LA Times Crossword 17 Feb 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Julian Lim
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Move Faster!

Themed answers start with a gait, with that gait speeding up as we descend the grid:

  • 20A Give up on : WALK AWAY FROM
  • 33A Serve as a reminder : JOG ONE’S MEMORY
  • 41A Do an accountant’s job : RUN THE NUMBERS
  • 55A Write briefly and quickly : DASH OFF A NOTE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “__ All That”: 1999 movie : SHE’S

The 1999 romantic comedy “She’s All That” is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” (as is “My Fair Lady”). The critics hated “She’s All That”, but it still made it to number one at the box office.

15 Ecstatic internet shout : WOOT!

Apparently “woot” is computer slang, and an expression of excitement and joy. It has been suggested that the term comes from the game “Dungeons and Dragons”, and is a contraction of “wow, loot”. Unknown to me outside of crosswords …

17 Oberlin’s state : OHIO

Oberlin, Ohio is a city southwest of Cleveland. The city is home to Oberlin College, the biggest employer in town. Oberlin was named after Jean-Frédéric Oberlin, a pastor from Alsace. Oberlin was the first college in the country to admit African-American students (in 1835), and the first to admit female students (in 1837).

22 Superman’s makeup? : STEEL

Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

24 Kerfuffle : ADO

“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

31 Dubuque denizen : IOWAN

The city of Dubuque, Iowa is named for a pioneer from Quebec who arrived in the area in 1785. That pioneer was one Julien Dubuque.

Nowadays we use “denizen” to mean simply “resident”, but historically a denizen was an immigrant to whom certain rights had been granted, somewhat like today’s resident alien.

37 Mic __: triumphant move : DROP

A mic drop takes place when a performer has done particularly well and decides to celebrate by throwing or dropping the microphone to the floor. That doesn’t seem to happen at the performances I tend to frequent …

39 Finnish company that created Angry Birds : ROVIO

Angry Birds is a video game developed for smartphones by Finnish company Rovio. Angry Birds is the third most downloaded game, after Tetris and Pac-Man. There is a whole series of Angry Birds games now, including Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Transformers.

40 James Patterson hero __ Cross : ALEX

Author James Patterson is known for his thriller novels, especially those featuring his forensic psychologist Alex Cross. Patterson holds the record for the most hardcover fiction titles to appear in “The New York Times” bestseller list.

46 Run-of-the-mill : MEH

Something described as run-of-the-mill is unspectacular, quite normal. The idea is that the regular production from say a sawmill isn’t perfect, but does the job. Imperfections in the wood can be expected, but the milled wood should get the job done. Going back a few years, similar expressions were quite common, such as “run-of-the-kiln” and “run-of-the-mine”.

50 Yellowfins, e.g. : TUNAS

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

59 Cause of a crash : FATAL ERROR

That would be a computer crash.

64 Emerald City princess : OZMA

L. Frank Baum wrote a whole series of books about the Land of Oz. Princess Ozma appears in all of them except the one that’s most famous, namely “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

The Emerald City is the capital of the Land of Oz in L. Frank Baum’s series of “Oz” novels.

66 Uses WhatsApp, say : TEXTS

WhatsApp is a popular messaging service used on smartphones that sends messages and other files from one mobile phone number to another. Launched in 2011, WhatsApp is incredibly popular, and indeed the most popular messaging service used today. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, paying over $19 billion.

68 Tibetan title : LAMA

“Lama” is a Tibetan word meaning “chief, high priest”.

Down

2 Drum kit item with a pedal : HI-HAT

In a drum kit, a hi-hat is a pairing of cymbals that sits on a stand and is played by using a foot pedal. The top cymbal is raised and lowered by the foot, hence creating a crashing sound.

3 “Into the Wild” star Hirsch : EMILE

Emile Hirsch is an actor from Topanga, California. Hirsch’s most famous role was the lead in the 2007 drama “Into the Wild”.

