LA Times Crossword 8 Jan 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Robin Stears
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Family Letters

Themed answers are famous people whose family name sounds like a letter of the alphabet:

  • 17A “Killing Eve” star : SANDRA OH (sounds like “O”)
  • 21A Award-winning “A Raisin in the Sun” actress : RUBY DEE (sounds like “D”)
  • 36A “Full Frontal” host : SAMANTHA BEE (sounds like “B”)
  • 55A First chief justice : JOHN JAY (sounds like “J”)
  • 61A “Take Good Care of My Baby” singer : BOBBY VEE (sounds like “V”)

Bill’s time: 5m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Clemson’s NCAA div. : ACC

The collegiate athletic conference known as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was founded in 1953. The seven charter members of the ACC were Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest.

Clemson University was founded in 1889. The school takes its name from the town in which it is located: Clemson, South Carolina. The athletic teams of Clemson University have been called the Tigers since 1896 when football coach Walter Riggs arrived from Auburn University. Riggs was an admirer of the Princeton Tigers, so he gave his new school the tiger mascot.

4 Thom of shoes : MCAN

Thom McAn footwear was introduced in 1922 by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Caremark). The brand was named after a Scottish golfer called Thomas McCann. The Thom McAn line is epitomized by the comfortable leather casual and dress shoe, so sales have really been hurt in recent decades by the growing popularity of sneakers.

17 “Killing Eve” star : SANDRA OH (sounds like “O”)

Canadian actress Sandra Oh is very much associated with the role of Dr. Cristina Yang on “Grey’s Anatomy”, and more recently with the role of Eve Polastri on “Killing Eve” . However, my favorite of Oh’s performances are in the movies “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Sideways”.

“Killing Eve” is a spy thriller series about an MI5 agent on the trail of a female assassin. The agent is played by Canadian actress Sandra Oh, and the assassin by English actress Jodie Comer. The storyline comes from a series of novellas titles “Codename Villanelle” by British author Luke Jennings.

20 Cockpit figure : AVIATOR

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original “cockpit” was a “pit” used for fighting “cocks”. The term was then applied nautically, as the name for the compartment below decks used as living quarters by midshipmen. The cockpit of a boat today, usually on a smaller vessel, is a sunken area towards the stern in which sits the helmsman and others (who can fit!). The usage extended to aircraft in the 1910s and to cars in the 1930s.

21 Award-winning “A Raisin in the Sun” actress : RUBY DEE (sounds like “D”)

Ruby Dee was an actress and civil rights activist. On the big screen, she is perhaps best remembered for co-starring in “A Raisin in the Sun” alongside Sidney Poitier, in “Do the Right Thing” alongside her husband Ossie Davis, and in “American Gangster” in which she played Denzel Washington’s mother.

“A Raisin in the Sun” is a 1961 film starring Sidney Poitier that is based on a 1959 play of the same name by Lorraine Hansberry. Both film and play follow the lives of an African-American family from Chicago as they struggle with the decision about what to do with an insurance payout following the death of the family’s patriarch.

22 Yin partner : YANG

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

28 West with 21 Grammys : KANYE

Kanye West is a rap singer who was born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. He also spent some time in Nanjing, China as a child, where his mother was teaching as part of an exchange program. West is married to reality star Kim Kardashian.

31 Sugar suffix : -OSE

Sugars are usually named using the “-ose” suffix e.g., glucose, fructose, sucrose.

36 “Full Frontal” host : SAMANTHA BEE (sounds like “B”)

Samantha Bee is a comedian from Toronto who found fame as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” starting way back in 2003. Bee left “The Daily Show” in 2015 to host her own late-night talk show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS.

39 23-campus West Coast ed. system : CSU

California State University (CSU) is the largest university system in the country, with 23 campuses. About half of the bachelor’s degrees in the US awarded annually are from CSU.

41 General Bradley : OMAR

Omar Bradley graduated from West Point in the class of 1915, along with Dwight Eisenhower who also attained the rank of General of the Army. Bradley was the last person to hold the rank of a five-star commissioned officer, and he was the first general to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was struck by a quotation from Bradley from later in his life:

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

42 Ariz. neighbor : NEV

The official nickname of Nevada is the Silver State, a reference to the importance of silver ore in the state’s growth and economy. An unofficial nickname is the Battle Born State. “Battle Born” is a reference to Nevada being awarded statehood during the American Civil War.

43 Part of MYOB and BYOB : OWN

Mind your own business (MYOB)

Bring Your Own Beer/Bottle/Booze (BYOB)

44 Justice Sotomayor : SONIA

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.

