LA Times Crossword 20 Mar 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Robin Stears
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Oil Change

Themed answers are each anagrams of a kind of OIL:

  • 65A Basic auto maintenance, and how each answer to a starred clue was created : OIL CHANGE
  • 17A *Bargain on the last day of Oktoberfest? : STEIN SALE (“ESSENTIAL” changed)
  • 26A *Singer Damone, vis-à-vis actor Morrow? : OLDER VIC (“COD LIVER” changed)
  • 38A *Snoopy’s specialist? : BEAGLE VET (“VEGETABLE” changed)
  • 53A *One who’ll talk your ear off about osso buco and saltimbocca? : VEAL NERD (“LAVENDER” changed)

Bill’s time: 9m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Modern “methinks” : IMHO

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

9 Pink flowers in a van Gogh still life : ROSES

“Still Life: Vase with Pink Roses” is an 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh. You can see the work in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. where it has been hanging since 1991.

16 Brigham Young University city : PROVO

Provo, Utah is a city located just over 40 miles south of South Lake City. Provo is home to Brigham Young University. The city was originally called Fort Utah, and the name was changed to Provo in 1850 in honor of Étienne Provost. Provost was a French-Canadian fur trader who was perhaps the first man of European descent to see the Great Salt Lake.

Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah has about 34.000 students on campus making it the largest religious university in the country. The school was founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, then President of the Mormon Church.

17 *Bargain on the last day of Oktoberfest? : STEIN SALE (“ESSENTIAL” changed)

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve attended twice, and it really is a remarkable party …

19 Urdu for “palace” : MAHAL

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

21 Barbarian in Dante’s Seventh Circle : ATTILA

In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

In Dante’s “Inferno”, Hell is represented as nine circles of suffering. The nine circles of Hell are:

  1. Limbo
  2. Lust
  3. Gluttony
  4. Greed
  5. Anger
  6. Heresy
  7. Violence
  8. Fraud
  9. Treachery

23 Butterfield of “Ender’s Game” : ASA

Asa Butterfield is a actor from London whose breakthrough came with the title role in the 2008 Holocaust movie “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”.

Orson Scott Card is a science fiction author (mainly). Card’s most famous work is his novel “Ender’s Game” first published in 1985. “Ender’s Game” was adapted into a movie and released in 2013, with a cast that includes Harrison Ford.

24 Cartomancy 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.

Cartomancy is fortune-telling using a deck of cards. “Carto” is a combining form meaning “card”, and “-mancy” is a suffix meaning “divination by means of”. Other “-mancies” are hydromancy (divination using water), aeromancy (divination using weather) and arithmancy (divination using numbers).

26 *Singer Damone, vis-à-vis actor Morrow? : OLDER VIC (“COD LIVER” changed)

Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A and D. I remember being dosed with the stuff as a kid. Ugh …

29 Starfleet school : ACADEMY

In the “Star Trek” universe, Starfleet is a military service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Famously, Starfleet is also tasked with deep-space exploration, “to boldly go where no man has gone before …”

37 Bond and Bourne : SPIES

Ian Fleming’s spy first introduced himself with the words “Bond, James Bond” in the 1953 novel “Casino Royale”. Sean Connery first uttered the words on the silver screen in the first Bond movie, “Dr. No”.

“The Bourne Identity” is a great spy novel written by Robert Ludlum, and first published in 1980. It has been ranked as the second best spy novel of all time, just behind the even more enjoyable “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carré. Ludlum wrote two sequels, and all three parts of the Bourne Trilogy have been made into very successful movies now, starring Matt Damon in the title role. Ludlum died before he could write more than three novels featuring Jason Bourne, but five more titles in the series have been published, each written by Eric Van Lustbader. I must check them out …

38 *Snoopy’s specialist? : BEAGLE VET (“VEGETABLE” changed)

Snoopy is a central and much-loved character in the Charles M. Schulz comic strip “Peanuts”. He is Charlie Brown’s pet beagle, and first appeared in “Peanuts” just two days after the strip’s debut in 1950. He was identified as “Snoopy” a month later, and first “spoke” (in a thought balloon) in 1952. Initially depicted as a more traditionally dog-like figure, Schulz started to anthropomorphize Snoopy in 1952, first drawing him upright on his hind legs in 1952, while ice-skating on a frozen lake.

