, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: May 2024


May 31, 2024

Friday, May 31, 2024, Michele Govier

Good morning, Cruciverbalists.  Malodorous Manatee here with a puzzle that takes us into the wonderful world of our avian friends.  Our puzzle-setter today is Michèle Govier who has previously had crossword puzzles published by both the Los Angeles Times and the NewYork Times.  At four places in the grid, Michèle has conjured up answers that are the names of two species of birds cleverly placed back to back so as to provide an appropriate response to the clue.  Let's start with the unifier:

73 Across:  Double birdie, which can also be found at 17-, 31-, 48-, and 62-Across?: EAGLE.  In golf scoring a birdie is one shot below par (e.g. a three on a par four hole) and an EAGLE is two shots below par so an EAGLE is, in effect, a double birdie.  For our purposes, Double Birdie refers to the two bird names.

Here are the places where the theme has been applied:

17 Across:  Ingest lather while getting one's mouth washed out with soap?: SWALLOW DOVE.                            

A  Swallow                                            A  Dove

To SWALLOW means, well, to swallow and DOVE, of course, is a brand of soap.

31 Across:  Loudly promote trips to Istanbul?: HAWK TURKEY.

A Hawk                                               A Turkey

To HAWK something is slang for avidly promoting something for sale and Istanbul, of course, is the capital city of TURKEY.

48 Across:  Successfully elude director Scorsese?: DUCK MARTIN.

A Duck                                                              A Martin

To DUCK something is to avoid or shirk (as in responsibility) and MARTIN Scorsese is a famous film director.

62 Across:  Say "Holy nightmare, Batman!"?: PARROT ROBIN.

A Parrot                                                              A Robin

To PARROT something is to repeat it verbatim.  ROBIN is Batman's sidekick.

Here are the other clues and answers:


1. Birthstones for some Scorpios: OPALS.  The most-often seen birthstone in our puzzles.

6. Consumes, in a way: READS.  An appropriately semi-obtuse clue for a Friday.

11. Revenue sources for freemium apps: ADS.  Users of the app get access at no monetary cost but are subjected to ADS.

14. Jubilant cry: WAHOO.  Something someone might say.  YAHOO.  BINGO. WHOOP.  All would have fit the space and the clue but were not what the puzzle demanded this time around.

15. "Dominicana" novelist Cruz: ANGIE.  Thanks, perps.

16. Matcha, e.g.: TEA.  A concentrated form of green TEA.

19. Clever one: WAG.

20. Show the way: LEAD.  Some of us are partial to this advice:

21. Cry at the end of a performance: ENCORE.  More, more!

23. Tourney game: SEMI.

26. French beans?: TETES.  In English, Bean is slang for head.  TETES means heads in French.
29. Seed coating: ARIL.  An ARIL, also called an arillus, is a specialized outgrowth from a seed that partly or completely covers the seed

30. TikTok upload: CLIP.  A man went viral after posting a video CLIP on TikTok about how to stay cool in the summer without air conditioning.  He has many fans.

33. Sterling silver, e.g.: ALLOY.  A mixture of metals.

35. Theater boxes: LOGES.  A LOGE is an elevated seating area in a theater that is typically located at the side or rear of the stage. Loges are often reserved for special occasions or VIP guests. They offer a unique vantage point from which to watch a show and provide more privacy than a regular seat.

36. Virtual animal in an early 2000s fad: NEOPET.

38. Insist: DEMAND.  It is what this puzzle required.

43. Luster: SHEEN.  Got that, Martin?

47. Proportion: RATIO.  

53. Sound off: RANT.  It might have been RAVE.  Put in the R and the A and let the perps decide.

54. Sufficient, in texts: ENUF.  Our "old friend" (new friend), textspeak.  Not a fan but maybe it is time to memorize this:  Glossary of Textspeak
55. Tiniest amount: TRACE.  An alternative to IOTA.

56. Kerfuffles: ADOS.  Fusses common in crossword puzzles.

57. Late sign: PISCES.  PISCES is the twelfth, and last, sign in the zodiac.  This solver did not previously know that but, then again, his moon is in Fresno.

