LA Times Crossword 11 Feb 24, Sunday

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Constructed by: Chandi Deitmer & Matthew Stock
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme: Center of Attention

Themed answers are common phrases with a (circled) letter added at the CENTER. Reading from the top of the grid, those letters spell out HALF-TIME SHOW:

  • 21A Growling or barking, e.g.? : DOG THREAT (H in “dog treat”)
  • 28A Existence fueled by rotini and tagliatelle? : PASTA LIFE (A in “past life”)
  • 30A Driveway mistake? : GRAVEL ERROR (L in “grave error”)
  • 43A “You’re talking to a haunted house expert here”? : I KNOW FRIGHT (F in “I know, right”)
  • 47A Obnoxious poster in the r/wellsfargo Reddit? : BANK TROLL (T in “bankroll”)
  • 63A Rant against the sun? : DAY TIRADE (I in “day-trade”)
  • 69A Providers of room service for musicians’ tours? : BAND MAIDS (M in “Band-Aids”)
  • 81A Intense “don’t blink” contests? : STARE WARS (E in “Star Wars”)
  • 86A Opening dis at a roast? : FIRST SLIGHT (S in “first light”)
  • 101A Erratic radiator? : FUSSY HEATER (H in “fussy eater”)
  • 103A Gigs as conductors and percussionists? : TEMPO JOBS (O in “temp jobs”)
  • 112A Casualwear at the pub? : BAR SWEATS (W in “bar seats”)

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

Bill’s time: 30m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

20 “Barbie Girl” band : AQUA

Aqua is a band from Copenhagen that has sold more albums internationally than any other Danish group. Their biggest hit by far is the 1997 song “Barbie Girl”.

25 Rebel leader in a space opera : LEIA

The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

Space opera is a type of science fiction with storylines that resemble those in Westerns, but set in outer space in the future. The term “space opera” derives from “horse opera”, which is used to describe formulaic Western films.

26 Iowa crop : CORN

The Corn Belt (sometimes “Grain Belt”) is a region in the Midwest where, since the mid-1800s, corn has been the major crop. Geographically, the Corn Belt covers Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and parts of Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. About 40% of the world’s corn production comes from the region, and most of that production is used for the feeding of livestock.

28 Existence fueled by rotini and tagliatelle? : PASTA LIFE (A in “past life”)

Rotini is a corkscrew-shaped pasta that is often used in pasta salads. Even though “rotini” sounds like it comes from a word meaning “twist, rotate”, the word “rotini” doesn’t exist in Italian other than as the name for the pasta.

Tagliatelle is a type of pasta from eastern Italy. It is similar to fettuccine, and so is made up of long, flat ribbons. The name “tagliatelle“ comes from the Italian “tagliare” meaning “to cut”.

30 Driveway mistake? : GRAVEL ERROR (L in “grave error”)

Gravel is a loose mixture of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by the size of those fragments. For example, pea gravel comprises pea-size, rounded stones.

35 Like the full-moon festival Boun That Luang : LAOTIAN

Pha That Luang is a beautiful Buddhist stupa in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. A Buddhist stupa is a round structure or building that Houses relics, often the remains of monks or nuns. Pha That Luang is a remarkable gold-covered edifice. It has become a national symbol for Laos, and is featured in the nation’s national emblem. Boun That Luang is a 3- to 7-day festival held annually in Vientiane to celebrate the stupa’s significance, and to celebrate the nation itself.

38 Morsels : BITS

A morsel is a small bite, a mouthful of food. The term “morsel” comes from the Latin “morsus” meaning “bite”.

41 Fig. calculated at a checkup : BMI

The body mass index (BMI) is the ratio of a person’s height to his or her mass.

52 Soft ball : NERF

Nerf is a soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

55 Unit in many a Zillow listing : ACRE

Zillow is a company that is primarily known for providing a website and app the public can use to value properties.

60 “Parenthood” actress Whitman : MAE

Actress Mae Whitman played “the daughter” in some successful movies early in her career. She was Meg Ryan’s daughter in “When a Man Loves a Woman”, George Clooney’s daughter in “One Fine Day” and Bill Pullman’s daughter in “Independence Day”. More recently, she played the lead in the 2015 teen comedy film “The Duff”.

