Tuesday, January 11, 2022 Rebecca Goldstein

Hidden Talents:

17-Across. Iron or lead: METALLIC ELEMENT.

22-Across. Home of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks: STAPLES CENTER.

49-Across. Flat-topped South African landmark: TABLE MOUNTAIN.  I was not familiar with this South African mountain, which overlooks Cape Town, South Africa.  It is, indeed, quite flat.

55-Across. Giving 110%, say: TOTAL COMMITMENT.

And the Unifier:

36. With 38-Across, unpublicized skill found in each set of circles: HIDDEN.  //  38. See 36-Across: TALENT.  The word Talent is Hidden in the circles in each theme answer.

1. Attempts, with "at": HAS A GO.  Meh!

7. Apple on a desk: iMAC.  My iMac looks like this.  It is quite old, but it still works.

11. Endorses: OKS.

14. Refrigerator, once: ICE BOX.

15. Wax Ready-Strips maker: NAIR.  Ouch!

16. By way of: VIA.

20. Annoying noise: DIN.

21. Unclean: DIRTY.

27. Eight, in Ecuador: OCHO.  Today's Spanish lesson.  Hi, Lucina!

29. Nowhere near appropriate: SO WRONG.

30. Dental care brand: ORAL B.  This brand appears often in the puzzles.  The company now makes  the trendy electric toothbrushes.

32. "The Constant Gardener" Oscar winner Rachel: WEISZ.  Rachel Weisz (née Rachel Hannah Weisz; b.  March 7, 1970), was born in England, but became a naturalized US Citizen in 2011.  She is married to James Bond (Daniel Craig) in real life.

33. Public transit option: BUS.

40. Pigs' digs: STY.
41. Lavished affection (on): DOTED.

45. Justice Sotomayor: SONIA.  Sonia Sotomayor (b. June 25, 1954) makes frequent guest appearances in the puzzles.

46. Early IHOPs, structurally: A-FRAMES.

48. Mesa or Boulder: CITY.  If this was a clue last Sunday, would the answer have been AZCO?

53. Contact info item: E-MAIL.  It should be phone number, as I get more text messages than e-mails when someone wants to contact me.

54. Form 1099 org.: IRS.  It's beginning to be that time again when we think of getting our tax information together to send to the Internal Revenue Service.

63. Cal. neighbor: ORE.  Not the ore that is mined, but the State of Oregon.  An interesting scholarly paper on the origin and meaning of Oregon.

64. Greek liqueur: OUZO.  Ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif that is clear until it comes in contact ice, when it becomes milky opaque.

65. __ de Rossi of "Arrested Development": PORTIA.  Portia de Rossi (née Amanda Lee Rogers; b. Jan. 31 1973) appeared recently in a puzzle.  //  And 46. Actress Shawkat of "Arrested Development": ALIA.  Alia Shawkat (b. Apr. 18, 1989) portrayed Maeby Fünke on Arrested Development.  Neither the actress nor the character are Tuesday puzzle names.  Interestingly, however, there is an interview Alia Shawkat in this week's New Yorker.

David Cross and Portia de Rossi

Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat

66. Stark in "Game of Thrones": NED.  Although he is a fictional character, his full name was Lord Eddard Stark.  I never watched the show and I tried to read the book, but found it difficult to plow through.

67. __ Virginia: WEST.  Everything you wanted to know about the West Virginia statehood, but didn't know to ask.

68. Faux: ERSATZ.  This word was clued as "Like a bad copy" in last Tuesday's puzzle.

1. That guy: HIM.

2. Perfect service: ACE.

3. "Quiet on the __!": SET.

4. Lawyer's org.: ABA.  As in the American Bar Association.

5. Meir of Israel: GOLDA.  Golda Meir (née Golda Mabovitch; May 3, 1898 ~ Dec. 8, 1978) was a remarkable woman.

6. Yellow primroses: OXLIPS.  Such pretty flowers.

7. Company abbr.: INC.

8. Astronaut Jemison: MAE.  Mae Carol Jemison (b. Oct. 17, 1956) was the first Black woman to venture into Space.  She was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1992. 

9. Be unwell: AIL.

10. Dining room pieces with cupboards: CREDENZAs.  I think of a credenza as being more of an office piece of furniture.

11. Not at all subtle: OVERT.

12. Kunta in "Roots": KINTE.  Kunta Kinte was a character in Alex Haley's 1976 book, Roots.  It was later made into a mini-series, which aired before the days of taping shows to watch later.  In the mini-series, Kunta Kinte was portrayed by LeVar Burton (b. Feb. 16, 1957).

13. Mythical man-goat: SATYR.

18. Like a bicycle climbing a hill: IN LOW.

19. Vase-making dynasty: MING.  So beautiful.

22. Not on the level: SHADY.

23. Tattled: TOLD.

24. Lamb's mom: EWE.

25. __ Lanka: SRI.  The tear-drop shaped country off the coast of India.

26. "An arm and a leg" is a high one: COST.  It's also an idiom.

27. Sounds of awe: OOHs!

28. Lit __: CRIT.

31. Strange one made by politics?: BEDFELLOW.

33. Porto-Novo's land: BENIN.  Benin is a small country in West Africa to the left of Nigeria.  Hand up if you knew this country.

34. Condo, e.g.: UNIT.

35. Remain: STAY.

37. Standard: NORM.

39. Points in math class: LOCI.

42. Eastern "way": TAO.

43. Bird in Liberty Mutual ads: EMU.  Those ads are so annoying.

44. Acid-washed jeans fabric: DENIM.

47. Zebra feature: STRIPE.

49. Wyoming's __ Range: TETON.  Today's French lesson.

50. Love, in Sicily: AMORE.  Today's Italian lesson.

51. With __ breath: tensely anticipatory: BATED.  Bated or Baited?.

52. Fur tycoon for whom a northwest Oregon city was named: ASTOR.  I just read an interesting novel entitled The Social Graces by Renée Rosen, which is about the New York Astors and Vanderbilts in the late 1800s.  When the novel takes place, the Astors are considered "old money" because they were over 3 generations from when their money was made by "dirty" hands in the fur trade, whereas the Vanderbilts were nouveau riche.  Their money was made by The Commodore Vanderbilt, who was just a generation away and was considered coarse and crass.

56. Billiards stick: CUE.

57. Quarter-lb. quarters: OZs.  As in Ounces.

58. One-liner: MOT.  More of today's French lesson.  Most often paired with Bon.  Bon Mot = witty remark.

59. __ America Pageant: MRS.  Apparently, there is still a Mrs. America Pageant for married women.  Ladies, if you are interested, here's how to apply.  No age limit, but you do have to be married.

60. GPS prediction: ETA.  The GPS will give you an Estimated Time of Arrival, just like at the airport.

61. Little point to pick: NIT.

62. Toon devil: TAZ.  They are formidable creatures.

If you have found your Hidden Talent, can you tell it what it is?