LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Dec 16, Thursday




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Constructed by: Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

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Theme: Juggling

Each of today’s themed answers ends with items that can be used when JUGGLING. And, in the center of the grid we’re JUGGLING the circled letters J-U-G-G-L-I-N-G:

  • 17A. Elaborate costume parties : MASKED BALLS
  • 53A. Places for seeing stars? : BOXING RINGS
  • 11D. What can help you avoid getting stuck changing diapers? : SAFETY PINS
  • 28D. Groups with a piece-keeping strategy? : CHESS CLUBS

Bill’s time: 8m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Asset for Sherlock : LOGIC

According to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his Sherlock Holmes character was based on a Dr. Joseph Bell for whom Doyle worked in Edinburgh. That said, Bell actually wrote a letter to Doyle in which he said “you are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it”.

11. Additional information? : SUM

The information coming from adding numbers is the sum.

16. What makes a deal ideal? : AN I

If we add a letter I to the word “deal”, we get the word “ideal”.

21. Prosperity : WEAL

“Weal” is “prosperity, happiness”, and has the same roots as the word “wealth”.

24. Golden __ : AGER

A “golden ager” is a senior citizen.

25. “I used to be Snow White, but I __”: Mae West : DRIFTED

Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:

  • When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
  • When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
  • I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
  • Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
  • Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
  • It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • To err is human, but it feels divine.
  • I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
  • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
  • Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

26. Part of the pelvis : SACRUM

The sacrum and the two ilia are three bones in the human pelvis.

31. LPGA great Lopez : NANCY

Nancy Lopez is an American professional golfer and winner of 48 LPGA Tour events. Lopez turned professional in 1997 and retired in 2003. However, she came out of retirement in 2007 and is still playing today.

35. Rare blood type, briefly : A-NEG

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

38. “But __ got high hopes … “: song lyric : HE’S

Sammy Cahn wrote the lyrics for “High Hopes” for the 1959 film “A Hole in the Head”, and the song won an Oscar that year. Frank Sinatra was the star of the movie, and he recorded the most famous version of the song.

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes
He’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie
In the sky hopes

40. Prefix with -gram : PENTA-

A pentagram is a star-shape with five points that has been drawn using five straight lines. The name “pentagram” comes from the Greek for “five line”. The shape is sometimes also called a “pentacle”, “pentalpha” or “pentangle”. The pentagram is used as a prominent symbol in several religions and movements, notably in modern occultism.

41. Like angel food cake : SPONGY

Angel food cake is an American creation, with the name being a reference to the sponge’s lightness, as if it is “food of angels”. The chocolate butter cake called Devil’s food cake came along later, and is considered to be a counterpart to the more angelic variety.

43. Curry favor with, with “to” : KISS UP

“To curry” is to seek, at least when it is used in the phrase “to curry favor”.

47. Distance runners : MILERS

The 4-minute barrier for the mile run was first broken in 1954 by Roger Bannister, when he finished in just over 3m 59s. The record for males now stands at 3m 43s. If you plan on running a 4-minute mile, you should probably be warned that this means you have to run the whole race at an average speed of over 15 mph (do the math!).

48. First name in folk : JONI

Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Fort MacLeod in Alberta. Mitchell is perhaps best known for her recordings “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock”.

49. How it’s always done, initially : SOP

Standard operating procedure (SOP)

52. Heat meas. : BTU

In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

56. CSA soldier : REB

The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation and retained the post for the life of the government.

61. “Check” : NO BET

That would be in the card game poker.

Down

1. NASA vehicles : LEMS

In the Apollo program, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was the vehicle that actually landed on the moon and returned the astronauts to the command module that was orbiting overhead. The third LEM built was named “Spider”, and it participated in the Apollo 9 mission which tested the functionality of the LEM design in space. The fourth LEM was called “Snoopy” and it flew around the moon in the Apollo 10 mission, the dress rehearsal for the upcoming moon landing. Apollo 11’s LEM was called “Eagle” and it brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to and from the moon’s surface. Another famous LEM was Apollo 13’s Aquarius. Although Aquarius never landed on the moon, it did serve as a “lifeboat” for the three astronauts after the explosive rupture of an oxygen canister in the Service Module.

2. Fish with vermilion fins : 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 one huge fish …

5. Enjoy Orbit : CHEW GUM

Orbit is a sugarless gum made by Wrigley’s. Orbit was first introduced during WWII, but was taken off the shelves in the 1980s when there was a concern that the gum’s sweetener was carcinogenic. Orbit was relaunched in 2001.

6. Masonry-reinforcing rod : REBAR

A steel bar or mesh that is used to reinforce concrete is called “rebar”, short for “reinforcing bar”.

7. Inland Asian sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

8. D.C. player : POL

A “pol” is a politician, especially one known for making deals.

