LA Times Crossword 5 Dec 19, Thursday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Holy Terrier!

Themed answers each end with a breed of TERRIER:

  • 64A “__, Batman!”: Robin’s cry upon spotting the ends of the answers to starred clues? : HOLY TERRIER!
  • 17A *Line never spoken by James Cagney : YOU DIRTY RAT! (giving “rat terrier”)
  • 23A *Rock pile at a prehistoric gravesite : BURIAL CAIRN (giving “cairn terrier”)
  • 40A *Like Juárez, vis-à-vis El Paso : ACROSS THE BORDER (giving “border terrier”)
  • 50A *Far-fetched, as a story : COCK-AND-BULL (giving “bull terrier”)

Bill’s time: 7m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Distillery mixture : MASH

In brewing and distilling, the mash is the mixture of grain and water that is heated so that enzymes break down starch into sugars. The sugary liquor extracted from the mash is called the wort. Yeast is added to the wort, resulting in the sugars being converted to alcohol.

5 The Flyers’ Gritty, e.g. : MASCOT

Gritty is the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. He is a youngster, relative to other NHL mascots, having made his debut appearance in 2018.

15 Corrida figure : EL TORO

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

17 *Line never spoken by James Cagney : YOU DIRTY RAT! (giving “rat terrier”)

When Jimmy Cagney accepted the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1974, he addressed one of the most famous movie “non-quotes”. He told the audience, “I never said ‘Mmmmmm, you dirty rat!”. The closest he ever came to saying that line, so often used by impressionists, was in the 1932 movie “Taxi!” in which he starred opposite Loretta Young. In that film he had the line “You dirty rat, I’m going to get rid of you, just like you gave it to my brother.”

The rat terrier is known as a farm dog, and was especially common on farms in the twenties and thirties. The breed has a great reputation as a hunting companion and for controlling vermin.

20 4,300-mile range : ANDES

The Andes range is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world. It runs down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles, from Venezuela in the north to Chile in the south. The highest peak in the Andes is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

21 Novelist Waugh : ALEC

Alec Waugh was the older brother of the more famous Evelyn Waugh. Both were successful novelists (Evelyn of “Brideshead Revisited” fame), but what I like about Alec is that he supposedly invented the cocktail party. He invited his friends around “for tea” in the twenties, and served them all rum swizzles instead!

22 “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

23 *Rock pile at a prehistoric gravesite : BURIAL CAIRN (giving “cairn terrier”)

A cairn is a man-made pile of stones that can have various uses. A cairn might be a prosaic trail marker, or a distinctive landmark or monument. Our term “cairn” derives from the Gaelic “carn” meaning “rocky hill, heap of stones”.

The cairn terrier breed of dog originated in the Highlands of Scotland. The breed is named for the original task given to the dog, rooting out rats and other rodents from man-made piles of stones called cairns.

26 Protect with a levee : EMBANK

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

30 Canon SLR : EOS

I’ve been using Canon EOS cameras for decades now, and have nothing but good things to say about both the cameras and the lenses. The EOS name stands for Electro-Optical System, and was chosen because it evokes the name of Eos, the Titan goddess of dawn from Greek mythology.

31 Gorilla expert Fossey : DIAN

Dian Fossey carried out her famous study of gorilla populations in the mountain forests of Rwanda. She wrote a 1983 autobiographical account of her work titled “Gorillas in the Mist”, which served as a basis for a 1988 film of the same name starring Sigourney Weaver as Fossey. Sadly, Fossey was found dead in her cabin in Rwanda in 1986, murdered in her bedroom, her skull split open by a machete. The crime was never solved.

40 *Like Juárez, vis-à-vis El Paso : ACROSS THE BORDER (giving “border terrier”)

The Mexican city sitting across the border from El Paso is more correctly called Ciudad Juárez. Juárez used to be called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). It was to be the younger settlement on the northern side of the Rio Grande which would retain the “El Paso” name.

Border terriers take their name from the Scottish borders, where they were bred to hunt small game and to kill rodents.

43 MGM part : METRO

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio was founded in 1924 by Marcus Loew. Loew was already a successful movie theater owner when he purchased Metro Pictures Corporation in 1919, and then Goldwyn Pictures in 1924. Later in 1924, Loew also purchased Louis B. Mayer Pictures, mainly so that Louis B. Mayer could merge all three studios and run them himself as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

44 Cork’s place : EIRE

Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Cork has been a major port for many years, and was the last port of call for many, many Irish emigrants to America. When these Irish people reached the US it was common for them to give their point of origin as “Cork”, whereas they may have come from almost anywhere in Ireland. It’s because of this that many descendants of Irish immigrants who had been told they were from a Cork family often find out they were under a misapprehension as their ancestors just sailed from Cork.

