LA Times Crossword 22 Nov 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Don’t Wit this Wiz

Themed answers are common phrases starting with a QU- that’s been changed to a W-:

  • 16A Colbert et al.? : WITS FOR THE NIGHT (from “quits for the night”)
  • 29A Part of a candlemaker’s design process? : WICK DECISION (from “quick decision”)
  • 34A Outdoor wedding guests on a steamy day? : WILTING PARTY (from quilting party”)
  • 51A What a hiker might do after a nap on the trail? : WAKE IN ONE’S BOOTS (from “quake in one’s boots”)

Bill’s time: 9m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 New England’s only National Park : ACADIA

Acadia National Park in Maine was created in 1919, although back then it was called Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette who famously supported the American Revolution. The park was renamed to Acadia in 1929.

7 Eponymous explorer of Australia : TASMAN

Tasmania is the large island lying off the southeast coast of Australia. In 1642, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sail past the island. Tasman named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after the Governor of the Dutch East Indies, Anthony van Diemen. The name was officially changed to Tasmania, after the discoverer himself, in 1856. In Australia, a more familiar name used is “Tassie”.

13 Pressure sensors attached to buoys are parts of their warning systems : TSUNAMIS

“Tsunami” is a Japanese word meaning “harbor wave”.

A deep-ocean tsunami detection buoy is an important instrument used to detect and confirm the presence of tsunami waves following an underwater seismic event. Each tsunami buoy comprises a pressure sensor that is anchored to the seabed, and a buoy floating on the surface. The buoy monitors the height of the column of water above the sensor, and so can detect the dramatic change in height that occurs when a tsunami wave passes. A network of detection buoys relay the height measurements via satellite to a tsunami warning center.

16 Colbert et al.? : WITS FOR THE NIGHT (from “quits for the night”)

Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosted his own show on Comedy Central, “The Colbert Report”. Colbert’s first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to set up his own spin-off, “The Colbert Report”. In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a “French” pronunciation for the name of his show, so “The Colbert Report” comes out as “The Col-bear Rep-oar”. Colbert took over the “Late Show” when David Letterman retired.

20 Coastal raptor : ERNE

“Raptor” is a generic term for a bird of prey, one that has talons to grip its victims.

23 With 53-Down, maxim : OLD …
(53D See 23-Across : … SAW)

A saw is an old saying, one that is often repeated and is very familiar. The term “old saw” is actually a tautology, as by definition a “saw” is “old”.

25 Ob-__ : GYN

Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob-Gyn)

26 Jacket fabric : DENIM

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

27 First name in a 2010s first family : MALIA

Malia Obama is the oldest of Barack and Michelle Obama’s two daughters. Malia graduated from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same school that Chelsea Clinton attended. Malia took a gap year after leaving high school, and spent the 2016 summer as an intern in the US Embassy in Madrid, before heading off to Harvard in 2017.

31 Subarctic forest : TAIGA

The word “taiga” is used for an ecosystem largely covered in coniferous forests that exists in northern regions around the world. “Taiga” is Mongolian in origin, and is sometimes used interchangeably with “boreal forest”.

33 Hawke of “Boyhood” : ETHAN

Ethan Hawke is a Hollywood actor who made his breakthrough in a supporting role in “Dead Poet’s Society”, playing opposite Robin Williams. Hawke used to be married to Uma Thurman, with whom he has two children.

“Boyhood” sounds like an interesting 2014 film. It’s about the coming-of-age of a young boy and his older sister. The film was actually shot over an 11-year period, so that the actors were seen to be growing up at the same time as the characters that they were playing. The critics loved this movie.

38 “Over the Rainbow” composer : ARLEN

Harold Arlen is a composer of popular music who will forever be associated with his composition “Over the Rainbow” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. Arlen also composed the music to “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” and the wonderful “Stormy Weather”.

“Over the Rainbow” is a classic song written especially for the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. It was sung by the young Judy Garland (Dorothy) in the film, and it was to become her signature song. There is an introductory verse that wasn’t used in the movie, and is very rarely heard:

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There’s a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain.

40 PD alert : APB

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

45 “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself” org. : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

49 Keurig Dr Pepper brand : BAI

Bai Brands is a beverage company that specializes in the low-cal soft drinks that include antioxidants.

