LA Times Crossword 14 Dec 19, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ring in one’s ears? : CROP CIRCLE

Don’t believe what you hear. Crop circles are hoaxes …

11 Common dressage gait : TROT

The equestrian sport of dressage involves demonstration of how well as horse responds to training. “Dressage” is a French word meaning “training”.

16 Tanning target : HIDE

Leather is made from animal skins. When the flesh, fat and hair is removed from the skin and it is dried, the resulting product is called “rawhide”. Further treatment of the skin with chemicals that permanently alter the protein structure of the skin is called “tanning”, and the resulting product is “leather”.

17 Imperfections affecting diamond clarity : INCLUSIONS

In the world of gemology, an inclusion is a characteristic enclosed within a stone. Such characteristics might be another mineral, and may diminish the gem’s value.

18 ’60s pop singer Sands : EVIE

Evie Sands is a singer from Brooklyn, New York. Sands is also a noted songwriter, having penned songs that have been recorded by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Karen Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt and Dusty Springfield.

20 Trial for a would-be atty.? : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

22 Camera choices : SLRS

The initialism “SLR” stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

25 Trig function : COTAN

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

27 Pickett’s Charge charger : REB

Pickett’s Charge was an infantry assault that took place on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The charge was a futile manoeuvre ordered by Confederate General Robert E. Lee that resulted in a loss of 50% of the attacking rebel forces. The defeat turned the course of the battle, and the Battle of Gettysburg turned the course of the Civil War.

36 Sign that may have a dog silhouette on it : KEEP OFF THE GRASS

A silhouette is an outline, usually of a person’s profile, which has been filled in with a solid color. One theory is that the term comes from the name of the French Minister of Finance in 1759, Étienne de Silhouette. Said minister made major cutbacks in spending to finance the Seven Years War, cutbacks that were not popular with the citizenry. His name came to be used for a cheap way of making someone’s likeness, a “silhouette”.

40 Future flounder : ROE

Flounder are flatfish that are typically found lying on the bottom of estuaries and coastal lagoons. Just after it hatches, a young flunder has eyes on either side of its brain. As the fish matures, one of these eyes migrates to the other side of its body. The adult flounder then has two eyes which face up as the fish lies camouflaged on the ocean floor.

41 Mulligan, e.g. : RETRY

There doesn’t seem to be a definitive account for the origin of the term “mulligan”, which is most often used for a shot do-over in golf. There are lots of stories about golfers named Mulligan though, and I suspect that one of them may be true …

43 Fix : AMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

46 Retinal cells : RODS

The retina is the tissue that lines the inside of the eye, the tissue that is light-sensitive. There are (mainly) two types of cells in the retina that are sensitive to light, called rods and cones. Rods are cells that best function in very dim light and only provide black-and-white vision. Cones on the other hand function in brighter light and can perceive color.

50 Thorn in one’s side : BANE

Today, we tend to use the word “bane” to mean anathema, a source of persistent annoyance. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

51 Hawaiian staple : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

53 Word from the Hebrew for “teaching” : TORAH

The Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, are traditionally believed to have been written by Moses. As such, they are sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses, or Mosaic Law.

54 “Scientific American Frontiers” host : ALDA

“Scientific American Frontiers” is a companion TV show to the “Scientific American” magazine that aired for fifteen seasons from 1990 to 2005. For most of the show’s run, it was hosted by actor Alan Alda.

57 Each cha in cha-cha-cha : STEP

The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

59 Lawman who was also a boxing referee : EARP

Wyatt Earp is famous as one of the participants in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Earp was a city policeman in Wichita, Kansas and also in Dodge City, Kansas. Earp was also deputy sheriff in Tombstone, Arizona where the O.K. Corral gunfight took place. Years later, Earp joined the Alaska Gold Rush and with a partner built and operated the Dexter Saloon in Nome.

