LA Times Crossword 19 May 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Katherine Baicker
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Whataboutism

Themed answers each include the letter string “WHAT” wrapped ABOUT the center of the answer:

  • 39A Rhetorical strategy of countering an accusation with another accusation, and an apt description of the answers to the starred clues : WHATABOUTISM
  • 18A *Easy order for a bartender : WHISKEY, NEAT
  • 27A *The place to be, informally : WHERE IT’S AT
  • 55A *Toast choice : WHOLE-WHEAT
  • 64A *”Is it almost time for dinner?” : WHEN DO WE EAT?

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

Bill’s time: 8m 08s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • YEESH! (yeesh!)
  • YIFEI (Jifei)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 First lady Biden : JILL

First Lady Jill Biden has a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from the University of Delaware. She became a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College in 2009. She continued in that post after she became Second Lady of the United States in 2009, making her the first Second Lady of the US to hold a paying job while her husband was in office.

5 Homeopathic treatment for bruises : ARNICA

Arnica is in the sunflower family of plants. Supposedly, homeopathic preparations made from Arnica help with bruising and sprains.

17 “Mon __!” : DIEU

“Mon Dieu!” is French for “My God!”

18 *Easy order for a bartender : WHISKEY, NEAT

A drink served neat is served without ice, not on the rocks.

20 Rare blood type, briefly : B-NEG

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

21 B’way passes : TIX

Tickets (tix)

22 Blasting material : 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.

29 “Invisible Man” novelist : ELLISON

Author Ralph Ellison’s most famous book is “Invisible Man”, which won the National Book Award in 1953. Ellison’s full name is Ralph Waldo Ellison, as he was named for Ralph Waldo Emerson.

31 Galoot : OAF

“Galoot” is an insulting term describing an awkward or boorish man, an ape. “Galoot” comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

32 Bygone airline : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

33 Online journal : BLOG

Many folks who visit this website regard it as just that, a website. That is true, but more specifically it is referred to as a blog, as I make regular posts (actually daily posts) that then occupy the “front page” of the site. The blog entries are in reverse chronological order, and one can just look back day-by-day, reading older and older posts. “Blog” is a contraction of the term “web log”.

34 __ Eats : UBER

Uber Eats is a food-delivery platform offered by ride-sharing service Uber. For a delivery fee of a few bucks, users can order food from local restaurants using an app. That food might be delivered by car, bike or foot depending on the city and courier.

44 U2 lead singer : BONO

Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner who was born Paul David Hewson. As a youth, Hewson was given the nickname “Bono Vox” by a friend, a Latin expression meaning “good voice”, and so the singer has been known as Bono since the late seventies. His band’s first name was “Feedback”, later changed to “The Hype”. The band members searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least …

45 Mall event : SALE

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to be a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

51 Tattle (on) : RAT

Something described as tattletale is revealing, it gives away a secret. The term is a combination of “tattle” and “tale”, and is probably patterned on the similar word “telltale”. “To tattle” means “to tell secrets”, and the noun “tattletale” applies to someone who tells secrets and informs.

59 Paul of “Bewitched” : LYNDE

Paul Lynde was a character actor noted for playing Uncle Arthur on the TV sitcom “Bewitched”. He was also known as the longtime “center square” on “Hollywood Squares”, for thirteen years.

The delightful sitcom “Bewitched” originally ran on ABC from 1964 to 1972. The lead character in the show is Samantha Stephens, played by the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery. Elizabeth was the daughter of Hollywood star Robert Montgomery.

61 College domain : EDU

The .edu 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)

63 Lee with a posthumous cameo in “Avengers: Endgame” : STAN

Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he had a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

“Avengers: Endgame” is a 2019 superhero movie. It is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that features several superheroes made famous in Marvel Comics. “Avengers: Endgame” closes out the story arcs for several superheroes from prior films in the series.

71 Fragrant herb : SAGE

In Britain and Ireland, sage is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

72 Mani-pedi spots : SPAS

Manicure & pedicure (mani-pedi)

74 Fig or olive : TREE

The third plant named in the Bible, after the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, is the fig tree. Adam and Eve used leaves from the fig tree to sew garments when they realized that they were naked.

