LA Times Crossword 30 May 22, Monday

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Constructed by: Catherine Cetta
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tree Huggers

Themed answers each HUG (include) a TREE as a hidden word:

  • 55A Nature lovers, and what the answers to the starred clues literally are : TREE HUGGERS
  • 20A *Mahalia Jackson’s genre : GOSPEL MUSIC (hugging “ELM”)
  • 29A *Colorful top with a tropical design : ALOHA SHIRT (hugging “ASH”)
  • 45A *Trial figure who can give a firsthand account : EYEWITNESS (hugging “YEW”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Dart around like a hummingbird : FLIT

Hummingbirds are the smallest of all the birds. The bee hummingbird is native to Cuba and weighs less than a tenth of an ounce and is about two inches in length!

9 Dark drink with fizz : COLA

The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. The first sales were in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, where a glass of the new beverage sold for five cents. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

15 Like tinned sardines : OILY

Sardines are oily fish related to herrings. Sardines are also known as pilchards, although in the UK “sardine” is a noun reserved for a young pilchard. Very confusing …

16 Las Vegas WNBA team : ACES

The Las Vegas Aces women’s basketball team was formed in Salt Lake City in 1997 as the Utah Starzz. The team became the San Antonio (Silver) Stars in 2002, before moving to Las Vegas as the Aces in 2018.

17 “Drive Happy” car rental company : ALAMO

The third-largest car rental company in recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

19 School gps. : PTAS

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

20 *Mahalia Jackson’s genre : GOSPEL MUSIC (hugging “ELM”)

Mahalia Jackson was an African-American gospel singer who was known as the first Queen of Gospel Music. She recorded many records, including 12 that went gold, i.e. sold more than a million copies each.

Elms are a genus of tree comprising 30-40 different species. Sadly, most elm trees in the world have died in recent decades due to the spread of Dutch elm disease.

24 “Passing” actress Thompson : TESSA

Tessa Thompson is an actress from Los Angeles who is known for playing the supporting role of Jackie Cook on the TV show “Veronica Mars”, and for playing student leader Diane Nash in the 2014 film “Selma”. She also portrays superheroine Valkyrie in movies based on Marvel Comics characters.

“Passing” is a powerful 2021 film based on a 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen. The title is a reference to “passing”, which occurs when a member of one racial group is perceived as (passes as) a member of another. The primary use of the term was in the US, describing a black or brown person who passed for white in order to avoid racial segregation and discrimination. The cast of the movie “Passing” is led by actors Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.

25 “Friendly” cartoon ghost : CASPER

Casper the Friendly Ghost features in a whole series of cartoon shorts made by Famous Studios. Casper made the big time in 1995 when he appeared in his own “Casper” movie, alongside Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman and Eric Idle.

27 Abbr. between names : AKA

Also known as (aka)

29 *Colorful top with a tropical design : ALOHA SHIRT (hugging “ASH”)

The wood of the ash tree is hardwood, although it is relatively elastic. Famously, ash is the wood of choice for baseball bats. It is also the wood of choice for hurleys, the wooden sticks used in the Irish sport of hurling.

38 Greek storyteller who coined “sour grapes” : AESOP

Our expression “sour grapes” is used to describe a negative attitude adopted by somebody towards something just because that person can’t have the thing himself or herself. The phrase alludes to one of Aesop’s fables, the story of “The Fox and the Grapes”. In the fable, a squirrel could climb up to grapes high in a tree that a fox was unsuccessful in getting to. On seeing this, the fox said, “It’s okay, the grapes were sour anyway”.

42 German steel city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

44 Current influence on the weather? : EL NINO

When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more than half a degree celsius, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

45 *Trial figure who can give a firsthand account : EYEWITNESS (hugging “YEW”)

Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

49 “__ Is a Woman”: Ariana Grande song : GOD

“God Is a Woman” is a 2018 song co-written and released by Ariana Grande.

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four seasons on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

50 Hair gel alternative : MOUSSE

Our word “mousse” is an Old French term meaning “froth”.

51 Joyous song : PAEAN

A paean is a poem or song that expresses triumph or thanksgiving. “Paean” comes from the ancient Greek “paian” meaning “song of triumph”.

54 Wrinkly pup : PUG

The pug is a dog breed of Chinese origin. Our current family pet is a boxer/pug cross, and is a good-looking mutt!

