LA Times Crossword 9 Aug 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Micah Sommersmith
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Pun in the Oven

Themed answers are PUNS on common phrases, with a word replaced by something that comes out of an OVEN:

  • 56A Any of the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues? : PUN IN THE OVEN
  • 20A *Saint Bernard statue made entirely from sourdough? : PURE BREAD DOG (from “purebred dog”)
  • 36A *Special occasions that call for braided loaves? : CHALLAH DAYS (from “holidays”)
  • 42A *Improvements to a cake recipe? : TORTE REFORM (from “tort reform”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Katy Perry hit with the lyric “Louder, louder than a lion” : ROAR

“Roar” is a 2013 song co-written and performed by Katy Perry. It has a great chorus:

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar

Katy Perry is an American singer who grew up listening to and singing gospel music, as she was the daughter of two Christian pastors. In fact, her first musical release was a gospel album in 2001. She has branched out since then. Her first successful single was “Ur so Gay”, followed by “I Kissed A Girl”. She was married (only for a year) to the British comedian Russell Brand, until 2012.

5 Laid-back sort : TYPE-B

The Type-A and Type-B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labeled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type-A personality types are so-called “stress junkies”, whereas Type Bs are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type-A personality and heart problems.

10 Arkin of “Argo” : ALAN

Actor Alan Arkin won his only Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) for his role in “Little Miss Sunshine” from 2006 (a movie that I just did not understand!). More recently, Arkin appeared alongside Michael Douglas in the TV show “The Kominsky Method”. Arkin plays the character Norman Newlander. Arkin chose the name “Newlander” in honor of his wife Suzanne Newlander.

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

14 Penny-__: trivial : ANTE

Penny Ante poker is a game in which bets are limited to a penny, or some other small, friendly sum. The expression “penny-ante” has come to describe any business transaction that is on a small scale.

15 17-syllable poem : HAIKU
16 One-third of a 15-Across : LINE

A haiku is a very elegant form of Japanese verse. When writing a haiku in English we tend to impose the rule that the verse must contain 17 syllables. This restriction comes from the rule in Japanese that the verse must contain 17 sound units called “moras”, but moras and syllables aren’t the same thing. Sadly, the difference is not so clear to me. Here’s an example of a Haiku:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense
Refrigerator

18 Elizabeth of “WandaVision” : OLSEN

Elizabeth Olsen is an actress and singer, and the younger sister of the famed Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley.

“WandaVision” is a TV miniseries featuring characters from Marvel Comics. The title characters are Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) played by Elizabeth Olsen and Vision played by Paul Bettany. I am by no means a fan of screen adaptations of comic characters, but I might take a look at “WandaVision”. Wanda and Vision are living in suburbia, trying to conceal their superhero identities. Each episode progresses the storyline through several decades, using situations encountered in sitcoms of the day. Episodes use the format of shows such as:

  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • I Love Lucy
  • Bewitched
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Good Times
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Full House
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • Modern Family
  • Out of this World
  • The Twilight Zone

Sounds very intriguing …

20 *Saint Bernard statue made entirely from sourdough? : PURE BREAD DOG (from “purebred dog”)

The St. Bernard dog originated in the Italian and Swiss alps, and was indeed specially bred for rescue. The breed dates back at least to the early 1700s when the dogs worked from the traveler’s hospice at the St. Bernard Pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The breed took its name from this famously treacherous route through the mountains.

The active ingredient used to make sourdough bread is found in a pre-ferment (also “starter”). This pre-ferment is a mixture of flour and water that has been allowed to ferment for some time (maybe days) to grow a colony of wild yeast and lactobacilli. The starter is added to the dough used to make the final bread, with the start accounting for about 20% of the weight of the final mixture. During baking, the wild yeast causes the bread to rise and the lactobacilli produce lactic acid, which gives sourdough its characteristic sour taste.

23 “I need details!” : SPILL!

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.

24 Chinese philosophy founded by Laotzu : TAOISM

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”, “Laozi”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

32 Big name in little trucks : TONKA

The toy manufacturer today known as Tonka started out as a manufacturer of garden implements in Mound, Minnesota in 1946. By 1955, toys had become the main product line for the company. At that time the owners decided to change the company name and opted for “Tonka”, a Dakota Sioux word meaning “great, big”.

