LA Times Crossword 25 Jul 22, Monday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Well Well Well

Themed answers each fit the clue “WELL”:

  • 56A “What have we here?” and 20-, 36-, and 42-Across : WELL WELL WELL
  • 20A Hale and hearty : IN GOOD HEALTH (WELL)
  • 36A “Any time now!” : I’M WAITING! (WELL?!)
  • 42A Gathering spot for thirsty animals : WATER HOLE (WELL)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Lifetime pals, briefly : BFFS

Best friend forever (BFF)

5 Periodontist’s concern : GUMS

Periodontics (also “periodontology”) is the dental discipline concerned with the structures supporting the teeth, including the gums. The term “periodontal” means “surrounding a tooth” from the Greek “peri-” (surrounding) and “odontos” (of the tooth).

9 Brand of facial tissue : PUFFS

Puffs is a brand of facial tissue produced by Procter & Gamble.

14 Sign on for more service : RE-UP

To re-up is to re-enlist, say in the armed forces.

15 Indiana neighbor : OHIO

The state of Ohio takes its name from the Ohio River. In turn, the river takes its name from the Iroquois “ohi-yo”, which translates as “large creek”.

17 “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Samberg : ANDY

Andy Samberg is an actor and comedian who was a “Saturday Night Live” cast member from 2005 until 2012. Samberg also plays the lead on the police sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.

24 Play-__: kids’ clay : DOH

Back in the 1930s, a manufacturer in Cincinnati produced a doughy compound that was used to clean wallpaper. Twenty years later, school-kids started using the cleaning material as a modeling compound, so the manufacturer reworked the formula, and sold it to local schools. It was given the name “Play-Doh”.

28 Pixie : ELF

Pixies are mythical beings found originally in British folklore. The original pixies were thought to live underground, beneath ancient sites like stone circles and ringforts. Today, we think of pixies as creatures with pointy ears, dressed in green and wearing pointed hats. That imagery only dates back as far as the Victorian era.

29 Native of Pre-Columbian Peru : INCA

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Túpac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

The pre-Columbian era is that period in the history of the Americas before the Europeans really made their presence known. “Pre-Columbian” implies “before 1492, before the voyages of Christopher Columbus”.

40 African country on the Gulf of Guinea : GABON

The nation of Gabon lies on the west coast of Central Africa. Since it became independent from France in 1960, Gabon has become one of the most prosperous countries on the continent, by making use of the abundant natural resources and willing foreign investment.

44 NCO below sgt. : CPL

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) might be a sergeant (sgt.) or a corporal (cpl.).

46 Hockey Hall of Famer Phil, familiarly : ESPO

Phil “Espo” Esposito is a former professional hockey player who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Espo scored 126 points in the 1969 season, hence becoming the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season.

52 Hunted for fossils, say : DUG

Originally, the term “fossil” described anything that was unearthed, dug up. We tend to define the term more narrowly today, reserving it for the geological remains of a plant or animal. “Fossil” comes from the Latin “fossilis” meaning “dug up”.

54 Mixed nuts nut : CASHEW

The cashew is the seed of the cashew tree. The pulp of the cashew tree fruit (the cashew apple) is also consumed, and is usually processed into a fruit drink or distilled as a liquor.

59 Strictly forbidden : TABOO

The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

62 Very small bit : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

63 Great Plains natives : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

64 Distant and cool : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that it has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

65 Lacking color : DRAB

We now use the word “drab” to mean “dull, cheerless”. Back in the late 17th century, “drab” was the color of natural, undyed cloth.

Down

2 Bulb with an aniselike flavor : FENNEL

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant species in the celery family that is used as a herb. It also goes by the name “sweet anise”. Personally, I can’t stand the stuff …

5 “If You Could Read My Mind” singer Lightfoot : GORDON

Gordon Lightfoot is a singer-songwriter from Orillia, Ontario. Included in the list of songs written by Lightfoot are “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970), “Carefree Highway” (1974) and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976).

7 Teeny plant pest : MITE

Mites are tiny arthropods in the arachnid (spider) class. They are (annoyingly!) very successful creatures that have adapted to all sorts of habitats. And being so small, mites generally pass unnoticed. Ick …

9 Noodle dish topped with crushed peanuts : PAD THAI

The delicious dish called pad Thai is a meld of stir-fried rice noodles with tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a mix of vegetables and possibly tofu, meat or fish. It is usually topped with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime. The name “pad Thai” translates as “fried Thai-style”.

