LA Times Crossword 25 Feb 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Karen Lurie
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: H-Bomb

Themed answers are each common phrases with a letter H inserted:

  • 51A Cold War concern … and what created 20-, 32-, 40- and 55-Across? : H-BOMB
  • 20A Aroma of a freshly grilled steak? : NEW CHAR SMELL (from “new car smell”)
  • 32A Horror film writer’s mantra? : PUT A SHOCK IN IT (from “put a sock in it”)
  • 40A What Stanford University catchers’ gear protects? : CARDINAL SHINS (from “cardinal sins”)
  • 55A “Always dust before you vacuum” and others? : CHORE BELIEFS (from “core beliefs”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Jorja of the “CSI” franchise : FOX

Actress Jorja Fox plays Sara Sidle on “CSI“. She also played Gina Toscano on “The West Wing”, the secret service agent assigned to protect First Daughter Zoe Bartlet. Apparently, the Toscano role was intended to be more permanent on “The West Wing”. Fox left the show to film “CSI”, with the intention of returning. “CSI” became a big hit, and so Zoe Bartlet had to do without her secret service protection.

16 Something bid : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

17 Agenda entries : ITEMS

An item that has been slated has been put on the agenda, scheduled. The verb “to slate” comes from the notion of writing something down on a slate board.

18 Brief plan for the future? : IRA

Individual retirement account (IRA)

20 Aroma of a freshly grilled steak? : NEW CHAR SMELL (from “new car smell”)

Most of what we call that “new car smell” comes from adhesives and sealants that are holding together various plastic components in the automobile’s interior. In fact, there is concern in some quarters that the compounds giving that new car smell might pose a health risk.

23 Hosp. areas : ERS

Many a hospital (hosp.) an emergency room (ER).

24 Sweet little sandwich : OREO

There is an “official” competition involving Oreo cookies, in case anyone is interested in participating. A competitor has to take several steps to finish an OREO Lick Race:

  1. Twist open the cookie.
  2. Lick each half clean of creme.
  3. Show the clean cookie halves to the fellow competitors.
  4. Dunk the cookie halves in a glass of milk.
  5. Eat the cookie halves.
  6. Drink the milk.
  7. Ready, set, go …

29 Nemesis, say : FOE

Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.

30 Third of a game? : TIC

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

31 “These __ the times … “: Paine : ARE

Thomas Paine’s series of pamphlets called “The American Crisis” starts with the famous words:

These are the times that try men’s souls.

Thomas Paine was an English author who achieved incredible success with his pamphlet “Common Sense” published in 1776 which advocated independence of colonial America from Britain. Paine had immigrated to the American colonies just two years before his pamphlet was published, and so was just in time to make a major contribution to the American Revolution.

32 Horror film writer’s mantra? : PUT A SHOCK IN IT (from “put a sock in it”)

A mantra is a word that is used as a focus for the mind while meditating. The term is Sanskrit in origin, and is now used figuratively in English to describe any oft-repeated word or phrase.

38 Beige cousin : TAN

Our word “beige” comes from the Old French “bege”, a term that applied to the natural color of wool and cotton that was not dyed.

39 García Lorca wrote them to Whitman and Dalí : ODES

García Lorca was a Spanish poet and dramatist. Lorca is as famous for his poems and his plays as he is for the circumstances of his death. Although it has never been irrefutably proven, many believe that he was shot and killed while in the custody of Nationalist militia, one month after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the greatest American poets. He was born in 1819 on Long Island, and lived through the American Civil War. Whitman was a controversial character, even during his own lifetime. One view held by him was that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were not actually written by Shakespeare, but rather by someone else, or perhaps a group of people.

The famous surrealist Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Spain. I had the privilege of visiting the Dalí Museum in Figueres some years ago, just north of Barcelona. If you ever get the chance, it’s a “must see” as it really is a quite magnificent building with a fascinating collection of art.

40 What Stanford University catchers’ gear protects? : CARDINAL SHINS (from “cardinal sins”)

The Stanford Cardinal are the athletic teams of Stanford University. From 1930 to 1972, the teams were named the “Indians”. The racially insensitive moniker was changed to “Cardinals” from 1972 to 1981, a reference to the team colors (cardinal red and white). The name was modified in 1981, changing “Cardinals” to Cardinal”, the singular form.