“Parenthood” is a TV series that originally aired from 2010 until 2015, and is loosely based on the 1989 film of the same name starring Steve Martin. Ron Howard directed the movie, and served as executive producer for the TV show.

61 Back muscle, casually : DELT

The deltoid “muscle” is actually a group of “muscles”, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids (delts) are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

63 Rant against the sun? : DAY TIRADE (I in “day-trade”)

The term “tirade” describes a long and vehement speech, and is a word that came into English from French. “Tirade” can have the same meaning in French, but is also the word for “volley”. So, a tirade is a “volley” of words.

A day-trader is an investor (of sorts), one who buys securities and sells them on the same day in an attempt to make a quick profit.

66 SmackDown figures : WRESTLERS

“SmackDown” is a weekly TV show presenting professional wrestling bouts, and produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

69 Providers of room service for musicians’ tours? : BAND MAIDS (M in “Band-Aids”)

“Band-Aid” is a brand name owned by Johnson & Johnson, although like many popular brands “band-aid” has become the generic term for an adhesive bandage, at least here in North America. The generic term we use in Britain and Ireland for the same product is “plaster” …

73 Ambulance fig. : EMT

Our word “ambulance” originated from the French term “hôpital ambulant” meaning “field hospital” (literally “walking hospital”). In the 1850s, the term started to be used for a vehicle transporting the wounded from the battlefield, leading to our “ambulance”.

74 Fashion monthly : ELLE

“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

76 Lucy of “Pretty Little Liars” : HALE

Lucy Hale is an actress who first appeared on TV as a singer in the “American Idols” spinoff “American Juniors”, and who made her film debut in 2008’s comedy-drama “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2”. Her break-through role was Aria Montgomery on the TV show “Pretty Little Lies”. Hale also co-hosted “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” from 2016 to 2021.

“Pretty Little Liars” is a mystery drama TV series aimed at teens. It is based on a series of novels penned by Sara Shepard. The original show spawned a whole franchise of TV series, including “Pretty Dirty Secrets”, “Ravenswood”, “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” and “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin”.

77 __ monster : GILA

A Gila monster is a venomous lizard found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico, and is the only venomous lizard native to America. Gila monsters move along at a snail’s pace so aren’t normally a danger to humans. The name “Gila” is a reference to the Gila River Basin in the American Southwest, where the Gila monster was prevalent.

79 Boise State’s home : IDAHO

Boise State University in Boise, Idaho was founded as Boise Junior College by the Episcopal Church in 1932. It became Idaho’s third state university in 1974, after the University of Idaho in 1889 and Idaho State in 1963.

86 Opening dis at a roast? : FIRST SLIGHT (S in “first light”)

“Dis” (also “diss”) is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

90 Menopause treatment, briefly : HRT

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

92 Himalayan creature : YETI

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

The magnificent Himalaya range of mountains in Asia takes its name from the Sanskrit for “abode of snow”. Geographically, the Himalaya separates the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau to the north.

95 Crete’s highest pt. : MT IDA

There are two peaks called Mount Ida that are sacred according to Greek mythology. Mount Ida in Crete is the island’s highest point, and is where one can find the cave in which Zeus was reared. Mount Ida in Asia Minor (located in modern-day Turkey) is where Ganymede was swept up by Zeus in the form of an eagle that took him to Olympus where he served as cupbearer to the gods.

103 Gigs as conductors and percussionists? : TEMPO JOBS (O in “temp jobs”)

The tempo (plural “tempi”) of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, “scherzo” is fast and light-hearted, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.

110 Title girl in Kay Thompson books : ELOISE

Kay Thompson wrote the “Eloise” series of children’s books. Kay Thompson actually lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, the setting she would choose for her “Eloise” stories. Eloise started out as a hit song for Thompson, a success that she parlayed into the book franchise.

118 Shrek and Fiona : OGRES

Princess Fiona is the title character’s love interest in the “Shrek” series of films. She is voiced by Cameron Diaz.

