LA Times Crossword 17 Feb 20, Monday

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Constructed by: John R. O’Brien
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Julius Caesar

Themed answers include VENI, VIDI, VICI as hidden words circled in the grid:

  • 56A Attributed speaker of the circled words : JULIUS CAESAR
  • 20A Deer hunter’s dinner, perhaps : VENISON STEAK (hiding “VENI”)
  • 34A Cutting in half, in math class : DIVIDING BY TWO (hiding “VIDI”)
  • 42A Nearby : IN THE VICINITY (hiding “VICI”)

Bill’s time: 4m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Annoy : MIFF

To miff is to put out, to tee off. “To miff” is a verb that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That should get him a slap, I’d say …

9 Macbeth, by birth : SCOT

There is a superstition in the theatrical world that uttering the name “Macbeth” in a theater will bring disaster of some sort. To avoid this, the euphemism “the Scottish Play” is used instead.

13 Saintly glows : AURAS

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”.

16 Lola’s nightclub, in song : COPA

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.

His name was Rico
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit to far
Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?

18 Wind that’s worth a warning : GALE

A gale is a very strong wind, a wind that is defined by the Beaufort wind scale as a wind with speeds from 50 to just over 100 kilometers per hour.

19 Idi of Uganda : AMIN

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.

20 Deer hunter’s dinner, perhaps : VENISON STEAK (hiding “VENI”)

Venison is the meat of a deer. In days of yore, the term “venison” applied not just to deer, but to any large game. The word ultimately derives from the Latin “venare” meaning “to hunt”.

23 Holy Ohio city? : TOLEDO

Toledo, Ohio lies in the northwest of the state, at the western end of Lake Erie. Toledo was founded as a result of the prosperity that hit the area when the Miami and Erie Canal was constructed in the 19th century connecting Cincinnati to the Great Lakes. Toledo is known as the Glass City as several glass companies originated there, including Owens Corning and Pilkington North America. There is a large exhibition of glass art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

The origin of the term “Holy Toledo!” is much debated. My favorite story is that it comes from the days of Vaudeville. Back then the week before Easter, known as Holy Week, was the worst week at the box office. Old Vaudeville entertainers used to quip that any week in Toledo was Holy Week, that ticket sales were always bad there. They referred to the city as “Holy Toledo”.

26 Bridal bio word : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husbands name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, and Melania Trump née Knavs.

27 Sault __ Marie : STE

Sault Ste. Marie is the name of two cities on either side of the Canada-US border, one in Ontario and the other in Michigan. The two cities were originally one settlement in the 17th century, established by Jesuit Missionaries. The missionaries gave the settlement the name “Sault Sainte Marie”, which can be translated as “Saint Mary’s Falls”. The city was one community until 1817, when a US-UK Joint Boundary Commission set the border along the St. Mary’s River.

28 “I think,” to a texter : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

29 Childlike race in “The Time Machine” : ELOI

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounter in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a domineering race living underground who use the Eloi as food.

37 Seine summers : ETES

The Seine is the river that flows through Paris. The Seine empties into the English Channel to the north, at the port city of Le Havre.

38 Lincoln or Ford : CAR

Lincoln is a high-end brand belonging to the Ford Motor Company. The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland, who chose the “Lincoln” name in honor of the celebrated American president. Lincoln was acquired by Ford just five years later, in 1922.

42 Nearby : IN THE VICINITY (hiding “VICI”)

A vicinity is an area surrounding a place. The term “vicinity” ultimately comes from the Latin “vicus” meaning “group of houses, village”.

47 Fidel who overthrew Batista : CASTRO

Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and passed away in 2016.

49 Aussie birds that don’t fly : EMUS

Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs. It is the male emu that incubates the eggs. The incubation period lasts about 8 weeks, during which time the male neither eats nor drinks, just lapping up any morning dew that is nearby. While incubating a clutch of eggs, male emus lose about a third of their weight.

50 San Francisco’s __ Valley : NOE

Noe Valley is a neighborhood in San Francisco. The area is named after José de Jesús Noé who was the last Mexican mayor of Yerba Buena, which is what San Francisco was called when it was part of Mexico.

52 NBA tiebreakers : OTS

Overtime (OT)

56 Attributed speaker of the circled words : JULIUS CAESAR

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BCE and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

60 Medical suffix : -OSIS

The suffix “-osis” is found in medical terms, indicates a disorder in general, with the prefix providing more specificity. Examples are silicosis (a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust), and psychosis (a serious mental illness). The plural of “-osis” is usually “-oses”, but “-osises” is out there as well.

62 Swiss peak in an Eastwood film title : EIGER

The Eiger is a mountain in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. It is a noted peak for mountain climbing, with its treacherous north face being the most famous approach to the summit. Over sixty climbers have died since 1935 on that north face.

