LA Times Crossword 13 Feb 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian & Howard Barkin
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Crows

Themed clues are the same, namely “Crow”:

  • 17A Crow : HUMBLE PIE
  • 26A Crow : BOAST WITH JOY
  • 45A Crow : SINGER SHERYL
  • 60A Crow : BLACK BIRD

Bill’s time: 7m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Suffix for Wikipedia : ORG

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, and is the most-used reference site on the Internet. The site was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. I, for one, am very grateful …

9 Network with a “Cameras in the Court” page : C-SPAN

C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.

C-SPAN’s website has a “Cameras in the Court” page that provides coverage of the judicial branch of the US government. Some notable words at the top of that page are:

The prohibition of televised coverage of the Supreme Court’s oral arguments has been an obstacle …

The policy of banning the use of cameras in the courtroom while the Supreme Court is in session is a much debated topic.

15 Where many watch the Beeb : TELLY

“Telly” is a term commonly used in Britain and Ireland that is short for “television”.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as “the Beeb”, a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers on the classic British radio comedy called “The Goon Show”. The BBC was founded in 1922, and was the world’s first national broadcasting organization.

17 Crow : HUMBLE PIE

The phrase “humble pie” derives from a medieval meat dish called “umble pie”. The filling in umble pie usually contained the offal (heart, liver, lungs and kidneys) of deer. The name “umble” came from the French “nomble” meaning “deer’s innards”.

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.

19 Plug-in Chevys : VOLTS

Despite being late entering the eco-friendly car market, Chevrolet today produces the most fuel-efficient compact car with a gasoline engine that is sold in the US. The Chevrolet Volt went on sale at the end of 2010, and is a plug-in hybrid car that runs on batteries. The Volt has a gasoline engine that can be used to run an electric generator when needed. The Volt also uses a regenerative braking system.

23 Delete for security reasons, say : REDACT

Our word “redact”, meaning to revise or edit, comes from the past participle of the Latin “redigere” meaning “to reduce”.

26 Crow : BOAST WITH JOY

The verb “to crow” meaning “to exult in triumph” is imitative of the sound made by a crow, perhaps as it settles over some dead animal that it has found …

36 Amana Colonies state : IOWA

“The Amana Colonies” is the collective name given to seven villages in east-central Iowa, namely Amana, East Amana, High Amana, Middle Amana, South Amana, West Amana and Homestead. All seven villages were founded by German immigrants who called themselves the Community of True Inspiration.

37 Copier pioneer : XEROX

Xerox was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York and originally made photographic paper and equipment. Real success came for the company in 1959 when it introduced the first plain-paper photocopier. Xerox named Ursula Burns as CEO in 2009, the first African American woman to head up a S&P 100 company. Burn was also the first woman to succeed another female CEO (replacing Anne Mulcahy).

39 Taylor of fashion : ANN

There was no actual person named “Ann Taylor” associated with the Ann Taylor line of clothes. The name was chosen by the marketing professionals because “Ann” was considered to be “very New England” back in 1954 when the stores first opened, and “Taylor” suggested that clothes were carefully “tailored”.

40 Likely 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee : JETER

Derek Jeter played his entire professional baseball career with the New York Yankees, and was the team’s captain. Jeter is the all-time career leader for the Yankees in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats. He is also the all-time leader in hits by a shortstop in the whole of professional baseball. Jeter’s performances in the postseason earned him the nicknames “Captain Clutch” and “Mr. November”. Jeter retired from the game in 2014.

41 Composer Satie : ERIK

Erik Satie was a French composer best known for his beautiful composition, the three “Gymnopédies”. I have tried so hard to appreciate other works by Satie but I find them so very different from the minimalist simplicity of the lyrical “Gymnopédies”.

42 Taco sauce brand : ORTEGA

The Ortega food manufacturing company has been around for about 150 years. It was founded by Maria Concepcion Jacinta Dominguez Ortega, known affectionately as Mama Ortega within the company.

44 IRS identifier : SSN

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

45 Crow : SINGER SHERYL

Famously, Sheryl Crow dated cyclist Lance Armstrong from 2003-2006. Armstrong has stated publicly more than once that Crow’s music cured his cancer.

