LA Times Crossword 1 Mar 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Robert E. Lee Morris
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: X-Factor

Themed answers are each a common phrase to which has been appended a letter X:

  • 25D. Intangible quality responsible for four puzzle answers : X-FACTOR
  • 17A. Addition at the palace? : QUEEN ANNEX (from “Queen Anne”)
  • 58A. Mole in the cat food factory? : INSIDE MANX (from “inside man”)
  • 11D. Missing watch? : LOST TIMEX (from “lost time”)
  • 34D. Change in China? : ASIAN FLUX (from “Asian flu”)

Bill’s time: 7m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. College Park Big Ten athlete : TERP

The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or “the Terps” for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was coined by the the university’s president at the time, Curley Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

College Park, Maryland is best known as home to the flagship campus of the University of Maryland. Located about 4 miles from the border of the nation’s capital, College Park is also home to the National Archives at College Park that serves as the National Archives’ primary base of operations.

5. Smarten (up) : SPIFF

A spiff is a well-dressed man.

10. Cutlass, e.g. : OLDS

Oldsmobile introduced the Cutlass in 1961, and used the name on a succession of models right up to 1999.

14. Big name in the cookie aisle : OREO

How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.

15. “Rebel Without a Cause” actor : MINEO

The actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

“Rebel Without a Cause” is a 1955 drama movie starring actor James Dean, who died just before the film’s release. The title comes from a 1944 book by psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner “Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath”, although the content of the book has no bearing on the movie’s storyline. The three lead actors in the movie all died tragically, and while relatively young:

  • James Dean (24), in a car crash in 1955
  • Sal Mineo (37), in a stabbing in 1976
  • Natalie Wood (43), in a drowning in 1981

16. Castle : ROOK

The corner piece in the game of chess is called a “rook”, a word coming from the Persian “rokh” meaning a “chariot”. The rook has also been called, perhaps incorrectly, the castle, tower, marquess and rector.

17. Addition at the palace? : QUEEN ANNEX (from “Queen Anne”)

Queen Anne was the last of the Stuarts to rule in the British Isles, and the first sovereign of the Kingdom of Great Britain (after England and Scotland united). Anne was the last of the Stuart line because she died without any surviving children, despite having been pregnant seventeen times.

21. Felicity’s “Desperate Housewives” role : LYNETTE

Actress Felicity Huffman is best known for playing Lynette Scavo on the TV show “Desperate Housewives”. Huffman’s most acclaimed performance has to be her portrayal of a transgender woman in the 2005 movie “Transamerica”, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. She has been married to fellow actor William H. Macy since 1997.

23. Somme summer : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

The Somme is a department in the Picardy region, in the very north of France. The Somme is famous as the site of devastating battles during WWI.

24. Pringles alternative : STAX

Stax is a brand of potato snack made by Lay’s. Stax are similar to the brand’s famous competitor Pringles.

26. Trap fluff : LINT

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the Atlantic.

35. “All in the Family” spinoff : MAUDE

The seventies sitcom “Maude” stars Bea Arthur as the title character Maude Findlay. “Maude” is a spin-off of “All in the Family”, as Findlay is a cousin of Edith Bunker.

“All in the Family” is an American sitcom, and a remake of the incredibly successful BBC show called “Till Death Us Do Part”. Both the UK and US versions of the sitcom were groundbreaking in that the storyline brought into focus topics previously considered unsuitable for a television comedy, including racism, homosexuality, women’s liberation, menopause and impotence. “All in the Family” is one of only three TV shows that has topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive seasons (the other two are “The Cosby Show” and “American Idol”). Stars of the show are:

  • Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker
  • Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker
  • Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic née Bunker
  • Rob Reiner as Michael Stivic

36. Dallas NBAer : MAV

The Mavericks are the NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was prompted by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and Garner of course played the title role in the “Maverick” television series.

37. Church service : MASS

The principal act of worship in the Roman Catholic tradition is the Mass. The term “Mass” comes from the Late Latin word “missa” meaning “dismissal”. This word is used at the end of the Latin Mass in “Ite, missa est” which translates literally as “Go, it is the dismissal”.

38. Zany : WACKY

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

39. Ballet move : JETE

A jeté is a leap in ballet, with the term “jeté” coming from the French word “jeter” meaning “to throw”. A “jeté en avant” is a “leap to the front”, towards the audience. A “grand jeté” is a long horizontal jump, a split in the air, leaping from one foot to the other.

40. Weapon in some action flicks : UZI

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

41. Potsdam “please” : BITTE

Potsdam is a city in Germany that lies just on the outskirts of the nation’s capital of Berlin. Famously, Potsdam was the site of a conference between Stalin, Churchill and Truman after the end of WWII in Europe.