56 Absinthe herb : FENNEL

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant species in the celery family that is used as a herb. It also goes by the name “sweet anise”. Personally, I can’t stand the stuff …

Absinthe is an alcoholic spirit that is distilled from various plants and herbs, including wormwood. Absinthe was banned in the US in 1915 as it was deemed to be an addictive psychoactive drug. However, the accepted opinion today seems to be that absinthe is no more addictive or dangerous than any other spirit.

Down

3 Adams with negatives : ANSEL

As an avid amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

5 “Here’s a thought,” briefly : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

6 Reef diver’s need : AIR TANK

The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

8 Prince Harry’s aunt : ANNE

Anne, Princess Royal was born in 1950 and is the only daughter of British Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne has been in the public spotlight for many things, including her success as an equestrian. Princess Anne was the first member of the British Royal Family to have competed in an Olympic Games. Her daughter Zara Phillips continued the tradition and competed as a member of the British equestrian team in the 2012 Olympic Games. Zara’s medal was presented to her by her own mother, Princess Anne.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex is the younger of the two sons of Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales. Famously, Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle in 2018. The groom’s name was Prince Henry of Wales until the marriage, at which time his name officially changed to “Prince Harry”.

10 Early Mississippi flag symbol : MAGNOLIA

The magnolia is the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi.

11 Farthest-from-the-sun orbital point : APHELION

In the celestial world, an apsis is a point in an orbit when the orbiting body is at its greatest, or least, distance from it’s center of orbit. The farthest and closest points of orbit are known as the apogee and perigee, when talking about bodies orbiting the Earth. The farthest and closest points for bodies orbiting the sun are known as the aphelion and perihelion.

12 Monarch catcher : NET

The monarch butterfly has very recognizable orange and black wings, and is often seen across North America. The monarch is the state insect of several US states and was even nominated as the national insect in 1990, but that legislation was not enacted.

17 Marseille man : HOMME

In French, an “homme” (man) might be a “père” (father).

22 Pie-topping nut : PECAN

The pecan is the state nut of Alabama, Arkansas and California. Also, the pecan is the state tree of Texas.

24 Newscaster Rather : DAN

Journalist and former news anchor Dan Rather is from Texas, and began his career as a reporter for the Associated Press in Huntsville, Texas. Rather was the man chosen to replace Walter Cronkite as anchor and Managing Editor of “CBS Evening News” when Cronkite retired in 1981.

27 Daydreaming Walter : MITTY

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a short story by James Thurber that was first published in 1939 in “The New Yorker”. The story was made into a film in 1947 with Danny Kaye in the title role. The Danny Kaye film was remade in 2013 with Ben Stiller playing Mitty. Mitty is a mild-mannered man with a very active fantasy life.

29 Bic’s __-Out : WITE

Wite-Out is a brand of correction fluid made by Bic.

30 First known asteroid : CERES

Ceres is the smallest dwarf planet in our solar system. Ceres was discovered in 1801 and is the largest body in the asteroid belt, and is the only asteroid that is classified as a dwarf planet. For fifty years, Ceres was classified as the eighth planet circling our sun. The Dawn space probe launched by NASA entered Ceres orbit in March 2015, becoming the first mission to study a dwarf planet at close range.

32 Like the seats in an SRO performance : ALL TAKEN

Standing room only (SRO)

34 Funny one : WAG

A card, wag or riot is a very amusing person.

35 She never went to 50-Across ceremonies : GARBO
(50A 1954 Honorary Award for 35-Down : OSCAR)

Famously, Greta Garbo lived a life of seclusion in New York City after she retired from the entertainment business. Commentators often associated her need for privacy with a line she uttered in the great 1932 movie “Grand Hotel”. Her character Grusinskaya the Russian ballerina said, “I want to be alone (…) I just want to be alone”.

37 North African capital : ALGIERS

Algeria is a huge country, the second largest in Africa (only Sudan is larger), and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

40 Confront boldly : ACCOST

To accost is to confront boldly. The verb “to accost” is a term that ultimately derives from the Latin “ad” meaning “to” and “costa” meaning “side, coast”. Originally, the term applied to warships that were attacking an enemy’s “coast”.

41 China pieces : PLATES

The ceramic known as “porcelain” can be referred to as “china” or “fine china”, as porcelain was developed in China.

48 Tiny insect : MITE

Mites are tiny arthropods in the arachnid (spider) class. Mites are (annoyingly!) very successful creatures that have adapted to all sorts of habitats. And being so small, they generally pass unnoticed. Ick …

50 “Hamilton” award : OBIE

The Obies are the Off-Broadway Theater Awards. The Obies have been presented annually since 1956. The recipients used to be chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper, but now are jointly administered with the American Theatre Wing.

