LA Times Crossword 5 Aug 21, Thursday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Alternative Job Titles

Themed answers are somewhat tongue-in-cheek alternate job titles for professionals cited in the clues:

  • 20A Alternate job title for a locksmith? : HAIRDRESSER
  • 55A Alternate job title for a librarian? : LOAN OFFICER
  • 11D Alternate job title for a file clerk? : MANICURIST
  • 29D Alternate job title for a chiropractor? : DISC JOCKEY

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

Bill’s time: 6m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 “I Know This Much Is True” author Wally : LAMB

Wally Lamb is an author from Connecticut who is perhaps best known for his novels “She’s Come Undone” (1992) and “I Know This Much Is True” (1998). Apparently, Oprah Winfrey is a big fan of Lamb’s work, and chose both of the mentioned titles for Oprah’s Book Club.

14 Algerian port : ORAN

Oran lies on the Algerian coast, and is famous for being the port where the French Navy was largely destroyed by the British during WWII in order to avoid the French vessels falling into the hands of Nazi Germany after France surrendered. This decisive and unexpected unilateral action by the British sent a very strong message around the world that Britain was willing to fight alone against the axis powers if necessary.

17 Rural landscape standout : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

18 Google competitor : BING

Bing is the search engine from Microsoft. Bing is the latest name for an engine that Microsoft used to call Live Search, Windows Live Search and MSN Search.

24 Eucalyptus eater : KOALA

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

Eucalyptus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs that is particularly widespread in Australia. The species known as mountain ash or swamp gum is the tallest flowering plant in the world, with the tallest example located in Tasmania and standing at over 325 feet tall.

25 Chicago exchange, briefly, with “the” : … MERC

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the “Merc”) started its life as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board in 1898. The Merc is the site for exchange of commodities, among other things.

33 “Lone Survivor” actor Hirsch : EMILE

Emile Hirsch is an actor from Topanga, California. Hirsch’s most famous role was the lead in the 2007 drama “Into the Wild”.

“Lone Survivor” is a 2013 war film starring Mark Wahlberg as a US Navy SEAL who is the only survivor from a 4-man team on a mission in Afghanistan. The film is based on a 2007 book that recounts the real-life experience of Marcus Luttrell and the comrades that he lost on that mission. It’s a powerful movie …

34 Trattoria choice : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

36 Machiavelli’s “Dell’__ della guerra” : ARTE

“The Art of War” (“Dell’arte della guerra” in Italian) is a written work penned by Renaissance diplomat and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli. One of the tenets proposed in the treatise is that the military provide for society the necessary security to protect religion, science and art.

Italian diplomat and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli lived during the Renaissance. His name is associated with the principle of using deception, treachery and crime in order to achieve a beneficial outcome. Such behavior is routinely described today as “Machiavellian”.

37 “S.W.A.T.” home : CBS

“S.W.A.T.” is an action drama series that first aired in 2017. It is based on a TV show of the same name that aired in the mid-seventies. The lead character in both shows is SWAT team leader Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, played by Shemar Moore in the reboot and by Steve Forrest in the original.

“SWAT” is an acronym standing for Special Weapons and Tactics. The first SWAT team was pulled together in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1968.

38 Short-order tool : SPATULA

A spatula is a tool or implement used for mixing, lifting or spreading. “Spatula” is the Latin name for the tool, and is a diminutive of the word “spatha” meaning “broad, flat blade”. “Spatha” also gives rise to our related term “spade”.

41 James’ creator : IAN

Ian Fleming’s spy first introduced himself with the words “Bond, James Bond” in the 1953 novel “Casino Royale”. Sean Connery first uttered the words on the silver screen in the first Bond movie, “Dr. No”.

42 Roman aqueduct section : ARCH

Aqueducts are bridges built to allow the movement of water across valleys and ravines. The term “aqueduct” comes from the Latin “aqua” (water) and “ducere” (to lead).

44 Apple music holder : IPOD

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

45 Rosters : LISTS

Our word “roster”, meaning “list, register”, actually comes from the same root as our word “roast”, would you believe. “Roster” came into English from the Dutch “rooster”, meaning “table, list”. An alternative use of the Dutch “rooster” was “gridiron”, from the “roosten” meaning “to roast”. The connection is that a roster of names is often listed on a sheet of paper that has grid lines resembling the marks left by a gridiron on roasted meat. Quite interesting …

47 Garb often shortened to three letters : PAJAMAS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

49 Uncle Sam feature : GOATEE

A goatee is a beard formed by hair on a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.

