LA Times Crossword 3 Jan 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Kevin Conway
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: L Week

Themed clues are each common phrases, but with a letter L inserted:

  • 35A Calendar period that 17-, 22-, 44- and 54-Across are celebrating? : L WEEK
  • 17A Lawyer’s missing text? : LOST CLAUSE (from “lost cause”)
  • 22A Offer from one unwilling to negotiate? : STICKLER PRICE (from “sticker price”)
  • 44A Military directive? : BATTLING ORDER (from “batting order”)
  • 54A Another name for the five-second rule of dropped food? : MORSEL CODE (from “Morse code”)

Bill’s time: 8m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Sports headwear retailer : LIDS

Lids is a retailer of sports headwear that is headquartered in Indianapolis. The company was founded in 1995 in Boston, but the first store opened in Lafayette, Indiana.

5 Joplin’s “Me and Bobby __” : MCGEE

Janis Joplin recorded the song “Me and Bobby McGee” just a few days before she died in 1970. The song was released anyway, and it became Joplin’s only number one single, topping the charts the following year. There have been just two posthumous number-one singles: Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”, and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay”.

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free
Feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues
And buddy, that was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

10 Charlie Brown’s “Darn!” : RATS!

The characters in the cartoon series “Peanuts” were largely drawn from Charles Schultz’s own life, with shy and withdrawn Charlie Brown representing Schultz himself.

14 Comic strip dog : ODIE

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, and the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

16 Poetic black : EBON

Ebony is another word for the color black (and is often shortened to “ebon” in poetry). Ebony is a dark black wood that is very dense, one of the few types of wood that sinks in water. Ebony has been in high demand so the species of trees yielding the wood are now considered threatened. It is in such short supply that unscrupulous vendors have been known to darken lighter woods with shoe polish to look like ebony, so be warned …

20 Type of battery : ALKALINE

The positive electrode of an alkaline battery is made from zinc, and the negative electrode from manganese dioxide. The electrolyte is potassium hydroxide, and alkaline material (hence the name “alkaline” battery).

The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are alkalis, hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.

25 Chicago Outfit gangster : CAPONE

The Chicago Outfit is a crime syndicate that was established in Chicago in the 1910s. The Outfit’s heyday was in the 1920s, when Al Capone was calling the shots. The organization is also referred to as the Chicago Mafia and the South Side Gang.

34 Hot __ : MIC

One of my favorite hot-mic moments took place in 2005, when Paris and London were vying to host the 2012 Olympics. French President Jacques Chirac compared Paris and London in that context while chatting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Chirac said, over a hot mic:

The only thing that they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease … You cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine.

36 Wooden shoe sailor : NOD

“Wynken, Blynken and Nod” is a children’s poem written by Eugene Field, first published in 1889. The original title of the work was “Dutch Lullaby”.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

40 First owner of the expansion Los Angeles Angels : AUTRY

Gene Autry was a so-called singing cowboy who had an incredibly successful career on radio, television and in films starting in the thirties. Autry’s signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again”, and his biggest hit was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. He also had a hit with his own Christmas song called “Here Comes Santa Claus”. There’s even a town in Oklahoma called Gene Autry, named in his honor. Famously, Autry owned the Los Angeles Angels baseball team for many years, from 1961 to 1997.

42 Travel prefix with méxico and perú : AERO-

Aeroméxico is the flag carrier airline of Mexico. Aeroméxico started out in 1934 as Aeronaves de México.

Aeroperú was an airline that served as Peru’s flag carrier from 1973 until it ceased operations in 1999.

49 Spring time : APRIL

The exact etymology of “April”, the name of the fourth month of our year, seems to be uncertain. The ancient Romans called it “mensis Aprilis”, which roughly translated as “opening month”. The suggestion is that April is the month in which fruits, flowers and animals “open” their life cycles.

53 Makeshift blade : SHIV

“Shiv” is a slang term describing a weapon crudely fashioned to resemble a knife. Mostly we hear of shivs that have been fashioned by prison inmates to do harm to others.

