LA Times Crossword 11 Nov 19, Monday

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Constructed by: Kevin C. Christian
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): X-O in the Middle

Themed answers are each three-word phrases, with the second word containing just two letters and ending with the letter O:

  • 20A Sheepless nursery rhyme character : LITTLE BO-PEEP
  • 34A Irish allegiance shout : ERIN GO BRAGH
  • 41A End of a proverb embodied by three monkeys : … SPEAK NO EVIL
  • 51A “Why are you laughing?” : WHAT’S SO FUNNY?

Bill’s time: 5m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Craftsy website : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

14 “I understand now” : AHSO

The slang term “ahso” is used in American English to mean “I see”. The term derives from the Japanese expression “Ah so desu ka” meaning “Oh, that’s how it is”.

15 Crime boss John known as “The Teflon Don” : GOTTI

John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family from 1985. Gotti was known as the “Teflon Don” and took over leadership of the family from Paul Castellano when he was gunned down, allegedly on Gotti’s orders. Gotti remained head of the New York family until he was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Gotti died of throat cancer after ten years behind bars.

16 Letter before kappa : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

17 Spaghetti sauce brand : RAGU

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

18 Composer Ned : ROREM

American composer Ned Rorem is famous for his musical compositions, but also for his book “Paris Diary of Ned Rorem” that was published in 1966. Rorem talks openly about his sexuality in the book, and also about the sexual orientation of others including Noël Coward, Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber, much to some people’s chagrin.

19 Inside look at a hospital? : X-RAY

X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901, Röntgen’s work on X-rays won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded.

20 Sheepless nursery rhyme character : LITTLE BO-PEEP

The lines that are most commonly quoted for the rhyme about “Little Bo Peep” are:

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

But, there are actually four more verses, including this one:

It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.

24 Letter after kappa : LAMBDA

The Greek letter lambda is equivalent to the letter L in our modern Latin alphabet. The uppercase lambda resembles the caret character on a keyboard (over the number-6 key).

28 Usain Bolt race pace : SPRINT

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

31 Bric-a-__ : BRAC

“Bric-a-brac” is a French phrase (actually “bric-à-brac”) that was used as far back as the 16th century. Back then, it was a nonsense term meaning “at random” or “any old way”. Since Victorian times we have used the phrase in English to describe a collection of curios, statues and the like. In modern usage, bric-a-brac tends to be a selection of cheaper items.

33 Tokyo dough : YEN

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

34 Irish allegiance shout : ERIN GO BRAGH

“Erin go bragh!” is an anglicization of the Irish phrase “Éirinn go Brách!”, which translates as “Ireland Forever!”

36 British sports car, familiarly : JAG

Auto manufacturer Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).

37 Cold and damp : DANK

“Dank” is such a lovely word that has largely been superseded by “damp”, another nice word. It is thought that “dank” came into English from Scandinavia some time before the 14th century. The modern Swedish word “dank” means “moist place”.

41 End of a proverb embodied by three monkeys : … SPEAK NO EVIL

The old adage “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” originated in the 17th century. The phrase comes as an interpretation of a wood carving over a door in a shrine in Nikko, Japan. The carving depicts the “Three Wise Monkeys”:

  • Mizaru, covering his eyes
  • Kikazaru, covering his ears
  • Iwazaru, covering his mouth

47 Twins Ashley and Mary-Kate : OLSENS

I know very little about the Olsen twins, but I am told that many folks believe Mary-Kate and Ashley to be identical twins. They look very much alike, but are in fact fraternal twins. The sisters were cast as Michelle Tanner on the eighties sitcom “Full House”, taking turns playing the role.

50 WWII female : WAC

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). I like a quotation from the front of the WAC physical training manual from 1943: “Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over.” Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

58 Apple’s virtual assistant : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

62 Actress Falco : EDIE

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

63 Day to beware : IDES

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

64 Make used (to) : ENURE

“Enure” is a variant spelling of “inure”, which means “to harden oneself against the effects of, to accustom oneself to”.

65 Spy __ Hari : MATA

“Mata Hari” was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.

66 Milne’s “The House at __ Corner” : POOH

“The House at Pooh Corner” is the second volume of stories written by A. A. Milne about the wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh. “The House at Pooh Corner” marks the first time we meet the bouncy character called Tigger.

Down

1 Jimmy Carter’s middle name : EARL

President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter (JEC) is a graduate of the US Naval Academy (USNA). Carter served in the Navy on surface ships and submarines, and chose to pursue a career in the submarine service as he was interested in nuclear power and believed it had a great future in submarine design. As a result, he became an expert in nuclear propulsion. In 1952, the Navy sent the young Carter to the Chalk River Laboratories in Canada to lead the US effort to shut down the reactor after an accident and partial meltdown of a reactor core. He and his team had to be lowered into the leaking reactor core for mechanical disassembly, staying there for only seconds at a time to minimise exposure to radiation. Decades later as US President, it was this experience that influenced Carter’s decision not to complete the development of the neutron bomb.

