LA Times Crossword 18 Oct 21, Monday

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Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pick-me-up

Themed answers each start with three letters that spell out a vehicle that might PICK ME UP:

  • 62A Morale booster … or words that might suggest the arrival of one of the circled words : PICK-ME-UP or PICK ME UP
  • 16A Happy-go-lucky : CAREFREE (hiding “CAR”)
  • 24A Meddlesome types : BUSYBODIES (hiding “BUS”)
  • 38A Pie à la mode choice : VANILLA ICE CREAM (hiding “VAN”)
  • 50A Anxiety resulting from being stuck indoors : CABIN FEVER (hiding “CAB”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Merlot and Malbec : REDS

Merlot is one of the main grapes used to make Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Malbec is a red wine grape that used to be mainly associated with Bordeaux. A frost killed off much of the crop in Bordeaux in the fifties, and today Malbec wines are more closely linked to Argentina and California. I must admit to being a fan of Malbec blends …

8 Surname at Tara : O’HARA

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland. Rhett’s rival for the affections of Scarlet is Ashley Wilkes who lives at the nearby Twelve Oaks plantation.

13 Thurman in films : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

14 British noble : 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.

15 Particle in a nucleus : PROTON

A proton is a subatomic particle, with at least one found in the nucleus of every atom. A proton is not a “fundamental particle”, as it itself is made up of three quarks; two up quarks and one down quark.

18 Supper, say : REPAST

Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

19 Ancient Andeans : INCAS

The Inca Empire was known as the Tawantinsuyu, which translates as “land of the four quarters”. The Inca Empire was a federal organization having a central government that sat above four “suyu” or “quarters”, four administrative regions.

22 The “E” in HOMES : ERIE

A well-known mnemonic for remembering the names of the Great Lakes is HOMES, an acronym standing for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.

24 Meddlesome types : BUSYBODIES (hiding “BUS”)

We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation as it is an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.

27 Germ-killing 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.

29 Norse explorer Ericson : LEIF

Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer and the first European to land in North America, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus’s landing in 1492. The Norsemen named the area they discovered “Vinland”, which might translate as “Wine Land” or “Pasture Land”. Erikson built a small settlement called Leifsbudir, which archaeologists believe they have found in modern day Newfoundland, at L’Anse aux Meadows. The settlement discovered in Newfoundland is definitely Norse, but there is some dispute over whether it is actually Erikson’s Leifsbudir.

34 State-sponsored gambling game : LOTTO

Lotto America was a lottery game offered by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) from 1988 until 1992. The MUSL is a consortium of US states that band together to maximize the prizes that can be offered. Lotto America was replaced by Powerball in 1992, although a version of Lotto America was reintroduced by 13 states in 2017.

38 Pie à la mode choice : VANILLA ICE CREAM (hiding “VAN”)

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

43 PBS science series : NOVA

“Nova” is an excellent science television series on PBS. It was created back in 1974, and was inspired by a very similar BBC show called “Horizon”, a show that I grew up with. Many “Nova” episodes are actually co-productions with the BBC, with an American narrator used for the PBS broadcasts and a British narrator for the BBC broadcasts.

45 April 1 “honoree” : FOOL

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the Western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants, but in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

48 First head of the USSR : LENIN

At the second party congress of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, a split developed. The faction with the most support was led by Vladimir Lenin. As they were in the majority, the group became known as the Bolsheviks, a term derived from the Russian word for “more” or “majority”. Lenin and the Bolsheviks led the October Revolution of 1917, as a result of which Lenin came to power. He headed the new Soviet State during its formative years.

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” or “USSR”) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

50 Anxiety resulting from being stuck indoors : CABIN FEVER (hiding “CAB”)

A hansom cab is a very specific design of horse and buggy that was patented by Joseph Hansom in 1834 in England. The “cab” in the name is short for “cabriolet”, an earlier design of carriage on which the hansom was based. It’s from “hansom cab” that we get our modern term “cab”.

54 Apples on desks : MACS

Macintosh (also “Mac”, since 1998) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

57 Codebreaker 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 …

58 Public health org. : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

59 Bird that beats a birdie? : EAGLE

The following terms are routinely used in golf for scores relative to par:

  • Bogey: one over par
  • Par
  • Birdie: one under par
  • Eagle: two under par
  • Albatross (also “double eagle”): three under par
  • Condor: four under par

No one has ever recorded a condor during a professional tournament.

60 Small, sizewise : PETITE

“Petite” is the French word for “small”, when applied to a feminine noun.

