LA Times Crossword 8 Feb 24, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jon Daly
Edited by: Patti Varol

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Flighty Phrases

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted with reference to airlines:

  • 17A Sadness that sets in after missing a flight? : DELTA BLUES
  • 23A Countries listed on a flight board? : UNITED NATIONS
  • 47A Rural areas serviced by just one airline? : FRONTIER TOWNS
  • 57A Flight that lasts seven days? : SPIRIT WEEK

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

Bill’s time: 7m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Driver of Hollywood : ADAM

Adam Driver is an actor perhaps best known to TV audiences for playing Adam Sackler on the show “Girls” that airs on HBO. Driver’s movie career got a huge boost in 2015 when he played villain Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

15 “American Fiction” actress 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.

“American Fiction” is a 2023 comedy-drama movie based on a 2023 novel by Percival Everett titled “Erasure”. Jeffrey Wright plays a black writer whose publishers reject his latest story as not being “black enough”. The writer reacts to his lack of success by submitting a satirical novel that panders to black stereotypes. To his surprise, and dismay, the book is a great success.

17 Sadness that sets in after missing a flight? : DELTA BLUES

Delta was the world’s largest airline for a while (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008) and is the oldest airline still operating in the US. Delta’s roots go back to 1924 before it started carrying passengers when it was Huff Daland Dusters, a crop-dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name “Delta Air Service” was introduced in 1928.

Delta blues is a style of music that originated in the Mississippi Delta region of the United States in the early 20th century. The genre was heavily influenced by African-American spirituals and work songs, as well as the musical traditions of West Africa.

19 Jon Arbuckle’s dog : ODIE

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, and the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

20 F1 neighbor : ESC

On many computer keyboards, the escape key (Esc) is located beside the first function key (F1).

23 Countries listed on a flight board? : UNITED NATIONS

United Airlines (UAL) has a complicated history, but can trace its roots back to Aviation Enterprises, founded in 1944 and later called Texas International. The first use of the “United” name in the company’s history was when airplane pioneer William Boeing merged his Boeing Air Transport with Pratt & Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC) in 1929. The Air Mail Act of 1934 required that UATC be broken up into United Aircraft (which became United Technologies), the Boeing Aircraft Company and United Air Lines.

The United Nations was established right after the end of WWII, and was a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations that had been formed after the end of WWI. The US was at the forefront of the founding of the United Nations, led by President Franklin Roosevelt just prior to the start of WWII. The UN’s headquarters is in international territory in New York. There are three regional UN headquarters, also located in international territory, in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.

29 Spring bloom : IRIS

Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.

30 Grilled sausages, for short : BRATS

A bratwurst (sometimes simply “brat” in the US) is a German sausage. The name comes from “brät-” meaning “finely chopped meat”, and “Wurst” meaning “sausage”.

31 Out in the open : ALFRESCO

Our word “alfresco” means outdoors, in the fresh air. The term came into English from Italian.

36 Jewelry retailer : ZALES

The first Zales jewelry store was opened by Morris and William Zale and Ben Lipshy in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1924. Zales became successful largely by offering credit to their customers, a revolutionary concept at the time.

42 Church donation : TITHE

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

44 Tennis Court __: French Revolution event : OATH

Facing an economic crisis in 1789, King Louis XVI summoned the Estates General to Versailles to help resolve the issue. The Estates General comprised representatives of the three estates: the clergy, the nobility and the Third Estate (the common citizens). The Third Estate was vastly under-represented, and debate on representation bogged down the meeting. Louis ordered the military to lock out the Third Estate from the meeting chamber, and so the group’s representatives relocated to a building housing where the precursor to tennis was played. There, the Third Estate vowed to remain, until a constitution was established. That consequential vow is known as the Tennis Court Oath.

47 Rural areas serviced by just one airline? : FRONTIER TOWNS

Frontier Airlines is a passenger service based in Denver, Colorado that was founded in 1994 after Continental shut down its hub at Denver’s Stapleton Airport. The name “Frontier Airlines” had been associated with Denver since 1950. A separate company called Frontier Airlines operated out of Denver from 1950 until 1986.

