LA Times Crossword 1 Jun 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Mike Graczyk & Christina Iverson
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Group Discussion

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as GROUPS referred to in the corresponding clues:

  • 17A Group for cardboard toy enthusiasts? : PAPER DOLL OUTFIT
  • 34A Group for Roomba enthusiasts? : VACUUM PACK
  • 44A Group for big-rig enthusiasts? : SEMI CIRCLE
  • 63A Group for Merriam-Webster enthusiasts? : WORD ASSOCIATION

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

Bill’s time: 5m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Jewelry designer Peretti : ELSA

Elsa Peretti is a native of Florence, Italy who has been designing jewelry and related items for the top fashion houses in New York since the sixties.

14 “Then again,” in tweets : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

17 Group for cardboard toy enthusiasts? : PAPER DOLL OUTFIT

Although paper dolls have been around for thousands of years, the first manufactured version was produced in London in 1810 and sold under the name “Little Fanny”.

20 “My Brilliant Friend” novelist Ferrante : ELENA

Elena Ferrante is an Italian author, best known for her 4-part series known as the “Neapolitan Novels”. What is very interesting about “Ferrante” is that the moniker is a pseudonym, and no one seems to know the author’s real name. There is some speculation that “Elena” is in fact a man.

“L’amica geniale” is the first part of a four-part series of books by Elena Ferrante published in English as “Neapolitan Novels”. The whole collection has been adapted into a TV series that uses the English title of the first book, i.e. “My Brilliant Friend”.

21 “Breathe Me” singer : SIA

“Sia” is the stage name of Australian singer Sia Furler from Adelaide. She is a cousin of Australian Christian Rock musician Peter Furler. Sia is a very private person, and even covers her face with a blond wig while performing.

23 Gasteyer of “Wine Country” : ANA

Ana Gasteyer is an actress best known for being a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1996 to 2002. Gasteyer was famous on SNL for playing Martha Stewart … topless!

25 eBay sale condition : AS IS

“Wine Country” is a 2019 comedy movie directed by, produced by and co-starring Amy Poehler. It’s about some women celebrating the 50th birthday of one member of their group by spending a weekend in Napa County’s wine country.

27 Capital of Japan : YEN

The Japanese yen is the third-most traded currency in the world, after the US dollar and the euro.

34 Group for Roomba enthusiasts? : VACUUM PACK

The Roomba vacuum cleaner is a cool-looking device that navigates its way around a room by itself, picking up dirt as it goes. Like I said, it’s cool-looking but I am not sure how effective it is …

41 UFO crew, probably : ETS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

42 Gem weight : CARAT

The carat is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg (0.2 grams). It is used in sizing gemstones.

43 “Little Girl Blue” singer Simone : NINA

“Little Girl Blue” is Nina Simone’s debut album. It was released in 1959 when she was in her mid-20s. The album sold millions of copies, and yet Simone made a mere $3,000 from it. All of the royalties went to jazz label Bethlehem Records.

44 Group for big-rig enthusiasts? : SEMI CIRCLE

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

48 Quaint school dance : SOCK HOP

Sock hops were high school dances typically held in the school gym or cafeteria. The term “sock hop” arose because the dancers were often required to remove their shoes to protect the varnished floor in the gym.

49 Defense advisory gp. : NSC

The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. It is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.

54 Obi-__ Kenobi : WAN

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

57 Fútbol fan’s cry : OLE!

In Spanish, a “fútbol” (football, soccer) supporter might shout “olé!” (bravo!).

59 __ & Gabbana fashion house : DOLCE

Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian fashion house based in Milan, It was founded by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in 1985.

63 Group for Merriam-Webster enthusiasts? : WORD ASSOCIATION

George and Charles Merriam founded their publishing company in 1831, and in 1843 purchased the rights to Noah Webster’s dictionary a few months after his death. Merriam-Webster has been publishing mainly dictionaries and reference books ever since.

66 Yoga pose that requires balancing on one foot : TREE

The tree pose in yoga is more correctly known as “vriksasana”. It involves standing on one leg, with the other leg bent and the foot placed on the inner thigh of the straight leg. The hands are placed together and raised directly over the head.

67 San Diego’s __ Park : PETCO

Petco Park is the ballpark used by the San Diego Padres since 2004. Before Petco Park was opened, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. When the new Padres stadium was being built, fans were offered the chance to buy bricks on which a dedication could be written. The animal rights group PETA tried to buy a brick in order to write a protest message against Petco’s treatment of animals, but were denied. PETA managed to sneak their message onto a brick, which reads “Break Open Your Cold Ones, Toast the Padres, Enjoy This Champion Organization”. If you take the first letters of each word in the message you come up with “BOYCOTT PETCO”.

