LA Times Crossword 14 Nov 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Joseph Ashear
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Game Stuff

Themed answers are things associated with specific games:

  • 6D … in a board game : CLUE WEAPONS
  • 10D … in a ball game : BOWLING PINS
  • 24D … on a game mat : TWISTER DOTS
  • 25D … on a game card : BINGO SPACES

Bill’s time: 7m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Co. with brown trucks : UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.

4 Fearsome Tolkien beasts : ORCS

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

14 New Deal prog. : NRA

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.

15 Guthrie genre : FOLK

Woody Guthrie was a singer-songwriter. He was best known for his recording of the folk song “This Land is Your Land”, the lyrics of which were written by Guthrie himself.

17 Rapper __-Z : JAY

Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyoncé. Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York. As Carter was growing up, he was nicknamed “Jazzy”, a reference to his interest in music. “Jazzy” evolved into the stage name “Jay-Z”. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, and twins named Rumi and Sir Carter.

18 Fireplace outlet : FLUE

The flue in a chimney is a duct that conveys exhaust gases from a fire to the outdoors. An important feature of a flue is that its opening is adjustable. When starting a fire, the flue should be wide open, maximizing airflow to get help ignition.

20 Yellowfin tuna : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

21 Great quantity : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

22 Highest-ranking elected woman in U.S. history : PELOSI

Nancy Pelosi first became Speaker of the House in 2007, and was the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She was the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker of the House is second-in-line to the presidency, after the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking female politician in US history.

23 McConaughey of “True Detective” : MATTHEW

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s breakthrough role as a leading man came in the 1996 movie “A Time to Kill”. He won a Best Actor Oscar for portraying a 1980s AIDS patient in the 2013 film “Dallas Buyers Club”. McConaughey has a somewhat unique family background as his parents divorced twice, and married each other three times.

“True Detective” is a crime drama made by HBO that has an interesting format. Each series has its own narrative and cast. The show seems to be attracting some great actors. The first season was led by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and the second by Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams.

25 Nickname for Israel’s Netanyahu : BIBI

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu became Prime Minister of Israel in 2009, when he became the first leader of the country who was born in the state of Israel. After graduating high school, Netanyahu served in the Israeli special forces and participated in several combat missions, getting wounded on multiple occasions. After leaving the army in 1972, Netanyahu studied at MIT in the US, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in business.

27 Beach in a 1964 hit song : IPANEMA

Ipanema is a beach community in the south of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The name Ipanema is a local word meaning “bad water”, signifying that the shore is bad for fishing. The beach became famous on release of the song “The Girl from Ipanema” written in 1962.

31 Start of a Poitier film title : TO SIR …

“To Sir, with Love” is an excellent 1967 drama film starring Sidney Poitier that is based on a novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite. The film is about an inexperienced teacher in a tough school in the East End of London. If you see the movie keep a lookout for a couple of supporting actors. Lulu plays the student called Babs Pegg, and also sings the hit theme song from the movie. Patricia Routledge plays fellow teacher Clinty Clintridge, and later in her career played Hyacinth Bucket in the enduring BBC comedy series “Keeping Up Appearances”.

The Hollywood actor Sidney Poitier was born in Miami, but grew up in the Bahamas. Poitiers breakthrough role in movies came with 1955’s “Blackboard Jungle”, in which he played an incorrigible high school student. I find it interesting that one of Poitier’s most respected performances found him playing a teacher of a rough set of students in 1967’s “To Sir, with Love”. Off the screen, Poitier entered the diplomatic service for the Bahamas, serving as the nation’s non-resident ambassador to Japan from 1997 until 2007.

34 Author/aviator __ Morrow Lindbergh : ANNE

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was best known as an author, although she was also an aviator like her husband Charles Lindbergh. Anne was the first American woman to earn a first-class glider pilot’s license.

36 Film crew member : GRIP

On a film set, grips are lighting and rigging technicians who set up the infrastructure that supports lights, cameras etc. The key grip is the leader of the whole team. The first grips were technicians that worked in circuses in its early days. The name “grip” possibly comes from the bags called grips, in which the technicians carried their tools.

37 V-formation flier : GOOSE

A collection of geese is referred to as a “gaggle” when on the ground. When geese are in V-formation in flight, they are referred to collectively as a “skein”.

Apparently, birds that fly in a V-formation do so for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to “slipstream” a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It’s also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.

38 ’90s game disc : POG

The game of pogs was originally played with bottle caps from POG fruit juice. The juice was named for its constituents, passion fruit, orange and guava.

41 Snapchat’s ghost, e.g. : LOGO

Snapchat is a messaging system that allows users to send photos and video clips to a limited list of recipients. The photos and clips, called “snaps”, can be viewed for only a few seconds before they are deleted from the recipient’s device, and from the Snapchat servers.