59. Crossed (out): EXED.  This rest of this answer has been EXED out. (or as close as it was possible to exhibit).

61. Brainpower nos.: IQS.  A friend recently scored a 175 on an IQ test that had just 3 simple questions:  1. His credit card number 2. His social security number 3. Uploading a scan of his birth certificate

68. Pool need: CUE.  Not a swimming reference.  A billiards/pocket billiards reference.

69. Omar of Congress: ILHAN.  Democrat, MN.

70. Accustom (to): INURE.  I've become INUREd to her face.

71. Apple TV+ role for Jason: TED.  Jason Sudeikis  stars in the television show "Ted Lasso".

72. "Jurassic Park" dinosaur, e.g.: CLONE.  What is the best thing to do if you see a T-Rex CLONE?  Hope that it doesn't see you.


1. Pained cries: OWS.  Onomatopoeia.

2. Print maker: PAW.  Cute clue.  Not a reference to lithography.

3. "I've got it!": AHA.  Moments all of the solvers here have experienced.

4. Sticky treat, in more ways than one: LOLLIPOP.  Of course the sweet is sticky as in adherence.  The pun-y additional way is that the candy is on a (usually paper) stick.  Stick-y.

The Chordettes

5. Only: SOLE.  I’m writing a book about a guy who sells shoe parts to Satan. It’s your basic “Sold my SOLE to the devil” novel.

6. Unfair treatment: RAW DEAL.  Idiomatic.

7. Word with tight or loose: END.  A loose END is something yet unfinished.  A tight END is a position player on a football team.

8. Long __: AGO.

9. Sold off: DIVESTED.  A current buzzword.

10. Observed: SEEN.  Not observed as in a religious holiday.  Viewed.

11. On the job: AT WORK.  As in:

12. Sweetie pie: DEARIE.  Slangy clue.  Slangy answer.

13. With wisdom: SAGELY.

18. Solemn recitation: OATH.

22. Sonata, for one: CAR.  Not a musical reference.  A Hyundai.

23. Create a PDF, perhaps: SCAN.  A computer tech reference that almost everyone knows.

24. "Legally Blonde" blonde: ELLE.  ELLE Woods is the protagonist.  REESE (Witherspoon) would not fit.

25. Actor Ventimiglia: MILO.  Total unknown to this solver.  Thanks perps.   What does twenty miles have to do with this?  Oh, never mind.  Of course, if you watched "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" this was not a problem.
27. Number of hearts for a Time Lord: TWO.  A "Dr. Who" reference.

28. ER graph: EKG.  Electrocardiogram.  Wait, wouldn't that be ECG?  Apparently, EKG was adopted as the standard abbreviation to avoid confusion with electroencephalogram.

32. Touchpad toucher: USER.  Remember, only USERs loose drugs.  Oh, a computer user!

34. Reply with an apostrophe: YES'M.  Yes ma'am.

37. "We're done here": THAT'S ALL.  Mel Blanc's epitaph:

39. Argentine soccer legend dubbed "El Pibe de Oro": MARADONA.

40. Not much: A TAD.  My teacher once asked "Name three famous Poles."  I replied, "North, South and TAD."

41. Spanish boy: NINO.

42. ...: DOTS.  Quite literally.  If one misread the . . . then they might have thought POLKA.

44. Goof: ERR.  A mistake frequently encountered in crossword puzzles.

45. Airport info: ETA.  Estimated Time of Arrival

46. "Good going!": NICE ONE.  Something someone might say.  BITCHIN' would have fit.  FAR OUT would not.  See also 58 Down.

48. Portray: DEPICT.

49. Singular: UNIQUE.

50. Used colorful language: CUSSED.  A good place for grawlix.

51. Crispy Colonel sandwich seller: KFC.  Before Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC (in 1991)  this writer would have to have typed out Kentucky Fried Chicken.

52. Coming right up: NEXT.

58. Way awesome: EPIC.  NEAT  DOPE  KEEN  PHAT 

60. Buffalo's lake: ERIE.  A place often visited in our puzzles.

63. Density symbol, in physics: RHO.

64. Oversaw: RAN.  As in to have once run a company or an international drug cartel.

65. Flu or fly: BUG.  If you got sick some would say that you caught a BUG.  A fly (the insect not the baseball hit or the trouser zipper) is, well, a BUG (at least in casual English usage if not scientifically).

66. Not online, for short: IRL.  IReal Life

67. Word with a maiden name: NEE.  From the French = born.

The completed grid:


The New Riders of the Purple Sage - 1969
Last Lonely Eagle

I did not know that there was an Owsley Stanley Foundation but I do remember reading somewhere that Augustus Owsley Stanley III was an even better mechanic than he was a chemist.

