LA Times Crossword 6 Sep 18, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Writer’s Block

The grid contains six BLOCKS of circled letters. When read in a clockwise direction from the top-left, those letters spell out the names of six WRITERS:

  • BRADBURY
    Author Ray Bradbury was best known for his speculative fiction works, including “Fahrenheit 451”, “The Martian Chronicles” and “The Illustrated Man”. Bradbury earned his first payment as a writer when he was just 14 years old. That was when he was hired by comedian George Burns to write for the “Burns and Allen” show.
  • LAWRENCE
    D. H. Lawrence was very much a reactionary novelist, in the sense that his work tended to decry the social impact of the industrial revolution. His novels were also criticized for their erotic content, so much so that Lawrence was publicly labelled as a pornographer by the end of his days. His most famous novels are “Sons and Lovers”, “The Rainbow”, “Women in Love” and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.
  • CHANDLER
    Raymond Chandler was a novelist and screenwriter who turned to the pen relatively late in life, after losing his job in the oil business at the age of 44. Chandler’s first novel was published when he was published in his early fifties. That novel was “The Big Sleep”, which featured his famous detective Philip Marlowe”.
  • MORRISON
    The writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.
  • GORDIMER
    Nadine Gordimer is an author and political activist from South Africa. Gordimer’s writing was recognized in 1991 when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the main focuses of her works is the apartheid that was once part of South African culture and law.
  • VOLTAIRE
    “Voltaire” was the pen name of French writer and philosopher François-Marie Arouet. He chose the name “Voltaire” as it is an anagram of “Arovet Li”, the Latinized spelling of his family name “Arouet”.

Bill’s time: 8m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Jaguar weapons : CLAWS

The four “big cats” are the tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard. The largest of the big cats is the tiger, and the smallest is the leopard.

11. Half a dance : CHA

The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

14. Stinger ingredient : BRANDY

Stingers are a class of cocktails made from a spirit mixed with crème de menthe. The classic stinger recipe calls for brandy and white crème de menthe, and dates back at least to 1917. The variation that calls for brandy mixed with green crème de menthe is known as green hornet.

15. Superman player Cavill : HENRY

Henry Cavill is an English actor who achieved worldwide success with his portrayal of Superman in the 2013 movie “Man of Steel”, and several related DC Comics movies featuring the Superman character.

16. “The Last Jedi” villain Kylo : REN

Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa in the “Star Wars” universe. The character’s birth name was Ben Solo. He was trained as a Jedi knight by his uncle, Luke Skywalker. However, Ben came to embrace the Dark Side, and changed his name to Kylo Ren. Ren is played by actor Adam Driver.

20. Capital on the Volga : RUBLE

The Volga is the longest river in Europe. It is considered the national river of Russia.

The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as several other countries in the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks (also “kopeks”).

23. Suffix with fruct- : -OSE

Fructose is also known as “fruit sugar”. It is commonly found in plants, and is the most water-soluble of all sugars. Many of us consume a lot of “high-fructose corn syrup”. This is a sweetener made from corn starch that is a mixture of glucose and fructose. The natural ratio of fructose to glucose is altered to produce a sweeter syrup by chemically converting much of the naturally occurring glucose into fructose.

24. Hall of Fame manager Stengel : CASEY

Casey Stengel was a professional baseball player, playing from 1912-1925 and managing from 1934-1965. Stengel was born in Kansas City. He had German heritage, and so was called “Dutch” for much of his early life. As he acquired fame on the baseball field, Stengel was given the nickname “Casey”, largely because he came from Kansas City (“KC”) and also because of the popularity of the poem “Casey at the Bat”. He was a smart and erudite guy when it came to baseball, so sportswriters tended to call him “The Old Professor”.

25. Sal of “Exodus” : MINEO

The actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris that was first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, a character played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

28. Taiwanese PC brand : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

29. Rita awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom : MORENO

The Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress Rita Moreno is one of the few performers to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony. Moreno got her big break, and won her Oscar, for playing Anita in the 1961 screen adaption of “West Side Story”. And, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2004.

32. Depilatory cream : NAIR

Nair is a hair removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slake lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

A depilatory agent is something capable of removing hair. The root of the term is “pilus”, the Latin for “hair”, and the same word that gives us “pile” (as in a carpet).

34. Historic span: Abbr. : CEN

Century (cen.)

38. Big letters in family-owned supermarkets : IGA

“IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

40. Troubadour’s strings : LUTE

The lute is a stringed instrument with a long neck and usually a pear-shaped body. It is held and played like a guitar, and was popular from the Middle Ages right through to the late Baroque era. A person who plays the lute can be referred to as a “lutenist”.

