LA Times Crossword 20 Nov 20, Friday

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Constructed by: August Miller
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Last Man Standing

Themed answers each end with a prefix that goes with “MAN” to give the name of a superhero. Those prefixes are STANDING up in the grid, and use circled letters:

  • 52A Lone survivor … and a hint to the puzzle’s circles? : LAST MAN STANDING
  • 20A Deficient in a certain enzyme : LACTOSE INTOLER-ANT (giving “ANT-MAN”)
  • 24A Brit’s “Don’t get upset, now” : KEEP YOUR HA-IR ON (giving “IRON MAN”)
  • 45A Hand-to-hand battle : UNARMED COM-BAT (giving “BATMAN”)

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

Bill’s time: 10m 04s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • Y NOT (Knot!)
  • ABECEDARY (Abecedark!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Key __: remote-start devices : FOBS

A fob is attached to an object to make it easier to access. And so, a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, and the pocket in a vest in which a watch can be placed is called a fob. In fact, the original use of the term “fob” was for a small pocket in which one could carry valuables.

8 Haggard of country : MERLE

Merle Haggard was a country singer and songwriter whose most famous recording has to be “Okie from Muskogee” released in 1969. Haggard would tell you that the song was actually meant as a spoof, but it has become a country “anthem”.

17 They have taxing jobs : IRS AGENTS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

19 “Interstellar” co-writer/director Christopher : NOLAN

British director Christopher Nolan is best known for “rescuing” the floundering Batman movie franchise. In that series, Nolan directed “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”. He was also at the helm of a couple of sci-fi movies that I really enjoyed, namely “Inception” (2010) and “Interstellar” (2014).

“Interstellar” is a sci-fi film released in 2014 with a “stellar” cast including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon and Michael Caine. I found “Interstellar” to be a really engaging movie, one that grabbed my attention the whole way through. That said, the ending was a little bit disappointing. I’m not one for walking out of theaters with unanswered questions …

20 Deficient in a certain enzyme : LACTOSE INTOLER-ANT (giving “ANT-MAN”)

The sugar known as lactose is a disaccharide, comprising a molecule of galactose combined with a molecule of glucose. Lactose is a major component in milk, and it is broken down in the body by an enzyme called lactase. The production of lactase used to diminish over time in humans, as babies stopped nursing and transitioned to solid food. Many human populations have evolved to maintain lactose production throughout life, in response to the inclusion of animal milk in the diet. Individuals and populations that do not have the genes enabling lifelong production of lactase are said to be lactose intolerant.

In the Marvel universe, Ant-Man has been the superhero persona of three different fictional characters: Hank Pym, Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady. In the 2015 film “Ant-Man”, Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, and Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang.

24 Brit’s “Don’t get upset, now” : KEEP YOUR HA-IR ON (giving “IRON MAN”)

Iron Man is another comic book superhero, this one created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. The character is the alter ego of Tony Stark, and has become very famous in recent years since the appearance of the 2008 action movie “Iron Man” starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. Iron Man’s love interest, Pepper Potts, is routinely played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the same series of films.

30 Org. fighting for refugees : 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”.

31 Columbus’ home : OHIO

The city of Columbus, Ohio is a “purpose-built” state capital. The state legislature selected the location for Ohio’s new capital in 1812, choosing dense forest land with no significant settlement, largely due to its strategic location in the center of the state. The name was chosen in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

32 Some traffic monitors : NARCS

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

40 Situation, metaphorically : BOAT

We’re both stuck solving this crossword; we’re in the same boat, the same difficult situation.

44 “Enchanted” girl in a 2004 film : ELLA

“Ella Enchanted” is a fantasy novel written by Gail Carson Levine, and published in 1997. It is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, with lots of mythical creatures added. A film adaptation was released in 2004 that features Anne Hathaway in the title role.

45 Hand-to-hand battle : UNARMED COM-BAT (giving “BATMAN”)

Originally referred to as “Bat-Man” when introduced in comics in 1939, Batman is also referred to as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, the World’s Greatest Detective and, along with sidekick Robin, the Dynamic Duo.

