LA Times Crossword 14 Jan 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Roland Huget
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Inner Core

Themed answers each include a hidden “INNER CORE”, a synonym of “kernel, pip”:

  • 61A Earth’s most central geologic layer … or what can be found in each set of puzzle circles : INNER CORE
  • 17A City near the Great Salt Lake : OGDEN, UTAH (hiding an inner “nut”)
  • 25A “Be yourself,” nowadays : KEEP IT REAL (hiding an inner “pit”)
  • 36A Casino advantage : HOUSE EDGE (hiding an inner “seed”)
  • 51A “Be right with you” : JUST ONE SEC (hiding an inner “stone”)

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 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.

14 Québec street : RUE

The name of the province Québec comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.

15 Future oak : ACORN

These days, we don’t usually consider acorns as a foodstuff. But in days past, many cultures around the world have used acorns as food. Usually, bitter tannins that occur in acorns need to be leached out in water. Acorn meal can be a substitute for grain flour, which can then be used to make bread. Acorns have also been used as a substitute for coffee, especially when coffee was rationed. Notably, acorn coffee was brewed up by Confederates during the American Civil War, and by Germans during World War II.

17 City near the Great Salt Lake : OGDEN, UTAH (hiding an inner “nut”)

Ogden was the first permanent settlement by people of European descent in what is now the state of Utah.

The Great Salt Lake in Utah is extremely shallow, and so the area of the lake fluctuates greatly with the changing volume of water. Back in 1963 the lake shrunk to 950 square miles, whereas in 1988 the area was measured at a whopping 3,300 square miles.

20 Biceps exercises : CURLS

The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

21 Hosting a show, briefly : MC’ING

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

24 Breyers __ Cookies & Cream : OREO

Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.

27 Arnaz-Ball production company : DESILU

As one might imagine, “Desilu” is a contraction of the names of the production company’s owners, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The name “Desilu” was first given to the couple’s ranch in Chatsworth, California. Desilu produced some great shows, including the original “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible”.

29 Muss, as hair : TOUSLE

“Muss” means “state of disorder”, and is a term that probably evolved from “mess”. The phrase “no muss, no fuss” means “no bother, no mess made, no excessive hustle and bustle”.

30 Magazine VIPs : EDS

Editor (ed)

35 Old fast fliers : SSTS

The first supersonic transport (SST) to fly was the Tupolev Tu-144, which was constructed in the Soviet Union. The Tu-144 first flew in 1968, but did not carry passengers until 1977. The aircraft was permanently grounded as a passenger craft in 1978 due to concerns about safety (there had been two Tu-144 crashes). The second SST to fly was the Anglo-French Concorde, which operated at a profit for over 27 years until it was withdrawn from service in 2003. There was one Concorde crash, in Paris in July 2000. Since then, there have been no commercial SST services.

39 Fleshy fruit : POME

The Latin word for “fruit” is “pomum”, which gives us the botanical term “pome” that is used for a group of fleshy fruits, including apples and pears.

42 Barbecue spot : PATIO

“Patio” is a Spanish word meaning “courtyard”.

43 Can opener : TAB

The term “pop top” refers to a whole family of designs for opening the top of a soda can. The oldest method is the “pull tab” or “ring pull”, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived, but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull tabs that littered the streets.

46 Feathered friends : AVIANS

An aviary is a large cage that houses birds, and something described as avian is bird-like or bird-related. “Avis” is Latin for “bird”.

49 Beethoven’s “Tempest,” e.g. : SONATA

A cantata is a piece of music that is sung, as opposed to a sonata, which is a piece that is played on some instrument, often a piano. A sonatina is in effect a sonata that has been labelled as something lighter and shorter.

Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 17” was given the name “Der Sturm” (“The Tempest”), but not until after the composer’s passing.

55 Chimps and gorillas : APES

The tailless primates known as apes (also “hominoids”) are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

56 Furry sitcom extraterrestrial : ALF

“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. The title character is a hand-puppet, and supposedly an alien named Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. The alien crash-landed into the house of amateur radio enthusiast Willie Tanner. Tanner renamed the intruder “ALF”, standing for “alien life form”.

57 Chutzpah : MOXIE

Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …

Our word “chutzpah” meaning “nerve, gall, impudence” is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.

59 Early American crop : MAIZE

“Maize” is another name for “corn”. Even though there is more maize grown in the world than wheat or rice, a relatively small proportion of the total maize crop is consumed directly by humans. That’s because a lot of maize goes to make corn ethanol, animal feed and derivative products like corn starch and corn syrup. Here in the US, over 40% of the maize produced is used to feed livestock, and about 30% is used to make ethanol.

61 Earth’s most central geologic layer … or what can be found in each set of puzzle circles : INNER CORE

The Earth’s core is divided into two zones, a relatively “solid” inner core and a liquid outer core. Both inner and outer core are comprised mainly of iron and nickel. It is believed that the Earth’s magnetic field is generated by electric currents created by convection currents in the outer core.

63 Geographer’s volume : ATLAS

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.

