LA Times Crossword 15 Oct 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Jules Verne

Themed answers refer to the JULES VERNE novel “AROUND THE WORLD in Eighty Days”. The circle of circled letters in the grid spell out the word “CIRCUMNAVIGATION”. Nice one …

  • 25A With 38-Across, what the highlighted squares suggest : AROUND THE …
  • 38A See 25-Across : … WORLD
  • 47A With 49-Across, author of the novel suggested by this puzzle’s theme; the movie debuted 10/17/1956 : JULES …
  • 49A See 47-Across : … VERNE

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 “More matter, with __ art”: “Hamlet” : LESS

Here is a line spoken by Queen Gertrude to Polonius in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”:

More matter, with less art

The queen is admonishing Polonius, telling him to drop the fancy speech and get to the point.

5 Early music label : RCA

RCA was founded in 1919 as the Radio Corporation of America, and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric (GE). GE divested RCA in 1932, and then reacquired the company in 1986. Today, RCA is just a brand name.

12 Playwright Chekhov : ANTON

Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer of short stories and a playwright, as well as a physician. He wrote four classic plays that are often performed all around the world, namely “The Seagull”, “Uncle Vanya”, “Three Sisters” and “The Cherry Orchard”. All the time Chekhov was writing, he continued to practice medicine. He is quoted as saying “Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress.”

17 Play area : SET

A play is performed on a stage set.

25 With 38-Across, what the highlighted squares suggest : AROUND THE … 38A See 25-Across : … WORLD

“Around the World in 80 Days” is a wonderful adventure story written by French author Jules Verne and first published in 1873. There have been some great screen adaptations of the story, including the 1956 movie starring David Niven as the protagonist Phileas Fogg. In almost all adaptations, a balloon is used for part of the journey, and is perhaps the most memorable means of transportation on Fogg’s trip around the world. However, if you read the book, Fogg never uses a balloon at all.

32 Brief alarm : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

37 “Enough!” : TMI!

Too much information (TMI)

40 Joanne of film : DRU

Joanne Dru’s most famous roles were in the movies “Red River” and “All the King’s Men”. She had a celebrity younger brother Peter Marshall, who was the original host of “Hollywood Squares”.

41 Daytona Beach-based sports org. : NASCAR

The acronym “NASCAR” stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The association is actually a privately held company that was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. NASCAR is very, very popular and commands the second-largest television audience of any professional sport in America, second only to football.

The coastal city of Daytona Beach in Florida is known for hard-packed sand on the beach. This makes a good surface for driving motorized vehicles, and resulted in Daytona Beach becoming a center for motorsports. The Daytona 500 is the event with the largest purse on the NASCAR calendar.

44 Bacon serving : RASHER

What we tend to call “Canadian bacon” in the US, we know as “rashers” in Ireland. One of my uncles worked in the meat trade in Dublin, and his nickname was “Rasher”.

47 With 49-Across, author of the novel suggested by this puzzle’s theme; the movie debuted 10/17/1956 : JULES …
49 See 47-Across : … VERNE

Jules Verne really was a groundbreaking author. Verne pioneered the science-fiction genre, writing about space, air and underwater travel, long before they were practical and proved feasible. Verne is the second-most translated author of all time, with only Agatha Christie beating him out.

50 Bullish? : TAURINE

“Taurine” is an adjective meaning of or relating to a bull. “Taurus” is Latin for “bull”.

55 Quaint store sign word : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

56 Tapir feature : SNOUT

All four species of tapir are endangered. Even though the tapir looks much like a pig, it is more closely related to the horse and the rhinoceros.

63 Dagger-shaped symbols : OBELI

A dagger (also “obelisk”, plural “obeli”) is a typographical symbol. The dagger is usually used to indicate a footnote.

67 Natl. park sights : RVS

Recreational vehicle (RV)

68 Disinfectant brand : LYSOL

Lysol disinfectant takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.

Down

1 Scottish estate holder : LAIRD

“Laird” is just the word “lord” in the local English dialect in Scotland and the north of England.

2 Been-there-done-that feeling : ENNUI

“Ennui” is the French word for “boredom”, and a term that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported and haven’t anglicized, and actually pronounce “correctly”.

4 Brahms piano trio : SONATAS

German composer Johannes Brahms wrote “a trio of” (three) piano sonatas in all.

Johannes Brahms was a leading German composer during the Romantic period. Brahms is one of the “Three Bs”, often grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.

9 Indian follower of Zoroastrianism : PARSI

Zoroastrianism is a religion founded by the prophet Zoroaster around 600 BCE, making it one of the oldest religions in the world. There are two main Zoroastrian communities today, both of whom migrated to the Indian subcontinent from Greater Iran. The Parsis migrated in the 8th to 10th centuries, and the Irani migrated in the 19th century.

11 City-__ : STATE

A city-state, as opposed to a nation-state, is a state comprising the city itself as well the surrounding territory. Famous city-states of the past include Rome, Athens, Sparta and Carthage. In the modern world, we might classify Monaco, Singapore and Vatican City as city-states.

