LA Times Crossword 27 Jan 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bruce Venzke
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Change of Fortune

Themed answers form a word ladder stepping from GOAT to HERO. That’s quite a CHANGE OF FORTUNE:

  • 36A What takes place in eight puzzle answers when read in sequence : CHANGE OF FORTUNE
  • 17A #1 : GOAT
  • 20A #2 : GOAD
  • 26A #3 : LOAD
  • 30A #4 : LORD
  • 44A #5 : LARD
  • 51A #6 : HARD
  • 55A #7 : HERD
  • 58A #8 : HERO

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

Bill’s time: 9m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “The Divine Comedy,” e.g. : EPIC

Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.

5 Bubbly brand : ASTI

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy that is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

9 They’re not gentlemen : 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.

13 Robusto! sauce maker : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce was introduced in 1937. The name ”Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is a little off in the name of the sauce. In Italian, the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

14 Letter on a dreidel : SHIN

A dreidel is a spinning top with four sides that is often associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each of the four sides on a dreidel bears a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (nun, gimel, hei and shin). The four letters are the initials of the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” meaning “a great miracle happened there”. According to tradition, children would be taught Torah while hiding in caves away from the Greeks. When Greek soldiers approached, the children would hide their torah scrolls and play with their dreidels instead.

15 Archaeological site : RUINS

“Archaeology” is a word that looks like it’s British English, and one might be forgiven for using the spelling “archeology” in American English. Even though the latter spelling has been around for a couple of hundred years, the former is the standard spelling on both sides of the Atlantic.

17 #1 : GOAT

Greatest of all time (GOAT)

22 Common lot size : ONE ACRE

We’ve been using the term “lot” to mean “plot of land” since the mid-1600s. This meaning arose from the practice of assigning the best properties in a new settlement by casting lots.

27 __ & Perrins: Worcestershire sauce brand : LEA

Worcestershire sauce is a variant of a fermented fish sauce that has been around since the days of the Roman Empire. The modern sauce was developed and marketed by Messrs. Lea and Perrins in the city of Worcester, then in the county of Worcestershire, hence the name. We vegans aren’t supposed to touch it, as it contains anchovies! Oh, and “Worcestershire” is pronounced “wooster-sheer” …

29 What Phobos orbits : MARS

Mars has two moons, the larger of which is Phobos and the smaller Deimos. “Phobos” is the Greek word for “fear”, and “Deimos” is Greek for “dread”.

31 UFO passengers : ETS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

32 Billiards backspin : DRAW

The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.

34 School auxiliaries, for short : PTAS

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

41 Some reddish deer : ROES

Roe deer are found mainly in Europe. They would be the deer shown on television and in movies when Robin Hood was out hunting in Sherwood Forest.

42 Like granola bars : OATY

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

43 Hot __ : ROD

A hot rod is an American car that has been modified for speed by installing a larger than normal engine. A street rod is generally a more comfortable type of hot rod, with the emphasis less on the engine and more on custom paint jobs and interiors. By definition, a street rod must be based on an automobile design that originated prior to 1949.

46 What many leaves do in autumn : TURN

Leaves are green because of the presence of the pigment chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in a leaf during the growing season that it masks out the colors of any other pigments. The amount of chlorophyll falls off in the autumn so that other pigments, present all year, become evident. These pigments are carotenoids which are orange-yellow in color, and anthocyanins which are red-purple.

48 Part of la famille : FRERE

In French, a “frère” (brother) is a member of the “famille” (family).

62 Barbershop accessory : STROP

A strop is a strip of leather used to sharpen a razor.

64 Jump that’s often a triple : AXEL

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

65 Farm females : SOWS

A male pig is a boar, and a female is a sow. Young pigs are piglets.

Down

1 Bit of work : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. It has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

2 Kung __ chicken : PAO

Kung Pao chicken is a Sichuan stir-fry dish that includes chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. The name “Kung Pao” is thought to come from a governor of the Sichuan province whose title was “Gongbao”, meaning “Palace Guardian”.

3 Market chain with a red oval logo : 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”.

5 Long-time Syrian president : ASSAD

Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad, whom he replaced as President of the Syrian Arab Republic in 2001. President Bashar al-Assad is a medical doctor, and speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman by birth.

6 Wearing wingtips, say : SHOD

A brogue is more commonly called a wing tip here in the US, I think. The shoe design originated in Ireland and Scotland, and “brog” the Irish word (and similar Scottish word) for shoe gives rise to the name. The brogue/wingtip design includes decorative perforations in the leather uppers. The toe cap of a brogue curves back in a shape that suggests the tip of a bird’s wing, hence the alternative name.

9 Belief : CREED

A creed or credo is a profession of faith, or a system of belief or principles. “Credo” is Latin for “I believe”.

