LA Times Crossword 6 May 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Christina Iverson
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Sounds Like a Tricky Clue

Themed clues are “gramagrams”, words that sound like letters:

  • 16A NVS : GREEN-EYED (envious)
  • 23A TDS : MIND-NUMBING (tedious)
  • 39A IC : DISTANT (icy)
  • 41A MT : VACUOUS (empty)
  • 52A DVS : UNDERHANDED (devious)
  • 65A ODS : JUST AWFUL (odious)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Sci. major : BIO

Chemistry (chem.) and biology (bio.) are sciences (scis.).

8 Fisher of “Wedding Crashers” : ISLA

Isla Fisher is an Oman-born, Australian actress who really launched her career with a recurring role on the Australian soap “Home and Away”. She started a career in Hollywood portraying Mry Jane in the 2002 film “Scooby-Doo”. Fisher married English actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in 2010.

12 Eight or nine on the Beaufort scale : GALE

A gale is a very strong wind, one defined by the Beaufort scale as having wind speeds from 50 to just over 100 kilometers per hour.

The Beaufort wind scale is named after Irishman Sir Francis Beaufort, a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy. Beaufort was a hydrographer as well as a career navy man.

14 Hijab and niqab, e.g. : VEILS

Some Muslim women wear a hijab in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. A hijab is a veil covering the head and chest. Some also wear a niqab as part of the hijab, which is a cloth that covers the face. Other Muslim women wear a burqa, which covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground.

16 NVS : GREEN-EYED (envious)

William Shakespeare was one of the first to associate the color green with envy. He called jealousy the “green-eyed monster” in his play “Othello”.

18 Like Keebler’s animated bakers : ELFIN

The famous Keebler Elves have been appearing in ads for Keebler since 1968. The original head of the elves was J. J. Keebler, but he was toppled from power by Ernest J. Keebler in 1970. The Keebler Elves bake their cookies in the Hollow Tree Factory.

22 Toy company with theme parks : LEGO

There are currently six Legoland theme parks in the world, with two here in North America. One of the US parks is in Winter Haven, Florida and the other is in Carlsbad, California (which is the one that I’ve visited … a fun place).

30 Island chain : 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.

31 Parts of an island chain : CAYS

A key (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida “Keys”. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

32 Bagel flavor : ONION

“Bagel” is a slang term for “zero”, because a bagel has the shape of the number 0.

34 Part of a flight : STAIR

A landing is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one “flies” between landings! Can that be true?

36 Steve Carell voice role : GRU

The main protagonist in the “Despicable Me” movies is the supervillain Felonius Gru, usually referred to simply as “Gru”. Gru is voiced by Steve Carell.

Actor Steve Carell has achieved great success on both television and in movies. On the small screen, Carell came to prominence on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and then as the lead in the US version of “The Office”. On the big screen, he starred in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Evan Almighty”. My personal favorite Carell movie is 2007’s ”Dan in Real Life”, in which he stars opposite the wonderful Juliette Binoche.

41 MT : VACUOUS (empty)

“Vacuous” and “inane” both mean “silly, empty-headed”. “Vacuous” comes from the Latin word “vacuus” meaning “empty”. “Inane” comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

44 Place to have a ball? : DISCO

Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

46 Smog element : OZONE

Ozone gets its name from the Greek word “ozein” meaning “to smell”. It was given this name as ozone’s formation during lightning storms was detected by the gas’s distinctive smell. Famously, there is a relatively high concentration of the gas in the “ozone layer” in the Earth’s stratosphere. This ozone layer provides a vital function for animal life on the planet as it absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation. A molecule of ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms (O3), whereas a “normal” oxygen (O2) has just two atoms.

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

49 Olive extract : OIL

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”.

51 Some Neruda poems : ODES

“Pablo Neruda” was the pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Basoalto chose the name as an homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.

56 Costa __ : RICA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

58 Top 10 U2 song from “Rattle and Hum” : DESIRE

“Desire” is a 1988 song by the Irish rock band U2. It was U2’s first number-one hit in the UK.

63 High-five sounds : SLAPS

The celebratory gesture that we call a “high five” is said to have been invented by former baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke when they were both playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1970s.

68 Cuatro y cuatro : OCHO

In Spanish, “ocho” (eight) is the sum of “cuatro y cuatro” (four plus four).

70 “Betsy’s Wedding” writer/director : ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, most notably as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. He was born Alphonso D’Abruzzo in the Bronx, New York City. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He also won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

“Betsy’s Wedding” is a 1990 rom-com written and directed by Alan Alda, who also stars in the film. The movie has an interesting cast, with Madeline Kahn playing the wife of Alda’s character, as well as Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy playing their two daughters.

71 Sporty truck, briefly : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

Down

1 What some layers cover : EGGS

A hen might be described as a “layer”, one that “lays” eggs.

2 Toon boy known for chalkboard gags : BART

In “The Simpsons”, Bart often finds himself punished at school by writing out lines repeatedly on the classroom chalkboard. Some of those lines make for fun reading:

  • “I will not waste chalk”
  • “Grammar is not a time of waste”
  • “I will not use abbrev.”
  • “Cursive writing does not mean what I think it does.”
  • “The capital of Montana is not ‘Hannah’”

3 Flag couleur : BLEU

In French, the national flag of France is a tricolor comprising the “couleurs” (colors) “bleu, blanc et rouge” (blue, white and red).

