LA Times Crossword Answers 18 May 17, Thursday










Constructed by: C.C. Burnikel

Edited by: Rich Norris

Quicklink to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Passwords

Each of today’s themed answers are WORDS associated with a PASS:

  • 17A. Words requesting a pass : OPEN SESAME!
  • 21A. Words indicating a pass : NO THANKS
  • 39A. Words constituting a pass : SO, WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?
  • 55A. Words printed on a pass : ADMIT ONE
  • 61A. Words seen in a pass : SHARP CURVE

Bill’s time: 7m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Halloween costume that may involve a red cape and tail : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

10. Banana Boat initials : SPF

Banana Boat is a brand of sunscreen.

13. “I Fall to Pieces” singer : CLINE

Patsy Cline was a country music singer who managed to cross over into the world of pop music where she enjoyed great success. Cline is one of a long list of musical legends who died in plane crashes. Cline was 30 years old when she was killed in 1963 in a Piper Comanche plane piloted by her manager, Randy Hughes. Hughes and Cline decided to make that last flight despite warnings of inclement weather, and it was a severe storm that brought down the plane in a forest outside Camden, Tennessee.

“I Fall to Pieces” is a 1961 song released by Patsy Cline that was to become her first #1 hit in the country charts.

14. “America’s FLAVORite Frozen Beverage since 1967” : ICEE

Icee and Slurpee are brand names of slushy drinks. Ugh …

15. Considerable age : AEON

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

17. Words requesting a pass : OPEN SESAME!

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “open sesame”, which open the thieves’ den.

19. Apple choice : GALA

Gala is a second-most popular cultivar of apple in the US, after Red Delicious. The Gals apple tree originated in New Zealand in 1930, and is a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd’s Orange Red.

23. Prof’s aides : TAS

Teaching Assistants (TAs)

24. Cardio chart : ECG

An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

27. Team with 121 medals at the Rio Olympics : USA

The US topped the medal table at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, winning 46 gold medals:

  1. United States – 46 gold medals (121 medals total)
  2. Great Britain – 27 gold medals (67 medals total)
  3. China – 26 gold medals (70 medals total)

30. Put the kibosh on : VETO

“Veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The word was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

Kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.

36. Genetic material : RNA

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

37. Cantaloupe and honeydew : MELONS

The cantaloupe is the most popular type of melon consumed in the US. Apparently the cantaloupe was first cultivated in Cantalupo in Sabina, a town near Rome in Italy.

What we call “honeydew” melons are also known as the White Antibes cultivar, especially in France and Algeria where the cultivar has been grown for many years. Antibes is a commune in southeastern France, located between Nice and Cannes.

42. Infomercial staples : SPIELS

A spiel is a lengthy speech or argument designed to persuade, like a sales pitch. “Spiel” comes to us from German, either directly (“spiel” is the German for “play”) or via the Yiddish “shpil”.

45. “I’m extremely interested in squalor” speaker of literature : ESME

J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor”, originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.

48. “Viva __ Vegas” : LAS

“Viva Las Vegas” is an Elvis Presley movie released in 1964 that is considered one of his best films. The good reception for the movie was at least in part due to the performance of the female lead, the talented actress Ann-Margret.

49. Homer stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

51. Camera inits. : SLR

SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

52. Hrs. at Coors Field games : MDT

Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)

Coors Field in Denver is home to the Colorado Rockies MLB team. Coors Field used to give up the most home runs in the league, due to low air density and dry air at Denver’s high elevation. The number of home runs has dropped dramatically since 2002 when officials began to store game balls in a high-humidity environment.

58. Childcare worker : AU PAIR

An au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working and living as part of a host family. The term “au pair” is French, and means “on a par”, indicating that an au pair is treated as an equal in the host family.

63. View from a pew : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

A pew is a bench in a church, usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

64. Dalí house : CASA

The famous surrealist painter Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Spain. I had the privilege of visiting the Dalí Museum in Figueres some years ago, just north of Barcelona. If you ever get the chance, it’s a “must see” as it really is a quite magnificent building with a fascinating collection.

