LA Times Crossword 24 Aug 21, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Freddie Cheng
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tongue-Tied

Themed answers each start with a word often TIED with (preceding) “TONGUE”:

  • 60A At a loss for words, and what the starts of 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across can literally be? : TONGUE-TIED
  • 17A Sci-fi fleet leader : MOTHER SHIP (giving “mother tongue”)
  • 23A Perceptive person : SHARP COOKIE (giving “sharp tongue”)
  • 38A Indigenous U.S. people : NATIVE AMERICANS (giving “native tongue”)
  • 47A Uncontrollable person : LOOSE CANNON (giving “loose cannon”)

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

Bill’s time: 4m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bursting with testosterone : MACHO

A macho man is one showing pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

Testosterone is a primary sex hormone. It is a steroid that is secreted by the testicles in males and the ovaries in females. The levels of testosterone are 7-8 times higher in adult males than in females, and so it is often referred to as “the male sex hormone”.

6 RPM gauge : TACH

The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer in a car measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).

10 Border on : ABUT

“Abut”, meaning “border on”, comes from the Old French word “abouter” meaning “join end to end”.

14 Aquafina competitor : EVIAN

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

Aquafina is a Pepsico brand of bottled water. Aquafina is just plain old municipal water that has been purified.

15 Beige hue : ECRU

The color ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

Our word “beige” comes from the Old French “bege”, a term that applied to the natural color of wool and cotton that was not dyed.

19 Vicinity : AREA

A vicinity is an area surrounding a place. The term “vicinity” ultimately comes from the Latin “vicus” meaning “group of houses, village”.

20 New Age Irish singer : ENYA

Irish singer Enya co-wrote and performed two songs for the 2001 film “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. Her song “May It Be” was nominated to that season’s Best Original Song Academy Award. The second number, called “Aniron”, was sung in Tolkien’s Elvish language called Sindarin.

The New Age Movement is a western philosophy with roots that date back to the early 1800s. The movement focuses on achieving the highest human potential as an individual and embraces many traditionally eastern spiritual practices, but eschews all religious doctrines. New Age music is composed with the intent of supporting this philosophy. It tends to be very minimalistic, very tonal and harmonic. It is often used as a backdrop for relaxation or meditation.

21 They’re drawn in pubs : ALES

The many, many different styles of beer can generally be sorted into two groups: ales and lagers. Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for relatively short periods of time, and use top-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that float on top of the beer as it ferments. Lagers ferment at relatively low temperatures and for relatively long periods of time. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that fall to the bottom of the beer as it ferments.

22 Industry bigwigs : CZARS

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term “bigwig” harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

23 Perceptive person : SHARP COOKIE (giving “sharp tongue”)

A sharp or smart cookie is someone who is clever and astute.

30 “Star Trek” communications officer : UHURA

Lt. Nyota Uhura is the communications officer on board the Starship Enterprise, and was played by Nichelle Nichols in the original “Star Trek” television series. The role was significant in that Uhura was one of the first African American characters to figure front and center in US television. In a 1968 episode, Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Uhura kiss, the first interracial kiss to be broadcast in the US. Apparently the scene was meant to be shot twice, with and without the kiss, so that network executives could later decide which version to air. William Shatner claims that he deliberately ran long on the first take (with the kiss) and fluffed the hurried second take (without the kiss), so that the network would have no choice.

31 Skeleton component : BONE

When we are born, our skeleton comprises more than 270 bones. Many of these bones fuse as we grow, leaving an adult with 206 bones in all.

34 Old Testament twin : ESAU

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).

38 Indigenous U.S. people : NATIVE AMERICANS (giving “native tongue”)

The term “Native American” is used to describe the indigenous peoples occupying the land now described as the United States. Native Americans came to North America over 15,000 years ago, arriving from Asia by way of the Beringia land bridge that used to connect northeastern Siberia with western Alaska.

41 Hershey’s foil-wrapped chocolate treat : KISS

The Hershey Company produces over 80 million chocolate Kisses each day, and has been making them since 1907.

54 Many a Dickens child : WAIF

Charles Dickens was an English novelist who achieved great success in his own time, and is still regarded as perhaps the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. Many of his novels explored the plight of the poor in Victorian society, perhaps driven by his own experiences as a child. Dickens had to leave school to work in a factory after his father was thrown into a debtor’s prison. As a result, Dickens had to educate himself. He is said to have pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, with his first success coming with the 1835 serial publication of “Pickwick Papers”. And, everyone’s favorite has to be his 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol”.

62 Greenside shot : CHIP

That would be golf.

63 Burn soother : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

65 __ Christian Andersen : HANS

The wonderful storyteller Hans Christian Andersen became very successful in his own lifetime. In 1847 he visited England for the summer and made a triumphal tour of English society’s most fashionable drawing rooms. There Andersen met with the equally successful Charles Dickens, and the two seemed to hit it off. Ten years later Andersen returned to England and stayed for five weeks in Dickens’ home as his guest. Dickens published “David Copperfield” soon after, and supposedly the less than lovable character Uriah Heep was based on Dickens’ house guest Hans Christian Andersen. That wasn’t very nice!

