LA Times Crossword 7 Jul 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Laura Dershewitz & Katherine Baicker
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Life Hacks

Themed answers are common phrases with “LIFE” HACKED out of each one:

  • 58A Tricks to improve productivity, and the tricks used to form the answers to the starred clues? : LIFE HACKS
  • 17A *Paperwork for a UFO pilot? : ALIEN FORM (from “alien life-form”)
  • 23A *Fast fashion? : ACTIVE STYLE (from “active lifestyle”)
  • 36A *House of worship known for raucous parties? : WILD SANCTUARY (from “wildlife sanctuary”)
  • 47A *Office scale? : WORK BALANCE (from “work-life balance”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 “__ Great Heights”: single by The Postal Service : SUCH

The Postal Service was an indie pop supergroup that formed in Seattle in 2001. Being a supergroup, the band members had other commitments to other bands. Conflicting schedules resulted in songs being produced remotely, with digital audio tapes being mailed between band members through the US Postal Service. Hence, the name “The Postal Service”.

9 Shelter org. : ASPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

15 Wind with a range of roughly three octaves : OBOE

We’ve all probably heard the phrase “‘tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good”. The poet Ogden Nash made a “punny” statement about the oboe, calling the instrument “an ill wind nobody blows good”. I must say though, I disagree …

I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way … don’t shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”). These are all white keys. Most of these “white notes” are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a “semitone” in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term “octave” because we often add an eighth note on the end “to bring us back to do” as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do … or … C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.

20 Mobile game? : PHONE TAG

What we mostly call a “cell phone” here in North America is more usually referred to as a “mobile phone” in Britain and Ireland. My favorite term for the device is used in Germany, where it is called a “Handy”.

21 Sauce thickener : ROUX

A roux is a mixture of wheat flour and clarified butter (or other fat) cooked together until it can be used as a thickening agent.

22 Suffix with ether : -EAL

The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also “ether”). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets. We’re still using the term “ether” with a similar meaning.

29 CPR provider : EMT

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

35 Mug : FACE

The verb “to mug” means “to make an exaggerated facial expression”. The term comes from mugs used to drink beer (called Toby mugs) that are made in the shape of heads with grotesque expressions. “Mug” can also be a noun meaning “face”.

36 *House of worship known for raucous parties? : WILD SANCTUARY (from “wildlife sanctuary”)

A sanctuary is a sacred or holy place, with “sanctuary” coming from the Latin “sanctus” meaning “holy”. Some Christian traditions use the term “sanctuary” to describe the area in a church that houses the main altar. Some medieval Church law granted immunity to fugitives and debtors who took refuge in some churches, and so “sanctuary” took on the meaning “immunity from punishment”.

Something described as raucous can be hoarse, as in “raucous voices”. Something raucous can also be disorderly and boisterous, as in “raucous frat house”. The term “raucous” comes from the Latin “raucus” meaning “hoarse”.

39 Tech leader? : NANO-

Nanotechnology is the study of the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular level. Nanotechnology is essential to the electronic and biomaterials industries.

40 Country songs : ANTHEMS

The word “anthem” used to describe a sacred song, especially one with words taken from the Scriptures. The British national anthem (“God Save the Queen/King”) technically is a hymn, and so it came to be described as “the national hymn” and later “the national anthem”. The use of the word “anthem” extended from there to describe any patriotic song.

42 Wonkette founding editor __ Marie Cox : ANA

“Wonkette” is a political news and commentary blog that focuses on gossip and takes a satirical slant in its stories. The blog (now really an online magazine) was founded in 2004 by Ana Marie Cox, who stayed on as editor until 2006.

53 Booker Prize-winning author Murdoch : IRIS

Dame Iris Murdoch was an Irish-born British author and philosopher. She was awarded the Booker Prize in 1978 for her novel “The Sea, the Sea”, although her best-known work is probably her first novel “Under the Net”, which was published in 1954.

54 Really cheap : FOR A SONG

Something that goes “for a song” is sold very cheaply. The first known use of the phrase in print is in William Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well”.

Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the
ruff and sing; ask questions and sing; pick his
teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of
melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.

58 Tricks to improve productivity, and the tricks used to form the answers to the starred clues? : LIFE HACKS

A life hack is a technique that makes a routine task easier or more efficient. The term was coined in 2004 by journalist Danny O’Brien when describing less-than-elegant shortcuts used by IT professionals.