10 Six-sided state : UTAH

When viewed on a map of the US, the state of Utah has six sides. It’s almost shaped like a rectangle, but there is a “bite” out of that rectangle in the northeast corner of the state.

11 “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” org. : FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was set up in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), with the name changing in 1935. The Bureau was set up at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was largely moved to do so after the 1901 assassination of President McKinley, as there was a perception that anarchists were threatening law and order. The FBI’s motto uses the organization’s initialism, and is “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity”.

21 __ Spunkmeyer: cookie brand : OTIS

Otis Spunkmeyer is a company noted for producing muffins and cookies. Kenneth Rawlings founded the company in 1977 in Oakland, California. “Otis Spunkmeyer” isn’t a real person, and instead is a name that was made up by Rawlings’ 12-year-old daughter.

22 Boston airport : LOGAN

Boston’s Logan Airport (BOS) is named for General Edward Lawrence Logan, a military officer from South Boston who fought in the Spanish-American War.

25 Share juicy gossip : SPILL THE TEA

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

27 Microsoft’s web browser : EDGE

The Microsoft Edge web browser was introduced in 2015 as a replacement for Internet Explorer. As of 2020, Microsoft Edge has 10% of the web browser market, second only to Google Chrome that dominates with 70% market share.

30 Breezy goodbye : CIAO!

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

33 Escalator part : STEP

Escalators have an advantage over elevators in that they can move larger numbers of people in the same time frame. They can also be placed in just about the same physical space that would be needed for a regular staircase. Patents for escalator-type devices were first filed in 1859, but the first working model wasn’t built until 1892 by one Jesse Reno. It was erected alongside a pier in Coney Island, New York, with the second escalator being placed at an entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Soon after, the Otis elevator company purchased the necessary patents and went into the business.

35 Borscht base : BEET

Borscht is a beetroot soup that originated in Ukraine. Borscht can be served both hot and cold.

39 Zilch : NADA

We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.

40 Grave-robbing demon : GHOUL

Our word “ghoul” comes from the Arabic “ghul”, the name for an evil spirit that feeds on corpses.

44 West Virginia natural resource : COAL

The vast coalfields of West Virginia were used to fuel, literally, the Industrial Revolution in the United States. West Virginia’s official state rock is bituminous coal.

49 “The other team clobbered us” : WE LOST

The verb “to clobber” means “to batter severely”. The term originated in 1941 in the RAF, and at that time was probably echoic of the sound of bombs exploding.

50 Big-eyed nestlings : OWLETS

A baby owl is an owlet. The term “owlet” can also be used for the adults of the smaller species of owls.

56 Husky’s “Hello” : WOOF!

The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in northern Asia. Siberian Huskies were imported into Alaska in great numbers in the early 1900s for use as sled dogs during the gold rush.

59 Prof. helpers : TAS

Teaching assistant (TA)

61 Constricting snake : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lifetime pals, briefly : BFFS
5 Periodontist’s concern : GUMS
9 Brand of facial tissue : PUFFS
14 Sign on for more service : RE-UP
15 Indiana neighbor : OHIO
16 Facing the pitcher : AT BAT
17 “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Samberg : ANDY
18 Decomposes : ROTS
19 Milk seller : DAIRY
20 Hale and hearty : IN GOOD HEALTH (WELL)
23 Taken care of : SEEN TO
24 Play-__: kids’ clay : DOH
25 That girl : SHE
28 Pixie : ELF
29 Native of Pre-Columbian Peru : INCA
32 Reacted to a surprise, perhaps : GASPED
34 Muscles worked by crunches : ABS
36 “Any time now!” : I’M WAITING! (WELL?!)
38 __ and for all : ONCE
40 African country on the Gulf of Guinea : GABON
41 “If all __ fails … ” : ELSE
42 Gathering spot for thirsty animals : WATER HOLE (WELL)
44 NCO below sgt. : CPL
45 “You’re not alone in that” : I DO TOO
46 Hockey Hall of Famer Phil, familiarly : ESPO
48 Pair : TWO
51 Gift for music : EAR
52 Hunted for fossils, say : DUG
54 Mixed nuts nut : CASHEW
56 “What have we here?” and 20-, 36-, and 42-Across : WELL WELL WELL
59 Strictly forbidden : TABOO
62 Very small bit : IOTA
63 Great Plains natives : OTOE
64 Distant and cool : ALOOF
65 Lacking color : DRAB
66 Sit for a spell : REST
67 Employees : STAFF
68 Long, wriggly swimmers : EELS
69 Satisfies the munchies : EATS

