LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Opening Act

Themed answers each OPEN with a kind of ACT:

  • 60A Show starter … and a hint to the answers to starred clues : OPENING ACT
  • 17A *Big top : CIRCUS TENT (giving “circus act”)
  • 26A *School keepsake : CLASS RING (giving “class act”)
  • 37A *”The Daily Show” network : COMEDY CENTRAL (giving “comedy act”)
  • 50A *2012 Channing Tatum film : MAGIC MIKE (giving “magic act”)

Bill’s time: 4m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 “Another Green World” musician Brian : ENO

“Another Green World” is an album by ambient music pioneer Brian Eno. Eno persuaded a few guest musicians to perform with him on “Another Green World”, including John Cale of Velvet Underground and Phil Collins of Genesis.

14 Foamy coffee drinks : LATTES

The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

17 *Big top : CIRCUS TENT (giving “circus act”)

The Circus Maximus was an ancient stadium used for chariot racing in Rome. It was the first such stadium built by the Romans, and was the largest ever to be built in the whole of the Roman Empire. The Circus Maximus was over 2,000 feet long and just under 400 feet wide, and could house about 15,000 spectators. There is very little of the original structure remaining and the site is now used as a major park. It was the Circus Maximus and similar “circa” that gave rise to our contemporary word “circus” describing an arena used by clowns, acrobats, etc.

19 “The Handmaid’s __”: Atwood novel : TALE

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a remarkably well-received television adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The story is set in a future United State after a Second American Civil War. The “Handmaids” are the few remaining fertile women in the world, who are ritually raped and forced to bear children by their masters.

21 Acapulco aunt : TIA

The Mexican city of Acapulco is on the southwest coast of the country, in the state of Guerrero. The name “Acapulco” translates from the local language into “at the big reeds”.

22 Final Olds produced : ALERO

The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made by General Motors under the Oldsmobile brand. It was produced from 1999 to 2004.

26 *School keepsake : CLASS RING (giving “class act”)

The tradition of wearing a class ring can be traced back to a very specific group of graduates: the class of 1835 at the US Military Academy at West Point.

29 “Under Siege” star Steven : SEAGAL

Steven Seagal is known in the US as a martial artist turned actor. Seagal started his career as an Aikido instructor in Japan and was the first foreigner to operate an Aikido dojo in that country.

I’m not a huge fan of Steven Seagal movies but I did quite enjoy his 1992 action film “Under Siege”. Seagal plays a former Navy SEAL on a US battleship that is taken over by mercenaries led by Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey. Mind you, it was the latter two actors who made the film for me …

31 Prof.’s degree : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

33 Restaurant Arlo Guthrie sang about : ALICE’S

Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.

36 Early 2000s Apple product : EMAC

Apple makes versions of its iMac line of computers that are aimed at schools. These are usually low-end machines that sell at a reduced price. Apple used to name such an offering an “eMac”, short for “education Mac”.

37 *”The Daily Show” network : COMEDY CENTRAL (giving “comedy act”)

“The Daily Show” is a satirical news program on the Comedy Central that first aired in 1996. The show was presented by Craig Kilborn from 1996 until 1998, and then very successfully by Jon Stewart from 1999 until 2015. Trevor Noah took over as host when Jon Stewart left.

42 Cosa __ : NOSTRA

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

43 Trident-shaped Greek letter : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

50 *2012 Channing Tatum film : MAGIC MIKE (giving “magic act”)

“Magic Mike” is a 2012 movie starring Tatum Channing as a young male stripper. The film’s storyline is loosely based on Channing’s real-life experiences, as he worked as a stripper in Tampa, Florida when he was 18 years old.

54 Around, in dates : CIRCA

“Circa” is a Latin word meaning “around, near, about the time of”. We use “circa” directly in English to mean “about the time of”, as well as in derivative words such as “circle” and “circus”.

56 Triage ctrs. : ERS

Triage is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on the battlefield. The term “triage” is French and means “sorting”.

