. New evidence was unearthed some thirty years later so Beckwith could be retried and he was finally convicted of the murder in 1994. Back in 1963, Evers was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Evers had served in the US Army in France during WWII and left the military with the rank of sergeant.

30 Actress Bening : ANNETTE

The marvelous actress Annette Bening is from Topeka, Kansas. Bening has been married to actor Warren Beatty since 1992. The pair married about a year after starring together in the 1991 film “Bugsy”.

33 Brightly colored fish : OPAH

“Opah” is the more correct name for the fish also known as the sunfish, moonfish or Jerusalem haddock. I’ve seen one in the Monterey Aquarium. It is one huge fish …

37 Lucy’s best friend in old TV : ETHEL

In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertzes are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

39 Decade in which the Slinky debuted … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : FORTIES and FOUR Ts

The marvelous Slinky toy was invented in the early forties by a naval engineer named Richard James. James was developing springs for the navy that could stabilize sensitive instruments in rough seas. One day he accidentally knocked one of his experimental coils off a shelf and watched it “step” onto a stack of books, then onto a table and from there onto the floor where it recoiled itself very neatly. The Slinky was born …

41 Part of ESL: Abbr. : ENG

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

45 Shaving lotion brand : AFTA

Afta is an aftershave in the Mennen range of products, which is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

50 Art Deco master : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. “Erté” is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

53 Proactiv target : ZIT

The Proactiv range of skincare products were introduced in 1995 by two dermatologists who met each other while studying at Stanford. Proactiv is marketed to people suffering with acne. There are quite a few folks who complain about the direct marketing approach to sales used for the products. Customers are “members” of a club, and the products keep coming until a subscription is canceled.

55 *End-of-broadcasting image on old late-night TV : TEST PATTERN

Test patterns and test cards are TV test signals that are broadcast when no programs are being aired. These patterns are used to calibrate and troubleshoot equipment using the broadcast signal. The original test cards were just that, cards at which a camera was pointed.

60 Farsi speaker : IRANI

“Farsi” is one of the local names used for the Persian language.

62 Beach bird : TERN

Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but are more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

65 Clapton who sang “Layla” : ERIC

Can you believe that the great Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974, Clapton released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff” and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself. Clapton is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a member of the Yardbirds, once as a member of the supergroup Cream, and once as a solo artist.

“Layla” is one of the great rock anthems of the seventies, released by Derek and the Dominos as a single in 1971. It is a masterpiece of composition, with the first half of the song a great vehicle for the guitar-playing talents of Eric Clapton. The second half is a beautifully melodic piano coda (a coda … taking up half the length of the track!). To top things off we have the “unplugged” version recorded by Clapton in 1992, a fabulous and inventive variation on the original.

Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.

68 Brazilian soccer legend : PELE

“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been a member of three World Cup winning squads (1958, 1962 and 1970), and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

69 CPR pros : EMTS

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Down

2 Actor Baldwin : ALEC

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he made a name for himself by impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

3 “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

4 Pasadena institute where most of “The Big Bang Theory” characters work : CALTECH

Caltech is more properly known as the California Institute of Technology, and is a private research-oriented school in Pasadena. One of Caltech’s responsibilities is the management and operation of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If you watch “The Big Bang Theory” on television like me, you might know that the four lead characters all work at Caltech.

5 High, thin heel : STILETTO

The stiletto knife was developed in Italy, and is a knife intended for thrusting and stabbing as opposed to slashing and cutting. The term “stiletto” comes from the Latin “stilus”, which was a thin pointed writing instrument used in ancient Rome to engrave wax or clay tablets. And, there are also stiletto heels on some women’s shoes, heels that are long and thin.

6 Aficionado : LOVER

An aficionado is an enthusiast. Imported from Spanish, “aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

7 Many Yemenis : ARABS

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office. Yemen has seen many rebellions over the centuries, and has been suffering through a Shia uprising since February 2015.

9 Soup crackers : SALTINES

F. L. Sommer & Company of St. Joseph, Missouri started to produce wafer thin soda crackers in 1876. The crackers were later marketed as “Saltines”, due to the baking salt that was a key ingredient. The company subsequently lost trademark protection of the term “saltine”.