60 Green Hornet’s great-uncle : LONE RANGER

The Green Hornet is a masked crime-fighter who first appeared in a radio show in 1936. The alter ego of newspaper publisher Britt Reid, the Green Hornet fights crime in a long, green overcoat, green fedora hat and green mask. He also drives around in a hi-tech car called the Black Beauty that is driven by his masked partner Kato. Britt Reid’s use of a face mask to hide his identity is reminiscent of the Lone Ranger. That’s because the Lone Ranger was Reid’s great-uncle. Both “The Lone Ranger” and “The Green Hornet” originated as radio programs on local Detroit station WXYZ.

Down

1 Cheats, in a way : CRIBS

A crib is a plagiarism. It is most commonly the copying of an answer in an examination.

2 Nephric : RENAL

Nephrology is the medical field specializing in the treatment of kidney problems. “Nephros” is the Greek word for “kidney”.

3 Jazz pianist Peterson : OSCAR

Oscar Peterson was a musician from Montreal. Considered on the world’s greatest jazz pianists, Peterson was referred to by Duke Ellington as “the Maharaja of the keyboard”.

7 Upbraid : RAIL AT

To upbraid is to reproach, find fault with, and is a term of Swedish origin.

9 Dunham of “Girls” : LENA

Lena Dunham is a co-star in the HBO series “Girls”, and is also the show’s creator. Dunham garnered a lot of attention for herself during the 2012 US Presidential election cycle as she starred in an ad focused on getting out the youth vote. In the spot, she compared voting for the first time with having sex for the first time.

11 NYC landmark overlooking Central Park : THE PIERRE

The Pierre is a luxury hotel facing Central Park in New York City. The 42-story hotel opened in 1930. In the movie “Scent of a Woman”, the blind character played by Al Pacino dances his famous tango in the ballroom of the Pierre.

23 Tom who coined “radical chic” : WOLFE

American author Tom Wolfe started his career as a journalist, and was very much at the center of the New Journalism literary movement of the sixties and seventies. His first book of note was “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” that tells the story of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. Wolfe also wrote “The Right Stuff” about the post-war test pilots and the Project Mercury astronauts.

A person described a radical chic is celebrity or socialite who embraces a radical political position. The term “radical chic” was coined by author Tom Wolfe in a “New York” magazine article titled “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s”. Wolfe’s argument at the time (1970) was that composer Leonard Bernstein was being absurd and hypocritical by hosting a fundraiser for the Black Panther Party.

24 Like a drunken sailor, in more ways than one? : GROGGY

Edward Vernon was a naval officer with the nickname “Old Grog”. In 1740, Vernon ordered that the daily ration of rum for his sailors should be watered down, in order to reduce discipline problems caused by drunkenness. The diluted rum was sweetened with sugar, and lemon or lime added to help preserve it on long voyages. This recipe, found to reduce scurvy among sailors (because of the citrus) spread throughout the Royal Navy, and “grog” was born. As an aside, George Washington’s older half-brother named the famous Washington Mount Vernon Plantation in honor of Edward Vernon. We use the derivative term “groggy” to mean “unsteady on the feet”, as if under the influence of “grog”.

25 Laid it on thick : CLOYED

To cloy is to cause distaste by oversupplying something that would otherwise be pleasant, especially something with a sweet taste.

26 Med. research agency : NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) organization is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

29 Half a bray : HEE …

A bray is the sound made by a donkey. Hee-haw!

33 Ben Stiller’s mom : MEARA

Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spin-off from “All in the Family”.

35 Return ID : SSN

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

37 Wide partner : FAR

Far and wide …

42 Emulate Galway : TOOTLE

James Galway is Ireland’s most famous flute player. Born in Belfast, Galways now lives in Switzerland. Famously, Galway plays a gold flute that was manufactured to his own specifications.

43 Denigrate : ABASE

To denigrate is to defame, to cast aspersions on someone’s reputation. The term comes from the Latin verb “denigrare” meaning “to blacken”.

44 122-square-mile republic : MALTA

The island state of Malta is relatively small (122 square miles), but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta’s strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

46 __ candle : ROMAN

A Roman candle is a type of firework. It looks somewhat like a candle with a wick at the top. When lit, it shoots out stars or exploding shells. There is a tendency of the Roman candle to cause a lot of accidents, so it is banned in some countries.

