LA Times Crossword 31 May 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Ed Beckert
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Sugarcoat

Themed answers are each SWEETER (SUGARCOATED) ways of expressing the corresponding clue:

  • 37A Make sweeter, in the way the theme answers do to their starred clues? : SUGARCOAT
  • 16A *Shabby and dated : RETRO CHIC
  • 23A *Tunes for fogies : CLASSIC ROCK
  • 56A *Blubber : LOVE HANDLES
  • 64A *Hopelessly out of touch : OLD SCHOOL

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

Bill’s time: 5m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Antlered deer : STAG

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 …

The antlers on a deer come to points. The higher the number of points, the more prized the head of the deer as a trophy, so I am told …

9 Transfer to a new city, informally : RELO

Relocate (relo)

14 “__ Wolf and Cub”: manga series : LONE

“Lone Wolf and Cub” is a series of graphic novels that were first published in 1970. They are very successful examples of the manga genre, and spawned several movies, plays and a TV series.

15 Wi-Fi device : MODEM

A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line, a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode digital information. At the other end of the line, a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

“Wi-Fi” is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with “Wi-Fi” has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other. The name “Wi-Fi” suggests “Wireless Fidelity”, although apparently the term was never intended to mean anything at all.

19 French farewell : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

22 The Big Apple, for short : NYC

Apparently, the first published use of the term “Big Apple” to describe New York City dates back to 1909. Edward Martin wrote the following in his book “The Wayfarer in New York”:

Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city. . . . It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap.

Over ten years later, the term “big apple” was used as a nickname for racetracks in and around New York City. However, the concerted effort to “brand” the city as the Big Apple had to wait until the seventies and was the work of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau.

23 *Tunes for fogies : CLASSIC ROCK

An old fogey is someone with old-fashioned ideas, and is usually more advanced in years. The term “fogey”(sometimes “fogy”) comes to us from the Scottish “foggie”, which back in the late 1700s described an army pensioner or veteran.

29 Spanish Mrs. : SRA

The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).

30 Issa of “Insecure” : RAE

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

“Insecure” is a comedy-drama TV show that premiered in 2016. It is co-written by and stars Issa Rae, who also created the comedy web series “Awkward Black Girl” on which “Insecure” is based.

31 Genesis garden : EDEN

According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

33 Word between surnames : 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.

44 Actor Lowe : ROB

Actor Rob Lowe is one of the “founding members” of the so-called Brat Pack, having appeared in the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire”. More recently, he played a regular character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. My favorite of his roles though, was playing Sam Seaborn on Aaron Sorkin’s great drama series “The West Wing”. When “The West Wing” first aired, Seaborn was billed as the show’s main character, but outstanding performances from the rest of the cast and some great writing meant that Lowe’s role became “one of many”. This led to some dissatisfaction on Lowe’s part, and eventually he quit the show.

45 MLB team in the ESPN documentary “Once Upon a Time in Queens” : METS

“Once Upon a Time in Queens” is a 4-part episode in the ESPN documentary series “30 For 30”. It examines the celebrated 1986 season of the New York Mets MLB team, in which they won the World Series.

53 Note from one who’s shy? : IOU

I owe you (IOU)

55 Museum collection : ART

The term “museum” comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” that denoted a temple dedicated to the “Muses”. The Muses were the patrons of the arts in Greek mythology.

59 Sturgeon product : ROE

Sturgeons are sometimes classed a primitive fish, meaning that their characteristic features are relatively unchanged when compared to the earliest fossil records. Several species of sturgeon are farmed for their roe, which is made into caviar.

60 Hot, dust-laden Saharan wind : SIROCCO

A sirocco is a warm, dry and often dusty wind that originates in the Arabian or Sahara desert, and blows across the Mediterranean onto the Southern European coast.

61 Island south of Sicily : MALTA

The island state of Malta is relatively small (122 square miles), but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta’s strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the “ball” being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.

67 Apple desktops : IMACS

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

70 Gael, for one : CELT

The Celts are a very broad group of people across Europe who are linked by common languages. The original Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in Britain and Ireland. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France.

A Gael is anyone of a race that speaks or spoke one of the Erse tongues. There are actually three Erse languages. Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

72 “This Is Us” role for Susan Kelechi Watson : BETH

Actress Susan Kelechi Watson is best known for her television work, with recurring roles on the comedy-drama “Louie” (playing Louie’s ex-wife Janet) and on the family drama “This Is Us” (playing Beth Pearson).

“This Is Us” is a television drama that debuted in 2016. The storyline centers on three siblings and their parents. Two of the siblings are the surviving members of a triplet pregnancy. The parents decide to adopt a child born on the same day as the surviving siblings. The adopting family is white, and the adopted child is black.

Down

4 “Sommersby” actor Richard : GERE

Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet. Gere has been married twice; to supermodel Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995, and to model/actress Carey Lowell from 2002 until 2016. Gere’s breakthrough role was as the male lead in the 1980 film “American Gigolo”.

The 1993 romantic drama “Sommersby” stars Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. The film is about an imposter who returns after the Civil War and moves in with a woman while claiming to be her husband. The real husband returns, and things get very rancorous. I know it sounds implausible, but the storyline is based on true events that took place in France in the 1500s.

