LA Times Crossword 20 Sep 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Steve Faiella
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Well-Seasoned

Themed answers each refer to the seasons of the year:

  • 18A It follows 35-Down : SPRING
  • 66A In 2021, it begins September 22nd : AUTUMN
  • 48A Semiannual occurrence that begins 18- and 66-Across : EQUINOX
  • 28D It precedes 66-Across : SUMMER
  • 35D It follows 66-Across : WINTER
  • 26D Semi-annual occurrence that begins 28- and 35-Down : SOLSTICE

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

Bill’s time: 5m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Simon __: kids’ game : SAYS

“Simon Says” is a kids’ game. The idea is for the players of the game to obey the “controller” who gives instructions. But the players should only obey when the controller uses the words, “Simon says …”. The game has very old roots, with a Latin version that uses the words “Cicero dicit fac hoc” (Cicero says do this).

5 Not for kids, moviewise : RATED-R

The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

15 Aviator Earhart : AMELIA

Amelia Earhart is as famous today as she was during her lifetime. When she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress, and the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government. She made two attempts to circumnavigate the globe by air (not solo). Her first attempt in March 1937 had to be abandoned when her aircraft was damaged during takeoff. The second attempt in June/July of the same year ended when Earhart and her navigator disappeared flying from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the Central Pacific.

18 It follows 35-Down : SPRING
(35D It follows 66-Across : WINTER)

Apparently, we call the season “spring” because it is associated with the period when most plants and flowers “spring up” out of the ground.

19 Milk grain : OAT

Oat milk is one of the alternatives to cow’s milk, and is lactose free. I’m a big fan …

20 Imitative bird : PARROT

Scientists tell us that parrots are some of the most intelligent species of birds. Many of those species are able to imitate the human voice. Such characteristics have led to parrots becoming popular house pets, and a resulting drop in populations of parrots living in the wild.

22 Pioneering game consoles : ATARIS

The kids today probably don’t realize that we had a video game console back in the seventies, and it wasn’t a Nintendo nor was it a PlayStation. The Atari 2600 game system introduced the idea of separating out computing hardware (the console) from the game code (a cartridge). The same concept persists to this day, although cartridges have been displaced by discs and downloads.

31 e__: online instructional guide : HOW

eHow is a how-to website that was founded in 1999. eHow has an awful lot of content but doesn’t do a great job of assessing the value of that content. I wouldn’t recommend it …

32 Shoot well under par, in golf lingo : GO LOW

Lingo is specialized vocabulary. Journalese and legalese would be good examples.

39 Actress Anderson : LONI

Loni Anderson’s best-remembered role is Jennifer Marlowe on the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati”. Anderson has been married four times, most famously to actor Burt Reynolds from 1988 to 1993.

40 Everest and K2: Abbr. : MTNS

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.

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.

42 Lender’s claim : LIEN

A lien is a right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

46 Tater __: deep-fried potato morsel : TOT

Ore-Ida’s founders came up with the idea for Tater Tots when they were deciding what to do with residual cuts of potato. They chopped up the leftovers, added flour and seasoning, and extruded the mix through a large hole making a sausage that they cut into small cylinders. We eat 70 million pounds of this extruded potato every year!

47 Parisian season : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

48 Semiannual occurrence that begins 18- and 66-Across : EQUINOX
(18A It follows 35-Down : SPRING
66A In 2021, it begins September 22nd : AUTUMN)

An equinox is a phenomenon dictated by the tilt of the earth’s axis. Twice every year, that tilt “evens out” and the sun is equidistant from points at the same latitude both north and south of the equator. It is as if the earth has no tilt relative to the sun. The term “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal night”, inferring that night and day are equally long, as the effect of the earth’s “tilt” is nullified. Equinoxes occur each year around March 21st (the vernal equinox) and September 23rd (the autumnal equinox).

52 Bandage brand : ACE

ACE is a brand of elastic bandage that is often used as a compression wrap.

55 Summoned, as the fiddlers three : CALLED FOR

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

61 With milk, as café : AU LAIT

“Café au lait” (French for “coffee with milk”) is usually strong drip coffee to which one adds steamed milk. Well, that’s the way we tend to make it here in the US.

66 In 2021, it begins September 22nd : AUTUMN

Here in the US, we tend to refer to the season following summer as “fall”. This name is short for “fall of the leaf”, referring to the loss of leaves by deciduous trees. The term “autumn” is a more common name used in Britain and Ireland instead of “fall”. However, back before the mid-1600s the term “fall” was in common use on the other side of the pond.