59 State with a panhandle : IDAHO

The US state of Idaho has a panhandle that extends northwards between Washington and Montana, right up to the border with Canada. Across that border is the Canadian province of British Columbia. Most of Idaho is in the Mountain Time Zone, but Northern Idaho (the Panhandle) is in the Pacific Time Zone.

62 Georgetown cager : HOYA

The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from “Hoya Saxa”, a traditional cheer yelled out at Georgetown games as far back as 1893. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word “hoya” meaning “such” or “what”, and “saxa” translating from Latin as “rocks” or “small stones”. The cheer is usually rendered in English as “what rocks!”.

In the early days of basketball, when a ball went out of bounds possession was awarded to the player who first retrieved the ball. This led to mad scuffles off the court, often involving spectators. As the game became more organized, courts were routinely “caged”, largely because of this out of bounds rule, to limit interaction with the crowd. It’s because of these cages that basketball players are sometimes referred to today as “cagers”.

63 __ Malek, Best Actor winner for “Bohemian Rhapsody” : RAMI

Actor Rami Malek’s big break came with the leading role in the television series “Mr. Robot”. In 2018, Malik gave an Oscar-winning performance playing Freddie Mercury in the hit biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. That marked the first time that an actor of Egyptian descent won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a marvelously unique song in the pop repertoire. It has a very appealing structure, with no chorus but three distinct parts and with three distinct “sounds”. The opening is truly a slow ballad, which morphs into an operatic middle section, ending with a really heavy, rock-guitar conclusion. The song monopolized the number one slot in the UK charts for weeks in 1975/76, and made a comeback in 1996 when it appeared in the movie “Wayne’s World”. Great stuff …

64 Neptune’s are about 165 times longer than ours : YEARS

A year is defined as the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. The other planets in our solar system take varying lengths of time to complete their orbits:

  1. Mercury: ~ 3 Earth months
  2. Venus: ~ 7 Earth months
  3. Earth: 1 Earth year
  4. Mars: ~ 2 Earth years
  5. Jupiter: ~ 12 Earth years
  6. Saturn: ~ 30 Earth years
  7. Uranus: ~ 84 Earth years
  8. Neptune: ~ 165 Earth years

65 Sandwich with a bit of crunch : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

66 2010 Ringo Starr album : Y NOT

Ringo Starr’s 2010 album “Y Not” has overt indications that he has not forgotten his roots in Liverpool with the Beatles. The track “Peace Dream” makes reference to John Lennon, and Paul McCartney plays bass. The lyrics of the track “The Other Side of Liverpool” refer to Starr’s upbringing in Liverpool before he joined the Beatles. Ringo shares the vocals on the track “Walk with You” with Paul McCartney.

Down

1 The creature, to Dr. Frankenstein : FOIL

A foil is someone who serves to enhance another by contrast. The term “foil” has been used in such a sense since the 16th century, and comes from the practice of placing metal foil at the beck of a gemstone to make it appear more brilliant.

Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel has the full title of “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”. The subtitle underscores one of the themes of the book, i.e. a warning about the expansion into the Industrial Revolution.

2 Cajun food staple : OKRA

Cajun cuisine is named for the French-speaking Acadian people who were deported from Acadia in Canada to Louisiana in the 18th century.

3 Pear variety : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear that is grown mainly in the northwest of the United States. It is named for French horticulturist Louis Bosc. The cultivar originated in Belgium or France in the early 19th century. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck.

4 Rock subgenre whose music is featured in “Tony Hawk’s” games : SKATE PUNK

Tony Hawk is a former professional skateboarder from Carlsbad, California. He is probably the most famous skateboarder in the world. I certainly couldn’t name another one …

6 Actress Hathaway : ANNE

Actress Anne Hathaway is a favorite of mine, I must say. She starred in “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2006 and in 2007’s “Becoming Jane”, a film that I particularly enjoyed.

