LA Times Crossword 5 Feb 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Getting the W

Themed answers are common phrases beginning with a letter R, to which has been added a letter W at the start:

  • 59A Winning, in sports slang … and what each of four puzzle answers is doing? : GETTING THE W
  • 17A Kitty Hawk? : WRIGHT PLACE (from “right place”)
  • 22A Englishman Charles’ ripped-up early essay attempts? : WRACK OF LAMB (from “rack of lamb”)
  • 38A Good insurance risk? : WRECKLESS DRIVER (from “reckless driver”)
  • 47A Pre-Christmas affair? : WRAP SESSION (from “rap session”)

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

Bill’s time: 10m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 3.0 and 4.0, briefly : GPAS

Grade point average (GPA)

5 “The Fall” guy? : CAMUS

“The Fall” (“La Chute”) is a 1956 novel by French philosopher and author Albert Camus. It was to be Camus’ last work of fiction.

Albert Camus was a French author, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Sadly, Camus died in a car accident just two years after he received the prize, at only 46 years of age.

10 AOL rival : MSN

The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a web portal.

13 James’ evil golfing opponent, in a 1964 film : AURIC

“Goldfinger” is Ian Fleming’s seventh James Bond novel, and was first published in 1959. Fleming was in the habit of naming his characters after people in the real world. The novel’s colorful antagonist Auric Goldfinger was named after Hungarian-born British architect Ernő Goldfinger.

1964’s “Goldfinger” is the third of the “James Bond” films made (after “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love”). Such was the success of “Goldfinger”, that attempts were made to establish a competing series of films by other studios. Most notable competitors to Sean Connery’s James Bond were perhaps James Coburn as Derek Flint in 1966’s “Our Man Flint”, and Dean Martin as the title character in the “Matt Helm” series of movies of the late sixties.

16 Subj. of a “delayed” notice : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

17 Kitty Hawk? : WRIGHT PLACE (from “right place”)

Kitty Hawk is a town in North Carolina. The Wright brothers made the first powered airplane flight four miles south of Kitty Hawk, at the Kill Devil Hills.

19 Monk’s title : DOM

The honorific “Dom” is used in English for monks of certain orders, such as Benedictines and Carthusians. The term is a shortened form of the Latin “dominus” meaning “master, owner”.

21 One with all the answers? : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

22 Englishman Charles’ ripped-up early essay attempts? : WRACK OF LAMB (from “rack of lamb”)

We can use “wrack” to describe a remnant of something that has been destroyed. The term was originally used, back in the late 1500s, for a wrecked ship.

27 Tight gp. : BFFS

Best friend forever (BFF)

32 Arcade plumber : MARIO

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

34 2010s White House name : 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.

35 1860s White House name : ABE

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.

42 U.S. laundry soap since 1918 : RINSO

Rinso was a laundry detergent that was first manufactured in England in 1908 by a company called Hudson’s Soap. It was introduced into the US in 1918. In America, Rinso took to radio advertising and sponsorship in the days of “soap operas”. Their most famous program association was with “The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show” in the forties. One of the brand’s slogans was “Solium, the sunlight ingredient”. I have no idea what Solium is, but it certainly did sell a lot of soap!

43 Mound stats : SAVES

That would be baseball …

46 Where Ford gets an F : NYSE

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) can give some quite descriptive ticker symbols to companies, for example:

  • Anheuser-Busch (BUD, for “Budweiser”)
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP, as in “beer tap”)
  • Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB, for “Ludwig van Beethoven”)
  • Sotheby’s (BID, for the auction house)

52 Forgets the lyrics, maybe : HUMS

The words of a popular song have been known as “lyrics” since the 1870s. Prior to that, “lyric” described a poem that might perhaps be sung. “Lyric” comes from the Greek “lyrikos” meaning “singing to the lyre”.

58 59-Down need : AMP
(59D Part of a band tour : GIG)

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

63 Bit of online mirth : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

64 Bury : INURN

To inurn, to put into an urn.