54 Another name for the five-second rule of dropped food? : MORSEL CODE (from “Morse code”)

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

Down

1 Showgirl of song : LOLA

The Copacabana of the 1978 Barry Manilow song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Frank Sinatra song “Meet Me at the Copa”). The Copa opened in 1940 and is still going today, although it is struggling. The club had to move due to impending construction and is now “sharing” a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from 8 ’til 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

6 Street organ feature : CRANK

An organ grinder operates what’s known as a street organ. Street organs include organ pipes that play notes, and a cylinder with pins that hit levers to select which pipes to play. The pinned cylinder is called a “barrel”, leading to “barrel organ” as an alternative name for the instrument. The barrel is manually cranked by the organ grinder.

7 “Oliver Twist” food : GRUEL

“Please, sir. I want some more” are words spoken by the title character in the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. . Oliver is addressing Mr. Bumble, asking for an extra helping of gruel in the workhouse.

8 Warning service co-coordinated by FEMA : EAS

The Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) actually doesn’t exist anymore. It was an emergency warning system that was in use in the US from 1963 to 1997. It started out as a system for the use of the US President, so that he or she could address the nation in time of crisis. Towards the end of its life it was also used by state and local authorities. Thankfully, the EBS never had to be used for a national emergency. It was replaced in 1997 by the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which is still in place today.

11 Old calculators : ABACI

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

18 He played Dirty Harry : CLINT

“Dirty Harry” Callahan was the protagonist in a series of five movies starring Clint Eastwood:

  • “Dirty Harry” (1971)
  • “Magnum Force” (1973)
  • “The Enforcer” (1976)
  • “Sudden Impact” (1983)
  • “The Dead Pool” (1988)

21 Women’s links gp. : LPGA

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 lady golfers, and today it is the oldest ongoing women’s sports professional organization in the US.

23 __ Park, Colorado : ESTES

Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park.

24 Actuary’s specialty : RISK

In the world of insurance, an actuary is a person who works out the appropriate premium based on risk.

25 Army gear, briefly : CAMO

Our word “camouflage” (often abbreviated to “camo”) evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

32 “Finding __”: 2016 sequel : DORY

Pixar’s 2016 animated feature “Finding Dory” is a sequel to the megahit film “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” seems to have built on the success of its predecessor and had the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in North America for an animated movie.

33 Dreyer’s, east of the Rockies : EDY’S

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

35 Loughlin of “Full House” : LORI

Lori Loughlin played Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis on the sitcom “Full House”. Loughlin later appeared in a spin-off of the TV show “Beverly Hills, 90210” titled, inventively enough, “90210”.

39 Lenovo rival : DELL

Computer manufacturer Dell is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

Lenovo is a Chinese manufacturer of computers. Lenovo was founded as “Legend” in 1984. The name was changed to “Lenovo” in 2002. “Lenovo” is a portmanteau of “Le” (from “Legend”) and “novo” (Latin for “new”). IBM sold off its personal computer division to Lenovo in 2005.

40 Egyptian president __ Fattah el-Sisi : ABDEL

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected President of Egypt in June 2014. El-Sisi had been leader of the Egyptian armed forces and led the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

41 Ride available via mobile app : UBER CAR

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

44 Bartolo in “The Barber of Seville,” e.g. : BASSO

“The Barber of Seville” is an extremely popular comic opera by Gioachino Rossini that is based on a play of the same name by Pierre Beaumarchais. Beaumarchais wrote a sequel called “The Marriage of Figaro”, on which Mozart based his comic opera of the same name.

45 Ladybug’s lunch : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in Britain and Ireland where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

The insect we know as a ladybug has seven spots on its wing covers. These seven spots gave rise to the common name “ladybug”, as in the Middle Ages the insect was called the “beetle of Our Lady”. The spots were said to symbolize the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows, events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary called out in the Roman Catholic tradition.

47 Half a stringed instrument : -GURDY

A hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces tones when a hand-cranked wheel runs against the strings.

48 Southend-__ : ON-SEA

Southend-on-Sea is a coastal town located in the county of Essex and just 40 miles east of London. Southend’s main claim to fame is that it is home to Southend Pier. Extending 1.34 miles into the estuary of the River Thames, Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the whole world.