60 Actor Guinness : ALEC

Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”. He won his only Best Actor Oscar for playing Colonel Nicholson in the marvelous 1957 WWII movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. Guinness did himself serve during the Second World War, in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. He commanded a landing craft during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

62 Cathedral section : NAVE

In large Christian churches, the nave is the main approach to the altar, and is where most of the congregation are seated.

65 Mouse mover : USER

The computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

66 Rational believer : DEIST

Deism (from the Latin “deus” meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason, and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention and rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to its own devices.

67 Stiletto, for one : HEEL

The stiletto knife was developed in Italy, and is a knife intended for thrusting and stabbing as opposed to slashing and cutting. The term “stiletto” comes from the Latin “stilus”, which was a thin pointed writing instrument used in ancient Rome to engrave wax or clay tablets. And, there are also stiletto heels on some women’s shoes, heels that are long and thin.

69 One-named singer from County Donegal : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

Ireland is divided into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. “Ulster” is sometimes used as a synonym for “Northern Ireland”, but in fact Ulster comprises the six counties of Northern Ireland and three more, namely Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

Down

2 “__ & Stitch” : LILO

“Lilo & Stitch” was released by Disney in 2002. Compared to other Disney feature-length cartoons, “Lilo & Stitch” was relatively cheaply produced, using the voices of lesser-known actors. One interesting change had to take place in the storyline during production, when Lilo was meant to fly a Jumbo Jet through downtown Honolulu in one sequence. This was replaced with a sequence using a spaceship instead, as the producers were sensitive to public sentiment after the September 11 attacks.

4 City between Phoenix and Mesa : TEMPE

Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.

5 Like most proms : FORMAL
22 Unlike most proms : CASUAL

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

6 In __ of : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

9 Mushroom top : CAP

A mushroom isn’t a complete living organism per se but rather is one part of a fungus, and is the fruiting body that is responsible for distributing reproductive spores. The mushroom generally has three main components: the stipe (or “stem”), the pileus (or “cap”) and the lamellae (or “gills”) under the cap which distribute the spores.

10 Sea creatures with eight arms : OCTOPI

The name “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …

14 Female deer : DOES

A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to as a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and the females called cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …

21 Aspiring atty.’s exam : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

28 “Cobra __”: Netflix series based on “The Karate Kid” : KAI

“Cobra Kai” is a TV show that premiered in 2018 that is a sequel to “The Karate Kid” series of films, the first of which was released in 1984. Actor Ralph Macchio reprises his role from the movies, playing protagonist Daniel LaRusso. William Zabka also reprises his role from the big screen, playing Johnny Lawrence, LaRusso’s rival in karate competitions. The title of the show “Cobra Kai” is the name of the karate dojo in which Johnny Lawrence trained as a youth, and which he decides to reopen 34 years later.

30 Just like ewe : OVINE

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

34 Pass that leads to a successful basket : ASSIST

That would be basketball.

37 Signing-ceremony memento : PEN

It is common practice for a US president to use more than one pen to sign a bill into law. The pens are then distributed to key figures involved in bringing the law into effect. The first president to use multiple pens to sign a bill was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The most pens used in one signing was by President Lyndon Johnson, who used 72 pens to sign the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Not everyone sticks to the multiple-pen tradition though. President George W. Bush never used more than one pen at a time to sign a bill into law.

40 Singer Yoko : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great firebombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

41 Okra unit : POD

The plant known as okra is mainly grown for its edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.

43 Breastbone : STERNUM

“Sternum” (plural “sterna”) is the Latin name for the breastbone. “Sternon” is a Greek word for “chest, breastbone”.

44 Biblical twin : ESAU

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).

45 One who feels another’s pain : EMPATH

“Sympathy” and “empathy” are related but different terms. A person exhibiting sympathy acknowledges another person’s emotional distress. A person exhibiting empathy also acknowledges distress, but understands the emotions felt as they have had a similar experience, or can at least put themselves in the shoes of the person affected.

47 Oregon city on the Willamette : EUGENE

Eugene is the second-largest city in Oregon (after Portland). The city is named for its founder, Eugene Franklin Skinner. Skinner arrived in the area in 1846, after which the settlement he established was called Skinner’s Mudhole. The name was changed to Eugene City in 1852, which was shortened to Eugene in 1889.

