LA Times Crossword 27 Dec 20, Sunday

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Constructed by: Mike Peluso
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: Eye Exam

Themed answers are common phrases with a letter I inserted before the last word:

  • 24A Workplace movie screen? : OFFICE IMAX (from “OfficeMax”)
  • 43A Apple product for unmarried men? : BACHELOR IPAD (from “bachelor pad”)
  • 53A List of PGA players with pictorial links to their bios? : PROS AND ICONS (from “pros and cons”)
  • 73A Order to a construction worker? : RAISE THE IBAR (from “raise the bar”)
  • 82A Apple media player for silly songs? : LOONEY ITUNES (from “Looney Tunes”)
  • 104A Brew with a hint of chocolate? : HERSHEY IPA (from “Hershey, PA”)
  • 36D Perfect one of three meals? : SQUARE IDEAL (from “square deal”)
  • 39D Kauai breakfast restaurants? : ISLAND IHOPS (from “island-hops”)

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

Bill’s time: 16m 50s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • BOGO (pogo!)
  • PCBS (PCPS!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bend in pointe shoes : PLIE

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.

“En pointe” is the name given to ballet dancing on the tips of the toes, and is a French term. A ballerina wears pointe shoes (sometimes “toe shoes”) to perform this delightful-looking, albeit unhealthy, feat (pun!).

9 Dark film genre : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

18 Barn-raising group : AMISH

The Amish are members of a group of Christian churches, and a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

20 Worth a rave review, in show biz : BOFFO

“Boffo” (sometimes “boff”) is show biz slang for “very successful”, and is a term that dates back to the early sixties.

21 University near Durham, NC : ELON

Elon is a city in the Piedmont region of North Carolina located close to the city of Burlington. Elon University is a private liberal arts school founded in 1889.

The North Carolina city of Durham started out as a rail depot between the already-settled towns of Raleigh and Hillsborough. As such, the community initially went by the name “Durham Station”, with the name referring to Dr. Bartlett Durham, on whose land the rail depot was built.

22 Half-off sale acronym : BOGO

Buy one, get one (BOGO) or buy one, get one free (BOGOF).

23 Destination for aficionados : MECCA

We’ve been using “mecca” to mean “a place one holds sacred” since the 1850s, and have since extended the usage to include any center of activity. The term derives from the sacred city of Islam, the birthplace of Muhammad.

An aficionado is an enthusiast. Imported from Spanish, “aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

24 Workplace movie screen? : OFFICE IMAX (from “OfficeMax”)

The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

Office Depot is a retail chain based in Boca Raton, Florida that sells office supplies. We might be forgiven for thinking that Office Depot’s biggest competitor is OfficeMax, well, Office Depot has actually owned the OfficeMax brand since 2013.

26 Small Kia SUV : SPORTAGE

Kia’s Sportage is a compact SUV that has been manufactured since 1993.

28 Street show : RAREE

A raree show (from “rarity show”), was traditionally a display of photographs in a closed box, with the viewer peeping through a hole. This form of entertainment became known as a peep show, and over the years the genre moved into the world of eroticism.

30 “Dust in the Wind” rockers : KANSAS

Kansas is a rock band that formed in the 1970s in Topeka, Kansas. The group’s biggest hits were “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind”, both of which charted in the mid-seventies.

31 Tampico abode : CASA

Tampico is a port city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

32 Silas with a loom : MARNER

“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

34 Good news, in a metaphor : MUSIC

Good news can be described as music to one’s ears.

42 Titles for attys. : ESQS

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank, say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

47 Frites seasoning : SEL

In French, one might put “sel” (salt) on “pommes frites” (French fries).

48 Generate, with “up” : DRUM …

To drum up is to bring about using effort, as in “drumming up business”. The use of “drum up” dates back to the days when drums were used to attract a crowd or perhaps to encourage military recruits. More recently, the term “to drum up” has evolved to mean “to invent”, as in “drumming up a new process”.

49 “I Left Something Turned __ Home”: 1997 Trace Adkins hit : ON AT

Trace Adkins is a country singer who has also appeared in quite a few movies and television shows. Adkins was the winner on the reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2013, after coming in second place to Piers Morgan in 2008.

