LA Times Crossword 14 Apr 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Josh M. Kaufmann
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Why on Earth?

Themed answers are in the down-direction, and end in synonyms of “EARTH”:

  • 58A Head-scratching words … and, phonetically, a feature of the four longest Down answers : WHY ON EARTH?
  • 3D Big name in travel guides : LONELY PLANET
  • 13D Newspaper rival of the Bugle in the Spider-Man universe : DAILY GLOBE
  • 21D Oz, for one : FANTASY WORLD
  • 24D Anaheim attraction : DISNEYLAND

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

Bill’s time: 7m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Leaves of Grass” name : WALT

Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the greatest American poets. He was born in 1819 on Long Island, and lived through the American Civil War. Whitman was a controversial character, even during his own lifetime. One view held by him was that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were not actually written by Shakespeare, but rather by someone else, or perhaps a group of people.

“Leaves of Grass” is a collection of poetry by Walt Whitman that was first published in 1855. It is a remarkable work, in many ways. For one thing, Whitman kept on rewriting the collection for almost forty years, right up to his death. The 1855 edition contained only 12 poems, whereas the so-called deathbed edition of 1892 contained almost 400 poems.

9 Ivy, e.g.: Abbr. : SCH

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

13 Actor Willem : DAFOE

Willem Dafoe is an American actor, one from Wisconsin. He was born just plain “William” Dafoe, but didn’t like being called “Billy”. So, he changed his name to “Willem”, which was the pronunciation of his name by his Scottish babysitter.

14 NCAA’s “Tide” : ALA

The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, which is a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.

15 Where many blood cells are produced : BONE MARROW

One of the main roles of bone marrow is the production of red blood cells, although this process is limited to the heads of the long bones in the body. Marrow also produces the lymphocytes that support the body’s immune system.

17 Witty retort : MOT

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

18 French film : CINE

“Cinéma” is French for “cinema”, and is often shortened to “ciné”.

22 Indigo plant : ANIL

“Anil” is another name for the indigo plant, as well as the name of the blue indigo dye that is obtained from it. The color of anil is relatively close to navy blue. The main coloring agent in indigo dye is a crystalline powder called indigotin.

27 Aleppo’s land : SYRIA

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes its size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging from 2012 to 2016.

29 Alliance acronym : NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded not long after WWII in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The first NATO Secretary General was Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill’s chief military assistant during WWII. Famously, Lord Ismay said the goal of NATO was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

30 Champs-Élysées lunch choice : CREPE

“Crêpe” is the French word for “pancake”.

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world. It is the main thoroughfare in Paris, home to the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. The name “Champs-Élysées” is French for Elysian Fields, a place where the righteous went after death, according to Greek mythology.

32 Carrying process : GESTATION

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

36 German pop star who sang “99 Luftballons” : NENA

Nena is a German singer (“Nena” became the name of her band as well) who had a big hit in 1984 with one of my favorite songs of the eighties “99 Luftballons”. The English translation of the German title (“99 Red Balloons”) isn’t literal, with the color “red” added just so that the title had the right number of syllables for the tune. “Luftballon” is the name given to a child’s toy balloon in German.

41 Russian rulers : TSARS

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

48 First name in fashion : YVES

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was an Algerian-born French fashion designer. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

51 “Enchanted” movie girl : ELLA

“Ella Enchanted” is a fantasy novel written by Gail Carson Levine, and published in 1997. It is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, with lots of mythical creatures added. A film adaptation was released in 2004 that features Anne Hathaway in the title role.

56 “The Hobbit” creatures : ORCS

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.

“The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” is a children’s fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was popular from the time of its first publication in 1937. Included in the early awards for “The Hobbit” was a prize for best juvenile fiction from “The New York Herald Tribune”. Tolkien adapted his succeeding novel “The Lord of the Rings” to incorporate elements in “The Hobbit”, so that the two tales are very much related.

57 Buffet server : URN

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

62 Fix : AMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

63 Protected, at sea : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather. The sheltered side of an island, for example, might be referred to as the “lee” side.