45 Racing legend Earnhardt : DALE

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was known for his aggressive driving style, which earned him the nickname “the Intimidator”. Earnhardt was stubborn, and so some referred to him as “Iron Head”. Earnhardt died in a crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is also a NASCAR driver.

46 Brouhaha : ADO

“Brouhaha”, meaning “ado, stir”, was a French word that back in the 1550s meant “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy” . Wow!

50 *Far-fetched, as a story : COCK-AND-BULL (giving “bull terrier”)

A cock-and-bull story is a tale that is fanciful and unbelievable. There are several etymologies floated for the phrase “cock and bull story”. One is that they described fabulous tales related in two coaching inns called “The Cock and Bull” located in Buckinghamshire, England. Another is that the reference is to tales about magical cocks and bulls. Take your pick …

Bull terriers do have uniquely-shaped heads, and are the only dogs with triangular eyes. Like all pure-bred dogs, they have their health challenges. More than 20% of white bull terriers are born deaf. One of the more famous bull terriers is Bill Sikes’ dog Bull’s-eye, in Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist”.

56 Car rental giant : AVIS

Rental car company Avis used the tagline “We Try Harder” for five decades, starting in the early 1960s. The slogan had its roots in a 1962 ad campaign in which the company made brilliant use of its position behind market leader Hertz. The first rendition of the new tagline was “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else”. Within a year, Avis turned its first profit in over a decade, and within three years, increased the company’s market share from 29% to 36%. Avis eventually moved on to the slogan “It’s Your Space” in 2012.

57 “Royal” seaside bird : TERN

There are two subspecies of tern known as the royal tern, one native to the coasts of North And South America, and the other native to the West African coast. I suspect that the adjective “royal” is used because they sport a black cap during the breeding season.

63 GQ or EW : MAG

The men’s magazine known today as “GQ” used to be titled “Gentlemen’s Quarterly”. It was known as “Apparel Arts” when launched in 1931.

“Entertainment Weekly” (EW) is a magazine focused on entertainment media news and reviews of movies, television, books, etc. “EW” was launched in 1990.

64 “__, Batman!”: Robin’s cry upon spotting the ends of the answers to starred clues? : HOLY TERRIER!

Batman’s partner Robin is known for his very creative “Holy …!” exclamations. Here are few worth repeating from the original “Batman” TV show:

  • “Holy Tintinnabulation!”
  • “Holy Knit One, Purl Two!”
  • “Holy Oleo!”
  • “Holy Hole in a Doughnut!”

66 Lyft driver’s ballpark fig. : ETA

Lyft is a ridesharing service that is based in San Francisco, as is Uber, Lyft’s biggest competitor.

67 Café option : AU LAIT

“Café au lait” (coffee with milk) is usually strong drip coffee to which one adds steamed milk. Well, that’s the way we tend to make in this country.

69 Anthem contraction : O’ER

The words “o’er the ramparts we watched” come from “The Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.

70 “Hard to Stop” air conditioners : TRANES

The heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) company called Trane was formed in 1913 by father and son James and Reuben Trane. James was a Norwegian immigrant, and Reuben earned his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Wisconsin. As the company’s marketing folks say, “It’s hard to stop a Trane”.

Down

1 “The Good Place” Emmy nominee Rudolph : MAYA

Comic actress Maya Rudolph got her break as a regular cast member on “Saturday Night Live”. Rudolph’s mother was singer Minnie Ripperton, who had a big hit in 1975 with the single “Lovin’ You”.

2 In a trice : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

3 Poker choice : STUD

“Stud poker” is the name given to many variants of poker, all of which are characterized by the dealer giving each player a mix of cards face-down and face-up. The cards facing upwards are called “upcards”. The cards facing downwards are called “hole cards”, cards only visible to the individual who holds that particular hand. This gives rise to the phrase “ace in the hole”, a valuable holding that only the player with the ace is aware of.

5 Debussy’s “La __” : MER

“La Mer” is a lovely group of three symphonic sketches for orchestra by the French composer Claude Debussy. Listen to it, and you can feel yourself at the ocean. “La Mer” is French for “The Sea”.

6 Chancel feature : ALTAR

The chancel of a Christian church is the space surrounding the altar. The chancel sometimes includes the choir and the pulpit.

8 Chick with Grammys : COREA

Chick Corea is an American jazz pianist. Corea is noted for his work in the area of jazz fusion, as well as for his promotion of Scientology.

9 Soothsayer : ORACLE

In ancient Greece and Rome, an oracle was someone believed inspired by the gods to give wise counsel. The word “oracle” derives from the Latin “orare” meaning “to speak”, which is the same root for our word “orator”. One of the most important oracles of ancient Greece was the priestess to Apollo at Delphi.

