LA Times Crossword 30 Nov 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Neville Fogarty
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Raccoon in a dumpster, facetiously : TRASH PANDA

The raccoon is native to North America. In captivity, raccoons can live to over 20 years of age, but in the wild they only live two or three years. The main causes for the shorter lifespan are hunting and road traffic.

“Dumpster” is one of those words that we use generically even though it is actually a brand name. The original “Dumpster” was patented by the Dempster Brothers of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Dumpster” is derived from “dump” and “Dempster”.

15 1950s-’90s preschool program with many local versions : ROMPER ROOM

“Romper Room” is a television show for children that targets preschoolers. The show’s original run in the US lasted from 1953 to 1994.

17 Daniel Radcliffe co-star in eight films : EMMA WATSON

Emma Watson is the English actress famous for playing Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series of movies. Watson continued her education while pursuing her acting career and studied at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Daniel Radcliffe is the former child-actor who played the title role in the “Harry Potter” series of films. Radcliffe is doing okay in terms of money. He earned about 1 million pounds for the first “Harry Potter” movie, and about 15 million pounds for the last.

19 Certain petty officers : YEOMEN

In the US Navy, a yeoman is tasked with administrative and clerical work. In fact, the position of yeoman is the oldest rating in the navy. You’ll also see a lot of yeomen in the background on “Star Trek”.

20 Well-punctuated reaction : EMOTICON

An emoticon is a glyph created using text characters to represent facial features, and usually oriented sideways. The emoticon is designed to indicate emotion or attitude. The classic example is the smiley face: 🙂

22 Original “King Kong” co. : RKO

When RKO released the 1933 movie “King Kong”, the promotional material listed the ape’s height as 50 feet. During filming, a bust was created for a 40-foot ape, as well as a full-size hand that went with a 70-foot Kong.

24 Sharp grabbers : TALONS

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

25 Squat : NADA

“Squat” is a slang word meaning “nothing”, and is a term that probably has a distasteful derivation related to a bodily function.

29 Easy, as a job : CUSH

Our term “cushy”, meaning “easy and profitable”, is actually Anglo-Indian slang coming from the Hindi word “khush”, which translates as “pleasant, happy”.

32 Cooking acronym : PAM

PAM cooking oil was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin and Arthur Meyerhoff. The name “PAM” is an acronym … standing for “Product of Arthur Meyerhoff”. Who’d a thunk it …?

33 Roman : Discordia :: Greek : __ : ERIS

In Greek mythology, Eris was the goddess of discord. The name “Eris” is derived from the Greek word for strife, and translates into Latin as “Discordia”. In Greek her counterpart was Harmonia, and in the world of the Roman gods, Concordia. The largest dwarf planet in our solar system is called Eris, named after the goddess.

39 1963 folk album, and its title song : WE SHALL OVERCOME

The exact origins of the protest song titles “We Shall Overcome” is a little unclear. Some say that it is based on an early gospel song “I’ll Overcome Someday”, but there doesn’t seem to be much similarity between the two works beyond the titles. Early performers of the song who helped to popularize its use were Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.

43 Numerical pair? : ELEVEN

That would be a pair of ones.

45 Sister of Helios : EOS

In Greek mythology, Eos was the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos was Aurora. Rather delightfully, Homer referred to Eos as “rosy-fingered dawn” in both “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.

48 Architectural recess : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

62 Purim month : ADAR

Adar is the twelfth month of the Hebrew ecclesiastical calendar. Adar is equivalent to February-March in the Gregorian calendar.

Purim is a festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to wipe them out by Haman the Agagite, as recorded in the Book of Esther.

68 Thai food staple : STICKY RICE

Sticky rice is actually a type of rice, and not a means of preparation. Sticky rice is more usually called “glutinous rice”, even though it does not contain dietary gluten.

Down

1 Long shot, in hoops lingo : TREY

A trey is a three in a deck of cards. The term “trey” can also be used for a domino with three pips, and even a three-point play in basketball.

2 Capital of Italy’s Lazio region : ROME

Lazio is one 20 administrative regions that cover Italy. Lazio is in the center of the country on the west coast, and is home to the capital city of Rome.

