LA Times Crossword 12 Oct 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): CTOs

Themed answers are common phrases in which a C has been changed to an S:

  • 17A. Eggs-uberant hen? : BRISK LAYER (from “bricklayer”)
  • 24A. Loon, at times? : DUSK CALLER (from “duck caller”)
  • 36A. Do some ’80s Sochi sunbathing? : BASK IN THE USSR (from “Back in the USSR”)
  • 49A. Hitchhiking and texting? : THUMB TASKS (from “thumbtacks”)
  • 59A. What young elephants do for fun? : NIP AND TUSK (from “nip and tuck”)

Bill’s time: 9m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Kaput : SHOT

“Kaput” is a familiar term meaning “incapacitated, destroyed”, and comes to us from French (via German). The original word “capot” means “not having won a single trick” in the French card game Piquet.

10. Musical ending : CODA

In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

15. Dance that may involve a chair : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

16. “Amores” poet : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus, although what led to this disfavor isn’t truly understood.

Ovid wrote a book of poems called “Amores”, as did English writer D. H. Lawrence.

20. __ Xtra: cherry soda brand : PIBB

The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

22. Word with ring or book : -WORM

The skin condition known as tinea is more usually referred to as ringworm. Tinea pedis is commonly known as athlete’s foot.

A bookworm is a very studious person, and a voracious reader. The term “bookworm” arose centuries ago, and was a reference to certain insect larvae that would eat holes in the paper and binding of old books.

23. Rights org. : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

24. Loon, at times? : DUSK CALLER (from “duck caller”)

The bird known as a loon here in North America is called a diver in the British Isles. The name “diver” comes from the bird’s habit of swimming calmly and then suddenly diving below the surface to catch a fish. The name “loon” comes from an Old English word meaning “clumsy” and reflects the awkward gait of the bird when walking on land.

27. Butler on a plantation : RHETT

Famously, Clark Gable played Rhett Butler in the 1939 film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”. However, Butler wasn’t the first choice for the role. It was offered to Gary Cooper, but he turned it down. Apparently, Cooper said, “‘Gone With The Wind’ is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history. I’m glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling flat on his nose, not Gary Cooper”.

29. Like Colbert’s show : ON LATE

Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosted his own show on Comedy Central, “The Colbert Report”. Colbert’s first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to set up his own spin-off, “The Colbert Report”. In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a “French” pronunciation for the name of his show, so “The Colbert Report” comes out as “The Col-bear Rep-oar”. Colbert took over the “Late Show” when David Letterman retired.

36. Do some ’80s Sochi sunbathing? : BASK IN THE USSR (from “Back in the USSR”)

By the time the Beatles recorded “Back in the U.S.S.R”, they were having a lot of problems working with each other. The song was recorded in 1968, with the band formally dissolving in 1970. Tensions were so great during the recording of “Back in the U.S.S.R” that Ringo Starr actually stormed out saying that he had quit, and the remaining three Beatles made the record without Ringo. Drums were played mainly by Paul McCartney, but there are also drum tracks on the final cut by both George Harrison and John Lennon. Interesting, huh?

Sochi is a city in the west of Russian on the Black Sea coast. It is the largest resort city in the whole country. Sochi is going through a busy phase in its life. It hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2014, and served as host for some games of the 2018 World Cup in soccer.

40. “The Well-Tempered Clavier” composer : BACH

J. S. Bach composed a set of 24 preludes and fugues published as a book in 1722, intended to be used as exercises for students of music. He composed another set of 24 in 1742, and the whole collection is today known as the “Well-Tempered Clavier”, the title of the original book. A “clavier” is a keyboard of a musical instrument.

42. Final flight destinations? : ATTICS

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

49. Hitchhiking and texting? : THUMB TASKS (from “thumbtacks”)

What we know as a thumb tack here in North America is called a drawing pin in British English. Thumbtacks made from brass might be referred to as “brass tacks”, giving us the expression “getting down to brass tacks” meaning “getting down to the finer details”.

54. Tick repellent : DEET

DEET is short for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, an active ingredient in insect repellents. DEET is most often used to repel mosquitoes by applying it to the skin and/or clothing. It is also used to protect against tick bites.

55. __ Club : SAM’S

Sam’s Club is owned and operated by Walmart, and is named after the company’s founder Sam Walton.

