LA Times Crossword 4 Feb 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Pam Klawitter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Radiohead

Themed answers are common words with a letter R (an abbreviation for “RADIO”) added at the HEAD. The resulting answers are made-up terms starting with a word referred to “punnily” in the corresponding clue:

  • 60A “In Rainbows” rockers, and a hint to what changes four puzzle answers : RADIOHEAD
  • 16A Appreciation for Jay-Z’s music? : “RAPPLAUSE” (rap applause)
  • 24A Compilation of angry blog posts? : “RANTHOLOGY” (rant anthology)
  • 34A Jamaican drink garnish? : “RUMBRELLA” (rum umbrella)
  • 50A Deckhand unable to raise the sails? : “RIGNORAMUS” (rig ignoramus)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Colorful chatterbox : MACAW

Macaws are beautifully colored birds native to Central and South America that are actually a type of parrot. Most species of macaws are now endangered, with several having become extinct in recent decades. The main threats are deforestation and illegal trapping and trafficking of exotic birds.

9 Either of two “Monday, Monday” singers : MAMA

The folk group called the Magic Circle renamed itself to the Mamas and the Papas in the early sixties. Sadly, the Mamas and the Papas weren’t a happy bunch, always fighting over who was getting credit for songs and whose voice was getting mixed out of recordings, so they split up, twice. While they were together though, they wrote and recorded some great songs, songs which really do epitomize the sound of the sixties. “Monday, Monday” was written by John Phillips, one of “the Papas”, and it was to become the only number one hit for the group. Here’s a shocker … when it hit number one in 1966, it was the first time that a group made up of both sexes topped the American charts!

“Monday, Monday” is a song recorded by the Mamas & the Papas in 1966. It was composed by the group’s leader John Phillips, who reportedly took only 20 minutes to write the whole song. That 20 minutes earned the song a Grammy Award.

13 Ohno in the Olympics : APOLO

Speed-skater Apolo Ohno has won more Winter Olympics medals than any other American. Ohno also did a great job winning the 2007 season of television’s “Dancing with the Stars”.

14 Mahershala of “House of Cards” : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies. He also won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for playing Juan in the 2016 drama “Moonlight”, and Dr. Don Shirley in 2018’s “Green Book”.

The hit TV show “House of Cards” is a political drama that highlights ruthless manipulation within the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. The show is an adaptation of a BBC miniseries of the same name, which in turn is based on a novel by Michael Dobbs.

15 ’50s vaccine pioneer : SABIN

Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine. Sabin’s vaccine was a “live” controlled vaccine. The equally famous Salk vaccine was a “killed” vaccine.

16 Appreciation for Jay-Z’s music? : “RAPPLAUSE” (rap applause)

Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyoncé. Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York. As Carter was growing up, he was nicknamed “Jazzy”, a reference to his interest in music. “Jazzy” evolved into the stage name “Jay-Z”. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, and twins named Rumi and Sir Carter.

18 Big name in Civil War fiction : O’HARA

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland. Rhett’s rival for the affections of Scarlet is Ashley Wilkes who lives at the nearby Twelve Oaks plantation.

21 Sanctioned by Islamic law : HALAL

“Halal” is a term describing an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular “halal” is used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is described as “haram”.

24 Compilation of angry blog posts? : “RANTHOLOGY” (rant anthology)

Strictly speaking, an anthology is a collection of poetic works, although the meaning of “anthology” has broadened over time to cover any literary collection, or even a collection of ideas, comments, complaints etc. The term derives from the Greek “anthologia”, a word for a collection of short poems by several authors. The literal meaning is “flower collection” from “anthos” and “logia”, so an anthology is a book containing “flowers” of verse.

29 Much of E. Europe, once : SSRS

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” or “USSR”) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

33 Feb. NC hours : EST

Eastern Standard Time (EST)

34 Jamaican drink garnish? : “RUMBRELLA” (rum umbrella)

Rum was first distilled by slaves on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 1800s, with the tradition being that the very first production came from Barbados.

