LA Times Crossword 1 Feb 19, Friday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: All In

Themed answers are common phrases with the letters “ALL” inserted:

  • 73A. Totally committed, and a hint to four puzzle answers : ALL IN
  • 17A. Up-tempo music lover’s aversion? : BALLAD INFLUENCE (“all” in “bad influence”)
  • 30A. Large garlic relative? : BIG SHALLOT (“all” in “big shot”)
  • 48A. Classical dance minus the lifting, throwing, and such? : SAFE BALLET (“all” in “safe bet”)
  • 62A. Genetic determinants of Southern linguistic variations? : Y’ALL CHROMOSOMES (“all” in “Y chromosomes”)

Bill’s time: 9m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Hamlet’s “A little more than kin, and less than kind,” e.g. : ASIDE

Early in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, the title character utters the aside “A little more than kin, and less than kind”. Prince Hamlet’s disparaging remark is a reference to his uncle Claudius, the new king of Denmark. Hamlet’s opinion of his uncle is well-deserved, as Claudius had secretly poisoned the prince’s father in order to seize the throne.

11. Cut short : BOB

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

14. Atlas box : INSET

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

15. Got a lode of : MINED

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The mother lode is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

21. Pond fish : KOI

Koi are fish that are also known as Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

23. Meeting organizers : AGENDAS

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

27. Belg. neighbor : GER

The country that we known in English as “Germany” is known as “Deutschland” in German. The name “Germany” comes from “Germania”, which is the Latin name that Julius Caesar gave to the peoples located east of the Rhine. The name “Deutschland” comes from an Old High German word meaning “land belonging to the people”.

29. Oil-yielding Asian tree : TUNG

Tung oil is obtained from the tung tree by pressing the seed found within the tree’s nuts. The oil is used as a component in varnish for wood finishing.

30. Large garlic relative? : BIG SHALLOT (“all” in “big shot”)

The shallot is a type of onion that is closely related to the garlic, leek and chive. I’m a big fan …

36. Striped animal : TIGER

The tiger is the largest species in the cat family. Tigers have been known to breed with lions. A liger is cross between a male lion and female tiger. A tigon is a cross between a female lion and a male tiger.

38. South side? : GRITS

When grain has been separated from its chaff, to prepare it for grinding, it is called “grist”. Indeed, the word “grist” is derived from the word “grind”. Grist can be ground into a relatively coarse meal, or into a fine flour. The names can be confusing though. For example, the grist from maize when ground to a coarse consistency is called “grits”, and when ground to a fine consistency is called “corn meal”. There is an idiomatic phrase “grist for one’s mill”, meaning something used to one’s advantage. The grinding mechanism, or the building that holds the mechanism, is known as a “gristmill”.

42. Amazon business : E-TAIL

“E-tail” is the term used these days for online shopping (coming from “retail”). E-tail is often compared to regular shopping in the “real world” by juxtaposing it with a “brick and mortar” store.

Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. It is also the most largest Internet company in the world by revenue. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …

44. Disney Store collectible : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

48. Classical dance minus the lifting, throwing, and such? : SAFE BALLET (“all” in “safe bet”)

Ballet is a type of dance that originated in Italy during the Renaissance. The term “ballet” ultimately derives from the Greek “ballizo” meaning “to dance”.

51. Sign of elimination : DELE

“Dele” is the editorial instruction to delete something from a document, and is often written in red.

52. Wise __ : MEN

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

55. Siamese, nowadays : THAI

Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and again from 1945 to 1949).

62. Genetic determinants of Southern linguistic variations? : Y’ALL CHROMOSOMES (“all” in “Y chromosomes”)

In most mammalian species, including man, females have two identical sex chromosomes (XX) and males two distinct sex chromosomes (XY). As a result it is the males who determine the sex of the offspring. However, in birds the opposite is true and so females determine the sex of the chicks.

68. Vietnamese soup : PHO

Pho is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

69. Irritant : PEEVE

The phrase “pet peeve”, meaning “thing that provokes one most”, seems to be somewhat ironic. A “peeve” is a source of irritation, and the adjective “pet” means “especially cherished”.

