LA Times Crossword 16 Oct 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian & Abbie Higashi
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bob

Themed answers each comprise three words starting with the letters B, O and B:

  • 56A. Short haircut, and a hint to 17-, 25-, 43- and 54-Across : BOB
  • 17A. Relative of “The pen is mightier than the sword” : BRAINS OVER BRAWN
  • 25A. Rear-window alert about an infant : BABY ON BOARD
  • 43A. Dog show award : BEST OF BREED
  • 54A. Arizona stadium renamed Chase Field as a result of a financial merger : BANK ONE BALLPARK

Bill’s time: 5m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Trick : FLAM

“Flim-flam” (sometimes “flam”) is another word for a confidence trick. The term has been in use since the 1500s, would you believe?

14. Bosc relative : ANJOU

The Anjou pear is a cultivar of the European Pear. The Anjou is thought to have originated in Belgium or France (Anjou is a province in the Loire Valley of western France).

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear grown in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?

15. “Doctor Zhivago” heroine : LARA

The heroine of Boris Pasternak’s epic novel “Doctor Zhivago” is Lara. The Lara character was inspired by Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya.

16. Himalayas locale : ASIA

The magnificent Himalaya range of mountains in Asia takes its name from the Sanskrit for “abode of snow”. Geographically, the Himalayas separate the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau to the north.

17. Relative of “The pen is mightier than the sword” : BRAINS OVER BRAWN

Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an English politician and writer. Among his writings, Bulwer-Lytton came up with some phrases that have endured, such as:

  • “the great unwashed”
  • “pursuit of the almighty dollar”
  • “the pen is mightier than the sword”
  • “It was a dark and stormy night …”

20. Census datum : SEX

The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by federal marshals.

22. Levy that led to a 1773 “party” : TEA TAX

The famous destruction of tea in Boston Harbor to protest against the Tea Act took place on December 16, 1773. The action was referred to as the “destruction of the tea” for decades, and it wasn’t until 1834 that the term “Boston Tea Party” first appeared in print.

24. 2000 election dangler : CHAD

We are all familiar with “hanging chads” after the famous Florida election recounts of 2000. A chad is any piece of paper punched out from a larger sheet. So, those round bits of paper we’ve all dropped over the floor when emptying a hole punch, they’re chads.

30. “__ Sera, Sera” : QUE

The 1956 song “Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” was first performed by Doris Day in the Hitchcock film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. Day later used the same tune as the theme song for the sitcom “The Doris Day Show” that aired in the late sixties and early seventies.

34. Altar neighbor : 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.

35. Ahi, for one : TUNA

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

36. __ avis : RARA

A “rara avis” is anything that is very rare. The Latin term translates as “rare bird”.

38. Mental acuity : WITS

Acuity is an acuteness of perception, a mental sharpness. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “acuere” meaning “to sharpen”.

39. Former Russian ruler : CZAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

40. Frau’s mister : HERR

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

41. Nest for an eaglet : AERIE

An aerie is the nest of an eagle, and is also known as an “eyrie”.

42. In a lather, with “up” : HET

Someone who is het up is worked up, or angry. “Het” is an archaic word meaning “heated”.

45. Small salamander : NEWT

Salamanders are lizard-like amphibians found in all across the northern hemisphere. They are the only vertebrate animals that can regenerate lost limbs.

47. Melodious piece : ARIOSO

An arioso (plural “ariosi”) is a solo vocal piece in a classical work such as an opera or an oratorio. An arioso’s structure lies somewhere between that of a full-blown aria and speech-like recitative.

50. God in the Vatican : DIO

In Italian, “Dio” (God) is the enemy of the “Diavolo” (Devil).

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

54. Arizona stadium renamed Chase Field as a result of a financial merger : BANK ONE BALLPARK

Chase Field in Phoenix is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB team. The stadium opened in 1998 as Bank One Ballpark, which earned it the nickname “BOB”. The name changed in 2005 following the merger of Bank One with JPMorgan Chase. Chase Field has a natural grass playing surface, and a retractable roof. The roof is kept open almost all the time, and is only closed for games when the temperature needs to be dropped using the stadium’s massive air conditioning plant.

59. Nano or Shuffle : IPOD

The iPod Nano was the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There were seven versions of the Nano, until it was discontinued in 2017.

The iPod Shuffle was introduced in 2005 and is the smallest of Apple’s line of audio players. The Shuffle was the first iPod to use flash memory.

