LA Times Crossword 27 Nov 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Gary Larson
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): First Look

Themed answers look like common terms, but are reinterpreted as phrases starting with synonyms of “observe”:

  • 16A Observe music festival performers? : WATCH BANDS
  • 38A Observe woodworking tools? : SEE SAWS
  • 61A Observe bank drafts? : SPOT CHECKS
  • 10D Observe engagement jewelry? : SPY RINGS
  • 37D Observe fancy dances? : EYE BALLS

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

Bill’s time: 7m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Easter beginning? : NOR’-

A nor’easter is a storm that blows from the northeast.

14 Ring of color : AREOLA

An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” (plural “areolae”) comes from Latin, meaning “small open space”, and is a diminutive of the Latin word “area”, meaning “open space”.

18 Russian refusal : NYET

“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

22 2018 SAG Life Achievement Award recipient : ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, most notably as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. He was born Alphonso D’Abruzzo in the Bronx, New York City. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He also won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

23 Ukr., once : SSR

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”.

29 Vegas attractions : CASINOS

The term “casino” originated in the 1700s, then describing a public room for music or dancing. “Casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.

31 Ones who take things badly? : KLEPTOS

Kleptomania is the compulsion to steal, whether or not one is in need of what is stolen. The term derives from the Greek word for “to steal”, “kleptein”, with the suffix “-mania”.

34 Freudian topics : EGOS

Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The superego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.

40 Full house sign : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

45 Washington Monument, for one : OBELISK

An obelisk is a rectangular column that tapers to the top and is capped by a pyramid shape.

Completed in 1885, the Washington Monument was the world’s tallest structure, but only for a few years. The Washington Monument lost its “world title” in 1889, on the completion of the Eiffel Tower. It retains the title of world’s tallest stone structure, standing as almost 555 feet in height.

51 Vagabonds : HOBOS

No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums” in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

A vagabond is a person without a home who moves from place to place. The term derives from the Latin “vagabundus” meaning “wandering, strolling about”.

52 Abe’s role in “The Godfather” : SAL

Abe Vigoda played Detective Sergeant Phil Fish in television’s “Barney Miller” in the seventies, and even got his own spin-off show called “Fish”. On the big screen, Vigoda played Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and Grandpa Ubriacco in “Look Who’s Talking”.

54 Video recorder since 1999 : TIVO

TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful digital video recorder (DVR).

55 Java products : APPLETS

“Applet” is the name given to a small application that runs within a larger computer program.

Java is a programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it didn’t fit the needs at the time. Back then, the language was called Oak, named after an oak tree that stood outside the designer’s office. Later it was called Green, and finally named Java, which was simply picked out of a list of random words.

58 Kind of horn : TENOR

The tenor horn is one of a series of brass instruments developed in the 1840s by Belgian inventor and musician Adolphe Sax. It has largely been displaced by the French horn in a modern symphony orchestra, but there are plenty of tenor horns being played today in British brass bands.

59 Clinton’s 1996 opponent : DOLE

Despite all Bob Dole’s success in the world of politics, he is remembered by many as the VP candidate who lost to Walter Mondale (and Jimmy Carter) and the presidential candidate who lost to incumbent Bill Clinton. The man is a true war hero. He joined up in 1942 and fought with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Italy. In 1945 he was hit by machine gun fire in his right arm and back Dole was so badly injured that his comrades could only dose him up with morphine, write “M” on his forehead with his own blood (so that another, fatal dose of morphine would not be administered) and continue fighting the battle. Dole had to wait nine hours to be evacuated from the battlefield, and wait another three years before being discharged from hospital back in the States.

64 Oxygen-loving organism : AEROBE

An aerobe is an organism that lives in an environment rich in oxygen. An anaerobe, on the other hand, does not require oxygen for survival.

68 Old boomer : SST

Supersonic transports (SSTs) like the Concorde broke Mach 1, the speed of sound. As a plane flies through the air, it creates pressure waves in front (and behind) rather like the bow and stern waves of a boat. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, so as an aircraft itself accelerates towards the speed of sound it catches up with the pressure waves until they cannot “get out of the way”. When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the compressed waves merge into one single shock wave, creating a sonic boom.

Down

1 It has a smell named for it : NEW CAR

Most of what we call that “new car smell” comes from adhesives and sealers that are holding together various plastic components in the automobile’s interior. In fact, there is concern in some quarters that the compounds giving that new car smell might pose a health risk.

2 Soothsayer : ORACLE

In ancient Greece and Rome, an oracle was someone believed inspired by the gods to give wise counsel. The word “oracle” derives from the Latin “orare” meaning “to speak”, which is the same root for our word “orator”. One of the most important oracles of ancient Greece was Pythia, the high priestess to Apollo at Delphi.

A soothsayer is someone who claims to have the ability to predict the future. The term comes from “sooth”, an archaic word for “truth”. So a soothsayer was supposedly one who told the “truth” (about the future).

