LA Times Crossword 20 Feb 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Stuffed Animal

Themed answers each include an ANIMAL STUFFED inside as a hidden word:

  • 36A Tot’s plaything … and a feature of 17-, 25-, 48- and 59-Across : STUFFED ANIMAL
  • 17A Tackled the job : HAD A GO AT IT (“goat” stuffed inside)
  • 25A Range for a manhunt : SEARCH AREA (“hare” stuffed inside)
  • 48A Intercepting, as at the pass : HEADING OFF (“dingo” stuffed inside)
  • 59A Ready to start the day : UP AND ABOUT (“panda” stuffed inside)

Bill’s time: 7m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 __ buco : OSSO

“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish “osso buco” (bone with a hole), which features braised veal shanks.

16 Place to talk shop? : MALL

Surprisingly (to me!), our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to be a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

17 Tackled the job : HAD A GO AT IT (“goat” stuffed inside)

Male goats are bucks or billies, although castrated males are known as wethers. Female goats are does or nannies, and young goats are referred to as kids.

21 Sacred chests : ARKS

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which are stored the Torah scrolls. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”, I am told.

25 Range for a manhunt : SEARCH AREA (“hare” stuffed inside)

Hares belong to the genus Lepus. Young hares under one-year-old are called leverets.

28 Arizona landforms : MESAS

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, and taller than it is wide.

30 TourBook-issuing org. : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

31 Designer monogram : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was an Algerian-born French fashion designer. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

32 “Hasta la vista” : SEE YA

“Hasta la vista” is Spanish for “goodbye”. The phrase translates literally as “until the seeing”, i.e. “goodbye until we see each other again”.

40 Forklift load : PALLET

There is a difference between a wooden pallet and a wooden skid, both of which are used for shipping. A pallet has boards on top and bottom, whereas a skid only has boards on top.

43 Many AARP mems. : SRS

“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

46 Issa of “The Hate U Give” : RAE

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.

“The Hate U Give” is a 2018 film that is based on a 2017 novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. Both the film and novel center on the aftermath of a police officer shooting an unarmed teenager.

48 Intercepting, as at the pass : HEADING OFF (“dingo” stuffed inside)

The dingo is a wild dog of Australia. It is thought to have originated from domesticated dogs that were brought to Australia with humans that settled the land centuries ago.

53 Christmas poem opener : ‘TWAS

The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr., a poet from Upstate New York.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash …

54 “Hasta la vista” : ADIOS

The term “adiós” is Spanish for “goodbye”. “Adiós” comes from the phrase “a Dios vos acomiendo” meaning “I commend you to God”.

55 “The Daily Show” host : NOAH

Trevor Noah is a comedian from Johannesburg, South Africa. Noah took over as host of the Comedy Channel’s “The Daily Show” after Jon Stewart retired. Noah can speak several languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, and German.

57 Nos. on driver’s licenses : HTS

Height (ht.)

59 Ready to start the day : UP AND ABOUT (“panda” stuffed inside)

Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.

64 __ toast : MELBA

Melba toast is a dry, thinly sliced toast that is usually served with soup or salad. Melba toast was created by chef Auguste Escoffier for opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, for whom he also created the dessert called peach Melba.

67 Roundup critter : STEER

A steer is a male bovine that was castrated when young and is then raised for beef. The term “steer” comes from the Old English “steor” meaning “bullock”.

Down

1 Deep rifts : SCHISMS

A schism is a split or division, especially in a religion.

4 Sch. founded by Jefferson : UVA

The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who then sat on the original Board of Visitors alongside former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land near Charlottesville that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.

8 “The Rookie” actress Larter : ALI

Ali Larter is an actress and model. Larter played a key role in a hoax carried out on “Esquire” magazine in 1996. Larter portrayed an imaginary model named Allegra Coleman in a bogus article written for the magazine by Martha Sherrill. The article claimed that Coleman/Larter had a role in an upcoming Woody Allen movie, was a good friend of author Deepak Chopra, and was in a torrid relationship with actor David Schwimmer. The hoax caused some uproar at the time, but it certainly did give some impetus to Larter’s acting career.

9 Club alternative : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

The club sandwich is a double-decker affair with three layers of bread and two layers of filling. This style of sandwich has been around since the end of the 19th century, and some say it was invented at an exclusive gambling “club” in Saratoga Springs, New York.

10 Home of Minor League Baseball’s Storm Chasers : OMAHA

The Omaha Storm Chasers are a triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The team was founded in 1969 as the Royals, became the Golden Spikes in 1999, and became the Storm Chasers in 2011 following a fan competition to choose a name.

