LA Times Crossword 4 Apr 24, Thursday

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Constructed by: Rich Katz & Katy Steinmetz
Edited by: Patti Varol

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

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted with reference to food and drink:

  • 17A “Let’s pass on the supersize” : NOT A BIG DEAL
  • 28A “The chef made this as the plat du jour, right?” : ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
  • 47A “I don’t want my latte to be a venti” : THAT’S A TALL ORDER
  • 61A “We recommend takeout” : IT’S GOOD TO-GO

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

Bill’s time: 8m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 2,000 pounds : ONE TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. In the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

15 __ press: small appliance : PANINI

In Italy, a sandwich made from sliced bread is called a “tramezzino”, while sandwiches made from non-sliced breads are called “panini” (singular “panino”). We’ve imported the plural term “panini” into English, to describe a single pressed and toasted sandwich.

16 Carnival locale : RIO

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is the largest carnival celebration in the world. The city hosts about two million celebrants on its streets for the six days of the festival.

The celebration of Carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that Carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

19 “Parks and __” : REC

“Parks and Recreation” (sometimes just “Parks and Rec”) is a sitcom that started airing on NBC in 2009, and is a show that has grown on me. It stars the “Saturday Night Live” alum Amy Poehler. The creators of “Parks and Recreation” are part of the team responsible for the American version of “The Office”, so you’ll notice some similarities in the style of the two shows, and some actors that have appeared in both.

21 Summer hrs. in St. Louis : CDT

The city of St. Louis, Missouri was settled by French explorers in 1763. Sitting on the Mississippi River, it grew into a very busy port. By the 1850s, it was the second busiest port in the country, with only New York moving more freight. St. Louis was named for Louis IX of France. Louis was canonized in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII, and was the only French king to be declared a saint.

22 Burkina __ : FASO

Burkina Faso is an inland country in western Africa. The country used to be called the Republic of Upper Volta and was renamed in 1984 to “Burkina Faso”, meaning “the land of upright people”.

23 Hot mess : SNAFU

“SNAFU” is an acronym standing for “situation normal: all fouled up” (well, that’s the polite version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.

28 “The chef made this as the plat du jour, right?” : ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?

“Plat du jour” in a French restaurant translates literally as “dish of the day”, today’s special.

35 __ of attrition : LAW

The law of attrition holds that every system (or person) wears out over time, with the rate determined by the effect of many small causes.

37 Darts player’s asset : AIM

Darts is a game that’s often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 on the dartboard in sequence.

47 “I don’t want my latte to be a venti” : THAT’S A TALL ORDER

Starbucks introduced us to coffee drinks in a whole range of volumes:

  • Demi … 3 fl oz
  • Short … 8 fl oz
  • Tall … 12 fl oz
  • Grande … 16 fl oz (Italian for “large”)
  • Venti … 20 fl oz (Italian for “twenty”)
  • Trenta … 30 fl oz (Italian for “thirty”)

51 Trained retrievers? : VALETS

A varlet was an attendant or servant, and perhaps a knight’s page. The term “varlet” comes from the Old French “vaslet” meaning “squire, young man”. “Vaslet” also gave us our contemporary word “valet”. The term “varlet” came to be pejorative, describing an unprincipled person.

56 Channel that airs floor debates : C-SPAN

C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings. C-SPAN Video Library is an amazing online archive provided by C-SPAN that offers a complete audio and video archive of Congressional proceedings going back to 1987. Users can search the archive for free, by topic, speaker date and more. When the site was launched in 2010, the archive already contained 160,000 hours of programming. There is a section of the archive called “Congressional Chronicle” that is particularly easy to navigate.

60 Score better than a bogey : PAR

The golfing term “bogey” originated at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England in 1890, and was used to indicate a total round that was one-over-par (and not one-over-par on a particular hole, as it is today). The name “bogey” came from a music hall song of the time “Here Comes the Bogeyman”. In the following years it became popular for players trying to stay at par to be “playing against Colonel Bogey”. Then, during WWI, the marching tune “Colonel Bogey” was written and named after the golfing term. If you don’t recognize the name of the tune, it’s the one that’s whistled by the soldiers marching in the great movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.

64 Compost bin bit : PIT

Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter to make the soil conditioner known as “compost”. The term “compost” ultimately comes from the Latin “com” (together) and “ponere” (to place). Compost is best made by “putting together” green waste that is rich in nitrogen, with brown waste that is rich in carbon, all in the presence of water and air.

68 Rings mournfully : KNELLS

The word “knell” is used for a solemn ring from a bell, often associated with death or a funeral. “Knell” comes from the Old English “cnell” and is probably imitative in origin, sounding like a peal from a large bell.

