LA Times Crossword 6 Dec 19, Friday

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Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Switched on the TV

Themed answers are common phrases with a T-sound replaced with a V-sound:

  • 37A Got ready to binge-watch … or a hint to phonetic changes in four puzzle answers : SWITCHED ON THE TV
  • 17A Street stand with full permits? : LEGAL VENDOR (from “legal tender”)
  • 23A “Who wants to visit Muscle Beach?”? : VENICE, ANYONE? (from “tennis, anyone”)
  • 45A Dumps litter in the woods, e.g.? : VEXES RANGERS (from “Texas Ranger”)
  • 57A King’s pulse, BP, etc.? : ROYAL VITALS (from “royal titles”)
  • Bill’s time: 10m 27s

    Bill’s errors: 0

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    11 Umami source, briefly : MSG

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

    Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

    19 Filch : ROB

    “Filch” is a slang word meaning for “steal”. One suggestion is that the term derives from the German “filzen” meaning “comb through”.

    20 Tee preceder : ESS

    The letter S (ess) precedes the letter T (tee) in the alphabet.

    21 Sufferer cleansed by Jesus : LEPER

    The horrible disease known as leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease, named after the Norwegian physician famous for isolating the bacterium that causes the disease. We can use the term “leper” to mean someone in general who is shunned by society.

    23 “Who wants to visit Muscle Beach?”? : VENICE, ANYONE? (from “tennis, anyone”)

    The original Muscle Beach was located on the south side of Santa Monica Pier in Southern California. Bodybuilders started working out on the beach back in the 1930s when exercise equipment was installed there as part of the WPA program. Some of the equipment was removed in the fifties, so the bodybuilding community shifted to the Venice Beach Weight Pen. That area was developed and is now known as Muscle Beach Venice.

    26 AFC South athletes : TITANS

    The Tennessee Titans are a football team based in Nashville. The team relocated to Nashville from Houston in 1997. They were called the Tennessee Oilers for two seasons, before adopting the “Titans” moniker.

    29 Sen. Warren, e.g. : DEM

    Elizabeth Warren is the senior US Senator from Massachusetts, and the first female to hold that office for her state. Warren is a prominent Democratic and is a favorite of the progressive wing of the party.

    30 “… for none of woman __ / Shall harm Macbeth” : BORN

    In William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, the title character sees several apparitions when he goes to visit the Three Witches. One of these apparitions is a bloody child who tells Macbeth:

    Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn
    The power of man, for none of woman born
    Shall harm Macbeth.

    40 Shutterbug who bugs : PAPARAZZO

    The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film “La Dolce Vita” translates from Italian as “The Good Life”. There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character who gives us our word “Paparazzi”, a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

    A shutterbug is an enthusiastic amateur photographer, someone who likes to hear the click of that shutter, someone like me …

    41 Brewer’s kiln : OAST

    An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an “oast house” or “hop kiln”. The term “oast” can also apply to a kiln used to dry tobacco.

    42 VW Golf model : GTI

    The Volkswagen Rabbit is a small, front-wheel drive car that is sold as the Volkswagen Golf outside of North America. There is a very popular GTI version of the Golf that was introduced in 1976. The initialism “GTI” stands for Grand Tourer Injection.

    45 Dumps litter in the woods, e.g.? : VEXES RANGERS (from “Texas Ranger”)

    The Texas Rangers are a law enforcement agency that has been around since 1835, although an unofficial force existed since 1823.

    51 Stout choices : ALES

    The term “stout” was first used for a type of beer in the 1600s when was used to describe a “strong, stout” brew, and not necessarily a dark beer as it is today.

    53 Onetime part of Portuguese India : GOA

    Goa is the smallest state in India, and is located in the southwest of the country. The Portuguese landed in Goa in the early 1500s, at first peacefully carrying out trade, but then took the area by force creating Portuguese India. Portugal held onto Portuguese India even after the British pulled out of India in 1947, until the Indian Army marched into the area in 1961.

    56 Drug injector : PEN

    An autoinjector (sometimes just “pen”) is an easy-to-use medical device that delivers a single dose of a drug. Essentially, it is a spring-loaded syringe.