41 Scratching post material : SISAL

The sisal plant is an agave, the flesh of which is not generally used in making tequila. Sisal is grown instead for the fibers that run the length of its leaves. The fiber is used extensively for twine, rope, carpeting, wall coverings etc. My favorite application though, is in the construction of dartboards. Sisal takes its name from the port of Sisal in Yucatan, Mexico that was a major shipping point for sisal plants.

44 Jai __ : ALAI

Jai alai is a game that derives from Basque pelota, and is known as “cesta-punta” in the Basque language. The name “jai alai” translates from the original Basque as “merry festival”.

45 Its first version was egg-shaped : IMAC

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 Spotted cat : OCELOT

The ocelot is a wildcat found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

51 Argentina’s “City of Diagonals” : LA PLATA

The city of La Plata is the capital of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. La Plata was founded in 1882, and was a planned city designed to become the capital of the Province after the city of Buenos Aires became an autonomous district within Brazil. It is nicknamed, in English, “the city of diagonals”, which is a reference to two main diagonal streets and many shorter diagonal thoroughfares. The name “La Plata” is Spanish for “The Silver”, and was used as the city sits on the Río de la Plata.

53 *One who’ll talk your ear off about osso buco and saltimbocca? : VEAL NERD (“LAVENDER” changed)

“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish “osso buco” (bone with a hole), which features braised veal shanks.

Saltimbocca is a dish from southern Europe made of veal topped with prosciutto and sage, and then marinated in perhaps wine. The name “saltimbocca” is Italian for “jump in the mouth”.

56 Norse group that fought the Vanir : AESIR

The gods and goddesses of Norse mythology generally belong to either the Aesir tribe or the Vanir tribe. Most of the Norse gods with which we are familiar belong to Aesir, including Odin, Thor, Frigg and Tyr. Examples of the Vanir gods are Freya and Njord. The Aesir live in Asgard, and the Vanir in Vanaheim. The Aesir and Vanir eventually united into one pantheon after the Aesir-Vanir War.

58 Part of AC/DC : DIRECT

Anyone with a laptop with an external power supply has an AC/DC converter, that big “block” in the power cord. It converts the AC current from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

61 Minn. neighbor : ONT

The Canadian province of Ontario takes its name from the Great Lake. In turn, Lake Ontario’s name is thought to be derived from “Ontari:io”, a Huron word meaning “great lake”. Ontario is home to the nation’s capital of Ottawa as well as Toronto, Canada’s most populous city (and the capital of the province).

67 “Who’s on First?” catcher : TODAY

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players?

First Base: Who
Second Base: What
Third Base: I Don’t Know
Left field: Why
Center field: Because
Pitcher: Tomorrow
Catcher: Today
Shortstop: I Don’t Care/I Don’t Give a Darn

68 Composer Sibelius : JEAN

Jean Sibelius is the most famous Finnish classical composer, and shall forever be linked with his wonderful symphonic poem “Finlandia”. Sibelius composed many lovely pieces of music right up until the mid-1920s, when he was in his fifties. Despite all his efforts, he wasn’t able to produce any notable works for the final thirty years of his life.

71 __-Navy game : ARMY

The first Army-Navy football game took place in November 1890. The annual event is most often played in Philadelphia, as the city is about the same distance from the USMA at West Point, New York and the USNA at Anapolis, Maryland. One of the more memorable Army-Navy games (to trivia lovers) was played in 1893. That’s because Navy Midshipman Joseph M. Reeves wore a helmet, marking the first time a helmet was used for protection in a football game.

Down

1 Old Iberian coins : PESETAS

The peseta is the former currency of Spain, and the de facto currency of Spain’s neighbor, the Principality of Andorra. The peseta was replaced by the euro in 2002.

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

2 Grind : RAT RACE

We use “rat race” figuratively to describe an endless, pointless pursuit. The term comes from the laboratory, where one might imagine rats racing around a maze in search of some cheese.