47. Woodwind musician’s piece : REED

Woodwind instruments are a subcategory of wind instruments that were traditionally made of wood, although some are now made from metal. There are two main classes of woodwind: flutes and reed instruments. Flutes produce sound by blowing air across the edge of a hole in a cylindrical tube. Reed instruments produce sounds by blowing into a mouthpiece, which then directs the air over a reed or reeds, causing them to vibrate.

49. CPR pro : EMT

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

55. University of Wyoming city : LARAMIE

A French (or French-Canadian) trapper named Jacques LaRamie came to the area surrounding modern-day Laramie in the late 1810s, one of the first Europeans to visit. One day he disappeared without trace in the backcountry, but his name survives as it’s used for the Laramie Mountains, Laramie River, and ultimately the city of Laramie, Wyoming.

57. PC addresses : URLS

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locators (URL).

58. Mole in the cat food factory? : INSIDE MANX (from “inside man”)

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

61. Egbert __, aptly named W.C. Fields character : SOUSE

“The Bank Dick” is a 1940 movie starring W. C. Fields as a bank security guard named “Egbert Sousé”. Sousé is also the town drunk, and so folks tended to pronounce his name as “Souse”, ignoring the acute accent over the letter E.

62. Countertop material : MICA

Mica is a silicate mineral. Thin sheets of mica are transparent and are used in place of glass in certain applications. This form of mica is called isinglass, and as it has a better thermal performance than glass it is a great choice for “peepholes’ in boilers and lanterns. Mica is also used in the electronics industry, making use of its unique electrical and thermal insulating properties.

64. Youngster of an awkward age : TWEEN

The term “tween” is used to describe preadolescence, the years “between” 8 and 12 years of age.

Down

1. Kitchen topper : TOQUE

A toque was a brimless style of hat that was very fashionable in Europe in the 13th to 16th centuries. Nowadays we associate toques with chefs, as it is the name given to a chef’s hat (called a “toque blanche” in French, a “white hat”). A chef’s toque is quite interesting. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats, often said to signify the number of ways that an egg can be cooked.

3. Shortstop alongside Robinson : REESE

Pee Wee Reese was a shortstop who played his professional career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers. Reese is remembered not only for his skill on the field, but for his very visible support for teammate Jackie Robinson, who famously struggled to be accepted as the first African-American player in the majors. As he was an outstanding marbles player as a child, Reese was given the nickname “pee wee” after the name for a small marble.

4. Keats or Yeats : POET

The English poet John Keats died in Rome in 1821, and is buried there in the Protestant Cemetery. His last wish was that his grave be marked with a tombstone bearing just the words “”Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water”, and no name nor a date. Keats’ friends honored his request to some extent, as the words were included on the stone and no name is given. The full epitaph reads:

This Grave
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young English Poet
Who
on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
Desired
these Words to be
engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Name was writ in Water.
24 February 1821

Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.

6. 1492 sailer : PINTA

Famously, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Niña and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted, by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana who was a lookout on the fateful day. Pinta was a nickname for the ship that translated as “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in mists of time.

9. Jimi Hendrix classic : FOXY LADY

“Foxy Lady” is a 1967 song by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, written by Jimi Hendrix. “Foxy Lady” is noted for a famous Hendrix guitar riff and the use of the so-called “Hendrix chord”.

11. Missing watch? : LOST TIMEX (from “lost time”)

The Timex Group, the manufacturer of watches, evolved from the Waterbury Clock Company that was founded in 1854 in Waterbury, Connecticut. The company achieved tremendous success in the early sixties largely due to an innovative marketing campaign. Advertisements featured the memorable tagline “Timex – Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”. In 1962, one out of every three watches sold in the US was a Timex.

12. Nimrod : DOLT

“Nimrod” is a slang term used to describe a foolish person.

13. Arcade trademark word : SKEE

Skee-Ball is that arcade game where you roll balls up a ramp trying to “bounce” it into rings for varying numbers of points. The game was first introduced in Philadelphia, in 1909.

22. Nick at __ : NITE

“Nick at Nite” is the name given to the late-night programming aired on the Nickelodeon channel space. Nick at Nite started broadcasting in 1985 and was conceived as television’s first “oldies” television network.

27. Passports, e.g. : IDS

As a result of a League of Nations conference in 1920, passports are usually written in French and one other language. French was specified back then as it was deemed the language of diplomacy. US passports use French and English, given that English is the nation’s de facto national language. Spanish was added as a language for US passports in the late nineties in recognition of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico.

29. “Star Wars” hero : LUKE

When the character Luke Skywalker was created for “Star Wars”, he was named “Annikin Starkiller”. Conceptually, he was a 60-year-old war veteran for a while, and also a female at one point. Luke is played by actor Mark Hamill in the “Star Wars” films.