“Into the Wild” is an interesting film directed by Sean Penn that is based on a nonfiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. The book and movie tell the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who hiked into the Alaskan wilderness with very little food and equipment, seeking an extended period of solitude. After four months alone he was found dead from starvation. At time of death, he weighed only 67 pounds.

5 “Just saying,” in 66-Across : FWIW
(66A Uses WhatsApp, say : TEXTS)

For what it’s worth (FWIW)

6 Kappa preceder : 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.

Kappa is the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the equivalent of our letter K.

9 Black-and-white dessert : OREO PIE

National Oreo Cookie Day is March 6th each year. There is an urban legend that the particular day was chosen as this was the day that the name “Oreo” was registered as a trademark. However, that’s not the case. The application was filed on March 14, 1912 and registration took place on August 12, 1913. So, who knows why it’s March 6th?

10 Ian who plays Bilbo Baggins : HOLM

English actor Sir Ian Holm was very respected on the stage in the UK, but is better known for his film roles here in the US. He played the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in two of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and also played the character who is revealed as an android in the film “Alien”.

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel “The Hobbit”, the title character is Bilbo Baggins. He is a hobbit who stumbles across a magical ring and then embarks on a series of adventures.

11 It might be adjusted in Photoshop : HUE

Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software used for editing graphics. When I first bought a copy of Photoshop, it was really expensive (about $300 in 1995), but now there are cost-effective, stripped-down versions available. Also, the full version of Photoshop is now only available as a monthly subscription service.

12 Kang and Kodos, on “The Simpsons” : ETS

Kang and Kodos are recurring characters in “The Simpsons”. They are one-eyed, green aliens from the planet Rigel VII.

19 Sellout letters : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

21 Sacha Baron Cohen alter ego : ALI G

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m wasn’t a fan, but I must admit that I really enjoyed 2020’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”.

24 Mil. truants : AWOLS

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

26 Black gemstone used to make beads : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

29 Auth. unknown : ANON

Anonymous (anon.)

32 Actor Epps : OMAR

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

33 Fish story notable : JONAH

The story of “Jonah’s Dilemma” can be found in the Bible. The story involves Jonah being swallowed by a whale and living inside the “big fish” for three days. I’ve never understood where the “dilemma” is in the tale, though …

35 Popular video game series, with “The” : … SIMS

SimCity is a very clever computer game. Players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. SimCity was launched in 1989, and to this day it is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.

37 Scot’s Scotch order : DRAM

I think that the dram is a confusing unit of measurement. It has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!

38 Yahoo : RUBE

A rube is a person lacking sophistication, someone often described as a country bumpkin. The term derives from the masculine name “Reuben”, which was considered back in the early 1800s to be a typical name used in rural areas.

Yahoos are brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels”. Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise to the use of “yahoo” in English to describe a lout or neanderthal.

43 R&B great James : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

48 Ending with malt : -OSE

Maltose, also known as malt sugar, is a disaccharide made up of two glucose units.

52 Fashionista Kamali : NORMA

Norma Kamali is a fashion designer from New York City. One of the more famous of Kamali’s designs is a reddish-orange swimsuit worn by Farrah Fawcett in a 1976 poster. That poster has sold over 12 million copies, making it the best-selling poster in history. That Kamali-designed bathing suit was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2011.

53 Likely roster for the big game : A-TEAM

Our word “roster”, meaning “list, register”, actually comes from the same root as our word “roast”, would you believe. “Roster” came into English from the Dutch “rooster”, meaning “table, list”. An alternative use of the Dutch “rooster” was “gridiron”, from the “roosten” meaning “to roast”. The connection is that a roster of names is often listed on a sheet of paper that has grid lines resembling the marks left by a gridiron on roasted meat. Quite interesting …

55 Bar flier : DART

Darts is a game that’s often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 on the dartboard in sequence.

56 Rice-shaped pasta used in salads : ORZO

Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, “orzo” is the Italian word for “barley”. Orzo is also called “risoni”, meaning “large rice”.

