LA Times Crossword 17 Nov 20, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Frosted Tips

Themed answers each include a FROSTY word divided in two and hidden at the TIPS of that answer:

  • 63A Spiky, bleached hairstyle … or what the puzzle circles represent : FROSTED TIPS
  • 17A Words from a vacillator : I CAN’T DECIDE (tips of “IC-E”)
  • 25A Bedtime wish : SLEEP TIGHT (tips of “SLEE-T”)
  • 39A Crusade : HOLY WAR (tips of “HO-AR”)
  • 51A Fastest-ever performance, as in a race : RECORD TIME (tips of “R-IME”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Deputized Western group : POSSE

Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”.

6 African capital near ancient Carthage : TUNIS

Tunis is the capital of Tunisia, and gives the country her name. Tunis is on the Mediterranean coast, and is located just a few miles from the site of ancient Carthage.

14 Milo of “Romeo and Juliet” (1968) : O’SHEA

Milo O’Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The West Wing”. O’Shea passed away in 2013, in New York City.

The 1968 big screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It holds a special place in movie history in that it was the last Shakespearean film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The title roles were played by teen actors Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who were 17 and 16 years old respectively at that time. Apparently, Paul McCartney of the Beatles was approached to play the part of Romeo, before Whiting was cast in the role.

15 Ten sawbucks : C-NOTE

“Sawbuck” is slang for “10-dollar bill”. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the reverse) resembles the end of sawhorse.

16 Bench press target : PEC

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

17 Words from a vacillator : I CAN’T DECIDE (tips of “IC-E”)

To vacillate is to be indecisive, to waver. The verb “to vacillate” comes from the Latin “vacillare” meaning “to sway to and fro”.

20 Golf bunker contents : SAND

Sand traps on a golf course are referred to as bunkers on the other side of the Atlantic.

21 “__ fair in love … ” : ALL’S

The proverb “All is fair in love and war” has been attributed to English writer John Lyly, and is from his book “Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit”. “Euphues” is the source of our word “euphemism”.

22 Golfer’s goof : SLICE

In golf, an errant driver might slice or hook the ball.

24 Cogito __ sum : ERGO

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”. Anything pertaining to the philosophy of Descartes can be described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

25 Bedtime wish : SLEEP TIGHT (tips of “SLEE-T”)

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

29 Detroit NFLer : LION

The Detroit Lions are the NFL team that play home games at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The team was founded way back in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans from Portsmouth, Ohio. The Spartans joined the NFL during the Great Depression as other franchises collapsed. However, the Spartans couldn’t command a large enough gate in Portsmouth so the team was sold and relocated to Detroit in 1934.

34 Casino gratuity : TOKE

“Toke” is an informal term describing a tip given to a dealer or other employee at a casino.

39 Crusade : HOLY WAR (tips of “HO-AR”)

The Crusades were a series of religious wars fought between the 11th and 15th centuries. The term “crusade” came into English via French and Spanish from the Latin “crux” meaning “cross”. The use of the term was retrospective, with the first recorded use in English in 1757. The relevance of “crux” is that most crusaders swore a vow to reach Jerusalem from Europe, and then received a cloth cross that was then sewn into their clothing. The term “crusade” persists to this day, and is now used figuratively to describe any vigorous campaign in pursuit of a moral objective.

The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoar-frost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard.

43 Marvel superhero : X-MAN

The X-Men are a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays, the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains whom the X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen.

45 Peace signs : VEES

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V-for-victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

50 Pandora’s box, e.g. : MYTH

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. She was created by the gods, with each god bestowing on her a gift. Her name can be translated from Greek as “all-gifted”. Pandora is famous for the story of “Pandora’s Box”. In actual fact, the story should be about Pandora’s “Jar” as a 16th-century error in translation created a “box” out of the “jar”. In the story of Pandora’s Box, curiosity got the better of her and she opened up a box she was meant to leave alone. As a result she released all the evils of mankind, just closing it in time to trap hope inside.

51 Fastest-ever performance, as in a race : RECORD TIME (tips of “R-IME”)

Rime is the beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.

59 __ acid : AMINO

Amino acids are essential to life in many ways, not least of which is their use as the building blocks of proteins. Nine amino acids are considered “essential” for humans. These nine must be included in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body.

60 Part of RBG or LBJ: Abbr. : INIT

Initial (init.)

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) served on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to join the Court, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time she did not miss one day on the bench. In 2009 Justice Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and was back to work 12 days later. She had left-lung lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in 2018, which forced Justice Ginsburg to miss oral argument in January 2019, for the first time since joining the court 25 years earlier. She finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2020. Much of Ginsburg’s life is recounted in the excellent 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex”.

