LA Times Crossword 29 Nov 19, Friday

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Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): The First Shall Be Last

Themed answers are common two-word phrases with the order of those words flipped:

  • 17A Plumbing expert? : DRAIN BRAIN (from “brain drain”)
  • 25A Cub Scout meeting refreshment? : PACK SNACK (from “snack pack”)
  • 30A Candlemaker’s choice? : WICK PICK (from “Pickwick”)
  • 45A Zookeeper’s job, at times? : BEAR CARE (from “Care Bear”)
  • 51A School sports upset : JOCK SHOCK (from “shock jock”)
  • 64A Inflated thread-count scam? : SHEET CHEAT (from “cheat sheet”)

Bill’s time: 7m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 Lope opening? : ANTE-

“Antelope” is the name given to just over 90 species of deer-like mammals. As a group, antelopes aren’t defined taxonomically, although they might be described as all members of the family Bovidae that aren’t sheep, cattle or goats.

16 “The disease of kings” : GOUT

Gout is caused by an elevation of the levels of uric acid in the blood. As a result of the high concentrations, the uric acid can crystallize out in tissue causing extreme discomfort. What we tend to call gout occurs when the crystals are deposited in the big toe. Gout is sometimes referred to as “the disease of kings” or “the rich man’s disease”, as it is associated with a traditionally opulent diet.

17 Plumbing expert? : DRAIN BRAIN (from “brain drain”)

The term “brain drain” arose in Europe after WWII when it was used to describe the emigration of scientists and technologists to North America. The corresponding positive effect, experienced by the receiving locale, is “brain gain”.

19 Tasmania’s highest peak : OSSA

Mount Ossa is the highest mountain in the Australian island state of Tasmania. The peak was named for Mount Ossa in Greece.

20 Lively movements : RONDOS

A rondo was often chosen by composers in the classical period for the last movement of a sonata (or symphony or concerto, for that matter). In rondo form there is a principal theme that alternates with a contrasting theme(s). So, the original theme anchors the whole piece in between secondary digressions.

27 Mex. neighbor : USA

The Mexico-US border stretches almost 2,000 miles, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. It is the most frequently crossed international border in the whole world, with about 350 million legal crossings annually.

30 Candlemaker’s choice? : WICK PICK (from “Pickwick”)

“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.

35 Food distribution giant : SYSCO

It’s hard to drive down any highway in the US without coming across a Sysco truck. It really is a huge company, the largest food service enterprise in the country. “Sysco” is an abbreviation for Systems and Services Company.

39 Name related to Marge : PEGGY

At first glance, “Peggy” appears to be an unlikely nickname for “Margaret”. “Peg” and “Peggy” actually come from “Meggy”, which is a diminutive form of “Margaret”.

42 __ beer : NEAR

“Near beer” is a slang term describing a malt liquor that doesn’t contain enough alcohol to be labelled as “beer”. An example would be “O’Doul’s”, a beverage that I tend to consume in a glass full of ice when I am the designated driver.

43 Two-run homer situation : ONE ON

That would be baseball.

45 Zookeeper’s job, at times? : BEAR CARE (from “Care Bear”)

The Care Bears franchise includes a line of toys as well as TV shows and movies. The original Care Bears were characters created for greeting cards marketed by American Greetings starting in 1981.

47 United Kingdom language : SCOTS

Scots is a variant of English that is commonly spoken in Lowland Scotland. Scots is very different from Scottish Gaelic, a variant of the Celtic language that is more likely to be encountered in the Scottish Highlands. Much of the work of poet Robert Burns was written in Scots.

50 Private __ : EYE

A private eye is a private investigator, a PI.

51 School sports upset : JOCK SHOCK (from “shock jock”)

A shock jock is a radio personality who uses humor that is likely to offend much of the audience, and/or who expresses exaggerated opinions designed to generate a heated reaction. The list of broadcasters who have been labelled “shock jocks” includes Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony, and Don Imus. Not a fan …

54 Kosher deli offering : LATKE

A latke is a delicious potato pancake (I’m Irish, so anything made with potato is delicious!).

64 Inflated thread-count scam? : SHEET CHEAT (from “cheat sheet”)

The thread count of a textile is the number of threads counted along two perpendicular sides of a square inch of material. The lower the thread count, the more coarse is the fabric. Experts tell us that thread counts greater that about 400 are really a marketing ploy to get us to pay more for our bed linens.