68 Part of an EGOT : EMMY

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards.

69 Wet septet : SEAS

The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:

  • The North Pacific Ocean
  • The South Pacific Ocean
  • The North Atlantic Ocean
  • The South Atlantic Ocean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Southern Ocean
  • The Arctic Ocean

71 Noodle that may be served in dashi broth : SOBA

Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word “soba” tends to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodle called “udon”.

Dashi is a style of cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. Most famously, dashi” is the stock that is used as the base for miso soup. Traditional dashi is a fish stock to which is added edible kelp called kombu and shavings of preserved and fermented skipjack tuna called katsuobushi.

Down

2 “And so forth” abbr. : ET AL

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names.

4 Baseball film featuring a bat named “Wonderboy” : THE NATURAL

“The Natural” is an engaging 1984 sports film starring Robert Redford as fictional player Roy Hobbs. The movie is based on a 1952 novel of the same name by Bernard Malamud. MOst of the filming took place in Buffalo, New York. Key locations used were War Memorial Stadium (now demolished) and All-High Stadium. One key element of the storyline is Hobbs’ baseball bat named “Wonderboy”. It was made from the wood of an oak tree that was struck by lightning. Hobbs’ father was standing beside the tree when it was struck, resulting in his death from a heart attack.

6 Signs of summer : LEOS

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

7 “Rocky” actress Shire : TALIA

Actress Talia Shire is best-known for playing Rocky’s wife Adrian in the “Rocky” series of movies. She also played Connie, the daughter of Don Corleone, in “The Godfather” films. Shire is the sister of movie director Francis Ford Coppola and the aunt of actor Nicolas Cage. Her son is the actor Jason Schwartzman.

8 Book of maps : ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

9 Milne joey : ROO

Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”, the kangaroo named “Roo” was inspired by a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

In Australia, male kangaroos are known by several names including bucks, boomers, jacks or old men. Females are called does, flyers, or jills. There seems to be just one name for young kangaroos, i.e. joeys. A group of kangaroos might be called a mob, troop or court.

10 Novel ending? : -ETTE

Our word “novel”, used for a lengthy work of fiction, comes from the Latin “novella” meaning “new things”.

13 __ Martin: “Skyfall” car : ASTON

Aston Martin is a British car manufacturer founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin. The Aston part of the company name comes from Aston Hill, a famous site for hill-climbing cars that is nearby the original factory. Aston Martin cars are much loved by the British entertainment industry. James Bond was given one in “Goldfinger”, and Michael Caine drove one in the 1969 version of “The Italian Job”. Also, Roger Moore’s character drove a yellow Aston Martin in the seventies television show “The Persuaders!”.

I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion. And, Adele’s rendition of the title song is an added plus …

19 Major in astronomy? : 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”.

24 Blazer sleeve : ARM

A blazer is a less formal version of a suit jacket, usually one with a less formal cut and often metal buttons. The original “blazer” was a red jacket worn by members of the rowing club at Cambridge University in England. The “blazer” is so called because the Cambridge version was “blazing red” in color.

28 Director Reitman : IVAN

Ivan Reitman is a film producer and director who was born in Slovakia, but who has lived in Canada since he was a small boy. Reitman is best known for producing and directing comedy movies. His long list of hits includes “Stripes”, “Ghostbusters”, “Kindergarten Cop” and “Dave”. Ivan’s son Jason Reitman is also a successful director, and was at the helm for the films “Juno”, “Thank You for Smoking” and “Up in the Air”.

29 Blue-skinned race in “Avatar” : NA’VI

In James Cameron’s epic “Avatar”, the “blue people” are the Na’vi, the indigenous species that lives on the lush moon called Pandora. The main Na’vi character featured in the film is the female Neytiri. According to Cameron, Neytiri was inspired by the character played by Raquel Welch in the movie “Fantastic Voyage” and the comic book character Vampirella.

31 Fencing category : EPEE

The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. It is similar to a foil and saber, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

33 Online source of study guides : SPARKNOTES

SparkNotes is a resource that produces study guides. It was started in 1999 by a group of Harvard students as part of a literary website TheSpark.com. Apparently, many teachers aren’t fans of SparkNotes, arguing that the guides can be used as an alternative to completing reading assignments or even a way of cheating during exams.

