LA Times Crossword 15 Jul 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Grant Howell
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: An I for an Eye

Themed answers each use a letter I in place of EYE:

  • 54A Payback phrase altered to provide a hint to solving four other puzzle answers : AN I FOR AN EYE (an eye for an eye)
  • 20A Good-looking : EASY ON THE IS (easy on the eyes)
  • 39A Vegas loser, often : SNAKE IS (snake eyes)
  • 11D Affectionate idiom that originally referred to a pupil : APPLE OF MY I (apple of my eye)
  • 29D Perch perspective : BIRD’S-I VIEW (bird’s-eye view)

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

Bill’s time: 10m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Pesky crawler : ROACH

The insect known as a cockroach is closely related to the termite. Although generally considered a pest, the lowly cockroach has at least one claim to fame. A cockroach named Nadezhda was sent into space in 2007 by Russian scientists, where it became the first terrestrial creature to give birth in space. Nadezhda bore 33 cockroaches.

17 Self-named 2000s sitcom set in Texas : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007. She is sometimes referred to as “The Queen of Country”.

18 Somewhat : A TAD

Back in the 1800s, “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this extended into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.

19 Landlocked Asian country : 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.

24 Chinese toy : PEKE

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

The toy group of dogs is made up of the smallest breeds. The smallest of the small breeds are sometimes called teacup breeds.

27 Prince in a can? : ALBERT

Prince Albert is a brand of pipe tobacco that has been around since 1907. It was introduced by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and was named by the founder himself, R. J. Reynolds. He named it for the British king at that time, Edward VII. Prior to taking the throne, Edward VII was known as “Albert” or “Bertie” by his family.

30 Classic film involving a split personality : PSYCHO

The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho”, released in 1960, is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. The female protagonist is named Mary Crane in the novel, but that name was changed to Marion Crane in the movie. Marion Crane, portrayed by Janet Leigh, died in a celebrated and terrifying shower scene

32 Chow __ : MEIN

“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, basic chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as “Hong Kong-style chow mein”.

33 Wind heard in Dion’s “Abraham, Martin and John” : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

“Abraham, Martin and John” is a 1968 song recorded by singer/songwriter Dion. It was written by dick Holler right after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in April and June of the same year. The lyrics actually pay tribute to four victims of the assassin’s bullet, as they also reference Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

35 “The Metamorphosis” author : KAFKA

“The Metamorphosis” is a famous novella by Franz Kafka, regarded by many as one of the greatest pieces of short fiction written in the 20th century. The story tells of the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa into a gigantic insect. His sister Grete Samsa becomes his caregiver.

39 Vegas loser, often : SNAKE IS (snake eyes)

“Snake eyes” is a slang term describing a roll of two dice in which one pip turns up on each die.

46 Run-scoring out : SAC FLY

That would be baseball.

48 Lao-tzu follower : TAOIST

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

50 “Peer Gynt Suite” dancer : ANITRA

Anitra is a minor character in Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt”. She is the daughter of a Bedouin chief.

53 Rainbow mnemonic surname : BIV

“Roy G. Biv” can be used as a mnemonic for the colors in a rainbow:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet

54 Payback phrase altered to provide a hint to solving four other puzzle answers : AN I FOR AN EYE (an eye for an eye)

The saying “an eye for eye, and a tooth for tooth” originally comes from the code laid down by Hammurabi, King of Babylon (1792-1750 BC). It is also quoted in the Bible in the Gospel of Matthew.

60 Jennyanydots’ creator : ELIOT

Jennyanydots is a character from T. S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, and the derivative stage musical “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. She appears to be a lazy cat, based on her behavior during the day. At night, Jennyanydots comes alive and takes charge of the mice and the cockroaches.

62 Farm house : COOP

The Old English word “cypa”, meaning “basket”, evolved in the 14th century to the word “coop” to describe a small cage for poultry. We still use “coop” today.

63 “The Favourite” actress Stone : EMMA

Actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2016 movie “La La Land”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …

“The Favourite” is an entertaining 2018 comedy about two women vying to be “the favourite” at the court of Queen Anne. The two competitors are portrayed by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, and the marvelous Olivia Colman plays the queen. Recommended …

64 The “A” in CDA, to an Idahoan : ALENE

The city, lake and river in Idaho called Coeur d’Alene are all named for the Coeur d’Alene People, Native Americans who lived in the area when it was first explored by French Canadian fur traders. “Coeur d’Alene” translates from French as “heart of an awl”. The Native American people were given this name as they were perceived as shrewd traders by their Canadian counterparts.

