LA Times Crossword 21 May 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): The Right Sighs, I Hear

Themed answers each end with a word rhyming with “sighs”, and each answer sounds like a well-known phrase:

  • 17A Assorted caustic solutions? : PACK OF LYES (sounds like “pack of lies”)
  • 23A Receiving annoying questions? : GETTING WHYS (sounds like “getting wise”)
  • 34A Agreements just between us? : PRIVATE AYES (sounds like “privates eyes”)
  • 48A Quick and unexpected exits? : IMPULSE BYES (sounds like “impulse buys”)
  • 57A Pretense of being a brute? : TOUGH GUISE (sounds like “tough guys”)

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

Bill’s time: 13m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bill collectors? : TILLS

What we usually call a cash register here in North America, we mostly call a “till” in Ireland and the UK. I haven’t heard the word “till” used much here in that sense …

6 “Get back to us” letters : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

14 Elitist : SNOOT

“Snoot” is a variant of “snout”, and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is snooty, or “snouty”, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

15 Resort WNW of Breckenridge : VAIL

The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.

Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado has been operating since 1961.

16 ’80s-’90s group, informally : GEN-Y

The Millennial Generation are sometimes referred to as “Generation Y” (Gen-Y). Millennials were born after the “Gen-Xers”, from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

17 Assorted caustic solutions? : PACK OF LYES (sounds like “pack of lies”)

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH), although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

20 Some snowmobiles : SKI-DOOS

Ski-Doo is a brand of snowmobile produced by the Canadian company, Bombardier Recreational Products. The first Ski-Doo went on sale in 1959 and was intended to be named a “Ski-Dog” as the marketing concept was that the personal snowmobile would replace the dog sleds used by hunters and trappers. A painter misread instructions and wrote “Ski-Doo” on the side of the vehicle instead of “Ski-Dog”, and the name stuck.

21 2018 CVS Health acquisition : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

The name of the drugstore chain CVS once stood for “Consumer Value Stores”, although these days the company uses the initialism to denote “Convenience, Value and Service”.

22 Type units : ENS

In typography, there are em dashes and en dashes. The em dash is about the width of an “m” character, and an en dash about half that, the width of an “n’ character. An en dash is used, for example, to separate numbers designating a range, as in 5-10 years. The em dash seems to be going out of style, and indeed the application I am using to write this paragraph won’t let me show you one!

26 Buccaneer’s buds : MATEYS

Buccaneers were pirates who worked the Caribbean in the 1800s, mainly attacking Spanish vessels. The original buccaneer was a French hunter living on Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). These hunters used a local design of frame called a “buccan” as a smokehouse for meat, and so picked up the name “buccaneer”. In the first half of the 17th century, many of the buccaneers were driven off the island of Hispaniola by the Spanish and so they turned to the sea, making their living by pirating Spanish shipping.

28 Mil. category : NCO

Non-commissioned officer (NCO)

29 Vitals checker, briefly : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

31 Prized smokes : CUBANS

The production of all cigars and cigarettes in Cuba is managed by a state tobacco company called Cubatabaco. The marketing and distribution of all Cuban tobacco products is handled by Habanos, which is a subsidiary of Cubatabaco. Habanos works with just one company in each country where it markets products. As a result, customers seeking out genuine Cuban cigars know that there is a limited and defined list of suppliers around the world.

34 Agreements just between us? : PRIVATE AYES (sounds like “privates eyes”)

A private eye is a private investigator, a PI, a private “I”.

39 Mineral hardness scale : MOHS

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest. On the scale, diamond is the hardest (and rated 10), while talc is the softest (and rated 1).

42 Singer/songwriter __ Mia : PIA

Pia Mia is a singer from Guam who started her career posting music videos on YouTube.

45 Jungfrau, e.g. : ALP

The Jungfrau is a peak in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. “Jungfrau” translates from German as “maiden” or “virgin”.

46 Soap dish? : TV IDOL

The original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at women working in the home as housewives. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that’s how the “soap” opera got its name …

52 Sisters pop duo __ & AJ : ALY

Pop musicians sisters Alyson and Amanda Michalka perform as “Aly & AJ”. For a few years, the duo renamed themselves to “78violet”, but went back to the original in 2015.

53 Con artist’s aide : SHILL

A shill is someone planted, perhaps in an audience, with the job of feigning enthusiasm.

56 Romeo or Juliet : TEEN

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, it is explicitly stated that Juliet is 13 years of age, and the assumption is that Romeo is perhaps a little older.

60 Doomed boat in “Jaws” : ORCA

Hollywood actor Roy Scheider really made it big when he landed the role of Police Chief Martin C. Brody in the 1975 blockbuster “Jaws”. The Brody character uttered one of the most iconic lines in the history of movies in “Jaws”, namely “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”. That was a line improvised by Scheider.

