LA Times Crossword 14 Jul 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Karen Lurie
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Just Take the L!

Themed answers are common phrases with a letter L TAKEN away at the beginning:

  • 51A “Oh, admit defeat already!,” and advice that was followed to form the answers to the starred clues : JUST TAKE THE L!
  • 20A *Research on the ampersand? : “AND” MARK STUDY (Just take the L from “landmark study”)
  • 31A *Ambien, for one? : AID TO REST (Just take the L from “laid to rest”)
  • 44A *Folds? : ENDS A HAND (Just take the L from “lends a hand”)

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

Bill’s time: 7m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Karate match exchanges : BOWS

Karate is a martial art that originated in the Ryukyu Kingdom, which is now part of Japan. A practitioner of karate is known as a karateka. The sport of karate was included as an Olympic sport starting with the 2020 Games.

5 Exams for coll. credit : APS

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school (HS). After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

8 Hydro __: bottle brand : FLASK

Hydro Flask is a brand of water bottle that was introduced in 2009, but became very popular starting in 2019. The suggestion is that the brand’s surge in popularity was largely due to the bottle being used by celebrities in social media posts.

20 *Research on the ampersand? : “AND” MARK STUDY (Just take the L from “landmark study”)

Back in the day, when reciting the alphabet, it was common to emphasize that some letters could be used as a word in itself. One would say “A per se A, B, C, D … I per se I, J, K, L … denoting that the letters A and I are also their own words. It was common to add the & symbol at the end of the recitation, as if it were a 27th letter. So the alphabet ended with “X, Y, Z, & (and) per se and”. This “and per se and” statement was slurred to “ampersand”, giving the name that we use today for the & symbol.

23 Brief “If you ask me (and even if you didn’t)” : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

25 Rapper Lil __ X : NAS

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

31 *Ambien, for one? : AID TO REST (Just take the L from “laid to rest”)

Ambien is a brand name for the prescription drug zolpidem. I have a friend who used to swear by Ambien for helping cope with jet lag. I once had to deal with jet lag almost monthly and swear by the diet supplement melatonin, which you can buy over the counter here in the US. But, I am no doctor so don’t listen to anything I say …

34 Brazilian city : RIO

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil (after São Paulo). “Rio de Janeiro” translates as “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the bay on which Rio sits, on New Year’s Day in 1502.

37 World Heritage Site org. : UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is better known by the acronym “UNESCO”. UNESCO’s mission is to help build peace in the world using programs focused on education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. The organization’s work is aimed in particular at Africa, and gender equalization. UNESCO also administers a World Heritage Site program that designates and helps conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to humanity across the world.

40 Chest of drawers : DRESSER

The item of bedroom furniture usually known as a dresser (or sometimes “bureau”) here in North America, is generally called a chest of drawers in Britain and Ireland. Whatever the name, the piece consists of a set of parallel drawers, mainly stacked one over the other.

48 Shares again, on Twitter : RTS

Retweet (RT)

49 Energy Star certifying org. : EPA

The Energy Star standard was created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) during the Clinton Administration. In general, an item marked with an Energy Star uses 20-30% less energy than that mandated by federal standards. Not too long ago, we put an Energy Star roof on our house, and noticed a remarkable difference in our energy bills.

50 Tammy Duckworth’s title, briefly : SEN

Tammy Duckworth has been a US Senator for Illinois since 2017. Duckworth is a veteran of the Iraq War, in which she served as a helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, including the loss of both her legs. She continued to serve in the Illinois National Guard after her recovery, and retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Duckworth has racked up quite a few firsts while in Congress. For example, she was the first woman with a disability elected to Congress, and the first Senator to give birth while in office. Senate rules were changed following the birth of her daughter, which allowed Duckworth to bring her baby onto the Senate floor and breastfeed her during votes.

51 “Oh, admit defeat already!,” and advice that was followed to form the answers to the starred clues : JUST TAKE THE L!

Just take the L, take the loss.

57 Shoyu __: noodle dish : RAMEN

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

Shoyu ramen is a noodle soup with a clear brown broth. “Shoyu” is Japanese for “soy sauce”.