4 Agnus __ : DEI

“Agnus Dei” is Latin for “Lamb of God”, The expression is used in Christian traditions to describe Jesus Christ, hence symbolizing his role as a sacrificial offering (sacrificial lamb) to atone for the sins of man.

5 MIT center?: Abbr. : INST

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

7 Sun: Pref. : HELIO-

Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology, and is the reason that we use the prefix “helio-” to mean “sun”. He was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night by travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.

8 The “O” in football’s OBJ : ODELL

Odell Beckham Jr. is a National Football League wide receiver from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2014, “OBJ” made a much-applauded one-handed catch while falling backwards to score a touchdown for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys, a move that some have dubbed the greatest catch ever made.

9 Tach readout : RPM

The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer in a car measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).

10 60 minuti : ORA

In Italian, there are “sessanta minuti” (sixty minutes) in an “ora” (hour).

18 Silver of FiveThirtyEight : NATE

FiveThirtyEight is a website that publishes compiled polling data during election cycles. The site takes its name from the total number of electors in the US electoral college. FiveThirtyEight was established in 2008, by Nate Silver.

25 Eccentric : ODDBALL

Something oddball is eccentric or unconventional. We’ve been using “oddball” in such a sense since the late 1940s. Back in the 1930s, “oddball” described games of pinball in which an extra ball could be awarded as a bonus.

28 Snake, for one : REPTILE

Reptiles are tetrapod (four-legged) vertebrates. That said, snakes are reptiles, and they have no legs at all. But, snakes are still categorized as reptiles because they descended from tetrapod ancestors.

30 MIT Sloan deg. : MBA

MIT’s School of Management is named for MIT graduate Alfred P. Sloan, a former chairman of General Motors.

31 Class with mats : YOGA

In the West, we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

39 North Carolina university : ELON

Elon is a city in the Piedmont region of North Carolina located close to the city of Burlington. Elon University is a private liberal arts school founded in 1889.

41 Khrushchev and Gorbachev : SOVIETS

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev only ever made two visits to the United States. The second visit was in September 1960 without an invitation, when he appointed himself temporary head of the USSR delegation to the United Nations. The US responded to his unannounced visit by limiting his travel to the island of Manhattan and visits to a Soviet-owned estate on Long Island. During one of the debates at the UN, Khrushchev became outraged at a statement made by the Filipino delegate who called the Soviets two-faced for decrying colonialism while forcibly dominating and occupying Eastern Europe. Khrushchev demanded the right to reply immediately, and when the Filipino delegate refused to yield, the Soviet leader famously took off his shoe and began to pound it on his desk.

Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until the USSR dissolved in 1991. As well being associated with the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev’s name is linked with the policies of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. “Perestroika” (meaning “restructuring”) was his political and economic initiative to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of consumers. “Glasnost” (meaning “publicity, openness”) was Gorbachev’s policy of increased transparency of government in order to reduce levels of corruption in the Communist Party and government.

42 Baffin Bay hazard : ICE FLOE

Baffin Bay is that part of the North Atlantic Ocean located between Baffin Island in Canada and the island of Greenland. Both the bay and island are named for English navigator William Baffin. Baffin Bay is largely covered with ice and icebergs for most of the year and so is usually unnavigable.

46 Like some lodges : MASONIC

The term “Masonic lodge” describes a local chapter of Freemasons, as well as the building in which the chapter meets.

47 Goose-pimply : ATINGLE

The terms “goose bumps” and “goose flesh” come from the fact that skin which is cold can look like the flesh of a plucked goose.

48 Price-fixing groups : CARTELS

A cartel is a group of independent businesses who cooperate to regulate production, pricing and marketing of their common product(s).

50 “Chopped” host Allen : TED

“Chopped” is a cooking game show on the Food Network that is hosted by Ted Allen, formerly of “Queer Eye”. Four chefs compete in each episode to wine the princely sum of $10,000.

54 Spanish red wine : RIOJA

Rioja wines come from the province of La Rioja in Northern Spain. In my days living back in Europe, Rioja wines were noted for their heavy oaky flavors and it wasn’t uncommon to order a “rough Rioja” when out for dinner of an evening.