Down

2 North Carolina college town : ELON

Elon is a city in the Piedmont region of North Carolina located close to the city of Burlington. Elon University is a private liberal arts school founded in 1889.

3 Palo __, California : ALTO

The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for “the tall stick”) that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall and over a thousand years old.

4 Publishing family : HEARSTS

Hearst is a mass-media company that owns many newspapers, magazines and television entities including the “San Francisco Chronicle”, “Cosmopolitan” and a significant share of ESPN. The Hearst company was founded in 1987 by William Randolph Hearst, with several of the founder’s descendents still actively involved in the business.

5 Maker of Infinite Shine nail polish : OPI

Opi (originally “Odontorium Products Inc.”) is a manufacturer of nail polish based in North Hollywood, California. One of Opi’s marketing coups was the introduction of a line of Legally Blonde 2 polishes, which featured in the film.

6 Badger : NAG

To badger is to harass. The verb “to badger” comes from the cruel practice of badger-baiting, which dates back to medieval times. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The den is an artificial structure built to resemble a natural badgers’ den, complete with a tunnel entrance. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. The badger and dog are then removed from the den by pulling on the dog’s tail. Horrible …

11 Exposed to ultraviolet light, say : IRRADIATED

At either end of the visible light spectrum are the invisible forms of radiation known as infrared (IR) light and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR light lies just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and UV light lies just below the violet end.

12 Quinceañera, for one : FIESTA

“Quinceañera” is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday, and is an event common in many parts of Latin America.

24 “Hey, sailor!” : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

25 Spigot : FAUCET

The common “faucet” in an American house is almost always referred to as a “tap” on the other side of the pond.

Back in the 15th century, a spigot was specifically a plug to stop a hole in a cask. Somewhere along the way, a spigot had a valve added for variable control of flow.

27 Bridge feature : HELM

In its broadest sense, the term “helm” describes the whole of a ship’s steering mechanism, including the rudder and tiller. In a more specific sense, the helm is the handle, tiller or wheel that is used to control the steering gear.

29 “Chandelier” singer : SIA

“Chandelier” is a 2014 song by Australian singer Sia. I don’t know the song myself, but it sounds like it’s a bit of a downer, dealing with alcoholism, addiction and excessive hedonism.

36 __ egg : NEST

A nest egg is an amount of money laid down as a reserve. This is the figurative use of “nest egg” that originally described an artificial egg left in a nest to encourage a hen to lay real eggs in that spot. So our financial nest egg is set aside in anticipation of continued growth, more eggs being laid.

40 “__ to My Family”: 1994 hit for The Cranberries : ODE

The Cranberries were a rock band from Limerick in Ireland who formed as The Cranberry Saw Us in 1989. Dolores O’Riordan joined the group in 1990, at which point the name was changed to the Cranberries. The band broke up in 2019 following O’Riordan’s unexpected death. She drowned in the bathtub of her hotel room due to sedation by alcohol poisoning.

41 Part of rpm : PER

Revolutions per minute (rpm)

43 Four Corners people : UTES

The Four Corners region of the US surrounds the meeting point of the four states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. It is the only point in the US that is shared by four states.

46 Chandelier glass : CRYSTAL

“Crystal” is a common name applied to lead glass. Lead glass is very desirable, due to the material’s higher refractive index. This enhances its clarity and leads to a sparkling effect in cut glass pieces.

A chandelier is a relatively elaborate light fixture that is mounted on a ceiling. The term “chandelier” ultimately comes from “candela”, the Latin for “candle”.

48 State with two official languages : HAWAII

Three US states have more than one official language, i.e. more than just English. Hawaiian is an official language of Hawaii, and Sioux is an official language of South Dakota. Alaska has several official languages above and beyond English, all of which are Alaska Native languages, e.g. Siberian Yup’ik, Inupiaq, Central Alaskan Yupik and Gwich’in.

49 Actor Kutcher : ASHTON

Ashton Kutcher played the character Michael Kelso on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show”. Kelso was Kutcher’s breakthrough acting role. Kutcher then starred in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”, replacing the “disgraced” Charlie Sheen. In 2009, Kutcher became the first user on Twitter to get over 1 million followers.

55 Vampire played by Elizabeth Reaser in the “Twilight” films : ESME

Elizabeth Reaser is an actress who is probably best known for her recurring guest appearances on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”, playing an amnesiac who turns out to be Rebecca Pope.

