LA Times Crossword 24 Feb 22, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jessie Fielding, Pete Muller & Andrew White
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Use an Alias

Themed answers each hide the letter sequence “AKA”:

  • 1A With 60-Across, disguise one’s identity … and what the answers to starred clues subtly do? : USE AN …
  • 60A See 1-Across : … ALIAS
  • 16A *”On the Waterfront” director : ELIA KAZAN
  • 22A *Open-water paddlers : SEA KAYAKERS
  • 33A *Pungent French beef dish : STEAK AU POIVRE
  • 44A *Historic Pearl Harbor event : SNEAK ATTACK
  • 54A *”Godspeed” to the cast of “Godspell,” say : BREAK A LEG

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

Bill’s time: 7m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Common commuter org. : MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). “MTA” might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as “the Metro” and sometimes “the MTA”.

13 Gender identity spectrum : NON-BINARY

The non-binary spectrum of gender identities covers those that do not qualify as exclusively masculine or feminine.

15 Origami bird : CRANE

Origami is the traditional Japanese art form of paper folding. The best-known example of the craft is the paper crane (“orizuru“). The word “origami” is derived from “ori“ (folding) and “kami” (paper).

16 *”On the Waterfront” director : ELIA KAZAN

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. He was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when he was given the 1998 Academy Honorary Award citing his lifetime achievement in the industry. Kazan also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

The 1954 drama “On the Waterfront”, starring Marlon Brando, told a story of violence and corruption among longshoremen. The movie was based on a series of 24 articles written by investigative journalist Malcolm Johnston and published in “The New York Sun”. The original news stories uncovered mob infiltration on the New York City Waterfront, but the location for the film was chosen as Hoboken, New Jersey.

17 Lena of “The Wiz” : HORNE

Lena Horne was an American jazz singer, actress, dancer and civil rights activist. Horne started her career as a nightclub singer and then began to get some meaty acting roles in Hollywood. However, she ended up on the blacklist during the McCarthy Era for expressing left wing political views. One of Horne’s starring roles was in the 1943 movie “Stormy Weather” for which she also performed the title song.

“The Wiz”, the 1974 musical, was written by Charlie Smalls and is an African-American adaptation of Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The film version of the stage show was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. I haven’t seen it, though. “The Wizard of Oz” scares me, as the flying monkeys creep me out. There, I’ve admitted it in public …

18 Switz. neighbor : AUST

The name “Austria” is a Latin variant of the German name for the country, “Österreich”. “Österreich” itself means “Eastern borderlands”, a reference to the country’s history as a prefecture of neighboring Bavaria to the west.

19 XL x XL : MDC

In Roman numerals, “XL x XL” (40 x 40) is “MDC” (1,600)

21 MLB’s Cards, on scoreboards : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

22 *Open-water paddlers : SEA KAYAKERS

There is a type of boat used by Inuit people called a “kayak”. The term “kayak” means “man’s boat”, whereas “umiak” means “woman’s boat”.

26 Econ. measure : GNP

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

27 Madre’s sister : TIA

In Spanish, the “hermana” (sister) of your “madre” (mother) is your “tia” (aunt).

28 Green-sounding Navy jacket : PEACOAT

A peacoat (also “pea jacket”) is a heavy woolen outer jacket originally associated with sailors. Nowadays anyone wears them (they’re very comfortable and warm). The female equivalent of a peacoat is often called a Jackie O jacket, after Jackie Onassis.

32 Sq., for one : RECT

Rectangle (rect.)

A rectangle is a four-sided figure with four right angles. A square is a rectangle with four equal sides. A rectangle that isn’t a square is an oblong.

33 *Pungent French beef dish : STEAK AU POIVRE

The traditional French dish called a “pepper steak” or “steak au poivre” is usually a filet mignon coated with cracked peppercorns prior to cooking. The filet is mostly pan-fried, and often a pan sauce is made to cover the steak by adding Cognac and heavy cream to the residue left in the bottom of the pan after the steak has cooked. “Poivre” is French for “pepper”.

36 Cache : STOW

A cache is a secret supply. We imported the term “cache” into English from French-Canadian trappers in the 17th century. Back then, “cache” was slang for “hiding place for stores”, derived from the French verb “cacher” meaning “to hide”.

38 Inner __ : EAR

The inner ear is primarily responsible for detecting sound and maintaining balance. It comprises two main parts. The cochlea is the sensory organ of hearing, and the vestibular system coordinates movement with balance.

39 FGs often end them : OTS

In American football, a field goal (FG) often ends overtime (OT).

44 *Historic Pearl Harbor event : SNEAK ATTACK

The predetermined code word to be used by the Japanese if they managed to achieve surprise in their attack on Pearl Harbor was “tiger”, or “tora” in Japanese. This gave the title to the excellent 1970 movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!”.

