LA Times Crossword 12 Aug 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bill McCartha
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: String Ensembles

Themed answers each contain the letter string C-L-O-T-H-E-S hidden within, but with the order CHANGED:

  • 40A Overnight bag item … and what’s literally hidden in 17-, 24-. 51- and 63-Across : CHANGE OF CLOTHES
  • 17A Plane storage area : TOOL CHEST
  • 24A Alpine resort features : SCENIC HOTELS
  • 51A St. Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy, e.g. : BALLET SCHOOL
  • 63A Kyra Sedgwick TV title role : THE CLOSER

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

Bill’s time: 7m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Spot for honored guests : DAIS

A dais is a raised platform for a speaker. The term “dais” comes from the Latin “discus” meaning a “disk-shaped object”. I guess that the original daises had such a shape.

5 AutoZone rival : NAPA

The National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) is a retailers’ cooperative that supplies replacement parts for cars and trucks.

AutoZone is the second-largest retailer of aftermarket automotive parts in the US (after Advance Auto Parts).

9 Long-necked African mammal : OKAPI

The okapi is closely related to the giraffe, although it does have markings on its legs and haunches that resemble those of a zebra. The okapi’s tongue is long enough to reach back and wash its eyeballs, and can go back even further to clean its ears inside and out.

14 1 for H, e.g. : AT NO

The atomic number (at. no.) of an element is also called the proton number, and is the number of protons found in the nucleus of each atom of the element.

15 Help flee a collar : ABET

Hydrogen is a relatively simple element, composed of basically a proton, an electron and no neutrons. It is the most abundant element in the universe.

16 One finalizing a return, perhaps : FILER

That would be a tax return.

19 Knighted golf analyst : FALDO

Nick Faldo is an English golfer, a winner of six major tournaments and a former World No. 1. For some years now Faldo has been the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports. In 2009 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, so if you’re chatting with him, don’t forget to address him as Sir Nick …

20 Itzcoatl, for one : AZTEC

Itzcoatl was the first Emperor of the Aztec Empire, coming to power in 1427. Also known as the Triple Alliance, the Aztec Empire formed when Itzcoatl engineered an alliance of the city-states Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Tetzcoco and Tlacopan.

21 Kansas __ : CITY

The Kansas City (KC) metropolitan area straddles the stateline between Kansas and Missouri. The metropolitan area includes several cities, with the largest being (in order):

  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Overland Park, Kansas
  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Independence, Missouri

28 Kleptomaniacal toon monkey : ABU

Abu is a monkey in the Disney production of “Aladdin”. The character is based on Abu, a thief in the 1940 film “The Thief of Baghdad”.

32 Migraine symptoms : AURAS

A person who suffers from migraines might experience visual disturbances known as auras. Often, an aura may signal the onset of the migraine.

43 Arabian Peninsula capital : SANA’A

Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

The Arabian Peninsula (also “Arabia”) is part of Western Asia that is located just north-east of Africa. The peninsula is bordered to the west by the Red Sea, to the northeast by the Persian Gulf, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Most of the Arabian Peninsula is taken up by Saudi Arabia, but also included are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. And, it’s the largest peninsula in the world, covering about 1¼ million square miles.

44 Linguist Chomsky : NOAM

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.

48 Easy mark : SAP

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words are derived from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

50 “Treasure Island” monogram : RLS

Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) was a Scottish author. He was most famous for his novels “Treasure Island”, “Kidnapped” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

I’d say that the most celebrated work from the pen of Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) is “Treasure Island”, which was originally written as a series for a children’s magazine in 1881. I remember “Treasure Island” as the first “real” novel I read as a youngster …

51 St. Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy, e.g. : BALLET SCHOOL

Today’s Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg was founded in 1738 as the Imperial ballet School. After the Russian Revolution, the school was shut down, but it was reopened by the Soviet government as the Leningrad State Choreographic School. It was renamed again in 1957 in honor of Russian ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova.

55 Name from the French for “beloved” : AMY

The female given name “Amy” comes from the French name “Aimé”, which translates into English as “beloved”.

56 Zip : BRIO

“Brio” is borrowed from Italian, in which language the term means “vigor and vivacity”. “Con brio” is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing the musicians to play “with energy, vigor”.

61 Musical buzzer : KAZOO

The modern instrument we know today as the kazoo was invented by one Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia in the 1800s. The kazoo first came to the public’s attention at the Georgia State Fair of 1852, when it was known as the “Down-South Submarine” (because of its shape, I would imagine).

63 Kyra Sedgwick TV title role : THE CLOSER

Actress Kyra Sedgwick is perhaps best known for playing Deputy Chief Johnson, the lead character on the crime drama show “The Closer”. Sedgwick married fellow actor Kevin Bacon in 1988. Sedgwick appeared on a family history show, and discovered that she and her husband are cousins, albeit tenth cousins once removed. I bet that was a surprise …

66 Abrasive mineral : EMERY

Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.