65 Gooey goody : S’MORE

S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

68 Corrosive chemicals : LYES

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

Down

1 Rubberneck : GAWK

We have been rubbernecking since the late 1800s, although the word ”rubberneck” originally applied to someone with a tendency to listen in other people’s conversations. The term really became popular when people started rubbernecking in automobiles.

3 R&B’s India.__ : ARIE

India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.

5 Three-time Best Director of the 1930s : CAPRA

I can’t tell you how many of Frank Capra’s movies are on my list of all-time favorites. He directed such classics as “It Happened One Night”, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”, “Lost Horizon”, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “Meet John Doe”, “Arsenic and Old Lace” and the holiday favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Capra was the first person to win three directorial Oscars: for “It Happened One Night”, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” and “You Can’t Take It With You”. Capra also did his bit during WWII, enlisting just a few days after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Given his great talent, and the fact that he enlisted at the relatively advanced age of 44, the US Army put him to work directing 11 documentary war films in the “Why We Fight” series, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Frank Capra won the Best Director Oscar three times:

  1. “It Happened One Night” (1934)
  2. “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936)
  3. “You Can’t Take It with You” (1938)

6 Spiked punch? : AWL

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest awls were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

7 Kid’s cry : MAA!

“Maa” is the call of a goat.

8 Neil Armstrong alma mater : USC

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school in Los Angeles. Apart from its excellent academic record, USC is known for the success of its athletic program. USC Trojans have won more Olympic medals than the students of any other university in the world. The USC marching band is very famous as well, and is known as the “Spirit of Troy”. The band has performed with many celebrities, and is the only college band to have two platinum records.

Neil Armstrong was the most private of individuals. You didn’t often see him giving interviews, unlike so many of the more approachable astronauts of the Apollo space program. His famous, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” statement; that was something that he came up with himself, while Apollo 11 was making its way to the moon.

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

9 __-crab soup : SHE

She-crab soup is a specialty in coastal Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. The soup is very rich as it is made with cream and is similar to a bisque. The list of ingredients includes Atlantic blue crab, and crab roe. It is the use of the roe that gives the name “She-crab”, as that’s where the roe comes from!

11 Picnic spoiler : STORM

Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable potluck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.

12 Desert along Africa’s southwest coast : NAMIB

The Namib Desert is in Namibia, as one might expect, and also stretches into part of Angola. It is thought to be the oldest desert in the world, having been arid for over 55 million years.

18 Sailing moniker : TAR

A jack tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the service of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.

21 Shooting option, briefly : SLR

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.

24 “That ’70s Show” role : KELSO

Ashton Kutcher played the character Michael Kelso on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show”. Kelso was Kutcher’s breakthrough acting role. Kutcher then starred in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”, replacing the “disgraced” Charlie Sheen. In 2009, Kutcher became the first user on Twitter to get over 1 million followers. I wasn’t one of them …

25 The “Tristia” poet : OVID

For some reason, the Roman poet Ovid fell into disfavor with Emperor Augustus. As a result, Ovid was banished to the island of Tomis in the Black Sea, where he spent the last years of his life. While in exile, Ovid wrote a large collection of poetic letters known as the “Tristia” (also “Sorrows” or “Lamentations”). In the work, Ovid is basically lamenting his situation in exile.

27 Autobahn autos : BMWS

The initialism “BMW” stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

The federal highway system in Germany is known as the Autobahn (plural “Autobahnen” in German). Famously, there are no federally mandated speed limits on the autobahn, although many, many stretches of the highway do indeed have posted and enforced limits. Where there is no speed limit posted, there is an advisory speed limit of 130 km/hr (81 mph). It is not illegal to travel over this speed limit, but legal liability may increase at higher speeds if that speed contributes to an accident.

30 Quote qualifier : [SIC]

[Sic] indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. “Sic” is Latin for “thus, like this”. The term is more completely written as “sic erat scriptum”, which translates as “thus was it written”.

33 Gumbo pods : OKRAS

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

36 Fliers with combs : BEES

Honeybees create a structure within their nests called a honeycomb that is used to contain their larvae and also to store honey and pollen. The honeycomb comprises hexagonal cells made from wax.

