LA Times Crossword 14 Sep 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): AI Sounds

Themed answer sound like common phrases. The word that has changed includes the letters “AI”:

  • 18A. Complimentary thoughts? : PRAISE ON ONE’S MIND (from “preys on one’s mind”)
  • 25A. Subtitle for “Further Adventures of Jack and Jill”? : BEYOND THE PAIL (from “beyond the pale”)
  • 45A. Reason to open another register? : WAIT REDUCTION (from “weight reduction”)
  • 62A. Rate hike at a tanning salon? : ULTRAVIOLET RAISE (from “ultraviolet rays”)

Bill’s time: 22m 35s (stuck in the top-right for about 15 mins!)

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Late bloomer : ASTER

Apparently, most aster species and cultivars bloom relatively late in the year, usually in the fall. The name “aster” comes into English via Latin from the Greek word “astéri” meaning “star”, a reference to the arrangement of the petals of the flower.

15. Starbucks order : MOCHA

Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave its name to the mocha brown color, and to the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.

21. Half a Caribbean federation : SAINT KITTS

Saint Kitts is the more familiar name for Saint Christopher Island, part of the West Indies. Saint Kitts, along with the neighboring island of Nevis, is part of the country known as the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Kitts has had a troubled history, with the Spanish, British and French all vying for control of the island. Most of the population today is descended from slaves brought onto Saint Kitts to farm tobacco and then sugar cane. Most of the slaves were from Africa, although Irish and Scottish slaves were also used.

22. Breitling competitor : OMEGA

Omega is a manufacturer of high-end watches based in Switzerland. An Omega watch was the first portable timepiece to make it to the moon.

Breitling is a Swiss watchmaker that was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling. Breitling specializes in making precision chronometers for aviators. In the 1965 Bond movie “Thunderball”, the hero was issued a Breitling watch that included a Geiger counter. Cool!

24. Certain octet member : PLANET

There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets”, but that doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood”. The most oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.

25. Subtitle for “Further Adventures of Jack and Jill”? : BEYOND THE PAIL (from “beyond the pale”)

The “Jack and Jill” nursery rhyme dates back at least to the 1700s:

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

32. U.K. singer Rita : ORA

Rita Ora is a British singer who was born in Pristina, Yugoslavia. She was born “Rita Sahatçiu” to Albanian parents. The family name “Sahatçiu” comes from a Turkish word meaning “watchmaker”. Rita’s parents changed their name to make it easier to pronounce. So, they moved from “watchmaker” to “Ora”, the Albanian word for “time”.

38. Collaborative website : WIKI

A wiki is a website on which users are allowed to create and edit content themselves. The term “wiki” comes from the name of the first such site, introduced in 1994 and called WikiWikiWeb. “Wiki” is a Hawaiian word for “quick”, and is used because comprehensive content is created very quickly a there are so many collaborators contributing to the site.

40. Classic slot images : LEMONS

Slot machines earned the nickname “one-armed bandits” simply because they had “one arm”, the handle pulled to operate the machine. Well, they also rob your money!

41. Emanation : AURA

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

42. “He that hath no beard is __ than a man”: Shak. : LESS

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man” is a line from Shakespeare’s play “Much Ado About Nothing”.

“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, and a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

43. Battery post : ANODE

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

45. Reason to open another register? : WAIT REDUCTION (from “weight reduction”)

What we usually call a cash register here in North America, we mostly call a “till” in Ireland and the UK. I haven’t heard the word “till” used much here.

53. Balloting time: Abbr. : NOV

Election Day was chosen by Congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.

Today, a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

54. Flotilla locale : OCEAN

A flotilla is a formation of smaller warships, one that might be part of a larger fleet. The term “flotilla” is Spanish, and is the diminutive of “flota” meaning “fleet”, which in turn comes from “flotar” meaning “to float”.

62. Rate hike at a tanning salon? : ULTRAVIOLET RAISE (from “ultraviolet rays”)

At either end of the visible light spectrum are the invisible forms of radiation known as infrared (IR) light and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR light lies just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and UV light lie just below the violet end.

64. Goa garment : SARI

Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

66. Macabre fiction middle name : ALLAN

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

67. State of France : ETAT

In French, an “état” (state) is a “division politique” (political division).

69. Knish purveyors : DELIS

A knish is a snack food from Germany and Eastern Europe made popular in the US by Jewish immigrants. A knish has a filling often made of mashed potato and ground meat, covered by a dough that is baked or fried.

Our words “provide” and “purvey” have similar meanings, and both derive from the Latin verb “providere” meaning “to supply”.

Down

2. When doubled, one of the Leeward Islands : BORA

Bora Bora is one of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The name “Bora Bora” is imitative of the Tahitian name for the island and should really be pronounced “pora pora”. “Bora bora” translates as “first born”.