61 The Met __: annual NYC fundraising event : GALA

The Costume Institute Gala is an annual fundraising event that benefits the Anna Wintour Costume Center in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The fundraiser is commonly referred to as the Met Gala or Met Ball, and was established in 1948.

62 Some spa treatments : PEELS

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the look and feel of the skin. It involves using a chemical to deliberately injure the outermost layer of the skin. The damaged skin dies and peels off, revealing regenerated skin below.

64 Actor Mapa of “Ugly Betty” and “Doom Patrol” : ALEC

Alec Mapa is an actor and comedian from San Francisco. To TV audiences, he is perhaps best known for playing Suzuki St. Pierre on “Ugly Betty”, as well as Vern on “Desperate Housewives”.

Down

1 Board book subject : SHAPES

A board book is a book produced for children that is made from heavy paper or cardboard (hence the name).

2 New York suburb near New Rochelle : PELHAM

The suburban town of Pelham lies about 14 miles northeast of Manhattan. The land on which the town now sits was purchased in 1654 by English-born physician Thomas Pell, who named the area in honor of his old tutor Pelham Burton.

3 Camden Yards player : ORIOLE

Oriole Park is home to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team. The full name of the stadium is Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The name “Camden Yards” is used because the ballpark is built on land that was once used as the rail yard for B&O Railroad’s Camden Station.

4 __ Choice Awards : TEEN

Fox television network’s Teen Choice Awards were created in 1999 to cater for the teen demographic, along the lines of the existing Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Sadly, the Teen Choice Awards have been plagued with controversy, with apparently well-founded claims that winners have been selected and sometimes notified even before voting has closed.

5 Icy center? : SOFT C

The letter C at the center of the word “icy” is a soft C.

6 WWII sub : U-BOAT

The term “U-boat” comes from the German word “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

7 Short-legged dog : CORGI

The Welsh corgi is a herding dog that originated in Britain, with two recognized breeds: the Pembroke and Cardigan. Corgis aren’t fast enough to do their job by running around livestock like collies, and instead nip at the heels. “Corgi” is Welsh for “dwarf dog”.

10 Stain-removal brand : SHOUT

Shout is a household cleaner manufactured by S. C. Johnson.

11 Armed conflict waged on behalf of superpowers : PROXY WAR

Our word “proxy”, meaning “the agency of one who acts instead of another”, comes from the Latin “procurare” meaning “to manage”. So, “proxy” has the same root as our word “procure”.

12 Fish sticks fish : COD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

Fish sticks are known as fish fingers in the UK and Ireland.

24 Forage plant : VETCH

Vetches are flowering plants in the legume family that are closely related to lentils and peas. Today, common vetch is mainly used as fodder for ruminant animals such as cattle.

“Forage” is another word for “fodder”, food used for domestic animals.

25 Like some lingerie : LACY

“Lingerie” is a French term. As used in France, it describes any underwear, worn by either males or females. In English we use “lingerie” to describe alluring underclothing worn by women. The term “lingerie” comes into English via the French word “linge” meaning “washables”, and ultimately from the Latin “linum”, meaning “linen”. We tend not to pronounce the word correctly in English, either here in the US or across the other side of the Atlantic. The French pronunciation is more like “lan-zher-ee”, as opposed to “lon-zher-ay” (American) and “lon-zher-ee” (British).

26 Retina locale : EYE

The retina is the tissue that lines the inside of the eye, and is the tissue that is light-sensitive. There are (mainly) two types of cells in the retina that are sensitive to light, namely rods and cones. Rods are cells that best function in very dim light and only provide black-and-white vision. Cones on the other hand function in brighter light and can perceive color.

28 “Collapsed in Sunbeams” singer Parks : ARLO

“Arlo Parks” is the stage name of British singer and poet Anaïs Marinho. Parks seems to have hit the big time early in her career, with her first studio album “Collapsed in Sunbeams” garnering a lot of positive attention.

32 Yoga postures : ASANAS

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

34 Explosive letters : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

35 Burkina __ : FASO

Burkina Faso is an inland country in western Africa. The country used to be called the Republic of Upper Volta and was renamed in 1984 to “Burkina Faso”, meaning “the land of upright people”.

