LA Times Crossword 21 Sep 21, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Chris Sablich
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ballpark Figures

Themed answers each end with a different type of FIGURE seen at a BALLPARK:

  • 54A Estimates, and what the last parts of 20-, 28- and 48-Across are, in different ways : BALLPARK FIGURES
  • 20A Football-shaped gem : MARQUISE DIAMOND
  • 28A Get revenge : EVEN A SCORE
  • 48A Retriever retriever, perhaps : DOGCATCHER

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

Bill’s time: 5m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Unit of parsley : SPRIG

In Britain and Ireland, parsley is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

6 Gridiron gear : PADS

We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for taking two decades living in the US to work out that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking.

10 Souvenir of a ticket : STUB

A souvenir is a memento, a token of remembrance. We imported “souvenir” from French, in which language it has the same meaning. The term comes from the Latin “subvenire” meaning “to come to mind”, or literally “to come up”.

14 2000s first lady Bush : LAURA

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

15 Sheltered, at sea : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather. The sheltered side of an island, for example, might be referred to as the “lee” side.

17 Perpendicular to the keel : ABEAM

The beam is the widest part of a nautical vessel. Something pointed out as lying “abeam” is something that is 90 degrees from a line through the bow and the stern, in other words directly off to the right or the left.

19 Monopoly token replaced by a cat : IRON

The tokens included with a game of Monopoly have changed over the years. Two of the more interesting tokens are the battleship and cannon. These were created by Hasbro for a board game called Conflict. When Conflict failed in the market, the excess tokens were recycled and included with Monopoly.

20 Football-shaped gem : MARQUISE DIAMOND

Diamonds can be cut in various shapes. The most common cuts are:

  • Princess
  • Cushion
  • Heart
  • Pear
  • Marquise
  • Radiant
  • Asscher
  • Emerald
  • Oval

23 “The Addams Family” cousin : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

35 Author Rand : AYN

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born “Alisa Rosenbaum”. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.

36 “__ the Falling Snow”: Enya song : AMID

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

45 Danson and Nugent : TEDS

Actor Ted Danson is noted in particular for three successful roles that he has played on television. He played Sam Malone on the sitcom “Cheers”, the title role on the sitcom “Becker”, and eventually led the cast on the drama series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. Danson has been married to actress Mary Steenburgen since 1995.

Ted Nugent was the lead guitarist with the Amboy Dukes, and is now a successful solo artist. Off the stage, Nugent is noted for his conservative views, particularly when it comes to the Second Amendment. He serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association.

47 Hudson Riv. engineering school : RPI

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.

The Hudson River flows through eastern New York State from Henderson Lake in the Adirondacks to the Port of New York and New Jersey. The river is named for the English explorer Henry Hudson, who navigated the waterway in 1609.

50 Own (up) : FESS

The term “fess” is most often seen as part of the phrasal verb “to fess up” meaning “to admit to something”. “Fess” is simply a shortened form of “confess”.

51 Vietnamese soup : PHO

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

52 Anti-discrimination initials : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

54 Estimates, and what the last parts of 20-, 28- and 48-Across are, in different ways : BALLPARK FIGURES

A ballpark figure is an estimated quantity. The original ballpark figure was an estimate of the number of people attending a baseball game, the size of the crowd in the “ballpark”.

64 Zippo : NONE

The use of the words “zip” and “zippo” to mean “nothing” dates back to the early 1900s, when it was student slang for being graded zero on a test.

66 Thailand, once : SIAM

Formerly known as Siam, the Kingdom of Thailand has been operating as a military dictatorship since a 2014 coup.

68 Pasta wheat : DURUM

Durum wheat, also called “macaroni wheat”, is a species with a high protein content that is commonly used as an ingredient in bread and pasta.

71 “Austin Powers” genre : SPY-FI

Spy-fi is spy fiction that includes elements of science fiction.

The Austin Powers character was created by the actor who plays him, namely Mike Myers. Apparently Myers came up with the idea for Powers while listening to the Burt Bacharach song “The Look of Love”.