68 Wight, for one : ISLE

The Isle of Wight is the largest island in England, and lies about five miles off the south coast of the country. For many centuries, the island was a kingdom in its own right. One popular tourist attraction on the Isle of Wight is Osborne House, a former royal residence that was built as a summer home for Queen Victoria, and that was designed by the queen’s consort Prince Albert. Queen Victoria died in Osborne House, in 1901.

70 Pugilistic victories, briefly : TKOS

Technical knockout (TKO)

“Pugilism”, another word for “boxing”, comes from the Latin “pugil” meaning “boxer”. In turn, “pugil” derives from “pugnus”, the word for “fist”.

Down

1 Familia member : MADRE

In Spanish, a “madre” (mother) is a member of “la familia” (the family).

2 Company whose failure brought down an accounting firm : ENRON

After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

4 Alpine protagonist : HEIDI

“Heidi” is a children’s book written by Swiss author Johanna Spyri and published in two parts. The first is “Heidi’s years of learning and travel”, and the second “Heidi makes use of what she has learned”. The books tells the story of a young girl in the care of her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The most famous film adaptation of the story is the 1937 movie of the same name starring Shirley Temple in the title role.

5 Banned pollutants : PCBS

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

6 Tool secured by tholes : OAR

In a boat, a thole is a wooden peg or pin that acts as a fulcrum for an oar that it is used in rowing. The thole is inserted into a hole in the gunwale, the top edge of the side of the boat.

7 Oro y __: Montana’s motto : PLATA

“Oro y Plata” means “gold and silver”, and is the state motto of Montana. The motto was written in Spanish, solely because “it had a nice ring to it”.

8 Taint : SMIRCH

“Besmirch” is a derivative of “smirch”, with both words meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.

9 Psych 101 subject : EGO

Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The superego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.

11 Bach’s bailiwick : MUSIC

Johann Sebastian Bach died when he was 65-years-old, in 1750. He was buried in Old St. John’s Cemetery in Leipzig, and his grave went unmarked until 1894. At that time his coffin was located, removed and buried in a vault within the church. The church was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid during WWII, and so after the war the remains had to be recovered and taken to the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig.

“Bailiwick” is a word dating back to the mid-1600s. The term originally meant “district of a bailiff”.

22 Pitchfork-shaped letters : PSIS

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

26 Timberlake’s former band : NSYNC

Justin Timberlake got his break by appearing on TV’s “Star Search” from which he was given a starring role in “The New Mickey Mouse Club”. It was on “The New Mickey Mouse Club” that he met his future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well JC Chasez who would join Timberlake in the lineup of the boy band NSYNC.

32 Orchestral climax : CRESCENDO

Crescendo (cresc.) is an Italian word meaning “gradually becoming louder”, and is often seen on a musical score. The term with the opposite meaning is “diminuendo” (dim.).

34 Cold War agcy. : KGB

The “Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti” (KGB) was the national security agency of the Soviet Union until 1991. The KGB was dissolved after the agency’s chairman led a failed attempt at a coup d’état designed to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.

37 Smeltery supply : ORE

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

40 Nerd : GEEK

Originally, a geek was a sideshow performer, perhaps one at a circus. Sometimes the term “geek” is used today for someone regarded as foolish or clumsy, and also for someone who is technically driven and expert, but often socially inept.

51 Stuns at the altar : JILTS

To jilt someone with whom you have a relationship is to drop them suddenly or callously. “Jilt” is an obsolete noun that used to mean “harlot, loose woman”.

55 Ladybug prey : APHID

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!).

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.

57 Eucalyptus eater : KOALA

The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

Eucalyptus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs that is particularly widespread in Australia. The species known as mountain ash or swamp gum is the tallest flowering plant in the world, with the tallest example located in Tasmania and standing at over 325 feet tall.