36 *Special occasions that call for braided loaves? : CHALLAH DAYS (from “holidays”)

Challah is a special braided bread that is eaten by Ashkenazi Jews on the Sabbath. The bread is served to commemorate the manna that fell from the heavens as the Israelites wandered around the desert after the Exodus from Egypt.

39 “Evil Woman” rock gp. : ELO

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) recorded the song “Evil Woman” in 1975. “Evil Woman” was written by the band’s lead vocalist Jeff Lynne, in just thirty minutes!

40 Underway, to Sherlock : AFOOT

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in writing the “Sherlock Holmes” stories, had his hero use the phrase “the game is afoot” on more than one occasion. Holmes first uttered the expression in “The Adventures of the Abbey Grange”. However, the phrase was used long before Conan Doyle put pen to paper. In William Shakespeare’s “King Henry IV Part I” there is the line “Before the game is afoot, thou let’st slip”.

41 Health ins. choice : PPO

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Make your choice, if you can …

42 *Improvements to a cake recipe? : TORTE REFORM (from “tort reform”)

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

“Tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

48 R&B singer known for his use of Auto-Tune : T-PAIN

“T-Pain” is the stage name of rap artist Faheem Rasheed Najm from Tallahassee, Florida. He is known for his contributions to the popular use of Auto-Tune in his recordings, which gives his voice a robotic sound. He collaborated with an iPhone app developer to produce the app “I Am T-Pain” that allows users to mimic his particular style of Auto-Tune in karaoke.

Auto-Tune is a proprietary audio process that is primarily used to alter pitch in a recorded track. One of the main uses of Auto-Tune is to correct voice tracks that are slightly off-pitch, which probably explains why even professional singers tend to sound better on a recording than they do live. More extreme levels of Auto-Tune adjustment are now quite common, creating a sound effect that distorts vocals. Such sound effects really took off with the release of Cher’s 1998 hit song “Believe”, in which you can really notice the vocal distortion.

61 CrossFit aftermath : ACHE

CrossFit is a trademarked fitness, strength and conditioning program that was introduced in 2000.

65 Wolfe who first appeared in the novel “Fer-de-Lance” : NERO

Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: “Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937). One of Wolfe’s endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.

“Fer-de-Lance” is a 1934 novel by Rex Stout, the first of his books to feature the famous detective Nero Wolfe. An abridged version of the novel appeared that same year in “The American Magazine” under the title “Point of Death” (“Fer-de-Lance” is French for “Spearhead”, literally “Iron of the Lance”). Two years later, the book was adapted as a film titled “Meet Nero Wolfe” starring Edward Arnold in the title role.

66 Possible source of DNA evidence : HAIR

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relatives.

67 One taking a spin on a helicopter? : ROTOR

Our term “helicopter” was absorbed from the French word “hélicoptère” that was coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. d’Amécourt envisioned aircraft that could fly vertically using rotating wings that “screwed” into the air. He combined the Greek terms “helix” meaning “spiral, whirl” and “pteron” meaning “wing” to give us “helicopter”.

68 Cogito __ sum : ERGO

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

70 Supreme Court Justice Kagan : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

Down

3 Arcade pioneer : ATARI

Founded in 1972, electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was once the fastest-growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

4 Put up on eBay, say : RESELL

There have been some notable things sold on eBay over the years. For example:

  • Ad space on a guy’s forehead, in the form of a temporary tattoo – $37,375
  • William Shatner’s kidney stone – $25,000
  • A cornflake shaped like Illinois – $1,350
  • A single corn flake – $1.63
  • A box of 10 Twinkies – $59.99
  • The original Hollywood sign – $450,400
  • The meaning of life – $3.26

5 Son of Odin : THOR

In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

6 Angela Bassett’s alma mater : YALE

Angela Bassett is an actress from New York whose breakthrough role was playing Tina Turner in the 1993 film about the pop icon’s life “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. Bassett married fellow actor Courtney B. Vance in 1997, having first met him while both were studying at Yale School of Drama.

7 Home of a much-photographed tower : PISA

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

9 Donut-shaped cake : BUNDT

Here in the US, what we know as bundt cake takes its name from the ring-shaped pan in which it is usually baked. This pan was introduced in 1950 by the company Nordic Ware, at which time the “Bundt” name was trademarked.

