LA Times Crossword 31 Jan 24, Wednesday - LAXCrossword.com (2024)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Tracks : CUTS

Those would be tracks/songs cut into a record.

5 Eva of “Green Acres” : GABOR

Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.

The popular sitcom “Green Acres” originally aired from 1965 to 1971. The magnificent stars of the show were Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, playing a couple who moved from New York City to a farm in the country. “Green Acres” was canceled as part of CBS’s so-called “rural purge”. In a move to attract younger audiences, shows were added to the schedule with more urban and contemporary themes. Classics like “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Hee Haw” and “Mayberry R.F.D.” were dropped at the same time as “Green Acres”.

10 Bidding site : EBAY

There have been some notable things sold on eBay over the years. For example:

  • Ad space on a guy’s forehead, in the form of a temporary tattoo – $37,375
  • William Shatner’s kidney stone – $25,000
  • A cornflake shaped like Illinois – $1,350
  • A single corn flake – $1.63
  • A box of 10 Twinkies – $59.99
  • The original Hollywood sign – $450,400
  • The meaning of life – $3.26

16 Rachel Maddow’s field : NEWS

TV host and commentator Rachel Maddow hosted a radio version of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Air America from 2005 until 2010. She started hosting a TV show of the same name on MSNBC in 2008, making her the first openly gay anchor to host a prime-time news program in the US. In 2018, Maddow was the co-creator of a “New York Times” crossword. And, I found it to be an excellent puzzle …

17 Simon or Garfunkel : NAME

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel performed together as “Simon & Garfunkel”, as I am sure we all know. The friends started singing together way back in the fifties when they were still in school together. The name of their act black then was “Tom & Jerry”.

18 Terra __ : COTTA

The tem “terra cotta” comes to us from Latin via Italian and means “baked earth”. Terra-cotta is a ceramic made from clay which is left unglazed. Maybe the most famous work in terra-cotta is the Terracotta Army, the enormous collection of life-size figures that was buried with Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China around 210 BC. I had the privilege of seeing some of this collection when it toured the US a few years ago, and even the few pieces on display were very impressive.

25 Summer hrs. in Portsmouth : EDT

Portsmouth is a port city in Virginia that lies on the other side of the Elizabeth River to Norfolk. The original town was founded in 1752, when it was named for the English naval port on the south coast of England.

26 Some DEA employees : NARCS

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

28 Smallest state in India : GOA

Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

33 *Mistakes made while preparing a simple breakfast? : POP-TART FOULS (“pop fouls” with room for “tart”)

Pop-Tart is the most successful single brand for the Kellogg company, as millions of the sugary treats are sold every year. The US Military bought quite a few in 2001, and dropped 2.4 million Pop-Tarts into Afghanistan during the invasion after 9/11.

In baseball, a pop foul is a pop fly hit into foul territory.

38 “Frozen” sister : ELSA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Elsa was originally intended to be a villain, a malicious and power-hungry character. By the final version of the film, Elsa had transformed from a one-dimensional villain into a fully fleshed-out protagonist.

47 “The A-Team” actor : MR T

“The A-Team” is an action television series that originally ran in the eighties. The title characters were a group of ex-US special forces personnel turned mercenaries. Star of the show was Hollywood actor George Peppard (as “Hannibal” Smith), ably assisted by Mr. T (as “B.A.” Baracus) and Robert Vaughn (as Hunt Stockwell).

57 Laundry brand : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

62 Soap brand : LAVA

Lava is a brand of soap that was introduced as a heavy-duty cleanser in 1893. Unlike soaps that are marketed using a “soft” image, Lava touts the inclusion of ground pumice that is intended to abrade grime off the skin. Pumice is found in certain types of lava ejected from a volcano, hence the name of the soap.

63 French 101 infinitive : AVOIR

Avoir is French for “to have”.

64 Last remarks? : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

65 Improves in a cellar, say : AGES

Our word “cellar” comes from the Latin “cellarium”, meaning “pantry, storeroom”. The literal translation of the Latin is “group of cells”.

