LA Times Crossword 20 Jan 23, Friday

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Constructed by: Wendy L. Brandes
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: New York Strip

Themed answers are common phrases with a -NY suffix STRIPPED away:

  • 52A Chophouse order, and an apt title for this puzzle? : NEW YORK STRIP
  • 20A Dinner roll that provides an unexpected boost? : ENERGIZER BUN (from “Energizer bunny”)
  • 27A Outlandish stories about Vietnamese soup? : PHO BALONEY (from “phony baloney”)
  • 37A Valued at one fancy ballpoint? : COSTS A PRETTY PEN (from “costs a pretty penny”)
  • 46A Golfers who just need to dance, dance, dance before every drive? : TEE BOPPERS (from “teeny boppers”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Film franchise featuring Lightning McQueen : CARS

Lightning McQueen is the protagonist in the “Cars” series of Pixar animated movies. He is an anthropomorphic stock car, and is voiced by actor Owen Wilson. It is often assumed that the character was named for actor and sometime race car driver Steve McQueen. In fact, he was named in honor of Pixar animator Glenn McQueen, who passed away a few years before the first “Cars” film was released.

13 Portfolio options, for short : IRAS

Our word “portfolio” comes from the Italian “portafoglio” meaning “case for carrying loose papers”. The Italian term comes from “porta” meaning “carry” and “foglio” meaning “sheet, leaf”.

17 “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of __” : NIMH

“The Secret of NIMH” is the 1982 screen adaptation of a book written by Robert C. O’Brien. The novel’s title is “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH”. “Mrs. Frisby” doesn’t actually appear in the movie version, at least not under the same name. In the film her character is called Mrs. “Brisby”, with the name change being made due to concerns about a potential trademark dispute with “Frisbee” discs.

18 NYC gallery with a Bell helicopter on display : MOMA

The Bell-47D1 helicopter was manufactured between 1946 and 1973, with over three thousand units sold in forty countries. We are perhaps most familiar with the craft as an aerial ambulance used during the Korean War (from the TV show “M*A*S*H). The aircraft’s design, featuring a plastic bubble housing the cockpit, is reminiscent of dragonfly, and earned it the nickname the bug-eyed helicopter. So iconic was the design that there is one on display in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

20 Dinner roll that provides an unexpected boost? : ENERGIZER BUN (from “Energizer bunny”)

We are all fairly familiar with the Energizer Bunny, I am guessing. The “Bunny” was introduced in 1989 to promote Energizer batteries, by parodying the Duracell Bunny that had been introduced in 1973.

23 Pool necessity : CUE

The more correct name for the game of pool is “pocket billiards”. The designation “pool” arose after pocket billiards became a common feature in “pool halls”, places where gamblers “pooled” their money to bet on horse races.

27 Outlandish stories about Vietnamese soup? : PHO BALONEY (from “phony baloney”)

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

“Baloney” is an American English variant of “Bologna” as in the sausage. The term came to be used to mean “nonsense” in the 1920s. “Baloney” was popularized in the 1930s by New York Governor Alfred E. Smith as he used the term quite often.

32 Bulky boats : ARKS

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Noah was instructed to build his ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. That’s about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

34 Lithium-__ battery : ION

Lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium are types of rechargeable batteries.

35 Seized auto : REPO

Repossession (repo)

37 Valued at one fancy ballpoint? : COSTS A PRETTY PEN (from “costs a pretty penny”)

The ballpoint pen was invented by László Bíró in the late thirties, a Hungarian newspaper editor. Over in Ireland we use the term “biro” as a generic word for “ballpoint pen”.

42 Texter’s “But … ” : OTOH …

On the other hand (OTOH)

43 “Monday Night Football” commentator Aikman : TROY

Troy Aikman is a former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Now that he is retired from football, Aikman works as a sportscaster on the Fox network.

45 Anklebones : TALI

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called “ankle bone”. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

49 Stretching muscle : TENSOR

A tensor muscle is one that tightens or stretches a part of the body.

51 Common Market letters : EEC

The European Economic Community (EEC) was also known as the Common Market. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union (EU).