“The Eiger Sanction” is a very entertaining action film that was released in 1975, which stars and was directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie is all about assassins and mountain climbers, and is based on a 1972 novel of the same name by Trevanian (a pen name of author Rodney William Whitaker).

66 Eye part : LENS

The lens in the eye can change shape, and in so doing change its focal length. This change allows the eye to focus on objects at different distances. The shape of the lens alters due to the action of the eye’s ciliary muscles.

67 Oil cartel letters : OPEC

The OPEC cartel was formally established in 1960 and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965. The US is actually the third largest oil producer in the world (after Russia and Saudi Arabia). One reason America isn’t in OPEC, even though we are a big producer, is that we import a lot more than we export. But we all probably knew that already …

69 Icelandic poetic work : EDDA

The “Poetic Edda” and “Prose Edda” are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in the 13th century in Iceland.

71 Avec’s opposite : SANS

In French, “avec” (with) is the opposite of “sans” (without).

Down

2 One of an inning’s three : OUT

That would be baseball or softball.

3 Pitcher’s stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

5 Carol kings : MAGI

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

The Christmas carol “We Three Kings” is a favorite of mine. The carol was written in 1857 by the rector of an Episcopal church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania called John Henry Hopkins, Jr. Hopkins composed “We Three Kings” for a Christmas pageant in New York City.

6 Hoppy brews, for short : IPAS

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

7 Serious criminal : FELON

In the US, felony crimes are categorized according to the maximum prison term that can be imposed at sentencing (class A, B, C, etc.). For example, a class A felony can result in life imprisonment or even a death sentence. A class B felony can result in a jail term of 25 years or more.

8 Portmanteau for a false ally : FRENEMY

A frenemy is someone who feigns friendship but who is actually an enemy or competitor.

11 Addictive narcotic : OPIATE

The opium poppy is the source of the narcotic alkaloids known as opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

12 Oil cartel ship : TANKER

A cartel is a group of independent businesses who cooperate to regulate production, pricing and marketing of their common product(s).

21 __ me tangere: “Don’t touch me” : NOLI

“Noli me tangere” is Latin for “touch me not”. The words are the Latin translation of “cease holding on to me” written in Greek in the Gospel of John. They are words spoken by Jesus to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.

23 Ocean motion : TIDE

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

25 Age-old romantic adage : LOVE IS BLIND

William Shakespeare used the phrase “love is blind” more than once in his works, including “Two Gentlemen of Verona“, “The Merchant of Venice” and “Henry V“.

33 Graceful pond swimmer : SWAN

An adult male swan is a cob, and an adult female is a pen. Young swans are swanlings or cygnets.

36 Fedora feature : BRIM

A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …

40 Great Plains tribe : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

43 Pants, briefly : TROU

Trousers are pants, the garment covering the lower body and each leg separately. Ultimately, the word “trousers” evolved from the Erse word “triubhas” that described close-fitting shorts. Back in the 1600s there was a colorful saying:

A jellous wife was like an Irish trouze, alwayes close to a mans tayle

46 Tel Aviv’s land : ISRAEL

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, and is a name that was chosen in 1910.

55 Spring zodiac sign : 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”.

57 “Insecure” Emmy nominee __ Rae : ISSA

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

58 Knighted actor Guinness : ALEC

Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”.

63 ABC show for early risers, briefly : GMA

“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spin-off show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.

65 ICU workers : RNS

A registered nurse (RN) might work in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Weed whackers : HOES
5 Annoy : MIFF
9 Macbeth, by birth : SCOT
13 Saintly glows : AURAS
15 Impressionist : APER
16 Lola’s nightclub, in song : COPA
17 Like an old joke : STALE
18 Wind that’s worth a warning : GALE
19 Idi of Uganda : AMIN
20 Deer hunter’s dinner, perhaps : VENISON STEAK (hiding “VENI”)
23 Holy Ohio city? : TOLEDO
26 Bridal bio word : NEE
27 Sault __ Marie : STE
28 “I think,” to a texter : IMO
29 Childlike race in “The Time Machine” : ELOI
32 Learn thoroughly : MASTER
34 Cutting in half, in math class : DIVIDING BY TWO (hiding “VIDI”)
37 Seine summers : ETES
38 Lincoln or Ford : CAR
39 Love, in Spain : AMOR
42 Nearby : IN THE VICINITY (hiding “VICI”)
47 Fidel who overthrew Batista : CASTRO
49 Aussie birds that don’t fly : EMUS
50 San Francisco’s __ Valley : NOE
51 Diplomatic VIP : AMB
52 NBA tiebreakers : OTS
54 Sports team swaps : TRADES
56 Attributed speaker of the circled words : JULIUS CAESAR
60 Medical suffix : -OSIS
61 Sentry’s “Stop!” : HALT
62 Swiss peak in an Eastwood film title : EIGER
66 Eye part : LENS
67 Oil cartel letters : OPEC
68 Iced tea wedge : LEMON
69 Icelandic poetic work : EDDA
70 PC repair person : TECH
71 Avec’s opposite : SANS

