LA Times Crossword 28 Oct 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jerry Edelstein
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Masterpieces

The PIECE at the end of each of the themed answers is an anagram of “MASTER”:

  • 54A “Mona Lisa” and “Guernica” … and, in a different way, the last words of 20-, 34- and 42-Across : MASTERPIECES
  • 20A Retiree’s investment goal : INCOME STREAM
  • 34A Performers in cages : LION TAMERS
  • 42A Cornell’s “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters” and others : ALMA MATERS

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

Bill’s time: 7m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Winner of 22 Grand Slam singles titles, second-most in the Open Era : GRAF

Steffi Graf is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany. Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, which was more than any other man or woman until Serena Williams came along. Graf is married to another former World No. 1, namely Andre Agassi.

In the sport of tennis, the Grand Slam tournaments were opened up to professional players, and not just amateurs, in 1968. So, the period since 1968 has been called the “Open Era”.

14 Gulf State native : OMANI

Oman is one of the Gulf states, states in the Persian Gulf.

The Persian Gulf is in effect an inland sea, although it technically is an offshoot of the Indian Ocean. The outlet from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean is one of the most famous maritime “choke points” in the world, and is known as the Strait of Hormuz. About 20% of the world’s supply of petroleum passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

15 Jedi who lived to be 900 : YODA

In the “Star Wars” series of films, the character named Yoda has a unique speech pattern. He often uses the word order object-subject-verb. For example:

  • Patience you must have …
  • Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.
  • To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not.

16 Dance with a chair : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also “horah”) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

17 Ice shelf breakaways : BERGS

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken away from a glacier or ice shelf. Our use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

22 __4: Toyota SUV : RAV

The Toyota RAV4 is a sport utility vehicle (SUV, or “ute” for short). The RAV4 name stands for “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive”. Inventive, huh?

23 Happy eating word : NOM

“Om Nom Nom Nom” is a slang expression that indicates satisfied eating.

24 ABC early show, briefly : GMA

“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spin-off show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.

31 Eclipse shadows : UMBRAS

A shadow usually has three distinct parts called the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, with the terms most often used with reference to the shadows cast by celestial bodies. The terms can also be used to describe the levels of darkness in sunspots. The umbra (Latin for “shadow”) is the innermost, darkest part of a shadow. The penumbra (“almost shadow”, from Latin) is a lighter part of a shadow, where part of the light source “leaks” around the body casting the shadow. The antumbra phenomenon is experienced when the object casting the shadow is sufficiently far away from the viewer so that it appears smaller than the light source, with an annular ring around it. When the eye is in the shadow cast by an object that has light passing around it, the eye is in the antumbra.

33 Kung __ shrimp : PAO

Sichuan (also “Szechuan”) is a province in southwest China. Sichuan is noted for its cuisine, which is hot and spicy as it uses plenty of garlic, chili peppers and the Sichuan peppercorn. A famous Szechuan dish in the US is Kung Pao chicken or shrimp.

37 River in the Congo : EBOLA

The Ebola River is a tributary of the Congo River and is located in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The river’s name is a contemporary French corruption of its indigenous name “Legbala”, which translates as “White Water”. The deadly Ebola virus is named for the river, as the first outbreak was identified near the Ebola River in 1976.

41 Loyal subject : LIEGE

A liege was a feudal lord, one to whom service or allegiance was owed under feudal law. “Liege” was also the term used for one who owed allegiance or service to a lord. Apparently the term is influenced by the Latin verb “ligare” meaning “to tie, bind”. So, I guess both lord and servant were “bound” to each other.

42 Cornell’s “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters” and others : ALMA MATERS

The term “alma mater” is used to describe a school from which one has graduated. It can also describe a school’s song or hymn.

“Far Above Cayuga’s Waters” is a Cornell University’s school song, its alma mater. The son’g lyrics were written around 1870, and set to the tune of the existing ballad “Annie Lisle”:

Far above Cayuga’s waters,
With its waves of blue,
Stands our noble Alma Mater,
Glorious to view.