119 Himalayan creature : YAK

The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

121 Palms, e.g. : TREES

Palms are perennial flowering plants that take many forms, some as shrubs and some as vines, for example. Some take on a tree-like shape, with a woody stem topped by a crown of leaves. Such palms are usually referred to as “palm trees”. The coco de mer palm tree has the largest seeds of any plant on the planet. We are more familiar with the coconut palm tree, which has the second-largest plant seeds known.

122 Group between boomers and millennials : X-ERS

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

Down

1 __ see ew: stir-fried noodle dish : PAD

Pad see ew is also known as Phat si io, and is a stir-fried noodle dish in Thai cuisine. “Phat si io” means “fried with soy sauce”. I love Thai food …

2 “If u ask me … ” : IMO …

In my opinion (IMO)

3 Jargon with terms ending in -ay : PIG LATIN

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

4 Born to be wild : FERAL

“Feral”, meaning “existing in a wild or untamed state”, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “wild animal”.

5 2022 U.S. Women’s Open golf champ Minjee : LEE

Minjee Lee is a professional golfer from Australia. She won the US Girls’ Junior Championship in 2012, and her younger brother Min Woo Lee won the US Junior Championship in 2016. That made them the first brother/sister pair to win the USGA’s junior championships. Minjee won her first major in 2022.

7 Forest spirit in a Miyazaki classic : TOTORO

“My Neighbor Totoro” is a 1988 Japanese animated film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten. The film tells the story of two sisters, Satsuki and Mei, who move to the countryside with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. The sisters befriend Totoro, a large, furry creature who lives in the nearby forest.

11 Von Trapp daughter : LIESL

The von Trapps portrayed in the musical “The Sound of Music” were a real family, as is well known. In the musical and film, the eldest daughter is Liesl, although in real life her name was Agathe. Agathe came with her family to the US in 1938, and operated a private kindergarten in Baltimore, Maryland for 35 years. Agathe passed away in 2010. Agathe/Liesl was the daughter who was “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.

13 Four-letter name of a radio station, e.g. : CALL SIGN

As a general rule (there are a few exceptions), radio call signs in the US start with the letter K west of the Mississippi River, and with the letter W to the east.

14 Word heard in a Spanish class roll call : AQUI

“Here” is “aquí” in Spanish, and “ici” in French.

16 Confiscate : TAKE

To confiscate is to seize something by authority. The term “confiscation” ultimately derives from the Latin “con-” meaning “with” and “fiscus” meaning “public treasury”. To confiscate was to appropriate something and forfeit it to the public treasury.

19 Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen is the second-most frequently performed dramatist in the world, with only the works of William Shakespeare staged more often. As he was a pioneer in the genre, he is often referred to as “the father of realism”.

22 Brand of hiking sandals : TEVA

Teva is a brand of sandal marketed as a sport sandal. The first design was the creation of a river guide working the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The design was patented in 1987.

27 Naan kin : ROTI

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is an unleavened cousin of naan.

29 Jacobson of “Broad City” : ABBI

Abbi Jacobson is a comedian and actress who is perhaps best known as the co-creator, along with Ilana Glazer, of the Comedy Central sitcom “Broad City”. She also appeared in, wrote for and co-created the 2022 TV series “A League of Their Own”, which is based on the 1992 film of the same name.

“Broad City” is a sitcom shown on Comedy Central that started out life as a web series on the Internet. It’s about two young Jewish American women having misadventures in New York City.

30 The “Gee” in “Bee Gees” : GIBB

The Brothers Gibb (hence, the name “Bee Gees”) were born in England but grew up and started their musical careers in Australia. They moved back to Manchester in the north of England as youths, and there hit the big time.

31 Tomato type : ROMA

The Roma tomato isn’t considered an heirloom variety but it is very popular with home gardeners, especially those gardeners that don’t have a lot of space. It is a bush type (as opposed to vine type) and needs very little room to provide a lot of tomatoes.

