LA Times Crossword 20 Jul 21, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Yoni Glatt
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: It Is What It Is

Themed answers are common phrases that are repetitive in format:

  • 56A “That’s life” … and a summing-up of 20-, 29- and 47-Across : IT IS WHAT IT IS
  • 20A “That’s what we agreed on” : A DEAL IS A DEAL
  • 29A “Can’t argue with the truth” : FACTS ARE FACTS
  • 47A “Can’t fight City Hall” : RULES ARE RULES

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

Bill’s time: 6m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 FX for some Marvel characters : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

“FX” (sometimes “f/x”) is an abbreviation for “effects”, as in “special effects”.

Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 as Timely Comics, before becoming Atlas Comics in 1951 and eventually Marvel Comics in 1961. The “Marvel” brand had existed from day one, and Timely Comics’ first publication was “Marvel Comics #1” in October 1939. That first comic featured the superhero the Human Torch.

4 ’30s veep John __ Garner : NANCE

John Nance Garner was Speaker of the House when he ran against New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination for the presidential race in 1932. When it was clear that Roosevelt was to win the nomination, Garner cut a deal with FDR and joined the ticket as candidate for vice president. When the two Democrats won, they were sworn into office on March 4, 1933. As he was still Speaker of the House at the time, Garner is the only person to have held the office of both Speaker and Vice President on the same day.

14 __ & Hammer baking soda : ARM

The Arm & Hammer brand, particularly associated with baking soda and washing soda, has been around since the 1860s. The famous Arm & Hammer logo represents the Roman god Vulcan.

16 Lumbering critter seen on safaris : RHINO

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

17 Make like Drake : RAP

Drake is the stage name of rapper Aubrey Graham from Toronto.

18 Hot dog topper : CHILI

The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.

23 La., once : TERR

In the Louisiana Purchase, the US government bought French Louisiana from France. Soon after the purchase was made, the newly acquired land was split into the Orleans Territory (lands south of the 33rd parallel) and the Louisiana Territory (lands north of the 33rd parallel). The Louisiana Territory stretched northwards as far as the Great Lakes, and the seat of government was chosen as the city of St. Louis. Just to confuse everyone (such as foreigners like me), the Orleans Territory was admitted to the Union in 1812 as the State of Louisiana. At the same time, in a measure designed to prevent confusion, the Louisiana Territory was renamed to the Territory of Missouri.

24 Latin word for “brought back” used in titles : REDUX

The adjective “redux” means “returned, brought back”, and is derived from the Latin “reducere” meaning “to lead back, to bring back”.

25 Haleakala National Park locale : MAUI

If you visit the island of Maui, a trip to the Haleakala National Park is a must. One section of the park features the spectacular Haleakala Crater, where you would swear you are on the moon. The second part of the park is the Kipahulu section, which features the very picturesque pools accessed along the Road to Hana. When we visited (quite a few years ago), the Road to Hana was a tad undeveloped and rental car companies would not allow you to drive their cars there. Funnily enough, the only cars you’d meet on the Road to Hana were rental cars …

34 Bollywood wrap : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that it is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

“Bollywood” is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay” (the former name of Mumbai), and “Hollywood”.

35 Who, in Paris : QUI

The French capital of Paris is named for the Parisii, a Celtic Iron-Age people that lived in the area on the banks of the River Seine.

36 Tic-__-toe : TAC

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

40 Inc.’s U.K. cousin : LTD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common type of business (my perception anyway) is one that has private shareholders whose liability is limited to the value of their investment. Such a company is known as a private limited company, and has the abbreviation “Ltd.” after the name. If the shares are publicly traded, then the company is a public limited company, and has the letters “plc” after the name.

43 Ostracize : SHUN

The practice of ostracism, freezing out or exclusion, dates back to ancient Greece. Back then citizens could write the names of men they thought were exceptionally dangerous on tiles that were publicly posted, resulting in a banishment of ten years. “Ostracize” derives from the Greek “ostrakon”, the word for a “tile”.

