LA Times Crossword 27 Oct 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Split-Level

Four rows in the grid include types of LEVEL as hidden words, but each is SPLIT by a black square:

  • 56A Home with a between-floors entrance … and what can be found on puzzle rows 3, 6, 8 and 10? : SPLIT-LEVEL
  • 16A Big name in plant food : MIRACLE-GRO
  • 18A Reverse : UNDO (“GRO-UND” level)
  • 27A Get duded up : PREEN
  • 28A “Despite my best attempts … ” : TRY AS I MAY … (“EN-TRY” level)
  • 33A First section of the “Divine Comedy” : INFERNO
  • 36A “That makes more sense” : I SEE NOW (“NO-ISE” level)
  • 43A Kitchen gadget : CAN OPENER
  • 47A Greek wraps : GYROS (“ENER-GY” level)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Breakfast companion? : BED

In the US, an intimate inn is a bed & breakfast (B&B). Traditionally, a bed & breakfast back in Ireland is more basic accommodation, and used to be much cheaper than a comparable hotel room.

13 __ vaccine : ORAL

A vaccine used to be a modified virus administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity (until RNA vaccines were introduced to combat COVID-19). British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.

15 Soup du __ : JOUR

The French phrase “du jour” translates as “of the day”.

16 Big name in plant food : MIRACLE-GRO

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was founded in 1868 by one Orlando Scott, and initially sold seed to the agricultural industry. In the early 1900s, Scotts started to sell to homeowners, and mainly supplied lawn seed. The company merged with the gardening company Miracle-Gro in 1955, and then with TruGreen in 2016.

20 G.I. entertainment often featuring Bob Hope : USO SHOW

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 …

26 Hollywood Walk of Fame symbols : STARS

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks taking up 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. The Walk of Fame is an ever-changing monument dedicated to those who have achieved greatness in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. The first stars installed in the sidewalk were a group of eight, officially laid in 1960. That group consisted of:

  • Joanne Woodward (actor)
  • Olive Borden (actor)
  • Ronald Colman (actor)
  • Louise Fazenda (actor)
  • Preston Foster (actor)
  • Burt Lancaster (actor)
  • Edward Sedgwick (director)
  • Ernest Torrence (actor)

31 Enjoyed the buffet : ATE

Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.

32 [as per the original] : [SIC]

[Sic] indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. “Sic” is Latin for “thus, like this”. The term is more completely written as “sic erat scriptum”, which translates as “thus was it written”.

33 First section of the “Divine Comedy” : INFERNO

Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.

40 Witticism : MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

41 Big bang letters? : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

47 Greek wraps : GYROS

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

50 Unlike bikinis : ONE-PIECE

The origin of the word “bikini”, describing a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. One story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name “bikini” was chosen for the swim-wear because of the “explosive” effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment …

55 Jackson family musician born Toriano : TITO

Tito Jackson was one of the original members of the Jackson 5 singing group composed of members of the Jackson family. Jackson had three sons, and formed a musical group of their own that they call 3T.

63 Events with kings and queens : PROMS

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

64 Shade of blue : NAVY

Navy blue is a dark blue shade that was named for the color of uniforms worn by officers in the British Royal Navy as early as 1748. When the color’s name first took on the association with uniforms in the early 1800s, it was known as “marine blue”, but soon changed to “navy blue”.

65 “__ Rosenkavalier” : DER

“Der Rosenkavalier” is a comic opera composed by Richard Strauss. The title translates as “The Knight of the Rose”.

67 Slush Puppie parent company : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

Down

1 __ Pérignon : DOM

Dom Pérignon is a prestige label of champagne from Moët et Chandon, the French winery. The label’s name honors the Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, who helped to improve the quality and production of champagne in the early 18th century. Although Dom Pérignon made major contributions to champagne production, many of the stories in which he figures are just myths. He did not “invent” champagne, nor sparkling wine in general. Nor did he say the famous words, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”. That lovely line first appeared in a print advertisement in the late 1800s!

2 “Hereditary” director Aster : ARI

Ari Aster is a film director from New York City. He is into horror films, and I’m not …

4 Missouri River feeder : PLATTE

The Platte River used to be called the Nebrakier, which is an Oto word meaning “flat river”. Indeed, the state of Nebraska takes its name from “Nebrakier”. For a while it was also called the River Plate as “plate” is the French word “flat”. Later this became “Platte”, the phonetic spelling of the French “plate”.