50 Côte d’__ : AZUR

The Côte d’Azur is on the Mediterranean coast of France and stretches from Saint-Tropez in the west and to the Italian border in the east. In English, we often refer to the area as “the French Riviera”. It’s a little crowded for me (okay, “expensive”), especially in the summer.

51 Court game word : ALAI

Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …

52 Actress Lupino : IDA

Actress Ida Lupino was also a successful director, in the days when women weren’t very welcome behind the camera. She had already directed four “women’s” shorts when she stepped in to direct the 1953 drama “The Hitch-Hiker”, taking over when the original director became ill. “The Hitch-Hiker” was the first film noir movie to be directed by a woman, and somewhat of a breakthrough for women in the industry.

53 List of PGA players with pictorial links to their bios? : PROS AND ICONS (from “pros and cons”)

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

57 Fist bumps : DAPS

The dap is a form of handshake, and often a complicated and showy routine of fist bumps, slaps and shakes. Some say that “dap” is an acronym standing for “Dignity And Pride”.

61 Utah range : UINTA

The Uinta Mountains are a subrange of the Rocky Mountains located mainly in northeastern Utah, approximately 100 miles east of Salt Lake City. The highest point in the Uintas is Kings Peak, the highest point in Utah.

64 Checked out in advance : CASED

The phrase “to case the joint” is American slang meaning “to examine a location with the intent of robbing it”. The origins of the phrase are apparently unknown, although it dates back at least to 1915.

66 Trojan king : PRIAM

Priam was King of Troy during the Trojan War. Reputedly, Priam was father to fifty sons and many daughters with his many wives. His eldest son and heir to the throne was Hector. Paris was another of Priam’s sons, the man who caused the Trojan War by eloping with Helen, Queen of Sparta.

72 Swimsuit designer Gernreich : RUDI

Rudi Gernreich was a fashion designer born in Austria. Gernreich fled his homeland due to Nazi influence, and ended up in Los Angeles. He is noted for the design of the monokini, the first topless swimsuit.

76 __ polloi : HOI

“Hoi polloi” is a Greek term that translates literally as “the majority, the many”. In English, “hoi polloi” has come to mean “the masses” and is often used in a derogatory sense.

77 Utah Valley University city : OREM

Orem, Utah was originally known as “Sharon” (a Biblical name), then “Provo Bench”, and in 1914 it was given the family name of a local railroad operator called “Orem”. Orem gave itself the nickname “Family City USA” and sure enough in 2010, “Forbes” rated Orem the 5th best place in the country to raise a family.

Utah Valley University in Orem is the largest public university in the state of Utah. It was founded in 1941 as Central Utah Vocational School, becoming Utah Valley State College in 1993, and achieving university status in 2008.

78 Corrida cries : OLES

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

79 Diamond’s opposite, on the Mohs scale : TALC

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest. On the scale, diamond is the hardest (and rated 10), while talc is the softest (and rated 1).

80 Parachute necessity : CORD

The term “parachute” was coined by Frenchman François Blanchard, from “para-” meaning “defense against” and “chute” meaning “a fall”.

81 Ovine cry : BAA!

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

82 Apple media player for silly songs? : LOONEY ITUNES (from “Looney Tunes”)

iTunes is a very successful software application from Apple. It’s basically a media player that works on platforms like the iPad, iPhone and iPod. It connects seamlessly to the iTunes store, where you can spend all kinds of money.

86 __ facto : IPSO

“Ipso facto” is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of a particular act, as opposed to something that is the result of some subsequent event. For example, my father was born in Dublin and was an Irish citizen, ipso facto. My son was born in California and is an Irish citizen by virtue of being the son of an Irish citizen (i.e. “not” ipso facto).

87 E.T.’s Earth pal : ELLIOTT

Elliott is the young boy in the 1982 Steven Spielberg movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”. He is portrayed by Henry Thomas.

90 Day of the PGA : JASON

Jason Day is a professional golfer from Australia playing on the PGA Tour. Day was ranked World Number 1 in 2015.

94 Cheater’s device : CRIB

A crib is plagiarism. It is most commonly the copying of an answer in an examination.