49 Range that contains much of the Mark Twain National Forest : OZARKS

The Ozark Mountains aren’t really mountains geographically speaking, and so the Ozarks are better described by the alternate name, the Ozark Plateau. It’s not really certain how the Ozarks got their name, but my favorite theory is that “Ozarks” is the phonetic spelling of “aux Arks”, short for “of Arkansas” in French.

53 Temple with an upcurved roof : PAGODA

Pagodas are tiered (“storied”) towers found in various parts of Asia that are usually built for religious purposes.

56 Blue-__: pain relief brand : EMU

Blu-Emu is a brand of topical pain relievers that was introduced in 2002. As suggested by the name, Blue-Emu products include emu oil as an ingredient. Emu oil is extracted from the fat of emu carcases that are processed for meat.

60 Crow : BLACK BIRD

Ravens and crows are very similar species, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Ravens are a little larger and often travel in pairs, whereas crows are a little smaller are are usually seen in larger groups. Crows make a cawing sound, while the raven’s call is more like a croak.

62 Electric car named for a physicist : TESLA

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 as a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in early 2017.

Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. Tesla’s work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

63 Kirin competitor : ASAHI

Asahi is a beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

Kirin lager is the oldest brand of beer in Japan. The “Kirin” name comes from the Japanese word for a mythical Chinese creature.

64 Zero, in soccer : NIL

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

65 Get to the point? : TAPER

I used to think that the word “taper” was used for a slender candle because said candle was “tapered” in shape, but it’s exactly the opposite. It turns out that our word “tapered” comes from the candle. “Taper” and “tapur” are Old English words meaning “candle”. From these nouns arose the verb “to taper” meaning “shoot up like flame”. This meaning evolved into “become slender” from the idea that a candle’s flame has such a shape.

66 Exorcist’s target : DEMON

An exorcist is a religious figure who is believed to be able to cast out demons that have possessed a person or perhaps a building.

Down

2 Waze recommendation : ROUTE

Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze was developed in Israel, and was acquired by Google in 2013.

4 Delta hub code : ATL

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest airport, as measured by passenger traffic. Atlanta has had that distinction since 1998, and was the world’s busiest in terms of take-offs and landings from 2005 until 2013. Over 50% of Atlanta’s traffic comes from Delta Air Lines.

6 Pet food brand : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

7 Avoided a tag, perhaps : SLID

That would be baseball.

8 “Queer __”: revived style show : EYE

“Queer Eye” is a reality TV show that was launched in 2003 as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Each episode features a panel of gay professional experts in the fields of fashion and design giving a makeover to a straight man.

12 Bubbly city : ASTI

Asti is a city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

18 Spill the beans : BLAB

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.

22 Slinky shape : COIL

The marvelous Slinky toy was invented in the early forties by a naval engineer named Richard James. James was developing springs for the navy that could stabilize sensitive instruments in rough seas. One day he accidentally knocked one of his experimental coils off a shelf and watched it “step” onto a stack of books, then onto a table and from there onto the floor where it recoiled itself very neatly. The Slinky was born …

24 Persuade with flattery : COAX

To coax is to cajole, to influence using gentle persuasion. Back in the 16th century, “coax” was a noun meaning “fool”, and was used in the sense of “make a coax of, make a fool of”.

25 Title river in a Gershwin/Caesar song : SWANEE

“Swanee” was written in 1919 by George Gershwin. Gershwin was very young at the time and came up with the music in just ten minutes while riding on a Manhattan bus. Al Jolson was already a star, and he heard Gershwin playing the song at a party. Jolson made a deal to include the song in his show “Sinbad”, and then “Swanee” just took off.

27 Like Wyoming’s population : SPARSE

Wyoming is the least populous state in the Union, and the second-least sparsely populated. The state with the lowest population density is Alaska.

28 Start of the back nine : TENTH

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

30 Is in the red : OWES

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.

31 It may get crewel treatment : YARN

Crewelwork is a type of embroidery using wool thread. The oldest surviving example of crewelwork is the celebrated Bayeux Tapestry. As such, the Bayeux “Tapestry” isn’t a tapestry at all.

33 Polo of “The Fosters” : TERI

Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.

