LA Times Crossword 3 Dec 19, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Robert E. Lee Morris
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Keen to Start

Themed answers each start with a synonym of “keen”:

  • 17A Optimistic viewpoint to “look on” : BRIGHT SIDE
  • 39A Know-it-all : WISE GUY
  • 58A Samsung product : SMARTPHONE
  • 11D Hothead’s trait : QUICK TEMPER
  • 24D Wicked wit : SHARP TONGUE

Bill’s time: 5m 59s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ALANA (Alena)
  • ERAGON (Eregon)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Desert Storm missile : SCUD

Scud missiles were developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Soviets called them R-11 missiles at first, with later versions known as R-17 and R-300 Elbrus. The name “Scud” was actually the name NATO used for the missile, a name created by Western intelligence officers. Ballistic missiles haven’t been used a lot in actual warfare, the exception being the German V-2 rocket attacks on England during WWII. After the V-2, the second most-used ballistic missile in warfare is the Scud, which featured in a number of conflicts:

  • used by Egypt against Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973
  • used by the USSR in Afghanistan
  • used by Libya against a US Coast Guard station in the Mediterranean in 1986
  • used by Iranians and Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88
  • used by Iraq in the Gulf War of 1990-91

5 Jed Clampett portrayer Buddy : EBSEN

Actor Buddy Ebsen was best known for playing Jed Clampett in television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ebsen had been cast in the role of the Tin Man in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, but he developed an allergy to the aluminium dust that was used in the makeup. He ended up in hospital and had to walk away from the part. Ebsen blamed “The Wizard of Oz” on persistent problems that he had with his lungs in subsequent years. But Ebsen lived 16 years longers that any of the other major cast members of the film, so maybe he got the last laugh!

10 Newspaper ad meas. : SQ IN

Square inch (sq. in.)

14 Greek liqueur : OUZO

Ouzo is an apéritif from Greece that is colorless and flavored with anise. Ouzo is similar to French pastis and Italian sambuca.

16 German wheels : AUDI

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

19 “The Way You Love Me” singer Faith : HILL

Faith Hill is a country singer from Ridgeland, Mississippi. Hill is married to fellow country singer Tim McGraw.

21 Medieval clubs : MACES

A mace is a relatively simple weapon in essence. It is a heavy weight on the end of a handle that is used to deliver powerful blows on an opponent’s body.

22 Vampire played by Cruise : LESTAT

Lestat de Lioncourt is the central character in Anne Rice’s series of erotic and Gothic novels “The Vampire Chronicles”. Lestat was played by Tom Cruise in the 1994 movie adaptation of Rice’s first novel “Interview with the Vampire”.

34 Eastern neighbor of Tenn. : NCAR

The states of North and South Carolina are referred to collectively as “the Carolinas”. Before statehood, the Carolinas were known as the Province of the Carolinas. The province was given the name in honor of King Charles II of England (“Carolinus” is Latin for Charles). The father of Charles II, Charles I, had given a land grant for the area in the name of “Corolana”. Earlier still, French settlers called the region “Caroline”, in honor of King Charles IX of France.

35 “FBI” actress De La Garza : ALANA

Alana De La Garza is an actress from Columbus, Ohio. De La Garza is perhaps best known for her recurring role as Connie Rubirosa on television’s “Law & Order”.

37 “Strange Magic” rock band : ELO

“Strange Magic” is a song by English rock band the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) that was released as a single in 1976. It had appeared earlier as a track on the ELO’s 1975 album “Face the Music”.

38 California’s Big __ : SUR

Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast located south of Monterey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.

41 UFC sport : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest promoter in the world of mixed martial arts competitions. I think the idea is that competitors fight each other in various disciplines to see who is the “best of the best” …

42 Psychic’s “gift” : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

43 “Gesundheit!” evoker : ACHOO!

“Gesundheit” is the German word for “health”, and is used in response to a sneeze in Germany, as indeed it is here in the US quite often.

53 Singer Joplin : JANIS

Famously, the singer Janis Joplin died from an overdose of heroin when she was just 27 years old. That puts her in the “27 Club”, a group of famous rock and blues musicians who died at the same age. In the club along with Joplin, are Brian Jones (of the Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and a few others.

