LA Times Crossword 25 May 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Do This to the Famous?

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as doing something to a celebrity referenced in the clue:

  • 17A Make Todd stay home after a “Meet the Press” blooper? : GROUND CHUCK
  • 25A Refuse to let Wood exhibit “American Gothic”? : BLOCK GRANT
  • 38A Make Garfunkel pay for breaking a recording contract? : FINE ART
  • 49A Donate twice as much as Gates? : DOUBLE BILL
  • 60A Maneuver Phillips into telling how he got the “Dateline NBC” job? : CORNER STONE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Andre with eight Grand Slam wins : AGASSI

Retired tennis professional Andre Agassi has been married to fellow player Steffi Graf since 2001. Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

To win the Grand Slam of tennis, a player must win the four major tournaments in the same season:

  • The Australian Open (in mid-January, played on hard courts)
  • The French Open (in May/June, played on clay)
  • Wimbledon (in June/July, played on grass)
  • The US Open (in August/September, played on hard courts)

7 Russell of “The Americans” : KERI

Actress Keri Russell’s big break in television came with the title role in the drama show “Felicity” that ran from 1998 from 2002. The lead character in the show is Felicity Porter, a young lady introduced to the audience with a head of long curly blonde hair. Famously, Russell cut her hair extremely short at the start of the second season, an action that was associated with a significant drop in the show’s viewership. Russell had to grow out her hair over the season. I haven’t seen “Felicity”, but I really do enjoy Russell playing one of the leads in the entertaining Cold War drama called “The Americans” that is aired by FX.

“The Americans” is a very engaging drama series set during the Cold War that features two KGB spies living as a married couple just outside Washington, D.C. The show was created by Joe Weisberg, who is a novelist and former CIA officer. The lead roles in “The Americans” are played by real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

11 Indian state in the Western Ghats : GOA

Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

The Western Ghats is a chain of mountains, about a thousand miles long, running parallel to the west coast of India. It is also known as the Sahyadri, and sometimes the Great Escarpment of India.

14 Lanai furniture material : RATTAN

Rattan is the name of a large number of species of palms, all of which look less like trees and more like vines. The woody stems are used for making cane furniture.

A lanai is a type of veranda, and a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.

15 “You said it!” : AMEN!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

17 Make Todd stay home after a “Meet the Press” blooper? : GROUND CHUCK

Chuck Todd is a television journalist. Todd 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.

21 Barnacle spot : KEEL

The barnacle is a marine arthropod related to the crab and the lobster. Barnacles are classified as “encrusters”, meaning that they attach themselves permanently to some solid substrate. It is thought that the name “barnacle” was applied to the marine creature from the name of the barnacle goose. According to folklore, the barnacle goose “hatched” underwater, emerging from what we know today as “barnacles”.

23 “Breath, __, Memory”: Edwidge Danticat novel : EYES

Edwidge Danticat is an American novelist who achieved success with her very first novel “Breath, Eyes, Memory”, which was published when she was just 25 years old. She was born in Haiti and emigrated to New York City when she was 12 years old, as does the heroine of “Breath, Eyes, Memory”.

25 Refuse to let Wood exhibit “American Gothic”? : BLOCK GRANT

The iconic Grant Wood work titled “American Gothic” was painted in 1930. It depicts a farmer holding a pitchfork standing beside his spinster daughter. Grant used his sister as a model for the daughter, and his dentist as a model for the farmer. You can see “American Gothic” on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. You can also visit the house depicted in the painting, in the city of Eldon, Iowa. Perhaps predictably, the house is located on what is now called American Gothic Street.

29 LEGO buys : KITS

Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:

  • The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
  • The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
  • The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
  • Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
  • The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)

31 Long-necked waders : HERONS

Herons are birds with long legs that inhabit freshwater and coastal locales. Some herons are routinely referred to as egrets, and others as bitterns. Herons look a lot like storks and cranes, but differ in their appearance in flight. Herons fly with their necks retracted in an S-shape, whereas storks and cranes have their necks extended.

