LA Times Crossword 18 Dec 20, Friday

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Constructed by: Robin Stears
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Gathering People

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as people attending some sort of gathering:

  • 17A Organizer of a party for a mom-to-be? : SHOWER HEAD
  • 25A Class clown at the prom? : DANCE CARD
  • 34A Musicians at a formal gala? : BALL PLAYERS
  • 49A The most amazing party guests ever? : DO WONDERS
  • 58A Radio hobbyists at a park outing? : PICNIC HAMS

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

Bill’s time: 8m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 HBO political satire until 2019 : VEEP

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of fictional US Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

10 __-deucey : ACEY

Acey-deucey is a fast-played variant of backgammon. Apparently, the game has been a favorite with members of the armed forces since the days of WWI.

14 Limo bar : AXLE

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

15 Light __: Offenbach music genre : OPERA

Jacques Offenbach was a French composer who was born in Germany. Even though he wrote over 100 operettas, Offenbach is perhaps best known for his unfinished opera “The Tales of Hoffman”.

16 Love of “The Real” : LONI

Loni Love is a comedian and TV personality from Detroit. She was the runner-up in 2003 on the relaunched “Star Search” show. In 2013, Love became one of the hosts of the daytime talk show “The Real”.

19 __ vault : POLE

The pole vault has been an Olympic event for men since the 1896 games. However, women’s pole vaulting was only introduced at the 2000 games.

22 Judaism : kosher :: Islam : __ : HALAL

“Halal” is a term describing an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular “halal” is used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is described as “haram”.

23 Inuit relative : ALEUT

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

28 Depot worker : REDCAP

“Redcap” is a term used for a railroad station porter here in North America. That term comes from the fact that redcaps wear red caps!

Our term “depot”, meaning “station, warehouse”, comes from the French word “dépôt”. The French term translates into English as “deposit” or “place of deposit”.

31 “Kung Fu Panda” voice actress Lucy : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Joan Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

“Kung Fu Panda” is a 2008 animated film from DreamWorks. It’s all about a panda who is expert in kung fu, as one might guess …

33 Dude who time-travels with Bill : TED

“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a 1989 comedy sci-fi film, starring Alex Winter as Bill and Keanu Reeves as Ted. It’s about two lazy students traveling through time in preparation for a history assignment, with a lot of “Dude!” and “Excellent!” scattered throughout the dialog. Reading the plot, this isn’t a movie that I’d normally go for, but somehow, I enjoyed it …

40 Sauce in a tiny packet : SOY

Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with a mold in the presence of water and salt. Charming …

41 Ergonomic kitchenware brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

42 Keys for a music room? : IVORIES

The traditional materials used for the manufacture of piano keys were ebony (black) and ivory (white). Ebony is still used, but now for both white and black keys. The white keys are made by covering ebony with white plastic.

52 Car company that owns SolarCity : TESLA

SolarCity is a Tesla-owned company that was founded in 2006 by Peter and Lyndon Rive, cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The company makes solar energy and related devices.

53 Blah feeling : ENNUI

“Ennui” is the French word for “boredom”, and a term that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported that we haven’t anglicized, and actually pronounce “correctly”.

54 German automaker : AUDI

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

56 Prefix with gender : CIS-

The term “cisgender” is now used as the opposite of “transgender”. Cisgender people have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

57 Mass robes : ALBS

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

58 Radio hobbyists at a park outing? : PICNIC HAMS

Amateur radio enthusiasts were first called “ham operators” by professional telegraph operators, and the term was intended to be insulting. It came from the similar term “ham actor”, describing a person who is less than effective on the stage. But amateur operators eventually embraced the moniker, and so it stuck.

Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable potluck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.

63 Weapon with two accents : 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.

65 She played Julia in “Julie & Julia” : MERYL

Meryl Streep has had more nominations for an Academy Award than any other actor, which is both a tribute to her talent and the respect she has earned in the industry. I am not a huge fan of her earlier works but some of her recent movies are now on my list of all-time favorites. I recommend “Mamma Mia!” (you’ll either love it or hate it!), “Julie & Julia”, “It’s Complicated” and ”Hope Springs”.

Julia Child was an American chef who is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public. During WWII, Julia Child joined the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), the predecessor to the CIA. She worked for the OSS in Washington, Ceylon and China. While in the OSS, she met her husband Paul Child who was also an OSS employee. Paul joined the Foreign Service after the war, and it was his posting to France that created the opportunity for Julie to learn about French cuisine. If you haven’t seen it, I highly, highly recommend the movie “Julie & Julia”, one of the best films of 2009. Meryl Streep does a fabulous job playing the larger-than-life Julia Child.