66 KGB country : USSR

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” or “USSR”) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Down

1 Viral online item : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

2 Door-to-door cosmetics seller : AVON

In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

3 Atlantic __, N.J. : CITY

Atlantic City, New Jersey was developed in the 1850s as a potential resort town. The first version of the celebrated Atlantic City Boardwalk was installed in 1870. The city’s heyday came with Prohibition, when illegal drinking and gambling thrived in the backrooms of nightclubs and restaurants. After a long period of decline, Atlantic City was revitalized with the introduction of legalized casino gambling in 1976.

4 “LOL” : HA HA

Laugh out loud (LOL)

5 Buck in a wallet : ONE

“Buck” is a slang word meaning “dollar”. The term has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days.

6 Cybertruck maker : TESLA

Tesla’s Cybertruck is an electric-powered pickup truck that the company unveiled in 2019. It’s a pretty futuristic design, one inspired by the flying cars in “Blade Runner” and the automobile/submarine Lotus Esprit in “The Spy Who Loved Me”.

10 Smart speaker brand : AMAZON ECHO

Amazon Echo is a voice-controlled hardware device that can be used to provide several services including playing radio programs and music, recording of shopping lists, and managing a calendar. The device just sits in the home listening, until it hears a “wake up” command.

11 Netanyahu’s successor : BARAK

Ehud Barak served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001, taking over from Benjamin Netanyahu. Barak left office after he called a special election for Prime Minister and lost the vote to Ariel Sharon. Barak resigned from the Knesset and took an advisory job with the US company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and did some security-related work with a private equity company. In 2007, Barak took over leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu became Prime Minister of Israel in 2009, when he became the first leader of the country who was born in the state of Israel. After graduating high school, Netanyahu served in the Israeli special forces and participated in several combat missions, getting wounded on multiple occasions. After leaving the army in 1972, Netanyahu studied at MIT in the US, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in business.

12 Wombs : UTERI

“Uterus” (plural “uteri”) is the Latin word for “womb”.

22 Dove sound : COO

Taxonomically, doves and pigeons are the only members of the order Columbidae. The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are often used interchangeably. Scientifically speaking, dove species tend to be smaller than pigeon species. Colloquially though, many refer to doves as the white or nearly white species in the family.

23 Balkan native : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.

24 Only singer to have a #1 single in six straight decades (1960s-2010s) : CHER

“Cher” is the stage name used by singer and actress Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the season’s Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.

The first person or act to achieve number-one albums in six straight decades was Barbara Streisand. The first person or act to have number-one singles in six straight decades was Cher.

26 Spiced tea : CHAI

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

27 Double play pair : OUTS

That would be baseball.

32 Texter’s “Holy cow!” : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

33 Once named : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, Melania Trump née Knavs, and Jill Biden née Jacobs.

45 “The Last Jedi” heroine : REY

Rey is a central character in the “Star Wars” universe who first appeared in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Rey is played by British actress Daisy Ridley.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a 2017 movie from the “Star Wars” film franchise, and the second installment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy. The title character is Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill. Ah, but is Luke in fact the “last Jedi”?

46 Miso soup cube : TOFU

“Tofu” is a name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has curdled. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it …

48 Nebraska city : OMAHA

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River. When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

50 GI truants : AWOLS

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

The initialism “GI” stands for “Government Issue”, and not “General Infantry” as is widely believed. “GI” was first used in the military to denote equipment made from Galvanized Iron and during WWI, incoming German shells were nicknamed “GI cans”. Soon after, the term GI came to be associated with “Government Issue” and eventually became an adjective to describe anything associated with the Army.

“Truant” is such a lovely word. We have been using it to describe someone who wanders from an appointed place since the mid-1400s. Prior to that, a truant was a beggar or a vagabond.

51 Old iPods : NANOS

The iPod Nano was the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There were seven versions of the Nano, until it was discontinued in 2017.

52 Nation bordering Libya : NIGER

The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.

The Italo-Turkish War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 1911 and October 1912. At the end of the conflict the Ottoman Empire ceded to Italy the three provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. These provinces became Italian North Africa, and ultimately the country that we know today as Libya. The name “Libya” comes from the Ancient Greek “Libúē”, the historical name for Northwest Africa.

55 With 67-Across, like one who’s been stuck at home for too long, slangily : STIR-

The slang word “stir”, meaning “prison”, probably has its roots in Start Newgate prison in London, where it was a nickname for the establishment.

56 Verdi classic : AIDA

“Aida” is a celebrated opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then complications arise!

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer, mainly of operas, who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”. Verdi was a big fan of William Shakespeare and wrote three operas based on the Bard’s plays: “Macbeth”, “Otello” and “Falstaff”.

