Thursday, June 8, 2023,Tim D’Alfonso


Constructor Tim D'Alfonso is back for his 4th appearance in the LA Times, his first being about 2 years ago and like today's puzzle it was just in time for Summer.

Like our frequent contributor from Norfolk, I don't think speling is one of Tim's strong suits, as he leads off with 3 punny themers with mismatched homophones for the IPA pronunciation of raɪt (the International Phonetic Alphabet that is, not the ALE): 

17A. Formal induction ceremony for a league of pickpockets?: SWIPING RITE.  As a leftie who can't tell my right from my left, I stay away from social media because I never know who I might accidentally pick up.

27. Bicycles and aviation, notably?: THE WRIGHT STUFF.  The Wright Brothers were the first to fly a heavier than air craft on 12/17/1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. 

Historian David McCullough has pointed out that every time they flew they were risking their lives.  The Wrights had not only great courage, but the superb mental and physical characteristics that author Tom Wolfe termed The Right Stuff  (a pun on the Dayton brothers?) in his book about the Mercury Seven Astronauts, later made into this film:

43A. Tax advice for slugger Aaron Judge?: WRITE OFF THE BAT.  The deduction for just one of his bats could probably put him in a lower tax bracket.

58A. "That tracks," and an apt description of 17-, 27-, and 43-Across?: SOUNDS RIGHT.  Finally, Tim spelled it correctly! 😀

Here's the grid ...

... and here's the rest ...


1. "Maybe less": IF THAT.

7. "I could use a hand!": HELP.  One of the hardest things to ask for ...
11. Bioengineering letters: GMOGenetically Modified OrganismsThe Science and History of GMOs and Other Food Modification Processes.

14. Capital of Pakistan's Punjab province: LAHORELAHORE (/ləˈhɔːr/ lə-HOR; Punjabi: لہور [ˈlɔ̀ːɾə̆]; Urdu: لاہور [laːˈɦɔːɾ] (listen)) is the second largest city in Pakistan after Karachi and 26th largest in the world, with a population of over 13 million. It is situated in the north-east of the country with River Ravi flowing north-west of the city.
Royal Mosque
Lahore, Pakistan
15. U.S. citizen: AMER.

16. Say no to: NIX.

17. [Theme clue]

19. Unreturned serve: ACE.

20. Hathaway of "The Intern": ANNEANNE Jacqueline Hathaway (born November 12, 1982) is an American actress. Her accolades include an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award. Her films have grossed over $6.8 billion worldwide, and she appeared on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list in 2009. She was among the world's highest-paid actresses in 2015.  In this pic, Anne is NOT the Intern ...

21. Forest female: DOE.

22. "Amsterdam" novelist Ian: MCEWANIan Russell McEwan, CBE, FRSA, FRSL (born 21 June 1948) is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The Times featured him on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in its list of the "100 most powerful people in British culture".   Here's his website.
Ian McEwan
24. "Stay" singer Lisa: LOEBLisa LOEB (/loʊb/; born March 11, 1968) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author and actress. She started her career with the number one hit song "Stay (I Missed You)" from the film Reality Bites, the first number one single for an artist without a recording contract.  Here's her career starter (with corrected lyrics) ...

26. Dos y dos y dos: SEIS.  Today's Spanish lesson.

27. [Theme clue]

33. Shot in the dark: GUESS.

34. Hardly well: RARE.  As long as it doesn't MOO, it's okay with me.

35. Compete (for): VIE.

36. MLB Triple Crown category: RBIS.  Leading a league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.

37. Hard to clean: GRIMY.

39. __ of thumb: RULE.  In English, the phrase RULE of thumb refers to an approximate method for doing something, based on practical experience rather than theory. This usage of the phrase can be traced back to the 17th century and has been associated with various trades where quantities were measured by comparison to the width or length of a thumb.  See the link for other, more controversial, etymologies.

40. British ref. work: OED.  The Oxford English Dictionary is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world.

41. Soft French cheese: BRIE.

42. Boot bottoms: SOLES.

43. [Theme clue]

47. From Denver to Topeka: EAST.

48. Puerto __: RICO.

49. Houston WNBA team until 2008: COMETSThe Houston COMETS were a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Houston. Formed in 1997, the team was one of the original eight WNBA teams and won the first four championships of the league's existence. They are one of two teams in the WNBA that are undefeated in the WNBA Finals; the Seattle Storm are the other. The Comets were the first dynasty of the WNBA and are tied with the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm for the most championships of any WNBA franchise. The team was folded and disbanded by the league in 2008 during the height of the Great Recession because new ownership could not be found.  
52. iPhone platform: IOS.

53. Westminster spot for art lovers: TATE.  The TATE has a large collection of paintings and engravings by the poet William Blake (1757–1827).  Here is a coloured print of Isaac Newton:
57. Mimic: APE.

