LA Times Crossword 28 Feb 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Mark MacLachlan
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Brexit

Themed answers are common phrases with a starting BR- removed, a BR-EXIT:

  • 68A Subject of a 2016 U.K. referendum, and a hint to five puzzle answers : BREXIT
  • 18A Power of a Hummer? : UTE FORCE (from “brute force”)
  • 23A Enormous card revealed at end of magician’s routine? : ACE FOR IMPACT (from “brace for impact”)
  • 38A Tattoo depicting the last woolly mammoth? : INK OF EXTINCTION (from “brink of extinction”)
  • 47A Avian mascot on a refueling vessel? : OILER CHICKEN (from “broiler chicken”)
  • 57A Hotel employee who only works one day a month? : IDES MAID (from “bridesmaid”)

Bill’s time: 8m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Vat sediment : LEES

The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), are also called “lees”.

15 Munch Museum city : OSLO

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian expressionist, and most famous for his painting “The Scream”, painted in 1893. What a wonderful work that is, a true representation of expressionism. The Munch Museum in Oslo is dedicated to his work and life. In 2004, two of Munch’s paintings, “The Scream” and “Madonna”, were stolen from the Munch Museum by armed robbers who subdued the museum guards. The paintings were missing for two years, but recovered in 2006.

16 Crazy Eights relative : UNO

UNO is a card game that was developed in the early seventies and that has been sold by Mattel since 1992. UNO falls into the shedding family of card games, meaning that the goal is to get rid of all your cards while preventing opponents from doing the same.

The card game called Crazy Eights is named for the former military designation “Section 8”. Section 8 referred to a category of discharge from the US military, reserved for personnel deemed mentally unfit for duty.

18 Power of a Hummer? : UTE FORCE (from “brute force”)

“Humvee” and “Hummer” are nicknames for the military vehicle developed by AM General. The full name is High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle i.e. HMMWV, or simply “Humvee”.

22 Discreetly, in slang : ON THE DL

Something described as “on the down low” is “secret”. The phrase is often shortened to “on the DL”, The same abbreviated expression can also mean “on the disabled list” in sports.

27 Form fig. : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

28 Fictional anchor Nessman : LES

Les Nessman is a character in the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati”. Nessman is the shy, balding guy who always wears a bow tie.

29 Goes apace : HIES

“To hie” is to move quickly, to bolt.

34 __ 51 : AREA

The famed Area 51 is a remote base in the USAF Nevada Test and Training Range. There’s no question that Area 51 is an unusual base in that frontline operational units are not deployed there. It seems that it is used for developing and testing new and classified weapons facilities for the US Military and other US agencies like the CIA. The government did not even acknowledge that Area 51 existed until 1995, and this official position fueled a theory that the base is home to UFOs that landed on Earth.

38 Tattoo depicting the last woolly mammoth? : INK OF EXTINCTION (from “brink of extinction”)

A relatively well-preserved set of woolly mammoth remains were discovered in Siberia in 2012. The remains included some intact cells, and there is talk about the possibility of cloning the animal who died between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scary stuff …

42 Muslim leader : IMAM

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

43 Carol contraction : ‘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!”

44 Immobilize with a charge : TASE

To tase is to use a taser, a stun gun.

45 “Moby-Dick” setting : SEA

The full title of Herman Melville’s novel is “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”. Note that the convention is to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” in the title, as that was how the book was first published, in 1851. However, there is no hyphen in the name of the whale “Moby Dick” as reproduced throughout the text.

53 Three on a match, they say : BAD OMEN

“Three on a match” is a superstition, one apparently dating back to the Crimean War. If three people light their cigarettes from the same match, then supposedly one of the soldiers would be killed. A further superstition, called “third on a match” was that the third soldier who gets the light would be killed. The rationale was that if an enemy sniper saw the light of a match, he would take aim as the first person takes the light, determine whether he was seeing friend or foe with the second lighting, and then shoot at the third lighting.

56 Ikea purchase : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

The IKEA furniture chain was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

57 Hotel employee who only works one day a month? : IDES MAID (from “bridesmaid”)

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

64 1968 self-named folk album : ARLO

Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for singing protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.

65 Stands in a studio : EASELS

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey”, would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

68 Subject of a 2016 U.K. referendum, and a hint to five puzzle answers : BREXIT

The UK held a referendum in June 2016 in which 52% of voters chose to leave the European Union (EU). The term “Brexit” was used for the vote, a portmanteau of “Britain” and “exit”. The vote has led to some debate about the future of the UK. The Scottish electorate voted for the UK to stay in the EU, and so that revived speculation about Scotland leaving the UK. There has also been some discussion about Northern Ireland’s future in the UK, as the Northern Irish electorate also voted to stay in the EU.