Down

1. It’s petty but misleading : FIB

To fib is to to tell a lie. The verb likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

2. Brahms’ “Variations __ Theme of Paganini” : ON A

Niccolò Paganini was a famed Italian violinist and composer. Paganini was perhaps the most celebrated violinist of the 19th century. His most famous composition has to be his Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1. This work is the basis for many derivative masterpieces by other composers, including the wonderful “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Rachmaninoff, and the “Variations on a Theme of Paganini” by Brahms.

3. Comm. system with hand motions : ASL

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

4. Mixtures : MELANGES

“Mélange” is the French word for “mixture”.

5. Serious: STAID

Something described as staid is unwavering, fixed. This usage expanded to mean “sober, sedate”. The term dates back to the 16th century, and comes from verb “to stay”. “Staid” is a rewriting of the past participle “stayed”.

6. “Moi?” : AM I?

“Moi” is the French word for “me”. One might say “Moi?” when feigning innocence.

10. Email suffix : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

18. Uninteresting : DRAB

We now use the word “drab” to mean “dull, cheerless”. Back in the late 17th century, “drab” was the color of natural, undyed cloth.

19. Countess’ spouse, perhaps : EARL

In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquis. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquis and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.

23. Storage areas : ATTICS

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

24. Old U.K. coin worth 21 shillings : GUINEA

The British coin known as a “guinea” was minted between 1663 and 1814. The guinea was originally worth one pound sterling, but its value increased as the value of gold increased relative to silver. The value was eventually fixed in 1816 at twenty-one shillings when it was withdrawn from circulation and the pound was established as the major unit of currency. Even though the guinea coin stopped circulating soon after 1816, the term “guinea” continued to be used to indicate an amount of 21 shillings, especially when pricing certain things. Indeed, I remember some everyday items being price-tagged in guineas as a young boy. Do you remember the “10/6” price tag on the hat of the Hatter at the tea party in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”? That tag reads “10 shillings and sixpence”, which is “half a guinea”.

26. Lighthouse output : SIGNAL

I’m guessing that one of the most famous names in the world of lighthouse construction is George Meade. Before General Meade led the Union soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg, Lieutenant Meade worked in the US Army Corps of Engineers, and was responsible for the erection of several lighthouses along the east coast.

34. Colorful songbird : ORIOLE

The songbird called an oriole builds an interesting nest. It is a woven cup-like structure that is suspended from a branch like a hammock.

37. Hasidic teacher : REBBE

“Rebbe” is the Yiddish word for “rabbi”.

The Hasidic Jewish movement was founded in the 18th century by Baal Shem Tov, a mystical rabbi from Eastern Europe.

43. Quahog’s quarters : TIDE POOL

“Quahog” is another name for “hard clam”, the clam that is commonly harvested on the eastern shores of North America. The quahog may also be called the “chowder clam”. Hard clams are the largest of the clams commonly sold, with the cherrystone clams being a little smaller.

49. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL

Emil Jannings was an actor from Switzerland who also held German and Austrian citizenship. Jannings was the first person to receive an Oscar, as the star of the 1928 silent movie called “The Last Command”. He also starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 classic “The Blue Angel”.

50. Puente of mambo fame : TITO

After serving in the navy in WWII for three years, musician Tito Puente studied at Juilliard, where he got a great grounding in conducting, orchestration and theory. Puente parlayed this education into a career in Latin Jazz and Mambo. He was known as “El Rey” as well as “The King of Latin Music”.

The form of music and dance known as “mambo” developed in Cuba. “Mambo” means “conversation with the gods” in Kikongo, a language spoken by slaves taken to Cuba from Central Africa.

63. Many an IRS employee : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

65. Thickness measure : MIL

The thickness unit known as a “mil” here in the US is usually referred to as a “thou” on the other side of the Atlantic. A “mil” is actually one thousandth of an inch. I vote for “thou” …

66. __ Gold, Alan Cumming’s “The Good Wife” role : ELI

Alan Cumming is a very versatile Scottish actor. Cumming has played some pretty “commercial” roles, like the bad guy Boris Grishenko in “GoldenEye” and Fegan Floop in the “Spy Kids” movies. He also played the unwanted suitor in the fabulous film “Circle of Friends” and won a Tony for playing the emcee in the 1998 Broadway revival of “Cabaret”.

