LA Times Crossword 3 Jan 23, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Rebecca Goldstein
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Crossword Construction

Themed answers each start with an element of construction, progressing from a BEAM to a BUILDING as we descend the grid:

  • 20A Smile broadly because of one’s own achievement, say : BEAM WITH PRIDE
  • 33A New York City district that’s home to the Fearless Girl statue : WALL STREET
  • 41A Desirable feature of kids’ clothing : ROOM TO GROW
  • 51A Amino acid, vis-à-vis protein : BUILDING BLOCK

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

Bill’s time: 4m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Coordinating pillowcase : SHAM

A sham is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens, a sham is also an imitation or fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.

15 Basketball commentator Rebecca : LOBO

Rebecca Lobo is a former WNBA basketball player who launched a second career as a sports reporter and analyst for ESPN. Lobo played with the New York Liberty, Houston Comets and Connecticut Sun.

16 Long-haired lap dog, familiarly : PEKE

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

18 Major composition : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes use the plural “opuses” in English, but people do that just to annoy me …

28 Chicken __ king : A LA

A dish prepared “à la king” (usually chicken or turkey), is prepared in a cream sauce with mushrooms, pimentos, green peppers and sherry.

31 Electric key : FOB

A fob is attached to an object to make it easier to access. And so, a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, and the pocket in a vest in which a watch can be placed is called a fob. In fact, the original use of the term “fob” was for a small pocket in which one could carry valuables.

33 New York City district that’s home to the Fearless Girl statue : WALL STREET

“Fearless Girl” is a wonderful bronze statue by Delaware sculptor Kristen Visbal that was placed across from the New York Stock Exchange building in 2017. It depicts a young girl in a power pose, and is designed to promote female empowerment.

36 Soup du __ : JOUR

The French phrase “du jour” translates as “of the day”.

37 Sign of spring : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

38 Lead-in to Z or Alpha : GEN-

Definitions vary, but it seems that the term “Generation Z” is reserved for the children of “Generation X”, and for the generation that follows the “Millennials” (Generation Y). Gen-Zers are also known as “Zoomers”, a portmanteau of “Z” and “boomer” (as in “baby boomer”).

“Generation Alpha” is a term used to describe those born in the years between the mid-2010s and mid-2020s.

39 Koalas and emus, in Australia : FAUNA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

40 Novelist Atkinson : KATE

Kate Atkinson is an author from England who is perhaps best known for her crime novels that feature private investigator Jackson Brodie.

46 Cap letters at Busch Stadium : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team plays at Busch Stadium. Busch Stadium is the third stadium in the history of St. Louis to have the Busch name. The first two were named for Gussie Busch, the brewing magnate and former Cardinals team owner. The current stadium is named for the brewery though, and not Gussie per se.

47 Get ready to drive? : TEE UP

That would be golf.

49 Mike and __: fruit-flavored candy : IKE

“Mike and Ike” is a brand of fruit-flavored candy made by Just Born starting in 1940. Just Born launched quite a unique marketing campaign in 2012 asserting that Mike and Ike had “split up due to creative differences”. The campaign involved production of two different boxes for the candy showing one or the other name scratched out. Clever …

51 Amino acid, vis-à-vis protein : BUILDING BLOCK

Proteins are synthesized in the body from amino acids, which are linked together in specific sequences that are determined by the genetic code. The language of the code is a sequence of nucleotides. The nucleotides are arranged in groups of three called “codons”, with each codon determining a specific amino acid.

56 Aquarium growth : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

58 “Ta-da!” : VOILA!

The French word “voilà” means “there it is”, and “voici” means “here it is”. The terms come from “voi là” meaning “see there” and “voi ici” meaning “see here”.

61 Thai currency : BAHT

The baht is the currency of Thailand. One baht is subdivided into 100 satang.

