LA Times Crossword 4 Feb 21, Thursday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Filling up with Gas

Themed answers each include a GAS as a hidden word:

  • 59A Pre-road trip detail … and a hint to what certain parts of three long answers were doing as you solved them : FILLING UP WITH GAS
  • 18A Red River city : FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA (hiding “ARGON”)
  • 30A Words of urgency : NOW MORE THAN EVER (hiding “ETHANE”)
  • 47A Intro suggesting uncertainty : SOMEONE ONCE SAID … (hiding “NEON”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Queens stadium namesake : ASHE

Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997, and is the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

5 Elevated vantage point for Wile E. Coyote : MESA

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, and taller than it is wide.

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; it’s definitely one of the best …

9 Sister of Sasha : MALIA

Malia Obama is the eldest of Barack and Michelle Obama’s two daughters. Malia graduated from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same school that Chelsea Clinton attended. Malia took a gap year after leaving high school, and spent the 2016 summer as an intern in the US Embassy in Madrid, before heading off to Harvard in 2017.

Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, having been born in 2001. She was the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha’s Secret Service codename is “Rosebud”, and her older sister Malia has the codename “Radiance”.

15 Oodles : A LOT

It’s thought that the term “oodles”, meaning “a lot”, comes from “kit and caboodle”.

18 Red River city : FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA (hiding “ARGON”)

Fargo, North Dakota is the biggest city in the state. The original name for the city was Centralia, when it was a stopping point for steamboats that traveled the Red River in the late 19th century. The town really grew with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway, so the name “Fargo” was adopted in honor of one of the railroad company’s directors, William Fargo (of Wells Fargo Express fame).

The chemical element argon has the symbol Ar. Argon is a noble gas, and so by definition is relatively nonreactive. The name “argon” comes from the Greek word for “lazy, inactive”. There’s a lot of argon around, as it is the third-most abundant gas in our atmosphere.

21 Fronded plant : FERN

Ferns are unlike mosses in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

22 Exit in a hurry : BAIL

The phrase “to bail out” (sometimes just “to bail”) means to leave suddenly. We’ve been using the term since the early thirties, when it originated with airline pilots. To bail out is to make a parachute jump.

23 Oodles, with “a” : … SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

24 They, in Calais : ILS

“Ils” is the French for “they”, if not referring to feminine nouns (when “they” translates as “elles”).

Calais is a major ferry port in northern France that overlooks the Strait of Dover, which is the narrowest point in the English Channel. The strait is just over 20 miles wide, making Calais the nearest French town to England.

29 Hound for payment : DUN

To dun is to insist on payment of a debt. The etymology of the verb is unclear, but one suggestion is that it dates back to a well-known debt collector in London named Joe Dun.

30 Words of urgency : NOW MORE THAN EVER (hiding “ETHANE”)

Ethane is the second largest component of natural gas after methane. Ethane’s main use is in the production of ethylene, a compound that is widely used in the chemical industry.

33 Partners : COHORTS

“Cohort” can be used as a collective noun, meaning “group, company”. The term can also apply to an individual supporter or companion, although usually in a derogatory sense. “Cohort” comes from the Latin “cohors”, which was an infantry company in the Roman army, one tenth of a legion.

34 TV component? : TELE-

Scottish inventor John Logie Baird is credited as the inventor of the television. Baird’s invention is classified as a “mechanical” television because it used a mechanical device to scan the scene and generate the video signal. Modern televisions use “electronic” scanning technology. A mechanical scanning device might be a rotating disc or mirror, whereas an electronic scanning device might be a cathode ray tube.

35 He hit his 600th homer exactly three years after his 500th : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, hit his 600th home run on August 4th, 2010. He had hit his 500th home run exactly three years earlier, on August 4th, 2007, when he became the youngest player in Major League history to join the 500-home run club.

36 Medical suffix : -ITIS

The suffix “-itis” is used to denote inflammation, as in laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), otitis (inflammation of the ear), tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon), tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).

40 Caesar’s next-to-last words : ET TU …

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

47 Intro suggesting uncertainty : SOMEONE ONCE SAID … (hiding “NEON”)

Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid. They then warmed that liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.

53 Sot’s woe : DTS

The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called delirium tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is “trembling madness”.

Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s. The derivative term “besotted” means “muddled with drunkenness”, or more figuratively “infatuated”.

54 Caesar’s last day, e.g. : IDES

Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

56 __ act : RIOT

The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act to” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.

