LA Times Crossword 27 Jan 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Frank Virzi
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Taillight

The TAIL (last word) of each themed answer is a LIGHT:

  • 35D Rear warning lamp, and what can go with the end of each answer to a starred clue : TAILLIGHT
  • 17A *Mystery/soap (1956-’84) that ultimately dropped “The” from its title : EDGE OF NIGHT (giving “nightlight”)
  • 37A *One of the three Seven Sisters magazines that are still in print : WOMAN’S DAY (giving “daylight”)
  • 63A *Televised panelist shown from the shoulders up : TALKING HEAD (giving “headlight”)
  • 5D *Infielder typically between second and third : SHORTSTOP (giving “stoplight”)

Bill’s time: 6m 57s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Tibetan monks : LAMAS

“Lama” is a Tibetan word meaning “chief” or “high priest”.

11 U.S. interstate, e.g. : RTE

The US Interstate System is more correctly known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, a nod to President Eisenhower who championed the construction. The President had come to recognise the value of the German autobahn system in his experiences during WWII, and resolved to give the US a similar infrastructure. In real terms, the US Interstate construction project is said to have been the largest public works project since the Pyramids of Egypt.

15 Amazon Echo Dot’s voice service : ALEXA

Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

17 *Mystery/soap (1956-’84) that ultimately dropped “The” from its title : EDGE OF NIGHT

“The Edge of Night” is a television series that is described as a mystery soap opera. It first aired in 1956, and was intended to a daytime version of the very successful show “Perry Mason”. In fact, “Perry Mason” author Erle Stanley Gardner was in line to write the show, but he pulled out due to creative differences with the producers. In the end, a writer from the “Perry Mason” show was tasked with writing a Perry Mason-ish show instead, and he came up with “The Edge of Night”. CBS canceled “The Edge of Night” in 1975, and ABC immediately picked it up. The name of the show was later shortened to “Edge of Night”, and had continued success until canceled for good in 1986.

19 Pilot-licensing org. : FAA

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

21 Understood by a select few : ESOTERIC

Something described as “esoteric” is meant only for a select few with special knowledge. The term comes from the Greek “esoterikos” meaning “belonging to an inner circle”.

27 Light-circling insects : MOTHS

It isn’t really understood why moths are attracted to artificial lights. There is one theory that sounds plausible to me though. It is suggested that moths navigate at night by maintaining the moon (the brightest celestial object) at a fixed angle. When a moth finds a brighter light source, like an artificial light, it gets confused.

34 John Brown’s eulogist Stephen Vincent __ : BENET

Stephen Vincent Benét was an author best known for his lengthy narrative poem “John Brown’s Body” that was first published in 1928, and for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Benét also wrote the story “The Sobbin’ Women” which was later adapted into the musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

A eulogy is a speech or piece of writing that praises someone who has recently passed away or who is retiring. “Eulogy” comes from the Greek word “eulogia” meaning “praise”.

37 *One of the four Seven Sisters magazines that are still in print : WOMAN’S DAY

The Seven Sisters magazines were a group of publications targeting married women homemakers. There are many of the seven still published in print form, although a few do persist online. The fill list is:

  • “Better Homes and Gardens”
  • “Good Housekeeping”
  • “Woman’s Day”
  • “McCall’s”
  • “Ladies’ Home Journal”
  • “Redbook”
  • “Family Circle”

40 H.S. equivalency test : GED

The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.

43 Hopscotch : POTSY

I remember the children’s game called “hopscotch” being a favorite of mine as a young kid. Also known as “potsy” (mainly in New York City), it involves tossing a stone into a pattern of rectangles drawn in chalk on the ground. After tossing the stone into the correct square, the player hops through the rectangular pattern, pausing to retrieve the stone.

44 Sonnet line quintet : IAMBS

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The lines in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” use five sequential iambs, e.g. “Shall I / compare / thee to / a sum- / -mer’s day?” With that sequence of five iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic pentameter.

A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century. The Shakespearean sonnet, for example, is composed of three quatrains (4 lines) and a final couplet (2 lines).

48 Chrysler Building architect William Van ___ : ALEN

William Van Alen was an architect who was most famous for leading the design of the Chrysler Building in New York City. When the building was complete, Van Alen sent his bill to Walter Chrysler, a standard fee of 6% of the construction cost. Van Alan hadn’t pre-negotiated his fee for the job, so payment was refused. Van Alen sued and won the case, but his reputation was ruined by the litigation and he never designed another building.

51 Longest river in France : LOIRE

The Loire is the longest river in France. It is so long that it drains one-fifth of the nation’s land mass. The Loire rises in the southeast, in the Cevennes mountain range, then heads north then due west, emptying into the Bay of Biscay at the city of Nantes. The Loire Valley is home to some of France’s most famous wine production, and includes the wine regions of Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Muscadet.

52 As found : IN SITU

“In situ” is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place”, and we use the term to mean “in the original position”.

