LA Times Crossword 11 Jun 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Some Like It, not ‘Ot

Themed answers are common phrases in which an “ot” sound has been replaced with an “it” sound:

  • 18A Monarch known for her sketches? : MARY, QUEEN OF SKITS (from “Mary, Queen of Scots”)
  • 28A Lessons in sympathy? : PITY TRAINING (from “potty training”)
  • 48A “If you hate my work, make your own sweater!”? : LIKE IT OR KNIT (from “like it or not”)
  • 62A Like “Ode on an Eaten Apple”? : WRITTEN TO THE CORE (from “rotten to the core”)

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

Bill’s time: 10m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Davis with two Oscars : BETTE

I must confess that I have a problem watching movies starring Bette Davis. I think I must have seen her play one of her more sinister roles when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares or something.

18 Monarch known for her sketches? : MARY, QUEEN OF SKITS (from “Mary, Queen of Scots”)

Mary, Queen of Scots ruled over Scotland from 1542 until 1567, even though she spent most of that reign in France, where she had grown up. 16-year-old Mary married 9-year-old Francis, the Dauphin of France in 1558, and the following year became queen consort when her husband acceded to the throne. Francis only ruled for a year before dying of natural causes. The young widow returned to Scotland, the country of her birth, in 1561. In 1567, Mary was forced to abdicate the Scottish throne in favor of her one-year-old son James, after an uprising against Mary and her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell. Mary fled south to seek the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England. As Mary had once claimed Elizabeth’s throne as her own, Elizabeth had Mary imprisoned. Mary was held in confinement for over 18 years and eventually beheaded in 1587, having been found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth.

21 Gridiron strategy : PUNT

We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for taking two decades living in the US to work out that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking.

23 It has no cutting edge : EPEE

The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

24 Prince in both parts of “Henry IV” : HAL

“Prince Hal” is a term used for Prince Henry, the son of the title character in Shakespeare’s plays “Henry IV, Part 1” and “Henry IV, Part 2”. Prince Hal then becomes king in Shakespeare’s “Henry V”.

26 MGM rival : RKO

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio was founded in 1924 by Marcus Loew. Loew was already a successful movie theater owner when he purchased Metro Pictures Corporation in 1919, and then Goldwyn Pictures in 1924. Later in 1924, Loew also purchased Louis B. Mayer Pictures, mainly so that Louis B. Mayer could merge all three studios and run them himself as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

40 Sitter’s bane : IMP

Today, we tend to use the word “bane” to mean “anathema, a source of persistent annoyance”. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

42 __ culpa : MEA

Many Roman Catholics are very familiar with the Latin phrase “mea culpa” meaning “my fault”, as it is used in the Latin Mass. The additional term “mea maxima culpa” translates as “my most grievous fault”.

45 Egyptian talisman : SCARAB

Scarabs were amulets in ancient Egypt. Scarabs were modelled on the dung beetle, as it was viewed as a symbol of the cycle of life.

51 Zodiac symbol : SCALES

The constellation of Libra is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that isn’t named for a living creature.

56 Judge with a bat : AARON

Aaron Judge is a baseball outfielder who was selected as 2017’s American League Rookie of the Year. Judge is a big guy. He weighs 282 pounds, and is 6 foot 7 inches tall.

61 Start a round : TEE UP

That would be golf.

65 Woodworking tool : ADZE

An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe blade is set in line with the shaft.

67 Cyclo- suffix : -TRON

A cyclotron accelerates charged particles (ions) using a magnetic field, usually directing the particles round and round a huge underground circular structure.

70 Part of DOS: Abbr. : SYST

MS-DOS (short for “Microsoft Disk Operating System”) was the main operating system used by IBM-compatible PCs in the eighties and for much of the nineties.

Down

2 Biblical twin : ESAU

Esau was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described with “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

3 Seagull kin : 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.

5 Legal honorific: Abbr. : ESQ

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank, say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

8 Fox’s partner on “The X-Files” : DANA

“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that originally aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.

10 DHL alternative : UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn). DHL was acquired by Germany’s Deutsche Post in 2002.

13 Rock ending, in dance : -ETTE

The famous Rockettes can be seen in Radio City Music Hall. They have an amazing schedule during the Christmas season when they perform five high-kicking shows every day, seven days a week. The troupe has been doing this every Christmas since 1932, until a COVID-19 pandemic hit …

14 Shine partner : RISE

Rise and shine!

20 Seedless plant : FERN

Ferns are unlike mosses in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

27 Kipling title hero : KIM

“Kim” is a novel by Rudyard Kipling that was first published in serial form, from 1900 to 1901. The title character, whose full name is Kimball O’Hara, is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier who lives like a vagabond in India during the days of the British Raj. The boy grows up to become a spy working for the British.