57 Summers in Bordeaux : ETES

Bordeaux is perhaps the wine-production capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the Germans took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.

65 Island in Micronesia : GUAM

Guam is a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean, and is the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is also the first territory in the United States to see the sun rise on any particular day. As such, the territory has adopted the motto, “Where America’s day begins”. During WWII, the US territory of Guam was occupied by the Japanese for 31 months until it was liberated in the Battle of Guam in July 1944. Of the 18,000 Japanese men holding the island, only 485 surrendered, so almost all perished in the invasion. One Japanese sergeant hid out on the island for an incredible 28 years, finally surrendering in 1972!

Micronesia is one of the three island regions of Oceania, along with Polynesia and Melanesia. The sovereign nations included in the region are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau. Also in Micronesia are the US territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Wake Island.

66 Big name in digital imaging : AGFA

Agfa was founded in Germany in 1867 as a company focused on the manufacture of dyes. The full name of the enterprise was Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation, shortened to Agfa, and translated as “Corporation for Aniline (a dye) Production”. Agfa merged with the Belgian company Gevaert in 1894, getting them into the photographic business. Agfa 35mm film hasn’t been produced for a few years now, but there is still inventory out there and purists are buying it when they can.

67 Jovial : MERRY

Someone described as jovial exhibits good humor and cheerfulness. The term “jovial” comes from the Latin word “Iovius” meaning “pertaining to Jupiter”. Jupiter was the Roman god of the sky. Astrologers assert that those of us born under the sign of the planet Jupiter are convivial in nature, which explains our usage of “jovial”.

68 Modern address letters : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

Down

1 DOJ bureau : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

3 “Want to know the culprit? I’ll tell you!” : HERE’S WHO!

A culprit is a person guilty of a crime, or is perhaps the source of a problem. The term “culprit” comes from Anglo-French with an interesting etymology. Back in the day, a prosecutor opening a trial would use the words “Culpable: prest (d’averrer nostre bille)” meaning “guilty, ready (to prove our case”, which was abbreviated to “cul. prit”. The abbreviated French was mistakenly applied in English as a term to describe the defendant, i.e. “culprit”.

4 Many an MIT alum : ENGR

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

5 Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible __” : MAN

Author Ralph Ellison’s most famous book is “Invisible Man”, which won the National Book Award in 1953. Ellison’s full name is Ralph Waldo Ellison, as he was named for Ralph Waldo Emerson.

6 “Livin’ Thing” rock gp. : ELO

“Livin’ Thing” is a song written by Jeff Lynne that was recorded in 1976 by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), the band that Lynne co-founded.

7 Cold dessert : SORBET

“Sorbet” can mean different things around the world. Here in the US, sorbet is a non-fat frozen dessert that is made without any dairy content.

10 Here, in Juárez : ACA

The Mexican city sitting across the border from El Paso is more correctly called Ciudad Juárez. Juárez used to be called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). It was to be the younger settlement on the northern side of the Rio Grande which would retain the “El Paso” name.

11 Albanian money : LEKS

The official currency of Albania is the lek. The first lek was introduced in 1926, and was apparently named after Alexander the Great.

12 Tristan’s love : ISOLDE

According to Arthurian legend, Iseult (also “Isolde”) was the adulterous lover of Sir Tristan, one of the Knights of the Round Table. Iseult was an Irish Princess who fell in love with Tristan who had been sent to win Iseult’s hand in marriage for King Mark of Cornwall. The tale was used as the basis for Richard Wagner’s celebrated opera “Tristan und Isolde”.

13 Filmmaker with a distinctive style : AUTEUR

We use the term “auteur” to describe a film director with a distinctive style, and someone who is distinguished enough to overcome the influence of a movie studio and other commercial pressures. Examples often cited are Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks and Jean Renoir. “Auteur” is a French word meaning “author”.

17 One before a king? : PAWN

In the game of chess, the pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. A pawn that can make it to the opposite side of the board can be promoted to a piece of choice, usually a queen. Using promotion of pawns, it is possible for a player to have two or more queens on the board at one time. However, standard chess sets come with only one queen per side, so a captured rook is often used as the second queen by placing it on the board upside down.