96 Emulate Earhart : AVIATE

Amelia Earhart is as famous today as she was during her lifetime. When she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress, and the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government. She made two attempts to circumnavigate the globe by air (not solo). Her first attempt in March 1937 had to be abandoned when her aircraft was damaged during takeoff. The second attempt in June/July of the same year ended when Earhart and her navigator disappeared flying from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island in the Central Pacific.

99 “Silent Night” et al. : HYMNS

The beautiful Christmas carol “Silent Night” was first performed in Austria in 1818. The words were written by a priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and the melody by an Austrian headmaster, Franz Xaver Gruber. The carol was in German and called “Stille Nacht”. The English translation that we use today was provided to us in 1859 by an American bishop, John Freeman Young from Florida.

104 Brew with a hint of chocolate? : HERSHEY IPA (from “Hershey, PA”)

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

Milton Hershey used profits from the sale of his successful Lancaster Caramel Company to construct a chocolate plant in his hometown of Derry Church, Pennsylvania. Hershey started building the factory in 1903, and by 1906 his chocolate was so successful that Derry Church changed its name to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

106 Gets a ride, but not a Lyft : UBERS

Transportation network company Uber was founded in 2009 as “UberCab”. The company name was changed to “Uber” in 2011. The name change was largely driven by complaints from taxi operators in San Francisco.

109 Cleveland’s lake : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

Cleveland, Ohio was named after the man who led the team that surveyed the area prior to the founding of the city. General Moses Cleaveland did his work in 1796 and then left Ohio, never to return again.

110 Dorm diet staple : RAMEN

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

111 Puerto Rico’s fourth-largest city : PONCE

Ponce is the fourth-largest city by population in Puerto Rico. The famous conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon first landed on the island in 1508, with Spanish settlers following soon after. Among the earliest settlers was Juan Ponce de Leon’s great-grandson, Juan Ponce de León y Loayza. The great-grandson was politically savvy and was instrumental in getting a royal permit to establish the settlement that became today’s Ponce. Ponce is named after Juan Ponce de Leon y Loayza rather than his more famous great-grandfather.

112 U. of Maryland athlete : TERP

The sports teams of the University of Maryland are called the Maryland Terrapins, or “the Terps” for short. The name dates back to 1932 when it was coined by the university’s president at the time, Curley Byrd. He took the name from the diamondback terrapins that are native to the Chesapeake Bay.

114 Nor. neighbor : SWED

The country of Sweden emerged during the Middle Ages, and became one of the great powers of Europe in the days of the Swedish Empire in the 17th and early 18th century. Since then Sweden’s influence has waned. What was the eastern part of Sweden was lost to Russia in the early 1800s, and is now modern-day Finland. In the 20th century Sweden has adopted a very non-aggressive stance and was neutral in both World Wars. Sweden is not a member of NATO, but is a member of the European Union, although the country does not use the euro as its currency.

115 Test for jrs. : PSAT

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

116 Summer quaffs : ADES

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One “quaffs” (takes a hearty drink) of a “quaff” (a hearty drink).

Down

1 EPA-banned toxins : PCBS

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

2 Chicago district, with “the” : LOOP

The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as the Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system. An alternative theory is that the term only arose with the construction of the elevated railway “loop” that forms the hub of the city’s “L” system.

3 “Othello” villain : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

4 Event in a classic William Peter Blatty novel : EXORCISM

“The Exorcist” is a 1973 horror film based on a 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty. I’m no fan of horror movies, so I’ve never seen it. …

5 Half a ’60s quartet : MAMAS

The folk group called the Magic Circle renamed itself to the Mamas and the Papas in the early sixties. Sadly, the Mamas and the Papas weren’t a happy bunch, always fighting over who was getting credit for songs and whose voice was getting mixed out of recordings, so they split up, twice. While they were together though, they wrote and recorded some great songs, songs which really do epitomize the sound of the sixties. “Monday, Monday” was written by John Phillips, one of “the Papas”, and it was to become the only number one hit for the group. Here’s a shocker … when it hit number one in 1966, it was the first time that a group made up of both sexes topped the American charts!

6 Last of 24 : OMEGA

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and is the one that looks like a horseshoe when in uppercase. The lowercase omega looks like a Latin W. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron, meaning “little O” (O-micron).

