LA Times Crossword 12 Feb 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Inside Pitch

Themed answers each include a hidden word INSIDE, a word that means “PITCH”:

  • 64A Ballpark, perhaps … and a hint to each set of circled letters : INSIDE PITCH
  • 17A *Power outage standbys : GAS LANTERNS (“slant” inside)
  • 24A *”I don’t care if you made plans, cancel them” : GET OUT OF IT (“tout” inside)
  • 39A *Morally upright person : STRAIGHT ARROW (“tar” inside)
  • 53A *Stretch between two Bushes : CLINTON ERA (“tone” inside)

Bill’s time: 8m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Hardly wimpy : MACHO

A macho man is one showing pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

11 Film watcher’s channel : TMC

The Movie Channel is owned by Showtime, which in turn is a subsidiary of CBS. The channel’s name is often abbreviated to “TMC”, although this is informal usage.

15 “Encore!” : AGAIN!

“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!”

16 Évian water : EAU

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

19 Digital readout, for short : LCD

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

21 “I, Claudius” star Jacobi : DEREK

Derek Jacobi is an English actor, and a holder of a knighthood. Although Jacobi is mainly a stage actor, the role I most associate him with is the title character in the marvelous television adaptation of Robert Graves’ “I, Claudius”.

“I, Claudius” is a 1934 novel penned by Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of Emperor Claudius of Rome. Graves wrote a sequel in 1935 called “Claudius the God”. Both books were adapted by the BBC into a fabulous television series that went by the name of the first book “I, Claudius”.

23 RSVP part : S’IL

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

31 Escape : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

32 Man-to-man defense alternative : ZONE

In some team sports, there is a choice between man-to-man defense and zone defense. In the former, each defensive player guards a corresponding player on the other team. In the latter, each defensive player covers a particular “zone” of the playing area.

35 Place for a “ped” to cross : XING

Pedestrian crossing (Ped Xing)

38 Bobbsey girl : NAN

The “Bobbsey Twins” series of children’s novels was first written by Edward Stratemeyer in 1904. Stratemeyer used the pseudonym Laura Lee Hope, as did subsequent authors who wrote 72 books in the series between 1904 and 1979. The title characters are two sets of fraternal twins, one named Bert and Nan (who are 12) and the other named Flossie and Freddie (who are 6).

44 Big rig : SEMI

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

45 Bandleader Lombardo : GUY

Violinist and bandleader Guy Lombardo started his career in his native Canada before moving to the US. Lombardo and his band were in demand for years to play live music on New Year’s Eve broadcasts, which earned him the nickname “Mr. New Year’s Eve”. For many years, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians could be heard live on CBS Radio before midnight, and on NBC Radio after midnight. To this day, the first song of the new years played in Times Square in New York City is the Royal Canadians’ recording of “Auld Lang Syne”.

46 Beanery sign : EATS

A beanery is an inexpensive restaurant. The term “beanery” has been used in American English since the 1800s.

48 Ticker tape letters? : EKG

An EKG measures the electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred, as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

“Ticker” is a slang term used for the heart.

53 *Stretch between two Bushes : CLINTON ERA (“tone” inside)

President Bill Clinton was born not as a Clinton, but as William Jefferson Blythe. Bill’s father was killed in a car accident just three months before he was born. His mother remarried a few years later, to Roger Clinton. Bill didn’t formally adopt the Clinton name until he was fourteen years old, although he used it as he was growing up.

60 Language spoken by Jesus : ARAMAIC

The ancient Biblical land of Aram was named after Aram, a grandson of Noah. Aram was located in the center of modern-day Syria. Aramaic became the everyday language of Syria, Mesopotamia and Palestine.

63 Bygone airline : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

64 Ballpark brushback, perhaps … and a hint to each set of circled letters : INSIDE PITCH

In baseball, a brushback pitch is one thrown high and inside the strike zone, and is designed to “brush back” the batter away from the plate for subsequent pitches.

67 Rock’s Fleetwood __ : MAC

The band Fleetwood Mac was founded in 1967 in London by Peter Green. He chose “Fleetwood Mac” from the names of two friends in former groups, i.e. “Fleetwood” and “McVie”). Green did this despite the fact that Fleetwood Mac’s drummer’s name happens to be Mick Fleetwood.

68 Code name : MORSE

Samuel Morse was a very accomplished and reputable painter (he was engaged to paint a portrait of President John Adams, for example). In 1825 Morse was in Washington working on a commissioned painting when he received a one-line letter by horse messenger telling him that his wife was ill. He left immediately for his home in New Haven, Connecticut but by the time that Morse arrived his wife had already died and had been buried. This single event spurred him to move from painting to the development of a rapid means of long distance communication, leading to the single-wire telegraph and Morse code.