35 PIN point? : ATM

One enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Given that the N in PIN stands for “number”, then “PIN number” is a redundant phrase. And, given that the M in ATM stands for “machine”, then “ATM machine” is a redundant phrase as well. Grr …!

36 Several CBS forensic dramas : CSIS

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, and seems to really have legs. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was canceled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was canceled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was set in Las Vegas, and hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. Then there was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two seasons, before being canceled in 2016. “CSI: Vegas”, a sequel to the original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, launched in 2021.

38 __ Alto, California : PALO

The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for “the tall stick”) that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall and over a thousand years old.

39 Recipe part : STEP

The Latin “recipere” means “to take”, and the imperative form “recipe” was written at the top of medical prescriptions as an instruction, i.e. “take (the following)”. This use of “recipe” evolved into the instruction for preparing a dish of food in the mid-1700s.

42 Insect with a 17-year life cycle : CICADA

There is a genus of cicada known as the periodic cicada that spends most of its life underground feeding on the roots of trees. They are described as periodic because mature cicada nymphs emerge from the ground in great numbers every 13 or 17 years and are active for just 4-6 weeks. While above ground, the males chirp away to attract mates and fertilized females lay eggs. When the reproductive cycle is complete, the adult cicadas “disappear” for another 13 or 17 years.

44 Nine-digit ID : SSN

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts, i.e AAA-GG-SSSS. Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011, SSNs have been assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

45 Bearer of good moos? : COW

Something described as bovine is related to a cow, ox or buffalo, or indeed any ruminant in the genus Bos. “Bos” is the Latin for “cow”, and “bovinus” a Late Latin derivative term.

47 Country singer McCann : LILA

Lila McCann is a country singer who released her first single “Down Came a Blackbird” when she was just 16 years old. The first song made it into the “Billboard” country charts, peaking at number 28.

49 Pond critters : NEWTS

Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

50 Gooey treat : S’MORE

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

53 Slow-moving creature : SLOTH

All four of the extant species of three-toed sloths are native to South and Central America. Cousins of the three-toed sloths are the two-toed sloths, of which there are two species still living.

56 __ of March : IDES

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

58 Latin “Behold!” : ECCE!

“Ecce!” is Latin for “look!” or “behold!”

60 Long way to go? : LIMO

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

62 “Orinoco Flow” singer : ENYA

“Orinoco Flow” is a song by Irish singer Enya that she released in 1988. It’s the one that goes “sail away, sail away, sail away …”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Get all mushy : MELT
5 Promising location : ALTAR
10 Jewelry designer Peretti : ELSA
14 “Then again,” in tweets : OTOH
15 “How nifty!” : NEATO!
16 Just the best : TOPS
17 Group for cardboard toy enthusiasts? : PAPER DOLL OUTFIT
20 “My Brilliant Friend” novelist Ferrante : ELENA
21 “Breathe Me” singer : SIA
22 Back in style : RETRO
23 Gasteyer of “Wine Country” : ANA
25 eBay sale condition : AS IS
27 Capital of Japan : YEN
28 Imminent : IN STORE
32 Filing tool : RASP
34 Group for Roomba enthusiasts? : VACUUM PACK
37 Livens (up) : PEPS
40 Forestall : AVERT
41 UFO crew, probably : ETS
42 Gem weight : CARAT
43 “Little Girl Blue” singer Simone : NINA
44 Group for big-rig enthusiasts? : SEMI CIRCLE
46 Misfortunes : ILLS
48 Quaint school dance : SOCK HOP
49 Defense advisory gp. : NSC
51 Road-trip stops : INNS
54 Obi-__ Kenobi : WAN
55 Inbox filler : EMAIL
57 Fútbol fan’s cry : OLE!
59 __ & Gabbana fashion house : DOLCE
63 Group for Merriam-Webster enthusiasts? : WORD ASSOCIATION
66 Yoga pose that requires balancing on one foot : TREE
67 San Diego’s __ Park : PETCO
68 Part of an EGOT : EMMY
69 Wet septet : SEAS
70 Pallid : ASHEN
71 Noodle that may be served in dashi broth : SOBA

