LA Times Crossword 11 Dec 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Jonathan Potter
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: Absentees

Themed answers are common phrases ABSENT a letter E at the end:

  • 58A Educators’ concerns … or, a phonetic hint to how four long puzzle answers were derived : ABSENTEES or ABSENT ES
  • 17A Annual assembly of breakfast lovers? : WAFFLE-CON (from “waffle cone”)
  • 37A Bathroom fixture trial version? : TEST TUB (from “test tube”)
  • 11D Strategy for holding it while in the bathroom line? : WAIT AND HOP (from “wait and hope”)
  • 28D Mess made while melting down old jewelry? : GOLDEN GLOB (from “Golden Globe”)

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

Bill’s time: 8m 28s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13 Pelvic parts : ILIA

The ilium (plural “ilia”) is the upper portion of the hipbone.

15 Candied, as apples : GLACE

“Glacé” is a French word meaning “iced, glazed”. We’ve imported the term into English with the same meaning. “Glacé” comes from “glace”, the French for “ice”.

17 Annual assembly of breakfast lovers? : WAFFLE-CON (from “waffle cone”)

The suffix “-con” is used to represent “convention”, as in “Comic-Con”.

19 Wee Scot : BAIRN

“Bairn” is a Scots word for “child”.

25 __ Sutra : KAMA

The “Kama Sutra” is renowned for its descriptions of positions that can be used for sexual intercourse, but the sutra includes many other texts that deal with various matters of a sexual nature, including how to woo a woman, the conduct of a “chief wife”, the conduct of “other wives”, how to make money as a courtesan, and much more.

26 Draft pick : LAGER

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

31 Playing a fifth qtr., say : IN OT

In overtime (in OT)

32 Langston Hughes Library designer Maya : LIN

Maya Lin is a Chinese-American artist and architect from Athens, Ohio. Her most famous work is the moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Lin was only 21-years-old when she won a public design competition in 1981 to create the memorial. Although her design is very fitting, sadly Lin was not a popular choice for the work given her Asian heritage. As she said herself, she probably would not have been picked had the competition been judged with the knowledge of who was behind each submission.

The Langston Hughes Library is a private library located on the Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee. The Haley farm was owned by Alex Haley, author of the 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”. The library contains a collection of books focused on the African-American experience. Designed by architect Maya Lin, the building is a very interesting “top-heavy” rustic affair.

Langston Hughes was a poet active in the Harlem Renaissance, and someone who helped develop the literary form known as “jazz poetry”. His poem “I, Too, Sing America” was published in 1925.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

33 Melted cheese concoction : FONDUE

Fondue is a traditional Swiss dish comprising melted cheese served in a pot over a tabletop stove, into which diners dip bread. The term “fondue”, which is French for “melted”, is now applied more widely to similar dishes served in a communal pot into which a food is dipped. Traditional fondue is delicious, so very delicious …

36 G, in the key of C : SOL

The sol-fa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

40 Like the Inca : ANDEAN

The Inca Empire was known as the Tawantinsuyu, which translates as “land of the four quarters”. The Inca Empire was a federal organization having a central government that sat above four “suyu” or “quarters”, four administrative regions.

The Andes range is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world. It runs down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles, from Venezuela in the north to Chile in the south. The highest peak in the Andes is Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

42 Electric __ : EEL

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

44 Former flier with a NY/Newark/DC/Boston shuttle : EASTERN

Eastern Air Lines was around from 1926 until 1991. The company was purchased in 1938 by Eddie Rickenbacker, who was a WWI flying ace. Under Rickenbacker’s leadership, Eastern was very successful. However, the airline couldn’t cope with a strike, high fuel prices and deregulation in the nineties, so Eastern went bankrupt in 1991.

46 Prairie home : TEPEE

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

47 Tirade : RANT

The term “tirade” describes a long and vehement speech, and is a word that came into English from French. “Tirade” can have the same meaning in French, but is also the word for “volley”. So, a tirade is a “volley” of words.

