LA Times Crossword 25 Jun 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Grant Boroughs
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Not What It Seems?

Themed clues are common words that have been reinterpreted:

  • 17A Expending? : ALREADY DONE (no longer “pending”)
  • 24A Improved? : SPECULATED (more than “proved”)
  • 38A Unstable? : PUT OUT TO PASTURE (take out of a “stable”)
  • 50A Delight? : EXTINGUISH (the opposite of “light”)
  • 61A Distress? : GET A HAIRCUT (get rid of a “tress”)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Org. visited by zombie victims in season one of “The Walking Dead” (there was no cure) : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

“The Walking Dead” is a horror television show made by AMC that is based on a comic book series of the same name. There are lots of flesh-eating zombies featured, so I won’t be caught “dead” watching it …

A zombie is a corpse that has been brought back to life by some mystical means. Our modern use of the term largely stems from the undead creatures featured in the 1968 horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. Now that film I haven’t seen, and probably never will …

11 Place to relax : SPA

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

14 Virgo preceder : LEO

The constellation named Leo can be said to resemble a lion. Others say that it resembles a bent coat hanger. “Leo” is the Latin for “lion”, but I’m not sure how to translate “coat hanger” into Latin …

The astrological sign of Virgo is associated with the constellation of the same name. The Virgo constellation is related to maidens (virgins), purity and fertility.

16 Not talking : MUM

The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.

19 Zoo draw : APE

The world’s first zoo opened in Britain in 1820. Now known as “London Zoo”, the facility was referred to back then as the “Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London”. The term “zoo” is a shortening of “zoological”.

20 Only single-syllable surname in an immortal ’60s quartet : STARR

Sir Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles, replacing drummer Pete Best, Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name “Ringo Starr”, because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded “cowboyish”. Back then his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time”.

27 He beat Connors at Wimbledon in 1975 : ASHE

The great American tennis player Arthur Ashe spent the last years of his life writing his memoir called “Days of Grace”. He finished the manuscript just a few days before he passed away, dying from AIDS caused by a tainted blood transfusion.

Jimmy Connors is a former number-one ranked professional tennis player. In fact, he was the first male player to hold that number-one ranking for over 200 weeks. Famously, Connors was engaged to fellow champion Chris Evert in the mid-seventies.

30 Signal for help : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

45 Beethoven’s “Ah! perfido” and others : ARIAS

“Ah! perfido” (“Ah! Deceiver” translated into English from Italian) is a Beethoven aria. One notable performance of “Ah! perfido” was at the premieres of the composer’s fifth and sixth symphonies in 1808 in Vienna.

53 Stout-bodied rodent : VOLE

Vole populations can increase very rapidly. Mama vole is pregnant for just three weeks before giving birth to litters of 5-10 baby voles. Then, the young voles become sexually mature in just one month! If you have one pregnant vole in your yard, within a year you could have over a hundred of the little critters.

57 Bric-a-__ : BRAC

“Bric-a-brac” is a French phrase (actually “bric-à-brac”) that was used as far back as the 16th century. Back then, it was a nonsense term meaning “at random” or “any old way”. Since Victorian times we have used the phrase in English to describe a collection of curios, statues and the like. In modern usage, bric-a-brac tends to be a selection of cheaper items.

58 Pacific __ : RIM

The phrase “Pacific Rim” describes the countries that surround the Pacific Ocean. The related phrase “Pacific Basin” includes the islands in the Pacific Ocean, in addition to the Pacific Rim nations.

67 Mil. honor : DSM

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is the highest non-valorous decoration awarded for services to the US military.

68 Court stat : ASSISTS

That would be a basketball court.

Down

2 Fraternity letter : DELTA

Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. We are most familiar with an upper-case delta and its distinctive triangular shape. The letter’s shape has influenced terms such as “deltoid muscle” and “river delta”. The upper-case delta is also used in mathematics and science to indicate a change in value. The lower-case delta looks a bit like our lower-case D, and indeed the Greek letter delta gave us our Latin letter D.

3 Snorkeler’s sight, perhaps : CORAL

Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.

Our word “snorkel” comes from German navy slang “Schnorchel” meaning “nose, snout”. The German slang was applied to an air-shaft used for submarines, due to its resemblance to a nose, in that air passed through it and it made a “snoring” sound. “Schnorchel” comes from “Schnarchen”, the German for “snore”.

5 Gate info : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

7 Death Row Records co-founder : DR DRE

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

Death Row Records was an incredibly successful record label in the nineties. It was founded by Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, The D.O.C. and Dick Griffey. Record sales started to decline in the late nineties after the murder of its best-selling artist Tupac Shakur, and the incarceration of co-found Knight. Death Row Records filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006.

8 Imperturbable sorts : STOICS

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.

10 Only Fibonacci number that appears twice in the sequence : ONE

Leonardo of Pisa was a famous and respected Italian mathematician, also known as simply “Fibonacci”. He is remembered for writing about a number sequence (although he didn’t “discover” it) that later was given the name “Fibonacci sequence”. He wrote about the series of numbers in his book called “Liber Abaci”, a celebrated work that introduced Arabic numerals (i.e. 0-9) to the Western world.

