LA Times Crossword 19 Mar 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Morton J. Mendelson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Bank Fraud

Themed answers lay out how to defraud a bank:

  • 17A The con entered the bank under an __, … : ASSUMED IDENTITY
  • 27A … told the banker a __, … : FABRICATED STORY
  • 44A … opened an account with a __, … : COUNTERFEIT BILL
  • 56A … and cashed a check with a __ : FORGED SIGNATURE

Bill’s time: 6m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Musical riff : VAMP

To vamp is to improvise musically, usually on a piano. A vamp is often an accompaniment to a solo.

16 Retailer whose logo colors are the same as on its founder’s national flag : IKEA

The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.

20 Sly critic : SNIPER

To snipe is to attack with snide criticism, especially from a safe distance. This usage of the term is an extension of the older meaning, to take a shot from a hidden position (as in “sniper”). Such a shot was originally taken when hunting the game birds called “snipes”.

22 Fertility clinic supply : OVA

“Ovum” (plural “ova”) is Latin for “egg”.

25 Not agin : FER

If you’re not “fer” (for), then you could be “agin” (against).

26 Amazon snake : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

32 Iditarod runner : HUSKY

The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in northern Asia. Siberian Huskies were imported into Alaska in great numbers in the early 1900s for use as sled dogs during the gold rush.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers an incredible 1,161 miles, from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. Finishing times range from over 8 days to 15 days or more. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!

33 “High School Musical” extra : TEEN

“High School Musical” is a 2006 Disney film made for television that spawned two sequels released to movie theaters worldwide. The soundtrack to “High School Musical” ended up being the best-selling album for 2006. Apparently, the storyline is based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

39 Jack of “The Great Dictator” : OAKIE

Jack Oakie was the stage name of actor Lewis Offield, who was originally from Missouri. Offield was raised in Oklahoma, and for this reason picked up the nickname “Oakie”. The “Jack” in his stage name came from the first character that he portrayed in a play. Oakie played Benzino Napaloni in Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”, a character who was very much based on Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

“The Great Dictator” is a 1940 movie starring Charlie Chaplin, who also wrote, directed, produced and scored the film. Made just before the US entered WWII, “The Great Dictator” is a satirical work that condemns Hitler, Mussolini and the rise of fascism. It was to become Chaplin’s most commercially successful film. Years after it was released, Chaplin stated that he could not have made the movie if he knew at the time just how truly horrific were the crimes committed by the Nazis.

42 Colorado’s “Steel City” : PUEBLO

The city of Pueblo, Colorado is located just over 100 miles south of Denver. The city takes its name from a settlement established by fur trappers around 1842 that they called “El Pueblo” or “Fort Pueblo”. The original buildings were adobe structures, hence the “Pueblo” name.

48 One in a tchr.’s key : ANS

Answer (ans.)

49 Canadian whisky : RYE

For whiskey to be labelled as “rye” in the US, it has to be distilled from at least 51% rye grain. In Canada however, a drink called rye whiskey sometimes contains no rye at all.

50 Old call letters? : MCI

MCI was a giant telecom company that suffered a similar fate to Enron, and around about the same time. MCI’s stock price fell in 2000 and, in maneuvers designed to protect the price, the company committed illegal acts. MCI’s larger-than-life CEO Bernie Ebbers served 13 years of a 25-year sentence, before being released due to a decline in health. He died one month later.

51 “The Hollow Men” poet’s monogram : TSE

The last two lines of T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem “The Hollow Men” are oft-quoted:

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

54 It merged with CBS in 2019 : VIACOM

Media giant Viacom takes it’s name from the phrase VI-deo & A-udio COM-unications.

60 JFK part: Abbr. : INIT

Initial (init.)

63 Koppel and others : TEDS

Broadcast journalist Ted Koppel is most associated with his long run as anchor for the “Nightline” program on ABC. Koppel was actually born in England, to a Jewish family that had fled from Germany. He emigrated with his family to the US when he was 13 years old. Koppel is great friends with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who was a frequent guest on his television show.