18 “Grey’s Anatomy” settings, for short : ORS

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

27 Normandy city : CAEN

Caen, on the River Orne, lies in the Calvados department of France in the northwest of the country. Caen is famous for the WWII Battle of Caen that left the town practically destroyed. Caen is also the burial place of the Norman King William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

29 Trips where big cats are spotted : SAFARIS

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

33 Ship owner who described Ahab as “ungodly, god-like” : PELEG

The Pequod is the whaling ship that figures in Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby Dick”. The ship is owned by a consortium of the citizens of Nantucket Island, including Captains Ahab, Bildad and Peleg.

37 Custard dessert : FLAN

Crème caramel (also “flan”) is a delicious dessert comprising a molded custard topped with a clear caramel sauce. The related crème brûlée is a dessert made from molded custard with a hard, burnt caramel layer on top.

39 Conduit created by volcanic activity : LAVA TUBE

Flowing lava can move through lava tubes that form beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. When the lava cools, it can form long tunnels known as lava caves.

42 Cigarette ad claim : LESS TAR

The partially-combusted particulate matter that is produced as a cigarette burns forms a resinous material called “tar”. Cigarette tar is different than the tar used on roads, but it is still very toxic. Marijuana smoke produces a very similar tar to cigarette smoke, and is just as dangerous.

43 Superhero acronym involving Hercules, Zeus, Achilles and three others : SHAZAM

“Shazam” is a word that was coined in the “Captain Marvel” comics in 1940. Billy Batson is a boy who can transform himself into the superhero Captain Marvel (aka “Shazam”) by speaking the magic word “Shazam”. “Shazam” is actually an acronym standing for “Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury”.

44 Killian’s, originally : RED ALE

The beer known as George Killian’s Irish Red has a recipe that has certainly evolved over time. The original recipe came from Lett’s Brewery in Enniscorthy, Ireland and dates back to the 1860s. That first recipe was a red ale. The Killian’s Irish Red that is brewed today by Coors is actually an amber lager.

45 Former Southeast Asian capital : SAIGON

Hanoi (“Hà Nội” in Vietnamese) was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

56 Ones acting badly : HAMS

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

61 Exacta or trifecta : BET

To win a bet called an exacta (also called “perfecta”), the person betting must name the horses that finish first and second, and in the exact order. The related bet called the trifecta requires naming of the first, second and third-place finishers in the right order.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Play with strings : STRUM
6 Blubber : FLAB
10 __ buco : OSSO
14 Want in the worst way : CRAVE
15 Lounge around : LOLL
16 Place to talk shop? : MALL
17 Tackled the job : HAD A GO AT IT (“goat” stuffed inside)
19 Passionate : AVID
20 Second sequel’s number : III
21 Sacred chests : ARKS
22 Thrash : WHOMP
23 Winter coat? : SNOW
25 Range for a manhunt : SEARCH AREA (“hare” stuffed inside)
28 Arizona landforms : MESAS
30 TourBook-issuing org. : AAA
31 Designer monogram : YSL
32 “Hasta la vista” : SEE YA
33 Comic strip frames : PANELS
36 Tot’s plaything … and a feature of 17-, 25-, 48- and 59-Across : STUFFED ANIMAL
40 Forklift load : PALLET
41 Stuffy-sounding : NASAL
43 Many AARP mems. : SRS
46 Issa of “The Hate U Give” : RAE
47 Dire : GRAVE
48 Intercepting, as at the pass : HEADING OFF (“dingo” stuffed inside)
53 Christmas poem opener : ‘TWAS
54 “Hasta la vista” : ADIOS
55 “The Daily Show” host : NOAH
57 Nos. on driver’s licenses : HTS
58 Sharp turns : ZAGS
59 Ready to start the day : UP AND ABOUT (“panda” stuffed inside)
62 Succulent plant genus : ALOE
63 Gumption : GRIT
64 __ toast : MELBA
65 Sew a patch on, perhaps : MEND
66 Possessive pronoun : HERS
67 Roundup critter : STEER

Down

1 Deep rifts : SCHISMS
2 New recruits : TRAINEES
3 Hobbyist’s contraption : RADIO SET
4 Sch. founded by Jefferson : UVA
5 Prefix with bytes or bucks : MEGA-
6 Oddball : FLAKE
7 Tons o’ : LOTSA
8 “The Rookie” actress Larter : ALI
9 Club alternative : BLT
10 Home of Minor League Baseball’s Storm Chasers : OMAHA
11 Cooking show adjective : SAVORY
12 Covers with goop : SLIMES
13 Bud from way back : OLD PAL
18 “Grey’s Anatomy” settings, for short : ORS
22 33-Down’s purview : WHALING
24 Path to the top : WAY UP
26 Charged : RAN AT
27 Normandy city : CAEN
29 Trips where big cats are spotted : SAFARIS
33 Ship owner who described Ahab as “ungodly, god-like” : PELEG
34 Stand buy : ADE
35 “Good thinking!” : SMART!
37 Custard dessert : FLAN
38 Considering everything : AS A WHOLE
39 Conduit created by volcanic activity : LAVA TUBE
42 Cigarette ad claim : LESS TAR
43 Superhero acronym involving Hercules, Zeus, Achilles and three others : SHAZAM
44 Killian’s, originally : RED ALE
45 Former Southeast Asian capital : SAIGON
49 Gave a shot, say : DOSED
50 Studio sign : ON AIR
51 Formatting menu list : FONTS
52 It’s not hot long : FAD
56 Ones acting badly : HAMS
59 “So gross!” : UGH!
60 Ante- : PRE-
61 Exacta or trifecta : BET

