LA Times Crossword 21 Jun 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Chris Sablich
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: How Sweet It Is!

Themed answers each start with something SWEET:

  • 52A Jackie Gleason catchphrase, and a hint to the starts of 20-, 28- and 46-Across : HOW SWEET IT IS!
  • 20A Hospital volunteer named for a feature of their uniform : CANDY STRIPER
  • 28A One of two on a post-wedding vacation : HONEYMOONER
  • 46A Legal border-crossing spot : PORT OF ENTRY

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

Bill’s time: 4m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Scandal suffix : -GATE

The Watergate scandal is so named because it involved a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The Watergate complex is made up of five units, three of which are apartment buildings, one an office building, and one a hotel-office building (which housed the DNC headquarters). Watergate led to the “-gate” suffix being used for many subsequent scandals, such as “Irangate”, “Bridgegate” and “Deflategate”.

5 Dog of unknown ancestry : MUTT

The original use of the term “mutt” was for a foolish person, and was probably short for “muttonhead”. The usage evolved into today’s “mongrel dog”.

9 One of the Musketeers : ATHOS

Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is the trio’s young protégé D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

14 Trojan War hero : AJAX

Ajax was a figure in Greek mythology, and was the cousin of Achilles. Ajax is an important figure in Homer’s “Iliad”. According to Homer, Ajax was chosen by lot to meet Hector in an epic duel that lasted a whole day. The duel ended in a draw.

The ancient city of Troy was located on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. The Trojan War of Greek mythology was precipitated by the elopement of Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, with Paris of Troy. The war itself largely consisted of a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greeks. We know most about the final year of that siege, as it is described extensively in Homer’s “Iliad”. The city eventually fell when the Greeks hid soldiers inside the Trojan Horse, which the Trojans brought inside the city’s walls. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts …

15 Where the seven “-stan” countries are : ASIA

The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”.

16 San __, city SE of L.A. : DIEGO

The name of the California city of San Diego dates back to 1602, when Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno named the area after the Catholic Saint Didacus. Saint Didacus was more commonly referred to as San Diego de Alcalá.

17 Bulldoze : RAZE

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means “build up”.

The largest bulldozer ever manufactured is the Acco Super Bulldozer, built in Italy. It weighs in at 183 tonnes, and has a dozer blade that is 7 meters wide and 2.7 meters high. Only one of these bulldozers was ever built, and it was intended for shipment to Libya in the early eighties. The machine never left Italy, as sanctions were placed on the Libyan regime run by Colonel Gaddafi.

19 La Scala offering : OPERA

La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its Italian name “Teatro alla Scala”.

20 Hospital volunteer named for a feature of their uniform : CANDY STRIPER

Hospital volunteers used to be referred to as candy stripers. The term “candy striper” came from the pinafores worn by female volunteers starting in the 1940s. Those pinafores were made from a red-and-white striped fabric called “candy stripe”, due to the resemblance to the stripes on a candy cane. Candy stripers weren’t the only volunteers. Those sponsored by the Red Cross wore blue-and-white striped pinafores and were known collectively as the Blue Teens. Older female volunteers in the same group were known as the Grey Ladies, due to their light grey uniforms.

23 Hindu honorific : SRI

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

28 One of two on a post-wedding vacation : HONEYMOONER

The concept of a honeymoon vacation only started in the early 1800s. In Britain, wealthy couples would take a “bridal tour” together after the wedding, visiting those friends and relatives who could not attend the ceremony. The etymology of “honeymoon” isn’t very clear, and may even have a negative derivation as it might suggest that the sweetness (honey) of love is doomed to wane like a passing phase of the moon. The equivalent terms in other languages are “moon of honey” (French), “honey month” (Welsh) and “tinsel week” (German).

35 Dreadlocks wearer : RASTA

Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair that are usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.

41 Gangster’s gal : MOLL

The slang term “moll” is used for the female companion of a gangster. “Moll” is short for “Molly”, which is a nickname for “Mary”. In 17th-century England, a moll was a prostitute.

42 Hurricane or tornado, often : DISASTER

A severe tropical storm is called a hurricane when it occurs in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, a typhoon in the Northwest Pacific, and a cyclone in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. Tropical storms form over warm water, picking up energy from the evaporation from the ocean surface.

Funnel clouds are funnel-shaped clouds that drop down from the base of larger clouds, marking rotating columns of winds. When a funnel cloud touches the ground, it is referred to as a tornado.

44 Panfry : SAUTE

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

49 Cocktail server : BAR

Our word “cocktail” first appeared in the early 1800s. The exact origin of the term is not clear, but it is thought to be a corruption of the French word “coquetier” meaning “egg cup”, a container that was used at that time for serving mixed drinks.

51 The “S” in CBS: Abbr. : SYS

CBS used to be known as the Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS introduced its “eye” logo in 1951. That logo is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign.

52 Jackie Gleason catchphrase, and a hint to the starts of 20-, 28- and 46-Across : HOW SWEET IT IS!

“How sweet it is!” was perhaps Jackie Gleason’s most famous catchphrase. Gleason grew up in Brooklyn, and drivers entering the borough today via the Brooklyn Bridge are greeted by a road sign announcing “How Sweet It Is!”

