LA Times Crossword 22 Sep 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ballpark Figures

Themed answers each end with a word that often “TAILS” the word “BONE”:

  • 61A Coccyx, familiarly, or what the ends of the answers to starred clues can do? : TAILBONE
  • 17A *Carrier with a Beijing Capital hub : AIR CHINA (giving “bone china”)
  • 25A *One barely awake : SLEEPYHEAD (giving “bonehead”)
  • 36A *Keurig Dr Pepper brand since 2008 : CANADA DRY (giving “bone dry”)
  • 51A *Nutritious intake : SQUARE MEAL (giving “bonemeal”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Flying fox, e.g. : BAT

The genus of bats known as fruit bats are also commonly referred to as flying foxes. Their natural habits are found mainly in South Asia, Australia and East Africa.

4 Has the flu, say : AILS

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks … and other virus pandemics …

8 Seed on a bagel : SESAME

The sesame is a flowering plant that is cultivated mainly for its edible seeds. The seeds are a source of oil, and in fact the sesame is the oldest known oilseed crop.

14 All Hallows’ __ : EVE

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

16 More silly : INANER

Our word “inane” meaning “silly, lacking substance” comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

17 *Carrier with a Beijing Capital hub : AIR CHINA (giving “bone china”)

Air China is a flag carrier for the People’s Republic of China, and is based in Beijing. The airline is not to be confused with China Airlines, the flag carrier of the Republic of China (aka “Taiwan”).

Beijing Capital International Airport has been the busiest airport in Asia since 2009. The facility’s IATA code is PEK, a reference to “Peking”, the name often used in the West for Beijing when the airport opened in 1958. Due to capacity limitations at Beijing Capital, a second airport (Beijing Daxing) was opened to serve the Chinese capital in 2019.

Bone china is so called because one of the main components is bone ash derived from animal bones.

20 Reid of “The Big Lebowski” : TARA

Tara Reid is an actress known for roles she played on television and the big screen. My guess is that her best-known performances were in the “American Pie” series of movies in which she played Vicky. Sadly, Reid succumbed to the pressure to alter her looks with plastic surgery. In interviews, she has shared that her first experience under the knife “went wrong” leading to more surgeries in attempts to rectify the resulting deformity.

“The Big Lebowski” is a 1998 comedy directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring Jeff Bridges in the title role. The film’s script is loosely based on the Raymond Chandler novel “The Big Sleep”. I thought “The Big Lebowski” was just “okay” though …

21 Feudal peasant : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

23 “The Travels of Marco Polo” setting : ASIA

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione” (usually “The Travels of Marco Polo” in English).

24 “Without delay!” : 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”.

28 “Excusez-__!” : MOI

“Excusez-moi” is French for “excuse me”.

29 Nondairy milk ingredient : SOY

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

31 Automne preceder : ETE

In French, “automne” (autumn/fall) follows “été” (summer).

32 Banks nicknamed “Mr. Cub” : ERNIE

First baseman Ernie Banks was known as “Mr. Cub”, and played his entire 19-year professional career with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs retired Banks’ uniform number 14 in 1982, making him the first Cubs player to be so honored. Banks was known for his catchphrase, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame … Let’s play two!”, a reference to his love of the game, always wanting to play a doubleheader.

34 Toxic but fragrant shrub : OLEANDER

The oleander shrub or tree is extremely toxic, especially to humans and dogs. That said, rodents and birds seem to be relatively insensitive to the toxic compounds found in the plant.

36 *Keurig Dr Pepper brand since 2008 : CANADA DRY (giving “bone dry”)

Canada Dry’s first beverage was called Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale. The word “dry” was used in the name of the drink to underscore that the formulation was less sweet than other ginger ales on sale.

46 Sean Lennon’s mom : ONO

Sean Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and godson of Elton John. Sean is a musician and composer, and has a band called the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

47 Jodie Foster, in college : ELI

The wonderful actress and director Jodie Foster got her big break in movies early in her life, playing a very young prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film “Taxi Driver”. Sadly, her appearance in “Taxi Driver” led to her being stalked by an obsessed John Hinckley, Jr. Hinckley called Foster on the phone, sent her love letters, and followed her on campus while she was attending Yale. In 1981, Hinckley famously shot and wounded President Reagan, claiming that he believed an assassination of the President would impress Foster.