70 Place to de-stress : SPA

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

71 Turkey neighbor : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

73 Nosh : EAT

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

Down

2 Musical based on an opera : AIDA

The rock musical “Aida” is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s original opera. It premiered in 1998 and is still performed today. Music is by Elton John and lyrics are by Tim Rice.

3 Belgian river : YSER

The Yser is a river that originates in northern France and flows through Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser is often associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium and across France in a “race to the sea”. But the Belgians, with the help of their Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful and the front was “stabilized”. As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

4 Movie with R2-D2 : STAR WARS

Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2 (also “Artoo-Detoo”). R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 feet 8 inches tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.

5 Dreads sporter : RASTA

Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair that are usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.

7 Thrice, in Rx’s : TER

Abbreviations on a medical prescription (Rx) are shortened forms of Latin phrases. “Ter in die” is Latin for “three times a day”, abbreviated to “TID”. “Bis in die” (BID) would be twice a day, and “quater in die” (QID) would be four times a day.

8 New Haven alum : ELI

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the US. Originally called the Collegiate School, it was renamed to Yale University in honor of retired merchant Elihu Yale, who made generous contributions to the institution. Yale University’s nickname is “Old Eli”, in a nod to the benefactor.

9 Kitchen dweller of song : DINAH

“Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah” is a line from the American folk song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”. The section with this line is actually “lifted” from an older song published as, “Old Joe, or Somebody in the House with Dinah”.

“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” is a folk song that first appeared in print in 1894. The first verse is:

I’ve been working on the railroad
All the live-long day.
I’ve been working on the railroad
Just to pass the time away.

10 Motley : RAGTAG

“Ragtag and bobtail” is a colorful phrase that’s used to describe the lowest classes, or the rabble. A “bobtail” is a horse that has had its tail cut short, a word that goes back as least as far as Shakespeare as he used it in “King Lear”. A “tag” is a piece of cloth that is torn and hanging, which was readily combined with “rag” in the original phrase “tag, rag and bobtail”. This idiom, perhaps originally quoted from Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1659, referred to the lower classes as “tag, rag and bobtail, dancing, singing and drinking”. The phrase evolved, giving us our contemporary word “ragtag” meaning ragged and unkempt.

Something described as motley is mottled, marked with different-colored spots. The term probably comes from the Old English word “mot” meaning “speck”. We can use the term “motley” figuratively to mean “diverse, heterogeneous”.

11 Designer Christian : DIOR

Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped to re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

12 Smoothie berry dubbed a superfood : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

We hear the word “superfood” a lot these days. I think it’s important that we realize that our friends in marketing coined the term to promote foods that have supposed health benefits, even though there’s no obligation to prove those health benefits exist. Since 2007, the European Union (EU) has banned the use of the term “superfood” in marketing of foodstuffs unless there is credible scientific research to back up any health claim. Good for the EU …

23 Ring-shaped reef : ATOLL

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring that encloses a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically, an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside inside the circling coral reef.

25 “Same drink as always” : THE USUAL

Pint of Guinness …

26 Semi-annual occurrence that begins 28- and 35-Down : SOLSTICE

A solstice occurs twice in every year. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year (has the most daylight), and the winter solstice is the shortest.

28 It precedes 66-Across : SUMMER
(66A In 2021, it begins September 22nd : AUTUMN)

Astronomically speaking, the season of summer starts with the summer solstice and ends with the autumn equinox. In sociological terms, here in the US, summer starts with Memorial Day weekend, and ends on Labor Day.

34 Common soccer deadlock : ONE-ONE

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

35 It follows 66-Across : WINTER

The etymology of “winter”, the name of the coldest season, is unclear. Many suggest that it comes from the Old Norse term “vetr”, which likely translates as “wet season”.

37 MHz measure : FREQ

The unit of frequency measure is the hertz (Hz). It is the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. The unit is named for Heinrich Hertz, the German physicist who proved the existence of electromagnetic waves.

38 “Eli’s Coming” songwriter Laura : NYRO

Laura Nyro was a singer-songwriter from the Bronx, New York. Nyro had success with her own recordings, but her songs were even more successful when recorded by other big names. Two of Nyro’s compositions were “Eli’s Coming” recorded by Three Dog Night, and “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand.

44 Kidney-related : RENAL

Something described as renal is related to the kidneys. “Ren” is the Latin word for “kidney”.

51 Squirrel’s haul : ACORNS

These days, we don’t usually consider acorns as a foodstuff. But in days past, many cultures around the world have used acorns as food. Usually, bitter tannins that occur in acorns need to be leached out in water. Acorn meal can be a substitute for grain flour, which can then be used to make bread. Acorns have also been used as a substitute for coffee, especially when coffee was rationed. Notably, acorn coffee was brewed up by Confederates during the American Civil War, and by Germans during World War II.

