LA Times Crossword 5 Feb 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Tyler Lian & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Shark Tank

Themed answers each end with a type of SHARK:

  • 56A. Emmy-winning reality series for entrepreneurs … and a place for the ends of 17-, 27- and 42-Across? : SHARK TANK
  • 17A. Immigrant’s ID : GREEN CARD (giving “card shark”)
  • 27A. Tuition-paying aid : STUDENT LOAN (giving “loan shark”)
  • 42A. Competitive swimming venue : OLYMPIC POOL (giving “pool shark”)

Bill’s time: 5m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Ring ref’s decision : TKO

In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

4. Hindu division : CASTE

Although caste systems exist in several societies around the world, we tend to associate the concept with the social stratification that is still found in many parts of India. The term “caste” comes from the Portuguese word “casta” meaning “race, breed”. The Portuguese used the term to describe the hereditary social groups that they found in India when they arrived in the subcontinent in 1498.

14. Hankering : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

15. Aquaman’s realm : OCEAN

Aquaman is a comic book superhero who first appeared in 1941. Aquaman was inspired by a character in a Russian science-fiction novel named “Amphibian Man”.

16. “Grey’s Anatomy” staffer : NURSE

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

17. Immigrant’s ID : GREEN CARD (giving “card shark”)

A “green card” is more correctly called a US Permanent Resident Card. The informal term harks back to the period between 1946 and 1964 when the document was indeed green in color. After dropping the green for many years, the Permanent Resident Card was changed back to a green color in 2010.

A “card sharp” is someone who is skilled and deceptive with playing cards, particularly when playing gambling games like poker. It seems that the term “card sharp” predates the related “card shark”, both of which have the same meaning.

21. Low singers : BASSES

The bass is the lowest male singing voice. A man with such a voice might be called a “basso” (plural “bassi”). In an opera, the villain of the piece is usually played by a basso.

22. Blackjack elevens : ACES

In the card game called Blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

25. Title for Jose or Diego? : SAN

San Jose is the third-largest city in California and is located at the heart of Silicon Valley. The city was founded by the Spanish in 1777 and named El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. Under Spanish and Mexican rule, the territory of Alta California had its capital in Monterey. When California was made a US state, San Jose was named as the first capital, in 1850. Subsequently, the state legislature met in Vallejo in 1852, Benicia in 1853, and finally settled in Sacramento.

The name of the California city of San Diego dates back to 1602, when Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno named the area after the Catholic Saint Didacus. Saint Didacus was more commonly referred to as San Diego de Alcalá.

36. Jazz trumpeter Al : HIRT

Al Hirt was a trumpeter and bandleader. Hirt’s most famous recordings were the song “Java” and the album “Honey in the Horn”, as well the theme song used “The Green Hornet” TV series in the sixties.

37. Indian prime minister mentored by Gandhi : NEHRU

Jawaharlal Nehru was the very first prime minister of India, serving from 1947-64. Nehru was basically the heir to his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Nehru’s only daughter Indira, also became prime minister (known as Indira Gandhi through marriage, though she was no relation to Mahatma).

Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India in the first part of the 20th century, as the country sought independence from Britain. He was also referred to as “Mahatma”, meaning “great soul”. His remarkable philosophy of nonviolence and living a modest lifestyle was a great inspiration to the Indian people. India (and Pakistan) was granted independence in 1947. Tragically, Gandhi was assassinated the very next year.

38. Eric Carle’s “The __ Hungry Caterpillar” : VERY

Eric Carle is a very successful children’s author and book illustrator, with over 100 million of his books sold around the world. Carle’s most famous title is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, and it alone has sold 30 million copies.

39. Viral internet item : MEME

A meme (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

41. Porto-Novo’s land : BENIN

The Republic of Benin is a country in West Africa. Benin used to be a French colony, and was known as Dahomey. Dahomey gained independence in 1975, and took the name Benin after the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies.

Porto-Novo is the capital city of Benin in West Africa. Porto-Novo may be the nation’s capital but it isn’t the biggest city, and nor is it the most economically important. That honor goes to the city of Cotonou.

45. Cul-de-__ : SAC

Even though “cul-de-sac” can indeed mean “bottom of the bag” in French, the term cul-de-sac is of English origin (the use of “cul” in French is actually quite rude). The term was introduced in aristocratic circles at a time when it was considered very fashionable to speak French. Dead-end streets in France are usually signposted with just a symbol and no accompanying words, but if words are included they are “voie sans issue”, meaning “way without exit”.

