LA Times Crossword 9 Jul 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian & Tracy Bennett
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: WNBA

Themed answers each comprise the names of two WNBA teams:

  • 51D Org. that includes each part of four puzzle answers : WNBA
  • 20A Longing at a dull lecture? (N.Y., Atlanta) : LIBERTY DREAM
  • 32A Talented meteorologists? (Seattle, Las Vegas) : STORM ACES
  • 38A Lightning? (Chicago, L.A.) : SKY SPARKS
  • 48A Feature of a Roman god’s boots? (Phoenix, Dallas) : MERCURY WINGS

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

Bill’s time: 9m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Motel arrival? : ROACH

Figuratively speaking, a roach motel is a low-priced lodging facility that is in a pretty dilapidated state. There is also a Roach Motel trademarked brand of cockroach traps that is owned by Black Flag. Despite the trademark protection, the term “roach motel” is commonly applied to any device that uses bait to lure cockroaches into a compartment fitted with a sticky trap.

11 One of three in the opening scene of “Macbeth” : HAG

The Three Witches in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” are referred to in the text as the “weird sisters”. They cook up an ugly brew in their cauldron:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravined salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat and slips of yew
Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-delivered by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab.
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

14 The Jetsons’ boy : ELROY

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it debuted in 1963 on ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” is like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family in Orbit City are their household robot Rosie and pet dog Astro.

15 Saw : ADAGE

A saw is an old saying, one that is often repeated and is very familiar. The term “old saw” is actually a tautology, as by definition a “saw” is “old”.

16 Radio host Shapiro : ARI

Ari Shapiro served very ably as White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) for several years. He then became a co-host of the network’s drive-time program “All Things Considered” in 2015. When he’s not working, Shapiro likes to sing. He regularly appears as a guest singer with the group Pink Martini, and has appeared on several of the band’s albums.

18 River to the Caspian Sea : VOLGA

The Volga is the longest river in Europe. It is also considered the national river of Russia.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in the South Caucasus.

19 Zip : VIM

“Vim”, “zip“ and “pep” are all words that mean “energy, power”.

20 Longing at a dull lecture? (N.Y., Atlanta) : LIBERTY DREAM

The New York Liberty was founded in 1997 and was one the original eight teams to play in the WNBA. The franchise is based in Newark, New Jersey.

The Atlanta Dream is a WNBA team that joined the league for the 2008 season. After moving around a little, the Dreams settled into the Gateway Center Arena in College Park, Georgia starting with the 2021 season.

23 How J.Lo performs : IN HEELS

“J.Lo” is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. “J.Lo” is also the title of her second studio album, which was released in 2001.

28 Gated water channel : SLUICE

A sluice is a water channel with a gate at its head that is used to control the amount of water flowing.

31 Humpty Dumpty-shaped : OVATE

Humpty Dumpty is a character in a nursery rhyme. He is usually depicted as an egg, although that isn’t specifically called out in the original rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

32 Talented meteorologists? (Seattle, Las Vegas) : STORM ACES

The Seattle Storm started competing in the WNBA at the beginning of the 2000 season. The team name “Storm” is a reference to the reputation that Seattle has as a rain-soaked city.

The Las Vegas Aces women’s basketball team was formed in Salt Lake City in 1997 as the Utah Starzz. The team became the San Antonio (Silver) Stars in 2002, before moving to Las Vegas as the Aces in 2018.

35 WC : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

36 “Rappa Ternt Sanga” artist : T-PAIN

“Rappa Ternt Sanga” is a 2005 album released by R&B and rap singer T-Pain. It was T-Pain’s debut studio album. The title can be translated from dialect as “Rapper Turned Singer”.

37 Granola morsel : OAT

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

38 Lightning? (Chicago, L.A.) : SKY SPARKS

The Chicago Sky are a professional basketball team based in Rosemont, Illinois that plays in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The Sky were founded in 2006

The Los Angeles Sparks (LAS) women’s basketball team was founded just before the WNBA opened its doors for business in 1997.

41 Clerical home : MANSE

A manse is a minister’s home in various Christian traditions. “Manse” derives from “mansus”, the Latin for “dwelling”. The term can also be used for any stately residence.

44 Hair-coloring style : DIP DYE

The hair coloring technique of dip dyeing involves dipping the ends of the hair in a dye, usually one that is bright in color.

47 Popular cider apple : WINESAP

A winesap is a small and tart apple, one often used for making cider.