54 Web address letters : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

58 Wife of Osiris : ISIS

Isis was the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility, as well as the protector of the dead and the goddess of children. She was the personification of the pharaoh’s power. The name “Isis” translates as “throne”, and she is usually depicted with a headdress shaped like a throne.

Osiris was the Egyptian god of the underworld. Osiris was the son of Geb the Earth god, and Nut the sky goddess. His wife Isis was also his sister. Osiris was killed and mutilated by Set, his own brother. Isis reassembled Osiris and revived him, just long enough that they could conceive their son Horus.

59 Fiddling emperor : NERO

The Great Fire of Rome raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Of the fourteen districts of Rome, three were completely destroyed and seven more suffered serious damage. The emperor at the time was Nero, although reports that he fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started and rushed home upon hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.

60 Actor Connery : SEAN

Sean Connery was most famous for playing the original James Bond in the successful series of movies. Back in his native Scotland, Connery was very active in politics and was a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. He actively campaigned for Scottish independence from Britain and stated that he believed Scotland would achieve that goal within his own lifetime. That had not happened by the time Connery passed away in 2020.

63 Apple tablet : IPAD

The iPad wasn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

64 Body art, casually : TATS

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

67 Former Mideast org. : UAR

The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a union between Egypt and Syria established in 1958. The UAR dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.

68 Deadlock : TIE

A deadlock is a standstill, a stalemate. The suggestion is that the term “deadlock” was coined in the 1779 play called “The Critic”, from the pen of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

69 Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian __” : URN

English Romantic poet John Keats wrote the famous “Ode on a Grecian Urn” in 1819, and published it anonymously in 1820. The most famous lines of the poem are the last two:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Simon __: kids’ game : SAYS
5 Not for kids, moviewise : RATED-R
11 Small amount : DAB
14 Shopper’s memory aid : LIST
15 Aviator Earhart : AMELIA
16 Skating surface : ICE
17 “I had no __!” : IDEA
18 It follows 35-Down : SPRING
19 Milk grain : OAT
20 Imitative bird : PARROT
22 Pioneering game consoles : ATARIS
24 Reaction to a strange object : WHAT’S THAT?
28 Lengthy tales : SAGAS
31 e__: online instructional guide : HOW
32 Shoot well under par, in golf lingo : GO LOW
36 App purchaser : USER
37 Serious criminal : FELON
39 Actress Anderson : LONI
40 Everest and K2: Abbr. : MTNS
41 Out of practice : RUSTY
42 Lender’s claim : LIEN
43 Stick-in-the-__ : MUD
44 Make like new, as old furniture : RESTORE
46 Tater __: deep-fried potato morsel : TOT
47 Parisian season : ETE
48 Semiannual occurrence that begins 18- and 66-Across : EQUINOX
49 Opposite of WSW : ENE
50 Showed again : RERAN
52 Bandage brand : ACE
53 Less adulterated : PURER
55 Summoned, as the fiddlers three : CALLED FOR
58 Comfy shoe pad : INSOLE
61 With milk, as café : AU LAIT
65 Crystal ball gazer : SEER
66 In 2021, it begins September 22nd : AUTUMN
70 Place to de-stress : SPA
71 Turkey neighbor : IRAN
72 In twos, like socks : PAIRED
73 Nosh : EAT
74 Fathers’ boys : SONS
75 Gets hot on Twitter : TRENDS
76 Many pop-ups : ADS

Down

1 Lose one’s footing : SLIP
2 Musical based on an opera : AIDA
3 Belgian river : YSER
4 Movie with R2-D2 : STAR WARS
5 Dreads sporter : RASTA
6 Excite, with “up” : AMP …
7 Thrice, in Rx’s : TER
8 New Haven alum : ELI
9 Kitchen dweller of song : DINAH
10 Motley : RAGTAG
11 Designer Christian : DIOR
12 Smoothie berry dubbed a superfood : ACAI
13 Wagers : BETS
21 “I see” words : OHS
23 Ring-shaped reef : ATOLL
25 “Same drink as always” : THE USUAL
26 Semi-annual occurrence that begins 28- and 35-Down : SOLSTICE
27 Black-and-white, e.g. : TWO-TONED
28 It precedes 66-Across : SUMMER
29 Sharp-witted : ASTUTE
30 Word with role or identity : GENDER …
33 Hang around : LOITER
34 Common soccer deadlock : ONE-ONE
35 It follows 66-Across : WINTER
37 MHz measure : FREQ
38 “Eli’s Coming” songwriter Laura : NYRO
44 Kidney-related : RENAL
45 Describes in detail : EXPOUNDS
51 Squirrel’s haul : ACORNS
54 Web address letters : URL
56 Jumped : LEAPT
57 Widely known : FAMED
58 Wife of Osiris : ISIS
59 Fiddling emperor : NERO
60 Actor Connery : SEAN
62 Away from port : ASEA
63 Apple tablet : IPAD
64 Body art, casually : TATS
67 Former Mideast org. : UAR
68 Deadlock : TIE
69 Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian __” : URN

