LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Nov 15, Friday

Quicklink
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jascha Smilack
THEME: Punny Answers … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase, and the corresponding clue reinterprets that phrase in a “punny” way:

20A. One keeping tabs on the best man? TOASTER TIMER
36A. Portrait artist at a gym? SWEATER DRAWER
53A. Coach for a newspaper employee? PRINTER TONER

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 12m 47s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Traditional Islamic garment BURQA
A burqa (also “burka”) is a garment worn by some women in the Islamic tradition to cover up their bodies when in public.

6. Big fish OPAH
Opah is the more correct name for the fish also known as the sunfish, moonfish or Jerusalem haddock. I’ve seen one in the Monterrey Aquarium. It is huge …

15. Brazos River city WACO
In recent years, the city of Waco, Texas is perhaps most famous as the site of a siege and shootout between ATF agents and members of the Protestant sect known as the Branch Davidians. Shortly after ATF agents tried to execute a search warrant, shots were fired and at the end of the fight six people inside the Branch Davidian compound were dead, as were four agents. A fifty-day siege ensued at the end of which a final assault resulted in members of the community setting fire to the compound. Only nine people walked away from that fire. 50 adults and 25 children perished.

The Brazos River is the longest river in the state of Texas. It was originally called “Rio de los Brazos de Dios” by the Spanish, which translates as “the River of the Arms of God”. So, the Brazos is literally “the arms” in English.

17. Primus or Helena, in a classic play ROBOT
In the science fiction play “R.U.R” by Karel Čapek, Primus and Helena are two robots that develop human-like characteristics and fall in love.

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

18. Tan relative ECRU
The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

20. One keeping tabs on the best man? TOASTER TIMER
The tradition of “toasting” probably dates back to the reign of Charles II, when the practice was to drink a glass of wine to the health of a beautiful or favored woman. In those days, spiced toast was added to beverages to add flavor, so the use of the word “toast” was an indicator that the lady’s beauty would enhance the wine. Very charming, I must say …

32. Court period: Abbr. SESS
Session (sess.)

34. Of a battery terminal ANODAL
A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

41. Tank type SEPTIC
Anaerobic organisms are those that do not require oxygen to live. A good example would be the bacteria working away in a septic tank. It’s fortunate that these bacteria are anaerobes, otherwise the tank would have to be opened up to the external atmosphere.

49. Biblical prophet SAMUEL
According to the Bible, Samuel was a leader of the Israelites before they began to be ruled by a king. Samuel anointed Saul and David, the first two kings of Israel.

51. Roma’s home ITALIA
In Italian, the city of Rome (Roma) is in Italy (Italia).

57. Jamaican fruit UGLI
The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine, first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

58. Bucks’ pursuits DOES
A male deer is usually called a “buck”, and a female a “doe”.

66. Start of a run, maybe SNAG
A “snag” is a pull or a tear in a fabric. A snag, particularly in stockings, might lead to a run. And on the other side of the Atlantic, a “run” is called a “ladder”.

Down
4. Like Twain and Wilde, e.g. QUOTABLE
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.

If you didn’t know Oscar Wilde was Irish, you will when you see the name he was given at birth: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde!

8. One of 640 in a square mile ACRE
At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. This was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one chain wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. A area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

13. Fern seed SPORE
Ferns are unlike mosses, in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

22. Palo Alto-based automotive company TESLA
Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The current base price of a roadster is about $100,000, should you be interested …

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.

25. Dad or fish preceder CRAW
“Crawdad” and “crawfish” are alternative names for crayfish, with “crawdad” being more common in the south of the country.

30. City south of Lisboa PORTO
As has been pointed out by kind blog readers, there’s an error here as Oporto is located north of Lisbon.

In Portuguese, “Lisboa” (Lisbon) and “Porto” (Oporto) are the two largest cities in Portugal.

31. Murphy who voices Donkey in “Shrek” EDDIE
Eddie Murphy is a multi-faceted performer and entertainer from the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Murphy was a comedian on “Saturday Night Live” from 1980 to 1984. He has also appeared in several hit movies, the success of which make Murphy the fourth-highest grossing actor in the country, as of 2014.

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

35. Inverse trig function ARCSIN
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent. Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent (in that order). The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”

38. Potter’s specialty WIZARDRY
The author of the amazingly successful “Harry Potter” series of books is J. K. Rowling. Rowling wrote the first book when she was living on welfare in Edinburgh in Scotland, and in longhand. She would often write in local cafes, largely because she needed to get her baby daughter out of the house (she was a single mom), and the youngster would tend to fall asleep on walks. Within five years, the single mom on welfare became a very rich woman, and is now worth over $1 billion!

