LA Times Crossword 13 May 24, Monday

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Constructed by: Aaron Ullman
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: YMCA

Themed answers, collectively, end phonetically with the letters YMCA as we descend the grid:

  • 67A Disco classic spelled out with arm motions and by the ends of the answers to the starred clues : YMCA
  • 20A *”I can’t make sense of it” : DON’T ASK ME WHY
  • 33A *World Series of Poker game : TEXAS HOLD ‘EM
  • 41A *Natural-horror film franchise featuring superintelligent sharks : DEEP BLUE SEA
  • 52A *Catchphrase of the Three Stooges : OH, A WISE GUY, EH?

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

Bill’s time: 6m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “The Phantom of the Opera” prop : MASK

I’m a bit jaded with big stage musicals I must admit, but I will always have time for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece “The Phantom of the Opera”. “Phantom …” is the longest running musical in the history of Broadway, and deservedly so. There is a sequel, titled “Love Never Dies”, that opened in London’s West End in March 2010. But, it hasn’t been well received.

14 Wrinkly citrus fruit : 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.

17 Inspirational collage for designers : MOOD BOARD

A mood board is a collage of objects and images assembled on a surface for the purpose of inspiring perhaps a design or a goal.

22 Crab or lobster catcher : POT

A lobster pot is used to trap lobsters. It is a chamber with a sturdy frame and walls made of netting. The entrance to the pot is a one-way device, so that lobsters enter the pot to eat the bait, but cannot escape after their meal. Many traps have two chambers: the “kitchen” holds the bait, and the “parlor” holds the trapped lobsters.

33 *World Series of Poker game : TEXAS HOLD ‘EM

The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas hold ’em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas hold ‘em in the television lineup that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.

The World Series of Poker is an annual event held in Las Vegas. The winner of each event is given a much-coveted World Series of Poker bracelet.

39 “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” actress Kristen : WIIG

Kristen Wiig is a comic actress who appears on “Saturday Night Live”. She also made an appearance on the first season of Spike TV’s quirky “The Joe Schmo Show”, playing “Dr. Pat”. More recently, she co-wrote and starred in the 2011 hit film “Bridesmaids”, and co-starred in the 2016 reboot of “Ghostbusters”.

“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” is a 2021 comedy movie written by and starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo. This is one of the many movies scheduled for theatrical release that was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was eventually released as a premium video on demand (VOD) feature in 2021. I haven’t seen the film, but the critics quite liked this one.

41 *Natural-horror film franchise featuring superintelligent sharks : DEEP BLUE SEA

“Deep Blue Sea” is a 1999 sci-fi horror film that spawned a whole series of movies. It’s all about genetically engineered sharks escaping from an underwater lab and going on a rampage. Not for me …

45 African capital on the Mediterranean Sea : ALGIERS

Algeria is a huge country, the largest in Africa, and the largest on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

47 Tab key function : INDENT

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

48 __-cone: icy treat : SNO

A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.

52 *Catchphrase of the Three Stooges : OH, A WISE GUY, EH?

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you might have noticed that the line-up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946. Shemp stayed with the troupe until he himself died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine suffered a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

57 Euripides tragedy : MEDEA

“Medea” is a tragedy penned by Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. Dealing with the myth of Jason and Medea, it was not received well at its debut in 431 BC. It premiered at that year’s Dionysia festival in Athens, competing against plays by Euphorion and Sophocles. Euphorion’s play won the competition and Euripides’ “Medea” came in last.

63 Actress Swenson : INGA

Inga Swenson was an American actress. Her best known role was “Gretchen Kraus”, the German cook, and later housekeeper, on the TV show “Benson”. Swenson also appeared in a couple of episodes of “Bonanza” playing the second wife of Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), and mother of Hoss Cartwright (Dan Blocker). This was despite the fact that in real life, she was actually 4 years younger than Blocker!

67 Disco classic spelled out with arm motions and by the ends of the answers to the starred clues : YMCA

“YMCA” was released in 1978 by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics extol the virtues of the “YMCA” as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that …

Down

1 Bluey and Bingo’s parent : MUM

“Bluey” is a preschool TV show from Australia. The title character is an anthropomorphic blue heeler puppy whose full name is Bluey Christine Heeler. Her younger sister is Bingo Heeler. My granddaughter just loves Bluey …

4 “The Mermaid Chair” novelist Sue Monk __ : KIDD

“The Mermaid Chair” is a 2005 novel by Sue Monk Kidd that made it to #1 on the “New York Time” bestseller list. It was adapted into a TV movie the following year, starring Kim Basinger.

