LA Times Crossword 9 Sep 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Chris Sablich
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pick-Up Sticks

Themed answers are activities requiring us to PICK UP STICKS:

  • 54A Game requiring fine motor skills … and what people do before playing 19-, 26- and a 49-Across? : PICK-UP STICKS … and PICK UP STICKS
  • 19A Game in which Willie Mosconi holds the competitive record run of 526 points : STRAIGHT POOL
  • 26A National summer sport of Canada : LACROSSE
  • 49A Rock concert highlight : DRUM SOLO

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

Bill’s time: 7m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Horse known for its endurance : ARAB

The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

5 Fitzgerald specialty : SCAT

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

13 Lingerie brand : BALI

The Bali brand of lingerie started out as Fay-Miss in 1927, before becoming the Bali Brassiere Company in 1969.

“Lingerie” is a French term. As used in France, it describes any underwear, worn by either males or females. In English we use “lingerie” to describe alluring underclothing worn by women. The term “lingerie” comes into English via the French word “linge” meaning “washables”, and ultimately from the Latin “linum”, meaning “linen”. We tend not to pronounce the word correctly in English, either here in the US or across the other side of the Atlantic. The French pronunciation is more like “lan-zher-ee”, as opposed to “lon-zher-ay” (American) and “lon-zher-ee” (British).

14 Sport with mallets : POLO

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back then primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

15 Now, in Nogales : AHORA

“Ahora” is the Spanish for “now”, although that “now” really means “pretty soon, in the near future”. The phrase “ahora mismo” is used to mean “right now”.

Nogales (properly called “Heroica Nogales”) is a city in the Mexican State of Sonora. Nogales lies right on the Mexico-US border, opposite the city of Nogales, Arizona.

17 Mathematician Turing : ALAN

Alan Turing was an English mathematician. He was well-respected for his code-breaking work during WWII at Bletchley Park in England. However, despite his contributions to cracking the German Enigma code and other crucial work, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He agreed to chemical castration, treatment with female hormones, and then two years later he committed suicide by taking cyanide. Turing’s life story is told in the 2014 film “The Imitation Game” with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead. I thoroughly enjoyed that film …

18 Actionable words : LIBEL

The word “libel” describes a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation. It comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s. The related concept of slander is defamation in a transient form, such as speech, sign language or gestures.

19 Game in which Willie Mosconi holds the competitive record run of 526 points : STRAIGHT POOL

Willie Mosconi was a professional pool player from Philadelphia who won the World Straight Pool Championship a total of nineteen times. In 1954, Mosconi set a world record by potting 526 consecutive balls in an exhibition event. That record stood until 2019, when it was surpassed by John Schmidt (who potted 626 consecutive balls).

25 London district : SOHO

The area of London called Soho had a very poor reputation for most of the 20th century as it was home to the city’s red-light district. Soho went through a transformation in recent decades, and has been a very fashionable neighborhood since the 1980s.

26 National summer sport of Canada : LACROSSE

Even though lacrosse was dropped from the Olympics after the 1908 games, the sport is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity outside of North America. It is the oldest organized sport on the continent, and was declared as “Canada’s National Summer Sport” in 1994.

34 Spills : TELLS

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

36 Coeur d’__ : ALENE

The city, lake and river in Idaho called Coeur d’Alene are all named for the Coeur d’Alene People, Native Americans who lived in the area when it was first explored by French Canadian fur traders. “Coeur d’Alene” translates from French as “heart of an awl”. The Native American people were given this name as they were perceived as shrewd traders by their Canadian counterparts.

41 __ Timor : EAST

Timor is an island in Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is politically divided into West Timor, belonging to Indonesia, and the independent state of East Timor. The name “Timor” comes from a Malay word for “east”, and is used as Timor lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.

44 Local life : BIOTA

The biota of a region is the total collection of flora and fauna found there.

47 Salad veggie : RADISH

Radishes are edible root vegetables that are commonly grown for use in salads. Gardeners also use radishes as companion plants as the odor given off can deter pests such as aphids, ants and cucumber beetles.