May 30, 2024

Thursday, May 30, 2024, Emma Oxford


The Stuff of Genius*

... and the staff of life.  People literally "broke" bread for their meals for thousands of years.  But all that changed in 1928 when Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicer.  And constructor Emma Oxford has come up with the best invention since then -- sliced crosswords!  Well maybe not 😀.  But she does present us with the following fill for four pairs of theme clues, each with some of the letters circled (shown in RED below), sliced by a black square, and when sandwiched back together give us  four kinds of bread ...

17A. Radio City, for one: MUSIC HALL and  19A. In the lead: AHEAD -- CHALLAH BREADHere's a recipe.

Challah Bread
32A. Arizona people: HOPI. and 34A. Drink mix made popular by NASA: TANG -- PITA BREAD.  It's not widely known that Otto also invented the bread stacker 😀.  Michelle tells you how to make your own stack without a machine.

46A. Dynamic start?: AERO. and 49A. Neat as a pin: TIDY-- ROTI BREAD.  And it's even less widely known that Otto also invented the bread peeler 😀Here's Karen's recipe.
Roti Bread
62A. Saint __: Caribbean island: LUCIA and 64A. Army unit: BATTALION -- which when sandwiched back together we get CIABATTA.  Looks like Otto's back in the slicer business.  Here's Gemma's recipe.
Ciabatta Bread

And slicing the puzzle right across the middle we have Emma's reveal ...

39. Basis of comparison for many innovations that's depicted four times in this puzzle: SLICED BREAD.  But who actually coined the phrase "That's the best thing since sliced bread?"

While the circles made the theme pretty obvious from the get go , the results were pretty nourishing (albeit some people's tastes may vary😀).

I noticed that there were no guys represented in the recipes, so I'm tossing in James Beard's Brown Bread (one of our favorites).  We just use a bread knife to slice it ...

Brown Bread
Here's the grid ...

Here's the rest ...


1. Elbows: JABS.

5. Tibetan monk: LAMALAMA is a title for a teacher of the Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism. The name is similar to the Sanskrit term guru, meaning "heavy one", endowed with qualities the student will eventually embody. The Tibetan word "lama" means "highest principle", and less literally "highest mother" or "highest father" to show the close relationship between teacher and student.  Among the Tibetan lamas, the highest ranked is the 14th Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama
9. Brand paired with devil horns for a Halloween costume: PRADA. Must be a very exclusive party.  A reference to this film perhaps?

14. "Yeah, sure": I BET.

15. Hertz rival: AVIS. ... and a Rara AVIS, is a rare bird.  Here are some recent sightings of rare birds by the American Birding Association, including this one ...

Blue Rock-Thrush
sighted by Jason Talbott
25 Apr 2024
San Francisco, CA

16. Like highways and running tracks: LANED.  And let us not forget BOWLING VENUES!

17. [Theme clue]
19. [Theme clue]

20. Gait between a walk and a canter: TROT.

21. Held on to: KEPT.

23. Verizon acquisition of 2006: MCIMCI, Inc. (formerly WorldCom and MCI WorldCom) was a telecommunications company before Verizon bought them in 2006.   For a time, it was the second-largest long-distance telephone company in the United States, after AT&T.   Teri did some consulting for them back in the day.
24. Stop on a crawl: PUB.  Some of my English cousins took me on a PUB crawl one night, but that's all I can remember. 😀

26. "__ the season ... ": TIS.

28. Beach problem: EROSION.

30. Accord, perhaps: TRUCE.  There are two places in the world that need a TRUCE right now.

32. [Theme clue]
34. [Theme clue]

35. Cooper of CNN: ANDERSONAnderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an American broadcast journalist and political commentator currently anchoring the CNN news broadcast show Anderson Cooper 360°.  His mother was socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and  his great, great grandfather was business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who founded the prominent Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune.
Anderson Cooper

37. Poetic tribute: ODEODES comprise 90% of the poetry in crosswords, the other 10% consisting of SONNETS, ELEGIES, IDYLLS, and a MOEKU or two every other Friday. 😀

39. [Theme reveal]

42. Sign of summer: LEO.  Has anyone heard from LEO III lately?

43. Petroleum jelly brand: VASELINE.  As distinguished from VICKS VapoRub.  Whatever you do, don't put the latter on sunburned skin. Ouch!

46. [Theme clue]
49. [Theme clue]

51. Pre-univ. warmup exams: PSATSPreliminary Scholastic Aptitude TestsWhat the PSAT is and what to know about the exam (if you are a High School Junior or the helicopter parent of one).

52. Dressed for work, perhaps: IN A SUIT.  Or being SUED?

54. Fam member: SIS.  I have four.

56. Psychoactive constituent of cannabis: THC.  Shouldn't this clue have had some indication that this was short for Tetrahydrocannabinol?