5 Pampering, for short : TLC

Tender loving care (TLC)

Back in the late 1500s. The verb “to pamper” meant “to cram with food”. Over time, the usage evolved into meaning “to overindulge”.

7 Condo divisions : UNITS

The terms “condominium” and “apartment” tend to describe the same type of residential property, namely a private living space with facilities shared with others residing in the same building or complex. The difference is that a condominium is usually owned, and an apartment is rented. At least that’s how it is in the US. The word “condominium” comes from the Latin “com-” (together) and “dominum” (right of ownership).

8 Classroom break : RECESS

To recess is to go back, to retreat. The use of the noun “recess” to mean “period of stopping from usual work” dates back to the early 1600s. This usage might stem from the action of parliamentarians “recessing” into, returning to private chambers.

9 Tennis great Federer : ROGER

Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer is married to former tennis pro Mirka Vavrinec. The couple are parents to two sets of twins.

10 Cosmopolitan group? : EDITORS

“Cosmopolitan” magazine was first published way back in 1886! It started out life as a family magazine, then as a literary publication. “Cosmo” took its present form as a women’s magazine in the 1960s.

12 Short “Good grief!” : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

15 Eyelash application : MASCARA

Variants of mascara have been around a long time, and certainly there was a similar substance in use in ancient Egypt. “Mascara” is a Spanish word meaning “stain, mask”.

21 “Bel-__”: 2022 drama series based on a 1990s sitcom : AIR

“Bel-Air” is a TV drama that started airing in 2022. It is a reboot of the famed show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” that was broadcast in the 1990s. Will Smith played a fictionalized version of himself in the original. In the reboot, Smith is played by Jabari Banks.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” sitcom originally ran from 1990 to 1996. It starred Will Smith as a teenager from Philadelphia who arrives in Bel Air to live in a mansion with his wealthy aunt and uncle.

24 “Auld __ Syne” : LANG

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne

32 Govt. intel group : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense (DoD) since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

34 Play a proper noun in Scrabble, say : ERR

The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, and is the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts was born on April 13th, and we now celebrate National Scrabble Day on April 13th each year in his honor.

38 Ultimate results : UPSHOTS

Back in the 1500s, the “up shot” was the final shot in an archery match. We now use the term “upshot” to describe the end result, the conclusion.

41 1950s actor Mineo or 1950s pitcher Maglie : SAL

Actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

Sal Maglie was a professional baseball pitcher, and one of just a few players who played for all three New York teams of his day, namely the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Maglie was known as Sal the Barber because he was said to give “close shaves” to hitters, frequently pitching on the inside.

46 Oft-pierced body part : EARLOBE

Whether an earlobe is free or attached is an example of genetic dominance at play. The dominant gene calls for free earlobes, and the recessive for attached. Among cultural groups, the Japanese and Chinese have a relatively high incidence of attached earlobes, running at about 65% of the population.

51 Cul-de-__ : SAC

Even though “cul-de-sac” can indeed mean “bottom-of-the-bag” in French, the term “cul-de-sac” is of English origin (the use of “cul” in French is actually quite rude). The term was introduced in aristocratic circles at a time when it was considered very fashionable to speak French. Dead-end streets in France are usually signposted with just a symbol and no accompanying words, but if words are included they are “voie sans issue”, meaning “way without exit”.

52 Concertgoer’s “More!” : ENCORE!

“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request perhaps another song. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”

54 “Semper Fi” military org. : USMC

“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “Semper Fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

62 “Moby-Dick” captain : AHAB

In Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” the obsessed Captain Ahab manages with a final effort to lodge his harpoon in the whale’s flesh. He yells out “… to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” With that, the injured whale dives, and Captain Ahab is pulled under to his doom with a loop of the harpoon’s rope wrapped around his neck.

63 POTUS, militarily speaking : CIC

Commander in Chief (CIC)

President of the United States (POTUS)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Antlered deer : STAG
5 Take in the sights : TOUR
9 Transfer to a new city, informally : RELO
13 Run out of steam : TIRE
14 “__ Wolf and Cub”: manga series : LONE
15 Wi-Fi device : MODEM
16 *Shabby and dated : RETRO CHIC
18 Winery process that takes years : AGING
19 French farewell : ADIEU
20 Matching cups, saucers, etc. : TEA SETS
22 The Big Apple, for short : NYC
23 *Tunes for fogies : CLASSIC ROCK
27 Toothpaste option : GEL
28 Possesses : HAS
29 Spanish Mrs. : SRA
30 Issa of “Insecure” : RAE
31 Genesis garden : EDEN
33 Word between surnames : NEE
35 Rough-sounding : RASPY
37 Make sweeter, in the way the theme answers do to their starred clues? : SUGARCOAT
41 Wristwatch part : STRAP
44 Actor Lowe : ROB
45 MLB team in the ESPN documentary “Once Upon a Time in Queens” : METS
49 Bowl over : AWE
50 Opposite of NNW : SSE
53 Note from one who’s shy? : IOU
55 Museum collection : ART
56 *Blubber : LOVE HANDLES
59 Sturgeon product : ROE
60 Hot, dust-laden Saharan wind : SIROCCO
61 Island south of Sicily : MALTA
63 Want very much : COVET
64 *Hopelessly out of touch : OLD SCHOOL
67 Apple desktops : IMACS
68 Honest-to-goodness : REAL
69 Border on : ABUT
70 Gael, for one : CELT
71 Whirlpool : EDDY
72 “This Is Us” role for Susan Kelechi Watson : BETH

