LA Times Crossword 27 Feb 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Debra Hamel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Confusing Directions

Themed answers each end with an anagram of a compass direction. And, there’s a wee compass in the center of the grid to point us in the right direction:

  • 17A Authentic piece of a holy relic? : TRUE THORN (from “true north”)
  • 58A Biblical pronouns read by James Earl Jones? : DEEP THOUS (from “deep south”)
  • 11D Place reserved for one reconciling a dispute? : MIDDLE SEAT (from “Middle East”)
  • 28D Unwelcome leftovers? : THE OLD STEW (from “The Old West”)

Bill’s time: 10m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ottoman bigwigs : AGAS

“Aga” (also “agha”) is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

Osman I was the man who established the Ottoman Dynasty, with “Ottoman” coming from the name “Osman”. This is despite the fact that the “Ottoman Empire” came about with the conquest of Constantinople, and that didn’t happen until almost 130 years after Osman I died.

5 Wildly : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

15 Animated explorer : DORA

“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases.

16 Patterned fabric : TOILE

Toile fabric can be used as upholstery, as wallpaper, or even as a fabric for clothing. The name “toile” comes from the French word for “canvas, linen cloth”.

17 Authentic piece of a holy relic? : TRUE THORN (from “true north”)

According to the Christian New Testament, Jesus’ captors placed a crown of thorns on his head. Some believe that the relic of that crown was preserved, and is stored today in Notre-Dame de Paris. It was one of the irreplaceable treasures brought to safety by firefighters during the tragic blaze that engulfed the cathedral in 2019.

True north is the direction pointing towards the Earth’s geographic North Pole. Magnetic north is the direction pointing towards the Earth’s Magnetic North Pole, and is the directions indicated by a compass needle.

19 Comedian Izzard : EDDIE

Eddie Izzard is a remarkable British stand-up comedian and actor. Famously, Izzard is a transvestite and used to perform stand-up in women’s clothing and makeup, although he tends to perform in “boy-mode” these days. In 2009, Izzard decided to run back-to-back marathons to raise money for charity, despite having no real history of running. He trained for five weeks, and then ran the equivalent of an incredible 43 marathons in 51 days, covering more than 1,100 miles all over the UK and raising over $300,000.

20 Sound investments? : STEREOS

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

23 Indy guide : PACE CAR

In automobile racing, a pace car is used for safety when there is an obstruction on the track. The pace car enters the track in front of the leader and slows the racing cars to what is deemed to be a safe speed. While the pace car is on the track, the competitors cannot pass the pace car and nor can they pass each other. When the pace car exits the track, the race resumes.

25 She walked into Rick’s gin joint : ILSA

The fictional Rick’s Café Américain is the main setting used in the movie “Casablanca”, with the café owner played by Humphrey Bogart. Should you ever visit Morocco, you might try visiting Rick’s Café Casablanca, an establishment opened in 2004 that largely recreates the look and feel of the memorable movie set.

29 Comedian Garofalo : JANEANE

Janeane Garofalo is a stand-up comedian, actress and political activist. On the big screen, she appears in two of my favorite (light) movies: “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” (1996) and “The Matchmaker” (1997). I must admit, I have quite a crush on Ms. Garofalo …

31 Folk legend Phil : OCHS

Phil Ochs was an American protest singer who was active in the days of the Vietnam War. Sadly, the singer’s mental health declined at the very time the war was winding down. Saigon fell in 1975, and Ochs committed suicide in 1976.

32 __ Jose : SAN

San Jose is the third-largest city in California and is located at the heart of Silicon Valley. The city was founded by the Spanish in 1777 and named El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. Under Spanish and Mexican rule, the territory of Alta California had its capital in Monterey. When California was made a US state, San Jose was named as the first capital, in 1850. Subsequently, the state legislature met in Vallejo in 1852, Benicia in 1853, and finally settled in Sacramento.

36 Arles article : UNE

Quite a few years ago now, I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and was where he painted many of his most famous works, including “Cafe Terrace at Night” and “Bedroom in Arles”.

38 Rosy-fingered goddess who rises in the east : EOS

In Greek mythology, Eos was the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos was Aurora. Rather delightfully, Homer referred to Eos as “rosy-fingered dawn” in both “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.

39 AirPod spot : EAR

AirPods are Apple’s line of bluetooth earpods. When AirPods were introduced in 2016, the market reacted with some skepticism. The left and right AirPods are not connected by any wire, so there was concern that individual earbuds could fall out of the ear, and possibly get lost. Another concern is Apple’s stated intent to abandon the wired headphone socket on new iPhone models.

44 Herbie, in Disney films : LOVE BUG

“The Love Bug” is a 1969 film from Walt Disney, the star of which is a 1963 Volkswagen Bug named Herbie. Believe it or not, the movie is based on a book called “Car, Boy, Girl” written by Gordon Buford. “The Love Bug” spawned a series of sequels such as “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” (1977) and “Herbie: Fully Loaded” (2005).

