LA Times Crossword 4 Mar 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Face to Face

Themed answers each comprise two words, both of which often precede “FACE”:

  • 60A In person … and like 17-, 26-, 36- and 49-Across? : FACE TO FACE
  • 17A Circuitous : ROUNDABOUT (“round face” & “about face”)
  • 26A Unfilled, as a schedule slot : LEFT OPEN (“left face” & open face”)
  • 36A No-frills card game : STRAIGHT POKER (“straight face” & “poker face”)
  • 49A Short nightgown : BABY DOLL (“baby face” & “doll face”)

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

Bill’s time: 7m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Logo of The Hartford : STAG

Exactly when the Hartford Stag (or Elk, or Hart) logo first appeared isn’t precisely known. The oldest extant representation of the Hartford Stag is found on a policy that the company issued to Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

10 Pueblo people : HOPI

Many members of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

The Pueblo peoples are Native Americans from the American Southwest who are known for their construction of towns and villages comprising buildings made from adobe and stone. The Pueblo inhabited pit houses dug into cliffs prior to c. 1050 CE. After this date, they started to develop planned villages that included apartment-like structures often located on ledges of rock that were easy to defend. The largest of these villages extant today is the magnificent Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. It is a “must see” when visiting the area …

14 Thick book : TOME

“Tome” first came into English from the Latin “tomus” which means “section of a book”. The original usage in English was for a single volume in a multi-volume work. By the late 16th century, “tome” had come to mean “large book”.

15 Amazon assistant : ALEXA

Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

16 Spoonbill kin : IBIS

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

The spoonbills is a wading bird with a distinctively-shaped bill. That bill is flat and wide at the end, like a spoon, that facilitates feeding while wading in shallow water.

19 Daily vitamin, e.g. : PILL

“Vitamins” are substances that are “vital” to life in small quantities. The term “vitamine” was coined in 1912 by Casimir Funk, a Polish biochemist who isolated several essential chemicals, all of which he assumed were amines. When it was later determined that these vital micronutrients were not all amines, then the letter E was dropped from “vitamine” to give us “vitamin”.

21 Some German imports : AUDIS

The predecessor to today’s Audi company was called Auto Union. Auto Union was formed with the merger of four individual entities: Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. The Audi logo comprises four intersecting rings, each representing one of the four companies that merged.

23 PreCheck org. : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) operates its precheck program known as “TSA Pre✓” (or “TSA PreCheck”). Members of the program receive expedited screening at airports at most airports. In order to become a member, a traveler must apply online, appear in person at a designated office for a background check and fingerprinting, and pay a fee for a 5-year membership.

28 Many MIT grads : EES

Electrical engineer (EE)

29 Roleo surface : LOG

The log-rolling competition traditionally engaged in by lumberjacks is referred to as “roleo”.

32 Lummox : BIG APE

The word “lummox” comes from East Anglian slang , and describes an ungainly and often clueless person. The term is probably a contraction of “lumbering ox”.

40 Emperor after Galba : OTHO

AD 69 was a year of civil war in ancient Rome. The unrest started with the death of emperor Nero in AD 68, after which followed the brief rule of Galba, of Otho, of Vitellius, and of Vespasian all in the same year. As a result, AD 69 became known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

41 State bordering Arizona : SONORA

Sonora is the state in Mexico that lies just south of Arizona and New Mexico. Sonora is the second-largest state in the country, after Chihuahua.

42 Like a quarter’s edge : REEDED

Reeding is the carving into a surface of “reeds”, parallel strips that resemble thin reeds. We are perhaps most familiar with the reeding of some coins, the ridging or grooving of coins like quarters and dimes. Coins were originally reeded to prevent clipping. Clipping was the scraping off of metal from the edges of coins made from precious metals.

45 Podcast interruptions : ADS

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

46 “LOTR” menace : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

“Lord of the Rings” (LOTR)

52 Turin title : SIGNOR

Turin (“Torino” in Italian) is a major city in the north of Italy that sits on the Po River. Back in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was formed, Turin was chosen as the first capital of the country.

54 “__ have what she’s having”: quip from “When Harry Met Sally…” : I’LL

The multi-talented Carl Reiner was from the Bronx, New York. Reiner was married to singer Estelle Roberts. You might remember Roberts from the film “When Harry Met Sally” that was directed by Carl’s son, Rob Reiner. Estelle was the woman in the deli who said the famous line “ I’ll have what she’s having”, on seeing how excited Meg Ryan apparently was with her sandwich.

58 “On the double!” : STAT!

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

63 “Looking 4 Myself” R&B singer : USHER

“Usher” is the stage name of R&B singer Usher Terry Raymond IV.