54 Cartoon frame : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

56 Prefix with gender : CIS-

The term “cisgender” is now used as the opposite of “transgender”. Cisgender people have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

57 Christmas saint : NICHOLAS

Saint Nicholas of Myra is the inspiration for Santa Claus. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now in modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century AD, and was known for being generous to the poor. Centuries after he died, his remains were desecrated by Italian sailors and moved to Bari in Italy. One legend has it that the relics were moved again centuries later and reburied in grounds near Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland, where you can visit the grave today. I choose to believe that Santa Claus’s relics are indeed buried in Ireland …

63 *Televised panelist shown from the shoulders up : TALKING HEAD

“Talking head” is TV slang for a participant in a talk show. The term arises from the closeup shot of the person contributing to the discussion.

66 Opposite of oui : NON

In French, a response on “un questionnaire” (a questionnaire) might be “oui” (yes) or “non” (no).

67 Under-the-roof room : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

68 Prefix for sun : HELIO-

Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology, and is the reason that we use the prefix “helio-” to mean “sun”. He was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night be travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.

69 Clock-setting std. : GST

Greenwich Sidereal Time (GST)

Astronomers use sidereal time to know where to locate given stars in the night sky. Sidereal time is a time scale that takes into account the Earth’s rotation relative to stars with a fixed location in the night sky.

70 Sierra __, Africa : LEONE

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa that lies on the Atlantic Coast. The capital city of Freetown was originally set up as a colony to house the “Black Poor” of London, England. These people were mainly freed British slaves of Caribbean descent who were living a miserable life in the run-down parts of London. Perhaps to help the impoverished souls, perhaps to rid the streets of “a problem”, three ships were chartered in 1787 to transport a group of blacks, with some whites, to a piece of land purchased in Sierra Leone. Those who made the voyage were granted British citizenship and protection. The descendants of these immigrants, and others who made the journey over the next 60 years, make up the ethnic group that’s today called the Sierra Leone Creole.

71 Prom attendees : TEENS

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

Down

3 Fridge stickers : MAGNETS

Refrigerator magnets … I can’t stand them! But, there is something interesting about them. If we place two fridge magnets back to back, and slide them slowly against each other, then we can feel an alternating attraction and repulsion. This is because they are manufactured with alternating north and south poles on the back side, and do not have two distinct poles. Who knew …?!

4 On the briny : ASEA

The briny is the sea, with “brine” meaning “salty water”. The term “briny” was originally used for “tears”.

7 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

10 Barista’s creation : LATTE

A barista is a person who serves coffee in a coffee shop. “Barista” is Italian for “bartender”.

11 Browser update button : REFRESH

A web browser is a piece of software used to access the World Wide Web. The first web browser was called “WorldWideWeb” and was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web. The browser known as Mosaic came out in 1993, and it was this browser that drove so much interest in the World Wide Web, and indeed in the Internet in general. Marc Andreessen led the team that created Mosaic, and he then set up his own company called Netscape. Netscape created the Netscape Navigator browser that further popularized the use of the Web starting in 1994. Microsoft responded by introducing Internet Explorer in 1995, which sparked the so-called “browser war”, a war that Microsoft clearly won. As Netscape floundered, the company launched the open-source Mozilla project which eventually led to the Firefox browser. Apple then came out with it’s own Safari browser in 2003. Google’s Chrome browser, introduced in 2008, is by far the most popular way to view the Web today.

18 Miami’s st. : FLA

The city of Miami in Florida takes its name from the nearby Miami River, which is itself named for the Mayaimi Native American people who lived around nearby Lake Okeechobee.

22 Yale student : ELI

“Eli” is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, and a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.

23 Med. care plan : HMO

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

30 High-IQ group : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

31 Simpatico (like Justin Timberlake’s band?) : IN SYNC

Someone described as simpatico is likable, or like-minded. The term “simpatico” comes into English via Spanish or Italian, from the Latin “sympathia” meaning “community of feeling”.

NSYNC was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded “in sync”. But, it’s also true that the letters of the name NSYNC are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:

  • Justin Timberlake
  • Chris Kirkpatrick
  • Joey Fatone
  • Lance “Lansten” Bass
  • JC Chasez

39 Ex-NBA star Ming : YAO

Yao Ming is a retired professional basketball player from Shanghai who played for the Houston Rockets. At 7’6″, Yao was the tallest man playing in the NBA.

41 Weather-changing currents : EL NINOS

When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more than half a degree centigrade, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

45 “Glee” star Lea __ : MICHELE

Lea Michele is both an actor and a singer and started performing as a child actor on Broadway, including appearances in “Les Miserables” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. More recently, Michele played Rachel Berry on the Fox TV show “Glee”.

