LA Times Crossword 9 May 22, Monday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Cross with the Crossword?

Themed answers each comprise two words, with the second word starting the first:

  • 17A All-you-can-eat restaurant regular? : BUFFET BUFF
  • 28A Cemetery connoisseur? : HEADSTONE HEAD
  • 41A Obsessive Christmas-season ballet attendee? : NUTCRACKER NUT
  • 54A Trumpet flourish aficionado? : FANFARE FAN

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

Bill’s time: 5m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 “I double-dog __ you!” : DARE

The idiomatic phrase “double-dog dare” is very American, and dates back at least to the 1940s. One reference from back then cites the incrementally daring sequence:

  • I dare you
  • I dog dare you
  • I double-dog dare you
  • I black-dog dare you
  • I double-black-dog dare you

15 Ill-fated biblical brother : ABEL

In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

17 All-you-can-eat restaurant regular? : BUFFET BUFF

Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.

19 Discovery Channel’s “Shark __” : WEEK

“Shark Week” is an annual event on the Discovery Channel, and has been so since 1987. The week is full of TV shows and specials that are shown with the stated intent of promoting awareness and respect for sharks.

20 Water and Wall in NYC : STS

Manhattan’s Water Street originally extended for only one block, down to the island’s shore at the East River. Often, “water” from the East River would wash over “Water” Street at high tide. The street was extended after the completion of a 17th century landfill program, which was necessary to stem the erosion of the shore.

New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch “de Waalstraat”. The “Waal” in question was a wall erected by Dutch colonists to protect them from an attack by the British from the north. The attack by land never came, but the British did mount a successful invasion by sea. The British demolished the wall two decades later, in 1699.

23 Urge : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

28 Cemetery connoisseur? : HEADSTONE HEAD

A connoisseur is an expert, or someone who appreciates something with discrimination. The term “connoisseur” is French in origin, and stems from the Latin “com” (with) and “gnoscere” (to recognize).

31 Asparagus unit : SPEAR

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is grown mainly for its edible shoots (or “spears”). The shoots must be harvested when they are very young, as they become woody very quickly.

33 IOUs : CHITS

A chit is a note or a short letter. The term “chit” tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but was closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself, because when we are at school we would be excused from class if we had a “chitty”.

34 Software-made FX : CGI

Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

“FX” (sometimes “f/x”) is an abbreviation for “effects”, as in “special effects”.

35 Late-night TV pioneer Jack : PAAR

Jack Paar was most famous as the host of “The Tonight Show”, from 1957 to 1962. When he died in 2004, “Time” magazine wrote that Paar was “the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: “Before Paar and Below Paar”. Very complimentary …

36 Capital city near the Sphinx : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

In Greek mythology, the creature known as the Sphinx has the body of a lion, the wings of a bird and the face of a woman. The Sphinx threatened to strangle and devour any person who could not answer a famous riddle: “Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” Oedipus was able to save himself by correctly answering “Man”. The idea is that a man crawls on all fours as a baby, and then walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age. “Sphinx” is actually a Greek word, meaning “the strangler” …

37 __-a-brac : BRIC

“Bric-a-brac” is a French phrase (actually “bric-à-brac”, with an accent) that was used as far back as the 16th century. Back then, it was a nonsense term meaning “at random” or “any old way”. Since Victorian times we have used the phrase in English to describe a collection of curios, statues and the like. In modern usage, bric-a-brac tends to be a selection of cheaper items.

38 Earth Day mo. : APR

Earth Day was founded in the US, where it was introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was designed to increase awareness and appreciation of our planet’s natural environment. The original Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. Decades later, the day is observed in over 175 countries.

41 Obsessive Christmas-season ballet attendee? : NUTCRACKER NUT

Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is one of the most popular ballets in the repertoire. It premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, but its public appeal really only emerged in the late 1960s. It’s a “must-see ballet” during the Christmas holidays.

44 Fill to the brim : SATIATE

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

45 The “A” of IPA : ALE

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

46 Elev. : HGT

Height (hgt.)

52 Greek queen of heaven : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and the goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth. She was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

54 Trumpet flourish aficionado? : FANFARE FAN

An aficionado is an enthusiast. Imported from Spanish, “aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

57 Baking soda target : ODOR

“Baking soda” is a common name for the compound sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).

59 “Monty Python and the Holy __” : GRAIL

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was released as a movie in 1975, and was a great success. Some thirty years later the film’s storyline was used as inspiration for the hit musical “Spamalot”. I saw “Spamalot” on stage not that long ago and wasn’t that impressed. But, mine was very much a minority opinion …

60 Taverns : PUBS

Our lovely word “tavern” comes into English via Old French from the Latin “taberna”, the word for a “shop, inn, alehouse”.

