LA Times Crossword 26 Jan 23, Thursday

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Constructed by: Katherine Baicker & Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Reveal Answer: Sales Promotions

Themed answers are mascots used in SALES campaigns who have been PROMOTED in rank:

  • 58A Marketing strategies, and what the mascots in this puzzle have all been given? : SALES PROMOTIONS
  • 17A Mascot who pursued the Hamburglar : DETECTIVE BIG MAC (from “Officer Big Mac”)
  • 23A Mascot with a goatee and a string tie : GENERAL SANDERS (from “Colonel Sanders”)
  • 36A Mascot “born in the Sea of Milk” : ADMIRAL CRUNCH (from “Cap’n Crunch”)
  • 50A Mascot who says, “I want to eat your cereal!” : MARQUIS CHOCULA (from “Count Chocula”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Intro courses? : APPS

Appetizer (app)

5 Female turkeys : HENS

A male turkey is called a tom or a gobbler. Female turkeys are hens, and baby turkeys are called poults.

17 Mascot who pursued the Hamburglar : DETECTIVE BIG MAC (from “Officer Big Mac”)

The Hamburglar is a character appearing in several McDonald’s commercials. He was introduced in 1971, and is known for his attempts to steal hamburgers from Ronald McDonald. The Hamburglar often comes up against Officer Big Mac, who is the chief of police.

20 Dutch cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

23 Mascot with a goatee and a string tie : GENERAL SANDERS (from “Colonel Sanders”)

“Colonel” Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame has been portrayed in ads on television by several celebrities. The list includes Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, George Hamilton, Billy Zane, Rob Lowe, Ray Liotta and even Reba McEntire.

28 Flying fig. : ALT

Altitude (alt.)

29 Carve up a black diamond? : SKI

In North America, ski runs are given a standardized rating in terms of skiing difficulty. The ratings are:

  • Green circles: easy to ski, often termed “bunny slopes”.
  • Blue squares: medium difficulty
  • Black diamond: steep and challenging terrain
  • Double black diamond: experts only (I’ve never braved one!)

30 Currier and __ : IVES

Currier and Ives was a printmaking concern in New York City run by Nathaniel Currier and his partner James Merritt Ives from 1834 to 1907. The firm specialized in making affordable, hand-colored black and white lithographs.

33 Shade tree : ELM

Dutch elm disease is a fungus devastating to all species of elm trees that is transmitted by the elm bark beetle. The disease is thought to have originated in Asia and is now rampant in Europe and North America. Even though there is a hybrid of elm known as the Dutch elm, the disease isn’t named after the tree. Rather, the disease is called “Dutch” as it was identified in 1921 by a phytopathologist (plant pathologist) in the Netherlands.

36 Mascot “born in the Sea of Milk” : ADMIRAL CRUNCH (from “Cap’n Crunch”)

The first Cap’n Crunch commercials aired in 1963, at the time the product line was launched. The Cap’n’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch, would you believe? Crunch’s voice was provided for many years by Daws Butler, the same voice actor who gave us Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. Cap’n Crunch is commander of the S.S. Guppy.

45 Océano contents : AGUA

In Spanish, “el océano” (the ocean) contains lots of “agua” (water).

49 Estadio cheer : OLE!

In Spain, one might hear a shout of “Olé!” in “un estadio” (a stadium).

50 Mascot who says, “I want to eat your cereal!” : MARQUIS CHOCULA (from “Count Chocula”)

General Mills introduced us to a whole series of monster-themed breakfast cereals, starting in 1971 with Count Chocula and Franken Berry. Then came Boo Berry, Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy.

55 Samantha Bee’s former network : TBS

Samantha Bee is a comedian from Toronto who found fame as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” starting way back in 2003. Bee left “The Daily Show” in 2015 to host her own late-night talk show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS.

