LA Times Crossword 8 Jul 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Grammatical Groups

Themed clues appear to reference musical groups, but actually reference grammatical elements within the clue. Clever …

  • 17A Piano trio? : SYLLABLES
  • 30A String quintet? : CONSONANTS
  • 36A Duet for bassoon and bass fiddle? : DOUBLE LETTERS
  • 43A Duet for oboe and vibraphone? : LONG VOWELS
  • 62A Flügelhorn solo? : DIACRITIC

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

Bill’s time: 7m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Political commentator Navarro : ANA

Ana Navarro is a Nicaraguan-born, American political strategist and commentator. Navarro is a lifelong Republican who worked for Governor Jeb Bush and for Senator John McCain. However, she was very critical of presidential candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. She was so vehement in her anti-Trump views that she ended up voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the election.

9 Whom Cordelia calls “As mad as the vex’d sea” : LEAR

“King Lear” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. Lear’s three daughters figure prominently in the story line. The three are, in order of age:

  • Goneril
  • Regan
  • Cordelia

13 Marvel Comics artist Buscema : SAL

Sal Buscema is a comics artist who is most closely associated with Marvel Comics, and drawing “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Avengers”. Sal’s elder brother John Buscema also drew “The Avengers”.

14 People who call New Zealand “Aotearoa” : MAORI

The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing mortal humans from spiritual entities. The Māori refer to New Zealand as “Aotearoa”.

17 Piano trio? : SYLLABLES

There is a trio of syllables in the word “piano”.

19 Earth sign : VIRGO

The astrological sign of Virgo is the sixth sign in the Zodiac, and is associated with the constellation of the same name. The Virgo constellation is related to maidens (virgins), purity and fertility.

23 Mideast carrier : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

24 “The Body in the Library” sleuth : MARPLE

“The Body in the Library” is a detective novel in the “Miss Marple” series of novels by Agatha Christie. It was first published in 1942.

The word “sleuth” came into English from Old Norse as far back as 1200 when it meant the “track or trail of a person”. In the mid-1800s, a sleuthhound described a keen investigator, a hound close on the trail of the suspect. Sleuthhound was shortened to “sleuth” and was used for a detective in general.

26 Big grazer : ELK

The elk (also “wapiti”) is one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

30 String quintet? : CONSONANTS

There is a quintet of consonants in the word “string”.

34 Start to bat? : ACRO-

An acrobat is someone who performs gymnastic feats. The term “acrobat“ comes into English via French from the Greek “akrobatos” meaning “going on tip-toe, climbing up high”.

36 Duet for bassoon and bass fiddle? : DOUBLE LETTERS

There is a duet of double letters in “bassoon” (ss & oo) and “bass fiddle” (ss & dd).

41 “Grazie” reply : PREGO

“Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it is usually translated into English as “you’re welcome” when it is used in response to a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).

42 Bigelow products : TEAS

The Bigelow Tea Company is a family-owned business that was founded in 1945 by Ruth C. Bigelow. The company is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, and owns America’s only tea plantation, which is located in Charleston, South Carolina.

43 Duet for oboe and vibraphone? : LONG VOWELS

There is a duet of long vowels in “oboe” (two long letters O) and “vibraphone” (long I and long O).

50 Mil. mail site : APO

Army post office (APO)

51 Feta source : EWE

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

54 Tenerife, por ejemplo : ISLA

In Spanish, Tenerife “por ejemplo” (for example), is an “isla” (island).

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands located off the coast of Morocco in North Africa. Part of Spain, Tenerife is the nation’s most populous island, home to almost 900,000 people. It also receives about five million visitors annually, making it one of the most important tourist destinations in the world.

59 Dishwasher handle : AMANA

The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.

62 Flügelhorn solo? : DIACRITIC

There is just one (a solo) diacritic mark (an umlaut) in the word “flügelhorn”.