29 “Last Call” singer Braxton : TRACI

Singer Traci Braxton began her career with the quintet of sisters known as the Braxtons. Traci is perhaps best known these days for her appearance on the reality show “Braxton Family Values”.

31 Minute Maid Park athlete : ASTRO

Enron Field, as it was known, is a retractable-roof ballpark that was built next to Houston’s old Union Station. Enron paid $100 million to get its name on the field, and then when the world found out what a scam Enron actually was, the Astros bought back the contract for the name, for a mere $2.1 million. The stadium became Astros Field for a few months, until the Coke people paid $170 million for a 28-year contract to rename the stadium Minute Maid Park. A good deal for the Astros, I’d say.

33 Study applicable to many sciences : GAME THEORY

Game theory is a mathematical theory used to test strategies for maximizing gains and minimizing losses within a “game”. That “game” might be poker or bridge, or perhaps global nuclear war …

34 Freak (out) : WIG

The idea behind the expression “to wig out”, meaning “to go crazy”, is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might “lift your hair/wig”.

35 Med. care provider : HMO

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Make your choice, if you can …

38 Bubble __ : TEA

Bubble tea, sometimes called “boba tea”, is a tea-based drink from Taiwan. The “bubbles” are chewy tapioca balls that are usually added to the drink.

45 French “his” : SES

“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its” when referring to a group of items or individuals.

46 Lib. contents : BKS

Our word “library” ultimately derives from the Latin “liber” meaning “book”.

49 Daily Planet reporter : KENT

The “Daily Planet” is the fictional newspaper for which Clark Kent and Lois Lane work in the “Superman” universe. Clark and Lois’ editor-in-chief is Perry White.

50 Silver with stats : NATE

Nate Silver is a statistician who gained celebrity by developing a forecasting system that predicted the future performance of baseball players. He then made a name for himself in the world of politics by predicting the outcome of the 2008 US presidential race on his website FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver successfully predicted the outcome of the election in 49 of the 50 states, missing out on Indiana, which Barack Obama won by less than 1% of the vote. FiveThirtyEight was less successful in predicting the specifics of the 2012 presidential election, but came closer than almost all other pollsters. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight predicted a victory for Hillary Clinton, but with a much lower probability than other poll aggregators. And, they all got it wrong. Oh, and why the name FiveThirtyEight.com? Because there are 538 electors in the US electoral college.

52 Rap’s __ B : CARDI

“Cardi B” is the stage name of rap artist Belcalis Almánzar from the Bronx in New York City. The name “Cardi B” comes from the brand name “Bacardi”.

54 Roman bills : EUROS

The euro sign (€) looks like a letter C, but with two horizontal lines drawn across the middle. Inspiration for the design comes from the Greek letter epsilon.

58 Prestigious English school : ETON

Eton College near Windsor in the south of England was founded way back in 1440 by King Henry VI. Originally known as “The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor”, the school was intended to provide free education to poor boys. Free education today at Eton? Not so much …

59 Vegan staple : TOFU

“Tofu” is a name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has curdled. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it …

60 [Ignore that dele] : [STET]

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Davis with two Oscars : BETTE
6 Also says : ADDS
10 Say : UTTER
15 Warranty holders : USERS
16 Word with life or world : REAL …
17 Indication of further installments : PART I
18 Monarch known for her sketches? : MARY, QUEEN OF SKITS (from “Mary, Queen of Scots”)
21 Gridiron strategy : PUNT
22 It’s often filled with things for which it was not intended : GARAGE
23 It has no cutting edge : EPEE
24 Prince in both parts of “Henry IV” : HAL
26 MGM rival : RKO
28 Lessons in sympathy? : PITY TRAINING (from “potty training”)
34 Ownership query word : WHOSE?
36 Precipitous : RASH
37 Substantial : MEATY
40 Sitter’s bane : IMP
41 Starter at some tables : ANTE
42 __ culpa : MEA
43 Ascend : GO UP
45 Egyptian talisman : SCARAB
47 Bill : BEAK
48 “If you hate my work, make your own sweater!”? : LIKE IT OR KNIT (from “like it or not”)
51 Zodiac symbol : SCALES
53 Military bands : SASHES
56 Judge with a bat : AARON
57 Related groups : SETS
61 Start a round : TEE UP
62 Like “Ode on an Eaten Apple”? : WRITTEN TO THE CORE (from “rotten to the core”)
65 Woodworking tool : ADZE
66 One working on the house : ROOFER
67 Cyclo- suffix : -TRON
68 Having multiple leaders : TIED
69 “Phooey!” : AW NUTS!
70 Part of DOS: Abbr. : SYST