61. Lugosi of “Dracula” fame : BELA

Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian stage and screen actor, best known for playing the title role in the 1931 film “Dracula” and for playing the same role on Broadway. Lugosi found himself typecast for the rest of his career and almost always played the role of the villain, often in horror movies. When he passed away in 1956, his wife had him buried in the costume he wore playing Count Dracula on Broadway.

62. Keep __ on: observe : TABS

To keep tabs on someone is to watch him or her carefully. Back in the late 1800s, the phrase was written as “keep a tab on”, with “tab” being short for “tablet”, in the sense of a writing tablet.

63. Justice Kagan : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

Down

1. Chocolate dogs : LABS

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

2. Pertaining to, on memos : IN RE

The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.

3. Early competitor of Mr. Clean : AJAX

Ajax cleanser has been around since 1947, and it’s “stronger than dirt!” That was the most famous slogan over here in the US. On my side of the pond, the celebrated slogan was “it cleans like a white tornado”.

Mr. Clean is a brand of household cleaner from Procter & Gamble. Mr. Clean is a sold as Maestro Limpio in Mexico, Monsieur Propre in France, and as Monsieur Net in French Canada.

4. Versailles royal : ROI

“La reine” (the queen) is the wife of “le roi” (the king), in French.

Versailles is a city located just 10 miles from the center of Paris. It is famous as home to the magnificent Palace of Versailles. The palace started out as a hunting lodge built in the village of Versailles in 1624, built for Louis XIII. Louis XIII extended the lodge into a full-blown château, but it was Louis XIV who expanded it into one of the largest palaces on the planet. Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris to Versailles starting in 1678.

6. Intentional fall, in basketball : FLOP

In basketball, a flop is a fall in which a player is acting as though fouled, with the intent of getting a personal foul called on an opponent.

7. British washroom : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

8. Choler : IRE

In days past, health was said to depend on the balance between the body’s four “humors”, four vital fluids. These humors were blood, phlegm, yellow bile (aka “choler”) and black bile. Excesses of yellow and black bile were thought to produce aggression and depression. As a result, we use the terms “bile” and “choler” today to mean “ill temper” and “anger”.

10. Capacitance unit : FARAD

The SI unit of capacitance is the farad, a unit that is named after the physicist Michael Faraday.

11. Future JD’s exam : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The law degree that is abbreviated to J.D. stands for “Juris Doctor” or “Doctor of Jurisprudence”.

12. Old Sony brand : AIWA

Aiwa was a Japanese company that produced consumer electronics, mainly audio and video equipment. Sony bought Aiwa in 2002 and eventually discontinued the brand in 2006. The Aiwa trademark was acquired by a Chicago-based consumer electronics company in 2015.

13. Tailless cat : MANX

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

19. Rosary feature : BEAD

The Rosary is a set of prayer beads used in the Roman Catholic tradition. The name “Rosary” comes from the Latin “rosarium”, the word for a “rose garden” or a “garland of roses”. The term is used figuratively, in the sense of a “garden of prayers”.

24. Fidel or Raúl : CASTRO

Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and passed away in 2016.

25. Tree whose sap is used in a soft drink : BIRCH

Birch beer is a carbonated soft drink with a flavor that is similar to root beer. The tradition of making birch beer dates back to colonial times. A key ingredient is birch sap, hence the name.

27. Baron Cohen’s Kazakh journalist : BORAT

The full name of the 2006 “mockumentary” is “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. Borat is played by a British comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen. Not my cup of tea …

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

29. Eye-bending paintings : OP ART

Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.

30. 24 sheets of paper : QUIRE

A quire is a measure of paper quantity. There are usually 25 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires (500 sheets) in a ream. Too complicate things, a quire sometimes only contains 15, 18, 20 or 24 sheets, depending on the type of paper.

35. Dance provocatively : TWERK

Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

41. Exculpate : ABSOLVE

“To exculpate” is a such a lovely verb. Meaning “to clear of guilt”, it comes from the Latin “ex culpa” that translates as “from blame”.

43. Kiss from Carlos : BESO

In Spanish, a “beso” (kiss) is an “indicación de afecto” (display of affection).

45. Finnish electronics giant : NOKIA

I do enjoy classical guitar music, but there isn’t a huge choice on CD. There is one very special piece called “Gran Vals” by Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902. This piece has a unique reputation as it contains a phrase that was once the most listened-to piece of music in the whole world. Just a few bars into the work one can hear the celebrated Nokia ringtone!