32 Iberian peninsula country : SPAIN

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

35 Bigelow or DuVernay : DIRECTOR

Kathryn Bigelow is a movie director and writer. Bigelow became the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar, for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker”. James Cameron was also nominated as Best Director that year, for “Avatar”. Bigelow and Cameron were a married couple from 1989 to 1991.

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

38 Make Garfunkel pay for breaking a recording contract? : FINE ART

Singer and actor Art Garfunkel is best-known for the years he spent performing with Paul Simon, although Garfunkel had a successful solo career after the duo split up. As well as singing and acting, he is fond of taking long, long walks while composing poetry. Garfunkel walked across Japan in the early 1980s, and across America in increments from 1983 to 1997. He then walked across Europe, also in increments, from 1998 to 2011.

44 Luxor’s country : EGYPT

The ancient Egyptians had a hieroglyphic name for their country that translated into English as “Black Land”. The suggestion is that this name is a reference to the black, fertile soil that was left on the plains after the flooding of the River Nile.

The modern city of Luxor grew up around the ruins of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. Thebes was the city of the god Amon-Ra and was the religious capital of the country until the Greeks took control. Luxor is often called “the world’s greatest open-air museum”. Tourists flock there to see the Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple ruins, as well as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens immediately opposite Luxor on the other side of the River Nile.

46 Folklore monsters : TROLLS

“Troll” is a term that comes from Norse mythology. Trolls are less-than-helpful creatures that tend to live on isolated mountains, in caves and under bridges.

49 Donate twice as much as Gates? : DOUBLE BILL

Bill Gates is the former CEO of Microsoft, a company that he co-founded with Paul Allen. Gates has been listed as the wealthiest man in the world on several occasions over the past two decades. He now works full-time as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, alongside his ex-wife Melinda. The Gates’ foundation is the largest transparently-operated charitable foundation in the world.

55 MLB stat : RBIS

Runs batted in (RBIs)

60 Maneuver Phillips into telling how he got the “Dateline NBC” job? : CORNER STONE

TV reporter Stone Phillips is best known as a former co-anchor of the newsmagazine show “Dateline NBC”, alongside Jane Pauley.

64 “Mangia!” : EAT!

“Mangia!” is Italian for “Eat!” and is often used in the names of Italian restaurants or in brand names of Italian foods.

65 “Motor Trend” topic : AUTO

“Motor Trend” is an auto magazine that has been published since 1949. The magazine has been giving its famous Car of the Year award since those early days, with the first award going to the 1949 Cadillac.

67 Med. caregivers : RNS

Registered nurse (RN)

Down

2 “Lincoln at Gettysburg” Pulitzer winner Wills : GARRY

Garry Wills is an author and historian who won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1993. Wills was an associate and protégé of William F. Buckley Jr. early in his career, and so expressed many conservative views. Over time, Wills’ writing became more left-leaning, especially after his work covering the anti-Vietnam War movement and civil rights in the sixties and seventies.

4 Disco __ of “The Simpsons” : STU

On “The Simpsons”, the character Disco Stu is voiced by Hank Azaria, although the original intent was for him to be voiced by Phil Hartman. Disco Stu is described as “a black, wrinkly John Travolta”.

7 “The Two Fridas” painter : KAHLO

“The Two Fridas” is a relatively unusual 1939 self-portrait by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in that it features two versions of the artist, sitting side by side. The “Frida” on the left side is wearing a white, Victorian dress while the “Frida” on the left is wearing a traditional Tehuana dress. Anyone interested in viewing the original painting can do so in Mexico City’s Museo de Arte Moderno.

8 Bird that won’t fly away : EMU

The large flightless birds called emus make sounds by manipulating inflatable neck-sacs. The sac is about a foot long, has a thin wall and allows the bird to emit a booming sound. The type of sound emitted is the easiest way to differentiate between male and female emus.

9 __ room : REC

Recreation (rec.)

10 HP product : INK

The giant multinational HP (originally “Hewlett-Packard”) was founded in 1939 with an investment of $538 in a one-car garage in Palo Alto, California by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. The company name would have been Packard-Hewlett, if Dave Packard had won a coin toss!

