LA Times Crossword 19 Nov 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Susan Smolinsky & C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: A to Z

Themed answers each start with a letter A, and end with a letter Z:

  • 56D All-inclusive, and a hint to 20-, 28-, 49- and 56-Across : A TO Z
  • 20A #1 in Major League Baseball career earnings : ALEX RODRIGUEZ
  • 28A 1970s joint U.S.-Soviet space flight : APOLLO-SOYUZ
  • 49A Math class surprise : ALGEBRA QUIZ
  • 56A Musical genre of Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie : AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ

Bill’s time: 5m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Longstocking of kiddie lit : PIPPI

Pippi Longstocking appears as the heroine in a series of books written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Lindgren was quite the activist, very well known in the circles working for children’s and animal rights, In particular, Lindgren campaigned heavily against corporal punishment.

6 “Jason Bourne” star Damon : MATT

Matt Damon is an actor and screenwriter from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Damon’s big break came with the 1997 movie “Good Will Hunting”, in which he starred. He co-wrote the screenplay with his childhood friend Ben Affleck.

The “Bourne” series of films are based on a series of three “Bourne” novels penned by Robert Ludlum. The first three “Bourne” movies star Matt Damon in the title role of Jason Bourne. Damon opted out of the fourth movie (“The Bourne Legacy”), and so a new lead character was added and played by Jeremy Renner. Damon returned for the fifth film in the series, but has suggested that he is unlikely to take on the role again.

10 Shell rowers : CREW

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

14 Biting, as criticism : ACERB

“Acerb” is a variant of “acerbic”, with both terms meaning “sour, bitter-tasting, acidic”.

16 Hill worker : AIDE

Washington D.C.’s designer Pierre L’Enfant chose the crest of a hill as the site for the future Congress House. He called the location “Jenkins Hill” and “Jenkins Heights”. Earlier records show the name as “New Troy”. Today we call it “Capitol Hill”.

17 Earl Grey relative : PEKOE

A pekoe (or more commonly “orange pekoe”) is a medium-grade black tea. There is no orange flavor in an orange pekoe tea. The “orange” name most likely derived from the name of the trading company that brought the tea to Europe from Asia.

The Earl Grey blend of tea is supposedly named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 to 1834. Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor that is largely due to the addition of oil from the rind of the bergamot orange.

18 Old Roman fiddler : NERO

The Great Fire of Rome raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Of the fourteen districts of Rome, three were completely destroyed and seven more suffered serious damage. The emperor at the time was Nero, although reports that he fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started and rushed home upon hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.

20 #1 in Major League Baseball career earnings : ALEX RODRIGUEZ

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

24 Chaney of “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925) : LON

Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname “the man of a thousand faces”. Most famous were his portrayals of the title characters in the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925).

25 Acidity nos. : PHS

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

28 1970s joint U.S.-Soviet space flight : APOLLO-SOYUZ

The Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was a joint US-Soviet space flight that marked the end of the Space Race. The 1975 mission involved the docking in space of an Apollo command and service module with a Soyuz 19 capsule. The symbolic highlight of the project was the handshake exchanged by mission commanders Alexei Leonov and Tom Stafford through the open hatch of the Soyuz capsule. The ASTP also marked the final flight of an Apollo spacecraft, as NASA realigned resources to support the Space Shuttle program.

37 Actors’ union, briefly : SAG

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was formed back in 1933, at a time when Hollywood stars were really being exploited by the big movie studios, especially the younger and less inexperienced performers. Early supporters of the Guild included famous names like Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney (you could imagine them in a negotiation!). Past presidents of SAG were also big names, such as Eddie Cantor, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Howard Keel, Charlton Heston, Ed Asner and Melissa Gilbert. SAG merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) in 2012 to create SAG-AFTRA.

39 Fortified city of Castile and León : AVILA

Ávila is famous for the walled defenses around the old city that date back to 1090. They were constructed out of brown granite, and are still in excellent repair. There are nine gateways and eighty-towers in all. Even the cathedral built between the 12th and 14th centuries is part of the city’s defenses, so it looks like an imposing fortress.

Castile and León is the largest of the seventeen autonomous communities of Spain, and is located in the northwest of the country. The separate kingdoms of Castile and León were united in medieval times, but the autonomous community was constituted much more recently, in

41 Diamond stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

43 “MASH” corporal : RADAR

Corporal Radar O’Reilly is a character in the “M*A*S*H” television series and film. The role was played by Gary Burghoff in both the film and on television.