2 Bangkok native : THAI

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. The exact etymology of the name “Bangkok” seems unclear, although “bang” is a Thai word for “a village situated on a stream”.

3 USAF NCO : SSGT

A staff sergeant (SSgt.) is a non-commissioned officer (NCO).

6 __ tube: TV : BOOB

“Idiot box” and “boob tube” are nicknames for television.

8 Sch. near the Rio Grande : UTEP

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was founded in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. To this day, there is a mine shaft on the campus. The mascot of the school’s sports teams is Paydirt Pete, a prospector from the mining industry. The teams are also known as the UTEP Miners and Lady Miners.

The Rio Grande (Spanish for “big river”) is a waterway that forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte (Spanish for “furious river of the north”).

9 Streaming delay : TIME LAG

In Internet terms, lag is a delay in response caused by network latency. We might notice lag when streaming a video, for example.

11 Country with fjords: Abbr. : NOR

Norway has been ranked as the country in the world with the highest standard of living almost every year since 2001. Norway is rich in natural resources and has a relatively low population. The people benefit from a comprehensive social security system, subsidized higher education for all citizens and universal health care. And Norway is famous for her success at the Winter Olympic Games, having won more gold medals than any other nation in the world.

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

12 Actress Hagen : UTA

Uta Hagen was a German-born, American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

21 Like 1,225-page “War and Peace” : LONG

I have to confess that I have tried to read Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” twice in my life, and failed both times (it is l-o-n-g; 1,225 pages in the first published edition). Even though the 1956 movie adaptation runs for 3 1/2 hours, it’s still the easy way out! The film version stars Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostova and Henry Fonda as Count Pierre Bezukhov.

25 Quaint exclamation : BY JOVE!

“By Jove!” is a mild oath that calls on the Roman god Jove, who was also known as Jupiter.

27 Mike Trout’s team : ANGELS

Mike Trout debuted as a professional baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels in 2011. Trout’s nickname is “the Millville Meteor”, as he grew up in Millville, New Jersey.

28 Passover meals : SEDERS

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. One of the traditions at the meal is that the youngest child at the table asks “The Four Questions”, all relating to why this night is different from all other nights in the year:

  • Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?

29 Czech capital city : PRAGUE

The beautiful city of Prague is today the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague’s prominence in Europe has come and gone over the centuries. For many years, it was the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire.

30 Dead __: look-alike : RINGER

A dead ringer is an exact duplicate. The phrase comes from the use of “dead” to mean “exact, precise” as in “dead center” or “dead heat”, as well as the use of “ringer” from the world of horse racing. A ringer was a horse that looked similar to another, but which was substituted to defraud the bookies. So, a dead ringer is an exact duplicate.

39 2004-2011 TV series about firefighters : RESCUE ME

“Rescue Me” is a television drama made for the FX Network. Star of the show is Denis Leary who plays a veteran New York City firefighter.

41 Ousted Iranian leader : SHAH

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who 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.

42 Core exercise system : PILATES

Pilates is a physical exercise system developed by, and named for, Joseph Pilates. Pilates introduced his system of exercises in 1883 in Germany.

44 Norwegian saint : OLAF

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made the patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

52 Author Morrison : TONI

Writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

53 Egg on : SPUR

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

55 Minn. neighbor : NDAK

North Dakota’s state capital is Bismarck, and the largest city is Fargo. The list of state nicknames includes the Peace Garden State, the Roughrider State and the Flickertail State.

56 Nick at __ : NITE

“Nick at Nite” is the name given to the late-night programming aired on the Nickelodeon channel space. Nick at Nite started broadcasting in 1985 and was conceived as television’s first “oldies” television network.

60 Rock’s __ Speedwagon : REO

REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that formed in 1967, and is still going strong. The band’s biggest hits are “Keep On Loving You” (1980) and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1985). The founding members chose the name for the REO Speed Wagon flatbed truck. Note that the band’s name is one word “Speedwagon”, whereas the vehicle’s name uses two words “Speed Wagon”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Craftsy website : ETSY
5 Regarding : ABOUT
10 Like a bug in a rug : SNUG
14 “I understand now” : AHSO
15 Crime boss John known as “The Teflon Don” : GOTTI
16 Letter before kappa : IOTA
17 Spaghetti sauce brand : RAGU
18 Composer Ned : ROREM
19 Inside look at a hospital? : X-RAY
20 Sheepless nursery rhyme character : LITTLE BO-PEEP
23 Clod chopper : HOE
24 Letter after kappa : LAMBDA
28 Usain Bolt race pace : SPRINT
31 Bric-a-__ : BRAC
33 Tokyo dough : YEN
34 Irish allegiance shout : ERIN GO BRAGH
36 British sports car, familiarly : JAG
37 Cold and damp : DANK
38 Many millennia : EON
39 Auditioner’s goal : ROLE
40 Over-easy item : EGG
41 End of a proverb embodied by three monkeys : … SPEAK NO EVIL
45 Regret : RUE
46 __ legs: rear pair : HIND
47 Twins Ashley and Mary-Kate : OLSENS
48 Episodic story : SERIAL
50 WWII female : WAC
51 “Why are you laughing?” : WHAT’S SO FUNNY?
58 Apple’s virtual assistant : SIRI
61 Refill, as a partly drunk drink : TOP UP
62 Actress Falco : EDIE
63 Day to beware : IDES
64 Make used (to) : ENURE
65 Spy __ Hari : MATA
66 Milne’s “The House at __ Corner” : POOH
67 Police car warning : SIREN
68 Scratches (out) : EKES

