LA Times Crossword 4 Feb 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Robin Stears
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Spin Cycle

Themed answers each include the letter sequence SPIN. We CYCLE through the spelling of SPIN as we descend the grid:

  • 60A Washing machine feature shown graphically in this puzzle’s circles : SPIN CYCLE
  • 17A Line on a Yankee uniform : PINSTRIPE
  • 27A Youngest “American Idol” winner : JORDIN SPARKS
  • 44A Several characters on TV’s “The Americans” : RUSSIAN SPIES
  • Bill’s time: 5m 57s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    1 Madeline of “History of the World, Part I” : KAHN

    Madeline Kahn was an actress best known for her comedic roles, especially those directed by Mel Brooks. Kahn also had her own TV sitcom, called “Oh Madeline”. But, it only lasted one season, in 1983.

    “History of the World, Part I” is a 1981 Mel Brooks film. Mel Brooks is all over this movie, having written, produced and directed it, as well as playing five acting parts. There never was a “History of the World, Part II”, and the original title is a play on Sir Walter Raleigh’s work “The Historie of the World”, for which the author only managed to finish one volume.

    15 Jackson 5 hairdo : AFRO

    The Jackson 5 singing group was originally made up of brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. The four eldest brothers continued to perform, using the name “The Jacksons”, after Michael went solo.

    16 Golden-egg layer : GOOSE

    In the Aesop fable “The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs”, a couple own a hen that lays a golden egg every day. The greedy pair surmise that there is a lump of gold inside the hen, and so they kill her in search of the precious metal. They find nothing, and are left without their daily windfall of a golden egg.

    17 Line on a Yankee uniform : PINSTRIPE

    There is an urban legend that the New York Yankees introduced uniforms with pinstripes to make Babe Ruth look slimmer. Not so …

    21 Arachnophobe’s worry : SPIDERS

    “Arachnophobia” is the fear of spiders, scorpions and other arachnids. The term comes from the Greek “arachne” meaning “spider” and “phobos” meaning “fear”.

    26 “Gorillas in the Mist” primate : APE

    Dian Fossey carried out her famous study of gorilla populations in the mountain forests of Rwanda. She wrote a 1983 autobiographical account of her work titled “Gorillas in the Mist”, which served as a basis for a 1988 film of the same name starring Sigourney Weaver as Fossey. Sadly, Fossey was found dead in her cabin in Rwanda in 1986, murdered in her bedroom, her skull split open by a machete. The crime was never solved.

    27 Youngest “American Idol” winner : JORDIN SPARKS

    Singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks won the 2007 season of “American Idol”. Sparks was just 17 years old at the time, making her the youngest winner in the history of the show.

    36 Square root of IX : III

    In Roman numerals, the square root of IX (9) is III (3).

    41 Rule, briefly : REG

    Regulation (reg.)

    42 Pueblo-dwelling people : HOPI

    Many of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

    A pueblo is a Native American village found in the American Southwest. The buildings in a pueblo are usually made of stone and adobe mud.

    44 Several characters on TV’s “The Americans” : RUSSIAN SPIES

    “The Americans” is a very engaging drama series set during the Cold War that features two KGB spies living as a married couple just outside Washington, D.C. The show was created by Joe Weisberg, who is a novelist and former CIA officer. The lead roles in “The Americans” are played by real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

    50 Morse code word : DAH

    Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

    53 Portable charcoal grill : HIBACHI

    The traditional hibachi in Japan is a heating device, often a ceramic bowl or box that holds burning charcoal. This native type of hibachi isn’t used for cooking, but rather as a space heater (a brazier). Here in the US we use the term hibachi to refer to a charcoal grill used as a small cooking stove, which in Japanese would be called a “shichirin”. “Hibachi” is Japanese for “fire pot” coming from “hi” meaning “fire”, and “bachi” meaning “bowl, pot”.