58 Broadway brightener : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

59 Hawaiian coffee region : KONA

Kona coffee is cultivated on the Big Island of Hawaii, on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai, two of the five volcanoes on the island. Coffee plants were brought to Kona in 1828 and late in the 19th century, coffee became a viable and worthwhile crop. Today Kona is one of the most expensive and popular coffees in the world.

63 Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN

Ivan Pavlov was studying gastric function in dogs in the 1890s when he observed that his subject dogs started to salivate before he even presented food to them. This “psychic secretion”, as he called it, interested him so much that he changed the direction of his research and studied the reactions of dogs to various stimuli that were associated with the presentation of food. Famously, he discovered that a dog could be conditioned to respond as though he was about to be fed, just by sensing some stimulus that he had come to associate with food. This might be a bell ringing, an electric shock (poor dog!) or perhaps the waving of a hand. Nowadays we might describe someone as “Pavlov’s Dog” if that person responds just the way he/she has been conditioned to respond, rather than applying critical thinking.

64 Cantankerous : ORNERY

Back in the early 1800s, the word “ornery” was an informal contraction for the word “ordinary”, and meant commonplace, but with a sense of “poor quality, coarse, ugly” as opposed to “special”. Towards the end of the century, the usage “ornery” had evolved into describing someone who was mean or cantankerous.

65 __ Bo: fitness system : TAE

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

66 “The Lion King” lioness : NALA

In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba. By the end of the story, Nala and Simba become wedded. “The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, with Simba representing the title character, and Nala representing Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia.

67 Davis of “Do the Right Thing” : OSSIE

Ossie Davis was a very successful actor, but also a director, poet, playwright and social activist. One of Davis’s better known performances was in the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men”, in which he played the owner of the bait shop by the lake.

“Do the Right Thing” is a Spike Lee movie that was released in 1989. Much of the action in the film is centered on a local pizzeria called “Sal’s” owned by Italian-American Salvatore Frangione (played by Danny Aiello).

68 Cal. spans : YRS

Most calendars (cals.) cover a full year (yr.)

Down

1 School day interlude : RECESS

To recess is to go back, to retreat. The use of the noun “recess” to mean “period of stopping from usual work” dates back to the early 1600s. This usage might stem from the action of parliamentarians “recessing” into, returning to private chambers.

3 “The Merchant of Venice” heiress : PORTIA

William Shakespeare features a character named “Portia” in two of his plays. The most famous is Portia, the heroine of “The Merchant of Venice”. The lesser known is Portia, the wife of Brutus in “Julius Caesar”.

In William Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice”, the title character is Antonio, a merchant who fails to repay a large loan given to him by a moneylender named Shylock. Famously, Shylock seeks retribution for the lack of payment by demanding a “pound of flesh” from Antonio.

4 Winter bug : FLU

Influenza (the “flu”) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

5 Down __: Maine nickname : EAST

The coast of Maine is often referred to as “Down East” by the people of New England. There is even a monthly magazine aimed at the people of Maine called “Down East”, that is published in Camden, Maine.

6 Room at the top? : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

8 Olympic diver’s goal : TEN

Diving was introduced as a competitive event in the Olympic Games held in St. Louis in 1904. There were two diving events at that time. One was platform diving, and the other was plunge for distance. The latter event involved competitors diving into a pool from a standing position, and attempting to travel the longest distance underwater in 60 seconds.

9 Aromatic compound : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

18 Scam : CON GAME

The slang term “scam”, meaning a swindle, may come from the British slang “scamp”.

25 Battering wind : GALE

A gale is a very strong wind, a wind that is defined by the Beaufort wind scale as a wind with speeds from 50 to just over 100 kilometers per hour.

27 Cathedral areas : APSES

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

28 Nutritional supplements co. : GNC

General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

34 Pop singer Lauper : CYNDI

If you’ve ever heard Cyndi Lauper speaking, you’d know that she was from Queens, New York. She is the daughter of divorced parents, and strongly influenced by a supportive mother. Lauper was always a free spirit, and even as a young teen in the mid-sixties she dyed her hair different colors and wore outlandish fashions. She was a young woman who wanted to “find herself”, and to that end she once spent two weeks alone in the woods up in Canada, well, just with her dog.