49. Part of IBM: Abbr. : INTL

Tech giant IBM was founded as the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. The company changed its name to the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) in 1911 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. The name “International Business Machines” (IBM) was given first to the company’s Canadian subsidiary, and then to its South American subsidiary. In 1924, it was decided to adopt the International Business Machines name for the whole company. Good choice …

50. Barq’s rival : DAD’S

Dad’s root beer was developed by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns in 1937, and was given the name “Dad’s” in honor of Klapman’s father who used to make root beer for his family at home.

When the Barq Brothers decided to go into the root beer business around 1900, they were faced with a dilemma as the Hires Root Beer Company was attempting to trademark the term “root beer”. So, the Barqs produced their beverage and called it simply Barq’s. They did indeed keep things simple, with an early advertising slogan of “Drink Barq’s. It’s good.” As the trademark issue dissipated, the company then introduced a slogan “Is it root beer?” before finally “coming out” and calling their drink “Barq’s root beer”.

53. Gumbo vegetable : OKRA

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

55. Radon-regulating org. : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The element radon (Rn) is a radioactive gas, and a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

56. Short haircut, and a hint to 17-, 25-, 43- and 54-Across : BOB

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Whopper inventors : LIARS
6. Toss of a coin : FLIP
10. Trick : FLAM
14. Bosc relative : ANJOU
15. “Doctor Zhivago” heroine : LARA
16. Himalayas locale : ASIA
17. Relative of “The pen is mightier than the sword” : BRAINS OVER BRAWN
20. Census datum : SEX
21. Tear : RIP
22. Levy that led to a 1773 “party” : TEA TAX
23. Morass : BOG
24. 2000 election dangler : CHAD
25. Rear-window alert about an infant : BABY ON BOARD
30. “__ Sera, Sera” : QUE
33. “See ya later!” : I’M OFF!
34. Altar neighbor : APSE
35. Ahi, for one : TUNA
36. __ avis : RARA
37. Wooden storage container : CRATE
38. Mental acuity : WITS
39. Former Russian ruler : CZAR
40. Frau’s mister : HERR
41. Nest for an eaglet : AERIE
42. In a lather, with “up” : HET
43. Dog show award : BEST OF BREED
45. Small salamander : NEWT
46. Show curiosity : ASK
47. Melodious piece : ARIOSO
50. God in the Vatican : DIO
51. Dust jacket blurb : BIO
54. Arizona stadium renamed Chase Field as a result of a financial merger : BANK ONE BALLPARK
58. Play opener : ACT I
59. Nano or Shuffle : IPOD
60. Bravery : VALOR
61. Lugosi of “Dracula” fame : BELA
62. Keep __ on: observe : TABS
63. Justice Kagan : ELENA

Down

1. Chocolate dogs : LABS
2. Pertaining to, on memos : IN RE
3. Early competitor of Mr. Clean : AJAX
4. Versailles royal : ROI
5. Movable sports car top : SUNROOF
6. Intentional fall, in basketball : FLOP
7. British washroom : LAV
8. Choler : IRE
9. 100-yard golf hole, say : PAR THREE
10. Capacitance unit : FARAD
11. Future JD’s exam : LSAT
12. Old Sony brand : AIWA
13. Tailless cat : MANX
18. Omen : SIGN
19. Rosary feature : BEAD
23. How landslide victories are won : BY FAR
24. Fidel or Raúl : CASTRO
25. Tree whose sap is used in a soft drink : BIRCH
26. Dazzle : AMAZE
27. Baron Cohen’s Kazakh journalist : BORAT
28. Least furnished, as a room : BAREST
29. Eye-bending paintings : OP ART
30. 24 sheets of paper : QUIRE
31. Free from bonds : UNTIE
32. Slacked (off) : EASED
35. Dance provocatively : TWERK
37. What a dog will do with a bone : CHEW ON IT
41. Exculpate : ABSOLVE
43. Kiss from Carlos : BESO
44. Epic __: disaster : FAIL
45. Finnish electronics giant : NOKIA
47. Basic rhyme scheme : ABAB
48. Speed competition : RACE
49. Part of IBM: Abbr. : INTL
50. Barq’s rival : DAD’S
51. Block of hay : BALE
52. Press : IRON
53. Gumbo vegetable : OKRA
55. Radon-regulating org. : EPA
56. Short haircut, and a hint to 17-, 25-, 43- and 54-Across : BOB
57. Bro : PAL

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 16 Oct 18, Tuesday”

  1. No errors, but never heard of BANK ONE BALLPARK (sports), and did not know that there were PARs for golf holes (also sports). And, FLAM is half the expression, unless the young’uns have changed that.

