LA Times Crossword 18 Feb 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Left of Center

Themed answers each start with a type of CENTER:

  • 59A Somewhat liberal, or where you might find the first words in the answers to starred clues : LEFT OF CENTER
  • 20A *Billy Crystal comedy featuring a cattle drive : CITY SLICKERS (giving “city center”)
  • 30A *Exact look-alike : DEAD RINGER (giving “dead center”)
  • 38A *Daily filming schedule on the set : CALL SHEET (giving “call center”)
  • 50A *One in la-la land : SPACE CADET (giving “space center”)

Bill’s time: 5m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Govt.-backed investment : T-NOTE

A Treasury note (T-note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A Treasury bill (T-bill) is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-bond matures in 20-30 years.

6 Travelocity recommendations : INNS

Travelocity is an online travel agency that started doing business in 1996. The company gets a lot of exposure as the sponsor of the US version of the reality show “The Amazing Race”. Travelocity’s mascot, the Roaming Gnome, makes a few appearances on the show.

14 Commandment verb involving parents : HONOR

According to the Book of Exodus, God inscribed the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai.

15 Niño’s “nothing” : NADA

“Nada” is the Spanish word for “nothing”.

17 Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

18 Fruit grown in bogs : CRANBERRY

When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant’s flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant “craneberry”, which later evolved into “cranberry”.

20 *Billy Crystal comedy featuring a cattle drive : CITY SLICKERS

“City Slickers” is an entertaining 1991comedy film starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. Palance won the 1992 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as crusty old trail boss Curly Washburn. Famously, the 73-year-old actor did a few one-armed push-ups at the ceremony during his acceptance speech.

22 __, amas, amat … : AMO

“Amo, amas, amat” translates from Latin as “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”.

30 *Exact look-alike : DEAD RINGER

A dead ringer is an exact duplicate. The phrase comes from the use of “dead” to mean “exact, precise” as in “dead center” or “dead heat”, as well as the use of “ringer” from the world of horse racing. A ringer was a horse that looked similar to another, but which was substituted to defraud the bookies. So, a dead ringer is an exact duplicate.

34 Stiff-upper-lip type : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

37 Graffiti signature : TAG

“Graffiti” is the plural of “graffito”, and is the Italian for “scribbling”. The word was first used to describe ancient inscriptions on the walls in the ruins of Pompeii.

38 *Daily filming schedule on the set : CALL SHEET

The daily call sheet is used by the cast and crew making a film as a production schedule. It basically tells everyone when and where they need to report for a day of filming.

45 Roman robe : TOGA

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

46 Hustle genre : DISCO

The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.

50 *One in la-la land : SPACE CADET

The expression “space cadet” is used to describe someone who is eccentric and disconnected with reality. It may even imply that the person is a user of hallucinogens. The phrase has been around since the sixties, and may be derived from the science fiction TV show “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” which aired in the fifties.

54 Croat or Serb : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

59 Somewhat liberal, or where you might find the first words in the answers to starred clues : LEFT OF CENTER

The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France’s National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President’s right, and supporters of the revolution to the President’s left. The political terms “left” and “right” were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

64 Soap opera genre : MELODRAMA

A melodrama is a play or film that usually pits good against evil, with an obvious hero or heroine vying against an obvious villain. Melodrama has evolved over time, originating in the 18th century as a drama for which there was a musical accompaniment. The term is derived from the Greek “melos” meaning “music” and the French “drame” meaning “drama”.

67 1960s jacket style : NEHRU

A Nehru jacket is very like a regular suit jacket, except that the collar buttons at the neck. It was originally created in the 1940s in India, and then marketed as the Nehru jacket in the west in the sixties. The name Nehru was lifted from Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India from 1947 to 1964.

73 From Lillehammer, say : NORSE

Lillehammer, Norway hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1994. The ‘94 Winter Games were the first to be held two years after the Summer Olympics, and so took place only two years after the ‘92 Games, held in Albertville, France.

Down

1 “My Best Friend’s Girl” rock band : THE CARS

The Cars are a rock band from Boston, Massachusetts who were at the height of their success in the late seventies and early eighties.

4 Tiger mascot with a red scarf : TONY

Tony the Tiger has been the mascot of Frosted Flakes cereal since the product’s introduction in 1951. As Tony would say about Frosted Flakes, “They’re Gr-r-reat!” Well, I thought they were when I was a lot younger …

7 Dealer’s foil, briefly : NARC

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

8 Southern neighbor of Sask. : NDAK

North Dakota’s state capital is Bismarck, and the largest city is Fargo. The list of state nicknames includes the Peace Garden State, the Roughrider State and the Flickertail State.

