LA Times Crossword 30 Jan 21, Saturday

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Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 13m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ones who usually know what to do with their hands : CARD SHARPS

A “card sharp” is someone who is skilled and deceptive with playing cards, particularly when playing gambling games like poker. It seems that the term “card sharp” predates the related “card shark”, both of which have the same meaning.

11 She taught Butch and Sundance Spanish for their Bolivian robberies : ETTA

Etta Place is the schoolteacher character played by Katharine Ross in the superb 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

When the great movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was in development, Paul Newman was always the first choice to play one of the leads, although the initial casting had him in the role of Sundance. Steve McQueen actually accepted the co-starring role, but left over a dispute about the billing (the film was entitled “The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy” at that point). The role of Sundance was then offered to Jack Lemmon, but he turned it down. Warren Beatty and Marlon Brando were considered next, before opting for the relatively unknown Robert Redford. What a great choice …

17 Italian menu word meaning “hunter” : CACCIATORE

In Italian cuisine, a dish with the name “alla cacciatora” is prepared “hunter-style”. The ingredients in a cacciatore dish usually include onions, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers and wine.

18 Rig : SEMI

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

19 Spot about being green, for short : PSA

Public service announcement (PSA)

20 Earthquakes or Fire, briefly : MLS TEAM

The Earthquakes are the professional soccer team in San Jose, California. The team was formed in 1996 as the San Jose Clash.

The Chicago Fire are the city’s Major League Soccer (MLS) team. The Fire were founded in 1997, and are named for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

23 Lhasa __ : APSO

The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

24 Snack chip : DORITO

The product that was to become Doritos was a creation at the Casa de Fritos in Disneyland in the early sixties. A marketing executive from Frito-Lay noticed how well the snack was selling in the park, and made a deal to produce the chips under the name “Doritos”, starting in 1964. “Doritos” translates from Spanish as “little bits of gold”.

29 Agamemnon pair : NUS

The Latin equivalent of the Greek letter nu is N. An uppercase nu looks just like the Latin capital N. However, the lowercase nu looks like our lowercase V. Very confusing …

There are two letters N (“nu” in Greek) in the name “Agamemnon”.

Agamemnon was a figure in Greek mythology. He was the brother of Menelaus, who in turn was married to Helen. When Helen ran off with Paris to Troy, Agamemnon led the united Greek forces in the resulting Trojan War.

34 Social science classic : DAS KAPITAL

“Das Kapital” (entitled “Capital” in English versions) is a book about political economy written by Karl Marx, first published in 1867. The book is in effect an analysis of capitalism, and proffers the opinion that capitalism relies on the exploitation of workers. Marx concludes that the profits from capitalist concerns come from the underpaying of labor.

36 DEA employee : AGT

Agent (agt.)

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was set up in 1973 while President Nixon was in office.

37 Research Triangle city : RALEIGH

Raleigh is North Carolina’s second largest city (behind Charlotte), but it is the state’s capital. Chartered in 1792, the city is named for Sir Walter Raleigh, the Elizabethan explorer who founded the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

“Research Triangle” is the name given to an area in North Carolina defined by the three research universities of North Carolina State, Duke and Chapel Hill. The name really took off in the late fifties when academics in NC State and Duke established Research Triangle Park (RTP), a research park designed to increase innovation in the area. Today, RTP is the largest research park in the United States.

38 Green of “Casino Royale” : EVA

Despite the English-sounding name, Eva Green is a French actress. Green played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in the 2006 movie “Casino Royale” opposite Daniel Craig.

2006’s “Casino Royale” is the 21st film in the “James Bond” series, and the first to star Daniel Craig in the lead role. The film was directed by New Zealander Martin Campbell, someone who was my next door neighbor for a couple of years (my claim to fame!). Campbell also directed “GoldenEye” in 1995, which introduced Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. I find it interesting that Campbell was asked back to oversee the introduction of Daniel Craig to the role.

39 French archipelago : GUADELOUPE

Guadeloupe is an archipelago in the Caribbean that is part of the Leeward Islands chain. It is an overseas department of France, and as such is part of the European Union. Christopher Columbus was the first European to land on there, doing so in 1493. He gave the island group the name “Santa María de Guadalupe”, after a shrine in the town of Guadalupe in central Spain.

41 Cello’s lack : FRET

The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation “‘cello” was often used. Nowadays, we just drop the apostrophe.

42 City with a Cleveland Browns training facility : BEREA

The Ohio city of Berea is a suburb of Cleveland. Berea is home to the main campus of Baldwin Wallace University, as well as the training facility for the Cleveland Browns football team.

43 Network operated by the U.S. Space Force : GPS

The modern Global Positioning System (GPS) system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. President Reagan was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.