A soothsayer is someone who claims to have the ability to predict the future. The term comes from “sooth”, an archaic word for “truth”. So a soothsayer was supposedly one who told the “truth” (about the future).

11 Circle lines : RADII

“Radius” (plural “radii”) is a Latin word, as one might expect, a word meaning “spoke of a wheel”. Makes sense, huh …?

18 Library ID : ISBN

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who was a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a barcode) for each publication.

22 Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy : LASORDA

Tommy Lasorda had been with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for over sixty years when he retired in 1996 (although he did spend one season playing with the Kansas City Athletics).

24 Luau strings : UKES

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

25 Estée contemporary : 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.

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

26 Mild cheese : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

27 Nursery rhyme trio : MICE

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?

28 Frequent prank caller to Moe’s Tavern : BART

On the animated TV comedy “The Simpsons”, Bart likes to prank-call Moe’s Tavern. Bart asks Moe to “page” someone in the bar using a fictitious name, a name which sounds like a rude phrase when called out loud. This running joke on “The Simpsons” is a homage to a series of legendary calls made in real life to the Tube Bar in Jersey City by John Elmo and Jim Davidson that were taped and circulated widely in the mid-seventies. Some of the milder names used in the original prank calls were:

  • Al Cholic (alcoholic)
  • Cole Kutz (cold cuts)
  • Sal Lammy (salami)
  • Anita Bath (I need a bath)

29 Arctic garb : ANORAKS

Anoraks really aren’t very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.

34 McBride of “Hawaii Five-0” : CHI

Actor Chi McBride plays Captain Lou Grover on the reboot of the crime drama “Hawaii Five-0”. He was born Kenneth McBride in Chicago, from where he was given the nickname “Chi”.

49 “The Sopranos” actor Robert : ILER

Actor Robert Iler’s most famous role was A.J., son of mob leader Tony Soprano in HBO’s “The Sopranos”. Apparently Iler’s screen persona has spilled over into his personal life, as he was arrested for armed robbery of two tourists in 2001 (and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge).

50 Brief appearance : CAMEO

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

53 Street of mystery : DELLA

Della Street is Perry Mason’s very capable secretary in the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. Street was played on the TV show by Barbara Hale.

54 “Trumbo” Oscar nominee Cranston : BRYAN

Actor Bryan Cranston is best known today for playing Walter White in the crime drama “Breaking Bad”. Prior to joining that incredibly successful show, Cranston play Hal in the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle”. He also had a recurring role on “Seinfeld” from 1994 to 1997, as Jerry’s dentist Dr. Tim Whatley.

59 CT scan component : X-RAY

A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays. High doses of radiation can be harmful, causing damage that is cumulative over time.

61 Traditional dance : REEL

The reel is a Scottish country dance that is also extremely popular in Ireland.

62 Mostly depleted sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

65 UFO passengers, supposedly : ETS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Distillery mixture : MASH
5 The Flyers’ Gritty, e.g. : MASCOT
11 Poke fun at : RIB
14 __-inflammatory : ANTI
15 Corrida figure : EL TORO
16 Important card : ACE
17 *Line never spoken by James Cagney : YOU DIRTY RAT! (giving “rat terrier”)
19 Cutting remark : DIG
20 4,300-mile range : ANDES
21 Novelist Waugh : ALEC
22 “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU
23 *Rock pile at a prehistoric gravesite : BURIAL CAIRN (giving “cairn terrier”)
26 Protect with a levee : EMBANK
30 Canon SLR : EOS
31 Gorilla expert Fossey : DIAN
32 A pop : EACH
36 Sail (through) : COAST
40 *Like Juárez, vis-à-vis El Paso : ACROSS THE BORDER (giving “border terrier”)
43 MGM part : METRO
44 Cork’s place : EIRE
45 Racing legend Earnhardt : DALE
46 Brouhaha : ADO
48 Held to account : LIABLE
50 *Far-fetched, as a story : COCK-AND-BULL (giving “bull terrier”)
56 Car rental giant : AVIS
57 “Royal” seaside bird : TERN
58 Spare : EXTRA
63 GQ or EW : MAG
64 “__, Batman!”: Robin’s cry upon spotting the ends of the answers to starred clues? : HOLY TERRIER!
66 Lyft driver’s ballpark fig. : ETA
67 Café option : AU LAIT
68 Real estate ad number : AREA
69 Anthem contraction : O’ER
70 “Hard to Stop” air conditioners : TRANES
71 Use one’s outside voice : YELL

