LA Times Crossword 21 Jan 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Chase Dittrich
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Anyone for Tennis?

Themed answers are common phrases that reinterpreted with reference to TENNIS:

  • 20A Be noisy, or equip for tennis? : MAKE A RACKET
  • 34A Enjoy oneself, or be ready for tennis? : HAVE A BALL
  • 46A Sue, or leave for tennis? : GO TO COURT
  • 60A Be helpful, or enjoy playing tennis? : LIVE TO SERVE

Bill’s time: 5m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Feature of some debit cards : CHIP

Smart payment cards are credit and debit cards that include an integrated circuit chip for security. Smart cards can be categorized into two main types. Here in the US, we use chip and signature cards, meaning that we use a signature to identify the bearer of the card. Most Europeans use chip and PIN cards, which require the bearer to provide a PIN instead of a signature.

9 Ford Fusion, e.g. : SEDAN

The American sedan car is the equivalent of the British saloon car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

Ford introduced the Fusion midsize car in 2006. A hybrid version of the Fusion came out in 2010, and a plug-in hybrid in 2012.

14 Latin “others” : ALIA

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names. In fact, “et al.” can stand for “et alii” (a group of males, or males and females), “et aliae” (a group of women) and “et alia” (a group of neuter nouns, or a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

15 __ erectus : HOMO

Homo erectus is an extinct cousin of Homo sapiens, our human species.

17 Wander aimlessly (about) : MILL

To mill about is to move around, usually en masse, in a disorderly fashion. The term “mill” was first used in the 19th century to describe cattle circling in a group, like the action of a mill wheel.

18 Israeli carrier : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

19 Pisces follower : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

The astrological sign of the zodiac called Pisces is named for the Pisces constellation. “Pisces” is the Latin word for “fish” in the plural (singular “piscis”).

38 Upside-down “e,” in phonetics : SCHWA

A schwa is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.

39 Dictator Amin : IDI

Idi Amin received most of his military training in the British armed forces, eventually achieving the highest rank possible for a Black African in the British Colonial Army in 1959, that of Warrant Officer. On his return to Uganda Amin joined his country’s military and quickly rose to the rank of Deputy Commander of the Army. During that time he was quite the athlete. He was a noted rugby player and swimmer, and for nine years held the Ugandan national light-heavyweight boxing title. By the early seventies, Amin was commander of all the armed forces of Uganda and in 1971 seized power in a military coup, displacing the country’s president Milton Obote. There followed seven years of brutal rule by Amin during which it is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were murdered. Amin was ousted from power in 1979 after a war with Tanzania, and fled to Libya where he stayed for a year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he was financially supported by the Saudi Royal Family for the remainder of his life. Amin died in 2003.

40 Shenanigan : ANTIC

I suppose one might be forgiven for thinking that “shenanigan” is an Irish term, as it certainly sounds Irish. Usually written in the plural, shenanigans are acts of mischief, pranks. Apparently the word is of uncertain derivation, but was coined in San Francisco and Sacramento, California in the mid-1800s.

42 Gridiron “zebra” : REF

A football referee is sometimes called a “zebra”, a reference to the striped shirt that is part of the official uniform.

43 Chocolate source : CACAO

The flowers of the cacao tree grow in clusters, directly on the trunk and on older branches. The pollinated flowers turn into ovoid cacao pods, each of which contain 20-60 seeds or beans. The seeds are used as the main ingredient in chocolate.

49 Requires Febreze, maybe : SMELLS

The odor-eliminating product we know today as Febreze was developed in England in the early nineties. Febreze is now produced by Procter & Gamble.

51 “Les Misérables” escape route : SEWER

Victor Hugo’s famous 1862 novel “Les Misérables” has been translated into English several times. However, the title is usually left in the original French as a successful translation of “les misérables” seems to be elusive. Some suggestions for an English title are “The Wretched”, “The Victims” and “The Dispossessed”. The novel follows the lives of several characters including an ex-convict Jean Valjean, a fanatic police inspector Javert, a beautiful prostitute Fantine, and Fantine’s illegitimate daughter Cosette.

52 Cosmopolitan spirits : VODKA

The distilled beverage vodka takes its name from the Slavic word “voda” meaning “water”, with “vodka” translating as “little water”.

Like so many famous cocktails, the actual origins of the cosmopolitan are disputed. It is a nice drink. One of the standard recipes is 4 parts citrus vodka, 1.5 parts Cointreau, 1.5 parts lime juice and 3 parts cranberry juice.

58 Classic Jaguar : XK-E

XK and XK-E are models of Jaguar motor car.

64 __ Gras : MARDI

“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

66 Chief Asgard god : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. He is usually depicted as having one eye, reflecting the story of how he gave one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom.

70 Spilled the beans : TOLD

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”. The similarly meaning phrase “spill the tea” is more prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic.

