LA Times Crossword 2 Nov 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Kyle Dolan
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Picnic game : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

9 Informed as a courtesy, perhaps : CC’ED

I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

14 Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers,” originally : SERIAL

“The Pickwick Papers” is an 1837 novel by Charles Dickens that was first published as a serial from 1836 to 1837. Dickens was originally commissioned to provide text linking a series of planned illustrations depicting the misadventures of the members of hunting and fishing club as they ventured out into the countryside. In the end, Dickens’ story took precedence, and the picture artists found themselves illustrating what Dickens wrote, rather than vice-versa.

15 QB-turned-commentator Tony : ROMO

Tony Romo is a former quarterback who spent his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. Romo is also an avid amateur golfer and has even tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to qualify for the US Open golf championship.

16 “… __ the set of sun”: “Macbeth” : ERE

“That will be ere the set of sun” is a line from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, a line that is spoken by one of the three witches.

18 Bonobos, e.g. : APES

The bonobo used to be called the pygmy chimpanzee, and is a cousin of the common chimpanzee. The bonobo is an endangered species that is now found in the wild only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest species to humans genetically.

21 U.S. border river : NIAGARA

The mighty Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and forms part of the border between the US and Canada. The river is only about 35 miles long, so some describe it as a “strait”. It has a drop in elevation of 325 feet along its length, with 165 feet of that drop taking place at Niagara Falls.

23 Fake : ERSATZ

Something described as ersatz is a copy, and usually not a good one. “Ersatz” comes from the German verb “ersetzen” meaning “to replace”.

27 Its 1948 inaugural flight began in Geneva : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

29 “Skyfall” singer : ADELE

I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion. And, Adele’s rendition of the title song is an added plus …

31 “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” subject : URBAN LEGEND

The urban legend known as “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” usually features a hitchhiker who has been picked up and then disappears from the moving vehicle. Spooky …

34 Misty tropical ecosystem : CLOUD FOREST

A cloud forest is a tropical forest that has a particularly persistent cloud cover that maintains a moist atmosphere. That moist atmosphere often produces an abundance of moss on and near the ground, leading to the alternative moniker of “mossy forest”.

36 Catcher in the World Series’ only perfect game : BERRA

Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

  • It ain’t over till it’s over.
  • 90% of the game is half mental.
  • Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • It’s déjà vu all over again.
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

The only perfect game thrown during a World Series took place in 1956. Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5. There’s a famous video clip depicting the game’s catcher, Yogi Berra, leaping into Larsen’s arms after the last out.

37 U.S. : Grammy :: U.K. : __ : BRIT

The Brit Awards are the British equivalent of the US’s Grammy Awards. The award statuette features the image of Britannia, the female personification of Britain.

38 Daughter of Uranus : RHEA

In Greek mythology, Rhea was one of the Titans. She was the sister and husband of Cronus, and together they had six children, the last of which was Zeus. Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, except for Zeus, who Rhea managed to hide from her husband.

The Titans were a group of twelve older deities in Greek mythology, the twelve children of the primordial Gaia and Uranus, Mother Earth and Father Sky. In the celebrated Battle of the Titans, they were overthrown by the Olympians, who were twelve younger gods. We use the term “titan” figuratively to describe a powerful person, someone with great influence.

42 Uranus, e.g. : ORB

One of the unique features of the planet Uranus is that its north and south poles lie where most other planets have their equators. That means that Uranus’ axis of rotation is almost in its solar orbit.

43 Excessively precious, to a Brit : TWEE

In the UK, something “twee” is cutesy or overly nice. “Twee” came from “tweet”, which is the cutesy, baby-talk way of saying “sweet”.

45 Six-time NBA All-Star Kyrie : IRVING

Kyrie Irving is a professional basketball player who grew up in New Jersey, although he was born in Melbourne, Australia to American parents. Irving played for Duke University before launching his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers following the 2011 draft.

50 Movie plantation : TARA

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland. Rhett’s rival for the affections of Scarlet is Ashley Wilkes who lives at the nearby Twelve Oaks plantation.

53 It may be short or long : TON

Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton, long ton or gross ton. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a short ton. To further complicate matters, there is also a metric ton or tonne, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

55 “The Crown” star Foy : CLAIRE

English actress Claire Foy is perhaps best known in North America for playing Queen Anne Boleyn in the miniseries “Wolf Hall”, and a young Queen Elizabeth II in the award-winning series “The Crown”.

“The Crown” is a historical drama produced for Netflix that covers the life of British Queen Elizabeth II from her marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. For the first two seasons, Elizabeth is played by Claire Foy and Philip by Matt Smith. For the next two seasons, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies take over as Elizabeth and Philip.

57 Urquhart Castle’s loch : NESS

Urquhart Castle is a ruin that sits right on the edge of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. What’s left of the old castle today dates from the 13th to 16th centuries.