The olive tree developed in and around the Mediterranean Basin, but has been cultivated in many locations around the world for thousands of years. The fruit of the olive tree is prized as a foodstuff, as well as a source of olive oil. Our word “oil” ultimately derives from the Greek “elaia” meaning “olive”.

Down

1 Moose __, Saskatchewan : JAW

Moose Jaw is a city in Saskatchewan. Among the city’s claims to fame is that Moose Jaw is home to the Snowbirds, Canada’s military aerobatic team. Another claim to fame is that it is home to the world’s largest moose. You can see the 34-foot tall statue of Mac the Moose on the grounds of the city’s visitors’ center.

3 Floral wreath : LEI

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

6 Blu-__ Disc : RAY

A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

7 Closer’s inning : NINTH

That would be baseball.

8 Adler called “the woman” by Sherlock Holmes : IRENE

The character Irene Adler only appears in one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Holmes expresses remarkable admiration for Adler as a woman and as a foe. As a result, derivative works in the Holmes genre often feature Adler as something of a romantic interest for Sherlock.

9 Dos y dos : CUATRO

In Spanish, “cuatro” (four) is “dos y dos”.

23 Liu who plays the title role in 2020’s “Mulan” : YIFEI

2020’s “Mulan” is a live-action remake of the 1998 animated Disney film of the same name. Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei plays the title character, a woman from Chinese legend. The movie was received well by the critics, but fans of the animated original were largely unimpressed.

24 Organic flytrap : WEB

The silk that makes up a web is a protein fiber that is “spun” by a spider. Spider silk is about one sixth of the density of steel, yet has a comparable tensile strength.

27 Sparks org. : WNBA

The Los Angeles Sparks (LAS) women’s basketball team was founded just before the WNBA opened its doors for business in 1997.

28 Singer Sheena : EASTON

Sheena Easton is a Scottish singer. She was big in the eighties with songs like “9 to 5” (released as “Morning Train” in the US) and “For Your Eyes Only”, which is the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name. Easton collaborated with American singer Prince on many projects. She recorded the 1984 song “Sugar Walls” that was composed for her by Prince under the pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind”.

35 Tidal movement : EBB

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

36 Joey of kiddie lit : ROO

Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”, the kangaroo named “Roo” was inspired by a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

A male kangaroo is known as a buck, jack or boomer. A female is called a jill, flyer or doe. A young kangaroo is a joey, and a group of kangaroos is a mob or troop.

40 Buenos __ : AIRES

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, and is located on the estuary of the Ria de la Plata. As it is a port city, the people of Buenos Aires are known as porteños (“people of the port”). The name “Buenos Aires” can be translated from Spanish as “fair winds”.

41 Hand or foot : UNIT

A hand is a 4-inch unit of measure used primarily for giving the height of a horse. The original “hand” was the width of the hand, held without splaying the thumb or fingers. The height of a horse is measured from the ground to the withers, the ridge between the shoulder blades.

42 “Mental Illness” Grammy winner Aimee : MANN

Aimee Mann is a rock singer and guitarist from Virginia. Mann is married to Michael Penn, the brother of actor Sean Penn.

46 HDTV choice : LCD

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

52 Southern California chain known for pastrami : THE HAT

The Hat is a chain of fast-food restaurants in Southern California that specializes in pastrami dip sandwiches. Apparently, folks who frequent The Hat go through 13-15 tons of pastrami every week.

In the US, pastrami was originally called “pastrama”, and was a dish brought to America by Jewish immigrants from Romania in the second half of the nineteenth century. The original name may have evolved from the Turkish word “pastirma” meaning “pressed”. “Pastrama” likely morphed into “pastrami” influenced by the name of the Italian sausage called salami.

62 “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck : TODD

Chuck Todd is a television journalist. He was the Chief White House Correspondent for NBC, before taking over as moderator of “Meet the Press” in 2014.

NBC’s news and interview show “Meet the Press” first aired in 1947. That’s a long time ago, and so “Meet the Press” is the longest-running television series in US broadcasting history.

