LA Times Crossword 24 Feb 21, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Bryant White
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Hanging Around

Themed answers are things that HANG, and are HANGING from the top of the grid:

  • 51A Loitering … or how 3-, 5-, 7- and 9-Down might be seen? : HANGING AROUND
  • 3D Blood-drinking mammal : VAMPIRE BAT
  • 5D High light : CHANDELIER
  • 7D Spelunking sight : STALACTITE
  • 9D Support for Tarzan : JUNGLE VINE

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

Bill’s time: 6m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 It has an eye on TV : CBS

CBS used to be known as the Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS introduced its “eye” logo in 1951. That logo is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign.

8 Slightly open : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

12 Sea that’s a victim of irrigation projects : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

13 Water park feature : CHUTE

A chute is an inclined plane or channel through which things pass under the influence of gravity.

15 Heavyweight fight? : SUMO

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.

16 Capital founded by Pizarro : LIMA

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem. Lima is home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, as San Marco University was founded in 1551 during the days of Spanish colonial rule.

Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador, and the man who led the conquest of the Inca Empire in 1533. Pizarro founded the city of Lima in Peru in 1535. Pizarro’s body was laid to rest in Lima after the son of a rival conquistador assassinated him.

17 They may draft briefs : PARAS

A paralegal (sometimes just “para”) is a person who is trained sufficiently in legal matters to assist a lawyer. A paralegal cannot engage in the practice of law and must be supervised by a qualified lawyer.

19 Civil War topper : KEPI

A kepi is a circular cap with a visor, one that’s particularly associated with the French military.

20 Tattoo joint? : ANKLE

The ankle joint proper is the hinge joint connecting the ends of the tibia and fibula in the leg with the top of the talus in the foot.

24 “Breaking Bad” org. : DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

The AMC drama “Breaking Bad” is a well-written show about a high school teacher stricken by lung cancer who turns to a life of crime to make money. It turns out that the teacher has a talent for making high-quality crystal meth. The show was created by Vince Gilligan who had spent many years as a producer and writer of “The X-Files”. There is a “Breaking Bad” spin-off show running on AMC called “Better Call Saul” that focuses on the life of lawyer Saul Goodman. To be honest, I enjoyed “Better Call Saul” even more than the original show …

25 Verne who created Nemo : JULES

Jules Verne really was a groundbreaking author. Verne pioneered the science-fiction genre, writing about space, air and underwater travel, long before they were practical and proved feasible. Verne is the second-most translated author of all time, with only Agatha Christie beating him out.

In the 1954 movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne, the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’ Locker.

26 Dodger rival of shortstop Rizzuto : REESE

Pee Wee Reese was a shortstop who played his professional career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers. Reese is remembered not only for his skill on the field, but for his very visible support for teammate Jackie Robinson, who famously struggled to be accepted as the first African-American player in the majors. As he was an outstanding marbles player as a child, Reese was given the nickname “pee wee” after the name for a small marble.

Phil Rizzuto was a shortstop who spent his whole career with the New York Yankees. After retiring from the game, Rizzuto worked as a radio and television announcer for the Yankees for 40 years. He was famous for using the expression “Holy cow!”

28 Bucket of bolts : CRATE

“Bucket of bolts”, “crate” and “heap” are slang terms for a junky car.

30 “Evita” narrator : CHE

“Evita” was the followup musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). For the original album’s cast of “Evita” they chose Irish singer Colm Wilkinson (or C. T. Wilkinson, as we know him back in Ireland) to play “Che”, the narrator of the piece. In the movie adaptation, Che was portrayed by Antonio Banderas.

32 Gummy bear ingredient : GELATIN

Gelatin is a foodstuff that is used as a gelling agent in cooking, and for the shells of pharmaceutical capsules. Over 800 million pounds of gelatin are produced every year worldwide. It is produced from by-products of the meat and leather industries. Gelatin is basically modified collagen derived from pork skins and the bones of cattle, pigs and horses. So, vegans usually avoid things like gummy bears and marshmallows.

Gummy bears were a 1920s creation of a confectioner from Bonn, Germany named Hans Riegel, Sr. They were originally sold as Dancing Bears, and back then were made from gum arabic (hence the generic name “gummy” bears). The gum arabic was eventually replaced with gelatin, which remains a key ingredient to this day.