56 Calgary summer hrs. : MDT

Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)

Calgary, the largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta, is named for Calgary on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. The Canadian Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

57 Left at sea? : PORT

The left side of a ship used to be called the “larboard” side, but this was dropped in favor of “port” as the pronunciation of “larboard” was easily confused with “starboard”, the right side of the vessel. The term “port” was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.

64 With 40-Down, legal scholar played by Kerry Washington in HBO’s “Confirmation” : ANITA …

[40D See 64-Across : … HILL]
Anita Hill is an attorney who became a professor at Brandeis University in 2015. Hill garnered a lot of attention in 1991 when she accused US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Judge Thomas was confirmed anyway. Many say that Hill’s testimony during the confirmation hearings launched public awareness of the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Within a year, complaints of harassment were up by fifty percent.

“Confirmation” is a 2016 TV film about the Supreme Court nomination hearing for Clarence Thomas, and the allegations of sexual harassment made by Anita Hill. Kerry Washington plays Hill, and Wendell Pierce plays Thomas.

65 Past regulation, briefly : IN OT

In overtime (in OT)

66 Smooch in a lift : SNOG

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

67 Cat collar dangler : ID TAG

Identity document (ID)

Down

1 Verb on a dipstick : ADD

One form of measuring dipstick is used to measure the level of oil in an internal combustion engine.

4 Greta Thunberg, notably : SWEDE

Greta Thunberg is an environmental activist from Sweden who came to national attention in her homeland when she was just 15 years old. In 2018, she went on strike from school and paraded with placards in front of the Swedish parliament to pressure the government to take stronger action to address climate change. She then took part in demonstrations across Europe, and became a regular speaker at such events. She addressed the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit at the UN headquarters, opting to sail to New York from Sweden, rather than fly. When she was named “Time” Person of the Year in 2019 at 16 years old, Thunberg was the youngest person ever to be so honored.

5 Ones who work with bowlers and boaters : HATMAKERS

I think that a bowler hat is usually called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of “derby” comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

A boater is a straw hat often associated with boating, hence the name.

6 Yalie : ELI

“Eli” is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, and a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.

7 Super stars : NOVAS

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

9 Govt. stipend : SSI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides financial relief to persons with low incomes who are 65 or older, or who are blind or disabled. The SSI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) even though the Social Security trust fund is not used for SSI payments. SSI payments come out of general tax revenue.

10 Dutch banking giant with an orange lion logo : ING

ING is a huge Dutch banking institution created via a merger in 1991. The company headquarters is in a spectacular building in Amsterdam called simply ING House. ING stands for Internationale Nederlanden Groep.

12 Alison in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame : KRAUSS

Alison Krauss is a bluegrass-country singer and musician from Illinois. You can hear some of her music on the soundtracks of movies like “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Cold Mountain”.

18 Sonata and Cadenza : CARS

The Sonata is one of Hyundai’s most successful models, having been introduced in 1985 and still being sold today. The original model didn’t make it to the North American market as it had problems meeting emission standards. The first Sonatas hit this side of the Pacific in 1988, and were assembled in Bromont, Quebec.

The Cadenza is a full-size automobile sold in North America, and made by Kia. The same model is sold as the Kia K7 in South Korea.

19 “__-Hur” : BEN

The celebrated 1959 Charlton Heston movie “Ben-Hur” is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”. The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but never beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings” (2003).

25 Singer/activist Downs : LILA

“Lila Downs” is the stage name used by singer Ana Lila Downs Sánchez from Mexico. Downs has lived in both the US and in Mexico at various stages in her life. She is also known for her political activism, mainly in support of Latin America’s indigenous population.

32 Affaire de coeur : AMOUR

In French, “amour” (love) is an “affaire de coeur” (matter of the heart).

34 NYC FC’s org. : MLS

New York City Football Club (NYCFC) played its first Major League Soccer (MLS) game in 2015, soon after it became the league’s twentieth expansion team. NYCFC play most of their games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

35 Just-brewed carafes of coffee, e.g. : FRESH POTS

A carafe is a container made from glass that has no handles, and no stopper.