32 Pop icon John : ELTON

“Elton John” is the stage name of English singer and pianist Reginald Dwight. John is an avid football (soccer) supporter, and is especially enthusiastic about Watford Football Club, which was his local team growing up. After he achieved financial success, John was able to purchase Watford FC, and owned the club from 1976 to 1987, and again from 1997 until 2002.

37 Japanese drama : NOH

Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, including the female parts.

39 Epiphany trio : THE MAGI

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar (also “Gaspar”): a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

The holiday in the Christian tradition known as the Epiphany falls on January 6th. In some Spanish-speaking countries, the Epiphany is known as “Día de los Reyes”, and in others as “Día de Reyes” (Day of Kings).

42 “The Vanishing Half” author Bennett : BRIT

Author Birt Bennett’s first two novels, “The Mothers” (2016) and “The Vanishing Half” (2020), both made it onto “The New York Times” best-seller list. “The Vanishing Half” was chosen by “The New York Times” as one of 2020’s ten best books.

59 Literary device : SIMILE

A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.

65 Assign points to, maybe : GAMIFY

Gamification is a way of encouraging participation in something. The idea is to add game-like elements to make the task more enjoyable and enticing.

67 “Mambo No. 5” singer Bega : LOU

“Lou Bega” is the stage name of German singer David Lubega Balemezi. He is best known, by far, for his 1999 hit “Mambo No. 5”.

72 Wawa, for one : MART

Wawa is an East Coast chain of gas stations and convenience stores. Back in the late 1800s, Wawa was the name of a dairy farm operation that delivered milk to homes. When consumers started buying milk in grocery stores in the 1960s, the owners of Wawa shifted their focus and opened up the Wawa Food Market as an outlet for the milk from the dairy operation. Those early food markets developed into the chain of Wawa convenience stores.

75 Expert who’s a real poser? : YOGI

A yogi is a master practitioner of yoga. A master practitioner who is female might be referred to as a yogini.

76 Intrepid : HARDY

The adjective “intrepid” describes someone who is fearless, with resolute fortitude. The term comes from the Latin “in-” meaning “not” and “trepidus” meaning “alarmed”.

78 Culture writer’s milieu : ARTS PAGE

We use the French term “milieu” (plural “milieux”) to mean “environment, surroundings”. In French, “milieu” is the word for “middle”.

87 Cylindrical storage structure : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

88 Lifted : HEFTED

The heft of something is its weight, its heaviness. The term “heft” is derivative of the verb “to heave” meaning “to lift, raise”.

94 Collection of farm-fresh produce : CSA BOX

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

95 Persian greetings? : MEOWS

The Persian is that long-haired cat with a squashed muzzle. The breed takes its name from its place of origin, namely Persia (Iran).

99 Big name in seltzer : POLAR

Polar Beverages is the largest independent bottler of soft drink in the country. It is based in Worcester, Massachusetts and was founded in the late 19th century as a liquor company. During prohibition, the company changed its focus to selling carbonated drinks.

The term “seltzer” comes from the village of Selters in Germany. Selters has natural springs of carbonated mineral water that is bottled and sold as Selters water. In English-speaking countries, the name has morphed into “Seltzer” water.

104 100 cents : EURO

The euro is divided into 100 cents, sometimes referred to as “euro cents”. Some countries within the European Union (Ireland, for example) have taken steps to withdraw the 1-cent and 2-cent coins from circulation by allowing cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest five cents. I found it a little odd when buying something in Ireland recently that was priced at 99 cents, and getting no change after handing over a euro coin …

105 “Lucky” Grammy winner Jason : MRAZ

Jason Mraz is a singer-songwriter from Mechanicsville, Virginia. Jason is of Czech descent, and his name “Mraz” translates as “frost”.

106 Tots, e.g. : SIDE

Ore-Ida’s founders came up with the idea for Tater Tots when they were deciding what to do with residual cuts of potato. They chopped up the leftovers, added flour and seasoning, and extruded the mix through a large hole making a sausage that they cut into small cylinders. We eat 70 million pounds of this extruded potato every year!