47. Mother’s Day gift holder : VASE

Note the official punctuation in “Mother’s Day”, even though one might think it should be “Mothers’ Day”. President Wilson and Anna Jarvis, who created the tradition, specifically wanted Mother’s Day to honor the mothers within each family and not just “mothers” in general, so they went with the “Mother’s Day” punctuation.

49. Old phone company nickname : MA BELL

The term “Ma Bell” was used to describe the monopoly led by the American Bell Telephone Company and AT&T, that controlled telephone service right across the country. The name “Bell” is after Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the first practical telephone.

52. Biblical opening : GENESIS

The Book of Genesis is the first book in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. Some of the main figures in the book are Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses and Abraham. “Genesis” is a Greek word meaning “origin, creation”.

55. Food recall culprit : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

56. Emmy-winning reality series for entrepreneurs … and a place for the ends of 17-, 27- and 42-Across? : SHARK TANK

“Shark Tank” is a reality television show that features aspiring entrepreneurs making pitches to potential investors (the “sharks”) as they try to grow their businesses. The show is a Mark Burnett production and is based in a British series called “Dragons’ Den”.

59. Fictional Swiss miss : HEIDI

“Heidi” is a children’s book written by Swiss author Johanna Spyri and published in two parts. The first is “Heidi’s years of learning and travel”, and the second “Heidi makes use of what she has learned”. The books tell the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The most famous film adaptation of the story is the 1937 movie of the same name starring Shirley Temple in the title role.

60. “Excusez-__” : MOI

“Excusez-moi” is French for “excuse me”.

61. Frankfurt’s state : HESSE

Hesse is a German state. The capital of Hesse is Wiesbaden, although the largest city in the state is Frankfurt.

63. Sinus doc : ENT

Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)

In anatomical terms, a sinus is a cavity in tissue. Sinuses are found all over the body, in the kidney and heart for example, but we most commonly think of the paranasal sinuses that surround the nose.

Down

1. Rapper whose name sounds like an endangered cat : TYGA

“Tyga” is the stage name of hip hop artist Michael Stevenson from Compton, California. Apparently, the stage name comes from the phrase “thank you God always”.

2. “The Americans” co-star Russell : KERI

Actress Keri Russell got her big break on television when she was cast in the title role in the drama show “Felicity” that ran from 1998 from 2002. The lead character in the show is Felicity Porter, a young lady introduced to the audience with a head of long curly blonde hair. Famously, Russell cut her hair extremely short at the start of the second season, an action that was associated with a significant drop in the show’s viewership. Russell had to grow out her hair over the season. I haven’t seen “Felicity”, but I really do enjoy Russell playing one of the leads in the entertaining Cold War drama called “The Americans” that is aired by FX.

“The Americans” is a very engaging drama series set during the Cold War that features two KGB spies living as a married couple just outside Washington, D.C. The show was created by Joe Weisberg, who is a novelist and former CIA officer. The lead roles in “The Americans” are played by real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

5. Greet aggressively : ACCOST

To accost is to confront boldly. The verb “to accost” is a term that ultimately derives from the Latin “ad” meaning “to” and “costa” meaning “side, coast”. Originally, the term applied to warships that were attacking an enemy’s “coast”.

10. The Roots’ frontman on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” : QUESTLOVE

Questlove (also “?uestlove”) is the stage name of musician and DJ Ahmir Khalib Thompson. He is the drummer of hip hop band the Roots. The Roots were the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, and followed the host when he moved in 2014 to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”.

13. Church rows : PEWS

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

21. African language group : BANTU

There are hundreds of Bantu languages, which are mainly spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

25. Blockhead : SCHMO

“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, and comes from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

26. Princess who gives up her voice to be human : ARIEL

In the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid”, the title character is given the name “Ariel”. In the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that dates back to 1836, the Little Mermaid is given no name at all. There is a famous statue of the unnamed Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen Harbor, in Andersen’s homeland of Denmark.

29. Magical access words : OPEN SESAME!

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “open sesame”, which open the thieves’ den.

31. Timberlake’s former band : NSYNC

Justin Timberlake got his break by appearing on TV’s “Star Search” from which he was given a starring role in “The New Mickey Mouse Club”. It was on “The New Mickey Mouse Club” that he met his future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well JC Chasez who would join Timberlake in the lineup of the boy band NSYNC.

