LA Times Crossword 17 Dec 20, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jim Holland
Edited by: Rich Norris

Theme (according to Bill): Equivalence

Each themed answer is a number of units that are EQUIVALENT to a different unit. That latter unit refers back to an object cited in the clue. A complicated explanation for a clever theme …

  • 17A Equivalent Stanley award? : EIGHT OUNCES (CUP, i.e. Stanley Cup)
  • 39A Equivalent Scotland locale? : THIRTY SIX INCHES (YARD, i.e. Scotland Yard)
  • 61A Equivalent type of horse? : FIVE NICKELS (QUARTER, i.e. Quarter Horse)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Vice” (2018) Oscar nominee Amy : ADAMS

Amy Adams is an American actress, although she was actually born in Vicenza, Italy while her father was a US serviceman stationed on an Italian base. My favorite Amy Adams film so far is the outstanding “Julie & Julia” in which she acted alongside Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this truly delightful movie.

“Vice” is a very interesting and entertaining 2018 biopic that tells the story of the road Dick Cheney took to become possibly the most powerful US vice president in history. Christian Bale does a remarkable job playing Cheney, with Amy Adams playing Cheney’s wife Lynne Vincent Cheney. Anyone thinking about viewing “Vice” should be aware that there’s a lot of satire included …

14 Jazz pianist Chick : COREA

Chick Corea is an American jazz pianist. Corea is noted for his work in the area of jazz fusion, as well as for his promotion of Scientology.

15 Fit provider : HONDA

The Honda Fit (“Honda Jazz” in some markets) is a subcompact hatchback. We looked at the Fit when shopping for a new car not that long ago, but opted for the larger Toyota Prius instead, a choice that we have not regretted …

16 Gulf st. : ALA

Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer State, in honor of the state bird. Alabama is also called the “Heart of Dixie”.

17 Equivalent Stanley award? : EIGHT OUNCES (CUP, i.e. Stanley Cup)

The Stanley Cup is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. Lord Stanley’s sons became avid fans of ice hockey while in Canada, and so he donated the trophy in 1909, originally as a challenge cup for the country’s best amateur club.

20 __-Caps: candy : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

21 Memo opener : IN RE

The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.

33 “The Ra Expeditions” author Heyerdahl : THOR

Thor Heyerdahl was a noted Norwegian adventurer famous for his Kon-Tiki expedition in which he sailed a raft over 4,000 miles from South America to the Tuamotu Archipelago in the South Pacific. He also sailed a boat made from papyrus called Ra II, from Morocco across the Atlantic Ocean to Barbados.

35 MSN and AOL : ISPS

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.

39 Equivalent Scotland locale? : THIRTY SIX INCHES (YARD, i.e. Scotland Yard)

London’s Metropolitan Police Service was originally headquartered at 4 Whitehall Place, and the rear entrance to the building was in a street called Great Scotland Yard. As the public entrance to the headquarters became that rear entrance, the headquarters and the force itself became known as “Scotland Yard”. The current headquarters is nowhere near that first building, and hasn’t been so since 1890, and the new facility is called New Scotland Yard.

42 Japanese sandal : ZORI

Zori are thonged sandals commonly worn in Japan. Our modern “flip-flops” are based on the traditional zori design, although the original sandal is a pair of symmetrical shoes.

44 Cuban boy in 2000 headlines : ELIAN

The immigration status of young Cuban boy Elián González was all over the news in 2000. Elián’s mother drowned while trying to enter the US illegally, whereas Elián and his mother’s boyfriend survived the journey. The INS placed Elián in the care of paternal relatives in the US who then petitioned to have the boy stay with them permanently, against the wishes of Elián’s father back in Cuba. After court proceedings, the federal authorities forcibly removed Elián from his relatives in the US, and he was returned to his father who took him back to Cuba. Back in Cuba, Fidel Castro stepped in and befriended Elián, and the young man still has influential sponsorship in his homeland as a result of his ordeal. Elián has grown up, earning himself a degree in industrial engineering in 2016.