36 D.C. daily : WAPO

“The Washington Post” (WaPo) is the oldest paper still being published in the DC area, having been founded in 1877. Famously, “The Post” reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the media’s investigation into what we now called the Watergate scandal. “The Washington Post” was purchased in 2013 by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

44 West Coast petroleum giant that merged with Chevron in 2005 : UNOCAL

Oil and gas company Unocal was founded in 1890 as the Union Oil Company of California. The “Union” name reflected the roots of the new enterprise, which was a merger of three existing Southern California oil companies. Famously, Union Oil was in competition with Standard Oil, a rivalry that was fictionalized in Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!”, and the novel’s 2007 film adaptation “There Will Be Blood”.

46 Arachnid incubator : EGG SAC

An egg sac is a case made of silk that contains the eggs of a female spider.

Arachnids are creatures with eight jointed legs. The name of the class Arachnida comes from the Greek “aráchnē” meaning “spider”.

48 Whale fare : KRILL

Krill are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the oceans. Krill feed on plankton, and in turn, krill are the main part of the diet of larger animals such as whales, seals and penguins. There’s an awful lot of krill in the world, an estimated 500,000,000 tonnes of it. That’s about twice the biomass of humans on the planet!

51 2015 boxing film directed by Ryan Coogler : CREED

“Creed” is a 2015 boxing movie, the seventh in the “Rocky” franchise. Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, but this time as a trainer. Rocky trains Apollo Creed’s son Adonis. Stallone was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in the film. It was the first Academy Award nomination he had received since the first “Rocky” film, which was released almost forty years earlier.

Film director Ryan Coogler was at the helm for a string of successful movies early in his career, namely “Fruitvale Station” (2013), “Creed” (2015) and “Black Panther” (2018). Coogler works a lot with actor Michael B. Jordan, who appeared in all of the aforementioned films.

56 __ tide : RIP

Riptides are stretches of turbulent water caused by the meeting of different currents in the ocean.

58 USPS unit : LTR

Letter (ltr.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Catch a glimpse of : SPOT
5 “__ Great Heights”: single by The Postal Service : SUCH
9 Shelter org. : ASPCA
14 “Take it!” : HERE!
15 Wind with a range of roughly three octaves : OBOE
16 Pulse : THROB
17 *Paperwork for a UFO pilot? : ALIEN FORM (from “alien life-form”)
19 Emotional states : MOODS
20 Mobile game? : PHONE TAG
21 Sauce thickener : ROUX
22 Suffix with ether : -EAL
23 *Fast fashion? : ACTIVE STYLE (from “active lifestyle”)
27 Drag through the mud : SMEAR
29 CPR provider : EMT
30 Manner : WAY
31 Snap at, say : REACT TO
35 Mug : FACE
36 *House of worship known for raucous parties? : WILD SANCTUARY (from “wildlife sanctuary”)
39 Tech leader? : NANO-
40 Country songs : ANTHEMS
41 Go (for) : OPT
42 Wonkette founding editor __ Marie Cox : ANA
43 “__ welcome” : YOU’RE
47 *Office scale? : WORK BALANCE (from “work-life balance”)
52 Pester : NAG
53 Booker Prize-winning author Murdoch : IRIS
54 Really cheap : FOR A SONG
56 Inelastic : RIGID
58 Tricks to improve productivity, and the tricks used to form the answers to the starred clues? : LIFE HACKS
59 “Yay me!” : I RULE!
60 “Can’t argue with that” : TRUE
61 The Met __: annual NYC fundraising event : GALA
62 Some spa treatments : PEELS
63 Tear to bits : REND
64 Actor Mapa of “Ugly Betty” and “Doom Patrol” : ALEC

Down

1 Board book subject : SHAPES
2 New York suburb near New Rochelle : PELHAM
3 Camden Yards player : ORIOLE
4 __ Choice Awards : TEEN
5 Icy center? : SOFT C
6 WWII sub : U-BOAT
7 Short-legged dog : CORGI
8 Clothing line? : HEM
9 Not more than : AT MOST
10 Stain-removal brand : SHOUT
11 Armed conflict waged on behalf of superpowers : PROXY WAR
12 Fish sticks fish : COD
13 Core muscles : ABS
18 Closed in on : NEARED
21 Off the beaten path : REMOTE
24 Forage plant : VETCH
25 Like some lingerie : LACY
26 Retina locale : EYE
28 “Collapsed in Sunbeams” singer Parks : ARLO
32 Yoga postures : ASANAS
33 Waterway with locks : CANAL
34 Explosive letters : TNT
35 Burkina __ : FASO
36 D.C. daily : WAPO
37 Fascinate : INTRIGUE
38 “Sure, I guess” : UM, YEAH
39 “I don’t have all day!” : NOW!
42 Stomachs : ABIDES
44 West Coast petroleum giant that merged with Chevron in 2005 : UNOCAL
45 Really get to : RANKLE
46 Arachnid incubator : EGG SAC
48 Whale fare : KRILL
49 Pumped up : AFIRE
50 Devoid of joy : NO FUN
51 2015 boxing film directed by Ryan Coogler : CREED
55 Multigenerational tale : SAGA
56 __ tide : RIP
57 Hot temper : IRE
58 USPS unit : LTR