48 Feature of a Roman god’s boots? (Phoenix, Dallas) : MERCURY WINGS

The Phoenix Mercury plays in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The team was founded in 1997 and is owned by businessman Robert Sarver, who also owns the Phoenix Suns of the NBA.

The Shock were the professional WNBA team based in Tulsa from 2010 to 2015. The team was founded as the Detroit Shock in 1998, and became the Dallas Wings after leaving Tulsa in 2016.

54 Mario’s brother : LUIGI

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

60 Pillow stuffing : EIDER

Eiders are large sea ducks. Their down feathers are used to fill pillows and quilts, giving the name to the quilt called an “eiderdown”.

61 __-Z : GEN

Definitions vary, but it seems that the term “Generation Z” is reserved for the children of “Generation X”, and for the generation that follows the “Millennials” (Generation Y).

62 “The Gold-Bug” name : ALLAN

“The Gold-Bug” is an Edgar Allan Poe short story, a mystery tale about a man who was bitten by a gold-colored bug. The story first appeared in three installments in the ”Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper” in 1843, and became very popular. Poe had submitted the story to a writing contest sponsored by the paper, and it was published as the winning entry. The grand prize also included $100 in cash, which was likely the largest sum that Poe ever received for a work in his lifetime.

Down

1 Great American Ball Park player : RED

Great American Ball Park is named after the Great American Insurance Group. It seems a pity to me that the name was chosen for a sponsor, as it is such a grand name for a field dedicated to America’s pastime. Oh, and it is home to the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.

2 Fútbol cheer : OLE!

“Fútbol” is the Spanish word for “football, soccer”.

4 Most suave : COOLEST

The Latin word “suavis” translates as “agreeable, pleasant to the senses”. “Sauvis” is the root of the English word “suave” that describes someone who is gracious and sophisticated, and perhaps somewhat superficial. “Sauvis” also gave us the English word “sweet” meaning “pleasing to the taste”.

5 Keep-it-clean routine : HYGIENE

Hygieia was both the Greek and Roman goddess of health and cleanliness. She was a daughter of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. The name “Hygieia” gives us our contemporary term “hygiene”.

7 Compost emanation : ODOR

Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter to make the soil conditioner known as “compost”. The term “compost” ultimately comes from the Latin “com” (together) and “ponere” (to place). Compost is best made by “putting together” green waste that is rich in nitrogen, with brown waste that is rich in carbon, all in the presence of water and air.

8 Mickey’s maker : WALT

Walt Disney’s iconic cartoon character Mickey Mouse, was introduced to the public in 1928 in the cartoon “Steamboat Willie”. Mickey was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978, making him the first cartoon character to be so honored. Walt Disney had some nice words to say in Disneyland in 1954:

I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.

9 Like quiche : EGGY

The classic dish called quiche is made with eggs (“oeufs” in French). Even though the quiche is inextricably linked to French cuisine, the name “quiche” comes from “Kuchen”, the German word for “cake”. The variant called “quiche lorraine” includes bits of smoked bacon as an ingredient.

10 Something taken by an archer : DEAD AIM

An archer is someone who shoots with a bow and arrow. The term “archer” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “bow, arc”.

12 If you don’t like it, you can go to Helvetica : ARIAL

Helvetica and Arial are fonts.

21 Three-ingredient sammie : BLT

“Sammie” is an informal term meaning “sandwich”.

22 Costa __ : RICA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

24 Tennis ace Djokovic : NOVAK

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player and former world No. 1 ranked player. Djokovic is quite the character on and off the court, earning him the nickname “Djoker”. He is also very popular on the talk-show circuit, all around the world. It helps that Djokovic is fluent in several languages.

29 Two-time Newbery Medal winner Lowry : LOIS

Lois Lowry is a writer of children’s fiction. Lowry doesn’t stick to “safe” material in her books, and has dealt with difficult subjects such as racism, murder and the Holocaust. Two of her books won the Newbery Medal: “Number the Stars” (1990) and “The Giver” (1993).

The Newbery is an annual award given by the Association for Library Service to Children for “distinguished contributions to American literature for children”. The award was inaugurated in 1922, and was named for John Newbery, an English 18th-century publisher of books for juveniles and children. Newbery is sometimes referred to as “the Father of Children’s Literature”.

30 Buffet server : URN

Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.

32 Nimble : SPRY

The term “spry”, meaning “active, nimble” may possibly be a shortened form of “sprightly”.

33 GPA booster : EASY A

Grade point average (GPA)

36 Generous pickup : TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

40 Hanging basket bloomer : PETUNIA

The flowering plants known as petunias are in a genus related to the tobacco plant. The name “petunia” comes from the obsolete French word “petun” meaning “tobacco plant”.