Down

1 Comic Margaret : CHO

Margaret Cho is a very successful stand-up comedian, but she is also a fashion designer with her own line of clothing. Cho acts as well, and you might have seen her in the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie “Face/Off” in which she played John Travolta’s FBI colleague.

4 Calvin’s spaceman alter ego, in comics : SPIFF

The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes a 17th century English political philosopher.

5 Literature Nobelist Alice : MUNRO

Alice Munro is a writer from southwestern Ontario in Canada. Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.

6 Weapon for Goliath : SPEAR

In the story of David and Goliath, the Israelites and the Philistines faced each other in battle at the Valley of Elah. Goliath was the warrior champion of the Philistines and each day he challenged the Israelites to send out their champion to decide the battle in a one-on-one fight. No one was courageous enough to accept the challenge until young David agreed to face the mighty Goliath. David felled the giant soldier with a stone from his sling.

7 Teammate of Babe : LOU

Baseball legend Lou Gehrig was known as a powerhouse. He was a big hitter and just kept on playing. Gehrig broke the record for the most consecutive number of games played, and he stills holds the record for the most career grand slams. His durability earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse”. Sadly, he died in 1941 at 37-years-old suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an illness we now call “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. The New Yankees retired the number four on 4th of July 1939 in his honor, making Lou Gehrig the first baseball player to have a number retired.

Jack Dunn was the owner/manager of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1913, when he signed on George Herman Ruth as a pitcher. The other players called Ruth “Jack’s newest babe”, and the name “Babe” stuck.

8 Legally prevents : ESTOPS

The term “estop” means to block or stop by using some legal device. “Estop” comes from Old French, in which “estopper” means “to stop up” or “to impede”.

9 Justice Kagan : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who 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. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …

10 Cymbal sound? : SOFT C

The “cymbal” starts with a soft letter C (cee).

11 “Friday I’m in Love” band, with “The” : … CURE

The Cure is an English rock band founded in 1976 that is still going strong today, although not with the original line up. The only top-ten hit the Cure had in the US was “Lovesong”, released in 1989.

12 Saved, in a way : ON CD

The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.

13 Holiday song : NOEL

“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, and ultimately comes from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). “Noel” has come to be used as an alternative for “Christmas carol”.

21 Household cleaning brand : TILEX

Tilex is a brand of tile cleaner made by Clorox that contains a fungicide used to control mildew.

24 Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry : CSONKA

Larry Csonka is a retired professional football player whose most notable years were spent with the Miami Dolphins. After his football career ended, Csonka got quite a bit of work in front of the camera. He has done a lot of television, and even had a small part in the excellent 1976 movie “Midway”.

25 Japanese mushrooms : ENOKIS

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

32 Longtime breath freshener : SEN-SEN

Sen-Sen was a breath freshener that became available for purchase since the late 1800s.

34 Back to a mate : AFT

On a merchant ship, the first mate (sometimes “first officer, chief mate”) is the highest-ranking deck officer, and reports directly to the captain.

36 Gasteyer of “SNL” (1996-2002) : ANA

Ana Gasteyer is an actress best known for being a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1996 to 2002. Gasteyer was famous on SNL for playing Martha Stewart … topless!

37 Network for film buffs : TCM

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is one of my favorite television channels as it delivers just what its name promises, i.e. classic movies.

39 Chocolatey Post cereal : OREO O’S

Oreo O’s cereal was made by Post from 1998 to 2007. The pieces of cereal were basically O-shaped (like Cheerios) but chocolate-flavored, dark brown in color and with white sprinkles on them. Oh, and lots of sugar.

40 Apple models : IMACS

The iMac is a desktop computer platform that Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such as strawberry, blueberry and lime.

49 Comic Denis : LEARY

Denis Leary is a comic who is perhaps better known today as an actor. Leary co-created and starred in the successful comedy-drama series “Rescue Me”, which ran for over seven years. I mainly know Leary from playing the lead detective in the 1999 film “The Thomas Crown Affair”.

50 Biblical mount : HOREB

In the Book of Deuteronomy, it is stated that Moses was given the Ten Commandments on Mount Horeb. In other parts of the Bible the same event is described as taking place on Mount Sinai. So, many think that Horeb is an alternative name for Sinai.

54 Score after deuce : AD IN

In tennis, if the score reaches deuce (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the advantage. If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that’s two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. If the one of the players is calling out the score then if he/she has the advantage then that player announces “ad in” or more formally “advantage in”. If the score announcer’s opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is “ad out” or “advantage out”. Follow all of that …?

55 Monopoly card : DEED

The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of “The Landlord’s Game” created in 1903 by a Quaker woman named Lizzie Phillips. Phillips used her game as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord’s Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, who became a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.