8 Upper left key : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

9 Like some ATM withdrawals : NO-FEE

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

13 One with net income? : SEINER

A seine is a type of fishing net. It is long and thin, with floats along one long edge (the top) and weights along the bottom edge so that it hangs down in the water. A seine is usually paid out into the water from a boat called a seiner, as the vessel moves slowly in a circle driving fish into the center of the net.

15 Weather-monitoring gp. : NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the seven federal uniformed services, namely:

  • Army
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps

16 “Devil Inside” band : INXS

INXS (pronounced “in excess”) was a rock band from Australia. The band formed in 1977 in Sydney as the Farriss Brothers, as three of the original lineups were indeed brothers.

19 African capital once known as Salisbury : HARARE

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe, and is the African nation’s largest city. It was founded by the British in 1890 as Fort Salisbury (later just “Salisbury”). The outpost was named after Lord Salisbury, who was Prime Minister of the UK at the time. Salisbury was renamed to Harare in 1982, on the second anniversary of the independence of Zimbabwe. The name “Harare” applied to the area in which Fort Salisbury had been erected. “Harare” is a local word meaning “It doesn’t sleep”, a word applied to locations with constant noise.

20 Island east of Sumatra : BORNEO

Borneo is the third largest island on the planet (after Greenland and New Guinea), and is located north of Australia in Maritime Southeast Asia. Most of the island is part of Indonesia (taking up 73% of the island) with almost all of the remainder being part of Malaysia (26%). The final 1% is home to the sovereign state of Brunei.

Sumatra is a very large island in western Indonesia. It is the sixth largest island in the world and home to 22% of the country’s population.

27 It may be an X or an O : TAC

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

29 Seed pod : ARIL

The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and hence aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

32 Conductor Zubin : MEHTA

Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music, from Mumbai. Mehta studied music in Vienna, where he made his conducting debut in 1958. In 1961 he was named assistant director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a fuss with the music director designate of the orchestra, Georg Solti. Solti resigned as a protest, and Mehta took his job. In 1978 Mehta took over as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, eventually becoming the longest holder of that position. In 2019, the Los Angeles Philharmonic bestowed on Mehta the title of Conductor Emeritus.

34 “M*A*S*H” figure : MEDIC

“M*A*S*H” has only three stars (three asterisks, that is). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.

35 Vitamin spec : USRDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

36 Perfect one of three meals? : SQUARE IDEAL (from “square deal”)

A square meal is one that is substantial and nourishing. According to some sources, the phrase “square meal” originated with the Royal Navy, and the square wooden plates on which meals were served. However, this centuries-old practice is an unlikely origin as the phrase is first seen in print in the US, in 1856. An advertisement for a restaurant posted in a California newspaper offers a “square meal” to patrons, in the sense of an “honest, straightforward meal”. The “honest” meaning of “square” was well-established at the time, as in “fair and square”, “square play” and “square deal”.

37 Bitcoin, e.g. : E-CASH

Bitcoins are digital units of currency that are used on some Internet sites. Bitcoins are the most popular alternative currency used on the Web today. More and more reputable online retailers are accepting bitcoins, including Overstock.com, Expedia, Dell and Microsoft.

39 Kauai breakfast restaurants? : ISLAND IHOPS (from “island-hops”)

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

Because the Hawaiian island of Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, all the rainfall has helped to carve out magnificent canyons and left superb waterfalls. The island is often used as a backdrop for movies. The facilities at the island’s Lihue Airport reflect the pleasant climate enjoyed by the Hawaiian Islands. Check-in takes place completely outdoors!

41 Donovan of “Clueless” : ELISA

Elisa Donovan is an actress from Poughkeepsie, New York. Donovan’s big break came in the film “Clueless”, playing a part that she later played in the television series of the same name.

The 1995 movie “Clueless” is apparently based on Jane Austen’s “Emma”, which is a favorite novel of mine. As a result, I am going to have to check out the film. That said, “Clueless” is set in a Beverly Hills high school, so I probably should prepare myself to be disappointed …

43 Title Kazakh in a 2006 spoof : BORAT

The full name of the 2006 “mockumentary” is “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. Borat is played by a British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Not my cup of tea …

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

46 Brand that once sported a crocodile : IZOD

Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the Royal Family. As Izod was about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.