12 Bowlful often topped with melted Gruyère : ONION SOUP

To cook “au gratin” is to prepare something in a shallow dish with a crust of bread or cheese on top. In America we tend to think mainly of potatoes prepared this way, but the technique can be used for many different dishes. What we call French onion soup, a soup with some bread and cheese baked on top, is called “gratinée” in France.

Gruyère is a hard cheese that is named for the medieval Swiss town of Gruyères. I had the pleasure of visiting Gruyères many years ago, and have very fond memories of stuffing myself with the most delicious fondue made from the local cheese mixed with wine …

18 Animator’s sheets : CELS

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

22 Gator kin : CROC

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

26 __ seed pudding : CHIA

Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terra-cotta figurines to which moistened chia seeds are applied. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.

27 Golden State Warriors coach Steve : KERR

Steve Kerr is a retired NBA basketball player who moved into team management. Kerr was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of an American academic who specialized in Middle East studies. Kerr’s father was assassinated by militant nationalists in Beirut when Steve was 19 years old.

The Golden State Warriors are an NBA franchise based in San Francisco, California. The team was founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, becoming the San Francisco Warriors when they moved to City by the Bay in 1962. They changed names again (to Golden State) when they relocated to Oakland in 1971. The statewide name reflected the fact that the team played some of their 1971-72 season games in San Diego, and as such were “California’s” team. The team kept the Golden State name even though they returned to San Francisco in 2019.

28 Storybook sister : GRETEL

“Hansel and Gretel” is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds and so the children do indeed become lost. But eventually they do all live happily ever after …

32 Sault __ Marie : STE

Sault Ste. Marie is the name of two cities on either side of the Canada-US border, one in Ontario and the other in Michigan. The two cities were originally one settlement in the 17th century, established by Jesuit Missionaries. The missionaries gave the settlement the name “Sault Sainte Marie”, which can be translated as “Saint Mary’s Falls”. The city was one community until 1817, when a US-UK Joint Boundary Commission set the border along the St. Mary’s River.

33 Speckled legume : PINTO BEAN

Pinto beans are so-called because their skins have a mottled (“pinto”) appearance.

34 Humanitarians : ALTRUISTS

An egoist (also “egotist”) is a selfish and conceited person. The opposite would be an altruist.

35 __ Plaines, Illinois : DES

Des Plaines is a suburb of Chicago that is located next to O’Hare International Airport. The city is named for the Des Plaines river that runs through the area.

36 Jobless, in a way: Abbr. : RET

Retired (ret.)

39 Archipelago part : ISLE

“Archipelago” is our spelling of the Italian “arcipelago”, a word that has Greek roots. The Aegean Sea was once known as the Archipelago. The usage of “Archipelago” migrated over time, eventually applying only to the Aegean Islands. As a result, we use the term “archipelago” today not for a sea, but for a group or chain of islands.

40 Govt. crash investigator : NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for the investigation of major accidents involving transportation. Included in this broad definition is the transportation of fluids in pipelines. The organization is independent in that it has no ties to other government agencies or departments so that its investigations can be viewed as “impartial”. The NTSB also earns a little money for the US as it hires out its investigation teams to countries who don’t have the necessary resources available on their own soil.

52 Ring-shaped reef : ATOLL

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring that encloses a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically, an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside inside the circling coral reef.

53 Group of jurors : PANEL

A jury is a group of people who have sworn to render a verdict. The term “jury” comes into English via French, ultimately from the Latin “iurare” meaning “to swear”.

54 Helps in a heist : ABETS

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

57 Jr. challenge : PSAT

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

60 Pinot alternative : CAB

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

62 GPS display : RTE

A global positioning system (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).