51 One-named “Pillowtalk” singer : ZAYN

Zayn Malik is a singer from Yorkshire in northern England who found fame with the boy band One Direction. Malik quit the band in 2015 to launch a solo career. A year later, Malik became the first male artist to hit the number-one spot in both the UK and US charts with both a debut single (“Pillowtalk”) and a debut album (“Mind of Mine”).

52 Pitney __ : BOWES

Pitney Bowes is an American company business services company specializing in mailing, packaging and shipping. Arthur Pitney founded a company in 1912 that produced postage stamping machines. Walter Bowes founded a company in 1908 that made machines that cancelled postage. In 1920 the two companies merged and formed the Pitney Bowes Meter Company. My Dad worked for Pitney Bowes in Ireland many moons ago …

53 Puerto __ : RICO

Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.

59 Baby Yoda’s real name : GROGU

Grogu is a character in “The Mandalorian”, a TV series that’s part of the “Star Wars” franchise. Grogu is a very young member of the same alien species to which the celebrated character Yoda belongs. As Grogu has a strong resemblance to the Jedi Grandmaster, fans of the franchise often refer to him as “Baby Yoda”.

62 Workout regimen : TAE BO

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

63 Rollover acronym : IRA

A rollover IRA is a subtype of traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The funds for a rollover IRA come from another qualified plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) account.

64 Wavy dos : PERMS

“Perm” is the common name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls.

65 HR assessments : EVALS

Human resources (HR)

66 Mork’s home planet : ORK

The sitcom “Mork & Mindy” was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were first introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams) in a special episode of “Happy Days”. The particular episode in question has a bizarre storyline culminating in Fonzie and Mork having a thumb-to-finger duel. Eventually Richie wakes up in bed, and alien Mork was just part of a dream! Oh, and “Nanu Nanu” means both “hello” and “goodbye” back on the planet Ork. “I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu”. Great stuff …

68 “For __ sake!” : PETE’S

“For Pete’s sake” is a minced oath, meaning it’s a milder version of a less pleasant expression. “For Pete’s sake” probably came from “for God’s sake”, and maybe even refers to St. Peter.

69 Long of “Empire” : NIA

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

Down

1 Jeweler’s measure : CARAT

The carat is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg (0.2 grams). It is used in sizing gemstones.

4 Salt formula : NACL

Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound. It comprises a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl-) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na+) ions in between the chlorides.

5 Trumpet great with a statue in New Orleans : AL HIRT

Al Hirt was a trumpeter and bandleader. Hirt’s most famous recordings were the song “Java” and the album “Honey in the Horn”, as well the theme song used for “The Green Hornet” TV series in the sixties.

Musical Legends Park is an outdoor venue used for live jazz performances on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The park features several lifesize sculptures of New Orleans jazz greats like Al Hirt and Fats Domino.

7 Piña __: rum drinks : COLADAS

“Piña colada” is a Spanish term that translates into “strained pineapple”. The piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum …

8 Anesthetic injection that eases pain : EPIDURAL

The epidural space is found between the two layers of the dura mater, the thick membrane that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. The spinal epidural space is often the target for local anesthetics, in a procedure that provides relief from pain during childbirth or surgery.

9 Black-and-white ocean predator : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

10 Louise’s title pal : THELMA

“Thelma and Louise” is a much-respected 1991 movie starring Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise. Brad Pitt has a supporting role, and indeed “Thelma and Louise” was the film that gave Pitt his big break.

21 Devastated sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

27 Turnpike no-no, usually : U-TURN

Back in the 15th century, a turnpike (tpk.) was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

28 “Of Thee __” : I SING

“Of Thee I Sing” is a musical by George and Ira Gershwin that premiered on Broadway in 1931. “Of Thee I Sing” is about a politician running for president who falls for the “wrong” woman. The show’s title comes from a line in the patriotic song “America”.

30 Many a Zoom session : CLASS

Zoom is a videoconferencing app that became remarkably popular in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market deemed Zoom to be the easiest to use of the free videoconferencing apps. I’ve been using it, but really prefer Google’s Meet offering …

31 Castro of Cuba : FIDEL

Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and passed away in 2016.

