LA Times Crossword 4 Nov 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Mike Peluso
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Train Crew

Themed answers each end with a kind of TRAIN:

  • 59A Engineer, brakeman and conductor … and what the ends of the answers to starred clues comprise? : TRAIN CREW
  • 16A *Person to emulate : ROLE MODEL (giving “model train”)
  • 23A *Thanksgiving condiment : TURKEY GRAVY (giving “gravy train”)
  • 35A *Effective remedy with little downside : MAGIC BULLET (giving “bullet train”)
  • 50A *A high-profile trial might become one : MEDIA CIRCUS (giving “circus train”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Band with an electrical symbol in their logo : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

5 Youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, familiarly : AOC

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a politician who is often referred to by her initials “AOC”. A Democrat, she was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2018, representing part of the Bronx, Queens and Rikers Island in New York City. When she took office in 2019 at the age of 29, AOC became the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress.

8 Aromatic herb : SAGE

In Britain, sage is listed as one of the four essential herbs. And those would be “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”.

14 Rapping MD? : DRE

“Dr. Dre” is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

15 Mariano Rivera’s record 652 : SAVES

Mariano Rivera is a professional baseball pitcher from Panama City. Rivera played for the New York Yankees from 1995 until his retirement at the end of the 2013 season. Rivera holds the league record for the most career saves (at 652). He is known by the nicknames “Mo” and “Sandman”. In 2019, Rivera became the first player elected unanimously to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

18 LGBTQ part, briefly : TRANS

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ)

19 Wavelike pattern : MOIRE

A moiré pattern is a phenomenon in physics, a so-called interference pattern. If you lay two sheets of mesh over each other for example, slightly offset, then what you see is a moiré pattern. “Moiré” is the French name for a textile that we know simply as “moire”. The rippled pattern of the textile resembles that of the interference pattern.

20 “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” singer Kathy : MATTEA

Kathy Mattea is a country singer who grew up just outside Charleston, West Virginia. Many of Mattea’s songs were written by her husband Jon Vezner.

21 Arafat’s gp., once : PLO

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964. The PLO’s early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations back in 1923. The PLO was granted observer status (i.e. no voting rights) at the United Nations in 1974.

Yasser (also “Yasir”) Arafat was born in Cairo in 1929, the son of two Palestinians and the second-youngest of seven children. Arafat was beaten by his father as a child and so did not have a good relationship with him. Arafat did not attend his father’s funeral, nor did he visit his grave. The beatings were apparently administered because the young Arafat was repeatedly attending religious services in the Jewish quarter of Cairo. Arafat’s explanation was that he wanted to “study the mentality” of the Jewish people.

23 *Thanksgiving condiment : TURKEY GRAVY (giving “gravy train”)

The original “riders of the gravy train” were railroad men in the 1920s who were assigned a run that had good pay and little work. Since then, the phrase “gravy train” has come to mean any job that is easy and pays well. The term “gravy” had been slang for easy money since about 1900.

26 Nigerian pop star : SADE

Singer Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

33 “__ Tu”: 1974 hit : ERES

We have a big event across Europe every year called the Eurovision Song Contest. Each nation enters one song in competition with each other, and then voters across the whole continent decide on the winner. That’s how ABBA got their big break when they won in 1974 with “Waterloo”. In 1973, Spain’s entry was “Eres tú” (“It’s You”, literally “You Are”) sung by the band Mocedades. “Eres tú” came second in the competition, but should have won in my humble opinion.

35 *Effective remedy with little downside : MAGIC BULLET (giving “bullet train”)

The term “magic bullet” was coined, or at least popularized, in German by physician and scientist Paul Ehrlich. His idea was that specific microbial infections and diseases could be treated without harming the body itself. He called such a hypothetical treatment “Zauberkugel” (magic bullet). We also use “magic bullet” more generally these days to describe anything providing a workable solution to a very difficult problem.

Although rail transportation started out its life in Europe, it really came into its own across the vast United States. However, it was the Japanese who developed rail transportation into the exceptional service it is today. A bullet train is any high-speed train that resembles the locomotives developed by the Japanese in the fifties and sixties.

43 Tel __ : AVIV

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, and is a name that was chosen in 1910.

49 Cream or Nirvana : TRIO

Cream was a “supergroup” from Britain, meaning the band was composed of musicians from other successful groups. The band’s members were Eric Clapton (from the Yardbirds), and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker (both from the Graham Bond Organisation).

Nirvana was a rock band that was formed in Washington in 1987 by Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. The band effectively disbanded in 1994 after Cobain committed suicide.