  2. LAT: 7:59, 1 dumb error. Sometimes I write random letters that shouldn’t be. Don’t know why. Sometimes I catch it, sometimes I don’t. WSJ: 7:43, 2 dumb errors. Didn’t finish out a section. Newsday: 5:56, no errors. Jones: 8:41, no errors. Pretty easy except for the lower right.

    @Dave
    A lot of my opinions are based on what I understand to be a baseline for the puzzle. The New Yorker was difficult, as it should have been given the general norm for those puzzles and like I indicated, I had to guess at a lot of it. By “guessing” I mean coming up with something but not really “knowing” it by the clue. But it wasn’t any more than I expected from my experiences of the puzzle in the past, which was what I was saying. I had probably half of the puzzle at the 10 minute mark, hardest was the upper left which I just finally guessed a random name that happened to be right and got through it.

    As for the LAT, it went a lot like how Croce or the Saturday Newsdays go for me. It was probably 30-35 minutes before I even had a section of the grid and like I said, about half of it by the time 60 minutes or so. Just looked at all of what was left and nothing come to mind on what to do with it, so I quit. I don’t have the paper I did it on anymore. I may have to go back and review it if I think to amidst all the other things I need to do. But as I recall, a lot of the clues were written in a very nebulous and cynical way and there were sections I would have never come up with (STLAWRENCE comes to mind) simply because there was no way I would have known it and didn’t have enough to guess on it.

    As for the Washington Post, I’ve been saving those, but mostly not doing them for time. I’ve been trying to do it regularly if I still feel like doing puzzles after the LAT, since they generally are good puzzles where the constructor experiments a fair deal too (you remember the “Something Different” I’m sure, but last year he did a puzzle called “Monster Mash” where he filled the whole grid with rebus entries spelling out names of Halloween things).

    I’m sure my time would have been closer to yours if I would have hand-written the puzzle between my writing speed and the squinting I usually have to do with 21×21 grids on printed paper. To note, I’ve been doing everything by hand this week, so it’s a good comparison between writing and online for my times if you go back in the blog. I always wonder with a lot of posts (especially on the NYT blog) whether they’re doing it online or on paper because I know there can be a wide difference.

    1. @Glenn … Thanks for the response. I was just struck by the sheer disparity in our ratings of those two puzzles, which kinda bolsters the contention that no single difficulty rating means much unless you have some idea of the rater’s history. It also gives me more of a feel for (and sympathy for) the plight of a crossword puzzle editor trying to tailor his puzzles to the days of the week.

      1. @Dave
        I think all it proves that there’s going to be variance on one data point. In any statistical thing, one data point is pretty much meaningless, as you really can’t say too much. Usually the trend over several puzzles is what you want to look at. For every puzzle, there’s going to be easier and harder puzzles simply because there’s going to be variance of content between the puzzles.

        Now you can look at the rater’s history to see how time and whatever would reflect that. I’m pretty glacially slow, but most of the time one can figure out how difficult it is for me by the time involved.

  3. Had a little trouble with this one. Didn’t know Braq’s & couldn’t come with birch or rara, so that section was missing. Oh, well.

  4. 11:07 and 5 errors in the top right. “FLAM” is a very poor fill (especially without the FLIM- preceder), and it just threw everything off on the top two vertical rows.

    And what the hell’s a FARAD? Never once heard of that. Where’s OHM when you need it?

    Not your typical Tuesday, by any means.

    1. From Wikipedia: “One farad is defined as the capacitance across which, when charged with one coulomb, there is a potential difference of one volt. Equally, one farad can be described as the capacitance which stores a one-coulomb charge across a potential difference of one volt.”

      Of course, I couldn’t have reeled that off from memory if you’d offered me a million bucks (but others here probably could have). I just remembered it was an electrical unit of some kind, and it fit. (So go ahead … call me shallow … I won’t argue … 😜.)

  5. Allô!🙃

    No errors, but I REALLY wasn’t sure of that F at FLAM/FARAD til I came here. Agree that bit was tricky. Never heard of FARAD and just figured FLAM as part of flim-flam….weird!🤔

    Pretty easy other than that. 😎

    Quite the baseball game tonight, with the Dodgers beating the Brewers in 13 innings!! 😮 IMO, the Brewers deserve to go to the World Series— but the Dodgers are my team. So before tonight I wasn’t rooting for either team. Now I’ve got to go with LA. ⚾️

    Be well ~~🍀⚾️

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