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan (Sask.) takes its name from the Saskatchewan River. The river in turn takes its name from the Cree name, which translates as “swift flowing river”. The capital of Saskatchewan is Regina, although the biggest city in the province is Saskatoon.

11 “To say they __ I dare not be so bold”: Shakespeare : ERR

William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 131” is one of a series of sonnets addressed to the “Dark Lady”. No one seems to know for sure the identity of the mysterious woman. However, there seems to be agreement that she was of Mediterranean or African descent, based on the descriptions provided in Shakespeare’s poems.

12 North Carolina __ Heels : TAR

“Tar Heel” is a nickname for anyone living in, or from, the state of North Carolina. As such, it is the nickname for an athlete of the University of North Carolina (UNC). No one seems to know for sure where the term “Tar Heel” originated, but it is thought to be related to the historical importance of the tar, pitch and turpentine industries that thrived in the state due to the presence of vast forests of pine trees.

25 Bilko’s rank: Abbr. : SGT

Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko was played by Phil Silvers in his TV show that aired in the fifties. “The Phil Silvers Show” was hugely successful in reruns in Britain and Ireland, even more so than over here in the US. Master Sergeant Bilko is routinely referred to as the lower-ranking Sergeant Bilko by viewers, and even by those airing the show in reruns.

27 Joule fraction : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

James Joule was an English physicist who spent much of his life working in the family brewing business. Joule used his work in the brewery to study the relationship between heat and mechanical work. In honor of his achievements, his name is used for the unit of energy in the International System of Units (i.e. the joule).

29 [not my error] : [SIC]

[Sic] indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. “Sic” is Latin for “thus, like this”. The term is more completely written as “sic erat scriptum”, which translates as “thus was it written”.

31 Family name in Mideast politics : ASSAD

Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad, whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman by birth.

32 Homer’s “I’m an idiot!” : D’OH!

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

39 Tone-__: “Wild Thing” rapper : LOC

Tone Lōc (sometimes “Tone-Lōc”) is the stage name of rapper Anthony Smith. He was somewhat of a pioneer in the world of rap as he was only the second ever act to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s album charts (after the Beastie Boys), doing so in 1989 with “Lōc-ed After Dark”.

40 NYC airport near Citi Field : LGA

Fiorello La Guardia was the Mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945, racking up three full terms in office. The famous airport that bears La Guardia’s name was built at his urging, stemming from an incident that took place while he was in office. He was taking a TWA flight to “New York” and was outraged when the plane landed at Newark Airport, in the state of New Jersey. The Mayor demanded that the flight take off again and land at a small airport in Brooklyn. A gaggle of press reporters joined him on the short hop and he gave them a story, urging New Yorkers to support the construction of a new commercial airport within the city’s limits. The new airport, in Queens, opened in 1939 as New York Municipal, often called “LaGuardia” as a nickname. The airport was officially relabeled as “LaGuardia” (LGA) in 1947.

41 “__ the season … ” : ‘TIS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!”

42 Scout leader? : ESS

The leading letter in the word “scout” is a letter S (ess).

43 Monkey relative : APE

Apes and monkeys both belong to the order of primates. The most obvious way to distinguish apes from monkeys is by the presence or lack of a tail. Almost all apes have no tail, and almost all monkeys have tails.

47 Move like a mamba : SLITHER

Mambas, and most famously black mambas, are highly venomous snakes that used to be responsible for a great number of fatalities before anti-venoms became available. Mamba venom is a deadly mix of neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and cardiotoxins that attack the heart. A bite, if left untreated, causes the lungs and the heart to shut down.

48 Carlsbad __ National Park : CAVERNS

Carlsbad Cavern is the show cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico. The chamber called the Big Room in Carlsbad Cavern is the fifth largest underground chamber in North America. It is estimated that a million bats live in the park’s cave systems.

57 Noble gas : XENON

The element xenon was the first of the noble gases to be made into a compound, which was somewhat remarkable in that the noble gases were thought by many to be completely inert, unreactive.

60 Dancer Astaire : FRED

Fred Astaire’s real name was Frederick Austerlitz. Fred was from Omaha, Nebraska and before he made it big in the movies, he was one half of a celebrated music hall act with his sister Adele. The pair were particularly successful in the UK, and Adele ended up marrying into nobility in England, taking the name Lady Charles Cavendish.

61 Spanish appetizer : TAPA

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

63 Verne captain : NEMO

In the 1954 movie version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne, the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’ Locker.

