LA Times Crossword 13 Jan 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Can You Hear Me Now?

Themed answers start with a sound someone might make, getting louder as we descend the grid:

  • 57A Question asked with a raised voice, as demonstrated in three long puzzle answers : CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
  • 17A Source of damaging rumors : WHISPER CAMPAIGN
  • 26A Buzz among local gossips : TALK OF THE TOWN
  • 43A Nickname of two Six Flags roller coasters : SCREAM MACHINE

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Hang out in alleys : BOWL

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

5 Sporty sunroofs : T-TOPS

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

14 Cuatro y cuatro : OCHO

In Spanish, “cuatro y cuatro” (four plus four) is “ocho” (eight).

15 Sprightly movement : RONDO

A rondo was often chosen by composers in the classical period for the last movement of a sonata (or symphony or concerto, for that matter). In rondo form there is a principal theme that alternates with a contrasting theme(s). So, the original theme anchors the whole piece in between secondary digressions.

16 Lamb pen name : ELIA

Charles Lamb was an essayist and poet from England. Lamb’s best-known works are “Essays of Elia” (1823) and “Tales from Shakespeare”, an 1807 children’s book that he co-authored with his sister Mary Lamb.

20 Vietnam holiday : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

21 “What the Constitution Means to Me” award : OBIE

The Obies are the Off-Broadway Theater Awards. The Obies have been presented annually since 1956. The recipients used to be chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper, but now are jointly administered with the American Theatre Wing.

“What the Constitution Means to Me” is a 2017 stage play by writer and actress Heidi Schrek. It is an autobiographical work, and Schrek played the lead herself when the play opened on Broadway in 2019. A live performance of the play was filmed by Marielle Heller in 2020, and the recording was made available on Amazon Prime just in time for the 2020 US presidential election.

22 Like Boo Boo and Baloo : URSINE

Boo-Boo Bear was the sidekick to Yogi Bear on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon classic “The Yogi Bear Show”.

“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling was originally published in 1894, and is a collection of adventure stories or fables featuring the animals of the jungle and a young boy named Mowgli. Baloo is a sloth bear that teaches the cubs of a wolf pack the Law of the Jungle. Baloo’s most challenging pupil however is no lupine, but rather the man-cub Mowgli.

24 Novelist Deighton : LEN

I used to walk my dog right past author Len Deighton’s house years ago, as we lived in the same seaside village in Ireland (probably my only claim to “fame”). Deighton wrote the excellent espionage thriller “The IPCRESS File”, which was made into a 1965 movie starring Michael Caine.

25 Wile E. Coyote’s supplier : ACME

The Acme Corporation is a fictional company used mainly by Looney Tunes, and within the Looney Tunes empire it appears mostly in “Road Runner” cartoons. Wile E. Coyote is always receiving a new piece of gear from Acme designed to finally capture the Road Runner, but the equipment always leads to his downfall.

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; it’s definitely one of the best …

34 Part of S&L : LOAN

Savings and Loan (S&L)

35 FDR 34-Across org. : NHA

As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the National Housing Agency (NHA) was established in 1942. The NHA was one of the government agencies that was to evolve over time in today’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

36 One of 1,225 in the first published edition of “War and Peace” : PAGE

I have to confess that I have tried to read Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” twice in my life, and failed both times (it is l-o-n-g; 1,225 pages in the first published edition). Even though the 1956 movie adaptation runs for 3 1/2 hours, it’s still the easy way out! The film version stars Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostova and Henry Fonda as Count Pierre Bezukhov.

37 They have their pride : LIONS

A group of lions is known as a pride. It’s possible that the term “pride”, in this context, derives from the Latin “praeda” meaning “prey”.

41 Carson forerunner : PAAR

“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:

  • Steve Allen (1954-57)
  • Jack Paar (1957-62)
  • Johnny Carson (1962–92)
  • Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
  • Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
  • Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)

42 Hostess snack cakes : HO HOS

Ho Hos snack cakes were first produced in San Francisco in 1967. The “Happy Ho Ho” mascot was created for the brand in the 1970s, and was a cartoon character in a Robin Hood outfit. Ho Hos weren’t the best thing to come out of the sixties I’d say …

43 Nickname of two Six Flags roller coasters : SCREAM MACHINE

The Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is an operator of amusement parks that is headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas. Six Flags owns more amusement parks than any other company in the world. The first of these properties to open was Six Flags Over Texas. The park’s name was chosen as a homage to the flags of the six nations that have governed Texas, namely Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America.