35 Novelist Umberto : ECO

Umberto Eco was an Italian writer who is probably best known for his novel “The Name of the Rose”, published in 1980. In 1986, “The Name of the Rose” was adapted into a movie with the same title starring Sean Connery.

37 Legendary lover : CASANOVA

Giacomo Casanova was an 18th-century adventurer from Venice. We know so much about him, and his reputation as a womanizer, because he left us his autobiography “Histoire de ma vie” (Story of My Life). A guy recounting stories of his love life and conquests? All true, I am sure …

38 With 32-Across, Adam and Eve’s transgression : ORIGINAL …
(32A See 38-Down : … SIN)

In the Christian tradition, “original sin” is the state of sin that exists in all humanity as a result of Adam’s first disobedience in the Garden of Eden. According to the Roman Catholic faith, three people were born without original sin: the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.

40 Gillette’s __ II razor : TRAC

Gillette introduced the Trac II in 1971. The Trac II was the world’s first twin-blade razor.

41 Turntable speed, for short : RPM

Revolutions per minute (rpm)

44 Longtime Tom Petty label : MCA

Singer-songwriter Tom Petty first became interested in rock and roll music when he met Elvis Presley at ten-years-old. Later Petty was inspired to get into a band when he saw the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. He became the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and later co-founded the supergroup called the Traveling Wilburys.

47 The “T” in NATO : TREATY

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded not long after WWII in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The first NATO Secretary General was Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill’s chief military assistant during WWII. Famously, Lord Ismay said the goal of NATO was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

48 Toyota Prius, e.g. : ECOCAR

The Toyota Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car sold in the US, according to the EPA. The name “Prius” is a Latin word meaning “ahead, leading”. In the US we pronounce the name “pree-us”, but across the Atlantic it’s pronounced “pry-us”. According to Toyota, the plural of “Prius” is “Prii”.

49 Loire Valley city : NANTES

Nantes is a beautiful city located on the delta of the Loire, Erdre and Sèvre rivers. It has the well deserved nickname of “The Venice of the West”. I had the privilege of visiting Nantes a couple of times on business, and I can attest that it really is a charming city …

51 Bucky Beaver’s toothpaste : IPANA

Ipana toothpaste was introduced in 1915 and was at the height of its popularity in the forties and fifties. Sales declined in the sixties and the product was withdrawn from the US market in the seventies. Bucky Beaver was the “spokesman” for Ipana. Bucky Beaver’s slogan was “Brusha… Brusha… Brusha. Get the New Ipana – it’s dandy for your teeth!” Bucky’s nemesis in commercials was Mr. Decay Germ.

52 Wails with grief : KEENS

“To keen” is to wail in lamentation. The word “keening” has its roots in Ireland, coming from the Irish word “caoinim” meaning “I weep, wail, lament”.

53 Shore birds : ERNES

The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also known as the white-tailed eagle or the sea eagle.

57 Apple Watch assistant : SIRI

The Apple Watch was announced in 2014 and started shipping in 2015. The device works as an extension to a user’s smartphone, although it also has capabilities of its own. I’m not a big fan of smartwatches; I really don’t see the point …