33. Biological building blocks : STEM CELLS

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become specialized cells. Stem cells are found in embryos (embryonic stem cells), and are especially prevalent about 4-5 days of growth after fertilization. Stem cells are also found throughout the bodies of adults (somatic stem cells). Somatic stem cells are associated with a particular organ and have the potential to regenerate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate.

37. Sam of “Peaky Blinders” : NEILL

Sam Neill is a very talented actor from New Zealand, although he spent the first few years of his life in Northern Ireland. I really enjoyed Neill in a 1983 television miniseries called “Reilly, Ace of Spies”, about a British spy operation during WWI. He is perhaps better-known for his roles in the movies “Omen III”, “Dead Calm”, “Jurassic Park” and “The Hunt for Red October”.

“Peaky Blinders” is a BBC crime drama that can be viewed on Netflix. The show follows the story of a gangster family in the English midlands city of Birmingham from just after the end of WWI. The show has a pretty good cast, led by Irishman Cillian Murphy as the gang’s leader, and New Zealander Sam Neill as police detective and the gangster’s nemesis.

50. Aleve target : ACHE

Aleve is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

51. Jungle squeezers : BOAS

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

56. “Shameless” network, briefly : SHO

“Shameless” is a comedy drama TV series about a dysfunctional Chicago family consisting of a six children and single father who spends his days drunk and high on drugs. The US show is a remake of the original British “Shameless” that is based on a similar family who live in Manchester in the North of England. I binge-watched the US version of the show and thoroughly enjoyed it …

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Ring ref’s decision : TKO
4. Hindu division : CASTE
9. Rig up : EQUIP
14. Hankering : YEN
15. Aquaman’s realm : OCEAN
16. “Grey’s Anatomy” staffer : NURSE
17. Immigrant’s ID : GREEN CARD (giving “card shark”)
19. Extend the library borrowing term : RENEW
20. Tries to hit : AIMS FOR
21. Low singers : BASSES
22. Blackjack elevens : ACES
23. Not fitting : INAPT
25. Title for Jose or Diego? : SAN
27. Tuition-paying aid : STUDENT LOAN (giving “loan shark”)
32. Rude and crude : CRASS
34. “Begone, feline!” : SCAT!
35. Unsubscribes, with “out” : OPTS
36. Jazz trumpeter Al : HIRT
37. Indian prime minister mentored by Gandhi : NEHRU
38. Eric Carle’s “The __ Hungry Caterpillar” : VERY
39. Viral internet item : MEME
40. Improve text : EDIT
41. Porto-Novo’s land : BENIN
42. Competitive swimming venue : OLYMPIC POOL (giving “pool shark”)
45. Cul-de-__ : SAC
46. Sniffling maladies : COLDS
47. Mother’s Day gift holder : VASE
49. Old phone company nickname : MA BELL
52. Biblical opening : GENESIS
55. Food recall culprit : E COLI
56. Emmy-winning reality series for entrepreneurs … and a place for the ends of 17-, 27- and 42-Across? : SHARK TANK
58. Biblical verb : SHALT
59. Fictional Swiss miss : HEIDI
60. “Excusez-__” : MOI
61. Frankfurt’s state : HESSE
62. How ballerinas dance : ON TOE
63. Sinus doc : ENT

Down

1. Rapper whose name sounds like an endangered cat : TYGA
2. “The Americans” co-star Russell : KERI
3. Many an action film hero : ONE-MAN ARMY
4. Admit : CONFESS
5. Greet aggressively : ACCOST
6. Burn a little : SEAR
7. Road covering : TAR
8. Conclude : END
9. Fascinated : ENRAPT
10. The Roots’ frontman on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” : QUESTLOVE
11. Big coffeepots : URNS
12. “Noted” : I SEE
13. Church rows : PEWS
18. PC panic key : ESC
21. African language group : BANTU
23. Tracking implants, for short : ID CHIPS
24. A few feet from : NEAR TO
25. Blockhead : SCHMO
26. Princess who gives up her voice to be human : ARIEL
28. Vintage music purchase : USED CD
29. Magical access words : OPEN SESAME!
30. Glass-roofed lobbies : ATRIA
31. Timberlake’s former band : NSYNC
33. Biological building blocks : STEM CELLS
37. Sam of “Peaky Blinders” : NEILL
41. Tot’s comforter, affectionately : BLANKIE
43. Not at all 32-Across : POLITE
44. Work too hard : OVERDO
48. Opposite of rise : SET
49. Screen door material : MESH
50. Aleve target : ACHE
51. Jungle squeezers : BOAS
52. Canter or gallop : GAIT
53. A party to, as a private joke : IN ON
54. Classroom acting : SKIT
56. “Shameless” network, briefly : SHO
57. Egg layer : HEN