51 Forensic detectives, for short : CSIS

Crime scene investigator (CSI)

Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

54 Game requiring fine motor skills … and what people do before playing 19-, 26- and a 49-Across? : PICK-UP STICKS … and PICK UP STICKS

The simple game of pick-up sticks is played with a bundle of sticks similar to wooden skewers or toothpicks. The bundle is dropped onto a tabletop and then players must remove one stick per turn, without disturbing the rest of the bundles. It is thought that the name of the game comes from a line from a nursery rhyme that goes “… five, six, pick up sticks!”

59 “The King and I” group : HAREM

“Harem” is a Turkish word derived from the Arabic for “forbidden place”. Traditionally, a harem was the female quarters in a household in which a man had more than one wife. Not only wives (and concubines) would use the harem, but also young children and other female relatives. The main point was that no men were allowed in the area. The term “harem” is also applied to the women, children and staff occupying the quarters.

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

60 __ Tuesday : TACO

Taco Tuesday is a promotion run by many American restaurants, especially in Southern California. Participating establishments offer deals on tacos, and perhaps other Mexican dishes served in tortillas. Apparently, “Taco Tuesday” is a trademark owned by Wyoming-based fast-food restaurant Taco John’s.

61 Sound partner : SAFE

Safe and sound

65 Love abroad : AMORE

In Spanish, “amore” (love) might lead to “un matrimonio” (a marriage).

66 Sailor’s direction : 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.

67 Blue-pencil : EDIT

The tradition is that an editor writes corrections to written copy using a blue pencil. The practise arose with the introduction of the “non-photo blue” pencil, which had a color that did not show up in some photographic reproduction processes. A red pencil was used for editing in some applications, as the red was not reproduced in a xerograph.

68 Recipe amts. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

69 Foxx whose real last name was Sanford : REDD

“Redd Foxx” was the stage name of John Elroy Sanford, best known for starring in “Sanford and Son”. “Sanford and Son” was an American version of a celebrated hit BBC sitcom that I grew up with in Ireland called “Steptoe and Son”.

Down

1 Six-pack makeup : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

3 Frazier foe : ALI

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had three memorable fights. The first was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and took place in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. It was a fight between two great boxers, both of whom were undefeated up till that point. Frazier won in a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. A couple of years later, in 1973, Frazier lost his title to George Foreman. Ali and Frazier had a non-title rematch in 1974, with Ali coming out ahead this time, also in a unanimous decision. Later that year, Ali grabbed back the World Heavyweight Title in “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous “rope-a-dope” fight against George Foreman. That set the stage for the third and final fight between Ali and Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali won the early rounds, but Frazier made a comeback in the middle of the fight. Ali took control at the end of the bout, so much so that Frazier wasn’t able to come out of his corner for the 15th and final round. He couldn’t come out of his corner because both of his eyes were swollen shut, giving Ali a victory due to a technical knockout (TKO).

4 California coastal destination : BIG SUR

Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast located south of Monterey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.

6 Soda order : COLA

The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. The first sales were in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, where a glass of the new beverage sold for five cents. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

7 Kyrgyzstan range : ALAI

The Alay (also “Alai”) Mountains are located in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The highest peak in the range is Pik Tandykul, which lies on the international border between the two countries.

8 Drinks table accessory : TONGS

A pair of tongs is a tool with a scissor-like hinge used to pick up things, like meat cooking on a barbecue grill or ice from an ice bucket. The verb “to tong” means “to handle with tongs”.

9 Qdoba competitor : CHIPOTLE

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of casual dining restaurants that was founded and is now headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For several years, the major investor in Chipotle was McDonald’s. The chain is named for the smoke-dried jalapeño called a “chipotle”.

Qdoba is a chain of casual restaurants specializing in Mexican cuisine. The chain started out in 1995 with the name Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill, then Z-Teca Mexican Grill in 1997. Both “Zuma” and “Z-Teca” were challenged by establishments that already had similar names, and so the company settled on Qdoba Mexican Grill in 1999, a completely invented moniker.

10 Gray wolf : LOBO

The timber wolf is also known as the gray wolf, tundra wolf or lobo.

