LA Times Crossword 3 Jun 21, Thursday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Parikshit S. Bhat
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Spuzzling?

Themed answers are common phrases starting with the letter P, but with a letter S added at the start:

  • 17A Fish eggs seller? : SPAWN SHOP (from “pawn shop”)
  • 25A Command to Siri to read the clock? : SPEAK TIME (from “peak time”)
  • 35A Public relations fund? : SPIN MONEY (from “pin money”)
  • 50A Recreational libation? : SPORT WINE (from “port wine”)
  • 59A Music for a feisty orator? : SPUNK ROCK (from “punk rock”)

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

Bill’s time: 7m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 “Mississippi Masala” filmmaker __ Nair : MIRA

Indian-American director Mira Nair has an impressive list of movies on her résumé, most notably perhaps “Mississippi Masala”. “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” and “Monsoon Wedding”.

17 Fish eggs seller? : SPAWN SHOP (from “pawnshop”)

I remember the bad old days growing up in Dublin, Ireland, when my mother had to go to the pawnshop (bad times!). I’d wait outside with my brother, looking up at the pawnbroker’s sign, three gold balls hanging down from a metal bar. This traditional sign used by pawnbrokers is said to date back to the Medici family as the sign had symbolic meaning in the province of Lombardy where the Medici family reigned supreme. Because of this connection, pawnshop banking was originally called Lombard banking.

21 City ESE of Phoenix : MESA

The city of Mesa, Arizona is in effect a suburb of Phoenix. The original settlement of non-Native Americans was founded by Daniel Webster Jones who led a Mormon group from St. George, Utah. The settlement was first called Jonesville, then Fort Utah and eventually Lehi. A second group of Mormons arrived and formed a settlement on top of a nearby mesa. It was this use of a mesa that eventually gave the city its current name.

24 Tim who voiced Buzz Lightyear : ALLEN

Tim Allen is a comedian and comic actor from Denver, Colorado. Allen is probably still best known for playing the lead in the sitcom “Home Improvement”, and on the big screen as Santa Claus in “The Santa Clause” series of movies. Famously, Allen served over 2 years in prison for drug-related offenses in his twenties. He cleaned up his act though, and seems to have made a great life for himself.

1995’s “Toy Story” was the world’s first feature-length computer-animated movie. “Toy Story” was also the studio Pixar’s first production. The main roles in the film are Buzz Lightyear and Woody, who are voiced by Tim Allen and Tom Hanks respectively. Hanks was the first choice to voice Woody, but Allen was asked to voice Buzz after Billy Crystal turned down the role.

25 Command to Siri to read the clock? : SPEAK TIME (from “peak time”)

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

34 She played Thelma in “Thelma & Louise” : GEENA

As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …

35 Public relations fund? : SPIN MONEY (from “pin money”)

Pin money is a small amount set aside for minor expenditures or for some fun activity. Back in the 14th century, the tradition in England was that pins were only offered for sale on January 1st and 2nd. Generous husbands (!) would provide their wives with “pin money” to purchase these luxury items. The allowance given to wives was later used for other fun items, but the phrase “pin money” persisted.

38 One of a 15th-century seagoing trio : PINTA

Famously, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Niña and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana who was a lookout on the fateful day. Pinta was a nickname for the ship that translated as “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in the mists of time.

41 Soft drink nut : KOLA

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

47 How Clint Eastwood usually delivers his lines : TERSELY

Actor and director Clint Eastwood is a native of San Francisco, California. As a few of us perhaps remember, Eastwood’s big break was playing the supporting role of Rowdy Yates in the TV show “Rawhide” in the late fifties and early sixties. He then became the face of the spaghetti western genre of movie in the sixties, most notably in the classic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. In later years Eastwood has branched out into directing and producing with remarkable success. And of course in the late eighties he also served as mayor of his hometown, Carmel-by-the-Sea.

50 Recreational libation? : SPORT WINE (from “port wine”)

Back in the 14th century, libation was the pouring of wine in the honor of a god. The term “libation” comes from the Latin word “libare”, which basically means the same thing. Nowadays we tend to use “libation” as a somewhat ornate word for a drink.

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

53 Copious : AMPLE

Something described as copious is plentiful in number. “Copia” is a Latin word meaning “abundance, ample supply”, and “Copia” was the Roman goddess of abundance (as in “cornucopia”).