58 Samsung product : SMARTPHONE

Samsung is a huge multinational company based in Seoul, South Korea. We tend to think of Samsung as a supplier of consumer electronics perhaps, but the company is into so much more. Samsung Heavy Industries is the world’s second-biggest shipbuilder, and Samsung Techwin is a major manufacturer of aeronautic and weapons systems. The name “Samsung” means “three stars” in Korean.

65 Bamboo muncher : PANDA

The giant panda is a bear, and so has the digestive system of a carnivore. However, the panda lives exclusively on bamboo, even though its gut is relatively poorly adapted to extract nutrients from plants per se. The panda relies on microbes in its gut to digest cellulose, and consumes 20-30 pounds of bamboo each day to gain enough nourishment.

66 Black stone : ONYX

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

67 Pigged out (on), briefly : OD’ED

Overdose (OD)

68 Fur tycoon : ASTOR

John Jacob Astor was the patriarch of the famous American Astor dynasty. He was the country’s first multi-millionaire, making his fortune in the trade of fur, real estate and opium. In today’s terms, it has been calculated that by the time of his death he has accumulated a fortune big enough to make him the fourth wealthiest man in American history (in the company of the likes of Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bill Gates, Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller).

69 Designer Chanel : COCO

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer. I’m no fashionista, but if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that look so elegant on a woman.

Down

3 Special forces weapon : UZI

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

6 Barbershop quartet member : BASS

Barbershop music is played in the a cappella style, meaning that it is unaccompanied vocal music. Barbershop music originated in the African-American communities in the South, as gospel quartets often gathered in neighborhood barber shops to sing together.

8 Flight board abbr. : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

9 “Bill __ Saves the World”: science talk show : NYE

“Bill Nye Saves the World” is a Netflix show hosted by science communicator Bill Nye. In each episode, Nye explores scientific issues that affect our lives, such as alternative medicine, climate change and video games.

10 Arid African expanse : SAHARA

The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic. The Sahara is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

13 Rock’s Lofgren : NILS

The musician Nils Lofgren was a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for over 25 years. Lofgren provided vocals and played guitar, and was hired as the replacement for Steven Van Zandt.

21 Southeast Asia’s __ Peninsula : MALAY

The Malay Peninsula is a long, thin land mass that forms the southernmost part of the Asian mainland. On the peninsula are the countries of Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore (an island nation off the southern tip of the peninsula). People of the Malay ethnic group are mainly found on the Malay peninsula.

25 Driveway surface : TAR

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.

27 Jeremy Irons film based on a Christopher Paolini fantasy novel : ERAGON

Christopher Paolini began writing his best-selling fantasy story “Eragon” at the age of 15. Christopher’s parents, when they read the final version two years later, they decided to self-publish it and support Christopher as he toured the US promoting the novel. It was eventually republished by Alfred A. Knopf in 2003, and became the second-best-selling children’s paperback of 2005. The book was adapted for the big screen in 2006. I’d call that a success story …

Jeremy Irons is much-respected English actor who is noted for his stage, television and film performances. My favorite of these performances is the one that brought him into the limelight, playing Charles Ryder in the 1981 TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited”. Irons won a Best Actor Oscar for playing Claus von Bülow in 1990’s “Reversal of Fortune”. He is married to Irish actress Sinéad Cusack, and the couple own a castle in County Cork in the south of Ireland.

30 One of Santa’s reindeer : DASHER

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

32 “Get Shorty” novelist __ Leonard : ELMORE

Elmore Leonard used to write a lot of westerns in the fifties and moved onto crime and suspense novels later in his career. A lot of his books have made it to the big screen, including “Get Shorty” and “Mr Majestyk”.

36 Late July zodiac sign : LEO

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

39 City districts : WARDS

In the US, wards are local authority areas that are often used as electoral districts. American wards are usually divided into precincts.

40 Slushy treat : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

48 GM security system : ONSTAR

The OnStar system was developed as a joint venture between GM, EDS and Hughes. The product itself was launched in 1996. Today, OnStar is only available on GM cars, although it used to be offered on other makes of car through a licensing agreement. OnStar is a subscription service that packages vehicle security, telephone, satellite navigation and remote diagnostics.