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16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Feb 19, Tuesday”

  1. No Googles, but several people I don’t know: TYGA, KERI, QUESTLOVE, NEILL. Also, ACES.

    Had “hocuS pocus” before OPEN SESAME, and “Scholarship” before STUDENT LOAN. Had to clean up the ensuing mess.

    @Vidwan – Hubster loved the jokes.

  2. Forgot a couple of puzzles: Jones: 21:02, no errors (by some miracle, as there were several things I had to guess at). CHE: 12:36, no errors.

  3. Wouldn’t the opposite of “rise” be “sit”? Unless it’s referring to bread rising – but then what is “set” in that context? Or maybe it’s totally something else!

    1. We had SIT at first, but needed the E for the word in the other
      direction. I think he was referring to the rising and the setting
      of the sun.

      I thought we had 100, but ended up with 2 errors. Both misspellings,
      ARIEL and BANTU. A bit harder than yesterday.

  4. LAT: 10:33, no errors. Very difficult for the day. WSJ: 6:56, 7 errors. Lots of screwed up nonsense in one section of the grid. Newsday: 7:29, no errors. Jones: 7:38, no errors.

    Music Meta to come.

    1. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria in the 1960s, Benin was the capital of the Mid-Western region in south-central Nigeria, the Niger River delta area. The city was known for its famous Benin bronzes that made early European explorers think that the locals could not have made them. It was the Benin Empire that gave its name to the Bight of Benin, not the other way around. I traveled through Dahomey and Upper Volta. Ghana had already changed its name from the Gold Coast when I spent several days there.

  5. 9 mins 35 sec, and no errors. Seems long for a Tuesday, but then again, Jeff Chen is co-author of this grid, so I should be lucky to even be able to finish it at all.

  6. Tim Croce’s latest: no errors. At 55:43, I filled in the final square, but there were three squares I wasn’t quite sure of, so I let the puzzle sit for a few minutes; when I got back to it, I realized there was a better choice for one of the three and changed it, at which point the elapsed time was about 1:02:00. Not the most difficult Croce, but with a couple of tricky spots.

  7. I had an easier time and enjoyed this puzzle! Didn’t know that Jeff Chen was involved or I wojlc have been more nervous … maybe one of his easiest puzzles . !!?!!
    Thank you Madame Jane Blando for the compliment of a borrowed joke. It come to mind when I typed in the V of Louis XIV….

    I remember reading in a book on early hominids that the Southern Bantu language called !Klung (! Is a “click”) which is very close to chimpanzee click conversation is considered the first language of humankind…

    Caste in India is known better as varna. Originally it was a formal division of labor but then it became hereditary and inflexible .. I am not defending it by any means… incidentally the highest caste, the Brahmins (. Priests, scribes) were not the richest .
    .. the kings were, of the warrior caste ( number 2)
    and the richest were the Vaishya’s… the businessmen etc the number 3 caste.
    A gandhi, is s cloth merchant … so the Gandhis belonged to the business caste.

    Jerry, the Peace Corps volunteer … you may have been in Nigeria during the civil war when Biafra chose to secede and 2 millions in the area died of famine and starvation during the blockade of the war. That was between 1967 – 1970. I still have Biafran pound notes from that period. They are cheap and still readily available.

    Have a great day tomorrow all you folks

  8. Salve y’all!!🐔

    No errors. As usual, I forgot the spelling of NEHRU– whenever it’s in a puzzle I just ink in the N and the U, then wait for crosses to fill in the rest!!!🤔 You’d think I’d know it by now….a certain few words always trip me up…. like “occasionally.” !!!😮 Always want to spell with double S!! Why do only certain words get us?

    My dad had an Al HIRT record when we were kids…it must have been late 60s, cuz Hirt was dressed kinda like a hippie, and the album included “Scarborough Fair”– my big brother thought that was especially cool.

    Jerry– thanks for telling of your time in Africa and knowing the facts! It is wonderful that you had that experience and have the memories. I’m going to look for those Benin bronzes.🙂

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