65 Brooklyn ballers : NETS

The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets were the New Jersey Nets until 2012, and were based in Newark. Prior to 1977, the team was known as the New York Nets and played in various locations on Long Island. Ten years earlier, the Nets were called the New Jersey Americans and were headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Down

1 Online group study : WEBINAR

“Webinar” is short for “Web-based seminar”, i.e. a presentation, lecture or similar event held online. In a Webinar, there is two-way interaction, with the audience able to ask questions of the presenter.

3 Big name in travel guides : LONELY PLANET

“Lonely Planet” is a publisher of a very successful series of travel guide books. The company was founded by British couple Tony and Maureen Wheeler in 1972. Their first publication was “Across Asia on the Cheap”, which was issued as a stapled booklet.

4 Mao __-tung : TSE

Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.

5 Style of some surf and turf : TARTARE

Steak tartare was first served in French restaurants in the early 1900s. Back then, the dish went by the name “steak à l’Americaine”, would you believe? It was basically raw, seasoned beef mixed with egg yolk. A later version of l’Americaine, without the egg yolk and with tartar sauce served on the side, was dubbed “steak tartare”. Over time the two versions became one, and the steak tartare moniker won out. By the way, if you order steak tartare in Switzerland, I believe you are served horse meat. There are now similar “tartare” dishes made with raw salmon, or raw tuna.

6 Cont. south of Western 31-Down : AFR
(31D See 6-Down : EUR)

Present-day Tunisia is roughly equivalent to the Roman province known as “Africa Proconsularis”, which gave its name to the whole continent.

9 Katana-wielding warrior : SAMURAI

Samurai were noble military officers in medieval and early-modern Japan who served particular clans and lords. Originally known as “bushi” in Japanese, the term “samurai” was introduced in the early part of the 18th century.

A katana is a curved sword worn by the samurai of Japan. It is sometimes referred to as a “samurai sword”.

18 Advanced math subj. : CALC

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

21 Oz, for one : FANTASY WORLD

The Land of Oz is a fantasy world that was created by L. Frank Baum and introduced in 1900 in his children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Such was the success of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, that Baum ended up writing a total of 14 novels in his “Land of Oz” series:

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
  2. The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
  3. Ozma of Oz (1907)
  4. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
  5. The Road to Oz (1909)
  6. The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
  7. The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)
  8. Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
  9. The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)
  10. Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
  11. The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)
  12. The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
  13. The Magic of Oz (1919)
  14. Glinda of Oz (1920)

24 Anaheim attraction : DISNEYLAND

Walt Disney came up with the idea of building Disneyland after visiting other theme parks with his daughters in the thirties and forties. He started building the park at Anaheim, California in 1954, and the facility opened just one year and one day later. The total cost of construction was $17 million. Opening day did not go smoothly, largely because over 28,000 people visited the park compared to the 11,000 people expected at the invitation-only event. The opening day went so badly that for years Disney executives referred to it as “Black Sunday”.

The California city of Anaheim is famous as home to the Disneyland resort. Prior to Disneyland opening in 1955, Anaheim was largely an agricultural community. It had been founded in 1857 by a group of German-Americans who were looking for an area suitable for growing grapes. The name “Anaheim” comes from “Ana”, referring to the nearby Santa Ana River, and from “Heim”, a German word meaning “home”.

31 See 6-Down : EUR
(6D Cont. south of Western 31-Down : AFR)

The continent of Europe was named for Europa, a Phoenician princess of Greek mythology.

33 Queen’s subject : ANT

The queen ant of some species can live to a ripe old age of 30 years, which is one of the longest lifespans in the insect world.

35 Celestial feline : LEO

The constellation named Leo can be said to resemble a lion. Others say that it resembles a bent coat hanger. “Leo” is the Latin for “lion”, but I’m not sure how to translate “coat hanger” into Latin …

37 Big name in blue jeans : STRAUSS

Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

40 Half or full holds : NELSONS

The full nelson and half nelson are wrestling holds in which one wrestler secures an opponent by encircling the opponent’s arm(s) under the armpit(s) and around the neck. Some say the holds are named after Admiral Nelson, who was renowned for using encircling tactics in battle.

