LA Times Crossword 2 Feb 22, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Seats

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as SEATS appropriate to the corresponding clue:

  • 21A Seat for a hooligan? : PUNK ROCKER
  • 55A Seat for a gala attendee? : PARTY CHAIR
  • 3D Seat for an amphibian? : TOADSTOOL
  • 34D Seat for Tiger? : GOLF SWING

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

Bill’s time: 7m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Epsilon followers : ZETAS

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a precursor of our Roman letter Z. The word “zeta” is also the ancestor of the letter name “zed”, which became “zee”, the term that we use here in the US.

Epsilon is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase epsilon looks very similar to our Latin E.

10 Apple tablet : IPAD

The iPad wasn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

14 Reason for a food recall : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

15 River Severn tributary : AVON

The River Avon that flows in the southwest of England is sometimes referred to as the Lower Avon or Bristol Avon. The extra wording is to distinguish it from a number of other River Avons in the country, including the famous one through William Shakespeare’s Stratford. The Lower Avon passes through the cities of Bristol and Bath.

The River Severn is the longest river in the UK (the Thames is second). The Severn rises in the Cambrian Mountains in the center of Wales and empties into the Bristol Channel at the Severn Estuary. Tributaries to the Severn include the Warwickshire Avon (“Shakespeare’s Avon”) and the Bristol Avon.

16 Violin holder : CASE

Our word “violin” is a diminutive of the “viola”, the name given to the larger stringed instrument. The contemporary violin is a modern version of the medieval viola da braccio (meaning “arm viola”).

18 Actress Krakowski of “30 Rock” : JANE

Jane Krakowski is an actress best known for playing the clueless and attention-seeking Jenna Maroney on the sitcom “30 Rock”. Krakowski also has a leading role on the Netflix comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.

“30 Rock” is a sitcom on NBC that was created by the show’s star Tina Fey. Fey plays an ex-performer and writer from “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) and uses her experiences on that show as a basis for the “30 Rock” storyline. Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer for the fictional sketch comedy series “TGS with Tracy Jordan”.

19 Gaelic language : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

21 Seat for a hooligan? : PUNK ROCKER

“Hooligan” is a word that arose in England in the late 1800s and describes an aggressive and violent youth. The term is apparently derived from the Irish family name “Houlihan”. I can’t think why …

23 Violinist Isaac who performed the solos in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof” : STERN

Isaac Stern was Ukrainian-born, and moved with his family to San Francisco at a very young age. He was a wonderful violin virtuoso, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush in 1992. Stern passed away in 2001 at 81 years of age.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a 1971 musical film that is an adaptation of the 1964 stage musical of the same name. The cast is led by Israeli actor and singer Topol, who plays Tevye the Dairyman.

26 Fast watercraft : JET SKI

“Jet Ski” is actually a brand name owned by Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. The generic term, not often used, is “personal watercraft”. Most people use the term “Jet Ski” generically, although “WaveRunner” is also popular. But that’s another brand name, one owned by Yamaha.

30 Kitchen gadget brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

33 Pulitzer-winning writer James : AGEE

James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

37 Dalmatian marking : SPOT

The Dalmatian breed of dog originated in Dalmatia, in the Republic of Croatia. Here in the US, Dalmatians are known as “firehouse dogs”. This association dates back to the use of Dalmatians in firehouses to guard the valuable horses that pulled the fire engines.

41 MLBer Manny who was a Dodger coach for 34 seasons : MOTA

Manny Mota is a retired MLB outfielder who coached for the Dodgers from 1980 through 2013. Mota’s tenure as a coach with the Dodgers (34 seasons) is the second longest in Major League Baseball history (after Nick Altrock, who coached for the Washington Senators for 42 seasons).

42 Bagel center : HOLE

The bagel was invented in the Polish city of Kraków in the 16th century. Bagels were brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Poland who mainly established homes in and around New York City.

45 USPS unit : LTR

The US Postal Service (USPS) delivers a lot of letters (ltrs.).

46 Many Wikipedia articles : LISTS

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, and is the most-used reference site on the Internet. The site was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. I, for one, am very grateful …

61 Gillette razor : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

62 Indian royal : RAJA

“Raja” (also “rajah”) is a word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.

63 “Mostly Ghostly” series author : STINE

The “Mostly Ghostly” series of books were penned by children’s author R. L. Stine. The hero of the books is an 11-year-old boy who has the power to see ghosts. The books spawned three movies:

  1. Mostly Ghostly: Who Let the Ghosts Out? (2008)
  2. Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014)
  3. Mostly Ghostly: One Night in Doom House (2016)

64 Poet Silverstein : SHEL

Author Shel Silverstein had a varied career and did a lot more than write books. He was a poet, composer, cartoonist and screenwriter among other things. One of his successful children’s books is “A Light in the Attic”, a collection of poems that was first published in 1981. Some parents have tried to get the book banned from libraries. The collection includes the poem “How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes”, which encourages disobedience and making a mess. Scandalous …

65 Panache : ELAN

Someone exhibiting panache is showing dash and verve, and perhaps has a swagger. “Panache” is a French word used for a plume of feathers, especially one in a hat.