65. Great Lakes natives : ERIES

The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.

66. That, in Tijuana : ESA

Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.

67. URL starter : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in most Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol.

Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

68. Holding corporation that owns Kmart : SEARS

Richard Sears was a station agent on the railroad. In the late 1800s, he bought up a shipment of unwanted watches that was left at his depot and sold the watches to other agents up and down the line. He was so successful that he ordered more watches and then came up with the idea of using a catalog to promote more sales. The catalog idea caught on, and his success allowed Sears to open retail locations in 1925. By the mid 1900s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the whole country.

Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

Down

4. Gunn of “Sully” : ANNA

Anna Gunn is an actress from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is best known for playing Skyler White on the TV show “Breaking Bad”.

“Sully” is a 2016 film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. The movie is based on the autobiography “Highest Duty” by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the captain of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson River in 2009. Although the film covers the crash and miraculous escape of all aboard, it is more about the investigation that seemed intent on proving that the accident was caused by pilot error. Sully managed to clear his name. He was listed second on “Time” magazine’s list of the “Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009”, right after Michelle Obama.

5. Like matryoshka dolls : NESTED

Matryoshka dolls are those wooden nesting dolls that are on sale at every tourist trap across Russia. “Matryoshka” is Russian for “little matron”.

6. Kim, to Khloé Kardashian : SIS

Kim Kardashian is a socialite and television personality. She was introduced into society by her friend, Paris Hilton. Kardashian’s name first hit the headlines when a homemade sex tape made by her and singer Ray J was leaked.

Khloé Kardashian, sister of Kim, managed to parlay her exposure on the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” into spin-offs called “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami” and “Khloé & Lamar”. Guess how many episodes of those three shows that I’ve seen …

12. Pete Seeger’s forte : FOLK SONGS

The American folk singer Pete Seeger wrote and co-wrote a lot of classic songs. The list includes “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “If I had a Hammer”, and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”

16. Rocket launcher : NASA

The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957, a development that shocked the establishment in the US. Within months, President Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Space Race had begun …

18. Chaperones : ESCORTS

Traditionally, a chaperone (often “chaperon” in the British Isles) was a woman accompanying a younger unmarried lady in public, with the term “chaperone” originating in France. The French word was used to mean “hood, cowl” going back to the 12th century, a diminutive of “chape” meaning “cape”. So, out word “chaperone” has the same roots as our word “cape” and indeed “cap”. The idea is that a chaperone is “covering” someone who is vulnerable socially.

31. Disney heroine who sings “Let It Go” : ELSA

“Let It Go” is an incredibly successful song from the Disney animated film “Frozen” released in 2013. It was performed in the movie by Idina Menzel, who also was the voice actor for the character Elsa. “Let It Go” is one of the very few Disney songs to make it into the Billboard Top Ten.

33. Ali ring trademark : ROPE-A-DOPE

The Rumble in the Jungle was the celebrated 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The fight was set in Zaire because of financial arrangements between promoter Don King and Zaire’s President Mobutu Seko. Ali coined the term “Rope-a-dope” to describe his incredibly successful strategy in the contest. From the second round onwards, Ali adopted a protected stance on the ropes letting Foreman pound him with blows to the body and head, with Ali using his arms to dissipate the power of the punches. He kept this up until the eighth round and then opened up and downed the exhausted Foreman with a left-right combination. I hate boxing but I have to say, that was an fascinating fight …

34. Simply Cocoa maker : SWISS MISS

Swiss Miss is a brand of cocoa powder and related products that is sold by ConAgra Foods. The original Swiss Miss product was introduced in the 1950s and was sold only to airlines. The airlines used it to make hot cocoa for their passengers. The beverage was so popular on flights that it was later added to grocery store shelves.

