LA Times Crossword 8 Sep 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Final Seed

Themed answers each end with a type of SEED:

  • 62A Last player selected for a Wimbledon ranking … or part of each answer to a starred clue : FINAL SEED
  • 17A *Devoted ESPN viewer : SPORTS NUT
  • 23A *Spec for sandpaper or salt : COARSE GRAIN
  • 36A *Quarry that supplies aggregate : GRAVEL PIT
  • 54A *Garden walkway component : PAVING STONE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Chess result : DRAW

There are several ways that a game of chess can end in a draw. For example, if a player who is not in check cannot make a legal move, there is said to be a stalemate, which is a draw. Another example of a draw is a dead position, a situation in which neither player can make a sequence of legal moves that would result in a checkmate.

5 “NASCAR on NBC” analyst Earnhardt Jr. : DALE

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a professional stock car driver. Dale comes from good “stock car racing stock”. His father Dale Earnhardt Sr. was a member of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Dale Jr.’s grandfather was Ralph Earnhardt, who in 1998 was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.

9 Metalworker : SMITH

A metalsmith (often just “smith”) is a metalworker, someone who fashions useful items out of various metals. The term “metalsmith” is often used to describe someone adept at working with many different metals. Other smiths tend to specialize, e.g. a blacksmith works mainly with iron and steel, a coppersmith works mainly with copper, a gunsmith builds and repairs firearms, and a locksmith works with locks.

14 Cancún coin : PESO

Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.

16 Island near Maui : LANAI

Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai and turned most of it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as “The Pineapple Island”. Today, 98% of the island is owned by Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, and 2% is owned by the State of Hawaii.

17 *Devoted ESPN viewer : SPORTS NUT

The initialism “ESPN” stands for Entertainment Sports Programming Network. ESPN is a cable network that broadcasts sports programming 24 hours a day, and was launched back in 1979. ESPN has a lot of ardent fans. Several parents have named their children Espn (usually pronounced “Espen”) in honor of the network.

20 Word after box or law : … OFFICE

The term “box office” may date back to Shakespearean times. In those days long past, patrons would deposit fees for seeing theater performances in boxes. The full boxes would be collected and placed in an office called, imaginatively enough, the “box office”.

27 Coll. near the Rio Grande : UTEP

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was founded in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. To this day, there is a mine shaft on the campus. The mascot of the school’s sports teams is Paydirt Pete, a prospector from the mining industry. The teams are also known as the UTEP Miners and Lady Miners.

29 Hard rain : SLEET

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

31 First name in skin care : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

33 Caddie’s offering : CLUB

“Caddie” is a Scottish word, as one might expect given the history of the game of golf. It is a local word derived from the French “cadet” that describes a younger son or brother, or a student officer in the military. The variant spelling “caddy” is quite common.

36 *Quarry that supplies aggregate : GRAVEL PIT

Gravel is a loose mixture of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by the size of those fragments. For example, pea gravel comprises pea-size, rounded stones.

43 Jai __ : ALAI

Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …

44 Quebec’s __ Peninsula : GASPE

The Gaspé Peninsula is located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, extending into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It is a major destination for tourists, and is home to two national parks: the Gaspé NP and the Forillon NP.

50 Ready for bed, briefly : IN PJS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

53 Long-running CBS series : NCIS

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

57 Malarkey : ROT

It’s not really known how the word “malarkey” came to mean “lies and exaggeration”. What is known is that “Malarkey” is also used as a family name.

58 Pachelbel work : CANON

A canon is a musical composition in which the main melody is repeated after a given duration.

Johann Pachelbel was a composer from Germany active in the Baroque Era. Pachelbel’s music was very popular during his own lifetime. Today, his best-known work is his “Canon in D”, which has become a very popular choice for contemporary wedding ceremonies.

59 Treasury secretary Janet : YELLEN

Economist Janet Yellen was appointed Chair of the Federal Reserve in 2014 by President Obama. When her appointment was confirmed by the US Senate, Yellen became the first woman to hold the position. In the Biden administration, Yellen became the first woman to hold the post of Secretary of the Treasury.

61 Sahara features : DUNES

The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic. The Sahara is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

62 Last player selected for a Wimbledon ranking … or part of each answer to a starred clue : FINAL SEED

A seeded player or team in a tournament is one given a preliminary ranking that is used in the initial draw. The intention is that the better competitors are less likely to meet each other in the early rounds.

The Wimbledon Championships of tennis are held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club located in Wimbledon, a district of London. The Wimbledon Championships started in 1877, and have been played on grass since day one.

65 Locale : VENUE

A venue is a specified locale used for an event. The term “venue” came into English via French from the Latin “venire” meaning “to come”. So, a “venue” is a place to which people “come”.