40. Indian royal RANI
“Raja” (also “rajah”) is word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.

43. “Great Public Schools for Every Student” gp. NEA
The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the country, and mainly represents public school teachers.

44. Tongue JARGON
“Jargon” can mean nonsensical and meaningless talk, or the specialized language of a particular group, trade or profession. The term is Old French, with the more usual meaning of “a chattering”. How apt …

45. Victim of Iago EMILIA
Emilia and Iago are characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Othello”. Emilia and Iago are a married couple, although Iago kills Emilia late in the play.

49. Taters SPUDS
The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?

54. Béchamel base ROUX
Béchamel sauce is a roux made from butter and flour cooked in milk. It is sometimes known simply as white sauce. Béchamel is also considered one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine, as it is the base of other sauces (along with espagnole, velouté, hollandaise and sauce tomate). For example, adding cheese to the Béchamel mother sauce creates Mornay sauce.

béchamel, espagnole, velouté, and allemande.[1] In the early 20th century, Auguste Escoffier refined this list to the contemporary five “mother sauces” by dropping allemande as a daughter sauce of velouté, and adding hollandaise and sauce tomate

56. Bone, to Benito OSSO
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone as in the name of the dish Osso Buco: braised veal shanks.

60. Bank statement abbr. DEP
Deposit (dep.)

61. Lao Tzu principle TAO
Lao Tse (also Lao-Tzu) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism.

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Traditional Islamic garment BURQA
6. Big fish OPAH
10. Literary group? ARTS
14. On the bad side (of) AFOUL
15. Brazos River city WACO
16. Skin malady CHAP
17. Primus or Helena, in a classic play ROBOT
18. Tan relative ECRU
19. Cord for Ford, perhaps TYPO
20. One keeping tabs on the best man? TOASTER TIMER
23. Preserve, in a way ENCASE
26. Strict SEVERE
27. Feed, but not food VERB
28. Ready to pick RIPE
32. Court period: Abbr. SESS
33. Abbr. in a footnote ET AL
34. Of a battery terminal ANODAL
36. Portrait artist at a gym? SWEATER DRAWER
41. Tank type SEPTIC
42. Optimist’s words I CAN
44. Frequent fliers JETS
47. Where to see decorative nails TOES
48. Defense choice ZONE
49. Biblical prophet SAMUEL
51. Roma’s home ITALIA
53. Coach for a newspaper employee? PRINTER TONER
57. Jamaican fruit UGLI
58. Bucks’ pursuits DOES
59. Augment ADD TO
63. Off DO IN
64. Impedes, with “up” GUMS
65. Haunted house sound CREAK
66. Start of a run, maybe SNAG
67. Big show EXPO
68. Sources of shots HYPOS

Down
1. Shut out BAR
2. Mars rover? UFO
3. Fleece ROB
4. Like Twain and Wilde, e.g. QUOTABLE
5. Chorus section ALTOS
6. Is short OWES
7. Agreement PACT
8. One of 640 in a square mile ACRE
9. Quite a while HOURS
10. Prone to heavy market trading ACTIVE
11. Poet’s stock-in-trade RHYMES
12. Narrows TAPERS
13. Fern seed SPORE
21. Gas up? AERATE
22. Palo Alto-based automotive company TESLA
23. First lady? EVE
24. Has left to spend NETS
25. Dad or fish preceder CRAW
29. Clumsy INEPT
30. City south of Lisboa PORTO
31. Murphy who voices Donkey in “Shrek” EDDIE
35. Inverse trig function ARCSIN
37. Plus ASSET
38. Potter’s specialty WIZARDRY
39. Earth sci. ECOL
40. Indian royal RANI
43. “Great Public Schools for Every Student” gp. NEA
44. Tongue JARGON
45. Victim of Iago EMILIA
46. What some forks are used for TUNING
49. Taters SPUDS
50. Overhang LEDGE
52. Show TEACH
54. Béchamel base ROUX
55. Sub TEMP
56. Bone, to Benito OSSO
60. Bank statement abbr. DEP
61. Lao Tzu principle TAO
62. Sanctions OKS

Return to top of page

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 20 Nov 15, Friday”

  1. What, no comments yet.

    I can understand – this was dang difficult. One more Friday, knocks me out.

