LA Times Crossword 20 Jan 20, Monday

Advertisement

Constructed by: MaryEllen Uthlaut
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Coffee Break

Four rows in the grid include circled letters that spell out COFFEE drinks. In each case, those drinks are BROKEN black square(s):

  • 36A Midmorning work time-out, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : COFFEE BREAK
  • 17A Gets an A on, as a test : ACES
  • 18A Bench __: exercise : PRESS
  • 19A Red sky at morning, to a sailor : OMEN (hiding “espresso”)
  • 20A Long. crosser : LAT
  • 21A Darjeeling and oolong : TEAS (hiding “latte”)
  • 57A Japanese wrestling : SUMO
  • 59A Half a Latin dance : CHA (hiding “mocha”)
  • 60A Put __ on: limit : A CAP
  • 61A Fashion designer Emilio : PUCCI
  • 63A Christmas carol : NOEL (hiding “cappuccino”

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Hoops player : CAGER

In the early days of basketball, when a ball went out of bounds possession was awarded to the player who first retrieved the ball. This led to mad scuffles off the court, often involving spectators. As the game became more organized courts were routinely “caged”, largely because of this out of bounds rule, to limit interaction with the crowd. It’s because of these cages that basketball players are sometimes referred to today as “cagers”.

Basketball is truly a North American sport. It was created in 1891 by Canadian James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first “hoops” were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the “net”, someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

10 Immortal Middle-earth dweller : ELF

Middle-earth is the setting for J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” series.

14 Gladiator’s realm : ARENA

The term “gladiator” means “swordsman”, and comes from “gladius”, the Latin word for “sword”.

15 Henry __, who had six marriages : VIII

Famously, King Henry VIII had six queens consort. There is a rhyme that is commonly used to help remember the fates of each of his wives, which goes:

King Henry the Eighth, to six wives he was wedded. One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded.

The use of the term “divorce” isn’t quite accurate though, as in fact Henry had two of his marriages annulled. His wives (and their fates) were:

  1. Catherine of Aragon (Annulled),
  2. Anne Boleyn (Beheaded),
  3. Jane Seymour (Died)
  4. Anne of Cleves (Annulled),
  5. Catherine Howard (Beheaded),
  6. Catherine Parr (Survived).

19 Red sky at morning, to a sailor : OMEN

We often see red in the sky at sunrise and sunset. This is because at those times of day, sunlight travels through the thickest part of the atmosphere and only the red wavelengths of light make it through. Dust and moisture particles in the atmosphere tend to scatter the other wavelengths. These scattering particles are most concentrated in high pressure weather systems, and high pressure is associated with stable air. Weather systems tend to move from west to east, because of westerly trade winds. So, if we see a red sky illuminated by the sun rising in the east, then the red is caused by a high-pressure system to the east i.e. a period of stable air that has passed. If we see a red sky lit by a setting sun in the west, it is likely that the sunlight is coming through a high-pressure system that is on its way. So the old adage has some truth to it:

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning

20 Long. crosser : LAT

Lines of latitude are imaginary horizontal lines surrounding the planet. The most “important” lines of latitude are, from north to south:

  • Arctic Circle
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Equator
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Antarctic Circle

21 Darjeeling and oolong : TEAS

Darjeeling tea comes from the Darjeeling district of West Bengal in India.

The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon”.

24 Writer Wharton : EDITH

Edith Wharton was a novelist and designer from New York City. Wharton was a wealthy woman and built her own estate in Lenox, Massachusetts called the Mount. My wife and I had the privilege of touring the Mount a few years ago, and there we saw evidence of what design meant to Wharton.

26 “Indubitably!” : YES!

Something described as indubitable cannot be doubted.

28 Hawk’s nest : AERIE

An aerie is the nest of an eagle, and is also known as an “eyrie”. The term “aerie” more generally describes any bird’s nest that is located on a cliff or a mountaintop.

34 Greek cross : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

35 Old PC component : CRT

Cathode ray tube (CRT)

40 Santa __ winds : ANA

The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

42 Convert (hide) into leather : TAN

Leather is made from animal skins. When the flesh, fat and hair is removed from the skin and it is dried, the resulting product is rawhide. Further treatment of the skin with chemicals that permanently alter the protein structure of the skin is known as tanning, and the resulting product is leather.

43 Dada pioneer Jean : ARP

Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

44 Roasted holiday birds : TURKEYS

The tradition of the US President “pardoning” a Thanksgiving turkey was only formalized in 1989, during the administration of President George H, W. Bush. The pardoned turkey is taken to a farm where is gets to live out its life. Prior to 1989, the tradition was more focused on the presentation of a turkey to the White House, and less on the fate of the bird. President Eisenhower was presented with a turkey in each year of his two terms, and he ate them all …

47 Clickbait links, e.g. : TEASERS

Clickbait is trickery used by website designers to entice a reader to click on a particular link. That link may be a disguised ad, so that the website owner gets some income from the advertiser.