45 Thickener in Asian desserts : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

48 Passionate dance : TANGO

The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.

57 Anonymous party : DOE

Though the English court system does not use the term today, “John Doe” first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with the similar “Richard Roe”. An unknown female is referred to as “Jane Doe ”, and the equivalent to Richard Roe is Jane Roe (as in Roe v. Wade, for example). Variants of “John Doe” used outside of the courts are “Joe Blow” and “John Q. Public”.

61 Equivalent type of horse? : FIVE NICKELS (QUARTER, i.e. Quarter Horse)

A Quarter Horse is one that has been bred to run short-distance races of about quarter of a mile, hence the name.

64 Mound stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

65 Long-stemmed mushrooms : ENOKI

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

66 Some South Pacific carvings : TIKIS

A tiki is a large carving of wood or stone resembling a human form that is found in Polynesian cultures. The carvings often mark out boundaries surrounding sites that are sacred to the locals.

67 Court unit of at least six games : SET

That might be tennis, for example.

68 Search for water : DOWSE

Dowsing is the practice of divining, not just for water but also for buried metals and gemstones. Often a dowser will use a Y-shaped or L-shaped rod as a tool, which can also be called a dowser. Here in the US, the tool used might be referred to as a “witching rod”, as it is usually made from witch-hazel.

69 “Mad Men” pool member : STENO

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

“Mad Men” was the flagship show on the AMC television channel for several seasons. Set in the sixties, it’s all about an advertising agency located on Madison Avenue in New York (hence the title). “Mad Men” became the first show created by a basic cable channel to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

Down

1 Blackjack cards : ACES

In the card game blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

3 Cornstarch brand : ARGO

Argo brand cornstarch first hit the store shelves in 1892.

5 Stephen Colbert, for one : SATIRIST

Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosted his own show on Comedy Central, “The Colbert Report”. Colbert’s first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to set up his own spin-off, “The Colbert Report”. In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a “French” pronunciation for the name of his show, so “The Colbert Report” comes out as “The Col-bear Rep-oar”. Colbert took over the “Late Show” when David Letterman retired.

6 Enterprise officer : 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.

7 Large chamber group : NONET

Chamber music is a style of classical musical that is written for a small group of instruments, as opposed to a full orchestra. That number of players should be able to stage a performance in a “chamber”, traditionally a large room in a palace or other grand residence.

8 Fortune competitor : INC

“Inc.” is a business magazine that specializes in articles about growing companies. “Inc.” publishes a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country each year, calling it the “Inc. 500”. The “Inc. 5000” is an expanded list also published by the magazine.

9 2016 work by Pulitzer poet Sharon Olds : ODES

Poet Sharon Olds won a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2013. She was also the first American woman to win the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

10 Org. with a long track record? : NASCAR

“NASCAR” stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. NASCAR is very, very popular and commands the second-largest television audience of any professional sport in America, second only to football.

11 Put on ice : TABLE

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

13 World Wildlife Fund logo animal : PANDA

Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was founded in 1961. It’s mission is …

… to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

18 New law student : ONE L

“One L” is a name used in general for first-year law students, especially those attending Harvard.

25 Bond creator? : EPOXY

Epoxy resins are thermosetting polymers that have high adhesive strength. In order to achieve mechanical and adhesive strength, the epoxy has to cure. The “curing” is a cross-linking reaction that takes place between individual molecules in the material. In some cases, the cross-linking is brought about by mixing the epoxy with a co-reactant known as a “hardener”. In other cases, the epoxy is cured by exposing it to heat.

27 Big name in hotels and crackers : RITZ

César Ritz was a Swiss hotelier, who had a reputation for developing the most luxurious of accommodations and attracting the wealthiest clientèle. He opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1898 and the second of his most famous hotels, the Ritz Hotel in London, in 1906. Ritz was lucky in his career, as before starting his own hotel chain he had been dismissed from the Savoy Hotel in London, implicated in the disappearance of a substantial amount of wine and spirits. Today’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company was founded in 1983, although the chain has its roots in the properties developed by César Ritz.