“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The show opened off-Broadway in February 2015, and transferred to Broadway in August of the same year. Advance ticket sales for the Broadway production were unprecedented, and reportedly amounted to $30 million. The representations of the main characters is decidedly ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.

51 Scrabble-like app, briefly : WWF

“Words With Friends” (WWF) is a word game application that can be played on smartphones and other electronic devices. “Words With Friends” is basically Scrabble under a different name, or so I hear.

52 Puckish org.? : NHL

Before wooden and rubber pucks were introduced in the late 1800s, ice hockey was played with balls. The first rubber pucks were made by cutting down rubber balls into the shape of discs.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 New England’s only National Park : ACADIA
7 Eponymous explorer of Australia : TASMAN
13 Pressure sensors attached to buoys are parts of their warning systems : TSUNAMIS
15 Recorded, in a way : ON TAPE
16 Colbert et al.? : WITS FOR THE NIGHT (from “quits for the night”)
18 Useful thing : ASSET
19 Additionally : TOO
20 Coastal raptor : ERNE
21 Something to file : NAIL
22 Frond source : PALM
23 With 53-Down, maxim : OLD …
25 Ob-__ : GYN
26 Jacket fabric : DENIM
27 First name in a 2010s first family : MALIA
29 Part of a candlemaker’s design process? : WICK DECISION (from “quick decision”)
31 Subarctic forest : TAIGA
33 Hawke of “Boyhood” : ETHAN
34 Outdoor wedding guests on a steamy day? : WILTING PARTY (from quilting party”)
38 “Over the Rainbow” composer : ARLEN
39 Bowling venue : ALLEY
40 PD alert : APB
43 Understand : GET
44 Oil equipment : RIGS
45 “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself” org. : ACLU
46 Meditation goal : CALM
49 Keurig Dr Pepper brand : BAI
50 1954 Honorary Award for 35-Down : OSCAR
51 What a hiker might do after a nap on the trail? : WAKE IN ONE’S BOOTS (from “quake in one’s boots”)
54 December decor : WREATH
55 Gift with tracks : TRAIN SET
56 Absinthe herb : FENNEL
57 Chocolates, e.g. : SWEETS

Down

1 “You’ve heard this from me before … ” : AS I SAY …
2 Replaces a dancer : CUTS IN
3 Adams with negatives : ANSEL
4 Bonkers : DAFT
5 “Here’s a thought,” briefly : IMO
6 Reef diver’s need : AIR TANK
7 Sock part : TOE
8 Prince Harry’s aunt : ANNE
9 Ado : STIR
10 Early Mississippi flag symbol : MAGNOLIA
11 Farthest-from-the-sun orbital point : APHELION
12 Monarch catcher : NET
13 Country music sound : TWANG
14 Unexcitable : STOLID
17 Marseille man : HOMME
22 Pie-topping nut : PECAN
24 Newscaster Rather : DAN
26 Invitation to eat : DIG IN
27 Daydreaming Walter : MITTY
28 Wan : ASHY
29 Bic’s __-Out : WITE
30 First known asteroid : CERES
31 Car manual topic : TIRE CARE
32 Like the seats in an SRO performance : ALL TAKEN
34 Funny one : WAG
35 She never went to 50-Across ceremonies : GARBO
36 Flexible : PLIANT
37 North African capital : ALGIERS
40 Confront boldly : ACCOST
41 China pieces : PLATES
42 Pop : BURST
45 Together : AS ONE
47 Corned beef order : LEAN
48 Tiny insect : MITE
50 “Hamilton” award : OBIE
51 Scrabble-like app, briefly : WWF
52 Puckish org.? : NHL
53 See 23-Across : … SAW

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 22 Nov 19, Friday”

  1. 12:16, 2 errors. Pretty much another puzzle like yesterday.

    @Daigle, @Dirk
    I will say I type a number of puzzles online, but I write a number of things too. As far as writing goes, I’ve gotten things down to around 4:30-5:00 since I started this for very easy puzzles. Since straight copying got mentioned for the discussion, I had to try it on a 15×15, and ended up timing in at 2:34.

    To that end, I’ve had to train myself a lot to write because when I started, I couldn’t do it very long without hurting and the like. This is because I solely typed for many years as a computer programmer and general user, only handwriting when it came to writing my checks. Looking into handwriting notes for occupational therapy helps – are you holding the writing instrument right, how much force are you using (still my problem), and so on. It may also involve buying some of those rubber cushions or trying different things to see what you are more comfortable with using.