    57 King’s pulse, BP, etc.? : ROYAL VITALS (from “royal titles”)

    There are four primary vital signs that are measured by health professionals:

    1. Body temperature
    2. Blood pressure
    3. Pulse
    4. Breathing rate

    60 Tokyo-born artist : ONO

    Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

    64 Numbers game : KENO

    The name of the game keno has French or Latin roots, with the French “quine” being a term for five winning numbers, and the Latin “quini” meaning “five each”. The game originated in China and was introduced into the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

    65 Pinball wizard’s reward : REPLAY

    Our modern game of pinball evolved from an earlier table game called bagatelle which used balls, pins and holes (and I remember playing bagatelle as boy in a pub in Ireland). The first “pinball” machine was made by a British inventor who settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. He modified the game of bagatelle, adding a coiled spring and a plunger to introduce balls at the end of the table, a device that is still in use today. From there, manufacturers developed coin-operated versions of pinball, which became popular during the depression as they provided a little entertainment for a few pennies. One distributor of the coin-operated pinball machines started manufacturing them himself as he couldn’t source new games fast enough. He called his pinball game Ballyhoo, and eventually named his company Bally, a brand name well known in the gambling industry to this day.

    Down

    2 First name in couture : YVES

    Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

    “Haute couture”, literally “high dressmaking” in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

    4 Carrier with Tokyo HQ : ANA

    All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Japanese airline, one that is now larger in size that the nation’s flag carrier Japan Airlines (JAL).

    6 Winning slot machine line : SEVENS

    Slot machines earned the nickname “one-armed bandits” simply because they had “one arm”, the handle pulled to operate the machine. Well, they also rob your money!

    7 Where to claim a W-4 head-of-household allowance : LINE C

    A W-4 is an IRS tax form that is used by an employer to calculate the appropriate amount of tax withholding from an employee’s wages.

    8 Author Gide : ANDRE

    André Gide was an author from Paris who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947. His works weren’t popular with the Roman Catholic church, and were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1952.

    9 Airborne mystery : UFO

    Unidentified flying object (UFO)

    10 Palme __: film award : D’OR

    The “Palme d’Or” (or “Golden Palm” in English) is the highest award given at the Cannes Film Festival. The Palme d’Or goes to the director of the film that is selected as the best shown at the festival that year. The palm was selected as an emblem for the award as there is a palm featured on the coat of arms of the Commune of Cannes.

    11 Super __ : MARIO

    “Super Mario” is the name of the series video games created by Nintendo that features the character Mario, and his adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom.

    13 Gothic architecture feature : GABLE

    Gothic architecture is a style that dates back to the mid and late medieval period, following on from the Romanesque style. Gothic architecture originated in France in the 12th century, and was prevalent until the 16th century, when it was largely superseded by the Renaissance style. Gothic buildings often feature pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses. The best known example of Gothic edifices are magnificent cathedrals and abbeys across Europe, many of which are still used today. Examples of the style can be seen in Notre Dame de Paris in France, Westminster Abbey in England, and Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.

    18 56-Across prefix : EPI-
    (56A Drug injector : PEN)

    EpiPen is a brand of epinephrine auto-injector. An EpiPen delivers a measured dose of epinephrine, which is a common treatment for an extreme allergic reaction.

    22 Fitness training apparel : GYM SHOES

    Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

    24 Port SSE of Sana’a : ADEN

    Aden is a seaport in Yemen that is located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

    Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

    26 Culinary meas. : TBSP

    Tablespoon (tbsp.)

    27 “Field of Dreams” locale : IOWA

    “Field of Dreams” is a fantasy drama about baseball, released in 1989 and starring Kevin Costner. The movie is an adaptation of a 1982 novel titled “Shoeless Joe” by Canadian author W. P. Kinsella. Shoeless Joe Jackson was a real baseball player, and someone associated with the Black Sox Scandal that allegedly affected the outcome of the 1919 World Series. Jackson was portrayed by Ray Liotta in the movie. “Field of Dreams” was also the last film in which Burt Lancaster made an appearance. The baseball stadium that was built for the movie can be visited in Dubuque County, Iowa.