3 Some rounds : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

4 Filter target : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

10 Rebuttal during recess : AM NOT!

To recess is to go back, to retreat. The use of the noun “recess” to mean “period of stopping from usual work” dates back to the early 1600s. This usage might stem from the action of parliamentarians “recessing” into, returning to private chambers.

11 “Blue eyes and a ponytail” girl in a 1962 hit : SHEILA

“Sheila” is a 1962 song that was written and recorded by Tommy Roe. Roe composed the song using the name and title “Frita”, inspired by a student at Roe’s high school. The record’s producer requested a change of name, and Roe came up with “Sheila”. That name was inspired by Roe’s Aunt Sheila, who happened to be visiting him at the time.

12 Dummy : NINCOMPOOP

The word “nincompoop”, meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

14 Lowly workers : PEONS

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

21 Make a point : TAPER

I used to think that the word “taper” was used for a slender candle because said candle was “tapered” in shape, but it’s exactly the opposite. It turns out that our word “tapered” comes from the candle. “Taper” and “tapur” are Old English words meaning “candle”. From these nouns arose the verb “to taper” meaning “shoot up like flame”. This meaning evolved into “become slender” from the idea that a candle’s flame has such a shape.

25 Garter snake prey : NEWT

The garter snake is found right across the continent, It is in fact the most widely distributed genus of reptile in North America, being found anywhere from the Southeast Alaska to Central America.

27 New Orleans Square site : DISNEYLAND

New Orleans Square is a themed area in Disneyland that opened for business in 1966 and is modeled on the city of New Orleans in Louisiana. If you slip down to the telegraph office beside the New Orleans Square train station, you can hear some Morse code. The message being sent comprises some lines spoken by Walt Disney when he dedicated Disneyland in 1955:

TO ALL WHO COME TO DISNEYLAND, WELCOME. HERE AGE RELIVES FOND MEMORIES OF THE PAST, AND HERE YOUTH MAY SAVOR THE CHALLENGE AND PROMISE OF THE FUTURE.

35 Community in New Jersey’s Edison Township : MENLO PARK

The township of Edison, New Jersey was established as Raritan Township in 1870, but changed its name to Edison in 1954. That change was in honor of inventor Thomas Edison who worked in the Menlo Park section of the township. The motto appearing on the town seal is “Let There be Light”.

37 Avian sprinters : EMUS

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

38 Old Red Rose : PETE

Pete Rose was a talented baseball player who holds the record for all-time Major League hits. Rose’s nickname was “Charlie Hustle”. In recent years, his reputation has been tarnished by admissions that he bet on games in which he played and managed.

The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with “Reds”.

40 Greek storyteller : AESOP

Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

41 Pro filer : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

46 Posthumously published Puzo novel : OMERTA

Novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, the latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).

50 “Buckaroo Holiday” ballet : RODEO

“Rodeo” is a ballet with a score by Aaron Copland that was originally choreographed by Agnes de Mille. First performed in 1942, “Rodeo” is one of the earliest examples of a truly American classical ballet.

55 Vet school subj. : ANAT

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treat animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

56 Igloo competitor : YETI

YETI is a manufacturer of coolers and related products, and is based in Austin, Texas. There was a kerfuffle between YETI and the National Rifle Association in 2018, when YETI removed the NRA from its membership discount program. That kerfuffle got quite public when some NRA members published video of themselves destroying their own YETI products in protest.

59 “Avatar” race : NA’VI

In James Cameron’s epic “Avatar”, the “blue people” are the Na’vi, the indigenous species that lives on the lush moon called Pandora. The main Na’vi character featuring in the film is the female Neytiri. According to Cameron, Neytiri was inspired by the character played by Raquel Welch in the movie “Fantastic Voyage” and the comic book character Vampirella.

2009’s epic “Avatar” is a science fiction film from James Cameron, who was the director, writer and producer. It was an expensive movie to make and to promote, but was destined to become the highest-grossing film in the history of cinema. 20th Century Fox made a deal with Cameron to produce three “Avatar” sequels.

61 Proofer’s mark : DELE

“Dele” is the editorial instruction to delete something from a document, and is often written in red.