15 NBA legend Thomas : ISIAH

Isiah Thomas played his whole professional career with the Detroit Pistons. He retired from playing the game in 1994, and took up coaching in 2000, initially with the Indiana Pacers. When you’re out shopping for popcorn, keep an eye out for the Dale & Thomas brand, as it’s co-owned by Isiah Thomas.

22 Receipt fig. : AMT

Amount (amt.)

26 It offered soldiers Hope: Abbr. : 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.

I remember my first non-business visit to Los Angeles. I was a typical tourist and bought a map showing the homes of the stars and drove around Beverly Hills absorbing all the glitz. At one point I drove past a Rolls Royce that was stopped in oncoming traffic, waiting to make a left turn. The window was down, and the driver was puffing away on a big cigar. It was none other than Bob Hope. Seeing him there right beside me; that was a big thrill …

27 Fish-fowl link : NOR

Something that is “neither fish nor fowl” is not recognizable, is not familiar at all.

28 Web transmission technology: Abbr. : DSL

The initialism “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. It is a technology that allows Internet service to be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

29 An express might skip yours: Abbr. : STN

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

30 Thurman on screen : UMA

Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in the movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

38 Small songbirds : WRENS

The wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.

39 P&G detergent brand : DREFT

Dreft is a laundry detergent that was launched by Procter & Gamble in 1933. It was the world’s first synthetic detergent, i.e. a cleansing agent that acts like soap but is made from chemicals instead of fats and lye.

42 Snake oil, purportedly : CURE-ALL

There is actually a real snake oil, a Chinese medicine made from fat extracted from snakes. You can buy snake oil at traditional Chinese pharmacies and it is supposed to be very efficacious in the treatment of joint pain. Snake oil was introduced into the US by Chinese laborers working on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Medicine salesmen started to ridicule the snake oil as it competed with their own remedies, and in time the term “snake oil” became associated with any cure-all potion.

43 __ Ewoldt, first Asian-American to play Christine in Broadway’s “Phantom” : ALI

Ali Ewoldt is an actress and singer known for her work on Broadway. She played Cosette in “Les Misérables” and Christine in “Phantom of the Opera”.

45 Boxer’s speech? : ARF!

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

46 Dudley’s toon foe : SNIDELY

Dudley Do-Right appeared on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, a cartoon that appeared on television in a couple of different versions from 1959-1964. Dudley was a bungling Mountie who struggled with his nemesis, the evil Snidely Whiplash, while pursuing the romantic intentions of Nell Fenwick (who always seemed to prefer Dudley’s horse!).

49 Events for Biles : VAULTS

Simone Biles holds the record for the most gold medals won by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games. She achieved the feat at the 2016 games held in Rio.

51 Criminal defense : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed, I have an ‘alibi’”.

53 San __, Northern California city : MATEO

San Mateo is a city located south of San Francisco, just across the other side of the Bay from where I live. San Mateo is Spanish for Saint Matthew.

57 Name of five Norwegian kings : OLAV

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made the patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “More matter, with __ art”: “Hamlet” : LESS
5 Early music label : RCA
8 Indulgent places : SPAS
12 Playwright Chekhov : ANTON
14 See 15-Across : … OUT
15 With 14-Across, deal-breaking words : I WANT …
16 Combined : IN ONE
17 Play area : SET
18 Partially, informally : SORTA
19 Take off : RUN AWAY
21 Gets an A+, say : NAILS IT
23 Cut back, in a way : DIETED
24 Spite : MALICE
25 With 38-Across, what the highlighted squares suggest : AROUND THE …
29 Added things : SUMS
32 Brief alarm : SOS
33 Parents can relax during them : NAPS
37 “Enough!” : TMI!
38 See 25-Across : … WORLD
40 Joanne of film : DRU
41 Daytona Beach-based sports org. : NASCAR
44 Bacon serving : RASHER
47 With 49-Across, author of the novel suggested by this puzzle’s theme; the movie debuted 10/17/1956 : JULES …
49 See 47-Across : … VERNE
50 Bullish? : TAURINE
52 Validates : AFFIRMS
55 Quaint store sign word : OLDE
56 Tapir feature : SNOUT
58 Campus figure : DEAN
59 Try to expose : DIG AT
61 Sick : ILL
62 Prefix with meter : PENTA-
63 Dagger-shaped symbols : OBELI
64 Bran type : OAT
65 Vary : ALTER
66 Sneak, maybe : SIDLE
67 Natl. park sights : RVS
68 Disinfectant brand : LYSOL

