LA Times Crossword 28 Dec 20, Monday

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Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: Busy Week

Themed answers are common phrases ending with a day of the week. Those days progress from MONDAY through FRIDAY as we descend the grid:

  • 17A It follows Thanksgiving weekend : CYBER MONDAY
  • 24A Time of the week for Mexican food : TACO TUESDAY
  • 34A Seuss book about a weekly period with strange events, like an earthworm chasing a bird : WACKY WEDNESDAY
  • 50A Pre-Lent feast : FAT THURSDAY
  • 57A Time for Hawaiians to be laid-back at work : ALOHA FRIDAY

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

Bill’s time: 5m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “Aladdin” monkey : ABU

Abu is a monkey in the Disney production of “Aladdin”. The character is based on Abu, a thief in the 1940 film “The Thief of Baghdad”.

4 Songlike piece : ARIOSO

An arioso (plural “ariosi”) is a solo vocal piece in a classical work such as an opera or an oratorio. An arioso’s structure lies somewhere between that of a full-blown aria and speech-like recitative.

10 Combat vet’s affliction, briefly : PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

14 Daiquiri liquor : RUM

Daiquirí is a small village on the coast near Santiago, Cuba and a key location in the American invasion of Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Supposedly, the cocktail called a “daiquiri” was invented by American mining engineers in a bar in nearby Santiago.

16 “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

17 It follows Thanksgiving weekend : CYBER MONDAY

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, when retailers offer incentives to online shoppers in the hope of boosting sales. The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 in a press release issued by the website Shop.org. In recent years, consumers have been spending more money online on Cyber Monday than any other day in the year.

19 Greek god of war : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

20 Cookbook maven Rombauer : IRMA

Irma Rombauer was the author of the famous cookbook “The Joy Of Cooking”. Rombauer self-published the book back in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her family continued to publish privately as demand was high, and then a commercial printing house picked it up in 1936. “The Joy of Cooking” has been in print continuously ever since.

I’ve always loved the term “maven”, which is another word for “expert”. Maven comes into English from the Yiddish “meyvn” describing someone who appreciates and is a connoisseur.

21 Sign of a sellout : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

24 Time of the week for Mexican food : TACO TUESDAY

Taco Tuesday is a promotion run by many American restaurants, especially in Southern California. Participating establishments offer deals on tacos, and perhaps other Mexican dishes served in tortillas. Apparently, “Taco Tuesday” is a trademark owned by Wyoming-based fast-food restaurant Taco John’s.

31 Note after fa : SOL

The sol-fa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

32 Decked in a fight : KO’D

Knockout (KO)

34 Seuss book about a weekly period with strange events, like an earthworm chasing a bird : WACKY WEDNESDAY

“Wacky Wednesday” is a 1974 children’s book written by Dr. Seuss under his alternate pen name “Theo LeSieg”. The book follows a child as he spends a Wednesday encountering “wacky” things such as an airplane flying backwards and a palm tree growing in a toilet.

43 Delivery vehicle : VAN

The vehicle we call a “van” takes its name from “caravan”, and is a shortened version of the older term. Back in the 1600s, a caravan was a covered cart. We still use the word “caravan” in Ireland to describe what we call a “mobile home” or “recreational vehicle” here in the US.

45 Like guitar strings : TAUT

A kithara (also “cithara”) was a lyre-like instrument in ancient Greece. Our word “guitar” is ultimately derived from “kithara”. Indeed, “kithara” is the modern Greek word for “guitar”.

47 Song of praise : PAEAN

A paean is a poem or song that expresses triumph or thanksgiving. “Paean” comes from the ancient Greek “paian” meaning “song of triumph”.

50 Pre-Lent feast : FAT THURSDAY

Fat Thursday is a feast in the Christian tradition that precedes Lent, a 40-day period of fasting. The idea is that people meet up to feast on food items that might be eschewed during Lent.

52 “High Voltage” band : AC/DC

The hard rock band AC/DC recorded two albums titled “High Voltage”. The first was released in 1975, only in their native Australia. The second was released in 1976, but this version of “High Voltage” was marketed internationally. The second album bears little resemblance to the first.

53 Knighted Guinness : ALEC

Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”.

55 Hoppy brews, for short : IPAS

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.

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flowers of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I live here in California used to be home to the largest hop farm in the whole world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

57 Time for Hawaiians to be laid-back at work : ALOHA FRIDAY

The practice of dressing down at work on “Casual Fridays” arose at the end of the 20th century. The custom is rooted in the tradition known as “Aloha Friday” that started in Hawaii in 1966. The official designation of Aloha Friday was the result of a successful lobbying campaign by the manufacturing association known as the Hawaiian Fashion Guild.