Down

1 Slow-cook in a closed pot : BRAISE
2 Bulb with an aniselike flavor : FENNEL
3 Exaggeration allowance in estimates : FUDGE FACTOR
4 Watch secretly : SPY ON
5 “If You Could Read My Mind” singer Lightfoot : GORDON
6 “This looks bad!” : UH-OH!
7 Teeny plant pest : MITE
8 “Such a pity” : SO SAD
9 Noodle dish topped with crushed peanuts : PAD THAI
10 Six-sided state : UTAH
11 “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” org. : FBI
12 Distant : FAR
13 Pen with a trough : STY
21 __ Spunkmeyer: cookie brand : OTIS
22 Boston airport : LOGAN
25 Share juicy gossip : SPILL THE TEA
26 Farm cluckers : HENS
27 Microsoft’s web browser : EDGE
30 Breezy goodbye : CIAO!
31 Stroll along : AMBLE
33 Escalator part : STEP
35 Borscht base : BEET
37 Nagging troubles : WOES
38 Cut covered by a Snoopy bandage, e.g. : OWIE
39 Zilch : NADA
40 Grave-robbing demon : GHOUL
43 Departed into the sunset, say : RODE OFF
44 West Virginia natural resource : COAL
47 Tech training sites : PC LABS
49 “The other team clobbered us” : WE LOST
50 Big-eyed nestlings : OWLETS
53 Coast : GLIDE
55 Used cusswords : SWORE
56 Husky’s “Hello” : WOOF!
57 Had on : WORE
58 “And some other people” abbr. : ET AL
59 Prof. helpers : TAS
60 __-country music : ALT
61 Constricting snake : BOA

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Jul 22, Monday”

  1. Quick solve this morning with no errors. Took me 17 minutes, which
    is good for me but not so hot in the face of Bill’s 5+ minutes.

    1. @Mary…3 times Bills time is a good benchmark😀
      16:00 no errors…WELL WELL WELL imagine that👍👍
      Stay safe😀

  2. No errors. Learned about GABON today.

    Looks like we’ve SPILLED THE TEA for about the third day in a row from various crosswords. I’ve never heard anyone say that but it sure is popular lately with crossword creators. Hmmm

  3. It seems to me that many crossword puzzle constructors must occupy a common space, real or virtual. Case in point: well, well, and well appear today in the themes of both the Andrews McMeel Universal puzzle and this LAT puzzle. As Rod Sterling might say, “Coincidence? I think not.”

  4. No errors or Googles. Clever theme.
    Did not know: ANDY, PAD THAI, OTIS, SPILL THE TEA, ALT.
    Is ALT alternative? And to what?

    1. Alternative country is ‘country’ music performed by people who never baled hay, nor churned butter, nor fed the chickens, nor milked a cow, nor enjoyed salted peanuts in their mountain dew, nor skinny-dipped in the creek, nor caught chiggers, nor walked a mile to the mailbox, nor plowed behind a mule, nor husked corn, not fished in a pond with worms for bait, nor, nor, nor…

      For my money, country music was well into its decline by the ‘70s. Nowadays the soi disant country music all sounds alike, performed by people who are angry and apparently think I am hard of hearing, and that making noise is more important than being understood. The writers find a catch phrase and flog it like a borrowed mule. As for verses, it’s one and done. Don’t get me started!

      If you’d like to hear some genuine country music, get yourself some Hank Williams; his is archetypal country music.

    2. Forgot to sign my reply; don’t want to seem ashamed nor apologetic, so

      YeeHaw! It is I who was he…

  5. 5 minutes 25 seconds, no errors, no issues. Closest I’ve ever come to *matching* Bill’s finishing time +/-2 seconds!!

  6. @Engineer – Thanx!

    I knew there was a reason why I just liked the old stuff. (I feel the same about Irish music.)
    Since about 2% of Americans are farmers, it’s no surprise few remember the original stuff.
    However, part of it is my age and I rarely hear something new that I like. Sad.

  7. 19 minutes, no errors.
    For “Spill the tea” OED has many quotes for “spill the beans” but none for tea. Google Ngram observes “spill the tea” since 1800, once or twice in a billion words – but that might be actual tea, not juicy news.

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