34 YouTube clip, for short : VID

YouTube is a video-sharing website that was launched in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Yep, $1.65 billion, less than two years after it was founded …

37 Prefix with call : ROBO-

Robocalls; why can’t they be stopped, why not, why not …?

40 Tubes on the table : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

41 Sonicare rival : ORAL-B

The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first “model” was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Sonicare is a brand of electric toothbrush made by Dutch electronics giant Philips. I’ve been using my Sonicare for years now, which earns me a pat on the back from my dentist every time I visit him …

47 Pressing : EXIGENT

Something exigent is urgent, coming from the Latin “exigentia” meaning “urgency”.

50 Energy unit : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. It has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

59 Tech company that became a verb : XEROX

Xerox was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York and originally made photographic paper and equipment. Real success came for the company in 1959 when it introduced the first plain-paper photocopier. Xerox named Ursula Burns as CEO in 2009, the first African American woman to head up a S&P 100 company. Burn was also the first woman to succeed another female CEO (replacing Anne Mulcahy).

62 Harper’s Bazaar designer : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. “Erté” is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

“Harper’s Bazaar” was first published in 1867, making it the first women’s fashion magazine to hit the newsstands.

63 Absurd : INANE

Our word “inane” meaning “silly, lacking substance” comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

66 California’s Point __ National Seashore : REYES

Point Reyes is a picturesque cape on the Northern California coast about 30 miles west-northwest of San Francisco. The cape was named “Punto de los Reyes” (Kings’ Point) by Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno, when his ship anchored nearby on the Day of the Three Kings (January 6th) in 1603.

67 Cook Islands export : 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.

The Cook Islands is a grouping of 15 small islands in the South Pacific that is an associated state with New Zealand. Under this arrangement, New Zealand is responsible for the defense of the Cook Islands and represents them on the world stage. Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, but they are also Cook Island nationals. The Cook Islands have their own democratically elected parliament and are self-governed.

Down

2 Disney mermaid : ARIEL

“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton. Her best friend is Flounder, who despite his name is not a flounder at all and is actually a tropical fish. Ariel is also friends with Sebastian, a red Jamaican crab whose full name is Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian.

3 Blood-drinking mammal : VAMPIRE BAT

Vampire bats feed mostly in the blood of mammals, including humans. When they find a suitable “victim”, often one that is asleep, the bat usually lands close by and approaches its “meal” on the ground. It makes a small cut with its razor-sharp teeth and laps up the blood. The blood tends to flow freely as the bat’s saliva contains anticoagulants. Reports of bats biting the neck of humans are very rare in the real world, but the neck is the preferred location of attack in the fantasy world of vampires.

4 “Seinfeld” regular : ELAINE

The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

5 High light : CHANDELIER

A chandelier is a relatively elaborate light fixture that is mounted on a ceiling. The term “chandelier” ultimately comes from “candela”, the Latin for “candle”.

6 Delta of “Designing Women” : BURKE

Actress and comedian Delta Burke is best known for playing Suzanne Sugarbaker in the sitcom “Designing Women”. Burke ended up leaving the cast in 1991 due to her poor relationship with the creators of the show.

“Designing Women” is a sitcom that originally aired in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The show’s storyline centers on four women, and one man, who work together at a small interior designing company in Atlanta.

7 Spelunking sight : STALACTITE

A stalactite is a mineral deposit that hangs from the roof of a cave, formed by continuous dripping of mineral-rich water. “Stalactite” comes from the Greek word “stalasso” meaning “to drip”. A stalagmite is a rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave as a result of mineral deposits dissolved in water dripping from the ceiling.

“Spelunking” is an American term describing recreational caving, although the word has Latin roots (“spelunca” is the Latin for “cave”). The term originated in the 1940s in New England when it was adopted by a group of men who explored caves in the area.

9 Support for Tarzan : JUNGLE VINE

Liana (also “liane”) is a vine that generally grows in moist areas such as rain forests. Lianas grow using the trees in the forest as structural support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines …

Tarzan is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line “Me Tarzan, you Jane” never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn’t even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (who played Tarzan in the thirties and forties) saw Maureen O’Sullivan (“Jane”, to Weissmuller’s “Tarzan”) struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying “Me Tarzan, you Jane”, and people have been quoting those words ever since.

13 One working on bks. : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

25 Fifth of 12, alphabetically: Abbr. : JAN

January is the first month of our Gregorian calendar. It is named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions.

30 Shoe that’s full of holes : CROC

Crocs are foam clogs that were originally designed as shoes to be worn at health spas.