62 “Science Guy” Bill : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Sports agent, briefly : REP
4 Lavish meal : FEAST
9 Behold, to Brutus : ECCE
13 “Another Green World” musician Brian : ENO
14 Foamy coffee drinks : LATTES
16 Bar measure : SHOT
17 *Big top : CIRCUS TENT (giving “circus act”)
19 “The Handmaid’s __”: Atwood novel : TALE
20 This, in Spain : ESTO
21 Acapulco aunt : TIA
22 Final Olds produced : ALERO
24 Injured-arm support : SLING
26 *School keepsake : CLASS RING (giving “class act”)
29 “Under Siege” star Steven : SEAGAL
31 Prof.’s degree : PHD
32 See 38-Down : … SIN
33 Restaurant Arlo Guthrie sang about : ALICE’S
36 Early 2000s Apple product : EMAC
37 *”The Daily Show” network : COMEDY CENTRAL (giving “comedy act”)
41 Hard to find : RARE
42 Cosa __ : NOSTRA
43 Trident-shaped Greek letter : PSI
44 Angry : MAD
46 Pick up the pace : HASTEN
50 *2012 Channing Tatum film : MAGIC MIKE (giving “magic act”)
54 Around, in dates : CIRCA
55 Try to bite, puppy-style : NIP AT
56 Triage ctrs. : ERS
58 Broadway brightener : NEON
59 Hawaiian coffee region : KONA
60 Show starter … and a hint to the answers to starred clues : OPENING ACT
63 Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN
64 Cantankerous : ORNERY
65 __ Bo: fitness system : TAE
66 “The Lion King” lioness : NALA
67 Davis of “Do the Right Thing” : OSSIE
68 Cal. spans : YRS

Down

1 School day interlude : RECESS
2 Maroon, at sea : ENISLE
3 “The Merchant of Venice” heiress : PORTIA
4 Winter bug : FLU
5 Down __: Maine nickname : EAST
6 Room at the top? : ATTIC
7 Pilfer : STEAL
8 Olympic diver’s goal : TEN
9 Aromatic compound : ESTER
10 Personal magnetism : CHARISMA
11 Pre-Revolutionary furniture style : COLONIAL
12 French summer : ETE
15 Secret supply : STASH
18 Scam : CON GAME
23 “Dropped” ’60s drug : LSD
25 Battering wind : GALE
27 Cathedral areas : APSES
28 Nutritional supplements co. : GNC
30 Pot top : LID
34 Pop singer Lauper : CYNDI
35 Novelist Umberto : ECO
36 Blackboard chore : ERASING
37 Legendary lover : CASANOVA
38 With 32-Across, Adam and Eve’s transgression : ORIGINAL …
39 To the __ degree : NTH
40 Gillette’s __ II razor : TRAC
41 Turntable speed, for short : RPM
44 Longtime Tom Petty label : MCA
45 Defensive retort : AM TOO!
47 The “T” in NATO : TREATY
48 Toyota Prius, e.g. : ECOCAR
49 Loire Valley city : NANTES
51 Bucky Beaver’s toothpaste : IPANA
52 Wails with grief : KEENS
53 Shore birds : ERNES
57 Apple Watch assistant : SIRI
59 Family reunion attendees : KIN
61 Ace : PRO
62 “Science Guy” Bill : NYE

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 12 Nov 19, Tuesday”

  1. 9:06. Got stuck at the “K” at …MIKE/KEEN. I just peeked at the answer rather than go through an alphabet run. Never heard KEEN used that way.

    Best –

  2. Tough for a Tuesday. Things going about usual until Enisle and Keens. Then never heard of Ossie Davis and spent way too much time working every spelling of Genna and Betty, to no avail. Chucked over Ipana toothpaste. Luckily I’m old enough to remember the commercials on our family’s 18″ t.v. screen!

  3. Harder than yesterday, yet we got 100%, one square better. Got some good help
    from the dictionary and the memory bank. Enjoyable puzzle, just harder for us.
    But not for you guys. Great going, all.

  4. 9:43, no errors. Started off at a good pace, but got all bogged down in SW corner. MAGIC MIKE, ERNES, AM TOO (as opposed to ARE SO) all conspired to give me fits. Oh well, at least I got out unscathed.

  5. I came out alright with this, but “keens” & “ensile” were very odd choices for a Tues. puzzle. Got other unknown (to me) ones with crosses.

  6. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    No errors. I know ESTER and NALA only from puzzles, so the ol` crossword corner of my brain came in handy on this one. 😊

    Be well ~~🥂

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