The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the eastern Caribbean. They form the northern part of the island chain known as the Lesser Antilles. The list of Leeward Islands includes the US and British Virgin Islands.

3. Trendy berry : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

4. “Way of the gods” belief : SHINTO

It is perhaps best not to describe Shinto as a religion, but more as a “spirituality of the Japanese people”, a spirituality that encompasses folklore, history and mythology. Having said that, “Shinto” translates literally as “Way of the gods”. Most people in Japan who are described as practicing Shinto, also practice Buddhism.

9. Sea eagles : ERNS

The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also called the white-tailed eagle or the sea-eagle.

12. “Guardians of the Galaxy” figure : ALIEN

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a 2014 film based on a team of superheroes from the Marvel Comics universe. The movie’s cast is very impressive, including Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro. I don’t normally “do” superhero films, but I hear that this one is very entertaining.

20. Arias, usually : SOLI

“Soli” (the plural of “solo”) are pieces of music performed by one artist, whereas “tutti” are pieces performed by all of the artists.

26. Historic canal : ERIE

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

28. Nottingham’s river : TRENT

The River Trent in England is one of the few rivers that flows north for much of its route. The Trent rises in Staffordshire and empties into the River Ouse in Yorkshire.

Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands of England. To us on this side of the Atlantic, perhaps Nottingham is most famous as a setting for the legend of Robin Hood.

35. Local bond, briefly : MUNI

A municipal bond (“muni”) is one that is issued by a city or local government, or some similar agency. Munis have an advantage over other investments in that any interest earned on the bond is usually exempt from state and federal income taxes.

36. The Ponte Vecchio spans it : ARNO

The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, and passes through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge that spans the Arno river in Florence, Italy. The bridge dates back to medieval times, and indeed the name “Ponte Vecchio” translates as “Old Bridge”. Famously, there are two rows of shops built on either side of the roadway crossing the bridge.

46. Kendrick of “Pitch Perfect” films : ANNA

Anna Kendrick is a marvelous actress whose big break came when she played the sidekick to George Clooney’s character in the very interesting 2009 film “Up in the Air”. Kendrick can sing as well as act, and played a student a cappella singer in the 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect”.

“Pitch Perfect” is an entertaining musical comedy film released in 2012. It’s all about an all-female college a cappella group competing to win a national competition.

48. “Heart of Darkness” author : CONRAD

“Heart of Darkness” is an 1899 novella by Joseph Conrad in which the narrator journeys up the Congo River in search of an agent who is the most successful supplier of ivory. The basic storyline for the novella inspired the 1979 movie “Apocalypse Now”.

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British author who was active in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. His list of novels includes “Heart of Darkness” (1899) and “Lord Jim” (1900). Many of Conrad’s works have been adapted for the big and small screen. For example, “Apocalypse Now” is an updated telling of the “Heart of Darkness” storyline.

51. Eye-popping display : ECLAT

“Éclat” can describe a brilliant show of success, as well as the applause or accolade that one receives for that success. The word “éclat” derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

52. Ancient Jordanian archaeological city : PETRA

The archaeological city of Petra in Jordan sounds like a fabulous sight, and is known for its beautiful buildings that have been carved out of the natural rock. Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction.

55. Trig function : SINE

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

60. Actor Morales : ESAI

The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Mortify : ABASH
6. Late bloomer : ASTER
11. Education basic : MATH
15. Starbucks order : MOCHA
16. Laughing, say : MERRY
17. Et __ : ALIA
18. Complimentary thoughts? : PRAISE ON ONE’S MIND (from “preys on one’s mind”)
21. Half a Caribbean federation : SAINT KITTS
22. Breitling competitor : OMEGA
23. Where some long drives begin : TEE
24. Certain octet member : PLANET
25. Subtitle for “Further Adventures of Jack and Jill”? : BEYOND THE PAIL (from “beyond the pale”)
32. U.K. singer Rita : ORA
33. Like the sticks : RURAL
34. Tentative statement : I MAY
38. Collaborative website : WIKI
40. Classic slot images : LEMONS
41. Emanation : AURA
42. “He that hath no beard is __ than a man”: Shak. : LESS
43. Battery post : ANODE
44. Capt.’s heading : NNW
45. Reason to open another register? : WAIT REDUCTION (from “weight reduction”)
50. Lean (on) : DEPEND
53. Balloting time: Abbr. : NOV
54. Flotilla locale : OCEAN
55. Keep up (with), as fashion trends : STAY IN STEP
62. Rate hike at a tanning salon? : ULTRAVIOLET RAISE (from “ultraviolet rays”)
64. Goa garment : SARI
65. Edible bulb : ONION
66. Macabre fiction middle name : ALLAN
67. State of France : ETAT
68. Some red marks : WELTS
69. Knish purveyors : DELIS

