LA Times Crossword 29 Sep 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: MaryEllen Uthlaut
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Witty City

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as CITY names:

  • 17A City for delinquent library patrons? : FINE POINT
  • 25A City for look-alikes? : DOUBLE PARK
  • 37A City for undercover agents? : MOLEHILLS
  • 53A City for bank managers? : SAFE HARBOR
  • 63A City for feather-bed manufacturers? : DOWNFALLS

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

Bill’s time: 8m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Young deer : FAWNS

A fawn is a young deer, usually one less than a year old.

13 Comedian Nwodim : EGO

Actress and comedian Ego Nwodim joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2018. She was a biology major at the University of Southern California, a classic foundation for a successful comedian …

14 “Luther” star Elba : IDRIS

English actor Idris Elba plays the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and played the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

19 Sturdy fabric : SERGE

Serge is a type of twill fabric with diagonal ridges on both sides. The name “serge” comes from the Greek word for “silken”.

20 “My Cousin Vinny” Oscar winner : TOMEI

Marisa Tomei’s first screen role was in the daytime soap “As the World Turns”, but her break came with a recurring role in “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World”. Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 greatest legal movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

24 Cleveland pros, for short : CAVS

The Cavaliers are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

30 Lack of societal values : ANOMIE

Anomie is social breakdown caused by the erosion of value and standards. The term comes to us via French from Greek. The root words are “a-” (without) “nomos” (law).

33 “The Little Mermaid” voice actress Benson : JODI

Actress and singer Jodi Benson is perhaps best known for voicing the title character Ariel in Disney’s 1989 animated feature “The Little Mermaid” (and its sequels). She also voiced the character Barbie in the “Toy Story” series of films.

36 Cook fast, as tuna : SEAR

There are 15 species of tuna, the size of which varies greatly. The smallest is the bullet tuna, which can grow to about 4 pounds in weight and just over 1½ feet in length. The Atlantic bluefin tuna can weigh over 1,500 pounds, and reach about 15 feet in length. That’s a lot of tuna …

37 City for undercover agents? : MOLEHILLS

One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country (outside of politics, that is). A lesser known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …

40 Fruit that lives up to its name : UGLI

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruit’s unsightly wrinkled rind.

43 Bodega fixtures : ATMS

“Bodega” is a Spanish term describing a winery, or these days a grocery store.

44 “Sailing to Byzantium” poet : YEATS

“Sailing to Byzantium” is a 1928 poem by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and one that almost every Irish teenager has to study in school.

Byzantium was a Greek colony that was centered on what was to become Constantinople, now Istanbul. Legend suggests that there was a king Byzas, who gave his name to the city and later the Byzantine Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire later became known as the Byzantine Empire, right up until the Middle Ages.

48 Nucleus particle : PROTON

A proton is a subatomic particle, with at least one found in the nucleus of every atom. Protons are not “fundamental particles” though, as each is made up of three quarks: two up quarks and one down quark.

56 Org. that delivers : USPS

The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

57 __ for tat : TIT

The phrase “tit for tat”, meaning some sort of retaliation, has been around for an awfully long time, since the mid-1500s. It might be derived from “tip for tap”, meaning “blow for blow”.

58 Christian with style : DIOR

Fashion designer Christian Dior showed off his first collection in 1947, to great acclaim. The editor-in-chief of “Harper’s Bazaar” remarked, “it’s such a new look!” as there was a clear contrast with the austere designs that dominated the war years. The remark resulted in the collection being labeled forever as the “New Look”.

59 Creator of many talking animals : AESOP

Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

61 “Dragon Ball Z” genre : ANIME

“Dragon Ball Z” is an anime TV series produced in Japan.

66 __ salami : GENOA

Genoa salami is made using preservation techniques that originated in ancient Rome.

“Salame” (note the letter E at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for as long as ten years. The name “salame” comes from “sale”, the Italian word for salt, and “-ame”, a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word “salami” is actually the Italian plural for “salame”.

67 Dark beer : STOUT

The term “stout” was first used for a type of beer in the 1600s when it was used to describe a “strong, stout” brew, and not necessarily a dark beer as it is today.

68 Capital of Vancouver? : VEE

The word “Vancouver” starts with a capital letter V (vee).

