LA Times Crossword 18 Jan 23, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Jason Reich & Katie Hale
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Falling Rain

Themed answers are in the down-direction, and each includes a FALLIN’ GRAIN as a hidden word:

  • 27D Downpour, or when parsed another way, what can be found in this puzzle’s sets of circles : FALLING RAIN or FALLIN’ GRAIN
  • 3D Undeniably accurate statement : GOSPEL TRUTH (hiding “SPELT”)
  • 9D Fish that shock prey : ELECTRIC EELS (hiding “RICE”)
  • 21D January 1 to December 31 : CALENDAR YEAR (hiding “RYE”)
  • 25D Like sous vide cooking : LOW HEAT (hiding “WHEAT”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Future yearling : FOAL

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

14 Furrow maker : PLOW

Harrows and plows have similar uses, in that they both break up the soil. Plows are used to bring deep soil to the surface, and to bury weeds so that they decay and release nutrients. Harrows break up and smooth just the surface soil, often after plowing.

16 __ lazuli : LAPIS

Lapis lazuli is a blue, semi-precious stone mined mainly in Afghanistan. “Lapis Lazuli” is Latin for “stone of Lazhward”, referring to the Persian name for the location where the stone was mined. Our word “azure”, a shade of blue, has the same root.

17 To whom Rick says, “The Germans wore gray. You wore blue” : ILSA

The movie “Casablanca” was released in January of 1943, timed to coincide with the Casablanca Conference, the high-level meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. The film wasn’t a box-office hit, but gained critical acclaim, winning three Oscars including Best Picture. The signature song “As Time Goes By” was written many years earlier for a 1931 Broadway musical called “Everybody’s Welcome”, and was a hit in 1931 for Rudy Vallee. But today we all remember the Casablanca version, sung by Dooley Wilson (who played “Sam” in the film). Poor Dooley didn’t get to record it as a single, due to a musician’s strike in 1943. The 1931 Rudy Vallee version was re-released that year and became an even bigger hit second time round.

18 Commits an email faux pas : REPLIES ALL

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

24 Unaccounted for, for short : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

26 Prop for Gandalf : STAFF

Gandalf is an important character in the J. R. R. Tolkien novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He is a wizard known as Gandalf the Grey during his lifetime, and as Gandalf the White after he returns from the dead.

29 Reader’s Digest co-founder Wallace : LILA

Lila Wallace founded the “Reader’s Digest” along with her husband in 1922, and initially operated out of a basement office in New York City. The initial print runs were limited to about 5,000 copies. Today, “Reader’s Digest” has about 100 million readers in 163 countries worldwide.

37 Crowdsourced source, briefly : WIKI

A wiki is a website on which users are allowed to create and edit content themselves. The term “wiki” comes from the name of the first such site, introduced in 1994 and called WikiWikiWeb. “Wiki” is a Hawaiian word for “quick”, and is used because comprehensive content is created very quickly, as there are so many collaborators contributing to the site.

39 Tempter of Odysseus : SIREN

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.

40 Unit of resistance : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

43 Post-op area : ICU

The intensive care unit (ICU) is where many patients head after leaving the operating room (OR).

46 Undoing : DEMISE

Back in the 1400s, a demise was the transfer of an estate via a will. The usage of “demise” extended in the mid-1700s to the contemporary meaning of “death, downfall”.

48 “Mamma Mia!” pop group : ABBA

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

50 Actress Birch : THORA

Thora Birch is an actress from Los Angeles. Birch is probably best known for her breakthrough role in the 1999 movie “American Beauty” in which she was the insecure daughter of a married couple played by Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening.

52 Greenish blue : TEAL

The beautiful color teal takes its name from the duck called a teal, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

54 Gimlet liquor : GIN

A gimlet is a relatively simple cocktail that is traditionally made using just gin and lime juice. The trend in more recent times is to replace the gin with vodka.

57 Classic PC game : MYST

In the days when I played the occasional video game, the best of the bunch was undoubtedly Myst. It is a game full of puzzles with the player wandering through a beautifully-designed (for its day) interactive world.

61 Salisbury Plain megaliths : STONEHENGE

The magnificent Stonehenge monument in the south of England was built from 3000 to 2000 BC. “Stonehenge” has given its name to “henges”, a whole class of earthwork monuments that are circular in form with an internal ditch surrounded by a bank. Paradoxically, Stonehenge doesn’t qualify as a henge by this contemporary definition, as its earthen bank is surrounded by an external ditch.

