LA Times Crossword 26 Dec 20, Saturday

Advertisement

Constructed by: Kyle Dolan
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 11m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Apple product : SMARTWATCH

The Apple Watch was announced in 2014 and started shipping in 2015. The device works as an extension to a user’s smartphone, although it also has capabilities of its own. I’m not a big fan of smartwatches; I really don’t see the point …

11 Collector’s frame : CEL

In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

14 Mozart’s Queen of the Night, for one : COLORATURA

The musical term “coloratura” is used to describe an elaborate melody that may include runs and trills. “Coloratura” translates from Italian literally as “coloring”. The term has been extended to include operatic roles featuring such melodies, and singers who are associated with such roles.

Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” (“Die Zauberflöte” in German) premiered in 1791 in Vienna, just two months before the composer died. Mozart conducted the orchestra himself that night. His sister-in-law, soprano Josepha Weber, performed the role of the Queen of the Night.

16 Guacamole, e.g. : AVOCADO DIP

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

19 “The First __” : NOEL

“The First Noel” is a traditional Christmas carol from England that probably dates back to the 1700s.

The First Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

22 In itself : PER SE

“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

24 Rhapsody, perhaps : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes use the plural “opuses” in English, but that just annoys me …

26 Field pair : OSCARS

Actress Sally Field first came to the public’s attention in the sixties with title roles in the TV shows “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun”. She has two Best Actress Oscars: one for “Norma Rae” (1979) and one for “Places in the Heart” (1984).

28 Virtuoso : ADROIT

The French for “to the right” is “à droit”, from which we get our word “adroit”. The original meaning of “adroit” was “rightly, properly”, but it has come to mean dexterous and skillful. Someone described as “maladroit” is unskilled and awkward.

31 Tie with the dealer, in blackjack : PUSH

The card game known as “twenty-one” was first referred to in print in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “veintiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

32 La Liga cheer : OLE!

The premier division of Spanish club soccer is the “Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División”, or more usual “La Liga” (The League).

34 Like Dorothy Parker’s humor : DROLL

Dorothy Parker was a poet and satirist, and a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. After the famed meetings at the Algonquin Hotel ceased, Parker headed to Hollywood where she became a successful screenwriter, earning two Oscar nominations. However she ended up on the Hollywood blacklist for being involved in left-wing politics. When Parker passed away in 1967, her body was cremated. Her ashes remained unclaimed for over twenty years before the NAACP took charge of them and placed them in a specially-designed memorial garden outside their headquarters in Baltimore. The plaque reads:

Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, ‘Excuse my dust’. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people.

Parker’s ashes were reburied in a family plot in the Bronx, New York in 2020.

36 Any of Florida’s Dry Tortugas : ISLET

The Florida Keys are a chain of low islands that stretch from the tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles south of Miami. The westernmost inhabited island is Key West, and the westernmost uninhabited island is Dry Tortugas. Most of the inhabited islands are connected by US Highway 1, which traverses several impressive bridges.

38 Some “SVU” roles : DAS

District attorney (DA)

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly (to me), there is a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

42 Bauhaus founder Gropius : WALTER

Walter Gropius was an architect who founded the Bauhaus art school in Weimar. For several years, Gropius was married to Alma Mahler, widow of the celebrated composer Gustav Mahler.

The literal translation to the term “Bauhaus” is “House of Building”. It was a school (i.e. education establishment) that operated from 1919 to 1933. It became famous for its approach to design across many disciplines, everything from art to typography.

45 Chateau Montelena’s home : NAPA

Chateau Montelena is a winery in Napa Valley that was founded in 1882. Chateau Montelena’s 1973 chardonnay emerged victorious in the famous blind tasting competition known as Judgment of Paris. The excellent 2008 movie “Bottle Shock” gives a very entertaining fictional account of that victory.

48 Spring break destination, briefly : BAJA

Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.

53 __ Eats :

Uber Eats is a food-delivery platform offered by ride-sharing service Uber. For a delivery fee of a few bucks, users can order food from local restaurants using an app. That food might be delivered by car, bike or foot depending on the city and courier.

60 Thing in the Roman Senate : RES

Our word “senate” comes from the Latin name for such a body, namely “senatus”. In turn, “senatus” is derived from “senex” meaning “old man”, reflecting the original Roman Senate’s makeup as a council of “elders”.

Down

1 Gobs : SCADS

The origin of the word “scads”, meaning “lots and lots”, is unclear. That said, “scads” was used to mean “dollars” back in the mid-1800s.