56. When repeated, fish on a menu : MAHI

“Mahi-mahi” is the Hawaiian name for the dolphin-fish, also called a dorado. The mahi-mahi is an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one …

58. Letters after E? : COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

59. What young elephants do for fun? : NIP AND TUSK (from “nip and tuck”)

The phrase “nip and tuck” means “closely contested”, as in “it was nip and tuck until the final days of the campaign”. The phrase is also used to describe a skin-tightening cosmetic surgery procedure.

61. The third Mrs. Roy Rogers : DALE

Dale Evans was the stage name of actress and singer Lucille Wood Smith, famous as the third wife of Roy Rogers. Evans was from Uvalde, Texas, and had a rough start in life. She eloped with her first husband when she was just 14 years old, and had her first child at 15. That first marriage ended in divorce when she was 17 in 1929, the same year she started on her second marriage. Roy Rogers was Evans’ fourth husband and they married in 1947, a marriage that lasted for 51 years, until Rogers passed away in 1998.

63. Farm stray : DOGIE

“Dogie” (sometimes “dogy”) is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

64. 1974 CIA spoof : S*P*Y*S

“S*P*Y*S” is a 1974 comedy starring Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland as two men mistaken as spies and targeted by the KGB. With all those asterisks in the film’s title, one has to assume the movie was intended to capitalize on the success of the 1970 Gould/Sutherland vehicle called “M*A*S*H”.

Down

1. Not up to snuff : SUBPAR

The term “up to snuff” today means “up to standard”. It was introduced to us for the first time in 1811 in a play called “Hamlet Travestie” by Englishman John Poole. He used the term to mean “in the know”. It was perhaps a reference to the habit of taking powdered tobacco, a practice back then that was associated with the upper classes, the educated, those in the know.

5. Biblical traveler : ARK

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

6. Former SeaWorld attraction : SHAMU

Shamu was the name of the third orca (aka “killer whale”) ever to be featured in a public exhibition. Shamu starred in a popular SeaWorld show in San Diego in the sixties. After she died in 1971, her name lived on as the “stage name” of orca shows in different SeaWorld parks. That original Shamu was retired after she grabbed and refused to let go of the leg of one of her trainers.

7. Georgetown athletes : HOYAS

The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from “Hoya Saxa”, a traditional cheer yelled out at Georgetown games as far back as 1893. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word “hoya” meaning “such” or “what”, and “saxa” translating from Latin as “rocks” or “small stones”. The cheer is usually rendered in English as “what rocks!”.

8. Eponymous vacuum brand : ORECK

The Oreck Corporation is named after founder David Oreck and makes vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. The company started out selling vacuum cleaners by mail, a new concept in 1963. David Oreck himself appears regularly as a spokesman in the company’s ads and infomercials.

10. Popular Toyotas : COROLLAS

More cars have been sold under the Toyota Corolla brand name than any other brand name in history, even outstripping sales of the VW Beetle. There has been an average of one Corolla manufactured every 40 seconds for the past 40 years. “Corolla” is Latin for “small crown”, part of a pattern used by Toyota in naming their cars (“Corona” is Latin for crown, and “Camry” sounds like the Japanese for crown).

25. Ben of Ben & Jerry’s : COHEN

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did a correspondence course on ice-cream making in 1977 given by Pennsylvania State University’s Creamery. The following year they opened an ice cream parlor in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Today Ben & Jerry’s has locations in over 20 countries around the world, and theirs was the first brand ice-cream to go into space.

26. “Toy Story” dinosaur : REX

In the excellent Pixar film “Toy Story”, Rex is a tyrannosaurus, and a pretty clumsy one. He is voiced by actor Wallace Shawn, whose name is perhaps less familiar than his face. Shawn played the neighbor on “The Cosby Show” as well as many, many other supporting roles on TV and the big screen.

32. Creator of Iceland’s Imagine Peace Tower : ONO

“Wish Tree” is a series of living art installations by Yoko Ono. The series consists of native trees planted under her direction, Ono invites viewers to tie written wishes to the trees. Ono has been installing “Wish Tree” exhibits in locations around the world since the 1990s. She does not read the wishes, but collects them for burial under the Imagine Peace Tower, a memorial to John Lennon located on an island near Reykjavik, Iceland. There are over a million such wishes under the memorial today.