President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) is one of only four people to have held all four elected federal offices, namely US Representative, US Senator, US Vice-President and US President. As President he is perhaps best remembered for escalating involvement in the Vietnam War, and for his “Great Society” legislation.

61 Inter __: among others : ALIA

“Inter alia” is Latin for “among other things”.

66 Colorado tribe : UTE

The Ute are a group of Native American tribes who now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified people as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups. The word “Ute” means “Land of the Sun”, and “Ute” also gave us the state name “Utah”.

68 Ancient letters : RUNES

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

69 __ capita : PER

“Per capita” is a Latin term used to mean “per person, per unit of population”. The literal translation of the term is “by heads”.

71 Salon board abrasive : EMERY

Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.

Down

1 Self-assurance : POISE

Back in the early 1400s, “poise” meant “quality of being heavy”. We’ve been using the term to mean “steadiness, composure” since the mid-1600s, in the sense of being equally “weighted” on either side.

3 Utopia in “Lost Horizon” : SHANGRI-LA

Shangri-La is the earthly paradise in the mountains of Tibet described by James Hilton in his novel “Lost Horizon”. Shangri-La is “edenic” (perfect, like the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis). Frank Capra directed a wonderful screen adaptation of “Lost Horizon” in 1937 starring Ronald Colman.

6 Immune system agent : T CELL

T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

7 “I give up!” : UNCLE!

To say uncle is to submit or yield. This peculiarly American use of “uncle” dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

13 The planets, since Pluto’s demotion : OCTET

Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

23 Dryer trap fuzz : LINT

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the Atlantic.

26 Leaning Tower city : PISA

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 …

28 Exam proctor’s reminder : SHH!

A proctor is a supervisor, and especially a person overseeing a school examination or a dormitory. The word “proctor” originated in the late 1500s, and is a contraction of the word “procurator”, the name given to an official agent of a church.

32 Primaries, say : ELECTIONS

The US is one of just a few countries that uses primary elections, selections of party candidates by popular vote. In the runup to most national elections outside of the US, political parties select their own candidates. Indeed, primaries weren’t introduced into the US until relatively recently. The first presidential primary took place in 1920, in New Hampshire.

33 Manhattan liquor : RYE

The cocktail called a Manhattan is made from whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. I favor my own version of a brandy Manhattan, using brandy, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.

36 Pond carp : KOI

Koi are fish that are also known as Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

40 “Metamorphoses” poet : OVID

“The Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid that deals with a lofty subject. It describes the history of the world from creation until the “present day”, that is Ovid’s “present day”, the era of Julius Caesar. A lot of the storyline makes use of Greek mythology (rather than Roman).

44 Gas in signs : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

55 British bishop’s headdress : MITRE

A miter (also “mitre”) is a traditional headdress worn by bishops in some Christian traditions. The term “miter” comes from a Greek word for “headband, turban”.

57 “Pied” folklore guy : PIPER

The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory. The use of the word “pied” implies that the piper dressed in multi-colored clothing. Our contemporary idiom “to pay the piper” means “to bear the cost of a poor decision”. It is a reference to townsfolk of Hamelin who refused to pay the Pied Piper for ridding the town of rats. They ultimately paid the cost when the piper lured their children away.

64 “Messenger” letters : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

65 Beats by __: audio equipment brand : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Deputized Western group : POSSE
6 African capital near ancient Carthage : TUNIS
11 __-pitch : SLO
14 Milo of “Romeo and Juliet” (1968) : O’SHEA
15 Ten sawbucks : C-NOTE
16 Bench press target : PEC
17 Words from a vacillator : I CAN’T DECIDE (tips of “IC-E”)
19 Snitch : RAT
20 Golf bunker contents : SAND
21 “__ fair in love … ” : ALL’S
22 Golfer’s goof : SLICE
24 Cogito __ sum : ERGO
25 Bedtime wish : SLEEP TIGHT (tips of “SLEE-T”)
27 Hurry : RUSH
29 Detroit NFLer : LION
30 Religion : FAITH
32 Swing and Disco : ERAS
34 Casino gratuity : TOKE
38 Feel out of sorts : AIL
39 Crusade : HOLY WAR (tips of “HO-AR”)
42 Neither’s partner : NOR
43 Marvel superhero : X-MAN
45 Peace signs : VEES
46 Up and at ’em : ASTIR
48 __ fail: unexpected disaster : EPIC
50 Pandora’s box, e.g. : MYTH
51 Fastest-ever performance, as in a race : RECORD TIME (tips of “R-IME”)
56 Workout count : REPS
59 __ acid : AMINO
60 Part of RBG or LBJ: Abbr. : INIT
61 Inter __: among others : ALIA
62 Doze (off) : NOD
63 Spiky, bleached hairstyle … or what the puzzle circles represent : FROSTED TIPS
66 Colorado tribe : UTE
67 Word with peace or turmoil : INNER …
68 Ancient letters : RUNES
69 __ capita : PER
70 Individual preference : TASTE
71 Salon board abrasive : EMERY

