LA Times Crossword 3 May 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Catherine Cetta
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bookends

We have a type of BOOK split up between the ENDS of each themed answer:

  • 61A Items found on library shelves, and what are literally found in each set of circled letters : BOOKENDS
  • 17A “Almost!” : NOT QUITE! (giving “NO-TEbook”)
  • 22A Bargain hunter’s event : RUMMAGE SALE (giving “RU-LE book”)
  • 38A Rush hour woe : COMMUTER TRAFFIC (giving “COM-IC book”)
  • 49A Lingers : HANGS AROUND (giving “HA-NDbook)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Prickly desert plants : CACTI

The cactus (plural “cacti”) is a member of a family of plants that are particularly well-adapted to extremely dry environments. Almost all cacti are native to the Americas, although some succulent plants from the old world are similar in appearance and are often mislabeled as “cacti”.

6 Oolong and rooibos : TEAS

The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon” or “dark dragon”.

Red tea is made from the leaves of the South African rooibos plant. The name “rooibos” translates as “red bush”.

10 “The Problem With __”: documentary about Indian stereotypes on “The Simpsons” : APU

“The Problem with Apu” is a 2017 documentary that explores the use of racial stereotypes by focusing on the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from the animated sitcom “The Simpsons”. The film was written by and stars American stand-up comedian Hari Kondabolu.

19 “Gorillas in the Mist” animal : APE

The tailless primates known as apes (also “hominoids”) are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

“Gorillas in the Mist” is a 1988 film that tells the story of naturalist Dian Fossey’s work with mountain gorillas in Rwanda. The movie is based on Fossey’s 1983 book of the same name, and features Sigourney Weaver playing the lead.

22 Bargain hunter’s event : RUMMAGE SALE

The verb “to rummage”, meaning “to search thoroughly”, has an interesting history. Back in the 16th century, a “rummage” was the act of arranging cargo in a ship. In the early 17th century, the verb “to rummage” was introduced, originally meaning to search thoroughly (the hold of a ship). It should be noted that rummaging usually involves moving things around. The first “rummage sales” were used to sell off unclaimed goods at docks. Over time, rummage sales became opportunities to dispose of unwanted items, usually in aid of a charity.

27 Majestic homes : PALACES

Our word “palace” ultimately comes from the name of Rome’s Palatine Hill, “Mons Palatinus” in Latin. The original “palace” was the house of Augustus Caesar, which stood on the Palatine Hill.

36 News inits. : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a fraction of that workforce.

37 __ Beds National Monument : LAVA

Lava Beds National Monument is located in northeastern California in the Cascade Range. I’ve visited the park several times and it is replete with lava tube caves. If you want to visit, bring a flashlight …

38 Rush hour woe : COMMUTER TRAFFIC

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

42 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.

44 Iona College athletes : GAELS

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”.

45 Major plot twist in “The Wizard of Oz”? : TORNADO

In the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, the tornado scene ended up costing more money than any other special effect in the whole film. The tornado itself was a 35′ tall muslin sock suspended from a gantry that could move the “twister” during the shoot. The bottom of the sock could also be moved, as it was attached to a rod below the sound-stage. Fuller’s earth was poured into the sock and was blown around by compressed air creating the dust storm effect, and hiding the muslin sock.

47 Happy __ clam : AS A

Our phrase “happy as a clam” dates back to the mid-1600s. Back then it was a more lengthy expression: “happy as a clam in the mud at high tide”. The idea was that a clam would be happy in its muddy home at high tide, because no one from land could get to it and eat it.

59 Syst. with hand gestures : ASL

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

67 Hairstyle that may be maintained by a professional “loctician” : DREADS

Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair that are usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.

A loctician is a person specializing in the creation, styling and maintenance of dreadlocks (“locs”).

70 “R u for real?” : SRSLY?

“Srsly?” is text-speak for “seriously?”

Down

1 Resort island in the Ionian Sea : CORFU

Corfu is an island in the very northwest of Greece, and is located in the Ionian Sea. Corfu is a very, very popular vacation destination for European tourists, particularly those from the UK, Scandinavia and Germany.

The Ionian Sea is that part of the Mediterranean lying between Greece and the southern part of Italy (under the sole of the “boot”). The Ionian Sea is one of the most seismically active regions on the planet.

2 First-stringers : A-TEAM

We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first broke.

3 __ City: Baltimore’s nickname : CHARM

Baltimore, Maryland adopted the nickname “Charm City” back in 1975. The name was chosen by a group of advertisers whose goal was to improve the city’s image.

The Maryland city of Baltimore was founded in 1729. It took its name from Baltimore County, which had been founded 70 years earlier. The “Baltimore” name was chosen in honor of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore who was the proprietor of the Province of Maryland. The peerage was named for Baltimore Manor in County Longford, in the Irish midlands.