7 Himalayan with a thick coat : YETI

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

9 Food recall reason : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

11 Yarn weavers : LIARS

The phrase “to spin a yarn”, meaning “to tell a tall tale”, originated in the early 1800s with seamen. The idea was that sailors would tell stories to each other while engaged in mindless work such as twisting yarn.

12 It’s south of Vesuvius : ETNA

Italy is home to three active volcanoes:

  • Stromboli (in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily)
  • Vesuvius (overlooking Naples)
  • Etna (on the island of Sicily)

15 Fig. on a return : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

21 Defunct airline : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

25 __ chamber : ECHO

An echo chamber is a hollow enclosure that is used to produce a particular sound effect for a TV or radio program. Sounds produced in the echo chamber reverberate, creating the impression that the action or conversation is taking place in perhaps a cave or a large hall. We often use the term “echo chamber” figuratively, describing a situation where a group’s beliefs are being amplified in a relatively closed system, with little or no exposure to contrasting opinions.

26 Panache : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

Someone exhibiting panache is showing dash and verve, and perhaps has a swagger. “Panache” is a French word used for a plume of feathers, especially one in a hat.

27 “Star Trek” linguistics expert : UHURA

Lt. Nyota Uhura is the communications officer on the board the Starship Enterprise, and was played by Nichelle Nichols in the original “Star Trek” television series. The role was significant in that Uhura was one of the first African American characters to figure front and center in US television. In a 1968 episode, Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Uhura kiss, the first interracial kiss to be broadcast in the US. Apparently the scene was meant to be shot twice, with and without the kiss, so that network executives could later decide which version to air. William Shatner claims that he deliberately ran long on the first take (with the kiss) and fluffed the hurried second take (without the kiss), so that the network would have no choice.

28 Kitchen gadget : RICER

A potato ricer is a kitchen tool used to force potatoes through small holes that are about the diameter of a grain of rice. It usually looks like a large garlic press.

33 School primer : ABECEDARY

An abecedarium (also “abecedary” or “ABC”) is a listing of the letters of an alphabet, usually on a poster or equivalent, or in a book. Abecedaria might be found on walls in schoolrooms, for example, as teaching aids.

34 Candy with a gooey center : ROLO

Rolo was a hugely popular chocolate candy in Ireland when I was growing up. Rolo was introduced in the thirties in the UK, and is produced under license in the US by Hershey. I was a little disappointed when I had my first taste of the American version as the center is very hard and chewy. The recipe used on the other side of the Atlantic calls for a soft gooey center.

36 Whack : STAB

Take a whack at it, take a stab, have a try.

39 Collapsible headwear : OPERA HAT

An opera hat is a spring-loaded, collapsible top hat. Doesn’t that sound cool …?

46 Hush-hush org. : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

47 Sci-fi classic set on an arid world : DUNE

The less-than-successful 1984 movie “Dune” (directed by David Lynch) was an adaptation of the spectacularly successful 1965 novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert.

48 “White Teeth” novelist Smith : ZADIE

Zadie Smith is an author from the UK whose first novel, “White Teeth”, became an immediate best-seller in 2000. Apparently, a partial manuscript was so well-received by insiders that a bidding war developed for the rights to publish “White Teeth”.

49 Japan’s second-largest city : OSAKA

The Japanese city of Osaka used to be called Naniwa, with the name changing to Osaka sometime before 1500. “Osaka” can be translated either as “large hill” or “large slope”. Osaka is sometimes referred to as “the Chicago of Japan” as it is a major center of commerce and industry. The city has also been named the “nation’s kitchen”, and was a center for Japan’s rice trade for centuries.

52 __ of the valley : LILY

Also known as May bells and Our Lady’s tears, “lily of the valley” is the common name for a highly poisonous flowering plant that is found in woodlands across much of the world.