52 Chophouse order, and an apt title for this puzzle? : NEW YORK STRIP

Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City, which dates back to 1827, had a signature cut of short loin that was served as a Delmonico steak. That same cut came to be known in the US as a New York strip steak, due to the association with the city and the restaurant.

58 Silky fabric : SATIN

The material known as “satin” takes its name from “Zayton”, the medieval Arabic name for the Chinese port city of Quanzhou. Quanzhou was used for the export of large amounts of silk to Europe.

61 The “genu-” in “genuflect” : KNEE

Our verb “to genuflect” means “to bend the knee, in worship”. The term comes to us via French from the Latin “genu” meaning “knee” and “flectere” meaning “to bend”.

62 American tennis phenom Gauff : COCO

Coco Gauff is a professional tennis player from Atlanta whose career really got a boost when she beat Venus Williams in the opening round of Wimbledon in 2019. Ironically, Venus, and her sister Serena, were the players who inspired Gauff to take up tennis as a girl.

64 Low-pH stuff : ACID

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

Down

1 Command to a prompter : LINE!

That might be on stage.

2 Actress Moriarty who plays Starlight on “The Boys” : ERIN

Erin Moriarty is an actress from New York City whose big break came when she landed the role of Starlight (aka AnnieJanuary) in the superhero TV series “The Boys”.

3 PlayStation, for one : GAME CONSOLE

Sony introduced the PlayStation line of video game consoles in 1994.

4 Strappy top, for short : CAMI

A camisole (also “cami”) is a sleeveless undergarment worn by women that extends down to the waist. “Camisole” is a French word that we imported into English that ultimately derives from the Latin “camisia” meaning “shirt, nightgown”.

6 Trevi Fountain city : ROME

The Trevi Fountain (“Fontana di Trevi”) is a huge fountain in Rome, one that is the largest constructed in the Baroque style. The tradition is that if one throws a coin in the fountain then one is guaranteed a return visit to the city. Tourists throw in an amazing 3,000 euros (over $4,000) every day. The money is collected and is used to stock a supermarket for the needy of the city.

7 Like Greenland’s population : SPARSE

Greenland is the largest island on the planet. Geographically, Greenland is part of the continent of North America, but culturally and politically is considered part of Europe. The island became a Danish colony in 1815, and joined the European Economic Community (EEC) with Denmark. Greenland withdrew from the EEC after a referendum in 1983. Since 2009, Greenland has been relatively autonomous, with the Danish government retaining control of foreign affairs, defense and the judicial system.

10 Sterile work environs : ORS

Greenland is the largest island on the planet. Geographically, Greenland is part of the continent of North America, but culturally and politically is considered part of Europe. The island became a Danish colony in 1815, and joined the European Economic Community (EEC) with Denmark. Greenland withdrew from the EEC after a referendum in 1983. Since 2009, Greenland has been relatively autonomous, with the Danish government retaining control of foreign affairs, defense and the judicial system.

12 “Thank you for coming to my __ Talk” : TED

The acronym “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”. There are also TEDx events, which are locally-run talks presented under license from TED.

14 Azalea, e.g. : SHRUB

Azaleas are very toxic to most animals. If you go to Korea, you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms. Azaleas are usually grown as shrubs, but are also seen as small trees, and often indoors.

21 Park and drive : GEARS

PRNDL … that would be Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low. The gear shift for an automatic transmission is sometimes known familiarly as the “prindle” stick, from the abbreviation PRNDL.

22 “If I Were a __”: Beyoncé ballad : BOY

“If I Were a Boy” is a 2008 song co-written and performed by singer-songwriter and actress BC Jean. Beyoncé recorded a cover version that same year, the version that is most well known.

25 Horseracing achievement : TRIPLE CROWN

The US Triple Crown horse races are, in order through the year:

  1. The Kentucky Derby
  2. The Preakness Stakes
  3. The Belmont Stakes

27 Crochet loop : PICOT

A picot is a loop of thread, either for function or for decoration, at the edge of some knitted or tatted material.

28 Heckle : HOOT AT

Originally, the verb “to heckle” meant “to question severely”, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at stand-up comics.

29 Seydoux of “No Time to Die” : LEA

French actress Léa Seydoux is perhaps best known to US audiences for portraying Bond girl Madeleine Swann in two movies: “Spectre” and “No Time to Die”. I best know her for playing the charming antique dealer in the magnificent film “Midnight in Paris”.