42 Shoes with swooshes : NIKES

I remember seeing a lady named Carolyn Davidson on the television show “I’ve Got a Secret”. Davidson created the Nike “swoosh” back in 1971 when she was a design student at Portland State. She did it as freelance work for Blue Ribbon Sports, a local company introducing a new line of athletic footwear. The “swoosh” is taken from the wing of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Years later, BRS changed its name to Nike, so I suppose the company should be grateful to Carolyn for both the great design, and a great company name.

43 Color from a bottle : FAKE TAN

The most effective fake tans available today are not dyes or stains. Instead, they are sprays with the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA reacts chemically with amino acids in the dead layer of skin on the surface of the body. Sounds a little risky to me …

45 British WWII gun : STEN

The STEN gun is an iconic armament that was used by the British military. The name STEN is an acronym. The letters S and T come from the name of the gun’s designers, Shepherd and Turpin. The letters EN comes from the Enfield brand name, which in turn comes from the Enfield location where the guns were manufactured for the Royal Small Arms Factory, an enterprise owned by the British government.

47 Magician Weasley and anchorman Burgundy : RONS

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling. The three are the best of friends.

Ron Burgundy is the title character in the “Anchorman” series of films. Burgundy is a news anchor played by comedian Will Ferrell. Apparently Burgundy loves a glass of scotch, poetry, and his dog Baxter.

55 Hook or Cook: Abbr. : CAPT

Captain Hook is the bad guy in “Peter Pan”, the famous play by J. M. Barrie. Hook is Peter Pan’s sworn enemy, as Pan cut off Hook’s hand causing it to be replaced by a “hook”. It is implied in the play that Hook attended Eton College, just outside London. Hook’s last words are “Floreat Etona”, which is Eton College’s motto. Barrie openly acknowledged that the Hook character is based on Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab from the novel “Moby Dick”.

Famed British explorer Captain James Cook made three voyages of discovery into the Pacific Ocean. Cook was in command of HMS Resolution on his third voyage, and he and his crew he became the first Europeans to visit the Hawaiian Islands, in 1778. He landed on Kauai and named the whole archipelago the Sandwich Islands, in honor of the fourth Earl of Sandwich who was in charge of the British Admiralty at the time. Cook continued his voyage, leaving Hawaii to explore the coast of what is now called Canada and Alaska, and returning to Hawaii the following year. After one month of contact with the native Hawaiians, Cook departed from the islands but was forced to return to repair a broken mast. Relations between the Europeans and the islanders had been good but despite this a dispute developed and got out of control that resulted in Cook being struck on the head and stabbed to death. His body was dragged away by the islanders, and as an apparent sign of respect for the Captain, the natives processed his body according to funeral traditions associated with Hawaiian kings and elders. Eventually, after a petition from the remaining crew, some of Cook’s remains were also returned for a formal burial at sea, adhering to British naval tradition.

56 Quid pro __ : QUO

“Quid pro quo” is Latin for “something for something”, i.e. a swap.

57 Maryland state bird, e.g. : ORIOLE

The Baltimore oriole is a small bird with a largely yellow body. The male’s coloring of black and yellow resembles the colors of the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, the first Governor of the Province of Maryland, and so the bird was given the name “Baltimore” oriole. It is the state bird of Maryland, and lends its name to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

58 Dos cubed : OCHO

In Spanish, “dos” (two) raised to the power of three is “ocho” (eight).

59 Lines at a checkout counter? : UPC

Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code (UPC)

64 Uruguay’s Punta del __ : ESTE

Punta del Este is a resort city in southeastern Uruguay that is located about 85 miles east of Montevideo.

65 __ de deux : PAS

In the world of ballet, a pas de deux is a duet in which the dancers dance together. A classic pas de deux has a particular structure. It starts with a short entree followed by an adagio and two variations, one for each dancer, and ends with a short coda. The term “pas de deux” is French for “step for two”, or I suppose “dance for two”.

Down

2 Czech Republic capital, to Czechs : PRAHA

The beautiful city of Prague (“Praha” in Czech) 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.

3 “Don’t beat around the bush!” : SAY IT!

To beat around the bush is to prevaricate, to avoid coming to the point. The phrase originated with bird hunting in which locals were employed by the aristocratic hunters to beat the bushes, rousing the birds so that they could be shot as they flew off. So, beating around the bush was a preamble to the slaughter, in a sense a prevarication before getting to the main event.

6 … in a board game : CLUE WEAPONS

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

8 Reed instrument : BAGPIPE

Bagpipes have been played for centuries all across Europe, in parts of Asia and North Africa, and in the Persian Gulf. However, the most famous versions of the instrument today are the Scottish Great Highland bagpipe and the Irish uilleann pipes, my personal favorite (I’m biased). The bag in the Scottish version is inflated by blowing into it, whereas the Irish version uses a bellows under the arm.

