LA Times Crossword 24 Jan 22, Monday

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Constructed by: Jerry Edelstein
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Assorted Tars

Themed answers each start or end with an anagram of “TARS”:

  • 20A Nicholas II was the last one : TSAR OF RUSSIA
  • 34A Hopping western rodents : KANGAROO RATS
  • 44A Meteor : SHOOTING STAR
  • 58A Tasks in music, painting, etc. : ARTS PROJECTS

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

Bill’s time: 4m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Baghdad is its capital : IRAQ

Iraq is often called the “Cradle of Civilization” as it was home to Sumer, which was the earliest known civilization on the planet. By 5000 BC the Sumerian people were practicing year-round agriculture and had a specialized labor force. For the first time, a whole race was able to settle in one place by storing food, instead of having to migrate in a pattern dictated by crops and grazing land.

According to the University of Baghdad, the name “Baghdad” dates way back, to the 18th-century BCE (yes, BCE!). The name can be translated into English from the language of ancient Babylon as “old garden” (bagh-) and “beloved” (-dad).

10 Bloke : CHAP

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

14 Hindu spiritual adviser : GURU

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

15 Latin for “gold” : AURUM

Gold is a metallic chemical element with the symbol “Au”. It is extremely unreactive. Silver and other base metals dissolve in nitric acid, and so testing an unknown sample with nitric acid can confirm the presence of gold. This assaying practice gave rise to the figurative use of the term “acid test” to describe any definitive test.

16 British nobleman below a marquess : EARL

In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquis. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquis and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.

A marquess (also “marquis”, from French) is a nobleman of high rank in the UK. The title ranks below a duke, and above an earl. The term “marquess” comes from Medieval Latin “marca” meaning “frontier”. Originally, a marquess ruled border territories.

17 Rifle range rounds : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

20 Nicholas II was the last one : TSAR OF RUSSIA

The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

26 Nav. rank : ENS

Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

27 Bath bathroom : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

32 Jessica with two Oscars and three Emmys : LANGE

Actress Jessica Lange is also an accomplished and published photographer. She was married for ten years to Spanish photographer Paco Grande. After separating from Grande, Lange was partnered with the great Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, with whom she had her first child.

34 Hopping western rodents : KANGAROO RATS

The kangaroo rat of North America is no relation to its larger cousin, the kangaroo of Australia. They do move around with a similar gait, hopping around on their relatively large and strong rear legs.

38 Jai __ : ALAI

Jai alai is a game that derives from Basque pelota, and is known as “cesta-punta” in the Basque language. The name “jai alai” translates from the original Basque as “merry festival”.

40 Green Hornet’s sidekick : KATO

In “The Green Hornet” television series, Kato was famously played by Bruce Lee. The Kato role has been cited as a driving force behind the increase in popularity of martial arts in the US during the sixties.

44 Meteor : SHOOTING STAR

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body traveling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

50 Soon, in Shakespeare : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

52 Tic-__-toe : TAC

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

53 __ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

56 Submit a résumé (for), as a job : APPLY

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

64 Berra or a bear : 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.

Yogi Bear made his debut for Hanna-Barbera in 1958, on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” before he was given his own series. Do you remember that collar that Yogi wore around his neck? That was a little trick from the animators. By using the collar, for many frames all they had to do was redraw everything from the collar up, saving them lots and lots of time. Yogi and Boo-Boo lived in Jellystone Park, and made Ranger Smith’s life a misery.

73 __ sapiens : HOMO

The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

Down

1 Supermarket initials : IGA

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

2 Mojito liquor : RUM

A mojito is a Cuban cocktail, although the exact origins appear to be unclear, as does the derivation of the name. Want one? Put 4 mint leaves in a glass, and add the juice of half a lime and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Muddle the ingredients, smashing them together with a muddler or a spoon. Add some crushed ice, two ounces of white rum and stir. Top with a couple of ounces of club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a slice of lime. Cheers!

5 Scully on “The X-Files” : DANA

“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that originally aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.

The marvelous actress Gillian Anderson came to prominence playing FBI agent Dana Scully on TV’s “The X-Files” alongside David Duchovny. Anderson was born in Chicago, but grew up in London in the UK. After spending most of her adult life in the US, Anderson now lives in London.

7 2012 Affleck film that won Best Picture : ARGO

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

Actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck started his career as a child actor in the PBS show “The Voyage of the Mimi”. His big break came with the release of the film “Good Will Hunting” which he co-wrote and co-starred in with his childhood friend Matt Damon. Affleck had a relationship with actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, with the celebrity couple often being referred to as “Bennifer” in the media. He was also married for several years to actress Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children.