24 Old Peruvian : INCA

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Túpac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

26 Old TV component : CRT

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) … there aren’t many of them available in stores these days …

27 “__ Miz” : LES

The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London many years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

28 Wile E. Coyote collectible : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

31 Surfing tool : MODEM

A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line, a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode digital information. At the other end of the line, a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

37 Source of some tadpoles : TOAD EGGS

A tadpole is an intermediate stage in the life cycle of some amphibians (like frogs and toads), between embryo and adult. Tadpoles are also known as pollywogs. The term “tadpole” comes from “tadde” meaning “toad” and “pol” meaning “head”.

38 “Okay to come out yet?” : IS IT SAFE?

Nope …

39 Norms: Abbr. : STDS

Standard (std.)

41 Asian holiday : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

42 Competition : TOURNEY

“Tourney” is another word for “tournament”. The term comes from the Old French word “tornei” meaning “contest of armed men”, from “tornoier” meaning “to joust, jilt”.

44 Econ. yardstick : GNP

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

46 Principle : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

47 Cruelty named for a marquis : SADISM

A sadist is someone who derives pleasure from inflicting pain, with that pleasure often being sexual in nature. The term “sadist” comes from the Marquis de Sade, who was known to exhibit such tendencies.

The Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat with a reputation for a libertine lifestyle. De Sade was also a writer, well known for his works of erotica. He fell foul of the law for some of his more extreme practices and for blaspheming the Catholic church. On and off, de Sade spent 32 years of his life in prison and in insane asylums.

51 World Cup soccer org. : FIFA

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport of soccer. The competition has been held every four years (excluding the WWII years) since the inaugural event held in Uruguay in 1930. The men’s World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, even outranking the Olympic Games. And, the women’s World Cup is fast catching up …

60 Mdse. category : IRR

Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)

Merchandise (“mdse.” or “merch.”)

61 Angkor __: Cambodian temple : WAT

Angkor Wat is a temple in Cambodia that was built in the 12th century. The beautiful building is iconic in Cambodia and is even featured in the center of the country’s national flag.

63 Encl. with a résumé : SAE

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Queens stadium namesake : ASHE
5 Elevated vantage point for Wile E. Coyote : MESA
9 Sister of Sasha : MALIA
14 Many a gamer : TEEN
15 Oodles : A LOT
16 Freezes : ICES UP
18 Red River city : FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA (hiding “ARGON”)
21 Fronded plant : FERN
22 Exit in a hurry : BAIL
23 Oodles, with “a” : … SLEW
24 They, in Calais : ILS
25 Drawn from diverse sources : ECLECTIC
29 Hound for payment : DUN
30 Words of urgency : NOW MORE THAN EVER (hiding “ETHANE”)
33 Partners : COHORTS
34 TV component? : TELE-
35 He hit his 600th homer exactly three years after his 500th : A-ROD
36 Medical suffix : -ITIS
40 Caesar’s next-to-last words : ET TU …
44 “Take a hike!” : GET LOST!
47 Intro suggesting uncertainty : SOMEONE ONCE SAID … (hiding “NEON”)
51 Way off : FAR
52 Be decided by : TURN UPON
53 Sot’s woe : DTS
54 Caesar’s last day, e.g. : IDES
56 __ act : RIOT
57 Summers in Bordeaux : ETES
59 Pre-road trip detail … and a hint to what certain parts of three long answers were doing as you solved them : FILLING UP WITH GAS
64 Make certain : ASSURE
65 Island in Micronesia : GUAM
66 Big name in digital imaging : AGFA
67 Jovial : MERRY
68 Modern address letters : HTTP
69 “Got it” : I SEE

Down

1 DOJ bureau : ATF
2 Shipwreck site : SEAFLOOR
3 “Want to know the culprit? I’ll tell you!” : HERE’S WHO!
4 Many an MIT alum : ENGR
5 Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible __” : MAN
6 “Livin’ Thing” rock gp. : ELO
7 Cold dessert : SORBET
8 Stick on : ATTACH
9 Central dividing point : MIDLINE
10 Here, in Juárez : ACA
11 Albanian money : LEKS
12 Tristan’s love : ISOLDE
13 Filmmaker with a distinctive style : AUTEUR
17 One before a king? : PAWN
19 “It’s __ the other” : ONE OR
20 Try to strike : HIT AT
24 Old Peruvian : INCA
26 Old TV component : CRT
27 “__ Miz” : LES
28 Wile E. Coyote collectible : CEL
31 Surfing tool : MODEM
32 Bridal shop array : VEILS
37 Source of some tadpoles : TOAD EGGS
38 “Okay to come out yet?” : IS IT SAFE?
39 Norms: Abbr. : STDS
41 Asian holiday : TET
42 Competition : TOURNEY
43 Strip of gear, as a ship : UNRIG
44 Econ. yardstick : GNP
45 Environmentalist’s prefix : ECO-
46 Principle : TENET
47 Cruelty named for a marquis : SADISM
48 Ultimatum phrase : OR ELSE
49 “Just stop, okay?!” : ENOUGH!
50 Production : OUTPUT
51 World Cup soccer org. : FIFA
55 Omit a part of, perhaps : SLUR
58 Asian takeout option : THAI
60 Mdse. category : IRR
61 Angkor __: Cambodian temple : WAT
62 Trickster : IMP
63 Encl. with a résumé : SAE

