LA Times Crossword 11 Mar 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A Number of Letters

Themed answers each start with a letter-number combination represented by several letters repeated in the grid:

  • 20A Meeting of powerful nations : G7 SUMMIT
  • 40A Campbell’s concoction : V8 JUICE
  • 59A Team at a drug bust : K-9 UNIT

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

Bill’s time: 8m 23s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ALLIE (Ellie)
  • TOKLAS (Tokles!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 John follower : ACTS

The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the Christian New Testament. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts”.

In the Christian tradition, John the Apostle was one of the twelve followers of Jesus who were called the Apostles. John lived longer than all of the other Apostles and was the only one who did not die a martyr. John wrote the Gospel of John in the New Testament, as well as three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation.

5 Whack, biblically : SMITE

To smite is to strike with a firm blow. The term “smite” can also mean “strike down and slay”.

10 Behold, to Cicero : ECCE

Cicero was a very influential senator in ancient Rome,in part due to his renowned ability to deliver a persuasive speech. His full name was Marcus Tullius Cicero.

14 Young Adult novel by Carl Hiaasen about an owl habitat : HOOT

Carl Hiaasen is an investigative journalist, columnist and novelist from Fort Lauderdale, Florida who works for the “Miami Herald”.

16 Devise, with “up” : DRUM …

To drum up is to bring about using effort, as in “drumming up business”. The use of “drum up” dates back to the days when drums were used to attract a crowd or perhaps to encourage military recruits. More recently, the term “to drum up” has evolved to mean “to invent”, as in “drumming up a new process”.

17 Blue-green : AQUAMARINE

The mineral beryl is a source of a number of different semi-precious stones, depending on the nature of the impurities present. Pure beryl is colorless; blue beryl is called aquamarine, and green beryl is emerald. Traces of iron cause the blue color, and traces of chromium give the green hue.

20 Meeting of powerful nations : G7 SUMMIT

The G6 was a group of six industrialized nations that formed in 1975 and whose governments met on a periodic basis. The founding members were France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. The membership expanded in 1976 with the addition of Canada, forming the G7. Russia was given representation in the group in 1997, forming the G8. Russia’s membership was suspended in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea.

24 Berliner’s “Blimey!” : ACH!

The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”

When I was a kid in London, a pretty common expression of surprise was “gor blimey”, a euphemism for “God blind me”.

25 School contest : BEE

Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a bee. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a quilting bee, or even a spelling bee.

27 2016 US Open champ Wawrinka : STAN

Stan Wawrinka is a professional tennis player from Switzerland. Wawrinka has won three Grand Slam singles titles: the Australian Open (2014), the French Open (2015) and the US Open (2016).

33 Landlocked Asian country : LAOS

The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country’s name is “Meuang Lao”. The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of “Lao” entities united into one, the French added the “S” and so today we tend to use “Laos” instead of “Lao”.

35 Native Nebraskan : OTOE

Nebraska gets its name from the Platte River which flows through the state. “Nebraska” is an anglicized version of Otoe and Omaha words meaning “flat water”.

37 Carpenter’s tool : RASP

A carpenter is someone who shapes and assembles structural woodwork. The term “carpenter” comes from the Late Latin “carpentarius” meaning “wagon or carriage maker”. Both “carpenter” and “car” probably derive ultimately from the Gaulish word “karros” meaning “chariot”. Quite interesting …

40 Campbell’s concoction : V8 JUICE

The beverage V8 is a mixture of eight different vegetable juices, hence the name. It was introduced in 1933 by the New England Products Company as “ege-min 8”. The eight vegetables are beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, watercress, spinach, and tomato.

The Campbell’s Soup company is named for one of the enterprise’s two founders, Joseph A. Campbell. He and Abraham Anderson started the business in 1869. The iconic design of the Campbell’s can was introduced in 1898 and has hardly changed since then. The gold seal in the design comes from the 1900 Paris Exhibition.

45 Vegas rollers : DICE

The numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so-called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

47 Ping-Pong table need : NET

Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.

55 Trig. function : COS

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

59 Team at a drug bust : K-9 UNIT

Canine (K-9)

65 Largest portion : LION’S SHARE

Aesop wrote several fables in which a lion takes a large share by force. These tales give rise to our idiomatic expression “the lion’s share”.