65 Wall St. index : NYSE

The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in a National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

67 __ Martin Cognac : REMY

Remy Martin is my favorite brand of Cognac (remember that when it’s my birthday!). In China, the name Remy Martin is not used, but rather the more colorful moniker “man-headed horse” which describes the centaur logo on the bottle.

Down

1 Attack from above : STRAFE

We’ve been using “strafe” to mean “attack on a ground position from low-flying aircraft” since WWII. Prior to that, the word was used by British soldiers to mean any form of attack. It was picked up from the German word for “punish” as it was used in “Gott strafe England” meaning, “May God punish England”.

4 Parental units? : GENES

A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

6 “L.A.’s Finest” actress Jessica : ALBA

Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that, Alba acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child.

“L.A.’s Finest” is a police-drama series that first aired in 2019. It is a spin-off of the “Bad Boys” action-comedy film franchise. The movies starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and the TV show stars Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union.

7 Gangnam District city : SEOUL

The Gangnam District is a very fashionable area of Seoul, South Korea. The name “Gangnam” translates as “South of the River”, a reference to the Han River that flows through the city.

11 Where to find departure info? : OBIT PAGE

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

12 Beer named for a Czech city : PILSENER

Pilsener (also “pilsner” or “pils”) is a pale lager. The name “pilsener” comes from the city of Pilsen, now in the Czech Republic. It was in Pilsen, in 1842, that the first bottom-fermented lager was produced. A bottom-fermented beer is much clearer that a top-fermented beer, and has a crisper taste. The “top” and “bottom” refers to where the yeast gathers during the brewing process.

13 Christmas and Easter : ISLANDS

Christmas Island is an Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean. The island is so named because it was discovered by an English East India Company vessel on Christmas Day, in 1643.

“Rapa Nui” is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call “Easter Island”. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Chilean-owned Easter Island is inhabited and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1300 miles away.

18 Mexico’s national flower : DAHLIA

The dahlia is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America. It was named the national flower of Mexico relatively recently, in 1963. The plant was given the name dahlia in 1791, in honor of Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.

22 Office address abbr. : STE

Suite (ste.)

25 “You can observe a lot by watching” speaker : YOGI

Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

  • It ain’t over till it’s over.
  • 90% of the game is half mental.
  • Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • It’s déjà vu all over again.
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

27 2020 US Open winner Naomi : OSAKA

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese-born tennis professional who became the first Asian player to be ranked number-one in singles.

32 “The Pianist” Oscar winner Adrien : BRODY

Adrien Brody won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the Roman Polanski masterpiece “The Pianist”. Brody won the award in 2003 at the age of 29, making him the youngest person ever to receive the Best Actor Oscar.

“The Pianist” is a memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish musician of Jewish heritage and a survivor of the Holocaust. The memoir was not written by Szpilman himself, but by author Jerzy Waldorff who interviewed him and became his friend. The memoir was first published in 1946 in Poland under the title “Death of a City”, but lay unnoticed for decades. It was republished in English in 1998 under the title “The Pianist”, and became widely read. Roman Polanski then directed a 2002 screen version using “The Pianist” as a title. Sadly, Szpilman died during the making of the film and never saw the great success the movie achieved, including three Academy Awards.

33 Beef broth soup : PHO

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

34 Italian volcano : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

36 Like ninjas : STEALTHY

The ninjas were around in Japan at the time of the samurai, but were a very different type of warrior. The ninjas were covert operatives, specializing in the use of stealth to accomplish their missions. As they were a secretive cadre they took on a mystical reputation with the public, who believed they had the ability to become invisible or perhaps walk on water. We now use the term “ninja” figuratively, to describe anyone highly-skilled in a specific field.

37 Ennui : THE BLAHS

“Ennui” is the French word for “boredom”, and a term that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported that we haven’t anglicized, and actually pronounce “correctly”.

39 “Twelfth Night” duke : ORSINO

Orsino, Duke of Illyria is a character in William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. The opening lines of the play, spoken by the love-smitten Orsino, are:

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

William Shakespeare wrote his comedy “Twelfth Night” as a Christmas entertainment (Twelfth Night being the end of the Christmas season). The play’s protagonist is a young woman named Viola. The plot calls for Viola to dress as eunuch named Cesario who goes into the service of Duke Orsino. Orsino has Cesario go to Duchess Olivia to express his love for her. But Olivia falls for Cesario, Cesario (Viola) falls for Orsino, and hilarity ensues …

40 “Only the Lonely” crooner : ORBISON

Roy Orbison had to be one the sickliest looking performers I’ve ever seen. Orbison had a very sallow complexion, pock-marked from teenage acne. The yellowish skin tone came from a severe bout of jaundice as a child. Perhaps poor nutrition affected him and his siblings, because all of them had very poor eyesight, with Roy almost blind and wearing very thick lenses from a very young age. He was also very ashamed of his head of hair, which was almost a ghostly white, and so he dyed it jet black even when he was young. Despite all this, he was immensely popular in his heyday with teenage girls, particularly in Canada and Ireland for some reason. On a tour of Ireland in 1963, the Irish police had to stop one of his performances in order to pull a bevy of local lasses off poor Mr. Orbison …

The marvelous rock ballad “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)” is a song written and recorded by Roy Orbison. The song was released in 1960 and became Orbison’s first major hit.