Down

2 Old sunscreen ingredient : PABA

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), or now its derivatives, is the “active” ingredient in sunscreens in that it absorbs UV radiation. PABA derivatives are used today as PABA itself fell out of favor due to its tendency to stain clothes and to cause an allergic reaction in some users. PABA was also known historically as vitamin B10, although it is no longer considered a vitamin as it is readily produced by bacteria found in the body.

4 Baghdad natives : IRAQIS

According to the University of Baghdad, the name “Baghdad” dates way back, to the 18th-century BCE (yes, BCE!). The name can be translated into English from the language of ancient Babylon as “old garden” (bagh-) and “beloved” (-dad).

5 Entire spectrum : GAMUT

In medieval times, the musical scale was denoted by the notes “ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la”. The term “gamma ut”, shortened to “gamut”, was used to describe the whole scale. By the 1620s, “gamut” was being used to mean the entire range of anything, the whole gamut.

6 What birdies barely beat : PARS

The following terms are routinely used in golf for scores relative to par:

  • Bogey: one over par
  • Par
  • Birdie: one under par
  • Eagle: two under par
  • Albatross (also “double eagle”): three under par
  • Condor: four under par

No one has ever recorded a condor during a professional tournament.

7 Skin 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.

9 Business training session : SEMINAR

A seminar is a meeting called for the exchange of information, especially in a university. The term comes from the Latin “seminarium” meaning “breeding ground, plant nursery”, which is also the root of our word “seminary”.

11 Beginner : TYRO

A tyro (also “tiro”) is a beginner or a novice. “Tyro” comes into English from Latin, in which language “tiro” means “recruit”.

12 Stratford-__-Avon : UPON

Stratford-upon-Avon is a town in the county of Warwickshire in the English midlands. Most famously perhaps, it was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

21 Checkout counter unit : ITEM

I say avoid any express checkout lane in a market that is labeled “10 items or less”. It should be “10 items or fewer”. I know, I know … I should calm down … get a life …

22 Portfolio listings : ASSETS

Our word “portfolio” comes from the Italian “portafoglio” meaning “case for carrying loose papers”. The Italian term comes from “porta” meaning “carry” and “foglio” meaning “sheet, leaf”.

25 Dish with greens : SALAD

Our word “salad” comes from the Latin “salare” meaning “to salt”. The Latin “herba salata” translates as “salted vegetables”, which I guess could be a salad …

26 Former capital of Japan : KYOTO

The city of Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, and in fact the name “Kyoto” means “capital city” in Japanese. Kyoto is sometimes referred to as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines.

27 Undercover, informally : INCOG

“Incog” is short for “incognito”, the Italian for “unknown”.

30 Archie’s spouse : EDITH

Archie Bunker’s wife Edith was played by Jean Stapleton on the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family”. By 1980, Stapleton was growing tired of playing the role and appeared in fewer and fewer episodes. When the show’s spin-off series “Archie Bunker’s Place” premiered, the storyline revealed that Archie Bunker had just lost his wife, setting the tone for the new show.

31 Corp. money manager : CFO

The chief financial officer (CFO) is particularly concerned about his or her company’s profit and loss (P&L).

32 Bizarre : OUTRE

The word “outré”, meaning “unconventional, bizarre”, comes to us from French, as one might imagine. It is derived from the verb “outrer” meaning “to overdo, exaggerate”. “Outrer” is also the ultimate root of our word “outrage”.

“Bizarre” is a French word, one with the same meaning in French as English. However, back in the 16th century, “bizarre” used to mean “handsome, brave” in French. So that’s what my wife means when she refers to me as “bizarre” …?

34 Clothing designer Perry : ELLIS

Perry Ellis was a fashion designer from Portsmouth, Virginia. Ellis was noted for his sportswear creations.