61 Longtime syrup brand : KARO

Karo is a brand of corn syrup, an industrially manufactured sweetener derived from corn. The brand was introduced in 1902 by the Corn Products Refining Company.

Down

1 Five-mL medicine dose : TSP

Teaspoon (tsp.)

4 Trickster in “American Gods” : LOKI

“American Gods” is a 2001 fantasy novel by English author Neil Gaiman. The book has been adapted into a TV series, with the first season airing on Starz in 2017. It’s all about gods and mythological creatures in contemporary America. Not my cup of tea, although there is a leprechaun named Mad Sweeney in the mix …

6 Motorhome stopover, for short : RV LOT

Recreational vehicle (RV)

9 Polite texting letters : PLS

Please (pls.)

10 “Nattering nabobs of negativism” speaker : AGNEW

Vice President Spiro Agnew used the following lines in a speech to the California Republican state convention in 1970:

In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.’

Agnews’ “nattering nabobs of negativism” referred to the media.

11 Raise canines? : TEETHE

The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The prefix “eye-” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.

12 Assumed moniker : ANONYM

An anonym is a person whose name is not given, one who retains “anonymity”.

13 Hereditary ruler : DYNAST

A dynast is someone who rules by virtue of heredity. “Dynastes” is a Greek word meaning “ruler, chief, master”.

18 Nemeses : FOES

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.

22 Kind of rock : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington, D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

25 Sports scholarship org. : NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

31 Seize like Caesar : CARPE

“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”. The satirical motto of a procrastinator is “carpe mañana”, “translating” as “seize tomorrow”.

32 Pac-12 athlete : UTE

The Utah Utes are the athletic teams of the University of Utah.

36 Lady __: Tenn. college team : VOLS

The Tennessee Volunteers (the Vols) is the name given to the men’s sports teams at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The women’s teams are called the Lady Volunteers.

37 Gas-absorbing mixture : SODA LIME

Soda lime is a mixture of chemicals that is commonly used to remove carbon dioxide from air that has to be rebreathed. The mixture comprises sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and calcium oxide (CaO).

40 Vatican jurisdiction : HOLY SEE

In the Roman Catholic Church, an episcopal see is the official seat of a bishop, and is usually described by the town or city where the bishop presides and has his cathedral. The most famous see in the church is called the Holy See, the episcopal see of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.

47 Churchillian gestures : V-SIGNS

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

49 Type of nerve or artery : ULNAR

The ulnar nerve runs alongside the ulna (one of the bones in the lower arm). It is the largest unprotected (not surrounded by muscle or bone) nerve in the human body. The nerve can be touched under the skin at the outside of the elbow. Striking the nerve at this point causes an electric-type shock known as hitting one’s “funny bone” or “crazy bone”.

50 Jacket material? : BLURB

The use of the word “blurb”, to describe a publicity notice on a book jacket, dates back to 1907 when it was used by American humorist Gelett Burgess. Burgess used a picture of a fictitious young woman named Miss Belinda Blurb on the dust jacket of a limited run of his 1906 book “Are You a Bromide?” That jacket proclaimed “YES, this is a ‘BLURB’!” The term persists to this day, without the young damsel.

51 Short-lived ’80s-’90s cars that sounded like they should always work : YUGOS

The Yugo is a notoriously unreliable subcompact car that was built by the Zastava corporation of Yugoslavia.

57 Fight decision : TKO

Technical knockout (TKO)

59 Medium strength? : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bill collectors? : TILLS
6 “Get back to us” letters : RSVP
10 Not much : A TAD
14 Elitist : SNOOT
15 Resort WNW of Breckenridge : VAIL
16 ’80s-’90s group, informally : GEN-Y
17 Assorted caustic solutions? : PACK OF LYES (sounds like “pack of lies”)
19 Very bright : NEON
20 Some snowmobiles : SKI-DOOS
21 2018 CVS Health acquisition : AETNA
22 Type units : ENS
23 Receiving annoying questions? : GETTING WHYS (sounds like “getting wise”)
26 Buccaneer’s buds : MATEYS
28 Mil. category : NCO
29 Vitals checker, briefly : EMT
30 Letters seen between * and # : OPER
31 Prized smokes : CUBANS
34 Agreements just between us? : PRIVATE AYES (sounds like “privates eyes”)
38 Got on the board : SCORED
39 Mineral hardness scale : MOHS
42 Singer/songwriter __ Mia : PIA
45 Jungfrau, e.g. : ALP
46 Soap dish? : TV IDOL
48 Quick and unexpected exits? : IMPULSE BYES (sounds like “impulse buys”)
52 Sisters pop duo __ & AJ : ALY
53 Con artist’s aide : SHILL
54 With a sound mind : LUCIDLY
56 Romeo or Juliet : TEEN
57 Pretense of being a brute? : TOUGH GUISE (sounds like “tough guys”)
60 Doomed boat in “Jaws” : ORCA
61 Longtime syrup brand : KARO
62 Celebs : NAMES
63 Look the wrong way? : LEER
64 Space balls? : ORBS
65 Power-saving mode : SLEEP