51 Bye that’s bid : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

56 Type of whiskey : IRISH

We use the spelling “whiskey” for American and Irish versions of the drink, and “whisky” for scotch, the Scottish version.

61 Cold War enemy : USSR

The term “Cold War” was coined by novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

63 “All That Jazz” choreographer : FOSSE

Bob Fosse won more Tony Awards for choreography than anyone else, a grand total of eight (and another Tony for direction). Fosse also won an Oscar for Best Director for the 1972 movie “Cabaret”, even beating out the formidable Francis Ford Coppola who was nominated that same year for “The Godfather”.

“All That Jazz” is a song from the 1975 musical “Chicago”, which was choreographed by the great Bob Fosse. “All That Jazz” was later used as the title for a 1979 film directed by Fosse that features a main character who is a theater director and choreographer, and who greatly resembles Fosse himself.

65 Surveillance plane acronym : AWACS

When the British developed radar in WWII, they also came up with an airborne system that they actually deployed during the war. In 1944 the US Navy commissioned a similar system, and so launched the first American Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system, also before the war was over. The more modern term for the technology is “Airborne Warning and Control System”, or “AWACS” for short.

67 Like much of Nebraska : RURAL

Nebraska gets its name from the Platte River which flows through the state. “Nebraska” is an anglicized version of Otoe and Omaha words meaning “flat water”.

68 Form of security : LIEN

A lien is a right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

69 Balaban of “Definitely, Maybe” : LIANE

Liane Balaban is an actress from Ontario, Canada. Apparently, Balaban is often mistaken for fellow actress Natalie Portman.

“Definitely, Maybe” is a 2008 romcom starring Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds plays a political consultant discussing life before marriage with his young daughter. Reynolds’ character recounts romances with women in his past, leaving the child to guess which one of the three became his wife.

70 Trunk : TORSO

“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.

71 Lebanese port : SIDON

Sidon is a Lebanonese city on the Mediterranean coast located about halfway between Beirut to the north and Tyre to the south.

73 Dad’s and Mug : ROOT BEERS

Root beer is a beverage that is very North American, and is rarely found elsewhere in the world. Root beer originated in the 1700s and was made from the root of the sassafras plant. The traditional root beer was a beverage with a very low alcohol content, and today there are many versions that contain no alcohol at all. The sassafras root was used as the primary flavor ingredient right up until 1960, when the FDA banned its use as tests determined that it was a carcinogen.

Dad’s root beer was developed by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns in 1937, and was given the name “Dad’s” in honor of Klapman’s father who used to make root beer for his family at home.

Mug Root Beer is produced in San Francisco. The beverage was introduced in the city in the forties under the name Belfast Root Beer.

75 Chopin work : ETUDE

Frédéric Chopin wrote three sets of études. His 1833 Études Op. 10 were dedicated to fellow-composer and friend Franz Liszt. His 1837 Études Op. 25 were dedicated to Marie d’Agoult, Franz Liszt’s mistress.

80 Holey Italian bread : CIABATTA

The Italian white bread known as ciabatta is a favorite of mine. “Ciabatta” is Italian for “slipper”, a reference to the shape of the traditional loaf. The simple recipe, with ingredients limited to wheat flour, water, salt and yeast, only dates to 1976 when it was created by a baker in Verona, as something to compete with the French baguette.

83 Loyal servant : YEOMAN

In one use of the word, a “yeoman” is a lower level official or attendant in a royal household. A famous group of yeomen are the Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London. The role is ceremonial these days, theoretically safeguarding the crown jewels and guarding any prisoners in the Tower. More correctly, the Yeoman Warders are called Beefeaters, and nobody’s really sure why! If you get over to London, the Yeoman Warders will be your tour guide around the Tower of London … a great day out!

90 It may be up, with “the” : … JIG

Back in Elizabethan times, a “jig” was a trick or game. So, the expression “the jig is up” has for some time meant “the trick or game is exposed”.

94 Around : CIRCA

“Circa” is a Latin word meaning “around, near, about the time of”. We use “circa” directly in English to mean “about the time of”, as well as in derivative words such as “circle” and “circus”.

95 Trip odometer function : RESET

An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

97 Aloe __ : VERA

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

98 Flower from the Greek for “rainbow” : IRIS

Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.

100 Second place? : TENS

Someone adding up numbers might count the ones, tens, hundreds, etc.