66 Heck of a hike : TREK

A trek is an arduous journey. The term “trek” comes into English via Afrikaans from the Dutch “trekken” meaning “to march, journey”.

67 Dell rival : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

69 Actor Grant : CARY

The wonderful, wonderful actor Cary Grant was born in Bristol in England, and was given the name Archibald Leach. In the 1949 Howard Hawks film “His Girl Friday”, there’s a line where Grant describes the fate suffered by someone who crossed him. He names that person “Archie Leach”, an ad-lib using his real name.

Down

1 MLB rally killers : DPS

Double play (DP)

4 Klingon officer in the “Star Trek” franchise : WORF

In the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Mr. Worf is one of the main characters. He is a Klingon officer on the Enterprise, and is played by Michael Dorn. Worf is a unique character in the “Star Trek” franchise in that he also appeared regularly in another “Star Trek” show: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.

5 ’70s hot spots : DISCOS

Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

6 Strengthen, as glass : ANNEAL

One anneals glass or metal by exposing to a very specific temperature profile, resulting in a tougher or less brittle product.

7 Seuss’ Cindy __ Who : LOU

The Whos live in Whoville in Dr. Seuss’ children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

10 Medieval estates : MANORS

European history is often divided in three major periods: classical antiquity and the modern period, with the Middle Ages in between. Specifically, the Middle Ages are said to have begun in 476 AD, when the last Roman Emperor was deposed by a Germanic chieftain. The end date for the Middle Ages is less specific, but is about 1500 AD. The list of events signalling the end of the Middle Ages includes Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the New World (1492) and the Protestant Reformation (1517). The term “medieval” is used to describe something belonging to the Middle Ages.

12 Preferable, gastronomically : TASTIER

Gastronomy is the art or science of good eating. The term “gastronomie” was coined in 1801 by Frenchman Joseph de Berchoux as the title of a poem on good living.

18 Half a mint? : TIC

Tic Tacs aren’t American candies (as I always mistakenly believed). Tic Tacs are made by the Italian company Ferrero, and were introduced in 1969.

26 “Morning Edition” airer : NPR

NPR’s flagship news program is “Morning Edition”, a 2-hour show broadcast from Monday through Friday. The sister show “Weekend Edition” is broadcast on Saturday and Sunday.

28 Alternative to Margie : PEG

“Margie” and “Peg” are nicknames commonly used for “Margaret”.

38 Hotel shuttles : VANS

The vehicle we call a “van” takes its name from “caravan”, and so “van” is a shortened version of the older term. Back in the 1600s, a caravan was a covered cart. We still use the word “caravan” in Ireland to describe what we call a “mobile home” or “recreational vehicle” here in the US.

When weaving with a loom, a shuttle is a tool that carries the thread across the weft yarn, back and forth so that the fabric “grows” in length. The term “shuttle” was probably applied to such a tool because it “shoots” across the fabric. We started to use “shuttle” in the late 1800s to describe transportation that moved back and forth, initially describing a train service.

41 Hurricane mandate responder : EVACUEE

Hurricanes are given names primarily to help the public keep track of dangerous systems. The names are decided ahead of the hurricane season, with the first system given a name beginning with A, the second, B etc. The names are alternated between male and female names throughout the season. Also, if the first storm of the season is male, then the following year a female name is chosen. For hurricanes in the North Atlantic, names are assigned for every letter, except Q, U, X, Y and Z. The most frequently used name is Arlene, which was used for ten different storms from 1959 to 2011.

42 Tropical grassland : SAVANNA

A savanna (also “savannah”) is a grassland. If there are any trees in a savanna, by definition they are small and widely spaced so that light can get to the grasses allowing them to grow unhindered.

47 “C’__ la vie!” : EST

“C’est la vie” is French for “that’s life”.

49 Umpire’s pregame request : LINE UP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

51 Olympic star Jackie __-Kersee : JOYNER

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is retired now, but in her day was one of the greatest heptathletes in the world, as well as an Olympic medal winner in the long jump. Jackie was named Jackie Joyner at birth, after Jackie Kennedy. She got the Kersee moniker when she married her coach Bob Kersee, in 1986.

60 Challenge for an atty. wannabe : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

61 TiVo, for one : DVR

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

62 Agcy. concerned with fraud : FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established in 1914 with the mission of protecting consumers.

