LA Times Crossword 9 Nov 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Kurt Krauss
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Give Me a Sign

Each themed answer ends with a kind of SIGN:

  • 36A Plea for divine guidance … and hint to the ends of the answers to starred clues : GIVE ME A SIGN
  • 17A *Doctor’s visit, back in the day : HOUSE CALL (giving “call sign”)
  • 23A *Perry Mason’s secretary : DELLA STREET (giving “street sign”)
  • 49A *Rural station at which trains need to be flagged down : WHISTLESTOP (giving “stop sign”)
  • 59A *Expatriate American poet who was a WWII fascist collaborator : EZRA POUND (giving “pound sign”)

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

Bill’s time: 5m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Omar of “In Too Deep” : EPPS

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

“In Too Deep” is a crime thriller movie released in 1999 starring Omar Epps and LL Cool J. I haven’t seen this one …

16 Chili con __ : CARNE

The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.

20 “The Tomorrow Show” host Tom : SNYDER

Tom Snyder was a news anchor and radio/television personality who worked for NBC and CBS in the seventies and eighties. Snyder was best known for his late night appearances hosting “The Tomorrow Show” and “The Late Late Show”.

“The Tomorrow Show” is a late-night talk show that NBC launched in 1973 with host Tom Snyder. By all accounts, the show was created by the network to counteract the loss of advertising income when the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act became law in 1970. The idea was that an extra hour of programming at the end of the day presented an opportunity to air more ads. The show’s most famous episode was aired in April 1975, in which John Lennon gave his final televised interview.

23 *Perry Mason’s secretary : DELLA STREET (giving “street sign”)

Della Street is Perry Mason’s very capable secretary in the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. Street was played on the fifties-sixties TV show by Barbara Hale. Juliet Rylance portrays Street on the more recent HBO “Perry Mason”.

26 Takeoff ests. : ETDS

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

29 Rehab symptoms, for short : DTS

The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called delirium tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is “trembling madness”.

30 Chemical relative : ISOMER

In the world of chemistry, isomers are two compounds with the same chemical formula (i.e. the same atomic constituents), but with a slightly different arrangement of the atoms relative to each other. The differing arrangement of atoms often leads to different chemical properties.

40 Mama Cass __ : ELLIOT

Cass Elliot (born “Ellen Cohen”) was one of the four singers in the Mamas and the Papas, a sensational group from the sixties. “Mama Cass” was performing sold-out concerts in London in 1974 when she was found dead one morning, having had a heart attack. She was only 32 years old. Eerily, Elliot died in the same flat (on loan from Harry Nilsson) in which the Who’s drummer Keith Moon would die just four years later.

43 “Send help!” message : SOS!

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

48 Beige look-alike : 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”.

49 *Rural station at which trains need to be flagged down : WHISTLESTOP (giving “stop sign”)

Originally a “whistlestop” was a station at which a train would only stop if signalled to do so by a passenger. The passenger would notify the conductor of the need for the stop, then the conductor notified the engineer by pulling a signal cord. The engineer acknowledged the conductor’s signal by sounding the train’s whistle twice. The term was applied to a fast-moving political campaign soon after WWII. President Truman’s extensive railway trip during the 1948 campaign was labeled a “whistle-stop tour”.

55 Fragrant compounds : ESTERS

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

58 Like many attics : DUSTY

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

59 *Expatriate American poet who was a WWII fascist collaborator : EZRA POUND (giving “pound sign”)

Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, and spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

There seems to be some debate about the definition of fascism, and also some debate about the differences between fascism and communism. With regard to the latter debate, I tend to think of communism as an idealist, classless society with a global focus. Fascism is very different, with a class-based society that follows a strong leader who emphasizes a nationalist identity. Historically, fascism has also been associated with ideals of restoring a nation to former greatness, as well as placing blame on some minority group for perceived ills in society. Two of the most infamous fascist rulers were Benito Mussolini in Italy, and Adolf Hitler in Germany. The word “fascisim” was coined in 1915 by supporters of Mussolini. The term comes from the Italian “fascio” meaning “group”, which in turn comes from the Latin “fasces” meaning “bundle of sticks”. A metaphor for the strength of fascism was that a single stick is easily broken, while a bundle of sticks will stand strong.

62 Muse of poetry : ERATO

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry. She is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and playing a lyre.

63 Dutch South African : BOER

“Boer” is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer”, a word that was used to describe the Dutch-speaking people who settled parts of South Africa during the 1700s.

64 Mega- or giga- unit : BYTE

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, and so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and gigabyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

65 New Jersey’s __ Hall University : SETON

Seton Hall University is a private, Roman Catholic college in South Orange, New Jersey. The most famous of the school’s sports programs is men’s basketball, played by the Seton Hall Pirates.

66 Mannerless one : BOOR

Back in the early 1500s, a boor was a rustic person, a peasant farmer, someone associated with the countryside. The term “boor” ultimately comes from the Latin “bos” meaning “cow, ox”. By the mid-1500s, someone described as boorish was considered rude in manner, which is our usage today.