43 Slate slate, briefly : EDS

“Slate” is an online magazine that was founded in 1996. “Slate” was originally owned by Microsoft and was part of the MSN online offering. The magazine has been available for free since 1999 (it is ad-supported) and has been owned by the Washington Post Company since 2004.

44 Inept one : DOOFUS

“Doofus” (also “dufus”) is student slang that has been around since the sixties. Apparently the word is a variant of the equally unattractive term “doo-doo”.

47 Hallmark Channel fare : ROMCOM

The Hallmark Channel is a cable channel owned by Hallmark Cards. The channel has Christian roots, and was launched as the Faith and Values Channel in 1992. It was renamed to the Hallmark Channel in 2001, and still enjoys a predominantly Christian and conservative-leaning audience.

48 Goosebump-inducing : CREEPY

The terms “goose bumps” and “goose flesh” come from the fact that skin which is cold can look like the flesh of a plucked goose.

50 Potala Palace city : LHASA

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet was the residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled the former country in 1959 during the Tibetan Uprising. The building is divided into the White Palace and the Red Palace. The White Palace made up the Dalai Lama’s private living quarters. The larger Red Palace comprised halls, chapels and libraries devoted to religious study.

51 Scottish vacation sites : LOCHS

“Loch” is the Scottish Gaelic word for “lake”. The Irish-Gaelic word is “lough”, and the Welsh word is “llyn”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Logo of The Hartford : STAG
5 Less noble : BASER
10 Pueblo people : HOPI
14 Thick book : TOME
15 Amazon assistant : ALEXA
16 Spoonbill kin : IBIS
17 Circuitous : ROUNDABOUT (“round face” & “about face”)
19 Daily vitamin, e.g. : PILL
20 Puzzled : AT SEA
21 Some German imports : AUDIS
23 PreCheck org. : TSA
24 Plump : FLESHY
26 Unfilled, as a schedule slot : LEFT OPEN (‘left face” & open face”)
28 Many MIT grads : EES
29 Roleo surface : LOG
31 “Expand on that,” in improv comedy : YES, AND …
32 Lummox : BIG APE
35 Quite a stretch : AGES
36 No-frills card game : STRAIGHT POKER (“straight face” & “poker face”)
40 Emperor after Galba : OTHO
41 State bordering Arizona : SONORA
42 Like a quarter’s edge : REEDED
45 Podcast interruptions : ADS
46 “LOTR” menace : ORC
49 Short nightgown : BABY DOLL (“baby face” & “doll face”)
52 Turin title : SIGNOR
54 “__ have what she’s having”: quip from “When Harry Met Sally…” : I’LL
55 Super sexy : SO HOT
57 “I’ll pass” : NOT ME
58 “On the double!” : STAT!
60 In person … and like 17-, 26-, 36- and 49-Across? : FACE TO FACE
62 “Howdy … you just get here?” : OH, HI
63 “Looking 4 Myself” R&B singer : USHER
64 Each : A POP
65 Wall St. index : NYSE
66 Fresh : SASSY
67 __ Martin Cognac : REMY

Down

1 Attack from above : STRAFE
2 Mosey : TOOTLE
3 Tickles : AMUSES
4 Parental units? : GENES
5 Ewes do it : BAA
6 “L.A.’s Finest” actress Jessica : ALBA
7 Gangnam District city : SEOUL
8 Ooze with : EXUDE
9 Formally approve : RATIFY
10 Trendy : HIP
11 Where to find departure info? : OBIT PAGE
12 Beer named for a Czech city : PILSENER
13 Christmas and Easter : ISLANDS
18 Mexico’s national flower : DAHLIA
22 Office address abbr. : STE
25 “You can observe a lot by watching” speaker : YOGI
27 2020 US Open winner Naomi : OSAKA
30 Pranks : GAGS
32 “The Pianist” Oscar winner Adrien : BRODY
33 Beef broth soup : PHO
34 Italian volcano : ETNA
36 Like ninjas : STEALTHY
37 Ennui : THE BLAHS
38 Sci-fi vehicles : PODS
39 “Twelfth Night” duke : ORSINO
40 “Only the Lonely” crooner : ORBISON
43 Slate slate, briefly : EDS
44 Inept one : DOOFUS
46 Saved, in a way : ON TAPE
47 Hallmark Channel fare : ROMCOM
48 Goosebumps-inducing : CREEPY
50 Potala Palace city : LHASA
51 Scottish vacation sites : LOCHS
53 Accomplish much : GO FAR
56 Golf course areas : TEES
59 Draw : TIE
61 Sample : TRY

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Mar 21, Thursday”

  1. Hard one today; a few lookups which didn’t help much. Not my best
    effort. Still don’t know what some of the correct answers mean, even
    though I got them through crossing letters.

