LA Times Crossword 21 Sep 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Bonnie Eisenman
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Garb-led Phrases

Themed answers each refer to one’s garb, and sound like common phrases:

  • 20A Impractical way to get dressed? : SHOES ON FIRST (from “Who’s on First?”)
  • 31A Planning meeting for the costume department? : CLOTHES CALL (from “close call”)
  • 42A Disappointing sign on a store selling warm-weather garments? : OUT OF SHORTS (from “out of sorts”)
  • 53A Really pulls off a jacket? : ROCKS THE COAT (from “rocks the boat”)

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

Bill’s time: 12m 23s! (don’t ask …)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 Many a univ. donor : ALUM

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

17 365 days : YEAR

The Earth takes about 365¼ days to orbit the Sun. And so, by one definition, a year (a tropical year) lasts 365¼ days. As we progress through 365-day years, we get out of sync with the “true” year, and so the sun appears in a slightly different place in the sky at the same time and date, year after year. Pope Gregory XIII decided to deal with this issue when he introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582. As each 365-day year was falling behind by a quarter of a day, he decided to make a correction on a regular basis. Our modern Gregorian calendar ignores the error until it amounts to a full day. That happens once every four years (4 x ¼), and so we have an extra day every fourth February (the 29th).

19 HBO political satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus : VEEP

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of fictional US Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Actress and comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an alum of the sketch show “Saturday Night Live”, in which she appeared from 1982 to 1985. Her really big break came when she was chosen to play Elaine Benes on “Seinfeld”. More recently, Louis-Dreyfus can be seen playing Vice President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy show “Veep”.

20 Impractical way to get dressed? : SHOES ON FIRST (from “Who’s on First?”)

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players?

First Base: Who
Second Base: What
Third Base: I Don’t Know
Left field: Why
Centerfield: Because
Pitcher: Tomorrow
Catcher: Today
Shortstop: I Don’t Care/I Don’t Give a Darn

23 Barack and Michelle’s eldest daughter : MALIA

Malia Obama is the eldest of Barack and Michelle Obama’s two daughters. She graduated from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same school that Chelsea Clinton attended. Malia took a gap year after leaving high school, and spent the 2016 summer as an intern in the US Embassy in Madrid, before heading off to Harvard in 2017.

27 Impatient : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

30 Cookie fruit : FIG

The Fig Newton cookie is based on what is actually a very old recipe that dates back to ancient Egypt. Whereas we grew up with “Fig Rolls” in Ireland, here in America the brand name “Fig Newton” was used, as the cookies were originally produced in Newton, Massachusetts.

44 GPS display : MAP

The modern Global Positioning System (GPS) system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. President Reagan was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.

45 Small village : HAMLET

A hamlet is a small village, especially one without a church (it says here …).

46 Food cart snacks in South Asia : CHAAT

Chaat is a savory snack of Indian origin that is a common offering from food carts across South Asia and the Caribbean.

49 Texting letters : SMS

Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact friends and family.

57 Japanese 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.

65 Jekyll’s counterpart : HYDE

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story, including that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

66 Basil-based sauce : PESTO

Pesto sauce is more completely called “pesto alla genovese”, i.e. pesto from Genoa. A traditional recipe calls for crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yum …

Down

2 Blip on a polygraph, maybe : LIE

We are most familiar with the word “polygraph” as the generic name for a lie detector instrument. This usage began in 1921, although the term had been around since the end of the 18th century. Back then, a polygraph was a mechanical device used to make multiple copies as something was written or drawn. Famously, Thomas Jefferson used a polygraph to preserve copies of letters that he wrote to correspondents.

3 Hugo-nominated novelist Palmer : ADA

Author Ada Palmer’s first published work was 2016’s science fiction novel “Too Like the Lightning”. It was to be the first of a quartet of novels, followed by “Seven Surrenders” (2017), “The Will to Battle” (2017) and “Perhaps the Star” (2021). Collectively, the four books are referred to as the “Terra Ignota” series.