66 Reddish-brown dye : HENNA

Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, for leather and wool as well as hair and skin. In modern days, henna is often used for temporary tattoos.

68 Smartphone receipt : TEXT

Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact friends and family.

Down

1 Pizzazz : ZEST

Pizazz (also “pizzazz”) is energy, vitality. There’s a kind of cool thing about the “pizzazz” spelling, namely that it is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z.

3 Seat for an amphibian? : TOADSTOOL

“Toadstool” is an alternative name for a mushroom, although these days the term tends to be reserved for mushrooms that are poisonous.

6 Louisiana cuisine : CAJUN

Cajun cuisine is named for the French-speaking Acadian people who were deported from Acadia in Canada to Louisiana in the 18th century.

7 Author Turgenev : IVAN

Ivan Turgenev was a Russian novelist and playwright. Turgenev’s most famous works are a collection of short stories called “A Sportsman’s Sketches” (1852) and the novel “Fathers and Sons” (1862).

8 Honky-__ : TONK

A honky-tonk is a bar with musical entertainment, usually country music. The etymology of the term “honky-tonk” seems unclear. The term has evolved to mean any cheap, noisy bar or dance hall.

9 One side of an Einstein equation : ENERGY

In Albert Einstein’s famous equation E=mc², “E” stands for energy, “m” stands for mass, and “c” stands for the speed of light.

11 Winter warmer : 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.

13 Caterpillar rival : DEERE

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

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.

21 Gussy up : PRIMP

To gussy up is to dress showily. The term “gussy” was a slang term that was used to describe an overly-dressed person.

22 Olive __ : OYL

E. C. Segar’s cartoon character Olive Oyl had quite a large family. Her mother is Nana Oyl, and her father Cole Oyl. Olive’s brother is Castor Oyl, and she has uncles named Otto Oyl and Lubry Kent Oyl (my favorite!).

26 “Milk” Oscar nominee Brolin : JOSH

Actor Josh Brolin got his big break playing Brandon Walsh in the 1985 movie “The Goonies”. One of his more famous roles was playing George W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s biopic about the president titled “W”. Josh is the son of actor James Brolin, and hence stepson of singer Barbra Streisand.

“Milk” is a 2008 biopic based on the life of activist and politician Harvey Milk, with Sean Penn playing the title role. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White.

27 Trade show : EXPO

The first “World’s Fair” was held in 1851, known back then as the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”. The fair was the idea of Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. It was held in a magnificent glass and cast-iron structure called the Crystal Palace that was purpose-built for the occasion. The “Great Exhibition” spawned a tradition of what became known as World’s Fairs, expositions that feature national pavilions created by participating countries. The term “Expo” was coined for Expo 67, a 1967 World’s Fair held in Montreal. Since then, we’ve been using “expo” to describe any large exposition or trade show.

34 Seat for Tiger? : GOLF SWING

Golfer Tiger Woods’ real name is Eldrick Tont Woods. “Tont” is a traditional Thai name. Tiger’s father Earl Woods met his second wife Kultida Punsawad in 1966, while on a tour of duty with the US Army in Thailand.

35 Famous almost-last words : ET TU …?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

36 British nobleman : 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.

38 Like Poe’s title heart : TELL-TALE

Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is arguably one of his most disturbing works. It is a story of cold-blooded and premeditated murder, with some dismemberment thrown in for good measure.

47 Columbia, for one : IVY

Columbia University is an Ivy League school in New York City. Columbia’s athletic teams are called the Lions, which is thought to be a reference to the lion on the English coat of arms. Prior to the American Revolution, Columbia was called King’s College as it was chartered by King George II in 1754.

48 Like some agents and Santas : SECRET

The Christmas tradition known as “Secret Santa” is often used for gift-giving by a group of friends or colleagues. Each person is randomly assigned another member of the group to whom they give a gift. The identity of the gift-giver is kept secret, hence the name of the tradition.

52 Yoga variety : HATHA

Hatha yoga is a yoga system developed in 15th century India. Traditional Hatha yoga is a more “complete” practice than often encountered in the west, involving not just exercise but also meditation and relaxation. “Hatha” is a Sanskrit word meaning “force”.

56 Healthy : HALE

“Hale” is an adjective meaning “healthy”. Both the words “hale” and “healthy” derive from the Old English “hal” that has the same meaning.

57 Warrior son of King Telamon, in myth : AJAX

Ajax was a figure in Greek mythology, and was the cousin of Achilles. Ajax is an important figure in Homer’s “Iliad”. According to Homer, Ajax was chosen by lot to meet Hector in an epic duel that lasted a whole day. The duel ended in a draw.

According to Greek mythology, Telamon sailed with Jason on the Argo. Telamon was the father of Ajax the Great, a great war hero who features in Homer’s “Iliad”.

59 Donovan in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame : ANNE

Anne Donovan was a basketball player and coach. She became the first woman to coach a WNBA Championship team when she led the Seattle Storm to the title in 2004. Donovan also represented the US, both as a player and a coach.