37 Kirkuk’s country : IRAQ

Kirkuk is a city in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish region of the country.

39 Salad topping : CROUTONS

A crouton is a small piece of toasted bread. The term “crouton” comes from the French “croûte” meaning “crust”.

44 Storied cause of royal insomnia : PEA

“The Princess and the Pea” is a fairy tale from the pen of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The essence of the story is that a prince’s mother tests the royal blood of an apparent princess by placing a pea under a pile of mattresses on which the young girl sleeps. The girl complains of a restless night, demonstrating a physical sensitivity that can only be attributed to a princess. And they all lived happily ever after …

45 Radio setting : AM BAND

In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (“amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (“frequency modulation”).

48 Nocturnal call : HOOT

Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote a 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

51 Strike caller : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

52 Elba of “The Suicide Squad” : IDRIS

English actor Idris Elba played the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and played the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

“The Suicide Squad” is a 2021 superhero movie in the DC Comics universe, and a sequel to the 2016 film “Suicide Squad”. It has quite the cast, including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis and Peter Capaldi.

53 Curling target : STONE

I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone as it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

55 Taiwan’s first female president : TSAI

Tsai Ing-wen was elected as Taiwan’s first female president in 2016. Tsai was also the nation’s first unmarried president.

59 “When do u get in?” : ETA?

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

60 Old futon problem : SAG

Anyone lucky enough to have visited Japan might be familiar with the traditional Japanese futon. Unlike what we tend to call futon in this country, the Japanese original is a padded mattress and quilt. Japanese futons are usually rolled up in the morning so that the space used for sleeping can be repurposed during the day.

63 “__ Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” : SGT

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was the alter-ego of the Beatles, and the title of a famous studio album released in 1967, as well as the name of the album’s title track.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Intro courses? : APPS
5 Female turkeys : HENS
9 Features of some islands : SINKS
14 Attract : DRAW
15 Lotion ingredient : ALOE
16 Sleeper’s rumble : SNORE
17 Mascot who pursued the Hamburglar : DETECTIVE BIG MAC (from “Officer Big Mac”)
20 Dutch cheese : EDAM
21 Right at sea? : AYE
22 So last year : OUT
23 Mascot with a goatee and a string tie : GENERAL SANDERS (from “Colonel Sanders”)
28 Flying fig. : ALT
29 Carve up a black diamond? : SKI
30 Currier and __ : IVES
31 Entreaty : PLEA
33 Shade tree : ELM
35 Service charge : FEE
36 Mascot “born in the Sea of Milk” : ADMIRAL CRUNCH (from “Cap’n Crunch”)
41 Choice indicators : ORS
42 English pronoun : SHE
43 Excursion : TRIP
45 Océano contents : AGUA
47 “Sorta” : ISH
49 Estadio cheer : OLE!
50 Mascot who says, “I want to eat your cereal!” : MARQUIS CHOCULA (from “Count Chocula”)
55 Samantha Bee’s former network : TBS
56 Calgary summer hrs. : MDT
57 Left at sea? : PORT
58 Marketing strategies, and what the mascots in this puzzle have all been given? : SALES PROMOTIONS
64 With 40-Down, legal scholar played by Kerry Washington in HBO’s “Confirmation” : ANITA …
65 Past regulation, briefly : IN OT
66 Smooch in a lift : SNOG
67 Cat collar dangler : ID TAG
68 Affixes a patch, say : SEWS
69 Hushed “Hey!” : PSST!