5 __ leaf : BAY

The seasoning known as bay leaf is the aromatic leaf of the bay laurel tree or shrub. Fresh bay leaves aren’t very flavorful and need to be dried and aged a few weeks before use in the kitchen.

7 Nash who rhymed “Bronx” and “thonx” : OGDEN

Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

Ogden Nash wrote the couplet:

The Bronx?
No thonx!

10 Apparel company with a smiling stick-figure icon : LIFE IS GOOD

Life Is Good is an apparel company that owns the registered trademark “Life is good”. Many of the company’s items feature a stick figure named Jake, along with “Life is good”.

15 Love thy neighbour, say? : SNOG

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

17 Snarfing sound : NOM

“Om Nom Nom Nom” is a slang expression that indicates satisfied eating.

21 Saint __: only country named for a woman : LUCIA

There are only two sovereign nations named for women. The island country of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse. The island country of Ireland (“Éire” in Irish) was named the goddess Ériu from Irish mythology.

25 Venice’s Piazza San __ : MARCO

St. Mark’s Basilica is the Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Venice, Italy. In front of the basilica is the Piazza San Marco, the city’s main public square. St. Mark’s Square is a remarkable urban space in Europe as the sound of the human voice dominates, rather than the sound of traffic. That is indeed remarkable …

The city of Venice (“Venezia” in Italian) in northeast Italy is built in a saltwater lagoon on the Adriatic Coast, on 117 small islands. The classic transportation along the waterways is the gondola, but this is really only used for tourists these days, as well as on ceremonial occasions. The locals rely on motorized water-buses.

26 Novelist Picoult : JODI

American author Jodi Picoult has had two books debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list: “Nineteen Minutes” and “Change of Heart”.

27 Peck, e.g. : UNIT

A peck is a dry measure equal to a quarter of a bushel. The term can be used figuratively to mean a considerable quantity in general, as in the phrase “a peck of trouble”.

33 Low point : NADIR

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

37 Mythological character? : RUNE

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

42 Aduba of “In Treatment” : UZO

Uzo Aduba is an actress best known for playing prison inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix TV show “Orange Is the New Black”.

The HBO series “In Treatment” stars Gabriel Byrne as a psychologist who holds weekly sessions with his patients, and with his own therapist. The show is a remake of an Israeli TV series titled “BeTipul” (meaning “In Therapy”), and indeed some episodes use the same script as the original show, just translated into English.

48 Online grocer with green delivery trucks : PEAPOD

Peapod is a Chicago-based online grocery delivery service that operates in several large cities around the US.

52 __ Major : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

53 Wafer brand : NILLA

As one might expect, “Nilla” is a shortened form of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla brand cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, which is synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

54 Short-necked pear : ANJOU

The Anjou pear is a cultivar of the European Pear. The Anjou is thought to have originated in Belgium or France (Anjou is a province in the Loire Valley of western France).

55 “Snowfall” law gp. : DEA

“Snowfall” is a crime drama show that premiered in 2017 on FX. It is set in Los Angeles in the 1980s and deals with the ballooning use of crack cocaine at that time.

59 Graceful bird : SWAN

An adult male swan is a cob, and an adult female is a pen. Young swans are swanlings or cygnets.

64 Genre with Jamaican roots : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of a sound.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Flows back : EBBS
5 Sci. major : BIO
8 Fisher of “Wedding Crashers” : ISLA
12 Eight or nine on the Beaufort scale : GALE
13 Twinge : PANG
14 Hijab and niqab, e.g. : VEILS
16 NVS : GREEN-EYED (envious)
18 Like Keebler’s animated bakers : ELFIN
19 Daze : STUPOR
20 Serpentine fish : EEL
22 Toy company with theme parks : LEGO
23 TDS : MIND-NUMBING (tedious)
26 Bound : JUMP
30 Island chain : LEI
31 Parts of an island chain : CAYS
32 Bagel flavor : ONION
34 Part of a flight : STAIR
36 Steve Carell voice role : GRU
39 IC : DISTANT (icy)
41 MT : VACUOUS (empty)
43 “__ been a while!” : IT’S
44 Place to have a ball? : DISCO
46 Smog element : OZONE
47 Sweeping : EPIC
49 Olive extract : OIL
51 Some Neruda poems : ODES
52 DVS : UNDERHANDED (devious)
56 Costa __ : RICA
57 Pull the plug on : END
58 Top 10 U2 song from “Rattle and Hum” : DESIRE
63 High-five sounds : SLAPS
65 ODS : JUST AWFUL (odious)
67 Totally fine : ALL OK
68 Cuatro y cuatro : OCHO
69 Resale warning : AS IS
70 “Betsy’s Wedding” writer/director : ALDA
71 Sporty truck, briefly : UTE
72 Zero : NONE