Down

1. Stage flankers : AMPS
2. When doubled, one of the Leeward Islands : BORA
3. Trendy berry : ACAI
4. “Way of the gods” belief : SHINTO
5. Get a move on : HASTEN
6. French mine : A MOI
7. Posted : SENT
8. Display, with “out” : TROT …
9. Sea eagles : ERNS
10. White alternative : RYE
11. Class for dogs and cats : MAMMALIA
12. “Guardians of the Galaxy” figure : ALIEN
13. Slight suggestion : TINGE
14. Attacked : HAD AT
19. Squeezed (out) : EKED
20. Arias, usually : SOLI
24. Comrades : PALS
25. Postseason game : BOWL
26. Historic canal : ERIE
27. Runs on : YAKS
28. Nottingham’s river : TRENT
29. Laugh producer : HUMOR
30. Undercut : ERODE
31. Comprising standard glazing : PANED
35. Local bond, briefly : MUNI
36. The Ponte Vecchio spans it : ARNO
37. [What a bore!] : YAWN!
39. “Scout’s honor!” : I SWEAR IT
40. Attacked, with “into” : LAID
46. Kendrick of “Pitch Perfect” films : ANNA
47. Meter, e.g. : UNIT
48. “Heart of Darkness” author : CONRAD
49. Deal in electronics? : TV SALE
50. Put out : DOUSE
51. Eye-popping display : ECLAT
52. Ancient Jordanian archaeological city : PETRA
55. Trig function : SINE
56. Labor : TOIL
57. Oodles : A LOT
58. Hungers : YENS
59. Prepare for sowing : TILL
60. Actor Morales : ESAI
61. They’re often secured at tellers’ windows : PENS
63. Commitment : VOW

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21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Sep 18, Friday”

  1. LAT: 19:37, no errors; and, like Bill, I was stuck in the upper right corner for what seemed liked forever; a key moment came when I changed “ANIMALIA” to “MAMMALIA” (duh! … but that wasn’t the end of the impasse … an evil little section, indeed).

    Newsday: 11:20, no errors.

    WSJ: 16:45, no errors; saw what I needed to see in the grid to solve the meta, but wasn’t sure what to do with it and it was late at night, so I decided to go to bed; took off my shoes and socks and flashed on the answer, so I sent it in. Amazing that Gaffney comes up with those things, week after week after week.

    Croce to come … 😜

    1. Croce: 2:30:35 (total elapsed time, including necessary breaks to do other things), no errors. A frightening grid, with seven fifteen-letter entries. In the end, though, not as difficult as some Croce puzzles.

  2. LAT: DNF at 44:43, no errors. Last 5 columns of the entire right side remaining. Another one of those “problematic issue” grids. WSJ: 19:51, no errors. Found what I was supposed to find for the meta, but don’t know what to do with it. Probably won’t ever until the answer is revealed, given I really don’t have a lot of time to look at these things right now.

  3. DNF. Like everyone else the upper right corner did me in .
    Unlike everyone else I never did get it. “Anamilia” was also my biggest stumbling block. Mamalia is not in my dictionary and my “big brother” auto correct in my iPad won’t accept it either

  4. We only got MATH in the evil corner and finished only about 60%
    of the total puzzle. Just too hard. Got some parts of words, but could
    not complete; would have made a difference. I don’t feel so bad when
    Bill took 22 minutes before getting it all. Kudos to him for sticking with it.

  5. 33:01. Very tough one. I think this was my third Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle in the last week between the LAT and NYT grids. This one about wore me out. I adopted Tony’s hunt and peck method for most of the puzzle. I finally caught onto the theme and ended up solving from the bottom up. Perhaps for this reason, the upper right wasn’t that difficult for me. I already had most of the bottom of that section completed before I looked at it.

    Continuing from yesterday – I just looked and the Chess Olympiad has largely been held somewhere in Europe. It has also been held in the middle east, South America and even Africa (Libya). Best I could tell, the only 2 continents in the world that have never hosted an Olympiad are North America and Antarctica. The next 3 are in Georgia, Russia and Belarus so it’s not coming any time soon.

    @Carrie –
    Yes chess is big in Azerbaijan. It was once part of the Soviet Union so it has the same chess roots as all those countries. In fact, the U.S. win in 2016 was in Azerbaijan.

    I’m not one that usually engages in schadenfreude, but the story of your bowling a 15 had me laughing out loud….

    Best –

  6. This makes no sense to me. Bora Bora is NOT one of the LIs. Please explain !!
    ___________________________________
    2. When doubled, one of the Leeward Islands : BORA
    Bora Bora is one of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The name “Bora Bora” is imitative of the Tahitian name for the island and should really be pronounced “pora pora”. “Bora bora” translates as “first born”.

