LA Times Crossword 17 Feb 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Bruce Venzke
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Put in a Good Word

Themed answers each start with a word meaning “PUT IN A GOOD WORD”:

  • 49A Recommend, with “for,” and a hint to the start of 20-, 25- and 44-Across : PUT IN A GOOD WORD …
  • 20A Excel on the mound : PITCH A NO-HITTER
  • 25A Increase the mobility of, as a checker : PROMOTE TO KING
  • 44A Do a plumbing job : PLUG UP THE LEAK

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

Bill’s time: 8m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Oktoberfest toast : PROST!

“Prosit” (also “prost”) is a German toast meaning “may it benefit”.

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve attended twice, and it really is a remarkable party …

6 “Atlas Shrugged” hero John : GALT

Russian-born American author Ayn Rand considered 1957’s “Atlas Shrugged” her magnum opus. It is a dystopian novel set in a US without a Congress or president, and instead a National Legislature and “Head of State”.

14 Object : DEMUR

To demur is to voice opposition, to object. It can also mean to delay and has its roots in the Latin word “demorare”, meaning “to delay”.

15 Store with Småland play areas : IKEA

IKEA provides play areas for children in its stores. Those areas have the name “Småland”, which is the historical province in southern Sweden where IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad was born and raised.

16 Wind in the reeds : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

17 Patty Hearst alias : TANIA

The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was founded in 1973 by an escapee from the prison system, Donald DeFreeze. The group’s manifesto promoted the rights of African Americans although, in the 2-3 year life of the group, DeFreeze was the only black member. Famously, the SLA kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. Hearst apparently fell victim to what is called the Stockholm syndrome and became sympathetic to her captors’ cause. She joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”.

18 Whammy : JINX

A jinx is a charm or a spell. The word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was a wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

“Whammy” is a slang term describing a hex, a supernatural spell.

19 Self-named 2000s sitcom set in Texas : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007. She is sometimes referred to as “The Queen of Country”.

20 Excel on the mound : PITCH A NO-HITTER

In baseball, a no-hitter (colloquially “no-no”) is a game in which one team fails to record even a single hit. No-hitters are pretty rare, and only occur about twice a year in Major League Baseball.

25 Increase the mobility of, as a checker : PROMOTE TO KING

In the game of checkers, when a “man” reaches the other side of the board, it is promoted to “king”. The king is designated by placing a second piece on top of the first.

35 Cheerio morsel : OAT

Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, Cheerios were known as CheeriOats.

A morsel is a small bite, a mouthful of food. The term “morsel” comes from the Latin “morsus” meaning “bite”.

38 “Bravo!” : OLE!

To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer of either sex by using “bravi!”

42 Weasel cousin : SABLE

Sables are small mammals, about two feet long, that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s black pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

44 Do a plumbing job : PLUG UP THE LEAK

“Plumbum” is Latin for “lead”, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of those pipes was leaking.

47 Boxer’s remark? : ARF!

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

58 “The Grapes of Wrath” migrants : OKIES

“Okies” is a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is set during the Great Depression. The novel tells the story of the Joad family from Oklahoma, farmers who had to leave their home and head for California due to economic hardship.

60 Fool on the ice : DEKE

A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

61 Canasta play : MELD

The card game canasta originated in Uruguay apparently, with “canasta” being the Spanish word for “basket”. In the rummy-like game, a meld of seven cards or more is called a canasta.

62 Surge protector? : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

65 Bowling unit : FRAME

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

Down

1 L.A. is on it in summer : PDT

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

3 High-end hotel chain : OMNI

Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.

5 Caterpillar, say : TRACTOR

Back in the early 1900s, Benjamin Holt invented a steam tractor that was able to move over soggy land. The new vehicle crawled over the ground using wheels that drove tracks. Someone apparently noted that the tractor moved along like a caterpillar, and so the enterprise that was to be known as the Caterpillar Tractor Company was born.

6 Demi Moore military movie : GI JANE

G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.

Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. Moore’s second husband was Bruce Willis. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her third husband, Ashton Kutcher. However, Kutcher and Moore split in 2013.

8 TV host with more than 300 vehicles : LENO

Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counselor. However, years later he went to Emerson College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns over 300 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

11 What an accessory may do : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

13 Go like the dickens : TEAR

The phrase “like the dickens” is used to mean “a lot” (it hurts like the dickens) or “quickly” (ran like the dickens). The phrase has nothing to do with the author Charles Dickens, and rather “dickens” is a euphemism for the “devil”.

22 Eye part : IRIS

The iris is the colored part of the eye. It has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

28 Nobody : TWERP

“Twerp” and “pipsqueak” are both terms used for someone who is insignificant and contemptible.

29 __ pro nobis : ORA

“Ora pro nobis” translates from Latin as “pray for us”. It is a common phrase used in the Roman Catholic tradition and is often shortened to “OPN”.

30 Golden __ : GLOBE

The first Golden Globe Awards ceremony was held in 1944 to honor the best in filmmaking. The award was created by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which had been formed the year before by a group of writers in Los Angeles. One of the most famous of the Golden Globes is the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is presented for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”.

