LA Times Crossword 29 Mar 22, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Rafael Musa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Almost Never

Themed answers each include the letter string N-E-V-E-R; well ALMOST, four out of the five letters:

  • 60A Rarely … or what each set of circled letters is? : ALMOST NEVER
  • 17A Having the same ability : ON EVEN TERMS
  • 24A Touch and go, grammatically : ACTION VERBS
  • 39A “Guilty or not guilty?” : WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
  • 48A 1939 Stephen Foster biopic : SWANEE RIVER

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

Bill’s time: 6m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 NFL team leaders : QBS

Quarterback (QB)

16 In the style of : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

19 Prom rental : TUX

Apparently, the style of men’s evening dress called a “tuxedo” was first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.

27 Amount to take, in an Rx : DOSAGE

There seems to be some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

31 Property claim : LIEN

A lien is a right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

43 D.C. helper : AIDE

The District of Columbia (DC) was established by the Residence Act in 1790. Article One, Section 8 of the US constitution provides for the establishment of a district outside of the states, over which the federal government has authority. The constitution also specifies that the district cannot exceed an area of ten miles square.

44 Exams for Ph.D. candidates : ORALS

“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”.

48 1939 Stephen Foster biopic : SWANEE RIVER

“Swanee River” is a 1939 film about the life of songwriter Stephen Foster, played by Don Ameche. Well, it is supposedly a biopic, but there are a ton of inaccuracies in the storyline.

Stephen Foster was a songwriter active in the 19th century who is sometimes referred to as “the father of American music”. Foster wrote some really famous songs, including “Oh! Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Beautiful Dreamer”. Despite the success of his songs, Foster made very little cash in his own lifetime. That all went to his publishers, with the composer impoverished in the last few years of his life.

53 “Coco” studio : PIXAR

“Coco” is a 2017 Pixar movie about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who ends up in the land of the dead by accident. There, he seeks out the help of the great-great-grandfather to get back to his family in the land of the living.

54 Collectible records, for short : LPS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

55 “Roll Tide” school : BAMA

The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, which is a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.

59 Yalie : ELI

Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.

64 Hoopla : ADO

The word “hoopla” means “boisterous excitement”. The term probably comes from “houp-là”, something the French say instead of “upsy-daisy”. Then again, “upsy-daisy” probably isn’t something said very often here in the US …

67 Dreaming sleep stage : REM

“REM” is an acronym standing for “rapid eye movement”. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

68 Preferred brownie piece, for some : EDGE

Apparently, the first brownies were created for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The recipe was developed by a pastry chef at the city’s Palmer House Hotel. The idea was to produce a cake-like dessert that was small enough and dainty enough to be eaten by ladies as part of a boxed lunch.

69 Spanish “You’re welcome” : DE NADA

“Nada” is the Spanish word for “nothing”. “De nada” translates literally from the Spanish as “of nothing”, and is used to mean “you’re welcome” or “don’t mention it”. The French have the same expression “de rien”, also translating to “of nothing” and used the same way.

Down

1 “Conversely,” in texts : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

3 Square root of nueve : TRES

In Spanish, “tres” (three) is the square root of “nueve” (nine).

4 Pillars of Islam count : FIVE

Followers of the Muslim tradition believe in the Five Pillars of Islam, five obligatory acts that underpin Muslim life. The Five Pillars are:

  1. The Islamic creed
  2. Daily prayer
  3. Almsgiving
  4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  5. The pilgrimage to Mecca (haj, hajj, hadj) once during a lifetime

6 King-jack, e.g., in bridge : TENACE

In the wonderful card game of bridge, a tenace is a broken sequence of honor cards, like AQ or KJ.

7 Wombs : UTERI

“Uterus” (plural “uteri”) is the Latin word for “womb”.

9 West __: high-end furniture outlet : ELM

West Elm is an upscale furniture store that is owned by Williams-Sonoma. The chain was founded in 2002.

11 Doha’s country : QATAR

Doha is the capital city of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

12 Words on a jacket : BLURB

The use of the word “blurb”, to describe a publicity notice on a book jacket, dates back to 1907 when it was used by American humorist Gelett Burgess. Burgess used a picture of a fictitious young woman named Miss Belinda Blurb on the dust jacket of a limited run of his 1906 book “Are You a Bromide?” That jacket proclaimed “YES, this is a ‘BLURB’!” The term persists to this day, without the young damsel.