65 Michigan, for one : LAKE

Of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the only one that is located totally within the US. The others are shared by the US and Canada.

66 Justice Sotomayor : SONIA

Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic justice appointed to the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.

67 Adderall target, briefly : ADHD

Adderall is a drug used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy. Adderall is also misused as a recreational drug as it is considered an aphrodisiac and a euphoriant.

70 “Roar” singer Perry : KATY

“Roar” is a 2013 song co-written and performed by Katy Perry. It has a great chorus:

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar

Down

3 Undeniably accurate statement : GOSPEL TRUTH (hiding “SPELT”)

Spelt is a wheat species that has been around for thousands of years. Once a staple in the human diet, it was largely replaced by bread wheat. Spelt is seeing a revival in recent years, as its growth is less dependent on artificial fertilizers.

7 Dadaism pioneer Jean : ARP

Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

8 Crocodile in Bernard Waber children’s books : LYLE

Lyle is a crocodile who lives in the bathtub of Manhattan brownstone in the “Lyle the Crocodile” series of children’s books by Bernard Waber. Lyle makes his first appearance in the 1962 book “The House on East 88th Street”.

9 Fish that shock prey : ELECTRIC EELS (hiding “RICE”)

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

A paddy field is a flooded piece of land used to grow rice, or perhaps taro. The water reduces competition from weeds allowing the rice to thrive. The word “paddy” has nothing to do with us Irish folk, and is an anglicized version of the word “padi”, the Malay name for the rice plant.

10 Beyoncé’s “I Am… ___ Fierce” : SASHA

Sasha Fierce is an alter-ego that Beyoncé Knowles has developed for her stage and recording work. Beyoncé describes Sasha as very sensual and aggressive. She released a studio album called “I Am… Sasha Fierce” in 2008.

13 DKNY rival : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was an Algerian-born French fashion designer. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

Donna Karan is an American fashion designer, creator of the Donna Karan New York (DKNY) clothing label. Karan was very much raised in the fashion industry, as her mother was a model and her stepfather a tailor.

25 Like sous vide cooking : LOW HEAT (hiding “WHEAT”)

“Sous-vide” is a cooking method in which the food is sealed in plastic bags and very slowly steamed in a water bath. The term “sous-vide” is French for “under vacuum”.

30 Barinholtz of “The Mindy Project” : IKE

Ike Barinholtz is an actor and comedian who appeared on MADtv from 2002 until 2007. More recently, Barinholtz became a writer on the TV show “The Mindy Project”, and was then cast as Nurse Morgan Tookers.

“The Mindy Project” is a Fox sitcom that stars and was created by Mindy Kaling. Mindy plays an obstetrician/gynecologist, a role that was inspired by her own mother who is an OB/GYN.

34 Semicircular church area : APSE

An apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

51 Labor __ vincit: Oklahoma motto : OMNIA

The Latin phrase “Labor omnia vincit” translates as “Work conquers all”.

56 Russian refusals : NYETS

The English word “no” translates into Russian as “nyet”, and into German as “nein”.

58 Hardwood used for pricey salad bowls : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family that is commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

60 Shoppe adjective : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

61 Oft-redacted ID : SSN

So often, we are asked for “the last four digits” of our Social Security Numbers (SSNs).

63 Number of players needed to play solitaire : ONE

I think that a single-player card game is usually called “Solitaire” in the US whereas we use the name “Patience” back in Ireland.

64 Secret-protecting doc : NDA

Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Droops : SAGS
5 Future yearling : FOAL
9 Lengthy test answer : ESSAY
14 Furrow maker : PLOW
15 Off course : AWRY
16 __ lazuli : LAPIS
17 To whom Rick says, “The Germans wore gray. You wore blue” : ILSA
18 Commits an email faux pas : REPLIES ALL
20 Wannabe : COPYCAT
22 Inscribe : ETCH
23 Lamb nurser : EWE
24 Unaccounted for, for short : AWOL
26 Prop for Gandalf : STAFF
29 Reader’s Digest co-founder Wallace : LILA
31 Stink : ODOR
33 Battery size : AAA
35 Space bar neighbor, on a PC : ALT KEY
37 Crowdsourced source, briefly : WIKI
38 Sass : LIP
39 Tempter of Odysseus : SIREN
40 Unit of resistance : OHM
41 Matches a bet : CALLS
43 Post-op area : ICU
44 Challenge : DARE
46 Undoing : DEMISE
47 Didn’t need to be let out : FIT
48 “Mamma Mia!” pop group : ABBA
49 Rider’s strap : REIN
50 Actress Birch : THORA
52 Greenish blue : TEAL
54 Gimlet liquor : GIN
57 Classic PC game : MYST
59 Words of apology : I’M SORRY
61 Salisbury Plain megaliths : STONEHENGE
65 Michigan, for one : LAKE
66 Justice Sotomayor : SONIA
67 Adderall target, briefly : ADHD
68 Plan from a nutritionist : DIET
69 Lack of musical talent : NO EAR
70 “Roar” singer Perry : KATY
71 Stops : ENDS

