LA Times Crossword 20 Jan 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Michelle Kenney & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Water Shed Moment

Themed answers are each defined by “SHED WATER”:

  • 63A Historical turning point … and, as three words, a literal description of 17-, 27- and 48-Across : WATERSHED MOMENT … and WATER SHED MOMENT
  • 17A Ended corruption : DRAINED THE SWAMP
  • 27A Vented : BLEW OFF STEAM
  • 48A Made everything clear : LIFTED THE FOG

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

Bill’s time: 9m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Winter wear : PARKA

A parka is a hooded jacket that is often lined with fur, and that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment, and it was absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.

9 App with pics, familiarly : INSTA

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

14 Lead-in to gender : CIS-

The term “cisgender” is used as the opposite of “transgender”. Cisgender people have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

15 Brown and Yale : IVIES

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. gave a substantial gift to the school. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Brown Bears, and their mascot is Bruno.

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the US. Originally called the Collegiate School, it was renamed to Yale University in honor of retired merchant Elihu Yale, who made generous contributions to the institution. Yale University’s nickname is “Old Eli”, in a nod to the benefactor.

16 Auctioned autos, often : REPOS

Repossession (repo)

17 Ended corruption : DRAINED THE SWAMP

One can only hope …

21 Tofu source : SOYA

“Tofu” is a name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has curdled. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife absolutely hates it …

22 First Nations tribe : CREE

“First Nations” is a term used in Canada describing the ethnicity of Native Americans who are neither Inuit nor Métis people.

23 Shindig : GALA

“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think, and one describing a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game similar to field hockey.

25 “__ in the Boys Room”: 1973-’74 hit : SMOKIN’

“Smokin’ in the Boys Room” is a song released by Brownsville Station in 1973. The title and lyrics refer to male students smoking cigarettes in the boys’ restroom at school.

32 Actor Somerhalder of “Lost” : IAN

Ian Somerhalder got his big break as an actor in the TV drama “Lost”, and followed that up with a part in TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”.

33 Lizard-approved coverage? : GEICO

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

38 Shakespearean verb : DOTH

“Doth” is an archaic way of saying “do”, in the third-person singular.

43 Boston suburb named for an English county : ESSEX

Essex is a town on the Massachusetts coast, located about 25 miles north of Boston. HIstorically, Essex thrived as a center for the building of sail-powered wooden ships. It was once a leading supplier of schooners for the fishing industry. Apparently, the Essex Shipbuilding Museum is well worth a visit.

45 Common conveyances for Calvin and Hobbes : SLEDS

The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes, a 17th century English political philosopher.

47 Depression Era pres. : FDR

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.

The Great Depression (also “Depression Era) was a worldwide phenomenon in the decade or so that preceded World War II. The depression was sparked by a dramatic drop in stock prices in the US in September 1929, which eventually made the news around the world following the stock market crash of October 29th of that year, now known as Black Tuesday. US unemployment rose to 25% during the Great Depression, and in some countries unemployment was as high as 33%. Many economists believe that World War II played a large role in ending the depression, at least here in the US. Government spending on the war increased employment dramatically, although many of those jobs were in the front lines. During the war, unemployment fell back below 10%.

51 Nielsen of “The Naked Gun” films : LESLIE

Leslie Nielsen was a Canadian actor, one famous for playing the zany Sergeant Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun”. Nielsen’s big break in films came in the innovative comedy “Airplane!”

“The Naked Gun” is a series of films from the late eighties and early nineties that is based on the TV crime comedy series “Police Squad!” that aired in 1982. The movies turned out to be more popular than the TV show, which only ran for six episodes. Leslie Nielson plays the lead character, Detective Frank Drebin, in both the TV show and the movies. The three movies are:

  1. “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” (1988)
  2. “The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear” (1991)
  3. “Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult” (1994)

54 Caesar’s 18-Down : VIDI
(18D 54-Across, here : I SAW)

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BCE and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

