Theme: Welcome to LA-LA Land. Or LA-LA-LA-LA, I can't hear you. Or maybe it's L.A. LAW. Sometimes it's hard to come up with a theme title. Maybe I should have saved these for when I need them, but instead you get multiple choice today. Both words of two-word theme answers begin with the letters "LA" Hence the LA-LA, who was also a Teletubbie.
17. Whip-cracking cowboy of old films : LASH LARUE. I remember this guy from comic books.
21. Ethel, to Lucy : LAND LADY. Lucy and Dezi rented a brownstone on E. 68th St. from Fred and Ethyl Mertz, played by William Frawly and Vivian Vance, who hated each other in real life.
35. Sky blue : LAPIS LAZULI. This is an intensely colored blue gem stone, or the ultramarine pigment extracted from it. Also, a cloned daughter of Lazarus Long in Heinlein's epic novel, TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE. I'm delighted to tell you my daughter is not my clone.
51. Wax-filled illumination : LAVA LAMP. The heat generated by the lamp bulb caused thermal currents in two viscous immiscible liquids, which would flow through and around each other. Since I remember the 60's, it's clear I did not experience them.
56. Victor's chuckle : LAST LAUGH. Indeed. He who laughs last, laughs best.
And the unifier. 29 D . '80s-'90s legal drama, and this puzzle's title : L.A. LAW. One more immensely popular T.V. show that I never watched.
Hi, gang, Jazzbumpa here - your tour guide through LA-LA Land. Let's set out and see what we can discover.
1. Beginning for the birds? : AVI. A prefix indicating birds, or, more generally, flight, from the Latin avis = bird.
4. Shaq on the court : O'NEAL. Needs no introduction. OK. Famous basketball player.
9. Beat __ to one's door : A PATH. This is what people are supposed to do if you invent a better mouse trap
14. Vietnam Veterans Memorial architect : LIN. Maya LIN was a student at Yale when she designed the memorial. It is very moving.
15. Ramadi resident : IRAQI. Ramadi is the capital of Al Anbar province in central IRAQ.
16. Local cinemas, colloquially : NABES. Derived from neighborhood. News to me.
19. Weight room sound : GRUNT. As in GRUNTS and groans from performing hard labor.
20. Venetian arch shape : OGEE. An arch formed by two symmetric S-curves. I like the looks of this one. Also, "Oh, gee, Arch!" was occasionally GRUNTED by the Meathead.
23. Canyon-crossing transport : TRAMWAY. You go on ahead. I'll wait here.
26. Fridge raider : NOSHER. To NOSH (v) is to have a NOSH (n) - a light meal or snack. This comes to us from the German, by way of Yiddish.
28. Hong Kong harbor craft : SAMPAN. This boat name is common across parts of Asia. SAMPANS come in many designs.
29. Field for the fold : LEA. A grassy meadow where one may find sheep, cows, and increasingly common crossword fill.
31. Remote power sources? : AAA'S. Can't fool me. Batteries.
32. Thing to blow off : STEAM. Blowing off steam is a tension release outlet for people who do not have access to trombones.
34. Sign before Scorpio : LIBRA. Zodiac signs. The sign of LIBRA (or perhaps Le Bra) is the symbol of balance.
38. Postgrad hurdle : ORALS. ORAL examinations are part of the arduous trek to a PhD. Post Docs are apprentice academic positions for recent PhD recipients.
40. "Cosmos" host : SAGAN. "Cosmos" was a 13-part TV series, first aired on PBS in 1980. It was all about life, the universe, and everything.
41. Lotto relative : KENO. I don't know a thing about it.
42. Assure, with "up" : SEW. To SEW something up, is to complete or control it, presumably without leaving any loose ends.
43. Titan is its largest moon : SATURN. SATURN is the sixth planet of our system - the one with the rings and the red spot. Though it is the largest one we have, it is only a tiny part of the cosmos. CORRECTION: Jupiter has the red spot and is the largest, Saturn is only number two. My bad!
48. Most foxy : SLYEST. Easy fill, but not what I had in mind.
50. Landmass encompassing the Urals : EURASIA. This is the totality of Europe and Asia. It's always been a mystery to me why this one big continent was considered to be two.
54. Bombast : RANT. Interesting that bombast, meaning pretentious or inflated language comes from the Middle English word for cotton padding. RANT is more of a tirade. I don't see the equivalence.
55. Artist's topper : BERET. I'm not sure what sort of art this is.
59. Conductor Previn : ANDRE. He was also a composer, and learned to passably play each orchestra instrument so he could write properly for them. Mia Farrow was the 3rd of his five wives. He was her 2nd husband. Beyond that, things get a bit dicey.