13 Jazz woodwinds : SAXES

The saxophone was invented by Belgian musician Adolphe Sax, hence the name. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

18 __ for tat : TIT

The phrase “tit for tat”, meaning some sort of retaliation, has been around for an awfully long time, since the mid-1500s. It might be derived from “tip for tap”, meaning “blow for blow”.

25 Tapenade ingredient : OLIVE

The dish known as tapenade is traditionally made from olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. The name comes from the Provençal word for capers, i.e. “tapenas”.

26 White or Blue river : NILE

Africa’s River Nile has two main tributaries, the Blue Nile and White Nile, with the White Nile deemed to be the headwaters of the Nile itself. The most distant source of the White Nile is unknown, so I suppose one might argue that the “source of the Nile” is a mystery.

28 Workplace safety org. : OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

29 Source of some suds : SOAP

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

30 Rabbit ears : ANTENNA

Remember the television antenna called “rabbit ears”? I don’t recall being told this when I was younger, but to get the best reception the length of the “ears” needs to be set at about one half of the wavelength of the signal of the target channel. If only I had known …

34 Ref. work that added “freshperson” in 2021 : OED

“Frosh” is a slang term for a college freshperson (formerly “freshman”). We call such a person a “fresher” back in Ireland …

36 Narrow inlets : RIAS

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

37 NCAA Bruins’ home : UCLA

The Bruins are the athletic teams representing the University of California, Los Angeles. When the school was founded in 1919, as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the nickname “Cubs” was used by the football team. The “Cubs” name was chosen as the school was regarded as the younger partner of the California Bears in the existing University of California, Berkeley. That name was changed to “Grizzlies” in 1923, and finally to Bruins in 1926.

38 Site for handmade gifts : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

47 Like matryoshka dolls : NESTED

Matryoshka dolls are those wooden nesting dolls that are on sale at every tourist trap across Russia. “Matryoshka” is Russian for “little matron”.

48 Asparagus piece : SPEAR

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is grown mainly for its edible shoots (or “spears”). The shoots must be harvested when they are very young, as they become woody very quickly.

Actress Olivia Wilde’s break came with the role of “Thirteen” on the medical drama “House”. Olivia’s birth name is Cockburn, and she chose her stage name in honor of Irish author Oscar Wilde.

50 Set theory truth : AXIOM

In the world of mathematics, an axiom is a proposition, one that is taken as basic and self-evident.

In mathematics, a set is defined as a collection of distinct objects. Remember those Venn diagrams at school? Each of the circles in a Venn diagram represents a set.

51 “Uncle!” : I LOSE!

To say uncle is to submit or yield. This peculiarly American use of “uncle” dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

52 Corp. honchos : VPS

“Honcho” is a slang term meaning “leader”. The word comes to us from the Japanese military, in which language a “hancho” is a “squad” (han) “leader” (cho).

55 Swiss capital : BERN

Bern (sometimes “Berne”, especially in French) is the capital city of Switzerland. The official language of the city is German, but the language most spoken in Bern is a dialect known as Bernese German.

56 Asics competitor : AVIA

The “Avia” brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.

58 “Game of Thrones” girl __ Stark : ARYA

Maisie Williams is the English actress who plays the tomboyish young girl Arya Stark on the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones”.

61 Chap : LAD

“Chap” is an informal term meaning “lad, fellow” that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

62 New car stat : MPG

Miles per gallon (mpg)

63 Word before a birth name : 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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Costume : OUTFIT
7 Word with friendly or interface : USER-
11 NFL team leaders : QBS
14 Do very well : THRIVE
15 Backsplash piece : TILE
16 In the style of : A LA
17 Having the same ability : ON EVEN TERMS
19 Prom rental : TUX
20 Firefighting aid : HOSE
21 On the __: being broadcast : AIR
22 In the loop : AWARE
24 Touch and go, grammatically : ACTION VERBS
27 Amount to take, in an Rx : DOSAGE
31 Property claim : LIEN
32 Acting together : AS ONE
33 Gardener’s bagful : SOIL
35 “Good point” : TRUE
39 “Guilty or not guilty?” : WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
42 Back of the neck : NAPE
43 D.C. helper : AIDE
44 Exams for Ph.D. candidates : ORALS
45 Top line on many an application form : NAME
47 Deny : NAYSAY
48 1939 Stephen Foster biopic : SWANEE RIVER
53 “Coco” studio : PIXAR
54 Collectible records, for short : LPS
55 “Roll Tide” school : BAMA
59 Yalie : ELI
60 Rarely … or what each set of circled letters is? : ALMOST NEVER
64 Hoopla : ADO
65 Brewpub array : TAPS
66 In a scary way : EERILY
67 Dreaming sleep stage : REM
68 Preferred brownie piece, for some : EDGE
69 Spanish “You’re welcome” : DE NADA