55 “Too great a burden to bear”: M.L. King Jr. : HATE

Here is a powerful quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

56 Food recall reason : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

62 Drag racer’s fuel, briefly : NITRO

“Laughing gas” is a common name for nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic, particularly by dentists. It is also used in motor racing to increase the power output of engines. Laughing gas was first synthesized by the English chemist Joseph Priestley, but it was Humphry Davy who discovered its potential as an anesthetic. Once it was realized that the gas could give the patient a fit of the giggles, “laughing gas parties” became common among those who could afford them.

Back in the 18th century, “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted “drag” as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

63 Word repeated in a combat term : MANO

“Mano a mano” is Spanish for “hand-to-hand”, and is used in English to mean “face-to-face”.

64 Scary-sounding lake : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

66 Hebrew for “skyward” : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

Down

1 Early hrs. : AMS

The 12-hour clock has been around a long time, and was even used in sundial format in ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.

8 Tent made of skins : TEPEE

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

10 Play that gave us the word “robot” : RUR

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1921 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

12 Biblical trio : WISE MEN

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

16 Exclusive MLB cap supplier : NEW ERA

The New Era Cap Company is a headwear manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York. It is New Era that supplies all the official baseball caps used by the Major League teams.

26 Three-pointer, in hoops lingo : TREY

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even for a three-point play in basketball.

28 Ocean State sch. : URI

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus is located in the village of Kingston.

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, and is the second-most densely populated. (after New Jersey). Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State (and more informally “Little Rhody”), largely because about 14% of the state’s area is made up of ocean bays and inlets. Exactly how Rhode Island got its name is a little unclear. What is known is that way back in 1524, long before the Pilgrims came to New England, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano likened an island in the area to the Island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean. There were subsequent references to “Rhode Island” in English publications, before the colonists arrived.

32 Texter’s “I feel” : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

33 “Tropic Thunder” actor Nick : NOLTE

Actor Nick Nolte got his big break playing opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in “The Deep”, released in 1976. Prior to that, he had worked as a model. Nolte appeared in a magazine advertisement for Clairol in 1972 alongside fellow model and future actor Sigourney Weaver.

“Tropic Thunder” is a satirical action movie written, produced and directed by Ben Stiller. On top of all that, he stars in the film alongside Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr.

36 Temple of the gods : PANTHEON

The Pantheon in Rome was built as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome. Even though the Pantheon was built almost two thousand years ago, the roof at its center remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.

38 Moving engine part : PISTON

In most internal combustion engines the pistons that move up and down are arranged in a line, and connected to a crankshaft that runs along the bottom of the engine. The up and down motion of the pistons turns the crankshaft, which turning motion is “transmitted” (via the “transmission”) to the wheels. The case surrounding the crankshaft is called the crankcase. The crankcase contains a lot of oil that is squirted onto the crankshaft to lubricate it. Excess oil falls to the bottom of the crankcase and into a reservoir called the oil pan.

44 Bill promoting science? : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

46 Defunct flier : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

49 Marshmallow treats : S’MORES

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

52 Site of many a climber’s goal : NEPAL

Nepal lies to the northeast of India. Today, the state is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country’s general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.

56 Hydroxyl compound : ENOL

An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, and so is part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol”, therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.

60 “Sonata Quasi __ Fantasia”: Beethoven’s “Moonlight” : UNA

Beethoven subtitled his “Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2” as “Quasi una fantasia”, or “sonata in the manner of a fantasy” in English. Five years after Beethoven died, a music critic wrote that the first movement of the piece had an effect like that of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Since then, the work has been known as the “Moonlight Sonata”.