101 “A horse is a horse” horse : MR ED

The opening lines of the theme song to the sitcom “Mister Ed” are:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

102 Cork’s home : EIRE

Cork is the largest and most southerly county in Ireland. The county is named for the city of Cork, which is the second largest in the country. Cork is sometimes referred to as “the Rebel County”, which alludes to the region’s resistance to British rule. Tourists flock to Cork for several reasons, not least as it is home to the famous Blarney Stone as well as Cobh, the port from which so many Irish emigrants left for countries like Australia, Canada and the United States.

105 Deviate from a course : YAW

The word “yaw” means to deviate from the line of a course and is used mainly at sea and in the air. “Yaw” is derived from the Old Norse word “jaege” which means “to drive, chase”. As such, “yaw” is etymologically related to our word “yacht”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bend in pointe shoes : PLIE
5 Style : MODE
9 Dark film genre : NOIR
13 __ Sticks: drain-cleaning aid : SANI
17 Sweet-talk : COAX
18 Barn-raising group : AMISH
20 Worth a rave review, in show biz : BOFFO
21 University near Durham, NC : ELON
22 Half-off sale acronym : BOGO
23 Destination for aficionados : MECCA
24 Workplace movie screen? : OFFICE IMAX (from “OfficeMax”)
26 Small Kia SUV : SPORTAGE
28 Street show : RAREE
30 “Dust in the Wind” rockers : KANSAS
31 Tampico abode : CASA
32 Silas with a loom : MARNER
33 Chicago-to-Indianapolis dir. : SSE
34 Good news, in a metaphor : MUSIC
37 Chill-inducing : EERIE
38 Prepared for surgery, in a way : STERILE
42 Titles for attys. : ESQS
43 Apple product for unmarried men? : BACHELOR IPAD (from “bachelor pad”)
47 Frites seasoning : SEL
48 Generate, with “up” : DRUM …
49 “I Left Something Turned __ Home”: 1997 Trace Adkins hit : ON AT
50 Côte d’__ : AZUR
51 Court game word : ALAI
52 Actress Lupino : IDA
53 List of PGA players with pictorial links to their bios? : PROS AND ICONS (from “pros and cons”)
57 Fist bumps : DAPS
58 Action movie staple : CAR CRASH
60 Worked with a crew, maybe : OARED
61 Utah range : UINTA
62 Upper class : ELITE
63 Graceful : FLUID
64 Checked out in advance : CASED
66 Trojan king : PRIAM
68 Some steaks : LOINS
69 Contentious filings : LAWSUITS
72 Swimsuit designer Gernreich : RUDI
73 Order to a construction worker? : RAISE THE I-BAR (from “raise the bar”)
76 __ polloi : HOI
77 Utah Valley University city : OREM
78 Corrida cries : OLES
79 Diamond’s opposite, on the Mohs scale : TALC
80 Parachute necessity : CORD
81 Ovine cry : BAA!
82 Apple media player for silly songs? : LOONEY ITUNES (from “Looney Tunes”)
86 __ facto : IPSO
87 E.T.’s Earth pal : ELLIOTT
89 Eat away : ERODE
90 Day of the PGA : JASON
91 Arrest : NAB
92 “Which one will it be?” : CHOOSE
94 Cheater’s device : CRIB
96 Emulate Earhart : AVIATE
99 “Silent Night” et al. : HYMNS
100 The NFL had two of them in 2018 : TIE GAMES
104 Brew with a hint of chocolate? : HERSHEY IPA (from “Hershey, PA”)
106 Gets a ride, but not a Lyft : UBERS
108 Jazz club group : TRIO
109 Cleveland’s lake : ERIE
110 Dorm diet staple : RAMEN
111 Puerto Rico’s fourth-largest city : PONCE
112 U. of Maryland athlete : TERP
113 Like Span. o-ending nouns : MASC
114 Nor. neighbor : SWED
115 Test for jrs. : PSAT
116 Summer quaffs : ADES