42 Jungle film costume : APE SUIT

Strictly speaking, the terms “rainforest” and “jungle” are related, but different. A healthy rainforest has a thick canopy of leaves so that the ground below is relatively clear of vegetation due to a lack of sunlight. When the canopy thins, the increase in sunlight promotes growth of tangled vegetation at ground level producing the habitat that we refer to as “jungle”.

44 Cacophony : DIN

“Cacophony” is such a lovely word, a word used to describe a harsh or jarring sound. The term arises from the Greek “kakos” (bad) and “phone” (voice).

45 “The Hobbit” dragon : SMAUG

The dragon named Smaug is the principal antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.

51 Org. that includes each part of four puzzle answers : WNBA

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was founded in 1996. The WNBA had to compete with the American Basketball League (ABL), a professional women’s basketball league that started playing games the same year the WNBA was founded. The ABL folded in its third season.

57 Dander : IRE

The phrases “to get one’s Irish up” and “to get one’s dander up” mean to get riled up, to get angry. I guess we are always picking on the poor Irish!

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Motel arrival? : ROACH
6 Amazed : WOWED
11 One of three in the opening scene of “Macbeth” : HAG
14 The Jetsons’ boy : ELROY
15 Saw : ADAGE
16 Radio host Shapiro : ARI
17 Clear for better viewing : DEFOG
18 River to the Caspian Sea : VOLGA
19 Zip : VIM
20 Longing at a dull lecture? (N.Y., Atlanta) : LIBERTY DREAM
23 How J.Lo performs : IN HEELS
26 Where flight attendants often work : AISLE
27 Declines to : DOESN’T
28 Gated water channel : SLUICE
31 Humpty Dumpty-shaped : OVATE
32 Talented meteorologists? (Seattle, Las Vegas) : STORM ACES
35 WC : LAV
36 “Rappa Ternt Sanga” artist : T-PAIN
37 Granola morsel : OAT
38 Lightning? (Chicago, L.A.) : SKY SPARKS
41 Clerical home : MANSE
43 “See you later” : BYE-BYE
44 Hair-coloring style : DIP DYE
45 __ double : STUNT
47 Popular cider apple : WINESAP
48 Feature of a Roman god’s boots? (Phoenix, Dallas) : MERCURY WINGS
52 Plus : AND
53 Interminably : NO END
54 Mario’s brother : LUIGI
58 Employ : USE
59 “How about that!” : I’LL BE!
60 Pillow stuffing : EIDER
61 __-Z : GEN
62 “The Gold-Bug” name : ALLAN
63 Took badly? : STOLE

Down

1 Great American Ball Park player : RED
2 Fútbol cheer : OLE!
3 Canine alert : ARF!
4 Most suave : COOLEST
5 Keep-it-clean routine : HYGIENE
6 Ripple-patterned hairstyle : WAVES
7 Compost emanation : ODOR
8 Mickey’s maker : WALT
9 Like quiche : EGGY
10 Something taken by an archer : DEAD AIM
11 What hungry diners often do : HAVE SECONDS
12 If you don’t like it, you can go to Helvetica : ARIAL
13 Tot’s “Mine!” : GIMME!
21 Three-ingredient sammie : BLT
22 Costa __ : RICA
23 Beloved stars : IDOLS
24 Tennis ace Djokovic : NOVAK
25 Considerable load : HEAVY BURDEN
28 Investment : STAKE
29 Two-time Newbery Medal winner Lowry : LOIS
30 Buffet server : URN
32 Nimble : SPRY
33 GPA booster : EASY A
34 Expensive : STEEP
36 Generous pickup : TAB
39 Bring together : SYNC
40 Hanging basket bloomer : PETUNIA
41 Associates (with) : MINGLES
42 Jungle film costume : APE SUIT
44 Cacophony : DIN
45 “The Hobbit” dragon : SMAUG
46 Not cool at all : TENSE
47 Expand : WIDEN
49 Sushi prep verb : ROLL
50 Shout : YELL
51 Org. that includes each part of four puzzle answers : WNBA
55 Promising words : I DO
56 Dab that’ll do your do : GEL
57 Dander : IRE

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Jul 21, Friday”

  1. S0me really obscure answers. The WNBA is not very well known or publicized, along with various rappers. Did not like this one.

  2. 7:47, no errors. Predicting this isn’t going to be a very likeable puzzle because of the theme and the fact a lot of the cluing is pretty asea for it (as it were). Lot of guessing on my part, for sure!

