LA Times Crossword 30 Mar 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Seth Bisen-Hersh
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Con Artist

Themed answers are all performing ARTISTS with family names that sound like “CON”:

  • 63A Swindler … or, phonetically, what each of three puzzle answers is? : CON ARTIST
  • 17A “Misery” co-star : JAMES CAAN
  • 28A Versatile award-winning Indian film star known by his initials “SRK” : SHAH RUKH KHAN
  • 48A Oscar-nominated actress for “Paper Moon” and “Blazing Saddles” : MADELINE KAHN

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

Bill’s time: 6m 56s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • HUANG (Hualg!)
  • ANA (ALA!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Yoga aid that helps prevent slipping : MAT

In the West, we tend to think of yoga as just a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

8 Recipe amts. : TBSPS

Tablespoon (tbsp.)

14 Sale rack abbr. : IRREG

Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)

16 Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue __” : BAYOU

“Blue Bayou” is a lovely ballad written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson, released in 1963 by Orbison. Although the song never made it to the top of the charts over here in the US, it did in Ireland! Linda Ronstadt recorded a famous cover version in 1977. In baseball parlance, a fastball is sometimes called a “Linda Ronstadt”, as it is a pitch that “blew by you …”

Linda Ronstadt is a singer-songwriter from Tucson, Arizona. Ronstadt really does have a lovely voice, and is someone who can make any song her own. In the late seventies, she was the highest-paid woman in the world of rock music.

17 “Misery” co-star : JAMES CAAN

James Caan is an actor from the Bronx, New York City. He is noted for his appearances in some very big movies such as “The Godfather”, “Misery”, “A Bridge Too Far”, “Rollerball” and more recently “Elf”. Caan is quite the sportsman. He plays golf with an 8 handicap, and is a 6-Dan Black Belt Master of Gosoku Karate.

The 1990 film “Misery” is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. I think it’s the only movie from a King book that I’ve watched and enjoyed. I can’t stomach his books, not because of the writing, but because of the gruesome scenes that are part of the plots. The screen version of “Misery” is toned down a little from the original storyline. In the novel, the Kathy Bates character amputates the James Caan character’s foot to incapacitate him. In the movie she just smashes his ankles. Big difference …

19 Like most tennis shots : ARCED

Our modern sport of tennis evolved from the much older racquet sport known as real tennis. Originally just called “tennis”, the older game was labeled “real tennis” when the modern version began to hold sway. Real tennis is played in a closed court, with the ball frequently bounced off the walls.

23 Cruise with a big price tag : TOM

Tom Cruise’s real name is Tom Cruise Mapother IV. Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York. That’s one of my favorite cities in the US, because it’s where I met my lovely wife-to-be …

24 Equine control : REIN

There are seven living species of mammals in the genus Equus, each of which is referred to as “equine”. The seven species include all horses, asses and zebras. All equine species can crossbreed. For example, a mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse, a zorse is a cross between a zebra and a horse, and a zedonk is a cross between a zebra and a donkey.

25 Merged comm. giant : GTE

GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 to form the company that we know today as Verizon. Verizon made some high-profile acquisitions over the years, including MCI in 2005 and AOL in 2015.

28 Versatile award-winning Indian film star known by his initials “SRK” : SHAH RUKH KHAN

Shah Rukh Khan is an incredibly successful Indian actor who has earned the nicknames “King of Bollywood” and “King Khan”. He is also referred to by his initials “SRK”. Beyond Bollywood, Khan was offered the part of the quiz show host in 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire”, but he turned it down. The year before, Khan had in fact been quiz show host for the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in real life.

36 Move slightly … like a mouse? : STIR

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” is a line from the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.

37 Hullabaloo : ADO

Our word “hullabaloo”, meaning “commotion”, is a derivative of an older term “hollo-ballo”. “Hollo-ballo” was a word used for an uproar in the north of England and Scotland.

39 Water source : TAP

The common “faucet” in an American house is almost always referred to as a “tap” on the other side of the pond.

41 Pachuca pronoun : ESA

Pachuca is the capital of the Mexican state of HIdalgo. It is located just over 50 miles to the northeast of Mexico City. The city has a relatively strong Cornish influence as miners from Cornwall in England settled in the area in the 1820s. The local delicacy known as a “paste” resembles a “Cornish pasty” from the outside, but is filled with very traditional Mexican ingredients.