    32 Hatchet relative : ADZ

    An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe blade is set in line with the shaft.

    33 John in Albert Hall : LOO

    It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

    The beautiful Royal Albert Hall in London is most famous as the home to the BBC Prom concerts that have been performed each summer since 1941. The concert hall was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria. The Queen ordered that the intended name for the new hall be dropped in favor of the “Royal Albert Hall” in honor of her husband Prince Albert, who had passed away ten years earlier.

    36 Low mil. ranks : PVTS

    The lowest military rank of soldier is often called “private” (pvt.). The term comes from the Middle Ages when “private soldiers” were hired or conscripted by noblemen to form a private army. The more generic usage of “private” started in the 1700s.

    38 Old PC monitors : CRTS

    Cathode ray tube (CRT)

    39 ’60s musical : HAIR

    The full name of the famed show from the sixties is “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”, although the 1979 film adaptation was simply titled “Hair”. This controversial work outraged many when it was first performed in the sixties, as it attacked many aspects of life at the time. For example, the song “Air” is a satirical look at pollution, sung by a character who comes onto the stage wearing a gas mask. The opening lines are “Welcome, sulfur dioxide. Hello carbon monoxide. The air … is everywhere”. How things have changed over the past few decades said he … satirically …

    43 Sommelier, e.g. : SERVER

    “Sommelier” is the French word for “wine steward”. If that steward is a female, then the term used in French is “sommelière”.

    44 White weasel : ERMINE

    The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

    46 John Paul’s successor : ELENA

    Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

    John Paul Stevens retired as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court in 2010 after having served for over 34 years. That made him the third longest serving justice in the history of the court. Stevens had been nominated by President Gerald Ford to replace Justice William O. Douglas, who had been the longest serving justice in the court (at over 36 years).

    47 Element from the Greek for “strange” : XENON

    Xenon was the first of the noble gases to be made into a compound, which was somewhat remarkable in that the noble gases were thought by many to be completely inert, unreactive.

    48 Indo-__ languages : ARYAN

    The Indo-Aryans are a collection of peoples that speak languages that share the same linguistic roots, traced back to the ancient Indo-Iranian peoples. Included in the Indo-Aryan group of peoples are the Bengali people, the Gurkhas, the Kashmiri people and the Punjabi people.

    50 128 fl. oz. : GAL

    The name of our fluid measure called a “gallon” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin term “galleta” meaning “bucket, pail”.

    53 Conquest for Caesar : GAUL

    The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

    By 59 BC, Julius Caesar was a very powerful man in Rome and had just been elected to the position of consul, the highest magistracy in the Republic. Famously, he aligned himself with two other powerful men in Rome, Pompey and Crassus, forming the First Triumvirate. At the end of his year as consul, Caesar was elected proconsul (for 5 years), and was appointed governor of three provinces north of Rome (including Gaul), with control of four legions of the army. Caesar extended the reach of the Roman Republic in the Gallic Wars, and became very popular with the people back in Rome. However the Senate, led by his erstwhile ally Pompey, feared the power that could be exercised by Caesar, so at the end of his term as proconsul they ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome. Caesar agreed to return to Rome, but not to disband his army. On 10 January 49 BC, despite all the warnings, he marched back into Italy by crossing the Rubicon River, along with his army, plunging Rome into Civil War. Since then, “crossing the Rubicon” has come to mean “passing the point of no return”.

    54 Lingerie brand : OLGA

    Olga is a brand of lingerie that is produced by American clothing retailer Bare Necessities.

