LA Times Crossword 9 Jun 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Michael Schlossberg
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Spot Remover

Themed clues all have had the word “SPOT” REMOVED:

  • 58A Product used on four of this puzzle’s clues : SPOT REMOVER
  • 17A Tough : DIRE STRAITS (Tough spot)
  • 28A Hot : THE PLACE TO BE (Hot spot)
  • 34A Sore : TOUCHY SUBJECT (Sore spot)
  • 42A Weak : ACHILLES’ HEEL (Weak spot)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Conspiring circle : CABAL

A cabal is a small group of plotters acting in secret, perhaps scheming against a government or an individual. The use of “cabal” in this way dates back to the mid-1600s. It is suggested that the term gained some popularity, particularly in a sinister sense, during the reign of Charles II in the 1670s. At that time, it was applied as an acronym standing for “Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale”, a group of ministers known for their plots and schemes.

6 Singer/actress Thorne : BELLA

Bella Thorne is an actress who seems to appear in movies and shows that I tend not to watch. One exception is the drama series “Big Love”, in which Thorne played one of the daughters in the main “family” in the show.

11 Briefs brand : BVD

The men’s underwear known as BVDs are made by Bradley, Voorhees & Day. The company was started in 1876 to make bustles for women, and is named for its founders.

15 Snacker’s stack : OREOS

Oreo cookies can be found with a savory-flavored filling in some parts of the world. In China, you can buy Hot Chicken Wing Oreos and Wasabi Oreos.

17 Tough : DIRE STRAITS (Tough spot)

The be in dire straits is to be in a very difficult situation. The phrase “in dire straits” originated in the world of sail, and is a reference to a vessel navigating a dangerous channel of water, a dire strait.

19 Iberian cheer : OLE!

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

21 Kerfuffle : RUCKUS

The word “ruckus” is used to mean “commotion”, and has been around since the late 1800s. “Ruckus” is possibly a melding of the words “ruction” and “rumpus”.

23 Key above ∼ : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

24 Osso __ : BUCO

“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish “osso buco” (bone with a hole), which features braised veal shanks.

27 Party of the first part in the Bible? : MOSES

Moses appears in the Book of Genesis, the “first part” of the Bible.

31 “Becoming Madame __”: Anchee Min novel set in China : MAO

Anchee Min’s historical novel “Becoming Madame Mao” was published in 2000. The story centers on Jiang Qing, who was also known as “Madame Mao” as she was the fourth wife of Mao Zedong.

33 Homer’s well-meaning neighbor : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

39 Sweets : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

40 Street sign abbr. : AVE

Avenue (ave.)

41 Massive lexicon: Abbr. : OED

Work started on what was to become the first “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) in 1857. Several interim versions of the dictionary were published in the coming years with the first full version appearing, in ten bound volumes, in 1928. The second edition of the OED appeared in 1989 and is made up of twenty volumes. The OED was first published in electronic form in 1988 and went online in 2000. Given the modern use of computers, the publishing house responsible feels that there will never be a third print version of the famous dictionary.

42 Weak : ACHILLES’ HEEL (Weak spot)

Achilles is the protagonist in Homer’s “Iliad”. When Achilles was born, his mother attempted to make him immortal by dipping him into the River Styx. As he was held by the heel as he was immersed, this became the only vulnerable point on his body. Years later he was killed when a poisoned arrow struck him in the heel. That arrow was shot by Paris.

47 Simple semiconductor : DIODE

A diode is a component in a circuit, the most notable characteristic of which is that it will conduct electric current in only one direction. Some of those vacuum tubes we used to see in old radios and television were diodes, but nowadays almost all diodes are semiconductor devices.

49 Three-time World Series of Poker champion Ungar : STU

Many followers of the game believe that Stu Ungar was the best ever player of Texas hold ’em. Ungar won about $30 million playing cards during his life, yet he died penniless. He was found dead in a Las Vegas motel room in 1998 having passed away at 45 years of age from heart failure brought on by years of drug abuse.

52 Hyperformal “Blame me” : IT WAS I

The much debated statement “it is I” is grammatically correct, and should not be “corrected” to “it is me”. Traditionally, pronouns following linking verbs, such as “is”, “appear” and “seem”, are written in the nominative case. Examples are:

  • It is I … who called
  • It was he … who did it
  • It is we … who care

54 Haberdashery clips : TIE BARS

Back in the 14th century, a haberdasher was a dealer in small wares. By the late 1800s, the term had evolved to mean a purveyor of menswear, and in particular was associated with the sale of hats.

57 “New Rules” singer __ Lipa : DUA

Dua Lipa is a singer-songwriter and fashion model from England. She was born in London to Albanian parents, and considers her native language to be Albanian. She also speaks English with a British accent.

62 Big name in the cosmetics aisle : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

Down

1 Inner circle : CADRE

A cadre is most commonly a group of experienced personnel at the core of a larger organization that the small group trains or heavily influences. “Cadre” is a French word meaning “frame”. We use it in the sense that a cadre is a group that provides a “framework” for the larger organization.

