LA Times Crossword 28 Oct 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Frank Virzi
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: A Cut Above

Themed answers are all in the down-direction, and each starts with something that can be CUT:

  • 33D Superior to … and what can go with the starts of 3-, 7-, 9- and 24-Down : A CUT ABOVE
  • 3D School outing : CLASS TRIP (giving “cut class”)
  • 7D Griddle tenders : SHORT-ORDER COOKS (giving “cut short”)
  • 9D One in danger of going off : LOOSE CANNON (giving “cut loose”)
  • 24D Unofficial means of communication : BACKCHANNEL (giving “cut back”)

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Dance wildly : MOSH

Moshing (also “slam dancing”) is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually a punk or heavy metal concert). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a “stage dive”, it is into (or I suppose “onto”) the mosh pit. It doesn’t sound like fun to me. Injuries are commonplace in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.

9 Miller’s salesman : LOMAN

“Death of a Salesman” is a famous play by Arthur Miller that was first produced in 1949. “Death of a Salesman” won a Pulitzer and several Tony Awards over the years. The “Salesman” is the famous character Willy Loman. The play originally opened up on Broadway and ran for 724 performances. The lead role was played by veteran actor Lee J. Cobb.

14 Princess loved by Hercules : IOLE

Iole was a beautiful young woman of Greek Mythology who was loved by Heracles. However, Heracles could not marry Iole, because her father refused to allow the match. In Roman mythology, Heracles was known as Hercules.

15 “Have __ Right?”: Honeycombs hit of 1964 : I THE

The Honeycombs were a band from England, and somewhat of a one-hit wonder. They had one really successful hit, namely 1964’s “Have I the Right”. Unusually for back then, the Honeycombs featured a female drummer, a woman who went by the name Honey Lantree.

16 Maine town on the Penobscot : ORONO

The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine that was founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers. The town of Orono is named after Joseph Orono, a chief of the Penobscot Nation. The school’s athletic teams are named the Maine Black Bears.

17 Graceful swimmer : SWAN

An adult male swan is a cob, and an adult female is a pen. Young swans are swanlings or cygnets.

18 Tommy Dorsey, e.g. : TROMBONIST

Tommy Dorsey was a jazz trombonist and bandleader in the Big Band era, and the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. One of Tommy’s singers was Frank Sinatra, whom he hired from bandleader Harry James in 1940. Sinatra claimed that he learned breath control from watching Tommy Dorsey play the trombone.

20 Bonny one : LASS

“Bonny” is a Scottish term meaning “pleasing, good-looking”. The exact etymology of the term is unclear, although the assumption is that it comes from the Old French “bon, bone” meaning “good”.

21 Paving supply : 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”.

23 USN rank : ENS

Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

28 Tabled, for now : ON ICE

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

30 Bernie Taupin’s forte : LYRICS

Bernie Taupin is the celebrated lyricist who wrote the words to so many of the songs composed and published by Elton John. The pair were brought together by the music paper “New Musical Express” in England. Elton John submitted some of his work to the paper in 1967, and Taupin answered an ad for songwriters. The paper brought the two together, and they’ve worked together ever since.

32 Flor del amor : ROSA

In Spanish, the “rosa” (rose) is the “flor del amor” (flower of love).

33 Face on a fin : ABE

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

36 Car with a tri-shield logo : BUICK

David Dunbar Buick was an inventor working in Detroit, Michigan who founded the Buick Motor Company in 1903. Buick sold his interest in Buick Motors just three years later. He passed away in 1929, practically penniless. Still, over 30 million vehicles have been built that bore the Buick name.

37 IRA options : CDS

A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

Individual retirement account (IRA)

38 Shell lining : NACRE

Nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is the strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it’s also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that’s how a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are made by inserting a tissue graft from a donor oyster, around which the nacre is laid down.

40 Like give and take: Abbr. : OPP

Opposite (opp.)

41 Tony Hillerman detective Jim : CHEE

Author Tony Hillerman was best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels. His works are particularly popular in France, and he was awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for his 1973 crime fiction novel “Dance Hall of the Dead”.

45 Navy Midshipmen’s mascot Bill, e.g. : GOAT

Bill the Goat is the US Naval Academy’s mascot. The first mascot for the school was a gorilla, and then followed a couple of cats, a bulldog and a carrier pigeon. The first goat to make an appearance as a mascot was named El Cid, and that was back in 1893. A goat has been the USNA’s mascot continuously since 1904.