A troubadour was a composer and musician of the Middle Ages whose works dealt mainly with chivalry and courtly love. Troubadours were usually men, and a female troubadour would have been called a trobairitz, a lovely word …

41. Uncle __ : BEN’S

Uncle Ben’s is a famous brand of rice that was introduced in 1943. It was the biggest selling brand of rice in the US from the fifties through the nineties. As one might imagine, the name “Uncle Ben” is pretty offensive and Mars, who owns the brand now, have tried to distance themselves from the African-American slave/domestic servant image. In 2007 there was a TV campaign showing “Uncle Ben” as Chairman of the Board of the company. But, he is still called Uncle Ben …

44. Christian with style : DIOR

Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped re-establish Paris as the fashion center of the world.

50. Adorkable types : NERDS

I consider “dork” and “adorkable” to be pretty offensive slang. “Dork” originated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

52. JFK posting : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

The Idlewild Golf Course was taken over by the city of New York in 1943 and construction started on a new airport to serve the metropolis and relieve congestion at La Guardia. The Idlewild name still persists, even though the airport was named after Major General Alexander E. Anderson from the first days of the project. When the facility started operating in 1948 it was known as New York International Airport, Anderson Field. It was renamed to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 1963, one month after the President was assassinated.

53. “Psych” finale? : -OSIS

The suffix “-osis” is found in medical terms. The suffix indicates a disorder in general, with the prefix providing more specificity. Examples are silicosis (a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust), and psychosis (a serious mental illness). The plural of “-osis” is usually “-oses”, but “-osises” is out there as well.

55. Field mice : VOLES

Vole populations can really increase rapidly. Mama vole is pregnant for just three weeks before giving birth to litters of 5-10 baby voles. Then the young voles become sexually mature in just one month! If you have one pregnant vole in your yard, within a year you could have over a hundred of the little critters.

57. Area 51 craft : UFO

The famed Area 51 is a remote base in the USAF Nevada Test and Training Range. There’s no question that Area 51 is an unusual base in that frontline operational units are not deployed there. It seems that it is used for developing and testing new and classified weapons facilities for the US Military and other US agencies like the CIA. The government did not even acknowledge that Area 51 existed until 1995, and this official position fueled a theory that the base is home to UFOs that landed on Earth.

58. Singer with Lawrence : GORME

Eydie Gormé is best known for her work with her husband Steve Lawrence. The duo started performing traditional popular music together in the late fifties. One of the couple’s children is David Nessim Lawrence, a composer who wrote the score for the 2006 movie “High School Musical”.

60. Greek org. : SOR

Sorority (sor.)

61. Lyft passenger : RIDER

Lyft is a ridesharing service that is based in San Francisco, as is Uber, Lyft’s biggest competitor.

63. Hosp. parts : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

65. Will Rogers prop : LASSO

Will Rogers was so successful as an actor that he was the highest paid Hollywood star in the 1930s. His career was cut short sadly, when he died in a plane crash in 1935. Piloting the doomed plane was famed aviator Wily Post, the first person to fly solo around the world.

Down

3. Turow biographical title : ONE L

Scott Turow is an author and lawyer from Chicago. Turow has had several bestselling novels including “Presumed Innocent”, “The Burden of Proof” and “Reversible Errors”, all three of which were made into films. He also wrote the autobiographical book “One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School”.

5. Fleur-de-__: Quebec flag image : LYS

The flag of Quebec, called the Fleurdelisé, was adopted by the province on January 21, 1948. Quebec commemorates that day every January 21st, which is known as Flag Day.

9. Small songbird : WREN

A wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.

10. Letters on a Qantas baggage tag : SYD

Australia’s Sydney Airport (SYD) is located just five miles south of the city center, and next to Botany Bay. There have been plans to build a second airport on the outskirts of the city dating back to the 1940s.

12. Greek : HELLENE

Someone from Greece can be called a Hellene. “Ellas” is the Greek word for “Greece”, the name of the country. Greece is also known as the “Hellenic” Republic.

21. Scented pouch : SACHET

A sachet is a small packet of perfumed powder left in perhaps a closet or trunk to scent clothes. The word “sachet” is a diminutive of the French word “sac” meaning “bag”.

24. Plant in many Road Runner cartoons : CACTUS

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best …

25. Dunderhead : MORON

The unsavory term “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

27. What Marcie calls Peppermint Patty : SIR

Peppermint Patty is a character in the long-running comic strip “Peanuts”, by Charles M. Schulz. Peppermint Patty has a friend named Marcie who famously refers to her as “Sir”, which is perhaps a reference to Peppermint Patty’s reputation as a tomboy. Tomboy or not, it is revealed in the strip that Peppermint Patty has quite a crush on Charlie Brown.

35. Golden State team : WARRIORS

The Golden State Warriors are our local NBA franchise out here in the San Francisco Bay Area and are based in Oakland, California. The team was founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, becoming the San Francisco Warriors when they moved to City by the Bay in 1962. They changed named again (to Golden State) when they relocated to Oakland in 1971. The statewide name reflected the fact that the team played some of their 1971-72 season games in San Diego, and as such were “California’s” team.

36. Christ the __: Rio landmark : REDEEMER

The iconic statue of Jesus overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is known as “Cristo Redentor” (Christ the Redeemer). The statue was constructed between 1922 and 1931. It is the largest Art Deco statue in the world, as it stands at over 30 feet tall.

