LA Times Crossword 8 Oct 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Jennifer Lee & Victor Galson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Call of the Wild?

Themed clues are all the same, i.e. “Call of the Wild?” Themed answers are common phrases related to nature, with each starting with a synonym of “CALLING”:

  • 17A Call of the wild? : HOWLING WIND
  • 27A Call of the wild? : BABBLING BROOK
  • 43A Call of the wild? : WEEPING WILLOW
  • 58A Call of the wild? : ROARING FIRE

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

Bill’s time: 9m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Nike competitor : ASICS

ASICS is a Japanese company based in Kobe that produces athletic gear, including running shoes. The company name comes from the first letters of the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano”, which translates to “a healthy soul in a healthy body”.

15 Schlepped : TOTED

Our word “schlep” (sometimes “schlepp”) means “carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

16 Toon storekeeper who was once in a barbershop quartet : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

19 Kennel club category : TOY

The toy group of dogs is made up of the smallest breeds. The smallest of the small breeds are sometimes called teacup breeds.

20 Postings at ORD : ETAS

The IATA airport code for O’Hare International in Chicago is ORD, which comes from Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field (OR-D).

21 Some are considered essential : OILS

Essential oils are concentrated liquids containing volatile chemical compounds that have a smell or odor. The term “essential” oil comes from the fact that it contains the “essence” of a plant’s fragrance.

22 Pair to wear : JEANS

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

24 Wielder of the hammer Mjölnir : THOR

The hammer associated with the Norse god Thor is known as Mjölnir. The name “Mjölnir” translates as “crusher”.

26 Sourdough unit : LOAF

The active ingredient used to make sourdough bread is found in a pre-ferment (also “starter”). This pre-ferment is a mixture of flour and water that has been allowed to ferment for some time (maybe days) to grow a colony of wild yeast and lactobacilli. The starter is added to the dough used to make the final bread, with the start accounting for about 20% of the weight of the final mixture. During baking, the wild yeast causes the bread to rise and the lactobacilli produce lactic acid, which gives sourdough its characteristic sour taste.

32 Popular chip : FRITO

The Frito Corporation was started in 1932 by Elmer Doolin, basically in his mother’s kitchen. Doolin paid $100 for a corn chip recipe from a local restaurant and started producing Fritos at the rate of 10 pounds per day.

35 Density symbol, in physics : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

36 “Superman” surname : LANE

Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. One has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

39 Uppity sort : SNOB

Back in the 1780s, a snob was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word “snob” was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

40 Person who’s usually good? : EGG

A person might be described as a “good egg” or “bad egg”. There doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation for how “egg” came to mean “person”. One suggestion is that the term reflects the resemblance between the shape of the human head and the shape of an egg.

41 Informal title used seven times in “Bohemian Rhapsody” : MAMA

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a marvelously unique song in the pop repertoire. It has a very appealing structure, with no chorus but three distinct parts and with three distinct “sounds”. The opening is truly a slow ballad, which morphs into an operatic middle section, ending with a really heavy, rock-guitar conclusion. The song monopolized the number one slot in the UK charts for weeks in 1975/76, and made a comeback in 1996 when it appeared in the movie “Wayne’s World”. Great stuff …

42 Chap : BLOKE

“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

43 Call of the wild? : WEEPING WILLOW

The lovely-looking tree known as a weeping willow is native to northern China, although is now found all over the world.

47 Zippo part : WICK

The first Zippo lighter was made in 1933, in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The name “Zippo” was simply a word invented by the company founder, George Blaisdell, as he liked the word “zipper”. You can buy one today for $12.95, or if you want the solid gold model … for $8,675.95.

48 Barack’s 2012 opponent : MITT

Mitt Romney was born Willard Mitt Romney in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. Romney’s parents named him after J. Willard Marriott (the hotel magnate) who was the father’s best friend, and after Milton “Mitt” Romney who was the father’s cousin and quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

President Obama’s first name Barack is Swahili with roots in an old Arabic word meaning “blessed”. Barack was the President’s father’s name. President Obama’s middle name is Hussein, an Arabic word meaning “good” or “handsome one”. Hussein was the name of the President’s grandfather on the paternal side. His surname, Obama, doesn’t really have a translation, but is common among the Luo tribe of Kenya.