The island nation of Jamaica is located just under 100 miles south of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus first visited the island in 1494, and he and his crew were stranded there for over a year from 1503-1504. Spanish rule devastated the local population, through violence and disease. As a result, the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica to work as labourers. Spain lost Jamaica to the English in 1655. Given the turbulent history, most Jamaicans today are of African descent, and Jamaica is the third-most populous English-speaking country in the Americas (after the US and Canada).

42 Disney bigwig : IGER

Robert Iger took over from Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005. Iger worked for ABC when it was taken over by Disney in 1996, and in 1999 he was named president of Walt Disney International. Iger is doing okay for himself; he earned more than $29 million in 2009.

48 Blue hues : AZURES

The term “azure” came into English from Persian via Old French. The French word “l’azur” was taken from the Persian name for a place in northeastern Afghanistan called “Lazhward” which was the main source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. The stone has a vivid blue color, and “azure” has been describing this color since the 14th century.

50 Deckhand unable to raise the sails? : “RIGNORAMUS” (rig ignoramus)

The insulting word “ignoramus”, describing an ignorant person, comes to us directly from Latin. The term translates from Latin as “we ignore”, the first person, plural tense of “ignorare”.

56 One following a point : TENTH

That would be a decimal point.

58 Penn in NYC, e.g. : STN

Penn Station in New York City may have been the first Pennsylvania Station, but it’s not the only one. The Pennsylvania Railroad gave that name to many of its big passenger terminals, including one in Philadelphia (now called 30th Street Station), one in Baltimore, one in Pittsburgh, one in Cleveland, as well as others.

60 “In Rainbows” rockers, and a hint to what changes four puzzle answers : RADIOHEAD

Radiohead is an alternative rock band from England that formed in 1985. When the band self-released their 2007 studio album “In Rainbows”, it was a big deal for the music industry. Radiohead offered a digital version of the album using a pay-what-you-want pricing model. Reportedly, most fans paid what would be a normal retail price for the download version of the album. That’s not bad, considering the relatively low cost to produce a download compared to the cost of producing a CD.

62 Cubist Fernand : LEGER

Fernand Leger was a French painter, and among his works was a series of paintings called “La Grande Parade”. I quite like his “Still Life with Beer Mug”, painted in 1921 (anything with beer!) Leger painted a lot of cylindrical shapes in some works, which was his quirky version of cubism. As a result, one critic described Leger’s style as “tubism”.

63 Lager alternative : ALE

The many, many different styles of beer can generally be sorted into two groups: ales and lagers. Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for relatively short periods of time, and use top-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that float on top of the beer as it ferments. Lagers ferment at relatively low temperatures and for relatively long periods of time. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, i.e. yeasts that fall to the bottom of the beer as it ferments.

65 March time : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Actually, the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

66 Aleppo’s home: Abbr. : SYR

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes its size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging from 2012 to 2016.

67 Fourth circle of hell inhabitant, in Dante : MISER

In Dante’s “Inferno”, Hell is represented as nine circles of suffering. The nine circles of Hell are:

  1. Limbo
  2. Lust
  3. Gluttony
  4. Greed
  5. Anger
  6. Heresy
  7. Violence
  8. Fraud
  9. Treachery

Down

1 Half a percussion pair : MARACA

Maracas are percussion instruments that are native to Latin America. They are constructed from dried shells, like those of a coconut, to which handles are attached. The shells are filled with dried seeds or beans, and played by shaking.

2 Boeing 3-Down : APACHES
3 See 2-Down : COPTERS

The 4-bladed Apache helicopter was introduced back in 1975 as a replacement for the 2-bladed Cobra. The Apache first entered service in 1986, and is still very much in use, mainly with the US Army, the Israel Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

3 See 2-Down : COPTERS

Our term “helicopter” was absorbed from the French word “hélicoptère” that was coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. d’Amécourt envisioned aircraft that could fly vertically using rotating wings that “screwed” into the air. He combined the Greek terms “helix” meaning “spiral, whirl” and “pteron” meaning “wing” to give us “helicopter”.