“Julie & Julia” is a wonderful 2009 Nora Ephron film that juxtaposes the lives of celebrity chef Julia Childs and home cook/blogger Julie Powell. Childs is played by Meryl Streep, and Powell by Amy Adams. Ephron’s screenplay is based on two nonfiction books: Child’s autobiography “My Life in France”, and Powell’s memoir “Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously”. Highly recommended …

Down

1 Poughkeepsie campus : VASSAR

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York is now a coeducational school, after over a century of operating as a women’s college since its founding in 1861. The school was officially declared co-ed in 1969, although it had accepted a handful of male students on the GI Bill after WWII.

The City of Poughkeepsie is located in the Hudson River Valley in New York State. The city’s name comes from a Wappinger word that can be translated as “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place”.

2 Yoga class directive : EXHALE

In the West, we tend to think of yoga as just a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

4 Place to pray : PEW

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

5 Bilingual toon explorer : DORA

“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases.

6 Rose pest : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in Britain and Ireland where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

7 “Futurama” woman with one eye and purple hair : LEELA

“Futurama” is an animated sci-fi show that airs on Fox. It was co-created by cartoonist Matt Groening, who also created “The Simpsons”. I simply don’t understand either show …

8 Detergent brand : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

10 Source of silky wool : ALPACA

Alpacas are like small llamas, but unlike llamas were never beasts of burden. Alpacas were bred specifically for the fleece. As such, there are no known wild alpacas these days, even in their native Peru.

11 Radiator fillers : COOLANTS

A radiator in a car is a heat exchanger used to transfer thermal energy from the engine block to the atmosphere. Such a radiator is poorly named, as the bulk of the heat is transferred by convection, and not radiation.

22 Part of HRH : HER

His/Her Royal Highness (HRH)

24 Bruins’ sch. : UCLA

The UCLA Bruins’ mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.

26 Valley with a Wine Train : NAPA

The Napa Valley Wine Train is an excursion train that runs between Napa and St. Helena, California along the original Napa Valley Railroad built in 1864. The line was built back then by pioneer Samuel Brannan to bring tourists from the San Francisco Bay Area to the resort town of Calistoga, which Brannan founded. Today’s Wine Train offers a 3-hour round trip, with a full dining car experience.

27 Handout with a kids’ menu : CRAYON

We use the word “crayon” for a stick of colored wax used for drawing. The term was imported in the 16th century from French, in which language it means “pencil”.

35 Prepare for a selfie : POSE

A selfie is a self-portrait, one usually taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A “group selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”. A “couple selfie” is known as an “usie” or “ussie”, although those terms are sometimes also used for a group picture.

36 Definitely not from around here : EXOTIC

The word “exotic” means “belonging to another country”, and is derived from the Greek “exo-” meaning “outside”. Exotica are things that are excitingly strange, often from foreign parts.

37 IMDb listing : ROLE

The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering questions one has about movies and actors.

38 Region spanning three continents : MIDEAST

In geographical terms there are three “Easts”. “Near East” and “Middle East” are terms that are often considered synonymous, although “Near East” tends to be used when discussing ancient history and “Middle East” when referring to the present day. The Near/Middle East encompasses most of Western Asia and Egypt. The term “Far East” describes East Asia (including the Russian Far East), Southeast Asia and South Asia.

39 “Anne of Green Gables” setting : AVONLEA

“Anne of Green Gables” is a 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery that she set in the fictional Prince Edward Island community of Avonlea. Montgomery wrote several sequels to “Anne”, with them all being set on Prince Edward Island (PEI), from where the author hailed.

44 “Here Comes the Hotstepper” singer __ Kamoze : INI

“Ini Kamoze” is the stage name of Jamaican reggae singer Cecil Campbell. His best-known song (though not known by me!) is “Here Comes the Hotstepper” released in 1994.

50 Danica Patrick, for one : RACER

Danica Patrick is a very successful, retired auto racing driver. She won the 2008 Indy Japan 300, making her the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race. Patrick also finished third in the 2009 Indy 500, the highest finish for a woman in that race.

58 Cooking spray : PAM

PAM cooking spray was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin and Arthur Meyerhoff. The name “PAM” is an acronym … standing for “Product of Arthur Meyerhoff”. Who’d a thunk it …?