11 Nabisco brand : OREO

If you take a close look at the embossed design on the front and back of an Oreo cookie, you’ll spot the main elements of the Nabisco logo. Those elements are an oval with a cross on top, a cross with two bars. Usually the company name “Nabisco” is inside the oval, but for the cookie it’s the brand name “Oreo”. The current embossed design was introduced in 1952.

12 Chutzpah : GALL

Our word “chutzpah” meaning “nerve, gall, impudence” is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.

15 Tennis Hall of Famer Gibson : ALTHEA

Althea Gibson was known as “the Jackie Robinson of tennis” as she broke the “color barrier” and became the first African-American woman to win a Grand Slam title, in France in 1956. She was quite the athlete and was a great golfer as well as a great tennis player. She was the first African-American woman to play in the Ladies PGA tour, although she never had a win. Outside of sport, she sang a little and recorded an album, and even appeared in a movie (“The Horse Soldiers”) with John Wayne and William Holden. Sadly, towards the end of her life she ended up destitute and on welfare. When her plight was made known in a tennis magazine, well-wishers from all over the world sent her gifts of money, a total of nearly one million dollars. Quite a story …

21 Fireplace food-warming shelf : HOB

A hob is the cooking surface on a stove. The term “hob” originally applied to a shelf at the back or side of a fireplace that was used for keeping food warm.

22 12-time MLB All-Star Roberto : ALOMAR

Roberto Alomar is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, considered by many to be the greatest ever second baseman. Alomar won 10 Gold Glove awards in his career, which is more than any other second baseman in history. Roberto is the son of MLB second baseman Sandy Alomar Sr., and the younger brother of MLB catcher and base coach Sandy Alomar Jr.

23 About 30% of Africa : SAHARA

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.

28 Castilian hero : EL CID

“El Cid” is an epic film released in 1961 that tells the story of the Castilian knight who was known as El Cid. The two big names at the top of the cast were Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, but just who was the biggest star? When Loren discovered that a huge billboard promoting the movie in Times Square showed that her name was below Heston’s, she sued the movie’s producers.

Castile and León is the largest of the seventeen autonomous communities of Spain, and is located in the northwest of the country. The separate kingdoms of Castile and León were united in medieval times, but the autonomous community was constituted much more recently, in

30 Tempest site? : TEAPOT

Here in North America, we use the expression “tempest in a teapot” to describe a small event that has been blown out of proportion. On the other side of the Atlantic, such an event is more likely to be referred to as a “storm in a teacup”.

35 HEATH Bar rival : SKOR

The candy bar named Skor is produced by Hershey’s. “Skor” is Swedish for “shoes”, and the candy bar’s wrapping features a crown that is identical to that found in the Swedish national emblem. What shoes have to do with candy, I don’t know …

The HEATH bar is a Hershey product that was introduced in the 1930s by brothers Bayard and Everett Heath. The candy was promoted back then with the line “Heath for better health!”, a reference to the “healthy” ingredients of the best milk chocolate and almonds, creamery butter and pure sugar cane. Different times …

38 Fashion trademark of old-time golfer Gene Sarazen : KNICKERS

Plus fours are so called because the traditional design extends four inches in the leg longer than knickerbockers. You can also get hold of plus twos, plus sixes and plus eights should you be interested.

Golfer Gene Sarazen was at the top of his game in the twenties and thirties, during which time he won seven major championships. Famously, Sarazen made a hole-in-one at the British Open in 1973 … when he was 71 years old.

40 Covered with plaster : STUCCOED

Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

45 One way to run : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

52 Cool red giant : S STAR

Red giants are very large stars with a relatively low mass. The atmosphere of a red giant is also very inflated and extends a long way into space so the surface of that atmosphere that we see is relatively cool, which gives it a red color. Stars are classified by their spectral characteristics, basically the color of the light they emit. As such, red giants are classified as M stars. Cool red giants are of a color beyond the usual range, and are classified as S stars.

54 Cool, in dated slang : PHAT

In hip-hop circles, the term “phat” means “excellent, first-rate”.