Down

1 “The Good Place” Emmy nominee Rudolph : MAYA
2 In a trice : ANON
3 Poker choice : STUD
4 Keep out of sight : HIDE
5 Debussy’s “La __” : MER
6 Chancel feature : ALTAR
7 Tablet accessories : STYLI
8 Chick with Grammys : COREA
9 Soothsayer : ORACLE
10 Little one : TOT
11 Circle lines : RADII
12 Less approachable : ICIER
13 Started : BEGUN
18 Library ID : ISBN
22 Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy : LASORDA
24 Luau strings : UKES
25 Estée contemporary : COCO
26 Mild cheese : EDAM
27 Nursery rhyme trio : MICE
28 Frequent prank caller to Moe’s Tavern : BART
29 Arctic garb : ANORAKS
33 Snacked, say : ATE
34 McBride of “Hawaii Five-0” : CHI
35 Sailor’s pronoun : HER
37 Very little : A DAB
38 Market : SELL
39 Walnut or pecan : TREE
41 Bar mixer : SODA
42 Round signal : BELL
47 Like a band in a bus : ON TOUR
49 “The Sopranos” actor Robert : ILER
50 Brief appearance : CAMEO
51 Egg-shaped : OVATE
52 Cuban export : CIGAR
53 Street of mystery : DELLA
54 “Trumbo” Oscar nominee Cranston : BRYAN
55 Set free : UNTIE
59 CT scan component : X-RAY
60 Run out of gas : TIRE
61 Traditional dance : REEL
62 Mostly depleted sea : ARAL
64 Party accessory : HAT
65 UFO passengers, supposedly : ETS

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 5 Dec 19, Thursday”

  1. 6:54, an excellent time on a Thursday for me. I think it was easier than usual and I also lucked out by knowing many of the proper noun answers… I often suffer by not knowing celebrity or sports names.

    I got the “terrier” theme but the Batman tie-in at the end felt kind of forced and disconnected. I kept looking for something that would make HOLY more relevant, but there isn’t.

    1. Bill is Bill Butler, the author of this crossword blog as well as another for the New York Times puzzle. See link along left side. 😊

  2. Got the theme which helped, but I totally got stuck in the north middle section. Didn’t know 5A “Flying Gritty” and didn’t know that Waugh had a brother named Alec. AND almost put in “El Toro” BUT I didn’t!!! So there, I confess all my sins for today.

  3. Amazingly, I pulled LASORDA out of some back corner of my mind. I never know what I have rattling around in there.
    I enjoyed the theme-knew that last theme answer would start out HOLY. Did the guy ever say anything else?
    Instead of BRYAN, I wanted Brynn, which is my granddaughter’s name. When I finally gave up on Brynn, it was done.

  4. 42D Round Signal – Bell
    Just checking, is this from some bar thing in which a bell is rung when a round of drinks is ordered?
    #IDoMyDrinkingAtHomeThankYouVeryMuch

  5. We did too poorly to even comment, about 75% solved (letter base).
    Except for one word, we were correct on all that we posted, just didn’t
    could not post enough.

    Kudos to you guys and gals for doing so well. Your times are greatly admired.

    I presume that someone explained that Bill is our guru (Yoda). He and Glenn usually
    post the fastest times, averaging about 6 minutes. Just amazing to me; I can’t fathom
    that, when it took me 20 minutes to transpose the known words onto a blank grid.

  6. Did this puzzle at a leisurely pace while selling my honey at market; finished in a reasonable time despite really busy sales – making up for my last two slow markets.

    Had to change fUneral pyre to BURIAL CAIRN and kOREA to COREA. Fun puzzle with a theme that I finally figured out when I got to COCK AND BULL.

    I did start yesterday’s puzzle just before going to bed, but gave up after about 15 minutes. Way to many proper nouns and stuff that was nowhere near my wheelhouse. First midweek puzzle I’ve given up in a looong time, plus I had to get to sleep.

  7. Greetings y’all!!🦆

    I also had problems in the top center!! Cheated for MASCOT. And I put STYLS (?!), which gave me BURSAL CAIRN, whatever THAT is. Shoulda re-checked that one….I knew it wasn’t right. 😣

    After reading Bill’s write-up I had to Google bull terrier to see what a dog with triangular eyes looks like!!

    Never heard of a BORDER terrier, and it sounds weird. I think of border collie, which is a whole different animal, so to speak.

    Be well ~~🍷

  8. Wowsers!! Tough puzzle even for a Thursday. The theme answers were too unknown to get a foothold anywhere and the shorter fill was also out of the wheelhouse. Too many blanks after the first few go through brought less clues than I needed.
    Oh well….back to the drawing board, Leroy!!

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