    57 ’60s A.G. : RFK

    Robert “Bobby” Francis Kennedy (RFK) was the US Attorney General (AG) in the administration of his brother President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1964. He then served as a US Senator for the State of New York from 1965 until 1968, when he was assassinated. Bobby was killed during his own run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Skip : BYPASS
    7 Say good things about : LAUD
    11 Umami source, briefly : MSG
    14 City grid feature : AVENUE
    15 Detective’s need : INFO
    16 “So there it is!” : AHA!
    17 Street stand with full permits? : LEGAL VENDOR (from “legal tender”)
    19 Filch : ROB
    20 Tee preceder : ESS
    21 Sufferer cleansed by Jesus : LEPER
    22 See 35-Down : … GIRL
    23 “Who wants to visit Muscle Beach?”? : VENICE, ANYONE? (from “tennis, anyone”)
    26 AFC South athletes : TITANS
    29 Sen. Warren, e.g. : DEM
    30 “… for none of woman __ / Shall harm Macbeth” : BORN
    31 Receipt : SALES SLIP
    37 Got ready to binge-watch … or a hint to phonetic changes in four puzzle answers : SWITCHED ON THE TV
    40 Shutterbug who bugs : PAPARAZZO
    41 Brewer’s kiln : OAST
    42 VW Golf model : GTI
    43 Considered to be : SEEN AS
    45 Dumps litter in the woods, e.g.? : VEXES RANGERS (from “Texas Ranger”)
    51 Stout choices : ALES
    52 Violate a truce : REARM
    53 Onetime part of Portuguese India : GOA
    56 Drug injector : PEN
    57 King’s pulse, BP, etc.? : ROYAL VITALS (from “royal titles”)
    60 Tokyo-born artist : ONO
    61 Group with pledges : FRAT
    62 “Quit it!” : ENOUGH!
    63 Was the boss of : RAN
    64 Numbers game : KENO
    65 Pinball wizard’s reward : REPLAY

    Down

    1 Farm storage unit : BALE
    2 First name in couture : YVES
    3 Categorizes : PEGS
    4 Carrier with Tokyo HQ : ANA
    5 In a dark mood : SULLEN
    6 Winning slot machine line : SEVENS
    7 Where to claim a W-4 head-of-household allowance : LINE C
    8 Author Gide : ANDRE
    9 Airborne mystery : UFO
    10 Palme __: film award : D’OR
    11 Super __ : MARIO
    12 Cut off : SHORN
    13 Gothic architecture feature : GABLE
    18 56-Across prefix : EPI
    22 Fitness training apparel : GYM SHOES
    23 Superior positions : VANTAGES
    24 Port SSE of Sana’a : ADEN
    25 Source of tweets : NEST
    26 Culinary meas. : TBSP
    27 “Field of Dreams” locale : IOWA
    28 Vacation option : TRIP
    31 “__ who?” : SEZ
    32 Hatchet relative : ADZ
    33 John in Albert Hall : LOO
    34 Steakhouse order : LEAN
    35 With 22-Across, proud parent’s cry : IT’S A …
    36 Low mil. ranks : PVTS
    38 Old PC monitors : CRTS
    39 ’60s musical : HAIR
    43 Sommelier, e.g. : SERVER
    44 White weasel : ERMINE
    45 Steam, for one : VAPOR
    46 John Paul’s successor : ELENA
    47 Element from the Greek for “strange” : XENON
    48 Indo-__ languages : ARYAN
    49 “Peachy!” : NEATO!
    50 128 fl. oz. : GAL
    53 Conquest for Caesar : GAUL
    54 Lingerie brand : OLGA
    55 Grayish : ASHY
    57 ’60s A.G. : RFK
    58 Natural resource : ORE
    59 Word with dollar or dog : TOP …

    23 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 6 Dec 19, Friday”

    1. 10:19 for me, a little better than my Friday average. I started out really slow but once I got the theme revealer things went much faster. I thought the theme was pretty clever, but wordplay-style themes do sometimes feel a little stale.

    2. What a joke. Worked on this for awhile and gave up. Went back to it later and looked up four or five answers and still couldn’t get anywhere. Did not know Goa or Olga. The last straw was loo and paparazzo. I never even occurred to me that there was a singular form of paparazzi.

    3. Whoa! ended up no errors after I finally tumbled to the theme! At first
      I thought there was no way to do this puzzle, but hung in there until the
      theme became evident.

    4. No real difficulties. The funny thing was that, even after I got Elena filled in for 46 Down, I kept thinking that can’t be right for the name of the Pope that replaced John Paul. Thank goodness Bill took the time to explain that one! D’oh!

    5. Order “I’ll have my steak LEAN!” and see what you get… like “I’ll have my steak FAT!” I’ve never heard anyone order their steak “lean”… that’s got to be very rare… pun intended.