Jackie Gleason is an icon in the comedic acting world. His most famous role on the small screen was Ralph Kramden on “The Honeymooners”. On the big screen, two of his memorable roles were Minnesota Fats in 1961’s “The Hustler” and Sheriff Buford T. Justice in the “Smokey and the Bandit” films. Gleason was also noted for his interest in the paranormal. He built a house in the shape of a UFO that he called “The Mothership”. Gleason also claimed that President Nixon took him on a secret visit to Homestead AFB in Florida where he saw an alien spaceship and dead extraterrestrials!

58 Bolt who bolts : USAIN

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

64 Fly like a seagull : GLIDE

Gulls are a family of seabirds that is most closely related to terns. Some species of gull can be quite clever. For example, they can reportedly use pieces of bread as a bait to catch goldfish in ponds. Others can be quite fearless, and have been known to land on the backs of whales and peck out pieces of flesh.

66 Prefix with gram : KILO-

Today, the gram is defined as one thousandth of a kilogram, with the kilogram being equal to the mass of a physical sample preserved by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (well, up until 2019, when it became more hi-tech than I can explain!). Prior to 1960, the gram was defined as the weight of a cubic centimeter of pure water (at the temperature of melting ice).

68 British WWII gun : STEN

The STEN gun is an iconic armament that was used by the British military. The name STEN is an acronym. The letters S and T come from the name of the gun’s designers, Shepherd and Turpin. The letters EN comes from the Enfield brand name, which in turn comes from the Enfield location where the guns were manufactured for the Royal Small Arms Factory, an enterprise owned by the British government.

69 Adam’s first home : EDEN

According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

Down

1 Long-nosed fish : GAR

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

2 1977 Steely Dan album : AJA

Steely Dan’s heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993, and is still performing today despite the passing of founding member Walter Becker in 2017. Steely Dan’s best-selling album is “Aja” (pronounced like “Asia”), which was released in 1977.

3 Toon devil : TAZ

The “Looney Tunes” character known as the Tasmanian Devil, or “Taz”, first appeared in a cartoon short with Bugs Bunny called “Devil May Care” in 1954.

5 Title P.I. played by Tom Selleck and Jay Hernandez : MAGNUM

“Magnum, P.I.” is a TV series that aired in the eighties starring Tom Selleck in the title role. The show was incredibly successful, especially during its first five years. Many big names made guest appearances including Vic Morrow, Orson Welles and Frank Sinatra. The series was rebooted in 2018 as “Magnum P.I.” (no comma!) with Jay Hernandez playing the title character.

8 Ink spots? : TATS

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

10 Easy two-pointer : TIP-IN

That would be basketball.

11 Dickens villain Uriah : HEEP

Uriah Heep is a sniveling and insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.

12 Shrek, e.g. : OGRE

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

21 “The Queen’s Gambit” star __ Taylor-Joy : ANYA

Actress Anya Taylor-Joy had quite the international upbringing. She was born in Miami, and then raised in Buenos Aires and then London. She is perhaps best known for playing the title character in the 2020 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma”, and the lead role in the Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit”.

“The Queen’s Gambit” is a wonderful 2020 miniseries based on a 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. Anna Taylor-Joy plays a young chess prodigy who has a tough upbringing in an orphanage, and who then struggles with alcohol and drug dependency. The series was so popular with viewers that it sparked a renewed interest in the game of chess, with sales of chess sets and chess books increasing dramatically.

24 Amp toter : ROADIE

A “roadie” is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the “road”.

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

29 Jazz great James : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

30 Dizzying paintings : OP ART

Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.

31 Actor Beatty : NED

Actor Ned Beatty is possibly best remembered for the rather disturbing “squeal like a pig” scene in the movie “Deliverance”. Beatty also earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1976 movie “Network”.

33 Meager : PALTRY

The contemporary adjective “paltry” comes from an older use of “paltry” as a noun meaning a “worthless thing”.

37 Muscat is its capital : OMAN

Muscat is the capital of Oman. The city lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

44 Big rig : SEMI

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

47 Manny Machado, before becoming a Padre : ORIOLE

Manny Machado is a baseball player who started his professional career with the Baltimore Orioles. Although he was born in Miami, Machado opted to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. His defensive play during that competition earned him the nickname “El Ministro de la Defensa”.

49 Reverse of a hit 45 : B-SIDE

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

52 Laurie of “House” : HUGH

English actor and comedian Hugh Laurie used to be half of a comedy double act with Stephen Fry called simply “Fry and Laurie”. Fry and Laurie met in Cambridge University through their mutual friend, actress Emma Thompson. Over in North America, Laurie is best known for playing the title role in the medical drama “House”.

53 Norway’s capital : OSLO

Oslo is the capital of Norway. The city of Oslo burns trash to fuel half of its buildings, including all of its schools. The problem faced by the city is that it doesn’t generate enough trash. So, Oslo imports trash from Sweden, England and Ireland, and is now looking to import some American trash too.