    57 How some chew gum : NOISILY

    Chicle is a natural gum or latex that can be extracted from the Manilkara chicle tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. Companies like Wrigley were major users of chicle prior to the sixties as the product was used as the base ingredient in chewing gum. Today chewing gum manufacturers generally use a synthetic rubber that is cheap to manufacture as a replacement for natural chicle. I am so happy I don’t chew gum!

    59 Novelist Wharton : EDITH

    Edith Wharton was a novelist and designer from New York City. Wharton was a wealthy woman and built her own estate in Lenox, Massachusetts called the Mount. My wife and I had the privilege of touring the Mount a few years ago, and there we saw evidence of what design meant to Wharton.

    62 Free-for-all : MELEE

    Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

    63 “The African Queen” screenwriter James : 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”.

    “The African Queen” is a 1935 novel by C. S. Forester that was adapted into a very successful 1951 film of the same name starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. The title refers to a steam-powered launch that travels the Ulanga River. The story is set during World War I. At the climax of the tale, the African Queen is used as a makeshift torpedo to sink a German gunboat (spoiler!).

    64 Gas in a sign : NEON

    The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

    65 Burpee buy : SEEDS

    The Burpee Seeds company was formed in 1876 by Washington Atlee Burpee.

    67 “¿Cómo __ usted?” : ESTA

    “¿Cómo está usted?” is the more formal way of asking “How are you?” in Spanish.

    Down

    1 Phi Beta __ : KAPPA

    Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.

    2 Lai or Thai : ASIAN

    The Lai are an ethnic group found mainly in India and Myanmar. Some believe that the Lai migrated from China, passing through the mountains of Tibet, and are direct descendants of the Qin Dynasty.

    Formerly known as Siam, the Kingdom of Thailand is operating as a military dictatorship following a 2014 coup.

    3 Name of eight English kings : HENRY

    Henry I of England was a son of William the Conqueror. According to legend, Henry died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys”, or more likely food poisoning. Lampreys look like a cross between a fish and an eel.

    Famously, King Henry VIII had six queens consort. There is a rhyme that is commonly used to help remember the fates of each of his wives, which goes:

    King Henry the Eighth, to six wives he was wedded. One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded.

    The use of the term “divorce” isn’t quite accurate though, as in fact Henry had two of his marriages annulled. His wives (and their fates) were:

    1. Catherine of Aragon (Annulled),
    2. Anne Boleyn (Beheaded),
    3. Jane Seymour (Died)
    4. Anne of Cleves (Annulled),
    5. Catherine Howard (Beheaded),
    6. Catherine Parr (Survived).

    4 Condé __ : NAST

    Condé Nast is a mass media corporation that has a very large portfolio of publications, including “Vogue”, “GQ”, “House and Garden”, “Golf Digest”, “Wired”, “Vanity Fair” and “The New Yorker”.

    5 Sharpie, for one : MARKER

    Sharpie is a brand of marker pen that has been on sale since 1964.

    7 Dadaist Jean : ARP

    Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

    Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

    8 “The Simpsons” bar : MOE’S

    Moe Szyslak is the surly bartender and owner of Moe’s Tavern in “The Simpsons” animated TV show. I don’t really care for “The Simpsons”, but Hank Azaria who supplies the voice for the Moe character … him I like …

    9 Marcus __, victorious commander at Actium : AGRIPPA

    The Battle of Actium was fought between the forces of Octavian, leader of the Roman Republic, and the combined forces of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. Octavian’s fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The victory helped to consolidate Octavian’s standing in Rome, and soon after he was given the title of Augustus and became the first Roman Emperor.

    11 Zilch : NONE

    We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.

    12 44-Across’ land: Abbr. : USSR
    (44A Several characters on TV’s “The Americans” : RUSSIAN SPIES)

    The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, i.e. USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

    13 Levi’s alternatives : LEES

    The Lee company that is famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

    18 Mystic’s deck : TAROT

    Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

    25 Language that gave us “kvetch” : YIDDISH

    The word “kvetch” comes to us from Yiddish, with “kvetshn” meaning “to complain” or “squeeze”.