Ezra Cornell was an associate of Samuel Morse and made his money in the telegraph business. After he retired he co-founded Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He provided a generous endowment and donated his farm as a site for the school, and was then rewarded by having the institute named after him.

46 It often follows a crash : REBOOT

The verb “to boot”, as used in the world of computers, comes from the phrase “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps”. The idea is that the software that has to be loaded before a computer can do anything useful is called a “bootstrap load”.

50 Federal benefits org. founded under FDR : 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.

53 Write “ere” for this answer, say : ERR

Clever clue and answer combination …

54 “Mona Lisa” and “Guernica” … and, in a different way, the last words of 20-, 34- and 42-Across : MASTERPIECES

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

“Guernica” is a painting by Pablo Picasso that he completed in 1937. Picasso painted it soon after the aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The attack was carried out by German warplanes sent by Adolf Hitler at the request of the Spanish Nationalist government. The town was regarded as a bastion of Republican resistance, although it had no military significance. As the town was largely left without men who were fighting for the Republican cause, the vast majority of casualties were women and children.

63 Spice native to Indonesia : CLOVE

Cloves are the flower buds of the tree Syzygium aromaticum. Until a couple of centuries ago, clove trees were only found in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Because they were a rich source of cloves, mace and nutmeg, the Moluccas were referred to historically as the Spice Islands.

65 “Garfield” dog : ODIE

Odie is Garfield’s best friend, and is a slobbery beagle. Both are characters in Jim Davis’ comic strip named “Garfield”.

66 Southend-on-Sea’s county : ESSEX

Southend-on-Sea is a coastal town located in the county of Essex and just 40 miles east of London. Southend’s main claim to fame is that it is home to Southend Pier. Extending 1.34 miles into the estuary of the River Thames, Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the whole world.

67 Movie “Citizen” : KANE

1941’s “Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, and is considered by many to be the finest movie ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

69 Snookums : DEARY

The term of endearment “snookums” comes from the family name “Snooks”. Snooks was a name used in Britain in the 1800s for some hypothetical, unknown individual (as we would use the name “Joe Blow” today).

Down

1 East Asian desert : GOBI

The Gobi, the large desert in Asia, lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so-called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.

3 Designer Jacobs : MARC

Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer from New York City with his own line of clothing. He is also the creative director for the French design house, Louis Vuitton.

4 Wool from a rabbit : ANGORA

Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. On the other hand, the Angora goat produces the wool known as mohair. Both rabbit and goat are named for Turkey’s capital Ankara, which was known as “Angora” in many European languages.

6 Where to see rats and reps : GYMS

“Gym rat” is a slang term describing someone who spends much of his or her leisure time playing sports or working out at the gym. Never been called a gym rat …

11 __ Altos, California : LOS

Los Altos is a wealthy city and a largely residential community serving Silicon Valley and San Francisco. “Los Altos” is Spanish for “the heights”.

12 Jackie’s second : ARI

Aristotle “Ari” Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born into a privileged family, the daughter of Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III. Ms. Bouvier moved in the same social circles as the Kennedy clan, and first met the then-US Representative John Kennedy at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends. Years later, after she saw her husband assassinated and then her brother-in-law (Bobby Kennedy) suffer the same fate, Jackie declared that she feared for the life of her children as they bore the Kennedy name. She left the country, eventually meeting and marrying Aristotle Onassis. Reportedly, she was very satisfied that the Greek shipping magnate was able to provide privacy and security for her children.

13 Big __ : MAC

The iconic Big Mac sandwich was introduced nationally by McDonald’s in 1967. It was the creation of a Pittsburgh franchisee who offered it on the menu as a response to the very similar “Big Boy” sandwich offered by the competing Big Boy restaurant chain.

