LA Times Crossword 13 Aug 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Bryant White
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Invisible Ink

Themed clues are all 4-letter words, but with the last three letters “-INK” being INVISIBLE:

  • 64A Secret message technique … and a hint to four puzzle clues : INVISIBLE INK
  • 18A L : CHAIN SEGMENT (L-INK)
  • 27A M : LUSTROUS FUR (M-INK)
  • 39A F : POLICE INFORMER (F-INK)
  • 56A R : SKATING AREA (R-INK)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Suitable for growing crops : ARABLE

Arable land is land suitable for farming. The term “arable” came into English from the Latin “arare” meaning “to plow”.

11 4×4, for short : UTE

A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sport-utes and crossover-utes.

14 Song with a story : BALLAD

Our “ballad”, meaning “narrative song”, came into English from the French “ballade”, meaning “dancing song”. The French term derives from the Latin verb “ballare” meaning “to dance”.

15 Ephesus’ region : IONIA

Ephesus was an Ancient Greek city on the Ionian coast in present-day Turkey. Ephesus was home to the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

17 Hamburger Hill setting, briefly : NAM

The Battle of Hamburger Hill took place in 1969, during the Vietnam War. The engagement involved a frontal assault by US infantry up a ridge defended by the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN). Although the American forces eventually prevailed, extensive casualties were incurred by both sides. American troops fighting in the battle dubbed the ridge “Hamburger Hill”, as men trying to take it were “ground up like hamburger meat”. The name “Hamburger Hill” echoes the infamous Battle of Pork Chop Hill in the Korean War.

22 Sparkling flapper accessory : TIARA

Flappers were the so-called “new breed” of young women of the twenties. The flappers wore their hair short (with ringlets), dressed in short skirts and generally rebelled against the accepted norms of the time. The term “flapper” comes from the 1920 movie “The Flapper” starring Olive Thomas as a young woman who lived the more liberal lifestyle that was emerging at that time.

24 Cobblers’ tools : AWLS

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.

27 M : LUSTROUS FUR (M-INK)

There are two species of mink extant: the European Mink and the American Mink. There used to be a Sea Mink which was much larger than its two cousins, but it was hunted to extinction (for its fur) in the late 1800s. American Minks are farmed over in Europe for fur, and animal rights activists have released many of these animals into the wild when raiding mink farms. As a result the European Mink population has declined due to the presence of its larger and more adaptable American cousin.

31 Dumbledore and Snape, in brief : PROFS

Professor Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster of the school for wizards called Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter universe. Dumbledore’s specialties are nonverbal spells and alchemy. Author J. K. Rowling chose the name Dumbledore as it is an Early English word for a bumblebee. Apparently she pictured him wandering around, humming to himself.

Severus Snape is a character in the “Harry Potter” novels by J. K. Rowling. He was played by the wonderful Alan Rickman on the big screen.

33 Range rover : STEER

A steer is a male bovine that was castrated when young and is then raised for beef. The term “steer” comes from the Old English “steor” meaning “bullock”.

34 Military meal : MESS

“Mess” first came into English about 1300, when it described the list of food needed for a meal. The term comes from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything, from the concept of “mixed food”. The original usage, in the sense of a food for a meal, surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.

35 __ rasa : TABULA

“Tabula rasa” (plural “tabulae rasae”) is the idea that people are born with a “blank slate”, and that knowledge comes from experience and perception.

37 Clarinet, e.g. : REED

The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn’t it? The name “clarinet” comes from the Italian word “clarino” meaning “trumpet”, with the “-et” suffix indicating “small”.

39 F : POLICE INFORMER (F-INK)

A fink is an informer, someone who rats out his or her cohorts.

45 Somewhat, to Salieri : POCO

“Poco” is an Italian word for “little”, and is used in musical notation to mean “a little, slightly”.