61 Former constellation named for a mythological ship : ARGO

The constellation Argo Navis (“Argo the Ship” in Latin) is no longer officially recognized. Instead, it has been divided into its constituent parts: Puppis (“The Poop Deck”), Vela (“The Sails”) and Carina (“The Keel”).

62 Before the deadline : EARLY

Our use of the term “deadline”, to mean “point in time before something must be done”, arose as jargon in the American newspaper industry in the 1920s. During the Civil War, a deadline was a do-not-cross line drawn on the ground in Confederate prisons.

Down

1 Priestly robes : ALBS

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

4 Sunscreen letters : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

8 NFL arbiter : REF

A football referee is sometimes called a “zebra”, a reference to the striped shirt that is part of the official uniform.

9 Will Ferrell Christmas film : ELF

“Elf” is a comedy movie that was released for the 2003 Christmas season. It was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role, with James Caan supporting and Ed Asner playing Santa Claus. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City. The film was adapted into a stage musical that premiered on Broadway during the Christmas season of 2010.

10 A crony of : IN WITH

A crony is a friend or companion. The term originated as slang in Cambridge University in England in the 1600s. “Crony” is probably derived from the Greek “khronios” meaning “long-lasting”.

12 Lamb nurser : EWE

An adult male sheep is a ram, although a castrated ram is known as a wether. An adult female is a ewe, and a young sheep is a lamb.

22 Bolos and ascots : TIES

I’ve never worn a bolo tie, and was surprised to discover that it is a relatively recent invention. The first bolo tie was apparently produced in Wickenburg, Arizona in the late 1940s by a silversmith. The bolo takes its name from the boleadora, an Argentine lariat.

An ascot is a wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings or part of a dress uniform. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.

23 52 19-Acrosses : YEAR

Understanding months and years might have been a lot easier if we had settled on 13 “months” in a year, with a “month” comprising the four weeks that it takes to go through a complete lunar cycle (full moon to full moon). Then, every month would have been 4 weeks long, and it would be easy to understand why there are 52 weeks in a year (13 months x 4 weeks). But, we “mess” around with 12 “messy” months …

24 Evening party : SOIREE

“Soir” is the French word for “evening” and a soirée is an evening party. The French word “soirée” has an acute accent over the first “e”, but we tend to drop this when using the word in English.

25 “Do __ others … ” : UNTO

The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

26 Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing __ of Tidying Up” : MAGIC

Marie Kondo runs a very successful organizing consulting business that she founded when she was 19 years old, and while a student at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. She wrote an extremely successful book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” that was first published in 2011. I’ve read it, and acted on at least some of the advice given therein …

30 Rack one’s brains : THINK

The verb “to rack”, as in “to rack one’s brains”, is a reference to the medieval torture device that tear the limbs from the body. So, to rack something is to put it under extreme strain and stress. To rack one’s brain is to think very hard in an attempt to remember something or to solve a problem.

32 __ New Guinea : PAPUA

Papua New Guinea is a country occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western side of the island is part of Indonesia).

37 Cookie Monster’s color : BLUE

Cookie Monster is a beloved Muppet on the TV show “Sesame Street”. He is a big eater and is especially fond of cookies, which he eats while grunting out “Om nom nom nom”.

42 Stogies : CIGARS

A stogie (also “stogy”) is both a rough, heavy shoe and a long, cheap cigar. Both items were favored by the drivers of the covered wagons called Conestogas that wended their way across the Midwest in days gone by. The term “stogie” is derived from the name of the wagon, which itself is named after the area in which the wagons were built, i.e. Conestoga, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

43 Anoushka Shankar’s music genre : RAGA

Anoushka Shankar is a British sitar player, and is the daughter of Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. Through her father, Anoushka is also the half-sister of American singer Norah Jones.

48 Frequent hairstyle for Diana Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross : AFRO

Diana Ross is one of the most prolific recording artists in history. She sang with the Supremes from 1959 to 1970 and then launched an incredibly successful solo career. Ross was listed in the 1993 edition of “The Guinness Book of World Records” as the most successful music artist ever, with eighteen #1 records.

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross is perhaps best known for playing lead roles in the TV shows “Girlfriends” and “black-ish”. She was born Tracee Joy Silberstein, and is the daughter of singer Diana Ross and music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein.