Down

1 Rub component : SPICE
2 Greenlight : ALLOW
3 Undeniably accurate statement : GOSPEL TRUTH (hiding “SPELT”)
4 Convince : SWAY
5 Like a dreamy look : FARAWAY
6 Have because of : OWE TO
7 Dadaism pioneer Jean : ARP
8 Crocodile in Bernard Waber children’s books : LYLE
9 Fish that shock prey : ELECTRIC EELS (hiding “RICE”)
10 Beyoncé’s “I Am… ___ Fierce” : SASHA
11 Place for some “me time” : SPA
12 Feel off : AIL
13 DKNY rival : YSL
19 Generous response to 59-Across : IT’S OK
21 January 1 to December 31 : CALENDAR YEAR (hiding “RYE”)
25 Like sous vide cooking : LOW HEAT (hiding “WHEAT”)
27 Downpour, or when parsed another way, what can be found in this puzzle’s sets of circles : FALLING RAIN or FALLIN’ GRAIN
28 Stops working : FAILS
30 Barinholtz of “The Mindy Project” : IKE
32 Not so bright : DIM
34 Semicircular church area : APSE
35 “Dream on” : AS IF
36 Permitted by law : LICIT
40 Poetic sphere : ORB
42 French pal : AMI
45 Embarrass : ABASH
46 Hybrid genre : DRAMEDY
51 Labor __ vincit: Oklahoma motto : OMNIA
53 Small cube? : EIGHT
55 Got to : IRKED
56 Russian refusals : NYETS
58 Hardwood used for pricey salad bowls : TEAK
60 Shoppe adjective : OLDE
61 Oft-redacted ID : SSN
62 In addition : TOO
63 Number of players needed to play solitaire : ONE
64 Secret-protecting doc : NDA

14 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Jan 23, Wednesday”

  1. No errors.

    Stuck on SPELT for awhile.

    Never played MYST.

    Never heard of Lyle the Crocodile

    I have to do crosswords to find out what I don’t know.

  2. Fairly easy today. No errors, but I guess I don’t know why “repliesall”
    is faux pas. I suppose it is, when you click on the wrong option.

    1. If you ever did that to a long list of people, when you didn’t mean to – you’d get it! That’s when “unsend” is handy.

  3. Finished but with one blank: L_LA/_KE. Is it better to have a blank or to enter a wrong letter? Hadn’t heard of SPELT and didn’t know LYLE but got ’em both anyway. Tough one but pretty fair, except for the you know whats.

  4. 8:53 – Jo errors or lookups. False start: LEGAL>LICIT. A lucky guess on THORA Birch at OMNIA. That intersection at square 51 was a natick for me. So was square 30, but Ike seemed a little familiar, and Lila sounded good.

    New: LILA Wallace, THORA Birch, I Am SASHA Fierce, “sous vide cooking,” IKE Barinholtz, Labor OMNIA vincit.

    Initially didn’t quite get the theme. I wondered how RICE was “falling rain.” Then I re-parsed the theme answer and saw that it was “fallin’ grain.”

  5. 8 minutes 17 seconds, and some 10 errors I eventually rectified with CheckGrid, but felt they were truly errors and not just mistypings.

    Did not appreciate having two proper names crossing at 29A/30D. Overall, too many obscure fills and names. Felt “tricksy” and a little pretentious. Thumbs down for me on this one.

  6. Got the theme when I got SPELT. It helped a lot.

    I’ve read Dick Francis for years, and still don’t know one horse from another. When my husband and I finally got around to watching Seabiscuit, we realized we drove past his Mendocino County home ranch for yrs, and the Frank Howard Memorial Hospital.

  7. A bit tough for me today; took 20:32 with 3 errors. I got all tangled up in the S when I put in Ache instead of ADHD. Apparently I don’t know a henge from a hedge and couldn’t suss out DRAMEDY. Went with DCA instead of the desired NDA…ah well!!

    @Saul – Cool, that I’ll check out – a giant bee, YES!!

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