LA Times Crossword 23 Mar 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Getting Closer

Themed answers start with hints given when GETTING CLOSER in a parlor game:

  • 36A Parlor game encouragement suggested by the starts of 17-, 28-, 45- and 60-Across : GETTING CLOSER
  • 17A *Very limited consolation : COLD COMFORT
  • 28A *Tidy Lotto prize : COOL MILLION
  • 45A *Genuine greetings : WARM REGARDS
  • 60A *In-demand real estate listing : HOT PROPERTY

Bill’s time: 5m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 “Queen of Soul” Franklin : ARETHA

I think that Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Franklin as number one on its list of the greatest singers of all time.

19 Gasteyer of “Mean Girls” : 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!

23 Left-hand page : VERSO

The left and right pages of a book or magazine are known in publishing circles as verso and recto. “Recto” comes from the Latin for “right”, and “verso” comes from the Latin word for “turned”. The idea is that the left side of the page is turned and is the reverse of the recto/right side.

24 Sun.-to-Sat. periods : WKS

The days of the week are named for celestial bodies and gods

  • Sunday — Sun’s Day
  • Monday — Moon’s Day
  • Tuesday — Tiu’s day
  • Wednesday — Woden’s day
  • Thursday — Thor’s day
  • Friday — Freya’s day
  • Saturday — Saturn’s day

27 Greek vowel : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

32 Skin pics : TATS

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

34 Boston skyscraper, with “the” : PRU

“The Pru” is the familiar name given to the Prudential Tower in Boston. It is currently the second highest building in the city, after the John Hancock Tower. However, if one includes the height of the radio tower on its roof, then it is the highest building in Boston. When it was completed in 1964, the Pru was the tallest building in the country outside of New York City.

41 Novelist Rand : AYN

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.

42 “The Simpsons” bartender : MOE

The regulars on “The Simpsons” hang out at Moe’s Tavern, which is named for and run by Moe Szyslak. The most popular beer at Moe’s is Duff Beer. The name “Duff” is a reference to the real-life Duffy’s Tavern that used to be East 13th Street in Eugene, Oregon. “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening used to frequent Duffy’s regularly, and Moe’s looks very much like Duffy’s in terms of decor and floor plan.

43 Northern New Mexico art community : TAOS

The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began settling in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.

53 Beav’s big brother : WALLY

We used to see a lot of American television programming growing up in Ireland, but “Leave It to Beaver” was one show that didn’t make it across the Atlantic. I’ve seen a couple of episodes, and I am not sure it would travel well. The show went on the air for the first time the day that Sputnik was launched by the Russians, and aired its last show just a few months before President Kennedy was assassinated. An iconic series, by all accounts.

56 Nashville awards org. : CMA

Country Music Association (CMA)

65 Iron deficiency concern : ANEMIA

The term “anemia” (or “anaemia”, as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition, and so we use the term “anemic” figuratively to mean “lacking in vitality or substance”.

66 Riga resident : LETT

Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.

Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

Down

1 Duke’s conf. : ACC

Duke University was founded in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse. The school was renamed to Trinity College in 1859, and to this day the town where the college was located back then is known as Trinity, in honor of the school. The school was moved in 1892 to Durham, North Carolina in part due to generous donations from the wealthy tobacco industrialist Washington Duke. Duke’s donation required that the school open its doors to women, placing them on an equal footing with men. Trinity’s name was changed to Duke in 1924 in recognition of the generosity of the Duke family. Duke’s athletic teams are known as the Blue Devils.

4 Root beers, e.g. : SODAS

Root beer is a beverage that is very North American, and is rarely found elsewhere in the world. Root beer originated in the 1700s and was made from the root of the sassafras plant. The traditional root beer was a beverage with a very low alcohol content, and today there are many versions that contain no alcohol at all. The sassafras root was used as the primary flavor ingredient right up until 1960, when the FDA banned its use as tests determined that it was a carcinogen.