11 Fib : LIE

To fib is to tell a lie. The verb “to fib” likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

12 Actress de Armas : ANA

Ana de Armas is an actress from Cuba. Having attended the National Theater School of Cuba, she moved to Spain at the age of 18. Thre, she made a name for herself in a Spanish TV series called “El Internado”. De Armas moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after which her performance opposite Ryan Gosling in 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” earned her critical acclaim.

13 Rod and Todd’s dad on “The Simpsons” : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer Simpson on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned was married to Maude, with whom he had two children Rod and Todd. Maude died in an accident involving a T-shirt cannon. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

26 Zoom alternative : SKYPE

The main feature of the Skype application, when introduced, was that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

29 “__ she blows!” : THAR

“Thar she blows!” is a phrase that originated on whaling ships. A lookout spotting a whale surfacing to breathe might see the spray from the blowhole caused by the expulsion of carbon dioxide. Thar (there) she blows!

33 Health insurance giant : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

35 Upper body : TORSO

“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.

38 Gillette razor : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

44 Biblical twin of Jacob : ESAU

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).

53 Stave off : AVERT

The word “stave” was originally the plural of “staff”, a word describing a wooden rod. To “stave off” originated with the concept of holding off with a staff. In the world of barrel-making, a stave is a narrow strip of wood that forms part of a barrel’s side.

54 Join the flow of traffic : MERGE

The “zipper merge” or “late merge” is encouraged by most traffic authorities when two lanes of traffic are merging into one. The alternative “early merge”, where cars move out of the lane that is closing before reaching the merge point, tends to be discouraged. The favored technique is to use both lanes until the merge point, and then alternate (zipper) from each lane through the merge itself. That said, one should always obey whatever instructions are given by the traffic authorities at the scene. And I know, I know … a lot of people think it rude to merge late …

59 1982 Disney sci-fi film : TRON

Released in 1982, Disney’s “Tron” was one of the first mainstream films to make extensive use of computer graphics. The main role in the movie is played by Jeff Bridges. The original spawned a 2010 sequel called “Tron: Legacy”, as well as a 2012 TV show called “Tron: Uprising”.

60 Mother of Ares : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and the goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth. She was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

62 Sedan, e.g. : CAR

The American sedan car is the equivalent of the British and Irish saloon car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in Britain and Ireland), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Katy Perry hit with the lyric “Louder, louder than a lion” : ROAR
5 Laid-back sort : TYPE-B
10 Arkin of “Argo” : ALAN
14 Penny-__: trivial : ANTE
15 17-syllable poem : HAIKU
16 One-third of a 15-Across : LINE
17 Salty expanses : SEAS
18 Elizabeth of “WandaVision” : OLSEN
19 Starring role : LEAD
20 *Saint Bernard statue made entirely from sourdough? : PURE BREAD DOG (from “purebred dog”)
23 “I need details!” : SPILL!
24 Chinese philosophy founded by Laotzu : TAOISM
28 Many, informally : LOTSA
32 Big name in little trucks : TONKA
33 Toward the stern : AFT
36 *Special occasions that call for braided loaves? : CHALLAH DAYS (from “holidays”)
39 “Evil Woman” rock gp. : ELO
40 Underway, to Sherlock : AFOOT
41 Health ins. choice : PPO
42 *Improvements to a cake recipe? : TORTE REFORM (from “tort reform”)
46 Sundial X : TEN
47 Pokes (around) : NOSES
48 R&B singer known for his use of Auto-Tune : T-PAIN
50 Odors : AROMAS
52 Wanders : ROAMS
56 Any of the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues? : PUN IN THE OVEN
61 CrossFit aftermath : ACHE
64 Go gaga over : ADORE
65 Wolfe who first appeared in the novel “Fer-de-Lance” : NERO
66 Possible source of DNA evidence : HAIR
67 One taking a spin on a helicopter? : ROTOR
68 Cogito __ sum : ERGO
69 Upper limbs : ARMS
70 Supreme Court Justice Kagan : ELENA
71 Blended family prefix : STEP-