  3. About 37 min. no errors thanks to “my notes”
    Two setters and obscure clues = me keeping notes from previous puzzles
    👍.
    Stay safe😀

  4. Instead of the “o” in Lois, I ended up with an “a” where it crossed with the clue for “Talented meteorologists? (Seattle, Las Vegas)” because I fixated on “Star as the first part of the answer, not seeing that it was “Storm” I should have been aware of. D’oh!

  5. Finished, finally, with no errors, but had to look up some
    obscure (to me) proper names. Got all the long answers
    and figured they were combined names of some sort of
    sports teams, but didn’t know what their organization was
    until I got WNBA by using cross letters. Not my favorite
    puzzle but not that difficult except for the names.

  6. 21:14 and 3 “forced errors”. I don’t know from WNBA, and there were plenty of other vague clues to add difficulty to this one. Wouldn’t recommend it.

  7. Did all right except I didn’t know the names of any women’s basketball teams — which makes it a little difficult. Come on…..!

  8. A pretty spiffy Friday puzzle for me, especially since I know very little about WNBA team names – 16:35 with no errors or lookups.

    Had to change “19A Zip” from NIL>VIM, “27A Declines to” from SAYSNO to DOESNT, and “52A Plus” from ADD to AND. My difficult theme answer was 38A until I came up with STAKE for “28D Investment”, then I recalled a SPARKS team name from somewhere and finished the puzzle.

  9. 12:38 with lots of corrections chased down

    I had this vague feeling that the long answers were some sort of sports team. I thought soccer/football at first. Then I got the STORM part of 32A, and remembered the Seattle Storm is an WBNA team. I learned the other teams with crosses and guesses.

    I have a question about 6D: Is the WAVES hairstyle a descendant of the marcel?

    Regarding 8D, Mickey’s co-creater, Ub Iwerks died 50 years and 2 days ago:
    https://www.npr.org/2021/07/07/1013645653/remembering-ub-iwerks-the-father-of-mickey-mouse

  10. Nightmare. I usually don’t comment when I have to Google, but knew almost none of the proper names, and had no idea what the theme was about, though I got the items. Nutz.

  11. Fairly tough Friday for me; took 44:32 with a Wiki lookup of WNBA. Sensing that teams were involved and having a 4 letter organization, I guessed WNBA, even though I had none of the letters. I decided to check Wiki and put those answers in and proceed from there. I still had to change ira to ARI, zip to VIM, tutor to EASYA, grr to ARF, jay to GEN, nut to OAT and probably a few more.

    It’s kind of odd, though, when the puzzle showcases women and the WNBA and then they use JLO performing in HEELS.

    Other than that I learned quite a bit, and after stumbling around it felt good to finish even if I used a Wiki shortcut.

  12. 12:52, no errors. Theme helped out a lot even though I have only a hazy recollection of most WNBA team names.

  13. Don’t know when it became reasonable to assume that all ballpark/arena/stadium names, all pro and college sports team names in all sports, and all sports league and college conference designations should be known. Or is it that puzzlemakers feel free to give clues knowing that people will have to look the answers up?

    Anyway, ‘coach’ is an imminently suitable answer for “Motel arrival” and since I’m not one of the enviable persons who knows all the ballpark and team names and I don’t look up answers, I missed it and also 1D.

    Just so there’s no question, I got all the answers below, so this isn’t sour grapes.

    Eider is not pillow stuffing any more than cow is belt material or horse is glue. It might be kosher to clue ‘eider’ with “Type of pillow stuffing” but even that would be a stretch.

    The feature of Mercury’s SANDALS were wings, not ‘mercurywings’. It might be reasonable to use that clue if the answer were ‘mercuryswings’, but then, of course, the theme wouldn’t work.

    Not very hard to find a picture of J.Lo performing in sneakers vs ‘inheels’. Her halftime performance for the 2020 Superbowl is one example. An accurate clue would have been “How J.Lo often performs”.

    6D clue should have been plural for the answer to be waveS.

    20A should have been clued with something like “Prisoner longing”. I get it that the puzzlemakers wanted to make it harder to get the answer, but clues should be accurate, even if they are ambiguous or contain a component of misdirection.

    There’s no meaning or shade of meaning to the word ‘tab’ that includes generous. Debt isn’t really a concept that is associated with generosity.

    Never heard ‘sammie’ as a synonym for sandwich.

    Is there some reason that petunias are associated with hanging baskets moreso than other types of flowers? Just curious.

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