7 Ouzo flavoring : ANISE

Ouzo is an apéritif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to French pastis and Italian sambuca. All three liqueurs turn cloudy with the addition of water.

8 Scouting mission, briefly : RECON

A reconnaissance (recon) is a preliminary survey carried out to gather information. The term “reconnaissance” came into English in the early 19th century from French, from which language it translates literally as “recognition”.

9 Garden with forbidden fruit : EDEN

In the Christian tradition, the “fall of man” took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This went against the bidding of God, and was at the urging of the serpent. As a result, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden to prevent them from becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. The first humans had transitioned from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.

12 Ballpark figure : GUESS

A ballpark figure is an estimated quantity. The original “ballpark figure” was an estimate of the number of people attending a baseball game, the size of the crowd in the “ballpark”.

23 Anime genre featuring giant robots : MECHA

The term “mecha” was coined in Japan to describe both fictional and real-life giant robots that are controlled by humans. Even though the term originated in Japan, it is a shortening of an English loanword, “mechanical”.

25 NFL team whose mascot is named Roary : LIONS

There are a few sporting teams with a mascot named “Roary the Lion”. Here in the US, Roary is the mascot of the Detroit Lions football team. Over in the UK, there are mascots named Roary for the Middlesbrough soccer club, as well as the England and Wales Cricket Board.

33 Corp. computer exec : CTO

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

34 Fuzzy sitcom star of the 1980s : ALF

“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. The title character is a hand-puppet, and supposedly an alien named Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. The alien crash-landed into the house of amateur radio enthusiast Willie Tanner. Tanner renamed the intruder “ALF”, standing for “alien life form”.

35 “The Grouchy Ladybug” writer/illustrator : CARLE

“The Grouchy Ladybug” is a children’s book by Eric Carle, first published in 1977. The book was published using an alternative title “The Bad-Tempered Ladybird”, presumably for children speaking English on the other side of the Atlantic.

Eric Carle is a very successful children’s author and book illustrator, with over 100 million of his books sold around the world. Carle’s most famous title is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, and it alone has sold 30 million copies.

42 Cheerios grains : OATS

Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, Cheerios were known as CheeriOats.

43 “__ Nagila”: Israeli folk song : HAVA

“Hava Nagila” is a Hebrew folk song, with the title translating into “Let Us Rejoice”. The melody is from a Ukrainian folk song. The words to “Hava Nagila” were composed in 1918 to celebrate the British victory in Palestine during WWI.

46 Cymbal sound : CRASH

Cymbals are concave metal plates that are played as a percussion instrument by striking them with a drumstick or by clashing them together as pairs. The term “cymbal” ultimately comes from the Greek “kymbe” meaning “bowl, drinking cup”, which is a reference to the shape of the instrument.

47 Bee product : HONEY

Honey bees (mainly) make the viscous food substance that we know as honey. Amazingly, very few microorganisms can survive in or on honey, and so sealed honey can last thousands of years. The oldest known honey deposits were found lining clay vessels in tombs in the nation of Georgia, deposits that were about 5,000 years old.

50 Fast-spreading social media posts : MEMES

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

54 Hip hop genre : TRAP

Trap is a genre of hip hop music that originated in the early 21st century in the southern US. The name “trap” is a slang word used in Atlanta for a house used to sell drugs.

59 Pint-size : WEE

A US pint comprises 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass that marked a full measure of ale.

60 “Mangia!” : EAT!

“Mangia!” is Italian for “Eat!” and is often used in the names of Italian restaurants or in brand names of Italian foods.