Down

1 Five-mL medicine dose : TSP
2 Just like that : IN A SNAP
3 Rigid pattern : LOCKSTEP
4 Trickster in “American Gods” : LOKI
5 Stick-in-the-mud : STODGY
6 Motorhome stopover, for short : RV LOT
7 Speak, as thou might : SAYST
8 Battle : VIE
9 Polite texting letters : PLS
10 “Nattering nabobs of negativism” speaker : AGNEW
11 Raise canines? : TEETHE
12 Assumed moniker : ANONYM
13 Hereditary ruler : DYNAST
18 Nemeses : FOES
21 Intense suffering : AGONY
22 Kind of rock : EMO
24 Retired, maybe : IN BED
25 Sports scholarship org. : NCAA
27 Isn’t right : ERRS
31 Seize like Caesar : CARPE
32 Pac-12 athlete : UTE
33 Prefix with arid or dry : SEMI-
35 Words that might expose a bluff : I CALL
36 Lady __: Tenn. college team : VOLS
37 Gas-absorbing mixture : SODA LIME
40 Vatican jurisdiction : HOLY SEE
41 Like some winks : SLY
42 One traditionally drawn at dawn : PISTOL
43 Incoming words : I’M HERE
44 Distribution word : APIECE
46 Stock sector : TECH
47 Churchillian gestures : V-SIGNS
49 Type of nerve or artery : ULNAR
50 Jacket material? : BLURB
51 Short-lived ’80s-’90s cars that sounded like they should always work : YUGOS
55 Twin : DUAL
57 Fight decision : TKO
58 Blade in the water : OAR
59 Medium strength? : ESP

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

  1. Took a long time to figure out why OPER are the letters between # and *. And I would have been a lot better off if I had known the name of the boat in Jaws. Otherwise, not so bad once I caught on to the cutesyness of it. Yes, I’ve decided cutesyness is a word.

      1. @Gael Simons
        Pull up a picture of a standard touch-tone land-line phone. You will receive enlightenment…

        1. THANK YOU! It was driving me crazy, too! Glad I still have a ll phone – how weird I only thought to check my cell…

      1. On touchtone (landline) telephones the bottom row of buttons is * 0 #
        The zero has OPER on it as well. Which stands for Operator.
        Wow, do I ever feel old now….

      2. Look at an old style telephone keypad. The zero button is between * and #. Says oper for operator.

  2. Pretty good challenge for a Friday. No final error but plenty of ink overs. I see it’s our old “friend” Bruce Haight “Ashbury” who concocted this twisted sister of a crossword today. Thanks, Bruce!

  3. 12:47, no errors. Shout out to Bill, for a great description of the theme! Clever wordplay, good Friday puzzle … 😜.

  4. Well that was kinda … fun.
    How about that NE corner.. DYNAST TEETHE GENY ANONYM.. I was in a tailspin in that corner for a long time.

    Here’s one for you “Crossworder you love?” – Bruce Haight

  5. 1:00:00 with multiple errors in the NW corner…I thought the LAT was ramping up the difficulty of their puzzles but judging by the posted times it must just be me.
    Stay safe😀

  6. Not easy for me today; at the end I had only one error box: as I did
    not know “Gen-Y” I blew off the “n” in anonym. And it took me until
    “impulse byes” to figure out the theme and finish the other long
    answers. After that it was “sorta” fun. Little too cutesy–yes.

  7. To Pat,
    On a landline telephone, you’ll find the button for the operator (oper) between the * and the #.

  8. 37:29 1 lookup, 2 errors

    I liked the theme from PACKOFLYES, but it didn’t help much. For me, the SW corner was the worst. There were two squares I just couldn’t get, until it occurred to me that the Jungfrau was an ALP. And let’s not talk about how 56A went from PART to ROLE to TEEN.

    Yeesh!

  9. Nice but tough Friday; took me 51:00 with a 10 or 12 errors, all in the SW corner. I finally revealed IMPU… and PISTOL (had baths). Didn’t know PIA and forgot ORCA…should’ve gotten LEER…sigh!!

    The rest went pretty smoothly and the theme was fun, except it didn’t help me getting IMPU. Well, smoothly isn’t quite right, but I did manage with crosses and good guesses until insight prevailed.

  10. Tough Friday puzzle with lots of cogitating – 33:35 to finish with 4 errors in NE corner (askew vs agnew and anenym vs anonym because “keen” was set for 19A-Very bright instead of “neon”, and surrendered on resulting “seny” for 16A- 80s-90s group); and 1 lookup for 42D (could not think of the right kind of “drawn”, but it allowed me to complete that corner).

    Agree with descriptions such as cutesy and obtuse for the clues.

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