7 U.S./Canada military acronym : NORAD

The North American Defense Command (NORAD) isn’t just a US operation but is a cooperative arrangement between Canada and the United States. The two countries entered into an agreement to establish NORAD in 1958, mainly due to the concern that there would be little or no warning of a missile attack from the Soviet Union that came over the North Pole. NORAD also tracks Santa Claus coming from the North Pole every Christmas, and these days publishes Santa’s location on Christmas Eve on its website. The tracking of Santa started into 1955 when a local Sears store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper with a phone number that could be used to call Santa Claus. The newspaper accidentally printed the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (a precursor to NORAD). The officer on duty instructed his staff to give all children who called a “current location” for Santa. Today, NORAD gets about 120,000 phone queries about Santa’s location every year, and the website gets about 20 million visitors.

8 Canvas shoe brand that makes bridal sneakers : KEDS

Keds is a brand of athletic shoe first introduced in 1916 by US Rubber. The shoe was originally marketed as a rubber-soled, canvas-topped sneaker. The company first opted for the brand name “Peds”, from the Latin “ped” meaning “foot”. That name was already taken by another product, and so a quick rebranding took place resulting in “Keds”. The brand celebrated its centennial with a “Ladies First Since 1916” campaign that focuses on female empowerment.

9 Belief that all beings have a spirit : ANIMISM

“Animism” comes from the Latin word “anima” meaning “soul, life”. The word “animism” has two related but distinct meanings. In one sense, animism is the belief in souls, and in another sense it is the belief that souls exist for other entities that are not human. I think it is a relatively commonly held belief that animals may have souls (and that one can meet up with one’s pet or cat or in heaven!), but it is less commonly believed that plants and even rocks can have souls too.

10 Large citrus fruit : POMELO

A pomelo is a very large, pear-shaped citrus fruit that is native to Southeast Asia.

11 “__ it first!”: “Dibs!” : I SAW

The phrase “to have dibs on” expresses a claim on something. Apparently, the term “dibs” is a contraction of “dibstone”, which was a knucklebone or jack used in a children’s game.

13 __ Goose vodka : GREY

Grey Goose is a vodka that is produced in France. It was developed specifically for the American market using resources and expertise available in the French Cognac region.

42 Greek god of love : EROS

The name of Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both “Amor” (meaning “love”) and “Cupid” (meaning “desire”).

43 Perch for a frog in an ornamental pond : LILY PAD

Water lilies have leaves and flowers that float on the surface of a body of water. However, the roots of the plant are embedded in soil, soil at the bottom of the pond or lake.

44 Al or Bobby of auto racing : UNSER

The Unser family seems to have auto racing in their blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

46 “Pinkie promise!” : I SWEAR!

The use of “pinkie” or “pinky” for the little finger or toe comes into English from “pinkje”, the Dutch word for the same digit. Who knew …?

52 Muscat’s land : OMAN

Muscat is the capital of Oman. The city lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

54 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA

Sarah McLachlan is a singer/songwriter from Halifax, Nova Scotia who lives in Vancouver. In 1997, McLachlan married Ashwin Sood, the drummer in her band. The 1998 hit song “Adia”, which she co-wrote and recorded, was intended as an apology to her best friend … for stealing her ex-boyfriend and then marrying him!

55 Oklahoma city west of Tulsa : ENID

Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because it has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

56 “__ guacamole!” : HOLY

Batman’s partner Robin is known for his very creative “Holy …!” exclamations. Here are few worth repeating from the original “Batman” TV show:

  • “Holy Tintinnabulation!”
  • “Holy Knit One, Purl Two!”
  • “Holy Oleo!”
  • “Holy Hole in a Doughnut!”