38. __-Cat : SNO

The brand name Sno-Cat is owned by the Tucker company. All “snowcats” are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

41. Poetic paeans : ODES

A paean is a poem or song that expresses triumph or thanksgiving. “Paean” comes from the ancient Greek “paian” meaning “song of triumph”.

46. Doughboy’s helmet : TIN HAT

The American soldiers that headed overseas during WWI wear often known as “doughboys”. The term had been used as early as the 1840s and persisted till WWII, when it was quickly replaced by “GI”. There are a number of theories about the origins of “doughboy”, but the exact etymology isn’t too clear.

48. Soap brand with volcanic pumice : LAVA

Lava is a brand of soap that was introduced as a heavy-duty cleanser in 1983. Unlike like soaps that are marketed using a “soft” image, Lava touts the inclusion of ground pumice that is intended to abrade grime off the skin. Pumice is found in certain types of lava ejected from a volcano, hence the name of the soap.

50. Big name in kitchen appliances : BOSCH

Bosch is an an engineering and electronics firm that was founded in Stuttgart, Germany by Robert Bosch in 1886. Bosch have gotten some bad PR in recent years for writing the software that allowed Volkswagen to cheat the emission testing carried out the by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

52. Two-time French Open winner Sharapova : MARIA

Maria Sharapova is professional tennis player from the town of Nyagan in the Russian Federation. She is a former World No. 1.

57. __ China Sea : EAST

The East China Sea is part of the Pacific Ocean lying of the east coast of China between Japan to the north and Taiwan to the south.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Halloween costume that may involve a red cape and tail : SATAN

6. Respected men : SIRS

10. Banana Boat initials : SPF

13. “I Fall to Pieces” singer : CLINE

14. “America’s FLAVORite Frozen Beverage since 1967” : ICEE

15. Considerable age : AEON

17. Words requesting a pass : OPEN SESAME!

19. Apple choice : GALA

20. “Phooey!” : OH RATS!