Down

1 TV ad promoting water conservation, e.g. : PSA

Public service announcement (PSA)

2 Golfer Ernie from South Africa : ELS

Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els is a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

6 Classic Ford : MODEL A

The Ford Model A was the original car produced by the Ford Motor Company. The first production run lasted from 1903 to 1904, when it was replaced by the Model C. The name “Model A” was brought back in 1927 and used for the successor to the Model T.

8 Anxious med. condition : OCD

Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.

9 American agents, familiarly : THE FEDS

A fed is an officer of a US federal agency, although the term “fed” usually applies to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

10 CV, briefly : VITA

A vita is a brief biographical outline.

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a listing of someone’s work experience and qualifications, and is used mainly in making a job application. The term “curriculum vitae” can be translated from Latin as “course of life”.

11 With hands on hips : AKIMBO

“Akimbo” is such a lovely word, I think (as in “arms akimbo”). I failed to dig up anything too exciting about the term’s etymology. It seems to stem from Middle English, “in kekbowe” or “on kenbow” meaning “bend in a curve”. When the arms are held akimbo, the hands are on the hips and the elbows are pointed outward.

12 Night streaker : METEOR

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

19 Language of Oslo, in Oslo : NORSK

“Norsk” is the Norwegian word for “Norwegian”.

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

28 Sentence that should be two or more sentences : RUN-ON

A “run-on sentence” is one in which two separate clauses are linked without appropriate conjugation. Two examples would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, I can’t finish.

More acceptable sentences would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough. I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough; I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, so I can’t finish.

30 Laid-back sort : TYPE B

The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.

38 What a hat may symbolize : ROLE

Some people wear many hats, do many jobs.

42 Salsa option : PICANTE

“Picante” is a Spanish word meaning “spicy hot”.

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

43 New York college town : UTICA

Utica in New York is known as “Second Chance City” these days, due to the recent influx of refugees from war-torn parts of the world and from Bosnia in particular. These immigrants have helped revitalize the area and reverse a trend of population loss.

44 Tantrum : CAT-FIT

A fit of hysterical excitement or anger might be called a cat-fit, or perhaps a duck-fit.

47 Political fugitive : EMIGRE

An émigré (fem. “émigrée”) is an emigrant. The term is French in origin, and particularly applies to someone who is a political refugee from his or her native land.

53 Driver’s lic. stats : HGTS

One’s driving license (lic.) usually specifies one’s height (hgt.).

55 Blues singer Redding : OTIS

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

57 __-cone : SNO

A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.

58 Hundred Acre Wood denizen : ROO

Hundred Acre Wood is where Winnie the Pooh lives with his friends. According to a map illustrating the books by A. A. Milne, Hundred Acre Wood is part of a larger forest, with Owl’s house sitting right at the center. Piglet also lives in the Hundred Acre Wood, in a beech tree next to a sign that says “TRESPASSERS W”. Piglet says this is short for Trespassers William, which is his grandfather’s name.

Nowadays we use “denizen” to mean simply “resident”, but historically a denizen was an immigrant to whom certain rights had been granted, somewhat like today’s resident alien.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Jazzes (up) : PEPS
5 “Let’s open a window” : I’M HOT
10 Musical riff : VAMP
14 Louver part : SLAT
15 Whistle blower : COACH
16 Retailer whose logo colors are the same as on its founder’s national flag : IKEA
17 The con entered the bank under an __, … : ASSUMED IDENTITY
20 Sly critic : SNIPER
21 Became frothy : FOAMED
22 Fertility clinic supply : OVA
24 Prefix with content : MAL-
25 Not agin : FER
26 Amazon snake : BOA
27 … told the banker a __, … : FABRICATED STORY
31 Catching a break : IN LUCK
32 Iditarod runner : HUSKY
33 “High School Musical” extra : TEEN
34 Crouched behind a boulder : HID
35 This and that, say : PAIR
39 Jack of “The Great Dictator” : OAKIE
42 Colorado’s “Steel City” : PUEBLO
44 … opened an account with a __, … : COUNTERFEIT BILL
48 One in a tchr.’s key : ANS
49 Canadian whisky : RYE
50 Old call letters? : MCI
51 “The Hollow Men” poet’s monogram : TSE
52 Giggle : TEE-HEE
54 It merged with CBS in 2019 : VIACOM
56 … and cashed a check with a __ : FORGED SIGNATURE
60 JFK part: Abbr. : INIT
61 Languid : INERT
62 Pic to click : ICON
63 Koppel and others : TEDS
64 “Long time __!” : NO SEE
65 Like racehorses : SHOD