Down

1 Self-assurance : POISE
2 Subject of a seasonal buzz or nod : OSCAR
3 Utopia in “Lost Horizon” : SHANGRI-LA
4 Emit : SEND OUT
5 Dog-dog connection? : EAT
6 Immune system agent : T CELL
7 “I give up!” : UNCLE!
8 Regulations affecting loud parties : NOISE LAWS
9 “__ be an honor!” : IT’D
10 Deals with : SEES TO
11 Hint of mint : SPRIG
12 Extract, as lye from ashes : LEACH
13 The planets, since Pluto’s demotion : OCTET
18 Sprint : DASH
23 Dryer trap fuzz : LINT
26 Leaning Tower city : PISA
28 Exam proctor’s reminder : SHH!
30 Copier function : FAX
31 Intention : AIM
32 Primaries, say : ELECTIONS
33 Manhattan liquor : RYE
35 At risk : ON THE LINE
36 Pond carp : KOI
37 Slip up : ERR
40 “Metamorphoses” poet : OVID
41 Bit of sunshine : RAY
44 Gas in signs : NEON
47 Layer : STRATUM
49 Monetary gain : PROFIT
50 Parcel (out) : METE
51 Accumulated, as debts : RAN UP
52 Act with great passion : EMOTE
53 Fall beverage : CIDER
54 Map within a map : INSET
55 British bishop’s headdress : MITRE
57 “Pied” folklore guy : PIPER
58 Given to insolence : SASSY
64 “Messenger” letters : RNA
65 Beats by __: audio equipment brand : DRE

16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Nov 20, Tuesday”

  1. No errors on this pretty easy puzzle. My only problem was for a time I
    had “eight” for the planets in 13-down, but soon realized that it
    was “octet”. Then everything came together. …..and I actually got the
    theme this time!

  2. Fairly easy, although I had “on thin ice” originally for 35D, which seems more appropriate. I’ve always thought of “on the line” meaning much at stake vs “at risk”, but what do I know?

  3. 8:45 no errors

    The theme helped me fill in the tips.

    Then I felt really dumb as I struggled to come up with a four letter superhero, especially since I used to be a big X-men fan.

  4. Like Glen, this a little dodgy.. Never heard of TOKE in that context but I don’t gamble so I guess., So there is a XMAN? I thought they were all referred to as XMEN??

  5. So I had to look up XMAN.. Webster has it as a Definition of x-man
    : a postal service employee who checks a railway car in mail service for possible lost or mislaid mail…
    So that is a X-MAN!!

  6. Enjoyable puzzle. Clues were clever, without being obscure or cutesy.
    No errors, for perhaps the first time since my stroke in July. Was encouraged to continue doing puzzles as part of therapy, to rewire the brain around the damaged sectors. It appears to be working, at least somewhat. Has been somewhat frustrating to be making stupid errors so frequently, as not too long ago I went 13 months without an error.
    Re 65D: My companion is a singer-songwriter. Her producers use products similar to Beats by Dre on her recordings. BTW: She’s scheduled for her first gig since the lock-down, on Friday, here in Los Angeles.
    Not to forget: As usual, excellent background info from Bill.

    1. How old were u when u had stroke. My bro was 56 when he had his and I got him doing cws for his brain. He’s much better now.

      Miles

  7. Haven’t done a LAT grid in a long time. Pretty uninspiring. But I always admire Bill finding a theme when none appears on the page. “Rime” … in all that? 🙂

    One of the great crosswords I came across in the last year was in the NYT, who devoted it to RBG. I’m sure she loved it. It’s the kind of grid you’s swear came from Bernice Gordon.

  8. 8 minutes, 46 seconds, no errors. As usually is the case, the circled entries and theme just don’t enter into it; just distractions. It’s rare indeed to actually have a puzzle where the key answer and whatever gadget is in play in the grid actually help you solve parts of the grid where the clues have you stumped.

  9. @Michael – recover totally soon!

    Had to Google SLICE. Had eighT before OCTET. Did not know this TOKE, or LION, but got thru crosses.

  10. Hi folks!!🦆

    Willie, good to see you!🤗

    No errors. Vaguely remembered TOKE and hit on ALIA at the last minute. Theme helped.

    Be well~~🥂

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