64 Mo. originally tenth in the Roman calendar : DEC

December is the twelfth month in our calendar but was the tenth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the name (“decem” is Latin for “ten”). Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” (February) were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Raccoon in a dumpster, facetiously : TRASH PANDA
11 Speak harshly : SNAP
15 1950s-’90s preschool program with many local versions : ROMPER ROOM
16 Take cover : HIDE
17 Daniel Radcliffe co-star in eight films : EMMA WATSON
18 Internal prefix : ENDO-
19 Certain petty officers : YEOMEN
20 Well-punctuated reaction : EMOTICON
22 Original “King Kong” co. : RKO
24 Sharp grabbers : TALONS
25 Squat : NADA
29 Easy, as a job : CUSH
32 Cooking acronym : PAM
33 Roman : Discordia :: Greek : __ : ERIS
34 Comfortable : AT HOME
36 __ talk : PEP
39 1963 folk album, and its title song : WE SHALL OVERCOME
42 Summer tone : TAN
43 Numerical pair? : ELEVEN
44 Put on an unhappy face : POUT
45 Sister of Helios : EOS
47 Poker player’s problem : TELL
48 Architectural recess : APSE
49 Dust buster : DRY MOP
52 Scatter : SOW
54 Use a counseling technique : ROLE-PLAY
57 Cut back : PRUNED
62 Purim month : ADAR
63 Limited retail offer : ONE-DAY SALE
65 Traveled : WENT
66 Pool maintenance concern : WATER LEVEL
67 Float component : SODA
68 Thai food staple : STICKY RICE

Down

1 Long shot, in hoops lingo : TREY
2 Capital of Italy’s Lazio region : ROME
3 Some rounds : AMMO
4 Filter target : SPAM
5 Cutting-edge worker? : HEWER
6 Practical joke involving ringing : PRANK CALL
7 Dance, e.g. : ART
8 Reporter’s best sense? : NOSE
9 Unhappy ending : DOOM
10 Rebuttal during recess : AM NOT!
11 “Blue eyes and a ponytail” girl in a 1962 hit : SHEILA
12 Dummy : NINCOMPOOP
13 Something more : ADD-ON
14 Lowly workers : PEONS
21 Make a point : TAPER
23 Retail store : OUTLET
25 Garter snake prey : NEWT
26 Quarter : AREA
27 New Orleans Square site : DISNEYLAND
28 Gray shade : ASH
30 Play rough : SHOVE
31 Shabby quarters : HOVELS
35 Community in New Jersey’s Edison Township : MENLO PARK
37 Avian sprinters : EMUS
38 Old Red Rose : PETE
40 Greek storyteller : AESOP
41 Pro filer : CPA
46 Posthumously published Puzo novel : OMERTA
49 Popular movies, say : DRAWS
50 “Buckaroo Holiday” ballet : RODEO
51 Post-winter storm sights : PLOWS
53 With a twist : WRYLY
55 Vet school subj. : ANAT
56 Igloo competitor : YETI
58 App tapper : USER
59 “Avatar” race : NA’VI
60 Juice for PCs : ELEC
61 Proofer’s mark : DELE
64 Mo. originally tenth in the Roman calendar : DEC

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 30 Nov 19, Saturday”

  1. A tough one. I think “rebuttal during recess” is referring to a retort during a schoolyard recess. “Are so!” “Am not!”

    1. @Wayne – You are spot on with your analysis of what “rebuttal during recess” is all about. Hopefully Bill will heed your cogent advice and alter his explanation.

      The NW corner had me hung up for quite a while. I had everything else, but kept staring at 1 Across. I had the P from Prank Call going down and the A in Am Not. Suddenly saw the Panda ending and once I guessed at Trash the rest of that section came to fruition.

      1. And for those who also do the WSJ 21X21 I thought today’s example was a pretty good challenge. I put in one wrong letter for 9 Down/33 Across that yielded 2 errors.

    2. Wayne – Bill is giving the origin of the word “recess” (i.e. the clue) in that particular write up. He’s not referring to the answer in any way.

      Best –

      1. Hi Jeff. I’ve always assumed, and looked at, Bill’s write up as providing us the context between the clue and the answer. And in this case he has apparently either totally deviated from that typical format, or he has misunderstood the clue, as Wayne has so clearly spelled out. I, for one, think it’s the latter in this case. YMMV.