Midshipman is the junior-most ranking officer in many navies. Back in the 1800s, a midshipman was an experienced seaman who worked or slept “amidships”.

46 Coffeehouse orders : MOCHAS

Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave its name to the mocha brown color, and the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.

49 Either “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” filmmaker : COEN

I think it’s great to see two brothers working together and being so successful. Joel and Ethan Coen are two movie producers and directors who both live in New York City. The Coen brothers do love the movie-making business and they even married industry “insiders”. Ethan’s wife is film editor Tricia Cooke, and Joel is married to one of my favorite actresses, the talented Frances McDormand.’

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is a 2018 movie written, produced and directed by the Coen brothers. It is an anthology film featuring six vignettes that are set on the American frontier. The first of those vignettes is the titular “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”.

51 Obamacare, briefly : ACA

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

55 Hogwarts mail carrier : OWL

In the “Harry Potter” universe, messages are sent by owl post, which uses owls as mail carriers.

57 Flowerlike marine animal : SEA ANEMONE

The name “anemone” means “daughter of the wind” in Greek, and at one time it was believed that the wind was what actually caused the flower to bloom. The sea anemone is named for the terrestrial plant even though the sea anemone isn’t a plant at all. The sea anemone is a predatory animal found on the ocean floor.

59 Knucklehead : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

63 Stand in a studio : EASEL

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey”, would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

64 Ukr. and Est., once : SSRS

Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe that was a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English, we often call the country “the Ukraine”, but I am told that we should say just “Ukraine”.

Estonia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) and is located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea due south of Finland. Estonia has been overrun and ruled by various empires over the centuries. The country did enjoy a few years of freedom at the beginning of the 20th century after a war of independence against the Russian Empire. However, Estonia was occupied again during WWII, first by the Russians and then by the Germans, and then reoccupied by the Soviets in 1944. Estonia has flourished as an independent country again since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

65 News article intro : LEDE

The opening paragraph in any work of literature is often just called “the lead”. In the world of journalism, this is usually referred to as “the lede”. The derivative phrase “bury the lede” means to fail to stress the most important aspect of a story.

Down

1 Chapel divider : AISLE

Our word “chapel”, meaning “place of worship”, comes from the Latin word “capella” meaning “small cape”. The reference is to a relic of Saint Martin of Tours, part of his cloak. Tradition has it that when Martin was a soldier, he cut his military cloak in two so as to give half to a beggar in need. The remainder he retained as his “capella”. He did not know that the beggar was Christ in disguise. Martin then left the military to become a monk, then abbot and finally bishop. The cape came into the possession of the Frankish kings who brought the relic as they waged war, housing it in a tent called “the capella”. The priests who said mass in the capella each day were known as the “capellani” (the source of our word “chaplain”).

2 Martin’s TV partner : ROWAN

Dan Rowan was the straight man to funny guy Dick Martin on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”.

“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” was originally recorded as a one-off special for NBC in 1967, but it was so successful that it was brought back as a series to replace the waning spy show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Personally, I loved both shows!

6 Others, in Tabasco : OTRAS

Tabasco is one of Mexico’s 31 “estados” (states), and is located in the very southeast of the country.

12 First name in photography : ANSEL

As an avid amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

13 Dark time in Pisa : NOTTE

The city of Pisa sits right on the Italian coast, at the mouth of the River Arno. The city is perhaps most famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

27 Juice box brand : HI-C

Hi-C orange drink was created in 1946, and introduced to the market in 1948, initially in the south of the country. The name “Hi-C” was chosen to emphasize the high vitamin C content in the drink, as it contained added ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

30 WSJ news item : LBO

A leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which an investor acquires a controlling volume of stock in a company, but buys that stock with borrowed funds (hence “leveraged”). Often the assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed money. There is a special form of LBO known as a management buyout (MBO) in which the company’s own management team purchases the controlling interest.

“The Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) is a daily newspaper with a business bent that is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company. The WSJ has a larger US circulation than any other newspaper, with “USA Today” coming in a close second place.

34 Maidenform product : BRA

Maidenform is a manufacturer of underwear for women that was founded in 1922. The three co-founders were driven to defy the norms of the day that dictated a flat-chested look for women. They produced items that fit the female body, hence the name “Maidenform”.