65 Automaker Ferrari : ENZO

Enzo Ferrari was an Italian race car driver, and founder of the Ferrari car manufacturing company. Ferrari died in 1988, and in 2003 the company named the Enzo model after its founder.

67 Coolidge’s VP : DAWES

During WWI, Charles G. Dawes had served with the American Expeditionary Force in Europe and had risen to the rank of Brigadier General. After the war, the work that Dawes did in an attempt to assure Germany could build a sustainable economy earned him a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925. A year earlier, Dawes was elected as US Vice President under President Calvin Coolidge. Famously, Dawes and Coolidge did not get along at all well, neither in private nor in public.

68 Texter’s sign-off : TTYL

Talk to you later (ttyl)

69 “Right now!” : STAT!

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

Down

1 2000 presidential runner-up : GORE

Al Gore was born in Washington DC, and is the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.

George W. Bush won the 2000 US presidential election over Al Gore despite losing the popular vote. The result of the electoral college effectively came down to a narrow margin of votes in Florida, which triggered a recount. Eventually, the US Supreme made a decision that effectively stopped the recount, and allowed a vote certification for candidate Bush to stand. President Bush wasn’t the first candidate to take the office without winning the popular vote. Three earlier presidents came to office in the same way : John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876) and Benjamin Harrison (1888). Subsequently, Donald J. Trump (2016) did the same thing.

2 Pigmented eye layer : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

3 Some yellow dogs : LABS

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

5 Mr. Krabs’ nemesis : PLANKTON

Mr. Krabs and Plankton are characters in the animated TV show “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Mr Krabs operates a fast food restaurant called the Krusty Krab. Plankton operates a competing restaurant called the Chum Bucket.

6 Dunkin’ Donuts offering : LATTE

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

Dunkin’ Donuts was founded in 1950 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Now the chain has over 15,000 restaurants in almost 40 different countries. The company’s biggest competitor is actually Starbucks, as over half of Dunkin’ Donuts’ revenue comes from coffee, and not donuts.

7 U.S. territory until 1896 : UTAH

When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag. In 1959, “Industry” was even chosen as the state motto, for the term’s association with the beehive.

8 Ancient Persian : MEDE

The Medes were an ancient people that lived in what is now northwestern Iran. The Medes held sway in the region only for about 60 years, until Cyrus the Great came along and defeated Astyages, the king of Media (not to be confused with Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media”!).

10 Cry after un gol : OLE!

In Spanish, a “fútbol” (football) announcer might shout “gol!” (goal!).

11 Affectionate idiom that originally referred to a pupil : APPLE OF MY I (apple of my eye)

Someone or something described as the apple of my eye is highly cherished and loved above all others. The original use of “apple of my eye” was to refer to the eye’s pupil, the aperture at the center of the eyeball.

26 Lil Wayne’s “__ Carter III” : THA

“Tha Carter III” is an album by rapper Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne’s real name is … Dwayne Carter, Jr.

27 Asian nurse : AMAH

“Amah” is an interesting word in that we associate it so much with Asian culture and yet the term actually comes from the Portuguese “ama” meaning “nurse”. Ama was imported into English in the days of the British Raj in India when a wet-nurse became known as an amah.

28 Princess from Alderaan : LEIA

The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

30 Stir : POKEY

“Pokey” (also “poky”) is a slang term meaning “prison”. It might be a corruption of “pogie”, a term for a “poorhouse”.

31 “I __ red door and I want it painted black”: Stones : SEE A

A close runner-up to my favorite Rolling Stones song (“Satisfaction”) is “Paint It, Black”, released in 1966. Due to the song’s prominent use in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” and the TV show “Tour of Duty”, “Paint It, Black” has become inextricably linked with the Vietnam War. That linkage gets reinforced even today as the song is often used in television shows and even video games whenever there is a Vietnam reference. It is interesting to note that the correct form of the title includes a comma (“Paint It, Black”) as this was how it was written when originally released. According to Keith Richards, the inclusion of the comma was a mistake made by the company printing the original record label, and it stuck.

36 Basinger and Cattrall : KIMS

Kim Basinger’s big break in movies came when she played a Bond girl, Domino Petachi in “Never Say Never Again” opposite Sean Connery. Basinger’s more famous roles were in “L.A. Confidential”, “9½ Weeks” and “8 Mile”. My personal favorite of her films though was the thriller “Cellular”, released in 2004.