      1. Yeah, that one, when I figured it out with crosses, didn’t “sit right” with me, either. So many better clues could have been used to elicit this fill.

      2. Good pun, Z. Better than this constructor could put out.

        We did exactly like Wayne did and finally just gave up. No connection on this grid
        and I honestly don’t see how getting the theme would help you if you don’t know the
        words. CLARIFY, PLEASE, Mary et al. In any case, any puzzle that takes Bill and Glenn
        10 and 19 minutes, respectively, is going to be way too hard for us. I would ask whoever approves the publication of these puzzles would lighten up and let us less-talented solvers have some fun, with at least a chance to solve them.

    6. 35:30 no errors….I stopped in the middle of this puzzle to get the phone….it turns out I am going to be arrested for social security fraud if I don’t “press one now” …..I didn’t so if you don’t hear from me again it’s been nice knowing you all…..GO RAVENS

      1. Jack, I like the 49ers, but the Ravens took it to them. Am I right here? I thought
        they had made a mistake when they let Joe Flacco go, but not so. The new guy
        is a more versatile player, ref. a much better runner.

    7. 20 minutes even, and 2 errors corrected via the Check Feature: You know what they are… PAPARAZZ(O)/LO(O). That was evil, getting all “proper” with the Italian word here, as most people know these collectively as PAPARRAZ*I*. Not the worst stunt I’ve seen in a grid, but an annoying one, nonetheless.

    8. This is in reference to the crossword dated Nov. 24, 2019.
      The theme is Letter Carriers which after much thinking still
      doesn’t make sense to me.
      Might someone be able to explain the theme? I’m fairly new solving the Sunday puzzles and find it a good challenge. However,
      I don’t find the theme included on the web site that gives numbered clues.
      That would have been very helpful.

        1. Hi, Glenn, Thanks for your response. I just realized there is more than one puzzle printed on a specific date. My local newspaper in Rochester, NY prints one on Sunday that might not appear in other publications. The one I’m referring to is titled “LETTER CARRIERS: for which one-letter clues will do.”
          Sorry for not being specific with my details.

          1. @Kathryn Hill
            That particular puzzle is a Newsday puzzle. As you say, that detail would have helped. For the Newsday puzzle, the answers point to a specific letter. For instance, in BEETHOVENSFIFTH, the fifth letter in BEETHOVEN is H, which is the clue. All other clues may be interpreted similarly.

            As a note, you may want to be sure to get around earlier on asking – as this is a rather old puzzle in the scheme of things. Also, most don’t tend to read back in the blogs too far, so be sure to respond on the current day’s blog space if you want your posts to be read by a good majority of people.

            1. Thanks, Glenn. I appreciate your responses and now feel more confident in approaching new puzzles.
              Kathryn

    9. Too much confusion on this one. 45A & 46D? Just not up to Wechsler’s best stuff. Maybe Thanksgiving was too much for him. I could go one, but won’t.

    10. Moderately difficult Friday for me; didn’t accurately time it, but about 45 minutes with no errors. Even though I got the theme, when I looked at VEXESRANGERS, it just didn’t look right…but I finally went with it because Texas Rangers and it fits the clue kind of. I also had to change GYMSHOrt to ES and PAPARAZZi to O.

      Over all it was fun, mostly because I like Wechsler’s style of puzzles. Definatley had to noodle around and wait for crosses quit a bit.

      On to Saturday with confidence…

    11. Hey folks!!🦆

      This one was hard!! And, I got a late start. Ended up cheating for about 5 answers. I often resort to cheating when I can’t get a foothold in the NW– even tho I usually start elsewhere! That first top corner just STARES at me. 😣 Also totally thought the John Paul clue referred to a pope.

      John Daigle– when I’m helped by a theme, it’s usually because I see, or realize, that the themed answers will have certain letters in them. For example, on this one I first got LEGAL VENDOR. From that I knew that each themed answer would have a V. I figured the puzzle was looking for common phrases but with T changed to V. On this puzzle that really only helped me get ROYAL VITALS. So, generally the theme doesn’t give me any answers; it just provides extra clues.

      Be well ~~🍺

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