9 Smug grin : SMIRK

The Old English word “smearcian” means “to smile”, and gave us our verb “to smirk”, meaning “to smile in a self-satisfied manner”.

10 Chicken cacciatore quintet : CEES

There is a quintet of, five, letters C (cees) in the name of the dish “chicken cacciatore”.

11 “Dear Evan __”: 2015 musical : HANSEN

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a 2015 stage musical about a young man with awkward social skills and his efforts to make friends.

21 Ward of “House” : SELA

Actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. Ward played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently, Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast. And, Ward played Dr. Richard Kimble’s murdered wife in the 1993 film version of “The Fugitive”.

22 __-Seltzer : ALKA

Alka-Seltzer is a brand of fizzy antacid that has been marketed since 1931. In terms of ingredients, it is a mix of sodium bicarbonate, aspirin and anhydrous citric acid.

24 Barrett of gossip : RONA

Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.

29 Creme-filled cookie : OREO

The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

37 Florence’s river : ARNO

The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, and passes through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region in Italy. Something from or related to Florence is described as “Florentine”. The city is known as “Firenze” in Italian.

41 Where division leaders sit, vis-à-vis the standings : ATOP

We can use the French phrase “vis-à-vis” as a preposition meaning “compared with”. When used as an adverb or adjective, it means “face-to-face”, which is a more literal translation from French.

43 Paris airport : ORLY

Orly is a town on the outskirts of Paris, to the south of the city. It is home to the Paris-Orly Airport, the second busiest international airport for the city after the more recently built Charles de Gaulle Airport. That said, Orly is home to more domestic flights than Charles de Gaulle.

45 Jalopies : HEAPS

The origins of our word “jalopy”, meaning “dilapidated, old motor car”, seem to have been lost in time, but the word has been around since the 1920s. One credible suggestion is that it comes from Xalapa, Mexico as the Xalapa scrap yards were the destination for many discarded American automobiles.

46 Tiny biting 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.

47 WWII prison camp : STALAG

“Stalag” was the term used for a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. “Stalag” is an abbreviation for “Stammlager”, which in turn is the short form of” Mannschaft Stamm und Straflager”, literally “crew master and prison camp”.

48 Self-defense technique : KARATE

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

55 Tamiflu producer : ROCHE

The giant pharmaceutical and medical diagnostics company Hoffmann-La Roche is based in Basel, Switzerland. The company was founded back in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, and initially produced vitamins.

Tamiflu is a brand name for the antiviral medication oseltamivir.

59 Editor’s “keep it” : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

60 Folk singer Baez : JOAN

Joan Baez is an American folk singer and a prominent activist in the fields of non-violence, civil rights, human rights and environmental protection. Baez has dated some high-profile figures in her life including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs (of Apple) and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.

61 Oklahoma city : ENID

Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because it has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

62 Some USN officers : CDRS

Commander (Cdr.)

66 Diamond, for one : GEM

Diamonds can be cut in various shapes. The most common cuts are:

  • Princess
  • Cushion
  • Heart
  • Pear
  • Marquise
  • Radiant
  • Asscher
  • Emerald
  • Oval

67 __ Jima : IWO

Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Baghdad is its capital : IRAQ
5 Really slow parties : DRAGS
10 Bloke : CHAP
14 Hindu spiritual adviser : GURU
15 Latin for “gold” : AURUM
16 British nobleman below a marquess : EARL
17 Rifle range rounds : AMMO
18 Failure to exercise appropriate care : NEGLIGENCE
20 Nicholas II was the last one : TSAR OF RUSSIA
22 Nod up and down : AGREE
25 Enjoy the slopes : SKI
26 Nav. rank : ENS
27 Bath bathroom : LOO
28 “To make a __ story short … ” : LONG
32 Jessica with two Oscars and three Emmys : LANGE
34 Hopping western rodents : KANGAROO RATS
38 Jai __ : ALAI
39 Formal “Door’s open” : ENTER
40 Green Hornet’s sidekick : KATO
44 Meteor : SHOOTING STAR
47 Glide on a rink : SKATE
50 Soon, in Shakespeare : ANON
51 Well output : OIL
52 Tic-__-toe : TAC
53 __ Lingus : AER
56 Submit a résumé (for), as a job : APPLY
58 Tasks in music, painting, etc. : ARTS PROJECTS
63 Like hastily made plans : LAST-SECOND
64 Berra or a bear : YOGI
68 Dip __ in: test the water : A TOE
69 Meeting leader : CHAIR
70 Enjoy, as gum : CHEW
71 Well-mannered man : GENT
72 Works at, as a bar : TENDS
73 __ sapiens : HOMO