55 Dog food brand : IAMS

Iams dog food was introduced by animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

56 Corn, e.g. : CROP

“Maize” is another name for “corn”. Even though there is more maize grown in the world than wheat or rice, a relatively small proportion of the total maize crop is consumed directly by humans. That’s because a lot of maize goes to make corn ethanol, animal feed and derivative products like cornstarch and corn syrup. Here in the US, over 40% of the maize produced is used to feed livestock, and about 30% is used to make ethanol.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Horse known for its endurance : ARAB
5 Fitzgerald specialty : SCAT
9 Block : CLOG
13 Lingerie brand : BALI
14 Sport with mallets : POLO
15 Now, in Nogales : AHORA
16 Big drink of water : SWIG
17 Mathematician Turing : ALAN
18 Actionable words : LIBEL
19 Game in which Willie Mosconi holds the competitive record run of 526 points : STRAIGHT POOL
22 Guarantee : ASSURE
25 London district : SOHO
26 National summer sport of Canada : LACROSSE
29 Gambler : BETTOR
33 “So that’s it!” : OHO!
34 Spills : TELLS
36 Coeur d’__ : ALENE
37 Blemish : MARK
39 Fastening hardware : TACKS
41 __ Timor : EAST
42 Concert site : ARENA
44 Local life : BIOTA
46 Something to shoot for : PAR
47 Salad veggie : RADISH
49 Rock concert highlight : DRUM SOLO
51 Forensic detectives, for short : CSIS
53 Easier to swallow, as pills : COATED
54 Game requiring fine motor skills … and what people do before playing 19-, 26- and a 49-Across? : PICK-UP STICKS … and PICK UP STICKS
59 “The King and I” group : HAREM
60 __ Tuesday : TACO
61 Sound partner : SAFE
65 Love abroad : AMORE
66 Sailor’s direction : ALEE
67 Blue-pencil : EDIT
68 Recipe amts. : TSPS
69 Foxx whose real last name was Sanford : REDD
70 Lavish affection (on) : DOTE

Down

1 Six-pack makeup : ABS
2 Not even rare : RAW
3 Frazier foe : ALI
4 California coastal destination : BIG SUR
5 Extra keys, say : SPARE SET
6 Soda order : COLA
7 Kyrgyzstan range : ALAI
8 Drinks table accessory : TONGS
9 Qdoba competitor : CHIPOTLE
10 Gray wolf : LOBO
11 Nabisco brand : OREO
12 Chutzpah : GALL
15 Tennis Hall of Famer Gibson : ALTHEA
20 Variable pace : TROT
21 Fireplace food-warming shelf : HOB
22 12-time MLB All-Star Roberto : ALOMAR
23 About 30% of Africa : SAHARA
24 Made a point : SCORED
27 Big piece : SLAB
28 Castilian hero : EL CID
30 Tempest site? : TEAPOT
31 Reduced : ON SALE
32 Went over again : RETROD
35 HEATH Bar rival : SKOR
38 Fashion trademark of old-time golfer Gene Sarazen : KNICKERS
40 Covered with plaster : STUCCOED
43 Presuppose : ASSUME
45 One way to run : AMOK
48 With it : HIP
50 Talked back to : SASSED
52 Cool red giant : S STAR
54 Cool, in dated slang : PHAT
55 Dog food brand : IAMS
56 Corn, e.g. : CROP
57 “Cautionary” account : TALE
58 __ tea : ICED
62 Big fuss : ADO
63 Tailor’s concern : FIT
64 Summer in France : ETE

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Sep 21, Thursday”

  1. Messed up 37A. Put in MARS instead of MARK. That gave me SNICKERS instead of KNICKERS….
    The real trouble was in the NE corner and east middle. RETROD?? AHORA LIBEL ..
    Didn’t help that I had TONIC on 8D for a long time. I wasn’t seeing STRAIGHT POOL until I switched to TONGS then I finally got ALTHEA then things finally fell. I was stuck for a good 10 minutes.. yipes!! I should have RETROD my steps quicker???

    1. Agree that this was a stretch.

      And it’s the first time I remember ALAI as an answer except in response to Jai ______.

  2. Also badly stuck in NE corner. Put fauna instead of biota, which I never heard of. Also don’t know the Alai range. Etc, etc.

  3. 17:45 – 3 lookups/no errors.

    Missed ELCID (aarrgghh!), Coeur d’ALENE (never heard of it), SKOR (yikes).