    27 Gatsby of “The Great Gatsby” : JAY

    “The Great Gatsby” is a 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that tells of the prosperous life of Jay Gatsby during the Roaring 20s. Gatsby develops an obsessive love for Daisy Fay Buchanan, a girl he met while serving during WWI, and meets again some years later after he has improved his social standing.

    29 Run amok : RIOT

    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 …

    30 Fuzzy fruit : KIWI

    What we call kiwifruit today (and sometimes just “kiwi”) used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, and then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.

    31 Fodder holder : SILO

    “Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

    “Fodder”, meaning “animal feed”, is an Old English word for “food”.

    32 Henry VIII’s last wife Catherine : PARR

    Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry, she had been widowed twice. After Henry died, Parr married once again, racking up four husbands in all.

    33 In __ of: substituted for : LIEU

    As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

    34 Energy units : ERGS

    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.

    38 Cook just below a boil : POACH

    Our verb “to poach”, meaning “to cook in liquid”, comes from the Old French verb “pochier”, meaning “to put into a pocket”. The idea is that the yolk of a “poached” egg is “pocketed” in the egg white.

    39 Network absorbed by The CW : UPN

    The United Paramount Network (UPN) was a TV channel that launched in 1995, and shut down in 2006. Some of UPN’s programming was moved to the CW channel at the time of UPN’s demise.

    52 “Laughing” scavenger : HYENA

    The spotted hyena of Sub-Saharan Africa is also known as the laughing hyena because of the sound it oftens makes, which resembles maniacal laughter.

    54 Bordeaux notion : IDEE

    Bordeaux is perhaps the wine-production capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the Germans took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.

    55 Gallbladder fluid : BILE

    The human gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that mainly helps with the digestion of fat. The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, which is made in the liver. The bile is released from the gallbladder when fat enters the digestive tract. The bile acts as a surfactant, emulsifying the fat in food so that it can be more easily digested.

    56 Part of Caesar’s boast : I SAW

    The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BCE and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

    58 Holiday song ender : … SYNE

    The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And never brought to mind?
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And auld lang syne!

    For auld lang syne, my dear,
    For auld lang syne.
    We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
    For auld lang syne.

    61 Ryder Cup co-administrating org. : PGA

    The Ryder Cup trophy was donated to the sport of golf by Samuel Ryder, an English entrepreneur. Ryder made his money selling garden seeds in small packets. He only took up golf when he was in his fifties but became quite the enthusiast and eventually donated the trophy in 1927, when it was valued at 100 guineas. The Ryder Cup is a biennial tournament played between teams from the US and Europe.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Madeline of “History of the World, Part I” : KAHN
    5 Respectful address to a woman : MA’AM
    9 Declare void : ANNUL
    14 Sailing or whaling : ASEA
    15 Jackson 5 hairdo : AFRO
    16 Golden-egg layer : GOOSE
    17 Line on a Yankee uniform : PINSTRIPE
    19 Lather, __, repeat : RINSE
    20 Have a share (of) : PARTAKE
    21 Arachnophobe’s worry : SPIDERS
    23 “__ questions?” : ANY
    24 Lean (on) : RELY
    26 “Gorillas in the Mist” primate : APE
    27 Youngest “American Idol” winner : JORDIN SPARKS
    32 Skirt fold : PLEAT
    35 Facts and figures : DATA
    36 Square root of IX : III
    37 Open and breezy : AIRY
    38 Like babies’ knees : PUDGY
    40 Laugh really hard : HOWL
    41 Rule, briefly : REG
    42 Pueblo-dwelling people : HOPI
    43 Numerical relationship : RATIO
    44 Several characters on TV’s “The Americans” : RUSSIAN SPIES
    48 List-ending abbr. : ETC
    49 Throw hard : HURL
    50 Morse code word : DAH
    53 Portable charcoal grill : HIBACHI
    57 How some chew gum : NOISILY
    59 Novelist Wharton : EDITH
    60 Washing machine feature shown graphically in this puzzle’s circles : SPIN CYCLE
    62 Free-for-all : MELEE
    63 “The African Queen” screenwriter James : AGEE
    64 Gas in a sign : NEON
    65 Burpee buy : SEEDS
    66 Hospital section : WARD
    67 “¿Cómo __ usted?” : ESTA