45 Stein filler : ALE

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term “stein” is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

48 Laundry room supply : BLEACH

The name “bleach” applies to any chemical used to remove color or stains from a fabric. The most common version that we encounter is probably liquid bleach, a dilute solution of sodium hypochlorite.

50 Some Drs. : PHDS

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

52 Small Indian state : GOA

Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

55 “Always dust before you vacuum” and others? : CHORE BELIEFS (from “core beliefs”)

The first practical portable vacuum cleaner was invented by James Spangler in 1907. Spangler sold the patent for the design to his cousin’s husband, William Henry Hoover. Hoover then made his fortune from manufacturing and selling vacuum cleaners. Hoover was so successful in my part of the world that back in Ireland we don’t use the verb “to vacuum” and instead say “to hoover”. Also, “hoover” is what we call a vacuum cleaner, regardless of who makes it.

58 Papier-__ : MACHE

Papier-mâché is an artistic medium made from strips of paper, or pulped paper, that is bound with an adhesive. “Papier-mâché” translates from French as mashed or chewed paper.

61 2008 Visa event, briefly : IPO

VISA doesn’t actually issue any credit or debit cards. VISA just sells the electronic systems and infrastructure to banks who then put the VISA logo on their own cards. Seeing the logo, both customer and merchant know to use the VISA system when making a transaction.

63 Worshiper of the rain god Tlaloc : AZTEC

Tlaloc was the supreme god of rain, lightning and earthquakes in the Aztec religion. He was the equivalent of the Mayan god Chaac.

64 PIN point : ATM

One enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Given that the N in PIN stands for “number”, then “PIN number” is a redundant phrase. And, given that the M in ATM stands for “machine”, then “ATM machine” is a redundant phrase as well. Grr …!

67 Loft : LOB

Our verb “to loft”, meaning to propel through the air, was coined in the 1850s in the game of golf.

68 Fruity-smelling compound : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

Down

4 Mil. branch : USMC

United States Marine Corps (USMC)

5 Result of a botched line : RESHOOT

That might be on a film set.

7 Tailor’s dummy, e.g. : TORSO

“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.

11 Shadow target : LID

That would be eyeshadow applied to the eyelid.

13 WNBA star Bird : SUE

WNBA player Sue Bird is one of only two basketball players, male or female, to have won five Olympic gold medals. The other is fellow WNBA star Diana Taurasi. Bird became engaged to US soccer phenom Megan Rapinoe in 2020.

26 Jazz __: dance technique : HANDS

Jaxx hands is a dance move in which the performer extends the hands with palms towards the audience and fingers splayed. The technique is very much associated with famed choreographer Bob Fosse.

27 Pennsylvania city on I-90 : ERIE

I-90 runs in an east-west direction from Seattle to Boston, and is the longest interstate in the US. When I-90 was built, it made use of several existing roads, including the Massachusetts Turnpike, New York State Thruway, Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, Chicago Skyway, and the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.

32 Tomato product : PUREE

A purée is a food that has been made smooth by straining or blending. “Purée” is a French term, which I believe is now used to mean “pea soup” (more completely written as “purée de pois”). The French verb “purer” means “to strain, clean”, from the Latin “purare” meaning “to purify, clean”.

34 Shakespearean prince : HAL

“Prince Hal” is a term used for Prince Henry, the son of the title character in Shakespeare’s plays “Henry IV, Part 1” and “Henry IV, Part 2”. Prince Hal then becomes king in Shakespeare’s “Henry V”.

35 Actress Skye : IONE

Ione Skye is an American actress born in London, England. She is best known for portraying the character Diane Court in the 1989 high school romance movie “Say Anything…”, starring opposite John Cusack. Skye is the daughter of the Scottish folk singer Donovan.

42 NYC neighborhood above Houston Street : NOHO

“NoHo” is short for “North of Houston (street)”, and is the equivalent area to SoHo, South of Houston, both of which are in New York City.

50 __-Bismol : PEPTO

Pepto-Bismol was originally marketed as a remedy for infant diarrhea, and sold under the name “Bismosol: Mixture Cholera Infantum”.

51 Cold War concern … and what created 20-, 32-, 40- and 55-Across? : H-BOMB

The first successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb (H-bomb) was in a test (H-test) codenamed “Ivy Mike”. The test was conducted by the US on an atoll in the Pacific Ocean named Enewetak.

The term “Cold War” was coined by novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

56 Iranian bread : RIAL

The rial is the currency of Iran (as well as Yemen, Oman and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in one rial.