The United States Space Force (USSF) was established in 1982 as the Air Force Space Command. The USSF became an independent service branch in 2019, although it still falls under the Department of the Air Force.

44 Hosiery thread : LISLE

Lisle is a cotton fabric that has been through an extra process at the end of its manufacture that burns off lint and the ends of fibers leaving the fabric very smooth and with a clean edge. Cotton lisle is mainly used in the manufacture of underwear and stockings. The process to make the thread was invented in the French city of Lille (formerly “Lisle”), hence the name.

47 Vet school subj. : ANAT

“Vet” is an abbreviation for “veterinarian”, a professional who treats animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

49 DIRECTV parent : ATT

DirecTV is a company providing television and audio programming via satellite. The company was founded in 1985 as Hughes Electronics Corporation, and became DirecTV in 1990.

50 Hotel convenience : MINIBAR

Minibars were first introduced into rooms in the Hong Kong Hilton in 1974. They were so popular and profitable that they were added to almost all Hilton hotel rooms in 1975.

56 “Kills bugs dead” brand : RAID

Raid insecticide has been killing bugs since 1956.

58 It doesn’t affect a starting pitcher’s win-loss record : NO DECISION

That would be baseball.

Down

1 Soyuz initials : CCCP

The abbreviation CCCP stands for “Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик”, which translates from Russian as “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, the USSR.

The Russian Soyuz space program started in the early sixties as part of a plan to land a cosmonaut on the moon. The Soyuz program is still alive and kicking, and derivatives of those early spacecraft designs from the sixties are regularly visiting the International Space Station. “Soyuz” is a Russian word meaning “union”.

3 Like una heredera : RICA

In Spanish, “una heredera” (heiress) might become “rica” (rich).

4 XXV x XXVIII : DCC

In Roman numerals, XXV x XXVIII (25 x 28) equals DCC (700).

7 Snack with an unappetizing name : ANTS ON A LOG

“Ants on a log” is a snack food prepared by spreading something like peanut butter or cream cheese on celery and placing raisins on top. If you leave out the raisins, the snack becomes “ants on vacation”.

11 Start at the beginning? : ESS

The beginning of the word “start” is a letter S (ess).

25 Portuguese royal : REI

“Rei” is the Portuguese word for “king”.

28 Ross Sea locale : ANTARCTICA

The Ross Sea is a bay in the Southern Ocean of Antarctica. It was discovered by one James Ross in 1841. A more recent discovery, in the waters of the Ross Sea, was a 33 feet long giant squid that was captured in 2007.

34 Indian lentil stew : DAL

I love dal dishes, which are prepared from various peas or beans (often lentils) that have been stripped of their outer skins and split. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisines. I suppose in Indian terms, split pea soup (another of my favorites) would be called a dal.

The Latin name for the lentil plant is “lens”. Because the first lenses were double-convex shaped like a lentil, the glass structures were given the name “lens”.

40 __ juvante: with God’s help : DEO

“Deo juvante” is Latin for “with god’s help”. The phrase is the motto of the Principality of Monaco.

41 Honda subcompact : FIT

The Honda Fit (“Honda Jazz” in some markets) is a subcompact hatchback. We looked at the Fit when shopping for a new car not that long ago, but opted for the larger Toyota Prius instead, a choice that we have not regretted …

44 Roundup tool : LARIAT

Our word “lariat” comes from the Spanish “la reater” meaning “the rope”.

46 Bit of color : TINCT

To tinct is to add a little color to something. The term “tinct” ultimately derives from the Latin verb “tingere” meaning “to dye”.

48 Mother-of-pearl : NACRE

Nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is the strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it’s also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that’s how a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are made by inserting a tissue graft from a donor oyster, around which the nacre is laid down.

51 Pelican St. city : NOLA

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA).

The official nickname of Louisiana is the Pelican State, but it is also known as the Bayou State, the Child of Mississippi, the Creole State, the Sportsman’s Paradise and the Sugar State.

52 Shakespearean warning word : IDES

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

55 The odds are with them : ENDS

As in “odds and ends”.