        All the best.

  2. No errors, but took awhile on this one. After I changed “seamen” to
    Yeomen, I finally finished that difficult northwest corner.
    Old Red Rose answer was a groaner.

  3. At first glance the puzzle looked hopeless but like the tortoise, slow and steady won the race with no errors thanks to Emma Watson.

  4. I had trouble with the NW also. Had ‘gross panda.’ Ha! So never got that section totally flushed out. It was a hard one for sure. But I did better than expected. Had forgotten about ‘romper room’ and kept trying to fit ‘head starts’ but finally got it right. The rest of the week was kind so no complaints from me.

  5. I didn’t think I was going to get this one, but came back to it after a break and managed it (with 2 Googles). And I was happy to learn a charming sobriquet for raccoons, which I will make sure to find some way to slip into conversation in the future.

  6. 19:42. I had a few missteps like ONE DAY only before SALE. I hadn’t thought of ROMPER ROOM in years, but I do remember it. Miss Lois was the teacher I think.

    I was curious about something regarding AESOP. I went and read the wiki article on him. It was enlightening. He was apparently a hideous person physically, his tales have been altered so many times over the years and through so many translations that the content of the originals is not well known. And there is a debate as to whether he actually existed at all or if a compilation of stories were just attributed to that name. Lastly, he was thrown off the cliff (if indeed that ever happened) for telling “insulting stories” whatever that means.

    Best –

  7. 21 mins 48 sec, two fills corrected with the aid of online “Check”. Struggled mightily throughout. Maybe it’s just how the clues were phrased, but I just never felt ATHOME with this grid.

  8. 24:45 no errors….I agree with the “am not” comments….In the Baltimore area Miss Nancy ran the romper room…..she was the worst personality I have ever seen on TV yet she stayed on the air for years

  9. LAT: Took me forever, but I finished it with one debatable mistake. I had “crankcall” instead of “prankcall.” This made the raccoon a “trash can DA (district attorney)”, which I guess is conceivable as an answer. In any case, it was an extremely difficult puzzle.

  10. Apropos of nothing more than a good story, (and the fact that we had a Trash Panda/Raccoon clue and answer today) I actually bumped into a raccoon on my middle of the night bike ride this last week. I generally leave the house about 2 AM and make a big 30 mile loop. As I was coming back along the bike path that runs through Marina Del Rey a large raccoon came running out of the bushes and tried to make it to the bushes on the other side. Luckily for both of us I jammed on my brakes enough to just clip him in his right rear butt. Kind of pushed him sideways, but he kept going and I stayed upright. Except for once catching a seagull on my handle bars many years ago this was a new, and hopefully not to be repeated, experience for me.

  11. Mostly easy Saturday for me; took about 30 minutes with no errors. Started off slowly but was able to get key fill that made getting the rest easier.

    Just had to redo moWaR to moWER to HEWER and caNso to AMNOT. I was pretty sure that “Sharp grabbers” were TALONS so that helped change the latter one.

    @Tony – Yikes, that sounds kind of dicey. At 2AM, and I thought I was eccentric. Still, I bet it’s safer to go for long rides at that time of the night, stray raccoons notwithstanding. I once had a close encounter with a skunk at UCSC, after returning to my apartment from the library. I was walking briskly, when I noticed a rather large skunk and I were about to cross paths. I immediately stopped and we stared at each other, with his/her tail kind of hovering. I made calming gestures with my hands, trying to indicate I intended NO harm, and then gently proceeded. Thankfully, I escaped unscented.

  12. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    Fun comments today.

    Wow this puzzle looked so tough that I almost didn’t even try! As it was I had to cheat for TRASH PANDA (adorable!) and ROMPER ROOM. Then I was on my way, tho I still had one error: an N instead of an R, which gave me OMENDA and ADAN.

    That NW was just too much!! 😣 It was either cheat or rage-quit.

    Kay, I also wanted HEAD STARTS there! For many years I worked at a school that shared space with a Head Start center.

    I get quite a few skunks and some raccoons in my neighborhood. Coyotes too. Close to Griffith Park.

    Be well ~~🍸

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