LA Times Crossword 7 May 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Sparks Everywhere

Themed answers are all common phrases reinterpreted with reference to AN ELECTRICIAN:

  • 16A Tight deadlines may make an electrician’s job __ : GO DOWN TO THE WIRE
  • 24A An electrician who is testing results may become a __ : SWITCH HITTER
  • 42A An electrician resolves legal matters at __ : CIRCUIT COURT
  • 56A A stressed electrician may need an __ : EMOTIONAL OUTLET

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

Bill’s time: 8m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Fear the Walking Dead,” e.g. : SPIN-OFF

“Fear the Walking Dead” is a horror TV series, a prequel to the sister show “The Walking Dead”. There are lots of zombies. I don’t do zombies …

14 Legendary name in racing : MAN O’ WAR

Man o’ War is thought by many to be the greatest thoroughbred racehorse of all time, having won 20 of 21 races in his career just after WWI.

30 Schooner pole : MAST

By definition, a schooner is a sailing vessel with two or more masts, but one on which the foremast is shorter than the rear mast(s).

33 Where FDR was once governor : NYS

Franklin D. Roosevelt served as Governor of New York from 1929 until 1932. He moved into the White House in 1933, and served as US president until his death in 1945.

37 Poetic devices : SIMILES

A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.

40 “Shameless” network, briefly : SHO

“Shameless” is a comedy drama TV series about a dysfunctional Chicago family consisting of six children and a single father who spends his days drunk. The US show is a remake of the original British “Shameless” that is based on a similar family who live in Manchester in the North of England.

47 Old AT&T rival : MCI

MCI was a giant telecom company that suffered a similar fate to Enron, and around about the same time. MCI’s stock price fell in 2000 and, in maneuvers designed to protect the price, the company committed illegal acts. MCI’s larger-than-life CEO Bernie Ebbers served 13 years of a 25-year sentence, before being released due to a decline in health. He died one month later.

Down

1 Executed, in Exodus : SMOTE

To smite is to strike with a firm blow. The term “smite” can also mean “strike down and slay”.

2 City near Venice : PADUA

The city of Padua is in northern Italy, and not far from Venice. Padua has many claims to fame. For example, Galileo was one of the lecturers at the University of Padua, and William Shakespeare chose the city as the setting for his play “The Taming of the Shrew”.

8 Discuss ad nauseam : REHASH

To do something “ad nauseam” is to do so to a ridiculous degree, to the point of nausea. “Ad nauseam” is the Latin for “to sickness”.

10 Vampire’s curfew : DAWN

Legends about vampires were particularly common in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans in particular. The superstition was that vampires could be killed using a wooden stake, with the preferred type of wood varying from place to place. Superstition also defines where the body should be pierced. Most often, the stake was driven through the heart, but Russians and northern Germans went for the mouth, and northeastern Serbs for the stomach.

Our word “curfew” comes from an Old French word meaning “cover fire”. In medieval days a bell would ring in the evenings as a signal to bank the hearths in preparation for sleeping. The intent was to prevent uncontrolled fires starting from fireplaces that were not tended during the night.

11 Comics dog that sounds like two letters : ODIE

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, and the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

13 Wichita-to-Memphis dir. : ESE

Wichita, Kansas started out as a trading post established by Jesse Chisholm in the 1860s, a stopover on the famous Chisholm Trail. Wichita became one of the railheads on the Chisholm Trail, the end point of many cattle drives from Texas. As such, Wichita earned the nickname “Cowtown”.

Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi River, and the largest city in the state of Tennessee. Memphis is also relatively young, having been founded in 1819 as a planned city. The founders were John Overton, James Winchester and future US president Andrew Jackson. The American Memphis is named for the Egyptian Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt located on the River Nile.

17 Big field in Silicon Valley : TECH

The Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

22 Cocktail word with a tilde : PINA

“Piña colada” is a Spanish term that translates into “strained pineapple”. The piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum …

The tilde diacritical mark (~) is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

23 Texter’s “Chat soon” : TTYL

Talk to you later (ttyl)

24 Dispassionate type : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

25 UPC bar code developer : IBM

The initialism “UPC” stands for Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code. The first ever UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

26 Travis of country music : TRITT

Travis Tritt is a country singer from Marietta, Georgia.

30 Catchall abbr. : MISC

Out terms “miscellany” and “miscellaneous” ultimately come from the Latin verb “miscere” meaning “to mix”.

32 Marquee figure : STAR

A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.

36 Capote nickname : TRU

The larger-than-life Truman “Tru” Capote was an author and comedian. Capote is perhaps most associated with his novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and his true crime novel “In Cold Blood”. Truman Capote grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. There he met, and became lifelong friends with, fellow novelist Harper Lee. Capote was the inspiration for the character “Dill” in Lee’s celebrated work “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In turn, Harper Lee was the inspiration for the character “Idabel” in Capote’s “Other Voices, Other Rooms”.

38 Chits : IOUS

A chit is a note or a short letter. The term tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but was closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself, because when we are at school we would be excused from class if we had a “chitty”.

47 Creator of an iconic bear : MILNE

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

50 X-rated stuff : SMUT

“Smut” means “dirt, smudge” and more recently “pornographic material”. The term comes from the Yiddish “schmutz”, which is a slang word used in English for dirt, as in “dirt on one’s face”.