19 Me or you or a dog named Boo : MAMMAL

There are several main characteristics distinguishing mammals from other animals:

  • Mammals have fur or hair
  • Mammals are warm-blooded
  • Mammals are born alive
  • Mammals feed their young with milk produced by mammary glands
  • Mammals have relatively complex brains

“Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” is a 1971 song recorded by “Lobo” (the stage name used by musician Roland LaVoie).

21 Daredevil Knievel : EVEL

Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.

24 Early Olympians : GREEKS

The ancient Olympic Games were held in a sanctuary called Olympia, which was located in a valley on the Peloponnesus peninsula in southern Greece. The games took their name from Olympia, and not Mount Olympus (a common misconception). Mount Olympus was home to Zeus and the other Olympian gods, and is located in central Greece.

28 Puts on hold, as an agenda item : TABLES

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

29 Wandering vacuum : ROOMBA

The Roomba vacuum cleaner is a cool-looking device that navigates its way around a room by itself, picking up dirt as it goes. Like I said, it’s cool-looking but I am not sure how effective it is …

32 Fat meas. : BMI

The body mass index (BMI) is the ratio of a person’s height to his or her mass.

38 Philosopher __-tzu : LAO

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

52 Site of the Cave of Zeus, in myth: Abbr. : MT IDA

There are two peaks called Mount Ida that are sacred according to Greek mythology. Mount Ida in Crete is the island’s highest point, and is where one can find the cave in which Zeus was reared. Mount Ida in Asia Minor (located in modern-day Turkey) is where Ganymede was swept up by Zeus in the form of an eagle that took him to Olympus where he served as cupbearer to the gods.

55 Kuwaiti ruler : EMIR

The State of Kuwait sits at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf, sharing a border to the north with Iraq. After WWI, Kuwait was a Protectorate within the British Empire and then gained independence from the UK in 1961. Iraq annexed Kuwait in 1990, which led to the Gulf War of 1990-1991.

57 __ Nostra : COSA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn several members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

60 Rockies bugler : ELK

Male elks are called bulls, and females are known as cows. Bull elks are known for their very loud screaming, which is called bugling. Cow elks are attracted to bulls that bugle more often and most loudly.

61 Sine __ non : QUA

“Sine qua non” is a Latin phrase that we use to mean “the essential element or condition”. The literal translation is “without which not”. One might say, for example, “a challenging crossword is the sine qua non of a good newspaper”. Well, crossword fans might say that …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lose it : GO MAD
6 Winner of 22 Grand Slam singles titles, second-most in the Open Era : GRAF
10 Not talk, with “up” : CLAM …
14 Gulf State native : OMANI
15 Jedi who lived to be 900 : YODA
16 Dance with a chair : HORA
17 Ice shelf breakaways : BERGS
18 Relaxing melodies : MOOD MUSIC
20 Retiree’s investment goal : INCOME STREAM
22 __4: Toyota SUV : RAV
23 Happy eating word : NOM
24 ABC early show, briefly : GMA
27 Wandered : STRAYED
31 Eclipse shadows : UMBRAS
33 Kung __ shrimp : PAO
34 Performers in cages : LION TAMERS
37 River in the Congo : EBOLA
40 Female in a field : EWE
41 Loyal subject : LIEGE
42 Cornell’s “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters” and others : ALMA MATERS
45 Hobbyist’s buy : KIT
46 It often follows a crash : REBOOT
47 Overthrows : DEPOSES
50 Federal benefits org. founded under FDR : SSA
51 Hit hard : RAM
53 Write “ere” for this answer, say : ERR
54 “Mona Lisa” and “Guernica” … and, in a different way, the last words of 20-, 34- and 42-Across : MASTERPIECES
60 Debate provision : EQUAL TIME
63 Spice native to Indonesia : CLOVE
64 Hide in the shadows, say : LURK
65 “Garfield” dog : ODIE
66 Southend-on-Sea’s county : ESSEX
67 Movie “Citizen” : KANE
68 Parallel __ : PARK
69 Snookums : DEARY

