LA Times Crossword 6 Sep 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Surely Not!

Themed answers are expressions of uncertainty:

  • 16A “Let me consider this for a bit” : I’LL THINK ABOUT IT
  • 22A “Who can predict the future?” : YOU NEVER KNOW
  • 39A “Maybe” : PERHAPS
  • 50A “We’ll just have to wait to find out” : TIME WILL TELL
  • 61A “Can’t rule anything out” : IT’S A POSSIBILITY

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

Bill’s time: 4m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Dangerous snakes : ASPS

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

13 Commercial suffix with Cray- or Motor- : -OLA

Crayola has made the decision to rename colors of crayons a few times, often with a nod to changing attitudes in society. Some examples are:

  • “Flesh” to “Peach” (1962 … not all flesh is peach-colored)
  • “Prussian Blue” to “Midnight Blue” (1958 … as the Cold War was raging)
  • “Indian Red” to “Chestnut” (1999 … even though the name wasn’t a reference to “American Indian”)

The original Motorola is now two independent companies called Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola started in 1928 as the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in Chicago. Founder Paula V. Galvin created the brand name “Motorola” for a car radio the company developed in 1930. He linked “motor” (meaning “car”) with “-ola” (meaning “sound”), implying “sound in motion”.

15 Catcher’s position : SQUAT

That would be baseball.

19 Step on a flight : STAIR

A landing is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one “flies” between landings! Can that be true?

26 Mild Dutch cheese : EDAM

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

27 Territory that lent its name to two states : DAKOTA

The Dakota Territory was formed in 1861 and ceased to exist with the admission to the Union of the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. The territory was split into two states in 1889 largely due to lobbying by the Republican Party, which enjoyed a lot of support in the Dakota Territory. The admission of two states added to the political power of the party in the US Senate, by adding four safe Republican seats.

34 Congregational seats : PEWS

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

37 Former Russian royals : TSARS

The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

38 Toronto’s prov. : ONT

Beautiful Toronto, Ontario is the largest city in Canada, and the fourth most populous city in North America (after Mexico City, New York and Los Angeles).

42 Get one past the goalie : SCORE

In soccer, the goalie (goalkeeper) is the only player who can handle the ball.

44 Walk-the-dog toy : YO-YO

A common yo-yo trick is to “walk the dog”. It involves spinning the yo-yo at the end of its string, and then letting the yo-yo touch the ground. The spin then causes the yo-yo to “walk” along the ground beside you, as if you are walking a dog.

46 “Great White North” country : CANADA

Jacques Cartier was a French explorer who is best remembered as the man who claimed Canada for France. Cartier first used the word “Canada” to describe the area around what we now call the St. Lawrence River. He transcribed the Saint-Lawrence Iroquoian word “Kanata”, meaning “village, settlement”, as “Canada”.

59 __ tai : MAI

The mai tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.

60 Folded manuscript sheet : FOLIO

We can use the word “folio” for a sheet of paper folded in half, one time. The term comes from the Latin “folium” meaning “leaf”.

70 Sushi fish that must be cooked : EEL

Anyone going to a sushi restaurant can order all types of raw fish (known collectively as “sashimi”). However, eel is always served cooked, and that’s because the blood of eels contains a protein that cramps muscles if eaten. If the heart muscle “cramps”, the result can be death. The protein is easily rendered harmless by applying heat, i.e. by cooking.

Down

3 Caroline Islands nation : PALAU

Palau is a tiny island nation lying 500 miles east of the Philippines, and 2,000 miles south of Japan. Palau was once a Spanish possession and was sold by Spain to Germany in the late 19th century. During WWI, Japan invaded the islands (Japan had declared war on Germany) and was awarded the islands as a territory by the League of Nations at the end of hostilities. In WWII the US took Palau from the Japanese in a bloody battle in 1944. Palau emerged from American administration in 1994 and is now a sovereign state.

The Caroline Islands form an archipelago of about 500 small islands located in the western Pacific to the north of New Guinea. The island group was named by the Spanish in the 17th century in honor of King Carlos II of Spain.

4 Singer-songwriter DiFranco : ANI

Ani DiFranco is a folk-rock singer and songwriter. DiFranco has also been labeled a “feminist icon”, and in 2006 won the “Woman of Courage Award” from National Organization for Women.