31 Dance that may involve a chair : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also “horah”) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

33 Reddit Q&A session : AMA

Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

35 Cal.-to-Fla. highway : I-TEN

I-10 is the most southerly of the interstate routes that cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I-10 stretches from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. Various stretches of the route have been given different names, for example, the Rosa Parks Freeway, the Santa Monica Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.

38 Poisonous flowering shrub : OLEANDER

The oleander shrub or tree is extremely toxic, especially to humans and dogs. That said, rodents and birds seem to be relatively insensitive to the toxic compounds found in the plant.

40 Terraced structure of ancient Mesopotamia : ZIGGURAT

Ziggurats were massive, terraced, step pyramids built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley. The ziggurat-style of architecture has been used in modern buildings, with notable examples being the US Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, and the MI6 Building in London.

Mesopotamia was the land that lay between two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, that flow through modern-day Iraq. The name “Mesopotamia” means “between the rivers”.

42 Naval lockup : BRIG

A brig is a two-masted sailing vessel, with the name “brig” coming from the related vessel known as a brigantine. Brigs and brigantines are both two-masted, but there is a difference in the sails used. It was the use of retired brigs as prison ships that led to the use of “brig” as the word for a jail or prison cell on a seagoing vessel.

44 Surrealist Joan : MIRO

Joan Miró was a Spanish artist. Miro immersed himself in Surrealism, so much so that Andre Breton, the founder of the movement, said that Miró was “the most Surrealist of us all”. There are two museums dedicated to Miró’s work. The Fundació Joan Miró is in his native Barcelona, and the Fundació Miró Mallorca is in Palma de Mallorca, where the artist spent much of his life.

46 Magical potion : ELIXIR

An elixir is a solution of alcohol and water that is used to deliver a medicine. The term “elixir” can also be used to mean a medicine that has the power to cure all ills.

48 Persian king : XERXES

Xerxes was the eldest son of Darius I of Persia. He succeeded to the throne in 486 BC as Xerxes I, and was later to be known as Xerxes the Great. It was Xerxes who fought against the Spartans in the famous Battle of Thermopylae.

51 “__ Trigger”: Bugs Bunny cartoon : HARE

“Hare Trigger” is a 1945 cartoon short featuring Bugs Bunny. Notably, Yosemite Sam made his first appearance in “Hare Trigger”.

52 Stud fee, maybe : ANTE

“Stud poker” is the name given to many variants of poker, all of which are characterized by the dealer giving each player a mix of cards face-down and face-up. The cards facing upwards are called “upcards”. The cards facing downwards are called “hole cards”, cards only visible to the individual who holds that particular hand. This gives rise to the phrase “ace in the hole”, a valuable holding that only the player with the ace is aware of.

53 Hawaiian goose : NENE

The nene is a bird that is native to Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

54 Anatomy book author Henry : GRAY

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

56 Smoked salmon : NOVA

Nova lox is salmon that has been cured with a mild brine and then cold-smoked. The term “nova” originally applied to salmon from Nova Scotia.

57 Cuckoo clock feature : DOOR

Cuckoo clocks are usually regulated with a pendulum and signal the hour with the appearance of a cuckoo and the sound of a cuckoo’s call. Cuckoo clocks have been around since the 1600s, but they really took off in the 1850s when production ramped up in the Black Forest region of Germany for the export market.

61 Vegas snake eyes : TWO

“Snake eyes” is a slang term describing a roll of two dice in which one pip turns up on each die.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 It may break and crash : WAVE
5 It has an eye on TV : CBS
8 Slightly open : AJAR
12 Sea that’s a victim of irrigation projects : ARAL
13 Water park feature : CHUTE
15 Heavyweight fight? : SUMO
16 Capital founded by Pizarro : LIMA
17 They may draft briefs : PARAS
18 Saloon door’s lack : KNOB
19 Civil War topper : KEPI
20 Tattoo joint? : ANKLE
21 Folklore monster : OGRE
22 Move furtively : SLINK
24 “Breaking Bad” org. : DEA
25 Verne who created Nemo : JULES
26 Dodger rival of shortstop Rizzuto : REESE
28 Bucket of bolts : CRATE
30 “Evita” narrator : CHE
32 Gummy bear ingredient : GELATIN
34 YouTube clip, for short : VID
37 Prefix with call : ROBO-
39 Meek : TIMID
40 Tubes on the table : ZITI
41 Sonicare rival : ORAL-B
43 Get into a stew? : EAT
44 One who digs hard rock : MINER
45 Wedding reception hiree : CATERER
47 Pressing : EXIGENT
49 Catch a bug, say : AIL
50 Energy unit : ERG
51 Loitering … or how 3-, 5-, 7- and 9-Down might be seen? : HANGING AROUND
58 Magic prop : WAND
59 Tech company that became a verb : XEROX
60 Source : ROOT
62 Harper’s Bazaar designer : ERTE
63 Absurd : INANE
64 Swear to be true : AVOW
65 Tap serving : BEER
66 California’s Point __ National Seashore : REYES
67 Cook Islands export : TARO