66 Texan’s neighbor : OKIE

“Okies” is a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.

67 Cooperstown stat : RBI

Cooperstown is a village in New York that is famous as the home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The village was named for Judge William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown and the father of the noted writer James Fenimore Cooper.

69 Use a Kindle : READ

Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD several years ago. I started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device …

70 Fed. benefits provider : SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

Down

2 Saudi neighbor : OMANI

The national flag of Oman is made up of three stripes (white, red and green) alongside a red bar which bears the national emblem of the country (a dagger and two swords).

3 Spanish port city : BARCELONA

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

6 “The Chronic” Dr. : DRE

“The Chronic” is a 1992 studio album by hip hop artist Dr. Dre. The title is a slang term for high-grade cannabis.

7 Gobs and gobs : SLEWS

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

8 Smeltery supply : ORE

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

10 Gaming giant : ATARI

The kids today probably don’t realize that we had a video game console back in the seventies, and it wasn’t a Nintendo nor was it a PlayStation. The Atari 2600 game system introduced the idea of separating out computing hardware (the console) from the game code (a cartridge). The same concept persists to this day, although cartridges have been displaced by discs and downloads.

11 TV personality O’Donnell : ROSIE

We don’t get to see Rosie O’Donnell on the screen very much these days. She had a very successful chat show that ran from 1996 to 2002. My favorite performance of hers on the big screen is in a supporting role to Meg Ryan in the 1993 movie “Sleepless in Seattle”.

12 Starts a poker pot : ANTES

The pot in a card game has been referred to as “the kitty” since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it comes from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.

21 Tall, skinny Olive : OYL

E. C. Segar’s cartoon character Olive Oyl had quite a large family. Her mother is Nana Oyl, and her father Cole Oyl. Olive’s brother is Castor Oyl, and she has uncles named Otto Oyl and Lubry Kent Oyl (my favorite!).

25 Forearm bone : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

26 Tin Man’s lubricator : OILCAN

The movie “The Wizard of Oz” is full of irony. The Scarecrow wants to be intelligent and discovers he is already very smart. The Tin Man wants to be able to love and finds out that he already has a heart. The Lion thinks he is a coward but turns out to be fearless. And the big reveal is that the Wizard of Oz, who is positioned as all-powerful, is actually just a bumbling and eccentric old man.

35 Many “Twilight” characters : TEENAGERS

Author Stephenie Meyer is best-known for her “Twilight” series of vampire romance novels. The “Twilight” books are aimed at young adults. Meyer also wrote a 2008 adult sci-fi novel called “The Host”, which went straight to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list. Obsessive fans of the “Twilight” series of books can be referred to as “Twihards”, a portmanteau of “Twilight” and “die-hard”.

37 Texter’s “Heavens!” : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

40 “Merry old” king : COLE

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

49 Spiritual guide at a mosque : IMAM

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque and/or perhaps a Muslim community.

51 Amazon Echo assistant : ALEXA

Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with Amazon Echo smart speakers. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

52 Craft to dye for : BATIK

Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in a solvent that dissolves the wax. Although wax-resist dyeing of fabric has existed in various parts of the world for centuries, it is most closely associated historically with the island of Java in Indonesia.

53 Aircraft’s trail : VAPOR

We talk so often about global warming these days but there is another fascinating phenomenon that is related, and known as “global dimming”. Global dimming is the reduction in the amount of heat that radiates daily from the planet due to the insulating effect of pollution and vapor trails (contrails) from aircraft that are present in the atmosphere. The effect has been touted as a theory for decades but dramatic empirical data became available in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Planes were grounded and the skies over America were clear for three days. There was a stark change in the temperature range measured across the US for these three days, demonstrating the impact that air travel has on our climate.

56 Old photo tone : SEPIA

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as ancient Rome and ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

61 Bill’s co-adventurer : TED

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted. It’s about two lazy students traveling through time in preparation for a history assignment, with a lot of “Dude!” and “Excellent!” scattered throughout the dialog. Reading the plot, this isn’t a movie that I’d normally go for, but somehow, I enjoyed it …

63 Name on a 1950s campaign button : IKE

“I Like Ike” was a political slogan that originated with the grassroots movement to get Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) to run for president in the 1952 presidential election.