63 Pop duo __ & Him : SHE

She & Him is a musical duo comprising guitarist M. Ward and vocalist Zooey Deschanel, the noted actress. Ward and Deschanel met on the film set for “The Go-Getter” in 2007, and got together to sing over the film’s end credits.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Epsilon followers : ZETAS
6 Reference : CITE
10 Apple tablet : IPAD
14 Reason for a food recall : E COLI
15 River Severn tributary : AVON
16 Violin holder : CASE
17 Old will? : SHALT
18 Actress Krakowski of “30 Rock” : JANE
19 Gaelic language : ERSE
20 Fuss : TO-DO
21 Seat for a hooligan? : PUNK ROCKER
23 Violinist Isaac who performed the solos in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof” : STERN
25 Whirl : GYRATE
26 Fast watercraft : JET SKI
28 Editor’s concern : STYLE
30 Kitchen gadget brand : OXO
31 Ready for a refill : EMPTY
33 Pulitzer-winning writer James : AGEE
37 Dalmatian marking : SPOT
39 Pals, slangily : PEEPS
41 MLBer Manny who was a Dodger coach for 34 seasons : MOTA
42 Bagel center : HOLE
43 Cleaned, in a way : SWEPT
45 USPS unit : LTR
46 Many Wikipedia articles : LISTS
49 More than you want to hear, probably : EARFUL
51 Put aside : SHELVE
54 Open-mouthed stares : GAPES
55 Seat for a gala attendee? : PARTY CHAIR
58 Mop : SWAB
61 Gillette razor : ATRA
62 Indian royal : RAJA
63 “Mostly Ghostly” series author : STINE
64 Poet Silverstein : SHEL
65 Panache : ELAN
66 Reddish-brown dye : HENNA
67 Cooked : MADE
68 Smartphone receipt : TEXT
69 Beaten by a nose, say : EDGED

Down

1 Pizzazz : ZEST
2 It’ll come back to you : ECHO
3 Seat for an amphibian? : TOADSTOOL
4 Gives in portions : ALLOTS
5 Dog command : SIT!
6 Louisiana cuisine : CAJUN
7 Author Turgenev : IVAN
8 Honky-__ : TONK
9 One side of an Einstein equation : ENERGY
10 It may be in a cone : ICE CREAM
11 Winter warmer : PARKA
12 Strong suit : ASSET
13 Caterpillar rival : DEERE
21 Gussy up : PRIMP
22 Olive __ : OYL
24 Squeeze (out) : EKE
26 “Milk” Oscar nominee Brolin : JOSH
27 Trade show : EXPO
28 Simmered dishes : STEWS
29 Kind : TYPE
32 Gnat or nag : PEST
34 Seat for Tiger? : GOLF SWING
35 Famous almost-last words : ET TU …?
36 British nobleman : EARL
38 Like Poe’s title heart : TELL-TALE
40 Stick a fork in : SPEAR
44 Dance genre : TAP
47 Columbia, for one : IVY
48 Like some agents and Santas : SECRET
50 Took a break : RESTED
51 Muscle contraction : SPASM
52 Yoga variety : HATHA
53 Miscalculated : ERRED
54 Oversized and then some : GIANT
56 Healthy : HALE
57 Warrior son of King Telamon, in myth : AJAX
59 Donovan in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame : ANNE
60 Bracelet ball : BEAD
63 Pop duo __ & Him : SHE

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 Feb 22, Wednesday”

  1. No errors, no lookups. Had to change my “preen” to “primp” along the
    way, but no biggie. Clever and fun theme.

  2. 20:04 no errors…I was going to voice my thoughts about British “royalty” but I thought better.
    Stay safe😀

  3. 18:48 with no errors or lookups. Revisions were DRESS>PRIMP, DONE>MADE, HER>SHE (don’t know them, the Pop duo). Kind of interesting seat theme.

    Solved HATHA with the crosses; same with ANNE Donovan, Manny MOTA, JANE Krakowski. I have seen Fiddler on the Roof many times, but did not remember that Isaac Stern performed the violin solos – pretty cool.

    @Glen, re: your comment yesterday about having crossword puzzles on your smartphone. The biggest advantage is to have them easily available when you need to kill a few minutes away from home (network connection not required), such as in an airport, on an airplane, in a waiting room for an appointment, or anywhere that solo waiting is involved. Time to completion isn’t a factor for me in those cases, but the ones in my app do track the time and pause/resume it when you do something else on the phone and then come back to it.

  4. @Larry E. yesterday – I think it’s more a question of age, not race, that we have not seen her movies. I try to check out, on my phone, the new singers that are referenced here. But movies would be more difficult.

    No Googles, no errors. Had “obese” before GIANT. Did not know MOTA or ANNE (both sports). Would have liked to see PotTy CHAIR, but maybe Gelfland started with that and was told to change it! What’s a PARTY CHAIR?

  5. Mostly easy Wednesday for me; took 9:12 with no peeks or errors. Was going too fast to get the theme, except in passing. Which explains why I struggled a bit getting IVY. LISTS didn’t make any sense to me and neither did any connection between PUNK and Hooligan, but what do I know.

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