5 Calendario units : ANOS

In Spanish, we start the “año” (year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).

6 Bucharest is its cap. : ROM

The city of Bucharest has been the capital of Romania since 1862. A native of the city is known as a “Bucharester”.

8 Lao-tzu’s philosophy : TAOISM

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

9 Trumpeter Al : HIRT

Al Hirt was a trumpeter and bandleader. Hirt’s most famous recordings were the song “Java” and the album “Honey in the Horn”, as well the theme song used “The Green Hornet” TV series in the sixties.

11 Bibliography space-saver : ET ALII

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names. In fact, “et al.” can stand for “et alii” (a group of males, or males and females), “et aliae” (a group of women) and “et alia” (a group of neuter nouns, or a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

12 Beautiful, in Barcelona : BONITO

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

18 Gator’s kin : CROC

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

23 Chow Chow checker : VET

The chow chow is a breed of dog that originated in China. The Chinese name for the breed is “Songshi Quan”, which translates as “puffy-lion dog”, a rather apt name given its appearance …

25 Jack who played Quincy : KLUGMAN

Jack Klugman was an actor who perhaps was most famous for his television roles. He played Oscar Madison in the “The Odd Couple” alongside Tony Randall, and he also played the title role in “Quincy, M.E.” On the big screen, Klugman did a marvelous job as one of the jurors in the 1957 classic “12 Angry Men”.

“Quincy, M.E.” is a medical mystery series that originally aired in the seventies and eighties starring Jack Klugman in the title role. The show was loosely based on a book by former FBI agent Marshall Houts called “Where Death Delights”.

31 “Seinfeld” uncle : LEO

On the sitcom “Seinfeld”, Jerry’s eccentric maternal uncle is Leo, played by actor Len Lesser. Lesser acted in movies and television for many years, alongside some of the greats of stage and screen. He was fond of telling a marvelous story about acting in the 1973 film “Papillon” starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. In his role as a prison guard, Lesser was required to shove McQueen, but McQueen didn’t think that Lesser was pushing him roughly enough. He turned to Lesser and told him “Don’t think of me as a movie star. Think of me as a character in a show”, encouraging him to be more aggressive. When McQueen walked away, Hoffman was left standing there beside Lesser. He paused and quietly said to Lesser, “Think of me as a movie star …”

33 “Forever” post office purchase : STAMP

The forever stamp for first-class postage was introduced in 2006 (and about time!). Now we have stamps that are good for first-class postage forever, no matter how often the rates change.

37 Norse war god : TYR

Týr is the Norse god of single combat, victory and heroic glory. According to legend, Týr showed great courage when he and his fellow gods were attempting to shackle the wolf monster called Fenrir. The wolf was tricked into accepting bindings that were actually magical ribbons of great strength. Fenrir submitted to the bonds because Týr agreed to place his hand in the wolf’s mouth, as a gesture of assurance that the ribbon was harmless. When Fenrir recognized the deceit, he bit off Týr’s hand. As a result, the god Týr is almost always depicted with only one hand.

39 Tea named for William IV’s prime minister : EARL GREY

The Earl Grey blend of tea is supposedly named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 to 1834. Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor that is largely due to the addition of oil from the rind of the bergamot orange.

40 Casino wheel : ROULETTE

The term “roulette” means “little wheel” in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796. A roulette wheel bears the numbers 1-36. A French entrepreneur called François Blanc introduced the number “0” on the wheel, to give the house an extra advantage. Legend has it that Blanc made a deal with the devil in order to unearth the secrets of roulette. The legend is supported by the fact that the numbers 1 through 36 add up to a total of “666”, which is the “Number of the Beast”. Spooky …

45 Beads once used by Native Americans as currency : WAMPUM

Wampum are sacred shell beads of North American tribes in the Eastern United States. The early European colonists often used wampum to trade with the native peoples. From this original usage, “wampum” came to be a slang term for money.