65 Fair-hiring letters : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fit together : MESH
5 Explodes : POPS
9 Sources of shade : ELMS
13 Lope opening? : ANTE-
14 Pacifies : CALMS
16 “The disease of kings” : GOUT
17 Plumbing expert? : DRAIN BRAIN (from “brain drain”)
19 Tasmania’s highest peak : OSSA
20 Lively movements : RONDOS
21 Snare : TRAP
23 Idiosyncrasy : TIC
24 Break up : END IT
25 Cub Scout meeting refreshment? : PACK SNACK (from “snack pack”)
27 Mex. neighbor : USA
29 Robbery : HEIST
30 Candlemaker’s choice? : WICK PICK (from “Pickwick”)
35 Food distribution giant : SYSCO
38 Instrument named for an animal part : HORN
39 Name related to Marge : PEGGY
42 __ beer : NEAR
43 Two-run homer situation : ONE ON
45 Zookeeper’s job, at times? : BEAR CARE (from “Care Bear”)
47 United Kingdom language : SCOTS
50 Private __ : EYE
51 School sports upset : JOCK SHOCK (from “shock jock”)
54 Kosher deli offering : LATKE
59 Place for a slip, perhaps : ICE
60 Cry of pain : YOWL
61 Drawing tool : SIPHON
62 Give temporarily : LEND
64 Inflated thread-count scam? : SHEET CHEAT (from “cheat sheet”)
66 “I did it!” : TA-DA!
67 Like cornstalks : EARED
68 Wight, for one : ISLE
69 Highbrow, perhaps : SNOB
70 Pugilistic victories, briefly : TKOS
71 Prized : DEAR

Down

1 Familia member : MADRE
2 Company whose failure brought down an accounting firm : ENRON
3 Remain in force : STAND
4 Alpine protagonist : HEIDI
5 Banned pollutants : PCBS
6 Tool secured by tholes : OAR
7 Oro y __: Montana’s motto : PLATA
8 Taint : SMIRCH
9 Psych 101 subject : EGO
10 Drifting, possibly : LOST AT SEA
11 Bach’s bailiwick : MUSIC
12 Neat pile : STACK
15 Treacherous type : SNAKE
18 Still in bed : NOT UP
22 Pitchfork-shaped letters : PSIS
25 Walk or run : PACE
26 Timberlake’s former band : NSYNC
28 Liquid sample : SIP
30 Question of identity : WHO?
31 It carries a charge : ION
32 Orchestral climax : CRESCENDO
33 Rap : KNOCK
34 Cold War agcy. : KGB
36 Sleeper or diner : CAR
37 Smeltery supply : ORE
40 Nerd : GEEK
41 Happy fan’s word : YAY!
44 Intrusive : NOSY
46 Natural history museum item : RELIC
48 56-Down’s opposite : THOSE
49 “I’m not impressed” : SO WHAT?
51 Stuns at the altar : JILTS
52 Eel’s element : OCEAN
53 Counter tender : CLERK
55 Ladybug prey : APHID
56 48-Down’s opposite : THESE
57 Eucalyptus eater : KOALA
58 Put in : ENTER
61 Norms: Abbr. : STDS
63 Apply with care : DAB
65 Fair-hiring letters : EEO

11 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 29 Nov 19, Friday”

  1. No Googles, no errors. Either this has been the easiest week ever, or I’m getting smarter.
    Had boLTS before JILTS. I have a friend who did that twice, then married Mr. wrong guy, and is now happily single.

  2. 17:25. I made this much tougher than it really was. I fell for the 3-name solver ploy – i.e. whenever the solver has 3 names, it’s always a tough solve. I psyched myself out.

    As I say so often here – whoever called it NEAR beer was a poor judge of distance. I’ll swear to that in court…

    Best –

  3. Breezed through this puppy in 20 minutes with no errors. Got the theme eventually and used it to fill in the three I still had to get. There was one rewrite but I’ve already recycled the paper…somewhere in the SW…oh manON instead of ONEON.

    @Carrie – Yeah, your welcome, I think I must of watched 10 of their videos…very compelling. The guy who caught the jacket, I think, is the only “other” character in any of their videos that I remember. The music on your video was cool too, but the video quality left a bit to be desired.

    Geez, atmospheric river bearing down on us according to the radio just now.

  4. ¡Hola mis amigos!🦆

    No errors. Relatively easy for a Friday. Cute theme.

    Dirk, re my video: I know, right??!😁 Talk about your low rent production values. It’s kinda surprising; La Sonora Dinamita is quite popular — they sold out stadiums in their heyday in the 90s and their videos usually look a little better.

    Be well ~~🍹🍸🍺🍷

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