64 1910s conflict, for short : WWI

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, what we now know as World War I was referred to as “the World War” or “The Great War”.

65 Narc’s org. : DEA

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 First lady Biden : JILL
5 Homeopathic treatment for bruises : ARNICA
11 “Say that’s true … ” : IF SO …
15 On a cruise : ASEA
16 Couple : PAIR UP
17 “Mon __!” : DIEU
18 *Easy order for a bartender : WHISKEY, NEAT
20 Rare blood type, briefly : B-NEG
21 B’way passes : TIX
22 Blasting material : TNT
23 “Oh, brother!” : YEESH!
24 “It __ meant to be” : WASN’T
27 *The place to be, informally : WHERE IT’S AT
29 “Invisible Man” novelist : ELLISON
31 Galoot : OAF
32 Bygone airline : TWA
33 Online journal : BLOG
34 __ Eats : UBER
37 “Happy now?” : SEE?
39 Rhetorical strategy of countering an accusation with another accusation, and an apt description of the answers to the starred clues : WHATABOUTISM
43 Up to, in ads : ‘TIL
44 U2 lead singer : BONO
45 Mall event : SALE
48 Overly : TOO
51 Tattle (on) : RAT
53 Early stage : INFANCY
55 *Toast choice : WHOLE-WHEAT
59 Paul of “Bewitched” : LYNDE
60 Some map dots : ISLES
61 College domain : EDU
62 Playpen party : TOT
63 Lee with a posthumous cameo in “Avengers: Endgame” : STAN
64 *”Is it almost time for dinner?” : WHEN DO WE EAT?
69 Tattled (on) : TOLD
70 In demand : WANTED
71 Fragrant herb : SAGE
72 Mani-pedi spots : SPAS
73 “What a shame” : IT’S SAD
74 Fig or olive : TREE

Down

1 Moose __, Saskatchewan : JAW
2 “Give or take” : ISH
3 Floral wreath : LEI
4 Yesterday evening : LAST NIGHT
5 Climber’s goal : APEX
6 Blu-__ Disc : RAY
7 Closer’s inning : NINTH
8 Adler called “the woman” by Sherlock Holmes : IRENE
9 Dos y dos : CUATRO
10 Suitable : APT
11 “__ on it”: “You can be sure” : I’D BET
12 Best : FINEST
13 Experience schoolyard highs and lows? : SEESAW
14 Should, informally : OUGHTA
19 Hobby shop buys : KITS
23 Liu who plays the title role in 2020’s “Mulan” : YIFEI
24 Organic flytrap : WEB
25 More than most : ALL
26 Boring : SLOW
27 Sparks org. : WNBA
28 Singer Sheena : EASTON
30 Ban : OUTLAW
35 Tidal movement : EBB
36 Joey of kiddie lit : ROO
38 Final thoughts? : ESSAY TEST
40 Buenos __ : AIRES
41 Hand or foot : UNIT
42 “Mental Illness” Grammy winner Aimee : MANN
46 HDTV choice : LCD
47 __ shadow : EYE
48 Unexpected endings : TWISTS
49 “I’m blushing!” : OH STOP!
50 “Fancy!” : OO LA LA!
52 Southern California chain known for pastrami : THE HAT
54 Tidal movement : FLOW
56 Lets use for now : LENDS
57 Ideal places : EDENS
58 Some matriarchs : AUNTS
62 “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck : TODD
64 1910s conflict, for short : WWI
65 Narc’s org. : DEA
66 Unit of corn : EAR
67 Get on in years : AGE
68 Simple shirt : TEE

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 May 22, Thursday”

  1. 14:40, but with a couple of look-ups. Had never heard of “arnica” and didn’t have any idea about “Yifei.”

  2. 20:11(!), no errors. In addition to a lengthy internal debate about YIFEI/YEESH versus GIFEI/GEESH, I spent a lot of time trying to make some kind of sense out of the wrapped “isms” (“ISKEYNE”, “EREITS”, “OLEWHE”, and “ENDOWEE”). The theme is undeniably clever, but somehow I wanted a little … more … from it.