70 “Hometown Proud” supermarket chain : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

Down

1 TV host Philbin : REGIS

Regis Philbin is an incredibly popular television personality. Philbin is in such high demand and has had such a long career, that he holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera (in excess of 16,000 hours).

2 “Jagged Little Pill” co-songwriter Morissette : ALANIS

Alanis Morissette is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After releasing two pop albums in Canada, in 1995 she recorded her first album to be distributed internationally. Called “Jagged Little Pill”, it is a collection of songs with more of a rock influence. The album was a huge success, the highest-selling album of the 1990s, and the highest-selling debut album by any artist at any time (selling over 30 million units).

3 Old register key : NO SALE

The “No Sale” key on a cash register is the one pushed to open the cash drawer without recording a transaction, when there is “no sale”.

4 They report to sgts. : CPLS

Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

6 Barbie’s company : MATTEL

Mattel is the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Mattel was founded by Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler in 1945, and they chose the company name by combining “Matt” with “El-liot” giving “Matt-el”.

The famous Barbie doll was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler and first appeared on store shelves in 1959. Barbie was based on a German fashion doll called Bild Lilli that was introduced in 1955. Lilli had been a German cartoon character before taking on a three-dimensional form. Prior to the introduction of Bild Lilli and Barbie, children’s dolls were primarily representations of infants.

8 Aries or Taurus : CAR

The Dodge Aries (and the Plymouth Reliant) were Chrysler’s first “K-cars”, introduced in 1981. The K-cars were designed to carry 6 passengers, on two bench seats. Remember taking a corner a little too fast on those seats, in the days when no one wore seat belts?

The Taurus is an incredibly successful car that was introduced by Ford in 1985. The Taurus was the successor to the Ford LTD, and is still in production today. The Taurus was the best-selling automobile in the US between 1992 and 1996, before being knocked off its pedestal by Japanese imports.

9 Like many yoga practitioners : HINDU

Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.

In the West we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

11 Ringer in la casa : TELEFONO

In Spanish, one might hear a “teléfono” (telephone) ringing in the “las casa” (the house).

12 Wool coat that is often plaid : MACKINAW

Mackinaw cloth is a heavy and dense woolen cloth that repels water. It is used to make a short coat known as a Mackinaw jacket that is very much associated with lumberjacks, especially in the mid-1800s. The jacket was first made by women in the Mackinaw region of present-day Michigan, hence the name.

13 Something to chew : CUD

Animals that chew the cud are called ruminants. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work.

18 Holiday quaff : NOG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

22 Cartoonist Chast : ROZ

Roz Chast had her first cartoon published in “The New Yorker” in 1978, and has had more than 800 published since then.

27 Common base : TEN

We use base-10, the decimal system for our numbers. Base-60, the sexagesimal system, was used by the ancient Babylonians. This ancient usage gives rise to our 60 seconds in a minute, and 360 (6 x 60) degrees in a circle.

29 Auto financing abbr. : APR

Annual percentage rate (APR)

39 Rascal : SCALAWAG

The American word “scalawag” meaning “rogue” was originally used as a nickname for southern white people who supported reconstruction after the Civil War.

40 Bolivian border lake : TITICACA

Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, and the highest navigable lake in the world (navigable by “large” commercial vessels). Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes, on the border between Peru and Bolivia.

41 Fed. agents : G-MEN

The nickname “G-men” is short for “government men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

47 __-Caps: candy : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

52 “The Masked Singer” judge Robin : THICKE

Robin Thicke is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles who has a pair of showbiz parents. Robin’s Dad is actor Alan Thicke who made his name on the TV show “Growing Pains”. Robin’s mother is singer and actress Gloria Loring. Loring and her husband composed the theme songs for the TV shows “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life”.

“The Masked Singer” is a reality TV show in which masked celebrities compete anonymously in a singing competition. Contestants reveal their identities when they are voted off the show by the audience and a panel of judges. The American version of the show is part of an international “Masked Singer” franchise that originated in South Korea.

58 Flu symptoms : ACHES

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

61 LAPD alerts : APBS

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the third largest local law enforcement agency in the country, after New York PD and Chicago PD. Among other things, LAPD is famous for creating the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the US, in 1965.

62 Actress Sorvino : MIRA

Mira Sorvino is an American actress, and a winner of an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1995 Woody Allen movie “Mighty Aphrodite”. Sorvino also played a title role opposite Lisa Kudrow in the very forgettable “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”.