Vancouver in British Columbia is a major port in western Canada. It is the third-most populous metropolitan area in the nation (after Toronto and Montreal), and the country’s most densely populated city. Vancouver grew out of a settlement called Gastown named for “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain from Yorkshire, England who opened a saloon in the area in 1867. Gastown became the town of Granville, named for the British Colonial Secretary at the time, Lord Granville. Granville incorporated as a city in 1886, and was named “Vancouver” in honor of Royal Navy officer George Vancouver who explored and charted the northwestern Pacific Coast of North America.

69 “Last Night in Soho” director Wright : EDGAR

Edgar Wright is a film director from England who frequently collaborates with actor/comedians Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Wright co-wrote the very successful “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy with Pegg, and was at the helm for the filming of all three movies.

“Last Night in Soho” is a 2021 psychological horror film starring Anya Taylor-Joy as a budding fashion designer in London. I was talked into watching this movie because of the great cast, which includes the marvelous Diana Rigg in her last film appearance. But, I regretted my decision, because I really do not, do not enjoy horror movies …

70 Gas brand with toy trucks : HESS

Hess Corporation is an oil company based in New York City. In 1964, the company started selling toy trucks with the Hess logo on them, in Hess gas stations. The company has been selling them ever since, bringing out new models just before Christmas. Hess toy trucks have become quite collectible and the old ones can fetch a pretty penny.

Down

1 Call the shots? : REF

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is a derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring” to a book, archive etc.

6 __ Lanka : SRI

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

7 Diwali celebrant : HINDU

Diwali is a popular Hindu festival. It is a “festival of lights”, a celebration of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali is observed annually over five days at the conclusion of the summer harvest, and when there is a new moon.

11 Gulf of Guinea country : NIGERIA

Nigeria is in West Africa, and it takes its name from the Niger River that flows through the country. Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent, with over 180 million inhabitants. It is also the most populous member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The Gulf of Guinea is a large gulf that forms part of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Africa. One of the gulf’s claims to fame is that it is home to the intersecting point between zero degrees of latitude and zero degrees of longitude, i.e. where the Equator and Prime Meridian cross.

18 911 responders, briefly : EMS

Emergency medical services (EMS)

The first use of a national emergency phone number was in 1937 in the UK, where the number 999 was introduced to call emergency services. If you need emergency services in the UK or Ireland to this day, you have to dial 999. It’s not really clear why 911 became the emergency number in the US. The most credible suggestion (to me) is that when it was introduced by the FCC in 1967, it was a number that “fit” with the numbers already used by AT&T for free services (211-long distance; 411-information; 611-repair service).

22 Swing wildly : FLAIL

To flail about is to swing wildly, either literally or figuratively. The verb comes from the noun “flail”, which is an implement for threshing grain.

26 __ d’art : OBJET

An “objet d’art” is an item that has artistic merit. The term is French for “art object”. The plural is “objets d’art”.

27 Western outfit : POSSE

Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”

29 Rosalind Brewer of Walgreens, e.g. : CEO

When Rosalind Brewer was appointed as CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance in 2021, she became only the second Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company (after Thasunda Duckett at TIAA).

34 Physicist with a law : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

35 Summer songs? : DISCO

Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.

38 Open veranda : LANAI

A lanai is a type of veranda, and a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.

39 Soap chemical : LYE

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

47 Brief alarm : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

51 First planet discovered using a telescope : URANUS

One of the unique features of the planet Uranus is that its north and south poles lie where most other planets have their equators. That means that Uranus’ axis of rotation is almost in its solar orbit.

54 Some pretzels : RODS

Pretzels originated in Europe and are especially popular in Southern Germany where a pretzel is known as “Brezel”. Pretzels were introduced into the US in the 1800s by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland who came to be known over here as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

56 “Latino __”: podcast hosted by Maria Hinojosa : USA

“Latino USA” is a radio show distributed nationally by NPR since 1992. It was groundbreaking in its early days, as it was a national radio show that was Latino-oriented, but broadcast in English. Today, it is the longest-running Latino-focused program on radio. Mexican-American journalist and broadcaster Maria Hinojosa has hosted the show from day one.