    Never heard of ALAI, SSTAR, TACO Tuesday, RETROD, Qdoba competitor CHIPOTLE but got the crosses.

    For a Thursday I’m very happy with my effort, sometimes its a DNF (or so many lookups is should be a DNF).

    Bill and Glenn – great times for a Thursday!

    Be Well

  4. First time timing myself. 12:21. Had Alps for 7D for a while and had a mistake of one letter on 32D that I didn’t catch because I didn’t go over everything one last time.

  5. 12:10 with no errors or lookups. Had to ponder the W central area a bit as I had AHA instead of OHO. Didn’t suspect that ALaMAR was a problem, but SCARED for “Made a point” was suspicious after having originally put STATED in there. AHO became OHO after that.

    Had to fix a transposition of the I & G in STRAIGHTPOOL which then gave me TONGS in place of TONIC. Didn’t know the Kyrgyzstan range, and wasn’t sure about a COHO district in London, anyway.

    Also not enamored with RE-TROD.

  6. No real problem with today’s LA Times grid. The WSJ crossword was quite a bit more difficult and tricky by my way of reckoning. For anyone else here that does the daily puzzle in the WSJ I have a question about one of the clues/answers. Why is the answer for the clue for “peripatetic people”, roars? I don’t understand that. I got it right, but I was very unsure until I finished and checked it online. Anyone?

    1. @Tony …

      The revealer is “DROP ME A LINE”. In three places in the grid, the letters “ME” on the line below an answer have to be included in the answer in order for it to make sense. Thus, “ROARS” becomes “ROAMERS” (“Peripatetic people”), “ALIAS” becomes “AMELIAS” (“Bloomer and Earhart, for two”), and “POLOS” becomes “POMELOS” (“Fruits with bitter pulp”). Interestingly, the answer on the line below is also potentially clue-able with or without the “ME” in it (though the clue actually given for it also assumes the form with the “ME”). Clever, but rather complicated to catch onto … 🤪.

      1. Thanks to both you, A N Muss and to Glen below. I never even stopped to think about the gimmick and what it meant for answers, that on the face of it made no sense whatsoever. D’oh!

      2. Very tricky, indeed. Almost as tricky as playing golf with a rubber egg! I have not been
        out because of the baking-oven heat and/or rain. Cooling off now and I hope to go next
        week, once I get a balky transmission fixed on my little car. My last excuse would probably
        be because the weather was too nice. I will get out when cooler and it is coming early.

        Good to see your post. Drop me an e-note.

        Hello to Glenn and Bill and your great times.

        We had all of our trouble in the middle section and could only score 89%. But, I was satisfied
        with our effort and don’t think we could have done much better.

  7. 9:24
    Cute theme, which even pointed the way to correcting my early guesses.
    DESERT->SAHARA was a big change. Also, ISLAND->TEAPOT, FAST->AMOK,
    HERB->ICED, CLUB->SLAB, ALPO->IAMS, and HEM->FIT. Finally
    SNICKERS->KNICKERS, and it was done.

  8. 12 minutes, 11 seconds, no errors, but a lot of writeovers!!! This one was not that easy. At least I didn’t have to use the Check Grid function…

  9. never heard of alomar so I had alamar and aha instead of oho — which means I was satisfied with scared instead of scored! But, otherwise, pretty proud of myself for a thursday — because I am no Bill (though I can be noble at times?) and I am no glenn — but I do like glens! Bad plays on words, I know! I must admit, it wasn’t that hard in retrospect but it did take me quite a while to get to a flawed outcome! Agree with Pam on my first instincts had to be changed…Nicely challenging!

  10. Mildly tricky Thursday for me; took me 14:13 albeit with one error at MARs/sNICKERS just like Anon Mike. I couldn’t find it during my check over so I had to resort to “Check-grid.”

    re WSJ puzzle – I too had a doozy of a time with that puzzle. I knew there was a gimmick, and it had to do with “drop me a line”, but I was thinking straight down, so of course it didn’t make sense until I read the comments. I knew who Amelia was but sadly not what peripatetic meant.

    Clever little clue from the WSJ last week: “Maternal Merino” 🙂

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