Down

1 Verb on a dipstick : ADD
2 Paid intro? : PRE-
3 Protected, in a way : PATENTED
4 Greta Thunberg, notably : SWEDE
5 Ones who work with bowlers and boaters : HATMAKERS
6 Yalie : ELI
7 Super stars : NOVAS
8 “Buh-bye!” : SEE YA!
9 Govt. stipend : SSI
10 Dutch banking giant with an orange lion logo : ING
11 “I give!” : NO MORE!
12 Alison in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame : KRAUSS
13 Chip off the old flock? : SECT
18 Sonata and Cadenza : CARS
19 “__-Hur” : BEN
23 Missing segment : GAP
24 Spanish pronoun : ELLA
25 Singer/activist Downs : LILA
26 French Lord : DIEU
27 __ planner : EVENT
32 Affaire de coeur : AMOUR
34 NYC FC’s org. : MLS
35 Just-brewed carafes of coffee, e.g. : FRESH POTS
37 Kirkuk’s country : IRAQ
38 Smart : CHIC
39 Salad topping : CROUTONS
40 See 64-Across : … HILL
44 Storied cause of royal insomnia : PEA
45 Radio setting : AM BAND
46 Like the streets in some period pieces : GASLIT
48 Nocturnal call : HOOT
51 Strike caller : UMP
52 Elba of “The Suicide Squad” : IDRIS
53 Curling target : STONE
54 Brittle : CRISP
55 Taiwan’s first female president : TSAI
59 “When do u get in?” : ETA?
60 Old futon problem : SAG
61 Lower a pitch? : MOW
62 Figs. : NOS
63 “__ Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” : SGT

25 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Jan 23, Thursday”

  1. Stupid puzzle, NOT fun because of the changed mascot names. If you put the WRONG titles in the puzzle it absolutely ruined the entire thing!

  2. W H A T A. S L O G!!!
    Didn’t know there was a OFFICER BIG MAC?

    messed up at IDRIS. didn’t know MARQUIS or MDT. went with MARQUES and MST. So ended up with ESRIS for IDRIS. when I saw IDRIS I had that “DOH” moment.

    I don’t get MOW for 61D? Lower the pitch of the mower blade?

    There were some real groaner misdirects in this one.

    1. A pitch is a field of grass, particularly a soccer (non-American football) pitch. At least I think that’s the reference here

  3. This didn’t work for me. After nearly half an hour I finally had to start doing grid checks and that didn’t help much. Many things I’d never heard of. I don’t watch TV and even when I did, I didn’t pay attention to commercials. Yuk, I hated it. Okay, end of rant.

  4. A pitch is a field of grass, particularly a soccer (non-American football) pitch. At least I think that’s the reference here

  5. Suspected some ranting about this one. I was able to promote the Count, Captain (Cap’n), and Lonely but I’ve never heard of Officer Big Mac. Down answers eventually put Detective together.

  6. Not my favorite to many”obscure “ clues that could have gone anywhere..next time I see the names at the top I’ll just skip it!!

  7. 26:20 – one look up for T_AI. False starts: AMORE>AMOUR, FMBAND>AMBAND, CNN>TBS (didn’t know Sam Bee had left TBS), MEH>ISH, SNUG>SNOG.

    New: “Confirmation,” LILA Downs, TSAI.

    Some clue meanings were a challenge, such as courses, islands, fig., regulation, Sonata and Cadenza not being music (the caps should have clued me in, though), and Lord (not a royal title).

    After I figured out GENERALSANDERS and saw ADMIRAL, I began to slowly fill in the themed answers. It took a while to suss them out, though. Could not figure out what kind of PROMOTIONS they were from _A_ES. After the lookup for Taiwan’s president, it came to me, but the linkage seems a little weak to me.

  8. and I thought it was just me and maybe a need for more caffeine. Nice to find out I’m in good company. Thx for posting, guys.

  9. Wow. The comments. No problems here. No mistakes. I liked it.
    Sone still don’t get the theme. Mary and K – that was the point.
    Others still don’t realize that Bill is not with the LA Times.
    Anon Mike – I think the pitch is a field – like a soccer pitch. You lower it by mowing the grass.

