, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: June 2022


Jun 30, 2022

Thursday, June 30, 2022, Dave Taber and Laura Moll


Good Morning, Cruciverbalists.  Malodorous Manatee here with the line on today's puzzle.  Today's constructors are Dave Taber & Laura Moll.  They have had at least two previous puzzles reviewed here on The Corner (24 November 2021 and just last week on 22 June 2022) and there are references to them on the Crossword Fiend site.

There is no reveal as such in today's puzzle.  However, a recurring hint to the theme is included in each of the themed clues.  There are three of these, one of which is in two parts.  Those clues all have "LINE" as part of the clue so I guess that's the party line and I'm sticking to it.

12 Across:  Hotline?:  I'M ON FIRE.  A line about being "hot". The Boss, perhaps, said it best:

19 Across:  Deadline?:  ET TU BRUTE.  From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  Spoken as Caesar is being stabbed to death.  A line about "Dead".

39 Across: Clothesline?:  KEEP YOUR PANTS ON.  Colloquialism for "be patient".  Pants are clothes.  A line about "Clothes".

57 Across: With 69-Across, Lifeline?:  HE LIKES IT.
69 Across: See 57-Across:  HEY MIKEY.
A line about "Life" cereal.


1. Gratuity: TIP.  Fifteen percent?  Eighteen percent?  Twenty percent?  Before or including tax?

4. Bow (out): OPT.

7. Personal records: BESTS.

15. Only state that shares a time zone with Alaska: HAWAII.  On the map below, in the only double-sized rectangle, west of the tip of Baja California and south of Alaska, you will see the Hawaiian Islands .

16. Bag: CUP OF TEA.  Precisely, at the 0:33 and 1:40 marks:

17. Brunch order: OMELET.   A dish often served in crossword puzzles

18. Gush: SPEW.

21. The WNBA's Dream, on sports crawls: ATL.   Women's National Basketball  Association.

24. Unremarkable: SO SO.  Meh.

25. Uno y uno: DOS.  La lección de matemáticas de hoy.

26. Grapefruit choice: RUBY RED.

30. Flunky: PEON.

32. Tony Shalhoub's role on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel": ABE.  He also played Monk on the eponymous TV show.

33. Big brutes: OGRES.
35. Dutch guilder successor: EURO.  Also the successor to many other EUROpean currencies.

43. Celtic language: ERSE.

44. Took the wheel: DROVE.

45. Bird in the bush: EMU.  An EMU also visited us yesterday and a photograph taken from one of those inane insurance company commercials was used in the recap.

46. Choke up: 
CLOG.  Not a crying reference.  See 56 Across.

49. Long rants: TIRADES.

51. Justice Dept. arm: 

54. Boldly state: AVER.  I always forget the difference between AVER and AVOW.   By definition AVER means to acknowledge and AVOW mean to declare.  No wonder I can't keep 'em straight.  See also 68 Across

56. Have an ugly cry: SOB

60. Helter-skelter: AMOK.

64. Friend of the mistake-prone: 
ERASER.  Nice clue.

65. Seafood appetizer: CRAB CAKE.

68. State with confidence: ASSERT.  See also 54 Across.

70. Hockey fake-outs: DEKES.

71. Fine-grained wood: YEW.  Often clued with an archery reference.

72. Paper polishers, in brief: EDS.  EDitorS.  Could have been clued with Ames and Begley.


1. Personal quirks: TICS.

2. Happy cry from an eager Little Leaguer: I'M UP.  Next at bat in the baseball game.

3. Leader who wears the Ring of the Fisherman: POPE.

4. Having a bad day: OFF.  If you're OFF (from work) it could be a good day.

5. Start to fall?: PIT.   PITfall.  One of those types of clues.

6. With 15-Down, kids' hangout: TREE.

7. Material for some cutting boards: BAMBOO.  Panda's like it, too.

8. Ceremonial pitcher: EWER.  Often seen in crossword puzzles.

9. Cantina toast: 
SALUD.  Not something to eat.  "To your health.  Cheers!"

10. Couple with: TIE TO.  Today's I-had-better-not-go-there moment.

11. Surfing stops: SITES.  Not an oceanic reference.  A WWW reference.

13. "Get out of town!": NO WAY.

14. Breaks bread: EATS.

15. See 6-Down: HOUSE.

20. First place: 
TOP SPOT.  EDEN was too short.

22. 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Polamalu: TROY.  Perhaps best known for his hair.

23. Minifigure maker: LEGO.

26. Deal with leaves: 

27. Company that moves people: UBER.

28. Quilting parties: BEES.

29. Hard workers: 

31. __ worth: NET.  My financial advisor asked me, "What's your NET worth"?  I replied, "I don't own a net".

34. Mess up: ERR.

36. Outside the box?: USED.  No longer new and in the box.

37. Capital on the Tiber: ROME.  Tiber River.

38. Burden: ONUS.

40. Delt neighbor: PEC.   A musculature reference.

41. Car rental giant: AVIS.

42. Archie's boss, in detective fiction: 
NERO.    A literary reference.  NERO Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.