51 *Nutritious intake : SQUARE MEAL (giving “bone meal”)

A square meal is one that is substantial and nourishing. According to some sources, the phrase “square meal” originated with the Royal Navy, and the square wooden plates on which meals were served. However, this centuries-old practice is an unlikely origin as the phrase was first seen in print in the US, in 1856. An advertisement for a restaurant posted in a California newspaper offers a “square meal” to patrons, in the sense of an “honest, straightforward meal”. The “honest” meaning of “square” was well-established at the time, as in “fair and square”, “square play” and “square deal”.

Bone meal is a fertilizer comprising ground up animal bone and other waste products from slaughter houses. Not very vegan …

54 Prefix with tasse : DEMI-

Espresso is often served in a small cup known as a demitasse. The term “demitasse” translates from French as “half cup”).

56 Rank above viscount : EARL

In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquis. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquis and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.

58 Black __: scary spiders : WIDOWS

“Widow spider” is a common name given to several species of spider in the genus Latrodectus. The name comes from the reported behavior of the female eating the male after the pair have mated. The female wins the battle with the male largely because the female’s venom is three-times as potent as that of the male. The most notorious widow spider is the “black widow”. The female black widow’s venom glands are unusually large and the bite can be quite harmful to humans.

61 Coccyx, familiarly, or what the ends of the answers to starred clues can do? : TAILBONE

The human coccyx is what is left of a tail that our evolutionary ancestors possessed. We usually refer to the coccyx as the tailbone.

64 Tommie of the Miracle Mets : AGEE

Tommie Agee was a Major League Baseball player who played mainly with the Indians, White Sox and Mets. He was one of the “Amazin’ Mets”, and was famous for making two phenomenal catches in game three of the 1969 world series, potentially saving five runs. Agee was also the first Mets outfielder to win a Gold Glove, doing so in 1970.

The New York Mets baseball team was founded in 1962 as a replacement for two teams that the city had lost, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. For several years the Mets played very poorly, finishing no better than second-to-last in their division. Then along came the “Miracle Mets” (aka “Amazin’ Mets”) who beat the Baltimore Orioles in 1969 to claim the World Series in a huge upset.

66 Biblical escape obstacle : RED SEA

The Red Sea (sometimes “Arabian Gulf”) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to the north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

68 Triage ctrs. : ERS

Triage is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on the battlefield. The term “triage” is French and means “sorting”.

Down

3 Part of ATV : TERRAIN

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

7 Bowler’s pickup : SPARE

In bowling, the downing of all ten pins in two balls in the same frame is called a spare, and scores ten points. The player gets a bonus, equal to the number of pins downed with the next ball, which could be up to ten. Hence, a spare can be worth up to 20 points

9 Strep-treating doc : ENT

The branch of medicine known as “ear, nose and throat” (ENT) is more correctly called “otolaryngology”.

Streptococcus bacteria multiply and divide along a single axis so that they form linked chains. That behavior gives the genus of bacteria its name, as “streptos” is Greek for “easily twisted, like a chain”. I had to battle with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) twice in the past few years and it was not at all pleasant, I must say. Another species of streptococcus is responsible for that terrible “flesh-eating” infection that makes the news from time to time.

10 Emmy-winner actress Paulson : SARAH

Sarah Paulson is an actress from Tampa, Florida and New York City. I mostly remember her for playing political commentator Nicolle Wallace in the excellent HBO drama “Game Change”.

11 Ouzo flavoring : ANISEED

Ouzo is an apéritif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to French pastis and Italian sambuca.

22 Dude : FELLA

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

26 Like a noted piper : PIED

Something described as pied is patchy or blotchy in color, piebald. The term comes from the Middle English “pie”, an old name for the magpie, and is a reference to the bird’s black and white plumage.

The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory. The use of the word “pied” implies that the piper dressed in multi-colored clothing. Our contemporary idiom “to pay the piper” means “to bear the cost of a poor decision”. It is a reference to townsfolk of Hamelin who refused to pay the Pied Piper for ridding the town of rats. They ultimately paid the cost when the piper lured their children away.

35 Science guy Bill : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

37 Khartoum’s river : NILE

Khartoum is the capital city of Sudan, and is located at the point where the Blue Nile and White Nile meet.

38 Japanese art genre : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese manga comic books.

39 Like boomers’ birthdays : POST-WAR

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”.

