LA Times Crossword 26 Feb 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Blake Slonecker
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Shower Scene

Themed answers each start with something associated with a SHOWER:

  • 59A Classic “Psycho” segment where one might see the starts of the answers to starred clues : SHOWER SCENE
  • 17A *Top brass : HEAD HONCHOS (giving “shower head”)
  • 25A *Response to wild applause : CURTAIN CALL (giving “shower curtain”)
  • 37A *Political metaphor about dealing with bureaucracy : DRAIN THE SWAMP (giving “shower drain”)
  • 50A *Market-based pollution-control policy : CAP AND TRADE (giving “shower cap”)

Bill’s time: 5m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Commerce pact to be replaced by USMCA when its ratified : NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a treaty between Canada, Mexico and the United States. When NAFTA came into force in 1994, it set up the largest free trade zone in the world. The plan is to supercede NAFTA with the USMCA (United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement).

15 Apple music players : IPODS

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

16 Actress Longoria : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives” playing Gabrielle Solis.

17 *Top brass : HEAD HONCHOS (giving “shower head”)

“Honcho” is a slang term meaning “leader”. The word comes to us from Japanese military, in which language a “hancho” is a “squad” (han) “leader” (cho).

20 Iraq War concern: Abbr. : WMD

The first recorded use of the term “Weapon of Mass Destruction” (WMD) was in 1937. The words were used by Cosmo Gordon Lang, the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, in reference to the bombardment of Guernica in Spain during the Spanish Civil War by the German Luftwaffe. He said, “Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new weapons of mass destruction?”

What we now know as the Iraq War started on 20 March 2003 with an invasion by a coalition of forces led by the US. The end of the Iraq War has been set at 15 December 2011, on which date there was a flag-lowering ceremony in Baghdad. The last US troops left Iraq three days later.

28 Almost on “E” : LOW

A gas gauge ranges from E (empty) to F (full).

29 Biblical mount : ASS

The ass or donkey is mentioned several times in the Bible. One of the most-quoted biblical stories involving an ass is the story of Balaam. Balaam was a diviner who appears in the Book of Numbers in. In one account, Balaam is held to task by an angel for particularly cruel treatment of an ass.

31 “The Art of Loving” author Erich : FROMM

Erich Fromm was a German psychologist. Fromm studied extensively the work of Sigmund Freud, and became very critical of his theories. He was also noted for his political views, and had a socialist leaning. He spent some time in the US and was active in the Socialist Party of America in the fifties, when McCarthyism was running rampant.

“The Art of Loving” is a 1956 book by the German-American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm. In the work, Fromm rejects the concept of romantic love, love that is magical and mysterious. He argues that love is a skill that can be taught and developed, and that true love involves care, responsibility, respect and knowledge.

34 Fort Collins sch. : CSU

Colorado State University (CSU) was founded in Fort Collins in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Colorado State Rams, although back in the days of the Colorado Agricultural College, the teams were referred to as the Aggies.

The origins of the Colorado city of Fort Collins go back to Camp Collins, which was erected in the mid-1860s to protect the overland mail route passing through the area. The US Army then founded Fort Collins as a military outpost in 1864. The Collins name comes from army officer Lieutenant William O. Collins, who was in charge of Fort Laramie located 150 miles to the north. It was Collins who authorized the establishment of both Camp Collins and Fort Collins.

42 Unagi, e.g. : EEL

“Unagi” is the Japanese term for” freshwater eel”, and “anago” is the term for “saltwater eel”.

47 “Help!” at sea : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

49 P-like letter : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

50 *Market-based pollution-control policy : CAP AND TRADE (giving “shower cap”)

“Cap and trade” is an emissions trading scheme designed to reduce overall emission of greenhouse gases. The idea is that a government can limit a country’s overall industrial emissions by issuing permits to companies, allowing a limited level of emissions. A company needing to emit more gases can trade permits with a company needing a lower limit, so that the country’s overall emissions target can still be achieved.

54 “__ Explain Things to Me”: 2014 Rebecca Solnit essay anthology : MEN

“Men Explain Things to Me” is a 2014 collection of seven essays by American writer Rebecca Solnit. The book’s title is taken from the first essay, a 2008 work that explores the silencing of women, and the concept that men always know better. This essay inspired the use of the term “mansplaining”.

55 Yellow-and-white daisy : OXEYE

Oxeyes are in the daisy family of plants.

56 “Otoh, what will you pay?” : OBO

Or best offer (OBO)

On the other hand (OTOH)

57 Long of “Empire” : NIA

Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

“Empire” is a musical drama series that first aired on Fox early in 2015. The title refers to a hip hop music company.

59 Classic “Psycho” segment where one might see the starts of the answers to starred clues : SHOWER SCENE

The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho” released in 1960 is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. When “Psycho” was making its initial run in theaters, latecomers were not granted admission, abiding by a policy instigated by Hitchcock himself. He felt that anyone missing the opening scenes would not enjoy the film.