58 E-__ : MAG

Online magazines are variously referred to as webzines, e-zines, cyberzines, hyperzines or maybe e-magazines.

59 Nitrogenous dye : AZO

Azo compounds have very vivid colors and so are used to make dyes, especially dyes with the colors red, orange and yellow. The term “azo” comes from the French word “azote” meaning “nitrogen”. French chemist Lavoisier coined the term “azote” from the Greek word “azotos” meaning “lifeless”. He used this name as in pure nitrogen/azote animals die and flames are snuffed out (due to a lack of oxygen).

60 Commuter org. in the Loop : CTA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as the Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system. An alternative theory is that the term only arose with the construction of the elevated railway “loop” that forms the hub of the city’s “L” system.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Go on or come off : OCCUR
6 Had a bite : ATE
9 Checks : BILLS
14 Prize money : PURSE
15 Jorja of the “CSI” franchise : FOX
16 Something bid : ADIEU
17 Agenda entries : ITEMS
18 Brief plan for the future? : IRA
19 Artful evasion : DODGE
20 Aroma of a freshly grilled steak? : NEW CHAR SMELL (from “new car smell”)
23 Hosp. areas : ERS
24 Sweet little sandwich : OREO
25 Employs a hard sell : PUSHES
29 Nemesis, say : FOE
30 Third of a game? : TIC
31 “These __ the times … “: Paine : ARE
32 Horror film writer’s mantra? : PUT A SHOCK IN IT (from “put a sock in it”)
36 Paralyze with surprise : STUN
38 Beige cousin : TAN
39 García Lorca wrote them to Whitman and Dalí : ODES
40 What Stanford University catchers’ gear protects? : CARDINAL SHINS (from “cardinal sins”)
45 Stein filler : ALE
46 Choice word : NOR
47 Native suffix : -ITE
48 Laundry room supply : BLEACH
50 Some Drs. : PHDS
52 Small Indian state : GOA
55 “Always dust before you vacuum” and others? : CHORE BELIEFS (from “core beliefs”)
58 Papier-__ : MACHE
61 2008 Visa event, briefly : IPO
62 Be bratty : ACT UP
63 Worshiper of the rain god Tlaloc : AZTEC
64 PIN point : ATM
65 Mock : TEASE
66 “Find out” : GO ASK
67 Loft : LOB
68 Fruity-smelling compound : ESTER

Down

1 Express views : OPINE
2 More like a puppy : CUTER
3 Teams : CREWS
4 Mil. branch : USMC
5 Result of a botched line : RESHOOT
6 Lit : AFIRE
7 Tailor’s dummy, e.g. : TORSO
8 Skills barometer : EXAM
9 Gambler’s concern : BAD LUCK
10 Stars watched by many : IDOLS
11 Shadow target : LID
12 Part of a journey : LEG
13 WNBA star Bird : SUE
21 Land measure : AREA
22 Sweeping : EPIC
26 Jazz __: dance technique : HANDS
27 Pennsylvania city on I-90 : ERIE
28 Establishes : SETS
29 Back : FUND
30 A whole bunch : TONS
32 Tomato product : PUREE
33 Night light : STAR
34 Shakespearean prince : HAL
35 Actress Skye : IONE
36 Healing sign : SCAB
37 Unlikely : TALL
41 Under control : IN CHECK
42 NYC neighborhood above Houston Street : NOHO
43 Obscure : HIDE
44 “I should probably get going” : IT’S LATE
49 Soreness : ACHES
50 __-Bismol : PEPTO
51 Cold War concern … and what created 20-, 32-, 40- and 55-Across? : H-BOMB
52 Insinuate : GET AT
53 Valuable : OF USE
54 According to : AS PER
56 Iranian bread : RIAL
57 Street fair treats : ICES
58 E-__ : MAG
59 Nitrogenous dye : AZO
60 Commuter org. in the Loop : CTA

26 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Feb 22, Friday”

  1. 6:04, no errors. Amazing how uneven so many of these puzzles are through the week (today’s Fri NYT being very notable, but comparing today and yesterday here is one too). As far as I can tell, quality of editing on any particular puzzle seems to be the factor causing that.

  2. No errors. Got stuck on 40A CARINAL SHINS. I had CARDINAL SIGNS at first. The catcher usually hides the pitching signs. Or at least tries to hide them. But that left me with a “G”. That didn’t fit the H BOMB theme plus had a harder time filling the down clues. I turned it around.