44 “Cape Fear” star : DE NIRO

Robert De Niro is noted for his longtime and highly successful collaboration with the director Martin Scorsese, in such films as “Taxi Driver” (1976), “Raging Bull” (1980), “Goodfellas” (1990) and “Casino” (1995). De Niro is also noted for his commitment as a method actor. Famously, he gained a full 60 pounds in order to play Jake Lamotta in “Raging Bull”.

The 1991 film called “Cape Fear” is a Martin Scorsese remake of a 1962 movie of the same name. The 1991 version stars Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte, and there are also cameo appearances by Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck who starred in the 1962 original.

48 Building bricks brand : LEGO

Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:

  • The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
  • The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
  • The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
  • Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
  • The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)

49 Math class surprise : ALGEBRA QUIZ

Algebra (alg.) is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

52 Arles article : LES

Quite a few years ago now, I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and was where he painted many of his most famous works, including “Cafe Terrace at Night” and “Bedroom in Arles”.

54 Sis or bro : SIB

A sibling (sib) is a member of a family (fam).

56 Musical genre of Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie : AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ

After serving in the Navy in WWII for three years, musician Tito Puente studied at Juilliard, where he got a great grounding in conducting, orchestration and theory. Puente parlayed this education into a career in Latin Jazz and Mambo. He was known as “El Rey” as well as “The King of Latin Music”.

Dizzy Gillespie was a musician from Cheraw, South Carolina who was best known as a jazz trumpeter. Gillespie was also known for playing a “bent” trumpet, one with the bell projecting upwards at a 45-degree angle. The unusual configuration of the instrument came about accidentally, when a pair of dancers fell on it during a birthday party. The damage to the instrument caused a change in the tone which Gillespie liked, so he left it as is.

70 Route-finding app : WAZE

Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze was developed in Israel, and was acquired by Google in 2013.

71 Risqué message : SEXT

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

Down

1 Hemingway moniker : PAPA

Apparently, author Ernest Hemingway picked up the moniker “Papa” on the birth of his first child (as one might expect!). Hemingway seemed to like the nickname and welcomed its use outside of the family, and his admirers obliged.

2 Eur. island country : ICEL

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in the whole of Europe, with two-thirds of the nation’s population residing in and around the capital city of Reykjavik. Iceland was settled by the Norse people in AD 874, and was ruled for centuries by Norway and then Denmark. Iceland became independent in 1918, and has been a republic since 1944. Iceland is not a member of the EU but is a member of NATO, having joined in 1949 despite not having a standing army.

3 Chow kin, briefly : PEKE

The pekingese (“peke”) breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier “pekes”.

The chow chow is a breed of dog that originated in China. The Chinese name for the breed is “Songshi Quan”, which translates as “puffy-lion dog”, a rather apt name given its appearance …

4 Voting substitute : PROXY

Our word “proxy”, meaning “the agency of one who acts instead of another”, comes from the Latin “procurare” meaning “to manage”. So, “proxy” has the same root as our word “procure”.

5 Spanish airline : IBERIA

The airline called Iberia is the flag carrier for Spain and is based in the country’s capital city at Madrid-Barajas Airport.

7 Asian PC brand : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

11 Upscale hotel : RITZ

César Ritz was a Swiss hotelier, who had a reputation for developing the most luxurious of accommodations and attracting the wealthiest clientèle. He opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1898 and the second of his most famous hotels, the Ritz Hotel in London, in 1906. Ritz was lucky in his career, as before starting his own hotel chain he had been dismissed from the Savoy Hotel in London, implicated in the disappearance of a substantial amount of wine and spirits. Today’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company was founded in 1983, although the chain has its roots in the properties developed by César Ritz.

12 LSU URL letters : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, and is located in Baton Rouge. LSU was founded in 1860 as a military academy, with then-Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.