63 “Black-ish” star Tracee __ Ross : ELLIS

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross is perhaps best known for playing lead roles in the TV shows “Girlfriends” and “black-ish”. She was born Tracee Joy Silberstein, and is the daughter of singer Diana Ross and music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein.

66 Pomelo peels : RINDS

A pomelo is a very large, pear-shaped citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia.

Down

1 Pan Am rival : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

3 Literary captain described as a “grand, ungodly, god-like man” : AHAB

Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.

6 React to a yellow light, say : SLOW

The first traffic lights date back to 1868 when they were installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled the signals already in use for trains, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for nighttime use. That first system was operated manually, by a policeman at the base. Sadly, one police officer was killed just one year after the light’s installation, when the gas system exploded.

7 Indigenous language in Arizona : HOPI

Many members of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

9 Slam-dancer’s place : MOSH PIT

Moshing (also “slam dancing”) is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually a punk or heavy metal concert). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a “stage dive”, it is into (or I suppose “onto”) the mosh pit. It doesn’t sound like fun to me. Injuries are commonplace in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.

11 Bite-sized treats whose name means “small ovens” in French : PETIT FOURS

A petit four is a small confection served at the end of a meal, either as a dessert or with coffee. The name “petit four” is French for “small oven”.

13 Spot for un chapeau : TETE

In French, one wears a “chapeau” (hat), a “béret” (beret) perhaps, on one’s “tête” (head).

21 Home brewer’s ingredient : MALT

Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried. The cereal is germinated by soaking it in water, and then germination is halted by drying the grains with hot air.

22 Domino indent : PIP

White masks with black spots were commonly seen in the old Venetian Carnival. The masks were known as “domini”. The domini loaned their name to the game of dominoes, due to the similarity in appearance between the mask and a domino tile.

26 Some hairy pets : TARANTULAS

Tarantulas are spider-like arachnids that are usually quite hairy. The original tarantula was a type of wolf spider found in Europe, found near the southern Italian town called Taranto, hence the name.

27 Sweet Sixteen winners : ELITE EIGHT

In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:

  • The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
  • The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
  • The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)

29 Alphabetically first noble gas : ARGON

The chemical element argon has the symbol Ar. It is a noble gas, and so by definition is relatively nonreactive. The name “argon” comes from the Greek word for “lazy, inactive”. There’s a lot of argon around, as it is the third-most abundant gas in our atmosphere.

30 Mobile payment app : VENMO

Venmo is a smartphone payment app that is now owned by PayPal. The first version of the product was introduced in 2009 by two entrepreneurs who had met as freshman students at the University of Pennsylvania. They sold the company in 2012 for over $26 million, and then PayPal acquired it the following year for a whopping $800 million. I wonder if PayPal ever buys blogs …

34 Director Spike : LEE

Film director Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has very much made New York City his home and place of work. Most of Lee’s films are set in New York City, including his first feature film, 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It”. That film was shot over two weeks with a budget of $175,000. “She’s Gotta Have It” grossed over $7 million at the US box office.

35 Fair-hiring initials : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

41 Soccer star and equal-pay advocate Megan : RAPINOE

Megan Rapinoe is a professional soccer player and a star on the US national team. One of Rapinoe’s many claims to fame is that she is the only player, male or female, to score a goal directly from a corner kick in an Olympic Games.

50 Common lab culture : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

51 Paul Bunyan’s blue ox : BABE

Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth. He is a skilled lumberjack, and has a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.