63 Texter’s “No more details!” : TMI!

Too much information (TMI)

65 Sellout letters : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Home on the range : RANCH
6 Hardly wimpy : MACHO
11 Film watcher’s channel : TMC
14 Take the honey and run : ELOPE
15 “Encore!” : AGAIN!
16 Évian water : EAU
17 *Power outage standbys : GAS LANTERNS (“slant” inside)
19 Digital readout, for short : LCD
20 Up the creek : IN A SPOT
21 “I, Claudius” star Jacobi : DEREK
23 RSVP part : S’IL
24 *”I don’t care if you made plans, cancel them” : GET OUT OF IT (“tout” inside)
28 Airplane assignment : SEAT
31 Escape : LAM
32 Man-to-man defense alternative : ZONE
33 Treat like a dog? : PET
35 Place for a “ped” to cross : XING
38 Bobbsey girl : NAN
39 *Morally upright person : STRAIGHT ARROW (“tar” inside)
43 __-fi : SCI
44 Big rig : SEMI
45 Bandleader Lombardo : GUY
46 Beanery sign : EATS
48 Ticker tape letters? : EKG
50 Award adjective : BEST
53 *Stretch between two Bushes : CLINTON ERA (“tone” inside)
57 “Huh!?” : WHA?!
59 __ squash : ACORN
60 Language spoken by Jesus : ARAMAIC
63 Bygone airline : TWA
64 Ballpark brushback, perhaps … and a hint to each set of circled letters : INSIDE PITCH
67 Rock’s Fleetwood __ : MAC
68 Code name : MORSE
69 Driving instructor’s urgent reminder : BRAKE!
70 “Hometown Proud” supermarket chain : IGA
71 Weapon with a hilt : SWORD
72 Fills completely : SATES

Down

1 TV host Philbin : REGIS
2 “Jagged Little Pill” co-songwriter Morissette : ALANIS
3 Old register key : NO SALE
4 They report to sgts. : CPLS
5 Pile : HEAP
6 Barbie’s company : MATTEL
7 Get on in years : AGE
8 Aries or Taurus : CAR
9 Like many yoga practitioners : HINDU
10 Beginning : ONSET
11 Ringer in la casa : TELEFONO
12 Wool coat that is often plaid : MACKINAW
13 Something to chew : CUD
18 Holiday quaff : NOG
22 Cartoonist Chast : ROZ
25 Source of increased government revenue : TAX HIKE
26 Overlook : OMIT
27 Common base : TEN
29 Auto financing abbr. : APR
30 Afternoon affairs : TEAS
34 Even score : TIE
36 Pester : NAG
37 Pub __: casual fare : GRUB
39 Rascal : SCALAWAG
40 Bolivian border lake : TITICACA
41 Fed. agents : G-MEN
42 Deli choice : RYE
43 Brief time : SEC
47 __-Caps: candy : SNO
49 Marked for the class : GRADED
51 Go after, as a fly : SWAT AT
52 “The Masked Singer” judge Robin : THICKE
54 Cuts back : TRIMS
55 Currently airing : ON NOW
56 “All bets __ off” : ARE
58 Flu symptoms : ACHES
61 LAPD alerts : APBS
62 Actress Sorvino : MIRA
63 Texter’s “No more details!” : TMI!
65 Sellout letters : SRO
66 Leb. neighbor : ISR

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Feb 20, Wednesday”

    1. @Glenn

      I always do the puzzle by hand. One weird reason is I like using a pencil and you don’t get to use one too much anymore!

      1. @Sallee
        Doing puzzles by paper definitely holds more charm for me, but electronic solving is a thing. So I tend to fall into that, especially since the whole process is more efficient after downloading the puzzle. That said, electronic and paper puzzle solving are definitely as different as night and day for several reasons so I try to do both. But more or less, I’ve been pointing out that I’m doing it handwritten this week because I usually do LAT puzzles electronically as of late.

        1. @Glenn. I always, without exception, do all CWP’s in ink. I really enjoy reading the newspaper and take both the LAT’s and the WSJ as daily papers. There’s just something inherently pleasing about the tactile of putting pen to paper. I ought to wear a green eye shade and sleeve protectors while I do it, just to complete my 19th century image!

          I also do the NYT’s Sunday grid, but do it quite sometime after it comes out as my friend saves them up for me and after she and her husband have read the paper gives me the magazine.

          Did you do the WSJ grid today? I really messed things up, not knowing 39 Across or Down so had the wrong letter to start both, and to gild the mistake lily I also had the wrong center letter for 48 Across. D’oh!

        2. @Glenn
          Thank you for the reply. Yes I know that you had changed recently because I read your posts every day. I have never tried to do one electronically. It’s just so easy to grab the paper, sit at my kitchen counter, have my morning iced tea and do the crossword puzzle with a lovely pencil and eraser!!!