“The Good Wife” is a legal drama showing on CBS starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a litigator who returns to practicing the law after spending 13 years as a stay-at-home mom. I binge-watched the show some time back and found it to be well-written, with a great cast and great acting …

67. U.S. ID : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. They may be scraped off in bars : FOAMS
6. Hamlet’s “A little more than kin, and less than kind,” e.g. : ASIDE
11. Cut short : BOB
14. Atlas box : INSET
15. Got a lode of : MINED
16. Half a pair : ONE
17. Up-tempo music lover’s aversion? : BALLAD INFLUENCE (“all” in “bad influence”)
20. Tune : AIR
21. Pond fish : KOI
22. Sticks in : ADDS
23. Meeting organizers : AGENDAS
27. Belg. neighbor : GER
29. Oil-yielding Asian tree : TUNG
30. Large garlic relative? : BIG SHALLOT (“all” in “big shot”)
36. Striped animal : TIGER
38. South side? : GRITS
39. Time to mark : ERA
40. Employed : IN USE
41. Negative prefix : NON-
42. Amazon business : E-TAIL
44. Disney Store collectible : CEL
45. Weakling’s lack : BRAWN
47. Performed well enough : DID OK
48. Classical dance minus the lifting, throwing, and such? : SAFE BALLET (“all” in “safe bet”)
51. Sign of elimination : DELE
52. Wise __ : MEN
53. Matured : RIPENED
55. Siamese, nowadays : THAI
58. One seen on most 46-Down : COW
61. Bar valve : TAP
62. Genetic determinants of Southern linguistic variations? : Y’ALL CHROMOSOMES (“all” in “Y chromosomes”)
68. Vietnamese soup : PHO
69. Irritant : PEEVE
70. Drudges : TOILS
71. Polish off : EAT
72. Good thing to have : ASSET
73. Totally committed, and a hint to four puzzle answers : ALL IN

Down

1. It’s petty but misleading : FIB
2. Brahms’ “Variations __ Theme of Paganini” : ON A
3. Comm. system with hand motions : ASL
4. Mixtures : MELANGES
5. Serious : STAID
6. “Moi?” : AM I?
7. Set, as the sun : SINK
8. Collection of spies? : INFO
9. Make happy : DELIGHT
10. Email suffix : EDU
11. Investor’s alternative : BOND
12. Like most ’80s-’90s commercial music : ON CD
13. Winged collectors : BEES
18. Uninteresting : DRAB
19. Countess’ spouse, perhaps : EARL
23. Storage areas : ATTICS
24. Old U.K. coin worth 21 shillings : GUINEA
25. Swallow up : ENGULF
26. Lighthouse output : SIGNAL
28. Facilitated : EASED
31. Unhappy utterance : GROWL
32. Everyone, to some believers : SINNER
33. Oppressively heavy : LEADEN
34. Colorful songbird : ORIOLE
35. Rapped : TALKED
37. Hasidic teacher : REBBE
43. Quahog’s quarters : TIDE POOL
46. 58-Across homes : RANCHES
49. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
50. Puente of mambo fame : TITO
54. Noodles : PASTA
55. Class : TYPE
56. “Yeah, that’s funny” : HA HA
57. Tons : A LOT
59. Tram loads : ORES
60. Masterminded, as a complex plan : WOVE
63. Many an IRS employee : CPA
64. Made the acquaintance of : MET
65. Thickness measure : MIL
66. __ Gold, Alan Cumming’s “The Good Wife” role : ELI
67. U.S. ID : SSN

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Feb 19, Friday”

  1. LAT: 11:13, no errors. Newsday: 13:39, no errors. WSJ: 14:00?, no errors; forgot to record a stop time, as I got the answer to the meta as soon as I finished and was preoccupied with sending it in.

    And … it took me two days to do it, but I finished Tuesday’s Croce, with no errors. The final “aha” moment came late last night, just as I was about to give up and turn to Dr. Google, and, even so, there was another square I wasn’t completely sure of. A tough one (well, for me, anyway).

  2. LAT: 20:18, no errors. WSJ: 13:32, 1 dumb error. Negative time on the meta as I had it before I even solved the puzzle. Going to be legions of people entering on this one. Newsday: 26:27, no errors.