5 #43, to #41 : SON

President George W. Bush (GWB) is named for his father, George H. W. Bush (GHWB). The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

6 Texas Hold ’em, e.g. : POKER

The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas hold ’em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas hold ‘em in the television lineup that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.

7 Engine plug discharge : SPARK

There are two main types of internal combustion engine. Most cars in the US use spark injection engines (gasoline engines) in which a spark plug sparks in order to ignite the fuel-air mixture. A diesel engine, on the other hand, has no spark plug per se, and uses the heat generated by compressing the air-fuel mixture to cause ignition.

8 “For the Boys” org. : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

9 Parrots a parrot : SQUAWKS

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.

12 Suffix with novel : -ETTE

Our word “novel”, used for a lengthy work of fiction, comes from the Latin “novella” meaning “new things”.

17 Trident tips : TINES

A trident is a spear with three prongs. The term “trident” comes from the Latin adjective “tridentem” meaning “three-pronged, three-toothed”. “Tridentem” comes from “tri-” (three) and “dens” (tooth).

18 Radiohead or Motörhead : BAND

Radiohead is an alternative rock band from England that formed in 1985. When the band self-released their 2007 studio album “In Rainbows”, it was a big deal for the music industry. Radiohead offered a digital version of the album using a pay-what-you-want pricing model. Reportedly, most fans paid what would be a normal retail price for the download version of the album. That’s not bad, considering the relatively low cost to produce a download compared to the cost of producing a CD.

Motörhead was a rock band from London that was formed in 1975 by Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. Lemmy was kicked out of the band Hawkwind after he was convicted for drug possession in Canada. He decided to call his new band “Motörhead”, choosing the name from “Motorhead”, the last song that he wrote for Hawkwind. Lemmy added the umlaut to the band’s name because he “thought it looked mean”.

23 Puff on an e-cig : VAPE

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

24 39-Down board : EMERY
(39D Treat for the feet : PEDI)

Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.

25 “Wild” things to sow : OATS

Traditionally, “wild oats” were a crop that one might regret sowing instead of “good grain”. Young and tempestuous people were rash enough to sow their wild oats, and had yet to comprehend their folly. Over time, to “feel one’s oats” came to mean “be lively and confident”.

29 Lobster pot, e.g. : TRAP

A male lobster is called a cock, and a female a hen. A lobster weighing less than a pound is called a chicken.

31 Brown-skinned pear : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear that is grown mainly in the northwest of the United States. It is named for French horticulturist Louis Bosc. The cultivar originated in Belgium or France in the early 19th century. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck.

32 Peruvian empire of old : INCA

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Túpac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

40 Where Marco Polo is played : POOL

Marco Polo is a game of tag that is played in a swimming pool.

43 Daily grind : RAT RACE

We use “rat race” figuratively to describe an endless, pointless pursuit. The term comes from the laboratory, where one might imagine rats racing around a maze in search of some cheese.

45 Praise to the hilt : EXTOL

To extol something is to praise it loudly. The term “to extol” comes from the Latin “extollere” meaning “to raise up, elevate”.

47 Arsenal stockpile : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

Our word “arsenal” comes from the Italian “arzenale”, a work adapted from the Arabic for “workshop”. There was a large wharf in Venice called the Arzenale that became associated with the storage of weapons and ammunition, and this led to our contemporary usage of “arsenal”.

49 2004 remake starring Jude Law : ALFIE

There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.

Jude Law is a wonderful English actor, and a big name in Hollywood these days. He makes a great romantic lead, witness his performance in 2006’s “The Holiday” in which he starred opposite Cameron Diaz. He and Diaz were nominated by MTV for the best onscreen kiss that year!

56 Watch-when-you-want gadget : TIVO

TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful digital video recorder (DVR).

57 Prince Harry’s alma mater : ETON

Eton College near Windsor in the south of England was founded way back in 1440 by King Henry VI. Originally known as “The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor”, the school was intended to provide free education to poor boys. Free education today at Eton? Not so much …

Harry, Duke of Sussex is the younger of the two sons of Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales. Famously, Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle in 2018. The groom’s name was Prince Henry of Wales until the marriage, at which time his name officially changed to “Prince Harry”. In January 2020, Harry and Meghan stepped back from their official duties.