“The Fosters” is a teen drama TV show about a lesbian couple raising a blended family of biological, adopted and foster children. Originally airing from 2013 to 2018, Jennifer Lopez was involved in the show as an executive producer.

34 Shillelagh’s land : ERIN

A “shillelagh” is a wooden walking stick that, according to Irish folklore, was often used as a weapon, as a club. The term “shillelagh” is an anglicized corruption of “sail éille” meaning “thonged willow”. The spelling of this corruption somehow got confused over the years with the village of Shillelagh in County Wicklow. The name of the village is unrelated to the walking stick, and rather comes from the Irish “Síol Éalaigh” meaning “people descended from Élothach”, i.e. descended from Élothach mac Fáelchon, one of the Irish kings.

38 Words that activate an assistant : OK GOOGLE

Google Assistant is a virtual assistant that can engage in two-way conversation. Google Assistant competes with Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

40 “Empire State of Mind” rapper : JAY-Z

Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyoncé. Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York. As Carter was growing up, he was nicknamed “Jazzy”, a reference to his interest in music. “Jazzy” evolved into the stage name “Jay-Z”. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, and twins named Rumi and Sir Carter.

42 White-bellied swimmer : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

43 First name in comedy : GROUCHO

Groucho Marx’s real name was Julius Henry Marx. By the time Groucho started his successful, post-Hollywood career hosting the quiz show “You Bet Your Life”, he was sporting a real mustache. For all his movies, his mustache had been painted on with greasepaint.

47 Souvlaki meat : LAMB

Souvlaki is a “fast food” from Greece consisting of meat (often lamb) grilled on a skewer, and sometimes served in a pita sandwich.

51 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year __ Irving : KYRIE

Kyrie Irving is a professional basketball player who grew up in New Jersey, although he was born in Melbourne, Australia to American parents. Irving played for Duke University before launching his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers following the 2011 draft.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Suffix for Wikipedia : ORG
4 Humiliate : ABASE
9 Network with a “Cameras in the Court” page : C-SPAN
14 Excessively : TOO
15 Where many watch the Beeb : TELLY
16 Get to laugh : AMUSE
17 Crow : HUMBLE PIE
19 Plug-in Chevys : VOLTS
20 Series-ending abbr. : ET AL
21 Lightning __ : ROD
22 “Settle down!” : COOL IT!
23 Delete for security reasons, say : REDACT
25 Alphabetize, e.g. : SORT
26 Crow : BOAST WITH JOY
32 Lapped (up) : ATE
35 Take to a higher court : APPEAL
36 Amana Colonies state : IOWA
37 Copier pioneer : XEROX
39 Taylor of fashion : ANN
40 Likely 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee : JETER
41 Composer Satie : ERIK
42 Taco sauce brand : ORTEGA
44 IRS identifier : SSN
45 Crow : SINGER SHERYL
48 In years past : ONCE
49 Range that contains much of the Mark Twain National Forest : OZARKS
53 Temple with an upcurved roof : PAGODA
56 Blue-__: pain relief brand : EMU
58 “Allow me” : MAY I?
59 Meter measure : USAGE
60 Crow : BLACK BIRD
62 Electric car named for a physicist : TESLA
63 Kirin competitor : ASAHI
64 Zero, in soccer : NIL
65 Get to the point? : TAPER
66 Exorcist’s target : DEMON
67 “Get how it’s done?” : SEE?

Down

1 “Some __ time” : OTHER
2 Waze recommendation : ROUTE
3 Lose one’s grip : GO MAD
4 Delta hub code : ATL
5 Draft source : BEER TAP
6 Pet food brand : ALPO
7 Avoided a tag, perhaps : SLID
8 “Queer __”: revived style show : EYE
9 Frolic : CAVORT
10 Blended beverage : SMOOTHIE
11 Yank : PULL
12 Bubbly city : ASTI
13 Stick-y place to sleep? : NEST
18 Spill the beans : BLAB
22 Slinky shape : COIL
24 Persuade with flattery : COAX
25 Title river in a Gershwin/Caesar song : SWANEE
27 Like Wyoming’s population : SPARSE
28 Start of the back nine : TENTH
29 Quickly writes : JOTS
30 Is in the red : OWES
31 It may get crewel treatment : YARN
32 x, y and z, in math : AXES
33 Polo of “The Fosters” : TERI
34 Shillelagh’s land : ERIN
38 Words that activate an assistant : OK GOOGLE
40 “Empire State of Mind” rapper : JAY-Z
42 White-bellied swimmer : ORCA
43 First name in comedy : GROUCHO
46 Make lovable : ENDEAR
47 Souvlaki meat : LAMB
50 Comes down : RAINS
51 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year __ Irving : KYRIE
52 Crab-walk : SIDLE
53 Miniature golf stroke : PUTT
54 Riding the waves : ASEA
55 [Oh no!] : [GASP!]
56 Besides that : ELSE
57 Word said with a tip of the hat : MA’AM
60 Evil : BAD
61 It’s all relatives : KIN

