LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jan 17, Wednesday










Constructed by: Bruce Haight

Edited by: Rich Norris

Quicklink to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Dig It!

Today’s themed answers each with the name of a finger, in fact five DIGITS in all, and in order as we go from the top of the grid to the bottom:

  • 55D. “Pay attention, man!” … and, in a different way, what the end of each answer to a starred clue refers to : DIG IT! (or “DIGIT”)
  • 18A. *”C’mon, loosen up!” : LIVE A LITTLE! (giving “little finger”)
  • 23A. *Place for lefts and rights : BOXING RING (giving “ring finger”)
  • 40A. *Compromise : MEET IN THE MIDDLE (giving “middle finger”)
  • 52A. *Market measure : STOCK INDEX (giving “index finger”)
  • 62A. *General principle : RULE OF THUMB (giving “thumb”)

Bill’s time: 6m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Put a spell on : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

9. Arizona landforms : MESAS

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.

15. Longtime “At the Movies” co-host : EBERT

The film review TV show “At the Movies” has been around since 1988 in various forms with various hosts, most famously Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert. Siskel and Ebert used the iconic “thumbs up and thumbs down” rating system from the very first show.

22. Certain string musician’s need : VIOLA BOW

The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, between the violin and the cello.

26. “Star Wars” extras : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

The girl band called TLC is from Atlanta, Georgia. The band’s name comes from the trio’s original members:

  • Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
  • Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
  • Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas

27. Word of passione : CARA

In Italian, “cara” (darling) is word of “passione” (passion).

37. Water nymph : NAIAD

The Naiads of Greek mythology were water nymphs, associated with fountains, wells, springs and streams. The saltwater equivalents of the freshwater Naiads were the Oceanids.

44. “Ready are you? What know you of ready?” speaker : YODA

Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice is provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of “Muppets” fame.

46. Supermodel Banks : TYRA

Tyra Banks is a tremendously successful model and businesswoman. Banks created and hosts the hit show “America’s Next Top Model “, and also has her own talk show. She was also the first African American woman to make the cover of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue.

50. PD alert : APB

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

58. French president Hollande : FRANCOIS

François Hollande was elected President of France in 2012. During the election cycle in 2011, Hollande had been trailing in the polls behind front-runner Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Hollande took over the lead following Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on New York City on suspicion of sexual assault.

62. *General principle : RULE OF THUMB (giving “thumb”)

The exact origin of the phrase “rule of thumb” appears to be unclear. However, the expression does exist in languages other than English, although the wording can vary. In Finnish and German the equivalent is “rule of fist”, and in Hebrew the phrase is “rule of finger”.

65. Bygone muscle car : GTO

The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.

By definition, a “muscle car” is a small vehicle with a large or maybe oversized engine.

67. “Science of Logic” author Georg : HEGEL

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the founders of the German idealism movement. “Idealism”, in the context of the movement, was the principle that objects did not have properties in themselves, but rather that an object’s properties depended on the person perceiving the object.

68. Shy person’s note? : IOU

I owe you (IOU)

69. Branch quarters : NESTS

We use the term “quarters” for a place of abode, especially housing for military personnel. Back in the late 16th century, quarters were a portion (quarter) of a town reserved for a military force.

70. Philadelphia pro : EAGLE

The Philadelphia Eagles were established in 1933 and joined the National Football League as a replacement for the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, also from Philadelphia. The “Eagle” name was inspired by the Blue Eagle insignia that was used by companies who were in compliance with the National Industrial Recovery Act that was central to President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.

71. “Major Crimes” network : TNT

The TV cop show “Major Crimes” is a follow-on spino-off of “The Closer”. The first episode of “Major Crimes” was aired right after the last episode of “The Closer” on August 13, 2012.

Down

1. Muslim veil : HIJAB

Some Muslim women wear a hijab in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. A hijab is a veil covering the head and chest. Some also wear a niqab as part of the hijab, which is a cloth that covers the face. Other Muslim women wear a burqa, which covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground.

2. Sister of Calliope : ERATO

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

3. Maker of ColorQube printers : XEROX

ColorQube is a line of printers produced by Xerox. They’re color printers and are roughly cubic in shape, hence the name, I guess …

4. One-named singer portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in a 1997 film : SELENA

Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as “Selena”, was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena’s life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role.

5. Japanese sash : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot.

6. Gun, as a V8 : REV

The engine known as a V8 is configured with two rows of four cylinders mounted on a crankcase. The rows of cylinders are offset from each other around the crankshaft at right angles, or perhaps a little less. This arrangement of eight cylinders in a V-shape gives rise to the name “V8”.