The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the code word “Samland” for “America” in intelligence communiques.

53 __ drop : MIC

A mic drop takes place when a performer has done particularly well and decides to celebrate by throwing or dropping the microphone to the floor. That doesn’t seem to happen at the performances I tend to frequent …

62 Cut with a beam : LASE

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

64 Jobs in high-tech : STEVE

Steve Jobs certainly was a business icon in Silicon Valley. I don’t think it is too surprising to learn that the brilliant Jobs didn’t even finish his college education, dropping out of Reed College in Oregon after only one semester. Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, but in 1985 he was basically fired from his own company during the computer sales slump in the mid-eighties. Jobs then founded NeXT Computer, a company focused on supplying workstations to the higher education and business markets. Apple purchased NeXT in 1996, and that’s how Jobs found himself back with his original company.

66 Poet during Augustus’ reign : OVID

For some reason, the Roman poet Ovid fell into disfavor with Emperor Augustus. As a result, Ovid was banished to the island of Tomis in the Black Sea, where he spent the last years of his life. While in exile, Ovid wrote a large collection of poetic letters known as the “Tristia” (also “Sorrows” or “Lamentations”). In the work, Ovid is basically lamenting his situation in exile.

68 Bygone GM line : OLDS

Oldsmobile was an automobile brand founded by Ransom E. Olds (REO) in 1897. The brand was finally phased out by General Motors in 2004.

General Motors (GM) was the largest manufacturer of vehicles in the world for 77 straight years, at least in terms of numbers of cars sold, from 1931 until 2007. GM was established in 1908 in Flint, Michigan as a holding company for Buick, which in turn had been founded in 1899. GM’s Buick brand is the oldest, still-active automotive brand in the US. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009, and emerged from that bankruptcy just one month later, with a lot of help from the US taxpayer. In order to do so, GM had to shut down its Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn operations. The revamped General Motors then had a huge Initial Public Offering in 2010 that raised $23 billion.

69 Pet pros : VETS

“Vet” is an abbreviation for “veterinarian”, a professional who treats animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

Down

1 Kid : JOSH

When the verb “to josh”, meaning “to kid”, was coined in the 1840s as an American slang term, it was written with a capital J. It is likely that the term somehow comes from the proper name “Joshua”, but no one seems to remember why.

2 Puccini piece : ARIA

Giacomo Puccini was an Italian composer who was famous for his operas that are so often performed all over the world. Included in the list of his works are “La bohème”, “Tosca”, “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot”. Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium in 1924 having suffered from throat cancer. An audience attending a performance of “La bohème” in Rome heard of the composer’s death in the middle of the performance. At the news, the opera was stopped, and the orchestra instead played Chopin’s “Funeral March”.

3 Java neighbor : BALI

Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.

Java is a large island in Indonesia that is home to the country’s capital, Jakarta. With a population of over 130 million, Java is the most populous island in the world, with even more people than Honshu, the main island of Japan.

4 Marine explorer’s aid : SNORKEL

Our word “snorkel” comes from German navy slang “Schnorchel” meaning “nose, snout”. The German slang was applied to an air-shaft used for submarines, due to its resemblance to a nose, in that air passed through it and it made a “snoring” sound. “Schnorchel” comes from “Schnarchen”, the German for “snore”.

6 Flounder’s best friend, in Disney : ARIEL

“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton. Her best friend is Flounder, who despite his name is not a flounder at all and is actually a tropical fish. Ariel is also friends with Sebastian, a red Jamaican crab whose full name is Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian.

7 98th-percentile group : MENSA

Mensa is a high-IQ society that was founded in Oxford, England in 1946. The founders were two lawyers: Australian Roland Berrill and Englishman Lancelot Ware. Apparently, the elitist founders were unhappy with the development of Mensa, given that most members came from the working and lower classes.

12 Dutch cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

13 Dining review site : YELP

yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.

21 Rx specs : DOSES

There seems to be some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

26 Nutritional abbr. : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

28 Sunspot center : UMBRA

Sunspots have two parts, the umbra and penumbra. The central umbra is the darkest part of the sunspot, and the penumbra is a lighter surrounding fringe.