61 Many profs : DRS

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Thwack : SLAP
5 Informed (of) : AWARE
10 Compensation : WAGE
14 Tuck out of view : HIDE
15 Wrinkled : LINED
16 Many a univ. donor : ALUM
17 365 days : YEAR
18 Rub ingredient : SPICE
19 HBO political satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus : VEEP
20 Impractical way to get dressed? : SHOES ON FIRST (from “Who’s on First?”)
23 Barack and Michelle’s eldest daughter : MALIA
26 Family room : DEN
27 Impatient : ANTSY
28 Lives : EXISTS
30 Cookie fruit : FIG
31 Planning meeting for the costume department? : CLOTHES CALL (from “close call”)
35 “Stop filming!” : CUT!
38 Broody sorts? : HENS
39 Sir or sri : TITLE
40 More than dislike : HATE
41 Donkey : ASS
42 Disappointing sign on a store selling warm-weather garments? : OUT OF SHORTS (from “out of sorts”)
44 GPS display : MAP
45 Small village : HAMLET
46 Food cart snacks in South Asia : CHAAT
49 Texting letters : SMS
52 Swerves : VEERS
53 Really pulls off a jacket? : ROCKS THE COAT (from “rocks the boat”)
56 Initial poker bet : ANTE
57 Japanese noodle dish : RAMEN
58 Carried debt : OWED
62 Appear to be : SEEM
63 “You __ kidding!” : AREN’T
64 Grow tiresome : WEAR
65 Jekyll’s counterpart : HYDE
66 Basil-based sauce : PESTO
67 Yields, as a profit : NETS

Down

1 Bashful : SHY
2 Blip on a polygraph, maybe : LIE
3 Hugo-nominated novelist Palmer : ADA
4 Continues : PERSISTS
5 “One more thing … ” : ALSO …
6 Totally beat : WIPED
7 Ouzo flavoring : ANISE
8 Scouting mission, briefly : RECON
9 Garden with forbidden fruit : EDEN
10 Fluttering in the wind : WAVING
11 Warning signal : ALERT
12 Ballpark figure : GUESS
13 Like cans in a recycling bin, hopefully : EMPTY
21 Doth own : HATH
22 Fall flat : FAIL
23 Anime genre featuring giant robots : MECHA
24 Wheel-connecting rods : AXLES
25 NFL team whose mascot is named Roary : LIONS
29 Punchline lead-in : SETUP
30 __ and blood : FLESH
32 “Pull up a chair” : SIT
33 Corp. computer exec : CTO
34 Fuzzy sitcom star of the 1980s : ALF
35 “The Grouchy Ladybug” writer/illustrator : CARLE
36 Out-and-out : UTTER
37 Tries, as one’s patience : TESTS
40 Place of origin : HOMETOWN
42 Cheerios grains : OATS
43 “__ Nagila”: Israeli folk song : HAVA
44 Defiant retort : MAKE ME!
46 Cymbal sound : CRASH
47 Bee product : HONEY
48 Performed : ACTED
49 Open up, in a way : SHARE
50 Fast-spreading social media posts : MEMES
51 Fragrance : SCENT
54 Hip hop genre : TRAP
55 “I’m __ your tricks!” : ONTO
59 Pint-size : WEE
60 “Mangia!” : EAT!
61 Many profs : DRS

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Sep 22, Wednesday”

  1. 5:36, 1 dumb error (2 words).

    I’ve remarked on this in other fora before, but was high school classes named “AP anything” a thing for most here? Never was for me, so added to lot of the oddities that only exist in Crossworld.

    1. Hi Glenn. Wouldn’t that properly be “fora befora”? ;-D>

      AP Bio or AP English or what have you didn’t exist back in the Stone Ages when we were H.S. students. At least when I was a H.S. student. You may just be a youngster?

      And I don’t know about you or the rest of our merry band of cross dressing crossworders, but I want to know why Bill’s time was so long and why we shouldn’t ask him about it? Don’t ask Don’t tell is no longer a thing! j/k

      1. AP classes weren’t there when I went (I’m about as old as Jane’s son she mentioned). Course I could have walked into college and tested out of a few classes (and did). There were “college prep” requirements I had in HS, versus “minimum” requirements. For example, the latter only had to do a couple of basic math courses while I had Algebra, Geometry, and half a year of trigonometry. But none of it was “AP” or pretended to be any good for college credit.

        As far as the latter, I always thought experiences were more interesting to read about than times. Lately though, there’s things I know and things I don’t, but I manage to work my way around to a solution in the times I indicate and really don’t see a lot of difficulties. In other words, not a lot to write home about on a lot of them. But at this point, I don’t want anyone to even remotely get the conception that I see it as a competition and that I’m ragging on anyone who doesn’t do well on a particular day. I’m happy to see people doing these and succeeding on their own levels.