49 Influencer’s concern : BRAND

An Internet celebrity is a person who has achieved celebrity status through activities on the Internet. Also referred to as influencers, Internet celebrities are often focused on the promotion of certain lifestyles or attitudes. As such, many influencers are paid directly or indirectly for advertising particular products on their platforms.

51 New Orleans’ __ Du Monde : CAFE

Café du Monde is a famous coffee shop located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The café has been there a long time, having been established in 1862.

57 Chow down : EAT

“Chow” is a slang term for “food” that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

61 Story __ : ARC

A story arc is a continuing storyline in say a television show that runs through a number of episodes. Story arcs are also found in comics, books, video games, and other forms of media.

62 Heart, for one : ORGAN

In anatomy, an organ is a group of tissues that work and function together. In turn, a tissue is a group of cells that are similar in structure and function. An example of an organ is the heart, which comprises several tissues including muscular, connective and nervous tissue.

65 “Get Out” Oscar winner Jordan : PEELE

Jordan Peele is a former cast member of the sketch comedy show “Mad TV”. Peele created his own sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” with fellow-Mad TV alum Keegan-Michael Key. Peele started hosting and producing the revival of “The Twilight Zone” in 2019.

“Get Out” is a 2017 horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. I don’t do horror, but I do hear that this one is well made …

Down

3 __ caucuses : IOWA

The Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event in the nominating process for US presidential candidates since 1972.

4 Sch. with 23 campuses : CAL STATE

California State University (CSU) is the largest university system in the country, with 23 campuses. About half of the bachelor’s degrees in the state of California awarded annually are from CSU.

5 What powderhounds do : SKI

When you go skiing, the resort might use the term “powder” to describe freshly fallen, uncompacted snow. Powderhounds are skiers that live for that powder!

6 Celeb of the moment : IT GIRL

Clara Bow was a fabulous silent film star, with her most famous movie being “It” from 1927. Clara Bow’s performance was so celebrated in the movie that she was forever to be known as the “It girl”. The term “it” was a euphemism for “sex appeal”, and that is what Clara Bow was known to “exude”. Bow applied her red lipstick in the shape of a heart, and women who copied this style were said to put on a “Clara Bow”. We now use the term “it girl” more generally to describe a celebrity or personality perceived to exhibit sex appeal.

7 Turkey, e.g. : FOWL

A male turkey is called a tom or a gobbler. Female turkeys are hens, and baby turkeys are called poults.

8 Medical suffix : -ITIS

The suffix “-itis” is used to denote inflammation, as in laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), otitis (inflammation of the ear), tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon), tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).

10 Big part of the gig economy : ODD JOBS

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.

11 Casual parting : TATA FOR NOW

An Englishman might say “tata” or “cheerio” instead of “goodbye”. Well, supposedly so!

18 Gamer more likely to get pwned : NOOB

“To pwn” is online gamer-speak for “to own, defeat easily”. It’s likely that “pwn” evolved from “own” as it is a common typo caused by the close proximity of the o- and p-keys on a computer keyboard. “Pwn” is pronounced like “pone”.

23 Inner __ : EAR

The inner ear is primarily responsible for detecting sound and maintaining balance. It comprises two main parts. The cochlea is the sensory organ of hearing, and the vestibular system coordinates movement with balance.

25 “Last Week Tonight” airer : HBO

“Last Week Tonight” is a satirical late-night talk show hosted by British comedian John Oliver. The HBO show shares a look and feel with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”, of which Oliver is an alumnus.

26 Pride letters : LGBT

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)

27 Catch up on, in a way : BINGE-WATCH

I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show live, and instead wait until the whole series has been released online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

29 Half a 2010s dance craze : NAE

The Nae Nae is a hip hop dance that is named for the 2013 song “Drop that NaeNae” recorded by We Are Toon. The main move in the dance involves swaying with one hand in the air and one hand down, with both feet firmly planted on the dancefloor. Go on, do it. You know you want to …

31 Asian beef city : KOBE

Kobe is a city on the island of Honshu in Japan. Here in North America, the city of Kobe is perhaps most famous for its beef. And yes, basketball star Kobe Bryant was named after that very same beef.

37 Drop precipitously : TANK

Apparently, the first use of the verb “to tank” to mean “to lose or fail” can be pinpointed quite precisely. Tennis great Billie Jean King used the verb in that sense in an interview with “Life” magazine in 1967, with reference to male players. A more specific use of “tanking” in recent years is “deliberately losing” a contest.

