LA Times Crossword 13 Sep 21, Monday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: Batt to Butt

Themed answers start with a vowel progression from BATT- to BUTT-:

  • 17A One of two rectangles next to home plate : BATTER’S BOX
  • 25A Cartoon flapper : BETTY BOOP
  • 37A Last step, however difficult : BITTER END
  • 52A “Cheers!” : BOTTOMS UP!
  • 63A Called from the rear? : BUTTDIALED

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

Bill’s time: 4m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Coffee that probably won’t keep you up : DECAF

The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene (a potent carcinogen) as a solvent. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let’s hope they are safer …

14 Tehran’s land : IRAN

Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around a really long time and Tehran is actually the country’s 31st national capital.

15 Norwegian king, 995-1000 : OLAF I

It is believed that Norwegian King Olaf I led the conversion of the Vikings to Christianity, and built the first church in the country (in 995 CE). Olaf was actually married to an Irishwoman, albeit a woman from a Viking family. Queen Gyda was the sister of the King of Dublin, Olaf Cuaran.

16 Other, in Oaxaca : OTRO

Oaxaca is a state in the southern part of Mexico on the Pacific coast. The state takes the name of Oaxaca, its largest city.

17 One of two rectangles next to home plate : BATTER’S BOX

That would be baseball.

19 New Mexico art community : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began settling in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

20 Move like Miley : TWERK

Twerking is a dancing move in which someone (usually a woman) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

Miley Cyrus became famous playing the Disney Channel character “Hannah Montana”. Miley is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. When she was born, Billy Ray and his wife named their daughter “Destiny Hope”, but soon they themselves calling her “Smiley” as she was always smiling as a baby, and this got shortened to Miley over time. Cute …

23 CD predecessors : LPS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.

25 Cartoon flapper : BETTY BOOP

Betty Boop made her first appearance on the screen in 1930, in a cartoon called “Dizzy Dishes”. Her character was modeled on the It-girl, the sexy Clara Bow of movie fame. Back then Betty Boop was a sexy poodle and it wasn’t until 1932 that she morphed into completely human form. Betty was quite the risqué figure, but her vampish ways only lasted a few years. When the Production Code of 1934 came into force, Betty started to dress more modestly and toned down her behavior.

Flappers were the so-called “new breed” of young women of the twenties. The flappers wore their hair short (with ringlets), dressed in short skirts and generally rebelled against the accepted norms of the time. The term “flapper” comes from the 1920 movie “The Flapper” starring Olive Thomas as a young woman who lived the more liberal lifestyle that was emerging at that time.

30 Dogie catcher : LASSO

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

“Dogie” (sometimes “dogy”) is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

31 Youngster : TYKE

“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902 For centuries before that, a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

37 Last step, however difficult : BITTER END

The bitter end is the conclusion of a difficult situation. The phrase “bitter end” is nautical in origin. “Bitts” are pairs of posts on the deck of a ship or on a wharf around which mooring lines are wound to secure a vessel. The bitter end of a cable or rope is the part at the extremes of the line that is wound around the bitts.

43 ER doc’s “Now!” : STAT!

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

48 Arcade pioneer : ATARI

Founded in 1972, electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was once the fastest-growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

49 “Casablanca” pianist : SAM

The movie “Casablanca” was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn’t a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song “As Time Goes By” was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called “Everybody’s Welcome”, and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson (who played “Sam” in the film). Poor Dooley didn’t get to record it as a single, due to a musician’s strike in 1943. The 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.

51 NYC’s Madison or Fifth : AVE

Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.

Fifth Avenue in New York City is sometimes referred to as the “most expensive street in the world” as the section that runs through Midtown Manhattan is home to upscale stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

56 Fall flower : ASTER

Apparently, most aster species and cultivars bloom relatively late in the year, usually in the fall. The name “aster” comes into English via Latin from the Greek word “astéri” meaning “star”, a reference to the arrangement of the petals of the flower.