22 Racing giant Bobby : UNSER

The Unser family seems to have auto racing in their blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

25 Italian fashion house : PRADA

Prada started out in 1913 as a leather-goods shop in Milan, one established by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the company as he didn’t believe women should be involved in business (!). When the sexist brother died, his son had no interest in the business so it was his daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter. I’d say the devil loved that …

27 David’s weapon : SLING

In the story of David and Goliath, the Israelites and the Philistines faced each other in battle at the Valley of Elah. Goliath was the warrior champion of the Philistines and each day he challenged the Israelites to send out their champion to decide the battle in a one-on-one fight. No one was courageous enough to accept the challenge until young David agreed to face the mighty Goliath. David felled the giant soldier with a stone from his sling.

30 Rainbow flag letters : LGBTQ

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ)

The best-known rainbow flag is the one representing gay pride. Such usage of the rainbow flag was popularized in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. The varying colors of the flag represent the diversity of the gay community.

31 National gemstone of Australia : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

34 Binary system digits : ZEROS

We use a base-ten numbering system, with ten digits (0 – 9). The binary system, or base-two, uses just two digits (0 & 1). The binary system is used at a fundamental level in computing, because the number 0 and 1 can be represented by microcircuits being switched “on” or “off”.

36 Peace Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

40 Ann __, Michigan : ARBOR

Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor)

42 Debtor’s promise : IOU

I owe you (IOU)

45 Team nicknamed the Birds : ORIOLES

The Baltimore Orioles (also, the O’s, the Birds”) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

47 Italian tower town : PISA

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

51 Alphabetically last flower on a list of familiar ones : ZINNIA

Zinnias are plants in the daisy family that are named for the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn. A NASA astronaut started an experiment in 2015 to grow flowering crops in space, aboard the International Space Station. As a result, zinnias became the first flowers ever grown outside the Earth’s biosphere.

55 Tennis great Borg : BJORN

Björn Borg is a retired tennis player from Sweden, and a former World No. 1. Borg won 41% of the 27 Grand Slam singles tournaments that he entered, which is a record that stands to the day. He was known for reacting very calmly under pressure on the tennis court and hence earned the nicknames “Ice Man” and “Ice Borg”, which is my personal favorite.

57 The Piltdown Man, notably : FAKE

The Piltdown Man hoax is the most famous deception in the world of paleontology. The hoax played out in 1912 when a Charles Dawson announced that he had a skull fragment that was discovered at a gravel pit near the village of Piltdown in East Sussex in England. Most of the scientific community believed this was the fossilized remains of a form of man unknown up to that point. It was forty years later when it was determined that the skull fragment was in fact a composite of a medieval human skull, a 500-year old orangutan and some fossilized chimpanzee teeth. No one is really sure who pulled off the hoax, but I believe the police are looking at the usual suspects …

58 Operating system since the ’60s : UNIX

Unix is a computer operating system that was developed at Bell Labs in 1969. The initial name for the project was Uniplexed Information and Computing Service (Unics), and this evolved over time into “Unix”.

59 Orion’s __ : BELT

A subset of three particularly bright stars in the constellation of Orion is named “Orion’s Belt”. The three bright stars sit almost in a straight line and are about equidistant. They’re usually the easiest way to spot the constellation of Orion in the night sky.

61 Cab alternatives : ZINS

Zinfandel is one of my favorite red wine varietals. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.

The cabernet sauvignon (often just “cab”) grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

63 AAA service : TOW

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

64 “Eureka!” : AHA!

“Eureka” translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes, uttered as he stepped into his bath one day. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine the volume of a crown, something he needed in order to determine if it was made of pure gold or was a forgery.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Longstocking of kiddie lit : PIPPI
6 “Jason Bourne” star Damon : MATT
10 Shell rowers : CREW
14 Biting, as criticism : ACERB
15 Sound reduced by carpeting : ECHO
16 Hill worker : AIDE
17 Earl Grey relative : PEKOE
18 Old Roman fiddler : NERO
19 Buttonlike earring : STUD
20 #1 in Major League Baseball career earnings : ALEX RODRIGUEZ
23 Puppy’s cry : YIP!
24 Chaney of “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925) : LON
25 Acidity nos. : PHS
28 1970s joint U.S.-Soviet space flight : APOLLO-SOYUZ
35 Function : ROLE
37 Actors’ union, briefly : SAG
38 Remove from office : DEPOSE
39 Fortified city of Castile and León : AVILA
41 Diamond stat : RBI
43 “MASH” corporal : RADAR
44 “Cape Fear” star : DE NIRO
46 Spinning toy : TOP
48 Building bricks brand : LEGO
49 Math class surprise : ALGEBRA QUIZ
52 Arles article : LES
53 Salad dressing ingredient : OIL
54 Sis or bro : SIB
56 Musical genre of Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie : AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ
63 “See ya!” : TA-TA!
65 Acting independently : LONE
66 “For real!” : NO LIE!
67 “Um, that’s fine” : OH, OK
68 Villainous : EVIL
69 Par-three clubs, often : IRONS
70 Route-finding app : WAZE
71 Risqué message : SEXT
72 Common teen phase : ANGST