113 Film with the Oscar-winning song “Naatu Naatu” : RRR

“RRR” is a 2022 Indian Telugu-language period action film. It is set in the 1920s and is based on the lives of two real-life freedom fighters, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem. The film is a fictional retelling of their fight against the British Raj and the Nizam of Hyderabad. “RRR” had a massive budget of over $60 million USD, making it one of the most expensive films ever made in Indian cinema.

“Naatu Naatu” is a Telugu-language song from the 2022 Indian film “RRR”. It won that season’s Oscar for Best Original Song, and was the first song from an Indian film to be so recognized. The song’s music video, a direct clip from the film, became a viral sensation, largely due to the dancing of the lead male actors. Interestingly, the scene for the dance was filmed at the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, Ukraine just a few months before the Russian invasion.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Spot on a die : PIP
4 Heel’s opposite : FLAT
8 Relax : CHILL
13 Broken bone’s protector : CAST
17 “You really think that of me?” : AM I?
18 Take care of : SEE TO
19 Casual layer : HOODIE
20 “Barbie Girl” band : AQUA
21 Growling or barking, e.g.? : DOG THREAT (H in “dog treat”)
23 Overacted : EMOTED
24 Hide furtively : LURK
25 Rebel leader in a space opera : LEIA
26 Iowa crop : CORN
28 Existence fueled by rotini and tagliatelle? : PASTA LIFE (A in “past life”)
30 Driveway mistake? : GRAVEL ERROR (L in “grave error”)
33 Thick lumps : GLOBS
34 Smidgens : IOTAS
35 Like the full-moon festival Boun That Luang : LAOTIAN
38 Morsels : BITS
41 Fig. calculated at a checkup : BMI
42 FYI kin : BTW
43 “You’re talking to a haunted house expert here”? : I KNOW FRIGHT (F in “I know, right”)
47 Obnoxious poster in the r/wellsfargo Reddit? : BANK TROLL (T in “bankroll”)
51 Over yonder : THERE
52 Soft ball : NERF
54 German “no” : NEIN
55 Unit in many a Zillow listing : ACRE
58 Food drive donations : CANS
60 “Parenthood” actress Whitman : MAE
61 Back muscle, casually : DELT
62 Not again : ONCE
63 Rant against the sun? : DAY TIRADE (I in “day-trade”)
65 Target : GOAL
66 SmackDown figures : WRESTLERS
68 Ultra big : MEGA
69 Providers of room service for musicians’ tours? : BAND MAIDS (M in “Band-Aids”)
71 Street : ROAD
72 Pocket-size : MINI
73 Ambulance fig. : EMT
74 Fashion monthly : ELLE
75 “__ move” : YOUR
76 Lucy of “Pretty Little Liars” : HALE
77 __ monster : GILA
79 Boise State’s home : IDAHO
81 Intense “don’t blink” contests? : STARE WARS (E in “Star Wars”)
86 Opening dis at a roast? : FIRST SLIGHT (S in “first light”)
90 Menopause treatment, briefly : HRT
91 Little taste : SIP
92 Himalayan creature : YETI
93 Like ears with studs : PIERCED
95 Crete’s highest pt. : MT IDA
97 Was out : SLEPT
101 Erratic radiator? : FUSSY HEATER (H in “fussy eater”)
103 Gigs as conductors and percussionists? : TEMPO JOBS (O in “temp jobs”)
107 Suckling spot : TEAT
108 “My mistake!” : OOPS!
109 Surrounding energy : AURA
110 Title girl in Kay Thompson books : ELOISE
112 Casualwear at the pub? : BAR SWEATS (W in “bar seats”)
116 Climber’s hold : CRAG
117 Straightforward : CANDID
118 Shrek and Fiona : OGRES
119 Himalayan creature : YAK
120 Seep : OOZE
121 Palms, e.g. : TREES
122 Group between boomers and millennials : X-ERS
123 Intel seeker : SPY