57 Acronymic anxiety about being excluded from the fun : FOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Strictly speaking, words formed from the first letters or other words are known as “initialisms”. Examples would be FBI and NBC, where the initials are spoken by sounding out each letter. Certain initialisms are pronounced as words in their own right, such as NATO and AWOL, and are called “acronyms”. So, acronyms are a subset of initialisms. As I say, that’s “strictly speaking”, so please don’t write in …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “__ All That”: 1999 movie : SHE’S
5 Diver’s gear : FINS
9 “Fancy seeing you here!” : OH HEY!
14 Hoof it on a bad knee, say : LIMP
15 Ecstatic internet shout : WOOT!
16 Driver’s choice : ROUTE
17 Oberlin’s state : OHIO
18 “We tried, but this won’t work” : IT’S USELESS
20 Give up on : WALK AWAY FROM
22 Superman’s makeup? : STEEL
23 Fashion plate : FOP
24 Kerfuffle : ADO
27 Construction girder : I-BAR
31 Dubuque denizen : IOWAN
33 Serve as a reminder : JOG ONE’S MEMORY
37 Mic __: triumphant move : DROP
39 Finnish company that created Angry Birds : ROVIO
40 James Patterson hero __ Cross : ALEX
41 Do an accountant’s job : RUN THE NUMBERS
44 Cheapen : ABASE
45 Subtle summons : PSST!
46 Run-of-the-mill : MEH
47 Nonsense : ROT
50 Yellowfins, e.g. : TUNAS
55 Write briefly and quickly : DASH OFF A NOTE
59 Cause of a crash : FATAL ERROR
62 Family __ : TREE
63 Cup or star : AWARD
64 Emerald City princess : OZMA
65 “Haven’t decided yet” : I MAY
66 Uses WhatsApp, say : TEXTS
67 Eject : BOOT
68 Tibetan title : LAMA

Down

1 Slackens the pace : SLOWS
2 Drum kit item with a pedal : HI-HAT
3 “Into the Wild” star Hirsch : EMILE
4 Took the mic : SPOKE
5 “Just saying,” in 66-Across : FWIW
6 Kappa preceder : IOTA
7 Meddlesome : NOSY
8 Nonsense companion? : STUFF
9 Black-and-white dessert : OREO PIE
10 Ian who plays Bilbo Baggins : HOLM
11 It might be adjusted in Photoshop : HUE
12 Kang and Kodos, on “The Simpsons” : ETS
13 “Affirmative” : YES
19 Sellout letters : SRO
21 Sacha Baron Cohen alter ego : ALI G
24 Mil. truants : AWOLS
25 “You wouldn’t __!” : DARE
26 Black gemstone used to make beads : ONYX
28 Snooze inducer : BORE
29 Auth. unknown : ANON
30 Gun : REV UP
32 Actor Epps : OMAR
33 Fish story notable : JONAH
34 Backs (out) : OPTS
35 Popular video game series, with “The” : … SIMS
36 Unruly groups : MOBS
37 Scot’s Scotch order : DRAM
38 Yahoo : RUBE
42 Foreshadows : HERALDS
43 R&B great James : ETTA
48 Ending with malt : -OSE
49 Ache : THROB
51 “__ we meet again” : UNTIL
52 Fashionista Kamali : NORMA
53 Likely roster for the big game : A-TEAM
54 “I’m outta here” : SEE YA
55 Bar flier : DART
56 Rice-shaped pasta used in salads : ORZO
57 Acronymic anxiety about being excluded from the fun : FOMO
58 Group with pledges : FRAT
59 The 1% in 1% milk : FAT
60 Flabbergast : AWE
61 Sales __ : TAX

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Feb 21, Wednesday”

  1. This one was too much for me. Didn’t know Emile (had Emily). Didn’t know iota or Sims or Rovio or Alig, although I’ve at least heard of Sacha Baron Cohen. Had to do a check grid to finish. Sigh.