53 Medical research agcy. : 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.

54 Stuck-up sort : SNOB

Back in the 1780s, a snob was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word “snob” was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

55 Texter’s sign-off : TTYL

Talk to you later (ttyl)

56 Caspian Sea land : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in the South Caucasus.

57 Film fish to find : NEMO

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Key __: remote-start devices : FOBS
5 Not straight, in a way : GAY
8 Haggard of country : MERLE
13 “Yeah, yeah, I get it” : OK, OK
14 People : ONES
16 Lock up the victory : ICE IT
17 They have taxing jobs : IRS AGENTS
19 “Interstellar” co-writer/director Christopher : NOLAN
20 Deficient in a certain enzyme : LACTOSE INTOLER-ANT (giving “ANT-MAN”)
22 Recede : EBB
23 Court orders : WRITS
24 Brit’s “Don’t get upset, now” : KEEP YOUR HA-IR ON (giving “IRON MAN”)
30 Org. fighting for refugees : ACLU
31 Columbus’ home : OHIO
32 Some traffic monitors : NARCS
37 Word after greater or lesser : … THAN
38 Very many, informally : MUCHO
40 Situation, metaphorically : BOAT
41 Passes (out) : ZONKS
43 Take another tour : RE-UP
44 “Enchanted” girl in a 2004 film : ELLA
45 Hand-to-hand battle : UNARMED COM-BAT (giving “BATMAN”)
48 Streaks : ZOOMS
51 Dwell on, maybe : RUE
52 Lone survivor … and a hint to the puzzle’s circles? : LAST MAN STANDING
59 State with a panhandle : IDAHO
60 Nearby : IN THE AREA
61 Compare : LIKEN
62 Georgetown cager : HOYA
63 __ Malek, Best Actor winner for “Bohemian Rhapsody” : RAMI
64 Neptune’s are about 165 times longer than ours : YEARS
65 Sandwich with a bit of crunch : BLT
66 2010 Ringo Starr album : Y NOT

Down

1 The creature, to Dr. Frankenstein : FOIL
2 Cajun food staple : OKRA
3 Pear variety : BOSC
4 Rock subgenre whose music is featured in “Tony Hawk’s” games : SKATE PUNK
5 Blows up : GOES BOOM
6 Actress Hathaway : ANNE
7 Himalayan with a thick coat : YETI
8 Study on the side : MINOR IN
9 Food recall reason : E COLI
10 Subleased : RELET
11 Yarn weavers : LIARS
12 It’s south of Vesuvius : ETNA
15 Fig. on a return : SSN
18 Pass : GO BY
21 Defunct airline : TWA
24 Apt surname for a vet : KATZ
25 __ chamber : ECHO
26 Panache : ELAN
27 “Star Trek” linguistics expert : UHURA
28 Kitchen gadget : RICER
29 Just meh : HO-HUM
33 School primer : ABECEDARY
34 Candy with a gooey center : ROLO
35 Still, as a day : CALM
36 Whack : STAB
39 Collapsible headwear : OPERA HAT
42 It’s usually bad to be served with one : SUMMONS
46 Hush-hush org. : NSA
47 Sci-fi classic set on an arid world : DUNE
48 “White Teeth” novelist Smith : ZADIE
49 Japan’s second-largest city : OSAKA
50 Catch-all survey option : OTHER
52 __ of the valley : LILY
53 Medical research agcy. : NIH
54 Stuck-up sort : SNOB
55 Texter’s sign-off : TTYL
56 Caspian Sea land : IRAN
57 Film fish to find : NEMO
58 Way of walking : GAIT

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 20 Nov 20, Friday”

  1. Yeti, etc,, are amazing. They never die, no corpse ever found. Even though they are described as huge, 8 feet tall, there are no areas stripped of vegetation which would be due to the large amount of food something that big would need. They never poop as no scat has ever been found. I don’t think that you can really say that their existence is suggested

  2. No errors, but a few lookups on proper names. I never heard the word
    abecedary, but got it anyway through cross-words. This was a hard one,
    too much like a Saturday….and (I think) it’s only Friday! Hard to keep
    track of what day it is anymore.