48 Apollo vehicle, briefly : LEM

In the Apollo program, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was the vehicle that actually landed on the moon and returned the astronauts to the command module that was orbiting overhead. The third LEM built was named “Spider”, and it participated in the Apollo 9 mission which tested the functionality of the LEM design in space. The fourth LEM was called “Snoopy” and it flew around the moon in the Apollo 10 mission, the dress rehearsal for the upcoming moon landing. Apollo 11’s LEM was called “Eagle” and it brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to and from the moon’s surface. Another famous LEM was Apollo 13’s Aquarius. Although Aquarius never landed on the moon, it did serve as a “lifeboat” for the three astronauts after the explosive rupture of an oxygen canister in the Service Module.

55 Vegas rival : RENO

The city of Reno’s economy took off when open gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Within a short time, a syndicate had built the Bank Club in Reno, which was the largest casino in the world at the time.

56 Hot Dijon season : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

Dijon is a city in eastern France in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn’t protect the name “Dijon” so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada!

57 Question asked with a raised voice, as demonstrated in three long puzzle answers : CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Actor Paul Marcarelli played Verizon’s Test Man in commercial spots starting in 2002 (he was the “Can you hear me now?” guy). Verizon dropped the character in 2011. In 2016, Sprint hired Marcarelli as a spokesperson referring to his switch from Verizon to Sprint.

60 Verdi opera : AIDA

“Aida” is a celebrated opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then complications arise!

61 Pants style : CAPRI

Capri pants first became popular on the island of Capri, apparently. They were invented in Europe in 1948, but only became stylish in the US in the sixties. Mary Tyler Moore often wore Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and to some extent she sparked a fashion trend. After a lull in the seventies and eighties there was a resurgence in sales after Uma Thurman wore them (and danced in them) in “Pulp Fiction”.

62 Retin-A target : ACNE

Retin-A is a brand name for the drug Tretinoin, the acid form of vitamin A that is used to treat acne.

64 Stall for Time? : KIOSK

Our word “kiosk” came to us via French and Turkish from the Persian “kushk” meaning “palace, portico”.

“Time” magazine was first published in 1923 in New York City, making it the nation’s first weekly news magazine.

65 Clarinet need : REED

The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn’t it? The name “clarinet” comes from the Italian word “clarino” meaning “trumpet”, with the “-et” suffix indicating “small”.

Down

1 Greet formally, as at the start of a sumo match : BOW TO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

2 Earth tone : OCHER

Ocher is a light, yellowish-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher. “Ocher” is usually spelled “ochre” on the other side of the pond.

3 Mutant big cat : WHITE TIGER

The white tiger is a Bengal tiger that is missing the pigments that produce the usual orange color due to a genetic mutation. The mutation is a rare one, and the probability of it occurring increases with inbreeding. Inbreeding can cause genetic defects, such as crossed-eyes, a crooked backbone and kidney problems.

4 __ Gatos, California : LOS

The town of Los Gatos is in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The town’s name translates from Spanish to “the Cats” and comes from the old name for the area “Cat’s Corner”. That name is a reference to the cougars that roamed the foothills in which the town is located.

5 Late game show host with seven Daytime Emmys : TREBEK

Alex Trebek was the host of “Jeopardy!” from the launch of the syndicated version of the game show in 1984 until his passing in 2020. Trebek missed just one episode during that time, when he and host of “Wheel of Fortune” Pat Sajak swapped roles in 1997 as an April Fool’s joke. In 2014, Trebek picked up the Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a game show.

6 “Gran __”: 2008 Eastwood film : TORINO

“Gran Torino” is a 2008 Clint Eastwood movie in which he plays an angry, widowed Korea War veteran named Walt Kowalkski. Kowalski’s young neighbor attempts to steal his 1972 Ford Gran torino muscle car (hence the film’s name), but gets caught in the act. Much of the storyline is about Kowalski and the family of the young thief/neighbor developing a surprising relationship.