60. Came up : AROSE.
61. Sargasso or Coral : SEA
62. Parks and others : ROSAS. She also needs no introduction. OK. Famous bus rider, and 60A near-sound-alike.
63. Zellweger of "Chicago" : RENEE. I know, she's no K-Z-J.
64. Prince Valiant's son : ARN. From the comic strip which has been going strong since 1937. Aleta still looks marvelous.
1. Doles out : ALLOTS.
2. Cialis competitor : VIAGRA. You don't need the details. One of my friends remarked: "I don't need it, but just knowing it's out there makes me feel better."
3. Tailor's measure : INSEAM. Leg length from crotch to ankle.
4. Van Gogh work : OIL. Vincent's paintings were done in oil based paints. I guess that makes this an oil on water.
5. Gun lobby org. : NRA. National Rifle Association. Guns don't kill you, bullets do.
6. Ahead of time : EARLY
7. Shade in the Caribbean : AQUA. This refers to the color of the water, under the sunny LAPIS LAZULI sky.
8. Bank holding : LIEN. Per Wikipedia, "a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation." Ultimately from the Latin ligare, to bind.
9. Saxon start : ANGLO. ANGLO-Saxons, the melding of Agles, Saxons, and Jutes (who get short shrift in the nomenclature,) tribes of Germanic peoples who migrated from western EURASIA to the British Islands starting in the 5th century, and became the English. I'm not sure what they did to deserve it.
10. Chute above the beach : PARASAIL. I was thinking along the lines of Chutes and ladders, not parachutes.
11. Persian Gulf emirate : ABU DHABI. The capital and second largest city of the United Arab Emirates. The name means "Father of the Gazelle," and is fun to say.
12. Like some mortgages : TEN YEAR. Many versions are available. I guess a mortgage is a variety of LIEN
13. DDE predecessor : HST. Harry S (for nothing) Truman, and Dwight David Eisenhower, U.S. Presidents.
18. Rope fiber : HEMP. Hemp is the fiber of cannabis plants. There's something about the 60's that I can't quite recall . . .
22. Paternity proof, briefly : DNA. Deoxyribonucleaic acid. Genetic material.
24. Mud nest builders : WASPS. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
25. Naysayer : ANTI. Those who are against - aka "nattering nabobs of negativism" - William Safire.
27. It surrounds Lesotho: Abbr. : RSA. Lesotho is a land-locked country, completely surrounded by The Republic of South Africa.
30. The Daily Beast, e.g. : E-MAG. Electronic magazine.
33. To be, to Brutus : ESSE. More Latin
34. Like the Islamic calendar : LUNAR. Based on the periods of the moon, rather than the sun. So is the Jewish calendar, I believe.
35. Refs' whistle holders : LANYARDS. These are cords worn around the neck to carry something.
36. Natural burn balm : ALOE VERA. Nice to see the whole plant.
37. Pitts of "The Gale Storm Show" : ZASU. The correct spelling is ZaSu, and pronunciation is "Say-Zoo." She was a silent film actress who went on to vaudeville, talkies, radio, and TV.
38. Signs off on : OKS. Gives the OK - approval - to something.
39. Chile __: stuffed Mexican dish : RELLENO. Literally "stuffed chili." Usually a mild poblano pepper stuffed with cheese or meat, then battered and deep fried.
42. N.L. team managed by Tony La Russa since 1996 : ST. L. The St. Louis Cardinals
44. Scarlett's home : TARA. The plantation from Gone With The Wind.
45. World Cup chant : USA! USA! I'll bet there are others.
46. Horseshoes feat : RINGER. This is a horseshoe that surrounds, or "rings" the stake.
47. Revolutionary Hale : NATHAN. He was a volunteer for the Continental (American, not Eurasian) Army who was captured by the British and hanged. He is famous for saying, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
49. Fully fills : SATES.
50. Hewlett-Packard rival : EPSON. Printers.
52. Banned orchard spray : ALAR. This was a plant growth enhancer, sprayed on fruit, primarily apples, to regulate size and color, and make harvesting easier. It was used form 1963 until 1989, when it was voluntarily withdrawn from the market as the EPA was proposing a ban.
53. Full-grown filly : MARE. Horse girl and lady.
55. Setting for many a joke : BAR. Guy walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Knock-knock . . ."
57. Taoist Lao-__ : TSE He was the first Taoist pilospher.
58. Majors in acting : LEE. Nice misdirection. He played The Six Million Dollar Man on TV.
Well, there you have it. A nice Wednesday puzzle, and a journey across space and time, around the planet, the solar system, and even the Cosmos. There's more to LA-LA land than you thought.
Cross-posted at The Corner
Cross-posted at The Corner