50 “Wonder Woman” comic book writer Simone : GAIL

Writer Gail Simone is a very influential woman in the comic book industry. She has penned more “Wonder Woman” episodes for DC Comics than any other female author. Simone first came to the public’s attention in 1999 as the creator of the feminist website “Women in Refrigerators”, where she highlights the stereotypical female character in comic books who is largely used as a plot device to progress the stroy arc of a male protagonist. She coined the phrase “Women in Refrigerators” comes from an incident in a 1994 issue of “Green Lantern” in which the hero comes home to find his murdered girlfriend stffed into a refrigerator.

53 Academic address ending : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

54 Ga. neighbor : FLA

What we know as the US state of Florida, was named by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Europeans to the area in 1513. The actual name he used was “La Florida”, Spanish for “the Flowery (Land)”.

56 Stat for a pitcher : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Got out of bed : AROSE
6 “I double-dog __ you!” : DARE
10 Inventor’s need : IDEA
14 Off-the-wall : LOOPY
15 Ill-fated biblical brother : ABEL
16 Front page material : NEWS
17 All-you-can-eat restaurant regular? : BUFFET BUFF
19 Discovery Channel’s “Shark __” : WEEK
20 Water and Wall in NYC : STS
21 Sunset locale : WEST
22 Bit of advice : TIP
23 Urge : YEN
24 “I like it!” : SUITS ME!
28 Cemetery connoisseur? : HEADSTONE HEAD
31 Asparagus unit : SPEAR
33 IOUs : CHITS
34 Software-made FX : CGI
35 Late-night TV pioneer Jack : PAAR
36 Capital city near the Sphinx : CAIRO
37 __-a-brac : BRIC
38 Earth Day mo. : APR
39 Carried : BORNE
40 Campaign poster imperative : ELECT
41 Obsessive Christmas-season ballet attendee? : NUTCRACKER NUT
44 Fill to the brim : SATIATE
45 The “A” of IPA : ALE
46 Elev. : HGT
47 Epic story : SAGA
49 In the past : AGO
52 Greek queen of heaven : HERA
54 Trumpet flourish aficionado? : FANFARE FAN
57 Baking soda target : ODOR
58 Deceitful sort : LIAR
59 “Monty Python and the Holy __” : GRAIL
60 Taverns : PUBS
61 Former constellation named for a mythological ship : ARGO
62 Before the deadline : EARLY

Down

1 Priestly robes : ALBS
2 Embarrassing loss : ROUT
3 Punch-in-the-gut reactions : OOFS
4 Sunscreen letters : SPF
5 Glasses, monocles, etc. : EYEWEAR
6 Applies gently : DABS
7 Be next to : ABUT
8 NFL arbiter : REF
9 Will Ferrell Christmas film : ELF
10 A crony of : IN WITH
11 Closely held confidence : DEEP SECRET
12 Lamb nurser : EWE
13 “That’s a pretty big __” : ASK
18 Be inclined (to) : TEND
22 Bolos and ascots : TIES
23 52 19-Acrosses : YEAR
24 Evening party : SOIREE
25 “Do __ others … ” : UNTO
26 Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing __ of Tidying Up” : MAGIC
27 Official order : EDICT
28 Hunk on a magazine cover, e.g. : HEARTTHROB
29 Hard to find : SCARCE
30 Rack one’s brains : THINK
31 Extends across : SPANS
32 __ New Guinea : PAPUA
36 Dredge in flour before cooking, e.g. : COAT
37 Cookie Monster’s color : BLUE
39 Ill-behaved child : BRAT
40 Make bigger : ENLARGE
42 Stogies : CIGARS
43 Anoushka Shankar’s music genre : RAGA
47 Minor impediment : SNAG
48 Frequent hairstyle for Diana Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross : AFRO
49 Off in the distance : AFAR
50 “Wonder Woman” comic book writer Simone : GAIL
51 Mere : ONLY
52 Imitate a bunny : HOP
53 Academic address ending : EDU
54 Ga. neighbor : FLA
55 Balloon filler : AIR
56 Stat for a pitcher : ERA

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 May 22, Monday”

  1. 5:09

    Cute theme that was very helpful.

    My biggest correction was CHEESECAKE to HEARTTHROB. I also noticed a couple of fun crosses: AFRO+ARGO, RAGA + SAGA.

  2. 7 minutes and one second, no errors.

    Patti reaches back to an “old faithful” contributor. But no harm, no foul.

  3. Nice mostly easy Monday; took 9:58 with no peeks or errors. Danced around a little to get IN WITH, SUITS ME and MAGIC…also GAIL. Cute theme that helped a little.

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