4 Wonka’s creator : DAHL

Willy Wonka is the lead character in the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl called “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”. Willy Wonka has been portrayed on the big screen twice. Gene Wilder was a fabulous Wonka in the 1971 version titled “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, and Johnny Depp played him in the Tim Burton movie from 2005 called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I’m not too fond of Tim Burton movies, so I haven’t seen that one …

5 Venus or Mars : ORB

All of the planets in the Solar System, except for Earth, were named for Greek and Roman gods and goddesses:

  • Mercury was Roman god of travel
  • Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty
  • Mars was the Roman god of war
  • Jupiter was the king of the Roman gods
  • Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture
  • Uranus was the Greek god of the sky
  • Neptune was the Roman god of the sea
  • (also, Pluto was the Roman god of the underworld)

7 Norman Bates, thankfully : LONER

The top 5 movie villains in the American Film Institute’s list “100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains” are:

  1. Dr. Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”
  2. Norman Bates in “Psycho”
  3. Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back”
  4. The Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”
  5. Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

8 Cutlass, e.g. : OLDS

Oldsmobile introduced the Cutlass in 1961, and used the name on a succession of models right up to 1999.

11 Capital of Portugal? : PEE

The word “Portugal” starts with a capital letter P (pee).

12 __-Man: Marvel hero : ANT

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.

15 Baby’s bodysuit : ONESIE

A onesie is a baby’s one-piece bodysuit, and is a common gift at a baby shower.

17 First name in superhero lore : CLARK

Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

21 Syllables in some madrigals : LAS

A madrigal is a piece of vocal music, but notably a piece that is secular in content rather than religious. The madrigal originated in Italy in the early 16th century and it dominated secular music for the next one hundred years until it was gradually displaced by the aria, a product of operatic works.

26 Canadian gas : ESSO

The Esso brand has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

28 Trains over the road : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

33 Sugar amt. : TSP

Teaspoon (tsp.)

35 “However,” in tweets : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

36 Western wolf : LOBO

The timber wolf is also known as the gray wolf, tundra wolf or lobo.

42 Math class calculations : SLOPES

Remember doing calculus at school, and all those derivatives and integrals? Well, you probably also remember that an integral calculates the area under a curve (for example), and a derivative calculates the slope of a tangent at a particular point on a curve.

44 First name in cosmetics : ESTEE

Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, and someone with a great reputation as a salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

46 DSL provider : ISP

An Internet service provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP’s network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs.

48 Colors : TINCTS

To tinct is to add a little color to something. The term “tinct” ultimately derives from the Latin verb “tingere” meaning “to dye”.

50 English sheep breed : DORSET

Dorset Horn (or simply “Dorset”) sheep are named for the county of Dorset in south-west England where the breed originated.

Dorset is a county on the coast in South West England, with the county town of Dorchester. If you’ve read Thomas Hardy (he was born near Dorchester), you might be familiar with Dorset as he set many of his novels in the county.

53 Starter for 007’s car? : ASTON

Aston Martin is a British car manufacturer founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin. The Aston part of the company name comes from Aston Hill, a famous site for hill-climbing cars that is nearby the original factory. Aston Martin cars are much loved by the British entertainment industry. James Bond was given one in “Goldfinger”, and Michael Caine drove one in the 1969 version of “The Italian Job”. Also, Roger Moore’s character drove a yellow Aston Martin in the seventies television show “The Persuaders!”.

56 Future JD’s hurdle : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The law degree that is abbreviated to J.D. stands for “Juris Doctor” or “Doctor of Jurisprudence”.

57 Blunted sword : EPEE

The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

60 Run a tab, say : OWE

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

62 “Survivor” station : CBS

CBS used to be known as the Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS introduced its “eye” logo in 1951. That logo is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign.

The reality show “Survivor” is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called “Expedition Robinson”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Easter beginning? : NOR’-
4 Small amount : DOLLOP
10 Hot tub with a whirlpool : SPA
13 Period often with a name : ERA
14 Ring of color : AREOLA
15 Welcoming : OPEN
16 Observe music festival performers? : WATCH BANDS
18 Russian refusal : NYET
19 Small battery type : C-CELL
20 One snugly in bed, say : NESTLER
22 2018 SAG Life Achievement Award recipient : ALDA
23 Ukr., once : SSR
24 Comment not meant for everyone : ASIDE
27 Wish undone : REGRET
29 Vegas attractions : CASINOS
31 Ones who take things badly? : KLEPTOS
34 Freudian topics : EGOS
35 Word of encouragement : OLE!
38 Observe woodworking tools? : SEE SAWS
40 Full house sign : SRO
41 Plays (with) : TOYS
43 Brimming : REPLETE
45 Washington Monument, for one : OBELISK
47 Had an intense longing : LUSTED
51 Vagabonds : HOBOS
52 Abe’s role in “The Godfather” : SAL
54 Video recorder since 1999 : TIVO
55 Java products : APPLETS
58 Kind of horn : TENOR
59 Clinton’s 1996 opponent : DOLE
61 Observe bank drafts? : SPOT CHECKS
63 Punches in a workshop : AWLS
64 Oxygen-loving organism : AEROBE
65 Three-way joint : TEE
66 Okay : YES
67 Wee : TEENSY
68 Old boomer : SST