54 Religious belief : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

57 Japanese wrestling : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

59 Half a Latin dance : CHA

The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

61 Fashion designer Emilio : PUCCI

Emilio Pucci was an Italian fashion designer from Florence. Pucci had served as a torpedo bomber pilot during WWII for the Italian Air Force.

63 Christmas carol : NOEL

“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, and ultimately comes from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). “Noel” has come to be used as an alternative for “Christmas carol”.

64 Toy building block : LEGO

Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:

  • The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
  • The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
  • The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
  • Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
  • The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)

65 Sir __ Newton : ISAAC

English polymath Sir Isaac Newton was responsible for so many discoveries in science and philosophy, and is regarded as key to the scientific revolution that led to the birth of what we now call “modern science”. While most of Newton’s discoveries were undisputed, his introduction of the mathematical discipline of calculus was challenged by German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz. It seems that Newton and Leibniz discovered calculus simultaneously, but each claimed that other stile his work. That dispute persisted well past the death of both parties.

68 Chili con __ : CARNE

The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.

Down

2 Video game area : ARCADE

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

4 Sailor’s “Help!” : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

5 Flowing garb for Batman : CAPE

The DC Comics superhero Batman was created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

7 Sextet after the golden rings : GEESE

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

8 USN rank : ENS

Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

US Navy (USN)

11 Funny five-line verse : LIMERICK

No one knows for sure how the limerick got its name, although there does seem to be agreement the name does indeed come from the city or county of Limerick in Ireland. Try this one for size:

There was a young lady named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way,
and came back the previous night.

21 Porch pirate, for one : THIEF

“Porch pirate” is a slang term describing one of those despicable people who steal packages delivered to someone’s home and left outside the door. Porch piracy continues to grow, as online shopping increases in volume. In New York City alone, it is estimated that 90,000 packages were stolen in 2019.

30 Southpaw : LEFTY

A southpaw is left-handed. The term “southpaw” arose as baseball slang in the mid-1880s to describe a left-handed pitcher. Back then, baseball diamonds were often laid out with home plate to the west. So, a pitcher’s left hand would be on his “south” side as he faced the batter.

32 Surrounding glows : AURAE

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

34 Decalogue number : TEN

“Decalogue” is another name for the Ten Commandments. The term comes into English via Latin from the Greek “hoi deka logoi”, which translates literally as “the ten sayings”. The term has been broadened and is sometimes used generically in English to describe a fundamental set of authoritative rules.

36 Rome’s Punic Wars foe : CARTHAGE

The Carthaginian Republic was centered on the city of Carthage, the ruins of which are located on the coast of modern-day Tunisia. The Latin name for the people of Carthage was “Afri”. When the Romans took over Carthage, they created a province they called “Africa”. That name extended over time to include the whole continent.

The Punic Wars were a series of three conflicts fought between ancient Rome and ancient Carthage. With Carthage on the North African coast and Rome on the east coast of Italy, the Punic wars were largely an attempt to control the western Mediterranean Sea and were centered on the island of Sicily.

38 Muse of poetry : ERATO

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry. She is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and playing a lyre.

39 Church recess : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

47 Bird on a Froot Loops box : TOUCAN

The toucan is a brightly-marked bird with a large, colorful bill. The name “toucan” comes into English via Portuguese from the Tupi name “tukana”. The Tupi were an indigenous people of Brazil.

Toucan Sam is the mascot of Kellogg’s Froot Loops breakfast cereal, and he can be seen on the front of every box. Froot Loops have been manufactured by Kellogg’s since 1963. The little loops come in different colors, originally red, orange and yellow, but now there are green, purple and blue loops as well. Notice I said “different colors” not “different flavors”. Each loop tastes the same, so I wonder where the color comes from …?

48 “Sing another one!” : ENCORE!

“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request perhaps another song. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”

53 Grouchy Muppet : OSCAR

Oscar the Grouch is the Muppet that lives in a garbage can. Oscar’s persona comes from various sources. He is named after Oscar Brand who was one of the board members of the Children’s Television Workshop, the backers for “Sesame Street” as the Muppets were being developed in the sixties. Oscar’s personality was inspired by an angry waiter that once served Jim Henson (father of the Muppets). The voice was modeled on a grumpy New York cab driver encountered one day by Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brings Oscar to life.