66 Barbershop quartet part : TENOR

Barbershop music is played in the a cappella style, meaning that it is unaccompanied vocal music. It originated in African-American communities in the South, as gospel quartets often gathered in neighborhood barber shops to sing together.

67 Soap brand : DOVE

Dove is a line of personal care products made by Unilever. The brand originated in the UK, back in 1955.

68 Pigeon fancier on “Sesame Street” : BERT

Bert and Ernie are two of the most beloved Muppet characters on the children’s television program “Sesame Street.” Their characters were originally created by Jim Henson and his team to be different from each other in every way possible. Bert is the more serious, analytical and uptight one, while Ernie is more carefree, spontaneous and playful. The contrast between their personalities was intentional, as it was meant to help children learn about different personalities and how to get along with people who may be different from themselves.

Down

1 Tourist destination on the Yucatán : CANCUN

Cancún is a city and island on the east coast of Mexico, on the other side of the Yucatan Channel from Cuba. The city is growing rapidly due to its booming tourist business. Cancún is the center of what’s often called “The Mexican Caribbean” or the “Mayan Riviera”.

5 Geico icon : GECKO

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families, hence the name Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO). GEICO is a private company, despite the word “government” in its name. The founders’ idea was to focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays any qualifying person can take out a policy with GEICO.

8 “A Man Called __”: Tom Hanks film based on a Fredrik Backman novel : OTTO

“A Man Called Otto” is a marvelous 2022 comedy-drama movie starring Tom Hanks as a grumpy old man who gets dragged, reluctantly, into the lives of his neighbors. It is a remake of the 2015 Swedish film “A Man Called Ove”, which in turn is an adaptation of the 2012 novel of the same name by Fredrik Backman. In flashbacks, young Otto is played by Truman Hanks, one of Tom Hanks’ sons.

13 Designer monogram : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

21 To boot : ALSO

The noun “boot” was once used to describe something of advantage in trying to accomplish a goal. This obsolete term really only exists in the adverb “to boot” meaning “in addition, over and above”, literally “to advantage”.

22 Like many students at Gallaudet University : DEAF

Gallaudet University is a private school in Washington, D.C. that is focused on the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Gallaudet was founded in 1864 and is officially a bilingual institution, with classes held in both English and American sign language (ASL).

27 Sleep apnea apparatus, initially : CPAP

Many people suffering from sleep apnea use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine while sleeping. The patient wears a mask that supplies air to the upper respiratory tract at a pressure greater than atmospheric pressure. This positive pressure can prevent the collapse of the upper airway, which is the cause of obstructive sleep apnea.

28 High seas quaff : GROG

Edward Vernon was a naval officer with the nickname “Old Grog”. In 1740, Vernon ordered that the daily ration of rum for his sailors should be watered down, in order to reduce discipline problems caused by drunkenness. The diluted rum was sweetened with sugar, and lemon or lime added to help preserve it on long voyages. This recipe, found to reduce scurvy among sailors (because of the citrus) spread throughout the Royal Navy, and “grog” was born. As an aside, George Washington’s older half-brother named the famous Washington Mount Vernon Plantation in honor of Edward Vernon. We use the derivative term “groggy” to mean “unsteady on the feet”, as if under the influence of “grog”.

29 Other, in Oaxaca : OTRO

Oaxaca (officially “Oaxaca de Juárez”) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, which is located in the south of the country.

31 Wong of “Birds of Prey” : ALI

Ali Wong is a stand-up comedian from San Francisco who is a protégé of Chris Rock. She made two very successful Netflix stand-up specials “Baby Cobra” and “Hard Knock Wife”. She also worked as a writer for the hit sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat”.

“Birds of Prey” is a 2020 superhero movie based on the superhero team of the same name created for the DC Comics universe. The film centers on a band of female superheroes, and is a spinoff of the 2016 movie “Suicide Squad”.

38 BEACH Act org. : EPA

The BEACH Act is a statute signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. It sets standards used nationally for the testing of water that is used recreationally. As such, it is an amendment to the Clean Water Act of 1972.

39 Record : LOG

The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

49 Place to drive : TEE BOX

In the game of golf, a “tee” is a wooden or plastic peg on which one can place a ball when “teeing off”. Also, the “teeing ground” (sometimes “tee” or “tee box”) is the area at the beginning of the hole from which the first stroke is taken, from where one tees off.