Down

1 It has a smell named for it : NEW CAR
2 Soothsayer : ORACLE
3 Like many Disney films : RATED G
4 Wonka’s creator : DAHL
5 Venus or Mars : ORB
6 Depends (on) : LEANS
7 Norman Bates, thankfully : LONER
8 Cutlass, e.g. : OLDS
9 Over and done with : PAST
10 Observe engagement jewelry? : SPY RINGS
11 Capital of Portugal? : PEE
12 __-Man: Marvel hero : ANT
15 Baby’s bodysuit : ONESIE
17 First name in superhero lore : CLARK
21 Syllables in some madrigals : LAS
23 Has the wheel : STEERS
25 Way out : DOOR
26 Canadian gas : ESSO
28 Trains over the road : ELS
29 Shade of black : COAL
30 Too : AS WELL
32 Cheat, in a way : PEEK
33 Sugar amt. : TSP
35 “However,” in tweets : OTOH
36 Western wolf : LOBO
37 Observe fancy dances? : EYE BALLS
39 Apt name for a chef? : STU
42 Math class calculations : SLOPES
44 First name in cosmetics : ESTEE
46 DSL provider : ISP
48 Colors : TINCTS
49 Calls up : EVOKES
50 English sheep breed : DORSET
52 Set aside for later : STORE
53 Starter for 007’s car? : ASTON
56 Future JD’s hurdle : LSAT
57 Blunted sword : EPEE
58 Unnamed ones : THEY
59 Calendar square : DAY
60 Run a tab, say : OWE
62 “Survivor” station : CBS

20 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Nov 20, Friday”

  1. No errors, no lookups and I enjoyed the theme. I was unfamiliar with
    “slopes” and “applets” but crossing letters gave me the answers.

  2. 13:12 no errors

    Fun theme. Today, I also learned tinct. It seems to be related to tincture.

    I liked seeing AEROBE. For anaerobic bacteria, oxygen is a waste product that is corrosive in large quantity. They released oxygen into the atmosphere, leading up to the first great extinction 2.5 billion years ago, also known as the Great Oxygenation Event. Luckily, aerobes had figured out how to harness the energy in oxygen, and here are, alive and breathing.

  3. Clever theme. I have never heard of the word tinct… will, in all likelihood never use it, and will probably never come across it again. But if I do at least I will know what it means.

  4. 9:16, no errors, no complaints. The editing was just fine for me. I did have GOD before ORB, GONER before LONER, and THO (I think) before TSP (because I read the wrong clue for that entry), no other missteps. Decent theme, nice puzzle to approach in a tryptophan coma … 😜.

    Saw a great cartoon yesterday: Turkey with puzzled expression looks at display on tablet and says, “That can’t be right …” And on the tablet are the words “Thursday’s Temperature: 350 degrees”.

  5. Along with the theme, KLEPTOS was very clever

    @Bill – great info on Bob DOLE and HOBOS.

    Had “god” before ORB, baT before ANT. Several Googles, but actually didn’t know APPLET, TIVO, CBS, SPA. Took 8 credits in Calc, so I better know SLOPES. There are some SLOPES for which you don’t need calculus.

  6. 18 mins, 1 sec, and needed Check Grid for 5 answers to complete.

    Several clues and fills were a tad “tricksy”. A slight “TINCT” of manufactured difficulty in this one. Loved Glenn’s comment. I think our editor has been absent for months now. A cushy job where he has a byline, but doesn’t do a damned thing to earn it.

    1. I don’t nearly say as much as I could on some of these things, but one can kind of take comfort with the LAT that at least a lot of the bad editing and other garbage gets kept to a minimum, especially compared to the other outlets out there. But especially after seeing this NYT book I’m working through (ready for 1101-01, the book started from 1015-01), I can definitely note how far the whole industry has fallen since then.

  7. Had trouble in the SE section like several of you. But did get it finished OK.

    Question on Thursdays: 52D there was no explanation for it. Who or what is Maslow’s hierarchy? The answer was “need”? I have no clue.

  8. No mistakes, but seemed a little easier than a normal Friday LATimes. Looking forward to really hard puzzle for Saturday…

  9. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is used to study how humans intrinsically partake in behavioral motivation. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belonging and love”, “social needs” or “esteem”, and “self-actualization” to describe the pattern through which human motivations generally move. This means that in order for motivation to arise at the next stage, each stage must be satisfied within the individual themselves. ( just asked WIKI )

  10. Moderately tricky Friday for me; took 35:34 on-line with no peeking and no errors before I got the “all done” banner. I did get stuck in the top middle for a while after having DAHL and ORB. Finally took out my bad guesses and put in PAST and …BANDS, which then got me OLDS instead of ship and soon I was done. I now know how to spell AREOLA 🙂

    re TINCT – Second definition in the Free Dictionary lists it as ” an obsolete word for tint.”

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