Down

1 Workshop files : RASPS
2 Get the better of : ONE-UP
3 Arcade pioneer : ATARI
4 Put up on eBay, say : RESELL
5 Son of Odin : THOR
6 Angela Bassett’s alma mater : YALE
7 Home of a much-photographed tower : PISA
8 Scraped (out) : EKED
9 Donut-shaped cake : BUNDT
10 “No problems here!” : ALL GOOD!
11 Fib : LIE
12 Actress de Armas : ANA
13 Rod and Todd’s dad on “The Simpsons” : NED
21 Coalition : BLOC
22 Solemn pledge : OATH
25 Ill-suited : INAPT
26 Zoom alternative : SKYPE
27 Bricklayer : MASON
29 “__ she blows!” : THAR
30 Out of danger : SAFE
31 Up in the air : ALOFT
33 Health insurance giant : AETNA
34 Elevator stop : FLOOR
35 Upper body : TORSO
37 In the __: informed : LOOP
38 Gillette razor : ATRA
43 Moderates : TEMPERS
44 Biblical twin of Jacob : ESAU
45 Muddy spot : MIRE
49 Unclaimed : NO ONE’S
51 Trap : SNARE
53 Stave off : AVERT
54 Join the flow of traffic : MERGE
55 Poke around : SNOOP
57 Megastar : IDOL
58 Short message : NOTE
59 1982 Disney sci-fi film : TRON
60 Mother of Ares : HERA
61 Clicking sound? : AHA!
62 Sedan, e.g. : CAR
63 “That guy?” : HIM?

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Aug 22, Tuesday”

  1. Took me a while, but no errors or Googles. Did not know: ROAR, PPO, TPAIN, ANA.
    @Jack – CHALLAH is a braided bread used for Jewish holy days.
    Another rule for Haiku is that it contain something of nature and something human.

  2. Agree with Mary in that it’s a good puzzle but one small nit. Since I didn’t know CHALLADAYS, had INEPT, which “ill-suited” could be, making it CHALLADEYS. Otherwise, perfect.
    D. Chatswood

  3. Once again, many thanks to PeaKay (and Pam in MA) for mentioning the book “The Soul of an Octopus”. I ordered a copy, read it, and very much enjoyed it. (And now I want to watch a video called “My Octopus Teacher”. As far as I can tell, it’s only available from Netflix, it’s on Blu-Ray, and they want me to pay an extra two dollars a month from now on in order to get it … 😳.)

    I don’t think I would be willing to be “octopus-handled” in the way that Sy Montgomery and her colleagues were. I once saw a cartoon that I wish I had saved a copy of. The first panel shows a man watching a squirrel at play; he thinks, “How sweet and innocent it looks. What do you suppose is going through its mind?” The second panel shows the scene from the viewpoint of the squirrel and what it’s thinking is this: “The two-legged ones grow fat. Soon we shall feast!”

    Support for my reservations is given by a video I found on the internet, showing a Pacific octopus ambushing and killing a shark: their strength is not to be ignored. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to speculate about them. It’s too bad that we don’t have a sea-going version of Mr. Spock to do a few mind melds and tell us what they reveal … 😜.

  4. I once came upon a collection of “red-neck haikus” and was motivated to create a couple of my own:

    Flies notwithstanding,
    The noonday heat shimmers and
    Old Shep does not stir.

    Buried in empties,
    The truck bed cannot be seen –
    Must be five bucks worth.

    (The “Mail” tool on my iMac has gone on the fritz and I’m indulging in a bit of creative avoidance therapy before attempting to fix the problem.)

  5. 9 mins and 27 sec to finish online, but required too much Check Grid help to qualify as a successful solve (@12 fills). I just wasn’t in sync at all with this setter. The puns were all awful, too. Even worse, they were INTENDED.

  6. Slightly tricky Tuesday for me; took 8:58 with no peeks or errors, but a bit of dancing around to get to the finish. I have heard of CHALLAH, but at first I wanted to put in KNOW instead of LOOP and I really didn’t know T PAIN, except the word just poked up from some kind of memory, somewhere…anyway I finally got everything in the right place and got the banner.

    You’ve probably seen this, but octopuses can be dicks too, punching their hunting partners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEW68PcU4is

  7. @PeaKay and @Pam in MA and @Dave Kennison – I also ordered the book “The Soul of an Octopus” from my library and recently finished reading it, based on what I read here. I enjoyed it as well. I am participating in my library’s summer reading program which is a game of BINGO. One must try to read books of various types to fill the BINGO card, and that was my “non-fiction” book. I find it stretches me to be asked to read books that are not of a type I might normally check out. I mostly read fiction, so I enjoyed the recommendation to fill that square. Also, Dave, I enjoyed your haikus!

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