58 Neat : KEMPT

The word “unkempt” means “disheveled, not well-combed”. It derives from the Old English word “cemban” meaning “to comb”. The opposite to the more common “unkempt” is … “kempt”.

Down

1 Alexis of “The Handmaid’s Tale” : BLEDEL

Alexis Bledel is an actress from Houston who is best known for playing one of the title characters in TV’s “Gilmore Girls”. In the show, Bledel plays the daughter of single mother Lorelai Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham.

“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.

2 Creator of a colorful atmosphere : AURORA

The spectacular aurora phenomenon is seen lighting up the night sky at both poles of the earth (the Aurora Borealis in the north, and the Aurora Australis in the south). The eerie effect is caused by charged particles colliding with atoms at high latitudes.

4 “Paradise Lost” fallen angel : BEELZEBUB

Beelzebub is an alternative name for the devil. Beelzebub is often described as a demonic fly, and given the moniker “Lord of the Flies”. It was this phrase that William Golding used as the title for his most famous novel.

“Paradise Lost” is an epic poem written by Englishman John Milton. It is indeed an epic work, published originally in ten volumes with over ten thousand lines of verse. The “paradise” that is “lost” is the Garden of Eden, from which Adam and Eve were expelled by God in the “Fall of Man”.

6 Columbus in NYC, e.g. : CIR

Columbus Circle is a traffic circle in Manhattan, New York that is named for the statue of Christopher Columbus that stands at its center. When we read distances to New York City along highways, those distances are measured to Columbus Circle.

7 Cylindrical pasta : CANNELLONI

Cannelloni differs from manicotti, even though both are essentially tubes of pasta. Manicotti (Italian for “sleeves”) are pre-shaped tubes. Cannelloni (Italian for “large reeds”) are rectangular sheets of pasta that are rolled into tubes after having been stuffed with some filling.

8 Dinsmore of kid lit : ELSIE

“Elsie Dinsmore” is a series of children’s books from author Martha Finley, written between 1867 and 1905. There are 28 volumes in the series.

11 Colombia is this gem’s largest producer : EMERALD

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl that is green in color due to traces of chromium. Beryl containing traces of vanadium are also considered to be emeralds, at least here in the US. “Vanadium emeralds” aren’t recognized as emeralds in Europe.

28 Natural enemy of aphids : LADY BEETLE

The insect we know as a ladybug has seven spots on its wing covers. These seven spots gave rise to the common name “ladybug”, as in the Middle Ages the insect was called the “beetle of Our Lady”. The spots were said to symbolize the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows, events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary called out in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in Britain and Ireland where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

32 Have angular velocity : ROTATE

Angular velocity is the speed of an object rotating about an axis, and is denoted by the Greek letter omega. Angular acceleration is the rate of change of angular velocity, and is usually denoted by the Greek letter alpha.

33 Some Ernst works : EROTIC ART

Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, and a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914”, which was a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.

34 Multi-headed dog that guards Hades, in Greek myth : CERBERUS

Cerberus is a dog with three heads that appears in both Greek and Roman mythology. Cerberus had the job of guarding the gates of Hades and preventing those who had crossed the River Styx from ever escaping. A sop is a piece of food that has been dipped in some liquid, as one might sop a piece of bread in soup. There is an idiomatic expression, “to give a sop to Cerberus”, which means to give someone a bribe, or pay someone off. The idea is that if one could bribe Cerberus, give him a sop to eat, then he would let you pass and escape from Hades.

36 Commonwealth Avenue city : BOSTON

Commonwealth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Boston. For much of its length in the city, the parkway is divided along the center by Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a grassy area that features many statues and memorials.

41 Chair’s document : AGENDA

“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

44 Ruin partner : WRACK

The phrase “rack and ruin” (also “wrack and ruin”), meaning “complete destruction”, is a derivative of “wreck and ruin”.

46 Bat mitzvah, e.g. : RITE

A Jewish girl becomes a bat mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become bar mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

52 Part of Highlands regalia : TAM

A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Farm call : BAA!
4 Picnic game : BOCCE
9 Informed as a courtesy, perhaps : CC’ED
13 Tote : LUG
14 Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers,” originally : SERIAL
15 QB-turned-commentator Tony : ROMO
16 “… __ the set of sun”: “Macbeth” : ERE
17 Picks up : LEARNS
18 Bonobos, e.g. : APES
19 Have no weaknesses : DO IT ALL
21 U.S. border river : NIAGARA
23 Fake : ERSATZ
24 Web streaming service : FEED
25 A mechanic usually keeps one handy : RAG
26 Innocent : LAMB
27 Its 1948 inaugural flight began in Geneva : EL AL
29 “Skyfall” singer : ADELE
31 “The Vanishing Hitchhiker” subject : URBAN LEGEND
34 Misty tropical ecosystem : CLOUD FOREST
35 Edge : BEAT BY A NOSE
36 Catcher in the World Series’ only perfect game : BERRA
37 U.S. : Grammy :: U.K. : __ : BRIT
38 Daughter of Uranus : RHEA
42 Uranus, e.g. : ORB
43 Excessively precious, to a Brit : TWEE
45 Six-time NBA All-Star Kyrie : IRVING
47 Indignant lead-in : SEE HERE …
49 __ fair : SCIENCE
50 Movie plantation : TARA
51 In addition : AT THAT
53 It may be short or long : TON
54 Egg cell : OVUM
55 “The Crown” star Foy : CLAIRE
56 Stick in : ADD
57 Urquhart Castle’s loch : NESS
58 Neat : KEMPT
59 It may be iced : TEA