53 Roman queen of the gods : JUNO

Juno was the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, and also looked after the interests of the women of Rome. Juno was the sister and wife of Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods.

54 Retired MLB slugger : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

56 Word on a dollar : ORDO

The Latin phrase “novus ordo seclorum” means “new order of the ages”. These words appear on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, a device used to authenticate some US federal documents. “Novus ordo seclorum” also appears on the back of one-dollar bills. The phrase itself is lifted from one of the works of the ancient Roman poet Virgil.

58 Place for TLC : SPA

Tender loving care (TLC)

59 Humanities degs. : MAS

The academic studies of human culture are collectively called the humanities. Subjects included in the humanities are languages, literature, philosophy, religion and music.

60 Ad __ committee : HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.

61 Lennon’s love : ONO

John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. The couple decided to use the inevitable publicity surrounding their wedding and honeymoon to promote peace in the world. They honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, inviting the world’s press to join them and to witness their “bed-in”. They spent the week talking about peace, and an end to war. The marriage and bed-in is chronicled by the Beatles in their song “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. A few weeks after the marriage, Lennon adopted the middle name “Ono” by deed poll.

62 Grand Central Sta. site : NYC

Grand Central Terminal in New York City is the largest railroad station in the world in terms of the number of platforms (44). Those platforms are all underground, and on two levels. The official name for the facility is “Grand Central Terminal”. The name “Grand Central Station” is very common, and is actually the name of the facility that the terminal replaced in 1913.

63 Skeleton prefix : EXO-

An animal with an endoskeleton has a supporting skeleton inside its body. So, we humans have an endoskeleton. A turtle, on the other hand, has both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton, its outer shell.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Desert Storm missile : SCUD
5 Jed Clampett portrayer Buddy : EBSEN
10 Newspaper ad meas. : SQ IN
14 Greek liqueur : OUZO
15 Like much snack food : SALTY
16 German wheels : AUDI
17 Optimistic viewpoint to “look on” : BRIGHT SIDE
19 “The Way You Love Me” singer Faith : HILL
20 Comfort : EASE
21 Medieval clubs : MACES
22 Vampire played by Cruise : LESTAT
26 Offhand comment : REMARK
29 Breathed out : EXHALED
31 Connects (to) : RELATES
34 Eastern neighbor of Tenn. : NCAR
35 “FBI” actress De La Garza : ALANA
37 “Strange Magic” rock band : ELO
38 California’s Big __ : SUR
39 Know-it-all : WISE GUY
41 UFC sport : MMA
42 Psychic’s “gift” : ESP
43 “Gesundheit!” evoker : ACHOO!
44 For each unit : A POP
45 Emancipate : SET FREE
47 Middle of __: remote area : NOWHERE
50 Restaurant chef’s workload : ORDERS
52 Came close to : NEARED
53 Singer Joplin : JANIS
55 Taste defeat : LOSE
57 Strong desire : URGE
58 Samsung product : SMARTPHONE
64 Any thing, say : NOUN
65 Bamboo muncher : PANDA
66 Black stone : ONYX
67 Pigged out (on), briefly : OD’ED
68 Fur tycoon : ASTOR
69 Designer Chanel : COCO