Kim Cattrall is a Canadian-English actress best known for playing Samantha Jones on HBO’s “Sex and the City”. My favorite film in which Cattrall plays an Englishwoman is the excellent 2010 film “The Ghost Writer”.

39 Ancient dialogues subject : SOCRATES

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle. Plato wrote a series of about 30 Socratic dialogues, prose works that feature Socrates as the main character.

40 Worldwide anti-crime group : INTERPOL

The International Criminal Police Organization is better known as Interpol. The group was formed in 1923 to facilitate international police cooperation. Today the police forces of 190 countries around the world are members of Interpol. The first headquarters of Interpol were in Vienna, and were moved to Berlin during WWII by the Nazi regime. After the war the headquarters were moved again, to just outside Paris, and finally to Lyon in 1989.

43 Ankle pic : TAT

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”.

45 Charlotte NBA team : HORNETS

The New Orleans Hornets joined the NBA in 1988 as an expansion team, originally based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but the name was changed following a “name the team” contest run in the local area. During the Revolutionary War, Lord General Cornwallis had referred to Charlotte as a “veritable nest of hornets” due the city’s resistance to British occupation, which explains the local fans’ fondness for the name “Hornets”. The franchise was moved to New Orleans for the 2002 season, as attendance wasn’t big enough to sustain the team in Charlotte. The NBA returned to North Carolina in 2004 with the establishment of the Charlotte Bobcats. The New Orleans franchise rebranded itself in 2013, becoming the Pelicans. As a result, the Charlotte Bobcats were able to change their name to the Hornets in 2014.

49 Duracell size : AAA

Duracell is a brand of batteries made today by Procter & Gamble. “Duracell” is a portmanteau of “durable” and “cell”.

50 Draw __ on: aim at : A BEAD

To draw a bead on something is to take aim at it. The “bead” in question is the front sight of a gun.

51 Wafer brand : NILLA

As one might expect, “Nilla” is a shortened form of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla brand cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, which is synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

55 Very cool rapper? : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

58 Disco hit with arm motions : YMCA

“YMCA” was released in 1978 by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics are extolling the virtues of the “YMCA” as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Big drink of water : GULP
5 Choice : PLUM
9 Pesky crawler : ROACH
14 Like most eggs : OVAL
15 Making people wait, maybe : LATE
16 Wolf pack leader : ALPHA
17 Self-named 2000s sitcom set in Texas : REBA
18 Somewhat : A TAD
19 Landlocked Asian country : NEPAL
20 Good-looking : EASY ON THE IS (easy on the eyes)
23 Awesome, in slang : LIT
24 Chinese toy : PEKE
25 Works a wedding : CATERS
27 Prince in a can? : ALBERT
30 Classic film involving a split personality : PSYCHO
32 Chow __ : MEIN
33 Wind heard in Dion’s “Abraham, Martin and John” : OBOE
35 “The Metamorphosis” author : KAFKA
38 Bag or ball lead-in : AIR-
39 Vegas loser, often : SNAKE IS (snake eyes)
41 Early 11th-century year : MII
42 Couldn’t say no : HAD TO
44 Help to withdraw : WEAN
45 Many a gospel song : HYMN
46 Run-scoring out : SAC FLY
48 Lao-tzu follower : TAOIST
50 “Peer Gynt Suite” dancer : ANITRA
52 Put on : WEAR
53 Rainbow mnemonic surname : BIV
54 Payback phrase altered to provide a hint to solving four other puzzle answers : AN I FOR AN EYE (an eye for an eye)
60 Jennyanydots’ creator : ELIOT
62 Farm house : COOP
63 “The Favourite” actress Stone : EMMA
64 The “A” in CDA, to an Idahoan : ALENE
65 Automaker Ferrari : ENZO
66 Verbal quirks, like “y’know” : TICS
67 Coolidge’s VP : DAWES
68 Texter’s sign-off : TTYL
69 “Right now!” : STAT!