If you’ve seen the brilliant 1984 movie “Amadeus”, you’ll have seen the composer Salieri portrayed as being very envious and resentful of the gifted Mozart. It is no doubt true that two composers fought against each other, at least on occasion, but the extent of the acrimony between the two has perhaps been exaggerated in the interest of theater. Mozart and his wife had six children, but only two survived infancy. The youngest boy was called Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, born just five months before his father died. Franz was to become a gifted composer, teacher, pianist and conductor, helped along the way by lessons from his father’s supposed rival, Antonio Salieri. In addition to the Mozarts, Salieri also taught such luminaries as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert

46 “Circus Sideshow” pointillist : SEURAT

Georges Seurat was a French Post-Impressionist. His most famous work is “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884”, a work in the pointillist style that can be viewed in the Art Institute of Chicago. If you’ve seen the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, it features quite prominently in a wonderful, wonderful scene shot at the gallery. The painting features ordinary people enjoying a day at a park, and is the inspiration for the 1984 musical by Stephen Sondheim called “Sunday in the Park with George”.

“Parade de Cirque” (Circus Sideshow) is an 1889 painting by Georges Seurat in the pointillist style. The work is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Pointillism is a style of painting that grew out of Impressionism. The pointillist technique calls for the artist to use small, distinct dots of bold color to build up the image. Pointillism was developed in the late 1800s by the great French painter, Georges Seurat.

48 General vibe : AURA

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 Skylit lobbies : ATRIA

In modern architecture, an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

59 George Harrison’s “__ It a Pity” : ISN’T

George Harrison wrote “Isn’t It a Pity” in 1966, for the Beatles “White Album” , but the song was rejected. Instead, Harrison used it in his 1970 solo album “All Things Must Pass”.

60 Kit Kat component : WAFER

I grew up eating Kit Kat bars as a kid. The Kit Kat hit the shelves on the other side of the pond in the 1930s, but didn’t make it into US stores until the 1970s. I’ve seen new varieties of Kit Kat bars over in Britain and Ireland, such as an orange-flavored version, but haven’t seen anything like that over here.

61 Capital served by the Queen Alia International Airport : AMMAN

Amman is the capital city of Jordan, and one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Amman has been occupied by a number of different civilizations over the centuries, including the Greeks who called it “Philadelphia”, a name retained by the Romans when they occupied the city just after 100 AD.

The airport serving Jordan’s capital Amman is Queen Alia International Airport. It opened for business in 1983, and is named for the Queen of Jordan, and third wife of King Hussein, who died in a helicopter crash in 1977. Earlier in her life, the future queen had worked for Royal Jordanian Airlines, which is based at Queen Alia Airport.

63 Ballpark fig. : EST

The phrase “in the ballpark” means “within an acceptable range of approximation”. The term was coined in the mid-fifties as jargon used by scientists developing atomic weapons. The first “ballpark” in this sense was the broad area within which a missile was forecast to return to earth.

71 Pulitzer novelist Harper : LEE

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name, i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually the first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

73 Madrid-based airline : IBERIA

Iberia is the flag carrier airline for Spain and is based in the country’s capital city at Madrid-Barajas Airport.

74 Vehicle for some trips : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

75 It has a head and hops : BEER

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flowers of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I live here in California used to be home to the largest hop farm in the whole world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

76 Ankle-related : TARSAL

The tarsals (also “tarsi”) are the ankle bones, and are equivalent to the carpals in the wrist.

Down

3 Like : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

6 Ranger or Corsair : EDSEL

Edsel Ford was the only child of automobile manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford. Edsel became president of Ford Motors, as Henry’s sole heir, and served in that capacity from 1919 until his death in 1943. Henry’s name is very much associated with the Model T, the Tin Lizzie. Edsel was the man behind the subsequent development of the more fashionable Model A. However, despite Edsel’s many successes, his name is inextricably linked with the highly unsuccessful Edsel line of cars.

8 Bulg. neighbor : ROM

Romania sits just east of Hungary and north of Bulgaria in Europe. Romania was formed from the union of two principalities in 1859, Moldavia and Wallachia. The Kingdom of Romania grew larger in size after WWI with the addition of three new regions, including the “vampirish” Transylvania.