11. What can help you avoid getting stuck changing diapers? : SAFETY PINS

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term diaper was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, diaper was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

23. Toronto Argonauts’ org. : CFL

The Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes play in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

25. Hustle or shuffle : DANCE

The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.

The shuffle is a dance that includes a sliding or scraping step. And, that step is also known as a shuffle.

26. Former Mideast ruler : SHAH

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

28. Groups with a piece-keeping strategy? : CHESS CLUBS

It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

  • Infantry (now “pawns”)
  • Cavalry (now “knights”)
  • Elephants (now “bishops”)
  • Chariots (now “rooks”)

29. Like many a stray dog : MANGY

Mange is a skin disorder in animals caused by parasitic mites that embed themselves in the skin, perhaps living in hair follicles. The same disorder in humans is called scabies.

31. Bay sound : NEIGH

Bay is a reddish-brown color, usually used to describe the coat of a horse.

33. Incredulous dying words : ET TU

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?), in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life just before he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

34. “Hurry!” letters : ASAP!

As soon as possible (ASAP)

37. Storied loch : NESS

The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.

39. New Orleans’ __ Street : BOURBON

When New Orleans was founded by the French, the House of Bourbon was ruling France. Bourbon Street was named in its honor.

The House of Bourbon is a royal house in Europe that ruled France right up until the French Revolution. Famous French kings such as Louis XIV and Louis XVI all belonged to the House of Bourbon.

40. Crude smelting product : PIG IRON

“Pig iron” is crude iron that has been cast in blocks. The traditional molds produce ingots attached to a central runner. The configuration resembles a sow (the runner) with piglets (the ingots) suckling. This similarity gave rise to the name “pig iron”.

42. “Once upon a midnight dreary” poet : POE

The first verse of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door

43. Two-checker piece : KING

In the game of checkers, when a “man” reaches the other side of the board, it is promoted to “king”.

44. Eclipse shadow : UMBRA

A shadow usually has three distinct parts called the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, with the terms most often used with reference to the shadows cast by celestial bodies. The terms can also be used to describe the levels of darkness in sunspots. The umbra (Latin for “shadow”) is the innermost, darkest part of a shadow. The penumbra (“almost shadow”, from Latin) is a lighter part of a shadow, where part of the light source “leaks” around the body casting the shadow. The antumbra phenomenon is experienced when the object casting the shadow is sufficiently far away from the viewer so that it appears smaller than the light source, with an annular ring around it. When the eye is in the shadow cast by an object that has light passing around it, the eye is in the antumbra.

49. Stuffed shirt : SNOB

Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

54. Ones following the nus? : XIS

The Greek letter “xi”, despite the name, is not the precursor of our letter X. Our X comes from the Greek letter “chi”.

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Asset for Sherlock : LOGIC

6. Fast : RAPID

11. Additional information? : SUM

14. Important period : EPOCH

15. Eat into : ERODE

16. What makes a deal ideal? : AN I

17. Elaborate costume parties : MASKED BALLS

19. Pickle : FIX

20. “Zip it!” : SHH!

21. Prosperity : WEAL

22. “Blah, blah, blah,” for short : ETC ETC

24. Golden __ : AGER

25. “I used to be Snow White, but I __”: Mae West : DRIFTED

26. Part of the pelvis : SACRUM

29. In essence : MAINLY

30. “Bor-r-ring” : HO-HUM

31. LPGA great Lopez : NANCY

32. Green shade : PEA

35. Rare blood type, briefly : A-NEG

36. Shakespearean barmaid : WENCH

37. Picky details : NITS

38. “But __ got high hopes … “: song lyric : HE’S

39. Neutral tone : BEIGE

40. Prefix with -gram : PENTA-

41. Like angel food cake : SPONGY

43. Curry favor with, with “to” : KISS UP

44. Ill-mannered : UNCOUTH

46. Veers suddenly : ZIGS

47. Distance runners : MILERS

48. First name in folk : JONI

49. How it’s always done, initially : SOP

52. Heat meas. : BTU

53. Places for seeing stars? : BOXING RINGS

56. CSA soldier : REB

57. Green shade : OLIVE

58. Fragrances : ODORS

59. Pack animal : ASS

60. Snooped (around) : NOSED

61. “Check” : NO BET

Down

1. NASA vehicles : LEMS

2. Fish with vermilion fins : OPAH

3. “Jeepers!” : GOSH!

4. “Ugh!” : ICK!