48 Pointed beard : GOATEE

A goatee is a beard formed by hair on a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.A goatee is a beard formed by hair on a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.

54 One-named “Hello” singer : ADELE

“Hello” is a 2015 song by English singer Adele that won her three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.

56 Landlocked African land : CHAD

The landlocked African country called Chad takes its name from the second largest wetland on the continent, which is known as Lake Chad.’

57 Like old records : MONO

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

58 Dinghy or dory : BOAT

Our term “dinghy” comes from the Hindi “dingi”, a word meaning “small boat”.

A dory is a small boat that’s around 20 feet long with a shallow draft, a flat bottom and a sharp bow. Dories are commonly used for fishing.

61 Canadian VIPs : PMS

The Prime Minister of Canada has two official residences made available to him or her. The year-round residence in the New Edinburgh neighborhood of Ottawa is known by its address “24 Sussex”. The summer residence is the Harrington Lake estate in nearby Gatineau Park. Unlike 10 Downing Street in London, 24 Sussex is primarily just a residence, as the Prime Minister of Canada spends the working day at the Office of the Prime Minister near Parliament Hill.

62 __ Tin Tin : RIN

The original Rin Tin Tin was a real-life dog, a puppy discovered by a GI in a bombed-out kennel in France during WWI. The soldier named the pup Rin Tin Tin, the same name as a puppet given to American soldiers for luck. On returning to the US, “Rinty” was trained by his owner and was spotted doing tricks by a film producer. Rinty featured in some films, eventually getting his first starring role in 1923 in the silent movie “Where the North Begins”. Legend has it that this first Rin Tin Tin died in the arms of actress Jean Harlow. Not a bad way to go …

63 Since Jan. 1 : YTD

Year-to-date (YTD)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bldg. units attended to by supers : APTS
5 “Queen of Soul” Franklin : ARETHA
11 Flow back, as the tide : EBB
14 Half a toy train? : CHOO
15 “You cheated!” : NO FAIR!
16 Water tester : TOE
17 *Very limited consolation : COLD COMFORT
19 Gasteyer of “Mean Girls” : ANA
20 Approaches : NEARS
21 “__ show time!” : IT’S
22 Illuminated : LIT
23 Left-hand page : VERSO
24 Sun.-to-Sat. periods : WKS
26 Go for the hook : BITE
27 Greek vowel : ETA
28 *Tidy Lotto prize : COOL MILLION
32 Skin pics : TATS
34 Boston skyscraper, with “the” : PRU
35 Low grade : DEE
36 Parlor game encouragement suggested by the starts of 17-, 28-, 45- and 60-Across : GETTING CLOSER
41 Novelist Rand : AYN
42 “The Simpsons” bartender : MOE
43 Northern New Mexico art community : TAOS
45 *Genuine greetings : WARM REGARDS
50 Monotonous routine : RUT
51 Above : ATOP
52 Number that’s its own square root : ONE
53 Beav’s big brother : WALLY
55 Bumped into : MET
56 Nashville awards org. : CMA
58 Scout’s merit __ : BADGE
59 Square of butter : PAT
60 *In-demand real estate listing : HOT PROPERTY
64 Apply : USE
65 Iron deficiency concern : ANEMIA
66 Riga resident : LETT
67 Guys : MEN
68 Fails to : DOESN’T
69 Watched closely : EYED

