LA Times Crossword 25 Mar 22, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: What’s up, Doc?

Themed answers are in the across-direction, and each includes the letter string D-O-C written in the up-direction:

  • 49A Classic Looney Tunes tagline offering some “direction” in solving the starred clues : WHAT’S UP, DOC?
  • 17A *Guide for Smithsonian visitors, say : MUSEUM DOCENT
  • (9D Indulge : CODDLE)
  • 22A *Ken Burns specialty : DOCUMENTARY FILM
  • (16D Eccentric old guys : CODGER)
  • 42A *Southeast Asian colonial region dismantled in 1954 : FRENCH INDOCHINA
  • (39D Fish-and-chips fish : COD)

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

Bill’s time: 11m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Dred Scott decision Chief Justice : TANEY

Roger B. Taney was Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1836 until 1864 (when he passed away). Taney’s most notable decision was in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, in which he delivered the majority opinion that African Americans could not be considered citizens of the US. Taney was the second-longest serving Chief Justice (Chief Justice John Marshall served for 34 years, from 1801 to 1835).

The landmark case of Dred Scott vs. Sandford came before the US Supreme Court in 1857. Scott had been born a slave, but lived with his owner in a free state for several years before returning to the slave state of Missouri. Scott’s argument was that living in a free state entitled him to emancipation. A divided US Supreme Court sided with Scott’s owner John Sandford. The decision was that no African American, free or enslaved, was entitled to US citizenship and therefore Scott was unable to petition the court for his freedom. The decision heightened tensions between the North and South, and the American Civil War erupted just three years later.

9 Leg section : CALF

The calf muscle actually consists of two muscles, both of which connect to the foot through the Achilles tendon.

13 Two-digit sign : VEE

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

15 Central Plains tribe : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

16 “__ la vie” : C’EST

“C’est la vie” is French for “that’s life”.

17 *Guide for Smithsonian visitors, say : MUSEUM DOCENT

“Docent” is a term used for a university lecturer. There are also museum docents, people who serve as guides for visitors to their institutions and who usually provide their services for free. The term comes from the Latin “docere” meaning “to teach”.

The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 as the United States National Museum. The institution was renamed in honor of British scientist James Smithson who indirectly provided the initial funding. The funds were collected from England on the orders of President Andrew Jackson, and arrived in the form of 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns.

19 Food scrap : ORT

Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.

20 Hardly libertine : PRIM

Someone who is described as “libertine” is free of restraint, sexually immoral. Back in the 14th century a libertine was an emancipated slave, someone given his or her freedom. The term derives from the Latin “libertinus” describing a freed person who was once a slave.

22 *Ken Burns specialty : DOCUMENTARY FILM

Ken Burns directs and produces epic documentary films that usually make inventive use of archive footage. Recent works are the sensational “The War” (about the US in WWII) and the magnificent “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, as well as 2014’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”. Burns’ 2017 offering was “The Vietnam War” that he co-directed with Lynn Novick.

26 Fairy tale figures : GNOMES

In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Although the charastics of gnomes vary in folklore, typically they are described as diminutive humanoids who live underground. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable. We now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.

27 Mother __ : LODE

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The mother lode is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

28 Money with hits : EDDIE

“Eddie Money” was the stage name of musician Edward Mahoney from New York City. Money was a rock guitarist, saxophonist and singer-songwriter.

36 Tiny particle : MOTE

A mote is a tiny particle, often a speck of dust.

38 Volcanic eruption sight : PLUME

“Plume” is a French word meaning “feather”. The term migrated into English from Old French in the late 1500s with the same meaning. We also use “plume” to describe something resembling a feather, like perhaps a “feathery” stream of smoke above a fire.

42 *Southeast Asian colonial region dismantled in 1954 : FRENCH INDOCHINA

In the strict sense of the term, “Indochina” is a region in Southeast Asia that corresponds to the former French territory known as French Indochina. Today this region is made up of the countries of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. However, the term “Indochina” is more generally used to describe Mainland Southeast Asia, and in this usage it also encompasses Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.

45 Earth’s volume? : ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

47 Mandlikova of ’80s tennis : HANA

Hana Mandlíková is a former professional tennis star from Czechoslovakia. Mandlíková won four Grand Slam titles and then retired in 1990, at the ripe old age of 28.

48 Mexican pinch? : SEL

In Spanish, “sal” (salt) is a “condimento” (seasoning).

49 Classic Looney Tunes tagline offering some “direction” in solving the starred clues : WHAT’S UP, DOC?

Bugs Bunny first said “What’s up, Doc?” in the 1940 cartoon short “A Wild Hare”, while addressing the hunter Elmer Fudd.

53 Cloth-dyeing method : BATIK

Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in a solvent that dissolves the wax. Although wax-resist dyeing of fabric has existed in various parts of the world for centuries, it is most closely associated historically with the island of Java in Indonesia.