49 Part of Curaçao : CEDILLA

A cedilla is the diacritical mark found under the letter C in many French words, as in the words “garçon” and “façade”.

The liqueur known as Curaçao comes from the island of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. The liqueur is usually given artificial coloring to make it suitable for use in exotic cocktails. The common colors used are blue and orange.

53 Apparel brand with a spinnaker logo : NAUTICA

Nautica is a brand of apparel that was co-founded in 1983 by designer David Chu.

58 Biblical pronouns read by James Earl Jones? : DEEP THOUS (from “deep south”)

James Earl Jones is noted for some very respected stage and film performances, but also for his wonderful voice. Jones had to overcome stuttering as a child, and decades later provided the voice for Darth Vader. James is the son of actor Robert Earl Jones.

60 Red-pencil : EMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

The tradition is that an editor writes corrections to written copy using a blue pencil. The practise arose with the introduction of the “non-photo blue” pencil, which had a color that did not show up in some photographic reproduction processes. A red pencil was used for editing in some application, as the red was not reproduced in a xerograph.

62 “At Last” singer James : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

63 Georgia team, in sports headlines : DAWGS

The University of Georgia (UGA) is primarily located in Athens, Georgia. UGA was founded in 1785 and was the nation’s first state-chartered university. UGA’s sports teams are called the Georgia Bulldogs (sometimes just “Dawgs”).

Down

2 Structural engineering piece : GIRT

In the construction industry, a girt (also “sheeting rail”) is a horizontal member installed to give lateral support and stability to a wall frame.

3 Chills and fever : AGUE

An ague is a fever, one usually associated with malaria.

4 Tibetan leaders : SHERPAS

In the Tibetan language, “Sherpa” means “eastern people” (sher = east, pa = people). Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal, but the name is also used for the local guides who assist mountaineers in the Himalayas, and particularly on Mount Everest.

5 Specially formed : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and disbanded after making its final report.

6 Saskatchewan city with a 34-foot animal statue named Mac at its tourist info center : MOOSE JAW

Moose Jaw is a city in Saskatchewan. Among the city’s claims to fame is that Moose Jaw is home to the Snowbirds, Canada’s military aerobatic team. Another claim to fame is that it is home to world’s largest moose. You can see the 34-foot tall statue of Mac the Moose on the grounds of the city’s visitors’ center.

7 NHL great Bobby : ORR

Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking. While still 31 years old, in 1979, Orr became the youngest person inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Prior to that, in 1967, Orr became the youngest person named the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.

8 Dodge City native : KANSAN

Fort Dodge was in Kansas, on the Santa Fe Trail (connecting Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico). The fort was named after Major General Grenville M. Dodge, who was in charge of the army presence in the area. Fort Dodge gave its name to Dodge City, which grew up near the fort.

10 Cough medicine ingredient : CODEINE

“Codeine” is the common name for the opiate 3-methylmorphine, which is a common ingredient in cough medicines. Codeine occurs naturally, making up about 2% of opium sap, although most codeine is synthesized from the more abundant morphine. The name “codeine” comes from the Greek “kodeia” meaning “poppy head”. There is so much codeine produced that it is the most commonly consumed opiate across the world.

11 Place reserved for one reconciling a dispute? : MIDDLE SEAT (from “Middle East”)

In geographical terms there are three “Easts”. “Near East” and “Middle East” are terms that are often considered synonymous, although “Near East” tends to be used when discussing ancient history and “Middle East” when referring to the present day. The Near/Middle East encompasses most of Western Asia and Egypt. The term “Far East” describes East Asia (including the Russian Far East), Southeast Asia and South Asia.

12 Inventor Howe : ELIAS

Elias Howe was an American inventor. Howe wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of a sewing machine, but he was the first to develop one that was functional.

13 “Peace out” : SEE YA

“Peace out” is a slang phrase meaning “goodbye”. The term “peace” became a greeting in the sixties. Apparently the use of “out” is borrowed from the practice of finishing a radio conversation with “over and out”.

18 Marsh duck : TEAL

The beautiful color teal takes it name from the duck called a teal, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

24 U.S. neighbor to the north : CAN

The world’s longest international borders are:

  1. Canada – United States: 5,525 miles
  2. Russia – Kazakhstan: 4,254 miles
  3. Argentina – Chile: 3,293 miles
  4. China – Mongolia: 2,906 miles
  5. India – Bangladesh: 2,518 miles

26 One of two in Hank Aaron’s uniform number : FOUR

The great Hank Aaron (“Hammerin’ Hank” or “the Hammer”) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.