49 Plural French pronoun : ILS

“Ils” is the French for “they”, if not referring to feminine nouns (when “they” translates as “elles”).

53 Repeat : ITERATE

The verb “to iterate” means to repeat over again. The verb “reiterate” means the same thing. One might suspect that “reiterate” is one of those words that has crept into the language due to repeated (reiterated?!) misuse. Well, that’s not quite the case, but close. Back in the 1400s, “iterate” meant “repeat”, and “reiterate” meant “repeat again and again”. We’ve lost the distinction between those two definitions over time.

57 Keys : ISLES

A key (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida “Keys”. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

64 Natural gas additive : ODOR

Natural gas that is piped into our homes is naturally odorless. A tiny amount of odorant is added to assist in the detection of leaks. A common additive is tert-Butylthiol, which is said to impart the smell of rotten eggs.

Down

1 Only bird whose beak has nostrils at the end : KIWI

The kiwi is an unusual bird in that it has a highly developed sense of smell and is the only one of our feathered friends with nostrils located at the tip of its long beak.

2 Verve : ELAN

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

5 Start of el año : ENERO

In Spanish, we start “el año” (the year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).

6 Computers with Apple cores : MACS

Macintosh (also “Mac”, since 1998) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

7 Twitter shorthand : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

8 “Le déjeuner des canotiers” painter : RENOIR

The Renoir painting “Le Déjeuner des Canotiers” is also known in English as “Luncheon of the Boating Party”. It can be seen in the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.

9 Pride Month letters : LGBT

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)

The police raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn on June 29th, 1969. That raid triggered a spate of violent demonstrations led by the LGBT community. Now known as the Stonewall riots, those demonstrations are viewed by many as a significant event leading to the modern-day fight for LGBT rights in the US. Since then, June has been chosen as LGBT Pride Month in recognition of the Stonewall riots.

10 One with a home in Nome : ALASKAN

In 1899, the Alaska city of Nome was briefly known as Anvil City by locals to avoid confusion with the nearby city of Cape Nome. However, the US Post Office refused to approve the change, and so the name was immediately changed back to Nome.

12 Skedaddle : SCRAM

“Skedaddle” is a slang term meaning “run away” that dates back to the Civil War.

16 “Dark Sky Island” singer : ENYA

“Dark Sky Island” is a 2015 studio album released by Irish new-age singer Enya. The record’s title is a reference to the island of Sark in Britain’s Channel Islands. Sark is remarkably free of light pollution and so was officially designated a Dark Sky Community in 2011, making it the world’s first Dark Sky Island.

24 Camouflage wearers, at times : HUNTERS

Our word “camouflage” (often abbreviated to “camo”) evolved directly from a Parisian slang term “camoufler” meaning “to disguise”. The term was first used in WWI, although the British navy at that time preferred the expression “dazzle-painting” as it applied to the pattern painted on the hulls of ships.

26 Edelstein of “The Kominsky Method” : LISA

Lisa Edelstein is the actress who plays the character Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the excellent TV series “House”. I remember seeing her character do a difficult yoga pose on one of the “House” episodes. It turns out that in real life Edelstein is an avid practitioner of Mysore-style Ashtanga Yoga, an ancient practice.

“The Kominsky Method” is a TV series starring Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominksky, a former actor and revered Hollywood acting coach. Also starring in the show are Alan Arkin as Kominsky’s friend Norman Newlander, and Nancy Travis as Lisa, a newly divorced woman who starts taking acting lessons.

27 Quote book abbr. : ANON

Anonymous (anon.)

28 Mess made while melting down old jewelry? : GOLDEN GLOB (from “Golden Globe”)

The first Golden Globe Awards ceremony was held in 1944 to honor the best in filmmaking. The award was created by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which had been formed the year before by a group of writers in Los Angeles. One of the most famous of the Golden Globes is the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is presented for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”.

30 Male swan : COB

An adult male swan is a cob, and an adult female is a pen. Young swans are swanlings or cygnets.