  2. No errors, but had to look up the Finnish company. Lots of iffy clues
    in this one…but I guess that’s the intention…to make it harder but more
    fun.

  3. 22:16 with one error…I didn’t know 39A or35D and took a wrong guess.
    I also didn’t know 64A or 57D and took a lucky guess…A BIT MUCH FOR A WEDNESDAY IMO.
    Stay safe and get a shot if you can😀

  4. Wrong wave length. Easy puzzle when you look back but the cluing was a bit “ppppfffftttt”.

    Technically a DNF but when I looked up a clue , it fell fast..

  5. 8:18, no errors, no complaints.

    @Jack (from yesterday) … I’ve now had both COVID-19 shots (Pfizer). I seem to have lucked into this, without having to expend much time or energy on it. Meanwhile, my 72-year-old ex, also in Colorado, just got her first dose (after much effort); my 86-year-old (sole remaining) brother, in Texas, only recently had an opportunity to get a first shot (and had to pass it up due to the weather); my 49-year-old daughter (who works with school-age kids), in California, has had both shots; my 62-year-old SO, in Colorado, has had a first shot; and a 79-year-old college friend, in Texas, has been unable to schedule anything. So … a mixed bag around the country.

    Curiously, I had only a slightly sore shoulder after the first shot and essentially no reaction to the second one, which is somewhat at odds with predictions. Anybody else here have that reaction (or a lack thereof)?

    1. Nonny, I’m 74. Had two Pfizer doses with side effects identical to you—only very slight shoulder tenderness.
      Unlike you, I thought today’s puzzle was tough for a Wednesday 😀.

    2. FWIW, this depends on the criteria involved, the demand, and the weather (all the freezing cold – about any puzzles I’ve done in the last two weeks have been with several layers on and *then* still under several layers of blankets). Here, basically the only ones that have had any shot (pun intended?) outside of the medical professionals has been anyone above 65. A lot of the pharmacies are beginning to get some too, but that’s still going to be restricted.

      I heard a lot of people are just signing up on EVERY list out there (clamoring out of fear, basically), which will undoubtedly cause problems in people getting it too as every place giving it is planning on having enough vaccine for every signup (and won’t act until they do).

      As for symptoms, the commonly reported thing is to be physically sick for several days after the second dose. So if that wasn’t you, you’re very lucky.

      1. It would have been reassuring to have a noticeable reaction to the second shot. (My fear is/was that it might have been improperly administered. The person doing it made two or three comments that made me wonder if there was a problem. At this point, I’ve decided that it was probably done correctly, but I do think the accompanying comments were ill-advised.)

  6. 10 minutes, 37 seconds. MALTOSE was a new one on me. I had already placed ROT to cross it, but then thought the down should be MALTESE (as in the Falcon). That cost me a bit of time right there.

    Fun and enjoyable, though. I hope they keep these guileless grids coming!!!

  7. I’ve missed Julian Lim’s puzzles! His clues are always subtle, clever, and hard, and this one doesn’t disappoint — wish you’d use more of his.

  8. I agree with Jack and John… a bit difficult for a Wednesday. That being said, it was very satisfying when I finished with no errors.

  9. If the clue’s answer is slang, then there ought to be an indication of that.
    If you text, then this one should have simple for you. And “mic drop?” Please leave clues like that one alone. Not fun at all!!

  10. Tricky Wednesday for me; took 14:34 with one error after a “check-grid” at the end. I had EgS/ROUtE since I never heard of Kang and Kodos, although ROUGE really didn’t make any sense either.

    Since I’m a beekeeper, the County Ag department has put us in Group 1B for potential vaccination. Even though I’m still 64 I might be able to get a shot, as supplies allow, after the 22nd on an “on-call-basis.”

    Here’s hoping all the people stuck in freezing weather and shaky electrical grids are managing okay. My former next door neighbor just moved to Arlington, TX and has already experienced a nearby, news making, epic highway crash and historical icy cold spell, along with loss of electricity (2 hrs).

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