LA Times Crossword 1 Apr 21, Thursday

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Constructed by: Joseph A. Gangi
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Alter Ego

Themed answers include the letters EGO, but with the order ALTERED:

  • 53A Secondary persona, or what’s hidden in the answers to starred clues : ALTER EGO
  • 19A *Like some pages in used books : DOG-EARED
  • 33A *”Mean” Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman : JOE GREENE
  • 38A *Arcade staple : VIDEO GAME
  • 4D *Metaphor suggesting suspense : EDGE OF ONE’S SEAT
  • 15D *Is a fifty-fifty proposition : CAN GO EITHER WAY

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

Bill’s time: 9m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Anger : BILE

In days past, health was said to depend on the balance between the body’s four “humors”, four vital fluids. These humors were blood, phlegm, yellow bile (aka “choler”) and black bile. Excesses of yellow and black bile were thought to produce aggression and depression. As a result, we use the terms “bile” and “choler” today to mean “ill temper” and “anger”.

18 Ctrl+V, commonly : PASTE

The Control (CTRL) key on a PC keyboard is used to modify the function of other keys. For example, pressing CTRL+C copies a selection to the clipboard, and CTRL+V pastes the contents of the clipboard to a location defined by the cursor. Control keys were introduced on teletypewriters to generate “control characters”, which are non-printing characters that instruct a computer to do something like print a page, ring a bell etc.

19 *Like some pages in used books : DOG-EARED

The folded-down corner of the page of a book, a temporary placeholder, is known as a “dog-ear”. I suppose that’s because it looks like the ear of a dog …

23 Send an IM to : PING

In the world of computer science, a “ping” is a test message sent over a network between computers to check for a response and to measure the time of that response. We now use the verb “to ping” more generally, meaning to send someone a message, usually a reminder.

Instant message (IM)

24 Public health org. : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

25 Card game cry : GIN

Gin rummy is a faster variant of standard rummy. It was introduced in 1909 by one Elwood Baker and his son.

30 MLB’s Angels, in sportscasts : HALOS

The Anaheim Angels baseball team is today more correctly called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (LAA). The “Angels” name dates back to 1961 when the team was founded in the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles. When the franchise moved to Anaheim in 1965 they were known as the California Angels, then the Anaheim Angels, and most recently the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels are also known as “the Halos”.

33 *”Mean” Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman : JOE GREENE

Joe Greene is a retired NFL defensive tackle who played his whole professional career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, from 1969 to 1981. He was regarded as a competitive and aggressive player, which earned him the nickname “Mean” Joe Greene. His number 75 jersey was formally retired by the Steelers in 2014, making Greene one of only two Steelers so honored (the other being Ernie Stautner).

35 Before, in Brest : AVANT

Brest is a port city in northwest France, and is the second largest military port in the country. Brest was an important base for German U-boats during WWII when France was occupied by the Nazis. Brest is the most westerly city in the whole country.

38 *Arcade staple : VIDEO GAME

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.

42 Chemical suffix : -ANE

The “smaller” alkanes are gases and are quite combustible. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component. Propane (C3H8) is also found in natural gas and is heavy enough to be readily turned into a liquid by compression, for ease of transportation and storage. Butane (C4H10) is also easily liquefied under pressure and can be used as the fuel in cigarette lighters or as the propellant in aerosol sprays. The heavier alkanes are liquids and solids at room temperature.

54 Distinctive characters : AURAS

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

55 Verdi solo : ARIA

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer, mainly of operas, who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”. Verdi was a big fan of William Shakespeare and wrote three operas based on the Bard’s plays: “Macbeth”, “Otello” and “Falstaff”.

56 Paintball souvenir? : WELT

The welt of a shoe is a strip, often made of leather, that runs along the perimeter of the outsole. It is used to attach the shoe’s upper to the outsole. The term “welt”, in this sense, dates back to the early 1600s. The extended use to mean “ridge on the skin from a wound” dates to the early 1800s.

The “paint” in paintball isn’t actually paint, but rather a mix of gelatin and food coloring.

59 Not worth __ : A SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

60 LAX info : ETA

Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.

61 Rogues : CADS

Our word “cad”, meaning “person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

62 Trees used to make bows : YEWS

Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

Down

2 Facetious target of a series of guides : IDIOT

“Complete Idiot’s Guides” are a series of how-to books that competes with the “For Dummies” series.

3 Talk of the town? : LINGO

Lingo is specialized vocabulary. Journalese and legalese would be good examples.