27 Proactiv+ target : ACNE

The Proactiv range of skincare products were introduced in 1995 by two dermatologists who met up with each other while studying at Stanford. Proactiv is market to people suffering with acne. There are quite a few folks who complain about the direct marketing approach to sales used for the products. Customers are “members” of a club, and the products keep coming until a subscription is canceled.

32 Largest of New York’s Finger Lakes : SENECA

When I first moved to the US, I settled in Upstate New York and was lucky enough to live near the beautiful Finger Lakes. The largest of the eleven lakes is Seneca Lake, which is one of the deepest bodies of water in the United States.

35 Mega Stuf cookie : OREO

Double Stuf Oreo was introduced in 1975, and has twice the normal amount of white cream filling as the original cookie. Nabisco really went big in 2013, introducing the Mega Stuf Oreo that has even more white cream filling.

37 Great Basin st. : NEV

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

42 South, in Avignon : SUD

Avignon is a city in the southeast of France on the Rhône river. Avignon is sometimes called the “City of Popes” as it was home to seven popes during the Catholic schism from 1309 to 1423.

46 Surfeit : GLUT

A surfeit is an excess quantity. The term “surfeit” comes from into English from Old French “sur” (over) and “faire” (do).

47 Fluted on the march : FIFED

A fife is a small flute that is often used in military and marching bands. The name “fife” comes from the German “Pfeife” meaning “pipe”.

48 Jungian inner self : ANIMA

The concepts of anima and animus are found in the Carl Jung school of analytical psychology. The idea is that within each male there resides a feminine inner personality called the anima, and within each female there is a male inner personality known as the animus.

54 Bit : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

59 Gabor of “Green Acres” : EVA

Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.

The popular sitcom “Green Acres” originally aired from 1965 to 1971. The magnificent stars of the show were Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, playing a couple who moved from New York City to a farm in the country. “Green Acres” was cancelled as part of CBS’s so called “rural purge”. In a move to attract younger audiences, shows were added to the schedule with more urban and contemporary themes. Classics like “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Hee Haw” and “Mayberry R.F.D.” were dropped at the same time as “Green Acres”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ottoman bigwigs : AGAS
5 Wildly : AMOK
9 Peaks : ACMES
14 At hand : NIGH
15 Animated explorer : DORA
16 Patterned fabric : TOILE
17 Authentic piece of a holy relic? : TRUE THORN (from “true north”)
19 Comedian Izzard : EDDIE
20 Sound investments? : STEREOS
21 Like some deliveries : SAME-DAY
23 Indy guide : PACE CAR
25 She walked into Rick’s gin joint : ILSA
26 Disastrous : FATAL
29 Comedian Garofalo : JANEANE
31 Folk legend Phil : OCHS
32 __ Jose : SAN
33 Connects with : TIES TO
36 Arles article : UNE
37 __ West Records: Nashville label : NEW
38 Rosy-fingered goddess who rises in the east : EOS
39 AirPod spot : EAR
40 Get back in business : REOPEN
42 Product prefix that evokes winter : SNO-
43 Die down : WANE
44 Herbie, in Disney films : LOVE BUG
46 Outset : GET-GO
47 They don’t last : FADS
49 Part of Curaçao : CEDILLA
51 Rather : INSTEAD
53 Apparel brand with a spinnaker logo : NAUTICA
57 Mesh : FIT IN
58 Biblical pronouns read by James Earl Jones? : DEEP THOUS (from “deep south”)
60 Red-pencil : EMEND
61 December 24 and 31 : EVES
62 “At Last” singer James : ETTA
63 Georgia team, in sports headlines : DAWGS
64 Take a chance : DARE
65 Hoarse laugh : RASP

Down

1 Tiny colonists : ANTS
2 Structural engineering piece : GIRT
3 Chills and fever : AGUE
4 Tibetan leaders : SHERPAS
5 Specially formed : AD HOC
6 Saskatchewan city with a 34-foot animal statue named Mac at its tourist info center : MOOSE JAW
7 NHL great Bobby : ORR
8 Dodge City native : KANSAN
9 “Up and __!” : AT ‘EM
10 Cough medicine ingredient : CODEINE
11 Place reserved for one reconciling a dispute? : MIDDLE SEAT (from “Middle East”)
12 Inventor Howe : ELIAS
13 “Peace out” : SEE YA
18 Marsh duck : TEAL
22 Schoolyard retort : ARE TOO!
24 U.S. neighbor to the north : CAN
26 One of two in Hank Aaron’s uniform number : FOUR
27 Proactiv+ target : ACNE
28 Unwelcome leftovers? : THE OLD STEW (from “The Old West”)
30 First words in an alphabet book : A IS …
32 Largest of New York’s Finger Lakes : SENECA
34 Tart taste : TANG
35 Mega Stuf cookie : OREO
37 Great Basin st. : NEV
38 One may be civil : ENGINEER
41 Message board item : POSTING
42 South, in Avignon : SUD
43 Local news segment : WEATHER
45 Settled in for the night, with “down” : BEDDED …
46 Surfeit : GLUT
47 Fluted on the march : FIFED
48 Jungian inner self : ANIMA
50 Momentary error : LAPSE
52 Fades to black : ENDS
54 Bit : IOTA
55 Stops shooting : CUTS
56 “Stat!” : ASAP!
59 Gabor of “Green Acres” : EVA

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Feb 20, Thursday”

  1. I marvel at how ingenious cross word puzzles are. Is it as extremely difficult as I think it is? What is the process from start to finish? If this requires too long of an answer I get it.