63 Pulitzer winner Lin-Manuel __ : MIRANDA

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a composer and playwright from New York City, and the creator and star of the hit Broadway musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights”. Miranda also co-wrote the songs for the 2016 Disney animated feature “Moana”. He started composing early, and wrote jingles as a child. One of those jingles was later used by Eliot Spitzer in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

64 Soccer cheer : OLE!

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

66 Marcos of the Philippines : IMELDA

Many moons ago, I spent a couple of very happy years living in Manila in the Philippines. I had an apartment there, and residing in the apartment building next door was Imelda Marcos, along with all of her shoes I assume …

When the Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos discovered the islands of Leyte and Samar, he called them “Felipinas”, after King Philip II of Spain. Eventually, the name was used for the whole archipelago, becoming what we now call in English, the Philippines.

Down

1 Softball pitch path : ARC

The sport we know today as “softball” was created as an indoor version of baseball. The first game was played on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago. Back then, a “soft” ball was indeed used, but the name “softball” wasn’t adopted until 1926.

3 Something held up in the rain? : UMBRELLA

Our term “umbrella” ultimately derives from the Latin “umbra” meaning “shade, shadow”.

5 Old Olds auto : REO

The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale 8 and the REO Flying Cloud.

6 Actor McKellen : IAN

Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, one who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK, Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

11 Angry outburst : TIRADE

The term “tirade” describes a long and vehement speech, and is a word that came into English from French. “Tirade” can have the same meaning in French, but is also the word for “volley”. So, a tirade is a “volley” of words.

15 Victoria’s Secret purchase : BRA

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 in San Francisco, California. The founder wanted to create an environment where men were comfortable buying lingerie for their wives or girlfriends, an alternative to a department store.

23 Plea at sea : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

24 East Asian capital : TOKYO

The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area on the planet. 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies are headquartered in Tokyo. And the residents of Tokyo eat very well. Michelin has awarded more Michelin stars to Tokyo than any other city in the world.

33 Indiana’s state flower : PEONY

The flowering plant called a peony is named for Paean, the mythical physician to the Greek gods.

36 __ and kin : KITH

The word “kith” describes friends and acquaintances, and is used in the phrase “kith and kin” meaning “friends and family”. “Kith” comes from an Old English word meaning “native country, home”, as the expression “kith and kin” was used originally to mean “country and kinsmen”.

37 One of 28 Monopoly cards : DEED

In the game of Monopoly there are 28 title deeds:

  • 22 streets
  • 4 railroads
  • 2 utilities

38 Final Four org. : NCAA

In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:

  • The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
  • The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
  • The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)

39 Guacamole makings : AVOCADOS

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”.

44 Japanese chip maker : NEC

“NEC” is the name that the Nippon Electric Company chose for itself outside of Japan after a rebranding exercise in 1983.

45 Soapmaking ingredient : TALLOW

Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered, purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

49 Red Sox star Big __ : PAPI

The Dominican-American baseball player David Ortiz has the nickname “Big Papi”. After each home run that Ortiz scores, he looks upwards and points to the sky in a tribute to his mother who died in a car crash in 2002 when she was only 46 years old.

50 Aesop creation : FABLE

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.

51 MSG taste : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

55 Golden yrs. fund : IRA

Individual retirement account (IRA)

58 “2001” computer : HAL

In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for “Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer”. Even though Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.

60 Med. device approver : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

61 Archery wood : YEW

Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Aladdin” monkey : ABU
4 Songlike piece : ARIOSO
10 Combat vet’s affliction, briefly : PTSD
14 Daiquiri liquor : RUM
15 Side-to-side measurement : BREADTH
16 “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU
17 It follows Thanksgiving weekend : CYBER MONDAY
19 Greek god of war : ARES
20 Cookbook maven Rombauer : IRMA
21 Sign of a sellout : SRO
22 Sudden pull : YANK
23 Wineglass feature : STEM
24 Time of the week for Mexican food : TACO TUESDAY
28 Part of 21-Across : ONLY
29 Baking chambers : OVENS
30 Gets on in years : AGES
31 Note after fa : SOL
32 Decked in a fight : KO’D
33 Golf instructor : PRO
34 Seuss book about a weekly period with strange events, like an earthworm chasing a bird : WACKY WEDNESDAY
41 River, to Roberto : RIO
42 Earth-friendly prefix : ECO-
43 Delivery vehicle : VAN
45 Like guitar strings : TAUT
47 Song of praise : PAEAN
49 Skin opening : PORE
50 Pre-Lent feast : FAT THURSDAY
52 “High Voltage” band : AC/DC
53 Knighted Guinness : ALEC
54 “Not so hot” : MEH
55 Hoppy brews, for short : IPAS
56 Hardly thrilling : BLAH
57 Time for Hawaiians to be laid-back at work : ALOHA FRIDAY
62 Misplace : LOSE
63 Pulitzer winner Lin-Manuel __ : MIRANDA
64 Soccer cheer : OLE!
65 Flock members : EWES
66 Marcos of the Philippines : IMELDA
67 Stitch together : SEW