11 Make spiffy : SMARTEN UP

A spiff is a well-dressed man.

12 Larvae precede them : PUPAE

A pupa is a stage in the life of some insects. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Pupae can look like little dolls, hence the name. “Pupa” is the Latin for “doll”.

13 Update for the better : AMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

18 Writer Bombeck : ERMA

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

22 Spectrum : GAMUT

In medieval times, the musical scale was denoted by the notes “ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la”. The term “gamma ut”, shortened to “gamut”, was used to describe the whole scale. By the 1620s, “gamut” was being used to mean the entire range of anything, the whole gamut.

24 Camera operator’s concern : SHOT

A shot (also “snapshot”) is a single photographic exposure.

30 UV-blocking letters : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

31 Jacque’s okay : OUI

In French, a response on “un questionnaire” (a questionnaire) might be “oui” (yes) or “non” (no).

36 Org. once led by Charlton Heston : NRA

As well as having a fine career as an actor, Charlton Heston was a noted political activist. In the fifties he was very much a progressive and left-leaning in his political views. He was one of the few in Hollywood to speak out against racism and support the Civil Rights Movement. Later in his life, Heston became more associated with the conservative right, and was president of the National Rifle Association.

37 Tree in the genus Taxus : YEW

Yew trees were placed around churches and in graveyards all over Europe. The reason for the practice seems to be unclear, but one suggestion is that fronds from yew trees were used as substitutes for palms on Palm Sunday.

39 “Hamlet” courtier : OSRIC

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Osric is the courtier that Claudius dispatches to invite Hamlet to participate in a duel.

41 Aqueduct feature : ARCH

Aqueducts are bridges built to allow the movement of water across valleys and ravines. The term “aqueduct” comes from the Latin “aqua” (water) and “ducere” (to lead).

51 Discovery honored with the inaugural Nobel Prize in Physics : X-RAYS

X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901, Röntgen’s work on X-rays won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded.

52 Japanese porcelain : IMARI

Imari is a port city located on the island of Kyushu in Japan. What Europeans know as Imari porcelain actually isn’t made in Imari, but rather in the nearby town of Arita. The name Imari was given to the porcelain because it was the port through which the ceramic ware was shipped. In Japan, the porcelain is called Arita-yaki.

54 Name associated with a razor : OCCAM

Ockham’s Razor (also “Occam’s Razor”) is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something. The principle is referred to as “lex parsimoniae” in Latin, or “the law of parsimony”. Parsimony is being thrifty with money or resources.

55 “Family Matters” daughter : LAURA

“Family Matters” was a sitcom that aired in the late eighties and nineties, and was a spinoff of the sitcom “Perfect Strangers”. Famously, the main character in the show was Steve Urkel, played by Jaleel White. Oddly enough, Urkel did not show up at all in the first half of the first season.

59 Orwell’s Napoleon and Snowball : PIGS

In George Orwell’s classic 1945 novella, Napoleon and Snowball are two young pigs that lead a revolt on the farm. Orwell created Napoleon as an allegory of Russian revolutionary and leader Joseph Stalin. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky.

61 School stat : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

63 Certain farm worker : ANT

“Formicary” is another name for “ant nest”, and comes from the Latin “formica” meaning “ant”. The phrase “ant colony” describes the ants living in an ant nest. A formicarium is similar to an aquarium, and used to house an ant colony perhaps for study. The phrase “ant farm” is usually reserved for ant nests built by an ant colony in a formicarium.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Org. visited by zombie victims in season one of “The Walking Dead” (there was no cure) : CDC
4 Looks after : TENDS TO
11 Place to relax : SPA
14 Virgo preceder : LEO
15 Begin : START ON
16 Not talking : MUM
17 Expending? : ALREADY DONE (no longer “pending”)
19 Zoo draw : APE
20 Only single-syllable surname in an immortal ’60s quartet : STARR
21 Drilling structure : RIG
22 Family nickname : GRAN
23 Conceal, in a way : PALM
24 Improved? : SPECULATED (more than “proved”)
27 He beat Connors at Wimbledon in 1975 : ASHE
29 Note next to a D? : SEE ME
30 Signal for help : SOS
33 Party VIP : HOST
35 Optimistic : SUNNY
38 Unstable? : PUT OUT TO PASTURE (take out of a “stable”)
42 Word of distinction : FIRST
43 As it __ : WERE
44 Print maker : PAW
45 Beethoven’s “Ah! perfido” and others : ARIAS
48 Vineyard measure : ACRE
50 Delight? : EXTINGUISH (the opposite of “light”)
53 Stout-bodied rodent : VOLE
57 Bric-a-__ : BRAC
58 Pacific __ : RIM
59 Sweet potato casserole topper : PECAN
60 Personal holder of tricks? : BAG
61 Distress? : GET A HAIRCUT (get rid of a “tress”)
64 Look at : EYE
65 Looking closely : PEERING
66 “You __ here” : ARE
67 Mil. honor : DSM
68 Court stat : ASSISTS
69 Scratch, e.g. : MAR