61 Inventor Whitney : ELI

Inventor Eli Whitney is best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

62 Summer hrs. : DST

Daylight saving time (DST)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Big divides : CHASMS
7 Vat sediment : LEES
11 Swindler : CON
14 Aid, as a fallen teammate : HELP UP
15 Munch Museum city : OSLO
16 Crazy Eights relative : UNO
17 Connected : ONLINE
18 Power of a Hummer? : UTE FORCE (from “brute force”)
20 Greek group : FRAT
22 Discreetly, in slang : ON THE DL
23 Enormous card revealed at end of magician’s routine? : ACE FOR IMPACT (from “brace for impact”)
27 Form fig. : SSN
28 Fictional anchor Nessman : LES
29 Goes apace : HIES
33 “Your point being?” : SOO …
34 __ 51 : AREA
36 The slightest bit : A TASTE
38 Tattoo depicting the last woolly mammoth? : INK OF EXTINCTION (from “brink of extinction”)
41 Avoids : SKIRTS
42 Muslim leader : IMAM
43 Carol contraction : ‘TIS
44 Immobilize with a charge : TASE
45 “Moby-Dick” setting : SEA
46 Bullring bravo : OLE!
47 Avian mascot on a refueling vessel? : OILER CHICKEN (from “broiler chicken”)
53 Three on a match, they say : BAD OMEN
56 Ikea purchase : SOFA
57 Hotel employee who only works one day a month? : IDES MAID (from “bridesmaid”)
59 Acted greenly? : REUSED
63 It usually needs breaking : TIE
64 1968 self-named folk album : ARLO
65 Stands in a studio : EASELS
66 Wrap up : END
67 Changes to green, say : DYES
68 Subject of a 2016 U.K. referendum, and a hint to five puzzle answers : BREXIT

Down

1 Comic Margaret : CHO
2 Egg producer : HEN
3 The lot : ALL
4 Calvin’s spaceman alter ego, in comics : SPIFF
5 Literature Nobelist Alice : MUNRO
6 Weapon for Goliath : SPEAR
7 Teammate of Babe : LOU
8 Legally prevents : ESTOPS
9 Justice Kagan : ELENA
10 Cymbal sound? : SOFT C
11 “Friday I’m in Love” band, with “The” : … CURE
12 Saved, in a way : ON CD
13 Holiday song : NOEL
19 “Ah, I see what you meant” : OH, THAT
21 Household cleaning brand : TILEX
23 Give a hand : ASSIST
24 Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry : CSONKA
25 Japanese mushrooms : ENOKIS
26 More substantial : MEATIER
30 “Will this work for you?” : IS IT OK?
31 French star : ETOILE
32 Longtime breath freshener : SEN-SEN
34 Back to a mate : AFT
35 Dorm, briefly : RES
36 Gasteyer of “SNL” (1996-2002) : ANA
37 Network for film buffs : TCM
39 Chocolatey Post cereal : OREO O’S
40 Apple models : IMACS
45 Declining due to age : SENILE
48 “Grr!” : I’M MAD!
49 Comic Denis : LEARY
50 Biblical mount : HOREB
51 “The bad news is … ” : I FEAR …
52 It might have a champion : CAUSE
53 Sound __ : BITE
54 Score after deuce : AD IN
55 Monopoly card : DEED
58 Mexican pair : DOS
60 __ roles : SEX
61 Inventor Whitney : ELI
62 Summer hrs. : DST

25 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 28 Feb 20, Friday”

  1. Had a tough time with the theme clues despite the theme being easy enough to guess beforehand from the revealer. Probably didn’t help that a lot of my first guesses were wrong (hEAvIER for MEATIER, assuming 23A ended with ACE instead of beginning with it when I had the AC in IMPACT). Also was confused about SOO having two Os so had an error with where CSONKA crossed it (not much of a sports fan).

  2. Took a very long time and finally had to reveal some letters. Didn’t know Csonka or enokis and really didn’t like soo. Also didn’t much care for ace for impact.

  3. 14:42, but I left one square unfilled! (I’m unfamiliar with “LES Nessman” and “TILEX”, so I left the intersection blank and forgot to go back and consider what would fit there.) Clever theme, but I didn’t see the revealer until the very end, at which point I finally understood why BRs were being omitted … duh … 😜.

  4. The flatly and senselessly incorrect clue (or answer) to 53A invalidates the puzzle. Omens are signs or portents, not human creations, period. Maybe next time you’ll be fortunate enough to have a competent editor, Mr. MacLachan.

    1. @Anonymous – When you say “Omens are signs or portents, not human creations, period” I have to ask, who is it exactly that determines the ominous meanings of these omens or portents if it’s not us humans?