By 59 BC, Julius Caesar was a very powerful man in Rome and had just been elected to the position of consul, the highest magistracy in the Republic. Famously, he aligned himself with two other powerful men in Rome, Pompey and Crassus, forming the First Triumvirate. At the end of his year as consul, Caesar was elected proconsul (for 5 years), and was appointed governor of three provinces north of Rome (including Gaul), with control of four legions of the army. Caesar extended the reach of the Roman Republic in the Gallic Wars, and became very popular with the people back in Rome. However the Senate, led by his erstwhile ally Pompey, feared the power that could be exercised by Caesar, so at the end of his term as proconsul they ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome. Caesar agreed to return to Rome, but not to disband his army. On 10 January 49 BC, despite all the warnings, he marched back into Italy by crossing the Rubicon River, along with his army, plunging Rome into civil war. Since then, “crossing the Rubicon” has come to mean “passing the point of no return”.

55 Swift steed : ARAB

The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

56 Sushi pairing : SAKE

We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.

63 Historical turning point … and, as three words, a literal description of 17-, 27- and 48-Across : WATERSHED MOMENT … and WATER SHED MOMENT

A watershed moment is one that changes the directions of a situation, a dividing point after which things are not the same. In a literal sense, a watershed is a dividing ridge of land that separates two bodies of water, particularly rivers.

66 Timberlake’s old crew : NSYNC

NSYNC was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded “in sync”. But, it’s also true that the letters of the name NSYNC are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:

  • Justin Timberlake
  • Chris Kirkpatrick
  • Joey Fatone
  • Lance “Lansten” Bass
  • JC Chasez

Justin Timberlake got his break by appearing on TV’s “Star Search” from which he was given a starring role in “The New Mickey Mouse Club”. It was on “The New Mickey Mouse Club” that he met his future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well JC Chasez who would join Timberlake in the lineup of the boy band NSYNC.

67 “Trade discount” quintet : A-E-I-O-U

The five vowels appear in alphabetical order in the phrase “trade discount”.

68 Portuguese saint : SAO

In Portuguese, the word “são” can mean “saint”, as in São Paulo (Saint Paul) and São José (Saint Joseph). If the saint’s name starts with a letter H or with a vowel, then the word “santo” is used instead, as in Santo Agostinho (Saint Augustine) and Santo Antônio (Saint Anthony).

69 Sleeping giant : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

70 Grabbed forty winks : SLEPT

Back in the early 1800s, folks took “nine winks” when getting a few minutes of sleep during the day. Dr. William Kitchiner extended this concept in his 1821 self-help book “The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life”. He suggested “A Forty Winks Nap”, which we seem to have been taking ever since. Mind you, I’m up to about eighty winks most days …

71 Oil additive brand : STP

STP is a brand name of automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

Down

1 “Back in Black” group : AC/DC

“Back in Black” is a 1980 song by Australian heavy metal band AC/DC. The band members wrote the song as a tribute to AC/DC’s former singer Bon Scott, who died earlier that year at the age of 33.

2 Kindle __ : FIRE

Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD several years ago. I started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device …

3 Modern-day wand wielders : TSA AGENTS

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

4 Source of Yuletide coziness : PINE LOG

A Yule log is a large log made from a very hard wood that is burned as part of the Christmas celebration. There is also a cake called a Yule log that is served at Christmas, especially in French-speaking parts of the world. The cake is made from a sponge that is rolled up to resemble a wooden Yule log.

5 “__ Maria” : AVE

“Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary” in English) is the prayer at the core of the Roman Catholic Rosary, which itself is a set of prayers asking for the assistance of the Virgin Mary. Much of the text of the “Hail Mary” comes from the Gospel of Luke. The words in Latin are:

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

The prayer has been adapted as a hymn. The two most famous musical versions of “Ave Maria” are by Charles Gounod (based on a piece by Bach) and by Franz Schubert.

7 Low-carb, high-fat diet : KETO

A ketogenic (also “keto”) diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. When a body consumes insufficient carbohydrates to meet the need for energy, then the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies in order to make up the energy deficit. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the bloodstream is known as “ketosis”, a term that gives rise to the name “ketogenic diet”. Medical professionals sometimes prescribe a ketogenic diet in order to control epilepsy in children. A condition of ketosis can reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.