Down

1 __ see ew: stir-fried noodle dish : PAD
2 “If u ask me … ” : IMO …
3 Jargon with terms ending in -ay : PIG LATIN
4 Born to be wild : FERAL
5 2022 U.S. Women’s Open golf champ Minjee : LEE
6 Going slowly : AT A CRAWL
7 Forest spirit in a Miyazaki classic : TOTORO
8 Dot follower : COM
9 __ skirt : HOOP
10 Collar attachment : ID TAG
11 Von Trapp daughter : LIESL
12 Resulted in : LED TO
13 Four-letter name of a radio station, e.g. : CALL SIGN
14 Word heard in a Spanish class roll call : AQUI
15 Ride the waves : SURF
16 Confiscate : TAKE
18 Backs (away) : SHIES
19 Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK
22 Brand of hiking sandals : TEVA
27 Naan kin : ROTI
29 Jacobson of “Broad City” : ABBI
30 The “Gee” in “Bee Gees” : GIBB
31 Tomato type : ROMA
32 Pop icon John : ELTON
36 Put into a pot : ANTE
37 Japanese drama : NOH
39 Epiphany trio : THE MAGI
40 Italian 71-Across : STRADA
42 “The Vanishing Half” author Bennett : BRIT
44 “Be ready to prove your age” : WE CARD
45 Comes apart at the seams : FRAYS
46 Let out : RENT
48 Massage : KNEAD
49 “I have to know!” : TELL ME!
50 Bowling alley lineup : LANES
53 ATM charge : FEE
56 Loops in : CCS
57 Back in style : RETRO
59 Literary device : SIMILE
61 “I need the truth!” : DON’T LIE!
62 Tough go : ORDEAL
63 Close ones : DEARS
64 Subscribe again : RENEW
65 Assign points to, maybe : GAMIFY
66 Untamed territory : WILDS
67 “Mambo No. 5” singer Bega : LOU
69 “I __ of you!” : BEG
70 Landed : ALIT
72 Wawa, for one : MART
75 Expert who’s a real poser? : YOGI
76 Intrepid : HARDY
78 Culture writer’s milieu : ARTS PAGE
80 Way cool : HIP
82 Play area? : THE STAGE
83 “Following these directions … ” : AS IT SAYS …
84 Wheels : RIDE
85 Shadowbox : SPAR
87 Cylindrical storage structure : SILO
88 Lifted : HEFTED
89 Verifiable : TRUE
94 Collection of farm-fresh produce : CSA BOX
95 Persian greetings? : MEOWS
96 Adhesive strip : TAPE
98 Throw out : EJECT
99 Big name in seltzer : POLAR
100 Rib eye alternative : T-BONE
102 Takes to the cleaners : HOSES
103 Folded food : TACO
104 100 cents : EURO
105 “Lucky” Grammy winner Jason : MRAZ
106 Tots, e.g. : SIDE
111 Close fam member : SIS
113 Film with the Oscar-winning song “Naatu Naatu” : RRR
114 Recruit : TAP
115 __ blue : SKY

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Feb 24, Sunday”

  1. Well, I thought I was doing fine.

    Had YODA for 75D. Never heard of CSA BOX? didn’t know WAWA was a MART? thought it was a kid TERM. didn’t know HRT was for menopause.
    Didn’t get the whole epiphany with the MAGI and we are in epiphany season!!! Arrrggh.

    1. Wawas are regional marts, some with drive-throughs. I remember them from my early years as a boy in the Philadelphia area. Too obscure by half, though, like half of this pathetic puzzle.

      1. Agreed!!!!! Tired of obscure references (8 down) and trying to mind read the author. I know whenever there’s a ? or i.e. to skip it until other actual real answers are entered.

  2. It took about 45 minutes, but I was finally down to about 10 blanks when I started doing grid checks. So then 10 more minutes to complete. I liked the theme.

  3. Almost had it finished but I ran out of steam
    in the bottom middle right. I too had never heard of a CSA BOX and I had inked in Genx
    down there so I was sunk! And we’re supposed to know an Indian language Film
    named RRR?! I shoulda known better when
    I saw 2 constructors….

  4. 31 mins 33 seconds and needed Check Grid help for 8 fills.