11 *Minor shoplifting crime, say : PETTY THEFT

In the US, there is a dividing line between felony grand theft (a more serious crime) and misdemeanor petty theft (a lesser crime). That dividing line is a dollar amount, and that dollar amount varies from state to state.

13 Hawaiian tuber : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (which I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

21 FDR power project : TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has to be one of America’s great success stories when it comes to economic development. Created in 1933, the TVA spearheaded economic development in the Tennessee Valley at the height of the Great Depression. Central to the success was the federally-funded construction of flood-control and electricity-generation facilities.

27 Big name in travel guides : FODOR

Fodor’s is the world’s largest publisher of English-language travel and tourist guides. The guidebooks were introduced in 1936 by Eugene Fodor, an American-Hungarian who was a keen traveller.

29 *Snitch : TATTLETALE

Something described as tattletale is revealing, it gives away a secret. The term is a combination of “tattle” and “tale”, and is probably patterned on the similar word “telltale”. “To tattle” means “to tell secrets”, and the noun “tattletale” applies to someone who tells secrets and informs.

30 Largest continent : ASIA

Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.

32 “Pomp and Circumstance” composer : ELGAR

Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance Marches” is a work that takes its name from a line in William Shakespeare’s “Othello”.

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!

The most famous part of the whole work is the trio section of March No. 1, also known as “Land of Hope and Glory”. Here in the US, that trio section is often referred to simply as “Pomp and Circumstance”, or sometimes as “The Graduation March” as it is a staple at school graduations across the country.

36 “Takin’ Care of Business” rockers, initially : BTO

“Takin’ Care of Business” is a 1973 song that perhaps falls into the family of “rock anthems”. It was written by Randy Bachman and recorded by his band Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO). The song was used for many years in an advertising campaign by Office Depot.

39 What a spare replaces : FLAT TIRE

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

43 __ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

49 MLB’s Tigers, on scoreboards : DET

The origins of the Detroit Tigers baseball team’s name seems a little unclear. One story is that it was taken from the Detroit Light Guard military unit who were known as “The Tigers”. The Light Guard fought with distinction during the Civil War and in the Spanish-American War. Sure enough, when the Detroit baseball team went into the Majors they were formally given permission to use “The Tigers” name by the Detroit Light Guard.

51 Cubic meter : STERE

The stere is a metric measure, although it is not part of the modern metric system. Nowadays the stere is used as a measure for firewood, and is equal to one cubic meter.

52 Month of showers : APRIL

The phenomenon known as April showers really applies to Britain and Ireland. Increased occurrence of rain during April is largely due to an annual change in the position of the jet stream.

53 Postal codes : ZIPS

ZIP codes were introduced in 1963. The acronym “ZIP” stands for “Zone Improvement Plan”, a name indicating that mail travels more efficiently when the codes are included in the postal address.

54 Classic Camaro : IROC

The IROC-Z is a model of Camaro that was introduced by Chevrolet in 1978. The IROC-Z takes its name from a famous stock car race, the International Race of Champions.

57 Mild Dutch cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

59 D.C. MLB team : NATS

If you attend a Washington Nationals baseball game, held in Nationals Park, you’ll see the Presidents Race in the middle of the fourth innings. Individuals dressed like six former US presidents, each sporting a large and cartoonish head, participate in the race. The runners in the footrace are:

  • George (Washington)
  • Abe (Lincoln)
  • Tom (Jefferson)
  • Teddy (Roosevelt)
  • Bill (Taft)
  • Calvin (Coolidge)
  • Herbie (Hoover)