Down

1 Sign suggesting slowing : BUMP
2 Biblical twin : ESAU
3 Seagull kin : TERN
4 “Taste it” : TRY THIS
5 Legal honorific: Abbr. : ESQ
6 Space : AREA
7 Woodland grazers : DEER
8 Fox’s partner on “The X-Files” : DANA
9 Tough go : SLOG
10 DHL alternative : UPS
11 “Taste it” : TAKE ONE
12 Activate, as a switch : TRIP
13 Rock ending, in dance : -ETTE
14 Shine partner : RISE
19 Way some situations turn : UGLY
20 Seedless plant : FERN
25 Wasted, as profits : ATE
27 Kipling title hero : KIM
28 Make big, in a way : POPULARIZE
29 “Last Call” singer Braxton : TRACI
30 Charged : RAN AT
31 Minute Maid Park athlete : ASTRO
32 “They say … ” : I HEAR …
33 Study applicable to many sciences : GAME THEORY
34 Freak (out) : WIG
35 Med. care provider : HMO
38 Bubble __ : TEA
39 Babble : YAK
44 Took the lead : PILOTED
45 French “his” : SES
46 Lib. contents : BKS
47 Divides equally : BISECTS
49 Daily Planet reporter : KENT
50 Silver with stats : NATE
51 Noticed attending : SAW AT
52 Rap’s __ B : CARDI
54 Roman bills : EUROS
55 Used up : SPENT
57 TV screen spots : SNOW
58 Prestigious English school : ETON
59 Vegan staple : TOFU
60 [Ignore that dele] : [STET]
63 Distinctive period : ERA
64 PO door posting : HRS

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Jun 21, Friday”

  1. The top part of this grid started off so easy it lulled me into a false sense of security. Then, “WHAM” it suddenly turned opaque in a hurry. Finally finished without final error or googling but plenty of ink overs as I tried to make sense of things which didn’t fit and frustrated me for awhile.

  2. An interesting theme today.

    A usual Friday needing much figuring things out – 26:36 with one look up for “Substantial” which then let me fill in the rest of that 3×3 grid on the side. Could not get past a “Bill” being financial or headwear on 47A; or thinking there might be a different culpa than mea on 42A.

    Went through OSSIE and GEENA before getting BETTE for an Oscar-winning Davis. TRACI Braxton was new to me. Otherwise, the top half worked through fairly quickly; but the bottom half was a slow go until I figured out “POPULARIZE”, “WRITTENTOTHECORE”, and a few intersecting downs.

  3. Started late this morning, but ended with no errors. I did not know
    Aaron Judge or “game theory” but they fit the spaces, so went with
    them.

    “Pity training” gave away the theme to me, so it was easier after
    that.

  4. A little over thirty min. With no errors…the NYT 0507 and today’s LAT are 5 weeks apart and yet the same clue so often appears in both puzzles…today it’s CARDI B. …strange?
    Why do setters use abbreviations that are so vague like 46 & 64D?
    Stay safe😀

  5. 29:59, which felt much longer.

    Bit of a SLOG. It’s as if 9D was a warning.

    I got WRITTENTOTHECORE early on, and eventually MARYQUEENOFSKITS clued me in. In between were a lot of bad guesses, bafflement, and banging my head against the grid.

    I do like seeing words like BISECTS, GAMETHEORY, and cycloTRON. SETS remind me that I was a math major until I got to group theory, and I couldn’t make sense of it.

  6. 19 mins 40 secs, and escaped unscathed.

    I get a printed paper on Fridays, and they have the LAT grid, but do not print a by-line. So I had no idea this was a Wechsler grid going in, or I would have just skipped it.

    As it was, I thought of throwing in the towel more than once, with the tricky clueing in this one. The totally useless theme didn’t help in solving until the very end, with the added W of WRITTEN obscuring things even further. This was just not an easy puzzle at all. Not even sure how I finished it, with all the overwrites and corrections I made…

  7. I’m amazed I got most of a Wechsler! I didn’t get LIKE IT OR KNIT cuz I was messed up on POPULARIZE and GAME THEORY.
    Like others, I didn’t actually know AARON, had Geena before BETTE.
    Many good guesses.
    I was very tired, with my son and g’son in town after not seeing them for 2 yrs. Maybe exhausted is the proper way to do a Wechsler!

  8. 25:57, 1 error. Wechsler definitely pulled a “hold my beer” with Paleos on the bad puzzle front. Definitely in the running for worst LAT puzzle this year.

  9. usual Friday slog for me and unable to finish…Agree with Tony Michaels that it started off easy, including mary queen of skits, but then it was frustrating….

  10. Too tough for me today; took 37:07 with several look-ups to get through the W, SW and NW. Like Tony and Randy I had the top in no time, except for parts of the NW, and then hit a brick wall after that. After much trial and error, I groped my way through the rest of the puzzle, save the aforementioned parts. Whiffed on PUNT, POPULARIZE, HAL, AARON (2nd time I’ve seen him), PILOTED, TRACI (??) and GO UP.

    Probably should have tried harder on those, especially PUNT and POPULARIZE, which may have helped get the rest.

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