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Sep 21, Monday”

    1. Glenn, thanks again for the space. I did the same thing as
      Anon Mike below. Only square missed. I got the hint about
      the four seasons, so I guess I used the theme for once. I did
      enjoy this puzzle and got it pretty quickly for us.

      You had your usual good time.

  1. 67D got me. Put in UAE without thinking about it. Left me with TEENDS for 75A… I never looked at it until my Bill review.. as my 5th grade teacher used to say “check your work”!!!!

  2. No errors, no lookups, but a few good guesses. I know there’s
    a lot of different “milks”…..almond milk, soy milk, etc., but I
    personally have never seen “oat milk.” Maybe I’ll look closer
    at the dairy case next time.

  3. No real problems with today’s grid…maybe a bit harder than a typical Monday. Due to an unusually busy Sunday didn’t get to the puzzle for yesterday until I finished today’s and so to my great dismay I didn’t get to be part of the brouhaha for yesterdays 21 X 21 grid. I thought it was great fun. Really didn’t get the gimmick (although I obviously knew there was one) until I finished the puzzle without any errors and then found the backward answers turned up at the end. I like it that the LA Times is upping their game when it comes to Sunday. In the old days it was a pretty rote slog to finish Sunday without much in the way of engaging ones brain. Now I’d have to say it’s on par with the Sunday NY Times in most respects.

  4. Today’s result: 8:12 with no errors or lookups. Nothing terribly difficult, but had to change MNTS>MTNS, LOAN>LIEN.

    Didn’t get to Sunday’s puzzle until today, so I’ll repeat my 2 cents from there re: puzzle difficulty or “trickery.”

    For those who don’t like difficulty in deciphering the clues, you should perhaps just work the Monday-Wednesday puzzles. Simply writing down what you already know or is otherwise “obvious” in a crossword grid is a minor challenge and of little mental benefit. For me, time to complete becomes the challenge on those; otherwise, the time is just the time it took.

    I admire constructors who come up with grids like yesterday’s theme, and today’s for that matter.

    1. @RayC
      Just to clarify, the “trickery” as it were, wasn’t difficulty in deciphering the clues, but something going contrary to what people see as a normal crossword. Yesterday being the last part of the themers being written backwards and up. Usually the topic of “trickery” comes up when it comes to rebus entries, where multiple letters may be written in a single square, but it comes up in other fashions. But then there’s a lot of clues that are (face it) written pretty badly too to the point that they’re not clues at all, so that’s always a factor.

      As for the comparison with the New York Times (e.g. @Tony Michaels), a lot of people specifically look for other venues exactly because they don’t want something “on par” with the New York Times. (Of note though is that a lot of people recognize the NYT is pretty bad on Sunday as of late anyway, so who would really want to “measure up” to mediocrity?) Usually, the LA Times (or lately Universal) is the go-to for that. Again the distinction between serious and casual solvers – for quite a few, the Sunday crossword is the only one they get to see the whole week and they just want a pleasant diversion. Just what it is.

  5. No errors or Googles. Had PLO before UAR.
    Thanx, Bill, for your explanation of TER. From your definition of RAGTAG, I am still of the opinion that Motley is not a synonym for that.

  6. 5:12

    Fun theme.

    Also had PLO before UAR.

    One of these days I’m going to remember the the soccer/football score is crosswords is always ONEONE, never NILNIL.

    1. Hi Pam. As far as the one-one answer for 34 Down, I don’t think that it could end nil-nil because they would have a shootout to decide it (if tied at the end of regulation/overtime).

  7. Mildly trick Monday for me; took 10:21 with a bit of dancing around until I finally figured out the theme and cruised to the finish, with no peeks or errors. Never heard of GOLOW or DINAH (in the kitchen).

    Coincidentally my team 1. FC Köln played to a 1-1 draw this weekend, but they were playing against a really good team, so it’s kind of a win. After a terrible last season, where they just saved themselves in the relegation match after the end of the season, this year they are doing much, much better and are holding 7th place.

    @Tony – Yes, matches can end in 1-1 or nil-nil during the regular season matches. Teams get one point each for draws. When playing in cup matches – a special competition, involving lower ranked leagues – they will play extra time and then if necessary, penalty kicks.

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