47. Team featured in the HBO sports drama "Winning Time": LAKERS.  This TV series took a lot of (well deserved) flack.  There's another TV show with a different take on the subject on the horizon.

48. For all to see: OVERT.

50. Ancient calculators: ABACI.  Allan Sherman explains plurals:

51. Still to come: AHEAD.

52. Short and probably not sweet: TERSE.

53. Chemist's container: FLASK.  Works for whisky (0r whiskey), too.

55. "Diving Into the Wreck" poet Adrienne: RICH.  A learning moment.

58. "Aha! Say no more": I SEE.

59. Long shot, in hoops lingo: TREY.  A three-point shot in basketball.

61. Produce: MAKE.

62. Gave clearance: OK'ED.  Some people are OKay with marijuana and alcohol but cocaine is where they draw the line.

63. Home openers?: KEYS.  Not a sports reference.  If you hadn't yet switched to digital pad locks you'd use KEYS to unlock the doors to your home.

66. "All in favor, say __": AYE.

67. Automaker whose "M" stands for "Motoren": BMW.


Well, that wraps it up for this recap and for my fifth recap in twenty nine days.  I will now take my leave with an even greater appreciation for those, here, who write up the puzzles each and every week.

Dave and Laura, you are invited to post anything you'd like to share about this puzzle, its evolution, the theme, or whatever in the Comments section.  We'd love to hear from you.


Jun 29, 2022

Wednesday June 29, 2022 Tracy Gray

 Theme: "Spa Menu" 

Tracy Gray is no stranger to the crosswording world. Her puzzles have appeared frequently in "that other newspaper." But, as near as I can tell, this is only her second LAT entry. The first was a 2021 collaboration with Jeff Chen. For those of you who've been asking for fewer proper names, fewer pop culture references, and fewer "cute" clue/answers, today is your day. The majority of this puzzle consists of straight-forward clue definitions/synonyms. Enjoy. I finished this puzzle and had no idea what the theme might be. Wednesday themeless? Probably not. It finally dawned on me that perhaps there was a reveal clue that I'd somehow failed to read. Yup. Tucked in at 63d was SPA. -- "Place to enjoy the kinds of pampering found at the starts of the answers to the starred clues." Hmmmm, so there were starred clues as well. Hadn't noticed that. 

18a. *Operating room assistants. SCRUB NURSES. A spa SCRUB could be an exfoliating, exhilarating, moisturizing experience. In any case, it usually involves being rubbed with an abrasive product like coffee, salt, or nutshell husks. Sounds like fun. [Not!]

28a. *Employ flowery language. WAX POETIC, à la Chairman Moe or OwenKL. According to Merriam-Webster, one definition of "WAX" is "to assume a (specified) characteristic, quality, or state : BECOME." At the spa it's more likely to involve a bikini wax -- liquid wax applied, allowed to dry, and then ripped off like a band-aid. Sounds like fun. [Not!]

36. *Indulgent request made by Mae West in "I'm No Angel": PEEL ME A GRAPE. A facial PEEL involves having caustic goop smeared on your face...allowing it to "set a spell"...and then wiping it off. This kills off the top layer of skin which you can rip off in a day or two, like a sunburn. Sounds like fun. [Not!]

52a. #Cast celebration. WRAP PARTY. The WRAP party is held after major movie shooting has been completed. At the spa, a WRAP is often liquid mud which is applied, allowed to dry, and then ripped off like a band-aid. Sounds like fun. [Not!] Have you noticed that the spa is beginning to sound like a rip-off joint?

61a. *Retail event with deep discounts. BLOW OUT SALE. When it comes to the spa...hmmmm...don't think I want to go there.


1. Boarding area: GATE. At the airport.

5. Sugar substitute: STEVIA.

11. Liberal group?: ARTS. Where I fearlessly sifted and winnowed, that part of the university was the College of Letters and Science.

15. Strait-laced: PRIM. And proper.

16. How stir-fry is often served: ON RICE. Rice is that fine Houston institution where Uncle Ben was converted.

17. Vichyssoise need: LEEK. Learning moment. Did not know that LEEKs were an essential ingredient. On the other hand, I've never had vichyssoise, so how would I know? I tend to avoid foods I can't spell.

20. Hathaway of "Ocean's 8": ANNE.

21. "__ as directed": USE.

22. "Dig in!": EAT. Grace ender.

23. __ Pueblo, New Mexico: TAOS. When we visited, dw was taken with some pottery with a silvery-charcoal appearance. We were told that horse manure was involved. Maybe Waseeley can elaborate.

25. Aardvark snack: ANT.

26. Dog in RCA Victor ads: NIPPER. Here he is atop the old RCA Building in Albany, just for Irish Miss.

30. Native peoples of the Arctic: INUIT. Will it be ALEUT, INUIT, or YUPIK? Only the perps know for certain.

31. React to yeast: RISE.

32. Lightning burst: FLASH.

 33. Number in a 10-day forecast, for short: TEMP. Around here the TEMPs have been scary-high all month, and it's only June. I dread the next electric bill. 