36 Li’l Abner creator : AL CAPP

Cartoonist Al Capp set his classic comic strip “Li’l Abner” in the fictional community of Dogpatch. According to one of the “Li’l Abner” strips, Dogpatch is located somewhere in the state of Kentucky.

39 Mandela’s org. : ANC

As a young man, Nelson Mandela led the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). Mandela was eventually arrested and admitted to charges of sabotage and was sentenced to life in prison in 1964. He remained behind bars for 27 years, mainly in the infamous prison on Robben Island. As the years progressed, Mandela became a symbol of the fight against apartheid. He was released in 1990, and immediately declared his commitment to peace and reconciliation with South Africa’s white minority population. Mandela was elected president of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) in 1994, an office that he held until 1999. Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013.

44 Fuel additive : ETHANOL

Ethyl alcohol is more usually known as ethanol. Ethanol is the alcohol found in intoxicating beverages, and nowadays is also used as a fuel for cars. It is also found in medical wipes and hand sanitizer, in which it acts as an antiseptic.

46 Eins plus zwei : DREI

In German, “eins und zwei” (one and two) comes to “drei” (three).

49 Popular Mexican beer : CORONA

The Mexican beer called Corona is the biggest-selling imported beer in the United States.

56 Shakespeare’s mad king : LEAR

“That way madness lies” is a phrase meaning “taking such an action could drive one crazy”, and is a direct quote from Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. The title character speaks the line while expressing grief for the selfish and cruel behavior of his daughters:

O Regan, Goneril,
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that.
No more of that.

57 Genie’s abode : LAMP

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

60 Golfer McIlroy : RORY

Rory McIlroy is a very successful golfer from Northern Ireland. McIlroy is a relatively young man and a former world number one on the circuit, so folks can’t help but compare him to Tiger Woods. He was the first European to win three different majors. Along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, McIlroy is one of only three people to win three majors before the age of 25.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Unit of parsley : SPRIG
6 Gridiron gear : PADS
10 Souvenir of a ticket : STUB
14 2000s first lady Bush : LAURA
15 Sheltered, at sea : ALEE
16 Overblown publicity : HYPE
17 Perpendicular to the keel : ABEAM
18 Travel aimlessly : ROAM
19 Monopoly token replaced by a cat : IRON
20 Football-shaped gem : MARQUISE DIAMOND
23 “The Addams Family” cousin : ITT
24 Switch positions : ONS
25 Winter sports footwear : SKIS
28 Get revenge : EVEN A SCORE
35 Author Rand : AYN
36 “__ the Falling Snow”: Enya song : AMID
37 Gas up : REFUEL
38 Train making all the stops : LOCAL
40 Assist : AID
42 Column-bottom number : TOTAL
43 Right away : AT ONCE
45 Danson and Nugent : TEDS
47 Hudson Riv. engineering school : RPI
48 Retriever retriever, perhaps : DOGCATCHER
50 Own (up) : FESS
51 Vietnamese soup : PHO
52 Anti-discrimination initials : EEO
54 Estimates, and what the last parts of 20-, 28- and 48-Across are, in different ways : BALLPARK FIGURES
63 Side squared, for a square : AREA
64 Zippo : NONE
65 By oneself : ALONE
66 Thailand, once : SIAM
67 Dealing with the issue : ON IT
68 Pasta wheat : DURUM
69 Angel’s instrument : HARP
70 After normal hours : LATE
71 “Austin Powers” genre : SPY-FI