5 Spain and Portugal, mostly : IBERIA

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

8 Ed.’s stack : MSS

An editor (ed.) might read or edit a manuscript (MS)

11 Jury member : PEER

A jury is a group of people who have sworn to render a verdict. The term “jury” comes into English via French, ultimately from the Latin “iurare” meaning “to swear”.

23 Jigsaw bit : PIECE

Jigsaws are saws designed for the cutting of irregular curves by hand. The original jigsaw puzzles were created by painting a picture on a sheet of wood and then cutting the picture into small pieces using a jigsaw, hence the name. Today, almost all jigsaw puzzles are pictures glued onto cardboard. The puzzle pieces are now die-cut, and so there’s no jigsaw involved at all.

31 Tel __ : AVIV

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, and is a name that was chosen in 1910.

32 Fill with freight : LADE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

33 Casual pants : JEANS

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

34 React to fightin’ words, maybe : RASSLE

“Rassle” is a slang word meaning “wrestle”.

39 Hebrides native : GAEL

A Gael is anyone of a race that speaks or spoke one of the Erse tongues. 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).

The Hebrides is a group of islands just off the west coast of Scotland. The Hebrides are divided into two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

46 Inspiration for the 2004 film “Troy” : ILIAD

Ilion (or in Latin “Ileum”), was the ancient name for the city of Troy. It’s this name for Troy that gives rise to the title of Homer’s epic poem “Iliad”.

“Troy” is a 2004 movie epic based on Homer’s “Iliad” that tells the story of the Trojan War. “Troy” has quite the cast, including Brad Pitt as Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector and Diane Kruger as Helen. Most of the filming was done on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. It was an expensive film to make, with costs running at about $175 million. The film did well at the box office though, with most of the profits being made outside of the US.

47 Parts of some V’s : GEESE

A collection of geese is referred to as a “gaggle” when on the ground. When geese are in V-formation in flight, they are referred to collectively as a “skein”.

Apparently, birds that fly in a V-formation do so for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to “slipstream” a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It’s also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.

49 Kind of position used for meditation : LOTUS

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

50 “Ditto” : SAME

The word “ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is just another wonderful import from that lovely land …

52 __ Major : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

53 Triangle calculation : AREA

To calculate the area of a triangle we multiply half of the base by the perpendicular height. But, we all remember that from school, don’t we?

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Anger : BILE
5 List member : ITEM
9 Reheat, in a way : ZAP
12 “That’s on me” : I DID
13 Service station sections : BAYS
14 Crime site : SCENE
16 One may symbolize friendship : RING
17 Gets with difficulty, with “out” : EKES …
18 Ctrl+V, commonly : PASTE
19 *Like some pages in used books : DOG-EARED
21 It arrives just before Christmas, for many : WINTER
22 Substituted (for) : STOOD IN
23 Send an IM to : PING
24 Public health org. : FDA
25 Card game cry : GIN
26 Like some exams : ORAL
30 MLB’s Angels, in sportscasts : HALOS
33 *”Mean” Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman : JOE GREENE
35 Before, in Brest : AVANT
36 List-ending abbr. : ETC
37 Helpers : AIDES
38 *Arcade staple : VIDEO GAME
40 Puts away : STOWS
41 Pre-event periods : EVES
42 Chemical suffix : -ANE
43 Fire remains : ASH
44 Calls in poker : SEES
46 Criminal : ILLEGAL
50 Tell when one shouldn’t : SQUEAL
53 Secondary persona, or what’s hidden in the answers to starred clues : ALTER EGO
54 Distinctive characters : AURAS
55 Verdi solo : ARIA
56 Paintball souvenir? : WELT
57 With 7-Down, teary : MISTY …
58 Tolerate : BEAR
59 Not worth __ : A SOU
60 LAX info : ETA
61 Rogues : CADS
62 Trees used to make bows : YEWS

