LA Times Crossword 4 May 21, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Prasanna Keshava
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Friend Request

Themed answers each include a synonym of “FRIEND” as a hidden word:

  • 50A Facebook invite … to which the circled letters respond : FRIEND REQUEST
  • 19A Aid for shade at the shore : BEACH UMBRELLA (hiding “CHUM”)
  • 29A Award first won by Naughty by Nature : BEST RAP ALBUM (hiding “PAL”)
  • 39A “Breaking news!” teaser : FILM AT ELEVEN! (hiding “MATE”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Hit the jackpot : GET RICH

The term “jackpot” dates back to the 1800s and comes from the game of poker. In some variants there are progressive antes. This means that players have to ante up, add to the “pot”, when no player has a pair of “jacks” or better. They build a “jackpot”.

8 One with faulty “I” sight? : EGOTIST

An egoist (also “egotist”) is a selfish and conceited person. The opposite would be an altruist.

15 Deficiency of red blood cells, across the pond : ANAEMIA

The term “anemia” (or “anaemia”, as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition, and so we use the term “anemic” figuratively to mean “lacking in vitality or substance”.

16 Pasta specification : AL DENTE

The Italian expression “al dente” literally means “to the tooth” or “to the bite” and is used to describe not only pasta, but also vegetables that are cooked so that they are tender and yet still crisp.

19 Aid for shade at the shore : BEACH UMBRELLA

Our term “umbrella” ultimately derives from the Latin “umbra” meaning “shade, shadow”.

23 Parisian article : LES

The definite article in French can be “le” (with masculine nouns), “la” (with feminine nouns), and “les” (with plural nouns of either gender).

25 Chain with links : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

Link sausages are so called as they can come in chains, with each sausage being a link in that chain.

26 Nine-digit ID : SSN

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011 SSNs are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

29 Award first won by Naughty by Nature : BEST RAP ALBUM

The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held in 1959 and focused on recognizing outstanding achievement in the recording industry. The idea of a Grammy Award came up when recording executives were working on the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the fifties. These executives concluded that there were many people in the recording industry deserving of accolades but who would probably never make it to the Walk of Fame. As a result, they founded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Academy considered naming the award the “Eddies” after Thomas Edison, but then opted for “Grammy” after Edison’s invention: the gramophone.

Naughty by Nature is a performing trio of rap singers Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee. The group started out in 1986 using the name “The New Style”. Apparently, Naughty by Nature split up in 2013 when Treach was accused by the other singers of not pulling his weight. The group resolved its differences and formed again in 2015.

33 Scrooge’s cry : BAH!

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” to describe a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

34 Norwegian pop band that sounds like a revelation : A-HA

A-ha is a band from Norway that first appeared on the music scene in Oslo in 1982. The band made it into the Guinness Book of World Records twice. A-ha holds the record for the largest paying audience at a concert, drawing 198,000 people to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in 1991. Lead singer Morten Harket has the record for holding the longest live note in a song. He held a note in the song “Summer Moved On” for 22 seconds!

35 “http” often begins one : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

36 Judoka’s belt : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

A judoka is someone who practices the modern martial art of judo.

44 Rx item : MED

There seems to be some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

45 Pool hall triangle : RACK

The more correct name for the game of pool is “pocket billiards”. The designation “pool” arose after pocket billiards became a common feature in “pool halls”, places where gamblers “pooled” their money to bet on horse races.

46 Jefferson’s vice president : BURR

Aaron Burr was the third vice-president of the US, and served under Thomas Jefferson from 1801 to 1805. In the final year of his term in office, Burr fought an illegal duel and killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton. Burr was charged with several crimes as a result, but those charges were eventually dropped. The Democratic-Republican Party had already decided not to nominate Burr as candidate for vice president to run alongside Jefferson in the 1804 election, largely because the relationship between Vice President Burr and President Jefferson was so poor. The subsequent fallout resulting from the killing of Alexander Hamilton effectively ended Burr’s political career.

47 News agcy. : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a fraction of that workforce.

49 Obstinate : BALKY

To balk is to stop and refuse to go on. It’s not just a baseball term …

54 Area sheltered from the wind : LEE SIDE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

55 Former weekly with home viewing listings : TV GUIDE

The first national “TV Guide” was issued in 1953. The cover of that first issue featured a photo of newborn Desi Arnaz, Jr., son of Lucille Ball.