55 Goes out, as the tide : EBBS

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

57 Sushi bar drink : SAKE

We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.

62 Pale __ : ALE

Pale ale is a beer made using mainly pale malt, which results in a relatively light color for a malted beer.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Scandal suffix : -GATE
5 Dog of unknown ancestry : MUTT
9 One of the Musketeers : ATHOS
14 Trojan War hero : AJAX
15 Where the seven “-stan” countries are : ASIA
16 San __, city SE of L.A. : DIEGO
17 Bulldoze : RAZE
18 Mannerly fellow : GENT
19 La Scala offering : OPERA
20 Hospital volunteer named for a feature of their uniform : CANDY STRIPER
23 Hindu honorific : SRI
26 Huge fan : NUT
27 Layer on the farm : HEN
28 One of two on a post-wedding vacation : HONEYMOONER
32 Health resort : SPA
35 Dreadlocks wearer : RASTA
36 Like thoughts you’d rather not share : PERSONAL
38 Prepare for publication : EDIT
39 Digging tool : SPADE
41 Gangster’s gal : MOLL
42 Hurricane or tornado, often : DISASTER
44 Panfry : SAUTE
45 Solidify : SET
46 Legal border-crossing spot : PORT OF ENTRY
49 Cocktail server : BAR
50 Ewe’s mate : RAM
51 The “S” in CBS: Abbr. : SYS
52 Jackie Gleason catchphrase, and a hint to the starts of 20-, 28- and 46-Across : HOW SWEET IT IS!
58 Bolt who bolts : USAIN
59 Footwear for snow : BOOT
60 “Oh dear!” : ALAS!
64 Fly like a seagull : GLIDE
65 Hay unit : BALE
66 Prefix with gram : KILO-
67 Sank on the green : HOLED
68 British WWII gun : STEN
69 Adam’s first home : EDEN

Down

1 Long-nosed fish : GAR
2 1977 Steely Dan album : AJA
3 Toon devil : TAZ
4 Suit in a corner office : EXEC
5 Title P.I. played by Tom Selleck and Jay Hernandez : MAGNUM
6 Did, but not anymore : USED TO
7 Wee : TINY
8 Ink spots? : TATS
9 Ardent fans : ADORERS
10 Easy two-pointer : TIP-IN
11 Dickens villain Uriah : HEEP
12 Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
13 Fly at a great height : SOAR
21 “The Queen’s Gambit” star __ Taylor-Joy : ANYA
22 “I did it!” : THERE!
23 Destroys, as docs : SHREDS
24 Amp toter : ROADIE
25 Demand : INSIST
29 Jazz great James : ETTA
30 Dizzying paintings : OP ART
31 Actor Beatty : NED
32 Hog noses : SNOUTS
33 Meager : PALTRY
34 Narrow passages between buildings : ALLEYS
37 Muscat is its capital : OMAN
39 Put away for later : STORE
40 According to : PER
43 Gave birth to : SPAWNED
44 Big rig : SEMI
47 Manny Machado, before becoming a Padre : ORIOLE
48 Make plump : FATTEN
49 Reverse of a hit 45 : B-SIDE
52 Laurie of “House” : HUGH
53 Norway’s capital : OSLO
54 Haunted house sound : WAIL
55 Goes out, as the tide : EBBS
56 Just right : TO A T
57 Sushi bar drink : SAKE
61 Pot top : LID
62 Pale __ : ALE
63 Relative in some business names : SON

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Jun 21, Monday”

    1. Just a wonderful time, Glenn. We managed 97%, with 6 omissions and counting
      each box as 0.5%. I also got the Jumble and Wonderword, both of no consequence
      to the LAT puzzle.

      Tell A Nonny Muss hi for me, if you would.

      Stay safe and well.

  1. Easy. Never noticed theme. Didn’t actually know: ANYA, AJA, and the sports terms TIP IN or HOLED. Didn’t know hole was a verb.

  2. No errors. Love Mondays!
    I played my AJA album until I almost wore it out! Great songs, good times!
    Stay safe! 😊

  3. Wow! After struggling with yesterday’s puzzle this morning…today’s
    was like a walk on the beach. No errors, no lookups.

  4. 4:19

    Sweet indeed.

    Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry also starred in a delightful adaption of the Jeeves and Wooster stories.

  5. 12:36 with two lookups. Couldn’t be by crossings RASTA/ANYA and HUGH/USIAN. For sure should’ve know USIAN BOLT – mind clog …

  6. Nice easy Monday; took 8:58 with no errors or peeks. Having missed “The Queen’s Gambit” I saw Anya Taylor-Joy when she hosted SNL recently, which she did an excellent job of.

    I love the word “MOLL” and have to admit a certain envy for the gangster having one. Having learned from a recent puzzle that I share a birthday with Machine Gun Kelly….hmm, although I definitely don’t want too end up on Alcatraz. 🙂 Maybe I’ll just listen to Steely Dan’s “With a Gun.”

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