When the Motion Picture Association film rating system was introduced in 1968, the most restrictive class was an X-rating. Persons under 16 were not admitted to such films. A few years later, the guidelines were changed for all ratings, and no one under the age of 17 was admitted to films rated X. Over time, the term “X-rating” became associated with pornographic films, and so the under-17 restriction was relabeled in 1990 to “NC-17”.

51 __ sapiens : HOMO

The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

53 Pre-euro currency : LIRA

The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

56 Critical-care ctrs. : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

58 Number of World Series wins for the Astros : ONE

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Fear the Walking Dead,” e.g. : SPIN-OFF
8 Fixed up : REDONE
14 Legendary name in racing : MAN O’ WAR
15 Keeps away from : EVADES
16 Tight deadlines may make an electrician’s job __ : GO DOWN TO THE WIRE
18 Reversal : U-TURN
19 Picked up : LEARNED
20 Leaves for a drink : TEA
21 How it looks, with “the” : … OPTICS
24 An electrician who is testing results may become a __ : SWITCH HITTER
30 Schooner pole : MAST
33 Where FDR was once governor : NYS
34 Face with courage : BRAVE
35 Counting everything : IN TOTAL
37 Poetic devices : SIMILES
39 Link to another story? : STAIR
40 “Shameless” network, briefly : SHO
41 It may be raised at an outdoor wedding : TENT
42 An electrician resolves legal matters at __ : CIRCUIT COURT
46 Glum : MOROSE
47 Old AT&T rival : MCI
50 “Let’s begin, okay?” : SHALL WE?
54 Doesn’t hack it : FAILS
56 A stressed electrician may need an __ : EMOTIONAL OUTLET
59 They may be going around : RUMORS
60 Saskatchewan neighbor : MONTANA
61 Patronize, as a motel : STOP AT
62 Person well over 70, probably? : SPEEDER

Down

1 Executed, in Exodus : SMOTE
2 City near Venice : PADUA
3 “Are you __ out?” : IN OR
4 “Don’t take it so hard” : NOW NOW
5 Take responsibility for : OWN
6 Butter component : FAT
7 Kicks up one’s heels : FROLICS
8 Discuss ad nauseam : REHASH
9 At any time : EVER
10 Vampire’s curfew : DAWN
11 Comics dog that sounds like two letters : ODIE
12 Bookish sort : NERD
13 Wichita-to-Memphis dir. : ESE
16 __ feeling : GUT
17 Big field in Silicon Valley : TECH
22 Cocktail word with a tilde : PINA
23 Texter’s “Chat soon” : TTYL
24 Dispassionate type : STOIC
25 UPC bar code developer : IBM
26 Travis of country music : TRITT
27 Account : TALE
28 Square : EVEN
29 Sit a spell : REST
30 Catchall abbr. : MISC
31 Contradictory prefix : ANTI-
32 Marquee figure : STAR
36 Capote nickname : TRU
37 “Leave me alone!” : SHOO!
38 Chits : IOUS
40 Roller coaster sounds : SCREAMS
43 “Wait, what?” : I’M LOST
44 Dot on a map : TOWN
45 Disprove : REFUTE
47 Creator of an iconic bear : MILNE
48 Understood : CLEAR
49 Musician’s suffix : -IST
50 X-rated stuff : SMUT
51 __ sapiens : HOMO
52 Surmounting : ATOP
53 Pre-euro currency : LIRA
55 Slightly : A TAD
56 Critical-care ctrs. : ERS
57 Chop (off) : LOP
58 Number of World Series wins for the Astros : ONE

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 May 21, Friday”

  1. 22:24 no errors…what a pleasure to not have to know Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Russian, and Greek to finish a nice puzzle👍👍👍
    Stay safe😀

  2. Spent most of the time staring at the SE corner. Finally got Montana after the longest time trying to come up with a Canadian city or Province that fit. That got me going and the next thing I knew the puzzle was done.

  3. I like country music but don’t follow it closely and never heard of a Travis Tritt. I was certain the answer for 26D was “Randy” Travis so, naturally, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to answer the surrounding clues. I finally gave up and Googled the answer. After that, the rest of the puzzle fell into place nicely.

  4. 23:51 with some help.
    I’m not a pro, so I’m very happy just getting a Friday puzzle.
    Don’t know what others thought, but I thought this was a well constructed and clued puzzle.
    Waaayyyy better than yesterday’s …

  5. 10 minutes, 19 seconds, no errors. This is more like it. A bit of a challenge, but all the clues work, the theme is not too “stretched”…

  6. 20:59

    Good theme, and a challenging puzzle. Got stuck for the longest time in the SE, until I changed 45D from REBUTT to REFUTE.

    Also got a few laughs out of yesterday’s comments on “yoink!”

  7. Fun Wechsler Friday; took 17:19 with no errors or peeks. Like everyone else I had to dance around in the SE with REbuTs/bAILS/SPEnDER before finally straightening things out. As soon as Manitoba didn’t fit I went across the border with MONTANA.

    Checked out Travis TRITT – His latest “hit” is “Smoke in a Bar”…I decided to pass on listening to it.

    I think I finally get the “yoink” thing; it’s just the word yank animated by the cartoonish sound you “could” make when grabbing something from someone…”yoink!!”

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