30 On the facing pg. : OPP

Opposite (opp.)

31 Compass dirección : NORTE

“Norte” (north) is a “dirección” (direction), in Spanish.

39 Tarzan creator’s monogram : ERB

Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) was an author from Chicago who is best known as the creator of the “Tarzan” series of novels. Burroughs’ daughter Joan ended up marrying James Pierce, the actor who was the fourth to portray Tarzan on film. James and Joan Pierce also worked together, playing Tarzan and Jane on the radio show “Tarzan” from 1932 to 1934.

41 Blood groups : TYPES

How common a particular blood type in a population varies quite a bit depending on ethnicity. In general, the rarest blood type is AB-negative. The most common blood type is O-positive.

46 AAA job : TOW

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

47 Neo-soul artist Badu : ERYKAH

“Erykah Badu” is the stage name of Erica Wright, an American “neo-soul” singer. Badu gained some notoriety in March of 2010 when she shot a scene for a music video in Dallas. In the scene, she walks to the spot where President Kennedy was assassinated, removing her clothes until she is nude, and then falls to the ground as if she has been shot in the head. For that stunt she was charged with disorderly conduct.

48 Boxer’s favorite store, maybe? : PETCO

Petco is a chain of retail stores that sells live animals and pet supplies. The Petco logo includes the two company mascots, Red Ruff the dog and Blue Mews the cat.

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

53 “… cut __”: end of a carpentry maxim : ONCE

Measure twice, cut once.

55 Canvas shoe brand : KEDS

Keds is a brand of athletic shoe first introduced in 1916 by US Rubber. The shoe was originally marketed as a rubber-soled, canvas-topped sneaker. The company first opted for the brand name “Peds”, from the Latin “ped” meaning “foot”. That name was already taken by another product, and so a quick rebranding took place resulting in “Keds”. The brand celebrated its centennial with a “Ladies First Since 1916” campaign that focuses on female empowerment.

56 Frozen treat brand : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

58 Distress signal : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

60 Leaves for dim sum : TEA

Dim sum is a Chinese cuisine made up of small portions of various dishes. The tradition of serving dim sum is associated with the serving of tea, when small delicacies were offered to travelers and guests along with tea as a refreshment. The name “dim sum” translates as “touch the heart” implying that dim sum is not a main meal, just a snack “that touches the heart”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Meet portion, or portion of meat : LEG
4 Film franchise featuring Lightning McQueen : CARS
8 Regarding : ABOUT
13 Portfolio options, for short : IRAS
15 Perched on : ATOP
16 Deteriorating : WORSE
17 “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of __” : NIMH
18 NYC gallery with a Bell helicopter on display : MOMA
19 Melted together : FUSED
20 Dinner roll that provides an unexpected boost? : ENERGIZER BUN (from “Energizer bunny”)
23 Pool necessity : CUE
24 Had as a regular customer : SOLD TO
27 Outlandish stories about Vietnamese soup? : PHO BALONEY (from “phony baloney”)
32 Bulky boats : ARKS
34 Lithium-__ battery : ION
35 Seized auto : REPO
36 Tease mercilessly : RIDE
37 Valued at one fancy ballpoint? : COSTS A PRETTY PEN (from “costs a pretty penny”)
42 Texter’s “But … ” : OTOH …
43 “Monday Night Football” commentator Aikman : TROY
44 Young man : LAD
45 Anklebones : TALI
46 Golfers who just need to dance, dance, dance before every drive? : TEE BOPPERS (from “teeny boppers”)
49 Stretching muscle : TENSOR
51 Common Market letters : EEC
52 Chophouse order, and an apt title for this puzzle? : NEW YORK STRIP
58 Silky fabric : SATIN
61 The “genu-” in “genuflect” : KNEE
62 American tennis phenom Gauff : COCO
63 Begins : OPENS
64 Low-pH stuff : ACID
65 Is shy : OWES
66 Play area : STAGE
67 Egg layers : HENS
68 After taxes : NET