68 Diamond figure : NINE

That would be a baseball diamond.

69 Carpentry grooves : DADOS

In the world of joinery, a dado is a slot cut into a piece of wood across the grain. On the other hand, a groove is a slot cut with the grain.

Down

1 __ mining : DATA

The process of data mining is used to extract information from a database and present it in a form that facilitates further use.

2 The whole shebang : A TO Z

The word “shebang” is probably a derivative of “shebeen”, which is an Irish term describing a “speakeasy”, an establishment where liquor was drunk and sold illegally. In English, a “shebang” was originally a “hut” or a “shed”. Just how this evolved into the expression “the whole shebang”, meaning “everything”, is unclear.

3 How some close NFL games are won : IN OT

In overtime (in OT)

4 Pump bottoms : SOLES

A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

6 The Great Emancipator, familiarly : ABE

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 during the Civil War. The order freed slaves in Confederate territory, but did not apply to the five slave states that were not in rebellion. Slavery became illegal in the whole of the United States in December 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified.

7 Frequent De Niro co-star : PESCI

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in “Raging Bull” starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like Pesci’s comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinny”. Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.

8 Tall story? : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

10 Soul seller : KIA

The Kia Soul is a compact car produced in South Korea, although it was designed by Kia here in the US, in Irvine, California. Yep, the Kia Soul is made in Seoul …

12 C&W strings : PEDAL STEEL

A pedal steel guitar is a console-style guitar that features pedals controlled by the feet and levers controlled by the knees. I guess one has to be pretty adept to play such an instrument, coordinating the use of hands, knees and feet.

Country and western (C&W) music.

13 Clubs seen near woods : IRONS

Those would be golf clubs.

18 Sputnik letters : CCCP

The abbreviation CCCP stands for “Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик”, which translates from Russian as “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, the USSR.

The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957. The first in a series of space missions, the satellite was just a 23-inch diameter “ball” trailing four antennas. Sputnik 2 was launched just a month later, and carried the first living passenger into orbit, namely a dog named Laika. The word “sputnik” means “co-traveller” in Russian.

22 Hip-hop article : THA

“Tha” is slang for “the” in the world of rap music.

26 Guitar string option : NYLON

The choice of material used to make the strings of a stringed instrument depends on the desired pitch. The list of materials used includes steel, nylon and catgut. It is also common to have a string with a core made of one material and overwound with another.

29 Nassau rum drink : BAHAMA MAMA

If you’d care to try the drink called a Bahama mama, one recipe is:

  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • 1 part grenadine
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 parts pineapple juice

Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, and used to be called Charles Town. Located on the island of New Providence, the original settlement was burnt to the ground by the Spanish in 1684. It was rebuilt and named Nassau in honor of King William III of England (“William of Orange”), a Dutchman from the House of Orange-Nassau. Nassau is a favored location for the James Bond series of movies. The city and surroundings feature in “Thunderball”, “Never Say Never Again”, “Casino Royale” and “For Your Eyes Only”. Bond portrayer Sean Connery lived for many years at Lyford Cay, which is just a 30-min drive from the center of Nassau.

34 Gourmet gastropod : SNAIL

“Escargot” is the French word for “snail”. In order to eat snails, apparently they have to be “purged” before killing them. That means starving them or feeding them on something “wholesome” for several days before cooking them up. Ugh …

Snails and slugs are referred to collectively as gastropods. There are many, many species of gastropods, found both on land and in the sea. Gastropods with shells are generally described as snails, and those species without shells are referred to as slugs.

36 Storied abduction craft : UFO

Unidentified flying object (UFO)

41 Handhelds that debuted in 1989 : GAME BOYS

The Game Boy is a hugely successful handheld video game player that was released in 1989 by Nintendo. I remember that my kids were so eager to get hold of the devices when they first came out that I bought a couple of them in a Japanese railroad station, while over there on a business trip.

42 Texter’s “Too funny!” : LMAO!

Laughing my a** off (LMAO)

47 Orchestra sect. : STR

An orchestra (orch.) has a string (str.) section.

53 Attorney Roy and sports anchor Linda : COHNS

Roy Cohn was a prominent assistant and associate to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the days when McCarthy was famously investigating Communist activities in the US. Prior to his work with Senator McCarthy, Cohn was a central figure on the prosecuting team in the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Linda Cohn is a sportscaster who started anchoring ESPN’s “SportsCenter” in 1992. When Cohn was in high school, she played hockey on the boys team.