68 Miranda __ of “Homeland” : OTTO

Miranda Otto is an actress from Brisbane, Australia. Otto played Éowyn in “The Lord of the Rings” series of films.

“Homeland” is a psychological drama on Showtime about a CIA officer who is convinced that a certain US Marine is a threat to the security of the United States. The show is based on a series from Israeli television called “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War”). I highly recommend it …

69 “Solutions and Other Problems” writer Brosh : ALLIE

Allie Brosh achieved fame by publishing a blog-cum-webcomic titled “Hyperbole and a Half” starting in 2009. Brosh has a challenging life, which is reflected in her works. She suffers from ADHD and severe depression.

73 Old autocrat : TSAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

Down

2 __ au vin : COQ

The French word “coq” actually means rooster, but a more tender bird is usually chosen for the classic French dish “coq au vin”. The most common wine used for the “vin” is burgundy, but sometimes another red wine is chosen, and you can also find on a menu “coq au Champagne” and “coq au Riesling”.

5 Carpet type : SHAG

Shag carpet is one with a deep pile, one with a “shaggy” appearance.

6 “All Rise” actress Helgenberger : MARG

Marg Helgenberger is an actress best known for roles she plays on television. Helgenberger played investigator Catherine Willows on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. She also played drug-addicted prostitute K.C. Koloski in the Vietnam War drama “China Beach”.

“all rise” is a legal drama that explores the lives and careers of public defenders, prosecutors and judges in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

8 Island kingdom whose capital is Nuku’alofa : TONGA

The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of 176 islands in the South Pacific, 52 of which are inhabited and scattered over an area of 270,000 square miles. Tonga was given the name Friendly Islands in 1773 when Captain James Cook first landed there, a reference to the warm reception given to the visitors. The nation’s capital is the city of Nukuʻalofa on the island of Tongatapu.

9 “Romanian Rhapsodies” composer : ENESCO

George Enescu (aka Georges Enesco) was a Romanian composer and performer. Enescu’s most popular works are two “Romanian Rhapsodies” (1901-2) and the opera “Oedipe” (1936).

10 Answer to the riddle “What cheese is made backward?” : EDAM

“Edam” is “made” written backwards.

Here are a few riddles:

  1. Imagine you are in a dark room. How do you get out?
  2. What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?
  3. There is a word and six letters it contains. Take one away and twelve is what remains. What word is it?
  4. Two girls were born to the same mother, on the same day, at the same time, in the same month and year and yet they’re not twins. How can this be?
  5. What is so delicate that even saying its name will break it?
  6. What word in the English Language is always spelled incorrectly?

And the answers:

  1. Stop imagining.
  2. A stamp
  3. Dozens
  4. They’re in a set of triplets
  5. Silence
  6. Incorrectly

11 Roomba pickup : CRUMB

The Roomba vacuum cleaner is a cool-looking device that navigates its way around a room by itself, picking up dirt as it goes. Like I said, it’s cool-looking but I am not sure how effective it is …

18 Diamond VIPs : MGRS

That would be a baseball diamond.

21 Freedom, in Swahili : UHURU

The Uhuru Movement is an organization that works for the cause of all native Africans and their descendants around the world. While focused mainly on the welfare and development of native Africans on the continent itself, another goal is the release of all African-American prisoners in US prisons. “Uhuru” is the Swahili word for “freedom”.

22 Chi.-based flier : UAL

United Airlines (UAL) has a complicated history, but can trace its roots back to Aviation Enterprises, founded in 1944 and later called Texas International. The first use of the “United” name in the company’s history was when airplane pioneer William Boeing merged his Boeing Air Transport with Pratt & Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC) in 1929. The Air Mail Act of 1934 required that UATC be broken up into United Aircraft (which became United Technologies), the Boeing Aircraft Company and United Air Lines.

23 Some Balkans : SLAVS

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.

28 “Mazel __!” : TOV

“Tov” is the Hebrew word for “good”, as in “mazel tov” meaning “good luck”.

29 Quads on roads : ATVS

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

30 Breakout stars? : NOVAS

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

34 Cinematographer Nykvist : SVEN

Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist won two Academy Awards and is best known for his work with Ingmar Bergman. In fact, his Oscars came for his contribution to two Bergman films, “Cries and Whispers” and “Fanny and Alexander”.