I’ve always liked Ritz crackers. They’ve been around since 1934 when they were introduced by Nabisco. The name Ritz was chosen because the marketing folks felt that the association with Ritz-Carlton would evoke images of wealth and the highlife.

29 Golda of Israel : MEIR

Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.

31 MSNBC analyst Melber : ARI

Ari Melber is a television journalist and chief legal correspondent for MSNBC. He has hosted his own daily show called “The Beat with Ari Melber” since 2017.

33 Romanov royals : TSARS

The House of Romanov was the second and last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, after the Rurik dynasty. The reign of the Romanovs ended when Emperor Nicholas II abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917. Famously, Nicholas II and his immediate family were murdered soon after he stepped down, and other members of the Romanov Dynasty were sent into exile by the Bolsheviks.

37 Fuel from a bog : PEAT

When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because this decaying matter can form peat, and we have lots and lots of peat bogs around the country.

38 Taxpayer IDs : SSNS

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

46 Hit the links : GOLFED

The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.

47 Others, to Ovid : ALII

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus, although what led to this disfavor isn’t truly understood.

48 Grimm accounts : TALES

The Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) were two German academics noted for collecting and publishing folk tales. Among the tales in their marvelous collection are “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella”.

53 Orange half of a “Sesame Street” duo : ERNIE

Ernie is one of the Muppets on the children’s TV show “Sesame Street”. Ernie is usually seen with his roommate Bert, whom he frequently annoys and frustrates. Ernie is known for taking long baths with his rubber duckie. That “Rubber Duckie” is the title character in a hit song that Ernie (voiced by Jim Henson) released in 1970.

55 Purple pet in old cartoons : DINO

In the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “The Flintstones”, Dino the pet dinosaur was voiced by the famous Mel Blanc until Blanc passed away in 1989.

57 Fake in the rink : DEKE

A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

58 Lena of “The Reader” : OLIN

Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland. Olin’s most famous performance was in “Chocolat” released in 2000, and then she won an Emmy in 2003 for Best Supporting Actress in the TV show “Alias”.

“The Reader” is a 2008 film based on the 1995 German novel of the same name (“Der Vorleser” in German). The movie stars Kate Winslet as Hanna, a character who is illiterate. In the late fifties, Hanna seduces a 15-year-old boy named Michael and has him read to her from books that he is studying. Years later, the boy is a law student observing the trial of a group of women who are accused of Nazi war crimes. Hanna was a guard in a concentration camp, and it is revealed that she had prisoners read to her in the evenings. Hanna is sentenced to life in prison. Michael sends Hanna tapes of his voice as he reads books from the time of their affair. Hanna uses the tapes to learn how to read while she is behind bars..

59 Exxon, formerly : 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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Vice” (2018) Oscar nominee Amy : ADAMS
6 Pairing : UNION
11 __ water : TAP
14 Jazz pianist Chick : COREA
15 Fit provider : HONDA
16 Gulf st. : ALA
17 Equivalent Stanley award? : EIGHT OUNCES (CUP, i.e. Stanley Cup)
19 Storage unit : BIN
20 __-Caps: candy : SNO
21 Memo opener : IN RE
22 Went up : SCALED
24 Produce : CREATE
26 Venue that may sell naming rights : ARENA
27 Forward, in a way : REMAIL
30 Take different paths : PART
32 Cake decorators : ICERS
33 “The Ra Expeditions” author Heyerdahl : THOR
35 MSN and AOL : ISPS
39 Equivalent Scotland locale? : THIRTY SIX INCHES (YARD, i.e. Scotland Yard)
42 Japanese sandal : ZORI
43 Not taxing : EASY
44 Cuban boy in 2000 headlines : ELIAN
45 Thickener in Asian desserts : AGAR
47 They may be special or secret : AGENTS
48 Passionate dance : TANGO
51 Bouts : SPELLS
54 Off-topic : AFIELD
56 Ohio border lake : ERIE
57 Anonymous party : DOE
60 __ service : LIP
61 Equivalent type of horse? : FIVE NICKELS (QUARTER, i.e. Quarter Horse)
64 Mound stat : ERA
65 Long-stemmed mushrooms : ENOKI
66 Some South Pacific carvings : TIKIS
67 Court unit of at least six games : SET
68 Search for water : DOWSE
69 “Mad Men” pool member : STENO