2 Oddly, trailers may precede one : MOVIE

The term “trailer” was originally used in the film industry to describe advertisements for upcoming features. These trailers were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened, hence the name. This practice quickly fell out of favor as theater patrons usually left at the end of the movie without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, but the term “trailer” persisted.

4 Low tide formation : ROCK POOL

A tidal pool (also “rock pool”) is a pool of seawater that is left along a rocky coastline after an ebb tide.

8 Elizabeth I was the last one : TUDOR

The Wars of the Roses was a series of civil wars fought for the throne of England between the rival Houses of Lancaster (with a symbol of a red rose) and York (with a symbol of a white rose). Ultimately the Lancastrians emerged victorious after Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry was crowned King Henry VII, and so began the Tudor dynasty. Henry Tudor united the rival houses by marrying his cousin Elizabeth of York. Henry VII had a relatively long reign of 23 years that lasted until his death, after which his son succeeded to the throne as Henry VIII, continuing the relatively short-lived Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII ruled from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry VIII was the last male to lead the House of Tudor, as his daughter Queen Elizabeth I died without issue. When Elizabeth died, the Scottish King James VI succeeded to the throne as James I of England and Ireland. James I was the first English monarch of the House of Stuart.

10 Unfortunate : HAPLESS

One’s “hap” is one’s luck. So, to be “hapless” is to be out of luck, unfortunate.

11 Diner patron played by Stephen King in “Mr. Mercedes,” e.g. : CAMEO ROLE

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to play himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

“Mr. Mercedes” is a crime drama TV show based on a trilogy of novels by Stephen King. The show’s protagonist is retired detective Bill Hodges, played by Irish actor Brendan Gleeson. The title is a reference to one of Hodges’ unsolved cases; a man who drove a Mercedes into a line of jobseekers, killing sixteen people.

12 “The Vagina Monologues” playwright : EVE ENSLER

Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age, she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days; actor Dylan McDermott.

15 Bear that can bark : 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.

22 Call counterpart : PUT

In the world of stock trading, a call option (also “call”) is a type of financial contract. The buyer of a call option purchases the right, without obligation, to buy a particular commodity from the seller before a specified date (the expiration date) at a specified price (the strike price). The related put option (also “put”) gives the owner of a commodity the right to sell that commodity at the strike price.

27 Dog topper : CHILI

The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.

30 First woman to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol : ROSA PARKS

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

31 Compost bin remnant : PIT

Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter to make the soil conditioner known as “compost”. The term “compost” ultimately comes from the Latin “com” (together) and “ponere” (to place). Compost is best made by “putting together” green waste that is rich in nitrogen, with brown waste that is rich in carbon, all in the presence of water and air.

33 “Cloverfield” characters : ETS

“Cloverfield” is a monster movie. I don’t really do monster movies …

40 Jellyfish : MEDUSAS

Medusa jellyfish are named for Medusa of Greek mythology, a monster with a tentacled head.

41 Pikelike fish : GAR

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

43 Burns with a light touch? : LASES

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

45 Point from which a recovery can begin : NADIR

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

47 Animated Disney bibliophile : BELLE

Disney’s 2017 romantic fantasy film “Beauty and the Beast” is based on the animated movie the same studio released in 1991. In turn, 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast” was an adaptation of the 18th-century version of the fairy tale “La Belle et la Bête” written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens play the title roles in the 2017 film, with both performances garnering critical acclaim.

49 Indian novelist Desai : ANITA

Anita Desai is an Indian novelist whose list of works includes “In Custody”, which was made into a 1993 film of the same name.

50 Slangy craving : JONES

The slang term “jones” is used to mean an intense addiction, a yen, and probably arose in the late sixties out of the prior use of “jones” for the drug heroin.