33 “Boo’d Up” Grammy winner __ Mai : ELLA

Ella Mai is an R&B singer from England. Mai went to high school in New York City before returning to Britain.

37 Moldova currency : LEU

The currency of Moldova is the leu (plural “lei”), a word meaning “lion”. “Leu” is also the name of the currency of neighboring Romania.

The Republic of Moldova (usually referred to as “Moldova”) was the Moldavian Socialist Republic before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

40 Thrashed (about) : FLAILED

To flail about is to swing wildly, either literally or figuratively. The verb comes from the noun “flail”, which is an implement for threshing grain.

42 Navy nuclear sub class : SEAWOLF

The US Navy’s Seawolf class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines were built from 1989 to 2005. The intention was to put 29 Seawolf-class submarines into service over ten years, but this plan was cut back drastically after the end of the Cold War. Just three boats were completed. In addition to the original USS Seawolf, the fleet consists of the USS Connecticut and the USS Jimmy Carter.

43 “Today” weatherman : AL ROKER

Al Roker is best known as the weatherman on the “Today” show on NBC. He has successfully branched out from that platform though, and even co-wrote a novel called “The Morning Show Murders”, about a celebrity chef and TV host who gets entangled in mystery. Topical stuff …

45 Some gov’t issues : T-BONDS

A Treasury note (T-note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A Treasury bill (T-bill) is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-bond matures in 20-30 years.

46 Mason’s carrier : HOD

A hod is a 3-sided box on the end of a long handle used for carrying bricks (and sometimes mortar) at a construction site, usually up and down ladders.

49 Crosswalk users, briefly : PEDS

Pedestrian (ped.)

50 Iris layer : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

51 __ bar: Polynesian-themed spot : TIKI

The world’s first tiki bar was called “Don the Beachcomber”, and was opened in L.A. in 1933 by Ernest Gantt (also known as “Donn Beach”). The bar became famous for its exotic rum cocktails. Gantt was called to serve in WWII, and the business expanded dramatically under his ex-wife’s management so that there was a 160-restaurant chain waiting for Gantt when he returned stateside.

The term “Polynesia” was coined in 1756 by author Charles de Brosses when he used it to describe all the islands in the Pacific. This usage was later restricted to what we now refer to as a subregion of Oceania.

52 Many a techie : GEEK

Originally, a geek was a sideshow performer, perhaps one at a circus. Sometimes the term “geek” is used today for someone regarded as foolish or clumsy, and also for someone who is technically driven and expert, but often socially inept.

54 1972 Derby winner __ Ridge : RIVA

Riva Ridge was a thoroughbred racehorse who won 1972’s Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. He was owned and bred by Christopher Chenery, who also owned and bred Riva Ridge’s more famous stablemate Secretariat.

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Oktoberfest toast : PROST!
6 “Atlas Shrugged” hero John : GALT
10 Split : PART
14 Object : DEMUR
15 Store with Småland play areas : IKEA
16 Wind in the reeds : OBOE
17 Patty Hearst alias : TANIA
18 Whammy : JINX
19 Self-named 2000s sitcom set in Texas : REBA
20 Excel on the mound : PITCH A NO-HITTER
23 Blow away : STUN
24 Steam : IRE
25 Increase the mobility of, as a checker : PROMOTE TO KING
31 Reclusive sort : LONER
32 Pin expert? : WRESTLER
35 Cheerio morsel : OAT
36 Court responses : PLEAS
38 “Bravo!” : OLE!
39 Not as well insulated : DRAFTIER
42 Weasel cousin : SABLE
44 Do a plumbing job : PLUG UP THE LEAK
47 Boxer’s remark? : ARF!
48 Dull-sounding beast : BOAR
49 Recommend, with “for,” and a hint to the start of 20-, 25- and 44-Across : PUT IN A GOOD WORD …
56 Malevolent : EVIL
57 Equine control : REIN
58 “The Grapes of Wrath” migrants : OKIES
60 Fool on the ice : DEKE
61 Canasta play : MELD
62 Surge protector? : LEVEE
63 Verb in much written dialogue : SAID
64 “The __ the limit” : SKY’S
65 Bowling unit : FRAME

Down

1 L.A. is on it in summer : PDT
2 Do a farm job : REAP
3 High-end hotel chain : OMNI
4 “I’m okay with it” : SUITS ME
5 Caterpillar, say : TRACTOR
6 Demi Moore military movie : GI JANE
7 Related : AKIN
8 TV host with more than 300 vehicles : LENO
9 Unpopular raises : TAX HIKES
10 Sign : PORTENT
11 What an accessory may do : ABET
12 Judicial garb : ROBE
13 Go like the dickens : TEAR
21 Castaway’s shelter : HUT
22 Eye part : IRIS
25 Walk tediously : PLOD
26 Sign of crowd approval : ROAR
27 Ready to draw : ON TAP
28 Nobody : TWERP
29 __ pro nobis : ORA
30 Golden __ : GLOBE
33 “Boo’d Up” Grammy winner __ Mai : ELLA
34 Strongly suggest, with “of” : REEK …
36 Animal husbandry facilities : PIG FARMS
37 Moldova currency : LEU
40 Thrashed (about) : FLAILED
41 __ loose: free : TURN
42 Navy nuclear sub class : SEAWOLF
43 “Today” weatherman : AL ROKER
45 Some gov’t issues : T-BONDS
46 Mason’s carrier : HOD
49 Crosswalk users, briefly : PEDS
50 Iris layer : UVEA
51 __ bar: Polynesian-themed spot : TIKI
52 Many a techie : GEEK
53 Like many a mechanic’s rag : OILY
54 1972 Derby winner __ Ridge : RIVA
55 Think : DEEM
59 Call in poker : SEE