    The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the eastern Caribbean. They form the northern part of the island chain known as the Lesser Antilles. The list of Leeward Islands includes the US and British Virgin Islands.

  7. 24 mins, 30 seconds, or thereabouts. I normally do my puzzles on paper, but this one I took on with the digital version; who knows how many seconds I frittered away scrolling through clues or changing entry direction. I do NOT like electronic fill-in, especially when the clock keeps going when you’ve filled in all the squares; that’s a “hint” in my book that something’s not right, and you shouldn’t get hints.

    In the end I had five errors, brought about by simply “not getting” the theme of AI sounds (which, to me, doesn’t even qualify as a theme). BEYONDTHE(P)A(I)L/(P)ANED/SOL(I) accounted for three of them, (I was thinking BEYOND THE FALL, since Jack and Jill *fell* down the hill). Also, PRAISE(O)NONESMIND/AMOI (here the 6D homonym clue got me, as I’m thinking, “I don’t know the French word for an underground excavation”, and again didn’t get the theme to help me with the IN/ON choice for the longer fill).

    This one, also, wasn’t a gimme.

  8. I also thought Bora Bora can’t be right, since it is way off, in the Polynesia ??? But, I also know that the Xword checkers check all these facts out …. so there are another set of Leeward islands in the Pacific Ocean … seems reasonable ….

    Not that it matters, I had a very tough time with this puzzle. !!@!!!
    Fortunately, last month, I was reading yet another book …. about the travails of the jewish people …. through history … and this book, was about them living in Russia, “beyond the pale” …. a fact which was ( some of – ) the least of their troubles……
    So that helped me with that clue ….

    Ironically, …. and I have read extensively on Goa and the Portugese colonies ( including Diu, Daman and Salsette and even Bombay – ) … and I am aware of certain facts …. the Port’s came to Goa not only for the spices, and business and wealth, …. but also to zealously convert the people to christianity. ( the Roman catholic variety – ).

    And in the days, of St Francis Xavier, (1506-1552), …. who died in Shandung, China, but is buried, in a funerary relicquary, in a glass coffin, in a cathedral Basilica of Bom Jesus, ,in the capital city of Goa .. Panaji ( or the older, more familiar name of Panjim ) ….. the methods of conversion were, by todays standards, very harsh and cruel.

    When the portg. realized that the natives who nominally converted to the new religion ….. still kept up some their old syncreatic habits, ( of their previous religion – ) … as wearing of a sari ( among other things – ) …. the wearing of the sari was made illegal – under penalty of not merely excommunication – but death (!). Btw, there was also a goan inquisition, following the one in portugal, and was every bit as bad.

    So, of all the states in the indian union, Goa has probably the least number of sari wearers…. So, back to the crossword clue, I am writing, not out of bitterness, but as an academic question ….. like the Boron ion … 🙂
    Though, the incorporation of Goa into the indian union took place in 1965, hence I am sure ( unlike the boron ion – ) there must be millions of indian women in that state of Goa, that actually wear saris. 😉
    Just a romp through several centuries of history.
    Saris are also worn extensively in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar (parts – ), the Maldives and among certain older peoples in Pakistan.

    Have a nice day, and a great weekend, all.
    Boy, to imagine that this puzzle confounded our great teacher Bill himself !!

  9. Enjoyable Friday Wechsler; took about 35 minutes with no errors, but I was worried about the first theme answer PRAISE…

    Had to change Red to RYE and SOLo to SOLI, but that’s it. Had ALIA and realized OMEGA was the Breitling competitor, so didn’t have too much trouble in the NE corner. The Leeward Islands clue had me for a while but it was obvious it was going to be BORA and when I eventually checked Wiki, after finishing, there are indeed another set of Leeward Islands in the West of the Society Islands.

    @Bill – I think people mostly think in terms of frequency rather than wavelength when establishing a reference point, so I would say that “IR lies just below the red end and UV just beyond the violet end.” Of course, you’re still correct; I just had to do a double take when reading your explanation.

  10. Hi folks!!🙃
    No errors on a challenging Wechsler. Enjoyed the solve. My problems came around Kentucky (center right) with that blasted UNIT/NOV cross. And, I kept thinking WAITRESS for the theme answer there. Of course, in retrospect I don’t see why those tripped me up! 🤔 Always looks easier once you get it filled in.

    Hey Jeff! I figured it was the Soviet connection that led to chess’s popularity in Azerbaijan…makes sense. And I’m glad that my bowling score gave you a laugh!😀 I often trot out that story among friends when conversation lags.

    Be well ~~🦉

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