6 Blonde beverage : ALE

Blonde ales are a loosely-related group of beers that share a very pale color. I’d guess that the most famous of the genre in North America are Belgian blondes.

7 Part of a cord : LOG

A cord of firewood has a volume of 128 cubic feet. More commonly it’s a neat stack measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep.

10 Actress Helena __ Carter : BONHAM

Helena Bonham Carter is an actress from London. Some of her more famous roles have been Bellatrix Lestrange in the “Harry Potter” films and Queen Elizabeth in “The King’s Speech”. Bonham Carter is also well known for her appearances in movies made by director Tim Burton, who was her domestic partner from 2001 until 2014. She also had a 5-year domestic partnership with fellow actor Kenneth Branagh.

11 Email program named after writer Welty : EUDORA

Eudora is an email program that comes with Apple operating systems. The program is named for American author Eudora Welty.

15 Supreme Court figure : JUSTICE

The US Constitution doesn’t specify the size of the Supreme Court, but authorizes the Congress to determine the number of justices. The court started with six justices in 1789, and the size of the bench grew with the size of the country and the number of judicial circuits. There were as many as ten justices, from 1863 to 1866. There have been nine justices since 1869.

17 Filmmaker Ethan or Joel : COEN

I think it’s great to see two brothers working together and being so successful. Joel and Ethan Coen are two movie producers and directors who both live in New York City. The Coen brothers do love the movie-making business and they even married industry “insiders”. Ethan’s wife is film editor Tricia Cooke, and Joel is married to one of my favorite actresses, the talented Frances McDormand.

21 Davis of “Do the Right Thing” : OSSIE

Ossie Davis was a very successful actor, and also a director, poet, playwright and social activist. One of Davis’s better known performances was in the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men”, in which he played the owner of the bait shop by the lake.

“Do the Right Thing” is a Spike Lee movie that was released in 1989. Much of the action in the film is centered on a local pizzeria called “Sal’s” owned by Italian-American Salvatore Frangione (played by Danny Aiello).

22 “East of Eden” brother : ARON

John Steinbeck considered “East of Eden” his magnum opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

27 Letter after upsilon : PHI

Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

37 Snitch (on) : NARC

Back in the 1800s, “to nark” was “to act as a police informer”. The spelling of the term has started to evolve into “to narc”, due to the influence of the noun “narc”, slang for a narcotics officer. The ”nark” spelling is still used on the other side of the Atlantic.

38 Chiwere speaker : OTOE

Chiwere is a Siouan language spoken by the Otoe people, as well as by the Missouria and Iowa.

41 Royal flush card : TEN

The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, jack, queen, king and ace, with all in the same suit.

48 Sana’a native : YEMENI

Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

51 One taking a fall : PATSY

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

53 Egyptian slitherers : ASPS

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt.

57 Mauna __ : LOA

Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

59 Device that may be wet or dry, briefly : VAC

The first practical portable vacuum cleaner was invented by James Spangler in 1907. Spangler sold the patent for the design to his cousin’s husband, William Henry Hoover. Hoover then made his fortune from manufacturing and selling vacuum cleaners. Hoover was so successful in my part of the world that back in Ireland we don’t use the verb “to vacuum” and instead say “to hoover”. Also, “hoover” is what we call a vacuum cleaner, regardless of who makes it.

61 Cleaning ingredient : LYE

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH), although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Like many a basement : DAMP
5 Hold dear : VALUE
10 Breakfast companion? : BED
13 __ vaccine : ORAL
14 As a companion : ALONG
15 Soup du __ : JOUR
16 Big name in plant food : MIRACLE-GRO
18 Reverse : UNDO
19 Also : TOO
20 G.I. entertainment often featuring Bob Hope : USO SHOW
22 Through street : ARTERIAL
26 Hollywood Walk of Fame symbols : STARS
27 Get duded up : PREEN
28 “Despite my best attempts … ” : TRY AS I MAY …
30 Bladed tool : HOE
31 Enjoyed the buffet : ATE
32 [as per the original] : [SIC]
33 First section of the “Divine Comedy” : INFERNO
36 “That makes more sense” : I SEE NOW
40 Witticism : MOT
41 Big bang letters? : TNT
42 Keep __ distance : AT A
43 Kitchen gadget : CAN OPENER
47 Greek wraps : GYROS
49 Take the floor : ORATE
50 Unlike bikinis : ONE-PIECE
52 Handicraft worker : ARTISAN
54 Something up one’s sleeve : ARM
55 Jackson family musician born Toriano : TITO
56 Home with a between-floors entrance … and what can be found on puzzle rows 3, 6, 8 and 10? : SPLIT-LEVEL
62 Smooth (out) : EVEN
63 Events with kings and queens : PROMS
64 Shade of blue : NAVY
65 “__ Rosenkavalier” : DER
66 Lathered up : SOAPY
67 Slush Puppie parent company : ICEE

