LA Times Crossword 2 Dec 20, Wednesday

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Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Reveal Answer: The End Is Nigh

Themed answers each end with a syllable that sounds like “NIGH”:

  • 36A *Warning on a street prophet’s sandwich board … or a hint to the answers to starred clues : THE END IS NIGH!
  • 16A *Southeast Asian monarch : SULTAN OF BRUNEI
  • 28A *Pentateuch peak: Abbr. : MT SINAI
  • 46A *Guy who “Saves the World” on Netflix : BILL NYE
  • 56A *Certain PAC-12 graduates : STANFORD ALUMNI

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

Bill’s time: 5m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Tale about Tantalus, say : MYTH

In Greek mythology, Tantalus wanted to make an offering to the Olympic gods. In a gruesome move, sacrificed his son Pelops, cutting him into pieces that were incorporated into a stew. After his shoulder was consumed, the gods stopped the feasting and reassembled the boy’s body. They replaced his shoulder with one made of ivory.

13 Angelou or Dickinson : POET

Maya Angelou was an African-American author and poet. Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Clinton in 1983. Here are some words of wisdom from the great lady:

I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.

Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1800 poems in her lifetime, with less than a dozen published before she died in 1886. Emily’s younger sister discovered the enormous collection, and it was published in batches over the coming decades.

14 Celebrity chef Garten : INA

Ina Garten is an author as well as the host of a cooking show on the Food Network called “Barefoot Contessa”. Garten has no formal training as a chef, and indeed used to work as a nuclear policy analyst at the White House!

16 *Southeast Asian monarch : SULTAN OF BRUNEI

The official name of Brunei is the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. Brunei is situated in the island of Borneo, almost completely surrounded by Malaysia. Brunei’s government is dictated by the constitution adopted in 1959, and is ruled by a sultan with full executive authority. The main language spoken in the country is “Melayu Brunei” (Brunei Malay), with the official language being Malay. Apparently Malay and Brunei Malay are quite different from each other, with native speakers finding it difficult to understand each other.

19 Stat : PDQ

Pretty darn quick (PDQ)

21 Common TV set-top box : DVR

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

22 Tokyo okay : HAI

The word “yes” translates into “oui” in French, “ja” in German, and into “hai” in Japanese.

25 Home of the Oregon Ducks : EUGENE

Eugene is the second-largest city in Oregon (after Portland). The city is named for its founder, Eugene Franklin Skinner. Skinner arrived in the area in 1846, after which the settlement he established was called Skinner’s Mudhole. The name was changed to Eugene City in 1852, which was shortened to Eugene in 1889.

The sports teams of the University of Oregon are known as the Oregon Ducks. The big rivals to the Ducks are the Oregon State Beavers, a rivalry that has been dubbed “the Civil War”. The two schools’ football teams play a game every year for the Platypus Trophy.

28 *Pentateuch peak: Abbr. : MT SINAI

According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”.

The first five books of the Hebrew Bible are referred to as the five books of Moses, or the Pentateuch.

30 Award named for Poe : EDGAR

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (“Edgars”) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America. There are several categories of awards. For example, the Ellery Queen Award honors “writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry”. The Raven Award is presented to non-writers, who contribute to the mystery genre.

33 They, in Tours : ILS

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. Sitting on the Loire river, it is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country. The French spoken by a local is also said to be free of any accent.

35 PBS URL ending : ORG

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was founded in 1970, and is my favorite of the broadcast networks. I love PBS’s drama and science shows in particular, and always watch election results coming in with the NewsHour team.

40 Adams of “American Hustle” : AMY

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.

“American Hustle” is a 2013 movie with a plotline that is loosely based on the famous FBI ABSCAM sting of the late seventies and early eighties. The film stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists who are forced to work with an FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper.

41 Concert equipment : AMP

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

42 What 34-Down means in Swahili : LION
(34D He hung out with Pumbaa and Timon : SIMBA)

In the 1994 movie “The Lion King”, the protagonist is Simba, a lion cub born to Mufasa and Sarabi. The main antagonist is Scar, Simba’s uncle and Mufasa’s brother. Simba is voiced by Matthew Broderick, and Scar is voiced by Jeremy Irons. “Simba” is Swahili for “lion, king, strong”.

Swahili is one of the many Bantu languages spoken in Africa. There are hundreds of Bantu languages, with most being spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

46 *Guy who “Saves the World” on Netflix : BILL NYE

“Bill Nye Saves the World” is a Netflix show hosted by science communicator Bill Nye. In each episode, Nye explores scientific issues that affect our lives, such as alternative medicine, climate change and video games.

48 __ constrictor : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

49 Smooth musical passage : LEGATO

Staccato (stac.) is a musical direction signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, indicating long and continuous notes played very smoothly.

53 Roth __ : IRA

Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs) were introduced in 1997 under a bill sponsored by Senator William Roth of Delaware, hence the name.