7. Roman fountain : TREVI

The Trevi Fountain (“Fontana di Trevi”) is a huge fountain in Rome, the largest constructed in the Baroque style. The tradition is that if one throws a coin in the fountain then one is guaranteed a return visit to the city. Tourists throw in an amazing 3,000 euros (over $4,000) every day. The money is collected and is used to stock a supermarket for the needy of the city.

9. Pony Express concern : MAIL

The Pony Express mail service operated for only 19 months, from 1860 until 1861. The service comprised a relay of horseback riders operating between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California across the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.

10. Vocalist James : ETTA

Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

19. Stack under a tarp : LOGS

Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.

21. “Close, but no cigar” : NICE TRY

The expression “close but no cigar” is a reference meaning that one can come close in a competition, but may not win the prize, the cigar.

29. Boy in “Star Wars” prequel films : ANI

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

31. Bit of band gear : AMP

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

38. It borders the Fla. panhandle : ALA

The Florida Panhandle is in the Central Time Zone, whereas the rest of the state is in the Eastern Time Zone.

41. Medit. country : ISR

The land that is now Israel was ruled by the British after WWI as the British Mandate of Palestine. The British evacuated the area after WWII, largely responding to pressure from both Jewish and Arab nationalist movements. The British Mandate expired on 14 May 1948 and the State of israel was established at the same time. This declaration of a new state was followed by the immediate invasion of the area by four Arab countries and the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A ceasefire was declared after a year of fighting, and tension has persisted in the region ever since.

42. Big name in big rigs : MACK

Mack Trucks was founded by John Mack in the early 1900s, after he had spent some years working in companies that made carriages and electric motor cars. Along with his two brothers, Mack started their company to focus on building heavy-duty trucks and engines.

49. Cat dish tidbit : KIBBLE

“To kibble” is to crush or grind coarsely. This verb evolved into the noun “kibble” meaning meat and/or grain that is ground into small pellets, especially when it is used for pet food.

50. Nasal spray brand : AFRIN

Afrin is a nasal spray made by Bayer that has oxymetazoline as an active ingredient. Oxymetazoline is a topical decongestant.

51. Danish fruit : PRUNE

A prune is a dried plum. The name “prune” comes from the Latin “prunum”, the word for “plum”.

The Danish pastry that we know so well over here in the US is indeed a Danish specialty, although the recipe was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers. A “Danish” is called “Viennese bread” in Denmark.

53. Parishioner’s pledge : TITHE

Traditionally, a “tithe” is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

54. Milo of “Barbarella” : O’SHEA

Milo O’Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The West Wing”. O’Shea passed away in 2013, in New York City.

“Barbarella” is a cult classic 1968 film that was directed by Roger Vadim. Vadim’s wife at the time was Jane Fonda, and she plays the title character.

56. John of The Red Piano Tour : ELTON

Elton John’s real name is Reginald Dwight. Sir Elton was knighted in 1998, not for his music per se, but for his charitable work. He founded his own Elton John AIDS Foundation back in 1992.

63. Trendy boot brand : UGG

Uggs are sheepskin boots that originated in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. Ugg is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

64. Blanc heard but not seen : MEL

Mel Blanc was known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices”. We’ve all heard Mel Blanc at one time or another, I am sure. His was the voice behind such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Elmer Fudd and Barney Rubble. And the words on Blanc’s tombstone are … “That’s All Folks”.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Put a spell on : HEX

4. Organizes from best to worst, say : SORTS

9. Arizona landforms : MESAS

14. Wrath : IRE

15. Longtime “At the Movies” co-host : EBERT

16. One bit : AT ALL

17. Shake up : JAR

18. *”C’mon, loosen up!” : LIVE A LITTLE! (giving “little finger”)

20. Do penance : ATONE

22. Certain string musician’s need : VIOLA BOW

23. *Place for lefts and rights : BOXING RING (giving “ring finger”)

26. “Star Wars” extras : ETS

27. Word of passione : CARA

28. Cheek : SASS

31. “Alas!” : AH ME!