4 Lofty peak : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

5 Scarf (down) : WOLF

To snarf down is to gobble up, to eat voraciously. “Snarf” is a slang term that is probably related to “scarf”, which has the same meaning.

6 Michelle’s White House predecessor : LAURA

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

Michelle Obama née Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Her brother is Craig Robinson, former coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Robinson worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another …

7 Worker with Lane and Kent : OLSEN

In the “Superman” stories, Jimmy Olsen is a cub photographer who works on the “Daily Planet” newspaper with Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

8 “Let Them All Talk” actress Dianne : WIEST

Dianne Wiest is an actress from Kansas City, Missouri. Wiest has won two Best Supporting Actress Academy Awards, for “Hannah and Her Sisters” in 1987 and for “Bullets over Broadway” in 1995. In both movies, she was directed by Woody Allen.

“Let Them All Talk” is a 2020 Steven Soderbergh film starring Meryl Streep as an author making a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. Streep’s character is accompanied by two of her friends, played by Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest. Much of the film was shot on board the Queen Mary 2, with Soderbergh and crew using natural light and very little equipment.

9 Island thanks : MAHALO

In Hawaiian, “mahalo” means “thank you” and “mahalo nui loa” translates as “thank you very much”.

10 Sea otter prey : ABALONE

The large edible sea snails that we call abalone are called ormer in Britain and Ireland, and are served as “awabi” at a sushi bar. The abalone shell resembles a human ear, giving rise to the alternative names “ear shell” and “sea ear”.

The fur of the sea otter is exceptionally thick. It is the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom.

11 They’re not real : MIRAGES

A mirage occurs when light rays are bent by passing from cold air to warmer air. The most often cited mirage is a “lake” seen in a desert, which is actually the blue of the sky and not water at all. The word “mirage” comes to us via French from the Latin “mirare” meaning “to look at in wonder”. “Mirage” has the same root as our words “admire” and “mirror”.

17 Concession ending : -AIRE

A concessionaire is a person operating a concession, especially a small shop in a sports stadium or a theater.

23 Klinger on “M*A*S*H” : FARR

Actor Jamie Farr is best known for playing the cross-dressing Max Klinger in the sitcom ”M*A*S*H”. Although Farr landed a role in the 1955 movie “Blackboard Jungle”, his career didn’t really take off until he started appearing regularly on “The Red Skelton Show”. Years later he managed to get a one-episode appearance in ”M*A*S*H”, and his character and performance were received so well that he became a regular on the show. Farr actually did serve in the US Army in Korea, although it was after hostilities had ended. The dog tags that Farr wore when filming ”M*A*S*H” were the ones that he actually wore while serving in the military.

27 Volunteer State sch. : TSU

Tennessee State University (TSU) was established in 1912 in Nashville. It was founded as the Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School, and was originally intended as a school for African Americans. There was a court-ordered merger in 1979 with the traditionally white University of Tennessee at Nashville.

During the War of 1812, volunteer soldiers from Tennessee fought with valor, especially during the Battle of New Orleans, hence the state’s nickname “Volunteer State”.

30 Placeholder abbr. : TBA

Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).

32 Survivalist Stroud : LES

Les Stroud is a survival expert from Ontario, Canada. He is best known as the man in front of and behind the camera for the reality TV show “Survivorman”.

35 Jay of “Last Comic Standing” : MOHR

Jay Mohr is an American actor, one I most remember playing a supporting role in the wonderful HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon” (must-see-TV!). Mohr also created and hosted a reality show called “Last Comic Standing”.

36 Lemon on “30 Rock” : LIZ

“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”.

37 Feverish feeling : AGUE

An ague is a fever, one usually associated with malaria.

38 Haifa native : ISRAELI

Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel and the largest city in the north of the country. It is built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, and is a Mediterranean seaport.

40 Turnpike reading : SIGNAGE

Back in the 15th century, a turnpike (tpk., trke.) was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

46 U.S. IOUs : T-NOTES

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.