  3. “Rebbe” did me in. Couldn’t shake “rabbi” out of my brain. And yes, the meta came to me halfway through finishing the grid!

  4. LAT 29:30 no errors. Getting the theme really helped.
    NYT 1228 from my paper today. An hour and a half and DNF.
    It’s a David Steinberg puzzle…..nuf said.

  5. This was challenging for me. I didn’t think I was going to finish, but I kept plugging away and finally there it was. I think I need to quit being so self doubting on the hard ones as I’m sure it contributes to how long I go around in circles.

    I finished the WSJ grid without too much of a brain strain. And I submitted what looks to be a way too obvious answer to the Meta. I’m sure they will be pulling the rug out from under me on Monday.

  6. 26:11. I’d say this puzzle seemed difficult to me, but I think I’m saying that about every puzzle these days. TGIF. I’m in desperate need of a couch potato weekend. This is one case where I guessed the reveal (ALL IN) before I saw it in the puzzle. BIG SHALLOTS gave it away immediately.

    TIDEPOOL slowed me down. I saw Quahog in the clue and assumed it had something to do with the show “Family Guy”. Quahog is the name of the city where everything takes place.

    Best –

  7. 15:18, DNF, less than half filled in.

    I can’t recall a puzzle more full of utterly useless clues in recent memory than this one. Utterly opaque, and Exhibit A for the concept of “manufactured difficulty”. Actually *worse* than your average Steinberg grid. Hope I don’t see David Alfred Bywaters in any more bylines in the future; he’s earned a spot on my “ignore” list.

  8. This was hard today, took me almost 2 hrs. stopping & going back. Finally the 2 L’s and 73A, it ALL came together. Good puzzle and theme. P.S. to Sallee, LuLu, Jennifer, Vidwan827, Anonymous and John Daigle ( for explaining damps to me) It is a true story, and it made me happy that you could see and reflect on the beauty of his words and the moment. I did memorize that poem and recited it on talent day in May. Can’t carry a tune, play an instrument etc. So my mom said “recite the Snow poem” (thats what we called it) it’s only 4 stanzas. I was scared to death but I got an A+. YES

  9. My theme would be “your guess is as good as mine”. Just way too hard and
    we only got a tad more than half. Maybe my son-in-law will come over
    tomorrow and we can ace it. If not, there is Monday. Ruined my week,
    although I did get some that I wasn’t sure I knew. And so it goes ………clothes.

    Kudos to all on your good work and have a Super weekend. Since our NO
    Saints got robbed of even going, I am hoping NE stomps the Rams good.

  10. I had a tough tough time with this puzzle so I read the constructors name five times !!! ( even that was of no big help ) finally completed it but it was a slog.
    The long answers were no help, to me, although there were a lot of ALLs in them…

    I just can’t understand the sophisticated argot that the fri constructors use….

    Cathy I had crammed up the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Longfellow… but that was for a competition, long ago. I was 12 at that time. Now, many moons later, I am lucky if I can remember my car license plate number ….

    Have a nice weekend you all, chromosome wise, of course….

    I find it interesting that, … as Bill wrote … the men determine the sex of the fetus in mammals … because traditionally the woman has always been “blamed” for bearing daughters. Like Henry the 8th etc.
    And that females in the birds do it while laying eggs….

  11. Moderately difficult Friday for me; took about an hour with no errors, although I wasn’t sure until I got here. I still don’t quite understand “They may be scraped off in bars” being FOAMS?? Actually not quite, just not.

    Curiously, I ended up in the middle section where I finally finished by changing GROan to GROWL. Also, had to change RaBBi and mOVE. Very interesting and informative write-up today.

    It’s almost time for me to check up on my “Winged collectors” for the new season, at least as soon as the rain stops.

  12. No errors but I just erased my dang comment!!!

    So that’s an error!!

    Dirk– if you have a glass of beer and it has a big head of foam, you can use a table knife to scrape off excess foam. That’s what I do, anyway…. I think that’s what the setter had in mind….🍺

  13. Oh, OK…I guess I haven’t been in a bar in a while. I usually pour my own with a small but tasty amount of foam to enjoy with the beer.

    Thanks!

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