36 Sermon subject : EVIL

Our word “sermon” comes from the Latin “sermonem” meaning “discourse, talk”. The literal translation of “sermonem” is “a stringing together of words”, from the Latin “serere” meaning “to join”, as in the related word “series”.

42 “On the Floor” singer : J.LO

“J.Lo” is the nickname of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. “J.Lo” is also the title of her second studio album, which was released in 2001.

48 Stein’s partner : TOKLAS

Gertrude Stein was a great American writer who spent most of her life in France. Gertrude Stein met Alice B. Toklas in Paris in 1907, and the two were life partners until Stein died in 1946. Cleverly, Stein published her own memoir in 1933 but called the book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”. It was to become Stein’s best selling title.

52 LeBron’s hometown : AKRON

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

Basketball player LeBron James (nicknamed “King James”) seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.

53 Do lutzes, say : SKATE

In figure skating, a Lutz is a toe-pick-assisted jump that one starts skating backwards and ends skating backwards (there’s more to it that I don’t really understand!). The maneuver is named after Alois Lutz, an Austrian skater who first performed it in competition way back in 1913. Lutz wowed the crowd with a single jump, and today both men and women are landing triple Lutz jumps. No one has landed a clean quadruple Lutz in competition.

54 Vaudeville fare : SKITS

The Vire is a river that flows through Normandy in France. The poets of the Vire valley were known as the “Vau de Vire”, a term that some say gave rise to our word “Vaudeville”.

58 Percussion pair : HI-HAT

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

61 Beverage nut : 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.

66 Irish actor Stephen : REA

Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

67 Mr. Potato Head piece : EAR

Mr. Potato Head is an enduring and popular toy that has been around since its invention by George Lerner in 1949. In its original form, the toy was a collection of eyes, ears, and other facial features, that were designed to be stuck into a real potato. Mr. Potato Head also has the distinction of being the first toy ever to be advertised on television.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 John follower : ACTS
5 Whack, biblically : SMITE
10 Behold, to Cicero : ECCE
14 Young Adult novel by Carl Hiaasen about an owl habitat : HOOT
15 Wore : HAD ON
16 Devise, with “up” : DRUM …
17 Blue-green : AQUAMARINE
19 Garage occupant : AUTO
20 Meeting of powerful nations : G7 SUMMIT
22 One looking at a lot of tickets : USHER
24 Berliner’s “Blimey!” : ACH!
25 School contest : BEE
26 “It’s __ good” : ALL
27 2016 US Open champ Wawrinka : STAN
31 Possessive pronoun : OUR
33 Landlocked Asian country : LAOS
35 Native Nebraskan : OTOE
37 Carpenter’s tool : RASP
40 Campbell’s concoction : V8 JUICE
43 Spotted : SEEN
44 Breeze (through) : SAIL
45 Vegas rollers : DICE
47 Ping-Pong table need : NET
49 Messy one : SLOB
51 Goat’s cry : MAA!
52 Braying beast : ASS
55 Trig. function : COS
57 “I can take __!” : A HINT
59 Team at a drug bust : K-9 UNIT
64 Green on a weather map : RAIN
65 Largest portion : LION’S SHARE
68 Miranda __ of “Homeland” : OTTO
69 “Solutions and Other Problems” writer Brosh : ALLIE
70 Wheelhouse : AREA
71 Retreat : NEST
72 Blind parts : SLATS
73 Old autocrat : TSAR