33. Ties may be broken in them, briefly : OTS

Overtime (OT)

34. Only half-pretentious? : CHI

Someone or something described as chichi is showily trendy and pretentious. “Chichi” is a French noun meaning “airs, fuss”.

38. Does a ragtime dance : SHIMMIES

Ragtime music was at the height of it popularity in the early 1900s. It takes its name from its characteristic “ragged” rhythms. The most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who had a big hit with his “Maple Leaf Rag” when it was published in 1899. He followed that up with a string of hits, including the “Pine Apple Rag” (sic). Ragtime fell out of favor about 1917 when the public turned to jazz. It had a resurgence in the forties when jazz musicians started to include ragtime tunes in their repertoires. But it was the 1973 movie “The Sting” that brought the true revival, as the hit soundtrack included numerous ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, including the celebrated “The Entertainer” originally published in 1902.

40. Skeeter eater : BAT

“Mosquito” is the Spanish for “little fly”. The female mosquito actually has to have a “blood meal” before she is able to lay her eggs. Mosquitoes are sometimes referred to as skeeters.

43. “60 Minutes” network : CBS

The marvelous news magazine program “60 Minutes” has been on the air since 1968. The show is unique among all other regularly-scheduled shows in that it has never used theme music. There is just the ticking of that Aristo stopwatch.

47. Blues great Smith : BESSIE

The singer Bessie Smith had the nickname “The Empress of the Blues”. Smith was the most popular blues singer in the twenties and thirties.

50. Sect in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County : AMISH

The Amish are members of a group of Christian churches, and a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to colonial Pennsylvania in the 18th century to take advantage of the religious freedom offered by William Penn.

51. Like maple trees and pigeons? : SAPPY

The sap of a plant can be broadly divided into phloem sap and xylem sap. The phloem is the tissue that transports sugars made by photosynthesis from the leaves to the parts of the plant needing those sugars. The sugary solution flowing through the phloem is the phloem sap. The xylem is the tissue that transports water and other nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant. The watery solution flowing through the xylem is the xylem sap.

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

52. Ruling descendants of Genghis : KHANS

Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire who was destined to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. He first built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At its height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.

60. “Silent Spring” subj. : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “Ta-ta!” : SEE YA!
6. Kaput : SHOT
10. Musical ending : CODA
14. Ready for the operation : UNDER
15. Dance that may involve a chair : HORA
16. “Amores” poet : OVID
17. Eggs-uberant hen? : BRISK LAYER (from “bricklayer”)
19. Like used books : READ
20. __ Xtra: cherry soda brand : PIBB
21. Apple on a desk : IMAC
22. Word with ring or book : -WORM
23. Rights org. : ACLU
24. Loon, at times? : DUSK CALLER (from “duck caller”)
27. Butler on a plantation : RHETT
29. Like Colbert’s show : ON LATE
30. Kiss : SMOOCH
35. Summit : APEX
36. Do some ’80s Sochi sunbathing? : BASK IN THE USSR (from “Back in the USSR”)
40. “The Well-Tempered Clavier” composer : BACH
41. Taking medication : DOSING
42. Final flight destinations? : ATTICS
44. Kitchen shelf array : HERBS
49. Hitchhiking and texting? : THUMB TASKS (from “thumbtacks”)
54. Tick repellent : DEET
55. __ Club : SAM’S
56. When repeated, fish on a menu : MAHI
57. “That being the case … ” : IF SO …
58. Letters after E? : COLI
59. What young elephants do for fun? : NIP AND TUSK (from “nip and tuck”)
61. The third Mrs. Roy Rogers : DALE
62. Airer of many NCAA games : ESPN
63. Farm stray : DOGIE
64. 1974 CIA spoof : S*P*Y*S
65. Reasons : WHYS
66. Cornered, in a way : TREED