58 Most of Google’s revenue : AD SALES

Google is a remarkably successful and profitable technology company. Google makes most of its money from its AdWords product. Advertisers pay Google a lot of money to place their ads at the most advantageous spots on the Internet.

61 Glossy cottons : SATEENS

Sateen is a cotton fabric. It has a weave that is “four over, one under”, meaning that most of the threads come to the surface to give it a softer feel.

Down

3 Hat similar to a fez : TARBOOSH

“Tarboosh” is the Arabic name for the hat called a “fez” in Turkish.

A fez is a red, cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. The fez used to be a very popular hat across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of “fez” is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

6 Prez’s title : CINC

Commander-in-Chief (CINC)

8 Cake’s instruction to Alice : EAT ME

In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labelled “DRINK ME”. When she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. She also sees a cake adorned with the words “EAT ME” written using currants, and when she eats the cake she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she utters the words, “Curiouser and curiouser”.

10 Prominent garlic feature : ODOR

Our word “garlic” evolved via Old English from “gar” (spear) and “leac” (leek). The use of “spear” is apparently a reference to the shape of a clove.

11 Verizon’s biz : TELECOM

The telecommunications company that we know today as Verizon was founded in 1983 as Bell Atlantic, and was one of the “Baby Bells” that were formed after the breakup of AT&T. Bell Atlantic merged with fellow Baby Bell NYNEX in 1997, and then merged with GTE in 2000 to form Verizon. The new company name is a portmanteau of “veritas” (“truth” in Latin) and “horizon”.

13 Mink wraps : STOLES

A stole is a narrow shawl. It can be made of quite light decorative material, but also can be heavier if made of fur.

There are two species of mink extant: the European Mink and the American Mink. There used to be a Sea Mink which was much larger than its two cousins, but it was hunted to extinction (for its fur) in the late 1800s. American Minks are farmed over in Europe for fur, and animal rights activists have released many of these animals into the wild when raiding mink farms. As a result the European Mink population has declined due to the presence of its larger and more adaptable American cousin.

14 Laredo’s state : TEXAS

Laredo is a border city in Texas that is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, across the border from Nuevo Laredo in Mexico.

20 Forearm bone : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

21 Barry, Robin or Maurice of pop music : GIBB

Barry Gibb was the oldest of the trio of brothers who made up the Bee Gees. Robin also did a lot of songwriting, both with and without his siblings. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the second most successful songwriter in history, after Paul McCartney.

Robin Gibb was one of the twin brothers (with Maurice) in the sibling trio known as the Bee Gees. Off the stage, Robin had an eventful life. While travelling with his first wife he survived a devastating rail crash in 1967 that killed 49 fellow passengers. That marriage ended in divorce in the early eighties. Gibb ended up in jail for two weeks after that divorce, for speaking to the press about the marriage in breach of a court order.

Maurice Gibb was the keyboard-player of the trio of brothers who made up the Bee Gees. Maurice was a big fan of the Beatles and was friends with at least two of them. John Lennon introduced him to his favorite drink, which was whiskey and soda. Maurice ended up abusing alcohol for decades, and one of his drinking buddies was Ringo Starr.

22 Seehorn of “Better Call Saul” : RHEA

Rhea Seehorn is an actress best known for playing lawyer Kim Wexler in the TV crime drama “Better Call Saul”.

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off drama series from the hit show “Breaking Bad”. The main character is small-time lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, who featured in the original series. “Better Call Saul” is set six years before Goodman makes an appearance in the “Breaking Bad” storyline. The lawyer’s real name is James Morgan McGill, and his pseudonym is a play on the words “S’all good, man!”

26 Humorist Mort : SAHL

Mort Sahl is a Canadian-born actor and comedian who moved to the US with his family when he was a child. Sahl became friends with John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy became president, Sahl wrote a lot of jokes for the President’s speeches, although he also told a lot of Kennedy jokes in his acts. After the President was assassinated in 1963, Sahl was intensely interested in finding out who was behind the crime and even got himself deputized as a member of one of the investigating teams. He was very outspoken against the results of the Warren Commission report on the assassination, and soon found himself out of favor with the public. It took a few years for him to make his comeback, but come back he did.