Down

1 Fowl : BIRDS
2 Facetious target of a series of guides : IDIOT
3 Talk of the town? : LINGO
4 *Metaphor suggesting suspense : EDGE OF ONE’S SEAT
5 Spain and Portugal, mostly : IBERIA
6 Unavailable : TAKEN
7 See 57-Across : … EYED
8 Ed.’s stack : MSS
9 Word with lemon or orange : … ZEST
10 Pot starter : ANTE
11 Jury member : PEER
14 English : SPIN
15 *Is a fifty-fifty proposition : CAN GO EITHER WAY
20 Extends, as a building : ADDS TO
21 Building extension : WING
23 Jigsaw bit : PIECE
25 “No clue” : GOT ME
27 Start over : REDO
28 Over : ANEW
29 No __: surprisingly : LESS
30 Possess : HAVE
31 Tel __ : AVIV
32 Fill with freight : LADE
33 Casual pants : JEANS
34 React to fightin’ words, maybe : RASSLE
39 Hebrides native : GAEL
43 Wedding destinations, often : ALTARS
45 Like 55-Down : EASY
46 Inspiration for the 2004 film “Troy” : ILIAD
47 Parts of some V’s : GEESE
48 Lit up : AGLOW
49 Kind of position used for meditation : LOTUS
50 “Ditto” : SAME
51 Pack it in : QUIT
52 __ Major : URSA
53 Triangle calculation : AREA
55 See 45-Down : ABC

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 1 Apr 21, Thursday”

  1. Talk about a murky theme….!! One error box; had FDC for 24 across which
    gave me Iberic for 5down.

    Not one of my best efforts, to be sure.

  2. I recall one of these in the last few months, I think. Bill, do you categorize this kind of thing such that you could find it easily? (I do only LA Times, if you’re looking.) Once we know ALTER EGO, we know we have the other 5 variations of EGO — GOE, GEO, OGE, OEG, and EOG. My question is whether this type of theme is regular enough to know that this will consistently be the outcome of the other themed clues/answers.
    Struggled a bit in the SW corner until AURAS came to mind. The U gave me QUIT, SQUEAL…..done.
    Happy (though I say it advisedly given its foreshadowing) Maundy Thursday, all.

    1. >My question is whether this type of theme is regular enough to know that this will consistently be the outcome of the other themed clues/answers.

      There are a number of regular “theme types”, which are usually documented in most “how to do crosswords” type texts. This one is the “containing/mixed” kind of theme. You will see them and learn them as you do more crosswords, too. But then again, if you’re anything like me you might not as I don’t notice the theme in probably 95% of these while I’m solving unless I make it a point to look after the fact.

  3. Started slowly, but getting “squeal” opened things up. Put “stood in” right off the bat, which was lucky. I think my time was better that the other three days this week.

  4. no errors, 16:30. My usual measure of success on these is to have a time < twice that of Bill's. I wasn't feeling especially peppy this morning so I was rather surprised at his time of 9:13. A typo?

  5. I routinely start all my crossword puzzles in the NW corner. So I found it unusual that the NW corner was the very last piece of the puzzle to gt filled in. I thought today was a good “Thursday” level gird in terms of difficulty. Strike overs on 21 Across and 21 Down.

    Still worried about and missing Carrie. Hope she is okay and returns to the fold!

    1. Hi Tony!! I’m here! Somehow our paths haven’t crossed but I’ve posted here a few times the last coupla weeks….thank you for your notes!!🤗

      Got my first shot today, first day of eligibility, first day of April, and the first day of the baseball season— !!! GO DODGERS!!!⚾️

  6. 26:27 no errors…I got the booster yesterday…a bit sore but happy to get it over😀
    Stay safe😀
    Play ball!!! (For real today)

    1. I’m not a billiards/pool player, but I believe that when a player hits a ball at an angle to create spin, that is called “putting English on it”. I think. I got the clue, so I must be close.

  7. Hey there
    Like Tony I prefer to start in the NW. Nice way to start a Thursday, enjoyed this puzzle immensely 🙂

    Comhghairdeas 🇮🇪

  8. 7:25

    The ego theme helped in a couple of places, after getting a head start with 19A. The clue brought back the memory of being in a used book store with my dad, and him lecturing about how dog-earing a page shows disrespect for books.

    I admire how 45D depends on your getting 55D via the crosses. An ARIA sung by a BEAR to CADS makes it EASY as ABC!

  9. Wow!!! I blew through this grid in a record 6 minutes, 45 seconds, with no errors or need for Check Grid!!! First time besting Bill’s time this year, and by quite a bit!!!

  10. Tricky Thursday for me; took 32:49 with no errors or peeks. Outside of the NW corner things went pretty smoothly with just a few speed bumps in the SW and W. Unfortunately in the NW I stuck with tatteRED for a while and the rest of the NW was like pulling teeth. Finally put RING in and EDGE… etc. Still about 10 minutes there…

    Other than the NW it was a very enjoyable puzzle.

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