54 Spaghetti Western director Sergio : LEONE

Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, and someone very much associated with the Spaghetti Western movie genre . Perhaps most famous of Leone’s westerns were the so-called “Man with No Name” trilogy starring Clint Eastwood. The three films are:

  • “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964)
  • “For a Few Dollars More” (1965)
  • “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

58 K2 locale : ASIA

K2 is the second highest mountain on the planet (at 28, 251 ft), with Mount Everest being higher by over 700 feet. Located on the China-Pakistan border, K2 is known as the “Savage Mountain” as it is relatively difficult to climb. 1 in 4 mountaineers who have attempted to reach the summit have perished. It had never been climbed in winter until relatively recently (in 2021 by a team of Nepalese climbers). The name K2 dates back to what was called the Great Trigonometric Survey, a British survey of the geography of India carried out during the 19th century. Included in this survey were the heights of many of the Himalayan peaks, including Everest. The original surveyor, Thomas Montgomerie, included two peaks he first called K1 and K2. He discovered later that the locals called K1 Masherbrum (the 22nd highest mountain in the world), but the remote K2 had no local name that he could find, so it was christened Mount Godwin-Austen. This name was rejected by the Royal Geographic Society although it does still appear on some maps. So, the most common name used is K2, that original notation in a surveyor’s notebook.

59 Pilot and others : PENS

Pilot is a Japanese pen company, and the largest manufacturer of pens in Japan. The “Pilot” name was adopted in 1938, a change from the original Namiki Manufacturing Company.

60 Hoops long shot : 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.

62 Acapulco gold : ORO

The Mexican city of Acapulco is on the southwest coast of the country, in the state of Guerrero. The name “Acapulco” translates from the local language into “at the big reeds”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Spot for honored guests : DAIS
5 AutoZone rival : NAPA
9 Long-necked African mammal : OKAPI
14 1 for H, e.g. : AT NO
15 Help flee a collar : ABET
16 One finalizing a return, perhaps : FILER
17 Plane storage area : TOOL CHEST
19 Knighted golf analyst : FALDO
20 Itzcoatl, for one : AZTEC
21 Kansas __ : CITY
23 Hardly flushed : WAN
24 Alpine resort features : SCENIC HOTELS
28 Kleptomaniacal toon monkey : ABU
31 Paper gauge : PLY
32 Migraine symptoms : AURAS
33 Excludes : BANS
35 Pivot around : SLUE
38 “This I __ see” : GOTTA
40 Overnight bag item … and what’s literally hidden in 17-, 24-. 51- and 63-Across : CHANGE OF CLOTHES
43 Arabian Peninsula capital : SANA’A
44 Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
45 Radio button : SEEK
46 Seriously wounds : MAIMS
48 Easy mark : SAP
50 “Treasure Island” monogram : RLS
51 St. Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy, e.g. : BALLET SCHOOL
55 Name from the French for “beloved” : AMY
56 Zip : BRIO
57 Bounded : LEAPT
61 Musical buzzer : KAZOO
63 Kyra Sedgwick TV title role : THE CLOSER
66 Abrasive mineral : EMERY
67 Quick correction : UNDO
68 Diamond figure : NINE
69 Carpentry grooves : DADOS
70 Quiet “Yo” : PSST
71 One way to go : EASY

Down

1 __ mining : DATA
2 The whole shebang : A TO Z
3 How some close NFL games are won : IN OT
4 Pump bottoms : SOLES
5 “Not feelin’ it” : NAH
6 The Great Emancipator, familiarly : ABE
7 Frequent De Niro co-star : PESCI
8 Tall story? : ATTIC
9 “Scoot along, now” : OFF YOU GO
10 Soul seller : KIA
11 Come rain or come shine : ALL-WEATHER
12 C&W strings : PEDAL STEEL
13 Clubs seen near woods : IRONS
18 Sputnik letters : CCCP
22 Hip-hop article : THA
25 More : ELSE
26 Guitar string option : NYLON
27 Gentle gaits : TROTS
28 Beginner’s lesson : ABCS
29 Nassau rum drink : BAHAMA MAMA
30 Like raw 1-Down : UNANALYZED
34 Gourmet gastropod : SNAIL
36 Storied abduction craft : UFO
37 Internet funding : E-CASH
39 Big favors : ASKS
41 Handhelds that debuted in 1989 : GAME BOYS
42 Texter’s “Too funny!” : LMAO!
47 Orchestra sect. : STR
49 Interview : POLL
51 __ beans : BAKED
52 Abs-strengthening exercise : SIT-UP
53 Attorney Roy and sports anchor Linda : COHNS
54 Spaghetti Western director Sergio : LEONE
58 K2 locale : ASIA
59 Pilot and others : PENS
60 Hoops long shot : TREY
62 Acapulco gold : ORO
64 News VIPs : EDS
65 Barracks unit : COT

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Aug 21, Thursday”

  1. Well, almost no error but I got caught in my own trap. Maybe Mr McCarthy meant it that way.
    When I got to BALLET SCHOOL, I was focused on the SCHOOL part and was forcing CLOTHES from that end. Only 1 letter was fooling me. E! so I put in BALLET SCHOEL so CLOTHES would work. Thought maybe that was a Russian name for a SCHOOL…

  2. Tried to think of ways to fit “Long Island Iced Tea” for the rum clue. Can’t say I’m too familiar with a BAHAMA MAMA.

  3. I am amazed that I got this one at all! No errors but one
    Google lookup: The Closer. I never heard of pedal steel, but
    that’s the only thing that seemed to fit the spaces.