64 Intelligence-gathering org. : CIA

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947. The organization is often referred to familiarly as “the Company”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 High-arcing tennis shot : LOB
4 Merlot and Malbec : REDS
8 Surname at Tara : O’HARA
13 Thurman in films : UMA
14 British noble : EARL
15 Particle in a nucleus : PROTON
16 Happy-go-lucky : CAREFREE (hiding “CAR”)
18 Supper, say : REPAST
19 Ancient Andeans : INCAS
20 Seek the affections of : WOO
22 The “E” in HOMES : ERIE
23 Fizzles out : DIES
24 Meddlesome types : BUSYBODIES (hiding “BUS”)
27 Germ-killing brand : LYSOL
29 Norse explorer Erikson : LEIF
30 As well : TOO
32 Cry from a sty : OINK!
34 State-sponsored gambling game : LOTTO
38 Pie à la mode choice : VANILLA ICE CREAM (hiding “VAN”)
42 Tolerate : STAND
43 PBS science series : NOVA
44 Chick-to-be, maybe : EGG
45 April 1 “honoree” : FOOL
48 First head of the USSR : LENIN
50 Anxiety resulting from being stuck indoors : CABIN FEVER (hiding “CAB”)
54 Apples on desks : MACS
57 Codebreaker Turing : ALAN
58 Public health org. : FDA
59 Bird that beats a birdie? : EAGLE
60 Small, sizewise : PETITE
62 Morale booster … or words that might suggest the arrival of one of the circled words : PICK-ME-UP or PICK ME UP
65 Left the building : EXITED
66 Texan’s neighbor : OKIE
67 Cooperstown stat : RBI
68 Gathered, as leaves : RAKED
69 Use a Kindle : READ
70 Fed. benefits provider : SSA

Down

1 Thinking clearly : LUCID
2 Saudi neighbor : OMANI
3 Spanish port city : BARCELONA
4 NFL officials : REFS
5 Spot for a bud : EAR
6 “The Chronic” Dr. : DRE
7 Gobs and gobs : SLEWS
8 Smeltery supply : ORE
9 Wished one could have : HOPED FOR
10 Gaming giant : ATARI
11 TV personality O’Donnell : ROSIE
12 Starts a poker pot : ANTES
15 Examine thoroughly : PROBE
17 “No sweat!” : EASY!
21 Tall, skinny Olive : OYL
24 Bubble, as water : BOIL
25 Forearm bone : ULNA
26 Tin Man’s lubricator : OILCAN
28 Convinced of : SOLD ON
30 Hotel room sets : TVS
31 Meal opening? : OAT-
33 All in the family : KIN
35 Many “Twilight” characters : TEENAGERS
36 Kids’ chasing game : TAG
37 Texter’s “Heavens!” : OMG!
39 Limitless : INFINITE
40 “Merry old” king : COLE
41 Always : EVER
46 Eliminated, gangland-style : OFFED
47 Went first : LED
49 Spiritual guide at a mosque : IMAM
50 Frivolous escapade : CAPER
51 Amazon Echo assistant : ALEXA
52 Craft to dye for : BATIK
53 Aircraft’s trail : VAPOR
55 After-school groups : CLUBS
56 Old photo tone : SEPIA
59 Barely got, with “out” : EKED …
61 Bill’s co-adventurer : TED
63 Name on a 1950s campaign button : IKE
64 Intelligence-gathering org. : CIA

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Oct 21, Monday”

  1. Cute puzzle..
    When I was a young lad, Dad bought a VW VAN. this was 1962. We were so un-American! 6 kids, no seat belts, ages 4 to 12. Traveled from California to Nebraska. What an adventure.
    When I inherited the 2nd vw van at 16, I had the pleasure of driving it. 0 to 60 in 10 minutes! You had to steer into the wind! By then vans gained popularity. But I never had 1 date with that van. It had a stigma.

  2. 5:00

    Theme helped at just the right moment.

    Interesting to see Bill and TED right next to IKE. Gotta span the generations.

  3. No Googles, no errors. Saw no fill-in-the-blanks, which is unusual, and are what I do first along with the 3-letter answers.

  4. Easy peasy Monday – 7:10 with no lookups or errors. No changes, either.

    Minivans were innovative and very popular in the 80s and 90s (had 2 of them ourselves). Now, it seems that while they are still being made, SUVs and “crossovers” have taken over.

  5. 5 mins 20 sec, no errors. So easy that there was no time to even waste effort on the theme and the circled spaces. So, then, how “clever” can all that be?

  6. Nice and easy Monday for me; took 9:42 with no errors or peeks. I didn’t get the banner at the finish and had to waste a couple of minutes finding WOe/PReBE.

  7. Under 7 minutes, which is just about unheard of for me. Simple. I just couldn’t type fast enough to get a better time — and I used to be a court reporter. So …

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