60 Fallon’s predecessor : LENO

“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:

  • Steve Allen (1954-57)
  • Jack Paar (1957-62)
  • Johnny Carson (1962–92)
  • Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
  • Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
  • Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)

62 Peabody, e.g. : AWARD

The Peabody Awards have been presented annually since 1941 to individuals and organizations for excellence in broadcasting. They are named for businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, who provided the funds to establish the awards program.

63 Shoots the breeze : YAKS

To shoot the breeze is to participate in casual inconsequential conversation. The idiom “shoot the breeze” arose in the US in the early- to mid-20th century. The phrase probably evolved from the use of “breeze” as a slang term meaning “rumor”.

65 Insurance spokeslizard : GECKO

The word “gecko” comes from an Indonesian/Javanese word “tokek”, which is imitative of the reptile’s chirping sound. In making such a sound, geckos are unique in the world of lizards. More interesting to me than a gecko’s chirping is its ability to cling to walls and other vertical surfaces. Their feet are specially adapted with “toes” that make extremely intimate, close contact to a surface. The toes have millions of hairs called setae that enable the clinging. It isn’t suction that supports them, but rather van der Waals forces (weak “gravitational” attractions). Fascinating stuff …

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

67 “To Kill a Mockingbird” star : PECK

Gregory Peck was an iconic Hollywood actor, who hailed from La Jolla, California. Peck was recognized as a great actor as soon as he started acting in films in 1944. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for “The Keys of the Kingdom” (1944), “The Yearling” (1946), “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947) and “Twelve O’Clock High” (1949). Peck finally won his Academy Award with the fifth nomination, for playing Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962).

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a 1962 big-screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s 1960 novel of the same name. The lead roles are played by Gregory Peck (as Atticus Finch) and Mary Badham (as Scout). Robert Duvall plays Boo Radley, in his movie debut.

Down

2 Asgard god : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. He is usually depicted as having one eye, reflecting the story of how he gave one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom.

Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds of Norse religions. It is where the Norse gods live, and is also home to Valhalla, the enormous hall ruled over by the god Odin.

4 Buffalo : STYMIE

The word “stymie” comes from golf, and is a situation in which one’s approach to the hole is blocked by an opponent’s ball. We use the term more broadly as a verb to describe standing in the way of something.

To buffalo is to bewilder, baffle. The verb probably comes from the animal’s name, as back in the early 1900s, “to buffalo” was “to alarm, overawe”. This meaning likely originated with the tendency for a herd of buffalo to mass panic in the face of danger.

9 “Schitt’s Creek” co-creator : LEVY

Eugene Levy is a Canadian actor. He is the only actor to have appeared in all of the “American Pie” movies. Levy plays the clueless, but loving, Dad. Eugene also co-created, and starred in, the Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” with his son Dan Levy.

11 Lancelot or Mix-a-Lot : SIR

Sir Lancelot is one of the knights in the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table. Lancelot is the most trusted of Arthur’s knights when it comes to battle, but off the field he has a poorer reputation. Famously, Lancelot had an affair with Guinevere, Arthur’s wife.

“Sir Mix-a-Lot” is the stage name used by record producer and rap artist Anthony Ray.

21 Unrealistically common affliction in soap operas : AMNESIA

“Amnesia, meaning “loss of memory”, is a Greek word that we imported into English in the 17th century. The Greek term comes from combining the prefixes “a-” meaning “not” and “mnesi-” meaning “remembering”.

25 Scottish monster, affectionately : NESSIE

Scotland’s Loch Ness is famous for its fabled “monster”, referred to affectionately as “Nessie”. The loch is the second-largest lake in the country (Loch Lomond is the largest). Loch Ness takes its name from the River Ness that flows from the loch’s northern end.

27 Baby birds? : STORKS

In German and Dutch society, storks resting on the roof of a house were considered a sign of good luck. This tradition led to nursery stories that babies were brought to families by storks.

28 Sagittarius symbol : ARCHER

Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac, with “sagittarius” being the Latin for “archer”. The related constellation is usually represented by a centaur (half-bull, half-man) with a bow.

29 Mum : SILENT

The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.