An umlaut (also “diaeresis”) is a diacritical mark consisting of two horizontal dots placed over a letter, usually a vowel. Here in the West, we are perhaps most familiar with umlauts in German, as in “Schön”.

A flügelhorn is a brass instrument that is similar to a trumpet and cornet, but with a wider bore. As the name suggests, the flügelhorn was developed in Germany, in the early 1800s from the English bugle. The German word “Flügel” means “wing, flank”. The instrument was first used by the leaders of hunts (Flügelmeisters) to direct the hunters on the flanks of the hunting party.

64 Cotton candy, mostly : SUGAR

What we call “cotton candy” here in the US has some interesting names in the rest of the world. Back in Ireland it is candyfloss, in France it is “barbe à papa” (Dad’s beard), and in Australia it is called fairy floss. “Fairy floss” is actually the original name for cotton candy, a name first used when the confection was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

65 Like Santa’s helpers : ELFIN

Something “elfin” or “fay” is like an elf or a fairy.

67 Donor card datum : TYPE

How common a particular blood type in a population varies quite a bit depending on ethnicity. In general, the rarest blood type is AB-negative. The most common blood type is O-positive.

68 Monopoly cards : DEEDS

In the game of Monopoly there are 28 title deeds:

  • 22 streets
  • 4 railroads
  • 2 utilities

69 Time pieces: Abbr. : YRS

A year is defined as the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. The other planets in our solar system take varying lengths of time to complete their orbits:

  1. Mercury: ~ 3 Earth months
  2. Venus: ~ 7 Earth months
  3. Earth: 1 Earth year
  4. Mars: ~ 2 Earth years
  5. Jupiter: ~ 12 Earth years
  6. Saturn: ~ 30 Earth years
  7. Uranus: ~ 84 Earth years
  8. Neptune: ~ 165 Earth years

Down

3 Magazine with annual Best of Beauty awards : ALLURE

“Allure” is a magazine published by Condé Nast in New York that was founded in 1991 by Linda Wells. “Allure” contains articles on beauty, fashion and women’s health.

5 Red choice : CAB

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

6 Massage deeply : ROLF

Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties.

8 Water sign : PISCES

Each of the twelve astrological signs is associated with one of the classical elements:

  • Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Earth signs: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo
  • Air signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
  • Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

9 WC : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

When I was growing up in Ireland, a bathroom was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called the toilet or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term “closet” was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes and linens in a closet, as a closet was the right size to take the commode.

10 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

11 Plane : AIRLINER

The use of the word “line” with reference to transportation started in the 1780s, in the context of stagecoaches. Such transportation operated a string of stagecoaches between towns and cities along regular “lines”. The concept shifted to shipping “lines” operating ocean-going “liners” between ports. And then came “airliners”.

12 Meets near the shore? : REGATTAS

The word “regatta” is Venetian dialect and was originally used to describe boat races among the gondoliers of Venice on the Grand Canal back in the mid-1600s.

18 “The Rookie” org. : LAPD

“The Rookie” is a comedy-drama show about a 40-year-old man who becomes the oldest rookie in the LAPD. Nathan Fillion plays the title character. That character is based on a real-life police officer named William Norcross, who joined LAPD in his mid-forties.

22 Jeff Lynne’s band : ELO

Jeff Lynne is a singer-songwriter who is best known as the leader of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Lynne went on to form the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.

25 “A time to every purpose” Bible bk. : ECCL

Ecclesiastes is a book in the Hebrew Bible and in the Christian Old Testament. The term “ecclesiastes” is usually translated as “teacher” or “preacher”, although a more literal translation is “gatherer”.

31 Minecraft resource : ORE

Minecraft is a video game that was released in 2011. It has been cited as one of the most influential video games of all time.

32 “Cape Fear” co-star : NOLTE

Actor Nick Nolte got his big break playing opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in “The Deep”, a film released in 1976.

The 1991 film called “Cape Fear” is a Martin Scorsese remake of a 1962 movie of the same name. The 1991 version stars Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte, and there are also cameo appearances by Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck who starred in the 1962 original.