34. Connecticut WNBA team: SUN.

35. "Argo" org.: CIA. In this 2012 movie a CIA operative attempts to rescue six Americans detained in Tehran during the '79 hostage crisis. Received 96% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes.

41. Utter: SAY.

42. Route: WAY. As seen on your 1d.

43. Hissy fit: SNIT


46. Come to pass: OCCUR.

49. For you and me: OURS.

51. Brief tussle: SET-TO. Without the hyphen it just means "to begin."

54. Early '90s pres., familiarly: BUSH SR. When I ventured into the awl patch in the early '80s, I joined a company that he'd started. Never met him; he was no longer affiliated with it.

55. Hasty escape: LAM. Have you everr heard anybody say it...except Mary, of course?

56. Education acronym: STEM. I've also seen it as STEAM -- the A is for Arts.

57. Plot device?: HOE. Har-de-har-har. A little attempt at humor...very little.

58. Grammy category since 1989: RAP. Have never been a fan.

59. Black-__ Susan: EYED. Hahtoolah is a Susan, but she's not black-eyed.

 64. "To Venus and Back" singer Amos: TORI. This was TORI's fifth album, a two-disc affair. It has no title track.


 65. Categorize: ASSORT. Assorted chocolates does sound more appetizing than categorized chocolates, but "chocolates" never sounds bad.

66. Walk heavily: PLOD.

67. Hidden obstacle: SNAG.

68. Jackson Hole backdrop: TETONS. Visited there in the mid '60s on a summer college road trip with a buddy. We also stayed one night at the Broadmoor and took in a Smothers Brothers show on that trip.

69. Sax type: ALTO. Invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax back in the mid-1800s. There are at least 14 different types. You can check 'em out HERE.


1. Garmin device: GPS UNIT. No Garmin for me, mine is a TomTom, naturally.

2. Inverse trig function: ARCSINE. Arcsine(theta) is the angle whose sine is theta. This c/a is a tad arcane for the non-math-oriented. See what I did there?

3. Cyclist's accessory: TIRE PUMP. Won't do you much good, unless you also carry a tube patching kit.

4. Ostrich kin: EMU.

5. Underwater detector: SONAR. Evokes memories of a sonar lesson for Seaman Beaumont in The Hunt For Red October. Lucky for you, I couldn't find a clip.

6. Bolt holder: T-NUT.

7. Throw wide of the cutoff man, say: ERR. Sports clue, I'm guessin'.

8. Panoramic views: VISTAS. Like this one

9. Mountaineering tool: ICE AXE. Six letters, four vowels, what's not to like if you're a crossword constructor?

10. Greek fabulist: AESOP. There's some question whether he actually existed.

11. Taking after: À LA. In the fashion of, or somesuch.

12. First name of Italian sopranos Tebaldi and Scotto: RENATA. Some might consider this an obscure proper name.

13. Wimbledon sport: TENNIS.

14. Quick drawing: SKETCH.

19. Vegetable that may stain a cutting board: BEET. You either love 'em or hate 'em.

24. Bulgaria's capital: SOFIA.

27. Joins the conversation: PIPES UP.

28. Viognier or Vouvray: WINE. I've never had either. Have I mentioned that I tend to avoid foods (and drinks) that I can't spell?

29. Ticks by: ELAPSES.

31. Mojito liquor: RUM. Brunchy. GIN or RYE could also fit...but would be wrong.

34. Shifty: SLY.

35. Shed tears: CRY.

37. O.K. Corral brothers: EARPS. Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan all made an appearance that day. We visited Tombstone and watched the re-enactment.

38. Askew: AWRY.

39. Neon or freon: GAS.

40. Captivate: ENTHRALL. Tried ENTRANCE first. Wite-Out, please.

44. "This is all more than I can handle": IT'S A LOT.

45. Ruin, as plans: TORPEDO. In my ute these frozen summer treats were called "Torpedoes."

46. Nocturnal nestlings: OWLETS. "Nocturnal" gives it away.

47. Medium for most refrigerator art: CRAYON.

48. Shape outlined in Instagram's logo: CAMERA.

49. Vague threat: OR ELSE.

50. Absolute: UTMOST.

51. Haggis ingredient: SUET. Never had it. Have I mentioned that I also tend to avoid some foods that I can spell?

53. Baseball stat: AT BAT.

54. Matches: BOUTS.

57. Rhinoceros feature: HORN. The horn is made of keratin, the same material as fingernails. Some folks mistakenly believe the horn has magical/medicinal properties. Rhinos are endangered, due to poaching and habitat loss. 


60. Use a spade: DIG.

62. Court: WOO.

63. Place to enjoy the kinds of pampering found at the starts of the answers to the starred clues: SPA. This is a perfectly good "reveal" clue. If only folks would take the time to read them. D'oh.

Here's the grid courtesy of C.C. Desper-otto out. 


Notes from C.C.:

1) Thank you so much for filling in the two Wednesdays in June, D-Otto! Thanks for always coming to my rescue.

2) Happy 56th birthday to Barry G, a regular in our blog in the earlier days. Barry, the other day Janice, a long-time reader who never commented on our blog, mentioned you in her letter to Boomer. It made me smile. You're still remembered and missed by many.