Down

1 East Asian desert : GOBI
2 It can be a good sign : OMEN
3 Designer Jacobs : MARC
4 Wool from a rabbit : ANGORA
5 Sudden loss of courage : DISMAY
6 Where to see rats and reps : GYMS
7 Cheer : ROOT
8 Fancify : ADORN
9 What many pop songs end with : FADE-OUT
10 Buddy : CHUM
11 __ Altos, California : LOS
12 Jackie’s second : ARI
13 Big __ : MAC
19 Me or you or a dog named Boo : MAMMAL
21 Daredevil Knievel : EVEL
24 Early Olympians : GREEKS
25 Name related to Peggy : MARGIE
26 Gems, for example : ASSETS
27 Pickles on a plate, often : SPEARS
28 Puts on hold, as an agenda item : TABLES
29 Wandering vacuum : ROOMBA
30 What you eat : DIET
32 Fat meas. : BMI
35 Part of IOU : OWE
36 Uncool one who lately is sort of cool : NERD
38 Philosopher __-tzu : LAO
39 Seeing no evil? : AMORAL
43 Not moving : AT A STOP
44 Flow slowly : SEEP
48 Having a tag on it, maybe : PRICED
49 Unsettling closing words : … OR ELSE
52 Site of the Cave of Zeus, in myth: Abbr. : MT IDA
54 Put together : MAKE
55 Kuwaiti ruler : EMIR
56 Give a strong impression (of) : REEK
57 __ Nostra : COSA
58 Even one time : EVER
59 Like some knockouts : SEXY
60 Rockies bugler : ELK
61 Sine __ non : QUA
62 Coffee hour sight : URN

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 28 Oct 21, Thursday”

  1. More than 22 minutes. If I knew anything about Star Wars at all, I’d have gotten Yoda. But no. Top middle did me in.

  2. 13:52 with no lookups or errors ain’t bad for a Thursday.

    Had to change GOAPE>GOMAD; and made a good guess with ESSEX to get the SE corner started.

    Never heard of “Om Nom Nom Nom” and wondered if NOM was right, except that I was sure of the intersecting down answers. LIEGE for “Loyal subject” seems backwards to me as I had not previously heard of it as being the one who served the liege.

  3. 24:43 – 4 errors/6 lookups. Found it a little tough, even for a Thursday.

    EBOLA, LIEGE, BMI, MTIDA, NOM – just too many I didn’t know and couldn’t get the crosses.

    Misdirection almost never gives me a problem, it’s usually the stuff I don’t know.

    Be Well

  4. Fun fact: I have seen both the Mona Lisa and the Guernica up close and personal (well, as up close as you can get to the ML)…. but on topic: this was an easy one though I know nothing about tennis, so thought it was ashe not graf for the longest time!

  5. Had to Google GRAF (sports) and EBOLA (thought it was just a disease).

    Had dEtOur before REBOOT, OpEN before OMEN.
    Never heard of NOM, OMANI (that is to say, some Gulf State other than those in the Gulf of Mexico) or PAO. I’ll have to break down and go to a modern Asian restaurant, and just avoid the raw meat.
    Thans, Bill for all the explanations, as usual.

  6. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 12:43 with no errors or peeks. Got a little stuck in the Middle SW around REBOOT/AMORAL/ATASTOP/MTIDA but I finally untangled it all before going back to RAV/STRAYED to finish.

    re NOM NOM – I’m pretty sure this comes from Sesame Street and the Cookie Monster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcOyUqXTiS8

    @Nonny – So, was that you that got lost in the Rockies and refused to answer your phone because you didn’t recognize the number. That just seems like something you would do 🙂

    1. I heard several “num”s and only one “nom” in that clip. 1997 (M. Groening et al. Simpsons: Compl. Guide 64/3 Come on over and strap on the feed bag… Nummy-nummy-num!) … OED, no entry at “nom”.

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