      No final errors on this grid, although I did look askance at “soo” when I first filled it in. I think the clue ought to have a “slang” or some notation that this is not the typical spelling probably.

  5. 33:08 no errors….this is one of those rare occasions when the theme actually helped me….also I never heard of SENSEN even though they have been around for so long…I don’t get out much.

  6. A dozen Googles. Unusual words – SPIFF, ENOKIS, HOREB, OREO OS. Actually got CSONKA and SEN SEN – attributed to my age.
    Clever theme. Should have indicated ON CD as an abbrev.
    Now I need a nap.

  7. 7:48 which is a really good time for a Friday for me. I think I was helped by the theme… once I got INK OF EXTINCTION I got the missing BR thing and went straight to BREXIT. Basically, I mentally lucked out today, but I’ll take it.

    Also never heard of SENSEN, and also agree that lighting three on a match is not a BAD OMEN, but bad LUCK (in fact I had BAD LUCK filled in for a second until it became clearly wrong).

  8. A second consecutive DNF; just too hard for us to even compete.
    But, three good days this week.

    About 65% today, letter basis.

    Have a good weekend, guys and gals and back to it on Monday.

  9. As often as not, Friday’s puzzles are near my limit, and this one looked to be that way as well, until I figured out the missing “BR” in the theme; then it went more smoothly. That said, it still took me a good 45 minutes to solve. I enjoyed the challenge of today’s puzzle, and sit in awe at all of you who can solve these puzzles in less than 10 minutes.

    I agree that “SOO” was not a clear answer, nor was “BAD OMEN”, as I also have known ‘Three on a match” to indicate “BAD LUCK” is on the way.

    A better clue for me, for 22A, would be “Injured in baseball”, instead of “”Discreetly, in slang”. To compound my woe here, I haven’t saved anything on a CD in years (12D, “Saved, in a way”), so the shared “D” in those two answers evaded my mental capabilities for the longest time.

  10. 17:28. I didn’t get to the reveal until I had pretty much finished the puzzle so no help there. ON THE DL has gotten me before. I always want to put ON THE QT, but it never works.

    The minor league baseball team here in Las Vegas used to be called The 51’s in reference to Area 51. They had an alien mascot named Cosmo. FWIW -They are now the Las Vegas Aviators in reference to Howard Hughes whose company is one of their owners.

    Best –

  11. Too clever for me. Got the corners, top & bottom but left big gaps in the center. Got more satisfaction from clearing snow from the drive way this morning.

    Eddie

  12. I think “three on a match” is a perfectly acceptable “omen.” Merriam-Webster: “an occurrence or phenomenon (see PHENOMENON sense 1) believed to portend a future event : AUGURY
    The dark clouds were considered a bad omen.”
    So, if you see three persons lighting up on the same match, that “occurrence” can portend upcoming bad luck (a “future event“).
    Works for me.

  13. For a little more on Inventor Whitney there’s a theory that Eli’s invention may have led to the Civil War. Before the cotton gin was invented most clothes were made from wool or linen. Cotton was easy to grow but very hard to process since there were so many seeds to remove, which is what the cotton gin was able to do. As a result the production of cotton took off with slave labor unfortunately as a crucial factor. Cotton “became king” and the South imagined it could go it alone.

  14. This puzzle was completely full of sh**. Even after you “got” the incredibly strained theme, it didn’t help a lot. This constructor goes on my “steer clear” list.

  15. Soo much whining about challenging clues and answers. Crosswords, especially Thursday-Saturday, are a friendly battle between the constructor and the solver. If all you want is a brainless, amateur-level puzzle, go away and do the Daily Commuter. Quit griping here, and advertising your incompetence.

  16. Too tough for me today, not even able to make many guesses. Gave up after an hour with a lot of empty space. At least all that I had at that time (about 50%) was correct, except for RmS instead of RES. I had the reveal but none of the theme answers.

    A lot of stuff I’ve never heard of LEARY, HOREB, ETOILE, LES…I did know CSONKA (but I thought it was spelled with a Z) and I knew ONTHEDL, but wasn’t expecting and abbreviation. I’m just going Kanzany!

    1. HIYA folks!!!🦆

      Tough one! Partway through I kinda toggled between solving and cheating. Didn’t know CSONKA, and I was sure it was wrong. Got the theme at least; it was clever!👍

      Lawrence- the problem with using the baseball clue is that it is now called the IL, for Injured List. Of course a lot of people, including me, still say DL from force of habit, but they changed it like three seasons ago. ⚾️

      I’m fine with the use of OMEN, and I agree with Tony as to signs and portents originating from humans….

      Be well ~~🍸

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