LA Times Crossword 10 Feb 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Catherine Cetta
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Hidden Gems

Themed answers each include a GEM as a HIDDEN word:

  • 56A Relatively unknown quality items … and what can be found in 16-, 26- and 42-Across : HIDDEN GEMS
  • 16A Arose to catch the proverbial worm : GOT UP EARLY (HIDDEN “PEARL”)
  • 26A Award won twice by Adele and Kelly Clarkson : BEST POP ALBUM (HIDDEN “OPAL”)
  • 42A Philanthropist who was a Time Person of the Year co-honoree in 2005 : MELINDA GATES (HIDDEN “AGATE”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Arthur of tennis : ASHE

The great American tennis player Arthur Ashe spent the last years of his life writing his memoir called “Days of Grace”. He finished the manuscript just a few days before he passed away, dying from AIDS caused by a tainted blood transfusion.

13 Country quarters : INNS

We use the term “quarters” for a place of abode, especially housing for military personnel. Back in the late 16th century, quarters were a portion (quarter) of a town reserved for a military force.

16 Arose to catch the proverbial worm : GOT UP EARLY (HIDDEN “PEARL”)

Pearls form in oysters because of a reaction that is similar to an immune system response in higher animals. The pearl is formed as the oysters lay down successive layers of calcium carbonate around some microscopic foreign body that has penetrated the shell.

18 President’s Day event : SALE

Washington’s Birthday is a federal holiday celebrating the birthday of President George Washington. The holiday was originally observed only in the nation’s capital, and on Washington’s actual birthday February 22nd. When Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, the holiday was moved to the third Monday in February, which paradoxically never falls on the 22nd, and rather from the 15th to the 21st. The same holiday is observed by most state, and often under a different name, i.e. Presidents’ Day, President’s Day, or Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday (Lincoln’s birthday was February 12th).

19 Ivy League student : ELI

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

21 Sushi bar brews : SAKES

We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.

22 Ristorante favorite : LASAGNA

“Lasagna” was originally the name of a cooking pot, but the term came to mean a dish that was cooked in it. “Lasagna” also became the name of the flat noodle used in the dish. If you order lasagna on the other side of the Atlantic, you’ll notice the “lasagne” spelling, the plural of “lasagna”. The plural is used as there is more than one layer of pasta in the dish.

26 Award won twice by Adele and Kelly Clarkson : BEST POP ALBUM (HIDDEN “OPAL”)

The Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album was won twice by Adele (“21” in 2012, and “25” in 2017) and twice by Kelly Clarkson (“Breakaway” in 2006, and “Stronger” in 2013).

30 Monks’ wear : COWLS

A cowl is a long garment with a hood that is primarily worn by monks in the Christian tradition. The term “cowl” can also describe the hood itself.

33 Total drubbing : ROUT

A drubbing is a beating, one given either literally or figuratively. The term “drub” dates back in English to the 17th century when it was imported from the Arabic word for a beating, i.e. “darb”.

34 Flatow of “Science Friday” : IRA

“Science Friday” is an excellent talk show broadcast every Friday on NPR, and hosted by Ira Flatow. Flatow is known to television audiences as the host of “Newton’s Apple”, which ran from 1983 to 1998.

36 Dozen dozen : GROSS

The number 144 is referred to as a gross. The term “grosse” comes from the Old French “grosse douzaine” meaning “large dozen”, i.e. a “dozen dozen”.

Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for “twelve” is “douze”, and for “dozen” is “douzaine”.

38 Craftsy etailer : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

39 Tiny, for short : LIL’

“Lil’” is a short form of the word “little”. There are a whole slew of rappers named “Lil’ something”, such as Lil Wayne, Lil’ J, and Lil’ Kim.

42 Philanthropist who was a Time Person of the Year co-honoree in 2005 : MELINDA GATES (HIDDEN “AGATE”)

Melinda French was working as a project manager at Microsoft when she met Bill Gates. The couple were married in Hawaii in 1994, after which she left Microsoft to start and raise a family.

46 Spectrum maker : PRISM

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (disperses) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as a beautiful spectrum.

53 Shred : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

61 Its symbol is Fe : IRON

The Latin word for “iron” is “ferrum”, which gives us “Fe” as the metal’s chemical symbol.