Down

1 Hold tight : CLASP
2 Fraternity letter : DELTA
3 Snorkeler’s sight, perhaps : CORAL
4 Old Eurasian ruler : TSAR
5 Gate info : ETD
6 Voice vote option : NAY
7 Death Row Records co-founder : DR DRE
8 Imperturbable sorts : STOICS
9 Shoe part : TONGUE
10 Only Fibonacci number that appears twice in the sequence : ONE
11 Make spiffy : SMARTEN UP
12 Larvae precede them : PUPAE
13 Update for the better : AMEND
18 Writer Bombeck : ERMA
22 Spectrum : GAMUT
24 Camera operator’s concern : SHOT
25 Nuisance : PEST
26 Minor : LESSER
28 Recluse : SHUT-IN
30 UV-blocking letters : SPF
31 Jacque’s okay : OUI
32 Scheme to gain an end : STRATAGEM
34 Drag along : TOW
36 Org. once led by Charlton Heston : NRA
37 Tree in the genus Taxus : YEW
39 “Hamlet” courtier : OSRIC
40 Garden __ : PEAS
41 Aqueduct feature : ARCH
46 Signs, with “to” : AGREES …
47 Hotel options : SUITES
49 Even once : EVER
50 Pulled back : EBBED
51 Discovery honored with the inaugural Nobel Prize in Physics : X-RAYS
52 Japanese porcelain : IMARI
54 Name associated with a razor : OCCAM
55 “Family Matters” daughter : LAURA
56 Oft-used key : ENTER
59 Orwell’s Napoleon and Snowball : PIGS
61 School stat : GPA
62 Relaxed greetings : HIS
63 Certain farm worker : ANT

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Jun 21, Friday”

  1. No errors.. very quick fill for a Friday.
    My wife is a DIE-hard fan of The Walking dead.. and also all the offshoots. The Talking Dead is also a cult following.. I was into it the first year or two. … but come on!! How many zombies do you need to kill. Now it’s just another Soap Opera!!!

    1. I agree. The prefix “im” generally means “not” or “opposite of” as in impossible or impolite. “Speculated” is an appropriate answer, while Mr. Butler’s explanation misses the mark.

      The word “improve,” however, seems to have a different different origin than most other “im” words. It derives from the Anglo-French “emprouwer” which means “to turn to profit.”

  2. Surprisingly undifficult for a Friday – 18:55 with no lookups or errors. Did not get the theme with “Expending?” and “Improved?” but the others were clear enough. Thanks to Bill for the explanations. I also don’t care for horror films, zombies, gore, and the like.

  3. Under 30 min. with no errors…I needed this one after that horrid NYT 0521 that I just struggled with and ended up as a DNF.
    Being the “odd man out” that I usually am I love The Walking Dead and the spin-offs …it’s not just about killing Zombies, there are many good story lines and intense episodes👍
    Stay safe 😀

  4. @Dirk (yesterday)
    FWIW, I remembered V from all the mini-series they did based off of it in the 1980s. But what you definitely ran into is the difference between “real” sci-fi and “popular” sci-fi. Star Wars, Star Trek, and stuff like that, including most movies, are the latter and tend to more focus on the story line and besides certain elements aren’t that different from any other movie. The “real” stuff tends to focus a lot more on the world-building. The fascination the fans get with it is more that arena along with the fantasy of placing themselves into it. You get some of that with any sci-fi (Trekkies anyone?), but the story line generally just isn’t that palatable in the “real” stuff.

    Of course, the real fascination of “real” sci-fi is studying it through the years and see how much of it has been translated to science fact. I read a ton of material a couple of weeks ago the last time it came up, and definitely realized there’d be much fruit if a good researcher with the time and the book deal could come up with a good book on the topic (if it hasn’t already happened).

  5. 9:40

    I agree with Jeff: something that’s SPECULATED is not proven at all.

    The Fibonacci sequence has fascinated people for centuries. It’s defined as a sequence in which each entry is the sum of the previous two. Thus: 0,1,1,2,3,5…
    It can be seen in natural shapes that accumulate through continuous growth, such as the coils of a snail’s shell.

  6. Slightly tricky Friday for me; took 28:58 with 10 minutes spent on the words in an around EXTINGU__H, which I missed two letters from. If I’d spent just a little time on the theme, perhaps I would’ve gotten EXTINGUISH from de-light, but alas I tried to solve the puzzle without the theme.

    @Glenn – I checked your reference and it seems you’re referring to Kenneth Johnson’s “V” franchise. The novel “V” is the fictional debut of Thomas Pynchon and is a kind of artsy, weird dream sequence story about an ex-sailor and his exploits/adventures. Apparently it is well put together and well written, but ultimately about nothing, according to Time (Wiki). His later novel “Gravity’s Rainbow” would probably appeal to former/current spies or students of the Blitz, as long as they are somewhat kinky. I didn’t finish it, but I suspect it is about nothing also. I was turned on to the author by a former Harvard/Stanford housemate. A nice guy and very smart, but probably a bit artsy.

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