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Feb 20, Thursday”

  1. Well, I thought I was going to finish this in record time until I got to the SE corner. Many things I didn’t know.
    Blue Emu
    Kyrie whoever
    Asahi beer
    Also didn’t know Teri Polo and never heard of The Fosters.
    Only knew Erik Satie from the name of one of the tracks on an old Blue, Sweat and Tears album.
    Interesting story about Gershwin and Swanee.

  2. Had to Google for ORTEGA. Didn’t know all the ones Wayne didn’t know plus VOLTS, JAYZ. I’m reminded that another category I’m weak in is booze and hot spices.
    I love Mr. TESLA and Mr. Satie. And crows – they’re so smart. I once watched a bunch of them go through a 3-hour pecking-order ritual of dealing with a can of popcorn I dumped in the back yard. The theme was nice.

    1. @Jane – regarding crows being smart their very close cousins, Ravens have been filmed taking walnuts and placing them in front of the tire of cars stopped at a red light so that the car cracks the nut for them.

      No real problems with this grid, but I did have one of those “reading” issues for 45 Across in which I kept looking at the start as “singers he*yl” instead of “singer She*yl” before I finally got Groucho going down which solved my misreading problem.

  3. 11:55. A few weeks ago I saw a reference to Waze in a crossword. Since then I’ve become a big fan of it. I realized that it really does help you get to where you’re going more quickly, but it is not infallible. You have to know when to ignore it as well.

    Interesting pencil discussion yesterday. I realize that I only use pencil in two circumstances – on a golf course keeping score and signing in at my doctor’s office. My doctor’s office said it’s because so many people “accidentally” took their pens, but oddly no one accidentally takes those little stubby pencils. Hmmmm. I do not have a pencil in my house anywhere.

    Best –

  4. 10 mins 51 sec and two errors, caused mostly by …. wait for it…. another damned proper name!!!! ERIK/OK GOOGLE looks just fine as ERIN/ON GOOGLE; especially when the evil clue says “activate” an assistant!!!

  5. 6:17 was my time today. I liked the theme with its wildly diverse answers all meaning “crow” … thought that was a neat way to show off how weird English is. 🙂

  6. Only one actual error; misspelled ORTEGA. But so many omissions, we only got 70%,
    letter basis. It didn’t look that hard once I saw the answers and I knew all but a
    couple of the words, just couldn’t put it together when I was trying to finish up.
    Not great and it knocked our great average down to 92% for the week so far.

    Bombed on the crows, but really enjoyed the story about the ravens and the walnuts.
    I never realized that those black birds were that smart. Who knew?

  7. Pretty easy Thursday for me; took 15 minutes with no errors in the end. There was plenty of stuff I didn’t know (Start of the back nine, Polo of “The Fosters”, JAYZ, KYRIE, EMU) but the crosses and good guesses helped a lot. Fortunately I got Beer Tap and Bubbly city right away. I really liked the “Stick-y place to sleep?” clue 🙂

    The theme was great, agree with Charley that it shows how wildly wacky English can be. Pretty interesting tidbit from Tony on how clever ravens can be.

    re C-Span I was kind of annoyed at how they kept asking for my local cable provider in order to view from their site. I just checked again, and it seems they’ve come to realize that a lot of people have cut the cord and no longer pester you for irrelevant information.

  8. Aloha y’all!🦆

    No errors. Good puzzle and good theme.

    Ravens and walnuts wow! Where’s Jack to say Go Ravens!😁

    Be well ~~🍻

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