63 Scheduling abbr. : TBA

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

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Andre with eight Grand Slam wins : AGASSI
7 Russell of “The Americans” : KERI
11 Indian state in the Western Ghats : GOA
14 Lanai furniture material : RATTAN
15 “You said it!” : AMEN!
16 Furthermore : AND
17 Make Todd stay home after a “Meet the Press” blooper? : GROUND CHUCK
19 Untruth : LIE
20 Large planter : URN
21 Barnacle spot : KEEL
22 Hoofbeat sound : CLOP
23 “Breath, __, Memory”: Edwidge Danticat novel : EYES
25 Refuse to let Wood exhibit “American Gothic”? : BLOCK GRANT
29 LEGO buys : KITS
31 Long-necked waders : HERONS
32 Iberian peninsula country : SPAIN
35 Bigelow or DuVernay : DIRECTOR
37 “__ we meet again” : ‘TIL
38 Make Garfunkel pay for breaking a recording contract? : FINE ART
41 Regret : RUE
42 Hands over : ENTRUSTS
44 Luxor’s country : EGYPT
46 Folklore monsters : TROLLS
47 Lavish party : GALA
49 Donate twice as much as Gates? : DOUBLE BILL
51 Family nickname : PAPA
55 MLB stat : RBIS
56 Retain : KEEP
58 Filing aid : TAB
59 “You got it” : YES
60 Maneuver Phillips into telling how he got the “Dateline NBC” job? : CORNER STONE
64 “Mangia!” : EAT!
65 “Motor Trend” topic : AUTO
66 Pad of paper : TABLET
67 Med. caregivers : RNS
68 Cook up : BREW
69 Uses delaying tactics : STALLS

Down

1 Quarrel : ARGUE
2 “Lincoln at Gettysburg” Pulitzer winner Wills : GARRY
3 Square things : ATONE
4 Disco __ of “The Simpsons” : STU
5 Went to the bottom : SANK
6 Behind, so to speak : IN DEBT
7 “The Two Fridas” painter : KAHLO
8 Bird that won’t fly away : EMU
9 __ room : REC
10 HP product : INK
11 Valor : GALLANTRY
12 Bowlful often topped with melted Gruyère : ONION SOUP
13 Skilled (at) : ADEPT
18 Animator’s sheets : CELS
22 Gator kin : CROC
24 Need a lift, maybe : SKI
26 __ seed pudding : CHIA
27 Golden State Warriors coach Steve : KERR
28 Storybook sister : GRETEL
30 Completely : IN FULL
32 Sault __ Marie : STE
33 Speckled legume : PINTO BEAN
34 Humanitarians : ALTRUISTS
35 __ Plaines, Illinois : DES
36 Jobless, in a way: Abbr. : RET
39 Archipelago part : ISLE
40 Govt. crash investigator : NTSB
43 Steals from : ROBS
45 Opening : GAP
47 High spirits : GLEE
48 Phone notifications : ALERTS
49 Laundry appliance : DRYER
50 “No need to remind me” : I KNOW
52 Ring-shaped reef : ATOLL
53 Group of jurors : PANEL
54 Helps in a heist : ABETS
57 Jr. challenge : PSAT
60 Pinot alternative : CAB
61 Sharing word : OUR
62 GPS display : RTE
63 Scheduling abbr. : TBA

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 May 22, Wednesday”

  1. No errors, no lookups. I was sort of working this one from the
    bottom up and once I got “cornerstone” the theme was evident
    and the rest went fast.

  2. Very clever puzzle in my opinion. I don’t time myself but definitely done in under 10 minutes, which is great for me! Felt like a Monday puzzle! 😂
    Enjoy the day! 😊

  3. 13:35 – no errors or lookups. Revision: KISS>EYES.

    New items: GOA, “Edwidge Danticat,” GARRY Wills, “Disco” STU, Steve KERR.

    Easy theme.

  4. Gates and his wife Melinda are divorced.

    And it’s author Garry Wills not Willis.

    My question is this. How far in advance do you do this blog?

  5. 6:59, 1 lookup for the Edwidge Danticat novel, as the crossing of a title and a name had me stumped.

    Amusing theme.

  6. Mostly easy Wednesday for me; took 13:24 with no peeks or errors. Funny and helpful theme. Vaguely remembered KERI from past puzzles, when KuRt didn’t seem to work. Struggled a bit in the NW corner with GARRY, ATONE and EYES to get to the finish.

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