32 Soup legume : LENTIL

Plants called legumes are notable in that they work symbiotically with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, microorganisms found in the root nodules that convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium ions. As nitrogen is an essential component of proteins, legumes are exceptionally rich sources of plant protein. Examples of legumes are peas, beans, lentils and peanuts.

35 Latin infinitive : ESSE

“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am”, “est” means “he, she is”, and “erat” means “he, she was”.

37 Univ. aides : TAS

Teaching assistant (TA)

38 Pin in the back : TEN

In tenpin bowling, the pins are arranged in a triangular arrangement. The pin at the front is the 1-pin. The pins at the back are number 7 through 10, from left to right.

45 Sun Bowl city : EL PASO

The Sun Bowl is an annual college football game played in El Paso. The Rose Bowl is the oldest of the bowl games, but the Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl come in second. The first Sun Bowl was played on New Year’s Day 1935. To be fair to the sponsors, the full name today is the Hyundai Sun Bowl …

46 __ Vogue : TEEN

“Teen Vogue” is a version of “Vogue” magazine that targets teenage girls.

47 Cleanup hitter’s stats : RBIS

Run batted in (RBI)

48 “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” host Tyler : AISHA

Aisha Tyler is an actor and comedian who was a co-host on “The Talk” for several years starting in 2011. She began hosting the reboot of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” in 2013.

The American improv comedy TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” is a spin-off of a very successful British show of the same name. The British TV show is itself a spin-off of a BBC radio show that I well remember. Lots of fun …

The American improv comedy TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” is a spin-off of a very successful British show of the same name. The British TV show is itself a spin-off of a BBC radio show that I well remember. Lots of fun …

52 City limits sign abbr. : ESTD

Established (“est.” or “estd.”)

55 Tazo products : TEAS

The Tazo Tea Company was founded in 1994 in Portland, Oregon. Tazo was purchased in 1999 by Starbucks, and then by Unilever in 2017.

56 Santiago-to-Buenos Aires dirección : ESTE

“Este” (east) is a “dirección” (direction), in Spanish.

Santiago is the capital of Chile. The city was founded in 1541 by the Spanish as Santiago de Nueva Extremadura. The name was chosen in honor of Saint James and the community of Extremadura in western Spain.

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, and is located on the estuary of the Ria de la Plata. As it is a port city, the people of Buenos Aires are known as porteños (“people of the port”). The name “Buenos Aires” can be translated from Spanish as “fair winds”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Draft sources : KEGS
5 Arabic for “commander” : EMIR
9 Parts of a code : LAWS
13 Pelvic parts : ILIA
14 __ tag : NAME
15 Candied, as apples : GLACE
17 Annual assembly of breakfast lovers? : WAFFLE-CON (from “waffle cone”)
19 Wee Scot : BAIRN
20 Visibly upset : IN TEARS
21 Exhaust, as a welcome : OUTSTAY
23 Sci. course : BIO
24 Words with waves : HIS
25 __ Sutra : KAMA
26 Draft pick : LAGER
29 “No problem!” : SURE CAN!
31 Playing a fifth qtr., say : IN OT
32 Langston Hughes Library designer Maya : LIN
33 Melted cheese concoction : FONDUE
36 G, in the key of C : SOL
37 Bathroom fixture trial version? : TEST TUB (from “test tube”)
39 9 to 5, say: Abbr. : HRS
40 Like the Inca : ANDEAN
42 Electric __ : EEL
43 Marshy spots : BOGS
44 Former flier with a NY/Newark/DC/Boston shuttle : EASTERN
46 Prairie home : TEPEE
47 Tirade : RANT
49 Plural French pronoun : ILS
50 Get : SEE
51 Real asset … or no asset at all? : BIG HELP
53 Repeat : ITERATE
57 Keys : ISLES
58 Educators’ concerns … or, a phonetic hint to how four long puzzle answers were derived : ABSENTEES or ABSENT ES
60 Gruff : SHORT
61 Together, so to speak : SANE
62 Smell __ : A RAT
63 Napping, perhaps : ABED
64 Natural gas additive : ODOR
65 Sit : POSE