    1. Hard to imagine you could like this grid without grokking the theme.

      You take the apparent answers (e.g., Colonel Sanders, Count Chocola) and give them “promotions” to General Sanders and Marquis Chocola. Don’t know where the “Sales” comes in in the payoff fill. B-i-i-i-g logical stretch and just an annoying mental vanity play on the part of the constructors.

      This should never have seen print, and instead died in the editor’s trash bin. Patti’s been a pretty good editor thus far, but she does have the odd lapse in judgment from time to time.

      1. Allen,

        Cindy said (or, rather, tried to say, but with an unfortunate typo), “Some still don’t get the theme.” And the “sales” connection was explained by Bill, right up front.

        I am very much in agreement with Cindy in liking the puzzle even though, like others, I did not remember “Officer” Big Mac.

  10. Ditto most of the above. The 65(A) and 61(D) crossing — MOW / INOT — pretty well says it all for me, with one getting the worst clue of the week, and the other the worst clue/answer combo. WTH?

  11. A big AMEN to all of the above. Way too off the wall, even for a Thursday (coulda been Friday or, more appropriate, Saturday), what with all the PPP’s and dumb clues. Yech!

  12. This one was hard for me…couldn’t for a long time figure out what
    13D was; “chip off the old flock”. Finally changed SSA to SSI, then
    BigMac was obvious. One lookup: Krauss.

  13. Had to search for anything I was fairly sure of, but once you crack the theme, answers start falling into place. Very clever clues. BTW, a playing field is called a pitch.

  14. Didn’t know KRAUSSE and couldn’t read my own writing for the N in NO MORE, so didn’t get SINK figured out. Otherwise, once I figured out the theme, I worked things out.
    I’ve decided that to do well with these puzzles, it helps to be a TV watcher with a subscription to People Magazine, which I’m not.

  15. 14 mins 41 seconds, and needed Check Help to ferret out errors in 4 fills.

    Agreed, this grid tried WAY TOO HARD to be clever and ended up being “tricksy” and quite annoying. Save this for the NYT grid. Thumbs down emphatically on this, so far, the worst grid of the year.

  16. Pretty darn tough, but finally doable; took 53:56 with no peeks or errors. Fell asleep for about 15-20 minutes while trying to figure out several clues. Still, determined to finish without errors and just waited until things made sense. Fortunately I knew KRAUSS, since she sings with Ex-Led Zeppelin Robert Plant. And, I just got Taiwan on Worldle, and spent a bit on the Taiwan wiki, but I only vaguely remembered how she spelled her name. Just got ANITA HILL, by oohh, when I saw most of the letters 🙂 Same with DIEU, as in Mon DIEU.

    Still, had a lot of trouble with IN OT, MOW, SECTS, …BIGMAC, SINKS and PEA. The “A” in PEA was the last to fall, and I got the banner! Some very clever clues, but really a Saturday, if you ask me.

  17. Good challenge – made me think. Things fell into place once I discerned the theme. “Aha” moments were “sinks” and “mow.” Took me a while, but no mistakes.

  18. 20:12, 2 errors. Because I an an idiot, I had BigMan instead of BigMac. And yes, upon reflection I see the reasoning behind SECT.

    I did this on Friday and so am late to the party and few will read this but…
    I really enjoyed this one. For me it was obvious that something was up with the beginning of the themed answers – COUNT wasn’t enough letters, COLONEL wouldn’t fit with some of the crosses, etc. Took a while to finally get the PROMOTIONS but once that was in place everything went quickly.

    I kinda/sorta enjoy reading the predictable complaints on this site although I think we could all do without the ones who think Bill is to blame for the puzzle.

  19. Total garbage of a puzzle. A complete slog. My ten year old could clue puzzles better than this. Mascot with a string tie and goatee is and will always be Colonel Sanders. Your “theme” is unstated and way too far in. No fun, no fair. Been doing puzzles for 40 years this is the worst I’ve ever seen.

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