Down

1 Grand __ : SLAM
2 Old sunscreen ingredient : PABA
3 Remorseful one : RUER
4 Baghdad natives : IRAQIS
5 Entire spectrum : GAMUT
6 What birdies barely beat : PARS
7 Skin soother : ALOE
8 Perfectly accurate : DEAD ON
9 Business training session : SEMINAR
10 Leveling wedge : SHIM
11 Beginner : TYRO
12 Stratford-__-Avon : UPON
13 Curve in the road : BEND
21 Checkout counter unit : ITEM
22 Portfolio listings : ASSETS
25 Dish with greens : SALAD
26 Former capital of Japan : KYOTO
27 Undercover, informally : INCOG
29 By way of : VIA
30 Archie’s spouse : EDITH
31 Corp. money manager : CFO
32 Bizarre : OUTRE
33 Brings in at harvest time : REAPS
34 Clothing designer Perry : ELLIS
36 Li’l Abner creator : AL CAPP
39 Mandela’s org. : ANC
41 Low grade : DEE
44 Fuel additive : ETHANOL
46 Eins plus zwei : DREI
49 Popular Mexican beer : CORONA
50 Make a mess of : FOUL UP
53 “Yipes!” : EGADS!
54 Wild party : BASH
55 Opera highlight : ARIA
56 Shakespeare’s mad king : LEAR
57 Genie’s abode : LAMP
58 Work with needles : KNIT
59 Big bash : FETE
60 Golfer McIlroy : RORY
61 Sufficient, in texts : ENUF
62 Game before the finals : SEMI

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Sep 21, Tuesday”

  1. No errors… surprise of my day was the appearance of PABA. never heard of it and I don’t recall it in my crossword travels.. I’m sure it’s somewhere. It certainly piqued my curiosity. Didn’t realize how common it was. And, it’s 4 letters with 2 vowels!!!

  2. 4:26, no errors. (online app)

    An important note to what I wrote yesterday: The LAT specs explicitly prohibit the submission of rebus entries.

  3. No Googles, no errors. Got AMID from crosses. ONS was kind of weird.
    FESS should ideally been indicated as an abbrev.

    Thanx Bill for the list of diamond types.

  4. 7:56 with no errors or lookups (paper). One change of SPOOF>SPYFI (a new term for me). Also new is TYRO. Interesting that we had a BASH and a FETE in this one.

    @Glenn, thanks for your inputs on “trickery” in a crossword. For me, solving has always seemed to be a matter of experience, knowledge, culture, and perspective. For any particular clue, sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t. And it is a “puzzle,” after all!

    I’ve found that the more you work them, the odds of solving become better. The so-called trick (or perhaps gimmick?) from Sunday seemed to be not too unusual or terribly difficult. I guess a crossword rebus might be another matter.

    1. @Ray C
      A lot of it with those kind of puzzles is that they happen very sparingly, so they really aren’t that suited to the casual solver in that way too. You really only find out about stuff like that by seeing them regularly (which most probably won’t), and of course they aren’t going to announce that it’s got some trick to it ahead of time. So a lot of people that don’t know they might do that going in would definitely get upset if they did happen to hit one.

      1. What is interesting to me is that, in general, the posters here who complain about “trickery” are not, in fact, “casual solvers” at all; they’re here week after week. You’d think, in time, they’d learn from experience. (Remember the old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”)

        And … there I go again … shameless, sanctimonious moralizing … 😜.

        1. Experience is precisely how they know what is reasonable and what is not.

          The fact is that there are limits and there are rules that govern crosswords. Some puzzlemakers feel like they need to continually operate right at the edge of the normal limitations and rules while others are able to make very challenging and entertaining puzzles without constantly bending the rules.

  5. Maybe, if the first person here tomorrow morning posted a response to Ms. North, she would see it. It appears to me that, like some others, she thinks this is an “official” LAT crossword puzzle site. It’s also clear that she doesn’t understand how the blog works, so she doesn’t know how to navigate to a previous day (or even that it is possible to do so). Perhaps she could be advised to seek help from some more tech-savvy person. I feel sorry for her, as I’m sure she’s feeling very frustrated. (I’m likely to be up tomorrow at 4:00 AM, getting ready for my morning walk; maybe I’ll try to post something then.)

  6. Kept falling asleep doing the puzzle today, which ended up a slow 18:31 even though, in the end, it wasn’t that hard. I did have a bit of a problem in the SE, with Eoe/EEO, the spelling of DURUM and the acronym SPYFI, but got it all without errors or peeks. Oh, and I had cORY before RORY and ENow before ENUF…sheesh!!

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