37 Source of “clan” and “slogan” : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

39 Miller option : LITE

The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

40 Evan : Welsh :: __ : Scottish : IAN

The name “John” translates into Scottish as “Ian”, into Russian as “Ivan”, into Italian as “Giovanni”, into Spanish as “Juan”, into Welsh as “Evan”, and into Irish as “Seán”.

45 Pranks, in a way, informally : TPS

TP’ing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota, that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.

49 Cyberchatting : IMING

Even though instant messaging (sending and receiving IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

51 Badgers : NAGS

To badger is to harass. The verb “to badger” comes from the cruel practice of badger-baiting, which dates back to medieval times. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The den is an artificial structure built to resemble a natural badgers’ den, complete with a tunnel entrance. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. The badger and dog are then removed from the den by pulling on the dog’s tale. Horrible …

54 Webmaster’s code : HTML

The initialism “HTML” stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the language used to write most Internet web pages (including this one).

55 Call from a bridge : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

59 Part of a band tour : GIG

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.

60 “The Realistic Joneses” playwright Will : ENO

Will Eno is an American playwright working in Brooklyn, New York. That said, Eno’s plays are mainly produced across the pond in the UK.

62 TNT component? : TRI-

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 3.0 and 4.0, briefly : GPAS
5 “The Fall” guy? : CAMUS
10 AOL rival : MSN
13 James’ evil golfing opponent, in a 1964 film : AURIC
15 Up to one’s neck : AWASH
16 Subj. of a “delayed” notice : ETA
17 Kitty Hawk? : WRIGHT PLACE (from “right place”)
19 Monk’s title : DOM
20 Asset for a musician : KEEN EAR
21 One with all the answers? : SIRI
22 Englishman Charles’ ripped-up early essay attempts? : WRACK OF LAMB (from “rack of lamb”)
27 Tight gp. : BFFS
31 Some voting machine parts : LEVERS
32 Arcade plumber : MARIO
34 2010s White House name : MALIA
35 1860s White House name : ABE
38 Good insurance risk? : WRECKLESS DRIVER (from “reckless driver”)
41 “Didn’t I tell you?” : SEE?
42 U.S. laundry soap since 1918 : RINSO
43 Mound stats : SAVES
44 It might be a bust : STATUE
46 Where Ford gets an F : NYSE
47 Pre-Christmas affair? : WRAP SESSION (from “rap session”)
52 Forgets the lyrics, maybe : HUMS
53 Evil laugh : MWAHAHA!
58 59-Down need : AMP
59 Winning, in sports slang … and what each of four puzzle answers is doing? : GETTING THE W
63 Bit of online mirth : LOL
64 Bury : INURN
65 Gooey goody : S’MORE
66 Poetic conjunction : ERE
67 Shoot for the stars : GO BIG
68 Corrosive chemicals : LYES

Down

1 Rubberneck : GAWK
2 Sheer : PURE
3 R&B’s India.__ : ARIE
4 Take the offer : SIGN
5 Three-time Best Director of the 1930s : CAPRA
6 Spiked punch? : AWL
7 Kid’s cry : MAA!
8 Neil Armstrong alma mater : USC
9 __-crab soup : SHE
10 Smart regarding marketing : MEDIA-SAVVY
11 Picnic spoiler : STORM
12 Desert along Africa’s southwest coast : NAMIB
14 Mull (over) : CHEW
18 Sailing moniker : TAR
21 Shooting option, briefly : SLR
23 School meetings : CLASSES
24 “That ’70s Show” role : KELSO
25 The “Tristia” poet : OVID
26 Quake causes : FEARS
27 Autobahn autos : BMWS
28 One may be taken for a ride : FARE
29 Shopper’s lure : FREE SAMPLE
30 Quote qualifier : [SIC]
33 Gumbo pods : OKRAS
34 Screen lists : MENUS
36 Fliers with combs : BEES
37 Source of “clan” and “slogan” : ERSE
39 Miller option : LITE
40 Evan : Welsh :: __ : Scottish : IAN
45 Pranks, in a way, informally : TPS
47 More than a high roller, in casino lingo : WHALE
48 Buzz : RUMOR
49 Cyberchatting : IMING
50 Have mastery over : OWN
51 Badgers : NAGS
54 Webmaster’s code : HTML
55 Call from a bridge : AHOY!
56 “__ goes!” : HERE
57 Floors : AWES
59 Part of a band tour : GIG
60 “The Realistic Joneses” playwright Will : ENO
61 Slow boat : TUB
62 TNT component? : TRI-