2 First sign of spring? : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

3 __ acid : BORIC

Boric acid is a weak acid that usually comes as a white powder for domestic use. The powder can be dissolved in water and used as an antiseptic.

4 Hawkeye State college town : AMES

The city of Ames, Iowa was famous for holding the now-defunct Ames Straw Poll (also “Iowa Straw Poll) in advance of presidential elections. The poll in question was used to gauge the level of support for two or more Republican candidates, although non-Republicans were allowed to cast a vote. To vote one had to be an Iowa resident and had to buy a ticket to the fundraising dinner at which the vote was taken. The event got a lot of coverage, so it boosted the local economy as journalists hit the town. It was a very successful fundraiser for the Republican Party in Iowa as well, but the usefulness of the straw poll in predicting the eventual winner of the nomination was less clear. There were six straw polls from its inception in 1979, and just 2 out of the 6 times the poll winner went on to capture the party’s nomination. The Republican Party decided to pull the plug on the event in 2015.

Iowa is nicknamed the Hawkeye State in honor of Chief Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk people during the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War.

8 Wreath of plumeria blossoms : LEI

The plumeria genus of plants has the common name “frangipani”. The genus is named after French botanist Charles Plumier. The common name comes from an Italian noble family with roots in ancient Rome. Various species of plumeria are commonly used for making leis in several Pacific islands.

9 Tolkien trilogy, briefly : LOTR

J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel “The Lord of the Rings” consists of the three volumes:

  • “The Fellowship of the Ring”
  • “The Two Towers”
  • “The Return of the King”

26 Island that hosts the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing : OAHU

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a series of surfing competitions held in Hawaii. All of the events are held off the coast of the island of Oahu, except one of the women’s competitions that is held in Honolua Bay in Maui.

28 Sigma follower : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter that gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

29 Ad __ : HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and disbanded after making its final report.

30 Male swan : COB

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

31 Leader of a slapstick trio : MOE HOWARD

“Moe Howard” was the stage name of Moses Harry Horwitz. Howard was one of the Three Stooges. In 1925, he married Helen Schonberger, who was a cousin of Harry Houdini.

34 Saying little : TACITURN

Someone described as taciturn is disposed to be silent. The term “taciturn” comes from the Latin “tacitus” meaning “silent”.

35 Unblinking sci-fi villain : HAL

In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for “Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer”. Even though Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.

36 First name in couture : YVES

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was an Algerian-born French fashion designer. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

37 Java : JOE

It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the more general usage of the term spread from then.

38 Swimmer that hunts using electrolocation : EEL

Electric eels are so called because they are capable of delivering an eclectic shock that debilitates their prey. They are also able to electrolocate their prey. They do so by generating a weak electric field. The prey causes a distortion in this electric field, which is picked up by the eel’s electroreceptor organs.

43 Ore. neighbor : IDA

Idaho borders six states, and one Canadian province:

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • British Columbia

45 “__ is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated”: Shaw : HATRED

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was a very successful Irish playwright. Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature, and an Oscar. He won his Oscar for adapting his own play “Pygmalion” for the 1938 film of the same name starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. Most people are more likely to have seen the musical adaptation of “Pygmalion” that goes by the title “My Fair Lady”.

46 Great Lake near the Pro Football Hall of Fame : ERIE

The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in 1963 in Canton, Ohio. One reason that Canton was chosen for the Hall of Fame was that the National Football League (NFL) was founded in the city in 1920.

50 Reznor of Nine Inch Nails : TRENT

Not only is Trent Reznor the founder and frontman of the rock band Nine Inch Nails, he also collaborates with fellow band member Atticus Ross in writing film and television scores. The pair scored some very famous movies, including “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Gone Girl” and “Patriots Day”. They won the Best Original Score Oscar for “The Social Network”.

51 Vitamin intake std. : USRDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

53 __ facto : IPSO

“Ipso facto” is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of a particular act, as opposed to something that is the result of some subsequent event. For example, my father was born in Dublin and was an Irish citizen, ipso facto. My son was born in California and is an Irish citizen by virtue of being the son of an Irish citizen (i.e. “not” ipso facto).

55 CPR pros : EMTS

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

56 NYC division : BORO

The five boroughs of New York City were created in 1898. Those five are:

  • Manhattan
  • The Bronx
  • Brooklyn
  • Queens
  • Staten Island

59 Mel who hit 511 career home runs : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

60 Capital of Thailand? : TEE

The capital letter at the start of the word “Thailand” is a letter T (tee).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Conspiring circle : CABAL
6 Singer/actress Thorne : BELLA
11 Briefs brand : BVD
14 Kitchen magnet? : AROMA
15 Snacker’s stack : OREOS
16 Tool that only works in water : OAR
17 Tough : DIRE STRAITS (Tough spot)
19 Iberian cheer : OLE!
20 Second printing : REISSUE
21 Kerfuffle : RUCKUS
23 Key above ∼ : ESC
24 Osso __ : BUCO
27 Party of the first part in the Bible? : MOSES
28 Hot : THE PLACE TO BE (Hot spot)
31 “Becoming Madame __”: Anchee Min novel set in China : MAO
32 “Well, well, well!” : OHO!
33 Homer’s well-meaning neighbor : NED
34 Sore : TOUCHY SUBJECT (Sore spot)
39 Sweets : BAE
40 Street sign abbr. : AVE
41 Massive lexicon: Abbr. : OED
42 Weak : ACHILLES’ HEEL (Weak spot)
47 Simple semiconductor : DIODE
48 Space heater? : STAR
49 Three-time World Series of Poker champion Ungar : STU
52 Hyperformal “Blame me” : IT WAS I
54 Haberdashery clips : TIE BARS
57 “New Rules” singer __ Lipa : DUA
58 Product used on four of this puzzle’s clues : SPOT REMOVER
61 Goof : ERR
62 Big name in the cosmetics aisle : ESTEE
63 Data visualization discovery, perhaps : TREND
64 “So?” : AND?
65 “Copy that” : NOTED
66 Ish : SORTA

Down

1 Inner circle : CADRE
2 First sign of spring? : ARIES
3 __ acid : BORIC
4 Hawkeye State college town : AMES
5 Miss : LASS
6 Withstood hardship : BORE UP
7 Stretch often named for a music genre : ERA
8 Wreath of plumeria blossoms : LEI
9 Tolkien trilogy, briefly : LOTR
10 Take on : ASSUME
11 Audible precursor : BOOKS ON CD
12 Pot-building poker wager : VALUE BET
13 Decent, so to speak : DRESSED
18 __ top : TUBE
22 Easy-to-store bed : COT
25 Like the winner in a number-guessing contest : CLOSEST
26 Island that hosts the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing : OAHU
28 Sigma follower : TAU
29 Ad __ : HOC
30 Male swan : COB
31 Leader of a slapstick trio : MOE HOWARD
34 Saying little : TACITURN
35 Unblinking sci-fi villain : HAL
36 First name in couture : YVES
37 Java : JOE
38 Swimmer that hunts using electrolocation : EEL
39 “I wouldn’t do that” : BAD IDEA
43 Ore. neighbor : IDA
44 Tone down : LESSEN
45 “__ is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated”: Shaw : HATRED
46 Great Lake near the Pro Football Hall of Fame : ERIE
49 Screen __ : SAVER
50 Reznor of Nine Inch Nails : TRENT
51 Vitamin intake std. : USRDA
53 __ facto : IPSO
55 CPR pros : EMTS
56 NYC division : BORO
59 Mel who hit 511 career home runs : OTT
60 Capital of Thailand? : TEE

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Jun 22, Thursday”

  1. No errors. But lots of guesses. Some odd cluing.
    Got the theme ok but couldn’t make sense initially (or secondly) of some of the crossing clues. After I changed RACKET to RUCKUS, things made more sense.

    Then there was the MOSES groaner.

    I didn’t know BELLA THORNE. I looked on utube and thought she was some sort of Disney star. But that wasn’t what I got. It was pretty raw and smutty. Unless there is more than one BELLA THORNE.

  2. Barely got ¾ of this one done! Having a rough day – couldn’t solve Wordle or Quordle today either! Although I did complete Sudoku, Jumble and Cryptoquote!
    Happy Thursday! 🌷

    1. Wordle was rough on me today. I was down to my last chance and
      blew it on the first letter–could have been “m” or “g” and I picked
      the wrong one. Got my one try at Word Master.

  3. No errors; one lookup (the Reznor first name) and quite a few
    good guesses. After I had entered “oed” I pondered what would
    end in “cd”…but “books on CD” seemed to be okay,. Took me
    awhile to get this one solved but that’s okay.

  4. 8:30, I tied Bill’s time to the second!
    In all my years of doing crosswords and reading blogs, that has never happened. 🙂

  5. 21:36 with lots of thinking time – revisions were: THEPLANET>THEPLACE, TIETACS>TIEBARS.

    New items/names: BELLA Thorne, “Becoming Madame Mao,” “Anchee Min,” STU Unger, TRENT Reznor.

    At first, didn’t recognize what villain HAL was; had not heard of electrolocation before.

    The theme helped after solving 58A and 42A.

  6. Slightly difficult Thursday for me; took 24:49 with 2 errors: C_OSEEST and VALUE_ET. Didn’t read the clues closely enough and in a slight hurry to get this thing done, cuz I got stuff to do.

    Didn’t know: STU, US RDA and had fOlIC before BORIC. A few others that were gotten easily with crosses.

  7. Bill, you forgot to mention plumeria smells like Heaven. I brought one home from HI one time and tried to grow it-didn’t work out.

    I used to know a college student from Oahu that spent more time surfing than studying. One day he saw a good-sized shark cruising alongside his board. He took that as a sign he should get out of the water and get serious.
    OTOH, I have a cousin in his 50s who still likes to surf before work. He’s a pharm rep who teaches cardiologists how to use some very tricky equipment, so I guess it’s all in that work-life balance!
    I thought a lot of today’s cluing was downright weird.

  8. Too much distance between some of the clues and their respective answers. 11D is just one of many. Not a lot of fun, this puzzle.

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