50 *A high-profile trial might become one : MEDIA CIRCUS (giving “circus train”)

Larger circuses came up with the idea of using circus trains in the late 19th century. The idea was that such circuses wanted to play large venues, and railroads connected large urban centers. P.T. Barnum Circus eventually purchased its own railroad cars, and traveled the country in a 60-car train. After Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circuses combined, the acts toured on two purpose-built trains, each over a mile in length. The trains included flat cars for transportation of equipment, stock cars for the animals, living quarters for performers and other staff, and even a flatcar that carried a bus used for local transportation.

54 Red Sox rivals, on scoreboards : NYY

The New York Yankees (NYY) baseball team has the nickname “the Bronx Bombers”. The nickname reflects where the team plays (the Bronx) and the team’s reputation for hitting (bombers). The Yankees were the first team to retire a uniform number, doing so on July 4, 1939. That day they retired the number 4 in honor of Lou Gehrig.

55 Literally, French for “again” : ENCORE

“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request perhaps another song. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”

56 Perot of politics : H ROSS

Ross Perot graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1953, as president of his class. Perot served his 4-year commitment but then resigned his commission, apparently having become somewhat disillusioned with the navy. He was ranked number 101 on the Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans in 2012, and at that time was worth about $3.5 billion. Back in 1992, Perot ran as an independent candidate for US president. He founded the Reform Party in 1995, and ran as the Reform Party candidate for president in 1996.

58 Memphis tourist street : BEALE

Beale Street in downtown Memphis, Tennessee is a major tourist attraction. In 1977, by act of Congress, the street was officially declared the “Home of the Blues” due to its long association with the musical genre. Apparently “Beale” is the name of some forgotten military hero.

63 Gillette razors : ATRAS

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

64 Carrier to Tokyo : ANA

All Nippon Airways

68 Palm gadgets, briefly : PDAS

Palm Inc. was a company that focused on the design and manufacture of personal digital assistants (PDAs). The company’s most successful models were the groundbreaking PalmPilot PDA, and the Treo 600, which was one of the world’s first smartphones.

Down

1 Swiss river : AAR

The Aar (also called the “Aare” in German) is the longest river entirely in Switzerland. The Aar is a major tributary of the Rhine and flows through Bern, the nation’s capital.

2 Corp. tech exec : CIO

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

3 Internet connector via phone line : DSL MODEM

The initialism “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is a technology that allows Internet service to be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line, a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode digital information. At the other end of the line, a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

4 Jazz singer Laine : CLEO

Cleo Laine is a jazz singer from England who is noted for her remarkable range of nearly four octaves. Laine is the only female performer to have received Grammy nominations in each of the classical, jazz and popular music categories. My favorite of her recordings is “He Was Beautiful”, which is also known as “Cavatina” and is a version of the theme from the film “The Deer Hunter”.

5 Venomous snakes : ADDERS

The adder, a snake in the viper family, is the only venomous snake found on the island of Great Britain. Adders are also found in Norway and Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle.

7 Disney frame : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

8 “No Exit” dramatist : SARTRE

“Huis Clos” means “behind closed doors” in French. It is the title of Jean-Paul Sartre’s one-act play that we in the English-speaking world would better recognize as “No Exit”. The play features four characters who are trapped in a room that they discover is actually located in Hell. One of the characters is Estelle Rigault, a society woman who married her husband for her money, and then has an affair that results in a child whom she murders. Heavy stuff! “No Exit” is the source for one of Sartre’s most famous quotations, “Hell is other people”, meaning that Hell isn’t found in torture or physical punishment, but in the torment inflicted by others.

Jean-Paul Sartre was a leading French philosopher, as well as a writer and political activist. Sartre also served with the French army during WWII and spent nine months as a prisoner of war having been captured by German troops. He was one of the few people to have been awarded a Nobel Prize and to have then refused to accept it. Sartre was named winner of the prize for Literature in 1964, for his first novel “Nausea”. Before his win, Sartre knew that his name was on the list of nominees so he wrote to the Nobel Institute and asked to be withdrawn from consideration. The letter somehow went unread, so he found himself having to refuse the award after he had been selected.

9 Personal user pic : AVATAR

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of online presences one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

10 Lake on the French/Swiss border : GENEVA

Lake Geneva straddles the border between France and Switzerland. The lake has a lot of “official” names!