Down

1 TV ad promoting water conservation, e.g. : PSA
2 Golfer Ernie from South Africa : ELS
3 Good enough : PASSABLE
4 Bowl over : STUN
5 Swell treatment? : ICE PACK
6 Classic Ford : MODEL A
7 Word with net or ball : HAIR-
8 Anxious med. condition : OCD
9 American agents, familiarly : THE FEDS
10 CV, briefly : VITA
11 With hands on hips : AKIMBO
12 Night streaker : METEOR
13 Bright spot in the workweek : PAYDAY
18 Copycat : MIMIC
19 Language of Oslo, in Oslo : NORSK
22 Make the most __ : OF IT
23 Barn topper : VANE
25 Clash of clans : FEUD
28 Sentence that should be two or more sentences : RUN-ON
29 Crook : THIEF
30 Laid-back sort : TYPE B
34 New employee : HIRE
36 Over the top : A BIT MUCH
37 Societal woes : ILLS
38 What a hat may symbolize : ROLE
40 Trapped, after “up” : … A TREE
41 Entered : KEYED IN
42 Salsa option : PICANTE
43 New York college town : UTICA
44 Tantrum : CAT-FIT
45 Pre-shoot-out score, perhaps : ONE-ONE
46 Cyberhandle : USER ID
47 Political fugitive : EMIGRE
53 Driver’s lic. stats : HGTS
54 Competes : VIES
55 Blues singer Redding : OTIS
57 __-cone : SNO
58 Hundred Acre Wood denizen : ROO
59 Apt answer for this puzzle location : END

32 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Mar 20, Thursday”

  1. Didn’t know CV. Got VITA with a cross fill. Even after Bills explanation I am still not sure. Im more informed thanks to Bill, but just not sure … I mark it up to a crossword writers method of trying to find something that will fit.

  2. 44down, catfit?? That’s an odd answer. Never heard that for a tantrum. My cell wouldn’t let me print it. Kept changing it to catfight.

  3. No errors, but not without a lot of do-overs. At first I had “Victor” for
    54A, but soon realized that didn’t work. Only got “Viacom” when I
    entered Utica as a cross. Difficult one today.

  4. An enjoyable Thursday puzzle! ROO threw me for a bit , but shod helped fill the bottom right corner.

    Eddie

    1. As I recall the other **** fit starts with an S ands ends with T. My boss use to have them quite frequently.
      Eddie

      1. I must have had a sheltered childhood (and beyond), because I’d never heard that phrase … 😜.

        Oddly, I thought I had responded to this already, but my response seems to have vanished. Either that, or I simply forgot to finish posting it. (I’m more than a little distracted/depressed.)

        1. @Mr. Muss – These days you will hear “fit bit” more often than most of the others.

          Sorry to hear of your depression. Is this something that has come out of your move?

          1. @Tony … Thanks for asking. I’ll get over it … but … it’s just that, at 77 years of age, I spent a month and a half at hard labor to move myself from a familiar place to an unfamiliar one in order (in large part) to be near my SO … who is now in self-isolation because he may have been exposed to a co-worker with the coronavirus … and … I’m pretty much isolated myself, for fear of contracting the virus … so … a massive upheaval in my life … but … as I said … one way or another … I’ll cope … 😳. (And … thank heavens for crossword puzzle books! … 😜.)

  5. To some this may be splitting hairs, but to others (like me) this is an important distinction: the great Otis Redding was a SOUL singer, not a BLUES singer. These
    are not interchangeable descriptions. There is no blues in his discography. This is irritating, much like the puzzles that refer to Etta James as a “jazz singer”. Would you call Yehudi Menuin a ” country fiddler”? Same difference.

  6. I thought the theme was great fun, haven’t seen one done that way before.
    I have a fit if my cat sinks her claws into the upholstery…is that a CATFIT?

  7. Several clue answers were like “catfit.” i.e. way off in the distant synonym sky!! And CV is a two-word thing, not a one-word thing. The editors of this puzzle are not demanding excellence, which is too bad.