Down

1 “Got it!” : AHA!
2 __ au vin : COQ
3 Compassionate but strict approach : TOUGH LOVE
4 Put on : STAGE
5 Carpet type : SHAG
6 “All Rise” actress Helgenberger : MARG
7 “Got it” : I DIG
8 Island kingdom whose capital is Nuku’alofa : TONGA
9 “Romanian Rhapsodies” composer : ENESCO
10 Answer to the riddle “What cheese is made backward?” : EDAM
11 Roomba pickup : CRUMB
12 Term of affection : CUTIE
13 Gush on stage : EMOTE
18 Diamond VIPs : MGRS
21 Freedom, in Swahili : UHURU
22 Chi.-based flier : UAL
23 Some Balkans : SLAVS
28 “Mazel __!” : TOV
29 Quads on roads : ATVS
30 Breakout stars? : NOVAS
32 Surprise attack : RAID
34 Cinematographer Nykvist : SVEN
36 Sermon subject : EVIL
38 Curved sabers : SCIMITARS
39 Butter __ : PECAN
41 Jersey type : V-NECK
42 “On the Floor” singer : J.LO
46 Put away : EAT
48 Stein’s partner : TOKLAS
50 Makes illegal : BANS
52 LeBron’s hometown : AKRON
53 Do lutzes, say : SKATE
54 Vaudeville fare : SKITS
56 Ability : SKILL
58 Percussion pair : HI-HAT
60 One in a sailor’s repertoire : KNOT
61 Beverage nut : KOLA
62 Make mittens, say : KNIT
63 Exploits : USES
66 Irish actor Stephen : REA
67 Mr. Potato Head piece : EAR

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Mar 21, Thursday”

  1. Well that was a quick. Still had an error(s).
    For 38D I had SCIBITARS instead of SCIMITARS. Does a goat go BAA or MAA? Depends on what makes it right!!! Ha!

    Also 31A threw me off. Had HER. which gave me UHERU for 21D. I knew it was UHURU because I remember the Star Trek reference… but I went too fast .. I need to slow down and smell the roses..

  2. Enjoyed the theme. Kind of inventive, not to mention helpful. Made for an easy Thursday puzzle, mostly. Like Bill, had to guess E or A for Toklas/Allie. Chose A, though I had no idea.
    Bill, looks like the Campbell’s explanation (40A) flows into Seen/Spotted (43A). No big deal, just an FYI

    1. Thanks, Clay3454 and Ron F, for pointing out that slip. Proof-reading your own work is never a good idea 🙂 All fixed now.

  3. No errors. No lookups. Confusing at first, but when the theme was
    apparent, the rest came more easily.

  4. 9:51 No issues

    @Bill – you continue the info about Campbell’s soup under 43A heading when it should just be a new paragraph under 40A

  5. 23:07 with 1 very dumb error which a review should have picked up but laziness creeps in every now and then.
    @Bill… give yourself a break…it’s one error that affects 2 words.
    Stay safe😀

  6. Who is speedy Bill? My hat is off to him. I have yet to match his time on any puzzle, and it has become my life’s goal.

  7. 9:41, no errors. Isn’t anyone going to complain that 7 G’s is not the same as “G7”, 8 V’s is not the same as “V8”, and 9 K’s is not the same as “K-9”? For cryin’ out loud, where are the kvetchers when we need them?! … 😜

    1. A very clever theme. I didn’t catch on to it until I was in my computer seeing how
      we did. I was super pleased with our effort. One dumb error and 4 omissions. That
      would surely lead the Super Geezer Division.

      Good to see you posting again, ANM.

  8. 9 minutes, 14 seconds, no errors. Mostly an OK grid, but I did NOT appreciate the theme “stunt” of multiple letters. Too cute by half. “Stowe” that foolishness.

  9. Cute puzzle. Had to Google for TONGA.
    Several I guessed: HOOT, OTTO, ALLIE, MARG, UAL, SVEN, SKATE.
    I read a book by Hiaasen, and wondered why it sounded so stupid to me. I ran a test on a page of it and discovered it was written on a 6th grade level.

  10. @david Jackson, I’m with you! Bill is incredibly fast…but my goal is just to complete each day without an error! Today was fun! And easy…figured out the theme early on…Haven’t been here in a few days cuz this was a busy week!

  11. Mostly easy Thursday, done while eating; took 23:20 with one switched letter turned up by “check grid”, even though I had put the correct letter in that square. So, I’m calling it a NO error 🙂

    Clever theme that helped me get the top and bottom theme clues. I have the Trader Joe’s V8 equivalent every other day, so that was a gimme.

    Storms – Yikes, Nonny and Glenn, big storms heading – or already there – your way. Stay safe and warm!

  12. Anyone do the NEWSWEEK today. That was a bit tricky. Can’t say I knew how to spell all the long words but I knew who they were. That was a bit tough but I enjoyed it.

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