Down

1 EPA-banned toxins : PCBS
2 Chicago district, with “the” : LOOP
3 “Othello” villain : IAGO
4 Event in a classic William Peter Blatty novel : EXORCISM
5 Half a ’60s quartet : MAMAS
6 Last of 24 : OMEGA
7 Cut into cubes : DICE
8 Upper left key : ESC
9 Like some ATM withdrawals : NO-FEE
10 Proposal : OFFER
11 “__ had known … ” : IF I
12 Standouts in a field : ROCK STARS
13 One with net income? : SEINER
14 Charity : ALMS
15 Weather-monitoring gp. : NOAA
16 “Devil Inside” band : INXS
19 African capital once known as Salisbury : HARARE
20 Island east of Sumatra : BORNEO
25 Alleviated : EASED
27 It may be an X or an O : TAC
29 Seed pod : ARIL
32 Conductor Zubin : MEHTA
34 “M*A*S*H” figure : MEDIC
35 Vitamin spec : USRDA
36 Perfect one of three meals? : SQUARE IDEAL (from “square deal”)
37 Bitcoin, e.g. : E-CASH
38 Twirled : SPUN
39 Kauai breakfast restaurants? : ISLAND IHOPS (from “island-hops”)
40 Vaulted : LEAPT
41 Donovan of “Clueless” : ELISA
43 Title Kazakh in a 2006 spoof : BORAT
44 Win by __ : A NOSE
45 Beat anxiously : RACED
46 Brand that once sported a crocodile : IZOD
51 Bye that’s bid : ADIEU
53 Stiffly proper : PRIM
54 “True dat!” : NO LIE!
55 Intimidate : DAUNT
56 Type of whiskey : IRISH
59 Assert : CLAIM
61 Cold War enemy : USSR
63 “All That Jazz” choreographer : FOSSE
64 Suspension bridge support : CABLE
65 Surveillance plane acronym : AWACS
66 Investigation : PROBE
67 Like much of Nebraska : RURAL
68 Form of security : LIEN
69 Balaban of “Definitely, Maybe” : LIANE
70 Trunk : TORSO
71 Lebanese port : SIDON
73 Dad’s and Mug : ROOT BEERS
74 Much : A LOT
75 Chopin work : ETUDE
80 Holey Italian bread : CIABATTA
82 Reluctant : LOATH
83 Loyal servant : YEOMAN
84 Press : IRON
85 50-50 chance : TOSS-UP
88 “Hang on … ” : IN A SEC …
90 It may be up, with “the” : … JIG
92 Opine, with “in” : CHIME …
93 Promoted to excess : HYPED
94 Around : CIRCA
95 Trip odometer function : RESET
96 Throaty attention-getter : AHEM!
97 Aloe __ : VERA
98 Flower from the Greek for “rainbow” : IRIS
100 Second place? : TENS
101 “A horse is a horse” horse : MR ED
102 Cork’s home : EIRE
103 Absorbs, with “up” : SOPS …
105 Deviate from a course : YAW
107 Conk : BOP

12 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 27 Dec 20, Sunday”

  1. 1:07:05…I spelled exorcism EXERCISM and as usual it crossed with another “never heard of” (bogo)…what else is new?
    Stay safe.😀
    Go Ravens 🙏

  2. I was very pleased with myself when I figured out that the main flavor in root beer is wintergreen. I tried an alcoholic root beer once but didn’t really like it.

    I still have to think twice before I remember how to spell Éire. I thought I was seeing an alternate spelling in some crosswords but I was probably getting it mixed up with Erie, the lake.

    Never heard of Sani Sticks. PCP sounds safer than PCBs.

  3. Got everything but the sani-sticks. Last two letters stayed empty because
    didn’t know the cross answers. All in all, I did well without any lookups

  4. 28:07 2 lookups 3 errors

    Never heard of Sani Sticks, either. Whoever’s running their advertising needs to rethink their targeting.

  5. 25 mins 46 sec, DNF: 4 fills in the NE corner that were complete naticks: SANI, SEINER (????) ELON and NOAA. All of them proper nouns, and none of them proper words. except for SEINER, which is completely unknown to me.

    Looks like there was something to trip everyone in this grid. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not…

  6. Fat Tuesday is the feast that precedes Lent. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.
    There is no “Fat Thursday”!

  7. Don’t you love working a fairly easy 21X21 puzzle and in the end having to guess one lousy letter where the capital of Botswana intersects with an archaic word for a peep show? No fair.

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