51 Part of RBI : BATTED

Run batted in (RBI)

53 Canapé base, maybe : TOAST

A canapé is a finger food, something small enough to eat in just one bite. In French, “canapé” is actually the word for a couch or a sofa. The name was given to the snack as the original canapés were savories served on toasted or stale bread that supposedly resembled a tiny couch.

54 Worker with a monotonous routine : DRONE

Drone bees (and ants) are fertile males of the species, whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen. Given that drone bees make no honey, we sometimes use the term “drone” figuratively, to describe a lazy worker, or someone who lives on the labors of others.

62 Chocolate __ : LAB

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tracks : CUTS
5 Eva of “Green Acres” : GABOR
10 Bidding site : EBAY
14 “Pronto” letters : ASAP
15 Delight : ELATE
16 Rachel Maddow’s field : NEWS
17 Simon or Garfunkel : NAME
18 Terra __ : COTTA
19 Small valley : DELL
20 *Bakery employees who offer free samples? : CUPCAKE HOLDERS (“cup holders” with room for “cake”)
23 Purpose : USE
24 Shed : LOSE
25 Summer hrs. in Portsmouth : EDT
26 Some DEA employees : NARCS
28 Smallest state in India : GOA
30 Stable staple : OAT
33 *Mistakes made while preparing a simple breakfast? : POP-TART FOULS (“pop fouls” with room for “tart”)
38 “Frozen” sister : ELSA
41 Misstep : ERROR
42 Water waster : DRIP
43 *Comfort food with a high price tag? : POTPIE OF GOLD (“pot of gold” with room for “pie”)
46 Back : AGO
47 “The A-Team” actor : MR T
48 Abbr. before a year : ESTAB
52 Fundraising org. : PTA
54 Gets faint : DIMS
57 Laundry brand : ERA
58 Question from a server, or what was needed to create the answer to each starred clue : ROOM FOR DESSERT?
62 Soap brand : LAVA
63 French 101 infinitive : AVOIR
64 Last remarks? : OBIT
65 Improves in a cellar, say : AGES
66 Barbershop quartet part : TENOR
67 Soap brand : DOVE
68 Pigeon fancier on “Sesame Street” : BERT
69 Adversary : ENEMY
70 Took a hatchet to : AXED

Down

1 Tourist destination on the Yucatán : CANCUN
2 Chant for the red, white, and blue : USA! USA!
3 Mess (with) : TAMPER
4 Job detail, for short : SPEC
5 Geico icon : GECKO
6 Medicinal plants : ALOES
7 Come clean? : BATHE
8 “A Man Called __”: Tom Hanks film based on a Fredrik Backman novel : OTTO
9 Down-to-earth : REAL
10 Done : ENDED
11 Excursion where one might see something brewing? : BEER TOUR
12 Pointed tools : AWLS
13 Designer monogram : YSL
21 To boot : ALSO
22 Like many students at Gallaudet University : DEAF
27 Sleep apnea apparatus, initially : CPAP
28 High seas quaff : GROG
29 Other, in Oaxaca : OTRO
31 Wong of “Birds of Prey” : ALI
32 Recipe amt. : TSP
34 Equal : PEER
35 Relaxed pace : TROT
36 Dog park sound : ARF!
37 Likelihood : ODDS
38 BEACH Act org. : EPA
39 Record : LOG
40 Brief visit : STOPOVER
44 Islamic leader : IMAM
45 “Not that much” : LESS
49 Place to drive : TEE BOX
50 Show up : ARRIVE
51 Part of RBI : BATTED
53 Canapé base, maybe : TOAST
54 Worker with a monotonous routine : DRONE
55 Cold feet or hot seat : IDIOM
56 Full of cheer : MERRY
58 Breathe fire, say : RAGE
59 Inevitable end : FATE
60 Pizza place : OVEN
61 Bartender’s supply : SODA
62 Chocolate __ : LAB

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LA Times Crossword 31 Jan 24, Wednesday - LAXCrossword.com (2024)

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