LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Dec 16, Friday




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Constructed by: Gail Grabowski

Edited by: Rich Norris

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

Quicklink to comments

Theme: Polo

Today’s themed answers are well-known phrases, but with the opening letters PO swapped with the letters LO:

  • 17A. “Don’t waste your money on that pendant”? : LOCKET VETO (from “pocket veto”)
  • 23A. Spinner in a numbers game? : LOTTERY WHEEL (from “pottery wheel”)
  • 51A. Hammock? : LOLLING PLACE (from “polling place”)
  • 64A. Pruning ideology? : LOP CULTURE (from “pop culture”)

Bill’s time: 11m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0




Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Bird that’s a national symbol : KIWI

The kiwi is an unusual bird in that it has a highly developed sense of smell and is the only one of our feathered friends with nostrils located at the tip of its long beak.

5. “Chasing Pavements” singer : ADELE

“Chasing Pavements” is a 2008 song written and recorded by English singer Adele. Apparently, Adele wrote the song after discovering that a boyfriend had cheated on her. She met up with him in a bar, punched him in the face and then stormed out. As she walked down the road she asked herself, “What is it you’re chasing? You’re chasing an empty pavement”. I should explain that “pavement” is not the road surface in Britain, but rather the footpath.

10. Party time, casually : B-DAY

Birthday (b-day)

14. Eddie __, detective involved in the actual “French Connection” : EGAN

New York cop Eddie Egan was responsible for breaking up an organized crime ring in the city in 1961, and the seizing of a record amount of heroin (112 pounds). His exploits were chronicled in a book by Robin Moore, which in turn was the basis of the movie “The French Connection” released in 1971. Gene Hackman played Popeye Doyle in the movie, the character based on Egan. Paradoxically, when Egan retired from the police force he started acting and played small roles in 22 movies and television shows.

15. Spring bloomer : TULIP

We usually associate the cultivation of tulips with the Netherlands, but they were first grown commercially in the Ottoman Empire. The name “tulip” ultimately derives from the Ottoman Turkish word “tulbend” which means “muslin, gauze”.

16. Former constellation that included Vela (the sail) : ARGO

The constellation Argo Navis (“Argo the Ship” in Latin) is no longer officially recognized. Instead, it has been divided into its constituent parts: Puppis (“The Poop Deck”), Vela (“The Sails”) and Carina (“The Keel”).

17. “Don’t waste your money on that pendant”? : LOCKET VETO (from “pocket veto”)

In the US, “pocket veto” is the term used for the legal maneuver that kills a piece of legislation when the President takes no action at all. The Constitution requires that the President sign or veto (i.e. a “regular veto”) any legislation within ten days while Congress is in session. If Congress adjourns within the 10-day period, then the bill does not become law. It is this inaction by the President when Congress is out of session that is called a “pocket veto”.

22. Pants part : KNEE

The term “pants”, meaning trousers, is an abbreviated form of “pantaloons” that first appeared in the 1840s. Pantaloons were a kind of tights named for a silly old male character in Italian comedy called “Pantaloun” who always wore tight trousers over skinny legs.

26. Elaborate in design : ROCOCO

The Rococo style is also known as “Late Baroque”. Rococo is a very floral and playful style, very ornate.

31. Daring exploit : GEST

Our word “gest” meaning a great deed or an exploit has been around since about 1300, and comes from the Old French word “geste” meaning the same thing. These days “geste” can also mean “gesture”.

35. One eschewing leather, perhaps : VEGAN

A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

“To eschew”, meaning “to avoid, shun” comes from the Old French word “eschiver” that means the same thing.

40. Pub pick : PALE ALE

Pale ale is a beer made using mainly pale malt, which results in a relatively light color for a malted beer.

42. Presidential nickname : ABE

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.

43. Long bout : SIEGE

Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.

49. Hills of Rome, e.g. : SEPTET

Supposedly, there were seven separate settlements on the top of seven hills east of the River Tiber, prior to the founding of the city of Rome. Tradition dictates that Romulus founded Rome on one of these hills, Palatine Hill, and the city came to encompass all seven existing settlements. The most famous hill in modern-day Rome is probably Vatican Hill, but it lies outside of walled ancient city.

51. Hammock? : LOLLING PLACE (from “polling place”)

Our word “hammock” comes via Spanish from Haiti, evolving from a word used there to describe a fishing net.