65 “Training Day” actress Mendes : EVA

I best know actress Eva Mendes as the female lead in the movie “Hitch”, in which she played opposite Will Smith. Mendes was known off the screen for dating actor Ryan Gosling from 2011 to 2013.

“Training Day” is a 2001 crime movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as two narcotics officers in Los Angeles. The film was well received and merited a TV spin off. The small-screen version was canceled after one season following the death of lead actor Bill Paxton.

66 “Superman” villain Luthor : LEX

Lex Luthor is the arch-nemesis of Superman in comics. Luthor has been portrayed in a number of guises in the comic world as well in movies and on the small screen. For example, he appeared as Atom Man in the 1950 film series “Atom Man vs. Superman”, and was played by actor Lyle Talbot, opposite Kirk Alyn’s Superman.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Govt.-backed investment : T-NOTE
6 Travelocity recommendations : INNS
10 Comprehends : GETS
14 Commandment verb involving parents : HONOR
15 Niño’s “nothing” : NADA
16 Difficult exam : ORAL
17 Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA
18 Fruit grown in bogs : CRANBERRY
20 *Billy Crystal comedy featuring a cattle drive : CITY SLICKERS
22 __, amas, amat … : AMO
23 Gnaw (at) : EAT
24 Grocery walkway : AISLE
28 Offshore oil drillers : RIGS
30 *Exact look-alike : DEAD RINGER
34 Stiff-upper-lip type : STOIC
36 Under, in French : SOUS
37 Graffiti signature : TAG
38 *Daily filming schedule on the set : CALL SHEET
42 Musical gift : EAR
45 Roman robe : TOGA
46 Hustle genre : DISCO
50 *One in la-la land : SPACE CADET
54 Croat or Serb : SLAV
55 Mexican mister : SENOR
56 Correct : FIX
58 “__ had it!” : I’VE
59 Somewhat liberal, or where you might find the first words in the answers to starred clues : LEFT OF CENTER
64 Soap opera genre : MELODRAMA
67 1960s jacket style : NEHRU
68 Cooking spot : OVEN
69 Large-scale : EPIC
70 Warning signs : OMENS
71 Like fake fruit : WAXY
72 See socially : DATE
73 From Lillehammer

Down

1 “My Best Friend’s Girl” rock band : THE CARS
2 Like poker games for high rollers : NO-LIMIT
3 Small takeout order : ONE TO GO
4 Tiger mascot with a red scarf : TONY
5 Clear data from : ERASE
6 Provoke : INCITE
7 Dealer’s foil, briefly : NARC
8 Southern neighbor of Sask. : NDAK
9 Reasonable : SANE
10 Enters : GOES IN
11 “To say they __ I dare not be so bold”: Shakespeare : ERR
12 North Carolina __ Heels : TAR
13 Cunning : SLY
19 Slow-cooked, as short ribs : BRAISED
21 Young chap : LAD
25 Bilko’s rank: Abbr. : SGT
26 Grazing area : LEA
27 Joule fraction : ERG
29 [not my error] : [SIC]
31 Family name in Mideast politics : ASSAD
32 Homer’s “I’m an idiot!” : D’OH!
33 Feel remorse over : RUE
35 Provided food for : CATERED
39 Tone-__: “Wild Thing” rapper : LOC
40 NYC airport near Citi Field : LGA
41 “__ the season … ” : ‘TIS
42 Scout leader? : ESS
43 Monkey relative : APE
44 Sought a political seat : RAN
47 Move like a mamba : SLITHER
48 Carlsbad __ National Park : CAVERNS
49 Do to death : OVERUSE
51 Revolutionary territory : COLONY
52 Wear away, as a coin surface : EFFACE
53 Nervous twitch : TIC
57 Noble gas : XENON
60 Dancer Astaire : FRED
61 Spanish appetizer : TAPA
62 Leave out : OMIT
63 Verne captain : NEMO
64 Work on a lawn : MOW
65 “Training Day” actress Mendes : EVA
66 “Superman” villain Luthor : LEX

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Feb 20, Tuesday”

  1. 5:52 for me, felt a little slow today. I put in TBOND right off the bat in 1A and then started struggling with stuff. I got the theme revealer easily enough from the clue, but never figured out the rest of the them until I read it here.

    Time for more coffee. 🙂

    1. Today was a fun puzzle & good theme. Got 46d,ess, cause of the answers around it but does not compute for me. About the fibbing comment I guess Sallee is the comment comando. I know there are brain trusts out there & much harder puzzles than Saturdays. Thought this was an open format, so we can comment. People say lots of things, If I make errors, I own it. Chill out! I wasn’t referring to time.