58 Computer devices bearing little resemblance to their real-life namesakes : MICE

The computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

62 Can. neighbor : USA

The world’s longest international borders are:

  1. Canada – United States: 5,525 miles
  2. Russia – Kazakhstan: 4,254 miles
  3. Argentina – Chile: 3,293 miles
  4. China – Mongolia: 2,906 miles
  5. India – Bangladesh: 2,518 miles

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Drains of strength : SAPS
5 Hoops player : CAGER
10 Immortal Middle-earth dweller : ELF
13 Suffix with switch : -EROO
14 Gladiator’s realm : ARENA
15 Henry __, who had six marriages : VIII
17 Gets an A on, as a test : ACES
18 Bench __: exercise : PRESS
19 Red sky at morning, to a sailor : OMEN
20 Long. crosser : LAT
21 Darjeeling and oolong : TEAS
22 Fire stirrers : POKERS
24 Writer Wharton : EDITH
26 “Indubitably!” : YES!
28 Hawk’s nest : AERIE
29 Shrinks back : RECOILS
31 Like a student arriving ten minutes after the bell, as opposed to five : TARDIER
33 “Golly!” : GEE!
34 Greek cross : TAU
35 Old PC component : CRT
36 Midmorning work time-out, and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : COFFEE BREAK
40 Santa __ winds : ANA
42 Convert (hide) into leather : TAN
43 Dada pioneer Jean : ARP
44 Roasted holiday birds : TURKEYS
47 Clickbait links, e.g. : TEASERS
51 Movie critic, when giving stars : RATER
52 As well : TOO
54 Religious belief : TENET
55 Hider’s location-revealing words : IN HERE!
57 Japanese wrestling : SUMO
59 Half a Latin dance : CHA
60 Put __ on: limit : A CAP
61 Fashion designer Emilio : PUCCI
63 Christmas carol : NOEL
64 Toy building block : LEGO
65 Sir __ Newton : ISAAC
66 Word-of-mouth : ORAL
67 Bear’s shelter : DEN
68 Chili con __ : CARNE
69 Moistens : WETS

Down

1 Putty, for example : SEALER
2 Video game area : ARCADE
3 Written in verse : POETIC
4 Sailor’s “Help!” : SOS
5 Flowing garb for Batman : CAPE
6 Orderly arrangements : ARRAYS
7 Sextet after the golden rings : GEESE
8 USN rank : ENS
9 Abrasive tool : RASP
10 Brought to mind : EVOKED
11 Funny five-line verse : LIMERICK
12 More passionate : FIERIER
16 Newspaper leaflet, say : INSERT
21 Porch pirate, for one : THIEF
23 Rowboat mover : OAR
25 Like takeout food : TO GO
27 Wild guess : STAB
30 Southpaw : LEFTY
32 Surrounding glows : AURAE
34 Decalogue number : TEN
36 Rome’s Punic Wars foe : CARTHAGE
37 Toward sunrise : EAST
38 Muse of poetry : ERATO
39 Church recess : APSE
40 On __ basis: for testing purposes : A TRIAL
41 Characterized by subtle distinctions : NUANCED
45 Not turn off : KEEP ON
46 Be wrong : ERR
47 Bird on a Froot Loops box : TOUCAN
48 “Sing another one!” : ENCORE!
49 Warm up, as leftovers : REHEAT
50 Hems and haws : STALLS
53 Grouchy Muppet : OSCAR
56 Large-scale tale : EPIC
58 Computer devices bearing little resemblance to their real-life namesakes : MICE
62 Can. neighbor : USA
63 “It’s __ or never” : NOW

9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Jan 20, Monday”

  1. Love the theme! Ms Uthlaut even included TEAS for those who haven’t graduated to COFFEE, or realized we won the Revolution.

    My only complaint is my usual – SOS should be somehow clued as an abbrev.
    @Bill – thanx for your explanation of CAGER. I thought it was some team name.
    Ditto for defining clickbait, though it’s certainly been done to me.

  2. 7:28, no errors. And, the theme actually helped while working the puzzle; imagine that!!! I’ll have a double shot of that!!!

  3. 4:18, and for once I was *greatly* helped by figuring out the theme, which got my flying through the acrosses. My only stumble was dashing off NBAER for “hoops player” … that’s some common crosswordese but it soon gummed me up in the north and I had to do some backtracking.

    Fun, easy Monday puzzle, just as they should be.

  4. Greetings from the Night Watch!!🦆

    No errors, but I thought this was a tad more difficult than your average Monday. Interesting, I’d say, not challenging, but fun.

    I detect a mini theme, BTW- “IRE” – just because there are so many Is, Rs, and Es in this grid! … well that makes no sense but anyway…

    I maintain that if you’re referring to the computer device, the plural of mouse is MOUSES!! Never mind what it says in any dictionary. Enough people make the mistake often enough that it becomes correct?! I don’t THINK so!!

    And it’s kinda like how in baseball the past of “fly” is “flied,” as in “He flied out to right.” You have to be able to say something in certain contexts and have it work. It would be weird if we said “He flew out to right,” as people generally can’t fly. And you don’t want anyone at the office saying “there are a bunch of mice in the storeroom.” 😮

    Be well~~🍹

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.