Bulgaria is a country in Southeastern Europe lying on the west coast of the Black Sea. Bulgaria’s capital city is Sofia.

11 Nader’s “__ at Any Speed” : UNSAFE

“Unsafe at Any Speed” is a 1965 book by consumer advocate Ralph Nader in which the author accuses car manufacturers of resisting the introduction of safety features in order to maximize profit.

12 Alphabetically penultimate zodiac sign : TAURUS

Taurus is the birth sign for those born between April 21st and June 16th. “Taurus” is Latin for “bull”.

16 Alaskan site of the only WWII battle on U.S. soil : ATTU

Attu is the westernmost island in the Aleutian chain and so is the westernmost part of Alaska (and is in the Eastern Hemisphere). Japanese forces took the island in October 1942, eventually landing as many as 2,900 soldiers there. In May 1943, the US Army retook the island in twenty days of fighting that is now called the Battle of Attu, the only land battle to take place on US soil during WWII. I am very proud of my father-in-law, who served in the Aleutians during WWII …

19 Layers of big eggs : EMUS

Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs. It is the male emu that incubates the eggs. The incubation period lasts about 8 weeks, during which time the male neither eats nor drinks, just lapping up any morning dew that is nearby. While incubating a clutch of eggs, male emus lose about a third of their weight.

25 Stop shooting : WRAP

When shooting of a film is concluded the movie is said to wrap, and everyone heads to the wrap party. There is one story that “wrap” is actually an acronym for “wind, reel and print”, a reference to the transition of the filming process into post-production. But, this explanation is disputed.

26 Timber wolf : LOBO

The timber wolf is also known as the gray wolf, tundra wolf or lobo.

28 Fork-tailed flier : TERN

Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …

29 Coral habitat : REEF

Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.

30 Some Blizzard ingredients : OREOS

A Blizzard is an offering on a menu at Dairy Queen outlets. Introduced in 1985, it comprises soft-serve ice cream mixed with a choice of ingredients that include common sundae toppings, brownies and candy. Apparently, the DQ employee serving a Blizzard must hold it upside down to demonstrate to the customer that it won’t spill. If that demonstration doesn’t take place, there’s a coupon available for a free Blizzard at the next visit. Well, that’s what I just read …

32 Place to park a clipper : SLIP

A clipper was a three-masted sailing ship commonly crossing the seas in the 19th century. Clippers were built for speed, so were narrow and had less room for carrying freight than many vessels used in trade. They were developed largely due to the demand for speedy delivery of fresh tea from China to Europe. The name comes from the term “to clip” meaning to move swiftly (as in “at a clip”). Perhaps the most famous clipper ship is the Cutty Sark built in 1869, the last clipper to be built as a merchant vessel. The Cutty Sark owes her fame to the fact that she is on display as a museum ship in a dry dock in Greenwich in London.

A “slipway” or “slip” is a ramp on the shore in which boats can “slip” into the water. This “slipping” into the water is literally the case in a shipyard, where a vessel’s hull slips off the ramp after it is coated with grease.

36 Scrat’s obsession in “Ice Age” films : ACORN

Scrat is a character in the “Ice Age” series of animated films. He is a sabre-toothed squirrel, a species that is alleged to be the ancestor of the modern squirrel and rat. The name “Scrat” is a melding of “squirrel” and “rat”.

38 De Matteo of “The Sopranos” : DREA

Drea de Matteo is an actress who is most familiar to me for playing Adriana la Cerva on HBO’s wonderful series “The Sopranos”. De Matteo also played Joey’s sister on the short-lived “Friends” spin-off called “Joey”, and the character Angie Bolen on “Desperate Housewives”.

40 Juul product, briefly : E-CIG

Juul is a brand of e-cigarette on sale in the US. Cigarette supplier Altria (formerly Philip Morris) purchased a 35% share in manufacturer Juul Labs in 2018.