52 Fabled loch : NESS

Loch Ness is one of the two most famous lakes in Scotland. Loch Ness is famous for its “monster”, and Loch Lomond is famous for the lovely song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road …

54 Flash __ : MOB

A flash mob is a group of people who gather to perform a sudden, brief act in a public location and then quickly disperse. Flash mobs originated in Manhattan in 2003, as a social experiment by an editor of “Harper’s Magazine” called Bill Wasik. Wasik’s first attempt to form a flash mob was unsuccessful, but the second attempt worked. The first successful flash mob was relatively tame by today’s elaborate standards, and consisted of about 130 people gathered on the 9th floor of Macy’s department store pretending to be shopping en masse for a “love rug”.

55 Old ending for “Motor” : -OLA

The original Motorola is now two independent companies called Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola started in 1928 as the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in Chicago. Founder Paula V. Galvin created the brand name “Motorola” for a car radio the company developed in 1930. He linked “motor” (meaning “car”) with “-ola” (meaning “sound”), implying “sound in motion”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sports headwear retailer : LIDS
5 Joplin’s “Me and Bobby __” : MCGEE
10 Charlie Brown’s “Darn!” : RATS!
14 Comic strip dog : ODIE
15 Variety : ARRAY
16 Poetic black : EBON
17 Lawyer’s missing text? : LOST CLAUSE (from “lost cause”)
19 Prepare to fly, maybe : TAXI
20 Type of battery : ALKALINE
21 Coherent : LUCID
22 Offer from one unwilling to negotiate? : STICKLER PRICE (from “sticker price”)
25 Chicago Outfit gangster : CAPONE
27 One for the road : SIGN
28 Be flexible : ADAPT
29 Saves up : SETS ASIDE
34 Hot __ : MIC
35 Calendar period that 17-, 22-, 44- and 54-Across are celebrating? : L WEEK
36 Wooden shoe sailor : NOD
37 Create opportunities : OPEN DOORS
40 First owner of the expansion Los Angeles Angels : AUTRY
42 Travel prefix with méxico and perú : AERO-
43 Monks’ homes : ABBEYS
44 Military directive? : BATTLING ORDER (from “batting order”)
49 Spring time : APRIL
50 Support : UNDERPIN
53 Makeshift blade : SHIV
54 Another name for the five-second rule of dropped food? : MORSEL CODE (from “Morse code”)
56 Group of online pages : SITE
57 Of past times : OLDEN
58 Garage sale term : AS IS
59 Tributes in verse : ODES
60 Greet with howls, as the moon : BAY AT
61 Restaurant menu heading : REDS

Down

1 Showgirl of song : LOLA
2 Worshipped object : IDOL
3 Modern capacity measure : DISK SPACE
4 Put on, as a high shelf : SET ATOP
5 Bad intentions : MALICE
6 Street organ feature : CRANK
7 “Oliver Twist” food : GRUEL
8 Warning service co-coordinated by FEMA : EAS
9 Part of a needle : EYE
10 Investment gains : RETURNS
11 Old calculators : ABACI
12 Like guilt-trippers, say : TOXIC
13 Nasty : SNIDE
18 He played Dirty Harry : CLINT
21 Women’s links gp. : LPGA
23 __ Park, Colorado : ESTES
24 Actuary’s specialty : RISK
25 Army gear, briefly : CAMO
26 Take __: swim : A DIP
29 Pass out : SWOON
30 Always, to a poet : E’ER
31 Put between : INTERPOSE
32 “Finding __”: 2016 sequel : DORY
33 Dreyer’s, east of the Rockies : EDY’S
35 Loughlin of “Full House” : LORI
38 Indigenes : NATIVES
39 Lenovo rival : DELL
40 Egyptian president __ Fattah el-Sisi : ABDEL
41 Ride available via mobile app : UBER CAR
43 Passionate : ARDENT
44 Bartolo in “The Barber of Seville,” e.g. : BASSO
45 Ladybug’s lunch : APHID
46 Overdone : TRITE
47 Half a stringed instrument : -GURDY
48 Southend-__ : ON-SEA
51 “Already taken care of” : I DID
52 Fabled loch : NESS
54 Flash __ : MOB
55 Old ending for “Motor” : -OLA

36 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Jan 20, Friday”

  1. 27:21, no errors. Finally got around the gibberish in this horrible horrible puzzle. I ended up having to brute-force the lower right hand side. Very unenjoyable.