9 Pond protozoan : AMOEBA

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

The suffix “-zoa” is used for groups of animal organisms e.g. protozoa and metazoa. “Zoia” is the Greek for “animals, living beings”.

10 … in a ball game : BOWLING PINS

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

11 Gusto : BRIO

“Brio” is borrowed from Italian, in which language the term means “vigor and vivacity”. “Con brio” is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing the musicians to play “with energy, vigor”.

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

12 Back muscles, briefly : LATS

The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, and are the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

13 K-12 appropriate : ELHI

“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from kindergarten through grade 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

24 … on a game mat : TWISTER DOTS

Twister is a game requiring a lot of physical dexterity and flexibility. It involves players placing specific hands and feet onto colored pads on a mat, as directed by a spinning arrow on a board. Sales of the game got a great boost in 1966, when Eva Gabor played Twister with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show”.

25 … on a game card : BINGO SPACES

Our game called “Bingo” is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

28 Actor Estrada : ERIK

Actor Erik Estrada’s big break came with the movie “Airport 1975”, in which he played the doomed flight engineer of a Boeing 747. A couple of years later, Estrada began a six-year gig, co-starring on the television show “CHiPs” as motorcycle police officer Poncherello.

29 “Dibs!” : MINE!

The phrase “to have dibs on” expresses a claim on something. Apparently, the term “dibs” is a contraction of “dibstone”, which was a knucklebone or jack used in a children’s game.

30 Long-limbed beasts : APES

The tailless primates known as apes are divided into two main branches: gibbons (lesser apes) and hominids (great apes). The hominids are the great apes, and belong to the family of primates called Hominidae. Extant genera that make up the family Hominidae are:

  • chimpanzees
  • gorillas
  • humans
  • orangutans

31 “So ready for the weekend!” : TGIF

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

32 Chaplin named for her grandmother : OONA

Oona Chaplin is an actress from Madrid in Spain. Chaplin is getting a lot of airtime these days as she plays Talisa Maegyr on HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. Oona is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, and is named for her maternal grandmother Oona O’Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill.

35 Yuletide libation : NOG

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

Back in the 14th century, libation was the pouring of wine in the honor of a god. The term “libation” comes from the Latin word “libare”, which basically means the same thing. Nowadays we tend to use “libation” as a somewhat ornate word for a drink.

39 14 British pounds : ONE STONE

We used pounds and stones in Ireland, for all my life there. However, such measures no longer have any “official” status in the country, as the Irish made the conversion to the metric system. Having said that, many folks still tend to measure body weight in stones and pounds. One stone is equal to fourteen pounds.

41 Big name in advice : LANDERS

“Ask Ann Landers” was an advice column written by Eppie Lederer from 1955 to 2002. Eppie was the twin sister to Pauline Phillips, the person behind “Dear Abby”. Eppie took over the “Ask Ann Landers” column from Ruth Crowley who started it in 1943.

50 Sporty Toyota until 2002 : SUPRA

The Supra is a sporty car made by Toyota from 1979 to 2002. The Supra is, in effect, a longer and wider Celica.

52 Rooster topper : COMB

The term “rooster” dates back to the late 1700s, and is used to describe an adult male chicken, primarily here in the US. “Rooster” originated as an alternative to “cock”, as puritans objected to the association with the slang usage of the latter term.

53 Seed covering : ARIL

The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and hence aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

54 Jazz singer Simone : NINA

“Nina Simone” was the stage name of Eunice Waymon. Simone was very much associated with jazz music, although she really wanted to be a classical musician early in her career. She was inspired by a love for the music of Bach.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Co. with brown trucks : UPS
4 Fearsome Tolkien beasts : ORCS
8 Run off at the mouth : BABBLE
14 New Deal prog. : NRA
15 Guthrie genre : FOLK
16 Unprincipled : AMORAL
17 Rapper __-Z : JAY
18 Fireplace outlet : FLUE
19 Accompany : GO WITH
20 Yellowfin tuna : AHI
21 Great quantity : SLEW
22 Highest-ranking elected woman in U.S. history : PELOSI
23 McConaughey of “True Detective” : MATTHEW
25 Nickname for Israel’s Netanyahu : BIBI
26 Sported : WORE
27 Beach in a 1964 hit song : IPANEMA
31 Start of a Poitier film title : TO SIR …
34 Author/aviator __ Morrow Lindbergh : ANNE
36 Film crew member : GRIP
37 V-formation flier : GOOSE
38 ’90s game disc : POG
39 Pipe up : OPINE
40 __ the finish : IN AT
41 Snapchat’s ghost, e.g. : LOGO
42 Shoes with swooshes : NIKES
43 Color from a bottle : FAKE TAN
45 British WWII gun : STEN
47 Magician Weasley and anchorman Burgundy : RONS
48 Have : POSSESS
52 Like some wedding photos : CANDID
55 Hook or Cook: Abbr. : CAPT
56 Quid pro __ : QUO
57 Maryland state bird, e.g. : ORIOLE
58 Dos cubed : OCHO
59 Lines at a checkout counter? : UPC
60 Money maker : MINTER
61 Not nice at all : MEAN
62 Bother a great deal : IRK
63 Great times : BLASTS
64 Uruguay’s Punta del __ : ESTE
65 __ de deux : PAS

