LA Times Crossword 21 Dec 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Fred Piscop
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Say “Bye” First

Themed answers each begin with “BYE”, or a BYE-sound:

  • 16A In general : BY AND LARGE
  • 61A Bring on difficulty : BUY TROUBLE
  • 15D Fluent in two tongues : BILINGUAL
  • 28D “See you later” : BYE FOR NOW

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

Bill’s time: 5m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Source of French fries, informally : TATER

French fries are called “chips” back in Ireland where I grew up. And what we call “chips” in the US are known as “crisps” in Britain and Ireland. In France, French fries are known as “pommes frites” (fried potatoes).

22 Hardy’s Miss Durbeyfield : TESS

In Thomas Hardy’s novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, the heroine and title character is Tess Durbeyfield. Her father is an uneducated peasant and when he hears that his name is a corruption of the noble name of “D’Urberville”, the news goes to his head.

25 Air Force B-52, e.g. : BOMBER

The B-52 Stratofortress has been a mainstay of the USAF since its introduction in 1955. The stated intention is to keep the B-52 in service until 2045, which would give a remarkable length of service of over 90 years.

33 Pre-Easter period : LENT

In Latin, the Christian season that is now called “Lent” was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.

In the Christian tradition, it is believed that three days after Jesus was put to death, he rose from the dead. Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, two days later.

38 Post-it jotting : NOTE

The Post-it note was invented at 3M following the accidental discovery of a low-tack, reusable adhesive. The actual intent of the development program was the discovery of a super-strong adhesive.

40 App-based car service : UBER

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

42 Cruel creature of fable : OGRE

An ogre is a monster of mythology and folktales that has the appearance of a man, and which eats human beings. The term “ogre” comes to us via French from the name of the Etruscan god Orcus, who feasted on the flesh of humans.

43 Michael of “Alfie” (1966) : CAINE

There have been only two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. One is Jack Nicholson, and the other is Michael Caine. Caine is now known as Sir Michael Caine, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2000.

There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.

46 Like many margarita glasses : SALTED

No one seems to know for sure who first created the cocktail known as a margarita. The most plausible and oft-quoted is that it was invented in 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico. The barman mixed the drink for an important visitor, the daughter of the German ambassador. The daughter’s name was Margarita Henkel, and she lent her name to the new drink. The basic recipe for a margarita is a mixture of tequila, orange-flavored liqueur (like Cointreau) and lime juice.

47 Keystroke-saving shortcut : MACRO

A macroinstruction (usually shortened to “macro”) is a set of instructions in a computer program that are abbreviated to one simple command.

50 The “first” in “first and ten” : DOWN

That would be football.

55 Downloadable talk show : PODCAST

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

60 Nevada casino city : RENO

The city of Reno’s economy took off when open gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Within a short time, a syndicate had built the Bank Club in Reno, which was the largest casino in the world at the time.

64 Need a Band-Aid, say : BLEED

“Band-Aid” is a brand name owned by Johnson & Johnson, although like many popular brands “band-aid” has become the generic term for an adhesive bandage, at least here in North America. The generic term we use in Britain and Ireland for the same product is “plaster” …

65 Dog-biting pest : FLEA

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

68 Govt. agents : FEDS

A fed is an officer of a US federal agency, although the term “fed” usually applies to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Down

2 Yucatán native : MAYA

The Maya civilization held sway in Central America and Mexico from about 350 AD, until the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s.

Yucatán is one of Mexico’s 31 states and is located in the east of the country, on the northern tip of the Yucatán peninsula.

3 “Terrible” czar : IVAN

The Grand Prince of Moscow, and first Tsar of Russia, Ivan IV became known as “Ivan the Terrible”. The name “terrible” is a translation from Russian, and perhaps creates the wrong impression about the man. The Russian word is “Grozny”, which is more akin to “strict” and “powerful” rather than “cruel” or “abominable”.

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

5 Boat’s steering device : TILLER

A rudder is usually a flat sheet of wood or metal located at the stern of a boat, and under the waterline. The rudder is attached to a rudder post, which rotates to change the orientation of the rudder hence steering the boat. That rotation of the rudder post can be achieved by pulling or pushing a lever called a tiller, which is located at the top of the post.

10 Niagara __ : FALLS

For well over a century now, the twin cities of Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario have been popular spots for honeymooners. Niagara Falls got a boost as a honeymoon destination in 1953 with the release of “Niagara”, a film noir starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton.

12 In a crabby mood : TESTY

Somebody described as testy is touchy, irritably impatient. The term “testy” comes into English from Old French, ultimately deriving from “testu” meaning “stubborn, headstrong”, literally “heady”. So, our word “testy” comes from the same root as the French word “tête” meaning “head”.

21 Texter’s “I think” : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

25 “__, James __” : BOND

Ian Fleming’s spy first introduced himself with the words “Bond, James Bond” in the 1953 novel “Casino Royale”. Sean Connery first uttered the words on the silver screen in the first Bond movie, “Dr. No”.

26 Double-reed woodwind : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

27 Self-referential, in modern lingo : META

In recent decades the prefix “meta-” has been used as a standalone adjective. In this sense “meta” means “self-referential”, describing something that refers to itself. For example, “This sentence starts with the word ‘this’ and ends with the word ‘this’” might be called a meta sentence. A movie that is about the making of the very same movie could also be described as meta.

36 Russo of “Thor” movies : RENE

The talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to high school (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting.

The 2011 movie “Thor” is yet another film based on a comic book hero. Even though I won’t be seeing it (I don’t do comics), I must admit it does have an impressive cast. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, supported by Natalie Portman, Rene Russo, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins. And to crown it all, Kenneth Branagh is the director.