61 Tandoori bread : NAN

A tandoor is a cylindrical clay or metal oven used in cuisines from several Asian locales, including India.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Mineral used in much tailor’s chalk : TALC
5 Bridge feat : SLAM
9 March parade VIP : ST PAT
14 Hipbones : ILIA
15 Ripped into pieces, with “up” : TORE …
16 Football venue : ARENA
17 Rind : PEEL
18 “Terrible” Russian ruler : IVAN
19 Subsequently : LATER
20 *Inside scoop : SCUTTLEBUTT
23 Couple : TWO
24 Civil rights leader Medgar : EVERS
25 Greasy : OILY
27 Feline metaphor for a wealthy donor : FAT CAT
30 Actress Bening : ANNETTE
33 Brightly colored fish : OPAH
34 Bathroom fixtures : TUBS
37 Lucy’s best friend in old TV : ETHEL
38 Not dis? : DAT
39 Decade in which the Slinky debuted … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : FORTIES and FOUR Ts
41 Part of ESL: Abbr. : ENG
42 Eight-related : OCTAL
44 Soccer score : GOAL
45 Shaving lotion brand : AFTA
46 Let go : RELEASE
48 Newspaper chief : EDITOR
50 Art Deco master : ERTE
51 More wise : SAGER
53 Proactiv target : ZIT
55 *End-of-broadcasting image on old late-night TV : TEST PATTERN
60 Farsi speaker : IRANI
62 Beach bird : TERN
63 “I had no __!”: “What a surprise!” : IDEA
64 Frigid : POLAR
65 Clapton who sang “Layla” : ERIC
66 Sail support : MAST
67 Public to-do : SCENE
68 Brazilian soccer legend : PELE
69 CPR pros : EMTS

Down

1 Waitstaff rewards : TIPS
2 Actor Baldwin : ALEC
3 “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU
4 Pasadena institute where most of “The Big Bang Theory” characters work : CALTECH
5 High, thin heel : STILETTO
6 Aficionado : LOVER
7 Many Yemenis : ARABS
8 Software options list : MENU
9 Soup crackers : SALTINES
10 Singer’s syllable before la-la : TRA-
11 *Minor shoplifting crime, say : PETTY THEFT
12 Again : ANEW
13 Hawaiian tuber : TARO
21 FDR power project : TVA
22 Freight weight : TON
26 Allow : LET
27 Big name in travel guides : FODOR
28 Lickety-split : APACE
29 *Snitch : TATTLETALE
30 Largest continent : ASIA
31 __-one: long odds : TEN-TO
32 “Pomp and Circumstance” composer : ELGAR
35 Strong desire : URGE
36 “Takin’ Care of Business” rockers, initially : BTO
39 What a spare replaces : FLAT TIRE
40 Refinement : ELEGANCE
43 __ Lingus : AER
45 When the show must go on : AIRTIME
47 “Comprende?” : SEE?
49 MLB’s Tigers, on scoreboards : DET
51 Cubic meter : STERE
52 Month of showers : APRIL
53 Postal codes : ZIPS
54 Classic Camaro : IROC
56 Big first for a baby : STEP
57 Mild Dutch cheese : EDAM
58 Take it easy : REST
59 D.C. MLB team : NATS
61 Tandoori bread : NAN

9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 May 21, Monday”

  1. Nice theme.
    No Googles or errors, but many unknowns in the downs: BTO, NATS, STERE, IROC, NAN (isn’t that “naan”?).
    Had SpAn before SLAM – wrong kind of bridge.

  2. Found it a bit tough for a Monday. Perhaps not getting the theme led to my longer time. Didn’t know 51D, stereo. Ah well that is how I improve!

  3. No errors. @jane blando.. BTO? classic rock band from the 70s. Brings back a ton of memories.. the Eagles and BTO were like my entire high school memory.

  4. 10 minutes, 16 seconds, no errors. Had my hands full with this Monday grid, for some reason. But then, coming off those last weekend outrages, I shouldn’t be surprised.

  5. Nice quick Monday; 7:26 with no peeks or errors.

    re Ivan the Terrible (Grozny) – Way back in the early 2000s I lived in a shared household in Palo Alto with, among others, a recent immigrant Armenian lady. During a discussion on Chechnya, she made a point to say the capital Grozny, meant “Terrible” in Russian.

    @Bill – To say that Yemen is “suffering through a Shia uprising since 2015” is to misunderstand the situation completely. The longtime dictator/ruler that was ousted in the Arab spring was himself a Houthi. The Saudis (and UAE) quickly sought to impose a Sunni dictator/ruler, whose mandate was to stay until a proper election could be held. This persisted until the Houthis rebelled and tossed him out of the country. But, to call him the “proper” president of Yemen is to NOT represent the situation correctly.

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