  8. Very difficult, but I got all the long answers and made a few good guesses.
    Had to settle for 91% solved, letter basis. I tried hard and knew I wouldn’t
    get it all when I knew only one across word on the first pass.

    I get your drift, Eddie, and have observed a few of them in my time.

    Stay well, guys and gals. We should boycott Corona beer!

    Kudos.

  9. Had to Google 3X – HUSKY, OAKIE, PUEBLO. I had NORSe, not NORSK, and didn’t correct it til I Googled HUSKY, which I would have got if I hadn’t had NORSe.
    Had friDAY before PAYDAY.
    The theme was interesting, like a drama of a THIEF.

  10. Also, I’ve noticed my hometown, Utica, in crosswords recently, mostly because it was 3 vowels out of 5 letters. A little history of Utica College. It was begun as a branch of Syracuse U for the homecoming veterans on the GI bill after WWII. A few years ago, after moving and expanding, it went on its own. Many people I know graduated from Utica, including my husband and uncle.
    There is also a Utica in Michigan, and the original was in Tunisia (Africa), a Carthaginian city.

  11. Never heard of ‘catfit’. Thinking ‘snitfit’ the entire time, but too few letters.

    (Psst. Your formatting’s off. Everything is block quoted after the run-on sentence.)

  12. Another solver in opposition to catfit. Felt the same as @Chris about Otis Redding, so I put it in, took it out, put it back. Sigh. I kept thinking that the bank story was going to somehow provide some clues or be clever in some other way. Like maybe catfit was supposed to be catfight and so all the gh combination had been removed — but it wasn’t to be. I haven’t been out of the house for eight days and it’s getting a little old.

  13. I made a comment, but apparently forgot to sign it. We found today’s puzzle very
    difficult. On the first Across pass, I knew only one single word! We were finally
    able to drag 91% (letter basis),
    or DNF if you prefer, out of it. I was pleased with
    that score, having gotten all of the long answers, plus some good presumptions
    and outright guesses.

    Mike, I get your drift and have seen a few of those fits in my time as well.
    Some people just have poor anger-management skills.

    Good scoring all you guys and gals, and I continue to be impressed.

    On to Friday, but really looking for Monday.

  14. 15:41. CATFIT and VAMP took the most time to figure out.

    Interesting bit about Charlie Chaplin. The Three Stooges (of all acts) were all jewish and several of their shorts were aimed at Hitler and Nazi Germany – openly mocking them. The interesting part is they were made in the 1930’s before the U.S. entered WWII and before much of the American public knew what was happening over there. Smart guys those Stooges.

    Dirk – from yesterday. Ouch.

    Jane – like Carrie, I got a kick out of your description of the soporific effects of golf on TV.

    Best –

  15. 14:45 and 4 errors. I had entered NORSE before reading the clue completely, and thus set the stage for disaster. HUSKY just would not occur to me, nor the cynically placed TYPEB… again, not my week, this.

  16. Moderately easy Thursday for me; took 38 minutes – slightly extended by my dying pen – and no errors. Like a lot of you I didn’t much like CATFIT, but eventually went with it, after deciphering the tchrs’s key. I also had to relearn
    how to spell counterfeit; good thing I’m a big consumer of picante salsa.

    Besides CATFIT, it seems to me that CV is already brief enough! Good thing we just had OAKIE a week (??) or two ago.

    @Jeff – By the 30s things were in full swing, so that anybody who reads the papers would have been fully aware of what was to come. Just like how anyone who completely supported going after Al-Qaeda, would have been vehemently against going into Iraq.

    @Ken – Ebbers was an amazing fraudster, I’d almost forgot about him. What he did in such a short time, through debt financing, was pretty stunning.

  17. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    No errors. For some reason I didn’t mind CATFIT. I mean I’ve never heard it but it just makes so much sense.🐱 I REALLY didn’t like “JFK part: Abbr.” = INIT. Other than that, a decent puzzle.

    Dirk– yet, most Americans were so preoccupied with the Depression, and if they did stop to think about European affairs they preferred isolationism. So, I kinda see Jeff’s point.

    A Nonny Muss!! Hang in there! Glad you are closer to your SO, even if several feet or yards apart. Take care of yourself!! 🤗

    Be well ~~🍸

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