46 Big name in whisky : DEWAR

Dewar’s is a blended Scotch whisky introduced to the market in 1846 by John Dewar. Dewar’s White Label is the company’s most popular Scotch. It was first sold in 1899, and with a taste that is described as “heather and honey”. Dewar’s also make some single malts, under the labels Aberfeldy 12 and Aberfeldy 21. Today, Dewar’s is owned by Bacardi.

52 Long-running Mark Harmon military drama : NCIS

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

Actor Mark Harmon is best known today for playing the lead in the drama show “NCIS”. Harmon played a similar character for several episodes on “The West Wing”. Mark is the son of a football star Tom Harmon, and was the brother-in-law of rock and roll star Ricky Nelson and automotive executive John DeLorean (through his sisters). Harmon has been married since 1987 to actress Pam Dawber, who played the female title role on “Mork & Mindy”.

54 Congregation area : NAVE

In large Christian churches, the nave is the main approach to the altar, and is where most of the congregation are seated.

55 First chief justice : JOHN JAY (sounds like “J”)

John Jay was one of the Founding Fathers and President of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1779. From 1789 to 1795, Jay was the nation’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He retired from the court to serve as the second Governor of New York.

61 “Take Good Care of My Baby” singer : BOBBY VEE (sounds like “V”)

Bobby Vee is the stage name of pop singer Robert Velline. Bobby Vee’s big break in music came amid a terrible tragedy. Buddy Holly and the Crickets were scheduled to play in Moorhead, Minnesota in February 1959 when the plane carrying Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper went down killing all on board. 15-year-old Bobby Vee and a group of friends were given the job of replacing Buddy Holly at the gig. Despite the circumstances, the show was a success, and Bobby Vee’s career was launched.

“Take Good Care of My Baby” is a song by the incredible composing team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The most famous version was recorded in 1961 by Bobby Vee, although a 1968 recording by Bobby Vinton also made the charts.

65 English Channel swimmer : EDERLE

Gertrude Ederle was an American swimmer from New York City. Ederle became the first woman to cross the English Channel, in 1926. Only five men had made the same swim before Ederle, with the fastest crossing being in 16 hours 33 minutes. Ederle blew that record out of the water (pun!), arriving in Dover in 14 hours 39 minutes.

66 Walk of Fame figure : STAR

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks taking up 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. The Walk of Fame is an ever-changing monument dedicated to those who have achieved greatness in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. The first stars installed in the sidewalk were a group of eight, officially laid in 1960. That group consisted of:

  • Joanne Woodward (actor)
  • Olive Borden (actor)
  • Ronald Colman (actor)
  • Louise Fazenda (actor)
  • Preston Foster (actor)
  • Burt Lancaster (actor)
  • Edward Sedgwick (director)
  • Ernest Torrence (actor)

67 CD-__ : ROM

“CD-ROM” stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

Down

2 Decorative neckwear : CRAVAT

The cravat originated in Croatia and was an accessory used with a military uniform. Cravats were introduced to the fashion-conscious French by Croatian mercenaries enlisted into a regiment of the French army. The English placed a lot of emphasis on the knot used for the cravat, and in the period after the Battle of Waterloo the cravat came to be known as a “tie”. What we now call a tie in English is still called a “cravate” in French.

3 Bloodhound, e.g. : CANINE

Bloodhounds have an amazing sense of smell, and have been bred to track humans in particular. Bloodhounds have been used to follow humans since the Middle Ages.

5 They’re often exchanged in Venice : CIAOS

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

The city of Venice in northeast Italy is built in a saltwater lagoon on the Adriatic Coast, on 117 small islands. The classic transportation along the waterways is the gondola, but this is really only used for tourists these days, as well as on ceremonial occasions. The locals rely on the motorized water-buses.

6 Hooded Arctic jacket : ANORAK

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.

8 Org. with a “Speak Freely” blog : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War. It grew out of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (CLB) that was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

10 Some HDTVs : SONYS

Sony was founded by Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). The two partners met in the Japanese Navy during WWII.

18 Portuguese explorer Vasco : DA GAMA

Vasco da Gama left on his first voyage of discovery in 1497. da Gama journeyed around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, and across the Indian Ocean making landfall in India. Landing in India, his fleet became the first expedition to sail directly from Europe to the sub-continent. Vasco da Gama was well known for acts of cruelty, especially on local inhabitants. One of his milder atrocities was inflicted on a priest whom he labelled as a spy. He had the priest’s lips and ears cut off, and sent him on his way after having a pair of dog’s ears sewn onto his head.