41 Ninth Greek letter : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

42 Fletcher Christian, for one : MUTINEER

Fletcher Christian was a senior officer on HMS Bounty, the famous Royal Navy vessel that was under the command of Lieutenant William Bligh. Christian led the mutiny in 1789, which led to the burning of the Bounty, and the settling of the mutineers on Tahiti and Pitcairn Island. Eventually, Christian died from a gunshot wound that he suffered in a conflict with Tahitian men living on Pitcairn. That said, there are other accounts of his passing, and there are even rumors that Christian made his way back to England, despite being declared an outlaw for participating in the mutiny.

43 Does as humans do? : ERRS

Alexander Pope’s 1709 poem “An Essay on Criticism” is the source of at least three well-known quotations:

  • A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
  • To err is human, to forgive divine.
  • For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

47 Skin pic : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

49 Czar’s decrees : UKASES

In Imperial Russia, a ukase was a proclamation issued by the government or the tsar. We now use the term to describe any order issued by an absolute authority.

50 Traveled like Huck and Jim : RAFTED

In Mark Twain’s novel “Huckleberry Finn”, much of the storyline is taken up with Huck’s adventures with the slave Jim as they raft down the Mississippi River. By making the journey, the pair hope to find freedom from slavery for Jim and freedom from his vagrant drunkard father for Huck.

54 Highway behemoth : SEMI

An 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck has eight wheels under the trailer, i.e. four on each of the two rear axles. There are 10 wheels under the tractor unit. Two of the ten wheels are on the front axle, and eight are on the rear two axles that sit under the front of the trailer.

A behemoth is something that is huge in size. The term comes from the Hebrew word “b’hemoth”, which is a beast described in the Book of Job. It is suggested that the Biblical creature is an elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, crocodile or perhaps something mythical.

57 Camera part : IRIS

The iris diaphragm of a lens is analogous to the iris of the eye, in that it is the opening through which light passes. The size of that aperture changes the amount of light passing through the lens. The size of the aperture is routinely referred to as the f-stop, and can be varied on many cameras.

58 Gamut : AMBIT

An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.

In medieval times, the musical scale was denoted by the notes “ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la”. The term “gamma ut”, shortened to “gamut”, was used to describe the whole scale. By the 1620s, “gamut” was being used to mean the entire range of anything, the whole gamut.

62 Daughter in “The Time Traveler’s Wife” : ALBA

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” is a 2009 film based on a 2003 novel by Audrey Niffenegger. It is a romantic drama melded with the sci-fi element of time travel. The title character, played by Rachel McAdams, eventually marries a man (played by Eric Bana) who has a genetic disorder that causes him to randomly time travel. I haven’t seen this one, but I hear good things from friends …

65 Spoonbill’s bill : NIB

“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

The spoonbill 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.

68 Collection agcy. : IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

69 Peeples seen in People : NIA

Actress Nia Peeples played the character Nicole Chapman in the TV series “Fame”. Peeples is also a successful singer, having released the 1988 song “Trouble” that made it to #35 in the Billboard charts.