31 Beast of burden in many fables : ASS

Aesop used an ass in at least four of his fables:

  • The Ass and his Masters
  • The Ass and the Pig
  • The Ass Carrying an Image
  • The Ass in the Lion’s Skin

36 Tres __ cake: dairy-soaked dessert : LECHES

A tres leches cake is a type of sponge cake that has been soaked in three kinds of milk, in heavy cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk.

39 Sea plea, briefly : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

50 Smidge : SKOSH

“Skosh” is a slang term meaning “a little bit”, and was originally military slang that came out of the Korean War. “Skosh” derives from the Japanese word “sukoshi” which translates as “few, little, some”.

51 Weightlifting move : JERK

There are two weightlifting events in the Olympics. One is the “snatch” in which the competitor lifts the barbell from the platform over his or head in one continuous movement. The “clean and jerk” is a two-part lift. The “clean” brings the barbell off the platform mainly using the knees. The “jerk” brings the barbell over the head to complete the lift.

53 “Eso Beso” singer : ANKA

“Eso Beso” is Spanish for “That Kiss”, and is the title of a 1962 hit song recorded by Canadian-born singer Paul Anka.

59 Big name in laptops and lipstick : MAC

Macintosh (also “Mac”, since 1998) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

MAC Cosmetics is a manufacturer of cosmetics that was founded in Toronto in 1984. The name “MAC” is an acronym standing for Make-Up Art Cosmetics.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Karate match exchanges : BOWS
5 Exams for coll. credit : APS
8 Hydro __: bottle brand : FLASK
13 Perfect copy : EDIT
14 __-portrait : SELF
16 Otherworldly : EERIE
17 Wee : TINY
18 “Quite so” : TRUE
19 Without exception : EVERY
20 *Research on the ampersand? : “AND” MARK STUDY (Just take the L from “landmark study”)
23 Brief “If you ask me (and even if you didn’t)” : IMO
24 Current : HIP
25 Rapper Lil __ X : NAS
28 Wan : ASHEN
31 *Ambien, for one? : AID TO REST (Just take the L from “laid to rest”)
34 Brazilian city : RIO
35 Otherwise : ELSE
37 World Heritage Site org. : UNESCO
38 School units : CLASSES
40 Chest of drawers : DRESSER
41 Valiant : HEROIC
42 Sound like a pig : OINK
43 Press coverage : INK
44 *Folds? : ENDS A HAND (Just take the L from “lends a hand”)
46 Must-haves : NEEDS
48 Shares again, on Twitter : RTS
49 Energy Star certifying org. : EPA
50 Tammy Duckworth’s title, briefly : SEN
51 “Oh, admit defeat already!,” and advice that was followed to form the answers to the starred clues : JUST TAKE THE L!
57 Shoyu __: noodle dish : RAMEN
60 Fallon’s predecessor : LENO
61 Tire swing holder : ROPE
62 Peabody, e.g. : AWARD
63 Shoots the breeze : YAKS
64 Continent with 11 time zones : ASIA
65 Insurance spokeslizard : GECKO
66 Root word? : RAH!
67 “To Kill a Mockingbird” star : PECK

Down

1 Pre-release software version : BETA
2 Asgard god : ODIN
3 Leaf blower : WIND
4 Buffalo : STYMIE
5 Intro to physics? : ASTRO-
6 Fringe benefit : PERK
7 Frozen drink : SLUSHIE
8 Nurture : FEED
9 “Schitt’s Creek” co-creator : LEVY
10 “__ we done here?” : ARE
11 Lancelot or Mix-a-Lot : SIR
12 Vital : KEY
15 Really stinky : FETID
21 Unrealistically common affliction in soap operas : AMNESIA
22 Positive shift : UPTURN
25 Scottish monster, affectionately : NESSIE
26 Rise : ASCEND
27 Baby birds? : STORKS
28 Sagittarius symbol : ARCHER
29 Mum : SILENT
30 Stockpiles : HOARDS
31 Beast of burden in many fables : ASS
32 Support for a proposal? : ONE KNEE
33 Hi-__ graphics : RES
36 Tres __ cake: dairy-soaked dessert : LECHES
39 Sea plea, briefly : SOS
40 Took care of : DID
42 Really hot : ON A TEAR
45 In a fitting way : APTLY
47 Set up : ENTRAP
50 Smidge : SKOSH
51 Weightlifting move : JERK
52 Reverse : UNDO
53 “Eso Beso” singer : ANKA
54 Sprinkler attachment : HOSE
55 “Awesome, dude!” : EPIC!
56 Pipe problem : LEAK
57 Tattered cloth : RAG
58 Blow away : AWE
59 Big name in laptops and lipstick : MAC