Down

1 Supermarket initials : IGA
2 Mojito liquor : RUM
3 Chair’s elbow rest : ARM
4 Repeat exactly : QUOTE
5 Scully on “The X-Files” : DANA
6 Regretful sort : RUER
7 2012 Affleck film that won Best Picture : ARGO
8 Large bodies of water : GULFS
9 Smug grin : SMIRK
10 Chicken cacciatore quintet : CEES
11 “Dear Evan __”: 2015 musical : HANSEN
12 Curving, like the sun crossing the sky : ARCING
13 Polite request starter : PLEASE …
19 What a plea deal concedes : GUILT
21 Ward of “House” : SELA
22 __-Seltzer : ALKA
23 Objective : GOAL
24 Barrett of gossip : RONA
29 Creme-filled cookie : OREO
30 It’s forbidden : NO-NO
31 Have to, in slang : GOTTA
33 Questions : ASKS
35 Main point : GIST
36 Horse rider’s strap : REIN
37 Florence’s river : ARNO
41 Where division leaders sit, vis-à-vis the standings : ATOP
42 What a dog wags : TAIL
43 Paris airport : ORLY
45 Jalopies : HEAPS
46 Tiny biting insect : GNAT
47 WWII prison camp : STALAG
48 Self-defense technique : KARATE
49 Responds to, as a tip : ACTS ON
54 Build : ERECT
55 Tamiflu producer : ROCHE
57 “Fooled you!” : PSYCH!
59 Editor’s “keep it” : STET
60 Folk singer Baez : JOAN
61 Oklahoma city : ENID
62 Some USN officers : CDRS
65 “I get it now!” : OHO!
66 Diamond, for one : GEM
67 __ Jima : IWO

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Jan 22, Monday”

    1. PSYCH, not PSYCHE. As I understand it, it’s a recent bit of slang, Saying “PSYCH!” is equivalent to saying (in the olden times, when I was young), “I sure psyched you out, didn’t I!”

  1. 4:22

    And here I thought it was anagrams of STAR. Still waiting for the CZAR to push a TSAR aside.

    @Anon Mike,
    Pysch! is an obnoxious word to shout at someone to let them know you pysched them out.

    1. Fun fact, Czar and Tsar were Russian variants on the Roman “Caesar”. Kaiser
      was the German variant.
      My kids used the term Psych so I was very
      familiar with it…..

      Easy Monday, no look ups, no errors.

  2. I feel so smart on Mondays!! That was an easy one but it still feels good to finish with no look ups!
    Happy Monday!
    Stay safe! 😊

  3. Also didn’t understand PSYCH. I’ll age out of crosswords some day.

    Don’t tell me not going to the gym is NEGLIGENCE. So, I
    Googled it and decided to look at the question again – oh, I didn’t see the last sentence of the clue, “appropriate care.”

  4. Went well. Had a few erasers and workovers, but way better than last Monday. Fun Monday. I feel much smarter today. Another dillisional start to the week!

  5. 8:18 – no cheats/lookups.

    Like many others, I felt “Smart” today … TGFM

    You could’ve put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t have come up with the theme. Jeez …

    @Glenn – 3:44 Nice! I think you once said that you usually don’t pay attention to a theme while solving the puzzle. (I guess bc you’re so fast) Did you get this theme? Ah, you probably did …

    Be Well.

    1. I usually don’t notice themes while solving (never have even when I was taking 40+ mins on Monday), but I can point them out most of the time if I make a point to look for it.

  6. 7:59 with no lookups or errors, and one revision of ADMS>CDRS. Interesting that there were two answers that are naval ranks – ENSign and CommanDeR.

    Learned of AURUM again.

    I also thought that the theme was going to be anagrams of STAR (“shooting), but then the STAR letters were also circled word, so likely not that. The interesting thing is that the circled letter groups are not only anagrams of each other, but they are each a whole word with each starting letter being one of the four letters.

  7. Nice easy Monday for me; took 7:13 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t know HANSEN and I keep mistaking ROdA and RONA, but the crosses helped out there. Too fast to notice the them except in passing.

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