  • English: Lake Geneva
  • French: Lac Léman or Lac de Genève
  • German: Genfersee or Genfer See
  • Italian: Lago Lemano or Lago di Ginevra

11 Op-ed pieces : ESSAYS

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

17 Christian sch. in Tulsa : ORU

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Loachapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

20 Whitman “53-Down” subject : MYSELF

“Song of Myself” is a celebrated 1855 poem by Walt Whitman that he continued to work on until 1881. The current title was only adopted in that last 1881 publication. In prior versions it was titled “Poem of Walt Whitman, an American” and simply “Walt Whitman”.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

21 23rd of 24 : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

22 Supérieur, par exemple : LAC

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, and the largest freshwater lake in the world by area. The lake was referred to by the first French explorers as “le lac supérieur”, which translates literally as “the upper lake”. The British anglicized the name to “Lake Superior”.

24 Company with spokes-elves : KEEBLER

The famous Keebler Elves have been appearing in ads for Keebler since 1968. The original head of the elves was J. J. Keebler, but he was toppled from power by Ernest J. Keebler in 1970. The Keebler Elves bake their cookies in the Hollow Tree Factory.

25 Hose color : ECRU

The color ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

The word “hose” meaning “covering for the leg” has the same roots as the contemporary German word “Hose” meaning “trousers, pants”.

27 LAX posting : ETA

Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.

32 The Red Baron, for one : AIR ACE

Manfred von Richthofen was a famous WWI fighter pilot flying for the Germans and was known as the Red Baron. Von Richthofen was credited with more kills than any other pilot fighting on either side of the conflict, recording over 80 combat victories. He didn’t survive the war though, as he was shot down near Amiens in France in 1918.

34 Canon initials : SLR

Single-lens reflex camera (SLR)

The Japanese company called Canon is largely known in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.

36 Colombian metropolis : CALI

In terms of population, Cali is the third largest city in Colombia (after Bogotá and Medellin). Santiago de Cali (the full name for the city) lies in western Colombia. Apparently, Cali is a destination for “medical tourists”. The city’s surgeons have a reputation for being expert in cosmetic surgery and so folks head there looking for a “cheap” nose job. Cali has also been historically associated with the illegal drug trade and money laundering.

41 Tinkerer’s abbr. : DIY

Back in Ireland, we don’t have “hardware stores” as such, but rather “DIY centres” (and that’s the spelling of “centres”). “DIY” is an initialism standing for “do-it-yourself”.

42 Versatile bean : SOY

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

43 One-celled critters : AMEBAS

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

44 Rome’s Via __ : VENETO

Via Veneto (actually “Via Vittorio Veneto”) is an upmarket street in Rome, and the address of many of the pricier hotels. It was made famous in Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”, and is still the home to Harry’s Bar and Café de Paris, which were both featured in the movie.

45 Bouncer’s request : ID CARD

Identity document (ID)

46 Members of string 49-Acrosses : VIOLAS
(49 Cream or Nirvana : TRIO)

The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, lying between the violin and the cello.

Although not a hard-and-fast rule, a string trio usually comprises a violin, viola and cello.

48 ESPN commentator Jeremy : SCHAAP

Jeremy Schaap is a sportswriter and Emmy-winning TV reporter. At the 2005 Emmys, he won the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Writing, an award named after Jeremy’s father who was also a respected sportswriter.

51 Mars, to Greeks : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

52 Sch. with a Providence campus : URI

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus is located in the village of Kingston.

Providence is the capital of the state of Rhode Island. The city was founded way back in 1636 by a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony called Roger Williams. Williams believed that it was “God’s merciful providence” that revealed the location of today’s city as a haven for him and his followers, and so gave the new settlement the name “Providence”.

57 Atlantic food fish : SCUP

The scup is a saltwater fish that is also known as the porgy. Native to the Atlantic coast of the US, records suggest that the scup was the most readily available catch in colonial times.

60 Genetic material : 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. An added complication is that small changes in the sequence of amino acids specified by DNA sometimes takes place in a process known as RNA editing. This RNA editing occurs after the nucleotide sequence has been transcribed from DNA, but before it is translated into protein.