21 Italian alternative : RANCH

Ranch dressing has been the best selling salad dressing in the country since 1992. The recipe was developed by Steve Henson who introduced it in the fifties to guests on his dude ranch, the Hidden Valley Ranch in Northern California. His ranch dressing became so popular that he opened a factory to produce packets of ranch seasoning that could be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk. Henson sold the brand for $8 million in 1972.

27 Bridal party rides : LIMOS

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

29 Chinese currency : YUAN

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

33 Commando garb, for short : CAMO

Our word “camouflage” (often abbreviated to “camo”) evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

A commando unit is a body of troops specially trained for hit-and-run raids into enemy territory. We imported the term into English from Afrikaans in the early 1800s. We owe the modern usage of “commando” to Winston Churchill, who used it starting in 1940 to describe shock troops whose job it was to disrupt of the planned German invasion of Britain. Churchill was probably familiar with the word from his time as a war correspondent and military officer during the Second Boer War.

48 “Skin Mind Balance” brand : AVEENO

Aveeno is a manufacturer of skincare and haircare products that was founded in 1945. The name Aveeno comes from the Latin name for the common oat, i.e. Avena sativa.

51 Former CNN journalist David : ENSOR

David Ensor worked for thirty years as a journalist with National Public Radio (NPR). Ensor was appointed as the Director of Voice of America in 2011.

53 Hummus brand : SABRA

Sabra Dipping is a company that specializes in the production of hummus and guacamole. If I can’t get homemade hummus or guacamole, then Sabra is the way to go …

56 Lower jaw : JOWL

The term “jowl” can be used for the jaw or cheek, and more specifically for a fold of flesh hanging from the jaw.

57 Pulitzer poet Sexton : ANNE

Anne Sexton was a poet from Massachusetts who won the 1967 Pulitzer for poetry for her collection titled “Live or Die”. Sexton’s style of poetry is sometimes classified as “confessional”, and reveals details of her private life, including her battle with depression. She finally committed suicide in 1974 at the age of 45.

61 English lit degrees : BAS

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Clemson’s NCAA div. : ACC
4 Thom of shoes : MCAN
8 Preposterous : ABSURD
14 Mexican Mrs. : SRA
15 “__ that the truth!” : AIN’T
16 Bullpen ace : CLOSER
17 “Killing Eve” star : SANDRA OH (sounds like “O”)
19 Remote : LONELY
20 Cockpit figure : AVIATOR
21 Award-winning “A Raisin in the Sun” actress : RUBY DEE (sounds like “D”)
22 Yin partner : YANG
23 It’s a long story : SAGA
25 Legal postponement : STAY
26 Terrific bargain : STEAL
28 West with 21 Grammys : KANYE
31 Sugar suffix : -OSE
32 Open __ night : MIC
34 Bathtub buildup : SCUM
35 Spot for pillow talk : BED
36 “Full Frontal” host : SAMANTHA BEE (sounds like “B”)
39 23-campus West Coast ed. system : CSU
41 General Bradley : OMAR
42 Ariz. neighbor : NEV
43 Part of MYOB and BYOB : OWN
44 Justice Sotomayor : SONIA
46 Big name in whisky : DEWAR
50 Wine quality : NOSE
52 Long-running Mark Harmon military drama : NCIS
54 Congregation area : NAVE
55 First chief justice : JOHN JAY (sounds like “J”)
58 Made a comeback : RALLIED
60 Synchronicity : UNISON
61 “Take Good Care of My Baby” singer : BOBBY VEE (sounds like “V”)
62 Fame : RENOWN
63 Luminous glow : AURA
64 KC-to-NYC dir. : ENE
65 English Channel swimmer : EDERLE
66 Walk of Fame figure : STAR
67 CD-__ : ROM

Down

1 Analyzes for purity : ASSAYS
2 Decorative neckwear : CRAVAT
3 Bloodhound, e.g. : CANINE
4 Gas station store : MART
5 They’re often exchanged in Venice : CIAOS
6 Hooded Arctic jacket : ANORAK
7 Unspecified degree : NTH
8 Org. with a “Speak Freely” blog : ACLU
9 Gooey mass : BLOB
10 Some HDTVs : SONYS
11 Was : USED TO BE
12 Turn loose : RELEASE
13 Unmoved : DRY-EYED
18 Portuguese explorer Vasco : DA GAMA
21 Italian alternative : RANCH
24 Stomach-related : GASTRIC
27 Bridal party rides : LIMOS
29 Chinese currency : YUAN
30 Insert into an email, as a video : EMBED
33 Commando garb, for short : CAMO
36 Pleasant forecast word : SUNSHINE
37 Live-in helper, perhaps : NANNY
38 In equal shares : EVENLY
39 Cast a spell, say : CONJURE
40 Passed out : SWOONED
45 Freshen by opening windows : AIR OUT
47 Written relinquishing of rights : WAIVER
48 “Skin Mind Balance” brand : AVEENO
49 Cash in : REDEEM
51 Former CNN journalist David : ENSOR
53 Hummus brand : SABRA
56 Lower jaw : JOWL
57 Pulitzer poet Sexton : ANNE
59 Letter-shaped brace : L-BAR
61 English lit degrees : BAS