Down

1 Baseball bat wood : ASH

The wood of the ash tree is a hardwood, although it is relatively elastic. Famously, ash is the wood of choice for baseball bats. It is also the wood of choice for hurleys, the wooden sticks used in the Irish sport of hurling.

2 Coat-hanging places : CLOSETS

In Old French a “clos” was an enclosure, with the diminutive form “closet” describing a small enclosure or private room. Over time this evolved into our modern usage of “closet”, describing a cabinet or cupboard.

3 Elvis classic : HOUND DOG

The Elvis Presley classic “Hound Dog” was a big hit, but his wasn’t the first version of the song to make it to number one in the charts. Presley released “Hound Dog” in 1956, but Big Mama Thornton had brought the song to the top spot back in 1953.

4 Website for artisans : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

5 Show host : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

6 Oyster gems : PEARLS

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.

7 Amigo : PAL

In Spanish, an “amigo” is a male friend, and an “amiga” is a female friend.

8 NBC’s “Weekend Update” show : SNL

“Weekend Update” is the longest-running of any recurring sketch on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). In fact, the segment made its debut on the very first show, back in 1975. The first “anchor” at the “Weekend Update” desk was Chevy Chase.

10 Popular beer : LAGER

Lager is so called because of the tradition of cold-storing the beer during fermentation. “Lager” is the German word for “storage”.

18 Onetime Leno announcer Hall : EDD

Edd Hall is most famous as the former announcer for Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show”. Hall replaced Ed McMahon when Johnny Carson retired from the show.

21 Scary African fly : TSETSE

The tsetse fly is responsible for the transmission of sleeping sickness, a disease that is more correctly called African trypanosomiasis. The disease is only observed in humans who have been bitten by a tsetse fly that is infected with the trypanosome parasitic protozoan.

22 Island garland : LEI

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

24 Stories of the Loch Ness Monster, e.g. : LEGENDS

The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.

27 Struck, old-style : SMIT

“Smitten” is the past participle of “to smite”, meaning “to inflict a heavy blow”. We tend to use “smitten” to mean “affected by love, love-struck”.

31 Actress Longoria : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis.

34 Hodges of the Dodgers : GIL

Gil Hodges was a professional baseball player and manager. Perhaps Hodges’ most celebrated achievement was managing the New York Mets team (the “Miracle Mets”) that won the 1969 World Series. Hodges died from a heart attack just a few years later in 1972, when he was only 48 years old.

38 They “finish last,” per the title of Leo Durocher’s autobiography : NICE GUYS

Baseball player and manager Leo Durocher was noted for being outspoken, and was given the nickname “Leo the Lip”. In 1946, while he was manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Durocher expressed the opinion that teams like his successful Dodgers would always do better than teams replete with personable individuals (naming Mel Ott in particular). He used his most memorable phrase to encapsulate the sentiment … “nice guys finish last”.

42 Wine cask : TUN

A tun is a barrel, often a large barrel used in winemaking. The term “tun” came to be a measure of volume, originally 252 gallons of wine. The weight of such a volume of wine was referred to as a “tun”, which evolved into our contemporary unit “ton”.

43 Stockholm natives : SWEDES

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the country. Over one fifth of all Swedish residents live in Stockholm.

47 Sound investment? : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

52 Horoscope columnist Sydney : OMARR

Sydney Omarr was an astrology consultant to the rich and famous, and author of a horoscope column that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. While Omarr (real name Sidney Kimmelman) was in the US Army, he even wrote a horoscope column for “Stars and Stripes”. He claimed that he got the job of writing for “Stars and Stripes” after having given a consultation to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

53 Gusto : PEP

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

60 Place to observe animals : ZOO

The world’s first zoo opened in Britain in 1820. Now known as “London Zoo”, the facility was referred to back then as the “Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London”. The term “zoo” is a shortening of “zoological”.

61 Actor Billy __ Williams : DEE

Actor Billy Dee Williams is most famous for playing the character Lando Calrissian in two of the “Stars Wars” movies.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tooth trouble : ACHE
5 Omar of “In Too Deep” : EPPS
9 Place to exchange vows : ALTAR
14 Debit card reader opening : SLOT
15 Nasty : MEAN
16 Chili con __ : CARNE
17 *Doctor’s visit, back in the day : HOUSE CALL (giving “call sign”)
19 “Good grief!” : EGADS!
20 “The Tomorrow Show” host Tom : SNYDER
21 Many a psychedelic T-shirt : TIE-DYE
22 Was in first place : LED
23 *Perry Mason’s secretary : DELLA STREET (giving “street sign”)
26 Takeoff ests. : ETDS
28 Bone-dry : SERE
29 Rehab symptoms, for short : DTS
30 Chemical relative : ISOMER
33 From the __: at the start : GET-GO
36 Plea for divine guidance … and hint to the ends of the answers to starred clues : GIVE ME A SIGN
39 Golf gimme : TAP-IN
40 Mama Cass __ : ELLIOT
43 “Send help!” message : SOS!
46 Brings to a close : ENDS
48 Beige look-alike : ECRU
49 *Rural station at which trains need to be flagged down : WHISTLESTOP (giving “stop sign”)
54 German “a” : EIN
55 Fragrant compounds : ESTERS
56 Rise into view : EMERGE
58 Like many attics : DUSTY
59 *Expatriate American poet who was a WWII fascist collaborator : EZRA POUND (giving “pound sign”)
62 Muse of poetry : ERATO
63 Dutch South African : BOER
64 Mega- or giga- unit : BYTE
65 New Jersey’s __ Hall University : SETON
66 Mannerless one : BOOR
67 To be, in Latin : ESSE