66. Pulitzer-winning author James : AGEE

James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

68. Composer Khachaturian : ARAM

Aram Khachaturian was a Soviet-Armenian composer who created many works that were influenced by Armenian culture. Khachaturian’s most famous piece of music is the frenetic “Saber Dance” from the ballet “Gayane”. My favorite composition though is the “Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia”. It was used as the theme for a BBC drama called “The Onedin Line” and will always evoke for me images of tall ships and vast oceans.

71. Sport that hints at this puzzle’s theme : POLO

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

Down

1. Vegetation in underwater forests : KELP

Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.

2. Aviation pioneer Sikorsky : IGOR

Igor Sikorsky was a Russian pioneer in the world of aviation. He designed and indeed piloted the world’s first multi-engine, fixed-wing aircraft in 1913. He moved to the US in 1919 and set up his own aircraft manufacturing business. In the thirties he made the magnificent flying boats that were used by Pan Am in their Clipper era. Sikorsky also developed the world’s first mass-produced helicopter, in 1942.

3. Chisholm Trail city : WACO

The Chisholm Trail was used in the late 1800s by ranchers driving their cattle from Texas to the stockyards and railroad termini in Kansas. The trail was named for Jesse Chisholm who operated trading posts along much of the route.

The Texas city of Waco is named for the Wichita people known as the “Waco”, who occupied the area for thousands of years.

4. Test pattern : INKBLOT

The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which a subject is asked to interpret a series of inkblots. The test was created by Swiss Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in the 1920s.

5. U-verse provider : ATT

AT&T’s U-verse offering is combination of Internet, telephone and television service.

6. Comforter : DUVET

A “duvet” is a large flat bag that is filled with down, feathers or a synthetic substitute that is used as a top cover for a bed. Although a duvet is similar to what is called a “comforter” in the US, there is a difference. A duvet is often has an easily removed cover that is usually laundered at the same time as the bottom sheet and pillowcases. We use them a lot in Europe, and generally without a top sheet due to the ease of laundering.

7. Sorbonne student : ELEVE

The French word “élève” can be translated as “pupil, student”.

The Sorbonne is the name usually used for the old University of Paris, and some of the institutions that have succeeded it.

9. Henry Ford, e.g. : EPONYM

An eponym is a name for something derived from the name of a person, as in the “sandwich” named for the Earl of Sandwich.

The industrialist Henry Ford was born in Michigan, and was the son of an Irish immigrant from County Cork. Ford’s most famous vehicle was the one that revolutionized the industry: the Model T. Ford’s goal with the Model T was to build a car that was simple to drive and and easy and cheap to purchase and repair. The Model T cost $825 in 1908, which isn’t much over $20,000 in today’s money.

10. Excavating aid : BACKHOE

The excavating equipment known as a backhoe is named for the way the vehicle’s shovel works. A backhoe digs by pulling earth “backwards”, and not by lifting it forward like a person shovelling or how a bulldozer works. I always thought that the “back” referred to the location of the shovel on the vehicle, and I was wrong …

11. Hive member : DRONE

Drone bees and ants are fertile males of the species, whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.

18. Fair-hiring agcy. : EEOC

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

24. Draped garment : TOGA

In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

28. Discounted buy : CASE

That could be a case of wine, perhaps.

41. When repeated, Cult Jam singer : LISA

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam was a band that was active in the late eighties and early nineties. Lisa Lisa is the stage name of musician Lisa Velez.

48. “CSI” setting : DNA LAB

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to have finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two season before being canceled in 2016.

51. Multiple Emmy-winning legal drama : LA LAW

“L.A. Law” ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network’s most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful “Hill Street Blues” in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, “E.R.” The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.

52. Missouri river : OSAGE

Much of the Osage River in Missouri is now taken up by two large reservoirs created behind two dams that provide power for St. Louis and the surrounding area. The two reservoirs are the Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks.

54. Sales figure : GROSS

In a statement of accounts, gross profit is the difference between revenue from sales and the cost of making goods or providing a service. So-called fixed costs, of overhead, payroll, taxes and interest payments are not included in gross profits. When these fixed costs have been deducted, what is left is called the net profit, also known as “the bottom line”.