Down

1 Only bird whose beak has nostrils at the end : KIWI
2 Verve : ELAN
3 Talent : GIFT
4 Conservative choice : SAFE BET
5 Start of el año : ENERO
6 Computers with Apple cores : MACS
7 Twitter shorthand : IMO
8 “Le déjeuner des canotiers” painter : RENOIR
9 Pride Month letters : LGBT
10 One with a home in Nome : ALASKAN
11 Strategy for holding it while in the bathroom line? : WAIT AND HOP (from “wait and hope”)
12 Skedaddle : SCRAM
16 “Dark Sky Island” singer : ENYA
18 Den : LAIR
22 Worthwhile : USEFUL
24 Camouflage wearers, at times : HUNTERS
26 Edelstein of “The Kominsky Method” : LISA
27 Quote book abbr. : ANON
28 Mess made while melting down old jewelry? : GOLDEN GLOB (from “Golden Globe”)
29 Part of the fam : SIS
30 Male swan : COB
32 Soup legume : LENTIL
34 Desire : URGE
35 Latin infinitive : ESSE
37 Univ. aides : TAS
38 Pin in the back : TEN
41 Blinking diner sign : EAT HERE
43 Draft source : BEER TAP
45 Sun Bowl city : EL PASO
46 __ Vogue : TEEN
47 Cleanup hitter’s stats : RBIS
48 “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” host Tyler : AISHA
50 Guide : STEER
52 City limits sign abbr. : ESTD
53 Money-object link : … IS NO …
54 Leader of space? : AERO-
55 Tazo products : TEAS
56 Santiago-to-Buenos Aires dirección : ESTE
59 Unenviable : BAD

13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 11 Dec 20, Friday”

  1. No errors, but had to change “sad” to “bad” for 59-down to get the
    word absentees, which of course, is the key to the puzzle. At first I
    thought this one undoable (is that a word?) but found out it was
    pretty easy after all. I didn’t know Aisha but got it through the across
    clues.

  2. No errors.. stuck for a bit on GLAZE instead of GLACE but crosses helped.. stared at 36A for a long time cuz I didn’t know 26A and went through the alphabet and when I hit SOL I got the AHA moment.

  3. No errors, no Googles, which is good for me on a Friday; however, it took me a long time, with many false moves.:
    tesT before A RAT, SurE BET before SAFE BET, OUTwear before OUTSTAY, WAIT AND pee before WAIT AND HOP (before I caught on to the clever theme).
    Got ILS, AISHA, LISA, TEAS through good guesses,

  4. Got the theme early on but what a strange puzzle. The clues and answers to getting the theme were pretty ridiculous. Strategy for holding it? Test tub? Golden Glob? This puzzle was not my cup of Tazo product.

  5. 20 mins 25 sec, DNF, with lots of gaps throughout. The theme was so square-peg-forced-into-a-round-hole, this was one big unsolveable MESS. How does utter crap like this get past our asleep-at-the-wheel editor???

  6. I hated this puzzle and did horribly at it. Did not catch on to the theme at all and so nothing made sense. I guess the first thing you are supposed to do is quickly scan all the clues for some kind of hint as to what’s going on. I’ll try to do that in the future but no way could I do something like this in under 20 minutes. Yukky-poo.

  7. A little tricky Friday for me; took 26:17 with no errors but plenty of trying different letters until I got the “all done” banner. All my troubles were in the SW corner where I had B__HELP and I__ES for about five minutes. When I finally got it I felt a bit foolish…GLOB(E) doh!

    Never heard of LISA Edelstein or her series, AISHA Tyler or her show and I’ve yet to see a bowl game or know which cities there held in. At least I’m finally starting to differentiate between Ted Hughes and Langston Hughes, who are, of course, completely different people.

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