64 Tokyo-based watchmaker : SEIKO

Watch manufacturer Seiko was founded as a watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo in 1881. The store was opened by one Kintaro Hattori, who started to produce clocks under the name Seikosha, which can be translated as “House of Exquisite Workmanship”. The first Seiko watches went on sale in 1924, and today the company suggests that the name “Seiko” is Japanese for “exquisite” and “success”.

67 Jacket material : TWEED

Tweed is a rough woolen fabric that is very much associated with Scotland in the UK, and with County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth was originally called “tweel”, the Scots word for “twill”. Apparently a London merchant misinterpreted some handwriting in the early 1800s and assumed the fabric was called “tweed”, a reference to the Scottish River Tweed, and the name stuck …

Down

2 Was a sign of : AUGURED

The verb “to augur” means “to bode, serve as an omen”. The term comes from the name of religious officials in ancient Rome called augurs whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

5 Pressure prefix : ACU-

Acupressure and acupuncture are related alternative medical techniques. Both aim to clear blockages in the flow of life energy through the body’s meridians. The treatment is given by stimulating “acupoints” in the body, by applying pressure in the case of acupressure, and by applying needles in the case of acupuncture.

9 Serenaded : SANG TO

A serenade is a musical performance in the open air, specifically at night. We tend to think of the term applying to a young man serenading his lover from below her window. We imported the word via French from the Italian “serenata” meaning “evening song”, influenced by the Italian “sera” meaning “evening”.

10 Stein filler : ALE

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

13 Tablet crushers : PESTLES

I’ve loved the sound of the words “mortar” and “pestle”, ever since I was first introduced to them in the chemistry lab. The Romans called a receptacle for pounding or grinding things a “mortarium”, giving us “mortar”. Mortarium was also the word for the product of pounding and grinding, which gives us our “mortar” that’s used with bricks to build a wall. And further, short stubby cannons used in the 16th century resembled a grinding bowl and so were called “mortars”, which evolved into our contemporary weapon of the same name. As far as the pestle is concerned, it is also derived from its Latin name “pistillum”, which comes from the word for “crush”.

18 “The Time Machine” race : ELOI

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounter in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a domineering race living underground who use the Eloi as food.

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells titled “The Time Machine”, the author never actually names the antagonist, and refers to him as “the Time Traveller”. In the famous 1960 movie adaption, also called “The Time Machine”, Rod Taylor plays the Time Traveller, and is given the name “George”. Perceptive viewers of the movie might catch sight of a plaque on the side of the time machine that elaborates on the Time Traveller’s name, naming him “H. George Wells”, a homage to the author.

25 Spiral-horned antelope : KUDU

The kudu is a type of antelope. There are two extant species: the lesser kudu of eastern Africa, and the greater kudu of eastern and southern Africa. The kudu horn is used as a musical instrument, as a horn.

28 Vientiane people : LAO

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, and is situated on the famous Mekong River. The city was originally called the “city of sandalwood” by Buddhist monks, naming after the valued trees that grew in the area. The French took the Pali words for “city of sandalwood” and rewrote it as the French-sounding “Vientiane”.

32 Poisonous African snake : ASP

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt.

34 Vietnamese New Year : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

37 Spinal segment : DISC

Our intervertebral discs are composed mainly of cartilage. They perform the crucial functions of separating the vertebrae while allowing slight movement, and also absorbing shock. A “slipped disc” isn’t really a disc that has “slipped”, but rather a disc that “bulges”. If that bulge causes pressure on the sciatic nerve then the painful condition known as sciatica can result.

39 Often-abbreviated attire : PAJAMAS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

43 Pudding choice : TAPIOCA

The cassava plant is a woody shrub native to South America grown largely for its carbohydrate-rich tubers. In fact, the cassava is the third largest food source of carbohydrates (for humans) in the world. Ordinarily, that carbohydrate is extracted from the plant and dried as flour, and is known as tapioca.

44 Was humiliated : ATE CROW

The phrase “eat crow”, an alternative to “eat humble pie”, perhaps refers to the fact that cooked crow may be edible, but is not a great food choice.

48 __-Cat: winter vehicle : SNO

The brand name “Sno-Cat” is owned by the Tucker company. All snowcats are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, and are famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

50 DEA agent : NARC

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

53 Muscular power : SINEW

“Sinew” is another name for “tendon”. Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle. We also use the term “sinew” to mean muscular power.