51 Filmmaker George who won five Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation : LUCAS

George Lucas is a filmmaker best known for creating the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises. Lucas initially declined his director’s fee for the first “Star Wars” film in exchange for ownership of the merchandising and sequel rights, which the studio considered to be of little value at the time. This turned out to be a shrewd business move, as the merchandise sales for “Star Wars” have generated billions of dollars in revenue over the years.

The Hugo Awards are presented annually for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing. The awards are named for Hugo Gernsback, founder of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories”.

52 __-Free: contact lens solution : OPTI

OPTI-FREE is a line of contact lens solutions made by Alcon.

53 Honor society letter : PHI

Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.

56 Second son : ABEL

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.

57 Flight that lasts seven days? : SPIRIT WEEK

Spirit Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Miramar, Florida that was founded as Charter One in 1980. That said, the 1980 airline service was established as a branch of Clipper Trucking Company that dated back to 1964. Spirit started its low-fare service in 2007.

“School spirit” is a term used to describe an educational institution’s sense of identity. Some schools organize spirit weeks, in which faculty and students are encouraged to engage in activities that demonstrate unity and a sense of community.

61 Eagle claw : TALON

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

62 Fabled napper : HARE

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

63 Numbers game : KENO

The name of the game keno has French or Latin roots, with the French “quine” being a term describing five winning numbers, and the Latin “quini” meaning “five each”. The game originated in China and was introduced into the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

64 Mantegna’s “Criminal Minds” role : ROSSI

“Criminal Minds” is a police drama that has aired on CBS since 2005. The stories revolve around the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia.

Joe Mantegna is an Italian-American actor from Chicago, Illinois. Mantegna has played a lot of Hollywood roles and can now be seen regularly on the television show “Criminal Minds” in which he portrays FBI Special Agent David Rossi.

65 Pod in Creole cuisine : OKRA

The plant known as okra is mainly grown for its edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.

Here in North America, we tend to associate Creole cuisine with Louisiana. However, the term “Creole cuisine” applies to several areas of the world, areas within the reach of the French, Portuguese and Spanish colonial empires. One definition of Creole culture refers to peoples of European origin, born in the New World, and who have integrated with local cultures. As a result, we encounter a variety of Creole-named cuisines beyond Louisiana, in places like Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Jamaica, Réunion and Cape Verde. All the variations share a leaning towards spiciness, the use of simpler techniques in preparing the food (stewing, frying, etc.), and the use of local products in traditional European dishes.

Down

2 Midmonth time : IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Actually, the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

7 Like crosswords : CLUED

Arthur Wynne is generally credited with the invention of what we now know as a crossword puzzle. Wynne was born in Liverpool, England and emigrated to the US when he was 19-years-old. He worked as a journalist and was living in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1913 when he introduced a “Word-Cross Puzzle” in his page of puzzles written for the “New York World”. The first book of crossword puzzles was published by Shuster & Shuster, in 1924. The collection of puzzles was a huge hit, and crosswords were elevated to the level of “a craze” in 1924 and 1925.

11 Wyoming’s state sport : RODEO

“Rodeo” is a Spanish word that is usually translated into English as “round up”.

12 S.Pellegrino rival : EVIAN

Évian-les-Bains (or simply “Évian”) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. Personally, I can’t stand the distinctive taste of Évian water …

S.Pellegrino (usually just “Pellegrino”) is a brand of mineral water from Italy. It is produced in the comune of San Pellegrino Terme (hence the name) in Lombardy in the north of the country. The water industry in San Pellegrino has been around a long time, with commercial production starting in the 14th century.

13 Coevals : PEERS

A coeval is a person of the same age, or very close to the same age. Two things happening during the same period can be described as coeval.

25 African river to the Mediterranean : NILE

Depending on definition, the Nile is regarded generally as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for those living along its length.

The Mediterranean Sea is almost completely enclosed by land, and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. The sea takes its name from the Latin “mediterraneus”, which means “in the middle of land”.