37 Viniculture science : OENOLOGY

In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oeno-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.

38 Comfy shoe brand : UGG

Uggs are sheepskin boots that were first produced in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. “Ugg” is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

39 Unadon fish : EEL

“Unadon” is the Japanese word for “eel bowl”. “Unadon” is actually a contraction of “unagi no kabayaki” (grilled eel) and “donburi” (rice bowl dish).

41 Great __: Midwest region : PLAINS

The Great Plains lie between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains in North America. This vast grassland is known as “the Prairies” in Canada.

44 Bird in the Duolingo logo : OWL

Duolingo is a language-learning app that can be used for free, or with no ads for a premium price. The app was launched to the public in 2012, and 2013 was chosen by Apple as its iPhone App of the Year.

46 Powerful engine : HEMI

“Hemi” is short for “hemisphere”, and is the name given to an internal combustion engine with hemispherical combustion chambers. Chrysler is famous for using hemi engines in many of its models.

47 Indifference : APATHY

Apathy is a lack of emotion. The term “apathy” comes quite directly from the Greek “”a-” meaning “without” and “pathos” meaning “emotion.

49 Vestiges : TRACES

We use the word “vestige” for a trace, mark or sign. The term comes from the Latin “vestigium” that also means “trace” as well as “footprint”.

55 “I think somebody needs __!” : A NAP

I do indeed …

63 El __ : CID

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as “The Champion” or perhaps “The Lord, Master of Military Arts”. El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). However, he was sent into exile by the King in 1080, after acting beyond his authorization in battle. El Cid then offered his services to his former foes, the Moorish kings, After a number of years building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. By this time El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso, he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast in 1094, making it his headquarters and home. He died in Valencia, quite peacefully, in 1099.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Political commentator Navarro : ANA
4 Dump : SCRAP
9 Whom Cordelia calls “As mad as the vex’d sea” : LEAR
13 Marvel Comics artist Buscema : SAL
14 People who call New Zealand “Aotearoa” : MAORI
15 Far from ordinary : ALIEN
17 Piano trio? : SYLLABLES
19 Earth sign : VIRGO
20 Ordinary : USUAL
21 Confront : FACE
23 Mideast carrier : EL AL
24 “The Body in the Library” sleuth : MARPLE
26 Big grazer : ELK
28 “Who am __ argue?” : I TO
29 Watched warily : EYED
30 String quintet? : CONSONANTS
34 Start to bat? : ACRO-
35 Planning session contribution : IDEAS
36 Duet for bassoon and bass fiddle? : DOUBLE LETTERS
41 “Grazie” reply : PREGO
42 Bigelow products : TEAS
43 Duet for oboe and vibraphone? : LONG VOWELS
46 Dost possess : HAST
50 Mil. mail site : APO
51 Feta source : EWE
52 One to hold on to : KEEPER
54 Tenerife, por ejemplo : ISLA
56 “Why don’t we?” : LET’S
59 Dishwasher handle : AMANA
60 Really bad turnout : NO ONE
62 Flügelhorn solo? : DIACRITIC
64 Cotton candy, mostly : SUGAR
65 Like Santa’s helpers : ELFIN
66 Groundbreaking tool : HOE
67 Donor card datum : TYPE
68 Monopoly cards : DEEDS
69 Time pieces: Abbr. : YRS