57. OB-GYNs, e.g.: MDS.

58. Like some Fr. nouns: MASC.  Today's French lesson -- but not a short one.  All French nouns are either MASCULINE or FEMININE (none being NEUTER, e.g. as in German).  The corresponding definite articles for these are LE and LA and the indefinite articles are UN and UNE.  In most cases, which of these articles to use for a given noun is a matter of memorization.  While that's easy for la jeune fille ("the young girl") and  le garcon ("the boy"), they must be memorized for nouns that don't have any associated real gender, e.g. HAT ("le chapeau") and DAY ("la jour").  But there are some general rules (and lots of exceptions) for figuring out the gender of a French noun ...

60. Warm, so to speak: NEAR.. Used a lot in party games -- "You're getting warmer", "You're getting colder", "You're freezing!". 

62. [Theme clue] .
64. [Theme clue]

68. Exams often given by committee: ORALS.

69. Way, way off: AFAR.  E.g. "You're in the next county!"

70. Up to the task: ABLE.  E.g. "Napoleon WAS ABLE to conquer Europe (and lose it) ERE he SAW ELBA".

71. "The War of the Worlds" writer: WELLS.   H. G. WELLS visited the Corner a week or so back in his Time Machine.  His War of the Worlds was made famous by an hour long radio broadcast on Halloween of 1938 by dramatist Orson Wells (no relation to the novelist) using a script derived from the novel.  The scale of the panic Wells created is disputed.  Here is a clip from that broadcast ...

72. Product preview: DEMO.

73. Absolutely must have: NEED.  Air? Water? Food?


1. Parsons of "Hidden Figures": JIMJim Parsons is best known for playing Sheldon in the sitcom  The Big Bang Theory.  In Hidden Figures he played Paul Stafford, head engineer in the Space Task Group. In this interview he talks about the hard time he had accepting his role in the new movie and what a contrast it was to the part he played in TBBT ...
2. __ Dhabi: ABU.

3. Chums: BEST BUDS.  They say that Apple AirPods are the best, but they're expensive and I'm afraid I'd lose them. 😀

4. Step in a sauce recipe: STIR.  We've used cream sauce for years to serve over asparagus on toast, pastas, etc.  The only problem with it is the need to constantly STIR the mixture of flour, butter, and whole milk until it thickens to keep the milk from scorching.  Much easier to make, and just as tasty, is velouté sauce, which uses  chicken or vegetable stock instead of milk. Here's a recipe.  After the roux has thickened Teri stirs in a 1/2 cup of cream to per cup of sauce.
Velouté sauce
5. Actress Christine: LAHTI.  Christine Ann Lahti (born April 4, 1950) is an American actress and filmmaker. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1984 film Swing Shift. Her other film roles include ...And Justice for All (1979), Housekeeping (1987), Running on Empty (1988), Leaving Normal (1992), and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019). For her directorial debut with the 1995 short film Lieberman in Love, she won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
Christine Lahti
6. Janelle's "Abbott Elementary" role: AVA.  Not the Janelle in Hidden Figures, but rather comedian Janelle James as Ava Coleman, in the mockumentary Abbott Elementary.  She plays the tone-deaf principal, who got her job by blackmailing the superintendent. 
Janelle James

7. Latte ingredient: MILK

8. Out like a light: ASLEEP.

9. "Allegory of the cave" philosopher: PLATO.  The "Allegory of the cave" is recounted in PLATO's Republic in a dialogue between his brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates, and is narrated by the latter.  In the allegory, Plato describes people that have spent their lives chained in a cave facing a blank wall. They watch shadows projected onto the wall by objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and they give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners' reality but not accurate representations of the real world. The shadows represent the fragment of reality that we can normally perceive through our senses, while the objects outside the cave represent the true forms of objects that we can only perceive through reason. Three higher levels exist: natural science; deductive mathematics, geometry, and logic; and the theory of forms
10. Stadium cheer: RAH.

11. Iron deficiency: ANEMIA.

12. Church minister: DEACON.  A DEACON is a Christian official generally associated with services of some kind, such as preaching and performing specific rites such as baptisms and marriages.  These services vary among theological and denominational traditions, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheranism, Methodism, Anglicanism, and Mormonism.  The office was created very early in the history of the Church, as is described in the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-5.  The intent of the office was to offload some of the work of the Presbyters (priests) and Bishops.  Among the first seven deacons was St. Stephen.  If we follow the above citation from Acts a little further, we find that he was also the first Christian martyr -- from the Greek word for "witness".