28 Lucky Charms shelfmate : TRIX

Trix is a corn-based breakfast cereal that has been around since 1954, produced by General Mills. Ads for the cereal featured Trix Rabbit, who would try hard to get hold of bowls of the cereal. He would always get caught though, and be admonished with, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” With 46% sugar content, the rabbit probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway …

Lucky Charms is a General Mills breakfast cereal that first hit the shelves in 1964. The initial idea was to produce a cereal that brought to mind charms on a charm bracelet. The cereal’s mascot is a leprechaun whose original name was L. C. Leprechaun, then Sir Charms, and finally Lucky the Leprechaun.

33 Four-time Oscar-winning lyricist Sammy : CAHN

Sammy Cahn wrote for them all, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Doris Day. Cahn’s most famous song was probably “Three Coins in the Fountain”. He also wrote “All the Way”, made famous by Frank Sinatra.

34 Smelter input : ORES

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

37 Tennis great Arthur : ASHE

The great American tennis player Arthur Ashe spent the last years of his life writing his memoir called “Days of Grace”. He finished the manuscript just a few days before he passed away, dying from AIDS caused by a tainted blood transfusion.

40 Portuguese soccer great who now plays in Saudi Arabia : RONALDO

Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player from Portugal who is often referred to as the finest player in the world. He signed on with Al Nassr FC in Riyadh in 2023, and moved there with his family. Ronaldo and his partner are not married, so the authorities gave him a special exemption from the Saudi law that prohibits unmarried couples from living together.

41 Musical based on Eliot poems : CATS

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s source material for his hit musical “Cats” was T. S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Eliot’s collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was a personal favorite of Webber as he was growing up. My wife and I have seen “Cats” several times and really enjoy it …

42 Specifically : TO WIT

The verb “to wit” means “to know”. The verb really isn’t used anymore except in the phrase “to wit” meaning “that is to say, namely”.

46 Corkscrew pasta : ROTINI

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.

47 “Killing Me Softly With His Song” singer : FLACK

I suppose the most famous song released by American singer Roberta Flack is her 1972 hit “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, a beautiful number composed by British singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl in 1957. MacColl wrote the song for American singer Peggy Seeger, whom he later married.

The charming “Killing Me Softly with His Song” was composed by Charles Fox, with lyrics by Norman Gimbel in collaboration with Lori Lieberman. The inspiration of the lyrics came from a concert given by Don McLean in 1970, which 20-year-old Lieberman attended. Lieberman wasn’t given a writing credit for “Killing Me Softly …”, and so she recorded the song herself in 1971. It didn’t make the charts, but a 1974 version released by Roberta Flack won a Grammy.

48 Moscow money : RUBLE

The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as in several other countries in the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks (also “kopeks”).

49 __ Spray : OCEAN

The Ocean Spray brand is owned by a cooperative of growers in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, growers of cranberries and grapefruit.

54 Münster mister : HERR

Münster is a city in the northwestern part of Germany, in the Westphalia region. Münster is noted for being the most bicycle-friendly city in the country with almost 40% of all traffic in the city being cyclists.

55 KALLAX shelf seller : IKEA

IKEA’s KALLAX shelving units are named for the village of Kallax in northern Sweden.

57 Viola’s sect. : STR

The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, lying between the violin and the cello.

58 Kung __ shrimp : PAO

Kung Pao chicken (or maybe shrimp) is a Sichuan stir-fry dish that includes chicken/shrimp, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. The name “Kung Pao” is thought to come from a governor of the Sichuan province whose title was “Gongbao”, meaning “Palace Guardian”.