Down

1 Trust without verifying : ASSUME
2 Speak against : NAYSAY
3 Magazine with annual Best of Beauty awards : ALLURE
4 Minor : SMALL
5 Red choice : CAB
6 Massage deeply : ROLF
7 Sod buyer’s calculation : AREA
8 Water sign : PISCES
9 WC : LAV
10 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
11 Plane : AIRLINER
12 Meets near the shore? : REGATTAS
16 “Good riddance” : NO LOSS
18 “The Rookie” org. : LAPD
22 Jeff Lynne’s band : ELO
25 “A time to every purpose” Bible bk. : ECCL
27 Gentle washer setting : KNITS
31 Minecraft resource : ORE
32 “Cape Fear” co-star : NOLTE
33 Drink suffix : -ADE
34 Superior to : ABOVE
36 Finishes one’s studies, in a way : DROPS OUT
37 Viniculture science : OENOLOGY
38 Comfy shoe brand : UGG
39 Unadon fish : EEL
40 Chore : TASK
41 Great __: Midwest region : PLAINS
44 Bird in the Duolingo logo : OWL
45 Took care of garden pests : WEEDED
46 Powerful engine : HEMI
47 Indifference : APATHY
48 On the job longer : SENIOR
49 Vestiges : TRACES
53 Brings in : EARNS
55 “I think somebody needs __!” : A NAP
57 Shower wall unit : TILE
58 Protected : SAFE
61 Before, in an old ode : ERE
63 El __ : CID

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Jul 22, Friday”

  1. 7:42, no errors.

    @Dirk (yesterday)
    On the WSJ of yesterday, all the theme answers are regular words that can be split into the parsings called for in the clues. Furthermore they are split on different notes (“KEY NOTE”), which happen to be in complete and in the normal order they occur.

    BOREDOM = BORED OM. (DO)
    PREVENT = PR EVENT. (RE)

    I’ll let you do the rest.

  2. Was expecting the “Flügelhorn” answer to be DIAeResIs, but I suppose I should’ve realized it’s technically not that but an umlaut…

    Also was expecting something about vowels in the 17A answer before I filled in 43A.

  3. No errors. Picked up the theme early enough. Laughed at “Grazie”. I wasn’t thinking Italian until I read Bill’s blurb. Now PREGO makes sense. Ha!

    Did not know Sal Buscema. Looked up a video on him.

    @dirk – @Glenn provided a good explanation of yesterday’s USA. I actually enjoyed that puzzle.

  4. No errors, but as usual, had to google some proper
    names. My first clue to the theme was the word “diacritic”
    Not too bad today.

  5. I’ve never timed myself on these, but I think I finished this Friday puzzle more quickly than any I can recall, if I do say so myself, which I just did. 🥳

  6. Welcome back, Jeffrey Wechsler! Haven’t seen one of your puzzles in a coon’s age. I always thought you were the best Friday person.

    I have never kept a talley, but It seems that so far in the Varol we have been seeing a preponderance of puzzles composed by the distaff set (am I allowed to phrase it that way?). Such a consideration never occurred to me in the Norris era. Make of that what you may…

    Just sayin’.

  7. Just love Jeffrey Wechsler’s puzzles! This one was easier for me than some of his others — but I like it!

    Jeri T.

    1. There are 5 CONSONANTS in S T R i N G

      23:46, no errors. Got diacritic first and that clued me in to the theme

  8. 36:00…no errors.
    Here’s a clue one of you setters might want to use…the middle name of my next door neighbors youngest daughter…pick anything you want for the answer…it’s no more obscure than some of yours.
    Stay safe😀

  9. 13:58, and needed Check Grid help to root out two spelling errors (affecting then, 4 entries).

    Wow, a solveable Wechsler on a Friday!! Who knew??

  10. 12:17 with revisions of LOO>LAV, SOLONG>NOLOSS.

    New items/names: SAL Buscema, “Aotearoa,” “Tenerife,” “Jeff Lynne.”

    A helpful theme.

  11. Tough but very fun Friday Wechsler; took me 32:02 with no peeks or errors. Really enjoyed the theme, which helped get the first theme answer. Worked my way from the bottom half up, finishing in the NW corner. Had to change LOO to LAV, cow to EWE, HAth to HAST, A hug to A NAP, sO LOng to NO LOSS and fix PIeCES.

    @Glenn – Thank you very much for that explanation! I knew the scale was involved but was thinking A, A#…

  12. Bill’s explanation 42A: “America’s only tea plantation”. Gee, is it okay to still say ‘plantation’? I thought it was expunged from the dictionary.

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