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 7 Jul 22, Thursday”

  1. I was thinking the theme was going to be LIFE anagrammed, but I managed to divorce myself of that notion quickly enough to finish in 8:31, no errors.

  2. 23ish minutes, no errors, no complaints.
    I believe that the only reason a non-New Yorker would know about Pelham is from the excellent novel The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and/or the movie adaptations. That said, the town of Pelham mentioned by Bill is not the same as Pelham Bay Park (the mass transit station of which is referred to in the novel),

  3. No errors, but several proper name lookups; and I had
    “rattle” for 45-down for a long time before I changed it
    to “rankle”….which helped get it all done. Theme wasn’t a
    help to me, although looking back at the grid, it should have
    been.

  4. Messed up on PROXY WAR. what a clue!!!
    But I also had ACTIVE STORE for 23A. ACTIVE LIFE STORE? sounded good to me. I had RACY for 25D. That left me with PROTOWAR for 11D.

    Couple of groaners. PHONE TAG for one. Got a kick out of that.

    It was actually a fun puzzle.

  5. Phone tag is a long way from a game. It’s more accurate description is “a pain in the you-know-what.” In other words, its existence in today’s business world causes a whole lot of wasted time.

  6. 11:37, 1 lookup, because all I know about PELHAM is the taking of its 1-2-3. But I haven’t read the movie or seen the movie.

    Helpful theme.

    I tried to find a clip of Garrett Morris as Chico Escuela, with no luck. It’s interesting to hear about the other uses of the catchphrase.

    1. I didn’t either – found a clip of him talking about the impression but nothing of him actually doing it. I think he’s far more well known for his tireless work as the “Headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing”.

      Ah, back when SNL was *actually* funny.

    2. Thanks for the input. The best discussion of the “Chico Escuela” origin story that I was able to find is here:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1979/11/06/base-a-bol-bera-bera-goooooood/13db50f1-ad91-442b-9d6e-7cb4165c8c37/

      I’m getting the sense that Latinos found the character offensive and that is probably the reason for clips of the SNL episode of December 9, 1978, having completely disappeared from the internet.

      I was never a TV addict, but I must have heard the famous catchphrase in one forum or another.

  7. I’m a little disheartened by Bill’s information about the ASPCA. I donate quite often to what is billed as pet charities thinking it was benefiting anti-cruelty efforts across the country. Benefiting New York is fine, but because I live in Southern California, I’m going to be a little more discreet with my donations.

  8. 13:58, and was surprised the “finished” screen popped up. A couple of fills in here made no sense (“VETCH????”), and was too full of names nobody has ever heard of. Just a sub-par puzzle. And it took two people to do it?

    1. One (of many) dictionary definitions that I found: “Vetch: a widely distributed scrambling herbaceous plant of the pea family, which is cultivated as a silage or fodder crop.“

  9. 12:39 with revisions of: AGAR>ROUX, WHYNOT>SOYEAH>OHYEAH>UMYEAH, UNFUN>NOFUN, and some corrections when I realized I’d written an answer in the wrong squares.

    Some new names/items: ANA Marie Cox, IRIS Murdoch, ALEC Maps, ARLO Parks, VETCH.

    The theme was helpful in solving most of the themed answers.

  10. Slightly tough Thursday for me; took 25:03 with 2 errors: SsAPES and PuLHAM with the cross of suRE, which made sense to me 🙂 Lots of dancing around in the rest of the puzzle, but ultimately solvable.

    At least I learned about board books and another NY suburb.

    Did anyone do the WSJ puzzle today? I solved it but am still puzzled by the theme on keynotes unlocking the seven answers?? Can anyone explain?

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