55. Side in a decades-long war : PEPSI

“Cola Wars” is the phrase used to describe the competing marketing campaigns of Coca Cola and PepsiCo. Coke is winning …

60. Peseta replacer : EURO

The peseta is the former currency of Spain, replaced by the euro in 2002.

61. With 33-Down, part of it is now a desert : ARAL
33. See 61-Down : SEA

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 …

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Complete List of Clues and Answers

Across

1. Bird that’s a national symbol : KIWI

5. “Chasing Pavements” singer : ADELE

10. Party time, casually : B-DAY

14. Eddie __, detective involved in the actual “French Connection” : EGAN

15. Spring bloomer : TULIP

16. Former constellation that included Vela (the sail) : ARGO

17. “Don’t waste your money on that pendant”? : LOCKET VETO (from “pocket veto”)

19. Insulated cable : CORD

20. Thorough investigation : PROBE

21. Opposite of bumpy : EVEN

22. Pants part : KNEE

23. Spinner in a numbers game? : LOTTERY WHEEL (from “pottery wheel”)

26. Elaborate in design : ROCOCO

29. It’s heard in a herd : MOO

30. Online service option : CHAT

31. Daring exploit : GEST

35. One eschewing leather, perhaps : VEGAN

39. Satisfied sounds : AHS

40. Pub pick : PALE ALE

42. Presidential nickname : ABE

43. Long bout : SIEGE

45. Start of something big? : MAXI-

46. Quiets, in a way : OILS

47. Quirky : ODD

49. Hills of Rome, e.g. : SEPTET

51. Hammock? : LOLLING PLACE (from “polling place”)

57. Beginning : AS OF

58. Square figure : AREA

59. Early or late hr., depending : ONE AM

63. Go on : LAST

64. Pruning ideology? : LOP CULTURE (from “pop culture”)

66. Pulitzer-winning author James : AGEE

67. Sure-footed critters : ASSES

68. Composer Khachaturian : ARAM

69. “What __ you thinking?” : WERE

70. Not a hit, usually : B-SIDE

71. Sport that hints at this puzzle’s theme : POLO

Down

1. Vegetation in underwater forests : KELP

2. Aviation pioneer Sikorsky : IGOR

3. Chisholm Trail city : WACO

4. Test pattern : INKBLOT

5. U-verse provider : ATT

6. Comforter : DUVET

7. Sorbonne student : ELEVE

8. Large soda bottle label word : LITER

9. Henry Ford, e.g. : EPONYM

10. Excavating aid : BACKHOE

11. Hive member : DRONE

12. Think alike : AGREE

13. Mountain air : YODEL

18. Fair-hiring agcy. : EEOC

24. Draped garment : TOGA

25. Zigzagged : WOVE

26. Some TVs : RCAS

27. Offhand greeting : OH HI

28. Discounted buy : CASE

32. Split-resistant wood : ELM

33. See 61-Down : SEA

34. Stress : TAX

36. Trot, say : GAIT

37. Skilled : ABLE

38. Source of tweets : NEST

40. Beginning to cure? : PEDI-

41. When repeated, Cult Jam singer : LISA

44. Driver’s gadget : GOLF TEE

46. Source of flowing water : OPEN TAP

48. “CSI” setting : DNA LAB

50. Sci. concerned with biodiversity : ECOL

51. Multiple Emmy-winning legal drama : LA LAW

52. Missouri river : OSAGE

53. Usually disappointed one : LOSER

54. Sales figure : GROSS

55. Side in a decades-long war : PEPSI

56. Tied : LACED

60. Peseta replacer : EURO

61. With 33-Down, part of it is now a desert : ARAL

62. Exec’s reminder : MEMO

65. Purpose : USE

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 16 Dec 16, Friday”

  1. Goldilocks Friday. Just about right – not too easy not to hard for a Friday. Even so I missed the “C” in ROCOCO. I couldn’t think of CASE either so I punted and just came to the blog for that last letter.

    Robin Moore also wrote a book called “The Moscow Connection” that was also fiction based on fact about the Russian mob and their rise to power after the fall of the Soviet Union. I enjoyed it enough that I have actually read it twice which is not something I usually do with fiction. I highly recommend it. The real life mobster portrayed in the book (Yaponchik or “Little Japanese”) was shot to death a few years ago.