Down

1. Not up to snuff : SUBPAR
2. Increase the value of : ENRICH
3. Consumer-friendly? : EDIBLE
4. Hedge opening : YES, BUT …
5. Biblical traveler : ARK
6. Former SeaWorld attraction : SHAMU
7. Georgetown athletes : HOYAS
8. Eponymous vacuum brand : ORECK
9. Roofer’s supply : TAR
10. Popular Toyotas : COROLLAS
11. Has in common : OVERLAPS
12. Line through the middle : DIAMETER
13. Include : ADD
18. Pot top : LID
22. Lacking color : WAN
25. Ben of Ben & Jerry’s : COHEN
26. “Toy Story” dinosaur : REX
28. Scolder’s cluck : TSK
31. In the __ of : MIDST
32. Creator of Iceland’s Imagine Peace Tower : ONO
33. Ties may be broken in them, briefly : OTS
34. Only half-pretentious? : CHI
36. Bar by the tub : BATH SOAP
37. If truth be told : ACTUALLY
38. Does a ragtime dance : SHIMMIES
39. “That’s disgusting!” : UGH!
40. Skeeter eater : BAT
43. “60 Minutes” network : CBS
45. One slightly changed this clue : EDITOR
46. Storm shelter, say : REFUGE
47. Blues great Smith : BESSIE
48. Fired up : STOKED
50. Sect in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County : AMISH
51. Like maple trees and pigeons? : SAPPY
52. Ruling descendants of Genghis : KHANS
53. Thing to confess : SIN
58. DJ’s inventory : CDS
59. Strange (to) : NEW
60. “Silent Spring” subj. : DDT

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Oct 18, Friday”

  1. 20:58. Got the theme early. No surprises in this one. A few missteps – I had “rogue” before DOGIE, and I wanted to put “dUMB TASKS” for “Texting and hitchhiking”, but it didn’t fit. I almost put it there anyway…

    CHIchi was completely new to me. I’ve never used an ORECK, but I bought a Dyson Cyclone 10 for my new house back in May, and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Could an ORECK be any better?

    Bill – welcome back from Ireland and get some sleep. Vidwan – welcome to India and..uhh….just make it back without contracting anything.

    @Jack –
    That NYT from 9/7 was a hard one, but today’s looks even worse. You’ll see it in 5 weeks. I’ll do it (try it?) later when I get time.

    Best –

    1. I think Dyson has it all over Oreck. I was on my own today, while the wife
      hosted a game of Bunco. I had 26 misses (omissions, errors and misspellings)
      and found it very hard. We averaged 96% correct for the week, very good for us. Kudos to Bill et al, hope LSU can at least give Georgia a good game and
      wish all a good weekend.

  2. LAT: 11:49, no errors; I wondered if “CTO” stood for something besides “Chief Technology Officer”, so I looked it up and found that it has some, uh … interesting … meanings 😳. Newsday: 10:52, no errors. WSJ: no timing (because I did it while eating a meal in a restaurant and, by the time I picked up a pen, I had read about 3/4 of the clues); no errors (but I thought it was harder than usual); meta solved and submitted. Croce at 4:00.

    I also did another “old” Croce (from 2016/11/15): 2:12:16, no errors; and I thought it was harder than his more recent puzzles.

    And this is Dave Kennison … too late to put my name up above … 😜

    1. Latest Tim Croce puzzle: 2:44:21, no errors; not too bad except for one brutally difficult corner that I almost gave up on.

  3. This was a fun one for a Fri. But had “brick” vs “brisk” and “duck” vs “dusk”. Also didn’t get the “hedge opening” clue at all. So once again the NW was my downfall.

  4. WOW, I actually finished a Friday puzzle! Got called away for a few hours
    before I got back to it. I’m guess-ta-mating I got a little over an hour involved in it’s total completion.

    Eddie

  5. @Kay –
    I was also looking for something to do with a hedge as in a bush when I saw the clue. “Yes, but” is someone saying “yes that is correct, BUT….” as in they are hedging their response – So “Yes, but” is the opening (beginning) of a hedge or “Hedge opening”.

  6. 20:47, and no errors, no thanks to the nonsensical theme and poor clueing. That top left corner just wouldn’t come together; lots of overwrites there.

  7. @Jeff. Yes that’s exactly what I was thinking about “hedge.” Like a gate, etc. Had to reread the clue several times with the answer to figure it out. Too obtuse…..if that’s the right word.

  8. Helloooo!!🙃
    No errors. Well done puzzle, and the theme came pretty easily. I got CHI via crosses and without even noticing, which was fortunate, as that clue was tricky.☺

    I too got waylaid trying to envision an opening in a hedge— finally “saw” YES BUT. Also didn’t figure out ATTICS until long after I’d filled it in….I get it!! Flights of stairs! Cute.

    Jeff and Mr Daigle: glad y’all discussed vacuums. I need a new one and will get a Dyson…hashtag worth it 😀

    Be well ~~✌🏻✌✌🏾

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