LA Times Crossword 25 Feb 21, Thursday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Fishy Phrases

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted with reference to fish:

  • 17A Noble fish? : LOFTY PERCH
  • 58A Elastic fish? : RUBBER SOLE
  • 11D Massive fish? : COSMIC RAYS
  • 30D Stingy fish? : CHEAP SKATE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Capture, in Westerns : LASSO

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

14 Singer Brickell : EDIE

Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. Brickell has been married to fellow singer Paul Simon since 1991.

15 Rap sheet entry : ALIAS

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

16 __ Linda, Calif. : LOMA

Loma Linda is a city in California located not far from Los Angeles. The name Loma Linda translates from Spanish as “Beautiful Hill”.

17 Noble fish? : LOFTY PERCH

Perch are carnivorous, freshwater fish that are found all over the world. Perch are particularly common in the Great Lakes, and in Lake Erie.

19 Arthur Ashe Courage Award, e.g. : ESPY

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award has been presented annually since 1993 as part of the ESPY Awards. Named for tennis great Arthur Ashe, the Courage Award is presented to individuals whose contributions “transcend sports”. The list of recipients includes Howard Cosell (1995), Muhammad Ali (1997), Billie Jean King (1999), Nelson Mandela (2009), Caitlyn Jenner (2015) and Eunice Kennedy Shriver (2017).

21 Longtime “American Top 40” host : KASEM

Not only was Casey Kasem so closely associated with the radio show “American Top 40”, but he was also well known for playing the voice of Shaggy Rogers on the “Scooby-Doo” animated series.

23 They’re sold in bars : SOAPS

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

33 Oldest Musketeer : ATHOS

Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is the trio’s young protégé D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

37 Flute feature : STEM

The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is usually preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.

40 Argentine aunt : TIA

Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.

41 Caffè __: chocolate-flavored drink : MOCHA

A caffè mocha is a caffè latte that has been flavored with chocolate. One might also regard a caffè mocha as hot chocolate with the addition of a shot of espresso.

43 Oliver Twist, for one : ORPHAN

“Oliver Twist” is an 1838 novel by Charles Dickens. The title character is an orphan who escapes from an oppressive apprenticeship with an undertaker. He gets drawn into the criminal underworld of London, where he meets up with some colorful characters such as the Artful Dodger, Fagin and Bill Sykes. Television, stage and film adaptations of “Oliver Twist” tend to lift the overall mood of the story, which in the novel is pretty bleak.

47 Spruce up the lawn : RESOD

Our verb “to spruce up” means “to make trim or neat”. The term comes from the adjective “spruce”, meaning “smart, neat”. In turn, the adjective comes from “spruce leather”, which was a Prussian leather that was used in England in the 15th and 16th centuries to make a popular style of jerkin that was widely considered to look quite smart.

48 Jim of “Wide World of Sports” : MCKAY

Jim McKay was a sports journalist, one most famous for hosting ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” for 37 years ending in 1998. McKay also covered 12 Olympic Games, including his memorable coverage of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics. McKay also served his country during WWII in the US Navy, in which he was the captain of a minesweeper.

ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” opened with an enduring musical fanfare and words uttered by broadcaster Jim McKay:

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s “Wide World of Sports!”

58 Elastic fish? : RUBBER SOLE

The group of flatfish known as soles take their name from “solea”, the Latin word for “sandal”. And, they do kind of have that shape.

61 Singer with The Blackhearts : JETT

“Joan Jett” is the stage name of rock guitarist and singer Joan Marie Larkin. She is best known as a member of the band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, which formed in 1979.

63 Caffeine-rich seed : KOLA

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

65 Chaps : GENTS

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

66 Kind of folder : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

Down

1 Online site whose reviews are reviewed : YELP

yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.

7 What Marcie calls Peppermint Patty : SIR

Peppermint Patty is a character in the long-running comic strip “Peanuts”, by Charles M. Schulz. Peppermint Patty has a friend named Marcie who famously refers to her as “Sir”, which is perhaps a reference to Peppermint Patty’s reputation as a tomboy. Tomboy or not, it is revealed in the strip that Peppermint Patty has quite a crush on Charlie Brown.

8 Fires : SACKS

The term “to sack” meaning “to dismiss someone from a job”, used to be phrased as “to give the sack”. The expression probably came from the idea of firing a worker and sending him or her off with tools in a sack.

9 Fed. workplace monitor : OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

11 Massive fish? : COSMIC RAYS

Rays are fish with flattened bodies that have gill slits on their underside. There are many, many species of ray, including stingrays and skates. Rays are close relatives of sharks, with both being cartilaginous fish, as opposed to bony fish.

12 Diamond authority : UMP

That would be a baseball diamond.