    The other thing I’ve found, which helps is to look at how efficiently you are doing it. As Bill and several others have mentioned in the past, lowercase letters are mostly more efficient to write than all caps. (There’s no rule you got to use anything other than legible writing on crosswords.) It’ll help in life too, as using less strokes will enable you to write easier and it’ll be less stress on your fingers and wrist.

  2. No errors, didn’t know “bai” but got with the cross words. I do say, though, ‘that the last bottle of Bic correction fluid I purchased is called “Cover-It” and not Wite-Out.

  3. Many thanks for the comments on posting. We use a ball point pen and have
    the whiteover close at hand. It still took me 20 minutes just to transpose the
    known words onto the blank grid. Slow brain?

    A question for Jeff, my golfing buddy from St. Louis. On yesterday’s puzzle, I
    thought that Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals had eclipsed Lou Gehrig’s
    record for consecutive baseball (MLB) games played with the New York Yankees.
    But, it turned out to be Cal Ripken, the Iron Man third baseman for the Baltimore
    Orioles. Did Cal surpass Brock or Gehrig?

    I am recovering from a bout with Shingles and doing better each day.

    Kudos to all you solvers and have a good weekend. Looking for Monday and
    want to also wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Cal broke Gehrig’s consecutive games record and still has it.
      Brock broke Ty Cobb’s stolen base record and then Ricky Henderson broke Brock’s record.

      1. Re stolen bases: career totals for Brock and Henderson? Maury Wills had the single-season record for awhile, which he set in like 1962. Not sure who had it before that.

  4. I also never heard of bai. And taiga isn’t a word I’ve heard much, but sort of recognized it after I got it. Didn’t much care for ashy. Seems to me ashen is far more common. But the puzzle was kind of fun.

  5. @John Daigle: For a long time I did the puzzle with pencil and paper. There were a number of problems. The print was so small that I could hardly read it — I sometimes even used a magnifying glass. Having to erase mistakes was a real pain. I liked doing the New York Times puzzle, but can’t afford to subscribe. Our local paper would publish them, but they were like six weeks old. Finally I found the Washington Post Crossword on line for free and it was up to date. Doing it online is so much easier and faster. But then, it helps to be a fast typist. I used to be a computer programmer and also used to be a court reporter, so that’s no problem. Getting to be adept at using the space bar to switch between horizontal and vertical helps. Also using the left, right, up, and down arrows is handy. Just a lot of finger dexterity. But of course none of this helps when you have no idea what the constructor is getting at or when you’re looking at French terms or something else you know nothing about. Even then, I sometimes “click” with certain constructors, but not with others. I’ll stop there. Hope I gave you some insight.

    1. One thought I can add to the above: It seems like I have more trouble with newsprint when it comes to writing, probably because of the pressure, I’ve actually torn up a couple of newsprint puzzles in the past.

      >I liked doing the New York Times puzzle, but can’t afford to subscribe.
      I don’t know if you’re talking about subscribing to the paper here or not, but thought I should mention that the New York Times has a crossword-only subscription for $40 a year which gives access to the entire back catalog (as long as Shortz was editor) along with the new ones for the year period and a bunch more stuff (I gather). The only thing is either having to do the puzzles online or printing them out, but it’s probably a lot more workable than taking out a newspaper subscription. A few here (like Bill) have this kind of subscription, so you’d have to ask them what you get out of it and the like.

  6. Like others, no errors and never heard of BAI. Don’t think Keurig is a smart idea, and neither did its inventor.

    No Googles. Had pale before ASHY.
    Strangely, this Friday puzzle was very easy for me, whereas Wednesday and Thursday were impossible. Some of that may have been the amount of sports and young people trivia, but I’m not sure. If all the puzzles were to become like Wed-Thurs, I’d quit, as I would have aged out.

    I do my puzzles with a Flair on paper, and write over. A Flair, because I like to lie down while doing them. My penmanship is famously poor, and I flunked it in 6th grade (it was a subject!).

    @Daigle – Ow! My mother had it on her face, and some say that the location may have contributed to her Alzheimer’s. I immediately went to my doctor and had her order for me the first vaccination in my county.

      1. Yes, there are a whole bunch of National Historic Sites, Parks and Trails in NE, but the clue, if taken literally, said National Parks, and there, there is just the one so far.