61 New Zealand parrot : KEA

The kea is a large parrot that is native to the South Island of New Zealand. Apparently, tourists love keas as they are intelligent and curious. Natives tend to regard them as pests, for the same reasons.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Multiple choice test options, often : ABCD
5 Researched item : FACT
9 It may be knitted : BROW
13 “Mississippi Masala” filmmaker __ Nair : MIRA
14 Many a map dot : ISLE
15 Skirmish : RUN-IN
17 Fish eggs seller? : SPAWN SHOP (from “pawnshop”)
19 Delete : ERASE
20 Admit a mistake : OWN IT
21 City ESE of Phoenix : MESA
23 Morning drops : DEW
24 Tim who voiced Buzz Lightyear : ALLEN
25 Command to Siri to read the clock? : SPEAK TIME (from “peak time”)
27 Arranged : LAID OUT
29 “You’re on the right track” : WARMER
30 North end? : -ERN
31 Golf date ruiner : RAIN
34 She played Thelma in “Thelma & Louise” : GEENA
35 Public relations fund? : SPIN MONEY (from “pin money”)
38 One of a 15th-century seagoing trio : PINTA
41 Soft drink nut : KOLA
42 Clamorous sound : DIN
45 “Let me rephrase that … ” : I MEANT …
47 How Clint Eastwood usually delivers his lines : TERSELY
50 Recreational libation? : SPORT WINE (from “port wine”)
53 Copious : AMPLE
54 Top __ : TEN
55 “Too great a burden to bear”: M.L. King Jr. : HATE
56 Food recall reason : E COLI
57 Address with style : ORATE
59 Music for a feisty orator? : SPUNK ROCK (from “punk rock”)
62 Drag racer’s fuel, briefly : NITRO
63 Word repeated in a combat term : MANO
64 Scary-sounding lake : ERIE
65 Tend : LEAN
66 Hebrew for “skyward” : EL AL
67 __ date : SET A

Down

1 Early hrs. : AMS
2 Like Earth : BIPOLAR
3 Enter on hands and knees : CRAWL IN
4 Finally occurred to, with “on” : DAWNED …
5 It may be pumped in victory : FIST
6 Stuff in a tray : ASH
7 Tread noisily : CLOMP
8 Tent made of skins : TEPEE
9 Fragile goods concern : BREAKAGE
10 Play that gave us the word “robot” : RUR
11 Instantly : ON A DIME
12 Biblical trio : WISE MEN
16 Exclusive MLB cap supplier : NEW ERA
18 Boy of la casa : NINO
22 Spotted : SAW
24 Golden brew : ALE
25 Smelled really bad : STANK
26 Three-pointer, in hoops lingo : TREY
28 Ocean State sch. : URI
32 Texter’s “I feel” : IMO
33 “Tropic Thunder” actor Nick : NOLTE
35 Rating unit : STAR
36 Temple of the gods : PANTHEON
37 Scot’s refusal : NAE
38 Moving engine part : PISTON
39 Leave vulnerable : IMPERIL
40 Recent delivery : NEONATE
42 Regret strongly : DEPLORE
43 Under-the-table : ILLICIT
44 Bill promoting science? : NYE
46 Defunct flier : TWA
48 Bike storage aid : RACK
49 Marshmallow treats : S’MORES
51 Response at the door : IT’S ME
52 Site of many a climber’s goal : NEPAL
56 Hydroxyl compound : ENOL
58 La-la preceder : TRA-
60 “Sonata Quasi __ Fantasia”: Beethoven’s “Moonlight” : UNA
61 New Zealand parrot : KEA

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Jun 21, Thursday”

  1. 5:11, no errors. Back to some degree of normalcy after yesterday and after dealing with 0429 NYT (Good night!).

    @randy
    Jeffrey Wechsler is one of the “old guard” constructors that tends to pull a lot looser cluing along with some things a lot of newer constructors don’t which makes their puzzles not very novice-friendly (he’s one of the last constructors I stopped DNFing in LAT land). Of course, it doesn’t help that a lot of utterly poor (for various reasons) cluing and answer combinations tend to come out with certain constructors compared to others. Certain other names I’ve encountered when I started this come to mind while I’m thinking about this that I kind of want to try now … but yeah.

    And for some other random “personal” stuff. I used to have a blog where I threw some random crossword observations and some pat answers on some things, but really couldn’t afford to keep it. Anyway some more stuff that would have went there: Themes can usually be pretty invisible and pretty useless, but sometimes you can look for the theme later in the week and get an idea that might help you, especially if the theme entries themselves are nonsense (no such thing as a “SPAWN SHOP”, for instance). This one is very simple, once you see that S starts every one, you can just fill in the S on every theme entry, and then look for whatever the constructor started with and see if it makes sense. Often times, if you know how to locate the theme entries (usually longest across or *’d, but sometimes the longest downs if it befits), you can know to avoid trying to do them as straight clues at least until you can play a little “Wheel of Fortune” on them.