    2. The old equivalent was to take placement tests at the university one was set to attend. This was also called ”testing up.” I did so in Spanish, and tested up enough to receive 14 retroactive credits for taking a high-level Spanish class.

  2. About 14 minutes for me. Messed up on couple of foreign words. Didn’t know Anime with robots and couldn’t remember Obamas daughters name. Guessed TECHA and TALIA. then didn’t knowfood carts in Asia or what sound a cymbal makes. Worse , I couldn’t decide what the theme for 53A was. Opted for SHAAT SMASH and MOCKS THE COAT.

    @glen. AP-anything is relatively new. My brother teaches AP- classes in Dallas school system. Probably for the last 10 years. I relate it to any “prep” class for college like pre-algebra or pre-calc. Now they allow to take these classes in high school and get ‘credit’ so they can start right into Major/minor college courses. As opposed to having to take an elective to prove you know what you ate doing.

    Having said all that, I’m not a teacher nor experienced in this field. I’m sure one of these crossword bloggers is “schooled” on this subject.

  3. No errors or lookups, but quite a few “do-overs”. But my speed is
    snail-like compared to most of you fellow puzzlers.

  4. Now that was a good puzzle! Wish there were more that were as enjoyable. Missed one–didn’t remember MALIA (thought it was Talia) and had never heard of CHAAT, TRAP and the PPP’s ADA and CARLE (but got them with the crosses). All in all, very good and a fun theme. Thanks.

  5. No errors or Googles. Easier than Monday or Tuesday. Didn’t know CHAAT, T RAP. MECHA, SMS. The theme was cute and helpful.

    @Glenn – I (77) never had AP classes, but my son (47) had plenty.

  6. 9:47 – no errors or lookups. False starts of: SPENT>WIPED, GUEST>GUESS (was thinking baseball).

    New: CHAAT (maybe), ADA Palmer.

    Clever theme phrases and title.

    I generally like science fiction, but after reading some reviews, I think I’ll pass on the “Terra Ignota” series by Ada Palmer. It may be time to re-read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, though.

  7. 9:16

    Weird theme. I keep wanting there to be something consistent about the phonetic changes.

    Our household is no longer covid-free. Boo! We’re both feeling much better today.

  8. No look ups, no errors. Cute theme.

    @ Dirk
    Thanks for the explanation on “AP”
    yesterday(yes that was me,I had my own
    typo!) It was gratifying to see I wasn’t the
    only one that was clueless on it judging
    by some comments today 🙂

  9. 12:27, no errors. One day I will beat Bill B.’s time. But not today…

    Some comments on the A.P. discussion: while commonplace now, it certainly wasn’t a rarity way back in the day. I’m (high school) class of ‘80 and we had many students who took the A.P. Calculus course. A score of 4/5 would exempt you from the Calc I class at most colleges & a 5/5 would get you out of Calc II. That said, my usual advice to incoming college students is to take the college calculus courses even though you might have breezed through the A.P. course. You’ll probably learn a new thing or two taking the college courses and even if you don’t it’s usually good to have one course in your 1st year of college that you can feel confident about.

  10. Tough but enjoyable Wednesday; took me 17:02 with no peeks or errors, but plenty of backtracking and checking crosses. Didn’t know MECHA, CARLE, CHAAT, TRAP and had CiO before CTO.

    Still can’t bee sad with a puzzle that mentions my favorite hive product.

    Forgot to mention yesterday that I’d never seen either Top Gun movie until my flight back on Monday…which helped get MAV.

    Just because I answered the AP BIO question from Sail 🙂 yesterday doesn’t mean that I ever took one…I vaguely recall there was some talk about them back during my HS years (’70 – ’74.) I did take a German II class, and a class final test would’ve gotten me a free trip if I hadn’t already been there 3 times and spoke it fluently.

    I too am interested in Bill’s story 🙂

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