  2. Why does it seem like most of these la puzzles are meant to frustrate instead of concentrating and enjoying it. “ deep thous”. Give me a break!

    1. I like devious, obscure, “frustrating” clues and answers. They make crosswords fun. “DEEP THOUS” was deliciously devilish. If you want an easy, no-brainer crossword, do the Daily Commuter. Quit griping here.

  3. Too weird for me. Besides that, quite a few things I didn’t know. Cedilla? And I didn’t catch on to the theme at all until I read it in Bill’s explanations. Yuk.

  4. 35:25 no errors but if it wasn’t for crosses it could have easily been a DNF.
    I didn’t get the theme or the theme answers as well as 49 & 53A ….YUK

  5. I too was cornfused regarding “ deep thous” but it fit with the down clues.
    However it took over an hour too complete.
    Eddie

  6. 8:38 for me today. The first theme answer I put in was DEEP THOUS which I misinterpreted as a play on the music genre “deep house” and that blinded me from discovering the theme until reading it here. And I totally missed the little compass in the circles at the center. If I’d noticed that, the theme may have made more sense to me. Other than that, this puzzle was mostly straightforward. Got a little messed up after putting in civil ENCOUNTER instead of the more-obviously-correct Civil ENGINEER, but that error made itself manifest almost immediately.

  7. Very difficult and time comsuming, and much guessing – but no errors or Googles! I like puzzles from which I gain knowledge.

    Didn’t know: MOOSEJAW, NEW, NAUTICA, FOUR, OREO, NEV, CEDILLA.
    Had rACE before PACE, Away before AT EM, TIES in before TIES TO, Near before NIGH, pIpED before FIFED.
    I eventually figured the theme and was able to get THE OLD STEW, and everything else around it.
    I look things up after and checked out the names of all the Finger lakes, a picture of a spinnaker, a map of Saskatchewan and of the Great Basin. And that’s how I learn. Thank you Ms. Hamel.

  8. 15:28, no errors, but I paused for a long time over “GIRT”, a completely unfamiliar (to me) word for a “structural engineering piece”. I also had problems in the lower left corner and, like others, I didn’t grok the theme. In my own defense: I have to contend that my recent move has left me with significant brain damage 😜 (and it’s not over, as I’m still moving boxes into my new digs from a friend’s basement). I now have a whole new respect for and understanding of Jeff’s move, a couple of years ago. (At least I only moved a little over 30 miles.)

  9. DEEP THOUS has to be the stupidest crossword answer/word I’ve seen. Didn’t get the theme til reading it here. 1.5 stars

  10. I didn’t see the circles either and didn’t get the theme until Bill’s explanation. Also, the SW was a DNF. Felt like a Sat. puzzle and now I have to go bandage my wounds! This was not fun.

  11. A DNF for us, about 75% (letter basis). Tried hard and searched the dictionary,
    but not to be. Still averaging over 90% for the week, but disappointed. Too weird for me.

  12. Moderately difficult Thursday for me; took me 40 minutes with one error: fell for the CErILLA/SUr trick once again. I’ve seen it several times now and keep forgetting, and now I know not only where it is, how it’s pronounced and the fact that it’s a liquor as well. Didn’t really get the theme or notice the circles, which would have helped.

    Had to change MIDDLESlot, TIESin, nIS and TwILl. Only vaguely familiar with Janeane and just changed her spelling, along with Ais, at the last moment.

    re Moose Jaw – Besides the statue, whose impressive statue sometimes has antlers and sometimes not, the city, close to the US border, was rumored to be a Capone hangout and liquor smuggling point.

    @Glenn – So you guys are are Kansans and not Kansanians or Kansanites…. 🙂

  13. Greetings y’all!!!🦆

    One error, same as Dirk’s. Couldn’t remember SUD and just put in the Spanish SUR. Forgot to go back and take another look but I probably wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. 🤔 Didn’t see the theme till I’d finished but I think it was quite clever! … I had NORDICA before NAUTICA. Other than that and the error, not too difficult.

    Dirk- my father was from Kansas, which made him Kanzany….😁

    Be well~~🍸

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