44 W-2 IDs : SSNS

Form W-2 is provided by US employers to their employees by January 31 each year. The form reports wages paid to the employees, as well as taxes withheld.

50 Atkinson of British comedy : ROWAN

Rowan Atkinson is an English comedian and actor who is most famous for playing the title role in the comedy shows “Mr. Bean” and “Blackadder”. In the world of movies, Atkinson had memorable supporting performances (in my opinion) in the Bond film “Never Say Never Again”, and in the romcoms “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually”. A very talented man …

60 Roadside help letters : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Leaves of Grass” name : WALT
5 Links to a social media post : TAGS
9 Ivy, e.g.: Abbr. : SCH
12 They’re better boosted than inflated : EGOS
13 Actor Willem : DAFOE
14 NCAA’s “Tide” : ALA
15 Where many blood cells are produced : BONE MARROW
17 Witty retort : MOT
18 French film : CINE
19 Be in session : SIT
20 Neutralize : DEFUSE
22 Indigo plant : ANIL
23 Pleased : GLAD
25 Challenges requiring nerve : DARES
26 Like some Sundays : LAZY
27 Aleppo’s land : SYRIA
29 Alliance acronym : NATO
30 Champs-Élysées lunch choice : CREPE
32 Carrying process : GESTATION
34 Break in the action : LULL
36 German pop star who sang “99 Luftballons” : NENA
37 The very beginning : SQUARE ONE
41 Russian rulers : TSARS
45 Go left, say : TURN
46 Does as told : OBEYS
48 First name in fashion : YVES
49 Wild party : RAGER
51 “Enchanted” movie girl : ELLA
52 Gradually withdraw : WEAN
53 Playground retort : ARE TOO!
55 Droop : SAG
56 “The Hobbit” creatures : ORCS
57 Buffet server : URN
58 Head-scratching words … and, phonetically, a feature of the four longest Down answers : WHY ON EARTH?
61 Brief moment : SEC
62 Fix : AMEND
63 Protected, at sea : ALEE
64 Word with devil or dog : SLY …
65 Brooklyn ballers : NETS
66 Puts in : ADDS

Down

1 Online group study : WEBINAR
2 Fret (over) : AGONIZE
3 Big name in travel guides : LONELY PLANET
4 Mao __-tung : TSE
5 Style of some surf and turf : TARTARE
6 Cont. south of Western 31-Down : AFR
7 “Glad that’s settled!” : GOOD!
8 Stitched up : SEWED
9 Katana-wielding warrior : SAMURAI
10 Approximately : CLOSE TO
11 Slams, slangily : HATES ON
13 Newspaper rival of the Bugle in the Spider-Man universe : DAILY GLOBE
16 Inbox list: Abbr. : MSGS
18 Advanced math subj. : CALC
21 Oz, for one : FANTASY WORLD
24 Anaheim attraction : DISNEYLAND
28 Joined the clean-plate club, say : ATE
31 See 6-Down : EUR
33 Queen’s subject : ANT
35 Celestial feline : LEO
37 Big name in blue jeans : STRAUSS
38 Bicker : QUARREL
39 Reason for pacing : URGENCY
40 Half or full holds : NELSONS
42 Turned aside : AVERTED
43 Arrives at : REACHES
44 W-2 IDs : SSNS
47 Wise one : SAGE
50 Atkinson of British comedy : ROWAN
54 Woeful cry : OH ME!!
59 Still : YET
60 Roadside help letters : AAA

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Apr 22, Thursday”

    1. @Anon Mike, the phonetic aspect of the theme is that the words preceding, and above, the synonym of earth end in “Y”, leading to “why” on earth.

  1. No errors, but several do-overs. Looked up two proper names: Dafoe
    and Nena. Realized the theme quite early and it helped with solving .
    At first I thought there was no way ….but kept at it until done.