5. Enjoy Orbit : CHEW GUM

6. Masonry-reinforcing rod : REBAR

7. Inland Asian sea : ARAL

8. D.C. player : POL

9. Set-for-life set : IDLE RICH

10. Lot : DESTINY

11. What can help you avoid getting stuck changing diapers? : SAFETY PINS

12. Form a coalition : UNITE

13. Personalized collection of love songs, say : MIX CD

18. Consider : DEEM

23. Toronto Argonauts’ org. : CFL

24. “… bug in __” : A RUG

25. Hustle or shuffle : DANCE

26. Former Mideast ruler : SHAH

27. Tops : A-ONE

28. Groups with a piece-keeping strategy? : CHESS CLUBS

29. Like many a stray dog : MANGY

31. Bay sound : NEIGH

33. Incredulous dying words : ET TU

34. “Hurry!” letters : ASAP!

36. Tried to make it on one’s own : WENT SOLO

37. Storied loch : NESS

39. New Orleans’ __ Street : BOURBON

40. Crude smelting product : PIG IRON

42. “Once upon a midnight dreary” poet : POE

43. Two-checker piece : KING

44. Eclipse shadow : UMBRA

45. Times in ads : NITES

46. Daydreamed, with “out” : ZONED

48. Nonsense talk, whose circled letter is the start of what might be done with items in the four longest puzzle answers : JIVE

49. Stuffed shirt : SNOB

50. Brutish one : OGRE

51. “You there!” : PSST!

54. Ones following the nus? : XIS

55. Court promise : I DO

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7 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 1 Dec 16, Thursday”

  1. 13:33, no errors, iPad. For me, an odd mix of easy and hard clues, leading to a number of missteps … but it all worked out in the end …

    I liked Vidwan’s mnemonic for stalagmites and stalactites, but I’ve always used a different one: “The mites come up and the tights go down!”

  2. I thought this was pretty straighforward except I had no idea as to the theme until I saw the blog.

    WEAL as a root was new to me, and AN I was quite the groaner – even though I had guessed it simply by looking at the clue.

    I like this one better: Stalagmites are on the ground and you might trip over them. Stalactites have to hold on tight so they don’t falldown

    Best –

  3. Didn’t get the theme, and a Natick at SUM crosses MIXCD.

    Had AcmE before AONE. Didn’t know what NO BET meant. Heavy duty card games are in the same category as sports for me.

  4. Only got hung up on blah, blah, blah = ETCETC. Doubling up on ETC was dubious. Further, given the clue, why wasn’t the answer ETCETCETC?

  5. I had a very tough time – and my comment is late. I got hung up even on the easy words. I couldn’t even think of Epoch. Then I came to the blog and went looking for antumbra(s)…. which led me to host of other light phenomenas er, phenomenae ?. I had guessed ETC ETC correctly.

    Then I spent a hour reading about the design of rebars …. Concrete can take a 160 times more compression, than it can withstand tension stresses, hence the need for metal rods ( prestrained or otherwise, normal ) to handle any tension related stresses. I remember doing the calculations, on a slide rule, during my Strength of Materials, class.

    The new U S Secy of the Treasury is Steve Mnuchin ( Mah-new-chin ) .
    Think plastic surgery – my new chin ….. Friday xword constructors will love him.
    There goes the Wizard of Oz favorite …. munchkin …. He is the 3rd Goldman Sachs partner, to the U S Treasury after Robert Rubin, and Henry Paulson. He also co-produced Mad Max and Avatar – quite a story.

    Re: Stalactites (c=ceiling) and Stalagmites (g=ground) …. honestly, I don’t think that it is so very cute ….. but it is an original. I made it up because I, myself, was getting confused all the time. In that same spirit, Laevo (l-left handed ) and Dextro (r=right handed ) rotation of say, polarized light or the radical on the molecule – just a small point to keep me straight.

    Again Supine (s=facing sky ) versus Prone ( Pr= facing perdition, down towards Hell ). I haven’t quite figured out Dorsal ( side faces up when supine) and Ventral ( down on side , when supine ) ….. maybe somebody will be kind enough to help ….

    Have a nice day, all.

  6. Boy PENTAgrams, heat Measures(BTU), DESTINY, Rare Blood types(A NEG)…I’m just say’n 🙂

    I couldn’t get much going while selling honey at the Farmers Market today, too busy. After I got home I made short work of it…pretty easy for a Thursday, say 25 minutes or so, on paper.

  7. Hi all!
    Good puzzle, tho I thought there were too many of those dang non-words, like SHH, ICK, and PSST. I did like the circles in a circle JUGGLING. Very cute.
    Does anyone still use cloth diapers with safety pins?
    I had JOAN before JONI and NOTED before NO BET (a phrase I didn’t know.)
    Hey Vidwan, re. Mnuchin, did you happen to see my note on Tuesday? (Not important really: just wondered.)
    Thank you Bill for all the great info! Love the Mae West quotes.
    Back mañana!!
    Be well~~™??

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