Down

1 Cry noisily : SOB
2 Many a stray 4-Down : CUR
3 Special forces weapon : UZI
4 Hound : DOG
5 Sprawling property : ESTATE
6 Barbershop quartet member : BASS
7 More underhanded : SLIER
8 Flight board abbr. : ETD
9 “Bill __ Saves the World”: science talk show : NYE
10 Arid African expanse : SAHARA
11 Hothead’s trait : QUICK TEMPER
12 Wait in traffic : IDLE
13 Rock’s Lofgren : NILS
18 Get better : HEAL
21 Southeast Asia’s __ Peninsula : MALAY
22 Camera attachments : LENSES
23 Reason for absence : EXCUSE
24 Wicked wit : SHARP TONGUE
25 Driveway surface : TAR
27 Jeremy Irons film based on a Christopher Paolini fantasy novel : ERAGON
28 Bill of fare : MENU
30 One of Santa’s reindeer : DASHER
32 “Get Shorty” novelist __ Leonard : ELMORE
33 Lathered (up) : SOAPED
36 Late July zodiac sign : LEO
39 City districts : WARDS
40 Slushy treat : ICEE
44 “I understand now!” : AHA!
46 Ally : FRIEND
48 GM security system : ONSTAR
49 Blubber : WEEP
51 Point of view : SLANT
53 Roman queen of the gods : JUNO
54 Retired MLB slugger : A-ROD
56 Word on a dollar : ORDO
58 Place for TLC : SPA
59 Humanities degs. : MAS
60 Ad __ committee : HOC
61 Lennon’s love : ONO
62 Grand Central Sta. site : NYC
63 Skeleton prefix : EXO-

17 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 3 Dec 19, Tuesday”

  1. Pretty standard grid for a Tuesday. Today we had a Civil War general-constructor. Yesterday we had a cartoonist-constructor (Gary Larson). Things that make you go, “Hmm.”

    I haven’t thought about this for a long time, but is a sound (ACHOO) a “real” word?

    Regarding “novis ORDO seclorum,” does anyone know when the Latin word “saecularis” got its ecclesastical color, creating a “non-Christian” word out of a root word meaning “age” or “generation?” And causing the proliferation of silly things like Dan Brown novels and Nicholas Cage films…talk about WEEPing!

    1. @Willie – Achoo is a word that comes from the sound it makes. Words like that are called onomatopoeia which springs from the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle ).

      No real problems with this grid, although I admit to never having heard of the movie Eragon and had to get it from crosses.

      1. Yeah, I’m aware of all that. When does any old sound become part of a formal lexicon? Are we just allowed to make stuff up out of whole cloth?

  2. 8:00 doing this in the middle of a busy United Club in Houston after a red eye. I had to people watch and solve the puzzle at the same time. More Hollywood references I didn’t know – LESTAT and ERAGON. I’d say I need to see more movies, but I’d rather struggle through crosswords instead.

    Only “must see” movie coming out soon is “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” – the Mr Rogers movie.

    Still have 3 hours to kill before my flight to Puerto Vallarta so I’m going to eat.

    Best –

  3. So much of this was so simple. And yet I struggled. Never heard of Eragon or Alana, so that didn’t help. And in the bonehead play of the month, I put in koala instead of panda. Took awhile to untangle that!

  4. One error box; didn’t know UFC sport and didn’t look up the “Get Shorty”
    novelist, so had one empty box I forgot about. too bad; the rest of it
    was pretty easy.

  5. Had a Natick at ERAGON crosses ALANA. This is because they are young people’s entertainment. This category is my 2nd weakest after sports, and is growing as I age. On the other hand, I have a whole box of the late ELMORE Leonard novels, from my day.

    I saw a movie that people of my age will love. The Irishman had great 60s actors, music and cars, and not so great flashy wide ties. Trouble is, it went on for 3.5 hours with no intermission, which is rough on the old bladder. We saw it at the matinee so as not to annoy any younsters as we sang along, or in my husband’s case, started shouting in Sicilian.

    1. Sfingi– glad to hear your thoughts on The Irishman. I look forward to seeing it, but my plan is to watch it on Netflix so I can split it over two sittings. 😊

        1. Hi Wayne! Sorry; Jane used to go by the nickname Sfingi here, and I still call her that, with hopes that she doesn’t mind! “Sfingi” is the name of an Italian dessert, I believe.

  6. Greetings one and all!!🦆

    One error, dang it! Had ASTER instead of ASTOR. Should have caught that! 🙄 Didn’t know ORDO so that didn’t save me.

    Willie, I think there’s a term for that phenomenon where a non-word becomes a word….at some point I guess enough people feel like they just HAVE to write something as it sounds; one spelling is deemed the most popular and appears in the OED. And we don’t get to vote on it!!! It’s like an unspoken social contract among people who speak the same language….🤔

    Be well~~🥂

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