58 Divided Asian country: Abbr. : KOR

Korea was occupied by the Japanese military from 1910 until Japan surrendered at the end of WWII in 1945. While the UN was working towards a trusteeship administration for Korea, the Soviet Union managed the Korean Peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the US managed the south. The UN’s plans came to naught as the Cold War dictated the establishment of the two separate states of North Korea and South Korea. North Korea invaded the South in 1950, leading to the Korean War. After three years of fighting, the border between the two states became the demarcation line between the two military forces on the day the Armistice Agreement was signed. That line runs diagonally across the 38th parallel, and is better known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

59 Not worth debating : MOOT

To moot is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able to get that right, which drives me crazy …

61 Falco of “The Sopranos” : EDIE

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

“The Sopranos” is an outstanding television drama made by HBO that is a story about Italian-American mobsters in New Jersey. “The Sopranos” is regularly cited as one of the best TV series of all time. It’s “must see TV” …

63 Called from the rear? : BUTT-DIALED

“Butt dialing” is an alternative name for “pocket dialing”, the accidental placing of a call while a phone is in one’s pocket or purse.

66 Egg foo __ : YUNG

Egg foo yung is a dish served in Chinese restaurants, and is basically an omelet. It probably takes its name from a flower called the Fu Yung.

67 River to the Rhone : ISERE

The Isère river gives its name to the French Department of Isère, located partly in the French Alps. In turn, Isère gave its name to a somewhat famous ship called the Isère, which in 1885 delivered the Statue of Liberty from France to America in 214 shipping crates.

The Rhône river rises in Switzerland, passes through Lake Geneva, flows through the southeast of France, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Arles.

68 “Casablanca” heroine : ILSA

Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund were played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie “Casablanca”. I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: “She paints his face with her eyes”. Wow …

69 Fix, vet-style : SPAY

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

70 Calif. NFLer : LA RAM

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

Down

1 Tease : RIB

“To rib”, meaning “to tease”, is a term dating back to 1930 and is probably an extension from “poking someone in the ribs”.

3 Fashion runway : CATWALK

In the world of fashion, the runway or catwalk is a platform used by models to show their clothes. The platform usually projects into the audience.

5 Nerdy type : DORK

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

6 Raised city trains : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

8 In progress, as Sherlock’s “game” : AFOOT

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in writing the “Sherlock Holmes” stories, had his hero use the phrase “the game is afoot” on more than one occasion. Holmes first uttered the expression in “The Adventures of the Abbey Grange”. However, the phrase was used long before Conan Doyle put pen to paper. In William Shakespeare’s “King Henry IV Part I” there is the line “Before the game is afoot, thou let’st slip”.

10 “Hogwash!” : ROT!

“Hogwash” means “rubbish, of little value”. “Hogwash” was originally the name of swill fed to pigs.

18 Sea eagle : ERNE

The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also known as the white-tailed eagle or the sea eagle.

22 Hosiery material : NYLON

The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application for the new product was as bristles in toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous. The first stockings made from nylon were produced in 1940, and since then stockings have been known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was in short supply during WWII.

The word “hose” meaning “covering for the leg” has the same roots as the contemporary German word “Hose” meaning “trousers, pants”.

25 Telly watchers : BRITS

“Telly” is a term commonly used in Britain and Ireland that is short for “television”.

26 Styx and Stones : BANDS

Styx is a band that formed in Chicago in 1972. Their biggest hit was “Babe” from 1979, and “Mr. Roboto” from 1983.

Even though Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been the driving force behind the Rolling Stones for decades, they didn’t start the group. The band was the idea of guitarist and harmonica player Brian Jones, and it was he who invited Richards and Jagger to join, as well as Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts to make an original lineup of six band members. Jones called the band “Rollin’ Stone” back then in 1962, named for the song by Muddy Waters. Jones was the leader, manager and decision maker for the first few years until songs written by Richards and Jagger became hits and he started to lose artistic control. In 1967, Jones was arrested for drug possession, and again in 1968. When his trouble with the law prevented him from getting a US work visa, Jones wasn’t able to accompany the Stones on a 1969 US tour. That was the last straw, it seems, and Jones and the Stones parted company. Famously, one month later, Jones was found dead, at the bottom of his swimming pool.

32 Film critic Roger : EBERT

Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert himself died in 2013.

34 Ping-Pong table divider : NET

Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.