59 Oater actor Jack : ELAM

Jack Elam was a movie actor noted for playing the bad guy in Westerns. When Elam was a Boy Scout, he was accidentally stabbed in the eye with a pencil. The incident left him blind in that eye, and the iris remained skewed to the outside of his face. This gave him a crazed, wide-eyed look that helped add a sense of menace to the characters Elam played.

60 Harlem sch. : CCNY

The City College of New York (CCNY) is a college of the City University of New York. The City College was founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847, and was the first free public institution of higher education in the whole country.

63 Bagpiper’s hat : TAM

A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

Bagpipes have been played for centuries all across Europe, in parts of Asia and North Africa, and in the Persian Gulf. However, the most famous versions of the instrument today are the Scottish Great Highland bagpipe and the Irish uilleann pipes, my personal favorite (I’m biased). The bag in the Scottish version is inflated by blowing into it, whereas the Irish version uses a bellows under the arm.

64 London __: Ferris wheel : EYE

The London Eye is a very large Ferris wheel that sits right beside the River Thames in London. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and was the tallest in the world when it was constructed in 1999. The London Eye is the most-visited paid tourist attraction in the whole country.

66 Letters in an APB : AKA

Also known as (aka)

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Incite : PROD
5 Modern “methinks” : IMHO
9 Pink flowers in a van Gogh still life : ROSES
14 Water-diverting feature : EAVE
15 It’s not optional : NEED
16 Brigham Young University city : PROVO
17 *Bargain on the last day of Oktoberfest? : STEIN SALE (“ESSENTIAL” changed)
19 Urdu for “palace” : MAHAL
20 Blunder : ERR
21 Barbarian in Dante’s Seventh Circle : ATTILA
23 Butterfield of “Ender’s Game” : ASA
24 Cartomancy deck : TAROT
26 *Singer Damone, vis-à-vis actor Morrow? : OLDER VIC (“COD LIVER” changed)
29 Starfleet school : ACADEMY
32 Record holder : SLEEVE
33 Ship : SEND
34 Accessories for a Red Hat Society lunch : BOAS
37 Bond and Bourne : SPIES
38 *Snoopy’s specialist? : BEAGLE VET (“VEGETABLE” changed)
41 Scratching post material : SISAL
44 Jai __ : ALAI
45 Its first version was egg-shaped : IMAC
49 Spotted cat : OCELOT
51 Argentina’s “City of Diagonals” : LA PLATA
53 *One who’ll talk your ear off about osso buco and saltimbocca? : VEAL NERD (“LAVENDER” changed)
56 Norse group that fought the Vanir : AESIR
57 Hypotheticals : IFS
58 Part of AC/DC : DIRECT
61 Minn. neighbor : ONT
62 A-listers : ELITE
65 Basic auto maintenance, and how each answer to a starred clue was created : OIL CHANGE
67 “Who’s on First?” catcher : TODAY
68 Composer Sibelius : JEAN
69 While away : KILL
70 Note next to a red F, maybe : SEE ME
71 __-Navy game : ARMY
72 Downfall of many kings? : ACES

Down

1 Old Iberian coins : PESETAS
2 Grind : RAT RACE
3 Exceeded, as a budget : OVERRAN
4 Agnus __ : DEI
5 MIT center?: Abbr. : INST
6 Substantial content : MEAT
7 Sun: Pref. : HELIO-
8 The “O” in football’s OBJ : ODELL
9 Tach readout : RPM
10 60 minuti : ORA
11 “Me too” : SO HAVE I
12 Hard to follow : EVASIVE
13 Says “There, there,” say : SOLACES
18 Silver of FiveThirtyEight : NATE
22 Spots : ADS
25 Eccentric : ODDBALL
27 “What __ can I do?” : ELSE
28 Snake, for one : REPTILE
30 MIT Sloan deg. : MBA
31 Class with mats : YOGA
35 Entirely : ALL
36 Authenticating symbol : SEAL
39 North Carolina university : ELON
40 Through : VIA
41 Khrushchev and Gorbachev : SOVIETS
42 Baffin Bay hazard : ICE FLOE
43 Coastal region : SEASIDE
46 Like some lodges : MASONIC
47 Goose-pimply : ATINGLE
48 Price-fixing groups : CARTELS
50 “Chopped” host Allen : TED
52 Way to go : PATH
54 Spanish red wine : RIOJA
55 Less rainy, as a climate : DRIER
59 Oater actor Jack : ELAM
60 Harlem sch. : CCNY
63 Bagpiper’s hat : TAM
64 London __: Ferris wheel : EYE
66 Letters in an APB : AKA