59 Spanish miss: Abbr. : SRTA

“Señorita” (Srta.) is Spanish, and “Mademoiselle” (Mlle.) is French, for “Miss”.

61 Cartoon frame : CEL

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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Dart around like a hummingbird : FLIT
5 Like 9-Across that has lost its fizz : FLAT
9 Dark drink with fizz : COLA
13 Easier to write neatly on, probably : LINED
15 Like tinned sardines : OILY
16 Las Vegas WNBA team : ACES
17 “Drive Happy” car rental company : ALAMO
18 Harvest : REAP
19 School gps. : PTAS
20 *Mahalia Jackson’s genre : GOSPEL MUSIC (hugging “ELM”)
23 Poem of praise : ODE
24 “Passing” actress Thompson : TESSA
25 “Friendly” cartoon ghost : CASPER
27 Abbr. between names : AKA
29 *Colorful top with a tropical design : ALOHA SHIRT (hugging “ASH”)
32 Contributor with deep pockets : FAT CAT
35 Esteem : VALUE
36 Layers on tall wedding cakes : TIERS
37 Orchestra __ : PIT
38 Greek storyteller who coined “sour grapes” : AESOP
42 German steel city : ESSEN
44 Current influence on the weather? : EL NINO
45 *Trial figure who can give a firsthand account : EYEWITNESS (hugging “YEW”)
49 “__ Is a Woman”: Ariana Grande song : GOD
50 Hair gel alternative : MOUSSE
51 Joyous song : PAEAN
54 Wrinkly pup : PUG
55 Nature lovers, and what the answers to the starred clues literally are : TREE HUGGERS
60 Actor Guinness : ALEC
62 Cathedral section : NAVE
63 Passion : ARDOR
64 Fork prong : TINE
65 Mouse mover : USER
66 Rational believer : DEIST
67 Stiletto, for one : HEEL
68 “A __ formality” : MERE
69 One-named singer from County Donegal : ENYA

Down

1 Mark as important : FLAG
2 “__ & Stitch” : LILO
3 Too worked up to relax : IN A STATE
4 City between Phoenix and Mesa : TEMPE
5 Like most proms : FORMAL
6 In __ of : LIEU
7 Word of sorrow : ALAS
8 “You’re so predictable” : TYPICAL
9 Mushroom top : CAP
10 Sea creatures with eight arms : OCTOPI
11 Front-runner : LEADER
12 Stand up for (oneself) : ASSERT
14 Female deer : DOES
21 Aspiring atty.’s exam : LSAT
22 Unlike most proms : CASUAL
26 High shine : SHEEN
27 To the rear, at sea : AFT
28 “Cobra __”: Netflix series based on “The Karate Kid” : KAI
30 Just like ewe : OVINE
31 Beret, e.g. : HAT
33 Rowing teams : CREWS
34 Pass that leads to a successful basket : ASSIST
37 Signing-ceremony memento : PEN
39 Entered a username, say : SIGNED IN
40 Singer Yoko : ONO
41 Okra unit : POD
43 Breastbone : STERNUM
44 Biblical twin : ESAU
45 One who feels another’s pain : EMPATH
46 “That’s not true!” : YOU LIE!
47 Oregon city on the Willamette : EUGENE
48 Orb : SPHERE
52 “My stars!” : EGAD!
53 Match, as subjects and verbs : AGREE
56 Alleviate : EASE
57 “Don’t you __ stop!?” : EVER
58 Pinkish : ROSY
59 Spanish miss: Abbr. : SRTA
61 Cartoon frame : CEL

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 May 22, Monday”

  1. Bill, in your writeup for TESSA, you have “raial” instead of “racial” I believe.

    Good writeup anyway. I appreciate these writeups.

    No errors. … but nothing about Memorial day? I hope for those with the day off, you appreciate all our fallen military veterans

    1. Mike, I couldn’t agree more about taking the time today to remember our fallen military veterans. And all the rest of those who served. Too bad the puzzle didn’t relect that.

  2. Getting the hang of solving online, as we don’t get a paper on
    Monday. Today, no errors, no lookups.

  3. 7:58 – no errors, lookups, or revisions.

    New item: “Ariana Grande song”

    Interesting to have clues of Like & Unlike most proms.

    The theme was so-so.

  4. Nice and quick Monday for me; took 7:57 with no peeks or errors. Worked the downs first, so I missed some of the obscure across clues.

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