37 Head of Cuba? : CEE

The head letter of the word “Cuba” is a letter C (cee).

39 Prefix with -gram : ANA-

Here are some of my favorite anagrams:

  • “Dormitory” and “dirty room”
  • “Elvis” and “lives”
  • “The eyes” and “they see”
  • “Eleven plus two” and “twelve plus one”

42 “Steppenwolf” author Hermann : HESSE

“Steppenwolf” is a 1927 novel by German-Swiss author Hermann House. The title translates from German as “Steppe Wolf”, referring to a wolf found primarily in the steppes of Europe and Asia.

44 Bundle on the farm : SHEAVE

To sheave is to collect into a sheaf, into a bundle.

46 Tricky pool shot : MASSE

In billiards, a massé shot is one in which the cue ball makes an extreme curve due to the player imparting heavy spin on the ball with his or her cue held relatively vertically.

47 “Get Here” singer Adams : OLETA

Oleta Adams is an American soul singer from Seattle, Washington. Adams has had most of her success over in the UK, rather than here in the US.

48 Torino farewells : CIAOS

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

Turin (“Torino” in Italian) is a major city in the north of Italy that sits on the Po River. Back in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was formed, Turin was chosen as the first capital of the country.

53 Observe Yom Kippur : ATONE

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, and is also known as the Day of Atonement.

58 Abril, por ejemplo : MES

In Spanish, the “mes” (month) of “abril” (April) comes before “mayo” (May).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Word with support or enemy : ARCH …
5 Dance wildly : MOSH
9 Miller’s salesman : LOMAN
14 Princess loved by Hercules : IOLE
15 “Have __ Right?”: Honeycombs hit of 1964 : I THE
16 Maine town on the Penobscot : ORONO
17 Graceful swimmer : SWAN
18 Tommy Dorsey, e.g. : TROMBONIST
20 Bonny one : LASS
21 Paving supply : TAR
22 How silverware is often sold : AS A SET
23 USN rank : ENS
24 __ man : BEST
25 Agree to less : SETTLE
26 Word with more or less : … THAN
28 Tabled, for now : ON ICE
30 Bernie Taupin’s forte : LYRICS
32 Flor del amor : ROSA
33 Face on a fin : ABE
36 Car with a tri-shield logo : BUICK
37 IRA options : CDS
38 Shell lining : NACRE
40 Like give and take: Abbr. : OPP
41 Tony Hillerman detective Jim : CHEE
43 Like year-end financials : ANNUAL
44 Utter : SHEER
45 Navy Midshipmen’s mascot Bill, e.g. : GOAT
46 Coffeehouse orders : MOCHAS
49 Either “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” filmmaker : COEN
51 Obamacare, briefly : ACA
54 Sci-fi invaders : ALIENS
55 Hogwarts mail carrier : OWL
56 “Riiiight!” : I BET!
57 Flowerlike marine animal : SEA ANEMONE
59 Knucklehead : DODO
60 Spot for a pot : STOVE
61 Barely gets (by) : EKES
62 Bakery fixture : OVEN
63 Stand in a studio : EASEL
64 Ukr. and Est., once : SSRS
65 News article intro : LEDE

Down

1 Chapel divider : AISLE
2 Martin’s TV partner : ROWAN
3 School outing : CLASS TRIP (giving “cut class”)
4 Little chicken tenders? : HENS
5 Snowsuit clip-ons : MITTENS
6 Others, in Tabasco : OTRAS
7 Griddle tenders : SHORT-ORDER COOKS (giving “cut short”)
8 Verbal hesitation : HEM
9 One in danger of going off : LOOSE CANNON (giving “cut loose”)
10 Richly decorated : ORNATE
11 Humid, say : MOIST
12 First name in photography : ANSEL
13 Dark time in Pisa : NOTTE
19 Foundation for an argument : BASIS
24 Unofficial means of communication : BACKCHANNEL (giving “cut back”)
27 Juice box brand : HI-C
29 Turndowns : NOS
30 WSJ news item : LBO
31 “Sho’ ‘nuf” : YUP
33 Superior to … and what can go with the starts of 3-, 7-, 9- and 24-Down : A CUT ABOVE
34 Maidenform product : BRA
35 Slithery swimmer : EEL
37 Head of Cuba? : CEE
39 Prefix with -gram : ANA-
42 “Steppenwolf” author Hermann : HESSE
43 Forever young, it seems : AGELESS
44 Bundle on the farm : SHEAVE
46 Tricky pool shot : MASSE
47 “Get Here” singer Adams : OLETA
48 Torino farewells : CIAOS
50 One with a deed : OWNER
52 Gave up formally : CEDED
53 Observe Yom Kippur : ATONE
56 Object of adoration : IDOL
58 Abril, por ejemplo : MES