54 Pro using a siren, perhaps : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

Down

1 With 3-Down, sportsbook option based on the final score : OVER-UNDER …
(3D See 1-Down : … BET)

An over-under bet is a wager that a number will be over or under a particular value. A common over-under bet is made on the combined points scored by two teams in a game.

2 Game system turn-off options : REST MODES

As best I can tell, “rest mode” is a term used by Sony for “sleep mode” on the PlayStation 4 gaming console.

Sleep mode is a low-power mode for electronic devices … and crossword bloggers …

4 What a siren does : TEMPTS

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were seductive bird-women who lured men to their deaths with their song. When Odysseus sailed close to the island home of the Sirens he wanted to hear their voices, but in safety. He had his men plug their ears with beeswax and then ordered them to tie him to the mast and not to free him until they were safe. On hearing their song Odysseus begged to be let loose, but the sailors just tightened his bonds and the whole crew sailed away unharmed. We sometimes use the term “siren” today to describe a seductively charming woman.

5 Lexus competitor : ACURA

Acura is the luxury brand of the Honda Motor Company. As an aside, Infiniti is the equivalent luxury brand for the Nissan Motor Company, and Lexus is the more luxurious version of Toyota’s models.

6 Polite denial : NO, SIR

Someone described as polite shows tact and courtesy. The adjective “polite” comes from the Latin verb “polire” meaning “to polish”.

9 Indulge : CODDLE

The verb “to coddle”, meaning “to treat tenderly”, was actually coined in 1815 by Jane Austen in her novel “Emma”. At least, that is the first written record we have of the verb’s usage. John Knightley (younger brother of George Knightley) addresses his wife Isabella (elder sister of Emma Woodhouse) with the following words:

“My dear Isabella,” exclaimed he, hastily, “pray do not concern yourself about my looks. Be satisfied with doctoring and coddling yourself and the children, and let me look as I chuse.”

16 Eccentric old guys : CODGERS

“Geezer”, “codger” and “coot” are all not-so-nice terms meaning “old man”.

18 “Downton Abbey” personnel : MAIDS

One of my favorite scenes from the period drama “Downton Abbey” takes place around the dinner table. Matthew Crawley, a practicing lawyer being introduced to the aristocratic Grantham family says, “I will have plenty of time to do that over the weekend”. To which the Dowager Countess of Grantham (played brilliantly by Maggie Smith) remarks, “but what is a weekend?” Ah, the joys of the easy way of life …

23 Man’s name that becomes a measurement when one letter is moved : EMIL

The thickness unit known as a “mil” here in the US is usually referred to as a “thou” on the other side of the Atlantic. A “mil” is actually one “thousandth” of an inch. So, I vote for “thou” …

24 Once called : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, Melania Trump née Knavs, and Jill Biden née Jacobs.

25 The Alamo, e.g. : FORT

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

33 Zips again, as a Ziploc bag : RESEALS

Ziploc resealable storage bags came on the market in 1968.

35 Rich dessert : FLAN

Flan (also “crème caramel”) is a delicious dessert comprising a molded custard topped with a clear caramel sauce. The related crème brûlée is a dessert made from molded custard with a hard, burnt caramel layer on top.

36 Subject with shapes : MATH

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.

38 First Amendment concern : PRESS

The Constitution of the United States was adopted on September 17, 1787. There have been 27 amendments to the constitution, the first ten of which are collectively called the Bill of Rights. In essence the Bill of Rights limits the power of the Federal Government and protects the rights of individuals. For example, the First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

39 Fish-and-chips fish : COD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

40 Like Romano, often : GRATED

“Romano” is actually an American term, and is used for a selection of hard and salty cheeses that are typically grated. One of these cheeses is the Italian Pecorino Romano, from which we get the more generic term “Romano”.

42 Emergency device : FLARE

The most commonly used flare gun was invented by an American naval officer, called Edward Wilson Very. He put his name to his invention (from the late 1800s), so we often hear the terms Very pistol, Very flare, and maybe even Very “light”. A Very pistol is indeed a gun, with a trigger and a hammer that’s cocked and can be reloaded with Very flares.

44 How tuna may be packed : IN OIL

There are 15 species of tuna, the size of which varies greatly. The smallest is the bullet tuna, which can grow to about 4 pounds in weight and just over 1½ feet in length. The Atlantic bluefin tuna can weigh over 1,500 pounds, and reach about 15 feet in length. That’s a lot of tuna …

45 Hole makers : AWLS

An awl is a pointed tool used for marking a surface or for piercing small holes. The earliest awls were used to pierce ears, apparently. The tool then became very much associated with shoemakers.