38 Texter’s “Wow!” : OMG!

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

39 Lazy : SLOTHFUL

“Sloth”, meaning “indolence, sluggishness”, comes from the Middle English word “slowe”, which is also the root of our contemporary word “slow”. The animal, the sloth, is so named as it exhibits slow-moving behavior.

41 [I’m out] : [MIC DROP]

A mic drop takes place when a performer has done particularly well and decides to celebrate by throwing or dropping the microphone to the floor. That doesn’t seem to happen at the performances I tend to frequent …

42 Classic sandwich, for short : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

44 One standing in an alley : PIN

A pinsetter is a mechanical device that puts bowling pins into position, returns balls, and clears fallen pins. Prior to the invention of the pinsetting machine, young men known as “pinboys” used to reset the pins by hand.

46 Property claim : LIEN

A lien is a right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

50 Like a double rainbow : RARE

Sunlight reflected by airborne water droplets can produce rainbows. The water droplets act as little prisms, dispersing the white light into its constituent colors. Sometimes we see double rainbows. If we look carefully, we can see that the order of the colors in the first and second arcs is reversed.

51 Guinea pig’s pad : CAGE

The guinea pig species of rodent is also known as a cavy. Guinea pigs aren’t related to pigs, and not are they from Guinea (in West Africa). Guinea pigs actually come from the Andes. They were commonly used for research in the 1800s and 1900s, and as a result we use the term “guinea pig” for a test subject to this day.

52 Disappearing Asian sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

55 Van Gogh subject : IRIS

Van Gogh painted his “Irises” while he was in an asylum in the south of France the year before he committed suicide. The original owner was a French art critic and supporter of van Gogh who paid 300 francs to purchase the painting. “Irises” was bought for $53.9 million in 1987, making it the most expensive painting sold up to that point. But, the buyer didn’t actually have the necessary funds, so it had to be resold in 1990. It was picked up by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where you can see it today.

56 Some summer newcomers : LEOS

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

59 Resource in the board game Catan : ORE

The Settlers of Catan (now just “Catan”) is a board game that was introduced in 1995, in Germany as “Die Siedler von Catan”. The game is very popular in the US and was called “the board game of our time” by the “Washington Post”. My son plays it a lot, and as a lover of board games, I am going to have to check it out …

60 Dubious “gift” : GAB

Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by many, many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been referred to as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Nike competitor : ASICS
6 “Don’t mind __” : IF I DO
11 Popcorn buy : TUB
14 Shroud : CLOAK
15 Schlepped : TOTED
16 Toon storekeeper who was once in a barbershop quartet : APU
17 Call of the wild? : HOWLING WIND
19 Kennel club category : TOY
20 Postings at ORD : ETAS
21 Some are considered essential : OILS
22 Pair to wear : JEANS
24 Wielder of the hammer Mjölnir : THOR
26 Sourdough unit : LOAF
27 Call of the wild? : BABBLING BROOK
32 Popular chip : FRITO
34 Arrests : NABS
35 Density symbol, in physics : RHO
36 “Superman” surname : LANE
37 Vacancy sign : TO LET
39 Uppity sort : SNOB
40 Person who’s usually good? : EGG
41 Informal title used seven times in “Bohemian Rhapsody” : MAMA
42 Chap : BLOKE
43 Call of the wild? : WEEPING WILLOW
47 Zippo part : WICK
48 Barack’s 2012 opponent : MITT
49 Influencer’s concern : BRAND
51 New Orleans’ __ Du Monde : CAFE
53 Try to get the attention of : HAIL
57 Chow down : EAT
58 Call of the wild? : ROARING FIRE
61 Story __ : ARC
62 Heart, for one : ORGAN
63 What captions can capture : AUDIO
64 “I’ve seen better” : MEH
65 “Get Out” Oscar winner Jordan : PEELE
66 Endow, as with talent : BLESS