38 “Eat crow” or “talk turkey” : IDIOM

The phrase “eat crow”, an alternative to “eat humble pie”, perhaps refers to the fact that cooked crow may be edible, but is not a great food choice.

The phrase “to talk turkey” means “to discuss frankly”. The term originated in colonial times, when it had a different meaning. Talking tukey back then was talking about something pleasant, but in a silly manner. I guess the “silliness” was an allusion to the “silly” gait of the turkey.

40 Indent producers, on a PC : TAB KEYS

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

42 Catastrophic New Orleans hurricane : KATRINA

2005’s Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest hurricane in US history since 1928, with over 1200 people perishing in the event itself and in the subsequent flooding.

45 Kneecap : PATELLA

The patella is the kneecap. The bone’s Latin name is “patella”, which is a diminutive form of “patina”, the word for “pan”. The idea is that the kneecap is pan-shaped.

46 World’s highest mountain : EVEREST

Mount Everest was named by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865 for Welsh surveyor George Everest, who had served as Surveyor General of India from 1830 through 1843. Everest actually objected initially to the use of his name, given that he had nothing to do with the peak’s discovery, and given that he believed “Everest” was difficult to write and to pronounce in Hindi.

47 Child of a boomer : XER

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

A baby boomer is someone who was born in the post-WWII baby boom. The rate of births had been falling fairly steadily in the US at least since 1900, but this trend was sharply reversed in 1946 after WWII. The higher birth rate continued until 1964, when it returned to pre-war levels. Since then the birth rate has continued to decline, although at a slower pace. The period between 1946 and 1964 is often defined as the “baby boom”.

53 Shell competitor : MOBIL

Mobil was founded as part of the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. The company was originally called Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York). Socony merged with Magnolia Petroleum Company in the thirties and adopted Magnolia’s Pegasus emblem, and it has been used ever since. Mobil merged with Exxon in 1999 but the Mobil brand and Pegasus are alive and well.

Royal Dutch Shell is the fourth largest company in the world in terms of revenue (Walmart is the largest) and is headquartered in the Hague, in the Netherlands. The company was formed in 1907 with the merger of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading company of the UK. The two companies merged in order to compete globally with the biggest US oil company of the day, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell Oil Company is a US-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

54 “Stars and Stripes Forever” composer : SOUSA

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

“The Star and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa has since 1987 been the official National March of the US. It is common for a band to play “The Stars and Stripes Forever” after the US president gives a speech in a public forum, with “Hail to the Chief” being played as the president is introduced.

60 Footnote word : IDEM

“Idem” is usually abbreviated as “id.” and is the Latin word for “the same”. In research papers, “idem” is used in a list of references, in place of citations “already mentioned above”.

62 IOC country code between ECU and ERI : EGY

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) uses its own set of three-letter abbreviations for country names, e.g. ECU (Ecuador), EGY (Egypt) and ERI (Eritrea).

65 Prosecutors, for short : DAS

District attorney (DA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fried __, popular Chinese food order : RICE
5 Coffee that probably won’t keep you up : DECAF
10 Engrossed : RAPT
14 Tehran’s land : IRAN
15 Norwegian king, 995-1000 : OLAF I
16 Other, in Oaxaca : OTRO
17 One of two rectangles next to home plate : BATTER’S BOX
19 New Mexico art community : TAOS
20 Move like Miley : TWERK
21 Butcher’s cut : LOIN
23 CD predecessors : LPS
24 Absorb the lesson : LEARN
25 Cartoon flapper : BETTY BOOP
27 Sick : ILL
28 Corn serving : EAR
30 Dogie catcher : LASSO
31 Youngster : TYKE
33 Boxing match venue : RING
36 First stage, as of an illness : ONSET
37 Last step, however difficult : BITTER END
40 Tut-tutted : TSKED
43 ER doc’s “Now!” : STAT!
44 Glasses, in adspeak : SPEX
48 Arcade pioneer : ATARI
49 “Casablanca” pianist : SAM
51 NYC’s Madison or Fifth : AVE
52 “Cheers!” : BOTTOMS UP!
56 Fall flower : ASTER
58 Divided Asian country: Abbr. : KOR
59 Not worth debating : MOOT
60 Prefix with face or faith : INTER-
61 Falco of “The Sopranos” : EDIE
63 Called from the rear? : BUTT-DIALED
66 Egg foo __ : YUNG
67 River to the Rhone : ISERE
68 “Casablanca” heroine : ILSA
69 Fix, vet-style : SPAY
70 Calif. NFLer : LA RAM
71 “Phooey!” : RATS!