    Dave – You may or may not realize this (I didn’t) but even though it seems like we’re often alone over there at the NYT blog, the solvers who do the puzzles in syndication write in their comments exactly 5 weeks after the fact as that’s when the grids we do contemporaneously with the actual NYT come out in syndication. I’ve been looking at those comments recently. Some people do respond to stuff we wrote weeks ago. News to me.

    Vidwan – Glad you’re still here with us. It surprises me that such dry snow was so slick. I’ve seen that with 32 degree ice/snow mixes but not at those temps.

    Best-

    1. @Jeff … I did know about the syndicated posters on the NYT web site, having been one of them until early this year. For several months, I did the NYT puzzles twice – on my iPad when they were first available and on paper five weeks later. I still check the blog at both times.

      Some of the worst driving conditions in Iowa were the result of water vapor freezing directly onto very cold blacktop, resulting in what we referred to as “black ice” – very hard to see, especially in the dark, and extremely slippery. (Sometimes, there’d be a little new snow on top of the ice and it would be even more slippery.)

      For eight years, I walked about a quarter of a mile to and from school. On one occasion, ice began freezing on everything after I got to school and continued for several hours. By the end of the day, there was at least an inch of ice on everything. Our farmhouse was on a hill and, as I approached it, I found that I could only get a little way up the hill before falling down and sliding to the bottom again. Ultimately, I got home only by approaching the house from a pasture where I could pull myself hand over hand uphill along a fence. Miserable conditions …

  2. Waiting to get my haircut and this grid made an excellent diversion. Gest had me hung up for awhile as did elm, pale ale and maxi. The center was last to fall, but finally I was suddenly out of the woods and back to civilization. Hope you all have an excellent gateway to the weekend.

  3. @all
    Didn’t get my usual puzzle day again, so jumped on the others early. 2 errors on yesterday’s puzzle as a result of guesses, but nothing particularly eventful. Onward to the rest of the week and the WSJ puzzle contest. 🙂 I will say I’ve been getting more efficient as of late, so that’s a piece of good news that I’m showing a bit more improvement.

    I ended up with one of Patrick Berry’s puzzle books (something for the season, I suppose), so been doing those too (18 for 18 so far). Not sure there’s a good place to comment on that, though…

    @Jeff
    I’ve been doing most all the NYT on syndication for the last few months (actually it’s 6 weeks – one week on Sunday grids). I used to comment on every NYT puzzle I did when I started coming around here, but I got to the point of wondering if they’re even read. But I do think, historically, that Bill’s blog gets more comment traffic (he’d have to answer on “general” traffic) on syndication days than on the days of original release, simply because more people see and do them at that time.

    I can always comment over there, but at the rate I obtain the puzzles (Wednesdays and Sundays) and do them, it turns into 2 or 3 days after the fact, and sometimes more if I get stumped on something. All I can really say is that there’s about a 95% chance I’ll do a puzzle (WSJ/NYT) eventually, so I can always offer my thoughts eventually if someone is interested.

  4. Dave – I experienced black ice one time driving from Houston to St. Louis over a Christmas break between semesters in college. I couldn’t drive 100 feet on a straight flat stretch of road without spinning out. I had to abandon my car, have it towed and spend 2 nights in a motel in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. Absolutely awful sensation.

    Glenn – not that it matters, but comments for the November 10th NYT grid were appearing yesterday December 15th on Bill’s NYT blog. By my calculation that’s 5 weeks. That’s where I was getting my numbers. Is the syndication lag time indeed 6 weeks? If so, is there some way these people are getting syndication a week early?…or the actual NYT 5 weeks late? Just a curiosity..

    Best –

    1. @Jeff and @Glenn … The Denver Post publishes the daily puzzles five weeks – and the Sunday puzzles one week – after they appear in the New York Times. Maybe some papers delay the daily puzzles a little longer?