57 The bishop of Rome : POPE

In the Roman Catholic Church, an episcopal see is the official seat of a bishop, and is usually described by the town or city where the bishop presides and has his cathedral. The most famous see in the church is called the Holy See, the episcopal see of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “You said it!” : YEAH!
5 2,000 pounds : ONE TON
11 Question marks : IFS
14 Vogue rival : ELLE
15 __ press: small appliance : PANINI
16 Carnival locale : RIO
17 “Let’s pass on the supersize” : NOT A BIG DEAL
19 “Parks and __” : REC
20 [Wake me when it’s over] : [SNORE]
21 Summer hrs. in St. Louis : CDT
22 Burkina __ : FASO
23 Hot mess : SNAFU
26 “There just wasn’t any alternative” : I HAD TO
28 “The chef made this as the plat du jour, right?” : ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
32 Fibs : LIES
33 Dethrone : OUST
34 Meadowland : LEA
35 __ of attrition : LAW
36 Loc. of the Met and the Mets : NYC
37 Darts player’s asset : AIM
39 A-one : TOP
42 Take to court : SUE
44 Fades away : EBBS
46 Formally turn over : CEDE
47 “I don’t want my latte to be a venti” : THAT’S A TALL ORDER
51 Trained retrievers? : VALETS
52 Itsy-bitsy : TEENY
53 Blows away : AWES
54 [Snicker] : [HEH]
56 Channel that airs floor debates : C-SPAN
60 Score better than a bogey : PAR
61 “We recommend takeout” : IT’S GOOD TO-GO
64 Compost bin bit : PIT
65 “Door’s open!” : COME IN!
66 Made like : APED
67 Bro kin : SIS
68 Rings mournfully : KNELLS
69 What’s more? : LESS

Down

1 Desires : YENS
2 North Carolina college town : ELON
3 Palo __, California : ALTO
4 Publishing family : HEARSTS
5 Maker of Infinite Shine nail polish : OPI
6 Badger : NAG
7 Most-cooked parts of a roast : END CUTS
8 Drew a conclusion? : TIED
9 How reporters might act : ON A TIP
10 Nada : NIL
11 Exposed to ultraviolet light, say : IRRADIATED
12 Quinceañera, for one : FIESTA
13 “Love it!” : SO COOL!
18 Out of shape : BENT
22 Watch part : FACE
24 “Hey, sailor!” : AHOY!
25 Spigot : FAUCET
27 Bridge feature : HELM
28 Feeling green, perhaps : ILL
29 “Chandelier” singer : SIA
30 Some phone messages : NEWS ALERTS
31 Where a groom may walk down the aisle : STABLE
36 __ egg : NEST
38 Beachy spot : ISLE
40 “__ to My Family”: 1994 hit for The Cranberries : ODE
41 Part of rpm : PER
43 Four Corners people : UTES
45 Body wash option : BATH GEL
46 Chandelier glass : CRYSTAL
47 Streaming options : TV APPS
48 State with two official languages : HAWAII
49 Actor Kutcher : ASHTON
50 Like most music, once : ON CD
55 Vampire played by Elizabeth Reaser in the “Twilight” films : ESME
57 The bishop of Rome : POPE
58 Years and years : AGES
59 Gestures of assent : NODS
61 “Gross!” : ICK!
62 Sesame __ : OIL
63 Switch positions : ONS

7 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Apr 24, Thursday”

  1. No errors. About 12 minutes.

    Was confused about PIT being a compost bit. I was thinking like banana peels or coffee grounds or something.

    Sometimes whats MORE is LESS so…..

  2. It took a while and a few writeovers but I got it with one lookup (ESME). The center bottom was the last to go. I recognized the theme but just had a problem getting that last long one.

  3. 30:59. I needed grid check to change aSME to ESME. 68A eluded me for a while. I even erased 61D and 65A thinking they were wrong. Finally, 62D got me on the right track.

    @Bill: I think you meant 1887 for Hearst.

  4. 16:49 – no errors or lookups. False starts: WEAK>BENT, WOWS>AWES, ORT>PIT, ..FOODTOGO>..GOODTOGO.

    New or forgotten: “Infinite Shine,” SIA, ODE to My Family, “The Cranberries,” “Elizabeth Reader.”

    I guess that was something of a theme, but I didn’t much relate to it, and it didn’t help with any solving.

    Took an extra nearly 4 minutes to close out the SW corner, in part due to the two false starts there, and time to figure out the VA in valets for “trained retrievers.” For 47D, T__POS wasn’t working, so I guessed it might be TV something-or-other, and HAWAII came to me. Then it all came together.

  5. No errors. Surprisingly easy Thursday. Lots of stuff I did not know, but crosses and lucky guesses saved the day.

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