54 Nonkosher sammies : BLTS

“Sammie” is an informal term meaning “sandwich”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Country music sound : TWANG
6 Coordinating pillowcase : SHAM
10 Roasting rod : SPIT
14 “Yippee!” : WAHOO!
15 Basketball commentator Rebecca : LOBO
16 Long-haired lap dog, familiarly : PEKE
17 Change with the times : ADAPT
18 Major composition : OPUS
19 Working hard : AT IT
20 Smile broadly because of one’s own achievement, say : BEAM WITH PRIDE
23 Place for a scrub : SPA
24 Devoutness : PIETY
25 Grabbed a bite : ATE
28 Chicken __ king : A LA
30 Red carpet walker : VIP
31 Electric key : FOB
33 New York City district that’s home to the Fearless Girl statue : WALL STREET
36 Soup du __ : JOUR
37 Sign of spring : ARIES
38 Lead-in to Z or Alpha : GEN-
39 Koalas and emus, in Australia : FAUNA
40 Novelist Atkinson : KATE
41 Desirable feature of kids’ clothing : ROOM TO GROW
43 WSW opposite : ENE
44 Prohibit : BAN
45 Rowboat need : OAR
46 Cap letters at Busch Stadium : STL
47 Get ready to drive? : TEE UP
49 Mike and __: fruit-flavored candy : IKE
51 Amino acid, vis-à-vis protein : BUILDING BLOCK
56 Aquarium growth : ALGA
57 Void’s partner : NULL
58 “Ta-da!” : VOILA!
61 Thai currency : BAHT
62 Leave out : OMIT
63 “Black-ish” star Tracee __ Ross : ELLIS
64 East, in Spanish : ESTE
65 Recedes : EBBS
66 Pomelo peels : RINDS

Down

1 Pan Am rival : TWA
2 Roll of dough : WAD
3 Literary captain described as a “grand, ungodly, god-like man” : AHAB
4 Casual rejections : NOPES
5 Skated by, say : GOT A PASS
6 React to a yellow light, say : SLOW
7 Indigenous language in Arizona : HOPI
8 Touch borders with : ABUT
9 Slam-dancer’s place : MOSH PIT
10 Emergency tire : SPARE
11 Bite-sized treats whose name means “small ovens” in French : PETIT FOURS
12 “Honest!” : I KID YOU NOT!
13 Spot for un chapeau : TETE
21 Home brewer’s ingredient : MALT
22 Domino indent : PIP
25 Up and about : AWAKE
26 Some hairy pets : TARANTULAS
27 Sweet Sixteen winners : ELITE EIGHT
29 Alphabetically first noble gas : ARGON
30 Mobile payment app : VENMO
32 Fighting chance? : BRAWL
34 Director Spike : LEE
35 Fair-hiring initials : EEO
36 Spree : JAG
39 Pay, reluctantly : FORK OVER
41 Soccer star and equal-pay advocate Megan : RAPINOE
42 Donkey’s need, in a party game : TAIL
44 Future flower : BUD
48 Overjoy : ELATE
50 Common lab culture : E COLI
51 Paul Bunyan’s blue ox : BABE
52 Feeling nothing : NUMB
53 Smooth-talking : GLIB
54 Nonkosher sammies : BLTS
55 Potter’s oven : KILN
59 Jar topper : LID
60 Donkey : ASS

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Jan 23, Tuesday”

  1. Maybe I’m thick, but I’m not sure why BRAWL would be clued with FIGHTING CHANCE? A brawl is clearly a fight, and brawling is fighting.
    But in what way is that fighting chance (v) or a fighting chance (n)?

  2. 8:38 – no errors or lookups. False start: TOME>OPUS.

    New: Rebecca LOBO, KATE Atkinson.

    Did not see the theme until Bill’s explanation. I recognized the common phrases, but not the construction progression. Maybe I’ll start trying to see those more.

    Interesting NW corner with all the WAs intersecting.

    Yesterday, my local paper printed the crossword puzzle from 12/2, along with the Jumble, Hocus Focus, and several of the comics from that same date. No mention of it in today’s paper.

  3. Nice and easy Tuesday for me; took 9:33 with no peeks or errors. Didn’t really see the theme until I got here.

    re Mosh pits – I’ve been in tons of them when I used to go to 80s rock and punk shows. They don’t really have them at Reggae or Ska concerts. They’re mostly fairly tame and kinda fun. That said, I would avoid them at any kind of speed metal or metal(period) concert.

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