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Mar 20, Friday”

  1. 12:18, no errors, but it then took me a couple more minutes to realize that the theme entries were anagrams and I’m ashamed to admit that I then used an online anagram tool to unscramble them … 😳:

    https://www.wordplays.com/anagrammer

    (I’m sure that almost everyone else will have worked out the anagrams without using such a tool, but … just in case … 😜.)

  2. Have not done the puzzle. Hope to get to it later today. Sounds challenging. I try to look at as few details as possible before actually doing it, but anagrams are my achilles heel so I’ll proceed with caution.

    Dirk/Carrie – Actually you’re both right. And most importantly I’M right too :). TO clarify a pretty interesting point from yesterday. Yes the U.S. was aware of the persecution of the Jews in 1930’s Nazi Germany, and yes we were still in isolationist mode at that point in time. But the extermination of the Jews and the extent of just how bad it was for the Jewish people wasn’t known until the early 1940’s…..not even by the Three Stooges!!

    Here’s an interesting article on the subject from 2007 written by a guy from the Univ of London. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14690760701571270

    Best –

  3. 15:04, and 4 errors, two of them “forced” by the unseemly VEALNERD entry, which is crossed by two proper names and a pretty obscure term for a wine. This week is killing me…

  4. I couldn’t finish todays puzzle. Got around 80/85%. A toughy IMO!

    Dachau, I was stationed about 100 km’s north near Ulm. in the mid 50’s. A sad and gruesome reminder of the Hitler’s atrocities toward the Jewish people.

    Eddie

  5. This is the first time I visited this site to look at the whole puzzle, but only after I had exhausted my brain for every possible synonym. Missed 13 words out of 73, so I don’t feel too bad. I really enjoyed the backgrounds of the clues — a little addition to my vocabulary. I’d rather get part of a tough puzzle than ace an easy one.

  6. Didn’t get the theme, though I got each line. Had to Google for 6: ROSES (never saw a rose by van Gogh. I think he should stick to yellow.), ATTILA, ACADEMY, SPIES, LAPLATA, AESIR, SOVIETS.
    Didn’t actually know: ASA, NATE, MBA, ELON, TED, ELAM.
    I do think IMHO should be indicated as an abbrev.

    This was an educational day.

  7. Slightly tricky Friday for me; took me 36 minutes – still slowed by my, just about, dead pen – with one error: RIOsO/sEAN. Didn’t know a few things, but made educated/wild guesses and waited from crosses, which obviously ran into its limits on my error. I’ve got to try some Spanish wines…

    I got the theme reveal but couldn’t make the connection to anagrams in the theme clues. Had to change Tim to TED, which finally helped clear up the SW/ S middle.

    @Jeff/Carrie – I’ll just say, I’ve always loved the Three Stooges even is some people say slap-stick is the lowest form of humor. I was only trying to make the point that it pays to read/listen to more than one newspaper/station (BBC).

  8. Greetings!!🦆

    This was tough!! DNF. Had to cheat for several answers. Had NO idea these were anagrams, and even if I had, I don’t think I could figure them out. 🤔

    ATINGLE??! Yikes!

    Jeff & Dirk: it would appear that we are all right. That rarely happens! Jeff, thanks for the link — I’ll finish reading it shortly.

    Dirk! Are they rationing pens in your town?!🤗

    Be well~~🍷

  9. I discovered this wonderful site only because (for the first time) I could not figure out the theme, 🙁

    It will now become my go-to site after finishing a puzzle–so much informative info here about the clues and answers!

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