Sunspots are temporary dark spots seen on our sun, the sites of intense magnetic activity accompanying a drop in surface temperature (hence the darkening in color).

29 Alternate job title for a chiropractor? : DISC JOCKEY

Chiropractic is a type of alternative medicine that largely involves the adjustment of the spinal column. The term “chiropractic” was coined in the US in the late 1800s and comes from the Latinized Greek “chiro-” meaning “hand” and “praktikos” meaning “practical”.

35 Skater Midori : ITO

Midori Ito is a Japanese figure skater. Ito was the first woman to land a triple/triple jump and a triple axel in competition. In fact, she landed her first triple jump in training when she was only 8 years old. Ito won Olympic silver in 1992, and was chosen as the person to light the Olympic cauldron at the commencement of the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

39 It has hammers and keys : PIANO

What was remarkable about the piano when it was invented, compared to other keyboard instruments, was that notes could be played with varying degrees of loudness. This is accomplished by pressing the keys lightly or firmly. Because of this quality, the new instrument was called a “pianoforte”, with “piano” and “forte” meaning “soft” and “loud” in Italian. We tend to shorten the name these days to just “piano”.

40 Standoffish : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that it has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

46 1994 sci-fi memoir : I, ASIMOV

Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”, although Asimov’s most famous work is probably his “Foundation” trilogy of novels. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

51 Slowpoke : SNAIL

Back in the early 1800s, a “poke” was a device attached to domestic animals such as pigs or sheep to keep them from escaping their enclosures. The poke was like a yoke with a pole, and slowed the animal down, hence the term “slowpoke”.

54 “__ the Woods”: Sondheim musical : INTO

“Into the Woods” is a Stephen Sondheim musical that premiered in 1986. The storyline uses characters from several fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella”. The borrowed characters are held together with an underlying original tale about a baker and his wife who long to have a child, but cannot due to a curse placed on them by a witch.

Stephen Sondheim has won more Tony Awards than any other composer, a total of eight. He has a long list of stage (and big screen) successes including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, “A Little Night Music”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”. Sondheim is a big fan of crosswords and had a whole series of cryptic crosswords published in “New York” magazine in the sixties.

56 Part of SATB : ALTO

The voice types soprano, alto, tenor and bass can be abbreviated to the initialism “SATB”.

61 “Killing __”: BBC drama : EVE

“Killing Eve” is a spy thriller series about an MI5 agent on the trail of a female assassin. The agent is played by Canadian actress Sandra Oh, and the assassin by English actress Jodie Comer. The storyline comes from a series of novellas titled “Codename Villanelle” by British author Luke Jennings.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Assorted mockery : JABS
5 “I Know This Much Is True” author Wally : LAMB
9 Comfy and cozy : HOMEY
14 Algerian port : ORAN
15 Type of rug : AREA
16 Dodge : EVADE
17 Rural landscape standout : SILO
18 Google competitor : BING
19 Unoriginal : BANAL
20 Alternate job title for a locksmith? : HAIRDRESSER
23 Little rascal : IMP
24 Eucalyptus eater : KOALA
25 Chicago exchange, briefly, with “the” : … MERC
27 Least civil : RUDEST
30 Workshop debris : SAWDUST
33 “Lone Survivor” actor Hirsch : EMILE
34 Trattoria choice : ZITI
36 Machiavelli’s “Dell’__ della guerra” : ARTE
37 “S.W.A.T.” home : CBS
38 Short-order tool : SPATULA
41 James’ creator : IAN
42 Roman aqueduct section : ARCH
44 Apple music holder : IPOD
45 Rosters : LISTS
47 Garb often shortened to three letters : PAJAMAS
49 Uncle Sam feature : GOATEE
50 Portent : OMEN
51 Chases off : SHOOS
53 __ drop : MIC
55 Alternate job title for a librarian? : LOAN OFFICER
60 Signed : INKED
62 Cut with a beam : LASE
63 Skirt length : MAXI
64 Jobs in high-tech : STEVE
65 Layer : TIER
66 Poet during Augustus’ reign : OVID
67 Played (with) : TOYED
68 Bygone GM line : OLDS
69 Pet pros : VETS