7 __ in a blue moon : ONCE

As there is a full moon once every four weeks, approximately monthly, there are usually twelve full moons in any given year. However, every 2-3 years, depending on the phase of the moon at the beginning of the calendar year, there may be a thirteenth full moon. The “extra” full moon is called a “blue moon”, although no one seems to really know why the term “blue” is used, as far as I can tell. Which of the thirteen full moons that is designated as the blue moon varies depending on tradition. My favorite definition is from the Farmer’s Almanac. It states that as each of the seasons normally has three full moons (one for each calendar month), then the season with four full moons is designated as “special”, then the third (and not the fourth) full moon in that “special” season is the blue moon. Complicated, huh?

8 Kissing on the kiss cam, for short : PDA

Public display of affection (PDA)

The kiss cam is a diversion during some sporting events in which a video camera picks out random couples in the crowd, projecting their image onto the giant screen at the venue. The couples are encouraged to kiss, for the entertainment of the fans. Famously, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama kissed for the kiss cam at a basketball game a few years ago, as did former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

13 Immortal “Citizen” : KANE

In the 1941 film “Citizen Kane”, the newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane builds himself an immense and opulent estate on the Florida coast called Xanadu. Xanadu boasts a Venetian-style canal, complete with gondolas, and a well-stocked zoo. There is also a championship golf course. The estate was inspired by the real-life Hearst Castle, a California mansion owned by William Randolph Hearst.

19 Image creators, for short : PR MEN

Public relations (PR)

27 Monkey relative : APE

Apes and monkeys both belong to the order of primates. The most obvious way to distinguish apes from monkeys is by the presence or lack of a tail. Almost all apes have no tail, and almost all monkeys have tails.

28 Biota growth : FLORA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

The biota of a region is the total collection of flora and fauna found there.

30 Owl’s call : WHOO!

Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote a 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

33 One pulling in pushers : NARC

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

37 Outgoing officeholder : LAME DUCK

The original usage of the term “lame duck” was on the London Stock Exchange where it referred to a broker who could not honor his debts. The idea was that a lame duck could not keep up with the rest of the flock and so was a target for predators. A lame duck in the world of politics is an incumbent who is nearing the end of his or her term, and who is deemed to have reduced influence as a result.

38 Perfect Portions pet food brand : IAMS

Iams dog food was introduced by animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

39 Abel, to Adam : SON

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.

41 Throwback diet : PALEO

The paleolithic (or “paleo, caveman”) diet is a fad diet that became popular in the 2000s. The idea is to eat wild plants and animals that would have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (roughly the Stone Age). This period precedes the introduction of agriculture and the domestication of animals. As a result, someone on the diet avoids consuming grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. The diet consists mainly of lean meat (about 45-65% of the total calorie intake), non-starchy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.

46 Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK

Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright who is considered by many to be the greatest playwright since William Shakespeare. Ibsen was famous for shocking his audiences by exploring subjects that offended the sensibilities of the day (the late 1800s).

52 Antioxidant-rich berry : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

53 Downton Abbey’s Daisy, for one : MAID

English actress Sophie McShera is probably best known to American audiences for playing the kitchen maid named Daisy Mason on the costume drama “Downton Abbey”. More recently, she played one of the cruel stepsisters in the 2015 Disney movie “Cinderella”.

Fans of the wonderful TV drama “Downton Abbey” will be very familiar with the exterior appearance of Highclere Castle in Hampshire. Highclere is used as the location for exterior and many interior shots of the fictitious Grantham residence called Downton Abbey. The exterior of Highclere is very reminiscent of the Houses of Parliament building in London. That similarity exists because the house was largely rebuilt from 1839 to 1842 by architect Sir Charles Barry soon after he finished work on the refurbished Houses of Parliament.

55 Default result : REPO

Repossession (repo)

58 “Bali __” : HA’I

The song “Bali Ha’i” is from the musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Bali Ha’i is the name of a volcanic island that neighbors the island on which the story takes place. The matriarch of Bali Ha’i is a character named Bloody Mary, and it is Bloody Mary who sings the song in the musical.