42 URL ender : NET

The .net domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

46 Fly over Africa : TSETSE

The tsetse fly is responsible for the transmission of sleeping sickness, a disease that is more correctly called African trypanosomiasis. The disease is only observed in humans who have been bitten by a tsetse fly that is infected with the trypanosome parasitic protozoan.

48 Oscar-nominated actress for “Paper Moon” and “Blazing Saddles” : MADELINE KAHN

Madeline Kahn was an actress best known for her comedic roles, especially those directed by Mel Brooks. Kahn also had her own TV sitcom, called “Oh Madeline”. But, it only lasted one season, in 1983.

“Paper Moon” is a 1973 comedy film that tells the story of a father and daughter during the Great Depression. The onscreen father and daughter are played by real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. The original choices for the lead roles were Paul Newman and his daughter Nell Potts, but they left the project after director John Huston also dropped out.

“Blazing Saddles” is a 1974 Mel Brooks movie that has become a modern-day classic. I really only enjoy one Mel Brooks film, and “Blazing Saddles” isn’t it. Just in case you’re interested, I very much enjoy “Young Frankenstein” …

53 “Cornflake Girl” singer Tori : AMOS

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. She started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. Amos was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …

“Cornflake Girl” is a 1994 song written and recorded by Tori Amos. Amos uses the term “cornflake girl” to describe someone who is apt to hurt you despite being a close friend.

57 Obama __ : ERA

Most US presidents are eminently quotable. One of my favorite quotes from President Barack Obama comes from his address/performance at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

What Washington needs is adult supervision.

60 Food recall cause : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

65 Rachmaninoff’s instrument : PIANO

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian pianist and composer who was active in the late Romantic Era. Rachmaninoff emigrated from Russia in 1917, having been driven away by the Russian Revolution. He eventually settled in the US, where he toured as a pianist for many years. Rachmaninoff’s most famous works are probably his “Piano Concerto No. 1” and his “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”.

66 Celebrity chef Eddie : HUANG

Celebrity chef Eddie Huang wrote the 2013 autobiography “Fresh Off the Boat”. It was adapted into a very successful sitcom of the same name. In fact, Huang served as narrator of the show in its first season.

67 Yellow or Red follower : … SEA

There are four seas named in English for colors:

  • the Yellow Sea
  • the Black Sea
  • the Red Sea
  • the White Sea.

The Red Sea (sometimes “Arabian Gulf”) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to the north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

The Yellow Sea is the northern part of the East China Sea, and is located between the Korean peninsula and China. The water surface does indeed take on a golden yellow hue at times when it picks up sand particles from sand storms in the Gobi Desert, which lies to the west of the Yellow Sea.

68 Group’s belief : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “holds”.

69 Places to relax : SPAS

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

70 Explosive 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.

Down

2 Tequila source : AGAVE

Tequila is a city in Mexico that is located about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. The city is the birthplace of the drink called “tequila”. Local people made a variety of a drink called mezcal by fermenting the heart of the blue agave plant that is native to the area surrounding Tequila. It was the Spanish who introduced the distillation process to the mescal, giving us what we now know as “tequila”.

3 “My Cousin Vinny” Oscar winner Marisa : TOMEI

Marisa Tomei’s first screen role was in the daytime soap “As the World Turns”, but her break came with a recurring role in “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World”. Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 greatest legal movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

4 Suffix with craigs : LIST

Craigslist (usually written as “craiglist”) is an online network of communities that features classified advertisements organized geographically. Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in 1995, originally as an email distribution list for his friends who lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area.

5 “LOTR” menace : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

“Lord of the Rings” (LOTR)

6 Eerie apparition : WRAITH

“Wraith” was originally a Scottish word, one meaning “ghost, specter”. We use the word in English with a similar meaning, and especially the likeness of a living person seen as an apparition just before death.

7 Two-__: fastballs named for the grip used to throw them : SEAMERS

That would be baseball.

8 Undetermined: Abbr. : TBA

Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).

9 “Bluebeard’s Castle” composer Béla : BARTOK

Béla Bartók was a composer and a pianist. After Liszt, Bartók is considered by many to have been Hungary’s greatest composer.