34. Elementary bit : ATOM

37. Water nymph : NAIAD

40. *Compromise : MEET IN THE MIDDLE (giving “middle finger”)

43. Orchard trees : PEARS

44. “Ready are you? What know you of ready?” speaker : YODA

45. Low in fat : LEAN

46. Supermodel Banks : TYRA

48. Gross : ICKY

50. PD alert : APB

52. *Market measure : STOCK INDEX (giving “index finger”)

58. French president Hollande : FRANCOIS

61. Sees red : BOILS

62. *General principle : RULE OF THUMB (giving “thumb”)

65. Bygone muscle car : GTO

66. Holiday visitor : IN-LAW

67. “Science of Logic” author Georg : HEGEL

68. Shy person’s note? : IOU

69. Branch quarters : NESTS

70. Philadelphia pro : EAGLE

71. “Major Crimes” network : TNT

Down

1. Muslim veil : HIJAB

2. Sister of Calliope : ERATO

3. Maker of ColorQube printers : XEROX

4. One-named singer portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in a 1997 film : SELENA

5. Japanese sash : OBI

6. Gun, as a V8 : REV

7. Roman fountain : TREVI

8. Spot : STAIN

9. Pony Express concern : MAIL

10. Vocalist James : ETTA

11. Plopped down next to : SAT BESIDE

12. Apportion : ALLOT

13. Boatloads : SLEWS

19. Stack under a tarp : LOGS

21. “Close, but no cigar” : NICE TRY

24. Family nickname : GRAN

25. Threadbare : RATTY

29. Boy in “Star Wars” prequel films : ANI

30. “I wish I could” : SADLY, NO

31. Bit of band gear : AMP

32. Small snicker : HEE

33. Sub filler : MEATBALLS

35. “So THAT’s what’s going on here!” : OHO!

36. First responder : MEDIC

38. It borders the Fla. panhandle : ALA

39. Hideout : DEN

41. Medit. country : ISR

42. Big name in big rigs : MACK

47. Dating from : AS OF

49. Cat dish tidbit : KIBBLE

50. Nasal spray brand : AFRIN

51. Danish fruit : PRUNE

53. Parishioner’s pledge : TITHE

54. Milo of “Barbarella” : O’SHEA

55. “Pay attention, man!” … and, in a different way, what the end of each answer to a starred clue refers to : DIG IT! (or “DIGIT”)

56. John of The Red Piano Tour : ELTON

57. Strikes through : XS OUT

59. “Far out!” : NEAT!

60. Stockholder’s assets? : COWS

63. Trendy boot brand : UGG

64. Blanc heard but not seen : MEL

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 25 Jan 17, Wednesday”

  1. I found this puzzle much more difficult than your average Wednesday. I think this took me longer than the last 2 or 3 Friday puzzles. Ultimately finished with 1 error- the N where ANI/NAIAD meet. Why are crosswords so obsessed with Star Wars??

    Didn’t get the theme AT ALL until the blog. In retrospect it was pretty clever. However, does DIG IT mean “pay attention”? I would think it means “Do you like it?” or “do you understand?” It was before my time so what do I know?

    It occurred to me that an entire group of executives had to leave a board meeting with the idea that UGG was the best idea for the name of their company. Hmmmmm

    I also had a few unforced errors that didn’t help – I read “Gun as a V8” as chugging a can of V8 juice. Sheesh.

    Heidi – I read your post last night before going to bed. That dish sounded so good, I was craving it – probably because I had gone out to dinner last night and eaten too much, and your dish sounded so light. I’d never be able to make it myself so you or justjoel will have to send one to me in a care package some time. I still don’t get why you have to poach the pears though. I think my method of preparing pears for a dish like that would be to open the can…. 🙂

    Nice challenge. Let’s hope the rest of the week lives up to this one.

    Best –

  2. Natick! Me too, Jeff. ANI/NAIAD.
    Also agree with Jeff on DIG IT.
    I AM from that era. Can you dig it? (understand)
    And, I dig it. (like it)
    It doesn’t mean “pay attention”
    Got the theme and thought it was clever.
    Alas, DNF.

  3. 10:52, no errors. I didn’t think this puzzle was too difficult but I did make a fair number of missteps. I also completely missed the theme. Had a good laugh at Jeff’s comment about those UGG executives! I also very much appreciated yesterday’s riffs with respect to the poaching of the elusive feral pear. Hilarious!

    (Warning! Political comment follows!) … I am of two minds concerning yesterday’s exchange on the issue of staying informed in disturbing times: I simply cannot keep myself from reading the papers every day, but there are times when I feel so helpless in the face of what I view as a Disaster In Progress that I cannot help but walk away. And I mean that literally. On January 20, I covered 14.7 miles in a little less than 5 hours. (If nothing else, the next four years will leave me in better physical shape 🙂 .) So sometimes I think it would be better for my own mental health to avoid certain kinds of news. A quandary …

  4. I went from apple to peach to PRUNE at the very end. So many cross outs it was hard to read the rest!

    Had So sorry bef SADLY NO.

    Overall, I dug it. I am also from that era. I never said it myself, but they said it all the time on Mod Squad.