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Feb 22, Thursday”

  1. No errors.
    Boy, did I have a different interpretation of 25A than Bill. I thought it was PROMOTE TOKING… as in tip the checkers that are bagging the groceries. Ha!!

    1. Ah, yes! I forgot to mention that! After I finished the puzzle last night, I stared at 25-Across for a good minute, with an image in my head of the clerks at my grocery store being encouraged to smoke pot! And then the light came on upstairs … the game of checkers … d’oh! … 😜.

    2. 👍🏼 I got a chuckle out of that one too. You’d think an editor would’ve caught it, even if the constructor didn’t. Or maybe one (or both) of them were promoting toking, in their own quiet way😋. But seriously, folks: A “nobody” is a TWERP? I’d appreciate a definition of terms in both clue and answer on 28D.

  2. With regard to yesterday’s mini-flap over the use of “hes” as a plural noun: Not only is it in every one of my English dictionaries, but it has been used in an awful lot of crossword puzzles. I found 100 examples of the usage in NYT puzzles (both Shortzian and pre-Shortzian). (I even found more than one example using the exact “Tom, Dick, and Harry”clue that was used yesterday.) So … a good one to remember … 🤓.

    And I enjoyed today’s puzzle … 😜.

  3. No real difficulties with this grid. On the other hand I found today’s WSJ puzzle a real challenge with some VERY tricky cluing. Anyone else do the WSJ today? I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    1. 11 minutes and change, no errors, no issues. Was a very nice clean challenging puzzle, as I would expect from Mike Shenk.

  4. 7:32, no errors.

    And while “hes” is in every one of the English dictionaries, it’s not in them *in that context*. People say “they are men” or “they are women”, not “they are hes” or “they are shes”. And just because a contrivance has been used in crossword puzzles doesn’t make it grammatically acceptable.

    1. You need to actually look it up. It’s in the dictionary.

      The second entry for “he”, in my Webster’s Third, reads this way: “n -s often attrib [ME, fr. he, pron.] 1: a male person or animal (the ~s would quarrel and fight with the females – Jonathan Swift)”. (Some of this is in italics, but that’s too clumsy to try to reproduce here.)

      It’s also in my college dictionaries.

      It’s also in online dictionaries, with examples.

      So, yes, one can say, “They are hes.”

  5. Good theme and almost easier than Wednesday’s puzzle. No look ups, no errors.
    From what I’ve gathered, “toking” does not
    increase mobility 😂

  6. Yeah, I also was stumped by 25A – but once the light went on it was very satisfying. As was today’s puzzle in general. As was Wednesday’s. What, two days in a row I haven’t grumbled to myself? 😄 So great when the crosses help reveal the unknowns as they should (even if they reveal TOKING).

  7. No errors and I couldn’t look up anything because in our area, internet
    was down from early this morning to just a few minutes ago. So no Googling
    available. I didn’t get theme though until somebody said, pitch, plug and promote. Good one!

  8. 14:57 – 2 cheats and a typo.

    I’ll gladly take it for a Thursday (even if it was a little easy). Got PITCHANOHITTER almost with no other crosses and it really helped.

    There was a time when I couldn’t get halfway thru a Thursday with an encyclopedia next to me. If others are struggling, there’s hope …

    Be Well.

  9. 9:24 – no errors, lookups, or revisions. Pretty straightforward for a Thursday.

    25A was only the game for me. I might be from a different generation (certainly mindset) than Anon Mike, Nonny, and Joe Bleaux. 🙂

    Did not know ELLA and RIVA, so glad to have gotten the intersections. I also would associate TWERP with personality rather than social position.

  10. 11 minutes, 40 seconds, and needed Check Grid to work out 6 fills.

    Horrible clueing in this one, and that one fill, PROMOTETOKING just does not spring to the eye without spaces.

    Just NOT a good puzzle. “Meh” at best.

  11. 14:44, no errors. Helped that I got PITCHANOHITTER right off the bat (ha!) & remembering Riva Ridge was also useful.

  12. Tough but doable Thursday for me; took 21:06 with no peeks or errors. Stuck on TOKING as were others, but also PLUG__THELEAK. When I finally put in the only thing that would realistically fit:UP the rest started to come together. Didn’t get TWERP until that point, and then I saw TOKING…hmm 🙂

    Theme actually helped…except for the middle words.

    I also had a lot of trouble with the WSJ, but aced WORDLE: 3 guesses and WORLDLE: 1 guess.

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