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Jul 22, Thursday”

  1. No errors, no lookups….harder than yesterday. I didn’t quite
    understand “just take the L” until Bill’s explanation that “L”
    was for “Loss”.

  2. 31:13 no errors…I thought I was headed for a DNF but surprise surprise😀😀
    It took a while for 13A to sink in🤪
    Stay safe😀

  3. Re 40A: around here a chest of drawers is called a chester. Danged if I know why.

    Actually, I grew up understanding (or misunderstanding, who knows) that a dresser is a piece of furniture, wider than it is high, housing in tiers a number of drawers of assorted widths and supporting a large mirror, as if to aid in, ah, dressing. A chest of drawers is then a piece of furniture, taller than it is wide, housing in a stack a number of usually full- width drawers.

    Just sayin.’

  4. Cute! Took a while to get the theme, but when I did, went pretty smooth. BTW, Lou Lu, what is a PPP?
    D. Chatswood

    1. Glad you asked about PPP. I myself have been wondering about it.

      And who, dear Anonymous, is D. Chatswood??

    2. I’ve heard several explanations but the one I use is “People, Places, Products.”

      Really any word that has only one answer, such a EINSTEIN, PERU, IMAC.

      When used extensively in a puzzle it’s often referred to as a trivia test.

      Perhaps Glenn could clarify better.

      Be Well.

  5. 14 minutes, 53 seconds, and needed Check Help to ferret out mistakes affecting 10 fills. This one was just too “cute” for me, and I didn’t grok the theme at all.

  6. 10:01

    Today I learned the expression “to take the L”. That’s why I went from
    JUSTSAYUNCLE -> JUSTTAKETHEL. Also, I had no clue about the theme answers until I had most of the crosses. This was challenging, but I refuse to take the L from a crossword.

  7. I haven’t finished reading it, but … I found this interesting article on the subject of “chester drawers” being used in place of “chest of drawers”:

    https://www.waywordradio.org/Chester_Drawers.pdf

    (And, curiously, I’m reminded of the word “chesterfield”, which was used by my Canadian relatives to refer to what we called a “sofa”.)

    English … gotta love it ! … 😜

  8. 19 minutes, 3 errors because I had JUSTfAcETHEL as the theme answer. The cross of SCOSH looked good to me but I doubted ONAFEAR was correct, oh well…

  9. 16:51 with a few reveal letter/check grids.

    Enjoyable and, again, not that many PPPs, and they were “gettable.”

    But for a Thursday, for me, I’m happy.

    Be Well.

  10. 33:43 with revisions of: SLURPEE>SLUSHIE, TAP>RAH, JUSTSAYETHEL>JUSTTAKETHEL.

    Tried to do this while tired at the end of the day, and couldn’t maintain focus. Finally got the theme answer for 51A, and the at 42D and 50D came to me. It helped to fix SLUSHIE, too.

  11. A day late and a little sleepy doing this; took 25:38 with no peeks or errors. Ambled around just taking things literally, ignoring the theme, which I didn’t get until I got here. I kept thinking it was about ETHEL. 🙂

    Still, no real problems, I just had to look at the clue and the space for a while.

    There is a video game “Fortnight”, that came out about 4 or 5 years ago, which popularized losers forming their hand/fingers into an “L” and holding it over their foreheads. I think this maybe led to the expression “Take the L.”

  12. My worst problem was with JUSTTA?ETHEL and S?OSH. Never heard either of them (see Bill J.)
    About the spokeslizard …. I don’t watch much TV – especially the commercials. My research suggests that “spokeslizard” is a word that appears in crossword puzzles and nowhere else. Great word, though!

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