60 Sigma follower : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter that gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

61 PC “oops” key : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bursting with testosterone : MACHO
6 RPM gauge : TACH
10 Border on : ABUT
14 Aquafina competitor : EVIAN
15 Beige hue : ECRU
16 Aussie pal : MATE
17 Sci-fi fleet leader : MOTHER SHIP (giving “mother tongue”)
19 Vicinity : AREA
20 New Age Irish singer : ENYA
21 They’re drawn in pubs : ALES
22 Industry bigwigs : CZARS
23 Perceptive person : SHARP COOKIE (giving “sharp tongue”)
25 Displeased looks : SCOWLS
29 Sweetie pie : HON
30 “Star Trek” communications officer : UHURA
31 Skeleton component : BONE
34 Old Testament twin : ESAU
38 Indigenous U.S. people : NATIVE AMERICANS (giving “native tongue”)
41 Hershey’s foil-wrapped chocolate treat : KISS
42 Website unit : PAGE
43 First color to move, in chess : WHITE
44 Prefix with pod : TRI-
46 Drove (around) : TOOLED
47 Uncontrollable person : LOOSE CANNON (giving “loose cannon”)
53 With room to spare : AMPLY
54 Many a Dickens child : WAIF
55 Wise, as advice : SAGE
59 “Ciao!” : TA-TA!
60 At a loss for words, and what the starts of 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across can literally be? : TONGUE-TIED
62 Greenside shot : CHIP
63 Burn soother : ALOE
64 Backed, with “with” : SIDED …
65 __ Christian Andersen : HANS
66 KGB country : USSR
67 See 55-Down : -CRAZY

Down

1 Viral online item : MEME
2 Door-to-door cosmetics seller : AVON
3 Atlantic __, N.J. : CITY
4 “LOL” : HA HA
5 Buck in a wallet : ONE
6 Cybertruck maker : TESLA
7 Complainer’s “belly” ending : ACHER
8 Like fresh chips : CRISP
9 Drill sergeant’s syllable : HUP!
10 Smart speaker brand : AMAZON ECHO
11 Netanyahu’s successor : BARAK
12 Wombs : UTERI
13 Poke fun at : TEASE
18 Stadium sounds : RAHS
22 Dove sound : COO
23 Balkan native : SLAV
24 Only singer to have a #1 single in six straight decades (1960s-2010s) : CHER
25 Doomed : SUNK
26 Spiced tea : CHAI
27 Double play pair : OUTS
28 Mild reprimands : WRIST-SLAPS
31 Sheep bleat : BAA!
32 Texter’s “Holy cow!” : OMG!
33 Once named : NEE
35 Yacht propeller : SAIL
36 Initial poker bet : ANTE
37 Previously owned : USED
39 “Outta this world!” : EPIC!
40 Victor’s shout : I WON!
45 “The Last Jedi” heroine : REY
46 Miso soup cube : TOFU
47 Door fastener : LATCH
48 Nebraska city : OMAHA
49 Agree to take part : OPT IN
50 GI truants : AWOLS
51 Old iPods : NANOS
52 Nation bordering Libya : NIGER
55 With 67-Across, like one who’s been stuck at home for too long, slangily : STIR-
56 Verdi classic : AIDA
57 “Oh, wow!” : GEEZ!
58 Drain swirl : EDDY
60 Sigma follower : TAU
61 PC “oops” key : ESC

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Aug 21, Tuesday”

  1. Finished too quickly I guess; had one error box i.e. ample instead
    of amply. obviously didn’t know the Star Trek heroine’s name.

    Glad Bill explained the theme. I never made the connection.

  2. I have an issue with 35 Down’s answer to the clue “Yacht proeller” of sail. Sails don’t propel a boat, the wind does. Even with all sails up and no wind you aren’t going anywhere. And even with all sails furled if the wind is blowing your boat is being propelled.

  3. 7:44 1 error because I feel no obligation to learn to spell Star Wars character names.

    Theme might have helped.

  4. The fun continues – 10:18 with no errors or lookups. Had to change 45D from RAE>REY (forgot how it’s spelled), which changed 53A from AMILE>AMPLY and corrected 49D.

  5. No Googles. Like many, had REe crosses AMPLe. Had tHAI before CHAI. (My ancestor dumped that weak drink in the harbor.)
    Wish Bill had explained WRIST SLAP. I needed his explanation of BARAK.

  6. 8:45, no errors. Didn’t have the REY problem but I did waste a bit of time thinking 23D was SERB instead of SLAV

  7. @John Daigle

    Thanks for the kind words yesterday, didn’t see them until today.

    And kudos to you and your wife – we can use more people like you on this site.

    Be Well,
    Lou Lu

  8. Mostly easy Tuesday for me; took 7:25 with no errors or peeks.

    I forced myself to watch all the Star Wars movies the year before last and last year, so I actually knew REY!! She’s the pretty cute and very assertive Daisy Ridley, who after Jedi training ends up doing battle with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren character.

    @Jane – A slap on the wrist is a mild rebuke that a mother might give a child. I think the term is used, in older people, to describe an overly mild punishment for an offense deserving a more serious punishment.

    @Pam – I hope you weathered the heavy rainfalls from Henri without too much trouble.

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