    Re UGG boots, they’re from Australia, and geared to young women, so no doubt that’s a whole ‘nother breed of execs.

    Happy Wed, all

  5. This didn’t seem too overly difficult, but for a Wednesday it was obviously a challenge for some of our “grid gang” due to the “natick” of ani/naiad. I had a natick moment with the WSJ grid as well with the clue for 48 Down “Actually existing” since the answer (which I eventually got from crosses) was in a foreign language and should have been noted as such by my way of thinking in the clue.

    As to the “walking away” comment from David K above. It sound like the next 4 years are going to make you into an Aborigine, if nothing else! (g)

    Hey, Bella…I got a pair of Ugg boots from a friend who I was visiting in Australia in 1981 (in Melbourne) and used them many times when up in ski country after a day on the slopes. So, not just for the distaff among us! (another grin here).

    1. Tony-
      I’ve been tempted to get some UGGs myself. They look so comfortable! But I didn’t want to frighten/disgust the local college girls, who seem to live in them. Do they have good arch support? The soles look flat.

      1. If you are looking for arch support I wouldn’t recommend them, but around the condo after skiing or lounging around the house they do just fine.

  6. About my ill advised comments yesterday, on poaching pears – a homonym that I just couldnt resist. Thanks to those who indulged me in finding it funny. I probably would also love to poach them, but I am reluctant to use and cringe in the thought of wasting perfectly good wine.

  7. I am late to the game, another death of a relative. Thats seven deaths in seven weeks , and I am, …. getting, a little paranoid. Maybe the baby boomers are finally going bust, and even some Gen X’s are getting GenXed. Its getting so bad I am changing some of my wills, to wonts…

    I had a good time with the puzzle – but I thought it was rather difficult especially in the south east, lower right corner. Digit, XsOut, TNT and IOU. I was just stuck like between a rock and a hard place. The theme was very very cute and punny – and ofcourse, I was nowhere near in getting it. But Bill’s blog bought a smile.

    I did not know that the Pennsylvania Dutch practiced withcraft and ‘hex-ing’ …. such a sincere, non-violent people ….. lol ;-o)

    Regarding Francois Hollande,( my french amie tells me,) that his ‘significant other’ is Ms. Segolene Royal ( Cigg-o-linn Ho-yaal ) with whom he has had 4 kids. Also that she, now a minister in the cabnet, may run for Prez. of France – like both the Clintons. She ran for that job before in 2007, losing to Nicholas Sarkozy.

    Have a good evening, all.

  8. Pretty quick for a Wednesday and easier than yesterday for me. About 15 minutes on paper, although with one error FRANCOIr. Sigh! My French really sucks, even though I try. Although I actually did get the theme this time.

    Re Dig it, I’m pretty sure I used it once or twice and it was used in the sense ‘can you appreciate it’ but whatever, to use another overused expression.

    @David I was in great shape after the “W” administration although I did have to get some fillings adjusted due to grinding of teeth. This time, I predict it will be much much worse. But, like you, I can’t help not reading the paper and a whole lot more.

    @Delicia Militia I knew you were having fun with it and I couldn’t just not respond. In truth, if you hadn’t, I would’ve. Welcome.

    @Vidwan Sorry to hear about all your losses. I’m still part of the Baby Boomers and I hope to keep on for awhile. As far as Royal; she was not part of the recent debate of Socialist candidates and sadly, it looks like the right is more likely to prevail in the upcoming election, although hopefully not the far-right Le Pen.

    @Carrie Re Saturday’s guess; given your previous mentions of cooking, I just surmised it had to be a male guest to overcome your reluctance to the stove.

  9. Fuzzle! I liked this one, and I even got the theme, tho I had never heard of NAIAD and I fought some with the SE, like you, Vidwan.

    Myself, I’ve been doing more gardening lately, as a way to feel (literally) grounded in the face of shifting realities…

    Dirk! LOL — so true! Can’t cook! Every time I make plain old hard boiled eggs I have to look up online how it’s done. Before the Internet, I’d call a friend. My fave baked recipes say “JUST ADD WATER!”

    Sweet dreams~~™???

  10. Wow friends say I am good at word puzzles. Not compared to Bill, and, from what I read those who comment here. I guess I just have to do more puzzles! I appreciate the answers, and the explanations. I used to have a dictionary and sometimes a pocket encyclopedia handy. I just got my first smartphone. So, that has really changed things! I’ll be back. Thanks for all your input and enthusiasm. You all are making it fun! Oh and Bill, thanks for all you are doing here. Delightful!

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