    Down

    1 Phi Beta __ : KAPPA
    2 Lai or Thai : ASIAN
    3 Name of eight English kings : HENRY
    4 Condé __ : NAST
    5 Sharpie, for one : MARKER
    6 Off the beaten path : AFIELD
    7 Dadaist Jean : ARP
    8 “The Simpsons” bar : MOE’S
    9 Marcus __, victorious commander at Actium : AGRIPPA
    10 “I’m drawing a blank” : NO IDEA
    11 Zilch : NONE
    12 44-Across’ land: Abbr. : USSR
    13 Levi’s alternatives : LEES
    18 Mystic’s deck : TAROT
    22 Sickly pale : PASTY
    25 Language that gave us “kvetch” : YIDDISH
    27 Gatsby of “The Great Gatsby” : JAY
    28 Remind nonstop : NAG
    29 Run amok : RIOT
    30 Fuzzy fruit : KIWI
    31 Fodder holder : SILO
    32 Henry VIII’s last wife Catherine : PARR
    33 In __ of: substituted for : LIEU
    34 Energy units : ERGS
    38 Cook just below a boil : POACH
    39 Network absorbed by The CW : UPN
    40 Possesses : HAS
    42 Bums a ride : HITCHES
    43 Piece from the past : RELIC
    45 On chairs : SEATED
    46 Smaller and weaker : PUNIER
    47 Smoothed out the wrinkles : IRONED
    50 Cuts into cubes : DICES
    51 Portion out : ALLOT
    52 “Laughing” scavenger : HYENA
    53 Garment edges : HEMS
    54 Bordeaux notion : IDEE
    55 Gallbladder fluid : BILE
    56 Part of Caesar’s boast : I SAW
    58 Holiday song ender : … SYNE
    61 Ryder Cup co-administrating org. : PGA

    11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Feb 20, Tuesday”

      1. Glenn, what’s YOUR secret? You’re routinely beating Bill’s solve, and end Monday and Tuesday grids closer to 4 minutes than to 5!!!

    1. In some bit of irony, Paramount took over Spike TV and renamed it Paramount TV. Which is sad, because Spike (itself formerly TNN — The Nashville Network), had some of the funniest shows ever devised. That’s “make you gawk” funny, not funny “ha ha.” 😉

    2. 5:40, and no errors, and electronically, at that (doing puzzles on a keyboard usually adds several seconds to a solve, compared to paper). This early in the year and I’ve bested Bill’s solve time twice??? Within a WEEK? Will wonders never cease?

    3. 4:26 for me, this was Monday-easy and I guessed the theme would be anagrams of PINS (SPIN actually) in those circles, and that helped even more.

    4. I, too, thought it was noticeably easier than Monday’s, but we didn’t get 100.
      I misspelled JORDIN and used GORDON SPARKS. Not real familiar with that
      show, although we watched it when it first came on TV. So, “only” 99%. That
      will hold its own in our GEEZER DIVISION.

      Kudos to all you speedsters. As I have lamented before, it once took me 20
      minutes to transpose the correct letters to a blank grid. I don’t see how you
      guys do it. But, congratulations in any case.

      What became of my golfing buddy Jeff from St. Louis?

    5. Greetings from the Night Watch!!🦆

      No errors on a good Tuesday puzzle. Only two initialisms! Excellent. 🤗

      Re MA’AM- not really a respectful address if the woman in question is 22! Anyway– anyone remember this early episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which someone addresses 30-year-old Mary as “Ma’am”? Poor Mary–she doesn’t realize the guy’s talking to her. Later we find out that Rhoda has already experienced it– poor Rhoda — never measures up to Mary even tho she has the better personality….🤔

      Be well ~~🍺

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