46 Great __: London’s island : BRITAIN

The terms “United Kingdom”, “Great Britain” and “England” can sometimes be confused. The official use of “United Kingdom” originated in 1707 with the Acts of Union that declared the countries of England and Scotland as “United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain”. The name changed again with the Acts of Union 1800 that created the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” (much to the chagrin of most of the Irish population). This was partially reversed in 1927 when the current name was introduced, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, in recognition of an independent Irish Free State in the south of the island of Ireland.

London is the largest metropolitan area in the whole of the European Union (and one of my favorite cities in the world). London has been a major settlement for over 2,000 years and was founded as a town by the Romans who named it Londinium. The name “Londinium” may have existed prior to the arrival of the Romans, and no one seems too sure of its origins. Famously, the City of London is a one-square-mile area at the center of the metropolis, the area that marked old medieval London. “The City”, as it is commonly called, has its own Mayor of the City of London (the Mayor of London is someone else), and it’s own City of London Police Force (the London Metropolitan Police are the police usually seen on the streets, a different force).

47 French possessive : SES

“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”when referring to a group of items or individuals.

49 Medical research org. : 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.

59 Organ that may itch : SKIN

The skin is the second largest organ of the human body in terms of surface area. The largest organ is the small intestine, with an internal surface area that’s 15-20 times than that of skin.

61 Indian butter : GHEE

Ghee is clarified butter used in South Asian cuisines. “Ghee” comes from Sanskrit, and translates as “sprinkled”.

64 __ cream soda : ICE

The world’s first ice cream soda was made in 1874, in Philadelphia. Apparently (according to one story anyway) a gentleman named Robert Green was selling flavored sodas and ran out of ice. He got hold of some ice cream and added that to his sodas to keep them cold, and the new treat was an immediate hit.

65 Spanish two : DOS

“Uno, dos, tres” (one, two, three in Spanish)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tibetan monks : LAMAS
6 Rise up against authority : REBEL
11 U.S. interstate, e.g. : RTE
14 Grind, as teeth : GNASH
15 Amazon Echo Dot’s voice service : ALEXA
16 West end? : -ERN
17 *Mystery/soap (1956-’84) that ultimately dropped “The” from its title : EDGE OF NIGHT
19 Pilot-licensing org. : FAA
20 “Grrr!” is one : SNARL
21 Understood by a select few : ESOTERIC
23 Garden shed tool : HOE
24 Smidge : TAD
26 Give in : RELENT
27 Light-circling insects : MOTHS
29 Send out : EMIT
32 “Got it” : I SEE
33 Start, as of symptoms : ONSET
34 John Brown’s eulogist Stephen Vincent __ : BENET
36 “If only __ listened” : HE’D
37 *One of the four Seven Sisters magazines that are still in print : WOMAN’S DAY
40 H.S. equivalency test : GED
43 Hopscotch : POTSY
44 Sonnet line quintet : IAMBS
48 Chrysler Building architect William Van ___ : ALEN
50 Campus official : DEAN
51 Longest river in France : LOIRE
52 As found : IN SITU
54 Cartoon frame : CEL
56 Prefix with gender : CIS-
57 Christmas saint : NICHOLAS
60 Quarterfinalists’ count : EIGHT
62 Suffix with alp : -INE
63 *Televised panelist shown from the shoulders up : TALKING HEAD
66 Opposite of oui : NON
67 Under-the-roof room : ATTIC
68 Prefix for sun : HELIO-
69 Clock-setting std. : GST
70 Sierra __, Africa : LEONE
71 Prom attendees : TEENS

Down

1 Tee size: Abbr. : LGE
2 “… et cetera” : … AND SO ON
3 Fridge stickers : MAGNETS
4 On the briny : ASEA
5 *Infielder typically between second and third : SHORTSTOP
6 Campaigned : RAN
7 Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
8 Pleads : BEGS
9 Urged strongly : EXHORTED
10 Barista’s creation : LATTE
11 Browser update button : REFRESH
12 New employee : TRAINEE
13 Passed, as a bill : ENACTED
18 Miami’s st. : FLA
22 Yale student : ELI
23 Med. care plan : HMO
25 Campaign face-off : DEBATE
28 Use an axe on : HEW
30 High-IQ group : MENSA
31 Simpatico (like Justin Timberlake’s band?) : IN SYNC
35 Rear warning lamp, and what can go with the end of each answer to a starred clue : TAILLIGHT
38 Soften, as one’s voice level : MODULATE
39 Ex-NBA star Ming : YAO
40 Opposite of losing, weightwise : GAINING
41 Weather-changing currents : EL NINOS
42 Climber’s downward journey : DESCENT
45 “Glee” star Lea __ : MICHELE
46 Great __: London’s island : BRITAIN
47 French possessive : SES
49 Medical research org. : NIH
53 Bottom line : TOTAL
55 Dusk, in poetry : E’EN
58 Choral part : ALTO
59 Organ that may itch : SKIN
61 Indian butter : GHEE
64 __ cream soda : ICE
65 Spanish two : DOS