39 The bossy Stooge : MOE

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you might have noticed that the line-up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946. Shemp stayed with the troupe until he himself died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine suffered a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

45 Where cranberries grow : BOG

When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant’s flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant “craneberry”, which evolved into “cranberry”.

47 Lesson from Aesop : MORAL

Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

49 Repaired with wicker : CANED

The Wych elm is also known as the Scots elm. It is the most common species of elm found in Europe. The term “wych” comes from the Old English “wice” meaning “pliant, supple”. The word “wice” also gives rise to our word “wicker”.

54 Christmas season : YULE

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

58 Vehicle pulled by huskies : SLED

The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in northern Asia. Siberian Huskies were imported into Alaska in great numbers in the early 1900s for use as sled dogs during the gold rush.

59 They accompany crumpets : TEAS

I do love a nice crumpet. Crumpets are made from flour and yeast, with baking soda added to make the characteristic holes in the surface. Served hot, with butter melted into the holes, nothing better …

62 Japanese coins : YEN

The Korean won, Chinese yuan, and Japanese yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Leave unmentioned : OMIT
5 Source of French fries, informally : TATER
10 In good physical shape : FIT
13 Glowing review : RAVE
14 Mirror reflection : IMAGE
15 Army installation : BASE
16 In general : BY AND LARGE
18 Aches and pains : ILLS
19 Beachgoer’s footwear : SANDALS
20 Cast-iron pan, often : SKILLET
22 Hardy’s Miss Durbeyfield : TESS
24 A bit teary-eyed : MISTY
25 Air Force B-52, e.g. : BOMBER
29 Worker with bricks : MASON
32 Does as told : OBEYS
33 Pre-Easter period : LENT
34 What you wear : GARB
38 Post-it jotting : NOTE
39 Loaded with beef, say : MEATY
40 App-based car service : UBER
41 Unable to hear : DEAF
42 Cruel creature of fable : OGRE
43 Michael of “Alfie” (1966) : CAINE
44 Beyond heavy : OBESE
46 Like many margarita glasses : SALTED
47 Keystroke-saving shortcut : MACRO
50 The “first” in “first and ten” : DOWN
52 Like the taste of much breakfast juice : ORANGEY
55 Downloadable talk show : PODCAST
60 Nevada casino city : RENO
61 Bring on difficulty : BUY TROUBLE
63 From the beginning : ANEW
64 Need a Band-Aid, say : BLEED
65 Dog-biting pest : FLEA
66 Young fellow : LAD
67 Mails : SENDS
68 Govt. agents : FEDS

Down

1 Spheres, to poets : ORBS
2 Yucatán native : MAYA
3 “Terrible” czar : IVAN
4 Work behind, as the bar : TEND
5 Boat’s steering device : TILLER
6 Store up : AMASS
7 Waterproofing gunk : TAR
8 Omelet staples : EGGS
9 Stink to high heaven : REEK
10 Niagara __ : FALLS
11 Speck in the ocean : ISLET
12 In a crabby mood : TESTY
15 Fluent in two tongues : BILINGUAL
17 Goes out with : DATES
21 Texter’s “I think” : IMO
23 Applied sloppily, as lipstick : SMEARED
25 “__, James __” : BOND
26 Double-reed woodwind : OBOE
27 Self-referential, in modern lingo : META
28 “See you later” : BYE FOR NOW
30 Start the poker pot : ANTE
31 Pig’s home : STY
33 Some chicken servings : LEGS
35 Slightly : A BIT
36 Russo of “Thor” movies : RENE
37 Raised, as cattle : BRED
39 The bossy Stooge : MOE
43 Like a positive attitude : CAN-DO
45 Where cranberries grow : BOG
46 Dueling weapons : SWORDS
47 Lesson from Aesop : MORAL
48 Place for a concert : ARENA
49 Repaired with wicker : CANED
51 __ out: declined : OPTED
53 Flows back : EBBS
54 Christmas season : YULE
56 Shirt sleeve’s end : CUFF
57 Having the skill : ABLE
58 Vehicle pulled by huskies : SLED
59 They accompany crumpets : TEAS
62 Japanese coins : YEN

18 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 21 Dec 20, Monday”

  1. no errors; quickly done Monday puzzle. Have a good week everybody;
    stay safe and look forward to Christmas if you can.

  2. Very easy. Didn’t notice theme. Only word I didn’t know was META.
    When MEATY meets ORANGEY, this could be yummy.
    When TESTY meets MISTY, he might get very grumpy.

  3. Easy solve. But when was the last time the four theme answers were two across and two down? It used to be that way most of the time.

  4. 4:25 no errors

    Not sure how often I’ve heard the expression “buy trouble” before. I feel like I hear someone saying, “Don’t buy trouble,” but I don’t know where that comes from.

    1. @Joan B …

      I think an excerpt from a Wikipedia article explains the discrepancy:

      “The novel is set in an impoverished rural England, Thomas Hardy’s fictional Wessex, during the Long Depression of the 1870s. Tess is the oldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated peasants. However, John is given the impression by Parson Tringham that he may have noble blood, as “Durbeyfield” is a corruption of “D’Urberville”, the surname of an extinct noble Norman family. Knowledge of this immediately goes to John’s head.”

      (I’ve never read the book, so I was as much in the dark as you … 😜)

    2. And, belatedly, I now see that Bill has explained this up above. Silly me.

      Running late today (and more than a little stupid, I guess … 😜).

  5. Aloha guys and gals!!🤗

    No errors on a fast Monday. Funny how you can just draw a blank on a name you know well – at least I can. I COMPLETELY blanked on CAINE for several minutes even tho I know quite well who he is!🤔 BTW, I loved him in Hannah and her Sisters – I think he won a supporting Oscar for that.

    Be well ~~🥂

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