64 Canon SLR : EOS

I’ve been using Canon EOS cameras for decades now, and have nothing but good things to say about both the cameras and the lenses. The EOS name stands for Electro-Optical System, and was chosen because it evokes the name of Eos, the Titan goddess of dawn from Greek mythology.

66 Certain Jamaican, religiously : RASTA

I must admit that I don’t really know much about Rastafarianism. I do know that a “Rasta”, such as Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

The island nation of Jamaica is located just under 100 miles south of Cuba in the Carribean Sea. Christopher Columbus first visited the island in 1494, and he and his crew were stranded there for over a year from 1503-1504. Spanish rule devastated the local population, though violence and disease. As a result, the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica to work as labourers. Spain lost Jamaica to the English in 1655. Given the turbulent history, most Jamaicans today are of African descent, and Jamaica is the third-most populous English-speaking country in the Americas (after the US and Canada).

67 Brief reaction to oversharing : TMI

Too much information (TMI)

68 Newspaper essays : OP-EDS

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

69 Wild West movie : OATER

The term “oater” that is used for a Western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!

Down

4 Lincoln in-law : TODD

Mary Todd moved in the best of the social circles in Springfield, Illinois and there met the successful lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. The path to their marriage wasn’t exactly smooth, as the engagement was broken once but reinstated, with the couple eventually marrying in 1842.

7 Florida theme park : EPCOT

EPCOT Center (now just called “Epcot”) is the theme park beside Walt Disney World in Florida. EPCOT is an acronym standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and is a representation of the future as envisioned by Walt Disney. Walt Disney actually wanted to build a living community for 20,000 residents at EPCOT, but he passed away without that vision being realized.

8 Play-__: kids’ clay : DOH

Back in the 1930s, a manufacturer in Cincinnati produced a doughy compound that was used to clean wallpaper. Twenty years later, school-kids started using the cleaning material as a modelling compound, so the manufacturer reworked the formula, and sold it to local schools. It was given the name “Play-Doh”.

11 Striped equine : ZEBRA

The term “zebra” comes from an old Portuguese word “zevra” meaning “wild ass”. Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.

23 Tesla Model X, for one : ECOCAR

The Model X is an all-electric crossover SUV made by Tesla Motors in Fremont, California. The Model X is built on Tesla’s Model S sedan platform.

24 “The Hobbit” being : ELF

“The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” is a children’s fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was popular from the time of its first publication in 1937. Included in the early awards for “The Hobbit” was a prize for best juvenile fiction from “The New York Herald Tribune”. Tolkien adapted his succeeding novel “The Lord of the Rings” to incorporate elements in “The Hobbit”, so that the two tales are very much related.

25 Sleeveless top, for short : CAMI

A camisole (also “cami”) is a sleeveless undergarment worn by women that extends down to the waist. “Camisole” is a French word that we imported into English that ultimately derives from the Latin “camisia” meaning “shirt, nightgown”.

26 “A Death in the Family” author : AGEE

James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

32 “Help!” at sea : MAYDAY

The term “Mayday” is an emergency codeword that is used internationally as a distress signal, especially when making a radio transmission. “Mayday” comes from the French phrase “venez m’aider” meaning “come to help me”. When used properly, the term is repeated three times in a row: “Mayday Mayday Mayday”.

33 UPS rival : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn). DHL was acquired by Germany’s Deutsche Post in 2002.

35 Most ingratiatingly earnest : SMARMIEST

The word “smarm” describes insincere flattery. The term comes from a colloquial word “smalm” that was used in the mid-19th century to mean “smear the hair with some sort of styling product”.

46 World Heritage Site org. : UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is better known by the acronym “UNESCO”. UNESCO’s mission is to help build peace in the world using programs focused on education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. The organization’s work is aimed in particular at Africa, and gender equalization. UNESCO also administers a World Heritage Site program that designates and helps conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to humanity across the world.

47 Civil War swords : SABERS

A saber (sometimes “sabre”) is a sword with a curved blade and a relatively large hand guard. It is thought that the term originated with the Hungarian verb “szabni” meaning “to cut”.

48 Baking soda target : ODOR

“Baking soda” is a common name for the compound sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).

50 Tenth Commandment verb : COVET

According to the Book of Exodus, the wording for the tenth commandment is:

… thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

52 One side in the “cola wars” : PEPSI

“Cola Wars” is a phrase used to describe the competing marketing campaigns of Coca Cola and PepsiCo. Coke is winning …

53 Crewed in a shell : ROWED

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

57 College Football Playoff org. : NCAA

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

60 Sock __ : HOP

Sock hops were high school dances typically held in the school gym or cafeteria. The term “sock hop” arose because the dancers were often required to remove their shoes to protect the varnished floor in the gym.