Down

1 Constitutional events : WALKS
2 Disney mermaid : ARIEL
3 Blood-drinking mammal : VAMPIRE BAT
4 “Seinfeld” regular : ELAINE
5 High light : CHANDELIER
6 Delta of “Designing Women” : BURKE
7 Spelunking sight : STALACTITE
8 Try to date : ASK OUT
9 Support for Tarzan : JUNGLE VINE
10 Love, to Luigi : AMORE
11 Judicial attire : ROBES
13 One working on bks. : CPA
14 Linguistic suffix : -ESE
23 It may be tapped : KEG
25 Fifth of 12, alphabetically: Abbr. : JAN
27 Place for shooting stars? : SET
29 Free (of) : RID
30 Shoe that’s full of holes : CROC
31 Dance that may involve a chair : HORA
33 Reddit Q&A session : AMA
35 Cal.-to-Fla. highway : I-TEN
36 Gossip : DIRT
38 Poisonous flowering shrub : OLEANDER
40 Terraced structure of ancient Mesopotamia : ZIGGURAT
42 Naval lockup : BRIG
44 Surrealist Joan : MIRO
46 Magical potion : ELIXIR
48 Persian king : XERXES
51 “__ Trigger”: Bugs Bunny cartoon : HARE
52 Stud fee, maybe : ANTE
53 Hawaiian goose : NENE
54 Anatomy book author Henry : GRAY
55 Five-star : A-ONE
56 Smoked salmon : NOVA
57 Cuckoo clock feature : DOOR
58 Baseball glove part : WEB
61 Vegas snake eyes : TWO

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Feb 21, Wednesday”

  1. No errors. Got the theme.. but a bit of a slog in that cross between EXIGENT and ZIGGURAT..

    got 1D ok but what am I missing,.. WALKS are a constitutional event?? The first thing that comes to mind is a daily constitutional bowel movement.. 😃

  2. One error: I did not know the answer to YouTube clip, so I had
    R-ten (route 10) instead of I-Ten for 35 down. Oh, well.

  3. Struggled with yet another one. I did think it was clever to have Xerxes cross Xerox.
    And I learned something that I never thought much about. I always thought the two words were stalagmite and stalagtite. Now I know.

    1. stalaGmite (grows from the Ground up) and stalaCtite (grows from the Ceiling down)…..

      Always liked those mnemonics…

  4. 7:05 no error

    Fun theme. Since I start with the downs, I had two danglers filled in when I got to the theme clue.

    Lots of cool words, like KEPI, EXIGENT, and ZIGGURAT.

    And the X’s!

  5. Yes, “Lots of cool words.” But the ones I had to Google were REESE, BURKE, NOVA and WEB. Two are sports. Which reminded me, when my sister was young, her name was Dedree Drees (not Dierdre, hers is Dutch, not Irish.) She was forever called Peewee Reese, this baseball player whom no one remembers now. Nor was I ever interested in knowing his team or position. The only sport I follow is the Triple Crown races – over in 3 minutes max.

  6. lotta fun! enjoyed the many puns…good reading all your comments! Thanks, Bill, for this! I am always impressed by how quickly you do this — you are the Ken Jennings of LA Times crossword!

  7. Pretty quick Wednesday for me; took 10:59 with no errors or peeks. Didn’t really use the theme.

    And, I learned two things today. Joan Miro is a male surrealist artist – I always thought, based on the name, that Joan was a woman. Also, I always assumed that Pee Wee Reese was short, given his nickname. But at 5’10” he was actually named for his prowess at marbles, and named for a type of marble. Live and learn.

  8. I really hate it when authors use abbreviations. For example, 13 Down, One working on bks. With such a short word, couldn’t they have spelled out books? I saw bks, and thought books and backs.

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