Down

1 Softball pitch path : ARC
2 Etailer’s come-on words : BUY IT NOW!
3 Something held up in the rain? : UMBRELLA
4 Shortstop’s asset : ARM
5 Old Olds auto : REO
6 Actor McKellen : IAN
7 Likely, bet-wise : ODDS-ON
8 Begins : STARTS
9 “Silly goose!” : OH YOU!
10 Acts like the Almighty : PLAYS GOD
11 Angry outburst : TIRADE
12 Considered to be : SEEN AS
13 Like evening : DUSKY
15 Victoria’s Secret purchase : BRA
18 Sitcom award : EMMY
23 Plea at sea : SOS
24 East Asian capital : TOKYO
25 State openly : AVOW
26 Formally let go : CEDE
27 Corn servings : EARS
33 Indiana’s state flower : PEONY
35 Supports after knee surgery : CRUTCHES
36 __ and kin : KITH
37 One of 28 Monopoly cards : DEED
38 Final Four org. : NCAA
39 Guacamole makings : AVOCADOS
40 Pre-moving driveway event : YARD SALE
44 Japanese chip maker : NEC
45 Soapmaking ingredient : TALLOW
46 Drill sergeant’s “Relax” : AT EASE
47 Heat at a race : PRELIM
48 Back from cruising, say : ASHORE
49 Red Sox star Big __ : PAPI
50 Aesop creation : FABLE
51 MSG taste : UMAMI
55 Golden yrs. fund : IRA
58 “2001” computer : HAL
59 “Wait, there’s more” : AND
60 Med. device approver : FDA
61 Archery wood : YEW

31 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 28 Dec 20, Monday”

    1. Thank you. As I filled out the letters I kept thinking that there was something seriously wrong with me. I couldn’t make Tuesday fit. Then I realized I wasn’t the idiot. Fat Thursday. As if.

  1. Am I wrong? As Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, I would thing there
    would be Fat Tuesday, not Fat Thursday????

    No errors.

  2. Re 16-D, “in lieu of gifts”: lieu means place, and I can’t help thinking that after the Battle of Hastings the French invaders might have referred to a toilet as “that little place,” and gradually “le lieu” was adopted by the English as “the loo.” Anyway, seems possible to me.

    The famous pre-Lenten feast day is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. It precedes Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Thursday is too late!

  3. This New Orleanian can firmly attest to the fact that Fat Thursday does not exist!!!! Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is the pre-Lent feast. It precedes Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

  4. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.”
    ALSO KNOWN AS Pączki Day in the Midwest. (Pronounced: pownchki) They began as a way to avoid food waste. Like many things in Poland, paczki have roots in Catholicism. They were created as a way to use up all the available sugar, eggs, butter, lard, and other goodness before Lent, during which folks give up an indulgence for 40 days.

  5. Fat Thursday is a Polish feast.

    Easy puzzle. Caught on to the DAY theme and wrote DAY at the ends of each theme line.
    Guessed a few things. Had jerK before YANK. (I’m a YANK, not a jerK!)
    SOS is an abbrev.

    I once had a boss who was a cousin to IMELDA Marcos. She put him in jail and confiscated his property. She liked shoes.

  6. I was surprised to see so many comments this early in the day. However, the Fat Thursday commentary explains it. Fat Thursday is a thing, apparently, coming 5 days before Fat Tuesday (so it’s not too late and/or after Ash Wednesday). Hey, 2 fat days are better than one, right? I’m trying to limit the number of Fat Days over the holidays as there’s not much to do but eat, sleep, and walk it off. Hope everyone has a good last week of this miserable year.

  7. It is easily confused, but…
    From Wikipedia:
    Fat Thursday is a traditional Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the days leading up to Ash Wednesday provide the last opportunity for feasting (including simply eating forbidden items) until Easter. Traditionally it is a day dedicated to eating, when people meet in their homes or cafés with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals usually not eaten during Lent. It comes 5 days before Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, 6 days before Ash Wednesday,[1] 52 days before Easter.

    Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, observed in many Christian countries through participating in confession and absolution, the ritual burning of the previous year’s Holy Week palms, finalizing one’s Lenten sacrifice, as well as eating pancakes and other sweets.
    Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known as Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.

  8. Google “Fat Thursday” and you’ll find this:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Thursday

    Congrats to those who thought to check this out (or who knew about it without having to look it up).

    In my experience, crossword puzzle setters and editors are very careful to check their work (unlike posters on crossword blogs … 😳).

  9. 18:10 no errors…I would like to join the choir with the “Fat Thursday “ remarks and I would like to add one more…DUSKY really?
    Have a safe and happy holiday and look forward to a much better 2021.
    Go Ravens…one more time and you’re in.🙏🙏

  10. I’m enjoying all the Fat Tuesday/Thursday discussion – slightly disappointed it wasn’t an editorial mistake, but more relieved that my faith in the puzzles may remain unshaken. Yikes, Jane Drees Blando, may we all be saved from power-mad cousins.

  11. I like these funny back and forths….almost as much as the puzzle itself. I agree with Nonny Muss. You puzzle creators always have the CORRECT last word.

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