Down

1 Command to a prompter : LINE!
2 Actress Moriarty who plays Starlight on “The Boys” : ERIN
3 PlayStation, for one : GAME CONSOLE
4 Strappy top, for short : CAMI
5 Comprehensive : A TO Z
6 Trevi Fountain city : ROME
7 Like Greenland’s population : SPARSE
8 “Zero stars” : AWFUL
9 Edge : BOUNDARY
10 Sterile work environs : ORS
11 Employ : USE
12 “Thank you for coming to my __ Talk” : TED
14 Azalea, e.g. : SHRUB
21 Park and drive : GEARS
22 “If I Were a __”: Beyoncé ballad : BOY
25 Horseracing achievement : TRIPLE CROWN
26 “Will do, hon” : OK, DEAR
27 Crochet loop : PICOT
28 Heckle : HOOT AT
29 Seydoux of “No Time to Die” : LEA
30 On the facing pg. : OPP
31 Compass dirección : NORTE
33 Mails : SENDS
38 Watering down : THINNING
39 Tarzan creator’s monogram : ERB
40 Also : TOO
41 Blood groups : TYPES
46 AAA job : TOW
47 Neo-soul artist Badu : ERYKAH
48 Boxer’s favorite store, maybe? : PETCO
50 Feel : SENSE
53 “… cut __”: end of a carpentry maxim : ONCE
54 Bridle strap : REIN
55 Canvas shoe brand : KEDS
56 Frozen treat brand : ICEE
57 Station : POST
58 Distress signal : SOS
59 Likely (to) : APT
60 Leaves for dim sum : TEA

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Jan 23, Friday”

  1. No errors. Was iffy on PICOT since I started with THATS A PRETTY PENNY. But once the crosses fell, and COSTS appeared then I knew.

  2. Great puzzle theme today! No errors, but a couple of PPP names:\Lea and
    Erin. Because of seeing “pho” in many crosswords as a soup, that helped
    decipher the theme clues. That and “New York strip” confirmed my
    reasoning.

  3. Not for nothin’, but perhaps some posters might acknowledge positive/encouraging remarks to their posts.

    It’s just common courtesy …

  4. I had so many strike overs that I could hardly read my answers for a couple of squares. I had especially inked out and rewritten parts of picot for 27 down. I finished without final error but this was a real struggle for me. I’m a little apprehensive about what tomorrow’s grid will do to my steadily fading brain cells.

    1. @Tony, might you try using erasable pens? They’re made by PaperMate, and work pretty well. I favor them over pencils because dark ink is easier to read on newspaper.

  5. 12 minutes even, and one error affecting two fills.

    This one was like pulling teeth; I could see I’m not at all in sync with the constructor. Too many obscure names, too.

    Also noticed a clue and fill I’ve seen this week in multiple puzzles: Bulky boats = ARKS. Something about that “shared construction element” irks me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    1. I sure can put my finger on it … it’s lazy, and maybe plagiarism. Of course, I have blinders for sarcasm.
      Errors on 18 squares, including most of the lower right. Not my best day!

  6. Is it possible to darken the puzzle grid and entries? Didn’t used to be this light. Thanks for very helpful sites – this and NYX.

  7. 14:00 – no errors or lookups. False start: _OSTE>NORTE.

    New: ERIN Moriarty, “The Boys,” “If I Were a Boy,” PICOT, LEA Seydoux (but I saw, and liked, both of her Bond movies and “Midnight in Paris”), ERYKAH Badu.

    Took a moment to recall who wrote Tarzan. Enjoying watching Coco Gauff in the Australian Open this week – an amazing 18-year old.

    My last filling was 27A – PHOBALONEY, and TEEBOPPERS just before that. Based on the other two theme answers, I was looking for the stripped NY at the end.

  8. No look ups one Natick, like/line. Good
    theme, but too many PPP’s. Although the
    sum wasn’t as bad as the parts if that
    makes sense? Bring on Saturday!

  9. Too tough for me today. Got the bottom half fine, save ERYKAH, and got the middle N. But the NW and NE and parts of the W were a mystery. Still, I got the finish in 36:23 with 5 errors and maybe 6 check-grids.

  10. 21 down: Park and drive Technically, park is not a gear. It is a pawl within the transmission that holds or locks the gears in place and does not let the wheels turn. Reverse, drive, low, or second would all be acceptable options over “park”.

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