        3. Glenn, what is involved and required to do one electronically? Is it faster
          than handwritten? At this stage. we know only handwritten. We use a pen
          and whiteover; my smart son-in-lawyer uses a pencil with an eraser. He is
          not super quick like you guys, but he can get Saturday’s LAT puzzle almost
          every time.

          We made one error today; my smart wife used AMC for 11A; it looked OK to
          me, but it messed up the Spanish word for “phony” at 11D. I could not find
          that Spanish word in my dictionary. But, I will take 3 errors on 3 puzzles any
          day of the week, 99.5% letter basis. We would possibly be close to the lead in
          the Geezer Division so far this week. I took the conservative estimation.

          Jane, I thought of you today. An inside pitch is used by a pitcher to try to make
          the batter back away from the plate, not be able to hit the ball and be made to
          fear the coming pitches. The game is baseball, as you may have known.

          1. @Daigle
            There’s a number of widgets the different sites and puzzles use to offer puzzles online. If you see it in a newspaper it’s generally online somewhere. There’s also a couple of offline (i.e. Internet not required) puzzle solvers out there as well. I use a free one called Across Lite that I open downloaded puzzles with (videos off of my blog link if you want to see what that looks like). I think Bill does something similar with another program to do the LAT, if I understand correctly.

            As for electronic, I type faster than I write so I’d say it’s faster for me.

  1. Didn’t understand theme even when I was told. I’m guessing these are baseball terms. Sports,just not my thing. Must say crosswords have taught me more names and sports terms than I ever cared to know. Otherwise things went ok for a beginner’s Wednesday.

  2. 22:18 no errors….pencil is the only way I know how to do a puzzle inasmuchas I am basically computer illiterate …IMO “The Masked Singer” is the lamest show on TV and there are a lot of lame shows on TV.

  3. 11:59. Not bad considering I had two fatal errors in LeD and tMEN. Took a few mins to fix all that. I knew MACKINAW only from the Seinfeld episode with MACKINAW peaches – which incidentally were entirely made up by the writers. In the show they were only ripe 2 weeks out of the year which isn’t true for any peach.

    I didn’t get the TAR – pitch connection with the theme. Apparently tar is a viscoelastic polymer made from coal tar or other sources, and it’s also called pitch. Asphalt is a form of pitch. News to me.

    Best –

  4. 9:04 and 3 errors; 2 of them “forced” by proper names DEREK, MACKINAW while TELEFONO was a victim of non-fluency in Spanish. In sum, a great example of what’s wrong with the puzzles we’re being subjected to these days.

  5. The first thing I noticed was the plethora of abbrevs – 16!
    No Googles or errors, but did not get the theme or any of the baseball thing. Did not know LCD or ZONE (sports).
    Had buG before NAG, syR before ISR, gUm before CUD.
    Luckily, I took a year of Italian (and 5 of German) 50 yrs ago, so I can figure out some Spanish.

    I do my puzzle on my back and with a Flair – various colors. I’m thinking of xeroxing it to enlarge it, as the numbers are getting harder to read.

    @John Daigle and others – thanx for the explanation. I wasn’t able to catch Hubster for a definition today. I’ll tell him now, and he’ll give me a huge lecture, which he loves to do.

  6. Fairly easy Wednesday for me; took about 15 minutes with no errors. Didn’t know TMC, ROZ, DEREK, MACKINAW and wavered between anN and NAN, which meant I had a bit of a problem in the NE. I looked at “Man-to-man alternative” again and realized I actually knew that: ZONE, which led to ROZ and DEREK. So, the rest wasn’t that hard after all…Now I know what a Mackinaw looks like…which I checked after I finished.

    re Online LA puzzle – Just google “la daily crossword”, which leads to their online offering. They’ve got rid of their previous vendor, removing the daily Sudoku as well. The new format gets rid of all the ads that used to drive people crazy, and the controls are all the same…it’s kinda nice.

    Reading the news, boy, starting to think I live in a banana republic

  7. Greetings!!🦆

    Dang! One error. Didn’t know ROZ or ZONE and just forgot to fill in anything in that Z square! If I miss a square but I know I’d have gotten it right I don’t count it as an error, but this I probably never woulda gotten. 🤔 Dang!

    Jane– when I still subscribed to the LA Times I often cut out the puzzles and xeroxed them, bumping up the size a few points and setting it one notch lighter than normal (the quality of the newsprint makes it come out dark.) It made all the difference! I no longer get the paper and now just print it out. I should subscribe again….

    Glad so many of us do puzzles with paper and pen/pencil! I used to do the puzzles in pen but now I use pencil; that way, I can re-use the flip side of the paper without its having pen traces.

    Dirk re news– yep. And he can order his AG to carry out investigations on whoever his upcoming opponent is. 😠

    Be well ~~🍸

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