47 Bornean beast : ORANG

Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and live in rain forests. Like most species in rainforests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.

Borneo is the third largest island on the planet (after Greenland and New Guinea), and is located north of Australia in Maritime Southeast Asia. Most of the island is part of Indonesia (taking up 73% of the island) with almost all of the remainder being part of Malaysia (26%). The final 1% is home to the sovereign state of Brunei.

48 Hustle, say : DANCE

The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.

52 Word on some headstones : ANNO

The Latin word for year is “annus”. We often see it used in Latin phrases, but usually with a different spelling. In “anno Domini”, the “anno” is the ablative case of “annus” as the phrase means “in the year of the Lord”. Another example is “per annum”, in which “annum” is the accusative case as the literal translation of the phrase is “during the year”.

53 Costume in some Shakespeare plays : TOGA

In ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

William Shakespeare used Ancient Rome as a setting in five of his plays:

  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Julius Caesar
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Cymbeline

56 Key preposition : O’ER

Here are the words (and punctuation) of the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner” penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ring in one’s ears? : CROP CIRCLE
11 Common dressage gait : TROT
15 It may offer dining options and a spa : RESORT AREA
16 Tanning target : HIDE
17 Imperfections affecting diamond clarity : INCLUSIONS
18 ’60s pop singer Sands : EVIE
19 Called to the shepherd : BAAED
20 Trial for a would-be atty.? : LSAT
21 One told to leave, maybe : PEST
22 Camera choices : SLRS
23 No longer is : WAS
24 Round number? : GIRTH
25 Trig function : COTAN
27 Pickett’s Charge charger : REB
28 High in an irritating way : SHRILL
32 Weak-kneed : TIMOROUS
36 Sign that may have a dog silhouette on it : KEEP OFF THE GRASS
38 “I hear ya” : YEAH YEAH
39 Child’s milestone : AGE TEN
40 Future flounder : ROE
41 Mulligan, e.g. : RETRY
43 Fix : AMEND
45 “__ little faster, please” : GO A
46 Retinal cells : RODS
50 Thorn in one’s side : BANE
51 Hawaiian staple : TARO
53 Word from the Hebrew for “teaching” : TORAH
54 “Scientific American Frontiers” host : ALDA
55 Tippling point? : ONE TOO MANY
57 Each cha in cha-cha-cha : STEP
58 Bad taste : INELEGANCE
59 Lawman who was also a boxing referee : EARP
60 Green Hornet’s great-uncle : LONE RANGER

Down

1 Cheats, in a way : CRIBS
2 Nephric : RENAL
3 Jazz pianist Peterson : OSCAR
4 Flag bearers : POLES
5 Guck : CRUD
6 “__ not my call” : IT’S
7 Upbraid : RAIL AT
8 Start of a pedestrian caution : CROSS AT THE GREEN
9 Dunham of “Girls” : LENA
10 __ Coast : EAST
11 NYC landmark overlooking Central Park : THE PIERRE
12 Inland navigator : RIVERBOAT
13 Penner of praiseful poetry : ODIST
14 Muscle : TEETH
23 Tom who coined “radical chic” : WOLFE
24 Like a drunken sailor, in more ways than one? : GROGGY
25 Laid it on thick : CLOYED
26 Med. research agency : NIH
28 Overhead expanse : SKY
29 Half a bray : HEE …
30 Tailgating danger : REAR-ENDER
31 Cell download, perhaps : IPHONE APP
33 Ben Stiller’s mom : MEARA
34 Purpose : USE
35 Return ID : SSN
37 Wide partner : FAR
42 Emulate Galway : TOOTLE
43 Denigrate : ABASE
44 122-square-mile republic : MALTA
46 __ candle : ROMAN
47 Bornean beast : ORANG
48 Hustle, say : DANCE
49 More 32-Across : SHYER
51 Considerable effort : TOIL
52 Word on some headstones : ANNO
53 Costume in some Shakespeare plays : TOGA
56 Key preposition : O’ER

23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 14 Dec 19, Saturday”

  1. No other words but “wow/really”!

    Cross between severe pedantry and truly unabridged RHUD (Random House) dyslexia.