27 Email filter target : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

28 __ moon : FULL

The phases of the moon have been given the following names, in order:

  • New moon
  • Waxing crescent moon
  • First quarter moon
  • Waxing gibbous moon
  • Full moon
  • Waning gibbous moon
  • Third quarter moon
  • Waning crescent moon
  • Dark moon

30 Word before check or forest : RAIN-

The original rain check is a complimentary ticket for a future game given to paying spectators at a baseball game that has been canceled due to rain. The first such rain checks were issued in the 1870s. The first professional team to use a rain check system were the St. Louis Brown Stockings, in 1877.

Strictly speaking, the terms “rainforest” and “jungle” are related, but different. A healthy rainforest has a thick canopy of leaves so that the ground below is relatively clear of vegetation due to a lack of sunlight. When the canopy thins, the increase in sunlight promotes growth of tangled vegetation at ground level producing the habitat that we refer to as “jungle”.

31 Minstrel’s strings : LUTE

The lute is a stringed instrument with a long neck and usually a pear-shaped body. It is held and played like a guitar, and was popular from the Middle Ages right through to the late Baroque era. A person who plays the lute can be referred to as a “lutenist”.

36 Malt drink since 1904 : OVALTINE

Ovaltine is a milk-flavoring product that was developed in Berne, Switzerland in the early 1900s. It is still called by its original name in its native Switzerland, namely “Ovomaltine”. The “ovo-maltine” name reflects the main ingredients back then: eggs and malt.

37 At one’s __ and call : BECK

To be at someone’s beck and call is to be ready to do what that person wants. The term “beck” describes a muted signal used to “beckon”.

38 Pac-Man ghost : INKY

The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points, while being pursued by ghosts named Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. The name of the game comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, who is known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

40 Friendly femme : AMIE

“Frauen” (“women” in German) live across the border from “femmes” (“women” in French).

43 Mass leader : PRIEST

The principal act of worship in the Roman Catholic tradition is the Mass. The term “Mass” comes from the Late Latin word “missa” meaning “dismissal”. This word is used at the end of the Latin Mass in “Ite, missa est” which translates literally as “Go, it is the dismissal”.

48 Newspaper media : PRESS

We often refer to newspapers and journalists collectively as “the press”. The term comes from the association with the printing press.

51 Giza’s river : NILE

Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile, about 20 km southwest of Cairo. The nearby Giza Plateau is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments on the planet, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx.

52 Col. headings on many spreadsheets : QTYS

Quantity (qty.)

53 Iris layer : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

57 Newsroom staff members, for short : EDS

Editor (ed)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Hit the jackpot : GET RICH
8 One with faulty “I” sight? : EGOTIST
15 Deficiency of red blood cells, across the pond : ANAEMIA
16 Pasta specification : AL DENTE
17 Symbol on the “5” key : PERCENT
18 Handyman’s carryall : TOOLBOX
19 Aid for shade at the shore : BEACH UMBRELLA
21 Abdomen neighbor : GROIN
23 Parisian article : LES
24 Pool sticks : CUES
25 Chain with links : IHOP
26 Nine-digit ID : SSN
28 Rivals : FOES
29 Award first won by Naughty by Nature : BEST RAP ALBUM
33 Scrooge’s cry : BAH!
34 Norwegian pop band that sounds like a revelation : A-HA
35 “http” often begins one : URL
36 Judoka’s belt : OBI
39 “Breaking news!” teaser : FILM AT ELEVEN!
42 Washer cycle : SPIN
44 Rx item : MED
45 Pool hall triangle : RACK
46 Jefferson’s vice president : BURR
47 News agcy. : UPI
49 Obstinate : BALKY
50 Facebook invite … to which the circled letters respond : FRIEND REQUEST
54 Area sheltered from the wind : LEE SIDE
55 Former weekly with home viewing listings : TV GUIDE
58 Most of Google’s revenue : AD SALES
59 Had a hankering : YEARNED
60 Wobbles : TOTTERS
61 Glossy cottons : SATEENS