Down

1 Baseball bat wood : ASH
2 Coat-hanging places : CLOSETS
3 Elvis classic : HOUND DOG
4 Website for artisans : ETSY
5 Show host : EMCEE
6 Oyster gems : PEARLS
7 Amigo : PAL
8 NBC’s “Weekend Update” show : SNL
9 Nail the test : ACE IT
10 Popular beer : LAGER
11 Swapped : TRADED
12 “But still … ” : AND YET …
13 Turns back, as a clock : RESETS
18 Onetime Leno announcer Hall : EDD
21 Scary African fly : TSETSE
22 Island garland : LEI
24 Stories of the Loch Ness Monster, e.g. : LEGENDS
25 Side squared, for a square : AREA
27 Struck, old-style : SMIT
31 Actress Longoria : EVA
32 Drives back : REPELS
34 Hodges of the Dodgers : GIL
35 Eye wolfishly : OGLE
37 Coal site : MINE
38 They “finish last,” per the title of Leo Durocher’s autobiography : NICE GUYS
41 Points in the right direction : ORIENTS
42 Wine cask : TUN
43 Stockholm natives : SWEDES
44 “Yeah, right!” : OH, SURE!
45 Occupies, as a desk : SITS AT
47 Sound investment? : STEREO
50 Small squabble : SET-TO
51 Check for fit : TRY ON
52 Horoscope columnist Sydney : OMARR
53 Gusto : PEP
57 After-bath wear : ROBE
59 Tidal recession : EBB
60 Place to observe animals : ZOO
61 Actor Billy __ Williams : DEE

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 9 Nov 20, Monday”

  1. Pretty straightforward, typical Monday.
    Liked BOER and BOOR right above/below each other. BOERS was a Jeopardy answer the other night. Trivia dabblers and enthusiasts, not to mention many others, will miss Alex Trebek. Had a fair hope that he’d make it through. RIP

    1. I caught that BOER/BOOR interplay, too, and had a little grin at that. THOSE are the subtle little things constructors should be trying hard to work into their puzzles, instead of the forced “themes” and horrid puns. Take note!!

    1. @Jane: a Call Sign is an “aural avatar”, an identifier used by people transmitting over radio or similar media. It began in the military, to identify individual pilots or flights of planes, (think: “This is Red flight leader….”); then in civilian life, it was popularized in truckers’ Citizens Band (CB) culture, where a call sign was also referred to as one’s “handle”.

  2. 3:24, no errors.

    Trebek’s passing is indeed a loss. While one of my bucket list pipe dreams is going on that show, it definitely won’t be the same without him. Or in watching that show.

    1. @Glenn: many years ago, when living in So. California, I tried to get onto Jeopardy!. You had to take a test to qualify. It was 100 questions, all 4-selection multiple choice, and it was the hardest test I ever took in all my years of schooling (I got up to a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree). EVERY single question fell into one of two categories: 1) You knew it (easy) or 2) You didn’t (and it was **impossible**) Even the detractors were so well written that you couldn’t even narrow it down for questions that were out of your ken.

      1. @Allen
        Interesting to see. I really haven’t pursued it much in the 20 years that I’ve had the idea, simply because I haven’t had the means to make the pilgrimage to So. Cal. in case things work out. I understand that test is online now, but still don’t really have the option to pursue it if things go beyond that.

  3. Did you know that Elvis’ classic #1 hit “Hounddog” was on the flip side of his other #1 hit “Don’t Be Cruel”? I remember buying both records before realizing it. Both sides were gold records credited with sales exceeding 1 million.

    1. Hounddog was a B-Side??? Really??? How could both “sides” of the same 45RPM (as much music was sold way back in the day) qualify as Gold Records? One could not buy one side without the other.

  4. 4:08 no error

    Quick, fun solve. Didn’t need the theme, so appreciated afterwards.

    @Jane, a call sign is a radio or TV station’s unique identifier. For example, I used to watch the monster movies Saturday afternoon on KTLA Channel 5. KTLA is the call sign.

  5. Hi folks!!🦆

    No errors on a fun Monday puzzle. 🤗 Nice variety of answers, I thought, and I also liked the BOER/BOOR stack.

    Earlier today I was TRYING to remember the name of that handsome actor who played opposite Diana Ross in “Mahogany. ” I meant to Google the film to find out but I got to the puzzle first and sure enough there’s Billy DEE Williams. 🙃 Funny when you draw a blank on a name…. I’m always SURE I have the last initial, and I’m ALWAYS wrong.

    Be well~~☕

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