  3. Another rough Friday for me. Living in Minnesota, I’m a little rusty on my NYC neighborhoods… Never heard of Ione Skye and I’m sure I won’t remember it next time. I learned jazz hands and goa.

  4. No errors but had to look up a few proper names. Once I got the theme
    with “new char smell” the rest came a little easier. Hard one for Friday.

  5. 16:04

    Lots of “huh?” in this one. A lid is a shadow target? I really appreciate Bill’s explanations.

    I figured out that the H was a sort of “photobomb”, but I still needed the crosses for the long answer.

    Phew!

  6. 1A and 9A clues and answers. After those, there’s little joy unless you’re a fan of, “Hey look at me! Ain’t I clever?” constructors who think misdirection is an art form.

  7. 18:43 – no errors or lookups. Revisions were: ACRE>AREA, FOR>NOR, MTA>CTA, ITSTIME>ITSLATE.

    9A “Checks” = BILLS? I don’t get that. To me, a check is made out in response to a bill. And, if one checks [on] something, bill[ing] it doesn’t make sense.

    11D “Shadow target” = LID is difficult without coming up with “eye” (thanks, Bill, for the explanation). The “L” in LID was my last entry because BILLS was the only halfway sensible answer to 9A.

    37D “Unlikely” = TALL was a reach for me, but fell in place due to the intersections. I guess it’s a reference to a “tall tale” being unlikely.

    Having gotten the theme with 20A, it made getting the other 3 easier. Although, I didn’t know why 40A had to be Stanford until reading Bill’s explanation.

    All in all, a good result for a Friday puzzle.

    1. I had trouble with BILLS for checks too, but put it in anyway.
      Think of asking for the check in a restaurant. “Check, please”.

      I got the theme answers early on; that helped a lot.

    2. Jack2 and Catherine: Thanks. That also came to me much later. I guess it’s just another example of crazy English where the same word and pronunciation can have a different meaning.

    1. The suffix “-ite” is used for natives of certain places. For example, a native of Israel was once called an Israelite and a native of Canaan a Canaanite. (Of course, it’s not used for residents of all places. Consider, for example, residents of Paris.)

  8. Being a life long Californian, I am totally ignorant of most things about New York. What is so important about Houston street that areas North and South of it are identified as such?

  9. 33:33 – lotsa cheats and I suffered … almost a DNF.

    The likes of IONE Skye, AZO, CTA and NOHO killed me. I’m right outside NYC and never heard NOHO in common usage. SOHO, yes, but not NOHO. Oh well.

    Having said that, overall I should’ve/could’ve done better. There were a lot of good misdirects …

    Be Well.

  10. Too many l-o-n-g stretches from clue to answer (and I’m not even referring to several completely off-the-chart answers to a couple of the clues). Methinks that Mr. Norris was somewhere else than the editor’s chair today.

  11. @glen – did u do today’s NEWDAY? I felt pretty good about this one. Had nothing for a loving time. Stepped away for a meeting. Like magic, things became clearer. I went on a roll. It was fun!!

  12. Slightly tricky Friday for me; took 31:32 with no peeks or errors. Had to wait for a lot of crosses and make a guess or two. Theme helped a lot and got me the top theme answer. Never heard of Joja FOX, SUE Bird and I keep getting IONa Skye wrong, which I had to revisit when I didn’t get the banner.

    @Nonny – apparently more than tempted 🙂

  13. “Shadow” is no more “eyeshadow” than “stick” is “lipstick”. Just be two words are used together in a compound word doesn’t mean that it is reason to use one to clue the other. (There are no errors in that sentence–the omissions are illustrating a point.)

  14. Is it standard for a puzzlemaker to assume that everyone working the puzzle will use the internet and some sort of a check grid? Maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong. I assumed that the point was to complete a crossword with only the information in one’s head.

    And no, before anyone says anything, it’s not sour grapes. I finished this one with no errors, no lookups, and no check grids or any other resources other than a pencil and the contents of my brain.

    I just think that if a puzzlemaker is going to use particularly obscure information (like the name of small states in India or the first name of WNBA players, or the transportation organization abbreviations clued by a local highway nickname, etc.) then excessive “cleverness” in the crossing answers/clueing isn’t reasonable.

    By the way, has the LATimes mandated that puzzles must now contain some reference to the WNBA? I don’t watch sports but still manage to absorb enough information to answer most of the sports related questions–but there’s not enough WNBA coverage for that to be possible.

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