    One thing I used to do when I started was comment more on the content of the grid. Really not too much today, but in looking at 10-Down, it’s interesting to note how so much science fiction tends to inspire inventions to the point the sci-fi itself just becomes passe since a lot of it turned into reality in the 100 years or less since the work was originally written. It’s definitely easy to get lost in some of the material written on the topic.

  2. No errors. Never heard of KNITTED BROW? Have to try that out at the office.. “What’s with the KNITTED BROW?”

  3. @glen.. did the NEWSDAY today.. no errors. Yay me. Couple of variants that tripped me up but I got it.

  4. One error box; I blew Nepal and wrote nepil; pride goeth before a
    fall. Clever theme though. I liked Bill’s “spuzzling”.

    1. All four-letter words. There’s a theme I can get behind!! Words to hurl at the constructor and the editor! 🙂

  5. A “knitted brow” is a frown. Think of knit as “pull together” or “unite,” as in “hearts knit together in love.”

  6. 18:58 – a minor miracle for me for a Thursday puzzle.
    3 lookups (elal, una, mano (argh). Typo on mira (yeesh).
    Never heard of ern, rur or enol but got the crosses.

    1. Hi Lou lu. You say you’ve “Never heard of ern” But I know you have heard of “northern” and that’s the ern…(as in Northern Exposure).

  7. Under 30 min. With no errors…after finishing NYT 0429 this seemed like a Monday puzzle👍
    Stay safe😀

  8. Challenging, but worth it. Liked the theme. I’ll be putting S before P all day: SPIT STOP, SPINUP GIRL, SPLAY BALL, SPRINT FORM. They just get worse. Addictive.
    Had to Google for TREY, NEW ERA, – both sports; and EL AL, ENOL.

    Do racers really use NITRO?

    Had “dog” before guN before TEN, and stOMP before CLOMP.

  9. 11:08

    @Glenn, when you mention noticing the S+phrase theme leading one to put S’s at the beginnings of long answers, that’s exactly what I did today.

    I start with the Downs, because I noticed that the clues are often easier than the Acrosses, where theme answers usually live.

    Being a former math major, I noticed several words with numerical meanings. It almost felt purposeful. But I could be just seeing faces in the clouds.

    1.
    UNA

    2.
    BIPOLAR
    MANO is said twice

    3.
    three ships, including the PINTA
    three WISEMEN
    TREY

    4.
    ABCD

    10.
    ONADIME
    TEN

  10. Re Bill’s comments about Nick Nolte (33D) – I think the claim that Nolte was in a Clairol ad w/ Sigourney Weaver has been debunked. The woman in the ad is actually a model named Chris O’Connor. Google “chris o’connor nick nolte clairol ad” and you’ll be directed to various pinterest articles correcting the original claims about Weaver.

  11. 9:25, and DNF, with the bottom center being the culprit. The clues down there are unconscionable. Clueing “MANO” with no indication that *the word* in question is in Spanish, then right under that requiring a knowledge of Hebrew (or perhaps a flight to Israel on their national airline) to “get” that fill…. and then top it off with another hard-to-discern letter-play pun theme…. recipe for disaster.
    This week has been well and truly ruined by the constructors already, and we haven’t even got to the “hard” puzzles yet…

  12. 16:52 with no errors. Kind of a cute theme (also liked “spuzzling” from Bill).

    @Bill, I enjoyed several of today’s background tidbits, esp. pawn shop, SIRI, drag racing, Rhode Island’s name, and TWA history.

  13. Thank you so much, Glenn, for the explanation/comment! And it did really help to put “sp” before the answers and therefore was easy to figure out puuns like sports wine and the others! I did well for a Thursday as I often give up come Thursday, Friday, sat, sun! Thanks for all the other commentary, folks!

  14. Mostly easy for me today; took me 17:34 with no errors or peeks. Theme helped get SPORT… and SPUNK… answers. Had a bit of trouble in the S middle, NW and NE but sorted it out without too much fuss.

    SF Giants #1 in all of MLB at least for one day!!

  15. Thanks Lucy for the explain on Knitted Brow-never heard of it either- after some look-ups consider cockle, crumple, pucker, ruckle & rumple in relates to knitted and wrinkle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.