Down

1 Suffers from : HAS
2 One of an inning’s three : OUT
3 Pitcher’s stat : ERA
4 Soothing cream : SALVE
5 Carol kings : MAGI
6 Hoppy brews, for short : IPAS
7 Serious criminal : FELON
8 Portmanteau for a false ally : FRENEMY
9 “Beat it, feline!” : SCAT!
10 Is remembered : COMES TO MIND
11 Addictive narcotic : OPIATE
12 Oil cartel ship : TANKER
14 Started the grass-growing process : SEEDED
21 __ me tangere: “Don’t touch me” : NOLI
22 Place to park it : SEAT
23 Ocean motion : TIDE
24 Skip over : OMIT
25 Age-old romantic adage : LOVE IS BLIND
30 A single time : ONCE
31 “__ it my best” : I GAVE
33 Graceful pond swimmer : SWAN
35 “That __ fair!” : ISN’T
36 Fedora feature : BRIM
40 Great Plains tribe : OTOE
41 Deli breads : RYES
43 Pants, briefly : TROU
44 Someone who’s good, and obviously knows it : HOTSHOT
45 Skips, as class : CUTS
46 Tel Aviv’s land : ISRAEL
47 Sweet-talk : CAJOLE
48 Got a smile out of : AMUSED
53 Suffix with land or sea : -SCAPE
55 Spring zodiac sign : ARIES
57 “Insecure” Emmy nominee __ Rae : ISSA
58 Knighted actor Guinness : ALEC
59 Draw with acid : ETCH
63 ABC show for early risers, briefly : GMA
64 Long, long time : EON
65 ICU workers : RNS

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Feb 20, Monday”

    1. Jane, we missed the exact same two for 99%, letter basis. The most trouble was
      found in the top middle section, but we worked together and got the sucker. We
      tried MIFF for ANNOY and the rest just started coming to us. Good enough start
      to the week.

  1. After reading all the comments on the Saturday puzzle which was a ball buster, some people do fib, for sure. Today for Monday was fun & easy. I actually spelled Israel wrong. I’ve spelled it hundreds of times. Guess I was still half asleep. Did correct it finally, so had no errors. At least I don’t fib.

    1. @cathy

      Not a good site to come to and accuse people of fibbing. There are some really smart people out there. And if that is truly the case who’s to believe what you say.

    2. Fibbing? I could point out that there’s sources with puzzles much *much* harder than that LAT Saturday (Julian Lim is a good constructor) that people manage to solve. I could also point out that there’s lots of people that do puzzles twice as fast as I, Bill, and others put up here (honestly I’m not *that* good a solver). I could also point out that I recorded myself doing puzzles for a month and put it up on Youtube (like this one), and while I have errors in things, I manage.

      But I will point out in general that there’s people that have learned how to do these things (and you could too), and don’t fib about them.

  2. 3:21, pleasantly easy even for a Monday. Once I got JULIUS CAESAR and then VENISON with the VENI in the circles, I was off to the races. ISSA crossing EDDA is a bit of a Natick… I can easily imagine many people not knowing either of those (one is ancient history and one is a person of very recent fame)

  3. 5:43. Easy Monday.

    I did not know that superstition about saying “Macbeth”, but I do find it amusing. Why Macbeth of all plays?

    Re the write up on OPEC: As of September of last year (I believe), the U.S. is actually a net EXporter of oil. In fact in 2020, we’re expected to export about 750k barrels of oil per day more than we import. That situation has changed dramatically over the last few years.

    Best –

  4. I once LIVED in Noe Valley, so I took that as a “make good”: one of those times when a proper name works for you.

    5 mins 41 sec, no errors. Sailed through, and **still** got smoked by Bill’s time. And Glenn’s…. jeez.

  5. Glenn, I would like to see some puzzle geek cut your and Bill’s times in half.
    I guess “Anonymous” did quit after all or else is using another name. I like it
    too much to quit.

    1. @John Daigle
      Dan Feyer, perpetual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament winner or runner-up, 1:14 on a Monday LAT.. But yeah, people tend to more half what I or Bill do when it comes to later in the week. Like I keep saying, it amazes me probably about as much as some of the others are amazed by what Bill, I, or two or three others do. But it’s real. I’d just like to figure out how to get close to it eventually.

  6. Hello every buddy!🦆

    Darn! One error on an easy Monday!! 😠 I had Y instead of A at EDDA/ISSA. Didn’t catch it till I came here….tho I’d meant to check EDDY again. I sensed it wasn’t right! We’ve had EDDA before. Dang! Rushed thru thinking it was so easy, which it was, but I still managed an error!!!🤔

    Be well~~🍷

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