62 Pkg. measures : WTS

Weight (wt.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Band with an electrical symbol in their logo : AC/DC
5 Youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, familiarly : AOC
8 Aromatic herb : SAGE
12 Church divide : AISLE
14 Rapping MD? : DRE
15 Mariano Rivera’s record 652 : SAVES
16 *Person to emulate : ROLE MODEL (giving “model train”)
18 LGBTQ part, briefly : TRANS
19 Wavelike pattern : MOIRE
20 “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” singer Kathy : MATTEA
21 Arafat’s gp., once : PLO
23 *Thanksgiving condiment : TURKEY GRAVY (giving “gravy train”)
26 Nigerian pop star : SADE
28 Brief moments : SECS
29 Notable times : ERAS
30 Summer beverage : ICE TEA
33 “__ Tu”: 1974 hit : ERES
35 *Effective remedy with little downside : MAGIC BULLET (giving “bullet train”)
39 Spoken : ORAL
40 Trickeries : FRAUDS
43 Tel __ : AVIV
47 Brown and blonde : ALES
49 Cream or Nirvana : TRIO
50 *A high-profile trial might become one : MEDIA CIRCUS (giving “circus train”)
54 Red Sox rivals, on scoreboards : NYY
55 Literally, French for “again” : ENCORE
56 Perot of politics : H ROSS
58 Memphis tourist street : BEALE
59 Engineer, brakeman and conductor … and what the ends of the answers to starred clues comprise? : TRAIN CREW
63 Gillette razors : ATRAS
64 Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
65 Hotel patron : GUEST
66 Lays down the lawn : SODS
67 Time out? : NAP
68 Palm gadgets, briefly : PDAS

Down

1 Swiss river : AAR
2 Corp. tech exec : CIO
3 Internet connector via phone line : DSL MODEM
4 Jazz singer Laine : CLEO
5 Venomous snakes : ADDERS
6 Tram load : ORE
7 Disney frame : CEL
8 “No Exit” dramatist : SARTRE
9 Personal user pic : AVATAR
10 Lake on the French/Swiss border : GENEVA
11 Op-ed pieces : ESSAYS
13 Send out : EMIT
15 Alone, at a party : STAG
17 Christian sch. in Tulsa : ORU
20 Whitman “53-Down” subject : MYSELF
21 23rd of 24 : PSI
22 Supérieur, par exemple : LAC
24 Company with spokes-elves : KEEBLER
25 Hose color : ECRU
27 LAX posting : ETA
31 Star quality? : EGO
32 The Red Baron, for one : AIR ACE
34 Canon initials : SLR
36 Colombian metropolis : CALI
37 Have : EAT
38 Gets embarrassed, maybe : TURNS RED
41 Tinkerer’s abbr. : DIY
42 Versatile bean : SOY
43 One-celled critters : AMEBAS
44 Rome’s Via __ : VENETO
45 Bouncer’s request : ID CARD
46 Members of string 49-Acrosses : VIOLAS
48 ESPN commentator Jeremy : SCHAAP
51 Mars, to Greeks : ARES
52 Sch. with a Providence campus : URI
53 Tune : SONG
57 Atlantic food fish : SCUP
59 Beach tone : TAN
60 Genetic material : RNA
61 That, to Pedro : ESA
62 Pkg. measures : WTS

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Nov 20, Wednesday”

    1. Setters use dictionaries. Dictionaries record what lexicographers find in print. So, ultimately, if you find a spelling in a puzzle that you think is wrong, it’s not the setter’s fault, and it’s not the lexicographer’s fault: it’s your fault (using an admittedly broad interpretation of the word “your” 😜).

  1. @Gene… I agree. Basically, the drink is tea that is iced. I also question the clue for 31D. Can “ego” be considered a “quality”?

  2. 14 mins 20 sec and DNF: 3 fills in the SE corner, and one cross in NE. I just don’t know from SCUP, and MATTEA crossing the oddly-spelled SARTRE was just beyond me today.

  3. Had a Natick at ANA crosses SCHAAP. Didn’t know either. Didn’t actually know: SCUP, MATTEA and AOC nickname.
    @Cattygirl The AMEBA spelling held me up a little.

    @Allen -For a Phil major, SARTRE is a member of the family. With much French, don’t pronounce the last half of every word, or something like that.

    I’m late from watching too much politics! Aargh

  4. Slightly tough Wednesday for me; took 13:06 to get the banner with no peeking. Struggled a bit in the SE corner. I knew S(C or K)UP but the W from …CREW took longer than I care to admit. Curiously the theme didn’t help at all.

    @Rebecca – I know, poor J.J. usurped after only one year. Hopefully he got a pension!! He didn’t seem so blustery to me, but Ernest seems pretty nice.

    Yeah, too much politics and it seems things are going to be prolonged…grumble…grumble.

  5. Greetings!!🦆

    No errors on a good Wednesday challenge. I misspelled VENETO at first, and H ROSS threw me – I’d forgotten about that H. Of course, it didn’t help that I initially mis-read the clue as Peron and filled in EVITA….🙃

    Rebecca! I’d also like to hear more on that elf takeover!🤗

    I’m rather worn out by the vagaries of election results and I hope it’s over by Thursday morning …..

    Be well~~🥂

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