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

62 Champ, to Biden : PET

Champ was the older of two German shepherds that the Biden family brought to the White House when President Joe Biden took office in 2021. Sadly, Champ passed away just a few months later.

63 Rollover acronym : IRA

A rollover IRA is a subtype of traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The funds for a rollover IRA come from another qualified plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) account.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Quick snooze : NAP
4 Dangerous snakes : ASPS
8 Grammar lesson subject : USAGE
13 Commercial suffix with Cray- or Motor- : -OLA
14 Nose (around) : SNOOP
15 Catcher’s position : SQUAT
16 “Let me consider this for a bit” : I’LL THINK ABOUT IT
19 Step on a flight : STAIR
20 Presidential period : ERA
21 First-rate : A-ONE
22 “Who can predict the future?” : YOU NEVER KNOW
26 Mild Dutch cheese : EDAM
27 Territory that lent its name to two states : DAKOTA
31 Partiality : BIAS
34 Congregational seats : PEWS
37 Former Russian royals : TSARS
38 Toronto’s prov. : ONT
39 “Maybe” : PERHAPS
41 “Hooray team!” : RAH!
42 Get one past the goalie : SCORE
44 Walk-the-dog toy : YO-YO
45 Catch sight of : ESPY
46 “Great White North” country : CANADA
48 Elaborate ruse : HOAX
50 “We’ll just have to wait to find out” : TIME WILL TELL
56 Sign of sorrow : TEAR
59 __ tai : MAI
60 Folded manuscript sheet : FOLIO
61 “Can’t rule anything out” : IT’S A POSSIBILITY
65 Singer’s asset : VOICE
66 Like things that make your skin crawl : EERIE
67 Article in some hip-hop titles : THA
68 Beginning : ONSET
69 Haul with effort : DRAG
70 Sushi fish that must be cooked : EEL

Down

1 Hard on the ears : NOISY
2 For __ see: in plain sight : ALL TO
3 Caroline Islands nation : PALAU
4 Singer-songwriter DiFranco : ANI
5 #43, to #41 : SON
6 Texas Hold ’em, e.g. : POKER
7 Engine plug discharge : SPARK
8 “For the Boys” org. : USO
9 Parrots a parrot : SQUAWKS
10 Car : AUTO
11 Profit : GAIN
12 Suffix with novel : -ETTE
14 Rip to pieces : SHRED
17 Trident tips : TINES
18 Radiohead or Motörhead : BAND
23 Puff on an e-cig : VAPE
24 39-Down board : EMERY
25 “Wild” things to sow : OATS
28 Rowboat pair : OARS
29 Lobster pot, e.g. : TRAP
30 Like a well-used fireplace : ASHY
31 Brown-skinned pear : BOSC
32 Peruvian empire of old : INCA
33 Lots : A TON
35 “Which person?” : WHO?
36 Greet, with “to” : SAY HI …
39 Treat for the feet : PEDI
40 Where Marco Polo is played : POOL
43 Daily grind : RAT RACE
45 Praise to the hilt : EXTOL
47 Arsenal stockpile : AMMO
49 2004 remake starring Jude Law : ALFIE
51 Let up : EASED
52 Older partner? : WISER
53 High society : ELITE
54 Nimble : LITHE
55 Faithful : LOYAL
56 Watch-when-you-want gadget : TIVO
57 Prince Harry’s alma mater : ETON
58 Like no-returns merchandise : AS IS
62 Champ, to Biden : PET
63 Rollover acronym : IRA
64 Huge : BIG

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Sep 21, Monday”

  1. 6:12

    Lots of changes, ended by brute-force guessing the H in LITHE.

    I like the theme of uncertainties. It fits the way a puzzle gets filled in.

  2. 8:36 with no errors or lookups. An interesting number of phrases of non-commitment in one puzzle. Maybe someone will construct a puzzle with answers like “You bet,” “I sure will,” “Definitely,” ” You can count on me,” and “Very likely.”

    1. We didn’t do it in under five minutes, but we did it.

      I got the Jumble answer without the words in one second. Also got the Wonderword,
      though I ended up with one extra letter.

      Thanks for the space, Glenn.

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