Down

1 Sulk : MOPE
2 “And so forth” abbr. : ET AL
3 Easy stride : LOPE
4 Baseball film featuring a bat named “Wonderboy” : THE NATURAL
5 “Your point is?” : AND?
6 Signs of summer : LEOS
7 “Rocky” actress Shire : TALIA
8 Book of maps : ATLAS
9 Milne joey : ROO
10 Novel ending? : -ETTE
11 High vantage point : LOFTY PERCH
12 Skyline standout : SPIRE
13 __ Martin: “Skyfall” car : ASTON
18 Went on a quick errand : RAN OUT
19 Major in astronomy? : URSA
24 Blazer sleeve : ARM
26 Needle : IRK
28 Director Reitman : IVAN
29 Blue-skinned race in “Avatar” : NA’VI
30 Picture-perfect spot : SCENIC AREA
31 Fencing category : EPEE
33 Online source of study guides : SPARKNOTES
35 PIN point? : ATM
36 Several CBS forensic dramas : CSIS
38 __ Alto, California : PALO
39 Recipe part : STEP
42 Insect with a 17-year life cycle : CICADA
44 Nine-digit ID : SSN
45 Bearer of good moos? : COW
47 Country singer McCann : LILA
49 Pond critters : NEWTS
50 Gooey treat : S’MORE
52 Snouts : NOSES
53 Slow-moving creature : SLOTH
56 __ of March : IDES
58 Latin “Behold!” : ECCE!
60 Long way to go? : LIMO
61 Grooming tool : COMB
62 “Orinoco Flow” singer : ENYA
64 Pampering place : SPA
65 Charged particle : ION

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Jun 22, Wednesday”

  1. Messed up 43A , I had NANA and 29D, I had NALA. Lastly 40A , I had ALERT. I didn’t know AVATAR race or singer Simone. Should have known better that ALERT wasn’t forestall.

    Oh well. Happy wednesday.

  2. Not too bad today. No errors with two proper name lookups: Nina
    and Dolce. Clever theme–loved it–especially “semicircle”.

  3. Did horribly today, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I had lofty porch and pops. Sounds reasonable to me. Nina Simone was one of the few I knew right off. Go figure. I think I’ll go back to bed and escape from the real world.

  4. 11:36, no errors. Strongly disagree with 2D: et al. Not only does not mean “and so forth” but, more importantly, nobody would use it in place of etc.
    Q: What you you going to do on your vacation at the beach?
    A: Oh, just the usual: soak up some sun, splash around in the water, play some putt-putt, et al.

    1. Totally agree with your comment. I have no objection to cryptic clues but dislike deliberately, (or even accidentally), misleading ones. I tend to observe more of those than I feel there should be in the LA Times Crossword.

      I was raised on cryptic crosswords in the UK doing the Daily Telegraph and occasionally The Times (of London) crosswords. I have adjusted my orthography and my thinking, as best I could, over the last 40 years, to US crosswords but fair play is still fair play. And so forth for et al is definitely not cricket.

      Inaccurate clues would be given short shrift by UK audiences.

  5. No errors but disagree with the clue for 2 down. ‘Et alia’ and ‘et alii’, which are abbreviated et al, mean ‘and others’
    ‘And so forth’ is et cetera

  6. 10:18 – no errors or lookups. Revisions of: EDO>YEN, STIR>STEP, LILY>LILA.

    New items (all names of people): ELENA Ferrante, SIA, NINA Simone, DOLCE & Gabbana, LILA McCann.

    I got the gist of the theme early on, and that helped with overall solving.

  7. 4:33, no errors.

    Of course, we don’t just have “close” today in the cluing, but way off into falsehood land. Things aren’t sold “as-is” on Ebay. Funny, but painful to them part is seeing people that think they can until it costs them. I’m for pretty sure very few read the legal conditions ebay puts on sellers to list things. (Bill put the wrong blurb up on it in his write-up, it belongs to the previous one.)

    Of course, as with a lot of crosswords, just another trip into Bonerland.

  8. Had to Google for 2 today: PETCO and NAVI. Normally I don’t blog here if I have a Google or an error, but I’m still fuming over yesterday’s AGEist puzzle.
    I did get NINA because I’m and OLD Lady.

  9. No look ups, no errors. Seemed like a
    Monday puzzle in spite of all the pp’s
    and Red Herrings. Puzzle difficulty is
    inconsistent week to week IMHO….

  10. Please stop with all the crossed, obscure names! And whoever heard of YUZU?! Even Bill couldn’t get this one right!

  11. Mostly easy Wednesday for me; took 9:31 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know most of the names – although I did know NAVI and NINA – and had to dance around a bit to get all the crosses, but managed reasonably well. Theme helped a little.

    I have touched El Palo Alto, which is just south of here on the banks of San Franciscuito Creek, next to the footbridge between Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

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