Down

1 Alexis of “The Handmaid’s Tale” : BLEDEL
2 Creator of a colorful atmosphere : AURORA
3 What unconscious bias training may deal with : AGEISM
4 “Paradise Lost” fallen angel : BEELZEBUB
5 __ surgeon : ORAL
6 Columbus in NYC, e.g. : CIR
7 Cylindrical pasta : CANNELLONI
8 Dinsmore of kid lit : ELSIE
9 Climbing challenge : CRAG
10 Share rearing duties : CO-PARENT
11 Colombia is this gem’s largest producer : EMERALD
12 Amount in a shot : DOSAGE
14 Bed board : SLAT
20 Like spreadsheets : TABULAR
22 Saws : ADAGES
24 Majestic greeting : FANFARE
28 Natural enemy of aphids : LADY BEETLE
30 Merit : DESERVE
32 Have angular velocity : ROTATE
33 Some Ernst works : EROTIC ART
34 Multi-headed dog that guards Hades, in Greek myth : CERBERUS
35 Deprive (of) : BEREAVE
36 Commonwealth Avenue city : BOSTON
39 Refer to subtly : HINT AT
40 Disguise, in a way : ENCODE
41 Chair’s document : AGENDA
44 Ruin partner : WRACK
46 Bat mitzvah, e.g. : RITE
48 Carved dishes : HAMS
49 Hold holder : SHIP
52 Part of Highlands regalia : TAM

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 Nov 19, Saturday”

  1. LAT: 35 minutes with one letter off. Had “are” instead of “ere” in the Macbeth quote. Only real trouble was in that NW corner.

  2. Ditto, Cathy. Joyless. (And if you think 51A is expertly clued, you expect less from a crossword constructor or editor than I do. I suppose the answer to the clue “In addition” COULD be used in a sentence without the repetitive word “and,” but … .) Bonus challenge: Cite ONE witty or clever clue anywhere in this time-waster.

  3. I don’t know if I just lucked out on this or not, but my time was much faster than I usually have on a Saturday LAX crossword. I agree the NW corner was the worst, I abandoned it almost immediately and moved on. Was stumped for a while when the puzzle wouldn’t complete after I’d filled everything in… I had WRECK for “ruin partner” instead of WRACK and failed to notice the nonsense ET THAT crossing it.

    I also agree it wasn’t super-fun, but the three long central acrosses felt fresh, and it was satisfying filling them in.

  4. Not as hard as some Saturday puzzles, but I enjoyed it. I will admit
    to looking up the Alexis name, but other than that it was a lot of
    good guesses (such as Berra and Beelzebub).

  5. 18:56. Certainly Saturday-worthy. Changing “moo” to BAA in the NW saved me there. I had the same issue as Charley – I put “wreck” before scratching my head and putting WRACK which finished the grid for me.

    Anon – Re: 51A -There are a lot of ways to use that phrase in a sentence; it’s pretty easily done AT THAT.

    I’m not sure what “expertly clued” means. A clue in a crossword puzzle is just that – a clue. It’s not a dictionary or “according to Hoyle” definition of anything. This isn’t like playing the game “password” and they try to give the most obvious hint to the answer. This is a puzzle – indeed often times they challenge us by putting something that hints at the answer but doesn’t make it obvious. In this case, that hint/clue was enough that I was able to fill it in. Ergo I guess it was pretty expertly done. It might not have been easy or obvious enough for your tastes, but that’s not a knock on the constructor nor on the clue itself. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. This is mine.

    Best –

      1. Perhaps I shouldn’t answer for Jeff, but … Bocce is often described as “an Italian lawn game”, so yes, I think it would be played at family picnics. (My family played croquet.)

  6. Third DNF in a row, with the usual culprits: poor clueing and editing. How is anyone supposed to divine “SEE HERE” from that non sequitir clue? “DO IT ALL” from “Have no weaknesses”? Obscure names to add to the confusion.

  7. I don’t know where anyone else gets the answers to some of the supposed clues, but 23A isn’t poser and 26A isn’t babe and 35A was listed wrongly also in your answer lookup.

    1. What the heck is this comment supposed to mean? The completed grid and the clue/answer pairs shown above are correct. The answer for 23A is ERSATZ, the answer for 26A is LAMB, and the answer for 35A is BEAT BY A NOSE. Where are you seeing POSER and BABE?

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