Down

1 Jimmy Carter’s middle name : EARL
2 Bangkok native : THAI
3 USAF NCO : SSGT
4 Sarcastic “Could that be more obvious?” : YOU THINK?
5 Go along with : AGREE TO
6 __ tube: TV : BOOB
7 Mexican “other” : OTRO
8 Sch. near the Rio Grande : UTEP
9 Streaming delay : TIME LAG
10 Typical dinner hr. : SIX PM
11 Country with fjords: Abbr. : NOR
12 Actress Hagen : UTA
13 Carefree : GAY
21 Like 1,225-page “War and Peace” : LONG
22 Apiece : EACH
25 Quaint exclamation : BY JOVE!
26 Add (a player) to the poker game : DEAL IN
27 Mike Trout’s team : ANGELS
28 Passover meals : SEDERS
29 Czech capital city : PRAGUE
30 Dead __: look-alike : RINGER
31 __-shouldered : BROAD
32 Captain, e.g. : RANK
35 “Where have you __?” : BEEN
39 2004-2011 TV series about firefighters : RESCUE ME
41 Ousted Iranian leader : SHAH
42 Core exercise system : PILATES
43 Sign on a new store : NOW OPEN
44 Norwegian saint : OLAF
49 “If only” : I WISH
52 Author Morrison : TONI
53 Egg on : SPUR
54 “No prob” : SURE
55 Minn. neighbor : NDAK
56 Nick at __ : NITE
57 Nays’ opposites : YEAS
58 Drink sampling : SIP
59 Altar affirmative : I DO
60 Rock’s __ Speedwagon : REO

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Nov 19, Monday”

  1. 11:03 no errors…I didn’t realize ther was a theme….I am familiar with top off but not TOP UP….to all the vets out there I salute you

    1. Well spotted, Nancy. That was very loose use of the term “emperor”, especially given the turbulent history of Rome at that time. Nice catch! I appreciate the help.

  2. 5:20. Missed the theme completely. Just saw ROREM in the NYT this weekend so I knew him. And yes – thank you, veterans.

    Best –

  3. Wow…first LAT grid in months. Still don’t like the Arkadium layout. I had to read the down clues since I just filled in the across.

    Oh well. I guess it beats spending half the year in a hospital bed. 🙂

  4. 6:50, no errors. Got off to a horrible start, though: the current ranking “champeen” of cheap, lazy, convenient “not-really-a-thing” fills (ETSY) occupied the starting 1A fill. If I never see that “name” in another twenty years, it’ll be too soon. Otherwise, fine for a Monday

    1. Allen! I’ve bought and sold on ETSY and think it’s a pretty good site. It’s quite popular and it’s my go-to for vintage clothing. Just sayin’….

  5. A couple of days ago, I posted a link to the Saturday 21×21 WSJ crossword, titled Metamorphosis, that impressed me a lot. Here’s a link to a review of it (disguised because Bill’s spam filter seems to hate me today):

    crosswordfiend(dot)com(slash)2019(slash)11(slash)08(slash)saturday-november-9-2019

    Fair warning: It’s a rave review … to no one’s surprise, probably … 😜.

    1. This version (if the spam filter lets me post it) will be easier to use: “crosswordfiend(dot)com/2019/11/08/saturday-november-9-2019”

  6. Also never heard of top up, but I rarely notice themes.

    Smooth as a snow covered slope! My 93-year-old friend can still fit his army outfit, and was wearing it today. A section of our Memorial Parkway was covered with 2-ft high flags.

    Had Seven before SIXPM, which would normally be too late for me, but every Friday I have to adjust to another friend who rises at noon, and I meet her at 7 for fish.

  7. I just deleted my whole comment.

    We missed one square, but enjoyed the puzzle. Had 91% after one pass of 30 minutes.

    Kudos, thanks and blessings to the veterans.

  8. I hate to burst your bubble, but Jesus Christ is the ONLY person born without original sin since his Father was the Holy Spirit. Both Mary and John the Baptist needed redemption from sin through Jesus Christ and they both say so in the Bible. I know that the Catholic religion does not want their people to read the Scriptures as they might find some mistakes in their teaching.

    1. This comment refers to the Tuesday puzzle rather than the Monday puzzle. No matter. IMHO, all such opinions are well into how-many-angels-can-dance-simultaneously-on-the-head-of-a-pin territory … 😜.

  9. Here in Minnesota, we say “top up” all the time. You might top up your gas tank or top up someone’s drink. “You want me to top your drink up?”
    “Sure, you betcha!”

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