32. “Give me __ and nothing but”: Tom Lehrer lyric : SMUT

Tom Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, and someone famous for writing humorous songs and parodies.

34. Change in China? : ASIAN FLUX (from “Asian flu”)

The so-called “Asian Flu” was a pandemic that originated in China in 1956, and lasted until 1958. The H2N2 virus, which caused the disease, killed an estimated 2 million people worldwide, including almost 70,000 in the US. Years later, in 1997, the financial crisis that rocked many countries across Asia was given the same name “Asian Flu”. The crisis started in Thailand when the Thai currency collapsed, and like a virus the panic spread across much of southeast Asia and Japan.

35. Actor LeBlanc : MATT

Actor Matt LeBlanc is best known for his portrayal of Joey Tribbiani in the sitcom “Friends”. LeBlanc was born in Newton Massachusetts. In 2011, LeBlanc started playing a fictionalized version of himself in the excellent BBC/Showtime collaboration called “Episodes”.

39. Lively dance : JIG

The dance known as a “jig” is most associated with Ireland and Scotland. In traditional Irish dancing, the jig is second in popularity only to the reel. The most famous Irish jig is probably “The Irish Washerwoman”. I may not dance a jig, but I sure do know the tune of “The Irish Washerwoman” …

42. Sierra __ : MADRE

“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is a 1927 novel by German novelist B. Traven. The book was made into a famous 1948 movie of the same name by John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston (director John’s father).

44. Mixed martial artist Ronda : ROUSEY

Ronda Rousey is a mixed martial artist, and the first US woman to win an Olympic medal in judo. Rousey is a popular person online, with hers being the third-most searched name on Google in 2015 (after Lamar Odom and Caitlyn Jenner).

48. Beethoven dedicatee : ELISE

“Für Elise” is a beautiful piece of solo piano music by Beethoven that is also known as “Bagatelle in A Minor”. “Für Elise” means simply “For Elise”, but sadly no one knows for sure the identity of the mysterious dedicatee.

50. Prepare, as garlic : MINCE

Our word “garlic” evolved via Old English from “gar” (spear) and “leac” (leek). The use of “spear” is apparently a reference to the shape of a clove.

51. __ Pete: hot sauce brand : TEXAS

Texas Pete is a Louisiana-style hot sauce that comes from North Carolina. The original hot sauce is relatively mild, but there’s a Texas Pete Hotter Hot Sauce that’s supposedly three-times hotter.

53. Creator of Perry and Della : ERLE

I must have read all of the “Perry Mason” books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

Della Street is Perry Mason’s very capable secretary in the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. Street was played on the TV show by Barbara Hale.

56. Magazine contents : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. College Park Big Ten athlete : TERP
5. Smarten (up) : SPIFF
10. Cutlass, e.g. : OLDS
14. Big name in the cookie aisle : OREO
15. “Rebel Without a Cause” actor : MINEO
16. Castle : ROOK
17. Addition at the palace? : QUEEN ANNEX (from “Queen Anne”)
19. Dot on a globe, perhaps : ISLE
20. Surprising and sometimes annoying success : UPSTART
21. Felicity’s “Desperate Housewives” role : LYNETTE
23. Somme summer : ETE
24. Pringles alternative : STAX
26. Trap fluff : LINT
27. “__ about time!” : IT’S
28. Reason for road service : FLAT TIRE
32. Disreputable : SHADY
35. “All in the Family” spinoff : MAUDE
36. Dallas NBAer : MAV
37. Church service : MASS
38. Zany : WACKY
39. Ballet move : JETE
40. Weapon in some action flicks : UZI
41. Potsdam “please” : BITTE
42. Social gathering : MIXER
43. Rip verbally : TEAR INTO
45. Fall back : LAG
46. Acknowledge : NOTE
47. Woodwind musician’s piece : REED
49. CPR pro : EMT
52. Gasses up : REFUELS
55. University of Wyoming city : LARAMIE
57. PC addresses : URLS
58. Mole in the cat food factory? : INSIDE MANX (from “inside man”)
60. Down : BLUE
61. Egbert __, aptly named W.C. Fields character : SOUSE
62. Countertop material : MICA
63. Alluring : SEXY
64. Youngster of an awkward age : TWEEN
65. Bullring bravos : OLES