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Feb 21, Friday”

  1. Tough puzzle today Mr Haight!! Looks easy when you get done.. 5A had me stumped for a long time. “THE FALL” is a TV series and “THE FALL GUY” are both tv shows.. what could it be?? I guessed, .. turns out it was neither. Never heard of “SHE-SOUP” but that happens a lot on these coastal grids. There is a lot of coastal references that we don’t hear of here in the Midwest. They are like a foreign word for me. But, thats the fun.

    Had 2 errors after all that. 12D , I had NARIB because I had DOR for 19A.. don’t ask..

  2. No errors but had to do more lookups than I’d like…it was that or give up
    on this one. i.e. “Eno”. Got the theme early, but it wasn’t as
    much help as I’d hoped.

    I knew Rinso, but haven’t seen any for a long time. Is it still around?

  3. Clever puzzle, but can I hate Haight for just a second? If you’re going to use an obscure word that only a funeral director would love — 64A INURN — at least get the clue right: according to a recent study only around 30% of cremated remains are buried while more than 50% are “inurned” at home.

  4. No errors. Elapsed time: A little over an hour. (I was about 2/3rds done at the 8-minute mark and then my 70-year-old “little sister” – whom I dearly love – called to wish me a happy birthday and … well … we had good reason to call her “chatty Kathy”! … 😜). Good puzzle, in any case.

  5. 31:43 no errors…refreshing after the NYT 0101.
    Stay safe😀
    Hope you have better lick than me getting a COVID shot🙏

  6. 27:52 1 lookup, 1 error

    A lot of new things, but the only one I couldn’t guess was India.Arie. Off to read about her.

  7. Had so much fun doing this with my 26 year old son who is a Phd candidate in physics and has made it to the audition stage of the Jeopardy tv show (he doesn’t really want to get on it now because in 10 or so years, he thinks, he will have a greater store of trivia and more time to prepare!)…Just the right amount of challenge , I thought! Inurn was just a sort of resignation choice because we had never heard of the word — and I agree that the clue is misleading!

  8. 11:54, and only half completed before I gave up on this abomination. An early candidate for Worst Grid of the Year. Half the clues were totally worthless. MWAHAHA, in addition to not being a word is commonly expressed MUAHAHA. And I could continue, but why waste any more time than I already have?

  9. Never heard of GETTING THE W. I kept wondering what a “thew” is.

    I’ve read the McCullough biography and have been to the museum at Kitty Hawk. The Wright Bros were absolutely amazing in so many ways.

  10. I found it to be one of the hardest LA Times puzzles in a long time, much harder than the vast majority of the Saturday puzzles. Even after figuring out the theme I still could only just pick away at it, never got a flow. Very challenging, hat’s off to the constructor.

    1. Yup and that’s what first came to mind (I was thinking PER? PDU? surely not PSU Perdue State University!!?). That said, he received an MS from USC in 1970.

      28:36, no errors. Tough but fair, my stumbling block was the NW where I had SELL instead of SIGN for a long time.

  11. Very difficult Friday for me; took 1:03:01 with a bunch of errors in the middle N and NE. Couldn’t get the top two theme answers even though I had part of them, along with lack of letters to find crosses. Still, kind of proud that I managed the rest – 85% – without help, despite the many proper nouns.

    re She-Crab soup – Around here, on the West coast, it is illegal to keep any female Dungeness crabs, since they are the ones that propagate the species.

    @John May – You’re right that Neil Armstrong graduated with a BS from Purdue and he subsequently got his MS from USC in 1970. I knew he was from Ohio, so I guessed OSU and then Kent SU, but that didn’t work for me.

    @Nonny – Happy birthday!! I hope you had a great day.

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