32 Cable network that’s a homophone for movie headliners : STARZ

The Starz premium cable channel is owned by Lionsgate, the same company that owns the Encore cable channel. Starz was launched in 1994 and mainly shows movies.

33 __ New Guinea : PAPUA

Papua New Guinea is a country occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western side of the island is part of Indonesia).

38 Abu __ : DHABI

Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

44 ’70s-’80s genre associated with the Knack’s “My Sharona” : NEW WAVE

“My Sharona” is a hit single from 1979 released by a band called the Knack. The band’s guitarist wrote the song after meeting a 17-year-old girl called Sharona, who later became his girlfriend. Young Sharona appears on the cover sleeve for the record. Three decades later, Sharona was a real estate agent in LA.

46 Actress Russell : KERI

Actress Keri Russell’s big break in television came with the title role in the drama show “Felicity” that ran from 1998 from 2002. The lead character in the show is Felicity Porter, a young lady introduced to the audience with a head of long curly blonde hair. Famously, Russell cut her hair extremely short at the start of the second season, an action that was associated with a significant drop in the show’s viewership. Russell had to grow out her hair over the season. I haven’t seen “Felicity”, but I really do enjoy Russell playing one of the leads in the entertaining Cold War drama called “The Americans” that is aired by FX.

48 Real puzzle : ENIGMA

Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.

54 Clouds that sound like a virtual assistant : CIRRI

Cirrus (plural “cirri”) clouds are those lovely wispy, white strands that are often called “mare’s tails”.

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.

55 Japanese port : OSAKA

The Japanese city of Osaka used to be called Naniwa, with the name changing to Osaka sometime before 1500. “Osaka” can be translated either as “large hill” or “large slope”. Osaka is sometimes referred to as “the Chicago of Japan” as it is a major center of commerce and industry. The city has also been named the “nation’s kitchen”, and was a center for Japan’s rice trade for centuries.

57 Warthog weapon : TUSK

The warthog is a wild animal from the pig family found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The animal takes its name from four wart-like protrusions on its head that serve as a means of defense, but are also reserves of fat.

59 Navig. technology : GPS

The modern Global Positioning System (GPS) system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. President Reagan was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.

60 Stimpy’s sidekick : REN

“The Ren & Stimpy Show” is an animated television serial created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, and which ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

61 Iron mine output : ORE

Iron ore comes in a number of different forms, like magnetite (the most magnetic of all minerals) and hematite (the most commonly exploited iron ore).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 FX for some Marvel characters : CGI
4 ’30s veep John __ Garner : NANCE
9 Different : OTHER
14 __ & Hammer baking soda : ARM
15 Throw for __: upset : A LOOP
16 Lumbering critter seen on safaris : RHINO
17 Make like Drake : RAP
18 Hot dog topper : CHILI
19 Gave up formally : CEDED
20 “That’s what we agreed on” : A DEAL IS A DEAL
23 La., once : TERR
24 Latin word for “brought back” used in titles : REDUX
25 Haleakala National Park locale : MAUI
29 “Can’t argue with the truth” : FACTS ARE FACTS
32 Period of time : SPELL
34 Bollywood wrap : SARI
35 Who, in Paris : QUI
36 Tic-__-toe : TAC
37 Drink suffix : -ADE
40 Inc.’s U.K. cousin : LTD
41 Coffee dispenser : URN
42 Pertinent : APT
43 Ostracize : SHUN
45 Barely making, with “out” : EKING …
47 “Can’t fight City Hall” : RULES ARE RULES
51 One-named “Pillowtalk” singer : ZAYN
52 Pitney __ : BOWES
53 Puerto __ : RICO
56 “That’s life” … and a summing-up of 20-, 29- and 47-Across : IT IS WHAT IT IS
59 Baby Yoda’s real name : GROGU
62 Workout regimen : TAE BO
63 Rollover acronym : IRA
64 Wavy dos : PERMS
65 HR assessments : EVALS
66 Mork’s home planet : ORK
67 Tiptoe deviously : SNEAK
68 “For __ sake!” : PETE’S
69 Long of “Empire” : NIA