18 Many RSVP responses, hopefully : YESES

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

24 Top story : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

28 Scout rider : TONTO

Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was named “Silver” and Tonto’s mount was named “Scout”. In the earlier shows, Tonto rode a horse named “White Feller”.

30 Stingy fish? : CHEAP SKATE

Skates (formally “Rajidae”) are a family of fish in the superorder of rays (formally “batoidea”). Skates look very similar to stingrays, but they lack stinging spines.

31 Dot follower, at times : -COM

A dot-com is a company that primarily makes it money by providing products and services using its online presence.

32 Piglet’s pal : ROO

Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”, the kangaroo named “Roo” was inspired by a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

33 Tycoon who is an Oregon city namesake : ASTOR

John Jacob Astor was the patriarch of the famous American Astor dynasty. He was the country’s first multi-millionaire, making his fortune in the trade of fur, real estate and opium. In today’s terms, it has been calculated that by the time of his death he has accumulated a fortune big enough to make him the fourth wealthiest man in American history (in the company of the likes of Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bill Gates, Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller).

The city of Astoria, Oregon developed around Fort Astoria, which was established in 1810. Fort Astoria was a fur-trading post built by John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company, hence the “Astoria” name.

38 Day named for a satellite: Abbr. : MON

The days of the week are named for celestial bodies and gods

  • Sunday — Sun’s Day
  • Monday — Moon’s Day
  • Tuesday — Tiu’s day
  • Wednesday — Woden’s day
  • Thursday — Thor’s day
  • Friday — Freya’s day
  • Saturday — Saturn’s day

39 Winter bug : FLU

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks … and other virus pandemics …

41 Anti-DUI org. : MADD

Candace Lightner lost her 13-year-old child to a drink-driver in 1980. Soon after, Lightner formed the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

42 Entrance area : FOYER

“Foyer”, meaning “lobby”, is a French word that we imported into English. In French, “foyer” is used for what we would call a “green room”, a place where actors can gather when not on stage or on set.

48 Touchpad alternative : MOUSE

The computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

A touchpad (also “trackpad”) is a pointing device found mainly on laptop computers. It serves as a fairly decent alternative to a mouse.

54 Earthenware pot : OLLA

An olla is a traditional clay pot used for the making of stews. “Olla” was the Latin word used in ancient Rome to describe a similar type of pot.

55 Bears or Lions : TEAM

The Chicago Bears were founded in Decatur, Illinois in 1919 and moved to Chicago in 1921. The Bears are one of only two franchises in the NFL that were around at the time of the NFL’s founding (the other being the Arizona Cardinals, also based in Chicago in 1921).

The Detroit Lions are the NFL team that play home games at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The team was founded way back in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans from Portsmouth, Ohio. The Spartans joined the NFL during the Great Depression as other franchises collapsed. However, the Spartans couldn’t command a large enough gate in Portsmouth so the team was sold and relocated to Detroit in 1934.

56 1977 Steely Dan album : AJA

Steely Dan’s heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993, and is still performing today despite the passing of founding member Walter Becker in 2017. Steely Dan’s best-selling album is “Aja” (pronounced like “Asia”), which was released in 1977.

59 Dog holder : BUN

A hot dog is a sausage served in a split roll. The term “hot dog” dates back to the 19th-century and is thought to reflect a commonly-held opinion that the sausages contained dog meat.

60 Diamond tool : BAT

That would be a baseball diamond.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Distressed cry : YOWL
5 Capture, in Westerns : LASSO
10 Pond film : SCUM
14 Singer Brickell : EDIE
15 Rap sheet entry : ALIAS
16 __ Linda, Calif. : LOMA
17 Noble fish? : LOFTY PERCH
19 Arthur Ashe Courage Award, e.g. : ESPY
20 Radio tuning shortcut : PRESET
21 Longtime “American Top 40” host : KASEM
23 They’re sold in bars : SOAPS
26 Force out : EVICT
29 Goes along with : ACCEPTS
32 Come again? : RE-ECHO
33 Oldest Musketeer : ATHOS
34 Keyboard goofs : TYPOS
36 Campaigned : RAN
37 Flute feature : STEM
38 Management opening : MICRO-
39 Protest, in a way : FAST
40 Argentine aunt : TIA
41 Caffè __: chocolate-flavored drink : MOCHA
42 Reach via jet : FLY TO
43 Oliver Twist, for one : ORPHAN
45 Not farmed out : IN-HOUSE
47 Spruce up the lawn : RESOD
48 Jim of “Wide World of Sports” : MCKAY
49 Buddy : KIDDO
51 Much more than a mere fan : ZEALOT
56 Word of lament : ALAS
58 Elastic fish? : RUBBER SOLE
61 Singer with The Blackhearts : JETT
62 Typical : USUAL
63 Caffeine-rich seed : KOLA
64 Graph lines : AXES
65 Chaps : GENTS
66 Kind of folder : SPAM