Down

1 __ Pérignon : DOM
2 “Hereditary” director Aster : ARI
3 Deface : MAR
4 Missouri River feeder : PLATTE
5 Heroism : VALOR
6 Blonde beverage : ALE
7 Part of a cord : LOG
8 Like a mob scene : UNRULY
9 They might clash on stage : EGOS
10 Actress Helena __ Carter : BONHAM
11 Email program named after writer Welty : EUDORA
12 Half-asleep : DROWSY
15 Supreme Court figure : JUSTICE
17 Filmmaker Ethan or Joel : COEN
21 Davis of “Do the Right Thing” : OSSIE
22 “East of Eden” brother : ARON
23 Sailing hazard : REEF
24 “Leave __ me” : IT TO
25 Exist : ARE
27 Letter after upsilon : PHI
29 Helper: Abbr. : ASST
31 Payment before a deal : ANTE
34 Sentiment : EMOTION
35 Lures (in) : ROPES
36 Concerning : IN RE
37 Snitch (on) : NARC
38 Chiwere speaker : OTOE
39 Used to be : WAS
41 Royal flush card : TEN
43 Like many candies : COATED
44 Get in : ARRIVE
45 Ramble on and on : NATTER
46 Amateur : NON-PRO
47 Birth announcement word : GIRL
48 Sana’a native : YEMENI
51 One taking a fall : PATSY
53 Egyptian slitherers : ASPS
57 Mauna __ : LOA
58 Little devil : IMP
59 Device that may be wet or dry, briefly : VAC
60 End of the day : EVE
61 Cleaning ingredient : LYE

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Oct 21, Wednesday”

  1. No errors. A bit gnarly in places. SW corner gave me some fits. NATTER ROPES EMOTION MOT. Couldn’t get a foothold. Started with DAS on 65A. I figured it out.

    Did not know the end of the day is EVE?

    Did not know Frances McDormand was married to Joel Coen. Thanks for that tidbit Bill. Just watched NOMADLAND recently. Good stuff.

  2. A “split foyer” has the entrance between floors. A split level has an entrance on the middle of three floors. But a clever puzzle nonetheless…

    1. The clue is “Part of a cord”. The answer is “LOG”. A cord of wood is indeed made up of logs. I don’t have a problem with that.

  3. There’s an interesting connection between two of clues and answers. Eudora Welty was also a photographer. The Coen brothers paid homage to her in the movie “O Brother Where, Where Art Thou”. The scene where the group meet two African-American children on a dirt road carrying blocks of ice and the still photo of the Hogwallop family home.

  4. 10:33 – 2 errors/no lookups, but for a Wednesday I’ll take it.

    Missed JOUR/BONHAM cross. Yikes, gotta learn how to spell French …

    Theme, even if I knew it ahead of time, would be of no use to me. Had to read Bill’s examination several times … Very clever, but kind of useless.

    Be Well

  5. 10:01, and 3 errors. 54A threw me (I was thinking ACE), and I confused Greek and Roman, and was thinking TOGAS instead of GYROS, so it all ended in tears in the SE corner.

  6. 10:46 with no errors or lookups; two changes of SAW>HOE, IRON>EVEN.

    It took a moment to see the theme’s scheme after abandoning looking for the word LEVEL split between the noted tows.

  7. Had to Google for YEMENI and CAN OPENER.
    To me, a home with a between (2) floors entrance is a raised ranch, but that didn’t fit.
    Didn’t get the theme.
    Didn’t know NARC could be a verb. Didn’t know Steinbeck changed the names in East of Eden.
    Had “ace” before TEN, caiN before ARON, iroN before EVEN.

  8. These puzzles are getting more and more ridiculous. I can almost always solve them, but I oftentimes don’t get the theme. Can’t we get a little less esoteric?

  9. Fairly easy Wednesday for me; took 9:27 with no errors or peeks. I raced through this as fast as I could and only got stuck twice – trying to remember the Greek alphabet, despite looking at recently, and trying to remember the East of Eden brother, even though I’ve seen the movie about 4 years ago.

    I got the theme reveal, but didn’t really make a connection to the theme clues until I got here.

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