Down

1 Clear, as a printer : UNJAM
2 Czech Republic capital, to Czechs : PRAHA
3 “Don’t beat around the bush!” : SAY IT!
4 A bit out in the ocean : OFFSHORE
5 Painter’s tool : ROLLER
6 … in a board game : CLUE WEAPONS
7 Present in a biased way : SKEW
8 Reed instrument : BAGPIPE
9 Pond protozoan : AMOEBA
10 … in a ball game : BOWLING PINS
11 Gusto : BRIO
12 Back muscles, briefly : LATS
13 K-12 appropriate : ELHI
24 … on a game mat : TWISTER DOTS
25 … on a game card : BINGO SPACES
28 Actor Estrada : ERIK
29 “Dibs!” : MINE!
30 Long-limbed beasts : APES
31 “So ready for the weekend!” : TGIF
32 Chaplin named for her grandmother : OONA
33 Relax in the hot tub : SOAK
35 Yuletide libation : NOG
39 14 British pounds : ONE STONE
41 Big name in advice : LANDERS
44 __ training : TOILET
46 Tails partner : TOP HAT
49 Furnish with gear : EQUIP
50 Sporty Toyota until 2002 : SUPRA
51 Laundry day casualties : SOCKS
52 Rooster topper : COMB
53 Seed covering : ARIL
54 Jazz singer Simone : NINA
55 Show up : COME

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Nov 19, Thursday”

  1. Interesting choice to have the clue number be a part of the themed clue. Didn’t realize it until I’d already filled in three of the four.

  2. It took me forever to get “bagpipe.” Kept trying to jam “bassoon” to fit. Didn’t know that bagpipes had reeds until now. I’m going to file that for future puzzles!

  3. I, too, wanted “bassoon” for “bagpipe” and also learned that the latter uses a reed.

    Could drag only 80% out of the thing today. I knew most of the missed words, just
    didn’t know them when I needed to..

    Still fun and challenging to give it a go. Used the dictionary a good bit and made no
    posting errors. Just didn’t recall enough to post at the right time.

  4. Re: Yesterday. Apparently the machine posted me before I was finished, and I didn’t find out about it til now.

    Today – no Googles or errors, butI did not know: POG, LOGO, BIBI, or SUPRA.

  5. Anyone else do the WSJ grid today? I thought this was a pretty difficult puzzle with plenty of very tricky cluing. I finished with no final errors but it had me shaking my head and straining my brain more than a few times.

    1. Agreed. My experience with it was the same. Even after I understood the gimmick, the theme answers did not come readily to mind. A good puzzle … 😜

      1. @Glenn …

        It has been demonstrated that we have very different ideas about what makes a puzzle “good”. I am glad that I can enjoy the puzzles that I do in the way that I do. If I viewed the puzzles as you and Allen and a few others seem to, I would simply stop doing them.

        Did you read the review of last Saturday’s WSJ that I posted? And did you notice the positive comments about it on the “muggles” blog? I would seem not to be the only person who really appreciated that one.

  6. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took me 26 minutes with no errors and only one rewrite: CAPn -> CAPT.

    re Trump clues – I know, I’ve noticed them as well: BABBLE, FAKETAN, MEAN, QUO and IRK. 🙂 Yesterday we actually had to write out his name.

  7. Hiya folks!!🦆

    No errors. Anonymous 12:40 a.m., thanks for pointing out that detail about the numbers! I didn’t notice either, and I suspect even Bill missed it. Very clever…. I think I’ve seen clue numbers used similarly before but I’m not sure. 🤔

    Like Dirk, I also initially had CAP’N instead of CAPT, altho Dirk, you were probably thinking of the way it sounds when someone addresses a captain, whereas *I* was thinking of Cap’n Crunch!!😁

    At the risk of sounding Grinchian, I kinda dislike the holidays. I started seeing Christmas ads weeks ago, or so it seems. On Saturday — five weeks BEFORE 12/25, my local church is hosting a Christmas sing-along!! Yikes.🙄

    Be well~~🙀

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