Down

1 Odd : STRANGE
2 Like many hand-colored T-shirts : TIE-DYED
3 Magazine story : ARTICLE
4 “Sommersby” actor Richard : GERE
5 Pampering, for short : TLC
6 “Look, fireworks!” : OOH!
7 Condo divisions : UNITS
8 Classroom break : RECESS
9 Tennis great Federer : ROGER
10 Cosmopolitan group? : EDITORS
11 Camera accessory : LENS CAP
12 Short “Good grief!” : OMG!
15 Eyelash application : MASCARA
17 “That hurts!” : OUCH!
21 “Bel-__”: 2022 drama series based on a 1990s sitcom : AIR
24 “Auld __ Syne” : LANG
25 Sailing : ASEA
26 Lock opener : KEY
32 Govt. intel group : NSA
34 Play a proper noun in Scrabble, say : ERR
36 Drive-thru device : ATM
38 Ultimate results : UPSHOTS
39 Spiral : COIL
40 Clarinet kin : OBOE
41 1950s actor Mineo or 1950s pitcher Maglie : SAL
42 Pair : TWOSOME
43 Second or third staging on Broadway, say : REVIVAL
46 Oft-pierced body part : EARLOBE
47 Present proudly : TROT OUT
48 Furtiveness : STEALTH
51 Cul-de-__ : SAC
52 Concertgoer’s “More!” : ENCORE!
54 “Semper Fi” military org. : USMC
57 Raise : ERECT
58 Meted (out) : DOLED
62 “Moby-Dick” captain : AHAB
63 POTUS, militarily speaking : CIC
65 Pop : DAD
66 Underhanded : SLY

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 31 May 22, Tuesday”

  1. No errors. Got stuck at 60A for awhile. Had MOROCCO stuck in my mind and couldn’t see TWOSOME or REVIVAL. I learned my mind and the MOROCCO went away. I learned what a SIROCCO was.

    I also learned what UPSHOT means. I’ve been misusing that term! I thought it meant “the best of the situation”.

  2. I didn’t time myself, but this was probably the fastest-solved
    LAX puzzle I ever managed. No errors or lookups. Fun for a
    change.

  3. 19:10 no errors…I spent a long time in the SW corner because I was not familiar with Sirocco and had yearn, then, crave, then covet for63A and iPads before IMacs 🤪🤪🤪
    Stay safe😀

  4. Once again, finished the puzzle but failed to get the theme. Even after the explanation it took some doing to make it work.

    1. I agree. Even Bill’s explanation for this clue and answer says that the modem transmits info over an analog *line*, whereas Wi-Fi is “a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use *wireless* ….. technology” (Emphasis mine.)

  5. This offensive puzzle, offering little beyond a display of boorish ageism, warrants no further comment.

    Sincerely,
    A shabby, dated, old-school fogie, hopelessly out of touch, listening to his tunes, jiggling his love handles, and unable to find any reason to sugarcoat his disdain for the constructor.

  6. 4:22, no errors. Didn’t see the theme while solving and don’t see what the constructor was trying for even now. I swear they make these “themes” worse all the time.

  7. I really liked the theme on this one! I was prepared to grumble after solving the first long one–surely “retro chic” has a positive connotation that was not in the clue!–so solving the middle was a real ah-ha for me.

    Only quibble: I’m pretty sure a modem isn’t a wi-fi device itself. That would be the router. To be fair, many of us have a modem-router combo.

  8. 8:35 – no errors, lookups, or revisions. I got the theme, but it wasn’t needed to solve anything. The answers were easily determined without using the theme.

    IMO, “old school” doesn’t particularly mean “hopelessly out of touch.” It could simply mean a preference, rather than ignorance.

  9. 9:27, no errors. Understood the theme only after solving (but at least I understood before coming here); pretty clever…
    And for those of us of age to be offended by Classic Rock: remember that we were once young and sneered at Golden Oldies…

  10. Super easy Tuesday for me; took 7:01 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know LONE, GERE or BETH, but got them easy enough on crosses. I remember when Sommersby came out, now that I read the description, but I never saw it.

    Theme didn’t offend me at all, in fact it was kind of amusing, even if it didn’t help me.

  11. I hadn’t heard of Sommersby, but the Return of Martin Guerre was the French movie it was based on. 1982, with a young and sexy Gerard Depardieu in the title role. I think I saw it 3 times when we used to have repertory film houses.
    I had trouble with SIROCCO because I wanted to spell it Scirocco, like the VW sports/hatchback. Turns out the wind can be spelt either way, but the sc- is the Italian spelling.

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