60 Blind stitch : HEM

In sewing, a blind stitch is one that leaves the thread hidden, at least from the outside of the garment.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 HBO political satire until 2019 : VEEP
5 Low areas : DALES
10 __-deucey : ACEY
14 Limo bar : AXLE
15 Light __: Offenbach music genre : OPERA
16 Love of “The Real” : LONI
17 Organizer of a party for a mom-to-be? : SHOWER HEAD
19 __ vault : POLE
20 Tree goo : SAP
21 Collar : NAIL
22 Judaism : kosher :: Islam : __ : HALAL
23 Inuit relative : ALEUT
25 Class clown at the prom? : DANCE CARD
28 Depot worker : REDCAP
30 Orchestrate : ARRANGE
31 “Kung Fu Panda” voice actress Lucy : LIU
32 Health haven : SPA
33 Dude who time-travels with Bill : TED
34 Musicians at a formal gala? : BALL PLAYERS
38 Damage : MAR
40 Sauce in a tiny packet : SOY
41 Ergonomic kitchenware brand : OXO
42 Keys for a music room? : IVORIES
45 Words of emphasis : NO LESS
49 The most amazing party guests ever? : DO WONDERS
52 Car company that owns SolarCity : TESLA
53 Blah feeling : ENNUI
54 German automaker : AUDI
56 Prefix with gender : CIS-
57 Mass robes : ALBS
58 Radio hobbyists at a park outing? : PICNIC HAMS
61 Political goal : SEAT
62 Field of conflict : ARENA
63 Weapon with two accents : EPEE
64 States’ plates : TAGS
65 She played Julia in “Julie & Julia” : MERYL
66 Major muddle : MESS

Down

1 Poughkeepsie campus : VASSAR
2 Yoga class directive : EXHALE
3 Got together quietly? : ELOPED
4 Place to pray : PEW
5 Bilingual toon explorer : DORA
6 Rose pest : APHID
7 “Futurama” woman with one eye and purple hair : LEELA
8 Detergent brand : ERA
9 Pathetic : SAD
10 Source of silky wool : ALPACA
11 Radiator fillers : COOLANTS
12 Blow up : ENLARGE
13 Produced : YIELDED
18 Necessitate : ENTAIL
22 Part of HRH : HER
24 Bruins’ sch. : UCLA
26 Valley with a Wine Train : NAPA
27 Handout with a kids’ menu : CRAYON
29 Throbbed : PULSED
32 Subtle : SLY
34 There might be a lunch in it for you : BROWN BAG
35 Prepare for a selfie : POSE
36 Definitely not from around here : EXOTIC
37 IMDb listing : ROLE
38 Region spanning three continents : MIDEAST
39 “Anne of Green Gables” setting : AVONLEA
43 De-bunks? : ROUSTS
44 “Here Comes the Hotstepper” singer __ Kamoze : INI
46 Get away from it all : ESCAPE
47 Coats with goo : SLIMES
48 Gets lippy with : SASSES
50 Danica Patrick, for one : RACER
51 Fair : SUNNY
55 Remote precursor : DIAL
58 Cooking spray : PAM
59 Fury : IRE
60 Blind stitch : HEM

15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 18 Dec 20, Friday”

    1. Do wonders has no recognizable relationship to the clue.
      Dance card has no relation to class clown. At least give the contestant the respect of reasonable clues.

      1. A card is a term for a clown. Back in the day gentlemen put their names on a ladies dance card to reserve a dance.

  1. 6:51, 1 errors.

    >what is a DOWONDER?? or DO WONDER??

    Pretty much a made-up thing in service of the theme… A do is a formal party (think tuxes, formal dresses, wine and cheese, stuff like that).

  2. 33:58 no errors…ditto about DO WONDER …I never heard of cisgender until now. Thanks Bill. As far as 25A I do get that…card being the same as clown.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens🙏
    BTW…while working this puzzle a got a spam call from someone who said according to my medical records I have back and knee pain and I told him no but I do have a big pain in my posterior (not the word I used) and it was him…he hung up

    1. @jack

      My husband got the same call. He told him he had back surgery and he was now a the wheelchair and they hung up on him.

  3. 10 mins 51 sec. One of those grids when you don’t realize you’re done until suddenly, you just ARE. This was so full of esoterica that I just skipped around, filling in what I could until the job was done.

  4. 10A – I always thought that “Acey-Deucy” was another name for the card game “In Between” where the player bets that the next card dealt with fall between the pair of cards he holds.

  5. Very easy Friday for me; unfortunately I forgot to jot down the beginning time, but about 12 minutes with no errors. Never heard of LONI Love and I’d seen LEELA but never knew her name. Finally remembered OXO and I too thought ACEY-deucey was a card game. Figured out the theme early and worked with it.

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