63 Gershwin brother : IRA

Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, and worked with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

64 R&B’s __ Hill : DRU

Dru Hill is an R&B singing group from Baltimore, Maryland. Dru Hill was formed in 1992, and is still going strong today. The name “Dru Hill” comes from Druid Hill Park which is found on the west side of Baltimore.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Chess result : DRAW
5 “NASCAR on NBC” analyst Earnhardt Jr. : DALE
9 Metalworker : SMITH
14 Cancún coin : PESO
15 A party to : IN ON
16 Island near Maui : LANAI
17 *Devoted ESPN viewer : SPORTS NUT
19 Uneasy feeling : ANGST
20 Word after box or law : … OFFICE
21 Bullish sound? : SNORT
22 Wail : CRY
23 *Spec for sandpaper or salt : COARSE GRAIN
27 Coll. near the Rio Grande : UTEP
29 Hard rain : SLEET
30 Dance class topic : STEP
31 First name in skin care : ESTEE
33 Caddie’s offering : CLUB
35 Make a wrong turn, say : ERR
36 *Quarry that supplies aggregate : GRAVEL PIT
40 Guys : HES
43 Jai __ : ALAI
44 Quebec’s __ Peninsula : GASPE
48 Racecourse shape : OVAL
50 Ready for bed, briefly : IN PJS
53 Long-running CBS series : NCIS
54 *Garden walkway component : PAVING STONE
57 Malarkey : ROT
58 Pachelbel work : CANON
59 Treasury secretary Janet : YELLEN
61 Sahara features : DUNES
62 Last player selected for a Wimbledon ranking … or part of each answer to a starred clue : FINAL SEED
65 Locale : VENUE
66 Heck of a hike : TREK
67 Dell rival : ACER
68 Brings in : REAPS
69 Actor Grant : CARY
70 Drive-__ : THRU

Down

1 MLB rally killers : DPS
2 Researchers’ publications : REPORTS
3 To date : AS OF YET
4 Klingon officer in the “Star Trek” franchise : WORF
5 ’70s hot spots : DISCOS
6 Strengthen, as glass : ANNEAL
7 Seuss’ Cindy __ Who : LOU
8 Suffix with exist : -ENT
9 Language student’s challenge : SLANG
10 Medieval estates : MANORS
11 Thankless sort : INGRATE
12 Preferable, gastronomically : TASTIER
13 Major success : HIT
18 Half a mint? : TIC
21 Contrived plot : SETUP
22 Alert for an actor : CUE
24 Checkout printout : RECEIPT
25 Unload, say : SELL
26 “Morning Edition” airer : NPR
28 Alternative to Margie : PEG
32 Noted period : ERA
34 Important : BIG
37 Square up : ALIGN
38 Hotel shuttles : VANS
39 Light earth tone : TAN
40 Short flight : HOP
41 Hurricane mandate responder : EVACUEE
42 Tropical grassland : SAVANNA
45 Sudden stop sound : SCREECH
46 Trailblazer : PIONEER
47 “C’__ la vie!” : EST
49 Umpire’s pregame request : LINE UP
51 Olympic star Jackie __-Kersee : JOYNER
52 Deceptive : SNEAKY
55 Wine qualities : NOSES
56 Building wing : ELL
60 Challenge for an atty. wannabe : LSAT
61 TiVo, for one : DVR
62 Agcy. concerned with fraud : FTC
63 Gershwin brother : IRA
64 R&B’s __ Hill : DRU

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Sep 21, Wednesday”

  1. No errors, but had to look up the Star Trek officer; didn’t
    think of “draw” for a chess result. The rest came easily.

  2. Good puzzle today.. had JOINER for 51D and didn’t look back. I guess it would have been easy to see IELLEN for 59A but after I had all the other crosses I never had to look at the clue… same thing on GASPE. got all the crosses and even after I looked at the clue I just left it.

  3. 8:34 1 error because it’s not MEG, but PEG

    I thought the theme was going to be about rocks, not seeds.

    Early on, the chess game’s prospective MATE became a DRAW.
    YELLEN helped me correct the spelling of JOYNER.

  4. A good week so far – 12:58 with no errors or lookups today. A nice theme tie-in this week, but it’s the US Open going on, not Wimbledon. However, “Wimbledon” is only tennis, whereas “US Open” also could mean golf or racquetball.

    Did not know of the GASPE peninsula.

    Had to modify MATE>DRAW, SPORTSFAN>SPORTSNUT, ENNUI>ANGST, MANSES>MANORS, HUGH>CARY.

  5. 12:44 – no errors/lookups. Very happy with that time for a Wednesday. About half of Bill’s time is a victory for me anytime.

    @Glenn – 5:52, really impressive!

    Thought it was really fun.

    Especially liked INPJS! Wouldn’t have gotten JOYNER spelling without it … Didn’t get theme until I was finished.

    Be Well

  6. Nice easy Wednesday for me; took 11:00, right on the nose, with no errors or peeks. Had to fix my spelling of SAVAN(ah)NA and got CANON on the crosses as well as changing SPORTS(fan)NUT (!! Hey, I resemble that remark !!) but the rest was mostly easy.

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