The Stoning of St. Stephen
Luigi Garzi (1638–1721)
13. __ machine: ADDING.

18. Clique: COTERIE. "An intimate and often exclusive group of persons with a unifying common interest or purpose".  Merriam-Websters.  If they cluster around a personality like Taylor Swift or Beyoncé, the inner circle is called a POSSE.  They seem to have an affinity for the mononymous.

22. Monastic leaders: PRIORS.

24. School org.: PTAParent Teacher Associations are not just a USA thing.
25. Self-serve dispenser: URN.

27. Steve Madden creation: SHOE. As I think product ads should be kept to a minimum in reviews, I decided on a Jeff McNally creation instead.  Here's a recent one from his rag, tag band of avian journalists ...
29. Moves without a sound: STEALS.  -- STEALTHILY.

31. Large strings: CELLOS.  Here a large group of large strings (a CELLO choir) from The Young Artists Orchestra of Las Vegas plays Argentinian composer Astor Piazzola's Libertango ...
33. Like some movie rentals: ON DVD.  You can't rent them from Netflix anymore, but here are still some other sources.

36. Nova __: SCOTIA.  One of Canada's Maritime provinces, and a CSO to CanadianEh!
38. Bathysphere realm: DEEP SEA.  The Bathysphere (from Ancient Greek βαθύς (bathús) 'deep', and σφαῖρα (sphaîra) 'sphere') was a unique spherical deep-sea submersible which was unpowered and lowered into the ocean on a cable, and was used to conduct a series of dives off the coast of Bermuda from 1930 to 1934. These dives were chronicled by explorer William Beebe in his book Half Mile Down.  
The Bathysphere
The National Geographic museum in 2009
We saw a friend recently, who mentioned that her son-in-law is a deep water geologist, and that these days all of this type of work is done by tethered drones.

40. Dark horses: BAYS.

41. Rant: DIATRIBE.  Notice how deftly I avoid one in 50D below.  😀

44. Advanced degree?: NTH.  And the NTH time we've seen NTH!.

45. Key above ~: ESC.  A CSO to Splynter ~ is his favorite separator.  And just above it, perennially on the lam is
46. Temper expectations: AIM LOW.  A guaranteed way to succeed!

47. Put up with: ENDURE.

48. Rogue: RASCAL. Here are two shots of my son's cat RASCAL, which he titled Royal Rascal and Roaring Rascal, respectively ...
I believe these were taken when Rascal was young -- he's much bigger now.  He'll be 13 this year and spends most of his time in the woods hunting -- it also gets him away from all the riffraff kitties that my granddaughters keep adopting.

50. "Things don't look good": ITS BAD.  As there are no discussions of politics on the Corner, we'll move on to the next clue ...

53. Amherst campus, familiarly: U MASS. A college in Amherst, Mass.  And  it is also the approximate atomic weight of  Uranium (U  MASS = 238.03).  It's not an integer because U is actually a mixture of 3 isotopes ...
55. Overture: INTRO.  There are basically two kinds of overtures: opera overtures and standalone concert overtures.  Brahms' Academic  Festival Overture  is of the latter type and was composed on the occasion of him receiving an honorary degree from the University of Breslau.  The university administration didn't take too kindly to it, but the students loved it, as it is essentially a pastiche of student drinking songs popular at the time.😀  Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi does the honors ...
59. Bistro: CAFE.

61. Actor Ruck: ALAN. Alan Douglas Ruck (born July 1, 1956) is an American actor. He is best known for portraying Cameron Frye in John Hughes' film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), as well as television roles as Stuart Bondek on the ABC sitcom Spin City (1996–2002) and Connor Roy on the HBO series Succession (2018–2023.
Alan Ruck
63. Under the weather: ILL. I worked in ILLINOIS for a year and a half and I don't recall ever being under the weather, although it did rain sometimes. 💧💧💧

65. Hat that may match a kilt: TAM.  Here ya go ...
66. Part of a World Cup chant: OLE.

67. "Game of Thrones" patriarch Stark: NEDNED  (né Eddard)  was played by Sean Bean, who among many other roles played Boromir in the  movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.  He is best remembered for his heroic death defending the other members of the Fellowship of the Ring from Orcs. In the Game of Thrones, it appears that Sean went over to the Dark Side ...
Ned Stark


And as always, thanks to Teri for proof reading and for her constructive criticism.


* "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" - Thomas Edison