Down

1 Scottish estate holder : LAIRD
2 Been-there-done-that feeling : ENNUI
3 Pit : STONE
4 Brahms piano trio : SONATAS
5 Optimistic : ROSY
6 Prompt : CUE
7 Routing abbr. : ATTN
8 In danger of flooding, as a river : SWOLLEN
9 Indian follower of Zoroastrianism : PARSI
10 Bit of silliness : ANTIC
11 City-__ : STATE
13 More of a surprise : NEWER
15 NBA legend Thomas : ISIAH
20 Disturbance : ADO
22 Receipt fig. : AMT
26 It offered soldiers Hope: Abbr. : USO
27 Fish-fowl link : NOR
28 Web transmission technology: Abbr. : DSL
29 An express might skip yours: Abbr. : STN
30 Thurman on screen : UMA
31 Didn’t read right : MISJUDGED
34 Followers : ADHERENTS
35 Face front? : PRE-
36 Face front? : SUR-
38 Small songbirds : WRENS
39 P&G detergent brand : DREFT
42 Snake oil, purportedly : CURE-ALL
43 __ Ewoldt, first Asian-American to play Christine in Broadway’s “Phantom” : ALI
45 Boxer’s speech? : ARF!
46 Dudley’s toon foe : SNIDELY
48 __ moment : SENIOR
49 Events for Biles : VAULTS
50 Chore list items : TO-DOS
51 Criminal defense : ALIBI
53 San __, Northern California city : MATEO
54 Cur’s warning : SNARL
57 Name of five Norwegian kings : OLAV
60 Secure (to) : TIE
62 Sidekick : PAL

25 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 15 Oct 21, Friday”

  1. No errors.
    Why is a STONE a PIT? what am I missing? Is it because a stone can be in a pit?

    Needless to say , I spent a long time in the NW corner. LAIRD RUNAWAY NEWER INONE ….. YIPES!

  2. Tough Friday for me….

    Anon Mike: fruits that have one large pit are known as “stonefruit”, plums, peaches, nectarines, etc.

    Happy weekend everyone!
    Stay safe! 😊

  3. Picked my way through the minefield without any explosions. Tricky without being teeth gnashingly difficult.

  4. A not too bad 20:07 with no lookups or errors. Had a couple of redos with THANE>LAIRD, SHOUT>DREFT (I now know Shout isn’t P&G, but it fit and I didn’t know DREFT), OLAF>OLAV, GROWL>SNARL.

    I also agree that INONE is not a good answer for “Combined.” ASONE would fit the clue better. Not sure I liked NEW as a “surprise.” Did not consider a stage play for 17A. PARSI, OBELI, ALI Ewoldt are new to me.

  5. Freaky interesting puzzle, got the cir…navig… before light bulbs went on.

    Really cool puzzle variant.

    @nolanski Dreft is mostly used for baby clothes because it is supposed to have no allergens and such…..

  6. Clever puzzle from Mr. Wechsler! I have missed his puzzles. No problems with this one, but yet it was very challenging. Let’s have more like this one!

    1. pre(face)? sur(face)? They are “fronts” for “face”.

      **Horrible** clues, I grant you that. But there is a twisted method to the madness.

    2. @Mark … You’ve probably already figured this out (and others have probably already commented), but … one can put “pre” and “sur” in front of “face” to get “preface” and “surface”.

  7. 12:05

    An enjoyable theme. It helped with a couple squares, most helpfully one of the two “face front” zingers.

  8. “Newer” is clearly not always a surprise. Constructers continue to use the clue “cur” or “dog” warning with the answer “arf.” I have never ever heard a living dog exclaim with an arf. Cartoon dogs say it, of course, and that’s why the clue should always add “toon” or some such word. I have never associated the word “ennui” with “been there done that.” Apathy, yes. Doldrums, yes. And I definitely agree with the complaint about “inone.” Sure do love Jules Verne, though!!

  9. 17:04, and no errors.

    This pretentious Wechsler grid combines the worst of what the Times puzzles have become: ego exercises for the constructors. Too much “going on” by half. Too many internal references, and two-part fills that aren’t even “in order”. The most arcane, least-used words in all the English language, and sometimes *other* languages.

    Finishing this with no errors, instead of feeling like I “solved a puzzle”, I feel more like I “avoided all the traps” and “wasn’t tricked”. Very little enjoyment to it.

    Strongly considering putting Wechsler on my “Skip” list for future.

  10. Glad to see a Weschler puzzle again. For me, it was a very enjoyable puzzle with a clever, well developed theme and clueing that was tricky enough in a few spots to keep me guessing until the lightbulb finally went on.

  11. 16:43 – 3 lookups/no errors

    and pretty darn happy with that (for me) for a Friday …

    Didn’t get the theme till I read Bill’s explanation. Wouldn’t mattered for me.

    Didn’t know the LAIRD or ANTON and they crossed. Had a senior moment for RASHER, duh.

    That was a heck of a game last night (this is coming from a Yankees fan). Really tough way for a very good team, the Giants, to end their season. Best of luck to the Dodgers – IMO they have an excellent chance of going all the way!
    Be Well

  12. Tricky but doable Friday for me; took 22:03 with no errors or peeks and about 5 minutes in the SE corner before the light went on. Very clever and well executed theme, but it only helped me get one clue: DRU. Never heard of ALI or DREFT and only very vaguely aware of DRU.

    @Peakay and Steve – Thanks for your comments yesterday, your secret is safe with me, and Steve, I hope you do stick around for a few more years. I remember and saw them when they still played at Candlestick.

    Well I suppose I should congratulate the Dodgers on a well played NLDS and wish them good luck and all……grumble, grumble….well….grumble..oh okay…congratulations and good….this is so hard…luck…there I did it.

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