59 AirPod spot : EAR

AirPods are Apple’s line of bluetooth earpods. When AirPods were introduced in 2016, the market reacted with some skepticism. The left and right AirPods are not connected by any wire, so there was concern that individual earbuds could fall out of the ear, and possibly get lost. Another concern is Apple’s stated intent to abandon the wired headphone socket on new iPhone models.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Hang out in alleys : BOWL
5 Sporty sunroofs : T-TOPS
10 Job jar item : TASK
14 Cuatro y cuatro : OCHO
15 Sprightly movement : RONDO
16 Lamb pen name : ELIA
17 Source of damaging rumors : WHISPER CAMPAIGN
20 Vietnam holiday : TET
21 “What the Constitution Means to Me” award : OBIE
22 Like Boo Boo and Baloo : URSINE
23 Lead source : ORE
24 Novelist Deighton : LEN
25 Wile E. Coyote’s supplier : ACME
26 Buzz among local gossips : TALK OF THE TOWN
32 Takes short cuts? : SNIPS
34 Part of S&L : LOAN
35 FDR 34-Across org. : NHA
36 One of 1,225 in the first published edition of “War and Peace” : PAGE
37 They have their pride : LIONS
39 Put a halt to : STOP
40 Is for a few : ARE
41 Carson forerunner : PAAR
42 Hostess snack cakes : HO HOS
43 Nickname of two Six Flags roller coasters : SCREAM MACHINE
47 Tavern orders : ALES
48 Apollo vehicle, briefly : LEM
49 Many miles : FAR
52 Entertained : AMUSED
55 Vegas rival : RENO
56 Hot Dijon season : ETE
57 Question asked with a raised voice, as demonstrated in three long puzzle answers : CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
60 Verdi opera : AIDA
61 Pants style : CAPRI
62 Retin-A target : ACNE
63 Altar words : I DOS
64 Stall for Time? : KIOSK
65 Clarinet need : REED

Down

1 Greet formally, as at the start of a sumo match : BOW TO
2 Earth tone : OCHER
3 Mutant big cat : WHITE TIGER
4 __ Gatos, California : LOS
5 Late game show host with seven Daytime Emmys : TREBEK
6 “Gran __”: 2008 Eastwood film : TORINO
7 __ in a blue moon : ONCE
8 Kissing on the kiss cam, for short : PDA
9 Even : SO MUCH AS
10 Her Majesty’s service? : TEA SET
11 Others, in old Rome : ALII
12 Put one’s name on the line? : SIGN
13 Immortal “Citizen” : KANE
18 Opinion surveys : POLLS
19 Image creators, for short : PR MEN
25 Loads : A TON
27 Monkey relative : APE
28 Biota growth : FLORA
29 Undecided : ON THE FENCE
30 Owl’s call : WHOO!
31 Catches some z’s : NAPS
32 Places for hot waxes : SPAS
33 One pulling in pushers : NARC
37 Outgoing officeholder : LAME DUCK
38 Perfect Portions pet food brand : IAMS
39 Abel, to Adam : SON
41 Throwback diet : PALEO
42 Handmade stadium sign : HI, MOM!
44 Gut courses : EASY AS
45 Becomes less overcast : CLEARS
46 Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK
50 Even things : ATONE
51 Said 63-Across a second time : REWED
52 Antioxidant-rich berry : ACAI
53 Downton Abbey’s Daisy, for one : MAID
54 Go back, on a PC : UNDO
55 Default result : REPO
58 “Bali __” : HA’I
59 AirPod spot : EAR

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Jan 21, Wednesday”

  1. Got me on 9D and 22A.. had ERSINE for 22A and didnt unravel the 3 word answer for 9D..
    Regards to 44D , I always thought GUT COURSES were tough courses because you had to “Gut” it out. As opposed to EASY A’S.

  2. No errors; no lookups. Some answers I had right without reading the
    clues, as cross-words completed them. I was unsure about NHA because
    I didn’t know how NHA related to Savings & Loans. But Bill’s explanation
    set me straight. I had it right because of the “whoo” owl call. Whew!

  3. 11 minutes, 9 seconds, 8 errors. Made a hash of this one… and SO MUCH AS just hid in plain view, like all multiword fills (without spaces) are wont to do.

  4. No errors or Googles, but had Of Two miNds before ON THE FENCE, A lOt before A TON, adMEN before PRMEN.
    Did not know PDA or TASK in a job jar. Youth stuff.
    Gut courses are probably an oldtimer’s expression. You answer from your gut, not your brain.

  5. Tough Wednesday for me; took 22:37 with the same error as Anon Mike: intersection of 9D and 22A. A lot of backtracking and checking for crosses…

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