Down

1 Duke’s conf. : ACC
2 Back-and-forth missed calls : PHONE TAG
3 Put up with : TOLERATE
4 Root beers, e.g. : SODAS
5 Calendario units : ANOS
6 Bucharest is its cap. : ROM
7 Terrible grade : EFF
8 Lao-tzu’s philosophy : TAOISM
9 Trumpeter Al : HIRT
10 Performing __ : ARTS
11 Bibliography space-saver : ET ALII
12 Beautiful, in Barcelona : BONITO
13 Scrambled, as eggs : BEATEN
18 Gator’s kin : CROC
23 Chow Chow checker : VET
24 __-out: exhausted : WORN
25 Jack who played Quincy : KLUGMAN
26 Sanctified : BLEST
29 Express a view : OPINE
30 Twiddled one’s thumbs : IDLED
31 “Seinfeld” uncle : LEO
33 “Forever” post office purchase : STAMP
37 Norse war god : TYR
38 Apple throwaway : CORE
39 Tea named for William IV’s prime minister : EARL GREY
40 Casino wheel : ROULETTE
44 Snorters’ quarters : STY
45 Beads once used by Native Americans as currency : WAMPUM
46 Opposite of “Atten-hut!” : AT EASE!
47 Way past ripe : ROTTEN
48 Pointed beard : GOATEE
49 Cashless deal : SWAP
54 One-named “Hello” singer : ADELE
56 Landlocked African land : CHAD
57 Like old records : MONO
58 Dinghy or dory : BOAT
61 Canadian VIPs : PMS
62 __ Tin Tin : RIN
63 Since Jan. 1 : YTD

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 23 Mar 20, Monday”

  1. No errors, no Googles. Snow is back, up here! Brightens up the day and night.

    Had “porn” before TATS. Getting stir crazy, I guess.

    Did not actually know MOE, LEO, or ACC.

  2. Thing I learned today: Latvians are known as Letts, not Latts. Of course if the answer had been Latt then I would be complaining about the improper spelling of Grey…

  3. Pretty easy. @Jane I didn’t know acc or Leo, either. I think I finally know Moe from having seen the clue so often. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an episode of the Simpsons. Once I caught on to the theme (not soon enough), it helped a great deal.

  4. 6:25. A very similar theme was in the NYT back in January. It used the words HOT, WARM, COLD as rebuses and then had IT and ME in the corners. It was very well done. This is it if anyone is interested https://nyxcrossword.com/2020/01/30

    I loved root beer as a kid. I can’t stand it as an adult. Maybe I changed. Then again, I was born in 1963 so maybe root beer changed.

    Best –

  5. 9 mins 23 seconds, swelled up by the cross of EARLGR(EY) and L(E)TT. Could’ve sworn people from Latvia were Latts… and, of course, everyone knows Grey and Gray are all but interchangeable, like all proper names…. GRRRRRRRR…

  6. In 2002 Romania officially changed its country code to ROU, moving away from the ROM it had used previously.

    Also, definitely though of “Porn” and “Nude” before “Tats” but all in all this was good.

    Did it all right with only a few exceptions.

  7. It took some changing, digging, sharing and thinking, but we finally drug (or dragged)
    100% out of it. No great shakes on time. I want to ask one of you guys how you catch
    on to a theme and how it helps you. I am signing off for today, so maybe tomorrow?
    Bill may answering this very thing, so I need to look at his daily comments.

    Stay safe and well, all you guys. I am fixing to venture out with my mask and gloves
    to pick up groceries at Wal Mart. We ordered online and a couple of my friends have
    told me that it is very easy. You are assigned a time, you park in the designated area,
    call and tell them that you are there and they bring the order out and put it in the trunk
    of your car, well away from your person. We will unbag (?) outside the house and then
    wipe down the goods. I am wishing for a result whereby the virus will suddenly keel over
    dead after so many days, like in that sci fi movie in which the aliens died as soon as they
    opened the hatches of their spacecraft. Lotsa (?) luck on that one, I suppose.

    Will report on it tomorrow.

  8. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    Easy Monday; no errors. I didn’t love the use of BOTH DEE and EFF but a nice puzzle otherwise. 🎵

    John, hope all goes smoothly! I’m sure it will.

    I was FINALLY able to order from a local delivery market today. It had been down for several days. And they’ve waived the delivery fee at this time, which is appreciated!!🤗

    Still can’t order groceries from Amazon Fresh tho…

    Be safe ~~🍺

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