  2. 12:49, no errors. I also struggled at first with the NW corner but eventually got some momentum courtesy of the long FANTASYWORLD answer

  3. 15:49 – no errors or lookups. Revisions were: URLS>TAGS, DEFOE>DAFOE, RAVER>RAGER, ALAS>OHME, SHE>SLY.

    New items: NENA, LONELYPLANET.

    No issues or quibbles.

  4. Have heard of “raves” for parties, but never heard of a “rager.” The clue “Ivy” is not a school. It’s a climbing plant. Ivy by itself is a poor clue for the answer required (even tho I went to an Ivy League school – or should I say university?!

  5. Ok puzzle but a lot of “vague” clues once the long downs were done it filled in fast…not one of my favorites this month.

  6. 18:28 – couple check grids (dAfoe, aarrgghh).

    For me on a Thursday, I’m happy. There was a time when I wouldn’t even start one …

    Be Well.

  7. @Dirk …

    Thank you for the information about honey! My current best guess is that what I get from Walmart is a little more prone to crystallization due to a difference (storage temperature, maybe?) in their handling of it once it gets to them from “Ambrosia”.

    I was a little suspicious that something else may have been added to the honey, because … I have a friend who works for an organization that receives charitable donations of various kinds. Occasionally, they need to dispose of items that they have been unable to give to clients, so, a few times, my friend has brought me small containers of honey (in the form of a squeezable plastic bear … :-). It’s a bit bland; the small print indicates that it comes from Vietnam and/or India and it says that some corn syrup has been added to it, because of which I was a little leery of using it (but now, in light of what I see in your fact sheet, it may be that the addition is simply intended to make the honey less apt to crystallize).

    It’s difficult to find bulk honey in anything but plastic containers. The containers “Ambrosia” uses have a small mouth, so it’s hard to get crystallized honey out of it. They also have a triangular-arrow recycling symbol on the bottom, with a “2” in the triangle and the letters “HDPE”. I have always thought (rather stupidly, in retrospect) that symbols like this invariably indicate that the container is recyclable, but I just discovered that the situation is more complicated: the number tells you what kind of plastic was used to make the container, which has implications for how it ought to be used and for whether it can be or should be recycled. (As it happens, “HDPE” refers to “high-density polyethylene”, which is one of the safest and most-easily recycled kinds.)

    For others who may have been as ignorant as myself, here’s a link to an article explaining the recycling symbols:

    https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/plastics-by-the-numbers/

  8. 9 minutes 36 seconds, no errors. A decent challenge, and no issues with any of the clues (or the editing). A rare, guile-free grid.

  9. A nice challenging Thursday for me; took 19:45 with no peeks or errors. Struggled a bit in the NE and a few other locations, but waiting for crosses did the trick mostly. Sort of got the theme while working the puzzle, but didn’t understand it until I got here “Y” on “Earth”…clever.

    Did well on the WSJ puzzle and Wordle (4) and Worldle (1) as well.

    @Nonny – I shouldn’t be holier-than-thou on plastic, since I store it in plastic buckets from the extractor. And, I’ve been known to heat up plastic buckets in the sink with hot water to make it flow better in my filter-bottling bucket. I just bottle it in glass at the final step.

    One of my rules-of-thumb – by which I’m just guessing – is that ‘early in the year’ honey, which is lighter in color and when they produce a lot of honey (2/3 harvest) is when they get rushed and only convert part of the fructose to glucose. ‘Later in the year’ honey, which is darker in color and when they produce the other (1/3) of the harvest is when they have more time and convert more to glucose, as well as de-hydrate it more. I’m not really sure they actually are converting the fructose to glucose, but they do add enzymes and de-hydrate the honey before they cap the honey in the comb.

    As far as the honey you got having added high fructose corn syrup; I would say you may be right – since most people are mystified by crystalized honey – or they think something is wrong with it – but they are just as likely also just making more product to sell.

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