“Bluebeard’s Castle” is an opera by Hungarian composer and pianist Béla Bartók. The opera is a little unusual in that there are only two singing characters on stage. There is only one act, and the whole work takes just over an hour to perform.

10 Toady : SYCOPHANT

A sycophant is a selfish person, and one who flatters. The term comes from the Greek “sykophantes” which originally meant “one who shows the fig”. This phrase described a vulgar gesture made with the thumb and two fingers.

A toady is someone who is very servile, and somewhat of a parasite. Derived from “toad-eater” the term originally applied to the assistant of a quack, a seller of useless potions that had no actual benefit to health. The toady would eat an apparently poisonous toad in front of an audience, so that the charlatan could “cure” him or her with one of the potions for sale.

11 Dickinson work : POEM

Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1800 poems in her lifetime, with less than a dozen published before she died in 1886. Emily’s younger sister discovered the enormous collection, and it was published in batches over the coming decades.

12 South of France? : SUD

In French, “nord” (north) is opposite to “sud” (south).

15 Animal that sounds fresh : GNU

The gnu is also known as the wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is a Dutch meaning “wild beast”.

18 Dadaist Max : ERNST

Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, and a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914”, which was a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.

22 India neighbor : PAKISTAN

The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”. One example is “Pakistan”, the Place of the Pure. “Pakistan” is a relatively recent name, coined in 1933. It comes from the abbreviation PAKSTAN, standing for Punjab – Afghan Province – Kashmir – Sindh – BaluchisTAN, all regions in the north of India. The “I” was added to Pakistan to make it easier to pronounce, and to fit the translation “Land of the Pure”.

25 Star systems : GALAXIES

The Milky Way is the name given to our own galaxy, the home to the Solar System. In fact, the word “galaxy” comes from the Greek “galaxias” meaning “milky”.

29 Monopoly miniatures : HOTELS

In the game of Monopoly, one can purchase a hotel by “demolishing” four houses and by paying an extra amount equal to the price of one house.

30 Sport-__: off-road vehicle : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

33 Horner’s surprise : PLUM

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said ‘What a good boy am I!

34 New Rochelle college : IONA

Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The Brothers named the college for the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland on which is located Iona Abbey, which was founded by St. Columba. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name “Killian”.

35 Doctor Octopus foe : SPIDER-MAN

Otto Octavius is a supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. Also known as Doctor Octopus or Doc Ock, Octavius is primarily a foe of Spider-Man.

40 Bowler’s target : PIN

In ten-pin bowling, the pins are arranged in a triangular arrangement. The pin at the front is the 1-pin. The pins at the back are number 7 through 10, from left to right.

49 Friend of Jerry and George : ELAINE

The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

55 Elizabeth of “WandaVision” : OLSEN

Elizabeth Olsen is an actress and singer, and the younger sister of the famed Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley.

57 Actress Falco : EDIE

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

59 German gripe : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

60 Bits of work : ERGS

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. It has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

64 NHL’s Ducks, on scoreboards : ANA

The Walt Disney Company founded the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team in 1993, with the franchise’s name being a nod to the 1992 Disney movie called “The Mighty Ducks”. The name was changed to the Anaheim Ducks when Disney sold the team before the 2006-2007 season.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Yoga aid that helps prevent slipping : MAT
4 Weather report stats : LOWS
8 Recipe amts. : TBSPS
13 In the past : AGO
14 Sale rack abbr. : IRREG
16 Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue __” : BAYOU
17 “Misery” co-star : JAMES CAAN
19 Like most tennis shots : ARCED
20 In full view : OVERT
21 “My turn to bat” : I’M UP
23 Cruise with a big price tag : TOM
24 Equine control : REIN
25 Merged comm. giant : GTE
26 On : ATOP
28 Versatile award-winning Indian film star known by his initials “SRK” : SHAH RUKH KHAN
33 Starting gun : PISTOL
36 Move slightly … like a mouse? : STIR
37 Hullabaloo : ADO
38 Cut (off) : LOP
39 Water source : TAP
41 Pachuca pronoun : ESA
42 URL ender : NET
43 Cycle starter : UNI-
44 Red letters in a dark theater : EXIT
46 Fly over Africa : TSETSE
48 Oscar-nominated actress for “Paper Moon” and “Blazing Saddles” : MADELINE KAHN
51 Ultimatum word : ELSE
52 Big noise : DIN
53 “Cornflake Girl” singer Tori : AMOS
57 Obama __ : ERA
58 Spoken : SAID
60 Food recall cause : E COLI
61 Cop to : ADMIT
63 Swindler … or, phonetically, what each of three puzzle answers is? : CON ARTIST
65 Rachmaninoff’s instrument : PIANO
66 Celebrity chef Eddie : HUANG
67 Yellow or Red follower : … SEA
68 Group’s belief : TENET
69 Places to relax : SPAS
70 Explosive letters : TNT