46 “O Julius Caesar, __ art mighty yet!”: Brutus : THOU

In William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”, while standing over the body of the senator Cassius, Brutus exclaims:

O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!

Cassius had led the plot to assassinate Caesar, but facing a backlash from Caesar’s loyal followers, he commits suicide. Brutus realizes that the assassination was pointless, as Caesar’s spirit lives on.

50 Where, to Brutus : UBI

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Earth, for one : ORB
4 Dred Scott decision Chief Justice : TANEY
9 Leg section : CALF
13 Two-digit sign : VEE
14 Thrifty to begin with? : ECONO-
15 Central Plains tribe : OTOE
16 “__ la vie” : C’EST
17 *Guide for Smithsonian visitors, say : MUSEUM DOCENT
19 Food scrap : ORT
20 Hardly libertine : PRIM
21 Pithy saying : ADAGE
22 *Ken Burns specialty : DOCUMENTARY FILM
26 Fairy tale figures : GNOMES
27 Mother __ : LODE
28 Money with hits : EDDIE
29 Retreats : LAIRS
31 Word with bonds or games : WAR …
34 Line holder : REEL
35 Barely detectable : FAINT
36 Tiny particle : MOTE
37 Future H.S. grads, probably : SRS
38 Volcanic eruption sight : PLUME
39 Nested supermarket array : CARTS
40 Nana : GRAN
41 “Amen to that!” : SO TRUE!
42 *Southeast Asian colonial region dismantled in 1954 : FRENCH INDOCHINA
45 Earth’s volume? : ATLAS
47 Mandlikova of ’80s tennis : HANA
48 Mexican pinch? : SEL
49 Classic Looney Tunes tagline offering some “direction” in solving the starred clues : WHAT’S UP, DOC?
51 Office figure : BOSS
52 Legends and such : LORE
53 Cloth-dyeing method : BATIK
54 Pro using a siren, perhaps : EMT
55 Went after, in a way : SUED
56 Objects of worship : IDOLS
57 Earth opening? : GEO-

Down

1 With 3-Down, sportsbook option based on the final score : OVER-UNDER …
2 Game system turn-off options : REST MODES
3 See 1-Down : … BET
4 What a siren does : TEMPTS
5 Lexus competitor : ACURA
6 Polite denial : NO, SIR
7 Combat demarcation point : ENEMY LINE
8 “__ busy?” : YOU
9 Indulge : CODDLE
10 Starting players : A-TEAM
11 Sleep-inducing, maybe, as a lecture : LONG
12 Fancy party : FETE
16 Eccentric old guys : CODGERS
18 “Downton Abbey” personnel : MAIDS
23 Man’s name that becomes a measurement when one letter is moved : EMIL
24 Once called : NEE
25 The Alamo, e.g. : FORT
29 Starting point of many modern missions : LAUNCH PAD
30 Intention : AIM
31 Unsettling : WORRISOME
32 Puts in sync with : ATTUNES TO
33 Zips again, as a Ziploc bag : RESEALS
35 Rich dessert : FLAN
36 Subject with shapes : MATH
38 First Amendment concern : PRESS
39 Fish-and-chips fish : COD
40 Like Romano, often : GRATED
41 Chips, say : SNACKS
42 Emergency device : FLARE
43 Couldn’t not : HAD TO
44 How tuna may be packed : IN OIL
45 Hole makers : AWLS
46 “O Julius Caesar, __ art mighty yet!”: Brutus : THOU
50 Where, to Brutus : UBI
51 Entreat : BEG

35 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 25 Mar 22, Friday”

  1. I don’t really think of “What’s Up, Doc” as a tagline. More of a catchphrase. Otherwise a pretty simple solve for Friday, 12:02 no errors. Unlike some others I do like the themes involving extra letters outside the typical answer space. “Docent” isn’t a word I’ve heard a lot so I got it through crosses.

  2. 8:04, no errors. Like last week, I have to comment that this gimmick is getting pretty trite for having seen it multiple times in recent memory, last being yesterday’s WSJ. Again I know I do a lot of different crosswords, so there’s that too.

    1. I agree. This is another of the STUPID puzzles that leaves out letters so that the answets make no sense, even when rje puzzle is finished. The paper does NOT publish the title until you look up the answer, so you are flondering trying to make a MISSPELLED WORD WORK, AND I HATE HATE HATE THESE KIND OF PYZZLES PLEASE STOP!!! Get authors who can compose with FULL words!

  3. I hate puzzles like this where the letters in the puzzle are jibberish (like FRENCHINDHINA). I get the theme, I just hate these puzzles. If there was a ‘stupid puzzle’ alert, I would’ve skipped over it.

  4. No errors, a few lookups. I got the theme in that I knew the across
    words were missing the “oc’s” but didn’t catch on that the ”doc”
    appeared upward at the beginning of the across words. Too clever
    for me this morning. I had to look up “Taney” and “carts” and had
    to change “sped” to “sued” at one point.