49 French possessive : TES

In French “tes” means “your”, when referring to a single individual and multiple items. The plural of “tes” is “votre”.

50 Puma rival : ADIDAS

The Adidas brand dates back to when Adolf “Adi” Dassler started making his own sports shoes in his mother’s laundry room in Bavaria after returning from WWI. With his brother, Adi founded Dassler shoes. The company’s big break came in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics, when Adi persuaded American sprinter Jesse Owens to use his shoes, and with the success of Jesse Owens came success for the fledgling shoe company. After WWII the brothers split, acrimoniously. Adi’s brother, Ru-dolf Da-ssler, formed “Ruda” shoes (later to become Puma), and Adi Das-sler formed “Adidas”.

51 Bobby on ice : ORR

Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking. While still 31 years old, in 1979, Orr became the youngest person inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Prior to that, in 1967, Orr became the youngest person named the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.

52 Siena sweetheart : CARA

In Italian, “cara” (dear) is a word of “amore” (love) that is spoken “con affetto” (with affection).

Siena is a beautiful city in the Tuscany region of Italy. In the center of Siena is the magnificent medieval square called Piazza del Campo, a paved sloping open area made up of nine triangular sections. The square has to be seen to be believed. Twice a year, the famous bareback horse-race called the Palio di Siena is held in the Piazza.

53 Bride of a title Orkan : MINDY

“Mork & Mindy” is a sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982. The title characters were played by Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. Mork is an alien from the planet Ork who reports back to his superior called Orson. Orson is played by voice actor Ralph James. Ralph James was also known for providing the voice of Mr. Turtle in famous Tootsie Pop commercials in the seventies. Nanu nanu!

Pam Dawber is the actress who teamed up with Robin Williams to play the lead roles in the sitcom “Mork & Mindy”. Dawber is married to the actor Mark Harmon.

54 *”Godspeed” to the cast of “Godspell,” say : BREAK A LEG

There are many, many colorful theories for the origins of the expression “break a leg” that’s used in the world of theater to mean “good luck”. Regardless of the origin, what is clear is that using the phrase “good” luck is considered to be very “bad” luck.

“Godspell” is stage musical by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak that opened off Broadway in 1971. The show started life as a college project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and simply took off. The show’s song “Day by Day” became a big hit in the popular charts.

56 __ Park, Colo. : ESTES

Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park.

57 Orange variety : TANGERINE

The citrus fruit that we know as the “tangerine” is so called because the first tangerines imported into Europe were sourced in Tangiers, the capital city of Morocco in North Africa.

58 Slip end? : -SHOD

Someone of something described as slipshod is slovenly in appearance or sloppy. The term “slipshod” probably comes from the idea of someone appearing in one’s slippers, someone who hasn’t made an effort in their dress.

59 “__ La La”: Manfred Mann hit : SHA

“Sha La La” was a hit for the British band Manfred Mann in 1964. It was a cover version of a song released earlier in the same year by the Shirelles over in the US.

Manfred Mann was a rock band from London in the sixties. The group was named for the keyboard player and co-founder Manfred Mann, who went on to form Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in the 1970s. The three huge hits recorded by Manfred Mann are “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, “Pretty Flamingo” and “Mighty Quinn”.

Down

2 Many an “instant” product, e.g. : SOLUTE

A solute is a substance dissolved in a fluid, hence creating a solution.

4 “Grab __”: “You’re pinch-hitting” : A BAT

In cricket, a “pinch hitter” is a batsman who is already listed in the batting order, but who is promoted in that order. This tactic usually promotes a less valuable batsman in order to make more aggressive but risky shots. So, a pinch hitter is not a substitute, as is the case in baseball.

5 Beat or neat suffix : -NIK

The term “beatnik” was coined by journalist Herb Caen in 1958 when he used it to describe the stereotypical young person of the “beat generation”, which is oft associated with the writer Jack Kerouac. That stereotypical beatnik would be playing the bongos, rolling his or her own cigarettes. Male beatniks tended to sport goatees and wear berets.

6 Miata maker : MAZDA

The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan. The name “Miata” comes from an Old High German word meaning “reward”.

8 “Atlas Shrugged” author Rand : AYN

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born “Alisa Rosenbaum”. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.

9 Raven’s sound : CROAK

Ravens and crows are very similar species, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Ravens are a little larger and often travel in pairs, whereas crows are a little smaller and are usually seen in larger groups. Crows make a cawing sound, while the raven’s call is more like a croak.

11 “The Vampire Chronicles” author : ANNE RICE

“Anne Rice” is the pen name of American author of erotic and Gothic novels Howard Allen O’Brien. Her famous series of novels “The Vampire Chronicles” centers on her character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century. One of the stories, “Interview with the Vampire”, was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and features Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others in a star-studded cast. Not my kind of movie though, as I don’t do vampires …

15 For a song : CHEAP

Something that goes “for a song” is sold very cheaply. The first known use of the phrase in print is in William Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well”.

Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the
ruff and sing; ask questions and sing; pick his
teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of
melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.

20 Jazz trumpeter Marsalis : WYNTON

Wynton Marsalis is a trumpeter and composer. He holds the position of Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

22 Kind of butter used in skin care : SHEA

Shea butter is a common moisturizer and lotion used as a cosmetic. It is a fat that is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There is evidence that shea butter was used back in Cleopatra’s Egypt.

29 Strong watchdogs : AKITAS

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

30 Art able to : CANST

Thou art able, thou canst.

31 Tagged, perhaps : OUT

That might be baseball.

32 Camper with a camper : RV’ER

One using a recreational vehicle (RV) might be called an RVer.

33 Plymouth Colony VIP : STANDISH

Myles Standish was one of the passengers on the Mayflower. He had been hired by the Pilgrims as military advisor for their planned colony in the New World. Standish served as commander of the Plymouth Colony from its founding until his passing in 1656, at the age of 72.

The early settlers of the Plymouth Colony were known as English Dissenters and belonged to congregations that separated from the Church of England. Many English Dissenters headed for Holland in the Netherlands, but the Mayflower Pilgrims opted to set up a new colony in North America in an effort to maintain their English cultural identity.

34 Excoriated : TORE INTO

To excoriate is to abrade or chafe. “Excoriate” also means “to strongly denounce something or someone”.

35 “Out of Africa” author Dinesen : ISAK

“Isak Dinesen” was the pen name of the Danish author Baroness Karen Blixen. Blixen’s most famous title by far is “Out of Africa”, her account of the time she spent living in Kenya.

36 Bits on some buns : SESAMES

The sesame is a flowering plant that is cultivated mainly for its edible seeds. The seeds are a source of oil, and in fact the sesame is the oldest known oilseed crop.

39 Green-lights : OKAYS

Back in the late 1830s, there were some slang abbreviations coined mainly in Boston. The craze called for two-letter abbreviations of deliberately misspelled phrases. For example “no use” became “KY” from “know yuse”, and “enough said” became “NC” from “‘nuff ced”. Fortunately (I say!), the practice was short-lived. But, one of those abbreviations persists to this day. “All correct” was misspelled to give “oll korrect”, abbreviated to “OK”.

41 Latin catchall : ET ALII

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names.

42 Legendary sister of Venus : SERENA

Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

43 Plains tribe : OSAGES

The Osage Nation originated in the Ohio River valley in what we now call Kentucky. The name “Osage” was first used by French traders for the people who called themselves “Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska”, meaning “Children of the Middle Water”.

45 Did sum math? : ADDED

Here’s another term that catches me out all the time, having done my schooling on the other side of the Atlantic. The term “mathematics” is shortened to “math” in the US, but to “maths” in Britain and Ireland.

46 Ark document : TORAH

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which the Torah scrolls are stored. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”, I am told.

52 Sigmund contemporary : CARL

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, and the founder of analytical psychology. Jung was very much associated with the analysis of dreams, and also introduced us to the psychological concepts of introversion and extroversion.

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, and founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry. One of Freud’s tenets was that our dreams are a necessary part of sleep as they prevent the dreamer from awakening due to desire for unfulfilled wishes. The dream’s content represents those unfulfilled wishes and satisfies the desire.

54 First Korean act to perform at the Grammys : BTS

BTS is a boy band from South Korea with seven members. The initialism “BTS” stands for the phrase “Bangtan Sonyeondan”, which translates literally as “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”. BTS is the best=selling musical act in the history of South Korea.

55 Hawaii’s Mauna __ : KEA

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 With 60-Across, disguise one’s identity … and what the answers to starred clues subtly do? : USE AN …
6 Common commuter org. : MTA
9 Key with no sharps or flats: Abbr. : C MAJ
13 Gender identity spectrum : NON-BINARY
15 Origami bird : CRANE
16 *”On the Waterfront” director : ELIA KAZAN
17 Lena of “The Wiz” : HORNE
18 Switz. neighbor : AUST
19 XL x XL : MDC
20 Not so concentrated : WEAKER
21 MLB’s Cards, on scoreboards : STL
22 *Open-water paddlers : SEA KAYAKERS
24 “Yikes!” : YEESH!
26 Econ. measure : GNP
27 Madre’s sister : TIA
28 Green-sounding Navy jacket : PEACOAT
32 Sq., for one : RECT
33 *Pungent French beef dish : STEAK AU POIVRE
36 Cache : STOW
37 Vehement : INTENSE
38 Inner __ : EAR
39 FGs often end them : OTS
40 “Am not!” retort : ARE SO!
44 *Historic Pearl Harbor event : SNEAK ATTACK
49 French possessive : TES
50 Puma rival : ADIDAS
51 Bobby on ice : ORR
52 Siena sweetheart : CARA
53 Bride of a title Orkan : MINDY
54 *”Godspeed” to the cast of “Godspell,” say : BREAK A LEG
56 __ Park, Colo. : ESTES
57 Orange variety : TANGERINE
58 Slip end? : -SHOD
59 “__ La La”: Manfred Mann hit : SHA
60 See 1-Across : … ALIAS