21. Words indicating a pass : NO THANKS

23. Prof’s aides : TAS

24. Cardio chart : ECG

26. Overly : TOO

27. Team with 121 medals at the Rio Olympics : USA

28. Throw water on : DOUSE

30. Put the kibosh on : VETO

32. Before, once : ERST

36. Genetic material : RNA

37. Cantaloupe and honeydew : MELONS

39. Words constituting a pass : SO, WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?

42. Infomercial staples : SPIELS

43. Tack on : ADD

44. “I almost forgot … ” : ALSO …

45. “I’m extremely interested in squalor” speaker of literature : ESME

46. Ripoff : THEFT

48. “Viva __ Vegas” : LAS

49. Homer stat : RBI

51. Camera inits. : SLR

52. Hrs. at Coors Field games : MDT

55. Words printed on a pass : ADMIT ONE

58. Childcare worker : AU PAIR

60. Nullify : VOID

61. Words seen in a pass : SHARP CURVE

63. View from a pew : APSE

64. Dalí house : CASA

65. Great Lakes natives : ERIES

66. That, in Tijuana : ESA

67. URL starter : HTTP

68. Holding corporation that owns Kmart : SEARS

Down

1. Get moving : SCOOT

2. Dominant : ALPHA

3. Levels in a park : TIERS

4. Gunn of “Sully” : ANNA

5. Like matryoshka dolls : NESTED

6. Kim, to Khloé Kardashian : SIS

7. Offer of help : I CAN

8. Faraway : REMOTE

9. Take care of : SEE TO

10. It often spans decades : SAGA

11. Egg roll cooking medium : PEANUT OIL

12. Pete Seeger’s forte : FOLK SONGS

16. Rocket launcher : NASA

18. Chaperones : ESCORTS

22. Emulate a news helicopter : HOVER

25. Tries hard (for) : GUNS

29. Doctor’s request : SAY “AH”

31. Disney heroine who sings “Let It Go” : ELSA

32. Curved letter : ESS

33. Ali ring trademark : ROPE-A-DOPE

34. Simply Cocoa maker : SWISS MISS

35. Other people : THEM

37. Splash guard : MUD FLAP

38. __-Cat : SNO

40. Frost advisory, e.g. : ALERT

41. Poetic paeans : ODES

46. Doughboy’s helmet : TIN HAT

47. Peace offerings : TRUCES

48. Soap brand with volcanic pumice : LAVA

50. Big name in kitchen appliances : BOSCH

52. Two-time French Open winner Sharapova : MARIA

53. Sunken ship explorer : DIVER

54. Long lock : TRESS

56. Creative flash : IDEA

57. __ China Sea : EAST

59. Untainted : PURE

62. Genre using speakers? : RAP

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23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 18 May 17, Thursday”

  1. “The number of home runs has dropped dramatically since 2002 when officials began to store ball games in a high-humidity environment.” Should that read “game balls”? I guess that would make sense.

    1. @Anonymous

      Thanks for taking the time to point out that typo (all fixed now). I’m beginning to write like I speak, mixing up my words!

  2. 9:14, no errors. The LAT crossword interface is still screwed up on my iPad, so I used “AcrossLite” (whose interface I really detest) to import a “.puz” file, emailed myself a “.pdf” version of it (which took two tries), downloaded that on my iMac, and printed a copy on this old-fashioned stuff called “paper” (how quaint! 😁). Aren’t computers wonderful?!

  3. Not the constructor’s fault that this puz is way too easy for today — it should run on a Monday, maybe Tuesday at the latest. CC doesn’t do bad puzzles, so there’s little to fault about this one. It has enough commercials, though, with brand-name plugs on suntan lotion, kitchen appliances, drinks, soap, etc. And the dated clue/answer o’ the week: SO WHAT’S YOUR SIGN? (Has any pathetic dork used this pickup line in making a “pass” since the dawn of the disco era?)

  4. Seems about right for a Thursday puzzle. I actually had to think once or twice to finish. I couldn’t place Banana Boat at first despite having a gazillion bottles of it in my cabinet. I was also shocked that “Apple choice” didn’t involve an iPad or iPod. I actually thought a GALA might be a new kind of iPod I hadn’t heard about. Overall, a normal Thursday solve time for me.

    Dirk – Was that you I was reading about this morning when I saw some guy got arrested for stealing something like $1 million in bee hives and equipment in California? 🙂 I didn’t realize bee hives were such big business – particularly in producing/pollinating almonds, I guess. Interesting story and one I assume you’d been following.

    Best –

  5. I thought this was reasonably challenging for a Thursday grid, so I have to say my experience was at odds with Joe Bleaux’s. I thought the answer ‘Esme” for 45 Across hovered on the verge of natick land…

  6. No go for me.
    SteeP CURVE messed up everything.
    Googled the doughboy helmet.
    Couldn’t believe it would be as simple as TIN HAT. It’s really called a Brodie helmet.
    Never heard of BOSCH.

  7. For anyone else doing the WSJ grid today I’ll just say it was a pretty stiff challenge for me. On a 1 to 10 level of difficulty I’d give this at least a 7 or possibly a 7.5. I’m still not absolutely sure I’ve got 57 Across right, but I’ll go look on the Internet now to see.

    Just checked and I DID NOT have the 4th letter correct in 57 Across. D’oh!

    1. @Tony … I also found today’s WSJ a bit challenging. It took me 15:30 on paper, with no errors, but several missteps. I got 57A completely from crossing entries; in particular, I happened to remember the first name of Ms. Chase.

    2. Noticed the Fri one (tomorrow) was a lot tougher than the norm – haven’t solved the meta yet on it. May have to try the Thurs one now since you mentioned it.

    3. Okay. 3 errors, 23 minutes on the Thu (today’s) WSJ. 2 of those were a dumb mistake of mine, the other courtesy of a wrong guess on Ms. Chase. IMO, tomorrow will be a tougher solve (spent 47 minutes on that).