Down

1 2000 presidential runner-up : GORE
2 Pigmented eye layer : UVEA
3 Some yellow dogs : LABS
4 New parent’s purchase : PLAYPEN
5 Mr. Krabs’ nemesis : PLANKTON
6 Dunkin’ Donuts offering : LATTE
7 U.S. territory until 1896 : UTAH
8 Ancient Persian : MEDE
9 Pillages : RANSACKS
10 Cry after un gol : OLE!
11 Affectionate idiom that originally referred to a pupil : APPLE OF MY I (apple of my eye)
12 Committee leader : CHAIR
13 Stops : HALTS
21 Above, to a bard : O’ER
22 Like some stares : ICY
26 Lil Wayne’s “__ Carter III” : THA
27 Asian nurse : AMAH
28 Princess from Alderaan : LEIA
29 Perch perspective : BIRD’S-I VIEW (bird’s-eye view)
30 Stir : POKEY
31 “I __ red door and I want it painted black”: Stones : SEE A
34 Cry buckets : BAWL
36 Basinger and Cattrall : KIMS
37 “If it __ broke … ” : AIN’T
39 Ancient dialogues subject : SOCRATES
40 Worldwide anti-crime group : INTERPOL
43 Ankle pic : TAT
45 Charlotte NBA team : HORNETS
47 Autograph seeker : FAN
49 Duracell size : AAA
50 Draw __ on: aim at : A BEAD
51 Wafer brand : NILLA
52 Light-headed : WOOZY
55 Very cool rapper? : ICE-T
56 Type of type : FONT
57 Radiate : EMIT
58 Disco hit with arm motions : YMCA
59 Towards sunrise : EAST
61 Phone button with no letters : ONE

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Jul 21, Thursday”

  1. No errors but by luck. Got the theme almost right away. But that SW corner was a time killer for me. BIV ALENE ANITRA and I had DEWEY for a long time until I admitted 51D had to be either NILLA or NECCO..
    It didn’t occur to me that BIV was a surname.. and I didn’t know what a JENNYANYDOTS was or the Peter Gynt dancer. Those were guesses after the other fills.

  2. No errors, no lookups. For a change I knew the proper
    names. And the theme, which I found early on, helped
    a bunch.

  3. The “cutesy” ones weren’t the problem, but:
    Who is Mr. Krabs?
    What the heck is Jennyanydots?
    I’ve heard of Peer Gynt, but a dancer in the suite? Yeah, right.

  4. Once I saw the gimmick it really helped solving the grid. I thought this was a fair Thursday level puzzle, and for those who are learning the wily ways of the crossword constructors it’s a good example of needing to employ lateral thinking to get one to the finish line.

  5. Mr. Krab lives in the ocean with SpongeBob SquarePants, a cartoon character from the kid show, but I did not know that plankton was his nemesis. I only finished with no errors after I deduced that 5 across just had to be PLUM, but it is a stretch, IMHO. I also finagled the SW corner, as I did not know some of the answers.

  6. 26:55 – 5 lookups/ no errors

    Really struggled with this and felt bad until I saw Bill and Glen post times of 10 and 9 mins.

    As a newbie I’m fine with this for a Thursday

    Loved SNAKEIS!

    Remembered Krebs/PLANKTON from my kids watching Sponge Bob …

    Jennyanydots was one of my lookups along with ANITRA, which crossed.

    Had fun though.

  7. 21:01 with no errors or lookups. I also thought this to be a fair Thursday puzzle, and liked the theme, although it took filling in all of 54A to completely get it.

    The SW corner was a time killer, but slowly filled in after seeing my mistake on 53A and changing ROY>BIV. Also had to change 39D from SOCIALE?>SOCRATES, and 18A from ORSO>ATAD.

  8. 16:24 and DNF. 11% unfilled. This one was chock full of ridiculous naticks. As a prime example 39D: listing SOCRATES as a “dialogue subject” is incredibly misleading to all but congnoscente on that period.

  9. Bill, not to not-pick too much, but not all themed answers are in the across-direction. Three are across and two are down.

  10. 8:03

    Cute theme that helped a little.

    I feel that clues like 41A are a cheat, though.

    Jennyanydots is The Old Gumbie Cat of the TS Eliot cat poems. I don’t know if she’s in the musical. The poem starts:
    I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
    Her coat is of the tabby kind with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
    All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat,
    She sits and sits and sits and sits—And that’s what makes a Gumby Cat!

    I believe Anitra’s Dance is one of the more popular melodies from Peer Gynt.

  11. Tricky but finally doable Thursday for me; took 24:02 with no errors or peeks. Theme helped to get three of the theme answers once I figured it out. Struggled with the N, S and SW corner, but eventually took out first guesses and put in tried and true answers like ICET and carefully reread the clue for ALENE.

    @Pam Thanks for the info on Jennyanydots and Anitra’s Dance. Should’ve loked those up instead of watching endless Rolling Stones videos 🙂 My favorites are “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Gimme Shelter” but also “Stray Cat Blues.” So many good songs…it’s really hard to choose.

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