    1. FWIW, I’ve never heard of “L Week” at all, and I’ve had experience with college life. I will even say the string makes no sense in terms of communicating the theme, despite being wholly unnecessary at all. This puzzle would have been better without “L Week”, along with some more logically accurate cluing. That was kind of useful in brute-forcing the bottom right, because I knew at least that a L belonged on that line.

  2. What exactly is “L Week”? It’s apparently common (American?) knowledge yet unsearchable; something to do with the new year?

    1. My question also. I don’t get the connection between inserting “L” in these phrases and an “L week “.

      1. There is no such think as an L week. Google and dictionaries show nothing. Shame on the editors for publishing; it’s like editorial cheating.

    2. There is no such thing as an L week. This is a crossword that never should have been published. There is also no such phrase or meaning to morsel code as related to the 5 second rule. It was irresponsible to publish this unprofessional and nonsensical crossword.

    3. No, there is nothing common about L week. There is no such thing. It’s make believe and no different than constructing and publishing a nonsensical crossword based on a calendar them associated with a calendar’s nonexistent triangles. An apology should be published for printing.

  3. Evidently it’s the L added in his inane theme. Awful puzzle. Haven’t seen this constructor before and hope to never see him again.

  4. Inserting L in other words made some sense, as they did give some approximation of real phrases. “L Week” made no sense to me.

    I don’t normally pay much attention to the theme, but it usually makes at least some sense when Bill explains it!

  5. L week? Possibly Leap Week, as in Leap Year? 2020 is a Leap Year, maybe the author is referring to the week of Feb. 23-29 as a leap week. I know this is a stretch, but that’s the only thing that comes to my mind.

  6. I, too, am scratching my head wondering what “L week is”. I guess Bill doesn’t know either or he would have explained it.

  7. Bottom half went well. Not the top left nor the middle 5 through 9 across. Knocked out the high right hand corner early. Could only complete about 75%.
    Eddie

  8. Came here hoping someone would know what L Week is since I (grew up in L.A.) had never heard of it. Glad/Mad that no one else knows what it is either.

  9. 14:38 (part of which was spent in trying to grok the theme), no errors. A decent enough puzzle, but I’m also mystified by “L week”. Some sort of pun on “hell week”, perhaps?

  10. 51:51 with one error where 36A and 32D intersect…..I didn’t know either so I took a wrong guess…..Who beside Bill knew 48D?
    Just like everyone else in reference to LWEEK…for a change I am not the only one to dislike the puzzle

  11. Weird, confusing, unsatisfying theme. I stared at “L Week” for a long time and still don’t know for sure what they were going for. Maybe literally “this is L Week, look at all the Ls in this puzzle!” but probably a pun on “hell week” which is a college fraternity term for the hazing rituals new pledges have to endure. If it’s the latter, it’s a really unpleasant thing and there’s really no joy in it.

    I didn’t know 48D off the bat, but British town names sometimes have that “name-on-thing,” like “Newcastle-upon-Tyne” or “Leigh-on-sea” or even “Weston-Super-Mare” so once I got a couple of crossing letters the light dawned. I agree it’s super-obscure, though.

    Struggled a fair bit, as I’m seeing others have as well. Managed a 9:06 time, mostly I think out of luck.

  12. 21:59. A whole lot of head scratching here. I didn’t get NOD until I saw the write up, and then I laughed – Wynkin Blynkin and NOD never occurred to me. Good one. Had ABDuL before ABDEL. Most embarrassing moment is when I had the “D” and couldn’t think of the Lenovo rival for a few seconds…….while I was using my DELL laptop to do the puzzle. Hurdy-GURDY? Never hurd of it…

    When there are this many people confused by L WEEK – some of whom have been doing crosswords for decades – it’s either genius or incompetence at work. It’s hard for me to imagine the people at the LAT crossword as incompetent so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt….for now. That said, I’d sure like a definitive explanation. I could poke a thousand holes through any of the guesses/stretches noted above so I hope there’s a better explanation somewhere.