71 Online magazine with a “Dear Prudence” advice column : SLATE

“Slate” is an online magazine that was founded in 1996. “Slate” was originally owned by Microsoft and was part of the MSN online offering. The magazine has been available for free since 1999 (it is ad-supported) and has been owned by the Washington Post Company since 2004.

“Dear Prudence” is an advice column that first appeared in the online magazine “Slate” in 1997. The title of the column was inspired by the 1968 Beatles song of the same name.

73 Relaxing resorts : SPAS

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as “Spa” is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

Down

1 Ray type : GAMMA

Gamma radiation was discovered by the French chemist Paul Villard, as he studied radiation coming from the chemical element radium. This radiation was called “gamma”, the third letter in the Greek alphabet, as alpha and beta particles had already been identified.

3 Jockey’s apparel : SILKS

The colorful clothing made from silk that is worn by a jockey is known as “racing silks”. The specific colors and pattern of racing silks are registered to particular owner or trainer.

4 Bob Ross accessory : PALETTE

Bob Ross was an artist and art instructor. Ross created and appeared in the long-running PBS show “The Joy of Painting”, a show which provided instructions for budding artists.

5 Singer with a Best Actress Oscar : CHER

“Cher” is the stage name used by singer and actress Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the season’s Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.

6 Hi, in Barcelona : HOLA

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

7 Apple desktop : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

8 Music genre with accordions : POLKA

The polka is a dance from central Europe, one that originated in Bohemia in the mid-1800s. It’s thought that “polka” comes from a Czech word meaning “little half”, reflecting the little half-steps included in the basic dance.

9 Easter Island sights : STATUES

Moai are huge human figures carved out of stone by the native people on Easter Island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. There are 887 moai in total on the island, the tallest of which is almost 33 feet tall and weighs 82 tons.

“Rapa Nui” is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call “Easter Island”. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Chilean-owned Easter Island is inhabited and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1300 miles away.

10 End of a musket? : -EER

Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is the trio’s young protégé D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

21 Tibet’s continent : ASIA

Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

22 First-responder letters : EMS

Emergency medical services (EMS)

26 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”.

28 Lawyers’ org. : ABA

American Bar Association (ABA)

30 Singers below mezzo-sopranos : ALTOS

A mezzo-soprano is a female singing voice below a soprano but above a contralto. “Mezzo” is Italian for “half”.

34 Minute Maid fruity juice boxes : HI-CS

Hi-C orange drink was created in 1946, and introduced to the market in 1948, initially in the south of the country. The name “Hi-C” was chosen to emphasize the high vitamin C content in the drink, as it contained added ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

35 NBA commissioner Silver : ADAM

Adam Silver was appointed NBA commissioner in 2014. He had served in various posts with the league since 1992, and took over as commissioner on the retirement of David Stern.

36 The other way around : VICE VERSA

“Vice versa” is a Latin phrase meaning “with position turned”. We always pronounce this term “incorrectly”. In Latin, a “c” is a hard sound, and a “v” is pronounced like a “w”. The pronunciation should be something like “wee-kay wehr-sa”.

37 Miller __: beer brand : LITE

The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

41 “Don’t have a __, man!” : COW

The phrase “don’t have a cow” originated in the fifties, as a variation of the older “don’t have kittens”. The concept behind the phrase is that one shouldn’t get worked up, it’s not like one is giving birth to a cow.

44 Teléfono greeting : ALO!

In Spanish, one might answer “el teléfono” (the telephone) with the word “Aló” (hello).

47 Prefix with pool or pit : CESS-

A cesspit (also “cesspool”) is a covered tank or pit used for the disposal of human waste. The term can be used figuratively to describe a corrupt place or situation.

53 Circumvent : AVOID

To circumvent is to get round, and in particular to evade using cleverness or trickery. “Circumvent” comes from the Latin terms “circum” (around) and “venire” (to come).

56 Throat dangler : UVULA

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

58 Dec. holiday : XMAS

The abbreviation “Xmas” that is used for “Christmas” comes from the Greek letter chi (X), which is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ” (“Χριστός”).

59 Two-time NBA MVP Malone known as “The Mailman” : KARL

Karl Malone is a retired professional basketball player who was nicknamed “the Mailman”. Malone played most of his career with the Utah Jazz, from 1985 to 2004.

62 Dominoes piece : TILE

White masks with black spots were commonly seen in the old Venetian Carnival. The masks were known as “domini”. The domini lent their name to the game of dominoes, due to the similarity in appearance between the mask and a domino tile.