Down

1 Want a lot, with “for” : ACHE …
2 Schedule space : SLOT
3 __ caucuses : IOWA
4 Sch. with 23 campuses : CAL STATE
5 What powderhounds do : SKI
6 Celeb of the moment : IT GIRL
7 Turkey, e.g. : FOWL
8 Medical suffix : -ITIS
9 Super Bowl party site : DEN
10 Big part of the gig economy : ODD JOBS
11 Casual parting : TATA FOR NOW
12 In the know about : UP ON
13 Bargains : BUYS
18 Gamer more likely to get pwned : NOOB
23 Inner __ : EAR
25 “Last Week Tonight” airer : HBO
26 Pride letters : LGBT
27 Catch up on, in a way : BINGE-WATCH
28 Relative challenge for some : IN-LAW
29 Half a 2010s dance craze : NAE
30 “Yeah, sure” : OH, OK
31 Asian beef city : KOBE
32 Passed (by) fast : FLEW
33 Latest thing : RAGE
37 Drop precipitously : TANK
38 Texter’s “Wow!” : OMG!
39 Lazy : SLOTHFUL
41 [I’m out] : [MIC DROP]
42 Classic sandwich, for short : BLT
44 One standing in an alley : PIN
45 “Really, no damage” : I’M FINE
46 Property claim : LIEN
49 Gymnastics event : BEAM
50 Like a double rainbow : RARE
51 Guinea pig’s pad : CAGE
52 Disappearing Asian sea : ARAL
54 Staffer : AIDE
55 Van Gogh subject : IRIS
56 Some summer newcomers : LEOS
59 Resource in the board game Catan : ORE
60 Dubious “gift” : GAB

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Oct 21, Friday”

  1. 6:03, no errors. Complete brain fart of the puzzle: Having MOE in the APU spot for some reason for the longest time. Doh! on that one.

  2. My DOH moment was on 15A … I had NOSED. Couldn’t remember schlep from kvetch and INGIRL seemed ok for 6D and ISIS for 8D seemed ok…

    I liked. the puzzle

  3. No errors, but had to look up the resource for Catan. I had
    never heard of that game. Still don’t understand the answer
    but I suppose it has to do with mines or mining? Can somebody
    who is familiar with the game enlighten me?

  4. 35:10 no errors…I wasn’t sure about 1A but the crosses said it had to be right…18D I thought was a misprint but it wasn’t.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens (that’s a football team)

  5. Another ridiculous “mic drop” answer with an equally ridiculous clue for it. Other than that, it was a fairly easy Friday puzzle. One could almost be slothful and finish it.

  6. 17:20

    Lots of good misdirection that led me to change KENT->LANE, HOWLINGWOLF->HOWLINGWIND, and ROARINGLION -> ROARINGFIRE. I was tempted to put in SELF for Van Gogh subject, but managed to wait for the crosses to show me IRIS.

    1. When I was 9 or 10 years old years old I worked at the local bowling alley as a pin setter. We’d sit on the back rail of the pit with our feet up as protection from flying pins. After the pins were knocked down, we jumped into the pit, put the bowling ball in the return ramp, toss the pins into the reset tray, and quickly jump back onto the back rail. There were idiots, usually teenagers, who thought it was funny to hurry and roll the ball while I was still in the pit collecting pins, so it didn’t take me long to learn to put the pins in the reset tray before returning the bowling ball The alley paid me 50 cents an hour and sometimes the bowlers would throw coins down the gutters as a tip. It was hard work but, for a couple of months, I felt like a millionaire.

  7. 32:19 – many “Letter reveals” but, as a newbie, I’m usually happy just to complete a Friday, even with the help.

    @Glenn – OMG a 6:03 with time allotted for a BF! Usually take me at least 6 min for each BF!

    There were a lot a clues I never heard of but I found the puzzle fun, just wish I was a little better …

    Be Well

  8. It’s always a bad omen when a puzzle starts right out of the gate with commercial brand names. Even worse when one is a brand I’ve never heard of. Still was able to finish with no lookups. I didn’t understand 56D at all. Can someone explain the link between newcomers and Leos ?

    1. Can someone explain the link between newcomers and Leos?

      Someone else probably already has, but just in case … think of babies (newcomers) born under one of the summer signs of the zodiac (Leo).

  9. Mostly easy Friday for me; took 19:32 with no errors or peeks. Seems as if the constructors are anglophiles with all the English references. Works for me and helped me change EGo to EGG. Had to dance around in the bottom half a bit and took inordinately long to get MITT (sigh!)…who was that again??? 🙂

    And, given our experiences lately, I’ve kind of distanced myself from roaring fires as a welcome call of the wild.

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