Down

1 Perturbed : UNEASY
2 Many an “instant” product, e.g. : SOLUTE
3 Isolate, in a way : ENISLE
4 “Grab __”: “You’re pinch-hitting” : A BAT
5 Beat or neat suffix : -NIK
6 Miata maker : MAZDA
7 Place to race : TRACK
8 “Atlas Shrugged” author Rand : AYN
9 Raven’s sound : CROAK
10 Member of a pitching staff? : MARKETER
11 “The Vampire Chronicles” author : ANNE RICE
12 Taunts : JEERS AT
14 Newborn’s acquisition : NAME
15 For a song : CHEAP
20 Jazz trumpeter Marsalis : WYNTON
22 Kind of butter used in skin care : SHEA
23 Showing surprise : AGAPE
25 Gush : SPEW
29 Strong watchdogs : AKITAS
30 Art able to : CANST
31 Tagged, perhaps : OUT
32 Camper with a camper : RV’ER
33 Plymouth Colony VIP : STANDISH
34 Excoriated : TORE INTO
35 “Out of Africa” author Dinesen : ISAK
36 Bits on some buns : SESAMES
39 Green-lights : OKAYS
41 Latin catchall : ET ALII
42 Legendary sister of Venus : SERENA
43 Plains tribe : OSAGES
45 Did sum math? : ADDED
46 Ark document : TORAH
47 Play area : ARENA
48 Jagged little hill : CRAG
52 Sigmund contemporary : CARL
54 First Korean act to perform at the Grammys : BTS
55 Hawaii’s Mauna __ : KEA

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 24 Feb 22, Thursday”

  1. For whatever reason, I found this puzzle fascinating. I learned solute, didn’t know poivre and then I had Kara and Karl instead of Cara and Carl — D’oh !

    1. Yup. Three heads are better than one, as the old saying goes. At least that many are needed to come up with letter arrangements better than *words* — especially in a *crossword* puzzle: GNP, CMAJ, MDC, ISAK, TES, RVER, SHA, RECT … YEESH!

  2. No errors. There should be a rule about putting a French term smack dab across the middle of the crossword crossed with a shakespearian reference.

    Mmmm. But that does sound good. What’s for supper?..!!!!!

  3. 31:41 – about 6 “partial” cheats (asked for letter, didn’t google for word).

    Actually figured out CANST, ENSILE but didn’t know POIVE – YEESH!

    But I got it done … for me, on a Thursday, I’m happy.

    Be Well.

  4. Learned about “steak au poivre”…I want to try it now.
    Took me longer than you all; you’re impressive.
    Didn’t understand the theme until I read Bill’s explanation here.

  5. 17:35, and DNF, with 6 unfilled. Just didn’t “get” this theme at all. 30D’s clue was so egregious I thought it had been misprinted in production (I did end up filling it, though). 54D really shows my age (not to mention disinterest in what passes for “music” these days).

    In all, I give this one a D.

  6. 17:31 – no lookups or errors. I wanted 57A to be MANDARIN or some form of it until some of the intersections filled in better. Revised TOOKITTO>TOREINTO, GDP>GNP, AGAST (sp)>AGAPE. Took a while to figure out that 1A was two words instead of one.

    Didn’t get the theme until I read Bill’s explanation. Kind of a weak link to me.

  7. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 16:37 with no peeks or errors. Given some of the words, I’m surprised that I did okay on this, but they were spaced far enough apart that they didn’t cause any problems. Theme didn’t register until I got here. Had to change cARL/cARA to get the banner at the end.

  8. ‘Sesame seeds’ are no more ‘sesames’ than ‘poppy seeds’ are ‘poppies’.

    Crossing an obscure musician with an unusual name with a French dish was “creative”.

    Thought ‘mes’ was probably a good guess for 49 across although I don’t know any French and since I had never heard of etalii, emalii looked just as plausible. Now that I know what et alii is, I also know that it’s not a actually a catchall since it is exclusively masculine, unlike et alia which is a true catchall.

    ‘Osage’ is really already plural since it means “People of The Middle Waters”. It’s almost as if the puzzlemakers just tacked on the ‘s’ to make the lower right section work. And, in fact, there’s considerable evidence that the puzzlemakers had to “torture” the upper left and lower right sections to get their phrase to append properly. Kind of sloppy.

    On a positive note, somehow the LA Times managed to put out a puzzle without a clue involving a WNBA player.

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