Down

1 Kid : JOSH
2 Puccini piece : ARIA
3 Java neighbor : BALI
4 Marine explorer’s aid : SNORKEL
5 Maze runner : LAB RAT
6 Flounder’s best friend, in Disney : ARIEL
7 98th-percentile group : MENSA
8 Captures : BAGS
9 __ Bible : HEBREW
10 Egg cells : OVA
11 Alternate job title for a file clerk? : MANICURIST
12 Dutch cheese : EDAM
13 Dining review site : YELP
21 Rx specs : DOSES
22 It’s often checked by surfers : EMAIL
26 Nutritional abbr. : RDA
27 Sum up : RECAP
28 Sunspot center : UMBRA
29 Alternate job title for a chiropractor? : DISC JOCKEY
30 Small jewelry item : STUD
31 Condition : STATE
32 Present, e.g. : TENSE
34 Microwaves : ZAPS
35 Skater Midori : ITO
39 It has hammers and keys : PIANO
40 Standoffish : ALOOF
43 It may be glazed : HAM
46 1994 sci-fi memoir : I, ASIMOV
48 Combined : MELDED
49 Low-level workers : GOFERS
51 Slowpoke : SNAIL
52 Washed (down) : HOSED
53 Fine spray : MIST
54 “__ the Woods”: Sondheim musical : INTO
56 Part of SATB : ALTO
57 Yield : CAVE
58 Theater sign : EXIT
59 Purges (of) : RIDS
61 “Killing __”: BBC drama : EVE

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Aug 21, Thursday”

    1. Your usual good job, Glenn.

      I thought I was going to be able to tell you that we solved today’s tricky puzzle,
      but I made two very dumb errors because I hurried. The “MAXI” skirt would
      have covered the bases. I have to fess up that I Googled two answers, those
      being WALLY LAMB and MENSA. I don’t usually do that, but I didn’t know either
      one and could not find them in my supposedly current dictionary. Have to “settle”
      for 99% solved, a rarity for a Thursday. Very happy with the result.

      Stay safe and well and thanks again for the space to post.

  1. No errors, no lookups, but a couple of write-overs when
    I was trying to decide which skirt length to enter as 63A.

  2. In answer to Bill’s question (“Interesting , huh . . .?) in his comment on 40 Down ALOOF, I’d say yes, very. Especially since the LOOF part may come from the Danish/Swedish/Norwegian word for air (and by extension, weather) — luft. Wasn’t it nice of the Vikings to gift our language while they were doing all that looting and pillaging?

  3. Seemed on the easier side for a Thursday (with a few tricky clues thrown in to keep you honest).

  4. Loved the theme. No errors, but didn’t know “SATB” and when “Ian” filled in still didn’t connect “James” to Bond. Also didn’t know “Merc”.

  5. A good 16:08 on a Thursday puzzle, in spite of several corrections along the way: AIDA>ARIA (Verdi wrote Aida!), RABBIT>LABRAT, NABS>BAGS, PANDA>KOALA ( Pandas eat bamboo!), CEDE>CAVE, ICE>HAM, IDO>ITO.

  6. 9:04

    I’m amused by how long it took me to remember that Google has a competitor in BING.

    I’d say Asimov’s most influential work is not so much a story or a book, but the Three Laws of Robotics.

    1. Hello, Pam. Yes, the 3 Laws of Robotics are central to “I, Robot”. It is what I would call a story, though, in that it follows certain characters, their descendants, and related individuals over time as robot technology advances along a continuum. It’s told as a series of vignettes, but they’re connected through a common thread.

  7. 25 min. with no errors.
    The NYT and LAT Thursday puzzles both seemed easier that the Tuesday and Wednesday ones IMO.
    Stay safe😀

  8. Glenn lets me post in his space, since I no longer have any.

    We had 2 dumb posting errors and happily settled for 99% solved.

  9. agree with the others that this seemed an easier thursday than is usual for this late in the week! again, a nice challenge for me!

  10. with all due respect, Steve, I don’t think mic drop is obtuse…quite a common expression, actually! and easy to figure out by the clues around it altho at first I had air drop. which is a computing term and is more obtuse, imho. Anyhoo, looking forward to Friday for more than one reason!

  11. Nice easy Thursday for me; took 15:53 with no errors or peeks. Enjoyed the theme and just had to dance around a bit in the SE, where I had giVE before CAVE.

    re ALOOF – Whenever I read Bill’s explanation of “A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore” I always think of the horrible crash during the “2012 San Francisco to Farallones and Back” sailing race. The sea and weather turned and, sadly, one of the boats was not aloof enough…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.