Down

1 Online site whose reviews are reviewed : YELP
2 Fragrance : ODOR
3 Certain partner : WIFE
4 Frees, with “out” : LETS …
5 Common carry-on item : LAPTOP
6 Pub order : ALE
7 What Marcie calls Peppermint Patty : SIR
8 Fires : SACKS
9 Fed. workplace monitor : OSHA
10 Short item on many a tee : SLEEVE
11 Massive fish? : COSMIC RAYS
12 Diamond authority : UMP
13 Possibly will : MAY
18 Many RSVP responses, hopefully : YESES
22 Notices : SEES
24 Top story : ATTIC
25 Medium : PSYCHIC
27 Pure : CHASTE
28 Scout rider : TONTO
29 What you have on : ATTIRE
30 Stingy fish? : CHEAP SKATE
31 Dot follower, at times : -COM
32 Piglet’s pal : ROO
33 Tycoon who is an Oregon city namesake : ASTOR
35 Play a joke on : PRANK
38 Day named for a satellite: Abbr. : MON
39 Winter bug : FLU
41 Anti-DUI org. : MADD
42 Entrance area : FOYER
44 Raises : HOISTS
46 Variable eye colors : HAZELS
48 Touchpad alternative : MOUSE
50 Pharmacy item : DRUG
52 Sets as a price : ASKS
53 Circuit : LOOP
54 Earthenware pot : OLLA
55 Bears or Lions : TEAM
56 1977 Steely Dan album : AJA
57 Latin law : LEX
59 Dog holder : BUN
60 Diamond tool : BAT

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Feb 21, Thursday”

  1. Got an error on 1A. Actually 2 errors. Also 3D. LIFE for 3D.. and YOLL for 1A. Now why couldn’t I see YOWL and WIFE??? I stared at that for a long time.

  2. Missed the very first letter. Had Howl instead of Yowl. And didn’t know
    the singer with the Blackhearts. Not my finest hour.

  3. Bill,

    Bill, I think 37A refers to a kind of glass with a stem, not a musical instrument. Do you agree?

    I missed 64A, had exes instead of axes.

  4. That was kind of fun and not so very hard. I never heard of Jett or the Blackhearts. I like Steely Dan and even have one of his CD’s from the 70s, though I don’t know the name of it. 🙂 I wonder if AJA stands for something.

  5. No Googles, but a booboo – same weak place as the others. Had YelL instead of YOWL, and lIFE instead of WIfE (as in life partner.) But, I didn’t notice eDER was wrong.

    Didn’t know EDIE.
    Bill’s write-up on Astor was enlightening. I didn’t know about the opium; explains a lot. One of my ancestors was a Dutch fur trader. Along with guns and iron pots, the natives were interested in Hudson-type blankets which they could make into coats. A fur coat for a wool coat. Go figure.

  6. Bill. thank you for your wonderful blog and dedicated hard work.

    I also meant to clarify your 17 Across, the Flute refers to a champagne glass, and hence the answer of STEM. Although your points on the antiquity of the instrument is well noted. I would have thought the prehistoric age of the instrument could also be noted by its use by the Australian aborigines, in the Didgeridoo, which is akin to a flute, although it has no axial holes that I know of.

    Respectful wishes.

  7. 14 minutes, 28 seconds, no errors. Had some issues in the NE corner. The theme clues didn’t come easily, couldn’t quite “reel them in”…

  8. 7:38 no errors

    I particularly like COSMIC RAYS. There was a time, back in my Help Desk days, when I could attribute a computer glitch to cosmic rays. That’s why memory has built-in error correction.

    1. @Joel – While it’s not a good way to manage one can “micro manage” their subordinate, driving that person crazy in the process I’m sure.

  9. I got all but kola/olla — thought it was kona (for the coffee bean in Hawaii) and never heard of olla so I thought I was so clever guessing olna! Aargh, frustrating. Again, not gonna say how long it took because it took way too long (I puzzled over fly to, for example…and there are at least six other examples where once I got it, it was so obvious!)…Thanks again, Bill, and all the commenters here!

  10. A low 75% solved, but we are still averaging 92% for the week. Acceptable.
    I guess it has to be; it is what it is.

    Glad you guys and gals thought it was so easy. I was all around a number of
    them that would have raised our score considerably. What might have been.

  11. Slightly tricky Thursday for me; took 12:28 with no errors or peeks, which is more than I can say for the WSJ puzzle. Had to wait for a few crosses but mostly straight-forward. I always think of the old Coca-Cola commercial when I see kola nut: “You put da lime in the Coke and you drink em both up…”

    @Pam – Sadly, Intel prevented error correction in PCs so they could charge more for their server hardware, which did have it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.