    1. You’re kind and generous. Gibberish sandwiched between WH and AT is very deniably clever😋. I wanted substantially (as in “substance”) more from it. And it was pretty crowded in there, with JILL, ELLISON, BONO, LYNDE, STAN, IRENE, EASTON, and MANN competing for breathing room with at least 20 other PPPs … YEESH!

  3. I let Ellison fill in but there is only one invisible man author to me H.G.Wells….fun puzzles and hard to believe Bill makes errs …who would have thought that possible.🎭

  4. No errors. YIFEI was tough to get to. I didn’t know Aimee MANN either but when I got that far, the only thing that made sense was ISM so I went with MANN.
    The whole ISM thing was hard to get to.

    Ok, I’ll admit it. I still don’t get it.

    Also didn’t know ARNICA.

  5. Can we get any more obscure? I mean “YEESH/YIFEI”, “WHATABOUTISM” and the only reason I got “THE HAT” is because I’ve had its terrific sandwiches.
    D. Chatswood

  6. Dumbest theme ever…the writer didn’t explain the theme…. I never heard of what about ism…in 60 years I never heard anyone say it…someone please explain !!

  7. 29:56 and I had GEESH AND GIFEI …TWO TOTALLY obscure clues that cross…is that what crosswords are supposed to be about?👎👎
    Stay safe😀

  8. I’ve never lived in SoCal, but I have been to Orange Co dozens of times over the past 50 yrs. I’ve never seen or heard of The Hat. Apparently I don’t get to the right neighborhoods. Sometimes the natickedness of these puzzles has me muttering to myself all day.
    I did eat at a Weinerschnitzel in Orange a yr ago, and I had no idea they were still around.

  9. 21:46 – one look up for YIFEI. Too many options for _EESH, and I didn’t know the Mulan actor’s name. Had to guess that the end of 39A was ISM (initially thought it might be YOU) as I didn’t know Aimee MANN, either.

    New items: ARNICA, YIFEI, ELLISON, MANN, THE HAT. Did not know that WHATABOUTISM is an actual thing, also called whataboutery. Seems to be a common practice in certain political circles these days.

    Did not get the theme until reading Bill’s explanation. Unfortunately, I had seen EAT at the end of 3 of the 4 starred answers, and the beginnings indicated WHEN, WHO, WHERE, and a little reach for “why” with WHI. So, I struggled for a little to somehow make 27A also end in EAT, but couldn’t do it. And so I just didn’t “get” it.

    So, to complete the puzzle, I had to do the actor’s name lookup. Sheesh!

  10. 15:02 – couple cheats: YEESH/YIFEI and ARNICA/IRENE.

    C’mon, can’t we do better? And WHATABOUTISM?????

    Yeesh …

    But you know what, the really good people solved all of the above …

    Be Well

  11. No look ups, same error as Bill. Tough Natick there. I thought the theme was
    clever and it helped. I’ve never eaten at
    The Hat but a key part of directions to my
    Brother-in-laws house years ago was “make
    a left at The Hat”…..😂

  12. 9 mins 23 sec, and no errors. Ironic that YEESH is crossed by YI-FEI. The across fill is definitely a reaction to that “whoever heard of…?” down fill.

  13. The only clever clue and answer was 55A. Many of the other clues needed a “People” magazine reader. I don’t mind difficult puzzles, but I definitely want the clue and the answer to be fair once they are solved. Bah!!

  14. Slightly difficult Thursday for me; took 18:55 with the same error as Bill, plus stupidly putting in qUATRO/ARNIqA. Had to do a “check-grid” to find my problems, which I was able to fix relatively promptly.

    Whataboutism is something I constantly see in political blogs/newspaper or yahoo comments. When a person of one party is confronted by a current inconvenient fact about their position/favorite politician, they immediately counter with some inconvenient, and often irrelevant, point about their opponents.

  15. Also did not like all the names of people from TV shows I did not know & Whataboutism??? Awful! But I did know arnica – I use it on bruises all the time!

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