      1. It was misspelled in a creative way, but there’s no question that some of the answers did not have all the letters in the proper order.

      2. And, of course, ‘sel’ was misspelled too–either that or the answer to 32 down is ‘attunas to’.

  5. Wow, several missed the theme.

    Easy puzzle for Friday.

    Had some trouble with TANEY and TEMPTS but worked through it.

    No errors.

  6. Could someone please explain why SEL was the answer to “Mexican pinch?” when the Spanish word for salt is “sal”? What am I missing?

    1. I came here for this. This doesn’t make sense. Oh, so the answer to the clue is SALT so write in SELT.

  7. I liked this puzzle. Thought it was very clever with the DOC part going up. I like the challenge of figuring out the theme.

  8. @glen – another cool NEWSDAY today.
    I really enjoyed it. A few foreign references but in hindsight it was really straight forward.

  9. It’s a Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle, so no surprise here that it’s a clean, smooth, pleasant diversion (for a change in these parts). Cute theme, easy to detect and well-executed. It’s a little on the easy side for a Friday, but I can live with that😉. And compare the PPPs (fewer than 15!) to, say, yesterday’s sloggy Proper Noun fest. My only complaint: There’s no good reason for a weekday puzzle’s theme not being disclosed as a Sunday puzzle’s is.

  10. Hey I beat Bill’s time today just let the “stupid” crosses fill in and left them.Agree dumb puzzle “Doc”

  11. You know, this type of puzzle just takes the fun out of it.

    Even when you “get it” you don’t feel good.

  12. Apparently many don’t understand the theme. The answers are not spelled wrong and are not gibberish.
    Documentary Film. Start at D go up to get the OC then continue on with UMENTARY.
    Same with French InDOChina.
    I used the theme to solve.

    1. Right? It’s pretty clear by now that this puzzle has had and will continue to have (hopefully) these twists and turns (quite literally today!). If you don’t like solving them, why keep doing them?! I enjoy them. I think a lot of people enjoy complaining.

  13. 15:15 and no errors; no thanks at all to the STUPID gimmick (can’t really call it a theme); I suppose Wechler was saying another Bugs Bunny line to himself as he crafted this abomination: “Ain’t I a stinka??”

    Editor changeover, where is thy sting??

    I hope the new one will get a new set of favorite contributors, and leave this constructor out in the cold.

  14. No look ups,no errors. Clever theme if
    somewhat annoying. It helped once I got it.
    2 Brutus clues in 1 puzzle,back to back no
    less……Bring on Saturday!

  15. Re: The puzzle. By “trite” I meant seeing this multiple times recently more than anything against the gimmick/trick itself. That said, I do understand why people complain about these things. To that end, you really have to specifically learn how to do each and every trick puzzle, opposed to regular crosswords. To wit, most people feel tricked, fooled, or the victim of cheating encountering these things initially (I sure did), so I don’t blame their reaction. At least as a positive for Norris, he’s explicitly avoided rebus puzzles (another level of trick). People do seek out different markets to find what they like and people have hit the LAT over the NYT largely for this very reason.

    As a thought, I notice the description itself provided by Bill is definitely inaccurate in describing the trick here. I’ve seen (and done) highlighting of the theme entries in this puzzle.

    @Anon Mike
    The last two Newsdays were rather enjoyable. Definitely another proof out of many that hard puzzles don’t have to have shoddy inaccurate cluing and lots of generally unknown proper nouns to be hard or interesting.

  16. I think the word the constructor had in mind on 23D was “mile,” not “mil.” Note that the clue requires that one letter be MOVED, not REmoved. If you move the “e” from the beginning of Emil, you have to put it back somewhere else.

  17. Very clever puzzle with the “doc” going up. Of course I’m a fan of Jeffrey Wechsler, but even if I were not, I would still have the same opinion.

  18. 15:23 – no errors, lookups, or revisions. Got the theme, and it helped to solve some clues. I have no problem with this puzzle’s “gimmick.”

    I agree that “What’s up, doc?” is more of a catch phrase than a tag line, but a small nit in crossword ville.

    And, SEL is not Spanish for “salt,” it’s SAL.

  19. Mostly easy Friday for me; took 28:19 with no peeks or errors. Figured out the theme after a bit and made my way through without too much difficulty, although I put DOC instead of COD for the first theme answer. After I got that straightened out I got the banner.

    I wasn’t a big fan of these kind of puzzles, or even ones with circles in boxes, at first, but I’ll take these over a plethora of B-actors and product names that I’ve never heard of.

    Strange we’ve got an error by the constructor/editor: SEL/SaL and Bill: MIL/MILE on the same day! We’ll at least it’s Friday.

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