62 Some cameras, for short : SLRS

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

64 Fiddling emperor : NERO

The Great Fire of Rome raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Of the fourteen districts of Rome, three were completely destroyed and seven more suffered serious damage. The emperor at the time was Nero, although reports that he fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started and rushed home upon hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.

Down

1 Orion’s left foot, some say : RIGEL

Rigel is the sixth brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. If you can imagine the stars in Orion laid out, Rigel is at his left foot. The name “Rigel” is an abbreviated version of the Arabic term for “Left Foot of the Central One”.

2 __ Gay : ENOLA

The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.

4 Pelican State sch. : LSU

LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, and is located in Baton Rouge. LSU was founded in 1860 as a military academy, with then-Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.

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.

5 Biblical mount : ARARAT

Mount Ararat is in Turkey. It is a snow-capped, dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or “Ara the Handsome”). According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the Great Flood subsided.

6 Tropical root vegetable : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (which I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

21 Whack at a mosquito : SWAT

Mosquitoes have a relatively short life cycle. Males live a matter of days, and females just a few weeks. In order to reproduce, male mosquitoes form large swarms, usually late in the day. Female mosquitoes fly into the swarm when ready to mate.

24 Family outing destinations : ZOOS

The world’s first zoo opened in Britain in 1820. Now known as “London Zoo”, the facility was referred to back then as the “Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London”. The term “zoo” is a shortening of “zoological”.

25 Numbered piece : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes use the plural “opuses” in English, but that just annoys me …

28 Celestial bear : URSA

In Greek mythology, Callisto was a nymph who was turned into a bear after being seduced by Zeus. As a bear, she was set into the night sky as the constellation Ursa Major (the Big Bear).

29 First Black MLB team captain, 1964 : MAYS

Willie Mays’ nickname was “Say Hey Kid”, although his friends and teammates were more likely to refer to him as “Buck”. When Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was asked who was the best player he’d ever seen in the game. He replied, “I don’t mean to be bashful, but I was.”

36 Odin and Thor : GODS

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin’s wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term “Friday” (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin’s son was Thor, whose name gave us the term “Thursday”. Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday” from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

40 Sulky state : SNIT

The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Boothe Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

41 Pie nut : PECAN

The pecan is the state nut of Alabama, Arkansas and California. Also, the pecan is the state tree of Texas.

43 Flowery van Gogh work : IRISES

Van Gogh painted his “Irises” while he was in an asylum in the south of France the year before he committed suicide. The original owner was a French art critic and supporter of van Gogh who paid 300 francs to purchase the painting. “Irises” was bought for $53.9 million in 1987, making it the most expensive painting sold up to that point. But, the buyer didn’t actually have the necessary funds, so it had to be resold in 1990. It was picked up by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where you can see it today.

44 Battery terminals : ANODES

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

45 Solution strength measure : TITER

Remember those titrations we did in the chemistry lab at school? They were to measure the concentration of solutions, also known as the solution’s titer.

51 Duds : TOGS

The verb “to tog up”, meaning “to dress up”, comes from the Latin “toga” describing the garment worn in ancient Rome. “Tog” can also be used as an informal word for a coat or a cloak. Back in Ireland, togs are what we call swimming shorts.

“Duds” is an informal word meaning “clothing”. The term comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

57 Iconic WWII island, briefly : IWO

Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.

58 Winning game cry : GIN!

Gin rummy is a faster variant of standard rummy. It was introduced in 1909 by one Elwood Baker and his son.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Not imagined : REAL
5 On : ATOP
9 Arthur of tennis : ASHE
13 Country quarters : INNS
14 Be behind : TRAIL
15 Skier’s need, maybe : SNOW
16 Arose to catch the proverbial worm : GOT UP EARLY (HIDDEN “PEARL”)
18 President’s Day event : SALE
19 Ivy League student : ELI
20 Dynamic prefix : AERO-
21 Sushi bar brews : SAKES
22 Ristorante favorite : LASAGNA
24 “Holy smokes!” : ZOWIE!
26 Award won twice by Adele and Kelly Clarkson : BEST POP ALBUM (HIDDEN “OPAL”)
30 Monks’ wear : COWLS
33 Total drubbing : ROUT
34 Flatow of “Science Friday” : IRA
35 Opposite of home : AWAY
36 Dozen dozen : GROSS
38 Craftsy etailer : ETSY
39 Tiny, for short : LIL’
40 “Not long” : SOON
41 Guilty and not guilty : PLEAS
42 Philanthropist who was a Time Person of the Year co-honoree in 2005 : MELINDA GATES (HIDDEN “AGATE”)
46 Spectrum maker : PRISM
47 Comment after a missed shot : NICE TRY
51 Characteristic : TRAIT
53 Shred : IOTA
54 Tint : HUE
55 “I didn’t mean to do that” : OOPS
56 Relatively unknown quality items … and what can be found in 16-, 26- and 42-Across : HIDDEN GEMS
59 Unmitigated joy : GLEE
60 Seller, usually : OWNER
61 Its symbol is Fe : IRON
62 Some cameras, for short : SLRS
63 Amorously pursues : WOOS
64 Fiddling emperor : NERO