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

70 Actor Penn : KAL

Indian-American actor Kal Penn made a name for himself in the “Harold & Kumar” series of comedy films. These so-called “stoner comedies” are not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed him playing his more mainstream roles on TV’s “House” and “24”. He left the world of acting when President Obama won the 2008 election to work as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement (although he did leave the White House briefly to film the “Harold & Kumar” sequel).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Suitable for growing crops : ARABLE
7 Rain unit : DROP
11 4×4, for short : UTE
14 Song with a story : BALLAD
15 Ephesus’ region : IONIA
17 Hamburger Hill setting, briefly : NAM
18 L : CHAIN SEGMENT (L-INK)
20 Long order : SUB
21 Teacher’s note : SEE ME
22 Sparkling flapper accessory : TIARA
24 Cobblers’ tools : AWLS
27 M : LUSTROUS FUR (M-INK)
31 Dumbledore and Snape, in brief : PROFS
33 Range rover : STEER
34 Military meal : MESS
35 __ rasa : TABULA
37 Clarinet, e.g. : REED
39 F : POLICE INFORMER (F-INK)
45 Somewhat, to Salieri : POCO
46 “Circus Sideshow” pointillist : SEURAT
48 General vibe : AURA
52 Traditional doings : RITES
55 Skylit lobbies : ATRIA
56 R : SKATING AREA (R-INK)
59 George Harrison’s “__ It a Pity” : ISN’T
60 Kit Kat component : WAFER
61 Capital served by the Queen Alia International Airport : AMMAN
63 Ballpark fig. : EST
64 Secret message technique … and a hint to four puzzle clues : INVISIBLE INK
71 Pulitzer novelist Harper : LEE
72 Strainer : SIEVE
73 Madrid-based airline : IBERIA
74 Vehicle for some trips : LSD
75 It has a head and hops : BEER
76 Ankle-related : TARSAL

Down

1 Simple comparison : ABC
2 Fan noise : RAH!
3 Like : A LA
4 Like ignorance, at times : BLISSFUL
5 “Stay in your __!” : LANE
6 Ranger or Corsair : EDSEL
7 Compilation : DIGEST
8 Bulg. neighbor : ROM
9 Half of eleven? : ONE
10 Wall map insert : PIN
11 Nader’s “__ at Any Speed” : UNSAFE
12 Alphabetically penultimate zodiac sign : TAURUS
13 Places in a cell : EMBARS
16 Alaskan site of the only WWII battle on U.S. soil : ATTU
19 Layers of big eggs : EMUS
23 School of thought : ISM
24 Quick : APT
25 Stop shooting : WRAP
26 Timber wolf : LOBO
28 Fork-tailed flier : TERN
29 Coral habitat : REEF
30 Some Blizzard ingredients : OREOS
32 Place to park a clipper : SLIP
36 Scrat’s obsession in “Ice Age” films : ACORN
38 De Matteo of “The Sopranos” : DREA
40 Juul product, briefly : E-CIG
41 Ninth Greek letter : IOTA
42 Fletcher Christian, for one : MUTINEER
43 Does as humans do? : ERRS
44 Sprinkle, perhaps : RAIN
47 Skin pic : TAT
48 In addition to that : AS WELL
49 Czar’s decrees : UKASES
50 Traveled like Huck and Jim : RAFTED
51 Bolted down : ATE
53 Tip for fixing mistakes? : ERASER
54 Highway behemoth : SEMI
57 Camera part : IRIS
58 Gamut : AMBIT
62 Daughter in “The Time Traveler’s Wife” : ALBA
65 Spoonbill’s bill : NIB
66 Angled formation : VEE
67 “__ gotta run!” : I’VE
68 Collection agcy. : IRS
69 Peeples seen in People : NIA
70 Actor Penn : KAL

35 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 13 Aug 21, Friday”

    1. I th(ink) you and Alfred are on the same wavelength about this one! ;-D>

      On the other hand I enjoyed the puzzle. Although I had no idea of the gimmick until I got to Bill’s blog after finishing.

    2. Why not write all clues in invisible ink so the editor can have an easier job-then we could write our answers in the same ink and never make an error! Please never use that ploy again

  1. No errors, but in answer to Anonymous…”I hear you!” I never
    put the alphabetical letters and the reveal clue together to
    get the theme. I guess it was obvious but I missed it.

  2. I do not understand 6 down. The Ford Corsair wasn’t made until 1963 ( in Europe) and the Ranger in 1982 (made by Mazda, badged by Ford). Edsel had nothing to do with them.

    1. Hi michael.

      Got this from a quick Google:

      “The Ford family agreed to name the car after Henry’s son Edsel and the top four names on the list: Citation, Corsair, Pacer and Ranger were selected for the models. The car was launched on September 4, 1957, with 18 models in four lines, including five station wagons.”