65 Part of an ellipsis : DOT

An ellipsis is a series of dots (usually three) used to indicate an omission in some text. The term comes from the Greek word “élleipsis”, which means “omission”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sound of disbelief : [GASP!]
5 Feature of some debit cards : CHIP
9 Ford Fusion, e.g. : SEDAN
14 Latin “others” : ALIA
15 __ erectus : HOMO
16 To the point : TERSE
17 Wander aimlessly (about) : MILL
18 Israeli carrier : EL AL
19 Pisces follower : ARIES
20 Be noisy, or equip for tennis? : MAKE A RACKET
23 Brewery tub : VAT
24 Admin. aides : ASSTS
25 Tickle pink : AMUSE
27 Beauty contest prize : TIARA
31 Ready for dinner : SEATED
34 Enjoy oneself, or be ready for tennis? : HAVE A BALL
38 Upside-down “e,” in phonetics : SCHWA
39 Dictator Amin : IDI
40 Shenanigan : ANTIC
42 Gridiron “zebra” : REF
43 Chocolate source : CACAO
46 Sue, or leave for tennis? : GO TO COURT
49 Requires Febreze, maybe : SMELLS
51 “Les Misérables” escape route : SEWER
52 Cosmopolitan spirits : VODKA
54 Order to a sloucher : SIT UP!
58 Classic Jaguar : XK-E
60 Be helpful, or enjoy playing tennis? : LIVE TO SERVE
64 __ Gras : MARDI
66 Chief Asgard god : ODIN
67 Sentence structure element : NOUN
68 Crime that might involve accelerants : ARSON
69 Sit in park, say : IDLE
70 Spilled the beans : TOLD
71 Online magazine with a “Dear Prudence” advice column : SLATE
72 Hair salon supplies : DYES
73 Relaxing resorts : SPAS

Down

1 Ray type : GAMMA
2 Identity-concealing name : ALIAS
3 Jockey’s apparel : SILKS
4 Bob Ross accessory : PALETTE
5 Singer with a Best Actress Oscar : CHER
6 Hi, in Barcelona : HOLA
7 Apple desktop : IMAC
8 Music genre with accordions : POLKA
9 Easter Island sights : STATUES
10 End of a musket? : -EER
11 Convenience for diners on the go : DRIVE-THRU
12 Well out of the harbor : ASEA
13 Chick site : NEST
21 Tibet’s continent : ASIA
22 First-responder letters : EMS
26 Cul-de-__ : SAC
28 Lawyers’ org. : ABA
29 Struck the bell : RANG
30 Singers below mezzo-sopranos : ALTOS
32 Decorative pitcher : EWER
33 Nutty : DAFT
34 Minute Maid fruity juice boxes : HI-CS
35 NBA commissioner Silver : ADAM
36 The other way around : VICE VERSA
37 Miller __: beer brand : LITE
41 “Don’t have a __, man!” : COW
44 Teléfono greeting : ALO!
45 Long-established : OLD-LINE
47 Prefix with pool or pit : CESS-
48 Points in the right direction : ORIENTS
50 Tackle a slope : SKI
53 Circumvent : AVOID
55 Unit being deployed : TROOP
56 Throat dangler : UVULA
57 Remains unsettled, as a payment : PENDS
58 Dec. holiday : XMAS
59 Two-time NBA MVP Malone known as “The Mailman” : KARL
61 Whirlpool : EDDY
62 Dominoes piece : TILE
63 Smallest bills : ONES
65 Part of an ellipsis : DOT

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Jan 20, Tuesday”

  1. 5:22 for me. Theme was cute but I can’t say too much more about it. Ironically, I abandoned the NW very early because I was entirely at sea. Worked my way around the entire rest of the puzzle, came back and quickly realized that MANTA ray was wrong. As a physics geek, I should have figured out GAMMA much quicker, but in fact it was the last answer I filled in. Oh well.

  2. All went well with the exception of the classic Jaguar XKE across & Karl down. A fun puzzle at any rate!

    Eddie

  3. @Carrie yesterday – Re: varying past tenses; also, hung and hanged, lie and lay, shined and shone. And yes, if enough people say something incorrectly, it takes over: Feel badly, even if they’re not a leper; pronouncing the “t” in often but not soften; I could go on and on.

    Today’s was an easier sort of sports theme, so no problem. No Googles, but did not know ADAM, EMS or cesspit.

  4. I enjoyed this one, but was puzzled and amused when my answer for “First-Responder letters” , EMT, led me to TEATED for “Ready for dinner”.

  5. 8:35, no errors. SCHWA sure gave me pause…. as well as HI-C’S; that was a “convenient” fill for the constructor, no doubt.

  6. A mixed bag recently. Too much diversion, it seems. We got 100 and 94%
    Mon. and Tues., only averaged around 80% on the two before. Still had fun.

  7. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    No errors, tho it went slowly, mostly cuz I wasn’t concentrating. I got caught up in the NW cuz I thought jockey uniforms were satin. I was thinking “the satins” rather than “the silks.” 🤗

    Jane, yes, it’s the bane of my existence! The other day I think I heard an actual newscaster say “the moon shined.” SHINED YOUR SHOES?? REALLY??!!

    Be well ~~🍸

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