54 Old dance hall tunes : RAGS

Ragtime music was at the height of its popularity in the early 1900s. It takes its name from its characteristic “ragged” rhythms. The most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who had a big hit with his “Maple Leaf Rag” when it was published in 1899. He followed that up with a string of hits, including the “Pine Apple Rag” (sic). Ragtime fell out of favor about 1917 when the public turned to jazz. It had a resurgence in the forties when jazz musicians started to include ragtime tunes in their repertoires. But it was the 1973 movie “The Sting” that brought the true revival, as the hit soundtrack included numerous ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, including the celebrated “The Entertainer” originally published in 1902.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Apple product : SMARTWATCH
11 Collector’s frame : CEL
14 Mozart’s Queen of the Night, for one : COLORATURA
15 Cover on the road : PAVE
16 Guacamole, e.g. : AVOCADO DIP
17 “Agreed!” : AMEN!
18 Tiny and unimportant : DINKY
19 “The First __” : NOEL
20 Must : NEED
21 Make a narrow escape? : SEEP
22 In itself : PER SE
23 Slips into : DONS
24 Rhapsody, perhaps : OPUS
26 Field pair : OSCARS
28 Virtuoso : ADROIT
31 Tie with the dealer, in blackjack : PUSH
32 La Liga cheer : OLE!
34 Like Dorothy Parker’s humor : DROLL
35 Red state? : FIT
36 Any of Florida’s Dry Tortugas : ISLET
38 Some “SVU” roles : DAS
39 Cut out : OMIT
41 Model builders, at times : GLUERS
42 Bauhaus founder Gropius : WALTER
44 Not peripheral : MAIN
45 Chateau Montelena’s home : NAPA
46 Ban from practice : DEBAR
48 Spring break destination, briefly : BAJA
52 Word of resignation : ALAS
53 __ Eats : UBER
54 Rambled : RAN ON
55 Calamitous : DIRE
56 Obviously full of anticipation : SALIVATING
58 Art store supply : INKS
59 It may be pulled before a final : ALL-NIGHTER
60 Thing in the Roman Senate : RES
61 Has a clear conscience, maybe : SLEEPS EASY

Down

1 Gobs : SCADS
2 Oddly, trailers may precede one : MOVIE
3 Like many a horror film victim : ALONE
4 Low tide formation : ROCK POOL
5 A server may carry one : TRAY
6 Gum, after use : WAD
7 Makes up : ATONES
8 Elizabeth I was the last one : TUDOR
9 Really could use, with “for” : CRIES OUT …
10 Unfortunate : HAPLESS
11 Diner patron played by Stephen King in “Mr. Mercedes,” e.g. : CAMEO ROLE
12 “The Vagina Monologues” playwright : EVE ENSLER
13 Takes interest, maybe : LENDS
15 Bear that can bark : PANDA
22 Call counterpart : PUT
25 Captain, at times : PILOT
27 Dog topper : CHILI
28 Sum up : ADD
29 Begin to set boundaries : DRAW A LINE
30 First woman to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol : ROSA PARKS
31 Compost bin remnant : PIT
33 “Cloverfield” characters : ETS
35 Highly energetic sort : FIREBALL
37 What a city dweller may do on a building roof : SUNBATHE
40 Jellyfish : MEDUSAS
41 Pikelike fish : GAR
43 Burns with a light touch? : LASES
44 Oceanic : MARINE
45 Point from which a recovery can begin : NADIR
47 Animated Disney bibliophile : BELLE
49 Indian novelist Desai : ANITA
50 Slangy craving : JONES
51 Gritting one’s teeth, maybe : ANGRY
54 Old dance hall tunes : RAGS
57 __ pass : VIP

21 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 26 Dec 20, Saturday”

  1. This was a toughie: no errors at the end, but I made my first mistake
    by misreading the number on a box and put a long answer in the wrong
    column. Duh! Had to look up the Indian novelist and the Bauhaus name
    to finish. And I didn’t know Rosa Parks was the woman lying in state
    until the across words gave me enough clues. After-Christmas weariness
    maybe??

  2. LAT: Just under an hour with no errors. Just seemed to flow after a few early good guesses. Rather straightforward puzzle.

    1. With a little grammatical license, one can think of “sleeps” as an intransitive linking verb, like “is,” “seems,” “smells,” etc. thereby taking the predicate adjective form of “easy” rather than “easily”, but certainly your observation is well-founded.

  3. I was headed for my second DNF in a row with the entire NW corner blank.
    Then SMARTWATCH came to me and it opened up.
    I had Baha for Baja to commit my usual error to ruin a tough puzzle.
    I am familiar with disbar put never heard of debar.
    Stay safe😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  4. Another Saturday, another grind. The clue for oscars was an eye roller. Plus, I can’t remember the last time I used the word dinky in a sentence.

  5. 28:16 no errors, 2 lookups

    Tough one. Lots of thrashing in the lower right. Also really wasn’t expecting calls or puts in a crossword. Not many people mess around with stock options. Options always struck me as not worth the headache.

  6. 21 minutes, 49 seconds, no errors. Needed Check help on 4 fills (2 squares). Suitably difficult for a Saturday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.