57 UPS alternative : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn). DHL was acquired by Germany’s Deutsche Post in 2002.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ones who usually know what to do with their hands : CARD SHARPS
11 She taught Butch and Sundance Spanish for their Bolivian robberies : ETTA
15 Turn yellow : CHICKEN OUT
16 Level : SHIM
17 Italian menu word meaning “hunter” : CACCIATORE
18 Rig : SEMI
19 Spot about being green, for short : PSA
20 Earthquakes or Fire, briefly : MLS TEAM
22 Kind of engine : JET
23 Lhasa __ : APSO
24 Snack chip : DORITO
26 Row houses? : FRATS
29 Agamemnon pair : NUS
32 In again : RETRO
33 Only : LONE
34 Social science classic : DAS KAPITAL
36 DEA employee : AGT
37 Research Triangle city : RALEIGH
38 Green of “Casino Royale” : EVA
39 French archipelago : GUADELOUPE
41 Cello’s lack : FRET
42 City with a Cleveland Browns training facility : BEREA
43 Network operated by the U.S. Space Force : GPS
44 Hosiery thread : LISLE
45 Theater company? : ESCORT
47 Vet school subj. : ANAT
49 DIRECTV parent : ATT
50 Hotel convenience : MINIBAR
53 Get rid of : AXE
56 “Kills bugs dead” brand : RAID
58 It doesn’t affect a starting pitcher’s win-loss record : NO DECISION
60 Permanently mark : ETCH
61 Hard to follow, facetiously : CLEAR AS MUD
62 True : REAL
63 Trials with blindfolds, perhaps : TASTE TESTS

Down

1 Soyuz initials : CCCP
2 Revelations : AHAS
3 Like una heredera : RICA
4 XXV x XXVIII : DCC
5 Cuts corners : SKIMPS
6 Recovers : HEALS
7 Snack with an unappetizing name : ANTS ON A LOG
8 Square __ : ROOT
9 Unmitigated : PURE
10 Place : STEAD
11 Start at the beginning? : ESS
12 Nerves : THE JITTERS
13 Cause of many fictional paradoxes : TIME TRAVEL
14 “Did it start already?” : AM I TOO LATE?
21 Transmute : MORPH
23 Put away the dishes? : ATE
25 Portuguese royal : REI
26 Olympics opening ceremony VIP : FLAGBEARER
27 Threat to world peace : ROGUE STATE
28 Ross Sea locale : ANTARCTICA
30 Exhaust : USE UP
31 Flutters with excitement : SKIPS A BEAT
34 Indian lentil stew : DAL
35 Spend time in a cellar, perhaps : AGE
37 Provide new pieces for? : REARM
40 __ juvante: with God’s help : DEO
41 Honda subcompact : FIT
44 Roundup tool : LARIAT
46 Bit of color : TINCT
48 Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
51 Pelican St. city : NOLA
52 Shakespearean warning word : IDES
53 Designs : AIMS
54 Cancel : X OUT
55 The odds are with them : ENDS
57 UPS alternative : DHL
59 Seattle-to-Reno dir. : SSE

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 Jan 21, Saturday”

  1. LAT: About 45 minutes and no errors because of a lot of good guesses based on a few letters. Very good Saturday challenge!

  2. 14:21, no errors. For me, a pretty thoughtful one.

    Curiously, exactly five weeks ago, for 19-Across in the New York Times crossword (which is presumably appearing today in newspapers across the country), the clue was “Ones making good use of the hands?” and the answer was “CARD SHARKS”. Coincidence? … 😜

    1. I’ve long been convinced that our constructors are making use of some shared tools to partially automate the creation of their grids. I often see “repeat fills” within one day of its appearance in another grid, among LAT and NYT grids, and occasionally small “rashes” of identical clue/fill combos in compressed time periods.

  3. 36:46 no errors

    Toughed it out, despite the temptation to start doing lookups. Felt pretty pleased with CARDSHARKS, until I realized I had to change the K.

  4. 13:40, just kind of a so-so puzzle. I did like how it made me think really hard about some of the long answers, but none of the answers really felt fresh.

  5. 21 minutes, 8 seconds, needed Check Grid help for 6 entries.

    Tough, but at least a fair challenge. No chicanery. I respect that.

  6. I should not have started in the NW corner.. I had that partially filled and moved on through the rest of the puzzle with relative comfort…. then came back to the NW corner. CARD SHARKS was recently used in a NY TIMES puzzle so I left it. But 9D became KURE… and I was lost with 3D . .. and then 17A?? I guessed at CATCIATORE… the puzzle creator really didn’t want anyone to solve that corner.. CARDSHARPS?? RICCA ?? Okay so RICCA is a common spanish word.. PPFFFT on the creator.. congrats, you got me..

  7. Tough Saturday for me; took 40:32 with a “check grid” to find 3 errors. I had CARDSHARk, BERiO/DiO and mUS instead of NUS. I have seen the card sharp and ants on a log here before, albeit awhile ago, so I probably should have got them.

    Fun finding the long answers though, which I almost got all of, except for the dubious dessert.

  8. And … I just fat-fingered an attempt at posting, I’m not quite sure what I ended up with, and the current interface doesn’t allow me to review and correct anything, so … I’ll check back later … 🤨😳😳.

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