Down

1 Blackjack cards : ACES
2 “Whatcha __?” : DOIN’
3 Cornstarch brand : ARGO
4 Indifferent reaction : MEH
5 Stephen Colbert, for one : SATIRIST
6 Enterprise officer : UHURA
7 Large chamber group : NONET
8 Fortune competitor : INC
9 2016 work by Pulitzer poet Sharon Olds : ODES
10 Org. with a long track record? : NASCAR
11 Put on ice : TABLE
12 Strange : ALIEN
13 World Wildlife Fund logo animal : PANDA
18 New law student : ONE L
23 Things, or written things : ARTICLES
24 Baby transport : CARRIAGE
25 Bond creator? : EPOXY
27 Big name in hotels and crackers : RITZ
28 Lingering effect : ECHO
29 Golda of Israel : MEIR
31 MSNBC analyst Melber : ARI
33 Romanov royals : TSARS
34 Casual hellos : HIS
36 __ guard : SHIN
37 Fuel from a bog : PEAT
38 Taxpayer IDs : SSNS
40 Pro vote : YEA
41 Pays no attention to : NEGLECTS
46 Hit the links : GOLFED
47 Others, to Ovid : ALII
48 Grimm accounts : TALES
49 Pumped up : AFIRE
50 Go after, puppy-style : NIP AT
52 Sneaks a look : PEEKS
53 Orange half of a “Sesame Street” duo : ERNIE
55 Purple pet in old cartoons : DINO
57 Fake in the rink : DEKE
58 Lena of “The Reader” : OLIN
59 Exxon, formerly : ESSO
62 Sacred promise : VOW
63 Assembly-required boxful : KIT

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 17 Dec 20, Thursday”

  1. No errors. A head-scratcher at first but no lookups. I first had “carriers”
    for 24D but changed it in time to finish the puzzle. Clever theme; I liked
    it!

    1. Yes, my bad. I didn’t update the puzzle “theme” and so the Beethoven reference was a complete error. All fixed now. Thanks for asking the question!

  2. 22:26 no errors…I got the theme early and used it to help finish the puzzle…a rare occurrence for me.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens🙏

  3. Re. 11D – Doesn’t “Put on Ice” mean to stop or freeze? Yet, Bill’s explanation for the answer “Table” is to present a topic for discussion. I’m a bit confused.

  4. Finished puzzle with no problem… mulled over the “theme” — got the bottom two, but the “EIGHT OUNCES” got me. My thinking was (muddled) that 8 ozs is a half-pound (cup never occurred to me). So… a “Stanley” must be a bit of UK currency with a value of one-half pound — DOH!!

  5. 12:02 no errors

    Wow, this theme feels like a long walk to get there!

    @Fitz, “to table” in American usage means to set an topic of discussion aside for later, which could easily become never. I get the image that you’re leaving something on the table and not picking it up. In British usage, it means to put the topic on the agenda. Maybe the table here is the table of contents.

  6. Mostly easy Thursday for me; took 15:10 on-line with no errors or peeking. Gee, ENOKI two days in a row. I didn’t really get the theme until I got here, but I was still able to kind of use it….don’t know if that makes any sense. Nice to see ZORI as I was thinking about ordering a pair.

  7. 17 minutes, 51 seconds, and needed Check help for six fills. I wasn’t feeling this overly-clever theme at all. Boo.

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