54 Dr. Mom’s skill : TLC

Tender loving care (TLC)

56 *Certain PAC-12 graduates : STANFORD ALUMNI

Leland Stanford became a very successful businessman in California after moving there from New York during the Gold Rush. Stanford then served as governor of the state for two years, and later US Senator for California. He founded the Leland Stanford Junior University in memory of his teenage son who died of typhoid fever while the family was travelling in Italy in 1884. The university opened its doors for business in 1891, and the first student admitted was none other than Herbert Hoover, the man destined to become the 31st President of the US.

63 __ choy : BOK

Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage. “Bok choy” translates as “white vegetable”.

64 FBI operation : RAID

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was set up in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), with the name changing in 1935. The Bureau was set up at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was largely moved to do so after the 1901 assassination of President McKinley, as there was a perception that anarchists were threatening law and order. The FBI’s motto uses the organization’s initialism, and is “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity”.

65 Colorado’s __ Park : ESTES

Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Down

1 AWOL trackers : MPS

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

3 __ Aviv : TEL

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.

4 Start of many Web addresses : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

5 American literary form inspired in part by haiku : CINQUAIN

A cinquain is a poem with a 5-line format. The American Cinquain was inspired by the Japanese haiku, and began to emerge in the early 20th century, pioneered by New York poet Adelaide Crapsey. The most famous example of the form is probably her poem “Snow”:

Look up…
From bleakening hills
Blows down the light, first breath
Of wintry wind…look up, and scent
The snow!

6 Tokyo-born artist : ONO

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

7 Diplomatic blunder : GAFFE

Our word “gaffe”, meaning “social blunder”, comes from the French “gaffe” meaning “clumsy remark”, although it originally was a word describing a boat hook. The exact connection between a boat hook and a blunder seems to be unclear.

8 Wouldn’t stop talking about : HARPED ON

To harp on something is to talk too much about it. The original expression with the same meaning was “to harp on the same string”, which is a reference to the musical instrument.

9 __ Dhabi : ABU

Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

17 Port on its own gulf : ADEN

Aden is a seaport in Yemen that is located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

26 Radner of “SNL” : GILDA

Gilda Radner was a comedian and actress, and one of the original cast members of the hit television show “Saturday Night Live”. Radner left her first husband to marry comedic actor Gene Wilder, whom she met while they were both filming the Sidney Poitier movie “Hanky Panky”.

34 He hung out with Pumbaa and Timon : SIMBA

Timon and Pumbaa are a pair of characters in Disney’s 1994 animated film “The Lion King”. Timon is a meerkat, and was voiced by the great Nathan Lane. Pumbaa is a warthog, and was voiced by Ernie Sabella.

37 Ocular surgical procedure : EYELIFTS

An eyelift is a surgical procedure for the eyelids, removing excess skin and/or fat. The technical term for the operation is “blepharoplasty”.

38 Comedic reaction involving a sprayed beverage : SPIT TAKE

The comic maneuver in which someone spits out a drink in response to a joke or a surprising statement, that’s called a “spit take”.

39 Georgetown athlete : HOYA

The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from “Hoya Saxa”, a traditional cheer yelled out at Georgetown games as far back as 1893. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word “hoya” meaning “such” or “what”, and “saxa” translating from Latin as “rocks” or “small stones”. The cheer is usually rendered in English as “what rocks!”.

43 Outlaw Kelly : NED

Ned Kelly was an Irish-Australian outlaw who is regarded by many as a symbol of resistance against the British ruling class in Australia in the 19th century. There have been two famous films made of his life story. “The Story of the Kelly Gang” was released in 1906, and is recognized today as the first feature film ever made. We might be more familiar with the film called “Ned Kelly” released in 1970, as it starred Mick Jagger in the title role.

44 Large arteries : AORTAS

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

50 Movie legend Greta : GARBO

Famously, Greta Garbo lived a life of seclusion in New York City after she retired from the entertainment business. Commentators often associated her need for privacy with a line she uttered in the great 1932 movie “Grand Hotel”. Her character Grusinskaya the Russian ballerina said, “I want to be alone (…) I just want to be alone”.

57 Nuremberg “never” : NIE

Nürnberg (anglicized as “Nuremberg”) is a Bavarian city located north of Munich. Historically it is remembered for the huge Nazi Nuremberg rallies, and the Nuremberg trials that took place at the end of WWII. Nürnberg is sometimes confused with the city of Nürburg in the west of Germany that is famous for the Nürburgring race track.