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 28 Oct 20, Wednesday”

  1. No errors today. But if it hadn’t been for yesterday’s “lede” theme, I
    would have questioned 65 across. At least I remembered what I
    learned yesterday.

  2. 8:37, no errors. I hear that Nonny is alive and well, living in Denver (not Paris, sadly 😳), preoccupied with other activities, and grateful (if a bit surprised 😜) for the expressions of concern.

    @John Daigle … Thanks for the update and … keep a close eye on your email inbox! 😜

  3. In a puzzle last week the clue was “ a subtle hint” (or something similar) and the suggested answer was”inference”

    An inference is the understanding of the implication or hint, not the hint itself

    1. @Charles …

      If you’re thinking of Friday’s puzzle (October 23), the clue was “Subtly points out” and the answer was “INFERS”. Several posters commented that this was obviously incorrect. But, see the following (definition 4):

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infer

      For the record, I never use the word with that meaning, but apparently some do. In my experience, setters don’t just make things up; they go with what’s in the relevant source materials, even when what’s there is at odds with what most people (me included) would think.

  4. Saying “The Ukraine” vs. Ukraine is like saying “The Bronx” instead of “Bronx”.
    Overall a fun puzzle – for a Wednesday! 😂
    Stay safe!! 🙂

  5. Whoa. Kind of rough for a Wednesday. I didn’t think I was going to get anywhere for awhile. I put in bandleader for like Tommy Dorsey, which threw me off until I got mittens. I always picture kids with mittens pinned to their coats falling down in the snow, which makes me smile.

  6. 28:50 no errors…If “my notes” are correct this is the first time that the Honeycombs have been used as a clue in an NYT or LAT puzzle in the last 15yrs or so.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens😀

  7. Holy cow.. I had a lot of guesses in this one. And I got them all.. Several words didn’t make sense to me but the crosses were absolute savers.,, took me much longer than a routine wednesday.. Oh no, that means Thursday and Friday are still coming….

    1. That’s sheer nonsense—That’s utter nonsense.

      The only reason I know what the inside of a shell is made of is that my kids had goldfish at one time, and the “care of fish” book I bought explained that fish scales are made of NACRE.

      My error today was the O in LBO and OPPS

    2. They’re direct synonyms. Use interchangeably.

      Consider ‘sheer’ terror… or utter terror.
      Consider “sheer” nonsense… or “utter” nonsense.

      Sometimes they’re strung together, as in “sheer and utter nonsense”.

  8. I think it is being used in this context – “That idea is UTTER madness”; “That idea is SHEER madness”. I was going to use politics as an example, but there are not enough adjectives describing madness of our politics to do it justice 🙂

  9. 13:51. My difficulties were in the SW corner. Unfamiliar with MASSE, OLETA. I started out with DECAFS vs. MOCHAS (at least the “C” was in the right place) and that didn’t help. Didn’t really understand the theme until Bill explained it to me.

  10. 10:53 no errors

    Got the theme in time for it to help. I feel like I’m getting the hang of it.

    Nice to see LEDE again.

    Today I learned about Bernie Taupin and Oleta Adams.

  11. Kind of tough Wednesday for me; took 24:15 on-line with no errors or peeks. Lots of corrections, back tracking and checking for crosses, but I managed to untangle everything in the end.

    My football team 1. FC Koeln also has a billy goat for its mascot 🙂 The goat’s horns mirror the twin towers of the Koeln cathedral.

  12. Hello folks!!🦆

    Anonymous, 5:53 am — good to hear!!! 🤗

    No errors. Didn’t look for the theme. I like the use of SHORT ORDER COOK down the middle, like a Saturday puzzle.

    I also initially put BANDLEADER for Tommy Dorsey. Nice info about Sinatra in Bill’s write-up!

    I always forget how to spell ANEMONE and today was no exception. Had to use crosses.

    Be well~~🥂

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