4 Skin art, for short : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

7 Roxy Music co-founder Brian : ENO

Roxy Music is a British band formed by Bryan Ferry, who also served as the lead singer. One of the group’s more famous former band members was Brian Eno, someone who turns up in crosswords far too often …

8 “__-Man and the Wasp” : ANT

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a 2018 superhero film in the Marvel Comics Universe. It is a sequel to the 2015 film “Ant-Man”, and stars Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in the title roles.

11 Transportation Secretary Buttigieg : PETE

Politician Pete Buttigieg is a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and an unsuccessful candidate for US president in 2020 Democratic Party primaries. He is a Harvard graduate and also graduated from Oxford, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. He served as an intelligence officer in the US Navy Reserve for eight years, and was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months in 2014. He was appointed as Secretary of Transportation in the Biden administration in 2021, making him the first openly gay cabinet secretary in the history of the US.

13 Polaris or Betelgeuse : STAR

Because the orientation of the Earth’s axis shifts, albeit very slowly, the position of north relative to the stars changes over time. The bright star that is closest to true north is Polaris, and so we call Polaris the “North Star” or “Pole Star”. 14,000 years ago, the nearest bright star to true north was Vega, and it will be so again in about 12,000 years time.

We can locate the North Star using the constellation known familiarly as “the Big Dipper”. If we draw an imaginary line from the two outermost stars at the front of the dipper/ladle, that line passes through the North Star. The distance between the top of the dipper and the North Star is seven times the length of the front of the dipper. And, the North Star forms the outer tip of the handle of the Little Dipper.

The very recognizable constellation of Orion is named for the Greek god Orion, the Hunter. If you take a look at the star in Orion’s “right shoulder”, the second brightest star in the constellation, you might notice that it is quite red in color. This is the famous star called Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, a huge star that is on its way out. Betelgeuse is expected to explode into a supernova within the next thousand years or so. You don’t want to miss that …

15 Part of RBI : RUN

Run batted in (RBI)

20 Chapel bench : PEW

A pew is a church bench, usually one with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

23 Rights advocacy org. : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War. It grew out of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (CLB) that was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

24 Datebook entry: Abbr. : APPT

Appointment (appt.)

28 Communications code word for “A” : ALFA

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

32 “Rhyme Pays” rapper : ICE-T

“Rhyme Pays” is a 1987 album released by musician Ice-T. It was the rapper’s first studio album, and is considered in retrospect to be perhaps the album that defined the genre now known as “gangsta rap”.

33 Knucklehead : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and the dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1662) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

34 Dubai dignitary : EMIR

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy.

36 http follower : URL

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

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

40 Musk of SpaceX : ELON

Elon Musk is a successful businessman who has founded or led some very high-profile companies, namely PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Musk received a lot of publicity in early 2018 during a test launch by SpaceX of the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. A Tesla Roadster belonging to Musk was carried into space as a dummy payload.

41 Seaweed gelatin : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

48 Light lunches : SALADS

Our word “salad” comes from the Latin “salare” meaning “to salt”. The Latin “herba salata” translates as “salted vegetables”, which I guess could be a salad …

51 Fertile desert spots : OASES

The most famous oasis in the US is … Las Vegas, which is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

52 Garden-variety : USUAL

On the other side of the pond, something quite ordinary can be described as “common or garden”, a phrase that has been in use since the 17th century. It is likely that the original “common or garden” was a variety of plant so ubiquitous that it was found both on the “commons” (community land) and in “gardens”. On this side of the Atlantic, we use the sister term “garden-variety”, which might be derivative of its English relative.

53 Square : NERDY

The term “square” was introduced as jazz slang in the US in the mid-1940s, with the meaning “old-fashioned, conventional”. Apparently, the reference is to the traditional square-shape gesture made by someone conducting a regular four-beat rhythm.

55 “Mamma Mia!” pop group : ABBA

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

56 Boor : LOUT

Back in the early 1500s, a boor was a rustic person, a peasant farmer, someone associated with the countryside. The term “boor” ultimately comes from the Latin “bos” meaning “cow, ox”. By the mid-1500s, someone described as boorish was considered rude in manner, which is our usage today.

62 Word before a maiden name : NEE …

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, Melania Trump née Knavs, and Jill Biden née Jacobs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Prickly desert plants : CACTI
6 Oolong and rooibos : TEAS
10 “The Problem With __”: documentary about Indian stereotypes on “The Simpsons” : APU
13 In order to : SO THAT
14 Puts on edge : UNNERVES
16 Springs for dinner : TREATS
17 “Almost!” : NOT QUITE!
18 Distant : AFAR
19 “Gorillas in the Mist” animal : APE
21 Answering to : UNDER
22 Bargain hunter’s event : RUMMAGE SALE
26 Dairy farm animal : COW
27 Majestic homes : PALACES
32 As good as it gets : IDEAL
36 News inits. : UPI
37 __ Beds National Monument : LAVA
38 Rush hour woe : COMMUTER TRAFFIC
42 Actress Falco : EDIE
43 “I’m __ ears!” : ALL
44 Iona College athletes : GAELS
45 Major plot twist in “The Wizard of Oz”? : TORNADO
47 Happy __ clam : AS A
49 Lingers : HANGS AROUND
55 Permit : ALLOW
59 Syst. with hand gestures : ASL
60 Away from shore : ASEA
61 Items found on library shelves, and what are literally found in each set of circled letters : BOOKENDS
64 Ludicrous : ABSURD
66 Response to someone saying 65-Down, perhaps : BUNDLE UP
67 Hairstyle that may be maintained by a professional “loctician” : DREADS
68 Had a bite : ATE
69 Relay race segments : LEGS
70 “R u for real?” : SRSLY?