  3. In honor of the “apt name for a vet” answer:

    A widowed elderly lady was sunbathing on a beach in Fort Myers, FL.
    She looked up and noticed that a man her age had walked up, placed his blanket on the sand next to hers and began reading a book.
    Smiling, she attempted to strike up a conversation with him. “Hello sir, how are you today?”
    “Fine, thank you,” he responded, and turned back to his book.
    “I love the beach. Do you come here often?” she asked.
    “First time since my wife passed away 2 years ago,” he replied and turned back to his book.
    “I’m sorry to hear that. My husband passed away 3 years ago and it is very lonely,” she countered. “Do you live around here?” she asked.
    “Yes, I live over in Cape Coral,” he answered and again resumed reading.
    Trying to find a topic of common interest, and noticing that his book was about veterinary medicine, she persisted, “Do you like pussy cats?”
    With that, the man dropped his book, jumped off his blanket and on to hers, tore off her swimsuit and gave her the most passionate ride of her life!
    When the cloud of sand began to settle, she gasped and asked the man, “How did you know that was what I wanted?”
    The man replied, “How did you know my name was Katz?”

  4. Why do we have to be mind readers to do this and so many other puzzles? I’d really like to see less stupid tricks and more actual real clues.

    1. Betty, I find the LA Times clues more straightforward than the NY Times puzzle, whose clues are much trickier. I like this one much better. I think I always prefer puzzles I can actually solve 😉

  5. Quick run until 33D.. “ABECEDARY”.. Oh yeah, I remember that … NOT. If course , that combined with the hints for BOAT, ELLA, RUE and YNOT made for a tough fill. I guessed on all of them and got one wrong so ppppfft!

  6. Pretty clever theme. Because I am an idiot I didn’t get until too late that the ringed letters might have a connection with the horizontals. As a result I thought KEEP YOUR HAT was some peculiar Britspeak and UNARMEDBOUT fit with a downward SWAT….

  7. A real struggle as I didn’t get the theme until the end. But at least it made sense of the long answers and the reveal (which I got early on). It didn’t help that I never heard of abecedary or ‘keep your hair on’.

    Hoya brought back memories. I went to George Washington University in DC and our biggest basketball rival back then was Georgetown. At the games we were constantly yelling in unison…What the hell is a Hoya? They never answered. I guess they didn’t know either.

  8. 15:56 1 error

    This was challenging. I got the turn up at the end part of the theme, but didn’t think of adding the man. Thanks for explanation.

    Abcedary is a wonderful word. I’m used to seeing it refer to a small book that features the letters of the alphabet in turn. One of the greatest is the Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Gorey.

  9. I knew 40A must be BOAT, but left it blank (because who would call something an ABECDARY?).
    It was clever to get Anne Hathaway and Ella Enchanted in the same puzzle.

  10. 16:38, DNF, the center right area was one big natick for me.

    The theme was TERRIBLE. Just terrible. Opaque in the extreme. You just have to work too hard to “get there”, a sure sign that it’s completely FORCED.

    This week had been going so well, but I knew this had to be coming…. sure enough…

  11. Frustrating to solve since I never was able to connect the clues to the theme. And then there is that obscure “keep your hair.” I’m British and have never heard of that phrase.

  12. Tricky Friday for me; took 39:14 with one error after I did a “check grid” when I’d had enough. After guessing correctly for all the hard stuff that I didn’t/barely know/knew I ended up with lAMI instead of RAMI…drat! I spend at least 15 minutes on the middle East and SE corner.

    Got the theme early which helped, but not where I needed it. I used to hang out with a lot of British at a Palo Alto pub, but they were mostly working class that never used that particular remark. One of the more upper class used to love to inject quintessential into his conversation 🙂

    I would have preferred “Hirsute Himalayan” for the 7D clue.

  13. HIYA folks!!🦆

    Why so many complaints lately about the puzzles? 🙁

    I found this pretty easy for a Friday until I got to that middle east of BOAT and NARCS. Had to peek for both! My mind just got stuck on road traffic, and I came up with NODES – the little bumps that are supposed to let you know if you’re weaving out of your lane? Thought maybe it was a technical term…🙄

    I know the Spanish word “abecedário” but never heard the English equivalent.

    DIRK! I discovered a REALLY good Mexican restaurant recently! If you’re in LA after quarantine I’ll treat!!🤗

    Be well~~🥂

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