61 Lipton drink : TEA

Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “The Phantom of the Opera” prop : MASK
5 Made, as a free throw or golf putt : SANK
9 Parroting : APING
14 Wrinkly citrus fruit : UGLI
15 Slender wind instrument : OBOE
16 Polite refusal : NO, SIR
17 Inspirational collage for designers : MOOD BOARD
19 Mental picture : IMAGE
20 *”I can’t make sense of it” : DON’T ASK ME WHY
22 Crab or lobster catcher : POT
25 Told tales : LIED
26 Feel poorly : AIL
27 Puts into law : ENACTS
29 Losing candidate : ALSO-RAN
33 *World Series of Poker game : TEXAS HOLD ‘EM
36 Brewpub pour : ALE
37 Scissors sound : SNIP
38 Spanish day : DIA
39 “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” actress Kristen : WIIG
40 Bowler’s target : PIN
41 *Natural-horror film franchise featuring superintelligent sharks : DEEP BLUE SEA
45 African capital on the Mediterranean Sea : ALGIERS
47 Tab key function : INDENT
48 __-cone: icy treat : SNO
49 “__ well that ends well” : ALL’S
51 U-turn from NNW : SSE
52 *Catchphrase of the Three Stooges : OH, A WISE GUY, EH?
57 Euripides tragedy : MEDEA
58 Many a charitable organization : NONPROFIT
62 Common font : ARIAL
63 Actress Swenson : INGA
64 Bowler’s place : LANE
65 Sidles up to : NEARS
66 Like pink hair : DYED
67 Disco classic spelled out with arm motions and by the ends of the answers to the starred clues : YMCA

Down

1 Bluey and Bingo’s parent : MUM
2 Many moons __ : AGO
3 __-mo replay : SLO
4 “The Mermaid Chair” novelist Sue Monk __ : KIDD
5 Vague promise from a procrastinator : SOONISH
6 Tail off, as a storm : ABATE
7 U.S./Canada military acronym : NORAD
8 Canvas shoe brand that makes bridal sneakers : KEDS
9 Belief that all beings have a spirit : ANIMISM
10 Large citrus fruit : POMELO
11 “__ it first!”: “Dibs!” : I SAW
12 Close by, quaintly : NIGH
13 __ Goose vodka : GREY
18 Runs away fast : BOLTS
21 Leafy vegetable in a green smoothie : KALE
22 Pampering place for furry friends : PET SPA
23 Close soccer score : ONE NIL
24 Exhausting : TAXING
28 Baseball hat : CAP
29 Not much (of) : A DAB
30 Salary hikes : RAISES
31 Sci-fi beings : ALIENS
32 Invalidate : NEGATE
34 Celebratory poems : ODES
35 Place for a piercing : LIP
39 Married : WED
41 “Wasn’t me!” and “I didn’t do it!” : DENIALS
42 Greek god of love : EROS
43 Perch for a frog in an ornamental pond : LILY PAD
44 Al or Bobby of auto racing : UNSER
46 “Pinkie promise!” : I SWEAR!
49 Great pain : AGONY
50 Fencing thrust : LUNGE
52 Muscat’s land : OMAN
53 “Take this” : HERE
54 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
55 Oklahoma city west of Tulsa : ENID
56 “__ guacamole!” : HOLY
59 Closest peeps : FAM
60 Company abbr. : INC
61 Lipton drink : TEA

8 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 May 24, Monday”

  1. A little more challenging than expected for a Monday, at least for me. I got stuck on 57A/54D for a while. AIDA didn’t occur to me as that is a Broadway musical unrelated to McLachlan, or so I thought.
    My other bumps were just dumb mistakes.

  2. 11 min. No errors

    Couldn’t remember how ADIA went. Had to utube it. Beautiful song.

    I thought 52A was headed for NYUK NYUK NYUK

  3. 9:29 – no errors or lookups. False starts: MOO_AWARD>MOODBOARD, NET>POT, TIRING>TAXING, LLC>INC.

    New or forgotten: MOOD BOARD, “Barb and Star …”, INGA Swenson, “The Mermaid Chair,” Sue Monk KIDD, “bridal sneakers” (huh?), ADIA.

    Easy enough theme just from the 67A clue. Might have helped a little in solving the four started clues.

    Seemed a little challenging for a Monday.

  4. Definitely harder than your average Monday. A couple “totally out of ken” fills for me: MOOD BOARD, MEDEA. 8 mins 23 secs to finish.

  5. @ Lew Critchfield – from yesterday (Sunday)

    Dennis Mullet does not need to consult a Spanish-English dictionary. Portugal, as well as Spain, is a part of the Iberian Peninsula. Ola is a casual greeting in Portuguese. It is the equivalent of “hola” in Spanish.

  6. Pretty hard Monday for me; took 15:57 with 5 minutes in the NW corner and 4 errors. Couldn’t figure out ?U?, ?AS? and ?I?D or MUM, MASK and KIDD. Also, never heard of a MOOD BOARD.

    The rest was mostly easy, if not a breeze.

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