60 Terrarium youngsters : EFTS

Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

A terrarium (plural “terraria”) is a contained environment used to house land animals. The term “terrarium“ comes from the equivalent “aquarium”, a tank for holding mainly fish. In general, a contained environment for keeping live animals or plants is known as a “vivarium”

62 Extinct New Zealand bird : MOA

Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand that are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which had the knock-on effect of killing off the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man. Moa were huge creatures, measuring up to 12 feet tall with their necks stretched upwards.

The first European to sight the nation that we know today as New Zealand was the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. He labeled the land “Staten Landt”, believing it to be part of South America. Dutch cartographers changed the name to “Nova Zelandia”, after the Dutch province of Zeeland. That Latin name evolved into the Dutch “Nieuw Zeeland”, which Captain James Cook anglicized to “New Zealand”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Lacking refinement : RAW
4 __ list : WISH
8 Young deer : FAWNS
13 Comedian Nwodim : EGO
14 “Luther” star Elba : IDRIS
16 Be of use to : AVAIL
17 City for delinquent library patrons? : FINE POINT
19 Sturdy fabric : SERGE
20 “My Cousin Vinny” Oscar winner : TOMEI
21 A bit loopy : DAFT
23 “How about that!” : GEE!
24 Cleveland pros, for short : CAVS
25 City for look-alikes? : DOUBLE PARK
28 Broke bread : ATE
29 Part of an ear : COB
30 Lack of societal values : ANOMIE
31 Short and snappy : TERSE
33 “The Little Mermaid” voice actress Benson : JODI
36 Cook fast, as tuna : SEAR
37 City for undercover agents? : MOLEHILLS
40 Fruit that lives up to its name : UGLI
43 Bodega fixtures : ATMS
44 “Sailing to Byzantium” poet : YEATS
48 Nucleus particle : PROTON
50 Prompt : CUE
52 “What a lousy play!” : BOO!
53 City for bank managers? : SAFE HARBOR
56 Org. that delivers : USPS
57 __ for tat : TIT
58 Christian with style : DIOR
59 Creator of many talking animals : AESOP
61 “Dragon Ball Z” genre : ANIME
63 City for feather-bed manufacturers? : DOWNFALLS
66 __ salami : GENOA
67 Dark beer : STOUT
68 Capital of Vancouver? : VEE
69 “Last Night in Soho” director Wright : EDGAR
70 Gas brand with toy trucks : HESS
71 Inexact fig. : EST

Down

1 Call the shots? : REF
2 Stir up : AGITATE
3 Brought around : WON OVER
4 Erase completely : WIPE
5 Enthusiastic yes : I DO! I DO!
6 __ Lanka : SRI
7 Diwali celebrant : HINDU
8 Secure : FASTEN
9 Map abbr. : AVE
10 Military exercise : WAR GAME
11 Gulf of Guinea country : NIGERIA
12 More streamlined : SLEEKER
15 Try : STAB
18 911 responders, briefly : EMS
22 Swing wildly : FLAIL
24 Laser pointer chaser : CAT
26 __ d’art : OBJET
27 Western outfit : POSSE
29 Rosalind Brewer of Walgreens, e.g. : CEO
32 Whack, biblically : SMITE
34 Physicist with a law : OHM
35 Summer songs? : DISCO
38 Open veranda : LANAI
39 Soap chemical : LYE
40 Steal the spotlight from : UPSTAGE
41 Ending for coarse and cross : -GRAINED
42 Sending high in the air : LOFTING
45 Clear : ABSOLVE
46 Knocks over : TOPPLES
47 Brief alarm : SOS
49 “I have concerns” : OH DEAR
51 First planet discovered using a telescope : URANUS
54 Some pretzels : RODS
55 Stock : BROTH
56 “Latino __”: podcast hosted by Maria Hinojosa : USA
60 Terrarium youngsters : EFTS
62 Extinct New Zealand bird : MOA
64 Misfortune : WOE
65 Good to go : SET

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 29 Sep 22, Thursday”

  1. No errors butt what a slog. Did not like the clues at all.

    What cities are these supposed to be?

    ANOMIE was new.

    Wait. I had an error. I had WINOVER for 3D which made EGI for 13A.