Down

1 Collegian’s choice : MAJOR
2 Tequila source : AGAVE
3 “My Cousin Vinny” Oscar winner Marisa : TOMEI
4 Suffix with craigs : LIST
5 “LOTR” menace : ORC
6 Eerie apparition : WRAITH
7 Two-__: fastballs named for the grip used to throw them : SEAMERS
8 Undetermined: Abbr. : TBA
9 “Bluebeard’s Castle” composer Béla : BARTOK
10 Toady : SYCOPHANT
11 Dickinson work : POEM
12 South of France? : SUD
15 Animal that sounds fresh : GNU
18 Dadaist Max : ERNST
22 India neighbor : PAKISTAN
25 Star systems : GALAXIES
27 Wallop : THRASH
29 Monopoly miniatures : HOTELS
30 Sport-__: off-road vehicle : UTE
31 Fruit drinks : ADES
32 A or E, but not I, O or U : NOTE
33 Horner’s surprise : PLUM
34 New Rochelle college : IONA
35 Doctor Octopus foe : SPIDER-MAN
40 Bowler’s target : PIN
45 Boring : TEDIOUS
47 Sign into law : ENACT
49 Friend of Jerry and George : ELAINE
50 Abduct : KIDNAP
54 Damp : MOIST
55 Elizabeth of “WandaVision” : OLSEN
56 Occupy, as a table : SIT AT
57 Actress Falco : EDIE
59 German gripe : ACH!
60 Bits of work : ERGS
61 Fitting : APT
62 Two-year-old, say : TOT
64 NHL’s Ducks, on scoreboards : ANA

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 Mar 22, Wednesday”

  1. No errors, no lookups, but lots of good guesses. Did not know
    Shah Rukh Khan but the down letters filled it in for me.

  2. Please! When will you learn that compound words have neither a prefix or a suffix? Craigslist is a compound word. Stupid, but common, mistake for a professional constuctor.

    1. I think “Suffix with craigs” for “LIST” was just a bit of obvious wordplay, meant to elicit a chuckle (and, for me, it succeeded in doing so).

    2. Not a big deal. By design, crossword cluing isn’t always straightforward; and, the clue might have been set by the editor rather than the constructor.

      Also, craigslist is not just a compound word. It’s also a product name, brand, company name, or combination of those.

  3. No errors. Even without knowing who SHAHRUKHKHAN is… Mr Seth must be into this music? The clue says “film star”. But when I did a lookup, I got all hits on his music. Must be like an Elvis Presley of Indian music/film.

  4. 11:04 – no errors or lockups. One revision of ORE>ANA. I obviously confused college Ducks with pro Ducks! Not too bad, though, since I follow neither college sports nor hockey of any kind.

    Did not know Indian film star SRK or HUANG. Interesting to again have two synonym clues: 37A Hullabaloo, 52A Big noise.

    A nice theme using homonyms.

  5. 12:18 – no cheats/errors.

    Didn’t know a lot, but guessed and the crosses were fairly easy.

    Thought it a bit easier than yesterday (aarggghhh).

    Be Well.

  6. 8:31, and avoided the typo traps entirely. So, Bill and Glenn are human after all!!!

    This was an AWFUL theme, and also contained several real naticks. I also noted the (re)appearance of a clue for TSE TSE that I’ve seen within the week, suggesting the constructors are creating from some shared resource.

  7. Slightly tricky Wednesday for me; took 14:41 with one dumb error, discovered with a “check-grid” when I didn’t get the banner. Had mOTEL instead of the obvious HOTEL…sigh!

    Moved around waiting for crosses, but not that difficult. Just didn’t know OLSEN and SPIDERMAN. Had the hardest time with THRASH at the end.

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