Down

1 Hemingway moniker : PAPA
2 Eur. island country : ICEL
3 Chow kin, briefly : PEKE
4 Voting substitute : PROXY
5 Spanish airline : IBERIA
6 Darn : MEND
7 Asian PC brand : ACER
8 Really excite : THRILL
9 “I can’t top that” : TOO GOOD
10 Job for a judge : CASE
11 Upscale hotel : RITZ
12 LSU URL letters : EDU
13 Elope, say : WED
21 They sometimes attract: Abbr. : OPPS
22 Racing giant Bobby : UNSER
25 Italian fashion house : PRADA
26 Crude abode : HOVEL
27 David’s weapon : SLING
29 10-Across tool : OAR
30 Rainbow flag letters : LGBTQ
31 National gemstone of Australia : OPAL
32 Alpine melody : YODEL
33 Customary practice : USAGE
34 Binary system digits : ZEROS
36 Peace Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
40 Ann __, Michigan : ARBOR
42 Debtor’s promise : IOU
45 Team nicknamed the Birds : ORIOLES
47 Italian tower town : PISA
50 Niche : ALCOVE
51 Alphabetically last flower on a list of familiar ones : ZINNIA
55 Tennis great Borg : BJORN
56 All-inclusive, and a hint to 20-, 28-, 49- and 56-Across : A TO Z
57 The Piltdown Man, notably : FAKE
58 Operating system since the ’60s : UNIX
59 Orion’s __ : BELT
60 Sleep like __ : A LOG
61 Cab alternatives : ZINS
62 Lemon peel : ZEST
63 AAA service : TOW
64 “Eureka!” : AHA!

10 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Nov 19, Tuesday”

  1. 22:48 with one wrong letter…..as usual all of the “never heard ofs” were crammed into one spot, in this case the SW corner

  2. 7:49. Didn’t see the theme until the revealer, but then I kind of liked it.

    For the record, ZINNIA isn’t on my list of familiar flowers at all. I don’t even have a list of familiar flowers. In fact, if I’m already familiar with them, why would I bother to make a list of them at all? Maybe I’m overthinking this?

    Never heard of WAZE either. Perhaps I’ll try it to find new WAZE to various destinations…

    Best –

  3. 8:48, no errors. Lots and lots of write-overs though. I had a *time* with this grid. Too much to notice the “overreach” of the theme.

  4. It’s only Tuesday, and I couldn’t get the SE corner. ZINS, not to mention cabs for Zinfandel and Cabernet. I’m a teetotaler, surrounded by drinkers, but I’ve never heard it. NO LIE was the other. I guess these are all young, hip expressions.
    I do happen to know WAZE, since a younger relative introduced me to it. A good one for crosswords, cuz it’s half vowels.

    The theme happened to help me with the 20 a, since I’m so weak in sports. I’ve heard the name, but couldn’t tell you which sport.

  5. The clue told us that MLB was A Rod’s sport. I remember when he left the Texas Rangers
    to go the New York Yankees, I thought there was no way any player was worth that much,
    but I think he proved me wrong.

    You guys are just good with these fast times you report. We could only get 82% solved,
    with 7 posting errors and 28 unknowns for our typical hour spent. Pretty poor by comparison.

    Kudos to you all.

  6. Aloha meine Freunden!🦆

    No errors. I, a baseball fan, thought that the ALEX RODRIGUEZ clue called for an ACTIVE baseball player, so I got held up on that one for a minute. Also didn’t know APOLLO SOYUZ, altho I MUST have heard the term at SOME point!!?! Maybe I had other things on my mind then — I was a high school senior in 1975.🤔

    Anonymous from yesterday– yes, that silly noise!! That used to happen with the automated phone system at CVS.

    Be well ~~🍹

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