  2. A hard slog this morning. Ended with no errors, but at least 3
    lookups….two proper names: Ego and Jodi and the term for dark
    beer…”stout”.

    Once I figured out the theme, it wasn’t so bad, but still took me
    a long time.

  3. What an awful theme… I had no idea what was going on until I had almost all the theme clues filled in.

    11:32 with one lookup, JODI Benson… I might have been able to figure it out if I gave it a few more minutes, but I had AMMO instead of ATMS throwing me off course and I just wanted to move on with my life

    ANOMIE may be new… but it’s not clued correctly, anyone could see by looking up the definition of the word that ‘anomie’ is not the lack of societal values but the alienation that is caused by lack of said values

    I give this a hearty 52A

  4. I had so many ink overs in the NE corner it looked like a pen fight had broken out and the loser bled all over that corner. Finally I somehow worked out serge. No not denim. Nor khaki. What a “Double Cross” (which is a town cruel and unusual crossword constructors hail from! As I posited yesterday, this week has been harder than usual from the start and is continuing to build in difficulty with each passing day. I’m scared to see what tomorrow will bring!

  5. A challenging Thursday, but doable – 20:29 with no lookups or errors. The NE corner and south-central sections caused some trouble.

    New: ANOMIE, “Dragon Ball Z,” EDGAR Wright, “Last Night in Soho” (I don’t like horror movies, either), “Latino USA,” “Maria Hinojosa.”

    False starts of: DENIM>SERGE, SLIMMER>SLEEKER, AMORAL>ANOMIE, ROC>MOA, SOFT>ROD, TRADE>BRAND>BROTH, ESSO>HESS.

    Having figured out the theme helped resolve my two trouble sections, along with a guess at NIGERIA which led to SERGE and SLEEKER; SAFEHARBOR got me to RO__ for RODS, then DOWN, BROTH, and STOUT.

  6. A challenging Thursday, but doable – 20:29 with no lookups or errors. The NE corner and south-central sections caused initial trouble.

    New: ANOMIE, “Dragon Ball Z,” EDGAR Wright, “Last Night in Soho” (I don’t like horror movies, either), “Latino USA,” “Maria Hinojosa.”

    False starts of: DENIM>SERGE, SLIMMER>SLEEKER, AMORAL>ANOMIE, ROC>MOA, SOFT>ROD, TRADE>BRAND>BROTH, ESSO>HESS.

    Having figured out the theme helped resolve my two trouble sections, along with a guess at NIGERIA which led to SERGE and SLEEKER; SAFEHARBOR got me to RO for RODS, then DOWN, BROTH, and STOUT.

  7. Whew! Did I lose track of time and think this was Friday? If this trend continues, I dread to think of what may come tomorrow. Had a rough time with the theme (got most of them) but stalled in the NW corner. Didn’t know EGO so missed REF, AGITATE AND WONOVER but, otherwise did OK, all things considered. A little too odd for my taste.

  8. 23:11 no errors…I was looking for real cities until I got to 63A then it went better.
    When I work a puzzle without errors and get most of the clueing most of you have negative comments and when I don’t like a puzzle most of you say how well constructed it is etc…..go figure
    Stay safe😀

  9. 13:22, no errors. Theme was somewhat helpful as it gave first words of answers in most cases (e.g., mole from undercover agents).

  10. Fairly average Thursday for me. Still took a long time, but I didn’t mind the theme. Mary S, stouts are my favorite beers, so that was a gimme for me!

  11. Kinda tricky, but in the end doable Thursday; took 18:28 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know a bunch of stuff and a lot of the crosses didn’t help, at least until I got more of them. I knew ??O Nwodim from her excellent performance on SNL but keep forgetting her first name…except the trailing O. Can’t say the theme helped at all, except they were common phrases… Knowing NIGERIA helped nail down the NE early. Had to change esSO to HESS. Coincidentally I was listening to LATINO USA while doing the puzzle…dumb luck 🙂 And, I have to say UGLIs aren’t *that* ugly.

  12. What a bunch of wimps … if a puzzle doesn’t take me a month to solve, I feel cheated! I called time with 2D AnImATE, instead of AGITATE.
    Sorry to forget you Marisa, I first loved you in “Vinny”.

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