58. [Theme reveal]

61. Abolish: BAN.

62. Cologne ingredient: MUSK.  An acquired odor apparently.

63. Acid artist: ETCHER. Dutch Master Rembrandt van Rijn, known simply as Rembrandt, was a master not only of painting and drawing, but  ETCHING as well.  He was arguably the greatest etcher to have ever lived, creating a body of work that spanned subjects and genres. Both successful and prolific, his oeuvre boasts close to 300 authenticated prints:
Christ Seated Disputing with the Doctors
64. Over the hill: OLD.  I resemble that remark! 😉

65. Flight sked figs.: ETAS.

66. Kind of oil used in hummus: SESAME.


1. Woman who says "Play it, Sam" in "Casablanca": ILSA.

2. Babe in the woods?: FAWN.  My all time favorite video, with a soundtrack by Gioachino Rossini (uncredited) ...

3. Slender: THIN.

4. Sure to fail: HOPELESS.

5. D'backs, in box scores: ARI. The state of  ARIzona not the MSNBC broadcaster, another frequent visitor to the Corner.

6. Warmhearted: TENDER.

7. Fabled napper: HARE.

8. Former Abbey Road Studios owner: EMI.  Where the eponymous Beatles album was recorded.  Looks like we hit the jackpot!  Here's the Medley from Side 2 (16:10 min:) ...

9. "Maybe I'll have better luck": LET ME TRY.

10. Exact: PRECISE.

11. Chew like a beaver: GNAW.

12. Flaky mineral: MICA.  A family of minerals actually, the most common being Muscovite.  The first time I found a piece of this (circa age 11) it seemed so exotic that it started my love affair with geology ...

13. Rice paddy plow team: OXEN.

18. Mongolian desert: GOBI.  The setting for Alexander Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia ...
23. Inexact fig.: EST.

25. Yelps of pain: OWS.

26. Fancy pillowcase: SHAM.

27. One floating down a river or speeding down a snowy slope: TUBER.

28. Gardner of "Saturday Night Live": HEIDIHEIDI Lynn Gardner (born July 27, 1983) is an American actress, comedian, and writer. Gardner has been a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live since 2017.
Heidi Gardner
29. Heartache: GRIEF.

30. Soft palate projection: UVULA. The UVULA, also known as the palatine uvula, is a conic projection from the back edge of the middle of the soft palate, composed of connective tissue containing a number of racemose glands, and some muscular fibers. It also contains many serous glands, which produce thin saliva. It is only found in human beings.
31. Boneless cut: FILET.

32. Charges: FEES.

33. Get taller: GROW.

37. Completely disgust: GROSS OUT.   I hope that the pic above of the UVULA didn't GROSS YOU OUT!

38. Divide: RIFT.

39. Branch of engineering whose name was coined by Asimov: ROBOTICS.   One of the earliest instances of mechanical devices carrying out physical tasks dated to 3000 BC: Egyptian water clocks using human figurines to strike the hour bells.  These early "automata" as they were called even appeared in works of art, e.g. the mechanical doll Olympia in  the 1880 opera The Tales of Hoffmann is so convincing that she even passes the Turing Test (at least to the besotted poet Hoffmann!).  Here coloratura soprano Kathleen Kim performs the (exceedingly difficult) aria Les oiseaux dans la charmille (translation):
The first use of the word ROBOT occurred in 1921 in another drama, this one about mechanical men that are built to work on factory assembly lines and that rebel against their human masters. These machines in R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal ROBOTS), written by Czech playwright Karl Capek, got their name from the Czech word for slave.  Isaac Asimov coined the term ROBOTICS in his science fiction collection I, Robot to describe Three Laws of Robotics governing the behavior of robots toward humans. However it was not until 1957 that Joseph Engelberger and George Devol founded Unimation, the first ROBOTICS engineering company.

41. "No clue": BEATS ME.

42. Min. fraction: SEC.

44. Concert purchase: TEE.

45. Stepped: TROD.

46. Shows disapproval, in a way: HISSES.  Could have been clued "Partner to Boos".

49. Mexican resort, familiarly: CABO.  DNK CABO,  thinking it was Mexican slang for "resort".  CABO San Lucas is a resort city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.  Here's one of the most iconic sights ...
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
(today's Spanish lesson)

50. Milky birthstone: OPAL. AKA White OPALS.  Experts report that Australian mines produce between 90% and 95% of the world's gem-quality OPAL. Opal mining takes place all over Australia, with primary sites like Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge producing the majority. White OPAL is the astrological gemstone for the Zodiac sign Libra. Until 1912, it also served as the official birthstone for those born in October. It has long been associated with purity, love, goodness, and nurturing.
White Opal

51. Stitch up: MENDRAT ON was too long.

52. Color printer refills: INKS

54. Turkish title of honor: AGHA.

55. The other side: THEM.  The fact that we don't usually know THEM very well can lead to a lot of misunderstanding.

56. French 101 verb: ETRETO BE.  Today's French lesson #2 (see 39D for lesson #1)

59. Olympics chant: USA

60. Short way to go?: RTE.


As always, thanks to Teri for proof reading, for her constructive criticism.


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