44 Advanced college course : 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”.

45 Some young bovines : HEIFERS

A calf is a young cow of either sex that is not more than a year old. A heifer is a young cow that has not calved, and the term “cow” can be used for a female of the species that has given birth.

Something described as bovine is related to a cow, ox or buffalo, indeed any ruminant in the genus Bos. “Bos” is the Latin for “cow”, and “bovinus” a Late Latin derivative term.

48 Usually unheated home part : GARAGE

We imported the word “garage” into English from French, in which language the term historically described a place for storing or sheltering something. Later the term specifically applied to a “shelter” for a car. The verb “garer” is French for “to shelter”.

52 Long stretches : AEONS

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

60 Greyhound destination: Abbr. : STA

A station (“stn.” or “sta.”) is a railroad (RR) or bus stop.

Speaking as someone who lived much of my life outside of the US, I have to say that the Greyhound bus is a real symbol of America. I grew up seeing Greyhound buses in so many old movies. In Ireland the official provincial bus service “stole” the famous logo that gracefully adorns the sides of these buses, but uses a running Irish Setter in place of the iconic greyhound.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Flying fox, e.g. : BAT
4 Has the flu, say : AILS
8 Seed on a bagel : SESAME
14 All Hallows’ __ : EVE
15 Halt : STOP
16 More silly : INANER
17 *Carrier with a Beijing Capital hub : AIR CHINA (giving “bone china”)
19 Unemotionally, after “in” : … STRIDE
20 Reid of “The Big Lebowski” : TARA
21 Feudal peasant : SERF
23 “The Travels of Marco Polo” setting : ASIA
24 “Without delay!” : STAT!
25 *One barely awake : SLEEPYHEAD (giving “bonehead”)
28 “Excusez-__!” : MOI
29 Nondairy milk ingredient : SOY
30 Whopper : LIE
31 Automne preceder : ETE
32 Banks nicknamed “Mr. Cub” : ERNIE
34 Toxic but fragrant shrub : OLEANDER
36 *Keurig Dr Pepper brand since 2008 : CANADA DRY (giving “bone dry”)
39 Crude conduit : PIPELINE
42 Training line : LEASH
46 Sean Lennon’s mom : ONO
47 Jodie Foster, in college : ELI
48 __ pride : GAY
50 Teensy : WEE
51 *Nutritious intake : SQUARE MEAL (giving “bone meal”)
54 Prefix with tasse : DEMI-
55 Adjust for pitch : TUNE
56 Rank above viscount : EARL
57 “Like that’ll happen” : AS IF
58 Black __: scary spiders : WIDOWS
61 Coccyx, familiarly, or what the ends of the answers to starred clues can do? : TAILBONE
63 Ain’t using proper language? : ARE NOT
64 Tommie of the Miracle Mets : AGEE
65 Deface : MAR
66 Biblical escape obstacle : RED SEA
67 Crammer’s concern : TEST
68 Triage ctrs. : ERS

Down

1 “I haven’t the foggiest” : BEATS ME
2 Sunglasses style : AVIATOR
3 Part of ATV : TERRAIN
4 __-blond: grayish shade : ASH
5 Formal affirmation : IT IS SO
6 Needing company : LONELY
7 Bowler’s pickup : SPARE
8 One in the fam : SIS
9 Strep-treating doc : ENT
10 Emmy-winner actress Paulson : SARAH
11 Ouzo flavoring : ANISEED
12 Help to settle : MEDIATE
13 Modern library? : E-READER
18 Litter box user : CAT
22 Dude : FELLA
26 Like a noted piper : PIED
27 How some taxes are paid : YEARLY
29 Undercoat : SEALER
33 Crushed __ : ICE
34 Dedicated poem : ODE
35 Science guy Bill : NYE
37 Khartoum’s river : NILE
38 Japanese art genre : ANIME
39 Like boomers’ birthdays : POST-WAR
40 Ask : INQUIRE
41 Throbbed, like one’s heart : POUNDED
43 Really cool : AWESOME
44 Advanced college course : SEMINAR
45 Some young bovines : HEIFERS
48 Usually unheated home part : GARAGE
49 They’re on your side : ALLIES
52 Long stretches : AEONS
53 Really bother : EAT AT
54 Tiny bit : DAB
59 Misfortune : WOE
60 Greyhound destination: Abbr. : STA
62 Give permission to : LET