    “Timorous” is borne of fear not timidity (weak-need).

    “Ring in one’s ears?: crop circle??? Really? Hoaxes? Really?

    “CrossATthegreen? Muscle: teeth? Really remote.

  2. 24:13. I filled in the last letter and the banner came straight down. Surprised that happened with this puzzle. Tough one.

    The Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger were related? What, no CPA’s or school teachers in the family?

    Z – FYI – 1) Timorous means showing nervous, fear or lack of confidence. Weak-kneed means all those same things and more. 2) Rings in one’s ears is referring to the rings in ears of corn – as in the crop circles are “cut into” corn fields. 3) These are connect the dot and coloring book sites. Perhaps they would cause you less angst https://www.coloring.ws/connect.html

    Best –

    1. Jeff. My reason re timorous is that it is a broad spectrum of fear… literally fear of fears, not just one’s own physical frailty. I don’t see weak-kneed as any fears beyond that frailty. Perhaps with a less specific clue than week-kneed.

  3. 13:05 for me today. Mostly fun, although CROP CIRCLE was quite the stretch, even for a trick clue. Is that true about the Lone Ranger being the Green Hornet’s great uncle? I’ve never heard of that and it seems such a weird bit of lore.

    I did like how the two central longies brought together most of the rest of the puzzle, and were both related to pedestrians. I still remember “CROSS AT THE GREEN, not in between” as a safety slogan that got droned into us in elementary school!

  4. Agree with all.
    The one I shkeeved the most was EVIE Sands. Who the h–l was she? I lived the ’60s and Tommy Sands was the “Singing Idol” who married Sinatra’s daughter.
    Next was THE PIERRE, for the same reason. With all the famous buildings lining the park, especially 5th Ave? Really?
    The other two I had to Google were LONE RANGER and TOOTLE. Since I’m Googling only 4 on a Saturday, I hope it means I’m getting used to these far out constructers and improving.
    So, @Vieritz – give it more time.

  5. The typical tough Saturday grid. Ended up with one wrong letter giving two errors. I had a “y” (don’t ask me why) at the end of 14 Down and 24 Across. D’oh!

    On the WSJ 21X21 next.

    1. @Myself (ha!). Not quite done with half of the WSJ 21X21 and I worked out one of the long puns. After I got it I had to look up and see who constructed the puzzle as it made me laugh too damn hard (I hardly ever look to see who made the puzzle). First of all I apologize for revealing the answer to the clue…so, spoiler alert if you don’t want to know stop reading now. 37 Across clue is “Some prehistoric sheep?” and the answer was “Primordial Ewes” and the constructor is Gary Larson. He is one funny guy. Thanks for the laugh, Mr. Larson (Surely you must be joking, Mr. Larson?).

  6. I knew this would be a DNF after my first attempt to start in the NW corner. Nothing ever became clearer, even with repeated revisits. I managed to get the bottom half and center done, but the top … no way. With clues like “Nephric”, you either have a reference or you don’t. I didn’t.

    After further reflection, I thought about “crop circles” but didn’t “see” the pun about ears referring to corn. Really evil.

    21 mins 27 seconds before throwing in the towel.

  7. I agree with most of the people who wrote. Evie Sands?? I knew every rock singer of the 60s, but not her. Crop Circle was terrible, IMO, and The Pierre wasn’t far behind. This was one of the toughest Saturday puzzles for me — but I keep showing up every week.

  8. 54:42 no errors….I agree with all of the above comments and IMO orang should indicate an abbreviation as well…..round number is girth yuck

  9. DNF and had lots of errors. I give myself a D-. For 12D I had “road atlas” so that blew that up even though I tried to come up with alternate words. Bummer. And yes, the L.A. Times did leave off the clue to 56D. That use to happen all the time, but hasn’t for quite awhile.

  10. Too tricky for me Saturday; gave up after an hour with most of the NW and parts of the SE and NE undone. At least I got both long answers and all the rest of the puzzle.

    What I had was right…just wasn’t getting the rest. We had EVIE Sands some time ago and I remember checking out some of her videos, but I didn’t get it today either.

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