Down

1 Orion’s left foot, some say : RIGEL
2 __ Gay : ENOLA
3 Naysayers : ANTIS
4 Pelican State sch. : LSU
5 Biblical mount : ARARAT
6 Tropical root vegetable : TARO
7 Squeaky-wheel need : OIL
8 Tissue layer : PLY
9 Attack : ASSAIL
10 Hazard in many old Westerns : SNAKEBITE
11 Opening : HOLE
12 Lambs’ moms : EWES
14 New drivers, typically : TEENS
17 Novel units : PAGES
21 Whack at a mosquito : SWAT
23 With skill : ABLY
24 Family outing destinations : ZOOS
25 Numbered piece : OPUS
27 Outlet insert : PRONG
28 Celestial bear : URSA
29 First Black MLB team captain, 1964 : MAYS
30 Not nervous : CALM
31 Something Mommy needs to kiss? : OWIE
32 Computer screen background : WALLPAPER
36 Odin and Thor : GODS
37 Wander : ROAM
38 “Need anything __?” : ELSE
40 Sulky state : SNIT
41 Pie nut : PECAN
43 Flowery van Gogh work : IRISES
44 Battery terminals : ANODES
45 Solution strength measure : TITER
48 “Over __!” : THERE
49 Something from a mill? : RUMOR
50 Type of survey question : YES/NO
51 Duds : TOGS
52 Dinner table staple : ROLL
53 License plate fig. : ID NO
56 “__ come?” : HOW
57 Iconic WWII island, briefly : IWO
58 Winning game cry : GIN!

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 10 Feb 21, Wednesday”

  1. Oh joy! A fun puzzle, though I too never heard of titer. Got it from crosses. Really struggled over Tuesday puzzle, just bombed. Thought I was losing it when no others commented on difficulty. Feel redeemed today. Life is good!

  2. Titer ( pronounced TIGHTER) refers to the concentration of a solution.

    The minimum volume of a solution needed to reach an endpoint.

    An example—the concentration of an antibody, as determined by finding the highest dilution at which it will still cause its desired affect ( doing away with the antigen). All this is really hot topic now as you can imagine….

  3. Remembered TITER all too well, given my (unfortunate) college background. Anyhow no problems or disagreements with this one.

    On the discussion of variety crosswords, one can add the Spiral to it, at least in terms of something to be fascinated about: Basically put, it’s 100 letters where clues/words are formed in both directions. Marching Bands, Rows Garden, and that seem to be the three most common out there.

  4. 8:21, no errors. One of those days where missteps (e.g., wowie instead of zowie) are quickly discovered before they become a problem.

  5. 9 mins 12 sec, no errors or issues. Got around TITER by cross-fill. Enjoyable grids so far this week. We can only hope that the “editor” won’t decide to balance out the “fairness” late in the week with the same sort of outrages he foisted on us last week.

  6. Greetings!!!🦉

    Easy Wednesday; no errors. I do know TITER, but not RIGEL. Thanks Bill for the explanation 🤗

    I just bought three handmade 40s-style dresses on ETSY. Broke the bank, but worth it. 😍

    Be well~~🥂

  7. Slightly difficult Wednesday for me; took 16:43 with one error at TI_ER/IO_A cross.

    I remember titer now, but not while doing the puzzle… Should really have gotten IOTA, the cross…

    Theme helped get the third theme clue/answer.

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