Down

1 Resort island in the Ionian Sea : CORFU
2 First-stringers : A-TEAM
3 __ City: Baltimore’s nickname : CHARM
4 Skin art, for short : TAT
5 “We’re on!” : IT’S A GO!
6 Melodies : TUNES
7 Roxy Music co-founder Brian : ENO
8 “__-Man and the Wasp” : ANT
9 Title with a “II,” maybe : SEQUEL
10 Passionate : AVID
11 Transportation Secretary Buttigieg : PETE
12 Icon tapper : USER
13 Polaris or Betelgeuse : STAR
15 Part of RBI : RUN
20 Chapel bench : PEW
23 Rights advocacy org. : ACLU
24 Datebook entry: Abbr. : APPT
25 Wild animal’s home : LAIR
28 Communications code word for “A” : ALFA
29 Casual eatery : CAFE
30 Really, really bad : EVIL
31 Biological pouches : SACS
32 “Rhyme Pays” rapper : ICE-T
33 Knucklehead : DODO
34 Dubai dignitary : EMIR
35 “Right on!” : AMEN!
36 http follower : URL
39 “And here it is!” : TA-DA!
40 Musk of SpaceX : ELON
41 Seaweed gelatin : AGAR
46 “Can’t be helped” : AH WELL
47 Pack animal : ASS
48 Light lunches : SALADS
50 “Oh my gosh!” reactions : GASPS
51 Fertile desert spots : OASES
52 Garden-variety : USUAL
53 Square : NERDY
54 Both parents, in some families : DADS
55 “Mamma Mia!” pop group : ABBA
56 Boor : LOUT
57 Only : LONE
58 Approved, briefly : OK’D
62 Word before a maiden name : NEE …
63 Really grooved on : DUG
65 “It’s c-c-cold” : BRR

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 May 22, Tuesday”

  1. Messed up on 10A . I can never remember if it’s ABU or APU. I went with ABU. Didn’t know Mr Buttigieg or his first name. I guess BETE doesn’t sound like a first name. I didn’t think about it until now.

    My pen doesn’t have a very good spellchecker.

  2. I don’t understand why you don’t have an explanation for ALL the clues….EXAMPLE in today’s puzzle: 70 ACROSS.

  3. 16:00 no errors…having live d there all my life…3D, I can tell you it ain’t .
    Stay safe😀

  4. @Culver – He did!

    I had to Google for Buttigieg’s first name. I got hung up on spelling and pronouncing his last name, that I forgot to learn hist first name.
    Otherwise, Tuesday easy.

  5. SERIOUSLY?

    14:xx for me today, no cheats, no googles, no checks, SERIOUSLY, so
    SRSLY happy otherwise….

  6. 15D answer bugs me. Always heard/read RBI = “runS” batted in. MLB.com agrees. Wouldn’t be much point in keeping a stat on “run batted in.”

    1. Depends on context. As a stat *category*, you are correct. But you can say, for example, “That’s an RBI single for [batter], as [baserunner] comes in to score … ” [meaning ONE RBI not multiple]

  7. 5:33

    Fun theme. Nice to see lots of books.

    @T. Culver, SRSLY is a standard text abbrev. for “Seriously?”

  8. 10:14 – no errors or lookups. Revisions: CAPRI>CORFU, ADDR>APPT.

    New items: “rooibos,” “Iona College athletes” (although I know of GAELS as an ethnicity), CHARM City, “Rhyme Pays” (although I knew of Ice T), “loctician” seems to be a new word for me.

    A decent theme, but did not help with solving the puzzle.

  9. 9 minutes 16 seconds, with a lot of time wasted because my keyboard was going wonky and kept moving the square I thought I was typing into.

    A couple of dodgy clues, like “Can’t be helped” for AH WELL, but otherwise fine for Tuesday. Like seeing a new name on the byline.

  10. Good time for me one day I will beat Bill.Since I’m a big texter srsly I just left cause I had no idea???

  11. Slightly slow Tuesday for me; took 13:08 with no peeks or errors. Plenty of dancing around and waiting for crosses for a Tuesday, but managed in the end.

    Big fan of 40D’s Tesla and Space X; not so much everything else…

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