58 Part of DJIA : DOW

Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day. The most famous of these metrics is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as “the Dow 30” or simply “the Dow”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tale about Tantalus, say : MYTH
5 Gear tooth : COG
8 Sets upon : HAS AT
13 Angelou or Dickinson : POET
14 Celebrity chef Garten : INA
15 Cause to blush : ABASH
16 *Southeast Asian monarch : SULTAN OF BRUNEI
19 Stat : PDQ
20 Fancy dresser : FOP
21 Common TV set-top box : DVR
22 Tokyo okay : HAI
25 Home of the Oregon Ducks : EUGENE
27 Place with pillows : BED
28 *Pentateuch peak: Abbr. : MT SINAI
30 Award named for Poe : EDGAR
32 Catcher’s need : MITT
33 They, in Tours : ILS
35 PBS URL ending : ORG
36 *Warning on a street prophet’s sandwich board … or a hint to the answers to starred clues : THE END IS NIGH!
40 Adams of “American Hustle” : AMY
41 Concert equipment : AMP
42 What 34-Down means in Swahili : LION
44 Befuddled : AT SEA
46 *Guy who “Saves the World” on Netflix : BILL NYE
48 __ constrictor : BOA
49 Smooth musical passage : LEGATO
51 Roam (about) : GAD
52 Dogspeak syllable : ARF!
53 Roth __ : IRA
54 Dr. Mom’s skill : TLC
56 *Certain PAC-12 graduates : STANFORD ALUMNI
62 Implied : TACIT
63 __ choy : BOK
64 FBI operation : RAID
65 Colorado’s __ Park : ESTES
66 Be in the red : OWE
67 Big show : EXPO

Down

1 AWOL trackers : MPS
2 Second person : YOU
3 __ Aviv : TEL
4 Start of many Web addresses : HTTP
5 American literary form inspired in part by haiku : CINQUAIN
6 Tokyo-born artist : ONO
7 Diplomatic blunder : GAFFE
8 Wouldn’t stop talking about : HARPED ON
9 __ Dhabi : ABU
10 Holding back to gain an edge : SANDBAGGING
11 Letter sign-off : AS EVER
12 Almost-home base : THIRD
17 Port on its own gulf : ADEN
18 Skeleton part : BONE
22 “Let me think … ” : HMM …
23 “They’re __ again!” : AT IT
24 “Oh, really?” : IS THAT A FACT?
26 Radner of “SNL” : GILDA
29 List components : ITEMS
31 Cookout feature : GRILL
34 He hung out with Pumbaa and Timon : SIMBA
37 Ocular surgical procedure : EYELIFTS
38 Comedic reaction involving a sprayed beverage : SPIT TAKE
39 Georgetown athlete : HOYA
43 Outlaw Kelly : NED
44 Large arteries : AORTAS
45 Prefix with dynamic : AERO-
47 Hang loosely : LOLL
48 Moisten while cooking : BASTE
50 Movie legend Greta : GARBO
55 Medical research goal : CURE
57 Nuremberg “never” : NIE
58 Part of DJIA : DOW
59 Highest output : MAX
60 Something in the air : NIP
61 Altar promise : I DO

22 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 2 Dec 20, Wednesday”

  1. a little bumpy in places.. never heard of CINQUAIN, but through this blog i’m learning more about poetry every day.. todays crossword was a ‘educational’ for me with a bit of geography and poetry.. i had to guess on CINQUAIN but the crosses made it a bit easier.. i’ll give myself an A for today!

  2. Nice enough puzzle. Also didn’t know cinquain. The human mind amazes me. I had “sultan of b…..” and I immediately thought of Brunei. Why? I never heard of Brunei and didn’t know it had a sultan. I must have read something somewhere and had it tucked away in the back of my brain. Who knows what else is back there? hahaha

  3. Only got the theme after I finished the puzzle. Never heard of cinquain. There was no delay on my post yesterday. Hopefully it’s been fixed.

  4. 18:48 with one error…I also never heard of cinquain and had Ana for 14A…this puzzle took approximately one hour less than the NYT# 1028 which was horrible.
    Stay safe😀

  5. I was coming on here to complain about 19A: Stat – my response was NOW, correct is PDQ, I was going to argue that PDQ is an abbreviation whereas the clue isn’t. Then I find out that Stat is an abbreviation for the Latin “statum” meaning immediately. Learn something new every day…

  6. 10:13 and needed a little “Check” help to proofread two entry errors (affecting four fills). Theme was OK, at least made some sense (which is not a pre-requisite these days, to be sure).

  7. 5:13 no errors

    Cute one.

    It’s a good thing the crosses filled in “As Ever” for me. The only letter signoffs I could think of were Sincerely, or even Yr Obt Servant.

  8. Had to Google for BILL NYE. Sounds interesting.
    Like @Nolanski, never heard of CINQRAIN or SPIT TAKE. I thought I knew all the fixed forms in poetry, as I’ve been obsessed with Villanelles.
    Also, NED Kelly – I’d love to see that movie. That’s 2 movies I gotta see!
    HTTP, AMP, and IRA should be indicated as abbrevs.
    Had Near before NIGH. Thought I was going to find out that “Second person” (YOU) was Eve, but I was right the first time.

    1. Bill Butler is the informative and dedicated writer and host of this blog. At the upper right of the blog post, where you get a drop down menu of recent puzzles, keep scrolling toward the bottom of that menu in the “useful links” section and select “about”. This will give you a brief bio about Bill.

  9. A little tricky today; took me 20:06 with no errors or peeks, but plenty of waiting for crosses. Started to doze off there for a while too, but managed to pull myself together to get to the finish line.

    Didn’t know NYE and also wanted eve before YOU and near before NIGH. Learned about CINQUAIN today as well.

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