48 Wine region near Cuneo : ASTI

The Province of Cuneo is in Northern Italy, right on the border with France. It is the largest province in the Piedmont region (and the fourth largest in the country), earning it the nickname “La Provincia Granda” meaning “The Big Province”.

51 Razor choices : ATRAS

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.

52 Devious : MEALY

Someone who is described as mealy-mouthed tends not to state opinions directly and simply, and sounds hesitant.

57 Ian of “The Hobbit” : HOLM

English actor Sir Ian Holm was very respected on the stage in the UK, but is better known for his film roles here in the US. He played the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in two of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and also played the character who is revealed as an android in the film “Alien”.

“The Hobbit” is a series of three films based on the 1937 novel of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. “The Hobbit” trilogy was very successful at the box office, even outstripping “The Lord of the Rings” collection of films.

61 “Bali __” : HA’I

The song “Bali Ha’i” is from the musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Bali Ha’i is the name of a volcanic island that neighbors the island on which the story takes place. The matriarch of Bali Ha’i is a character named Bloody Mary, and it is Bloody Mary who sings the song in the musical.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Colorful chatterbox : MACAW
6 Needing a refill : LOW
9 Either of two “Monday, Monday” singers : MAMA
13 Ohno in the Olympics : APOLO
14 Mahershala of “House of Cards” : ALI
15 ’50s vaccine pioneer : SABIN
16 Appreciation for Jay-Z’s music? : “RAPPLAUSE” (rap applause)
18 Big name in Civil War fiction : O’HARA
19 A play may have just one : ACT
20 Terminates : FIRES
21 Sanctioned by Islamic law : HALAL
22 Kitchen address : CHEF
24 Compilation of angry blog posts? : “RANTHOLOGY” (rant anthology)
26 Fizz up : AERATE
28 Rights wrongs : ATONES
29 Much of E. Europe, once : SSRS
30 Squeal : TELL
33 Feb. NC hours : EST
34 Jamaican drink garnish? : “RUMBRELLA” (rum umbrella)
38 With 15-Down, brow-wiping comment : IT’S …
41 Crew pair : OARS
42 Disney bigwig : IGER
45 Exchange : SWITCH
48 Blue hues : AZURES
50 Deckhand unable to raise the sails? : “RIGNORAMUS” (rig ignoramus)
54 Moderate : EASE
55 Bug : ANNOY
56 One following a point : TENTH
58 Penn in NYC, e.g. : STN
59 Online cash-back deal : E-BATE
60 “In Rainbows” rockers, and a hint to what changes four puzzle answers : RADIOHEAD
62 Cubist Fernand : LEGER
63 Lager alternative : ALE
64 Tee choice : LARGE
65 March time : IDES
66 Aleppo’s home: Abbr. : SYR
67 Fourth circle of hell inhabitant, in Dante : MISER

Down

1 Half a percussion pair : MARACA
2 Boeing 3-Down : APACHES
3 See 2-Down : COPTERS
4 Lofty peak : ALP
5 Scarf (down) : WOLF
6 Michelle’s White House predecessor : LAURA
7 Worker with Lane and Kent : OLSEN
8 “Let Them All Talk” actress Dianne : WIEST
9 Island thanks : MAHALO
10 Sea otter prey : ABALONE
11 They’re not real : MIRAGES
12 Handwriting __ : ANALYST
15 See 38-Across : … SO HOT
17 Concession ending : -AIRE
23 Klinger on “M*A*S*H” : FARR
25 Room access : HALL
27 Volunteer State sch. : TSU
30 Placeholder abbr. : TBA
31 Goof : ERR
32 Survivalist Stroud : LES
35 Jay of “Last Comic Standing” : MOHR
36 Lemon on “30 Rock” : LIZ
37 Feverish feeling : AGUE
38 Haifa native : ISRAELI
39 Hotel option : TWIN BED
40 Turnpike reading : SIGNAGE
43 They remove bad marks : ERASERS
44 Bring back to Broadway : RESTAGE
46 U.S. IOUs : T-NOTES
47 More evasive : COYER
48 Wine region near Cuneo : ASTI
49 One might get a return : SENDER
51 Razor choices : ATRAS
52 Devious : MEALY
53 Ready for the operation : UNDER
57 Ian of “The Hobbit” : HOLM
61 “Bali __” : HA’I

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Feb 22, Friday”

  1. Second time this wee I don’t get the theme.
    R is abbreviation for radio?

    Is it some sort of repetition cue?