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 8 Jan 20, Wednesday”

  1. Well, let me tell you! This was awful for me. First of all, I had “A Raisin in the Sun” mixed up with “A Place in the Sun” and kept trying to think of the third star’s name, which I never did. (Shelley Winters) For “Made a comeback,” I put “replied.” I didn’t know the hummus brand and never heard of a Pbar, so I changed it to Tbar. Wrong. Then I put in Sonja before changing it to Sonya and finally got Sonia. Duh. But hey, I knew Bobby Vee right off! Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself.

  2. 8:19 for me which is slower than average for Wednesday. I was doing pretty well until that cursed southwest… my luck of “proper names I just happen to know” ran out, and I batted zero on them all in that section, which really slowed me down while I puzzled through the other words, which weren’t easy ones either. I didn’t look at the timer, but I bet I spent at least as much time on that section as I did on the entire rest of the puzzle!

    Cute theme, but if they could have arranged for all those “family letters” to then actually spell out another word… that would have been a tour de force!

  3. Struggled with a couple misspells that didn’t help, but I finished.
    Had to ask the wife about 48 down, Aveeno

    Eddie

  4. Got bogged down in the SW, but finally got “sunshine.” Why did it take me so long to come up with that? Duh! Then it all fell together.

  5. A real slog for me. Didn’t know SAMANTHA BEE, BOBBY VEE, SANDRA OH, ENSOR, EDERLE. Only sorta knew KANYE or RUBY DEE. Didn’t know ANNE Sexton. Didn’t know SABRA…That’s a lot to overcome. No idea what my time was. Did this while some out of town company was (FINALLY!!!) leaving so I did it over the course of an hour or so.

    Best –

  6. REALLY??? Is this how it’s going to be this year?? 10 min, 57 sec and ANOTHER DNF, with the entirety of the SW corner and a few in the NW corner to boot. Some of the worst clues I’ve seen in recent memory.

    Natick City!!!!

  7. I had to Google for SABRA, EDERLE, ACLU, and RUBY DEE. EDERLE was part of a Natick with ENSOR, so it was Google one or the other. My husband used to belong to the ACLU, so I know of it, but he quit over a Fair Trial/Free Press issue. I always dislike the Raisin in the Sun, which I saw in 1961, because I was a feminist and everything was about the Poitier character. I had forgotten who the other actors were.
    Once I got RUBY DEE and ACLU, the others in the NE came. Without them, the other answers could have been all sorts.
    Had RepLIED before RALLIED. I knew SABRA meant native Israeli, but not hummus.
    I still don’t know why Bullpen Ace is CLOSER. It must be sports. Oops – Hubster just told me – it’s baseball, and this would be someone who would be chosen as a pitcher at the end of a game. Whatever.
    @Bill – don’t skip a sports clue just cuz you think everyone knows it!

  8. Started off with a bad guess – SEC instead of ACC – but slowly filled things in, waiting for crosses and making guesses…ended up 25 minutes with no errors.

    I actually knew Sandra Oh, since I’ve been watching the series, but forgot her name since that was in early December. I also actually knew Samantha Bee, although I’ve never seen the show; I just knew her name from the Daily Show and was vaguely familiar with Full Frontal. All the other names were guesses and crosses.

    Just had to change DeGAMA. Finished with Dry Eyed, which took a whole minute.

  9. HIYA folks!!🦆

    Spring Training starts February 22 & 23!!!⚾️
    No errors. I wasn’t sure of either ENSOR or EDERLE but I guessed right on that R. Guess I got lucky; I knew the other proper nouns. Overall not a breeze but not super difficult. As usual, I’ll expect in the next few days to see a puzzle full of proper nouns that I DON’T know.🤔

    Be well ~~🥂

    1. But … according to Wikipedia, the company that makes Dewar’s Whisky was founded by one John Dewar, so I think Dewar is entirely correct for the entry.

  10. Sure – JOHN JAY, BOBBY VEE, ENSOR, EDERLE – throw in a few more obscure names while you’re at it …. Who am I – Ken Jennings ?

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