  7. Had to hack my way through this one, but finished with 2 small errors. Phew! Yesterdays was my worst for the week. Made todays look easy.

    We had .63″ of rain in LA, which matches last years rainfall. So far so good. Need to keep the fires season short. Sorry to bore most of you, but you can start letting us know how many inches of snow your getting. It’s a trade-off, really!

  8. 35:26 no errors….I got the theme but don’t understand what W has to do with Qu…..could you substitute H for BR or any other random mix or am I missing something again

    1. Jack –

      The “W” is “QU” without the “K” sound. Other than that, it’s just a substitution that changes the phrase meaning entirely. In theory you could do it with any letter substitution ….as long as it works the same way – ie changes the meaning of the phrase.

  9. 17:28. It’s never a good idea to say to yourself “I’ll just do the crossword really quickly and then go on and do activities x, y and z….” It’s a recipe for stupid decisions. I had a few doing this one. I should just wait until I have more time.

    Jane – Interesting comment that the inventor of Keurig thought it was a bad idea. I’m curious as to why. I never use them because I can’t make my coffee strong enough with those little pod things.

    FWIW – I use a Cuisinart Grind and Brew. The machine grinds and brews the coffee (duh), and I can make it as strong as I want it – which is strong enough so that my car can run on it in a pinch…

    Ridiculously long week. Someday I’ll slow down my workload, but no time soon I suppose.

    Best –

  10. 16 minutes, 38 sec, and two “forced errors”: I used the online puzzle’s “check” to uncover one square within WICKDECISI[O]N to complete this aggravating grid. The “theme” was just SO forced. The setter should have WIT WHILE HE WAS BEHIND and spared us all this ‘cute’.

  11. Thanks for all the comments on posting. I guess my wife and I just have our days
    and then we have our days. I, too, can write faster than I can type, even though I
    typed 75 wpm on my high-school final exam. What a memory! 1951 at age 17.
    You can do the math; add one year for the birthday overlap. Still trucking.

    Also, thanks for the baseball comments. Cal Ripken’s record will last for a while.
    I remembered that Lou Brock had the base-stealing record and knew back then, but
    had forgotten, that Ricky Henderson “stole” it. I used to like Oakland. Jane, I am
    doing better and the red splotches are just on one side, mostly around my left eye
    and on my forehead. I am already getting pretty forgetful. If it ever got into my
    brain, it would have a lot of empty space to roam around in! God forbid. Thanks.

  12. While I’m impressed with some of the fast times posted here (and I’m not above occasionally being impressed with some of my own times), I have to say that I get a lot more pleasure out of finally finishing, with no errors, a seemingly impossible puzzle, no matter how long it takes, than I do out of whipping through a trivial puzzle in a matter of minutes. To get better at the latter, I would have to concentrate mostly on the mechanics of entering the letters – doing all the puzzles on-line, using the same app and an actual keyboard (oh, and getting treatment for the increasing arthritis in my thumbs) – none of which interests me very much or seems to have much to do with the core skills unique to the activity).

  13. @Jeff – it was because of the creation of waste, and bad for the environment. This was John Sylvan. I also prefer strong coffee.

    @Pauline – I always asumed the White Mountains were a national park. So I just looked it up. There is within them, a National Forest.

  14. Fairly easy Friday for me; took 23 minutes with no errors and only one re-write. I had to change tony to OBIE. Never heard of BAI or WWF, and I remember World Wildlife Fund had a big struggle with the WWE for the acronym, which the fund won.

    @Glenn – Thanks for the tips; I’ll try lower case, which I’ve just never done, mostly due to convention. I use a Uni-ball kind of half ball point/ half felt pen, which I had access to at all the software companies I used to work for. I don’t think I press too hard and usually write lightly if I’m not sure of the answer…hmm maybe.

    re Keurig and coffee – I get a lb. at our local roaster Peet’s Coffee and have them grind it for Turkish. I read once in Scientific American, that you should use the finest grind, along with keeping it in the freezer, to then provide the greatest temperature differential between the coffee and the boiling water. I did have a grinder, but couldn’t stand the sound first thing in the morning after a while.

    Plus one of the employees at Peet’s trades me coffee for honey, which works out great for me.

    We’re supposed to get the cold wet weather next week, that you people down south are having, just in time for the holidays.

  15. Aloha y’all!!🦆

    I always like a Weschler puzzle. No errors on this one, altho once I finished it took me awhile to figure out the theme beyond starting with W.🤔

    Be well ~~🍸

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