  4. 15:04

    Today I learned about Sir Nick Faldo and the Bahama Mama.

    When it comes to speed, I do the puzzle online. Usually I put in the first things that come to mind, without trying to second guess. I suppose you could say I use an electronic pencil. There’s no way I could track how many times I have to fix a square along the way. When I have them filled, if something’s still wrong, I do a runthrough of the acrosses and the downs, looking for fixes. If I still can’t figure that out, I do a check grid. Whatever shows up at that point I count as errors. I used to start feeling the urge to do lookups at about the 15 to 20 minute mark, but I’ve got better at resisting that.

  5. I can’t believe I finished this. Worked on it for a while, left it and practiced the piano for an hour. After that, I was able to finish but not sure why. There were so many things I didn’t know.
    Got my two Moderna shots in March.

  6. 9:03, no errors. Definitely been one of those days where bad clue writing, producing guess fests (Five letter words, starting with “O”… now will this work?), have been the norm rather than the exception. As some may have figured out, if I have to start guessing like that to complete a puzzle, that’s when I start hating them.

    Since others were suggesting tips, here’s one: Try to do every puzzle you get on your own power as much as possible. Just look up one thing if you get stuck (or check errors in what you got) and then go again. Be sure you give it a good try. I got a pen I use to mark errors (anymore) and a pencil I use to solve, but I marked anything I had to look up, too (good online programs will do this too). When you get done, look at the ones you marked in the different color and see if there was a logical way to get there and how. You may get fruit in looking at all of them this way.

    1. @Glenn … I think you’ve revealed a major difference between your view of puzzles and mine. I don’t think I have ever, in my entire life, hated a crossword puzzle. As I said yesterday, if you have trouble with one, but others report having finished it with no errors and are sure of their answers, it’s a good bet that there’s not all that much wrong with the puzzle and that your problem lies elsewhere.

  7. 15 minutes, 4 seconds, no errors. A few clues gave me (considerable) pause, but despite another case of the “slows”, I ground it out for a no-issues solve.

  8. Slightly tough Thursday for me; took 25:12 with one error. Finished, but didn’t get the banner and after checking I didn’t see anything obvious, so I did a “check-grid” and found UNANALiZED/AMi…which is kind of a dumb error.

    All in all, this puzzle produced a lot of second guessing on my part. I was thinking aKAPI, but left the “a” blank. Didn’t know FALDO, ABU, AURAS, BRIO, “Kyra Sedgwick role”, “sports anchor Linda.” A few others I had to get some crosses before things became obvious.

    @Bill – K2 was summited just this year in the winter by 10 Nepalese Sherpas for the first time. It truly is a beautiful mountain, in my opinion, and I used to have various views of it as my screen background. Nobody has ever tried to summit it from the east face yet, probably due to extreme avalanche danger and no reasonable/viable path.

    1. Thanks, Dirk. Missed that news. Made the necessary edit to my “blurb”. I appreciate the (much-needed) help.

  9. This was tough going for me today — never heard of trey, slue with that clue (hey, I’m a poet and I know it!), and I was flummoxed by dados ! Those are the ones I’m not embarrassed to admit I could not get. The two that I AM embarrassed about are data and unanalyzed! I gave up after about 30 minutes…good on everyone who was successful! By the way, since the topic was raised: I work in health care so I got Pfizer in December and early January. No side effects. Been healthy as an ox. Seen an up-tick in hospital admissions and people who are now kicking themselves due to not getting the vaccine. Please please get vaccinated everyone — the idiots on facebook do not know any better than the CDC on this!

  10. 20:44 is right at the 20-min goal I set for myself for the Wed & Thu puzzles (15 for Mon & Tue, 25 for Fri & Sat, 45 for Sun).

    Had a time working through 25D, 26D, & 31A after putting in TURN for 35A “Pivot around”. I finally landed on NYLON for 26D (N_UON wasn’t working for me). After that, (E)CASH & (U)FO fell in place and then came SLUE & ELSE/PLY. Also had to change TALK>SEEK as I was thinking of a different kind of radio. Quickly redid CAIRO>SANAA after figuring out GAMEBOYS. It was also a quick change of ANYWEATHER>ALLWEATHER.

  11. Even with the several instances of poor clueing I was able to slog through this one. The moralizing by A Nonny Muss and some others gets tiresome. Irrelevant and boring.

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