Down

1 Jeweler’s measure : CARAT
2 Test score : GRADE
3 In a flawed way : IMPERFECTLY
4 Salt formula : NACL
5 Trumpet great with a statue in New Orleans : AL HIRT
6 Creaks and shrieks : NOISES
7 Piña __: rum drinks : COLADAS
8 Anesthetic injection that eases pain : EPIDURAL
9 Black-and-white ocean predator : ORCA
10 Louise’s title pal : THELMA
11 Kept out of sight : HID
12 L.A.-to-Chicago dir. : ENE
13 Curtain holder : ROD
21 Devastated sea : ARAL
22 Use, as influence : EXERT
26 Corporate expansion tactic : ACQUISITION
27 Turnpike no-no, usually : U-TURN
28 “Of Thee __” : I SING
30 Many a Zoom session : CLASS
31 Castro of Cuba : FIDEL
32 Cable network that’s a homophone for movie headliners : STARZ
33 __ New Guinea : PAPUA
38 Abu __ : DHABI
39 Tricky basketball footwork named for the continent of its origin : EURO STEP
44 ’70s-’80s genre associated with the Knack’s “My Sharona” : NEW WAVE
46 Actress Russell : KERI
48 Real puzzle : ENIGMA
49 Nuke, as leftovers : REHEAT
50 Of service : USABLE
54 Clouds that sound like a virtual assistant : CIRRI
55 Japanese port : OSAKA
57 Warthog weapon : TUSK
58 Throw easily : TOSS
59 Navig. technology : GPS
60 Stimpy’s sidekick : REN
61 Iron mine output : ORE

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Jul 21, Tuesday”

  1. Mo errors… didn’t know the 70-80s genre was referred to as the New Wave..

    The theme sounds Yogi Berra inspired.. it ain’t over til it’s over!

    1. I don’t understand why ZEES is/are pizza pieces on the 34 down clue of the 7/21 puzzle. Please explain

    1. We had discussed that before, that one square was one error and 0.5%
      if you are calculating per cent solved. But, if you want to count it as
      two words missed, horizontal and vertical, you are correct in calling it
      two errors. I think it should be 1 error and 99.5% solved.

      I admire your proficiency and efficiency.

      You may not see this, because I am not allowed to post, for reasons unknown.
      Something about being associated with hacking and the only thing I know
      about that is my current golf game.

  2. No real difficulty today – 11:45 with no errors or lookups. Just had to correct my spelling of DHABI. Had not heard of ZAYN or the EUROSTEP.

  3. One error box; used “karat” for jeweler’s measure and I didn’t
    know the answer for the Marvel characters clue. Otherwise it
    was a pretty easy grid. Darn!

  4. At first I thought this was the easiest puzzle ever, but as I came to the end, I had one error, a Natick; where STARZ crosses ZAYN, I had an “r.”
    And KERI and GROGU I got from crosses. Young pop is quickly becoming my biggest problem.

  5. Although it doesn’t fit the theme answers my favorite adage in the same vein as the ones in this grid (and a good all around approach to life that should be remembered) is “Wherever you go. There you are” So if everyone you meet seems to be against you look to the one constant in the equation…

  6. @ Tony Michaels – “So if everyone you meet seems to be against you look to the one constant in the equation…”
    Yes indeed! I haven’t always succeeded, but I’ve tried to keep that in mind, especially in work situations. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. A bit tricky for a Tuesday; managed it in 16:32 with no errors or peeks. I got off to a slow start but managed a lot of fill, if not any of the theme answers. In the bottom half, I got one of my favorite, if a bit trite, adages: “It is what it is” and experienced an epiphany, allowing me to immediately fill in the rest of them.

    Didn’t know CGI, NANCE, ZAHN and GROGU, but managed with crosses.

    @Tony – Thanks for that adage and the lesson to be drawn from it.

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