    Where to start with this AWFUL grid. Too many obscure name references, a tortured theme (with no payoff; who bothered to go “read” the circled letters?), too-cute misleading clues. This was just one big sh*t show. Figures, as it’s a tag-team “effort”.

    1. I started to write down the circled letters! I got to Half Time and then realized the last ones had to be SHOW. Agree, too many obscure name references, and the thorn in my side, the two crosses that were foreign words; Laotian and Noh. Never heard of either of them.

  5. 39:48, no errors. Spent quite a while getting “ARTS PAGE” and “TEMPO JOBS” and even more time getting “BAR SWEATS” and “CSA BOX”. And that distant sound you hear is probably me, echoing PhilH’s applause for the constructor … 🙂.

  6. I finished with no errors and one lookup.
    Never can I remember being so frustrated with a puzzle as this one…glad to see I’m not the only one frustrated by two setters and totally obscure clues👎👎
    In their favor there were no rap clues but they made up for it.
    Stay safe😀

  7. 40:34 – no errors or lookups. False starts: LEASH>IDTAG, CLODS>GLOBS, ORTS>BITS, ABBY>ABBI, LENT>RENT, STRATA>STRADA, FIRSTINSULT>FIRSTSLIGHT (before I understood the circled letter scheme), GENX>XERS.

    New or forgotten: AQUA band, “Boun That Luang,” Lucy HALE, “Kay Thompson,” PAD see ew, Minjee Lee, TOTORO, “The Vanishing Half,” BRIT Bennett, LOU Bega, POLAR seltzer, “Lucky” song, Jason MRAZ, “Natuu Natuu.”

    I have not watched a Super Bowl halftime show in 20 years, and won’t this year, either.

    This was more of a “thinker” than recent Sundays have been. Not bad. I also agree with PhilH and Dave Kennison re: effort to build in the 12 special clues & answers and in order.

  8. This was the worst puzzle I’ve encountered in my many years of doing LATimes Sunday crosswords! The theme of the puzzle eluded me, plus I was unable to fill in many of the obscure clues. Even consulting imdb.com–which is often the only way I can find names of of actors who appear in movies, characters in sitcoms, singers, Grammy winners, etc.–I was left in the dark for most of the clues. Having so many unfamiliar & outre references in a crossword puzzle is not doing your crossword aficionados any favors! I also don’t appreciate cutesy–pie puns! We need to return to former times, when completing a puzzle was not dependent at all on one’s TV- or movie-watching habits, or one’s intimacy with pop-culture (ugh!), but solely on one’s vocabulary & general knowledge.

    1. It seems to me that a LOT of people on this blog are only interested in “definitions” or “vocabulary”. If that’s the case, read the dictionary. That totally bores me. I enjoy reading Bill’s information. For some reason, I can come up with actors, rappers, memes, authors, current events, etc., even if I am not personally interested in them. (I’m in my 70s.) I’m not smarter than anyone else, but I am open to learning. I greatly enjoy crossword puzzles, I enjoy the process, the journey, the satisfaction of completing a difficult puzzle (without help or look-ups). Some who comment here do not, apparently.

  9. If someone has time, why is FLAT “Heel’s opposite” ? I just don’t get it. TIA.

    Haha – and that is one of my objections for this puzzle, too many clues seemed to be dashes- where the phrase could be anything…. ___ skirt, or texting abbreviations. I did have a hard time with this one. FWIW YMMV LOL.

    I had to guess the Q for the cross 14D / 20 A.

    And I did have 1 error for 78 down I had Art Space not Arts Page.

    Oh well, difficult but still something I live to do!

    1. The heels one had me stumped until I thought about it in a different way. Heels here are a type of shoe. Think “high heels”. So, the opposite of high heels are flats. Flat shoes have no heel.

      1. I get that heels and flats are different (and opposite?) kinds of shoes. But the term is heels, not heel. Therefore the clue wouldn’t be heel’s opposite, it should be heels’ opposite (or heels’s opposite).

  10. Kept plugging away and eventually got the banner with no lookups. I think some people just give up too easily. Ignore the haters, Patti, you’re doing great.

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