Down

1 What some layers cover : EGGS
2 Toon boy known for chalkboard gags : BART
3 Flag couleur : BLEU
4 Flow slowly : SEEP
5 __ leaf : BAY
6 “This isn’t optional!” : I NEED IT!
7 Nash who rhymed “Bronx” and “thonx” : OGDEN
8 First-person contraction : I’VE
9 Date stamp : SELL BY
10 Apparel company with a smiling stick-figure icon : LIFE IS GOOD
11 Set straight : ALIGN
13 Grave danger : PERIL
15 Love thy neighbour, say? : SNOG
17 Snarfing sound : NOM
21 Saint __: only country named for a woman : LUCIA
24 Sticky places? : NESTS
25 Venice’s Piazza San __ : MARCO
26 Novelist Picoult : JODI
27 Peck, e.g. : UNIT
28 Notification while in silent mode, perhaps : MISSED CALL
29 Cauldron : POT
33 Low point : NADIR
35 Skirt : AVOID
37 Mythological character? : RUNE
38 Applications : USES
40 __ market : NICHE
42 Aduba of “In Treatment” : UZO
45 Manage : CONDUCT
48 Online grocer with green delivery trucks : PEAPOD
50 Resulted in : LED TO
52 __ Major : URSA
53 Wafer brand : NILLA
54 Short-necked pear : ANJOU
55 “Snowfall” law gp. : DEA
59 Graceful bird : SWAN
60 “Assuming that’s the case … ” : IF SO …
61 Mess up : RUIN
62 Choice word : ELSE
64 Genre with Jamaican roots : SKA
66 __/her pronouns : SHE

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 May 22, Friday”

  1. Using random letters as clues (NVS, TDS) is stupid and makes rhis kind of puzzle NOT FUN AT ALL. This paper must have been desperate for a good puzzle to put something as BAD as this in it. Must remember to not bother with puzzles by Iverson again, it was beyond stupid.

    1. I agree.

      Good idea to remember Iverson for the next time.

      Not at all clever; not fun. The word “stupid” came to mind for me also.

  2. No errors. Took much much longer than needed to be. Never figured out the time. So that was working against me.

    Here’s my grammagram… make sure you sound it out

    IDIDNOTLIKETHISONE

  3. No errors, but as usual, a couple of entertainer name lookups.
    Understanding the theme early helped a lot.

  4. You Yankees may call a suburban utility vehicle a “UTE” but we in the southern states call it an SUV. SICK OF HEARING ABOUT UTES.

  5. 22:09 – no erors or lookups. Revisions were: DRU>GRU, VARIOUS>VACUOUS (just guessing since I hadn’t figured out the theme yet).

    New items: ISLA Fisher, the U2 song and album, “Betsy’s Wedding,” BART’s chalkboard gags, NOM for snarfing, “Piazza San” MARCO, UZO Aduba, PEAPOD, “Snowfall” TV show.

    Had to work through several partial sections until areas started completing in the bottom and SE corner. Figured out the theme with 65A and 52A tohether. That helped get the rest of the grid filled in. Before that, all I could figure was TDS=touchdowns and ODS=overdoses. “Empty” had occurred to me for MT, but I didn’t have enough of 41A filled in to confirm it.

    I have no problem with gramagrams. They just add a little challenge to solving the puzzle. The challenge is figuring out when it’s a gramagram and when it might be something else!

    1. Only two wrong letters in a tough puzzle. Pretty proud.

      First saw TDS as Trump Derangement Syndrome. Stick that in your UTE, you Yale Eli yankeez.

  6. 8:49

    I LOL’d when I realized that GREENEYED was also “NVS.” This was fun!

    When it comes to wafer brands though, I’m still going to think NECCO before NILLA.

  7. 13 mins 38 sec, and no errors, but needed Check Help to steer me to correct 6 fills. This was not an easy grid by any stretch.

    Glad not to see a Friday fouled by a Wechsler grid, though!!!

  8. Well, I have to say I was scratching my head for a while with the two or three letter clues, but the one that clicked for me was MT – “empty” – VACUOUS. From there I nailed the other five of those right away. I really got a kick out of them – don’t recall ever seeing that before.

    Oh and A P Pass, UTEs are “Utility Vehicles” like pickup trucks but sometimes bigger and definitely sportier. SUVs are “Sport Utility Vehicles” and generally don’t have an open bed in the back.

  9. I didn’t want to fill in the S in NEsTS and sTAIR because I see and eventually handle a lot of nests (birds) and have yet to see a sticky one, and I haven’t seen a stair before, during, or after a flight in many years.
    So…DNF out of stubbornness.
    (The only thing resembling a sticky nest I’ve seen is with nuthatches, which put sticky stuff at the entrance to the bird box, but not in the box.)

      1. you’re right. Should have seen one of them.
        flight of stairs popped into my mind at breakfast this morning–24 hrs too late!

  10. Too tricky for me today; took 28:27 with about 4-5 errors. Couldn’t figure out the theme, although it makes sense now that I’m here. Kept trying to form some kind of acronym and finally just gave up and put in word(s) that fit. Despite all the names, I managed to figure most of them out except: UZO, LIFEISGOOD, GRU and sadly ELvIN.

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