9 Apr. addressee : IRS

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

12 Marisa of “The Wrestler” (2008) : TOMEI

Marisa Tomei’s first screen role was in the daytime soap “As the World Turns”, but her break came with a recurring role in “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World”. Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

“The Wrestler” is a really hard, gritty movie from 2008, and a comeback film for actor Mickey Rourke. Rourke stars as an over-the-hill professional wrestler, with Marisa Tomei playing a faded stripper, and the love interest. The film received really strong reviews, but I found it to be a tough movie to sit through.

13 Sawatch Range resort : ASPEN

Aspen, Colorado used to be known as Ute City, with the name change taking place in 1880. Like many communities in the area, Aspen was a mining town, and in 1891 and 1892 it was at the center of the highest production of silver in the US. Nowadays, it’s all about skiing and movie stars.

The Sawatch (also “Saguache”) Range in central Colorado forms part of the Rocky Mountains. The Sawatch includes Mount Elbert, which is the highest peak in the Rockies, at 14,440 feet in elevation.

19 Verb that sounds like multiple vowels : EASE

The word “ease” sounds like Es, more than one letter E.

28 Vietnam neighbor : 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”.

Vietnam is the country with the 13th-largest population in the word. It covers all of the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia.

36 Canadian shoe retailer : ALDO

ALDO is a chain of shoe stores that was founded in Montreal in 1972 by Moroccan-born Canadian Aldo Bensadoun. Bensadoun is the son of a retailer of shoes in Morocco and France, and the grandchild of a cobbler. A man with shoe leather in his blood …

37 Scary floater : BERG

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken away from a glacier or ice shelf. Our use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

50 Wax-coated cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

53 Woodland deity : SATYR

The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.

59 Falco of “Nurse Jackie” : EDIE

“Nurse Jackie” is a comedy-drama series centered on an emergency room nurse at a hospital in New York City. The lead character is played by Edie Falco, who also played Tony Soprano’s wife on “The Sopranos”. I binge-watched “Nurse Jackie” a while back and found it to be a very well-written show …

61 Pesky insect : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

62 “No más!” : STOP!

“No mas!” translates from Spanish as “no more!”.

64 Early TV maker : RCA

RCA was founded in 1919 as the Radio Corporation of America, and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric (GE). GE divested RCA in 1932, and then reacquired the company in 1986. Today, RCA is just a brand name.

65 Swabbie’s tool : MOP

“Swabbie” (also “swabby, swab, swabber”) is a slang term meaning “sailor” that we’ve been using since the late 1700s. A swab was originally a member of the crew assigned to the swabbing (mopping) of the ship’s decks.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Rearmost, as decks : AFT
4 Winter wear : PARKA
9 App with pics, familiarly : INSTA
14 Lead-in to gender : CIS-
15 Brown and Yale : IVIES
16 Auctioned autos, often : REPOS
17 Ended corruption : DRAINED THE SWAMP
20 __ fire : CEASE
21 Tofu source : SOYA
22 First Nations tribe : CREE
23 Shindig : GALA
25 “__ in the Boys Room”: 1973-’74 hit : SMOKIN’
27 Vented : BLEW OFF STEAM
32 Actor Somerhalder of “Lost” : IAN
33 Lizard-approved coverage? : GEICO
34 Place to get clean : REHAB
38 Shakespearean verb : DOTH
40 Intense anger : WRATH
42 What some queens do : RULE
43 Boston suburb named for an English county : ESSEX
45 Common conveyances for Calvin and Hobbes : SLEDS
47 Depression Era pres. : FDR
48 Made everything clear : LIFTED THE FOG
51 Nielsen of “The Naked Gun” films : LESLIE
54 Caesar’s 18-Down : VIDI
55 Swift steed : ARAB
56 Sushi pairing : SAKE
60 Brief but sharp pains : PANGS
63 Historical turning point … and, as three words, a literal description of 17-, 27- and 48-Across : WATERSHED MOMENT … and WATER SHED MOMENT
66 Timberlake’s old crew : NSYNC
67 “Trade discount” quintet : A-E-I-O-U
68 Portuguese saint : SAO
69 Sleeping giant : SERTA
70 Grabbed forty winks : SLEPT
71 Oil additive brand : STP