      @Jeff … You encountered black ice all right. I had a climbing buddy from California who used to scoff at the phrase “black ice”, saying scornfully “ice is ice”. I never could get through to him what it meant to somebody who grew up driving where I did. Another feature of the two-lane highways I learned to drive on: They were narrow and they had curbs. If you were meeting a semi and you wandered just a little too far to the right, they would grab the passenger-side tires and try to pull you to the right, the usual result being to overcorrect and veer to the left. Thankfully, those roads have now been widened and are curbless. (And now my memory has given me sweaty palms … 🙂 )

      1. There’s an FAQ on my NYTCrossword blog in which I try to unravel the mystery of the syndicated crossword. The problems really arise when a puzzle is published in the NYT with special characters or features. Some papers that syndicate the puzzle can’t cope with the “oddities”, and so publish an older puzzle from the archive. That causes all sorts of confusion. Another issue is that the puzzle number used by the NYT gives the day and month of original publication, but not the year. Things are so much simpler over here in LAT Land 🙂

  5. This took a long time, but I finally got it.
    Center of the grid was the last to fall.
    Did an awful lot of guessing. Even got the theme, which helped.
    PEPSI was a complete surprise.
    Hills of Rome reminded me of Respighi’s
    Pines of Rome
    We had RAIN 🙂 in SoCal!
    Yay!

  6. Pookie, I watched your video, as above. Truly wonderful, and a very long, well deserved, standing ovation.

    I had a tough time with the puzzle. Even simple answers seem to confound me. I tried to learn what I could. But even then, answers like CASE were very complicated.

    I did read about Drones, in Wiki, and their genealogy is very, very complicated. They have one parent, then one parent, then three parents, then five parents – like a Fibonacci sequence. My, oh my. No more, two, four, eight, sixteen sequence….. I never would have guessed.
    The entire article evokes memories, of what the world would be like, if the females were the ultimate and dominant sex !@!@

    Yesterdays, narrow escape, has made me more respectful of my/our mortality and how important chance, luck and fortune are in our lives.
    Have a nice day, all.

  7. @Vidwan That’s scary what happened yesterday.
    It could only have been worse if you were returning from one of your eye doctor appointments with your drops in. Aaack!
    Be careful, will you?

  8. We’ve been iced in for 3 days. Yesterday’s paper was so late I did the puzzle in bed bef turning out the light. Never did get today’s paper.
    I’m really grateful the power stayed on.
    See you all next week-

  9. Another relatively easy puzzle for me today, 25 minutes or so, but with three errors by neglect: Mega instead of MAXI. I’d put Mega in first and since ELM fit, I just left it without checking later.

    Re Black ice; I experienced it way back when I was in the service, driving from AZ to OK, somewhere in Eastern NM on a two lane highway. I came up on a patch and started spinning. I knew that I had to turn the wheel toward the spin, but over-corrected and ended up 270 degrees the other way around in a slight snow ditch. Fortunately I was able to push my light sports car back onto the side of the road. I stood for awhile and then proceeded at 20-30 mph.

    Re Drones They have the good life in the hive (sort of); no work and getting fed by the female Worker bees and then flying out in search of virgin Queens to mate with. There’s no hanky-panky in the hive since they are all the offspring of the Queen. The drawback occurs in that they die during mating. If they never mate, then they get pushed out of the hive by the Worker bees in August, or so, since they are no longer needed and are a waste of resources.

    @Carrie I inadvertently included a MLB idiom, if that’s what you meant, but it just felt like the right expression 🙂

  10. Hi folks!
    DIRK! I meant that your term, wheelhouse, also refers to where the captain of a ship stands, and yesterday’s theme involved ship captains!!! So you see you are very clever, IMO!! ?
    I also got hung up in dead center on this puzzle…didn’t know GEST but I penciled it in and finished successfully. I think I found this one harder than some of y’all did.
    As for black ice: it sounds absolutely terrifying. Here in LA our weather/driving hazard seems mild in comparison: with the first rain, the roads are slick, since they’ve been dry except for the random motor oil. One has to be careful (a lot of drivers here are NOT.) Yet these conditions can be seriously dangerous. Once I was driving along a rather busy boulevard in a light rain. Someone tried a left turn right in front of me. I must have slammed the brakes…my car lost traction, “fish tailed,” and swerved 120° or so. Terrifying!! I was VERY lucky — there WERE other drivers in my path but they got out of my way.
    Be careful out there!!
    Sweet dreams~~™??

  11. Most of you guys just want to chat about irrelevant stuff. Please stay on task in the future and only talk about the puzzle. Your comments about ice/snow/rain are not germane. Maybe you guys should become “besties” on whatever social-media website you’re into, but please, stick to the puzzle in future comments, okay!

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