    Best –

  13. 15 mins 24 sec, and 4 errors in the top left. LOLA and DISK SPACE just wouldn’t come to me, and the “lawyer” fill in 17A was too cute to figure out for me.

  14. Bill,
    What the “L” is L Week? Like many other posters I came here to find out what the “L” is happening…
    I actually enjoyed the puzzle, no problems with clues, etc. Just wondering where the “L” it was going?

  15. @Everyone,
    Apparently “L Week” is a play on “Hell Week”. I opted not to comment on this assuming that others would clarify. I went to school outside of the US, and so didn’t have to live through a Hell Week.

  16. Has no one here ever heard of the week in BUD/S training in which prospective SEALS train for five days and five nights solid with a maximum total of four hours of sleep? Hell Week indeed…

    1. @Tony … That was one of two meanings of “hell week” that I had in mind, but the other one certainly came to mind first.

      And, just to clarify … I am not one of those who hated the puzzle. I understood the gimmick (creating puns by adding an L to common phrases), but the “reveal” entry of “LWEEK” doesn’t suggest the gimmick as clearly as it might. So … tut, tut … tsk, tsk … move along, move along, nothing to see here … 😜

  17. So L WEEK is simply shorthand for “hell week?” As Peggy Lee would ask, “Is that All There Is?” Who would celebrate “hell week” on a calendar? I dismissed that right away as being too oblique. Oh well there’s always tomorrow’s puzzle.

  18. I, for one, didn’t mind the “L” theme nearly as much as some of the inane and obscure clues and answers. These puzzles are usually difficult, but this one was not fair.

  19. Moderately difficult Friday for me; took 37 minutes with one error: NeD/DeRY, even though I thought I heard of Dory before. Most of this puzzle was pretty easy to fill in and, I agree, the reveal “L Week” was kind of unsatisfying, but made the last theme clue solvable.

    I had to change ABDuL to help with the mystery of the SE corner. Eventually got REDS instead of bevs, but IDID took a while. Never heard of Lids and there’s one just north of me…might have to check it out. The “Hot Mic” write up is pretty amusing 🙂

  20. Hi folks!!🦆

    Yes, L WEEK is Hell Week. Just a play on the term. It’s the last week before pledges become “actives.” I was in a sorority in college, and I thought of the phrase as soon as I saw it filled in. In the Greek system of college fraternal orders, Hell Week is a BIG deal, especially for guys — fraternities take it quite seriously. You occasionally hear stories of kids dying during Hell Week….obviously that’s extremely rare, but it seems to make national news when it happens. Agree that it doesn’t tie into the theme answers; rather a weak pun too. Could have left that out and gone with just the other theme answers!🙄 That would have made for a better puzzle.

    One error!! I couldn’t come up with the M at CAMO/MIC, so I peeked. I shoulda kept going– woulda gotten it eventually. 🤔 Oh well.

    Meanwhile, I’ve got a FLOOD of new students!! (I is a English tutor.) Maybe some people made new year’s resolutions to improve their English!! I hope most of them actually stick with it. If so, it looks like 2020 will turn out well for me, at least in terms of business. 😊🤞

    Be well~~🍹

  21. Here’s the answer to the LWEEK issue…the “calendar period” referred to in the clue to 35-across is “Noel week”, the “period between Christmas and New Year’s. Get it? NO L week! Just take the L out of the theme answers (no L) and you get proper phrases.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s always a pleasure to have the setter’s intention explained!

      (No “gibberish”, nothing “horrible”, just something from outside my knowledge base … 😜.)

    2. Thank you for that, but it still doesn’t make sense. If the answer is supposed to be “No L Week” then why is the answer “L Week”? And the theme is inserting L’s into common phrases, not removing them (as one might expect if it was “no L”).

      I have never heard the term “noel week” and maybe my Google skills aren’t strong enough, but I can’t find a single web page containing the phrase. Something is till missing.

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