      Another example, I guess of what we talked about with difficulty being relative?

      1. Friday WSJ: 21:21, no errors (I think). Had REHEAT before REWARM and RAMP before RISE. Some rather odd clues. Haven’t thought much about the meta yet, but certainly nothing sprang to mind …

  8. I found this fairly easy for a Thurs. After abt 2 yrs of doing these, I think I’m finally catching on.
    I’ve never seen ERST without “while”.

    I remember the days when everyone asked everyone else what their sign was. I remember worrying if a boyfriend’s sign wasn’t compatible w/ mine. Fortunately the guy I married has a compatible sign. That must be why we’ve lasted so many years.

    I bought a BOSCH dishwasher last fall. They’re expensive, and I find mine hard to load. No matter how much I study the drawings in the owners manual, I just can’t get as much stuff in mine. I think they cheated and used very small dishes for the manual.

  9. This was definitely challenging enough, for me, to be aThursday. I shuddered when I saw the CC name on the byline, but fate and luck was with me, and I finished in good time, and emotionally intact.

    Regarding Apple cultivars. I would recommend Kiku, SweeTango and Kwanzi. All modern hybrids from Europe, but grown in the USA.

    I started reading the Esme short story by J D Salinger and then his biography – and things went on and on from there …..
    I forgot to post all day
    Have a nice day, all.

  10. Bella, I can relate to your worry and angst about meeting the right guy, hopefully through the zodiac signs. Indians, on the other hand, go the whole shabam and insist on ‘comparing’ natal horoscopes for every aspect of matrimony – and it still doesn’t mean anything ….. my wife’s horoscope did not match with mine, and worse, we are of the same zodiac sign – which is terrible if you are, say, a Virgo. All I can say is …. its been a loong 40+ years ……

    Finally, here’s a comment I came across, recently …

    Ladies, if your man says he’ll fix it, trust him, he will ….
    – There is absolutely no need to remind him, every six months ….

    Have a great evening, 😉

    1. Things just haven’t been the same since the moon moved out of the 7th house.

      Oh man…I’ve been humming that song all day.

  11. Nice fun Thursday which was a bit on the easy side. I forgot to check the clock, but about 35 minutes or so. I just had to change one entry: kLINE to CLINE. I got the whole bottom two thirds and then the top, which required a bit of thinking. Getting the theme actually helped this one.

    @Jeff No that wasn’t me…that guy is in serious doodoo. My bees strictly make honey and never visit the almond orchards, besides I just have 14 hives right now. I read about the theft…I think in January, when they usually bring the bees to California. Usually they never catch these guys, so I’m glad they nabbed this sucker. I’m actually selling a hive for $200 to some guy across the bay in Hayward. A good hive can produce up to $2000 of honey/year, although $1400 is about average. You just get $200/hive for pollination, and you have to feed them(high fructose corn syrup) all Winter, so they’re ready to go in January at full strength. Mine are tak’n it easy at that time.

  12. @Carrie I’m not sure how long we have to put up with it. I just read where we’re best off if he stays for two years, stinking up the place, and then loses the 1/2 term elections for the GOP, after which nothing more happens for two more years and then he gets booted. I dunno.

  13. Hi folks!
    Nice to see a full house!! Hi Kay, Nolanski, and Penny!! 😊
    Good puzzle today. Had to give some thought to some areas but it fell into place pretty smoothly.
    Does anyone else find it kinda weird to call that Halloween costume SATAN??!! Wouldn’t we say “devil??” SATAN seems quite sinister for a holiday based on candy corn. Maybe Ms Burnikel should have clued that one differently….
    Will try the NYT Friday next, now that Glenn has kindly told me it’s themeless….🎆
    @Dirk! My money’s on 10 to 12 months; I see a lengthy process, but one that will take less than a full term, y’know?
    Sweet dreams~~™🎃⚾🍎

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