Down

1 Generation divide : GAP
2 LA-to-Denver dir. : ENE
3 Hat similar to a fez : TARBOOSH
4 Proof of purchase : RECEIPT
5 “Let me explain … ” : I MEAN …
6 Prez’s title : CINC
7 Biblical word of possession : HATH
8 Cake’s instruction to Alice : EAT ME
9 Chunks : GLOBS
10 Prominent garlic feature : ODOR
11 Verizon’s biz : TELECOM
12 Dressed like many Union soldiers : IN BLUE
13 Mink wraps : STOLES
14 Laredo’s state : TEXAS
20 Forearm bone : ULNA
21 Barry, Robin or Maurice of pop music : GIBB
22 Seehorn of “Better Call Saul” : RHEA
26 Humorist Mort : SAHL
27 Email filter target : SPAM
28 __ moon : FULL
30 Word before check or forest : RAIN-
31 Minstrel’s strings : LUTE
32 Raised, as cattle : BRED
36 Malt drink since 1904 : OVALTINE
37 At one’s __ and call : BECK
38 Pac-Man ghost : INKY
39 Tries to hit, as a rifle range target : FIRES AT
40 Friendly femme : AMIE
41 Evidence of an error : ERASURE
42 “You bet!” : SURE DO!
43 Mass leader : PRIEST
46 Note above A : B-FLAT
47 Farm milk “dispenser” : UDDER
48 Newspaper media : PRESS
49 Sired, biblically : BEGAT
51 Giza’s river : NILE
52 Col. headings on many spreadsheets : QTYS
53 Iris layer : UVEA
56 Lair : DEN
57 Newsroom staff members, for short : EDS

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 May 21, Tuesday”

  1. 1 or 2 errors. 3D got me. TARBOOSH. I guessed TERBOOSH and I didn’t know the Brits spelled ANEMIA as ANAEMIA.. but I should have guessed better on TARBOOSH.
    Got a kick out 17A. I always print the puzzle and sit in front of my computer. I read the clue “symbol above 5”.. I couldn’t resist, and looked at my keyboard. HA!!
    As far as rest of grid, where did BALKY and TOTTERS come from? I’ll be sure to slip those 2 words into conversation and see the looks I get.

    @vidwan – I read your Sunday entry with delight. It reminded me of @POOKIE.. any one remember her? And yes, Thank you Bill!!

  2. No errors. “film at eleven” was a little obscure, but got
    it right through the down clues.

    1. It’s published bi-weekly (hence “former weekly”, though it’s another example of legions of inaccurate confusing language that appears in the crosswords). They went from the small format (4×6?) to a standard magazine format. They still publish certain cable and national listings and have a large number of articles.

      1. So if the TV Guide is now a bi-weekly, it is, in fact, a former weekly. How is that inaccurate? (Or even confusing?)

        I would say that crosswords are definitely intended to sharpen an ability to consider alternate interpretations of “simple” English phrases (a valuable skill to have, given that a lot of the people one deals with from day to day do not express themselves clearly).

  3. Although I had no errors or Googles, I found this slow-going.
    Did not actually know BEST RAP ALBUM, AHA, RHEA, TARBOOSH.
    Wondered why the president would be number 5 (C IN C).
    On the other hand, people my age know SAHL as well as old-fashioned words such as TOTTERS or BALKY.

    1. Yeah. I’m often called a “tottering old fool” … oh, wait … I think that’s “doddering old fool” … so … never mind (but either one might be apropos, these days … 😜).

  4. 10 mins 28 seconds and 2 errors, where T[A]RBOOSH and ANAEMIA cross.

    Tuesday is too damned early in the week for that cross!!!

  5. A bit tricky for a Tuesday; took 21:29 with no errors or peeks, but almost lost patience and did a look-up. I knew Aha – “Take on Me”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3meKlaJL3qo but never heard of Naughty by Nature, Rhea and a few other things. Rhea wasn’t in “Breaking Bad” and I still haven’t seen “Better Call Saul” yet. A little surprised that the Judo belt is also called OBI, since I thought it only applies to kimonos…learn something new every day.

    Turns out there’s a hookah bar next town over named Tarboosh. 🙂

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