Down

1 “Back in Black” group : AC/DC
2 Kindle __ : FIRE
3 Modern-day wand wielders : TSA AGENTS
4 Source of Yuletide coziness : PINE LOG
5 “__ Maria” : AVE
6 Divests : RIDS
7 Low-carb, high-fat diet : KETO
8 Pale : ASHY
9 Apr. addressee : IRS
10 Often-hazed member : NEWCOMER
11 Lively quality : SPARK
12 Marisa of “The Wrestler” (2008) : TOMEI
13 Sawatch Range resort : ASPEN
18 54-Across, here : I SAW
19 Verb that sounds like multiple vowels : EASE
24 Not lots : A FEW
26 Damage : MAR
27 __ one’s time: be patient : BIDE
28 Vietnam neighbor : LAOS
29 Top spot : FIRST
30 E to E, e.g. : SCALE
31 Carried : TOTED
35 Arrogance : HUFFINESS
36 Canadian shoe retailer : ALDO
37 Scary floater : BERG
39 Recklessly determined : HELL-BENT
41 Many a flat-screen : HDTV
44 Top of many a dial : XII
46 Begin a naval deployment : SHIP OUT
49 Own (up) : FESS
50 Wax-coated cheese : EDAM
51 Targets of much fertilization : LAWNS
52 Rub off : ERASE
53 Woodland deity : SATYR
57 Light-bulb moments : AHAS
58 Ship stabilizer : KEEL
59 Falco of “Nurse Jackie” : EDIE
61 Pesky insect : GNAT
62 “No más!” : STOP!
64 Early TV maker : RCA
65 Swabbie’s tool : MOP

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Jan 22, Thursday”

  1. I read the later comments in yesterday’s grid and never realized all the CATs in the grid! I actually looked up the reference to KITTEN ON THE KEYS.. not a music so tried to learn something.

    For today no errors. Theme was pretty straight forward today.

  2. 26:55 no errors…again the theme eluded me(what’s new)🤪
    Again those horrid type clues reared their ugly heads…54A & 18D👎
    Stay safe😀

  3. 12:14 with no lookups or errors. One small revision of STE>SAO (should’ve known better).

    Several required getting the intersections, such as “Winter wear” (could’ve been GLOVE), “Actor Somerhalder” (unknown to me), “Arrogance” (could’ve been HAUTINESS), and of course the 4 themed long answers.

    Did not understand 67A AEIOU until reading Bill’s explanation.

  4. 21:11 – 2 cheats (ALDO, CIS), no errors.

    Thought a bit easy for a Thursday, enjoyed it.

    @Mary S & @Nonny – AEIOU was a stretch. IMO there would be a lot more griping about it if the crosses weren’t so easy …

    Be Well.

    1. @Lou lu …

      I won’t argue with your prediction about the amount of griping if the crosses had been harder, but the wordplay in 67-Across is something one sees an awful lot of in crosswords. After a while, you just learn to expect such things … 🙂.

  5. Wait one.

    I finished in 8 mins, 14 seconds, better than Bill’s time (first time this year).

    This was a no-tricks, guileless grid co-developed by *Jeff Chen*???

    OK, what’s the catch?

  6. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 16:09 with no peeks or errors, but had to dance around a bit, mostly in the E – top to bottom. Finished on REHAB after putting in RULE and got the banner. Had to change set sail to SHIPOUT, idea to AHAS and fix the tense on BLoW… to make TSA AGENT make sense. Whew, I thought we were going to get another Harry Potter clue there, when I saw wand.

    I didn’t have much hope when I saw the constructors, but this one was pretty okay for the most part. Theme helped a lot.

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