62 “No seats” sign : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Commerce pact to be replaced by USMCA when its ratified : NAFTA
6 __ circus : MEDIA
11 Cook quickly : ZAP
14 Fluffed-up dos : AFROS
15 Apple music players : IPODS
16 Actress Longoria : EVA
17 *Top brass : HEAD HONCHOS (giving “shower head”)
19 Outlaw : BAN
20 Iraq War concern: Abbr. : WMD
21 New beginning? : NEO-
22 Spine-tingling : EERIE
24 Farm female : EWE
25 *Response to wild applause : CURTAIN CALL (giving “shower curtain”)
28 Almost on “E” : LOW
29 Biblical mount : ASS
30 Attend : GO TO
31 “The Art of Loving” author Erich : FROMM
33 Cubs’ home : DEN
34 Fort Collins sch. : CSU
37 *Political metaphor about dealing with bureaucracy : DRAIN THE SWAMP (giving “shower drain”)
41 Wild blue yonder : SKY
42 Unagi, e.g. : EEL
43 Beyond angry : IRATE
45 Membership fees : DUES
47 “Help!” at sea : SOS
49 P-like letter : RHO
50 *Market-based pollution-control policy : CAP AND TRADE (giving “shower cap”)
54 “__ Explain Things to Me”: 2014 Rebecca Solnit essay anthology : MEN
55 Yellow-and-white daisy : OXEYE
56 “Otoh, what will you pay?” : OBO
57 Long of “Empire” : NIA
58 A-lister : VIP
59 Classic “Psycho” segment where one might see the starts of the answers to starred clues : SHOWER SCENE
64 Canon SLR : EOS
65 Programmer : CODER
66 Certain Jamaican, religiously : RASTA
67 Brief reaction to oversharing : TMI
68 Newspaper essays : OP-EDS
69 Wild West movie : OATER

Down

1 “Don’t think so” : NAH
2 Brief thing to say : A FEW WORDS
3 Basic structure : FRAMEWORK
4 Lincoln in-law : TODD
5 Shade of gray : ASH
6 Ones who dig hard rock? : MINERS
7 Florida theme park : EPCOT
8 Play-__: kids’ clay : DOH
9 Wedding promise : I DO
10 Agreement : ASSENT
11 Striped equine : ZEBRA
12 To no __: useless : AVAIL
13 Group of judges : PANEL
18 Weight on one’s shoulders : ONUS
23 Tesla Model X, for one : ECOCAR
24 “The Hobbit” being : ELF
25 Sleeveless top, for short : CAMI
26 “A Death in the Family” author : AGEE
27 + or – particles : IONS
32 “Help!” at sea : MAYDAY
33 UPS rival : DHL
35 Most ingratiatingly earnest : SMARMIEST
36 Get serious, gambler-style : UP THE ANTE
38 Can’t live without : NEED
39 Push to the limit : TEST
40 Sage : WISE
44 Seemingly forever : EON
46 World Heritage Site org. : UNESCO
47 Civil War swords : SABERS
48 Baking soda target : ODOR
50 Tenth Commandment verb : COVET
51 Universal principle : AXIOM
52 One side in the “cola wars” : PEPSI
53 Crewed in a shell : ROWED
57 College Football Playoff org. : NCAA
60 Sock __ : HOP
61 Lyrical tribute : ODE
62 “No seats” sign : SRO
63 Cup handle : EAR

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Feb 20, Wednesday”

    1. That was the one letter we missed, so it didn’t go in. Didn’t know either one, either.
      Still a very good three days for us. Possibly atop the Geezer Division.

  1. 5:33, but I was going too fast and made an error: I misread the Rebecca Solnit title and put in TEN (“Ten things to explain to me” but that’s not how the clue read, DOH!). That left me with SMARTIEST which seemed somewhat reasonable for that clue at the time, although looking at it now makes less and less sense. Oh well.

    Otherwise, I agree, this was a pretty straightforward puzzle with a fun, easy theme.

  2. No Googles, no errors. Great for a Wednesday.

    But one of my Pet Peeves: failure to indicate an abbrev. This was for both SRO and SOS.

    Answers I didn’t know: LOW, CSU, MEN (sounds interesting), EOS, DHL.

  3. Fairly easy Wednesday for me; took 16 minutes with no errors. Not familiar with the Hobbit and I seemed to remember an “Ent”, but eventually settled on ELF. Also couldn’t figure out the “Almost E” until I got here, fortunately I’d settled on ELF above. That added a bit to my time. Also, ECOCAR seemed a bit of a stretch to me.

    @Bill – I know that the Tesla Model X may be somewhat smaller compared to the humongously bloated SUVs that we sometimes see on the road, but in fact, the Model X is supposed to be a full size SUV. The upcoming Model Y is slated to be fill the cross-over segment.

  4. Greetings!!🦆

    No errors, but this was not a breeze for me. Overall just seemed to go a little slowly.🤔 Cool theme.

    Be well~~🍸

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