    No errors but I’m left a bit flummoxed.

    1. Yes I agree. I’ve never thought of R as an abbreviation for radio. This delayed my completion time for this puzzle.

  2. Putting in Leno had me so fouled up for far too long on the down answers. After I somehow remembered Mohr the puzzle came to a successful conclusion.

    1. I’ve been doing puzzles since I was a teenager. I’m now 86 years old. I hate these puzzles. They’re useless. Not worth trying. J

  3. I have made this comment previously which is I HATE puzzles that seek the names of actors, actresses and modern “singers”. I don’t watch television or go to movies. I have a life.

    1. Dear Larry,
      I totally agree with you but for another reason. Anything produced in the new millenium is total garbage.

  4. Anon Mike is right. R is not any standard abbreviation for RADIO. But RADIOHEAD can be interpreted as the “head of RADIO”, that is, its first letter.

  5. 27:26 1 lookup for the Olympian APOLO Ohno

    Slowly figured out the puzzle while listening to a talk about bumblebees.

  6. 35:10 no errors…also wrestled with Leno for a while and ignorance for ignoramus but it finally worked out👍
    Stay safe😀

  7. Finished the puzzle, but couldn’t figure out how Radio Head was a clue for the other themed answers. Never heard of R as an abbreviation for radio.

  8. 17:42 and 4 errors in the top right corner. Although I read a lot of Civil War NON-fiction, I couldn’t recall O’HARA. I had ANEMONE in place of ABALONE… and, as they say, hilarity ensues from there.

    Too many obscure name references, another picayune “theme” gimmick, and just a sense, as Johnny Rotten once famously sneered, “Ever get the feeling you been chea’ed?”

  9. I agree with Mr. Powers. Pop culture stumps me constantly. BTW, I enjoy everyone’s comments and Bill’s amazing wotk. Thanks to all of you!

  10. Struggled with the NW corner cuz I wrote
    in Anemone. Abalone is a protected
    species but I guess the Otters haven’t
    gotten the word 😂
    Theme was a little forced but it helped!
    No look ups,3 errors…

  11. 8:27, 1 Natick.

    @Larry
    Definitely agreed. Really all those are is “you know it or you don’t affairs” and if you don’t it pretty much shipwrecks the whole experience of the puzzle.

  12. 19:36, no errors. A bit too many of the mindless fill-ins that people know after getting some experience. 4 letter word with “wine” in the clue? ASTI. “Razor” in the clue? Probably is ATRA (ATRAS today). Grumble, grumble….

  13. 18:15 with no errors or lockups, but several changes along the way. Caught on top the gimmick with the leading ‘R’, but didn’t conect with how RADIOHEAD related to it. Cyril’s explanation makes sense to me, but not necessarily that R is an abbreviation for radio.

    Rook a little bit to come up with MEALY, and then RADIOHEAD was evident, followed by HOLM to give MISER. Inalso went the LENO>MOHR route. Never heard of Fernand LEGER.

  14. Slightly tricky Friday for me; took 22:23 with no peeks or errors, although quite a bit of dancing around, especially in the S and SE. Got the theme early and it helped, except with RIGNORAMUS.

    Despite all the proper names, of which I only knew APOLO, LAURA, OLSEN, ATRA and FARR, I somehow managed to get through without any errors. I’ve seen WIEST here a bunch of times, but I got her through crosses. I also put in leno at first, but almost immediately took it back out again, based on crosses.

    Bob IGER no longer has anything to do with Disney, as of the beginning of this year.

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