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Feb 20, Thursday”

  1. Pretty tricky, got stuffed animal but couldn’t figure out or see the animal’s till l checked the theme answers. Seen stuffed pandas, and rabbits but no dingos or goats. Maybe in Australia.

  2. I was just laughing at the idea of a kid having a stuffed dingo as a toy. 🙂

    6:49 was my time, this seemed like an appropriately-challenging Thursday. I nearly got stuck after filling in “SMEARS” for 12d, but then SEARCH AREA pointed out that error.

    I’m super-pleased that there’s a baseball team named the Storm Chasers. And look, there’s Issa Rae again! But reading Bill’s write-up, I’m surprised to learn that Pall-Mall is something else besides a brand of cigarettes.

  3. Struggle with todays puzzle. Shazam & Red Ale stumped me. The rest
    eventually worked out.
    Capt’n Marvel once was a favorite comic several eons ago.

    Eddie

  4. It was kinda fun. And now I don’t think I’ll get stumped again by Issa Rae. I used to drink Killian’s but after a little research, I stopped that. Probably switching to Budweiser.

  5. This was hard. I was bogged down in the NW and DNF. Also, 9D was way out there and I never thought of a sandwich. Duh. Got the theme but that didn’t help.

  6. I found this a reasonable challenge for a Thursday grid. Not a head spinner, but difficult enough that it was fun without making me take Advil.

    The WSJ crossword was a level or two more difficult than the LAT’s in my estimation. I finished, but a lot of ink overs and major mulling time. It came out without final error, and for that I’m feeling a certain sense of crossword pride. But all that means is tomorrow I’m probably going to get creamed.

    1. The WSJ was a weird one (14:16, no errors for those that want to know). A lot of the theme answers were like “OK whatever if that’s what it is.” Think I finally saw the theme just as I was wrapping up the puzzle. Probably would pay to scan the clues for revealers before I started occasionally (assuming I understand them?), but I just start solving when I do these.

  7. 12:45 and escaped error free, but needed the checker (or rather, the absence of a “Success” pop-up to do it. Amended two fills to finish up, so if I’d done it on paper that’d be 4 errors.

    Not an easy one, but at least it was chicanery-free.

  8. I decided to speed up by putting whaever idea came to mind. That worked except for the SE corner and upper middle. So I Googled for ALI and SHAZAM. Had to correct several: LOaf before LOLL, mArIOnET before RADIOSET, uieS before ZAGS, cuttING before HEADING, taSED before DOSED, idS before HTS. Worth a try, but don’t think it saved me any time.

  9. Moderately difficult Thursday for me, done at a leisurely pace while selling my honey. It was a busy day and I just couldn’t get it all done until I got home and took a nap. Finished everything fairly quickly after that, except for the NE corner, which took a bit of guessing…the “M” in WHOMP being the last to fall after another 10 minutes in that corner. I know I’ve seen OSSA several times before but it just wouldn’t come to mind today until I just put it in.

    Then I did Wednesday’s puzzle which I didn’t have time to do last night: sorta difficult for a Wednesday; took me 20 minutes with one stupid error: EMa instead of EMI.

    @Carrie – So, have you heard the comments by the MLB commissioner..sheesh, what a dope. It looks like it’s going to be an interesting season, with perhaps a lot of brush back pitches, given the Houston scandal.

    I also read today, that you have to pay a pretty princely sum to see the Giants/Dodgers game today…like almost $96 for a pre-season game..wow!

  10. Greetings Cohorts!!!🦆

    No errors, but I struggled in the SE. Totally blanked on NOAH, even tho I know the guy. Then I couldn’t come up with GRIT. Finally got out alive. 🤗

    Hey Dirk! FWIW I don’t like that bobblehead either! It was funny when it happened but kind of a tacky move to keep it going with that bobblehead…. What did commish say? I know he kinda went further in his condemnation today, but yes, lotsa brushbacks aimed at Astros this season! The whole thing hurts as a Dodger fan, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Stros stole 2017 from us….⚾️🤔

    Be well ~~🍷

  11. The way I understood it, he was trying to downplay the controversy over the “stolen” WS by calling the WS trophy “just a piece of metal”, which he today completely apologized for by calling it inappropriate. Many players reacted to his first comments, even from Lebron James, in an unrelated sport.

    Oh, and the Giants/Dodger game is on Saturday not today.

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