10 Subtle glow : 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”.

11 Real estate transaction requirements : DISCLOSURES

The terms “realty” and “real estate” actually date back to the late 1600s. Back then, the terms meant “real possessions, things owned that are tangible and real”.

16 Golf’s Slammin’ Sammy : SNEAD

Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate. Snead’s best-remembered nickname is “Slammin’ Sammy”.

19 Behind the eight ball : IN A SPOT

To be behind the eight-ball is to be in an extremely difficult situation. The expression “behind the eight-ball” originated in the 1920s in the US, and comes from one of the versions of pool. In the game Eight Ball, pocketing the eight-ball by mistake causes a loss.

24 Green of Austin Powers films : SETH

Seth Green is an actor and comedian best-known by many as creator and voice actor on the animated television series “Robot Chicken”. I know him best for playing “Napster” in the 2005 film “The Italian Job”.

The Austin Powers character was created by the actor who plays him, namely Mike Myers. Apparently Myers came up with the idea for Powers while listening to the Burt Bacharach song “The Look of Love”.

25 He was The Joker on TV’s “Batman” : CESAR ROMERO

Cesar Romero was an American actor of Cuban descent from New York. He played a wide variety of roles on the big screen, but is remembered by many for playing the Joker on the “Batman” television show in the sixties.

The Joker is one of the most colorful of Batman’s nemeses, one introduced in comic books in 1940 and appearing in the first ever edition of “Batman”. The Joker has also been played on screen by some colorful characters. In the original television series, he was portrayed by Cesar Romero, and on the big screen by Jack Nicholson. What great casting!

26 London-born Rat Packer : LAWFORD

Actor Peter Lawford was well known as a core member of the “Rat Pack”, along with Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop. Apart from his successful acting career, another of Lawford’s claim to fame was his relationship to John F. Kennedy. Lawford’s first marriage was to the future president’s sister, Patricia Helen Kennedy.

29 Chinese chairman : MAO

Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.

30 Map line: Abbr. : LAT

Lines of latitude are imaginary horizontal lines surrounding the planet. The most “important” lines of latitude are, from north to south:

  • Arctic Circle
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Equator
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Antarctic Circle

33 Remedy for a freeze : RESTART

That might be a computer freezing.

44 Long rides? : LIMOS

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

47 Bearish : URSINE

Something described as ursine is related to a bear. The term “ursine” comes from “ursus” (plural “ursi”), Latin for “bear”.

49 Cardinal’s headgear : RED HAT

Cardinal red is a vivid shade that takes its name from the cassocks and hats worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. The bird known as a cardinal takes its name from the color.

59 Application file suffix : EXE

In the Windows operating system, a file with the extension “.exe” is an “executable” file.

60 Cartoon canine : REN

“The Ren & Stimpy Show” is an animated television serial created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, and which ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “The Divine Comedy,” e.g. : EPIC
5 Bubbly brand : ASTI
9 They’re not gentlemen : CADS
13 Robusto! sauce maker : RAGU
14 Letter on a dreidel : SHIN
15 Archaeological site : RUINS
17 #1 : GOAT
18 Continues despite hardship : SOLDIERS ON
20 #2 : GOAD
22 Common lot size : ONE ACRE
23 Go up : ASCEND
26 #3 : LOAD
27 __ & Perrins: Worcestershire sauce brand : LEA
28 Terse memo from the boss : SEE ME!
29 What Phobos orbits : MARS
30 #4 : LORD
31 UFO passengers : ETS
32 Billiards backspin : DRAW
34 School auxiliaries, for short : PTAS
36 What takes place in eight puzzle answers when read in sequence : CHANGE OF FORTUNE
41 Some reddish deer : ROES
42 Like granola bars : OATY
43 Hot __ : ROD
44 #5 : LARD
46 What many leaves do in autumn : TURN
48 Part of la famille : FRERE
50 Bonding and binding words : I DO
51 #6 : HARD
52 Wears out : DOES IN
53 Ones who belong : MEMBERS
55 #7 : HERD
56 Spies : OPERATIVES
58 #8 : HERO
62 Barbershop accessory : STROP
63 Final critical moment : NICK
64 Jump that’s often a triple : AXEL
65 Farm females : SOWS
66 Comic book shrieks : EEKS
67 Take care of : TEND