Down

1 Tease : RIB
2 With extreme anger : IRATELY
3 Fashion runway : CATWALK
4 “Come in!” : ENTER!
5 Nerdy type : DORK
6 Raised city trains : ELS
7 Computer cord : CABLE
8 In progress, as Sherlock’s “game” : AFOOT
9 Handy “Mr.” : FIXIT
10 “Hogwash!” : ROT!
11 With “for,” unable to think of, as words : AT A LOSS
12 Say, “Will you marry me?” : PROPOSE
13 Drunkard : TOSSPOT
18 Sea eagle : ERNE
22 Hosiery material : NYLON
24 Illuminated : LIT
25 Telly watchers : BRITS
26 Styx and Stones : BANDS
29 Paintings on a wall, for instance : ART
32 Film critic Roger : EBERT
34 Ping-Pong table divider : NET
35 Comprehend : GRASP
38 “Eat crow” or “talk turkey” : IDIOM
39 Expected-in hr. : ETA
40 Indent producers, on a PC : TAB KEYS
41 Got to one’s feet : STOOD UP
42 Catastrophic New Orleans hurricane : KATRINA
45 Kneecap : PATELLA
46 World’s highest mountain : EVEREST
47 Child of a boomer : XER
50 Pedi partner : MANI
53 Shell competitor : MOBIL
54 “Stars and Stripes Forever” composer : SOUSA
55 Give voice to : UTTER
57 Word with case or way : STAIR-
60 Footnote word : IDEM
62 IOC country code between ECU and ERI : EGY
64 __-la-la : TRA
65 Prosecutors, for short : DAS

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Sep 21, Monday”

  1. Had to Google (on Monday!) for LARAM (or, as I found out, L A RAM). Sports is my biggest weakness in crosswords. Then, I was able to correct Ibid to IDEM, and finish.

  2. @Jane-

    Make a note of LA Ram. It’s a go-to word to fill the puzzle like Ott and Orr. It’s used constantly by constructors.

  3. 7:38 and no errors, although I had an inexplicably hard time with the lower center. I initially misspelled BUTTDIALED and STAIR wouldn’t come quickly to mind…. so I lost a good minute and a half futzing around in there…

  4. 9:36 no lookups but missed (as other did) SPEX/XER. Aaargghh …

    Never heard of ISERE, IDEM or TOSSPOT but got the crosses. Must lead a sheltered life.

    Note that IDEM was used in another puzzle today, amazing how words seem to crop up like that on the same day. I think Jack noted this a few weeks ago.

    Be Well

  5. 6:39

    Thought I was clever with ROWER for 53D, but it was just MOBIL. And that OTRO/OTRA thing gets me every time.

    Poor Siskel! Why can’t he be in crossword puzzles?

    How long before the mountain we call Everest will be known to the English speaking world as Chomolungma, or Sagarmatha?

  6. took me way too long for a Monday and I also was careless with spec versus spex — I say careless because I knew cer was wrong but moved on, then forgot to return to puzzle over it and fix it! A co-worker was looking over my shoulder tho and I know comparing is only a good thing when it makes one feel aspirational rather than superior and he made me feel superior ha ha. You guys, on the other hand, make me aspire! Sigh…

  7. Tricky Monday for me; took 11:28 with one dumb error. I misspelled OTRe which gave me TeSSPOT, which made no sense. I’d finished with 8 something, but ended up checking and checking, and finally did a “check-grid.” And then, changed it to “a” before finally changing it to the desired “O.”

    I knew about “tosser” from hanging around English guys at a pub, but “toss pot”, I’m not sure I’ve heard of before…but it is in the dictionary. And, I really need to straighten out my Spanish, French and Italian suffixes.

    Well at least the Giants clinched a playoff spot today, earlier than they ever have before…now onto the division title!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.