  3. Finished this mess in54 min. with no errors and took another 5 min. to figure out what was going on with “ink”👎👎
    Stay safe and GET THE SHOTS😀

  4. I could have worked on this for the rest of my life and never gotten it. Had to start doing grid checks when I was less than half done. I suppose I could have just put my finger on the a key and held it down until the puzzle is filled in, then say I did it in 30 seconds with 63 errors.

  5. I’m kinda surprised that many of you “pros” failed to catch the theme. I was about to call it quits until the light came on with 64A. Then it was a matter of logic to add “ink” that was invisible to the individual letter. Then the answer to the 4 clues were relatively easy which was a tremendous help solving a very interesting Friday puzzle.

    BTW, I never heard of 49D, “ukases”.

  6. I got “invisible ink” then (erroneously) said: oh, the “r” in “area” makes “rink.” Applying that to the others was fruitless. Least favorite of all times.

  7. 20:31 1 lookup which confirmed that IONIA was correct and I needed to keep trying in the center top.

    OMG, what a useless theme! Let’s just say that how I really feel can only be written in invisible ink. Thanks for the explanation, I am in awe.

  8. I have been doing crosswords for twenty years and I couldn’t get anything.The theme is totally stupid. I see this writer again and I’m throwing the puzzle out.

  9. This puzzle is the worst ever.Too many off the wall names.Dumbest theme ever.It was like the puzzle was in another language.Many answers made no sense to me.

    1. Three very negative posts in 15 minutes?? Give us a break! Iv’e been doing Crosswords for longer than your 20 yrs. and I had nowhere near the negative response that you had. 2 wrong letters and 3 wrong answers – my responsibility not the constructors nor the editors.

      1. Hi PeaKay. Forget half full. There is not even a drop of water in the glass of Anonymous. I guess if we didn’t have negativity we wouldn’t have positivity either?

  10. Mostly easy Friday for me; took 25:36 with no errors or peeks. Had to dance around a bit in the NW and W as well as with the theme answers which didn’t make any sense to me.

    I just went with what I knew, which wasn’t as much as I hoped, on the first pass and tried to form a sensible phrase out of the theme answers since the theme clues didn’t make any sense to me. Stuck in the NW where I had to change Asa to ABC which finished that section. Then I had to reach waaaay back into my “Potter expertise /s” to try and figure out who the heck Dumbledore and Snape were. To no avail, since I first figured out the R in WRAP, which led to the somewhat unsatisfying APT for “Quick.” So, I guess the Potter dudes were PROFS….okay then.

    Well, off to listen to the first place GIANTS hopefully play out another victory over Nonny’s team 🙂 and stay 5 games ahead of our pesky southern neighbors 🙂

    1. Dirk,

      “pesky southern neighbors” we are??? Hmm.

      BTW you are posting hours earlier than you were before – bees changed their sleep habits? 🙂

  11. 10:08, no errors, no complaints … no whining, no moaning, no crying in my beer … 😜.

    They’re called “puzzles”. They can be puzzling. Sometimes you get it. Sometimes you don’t … and the world goes on turning. Get used to it.

  12. Not a bad puzzle to work out, but I had 2 letter errors in 30:35 – EMBAnS/LUSTROUSFUn and SeATINGAREA/UeASES (didn’t know what czarina word would go there).

    There were a few unknowns to me I  this one – EMBARS (I wanted EMBEDS, but that’s didn’t work it all), spelling of SEURAT, DREA Mateo, UKASES, the Time Traveler’s daughter. Fussed around with 9A “Half of eleven?” went EES>EEE>ONE.

    I didn’t realize the theme connection until I read Bill’s explanation. Would have solved my 2 errors had I looked for missing “ink” in the clues instead if the answers. I tried to rationalize the “IN” in 3 of the 4 themed clues, but of course that didn’t work for 27A.

  13. I tackled this puzzle 2 weeks after its publication. Isn’t Virgo the penultimate Zodiac sign alphabetically?

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