Down

1 Bit of work : ERG
2 Kung __ chicken : PAO
3 Market chain with a red oval logo : IGA
4 Jewelry piece that’s been cleaved or shaped : CUT GEM
5 Long-time Syrian president : ASSAD
6 Wearing wingtips, say : SHOD
7 Up to, in ads : ‘TIL
8 Like some pools : INDOOR
9 Belief : CREED
10 Subtle glow : AURA
11 Real estate transaction requirements : DISCLOSURES
12 One might keep you up : SNORER
16 Golf’s Slammin’ Sammy : SNEAD
19 Behind the eight ball : IN A SPOT
21 Tense : ON EDGE
23 “Wait __!” : A SEC
24 Green of Austin Powers films : SETH
25 He was The Joker on TV’s “Batman” : CESAR ROMERO
26 London-born Rat Packer : LAWFORD
29 Chinese chairman : MAO
30 Map line: Abbr. : LAT
33 Remedy for a freeze : RESTART
35 Attempt to get : TRY FOR
37 Doze : NOD
38 Devotee : FAN
39 Negative words of agreement? : NOR I
40 Biblical plot : EDEN
44 Long rides? : LIMOS
45 Masters : ADEPTS
47 Bearish : URSINE
49 Cardinal’s headgear : RED HAT
51 A lot more than a little : HEAPS
52 Classroom furniture : DESKS
54 Sweat spot : BROW
55 “Dang!” : HECK!
57 Compete : VIE
59 Application file suffix : EXE
60 Cartoon canine : REN
61 Overdone : OLD

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Jan 22, Thursday”

  1. Don’t understand the meaning of the other steps of the ladder of success or their relative order. Do understand why goat is number one.

    1. I read back through this and realized that I should have explained a word ladder in my comments below. A word ladder is a game invented by Lewis Carroll (think Alice in Wonderland). The idea is to start and end with a word of the same length and then find valid words in a chain that leads you from the start to the end. One example is in the puzzle. In the process, you are only allowed to change one letter of the word. Solves of this game can often be used as crossword themes.

  2. Absolutely cannot figure out what the numbered and correctly answered clues have to do with “change of fortune?” A first for me.

  3. Anyone else having a hard time getting to the comments? I usually have no problem, they come up at the end of the puzzle but lately I haven’t been able to see them. As for this puzzle, I really liked it. Took me a while to get the theme but once I did, finished quite quickly. Reminds me of Wordle, which I am now officially addicted to.

  4. Regarding the “goat” to “hero” word ladder: the 36A clue refers to a change of fortune. I submit that “goat” as G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) is not a change of fortune to “hero”, but rather a goat is a loser or a butt of many jokes. This makes goat to hero a change of fortune.

  5. 11:47

    Glad to see the comments are working again.

    Today’s theme was fun.

    My biggest obstacle was that the only word for “Billiards spin” I could think of was MASSE, not DRAW.

  6. This was my favorite theme puzzle in quite a while…really fun reveal at the end when the goat became the hero! Well done!! 👍

  7. 21:55, no errors. #1 being GOAT was a bit tricky since initially I thought #1, #2 etc were clues but got GOAD via crosses and then was able to immediately pencil in HERO at the end.

  8. I also had no luck with reaching the comment section. I had no
    errors, but the clues and theme clue seemed to me to bear no relation
    to each other. Just my opinion.

  9. Some more commentary: I found this to be pretty poorly executed. Ultimately, I had to downs-only solve around the numbered clues. Then once I got two consecutive ones, I was able to use experience with prior puzzles to figure out what was going on. 36A was so poorly communicated to be of no use to figuring out this was a word ladder and ultimately was pretty poor communication in the whole GOAT-HERO sequence. Needless to say, I’ve seen many more better executed word-ladder themes than this one.

  10. Also couldn’t see comments or past puzzles for two days.
    I don’t think the opposite of a hero is a goat, probably because I don’t think of a goat being anything but an animal.

  11. Tricky but doable Thursday for me; took 23:42 (almost my same time on WSJ) with no peeks or errors. Got the theme reveal in due course after working around all the other theme clues. Didn’t help at all, even though I figured out what was going on in the bottom half. Struggled a long time with GOAL/CUTGEM/GOAD, trying various letters, and then I suddenly got the banner…sheesh!

    Is it just me or have other never ever bought pasta sauce? I’ve always made my own from tomato sauce, various spices, onions, mushrooms, wine and sometimes milk. I just can’t figure out why anyone would bother with pre-made sauce…go figure.

  12. Was befuddled that this site wouldn’t come up yesterday. Glad to see that it’s working again.

    13:55 with no errors or lookups. I thought the theme was creatively done. Not only is it an 8-word word ladder with related start and end words, but their placement in the puzzle formed a stair-step formation with the “ladder” going down. Nice!

  13. I concur that this was a stumper, however, as to “goat,” an alternate meaning is, “a lecherous person.”

  14. (Also posting this a day late due to inaccessibilty issues on the day of publication)

    15:40 and no errors, but needed Check Help to find two “spelling errors” affecting 4 entries.

    I just DETEST “word ladders”. They’re just STUPID. And clues with just #in the ladder are worthless. Only rebuses are worse. Leave that crap at the NY Times puzzle!!!

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