Down

1. Kitchen topper : TOQUE
2. Release violently : ERUPT
3. Shortstop alongside Robinson : REESE
4. Keats or Yeats : POET
5. Brainpower : SMARTS
6. 1492 sailer : PINTA
7. Lodging provider : INN
8. Sense : FEEL
9. Jimi Hendrix classic : FOXY LADY
10. Point in the right direction : ORIENT
11. Missing watch? : LOST TIMEX (from “lost time”)
12. Nimrod : DOLT
13. Arcade trademark word : SKEE
18. Vile : NASTY
22. Nick at __ : NITE
25. Intangible quality responsible for four puzzle answers : X-FACTOR
27. Passports, e.g. : IDS
29. “Star Wars” hero : LUKE
30. Velocity, e.g. : RATE
31. At any time : EVER
32. “Give me __ and nothing but”: Tom Lehrer lyric : SMUT
33. Sunset obscurer : HAZE
34. Change in China? : ASIAN FLUX (from “Asian flu”)
35. Actor LeBlanc : MATT
38. It includes reds : WINE LIST
39. Lively dance : JIG
41. Small meal : BITE
42. Sierra __ : MADRE
44. Mixed martial artist Ronda : ROUSEY
45. Heavy : LEADEN
48. Beethoven dedicatee : ELISE
49. Inbox message : EMAIL
50. Prepare, as garlic : MINCE
51. __ Pete: hot sauce brand : TEXAS
52. Massages : RUBS
53. Creator of Perry and Della : ERLE
54. Winter coat : SNOW
56. Magazine contents : AMMO
59. Go after, in a way : SUE

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Mar 19, Friday”

  1. Is ‘mica’ here a reference to ‘formica’ or something else? It doesn’t appear that formica contains mica

    1. Mica is a type of silicate mineral. Formica is a trademarked melamine resin composite (a plastic basically) invented in 1912. (I’d give links, but don’t want to end up in Bill’s spam filter.)

  2. LAT: 9:35, no errors. WSJ: 13:56, no errors. Newsday: 34:01, no errors.

    @Jack
    Rich Norris has stated a few times that the nature of the theme is what determines the day of the week, more than difficulty of the puzzle.

  3. Today’s constructor may in fact be named Robert Edward Lee Morris but in light of recent events in the south such as Charlottesville (which involved the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee) his manner of identifying himself seems needlessly provocative.

  4. LAT: 12:32, no errors. Newsday: 11:25, no errors. WSJ: 14:07, no errors; still thinking about the meta, which seems more approachable than last week’s, but I’m missing something. Croce later.

    Just got the latest batch of Miyamoto kenkens from the folks over at “kenkenpuzzle.com” and, once again, contrary to their advertising, the 4×4 is a duplicate of one from August, 2016. Very disrespectful of them.

    1. Aaaannnddd … the latest Croce has fallen: ~2:00:00, no errors. (When I read Croce’s note about the puzzle, I declined to time myself.) Every item in the clue list suggests an anagram of the associated entry in the grid. So, for example, the clue “Pricker on a rose bush”, suggesting “THORN”, might be used for the entry “NORTH”. And, of course, “Feeds to excess”, suggesting “SATES”, might be used for “SEATS”, for “TASSE”, or for “ASSET”. A fun puzzle, but not without more than its fair share of hair-pulling moments … 😜

  5. @Robert- that’s his name. There is nothing provocative about it. Here we go again with creating false controversies. Please leave your politics off of this site.

    1. It might be said that the constructor brings *his* politics with him by using that particular name, too. I have a big interest in all things Civil War, and often come face to face with “southern recalcitrance”. You display a name like that, and you’re going to get a reaction, one way or t’other. (I don’t know why anybody needs four or five names anyway.)

      1. @Allen
        Well said, and it’s not so much a question of politics as of patriotism. Lee may have been a valiant officer prior to 1861 but his behavior during the Civil War was plainly treasonous, a fact only now being recognized in the South 150 years later.

  6. LA Times left out the clue for 60 across, then referred to 60 down as a clue to 58 across ??!! (No 60 down). Come on now, I need all the help I can get!🤔

  7. Took me 19 mins and 31 seconds; the top left quadrant gave me FITS!!! But eventually, I wore this grid down and emerged unscathed. Meanwhile, Bill probably yawned at some point, since it only took him 7 and a half minutes.

  8. @Allen- if you’re so offended by his name then don’t do his crossword puzzles. And you don’t get to speak for him. Stop injecting and projecting your interpretations onto others.

  9. Fairly easy Friday; took about 25 minutes with no errors. Seemed easier than yesterday to me. I did notice the constructor’s name and thought it a bit provocative, but whatever…

    Just had to change REEcE , MIrER to MIXER and HAZy to HAZE. Didn’t know Lynette but the crosses got it for me.

    @Carrie – Yeah, I liked the tunes then, but a year later I would consider them hopelessly primitive and outdated. Of course now, revisiting them, they’re not too bad at all.

  10. Hiya folks!!! 🐔

    No errors– I can never remember TERP, which I know only from crossword puzzles, so I left it blank and almost forgot to go back and fill it in!! Needed the crosses. 🤔

    I’ve seen this constructor’s name before– one IS likely to do a double take there.

    SFINGI– hope you’re not snowed in!!🏂

    Be well~~😁

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