37. Crime show with several spin-offs : CSI

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:

  • “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
  • “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
  • “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

45. Comic book personnel : INKERS

The traditional process for drawing a comic book involves a team of specialist artists. The penciller creates the initial drawing, the inker adds depth and shading to the drawing, the letterer adds text, and the colorist adds color.

47. Change symbols, in math : DELTAS

Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. We are most familiar with an upper-case delta and its distinctive triangular shape. The letter’s shape has influenced terms such as “deltoid muscle” and “river delta”. The upper-case delta is also used in mathematics and science to indicate a change in value. The lower-case delta looks a bit like our lower-case D, and indeed the Greek letter delta gave us our Latin letter D.

48. Opera with Desdemona : OTELLO

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Otello” was first performed in 1887 at La Scala Theater in Milan. The opera is based on Shakespeare’s play “Othello” and is considered by many to be Verdi’s greatest work.

Desdemona is one of the main characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Othello”. She is the daughter of a Venetian senator called Brabantio whom she vexes by eloping with Othello, a man not of her race and several years older.

51. 48-Down composer : VERDI
(48D. Opera with Desdemona : OTELLO)

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer mainly of operas who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”. Verdi was a big fan of William Shakespeare and wrote three operas based on the Bard’s plays: “Macbeth”, “Otello” and “Falstaff”.

55. Designer Wang : VERA

Vera Wang’s first choice for a career was figure skating. Although she a very capable skater, Wang failed to make the 1968 US Olympics team. She switched to the world of fashion, and is now famous for her designs of wedding dresses … and also costumes for figure skaters.

56. Name in boxy cars? : OTIS

Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

58. Higher ed. test : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

59. Cardinal’s letters : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Seething : ABOIL
6. Jaguar weapons : CLAWS
11. Half a dance : CHA
14. Stinger ingredient : BRANDY
15. Superman player Cavill : HENRY
16. “The Last Jedi” villain Kylo : REN
17. Alpine airs : YODELS
18. Broken out, in a way : ACNED
19. Days gone by, in days gone by : ELD
20. Capital on the Volga : RUBLE
21. Suppress, as a story : SIT ON
22. Punching tools : AWLS
23. Suffix with fruct- : -OSE
24. Hall of Fame manager Stengel : CASEY
25. Sal of “Exodus” : MINEO
26. Waters down : WETS
28. Taiwanese PC brand : ACER
29. Rita awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom : MORENO
30. Hankering : ITCH
32. Depilatory cream : NAIR
34. Historic span: Abbr. : CEN
35. Impediment to creativity … and each set of puzzle circles : WRITER’S BLOCK
38. Big letters in family-owned supermarkets : IGA
40. Troubadour’s strings : LUTE
41. Uncle __ : BEN’S
42. Codes of conduct : MORALS
44. Christian with style : DIOR
46. Venerated one : IDOL
50. Adorkable types : NERDS
51. Lets off steam : VENTS
52. JFK posting : ETA
53. “Psych” finale? : -OSIS
54. Is after : SEEKS
55. Field mice : VOLES
57. Area 51 craft : UFO
58. Singer with Lawrence : GORME
59. Accept, with “for” : SETTLE
60. Greek org. : SOR
61. Lyft passenger : RIDER
62. Difficult tasks : TRIALS
63. Hosp. parts : ERS
64. Mideast bigwigs : EMIRS
65. Will Rogers prop : LASSO

Down

1. Work up : AROUSE
2. Risky proposition : BAD BET
3. Turow biographical title : ONE L
4. Not working : IDLE
5. Fleur-de-__: Quebec flag image : LYS
6. Poolside chair : CHAISE
7. Debate equipment : LECTERNS
8. Get under one’s skin : ANNOY
9. Small songbird : WREN
10. Letters on a Qantas baggage tag : SYD
11. Like many tees : CREW NECK
12. Greek : HELLENE
13. “… et cetera” : … AND SO ON
14. How some tickets may be sorted : BY ROW
21. Scented pouch : SACHET
22. Put on : AIR
24. Plant in many Road Runner cartoons : CACTUS
25. Dunderhead : MORON
27. What Marcie calls Peppermint Patty : SIR
29. Distance runners : MILERS
31. Cultivates : TILLS
33. Monastic figures : ABBOTS
35. Golden State team : WARRIORS
36. Christ the __: Rio landmark : REDEEMER
37. Crime show with several spin-offs : CSI
38. “You obviously can’t depend on me” : I’M NO USE
39. Fetches : GOES FOR
43. Most junk mail : ADS
45. Comic book personnel : INKERS
47. Change symbols, in math : DELTAS
48. Opera with Desdemona : OTELLO
49. Alters with a light touch? : LASES
51. 48-Down composer : VERDI
54. “__ told”: “That’s the rumor” : SO I’M
55. Designer Wang : VERA
56. Name in boxy cars? : OTIS
58. Higher ed. test : GRE
59. Cardinal’s letters : STL

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