54 Start of a counting rhyme : EENIE …

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

60 Microwave : ZAP

The first household microwave oven was introduced to the market in 1955, a Tappan microwave.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Watering hole : BAR
4 African language group : BANTU
9 Suddenly took interest : SAT UP
14 Québec street : RUE
15 Future oak : ACORN
16 Way to go it : ALONE
17 City near the Great Salt Lake : OGDEN, UTAH (hiding an inner “nut”)
19 Has to have : NEEDS
20 Biceps exercises : CURLS
21 Hosting a show, briefly : MC’ING
23 Tennis do-over : LET
24 Breyers __ Cookies & Cream : OREO
25 “Be yourself,” nowadays : KEEP IT REAL (hiding an inner “pit”)
27 Arnaz-Ball production company : DESILU
29 Muss, as hair : TOUSLE
30 Magazine VIPs : EDS
31 Adjust to one’s environment : ADAPT
35 Old fast fliers : SSTS
36 Casino advantage : HOUSE EDGE (hiding an inner “seed”)
39 Fleshy fruit : POME
42 Barbecue spot : PATIO
43 Can opener : TAB
46 Feathered friends : AVIANS
49 Beethoven’s “Tempest,” e.g. : SONATA
51 “Be right with you” : JUST ONE SEC (hiding an inner “stone”)
55 Chimps and gorillas : APES
56 Furry sitcom extraterrestrial : ALF
57 Chutzpah : MOXIE
58 Stick with a pin : PRICK
59 Early American crop : MAIZE
61 Earth’s most central geologic layer … or what can be found in each set of puzzle circles : INNER CORE
63 Geographer’s volume : ATLAS
64 Tokyo-based watchmaker : SEIKO
65 No-frills bed : COT
66 Filters (through) : SEEPS
67 Jacket material : TWEED
68 “Very cute!” sounds : AWS

Down

1 Tacit rules of male friendship : BRO CODE
2 Was a sign of : AUGURED
3 Set right : REDRESS
4 Passes a law against : BANS
5 Pressure prefix : ACU-
6 “I’m innocent!” : NOT ME!
7 Barely detectable amount : TRACE
8 Far from cool : UNHIP
9 Serenaded : SANG TO
10 Stein filler : ALE
11 Like many summer shoes : TOELESS
12 Still being shuffled : UNDEALT
13 Tablet crushers : PESTLES
18 “The Time Machine” race : ELOI
22 Little point to pick : NIT
25 Spiral-horned antelope : KUDU
26 Tricky plan : RUSE
28 Vientiane people : LAO
32 Poisonous African snake : ASP
33 Stew morsel : PEA
34 Vietnamese New Year : TET
36 Cookbook verb : HEAT
37 Spinal segment : DISC
38 Bit of baby talk : GOO
39 Often-abbreviated attire : PAJAMAS
40 Produce eggs : OVULATE
41 Put in the wrong folder : MISFILE
43 Pudding choice : TAPIOCA
44 Was humiliated : ATE CROW
45 Laundry holders : BASKETS
47 “Easy to clean” ad claim : NO MESS
48 __-Cat: winter vehicle : SNO
50 DEA agent : NARC
52 Live : EXIST
53 Muscular power : SINEW
54 Start of a counting rhyme : EENIE …
58 Cattle poker : PROD
60 Microwave : ZAP
62 Squeeze (out) : EKE

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Jan 20, Tuesday”

  1. Mostly pretty easy. I put in “beat” instead of “heat” for cookbook verb and that slowed things down for “house edge.” I didn’t know “kudu”. And then I got hung up on “augured,” first trying to put in “alluded.” But, hey, it was kind of fun.

  2. 7:20 for me which is really long for a Tuesday. For some reason the double E in both KEEP IT REAL and HOUSE EDGE totally jammed up my brain and kept me from seeing those answers for a long time. I also didn’t know KUDU which didn’t help either of those long ones either. I got the theme early and easily but somehow that just didn’t help me today.

    And I always forget that AUGUR is not at all the same as an AUGER.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle, the “KUDU” reminded me of my African Safari where one of the best meals was “kudu steak.” It was either that or “hippo stew” (lol). I’d say it tasted “a lot like chichen” but it was closer to “a lot like a New York steak.” Yum…

  4. Mostly easy. Like @Wayne, had bEAT before HEAT. Never heard of BROCODE, but then, I’m an old lady.

    @Fred – very interesting. I had a chance to try bison and alligator. When I was a kid, we had plenty of tongue, hearts and fat back, but they’re from the usual animals. From my Sicilian mother-in-law, plenty of sea monsters! Always ready to try something new.

  5. Other than ALF, which is quickly becoming the new EPEE, a pretty basic grid. +1 for KUDU.

    The studios formerly owned by DESILU became Ren-Mar and eventually Red, which have been used by all types of producers. Shows included Andy Griffith, Hogan’s Heroes, and Seinfeld.

  6. Finally got it, after literally blanking out in the upper.NW section. Saw Ogden, UT on
    the last pass and needing to also post the state was new to me. Guessed at 1D and 2D plus
    POME & HOUSEEDGE. The other toughies were straightforward. Very tricky, but enjoyable
    puzzle. Several needed “best guess”, but were all the ones most commonly heard first.
    Didn’t exactly understand ACUPRESSURE.

  7. Aloha meine Freunden!!🦆

    No errors on a fun Tuesday. For some reason for “adjust to one’s environment” I automatically put ORIENT, which of course didn’t even fit. Guess I was pretty disoriented ha ha ha!!😊 I do find it funny when I confidently start inking in an answer without even making sure the letter count is right…🤔

    Didn’t know KUDU or POME….but I do now!😍

    Was thinking yesterday that I’d come up with a nice haiku here from time to time. My fear is that that will get me voted off this island….

    We spin the letters–
    Like Bingo balls in big drums–
    We miss the mark–

    (one syllable short….need practice…)

    Be well ~~🍺

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