59 Seuss villager : WHO

The Whos live in Whoville in Dr. Seuss’ children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Maze runners : MICE
5 Formal decrees : DICTA
10 Help the chef : PREP
14 Driver of Hollywood : ADAM
15 “American Fiction” actress Tracee __ Ross : ELLIS
16 Stray : ROVE
17 Sadness that sets in after missing a flight? : DELTA BLUES
19 Jon Arbuckle’s dog : ODIE
20 F1 neighbor : ESC
21 Friction reducer : LUBE
22 Paint, toddler-style : SMEAR
23 Countries listed on a flight board? : UNITED NATIONS
27 Minimally : AT LEAST
29 Spring bloom : IRIS
30 Grilled sausages, for short : BRATS
31 Out in the open : ALFRESCO
35 Fun, as a party : LIT
36 Jewelry retailer : ZALES
38 Paddle kin : OAR
39 Hit the gym : EXERCISE
42 Church donation : TITHE
44 Tennis Court __: French Revolution event : OATH
45 Some patches : IRON-ONS
47 Rural areas serviced by just one airline? : FRONTIER TOWNS
51 Filmmaker George who won five Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation : LUCAS
52 __-Free: contact lens solution : OPTI
53 Honor society letter : PHI
56 Second son : ABEL
57 Flight that lasts seven days? : SPIRIT WEEK
60 Covered : CLAD
61 Eagle claw : TALON
62 Fabled napper : HARE
63 Numbers game : KENO
64 Mantegna’s “Criminal Minds” role : ROSSI
65 Pod in Creole cuisine : OKRA

Down

1 Took home : MADE
2 Midmonth time : IDES
3 Do the math : CALCULATE
4 CPR expert : EMT
5 Opens : DEBUTS
6 “Suuure” : I’LL BET
7 Like crosswords : CLUED
8 Twist-__ : TIE
9 Saddlebag carrier : ASS
10 Potential : PROMISE
11 Wyoming’s state sport : RODEO
12 S.Pellegrino rival : EVIAN
13 Coevals : PEERS
18 Misleading handle : ALIAS
22 To-do : STIR
24 Clear : NET
25 African river to the Mediterranean : NILE
26 Pound sounds : ARFS
27 Qualified : ABLE
28 Lucky Charms shelfmate : TRIX
31 Pour choice : ALE
32 Figuratively : SO TO SPEAK
33 Four-time Oscar-winning lyricist Sammy : CAHN
34 Smelter input : ORES
36 Tubular pasta : ZITI
37 Tennis great Arthur : ASHE
40 Portuguese soccer great who now plays in Saudi Arabia : RONALDO
41 Musical based on Eliot poems : CATS
42 Specifically : TO WIT
43 Overnight stop : INN
45 PC problem solvers : IT PROS
46 Corkscrew pasta : ROTINI
47 “Killing Me Softly With His Song” singer : FLACK
48 Moscow money : RUBLE
49 __ Spray : OCEAN
50 Foments : ROILS
54 Münster mister : HERR
55 KALLAX shelf seller : IKEA
57 Viola’s sect. : STR
58 Kung __ shrimp : PAO
59 Seuss villager : WHO

9 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Feb 24, Thursday”

  1. Congrats to those who completed successfully – I didn’t.

    Well, I sorta did, but too many letter cheats and I considered it a DNF.

    Like yesterday, just too many PPPs (and congregated together) for me to handle – DICTA, ELLIS, TIE, ASS among them.

    Oh well, I’ve got tomorrow’s Friday to look forward to …

    Be Well.

  2. I have never heard of SOTOSPEAK or RONALDO, forgot some other answers. So not as clean and easy for me. But I did like the airline theme

  3. 11 mins 19 seconds and no errors. The top middle gave me fits, though, because I had FIATS in there at first for 5A, and of course, hilarity ensued.

    Decent airline theme fills. At least they helped you solve others once you “got” the gag.

  4. Slightly tricky Thursday for me; took 19:49 with no peeks or errors. Had to dance around a little bit, but crosses helped out. Didn’t know: ELLIS, OATH, OPTI, ROSSI along with some of the theme clues even though I picked up on the theme along the way.

    From what I’ve heard, a flight on Spirit might actually take a week 🙂

  5. 11:34 – no errors, lookups, or false starts.

    New or forgotten: Tennis Court OATH (an odd little historical event), ROSSI, KALLAX.

    Got the general theme with FRONTIER and SPIRIT. The other two filled in later. A little bit clever.

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