  2. By the way, about yesterday’s discussion on “fibbing” … I don’t think there is any reason for anyone to post a false time, because this isn’t a competition and no one is giving out prizes. People post times because they’re measuring themselves and trying to improve their skill. If I get what feels like a slow time on a puzzle, it’s nice to be able to compare notes, as it were. If Glenn and Bill also had slow times, I can think “aha, I _thought_ that was a hard one!” Or if, like today, my time is slower than both of those guys, then I know I’m just having an off day today. If I didn’t think I could trust the times people are posting, that wouldn’t be possible.

    I’ve been doing crosswords for over 30 years… when I started even the really easy ones were often beyond me, or if not would take nearly an hour. Over time I got faster because my skill improved. I know a lot of people just do these to pass the time and aren’t necessarily working to speed up. And that’s perfectly fine… I guarantee that no one is thinking “you took 25 minutes on that? I did it in 5, boy aren’t you dumb!” There are all kinds of people who do crosswords for lots of reasons and varying levels of experience. It’s not a competition and if people are comparing their solve times with others’, it’s only to measure their _own_ performance, not anyone else’s.

    1. Well said, and I could say much the same thing. You have goals. I’m not so much wanting to beat Mr. Feyer as just be “respectable” (I’ve described what that means exactly in other posts. A lot of my commenting then is because I feel like I’ve hit a wall in a way). I find a fair amount of joy in doing these things, so I want to at least be able to do any of these puzzles proficiently (that’s not the case), but I think I’ve come a long way in the five years or so (roughly) I’ve been doing this. Once you figure out the Saturday’s, they get kind of fun. As for commenting, I tend to try to comment and said more in the past, but to be honest, a great many of these LAT puzzles just aren’t that eventful anymore. So time and errors. People have expressed an appreciation to read mine and other comments (I used to post a lot of other puzzles more for the sake of another commenter here than me, but that’s stopped), so I continue.

      @cathy
      You can post here, but people have the right to comment and disagree with things you post. Accusing everyone who finished the Saturday puzzle without aid of lying about doing it is going to garner a response – obviously one you didn’t like.

  3. I had no errors or Googles, but didn’t really know LOC, TAPA, or CALLSHEET. I got CALLSHEET by using the theme!
    I never mention my time, since it’s so long, whch doesn’t matter since I’m retired. I can’t see the numbers, and that slows me down. I want to xerox the empty puzzle to double the size, but can’t read the words on the printer! In both cars and computers, there seems to be black on black words. We won’t go into how hard it is to get a car for short people. (Whine, whine, whine).

    I’m not sure I’ll ever improve beyond what I do now; however, I know when I play Spider, my central nervous system takes over and I don’t really “think.” Maybe that’s how these really fast people do crosswords.

  4. I also put TBOND in first until it became apparent it was wrong. I also don’t time myself, as it seems to be an unneeded pressure which is counter to enjoying a relaxing diversion to the real world.

    Eddie

  5. 9:34. I just post my times to annoy people and make life generally irritating. I stole that line from a Monty Python skit.

    Actually I just use it as a piece of information – not a target. It’s the only way to objectively know if you’re improving or not. It’s also interesting/informative what happens in various situations. For example, my times get noticeably worse the busier and more stressed I am which can also tell me to calm down if I need to function optimally.

    I find it curious that D’OH is spelled with an apostrophe. That means it’s been shortened. Even possessives are shortened. For example, “Jim’s chair” is short for “Jim, his chair”. So what is the apostrophe in D’OH for? Best I could tell, it’s because there’s a gap or grunt between the D and the OH parts when Homer says it. Whew – now I can sleep at night….

    Best –

    1. A bit of background on “D’oh!!” As much credit as Matt Groening gets for that, it’s not really original. Watch some old Gilligan’s Island episodes from the 1960s, and check out Alan Hale’s “D’oop!!” when he’s flustered by something Gilligan has done. That’s the genesis of “D’oh!”

  6. Dang, where does the *time* go?? I breezed through this and, look at the stopwatch at “pen down” and it’s 7:01!!!

    Nice, fun puzzle with no gotcha’s, and no chicanery; always a pleasure these days.

  7. Nice comment, Charley.

    We had one error and one omission to repeat Monday’s 99%, letter basis.
    I enjoyed this one a lot, disappointed that I didn’t know the French word
    for UNDER.

    I suppose my best possible time would be 20 minutes. It took me that long to
    transpose the correct words onto a blank grid. No biggie, mostly fun, but feel
    somewhat competitive as well.

    Kudos to all. Fun to be with you.

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