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 22 Sep 21, Wednesday”

  1. To JOAN PAULINE NORTH:

    This is not an “official” site for the Los Angeles Times crossword! It is a blog on which one Bill Butler gives the answers for the day’s crossword and discusses it. There is a page for each day. The page you are looking at right now is the one for Wednesday, September 22. At the bottom of the page (scroll down to it), you will find a link that takes you to the page for Tuesday, September 21; at the bottom of that page, you will find links that take you back to Monday, September 20, or forward to this page. If you navigate back in time, you will find that various posters have answered the question you’ve been asking. Meanwhile, you might try this site at the LA Times itself:

    https://www.latimes.com/games/daily-crossword

    I would also point out that, at the top of this page, in the right-hand corner, there is a little icon consisting of three short horizontal bars. If you click on that, you will find other helpful things (like an FAQ that answers various questions about the blog and another way to navigate to the date that you want, using a calendar).

    If none of this makes sense to you, please find a tech-savvy friend and ask them for help … 😜.

  2. No errors. Very quick solve for me..
    I humbly admit I don’t know what BONE CHINA is.. so I looked it up. I think I should set the table for special meals.. I always thought CHINA was china..

  3. 6:03, no errors (again online app). I will note as as been mentioned that the foremost issue is “apps”, so it does take a lot of focus to pay attention to how the app responds to input in using it. Can’t say I was that awake to be mentally focused enough to see it quickly.

    @A Nonny Muss
    You wouldn’t have seen it because Bill’s comment traffic always goes down on Sundays, but you don’t remember the times the number of comments go up considerably when some kind of “trick” occurs through the week? Those are the “casual” solvers I’m mentioning.

    1. I have certainly seen this happen. I am still of the opinion that the timing of the more difficult puzzles should not be slavishly tuned to cater to such solvers. Some will offended by a “trick” they feel is unfair, but some will learn what is possible and be intrigued.

      And … I’ve just finished walking nine miles and I have a visual migraine starting, so I can’t see well enough to continue … so whatever else I have to say will have to wait twenty minutes … 🤪.

      1. I wouldn’t say that standards should be lowered – I’ve gone over that before, especially how I’m disappointed at times at what the Newsday Saturday puzzle has become (15 minutes on the last one). But I’m not far enough away from being a noob at this that I don’t understand why someone would react that way. But I’m not going to tell them that they aren’t right to react that way either. Their experience is not mine, just as mine isn’t theirs.

        1. Thanks again for the space, Glenn, and I got to read my comment for the second time
          since I was cut off from the land of the commenters. I didn’t time it, but I marked the
          ones I knew, my wife got all of them and I got the rest. An easier Wed. and I am glad.
          One missed square in three days.

  4. 15:20 – no errors/lookups

    Blanked out on the “O” for aviatOr/mOi cross – aaarrgghh … wasted 3 mins looking for it.

    @Mary S – agree, “INANER”????? C’mon …

    Got the theme AFTER I filled in TAILBONE

    Be Well

  5. 14:24 with no errors or lookups. Got stuck in the SE corner for a time. The “Tasse” clue didn’t register with me right away; took a while to come up with AWESOME because “Really cool” doesn’t seem like an appropriate use (that word is overused these days); went from SURE>IBET>ASIF; conjured up a few choices for “Teensy” and “Tiny bit”; HEIFERS was slow to emerge; and I’ve been to plenty of SEMINARS that were nowhere near being an “Advanced college course.” But, it all fell in place once TAILBONE went in, along with DAB and DEMI.

  6. Had an error at PePELINE, not because I didn’t know it was crude (I didn’t), but becuase I had eNQUIRED rather than INQUIRED. Turns out, as words, they are interchangeable.

    Speaking of interchangeability, if an adjective is 2-syllable, the comparative can go either way, whether or not it sounds clumsy: INANER or more inane, for instance.

    Have no idea what Ms. North’s opening screed was all about.

  7. Nice straightforward Wednesday; took 10:55 with no errors or peeks. Didn’t know TARA, SARAH and flaked on ERNIE for awhile.

    I always prefer to get poppy seed whenever I get a bagel. I think it’s the illicit thrill, knowing you can test positive for opiates, yet not really get any kind of high 🙂 stupid, I know…

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