  2. JP
    Good puzzle.
    2 Hrs. while eating breakfast, reading paper, and watching TV news.
    Getting old and slower, but still attempting to multitask.
    Never got the theme. Rarely do. “Yesand” for answer to 31-across clue,
    “Expand on that in improv comedy,” kind of obscure. Like, have you
    ever heard of anyone say that?

  3. No errors. Took longer than I wanted.. too many distractions.

    I don’t get 5A. Is this related to a gas??

  4. 19:35 no errors…I got my first COVID shot yesterday…I now have a sore arm and one big burden lifted…it feels good👍👍👍👍
    Stay safe😀

  5. 11:21, no errors.

    @Glenn … I happened to have on hand a second copy of yesterday’s Croce (because I was comparing his PDF to one made using a tool, written by one Nam Jin Yoon, that BEQ is now using), so I solved it again. And it only took me 10:47 this time, with no errors! 😜 In the process, I had some thoughts about what made the puzzle difficult for me; if I have time, I will send them along …

  6. @Wallace Gottlieb (Tuesday)

    I don’t know if you’ll see this or not. Given the delays and things here (and the widgets not set up to show new comments), it’s hard to see whether people post to previous days, unless people happen to read back for some reason like I did today. Anyway, to respond to your comment:

    What does it mean when you say you made an “error?”

    It means that when Bill (or me or anyone else) finishes a grid and declares they’re done with it (that’s reflective on the time), there was an error in how the grid was filled out. Now there’s a bit of controversy on how to count errors. Bill does words, I do letters. Neither way is particularly wrong, but if you get into a contest situation, this rule is pretty much dictated.

    If you put in an incorrect answer, don’t you see that it’s wrong because the crosses won’t make sense? So—-then, don’t you erase the “error” and continue until you have enough on the grid to get the correct answer?

    That’s what most of us do on a lot of missteps. The problem is sometimes you don’t see the problem or are careless. Or as I’ve done several times, including the error of today, simply make an educated guess have it turn out wrong. One term you’ll see on this regard is “Natick” which is a crossing that basically has to be guessed at because both clues are not obvious. Like for me and this grid, my error was at 41A-39D. Didn’t know either so I just guessed. There’s controversy around this too for several reasons, but I won’t get into that.

    For me, if, after all, I can’t get it, then I just leave the puzzle not completed.

    A lot of us do that (we call it DNF or “Did Not Finish” – mind you using Google fits in this category too). But when you can get down to squares, it can be easy enough to make an educated guess or fill in just by knowing one of the crossing entries (I really don’t know the answer to this but this is the only letter that makes sense here). It’s good to remember that there’s a lot of “tricks” that can be learned and used in solving these things past reading clues. Personally I don’t know probably 80-90% of a puzzle just based on the clues (too high, I’ve lamented several times in here).

    But you always show us a fully solve puzzle.

    You address Bill in your public comment, so I don’t deign to speak for him (you basically asked stuff most all of us could answer). But this point is something he’d have to be the one to address. But I’ll say that since people tend to look at the grid to compare (and to present a neat blog post), he probably posts the correct grid to reduce the amount of confusion. (Can’t say I remember if he ever posted “his” grid solves or not?).

    Anyway, hope that helps.

  7. 6:50 no errors

    I was on a roll. First, I didn’t think 44D would really turn out to be DOOFUS, but that’s what came to mind. A lucky guess. Then, filling the theme answers helped me get the theme prompt.

    I also learned about reeding on coins.

    But I still don’t understand EDS.

  8. 10 minutes, 54 seconds, no errors. Odd not to find EERIE the fill for where CREEPY went. Starting to think ETNA is the most common fill, besides maybe ETTA. Nice grid, if a bit easy for a Thursday…

  9. Did this yesterday in, I think 18 minutes or so (and no errors) , and repeated today at 9:56 with no errors 🙂 Forgot a few answers OTHO, THEBLAHS…

    @Pam – Slate refers to both the magazine and a group of people. So if you say Slate Slate you’d be referring to a group of people running the magazine Slate. And, editors briefly are Eds.

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