    I thought I knew an arab dress – jabaliya / jabaliyya / gabaliya …. dishdasha / kandura were too long. How about Thawb/ thobe / thaub as an alternative ? Crosses and perps proved otherwise. Actually, I was being the worst form of a sexist …. the correct answer was a …. wait for it ….. Burqa. Except that I have always spelt it as 'burkha'…

    Contrary to fanciful fantasy, men do indeed wear additional clothes under the long robes. They generally wear pajamas ( an xword favorite ) and also underwear. How do I know ? Dont ask. All this takes a lot of courage, in places where the temps can easily reach 105oF in the shade. The heat totally enervates you and constricts and constipates you so you lose all desires. An average guy could probably watch a topless woman saunter by, and not twitch a muscle.

    On that uplifting note, I will end.
    Have a great day and a great weekend all.

  2. I wasn't commenting until I either conceded defeat, or came here in triumph…and I'm happy to say it was the later and not the former!

    I didn't think I was going to get the SW corner to fall until I somehow realized that "bats" wasn't working for 44 Across and started thinking about alternatives that would work. When I finally hit on jets that finally allowed me to get 44 Down "jargon" for the clue of "tongue" and the rest, as they say, was history.

    Hope you all have a great Friday. If today was any indication of what tomorrow will be like all I can do is mentally shudder!

  3. @Anonymous

    Once again my lack of geographic facts allows me to get the right answer even though the clue was clueless!

  4. Another smug Friday!!! Finished with no errors. This has been an odd week for me timewise. Tuesday took me longer than Wednesday. Thursday took me longer than Friday…Once I remembered ROUX from past puzzles, the south central filled in and I was done.

    I wonder if 6A "Big Fish" could be the clue for both OPAH and for OPRAH? Probably.

    Porto is indeed south of Lisbon….uhhh..WAY south. You have to go south of Lisbon past Antartica back up the other side of the earth past the Arctic circle and back down to Porto…..

    Obviously that was said in jest, but it's amazing how looking at a flat map of a round earth can be deceiving at times. One striking example was during the construction of a mosque in New York city in the late 1800's (don't quote me on the date). Where the prayers were done had to face Mecca, of course. If you look on a map, it's pretty obvious that Mecca is east-southeast of New York City. However, in actuality as you follow the curvature of the earth etc., you actually need to point the area of the mosque NORTHeast in order to be pointing via a straight line to Mecca. And ultimately after much debate, this is how they actually pointed it.

    Another example a few years back the San Diego Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers were playing an exhibition game in Japan. San Diego was thought to have a bit of an advantage because of the shorter flight. Again – it just looked that way. Although it was indeed shorter for San Diego, the actual difference in flight times – ie San Diego to Tokyo or Pittsburgh to Tokyo – was reported to be only about 20 minutes.

    Sorry for the monologue, but I'm easily entertained by such things. Besides, it's a smug Friday so I get to do whatever I want…..

    Best –

  5. Finally threw in the towel. Fridays are stumping me more than Saturdays lately.
    Really disliked these puns.
    Spelling BURKA threw off the whole NW.
    CHAP is a skin MALADY?
    30D is WRONG!
    Inane cluing IMO.
    PTUI!

  6. I am so over RUR. Can we move on, or do I have to read it first?

    My toaste timer is very difficult to set. Any bread put in my toaster is definitely toast!

  7. I didn't care for this puzzle at all. The clues were too obscure. Maybe I'll do better next Friday. Oh, and Bill, to let you know, béchamel is not THE mother sauce, it's actually one of five mother sauces, along with velouté, espagnole, tomato, and hollandaise. Enjoy the rest of your Friday everyone.

    CJ

  8. Jeff, I heard of the mosque facing North East, when one was being built in NE Ohio, south of Cleveland. I guess in a 3D ORB, a straight line is NOT the shortest distance between 2 points. I wonder what theorem we would apply to find the shortest distance on a regular curved spherical surface.

    Airline flights are affected by several factors:
    1. headwinds or tail winds
    2. Be in close vicinity to an airport at all times, in case of an emergency.
    3. Avoid danger spots like Afghanistan, Ukraine, No Korea, the USSR ….
    4. Stick to the commonly trafficed air lanes

    etc.

    By the way, there is a geometrical term, Antipodes, or Antipodal, for two points exactly ( diametrically – ) opposite on the Earth. . If you start digging a deep hole from one point, and go thru the center of the Earth, you reach the other point….

    Buenos Aires and Beijing are the only 2 capital cities that are antipodal….. and maybe Auckland or Wellington New Zealand, and Paris France.

    Best –

  9. Hey! Vidwan used Jeff's sign-off! Is that legal??!
    Meanwhile, even with cheating, I still managed to misspell a coupla words. I had JAMS instead of GUMS, never fixed it, and ended up with LEDJE!
    What a mess. In my defense I'll say I didn't really try that hard on this one. Congrats to those who finished it.
    Be well~~™

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.