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Feb 21, Thursday”

  1. No errors but a few words I never heard of. AGFA AUTEUR and then the sprinkled in foreign words.

    @randy – we are headed to a secluded estate in the heart of the US. — KANSAS.
    Really looking forward to it. Apprehensive at first not knowing how the process works.. especially with the payment policy.. I guess we will see. We just haven’t been able to get away for a long time and its a central location for a family get together.

    1. Oh, that sounds like fun, Anon Mike! Are you American? I have never had a problem with the payment policy with Airbnb but I do find that once you factor in the cleaning cost, it often works out to as much as an inexpensive hotel — or motel, I should say! But, again, I like the seclusion that often comes with an Airbnb — I stayed in a casita with a swimming pool all to myself in the middle of the pandemic (this was Tucson) when hotel/motel pools were closed, so it was great! Never heard of Agfa either!

  2. No errors, but looked up “ils”. I didn’t tumble to the theme until I saw it
    in big print in Bill’s column. Then “ethane” jumped out at me along with
    “neon” and “argon”. I didn’t know AGFA but got it okay through down
    answers. Enjoyable puzzle.

  3. I usually multiply Bill’s time by three and if I can get under that, I don’t feel so bad. I managed it today. Didn’t know auteur or leks. Couldn’t think of Malia. Sheesh.

  4. @A Nonny Muss
    Thanks for yesterday’s explanation of “illusory apparent”. I know I should check these things out before I go spouting off. My bad.

  5. 10:26, no errors.

    And, to repeat a post from yesterday’s blog …

    Google “illusory apparent” and you will get many hits demonstrating that the two words can indeed be synonyms. Here’s one:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_motion

    Another quote, directly from the dictionary:

    “Some common synonyms of illusory are apparent, ostensible, and seeming.”

    It is apparent that “apparent” is one of those weird words that can have opposite meanings, depending on context.

    English. Gotta love it … 😜

      1. There’s a function in most online crossword software called “Check Grid”. It basically marks everything that’s wrong. That phrase is basically saying the person needed to do that as help to get through the grid.

  6. I’ve taught Julius Caesar enough to know “Et tu” are not Caesar’s next-to-last words. In the interest of literary accuracy, let me point out that Caesar’s final words in Act III, scene i of Shakespeare’s play are “Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.” Did anyone else try to fit “Then fall” into 4 letters?

    1. Hi Nick. I think our puzzle constructor today was very careful, (and tricky) to word their clue in the way they did. If you literally parse the clue “Et tu” is indeed next to Caesar’s last words which, as you have pointed out begin with “Brute” and end with “Then fall, Caesar.”

      Just my two cents. YMMV

  7. 12 minutes, 40 seconds, 2 errors (ILS/INCA; my French just wouldn’t come to me…). Should have had circled letters for the gas (call them “bubbles” or something), otherwise that themeis just way too opaque and precious.

  8. No Googles, even w/o noticing the theme. Never heard of AGFA.
    Not bad for me for a Thursday.
    Wondered, at first whether Wechsler (btw, means moneychanger) was going for ISOLDE or ISeult.
    Beautiful day today in the Mohawk Valley – blue skies and heaps of white snow.

  9. I didn’t stand a chance today as both AGFA and the SAE and the SASE pre-date the modem. One letter from finishing about 45min. Invested.

  10. Mostly easy Thursday Wechsler for me; took 17:32 with no errors or peeks. Danced around a bit waiting for a crosses and finished before really getting the theme. It helped that I was able to anticipate some of the answers from past puzzles…all in all a very fun experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.