Down

1 “Conversely,” in texts : OTOH
2 “Hmm … no chance” : UH … NO
3 Square root of nueve : TRES
4 Pillars of Islam count : FIVE
5 “__ had enough!” : I’VE
6 King-jack, e.g., in bridge : TENACE
7 Wombs : UTERI
8 Polite title : SIR
9 West __: high-end furniture outlet : ELM
10 Back up, as a backup : RESAVE
11 Doha’s country : QATAR
12 Words on a jacket : BLURB
13 Jazz woodwinds : SAXES
18 __ for tat : TIT
23 Stopped running, as a stream : WENT DRY
24 A long time : AGES
25 Tapenade ingredient : OLIVE
26 White or Blue river : NILE
27 First light : DAWN
28 Workplace safety org. : OSHA
29 Source of some suds : SOAP
30 Rabbit ears : ANTENNA
33 Less likely to speak up, maybe : SHIER
34 Ref. work that added “freshperson” in 2021 : OED
36 Narrow inlets : RIAS
37 NCAA Bruins’ home : UCLA
38 Site for handmade gifts : ETSY
40 Get under control : TAME
41 Crowd eruption : ROAR
46 Make fizzy : AERATE
47 Like matryoshka dolls : NESTED
48 Asparagus piece : SPEAR
49 Olivia of “House” : WILDE
50 Set theory truth : AXIOM
51 “Uncle!” : I LOSE!
52 Corp. honchos : VPS
55 Swiss capital : BERN
56 Asics competitor : AVIA
57 Fuse : MELD
58 “Game of Thrones” girl __ Stark : ARYA
61 Chap : LAD
62 New car stat : MPG
63 Word before a birth name : NEE

19 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 29 Mar 22, Tuesday”

  1. No Googles, no errors, but many head scratchers. Did not know ARYA, RESAVE, DENADA.
    Thought, for 2 down, that one musn’t use the answer in the clue (the word “no”).
    BTW, a saxophone is a woodwind because it has a single reed.
    The clue for the theme was cute.

    1. Depends on which one. You could do a Monday Newsday and for what you’ve said, you probably would finish in under three minutes (online). These are a tick harder.

    2. @Pam in MA – holy cow, we’re going to have to send you for a checkup, or sometin’ – you have really been on a roll lately!

      WTG!

      Be Well.

  2. 9:50 – no errors or lookups. Revised: ACTIONWORDS>ACTIONVERBS, SHYER>SHIER.

    Unknown items: TENACE, West ELM, ARYA. Heard of Olivia WILDE, but didn’t recall to connect her to “House.”

    Couldn’t figure out what was happening with the circled letters until I got to the theme’s main clue. Clever.

  3. No look ups,no errors. One change on the fly, weld/meld. Found this one a little
    tougher than the usual Tuesday. Perhaps
    because I had a little trouble getting
    started in the NW corner. Clever theme
    and it helped. “uteri” said nobody almost
    ever 🙂

  4. 9 minutes 57 seconds, no errors.

    WT*F* was that clue for 15A????? How about “Scrabble piece” or “Linoleum piece” or something that makes SENSE????

    1. Mr. Dickerson,
      WAYCF – as in Where are you coming from? Many of us have tile backsplashes over our kitchen sinks. Clue makes perfect sense! What is it that you don’t understand?

  5. 19:55 – couple of cheats/grid check. Never heard of TENACE and DENADA.

    Almost ashamed to post my time, compared to everyone else today. Don’t know why I struggled so much.

    Theme was cute (after Bill explained it to me) …

    Be Well.

  6. Snoozed a bit today; took me 14:11 with no peeks or errors, but I had to go back and find/fix SWANEE…/ANTENNA/AERATE before I got the banner. Tried to make sense of the theme while doing the puzzle, and failed until I got here.

    Never heard of TEN ACE or West ELM.

  7. Greetings!!!🤗

    Well I left a comment yesterday — in fact I posted it twice and cyberspace ate it. Internet must have blinked out. I know it’s been said before but I sure miss the old days when our comments appeared immediately!! And I know Bill has good reason not to revert to that….

    Good Tuesday puzzle! I thought the theme was kinda cute. Didn’t know ARYA but it came easily enough via crosses. 🙃

    From last week: Hi Dirk!!

    Be well~~⚾️

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